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Ethical Brain: Preface 
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Post Ethical Brain: Preface
This thread is for discussing the Preface to Ethical Brain. You can post within this framework or create your own threads. ::172

Edited by: Chris OConnor  at: 11/1/05 12:28 am



Fri Sep 30, 2005 3:49 pm
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Post Re: Preface to Ethical Brain
Michael S. Gazzaniga speaks about his involvement with the President's Council on Bioethics, so I did some research to learn a bit more. I was amazed to see that there are transcripts of every single council session available for free online.

Chris




Mon Oct 03, 2005 10:59 pm
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Post Re: Preface to Ethical Brain
As I read the transcript of the first session I'm tempted to copy and paste the whole damn thing, but we're studying "The Ethical Brain" this quarter and few of you would probably be interested in such a side excursion.

Looks like Dr. Gazzaniga didn't speak a whole lot in this first session anyway. I'll copy and paste the very beginning and then skip to where he details what he sees as the objectives of the council.




FIRST MEETING
Thursday, January 17, 2002

Session 1: Welcome and Opening Remarks

CHAIRMAN KASS: First of all, I would like to welcome members of council and members of the public to the first meeting of the President's Council on Bioethics.

Dean Clancy, if I might call on you officially to open this meeting as the designated federal officer.

MR. CLANCY: Thank you, Dr. Kass. I am Dean Clancy, the Executive Director of the Council and designated federal officer. As I understand it, my duties are a combination of justice of the peace, part-time baby sitter and potential sacrificial victim. And I just want to say as an editorial note I am very honored and humbled to be able to serve with Dr. Kass and such a distinguished panel of Americans.

The job of the designated federal officer is to be a proclaimer that the law has been conformed to in terms of the requirements for holding public business in this council and, therefore, it is with pleasure and a bit of enthusiasm, anticipation and humility that I proclaim this meeting in session.

CHAIRMAN KASS: Thank you very much. We will shortly go around the room and ask council members to identify themselves. This time just name and institutional affiliation. You will all have opportunities later in this session to speak substantively about your own thoughts and concerns for our group.

I will identify myself as Leon Kass of the University of Chicago on leave and at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington.

And if I might then just proceed to my right and ask Elizabeth Blackburn to go next.

By the way, the first housekeeping matter, if you want to speak press the button on and off and try to speak fairly closely to the microphone because the session is being recorded and will be transcribed.

Please?

DR. BLACKBURN: Good morning. Elizabeth Blackburn, University of California, San Francisco.

DR. GAZZANIGA: Mike Gazzaniga, Division of Cognitive Neuroscience at Dartmouth College.

- - - - - - - - - -


The rest of the council introduces themselves. I'll skip past everything else to where Michael speaks.

- - - - - - - - - -


DR. GAZZANIGA: Again thank you for including me. I see my chore as trying to bring to the committee some current understanding in issues that arise from studying the brain in the area of neuroscience. One can in the current issue of cloning and stem cells see the issue is life with a brain versus life without a brain an equivalent status for us to consider. We will have to look at that.

More importantly, jumping ahead, I think the neuroscience literature where these new brain imaging technologies are raising a whole set of new questions that we will have to address as we go on having to do with such issues as cognitive privacy. We are getting to the point where we can ask the brain something and forget about the person and find out what they are really thinking. What sort of issues will that raise for the legal system? What sort of issues will that raise for us personally? So I see the nervous system playing a large role in the discussions to come.

Edited by: Chris OConnor  at: 10/4/05 12:17 am



Mon Oct 03, 2005 11:16 pm
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Post Re: Preface to Ethical Brain
Looks like Dr. Gazzaniga has quite a sense of humor. We'll have to invite him to a chat near the end of this quarter. I'll post some of his comments during later council sessions. Just know that I'm skipping tons of comments before and after Dr. Gazzaniga speaks, so this is a bit out of context.




DR. GAZZANIGA: I think there is such a natural revulsion to the notion of reproductive cloning that what we are doing is fishing around for reasons why we have that revulsion. The -- can you imagine the evening where you take your wife out and you say, you know, 'Honey, I think it is time to have a child, I pretty much decided to go with me.'

(Laughter.)

DR. GAZZANIGA: I cannot imagine the expense of that French dinner.

DR. GAZZANIGA: So since none of us really are carrying around our favorite person who wants to be cloned, and the pressure on us to do this and all the reasons that Janet spoke to earlier, this is so far off in the future and there is even maybe serious biologic reasons why it would not even work, forgetting all that, let's get back to this magnificent poetry of the nights of sexual embrace and your child was born story.

Now we know that the left brain, the left hemisphere has this great capacity to weave a story, tell a story. It tries to explain your own behavior. And no sooner does a behavior come out of us then we have a narrative about it.

I would venture to say that -- as a matter of fact, I know somebody who -- a couple of deer friends who -- he is Italian, she is Irish, and they just adopted a Chinese baby, which went through an enormous process as you know. And they talk fondly in the same fond way you talk of the embrace of the evening they decided to do that and that will go down in their family history just as the personal evening that we -- that other people enjoy.

So I think what we are faced with is a revulsion of the whole idea of reproductive cloning and then we are trying to find another reason for why that is when it is just kind of a revolting idea as opposed to therapeutic cloning.


DR. GAZZANIGA: Excuse me. I would like to add my voice of disagreement with your position. You know, the whole issue of this, where we get into the stem cell therapeutic cloning versus the reproductive cloning bumps up against so many sort of facts that are on the ground now, and the whole issue could be looked at in terms of transplant medicine.

So, we now have, as you all know, transplantation of organs going on. How it works is a patient is declared brain-dead by the neurologist, and the surgeons are right there harvesting the organs for transplantation, the heart, the liver, the lungs. And so, we have right now a culturally accepted way of, once we recognize someone is brain-dead, their organs are free to be used to save other lives.

In the young embryo, up to (if I have this right; I will double check) but I think it is up to the fortieth day, there are no neurons yet formed for the cerebral cortex, for the brain. Basically, you have a brainless entity. So, in some sense, the laws that govern the next-of-kin to donate the heart, the lungs, to other people from a brain-dead human, the parents of the IVF extra embryos could donate their brainless blastocysts to be used for stem cell use, and for other medical good. So, one could obviate this whole problem by casting this picture in terms of recognized transplant law, which there is laws on this and so forth, and see the problem from that point of view.


DR. GAZZANIGA: Well, just quickly, to go back to Charles' point. There could be a long list of safety reasons spelled out as to why this is a bad idea. Cloning has been going on a long time with corn, and they have made genetically identical corn, and the agriculturalists were very happy with this. Then they planted it, and the entire corn crop would be wiped out because there was no genetic diversity when a new organism came in that would attack that particular piece of corn. So, cloning has been basically abandoned as an idea in agriculture, because it shut down genetic diversity.

And one can see this is a big problem in the cloning of animals if you read the papers carefully, and get to the back of the papers. So, the whole reason why we have bisexual reproduction is to create the genetic diversity that allows you to defeat bacterial challenges to the organism. So, one could go down quite a rational list as to why this-- Seven reasons why cloning looks like a good idea sort of comes from The X-Files, and does not really come from scientists who have thought about this a lot.


DR. GAZZANIGA: I think what Janet is reflecting on reminds me of what Charles Townes, the Nobel laureate in physics, said. He said, "The wonderful thing about a new idea is you do not know about it yet." And so, we, those who are laboratory scientists, are constantly surprised and overjoyed at what might be learned.

I want to go back to my earlier comment this morning, because I think one of the duties is to set the stage as to whether the ethical, moral problem is as deep as we have been led to believe. And I want to again just reiterate for us to think about and discuss this model of the transplant. Because we have societally in place now this major, almost bizarre but routine, daily happening that during the course of one year in the United States, there are 8000 heart transplants carried out on people who are declared brain-dead. The heart is assigned to either a bank, or a family can assign it to a particular person. It is harvested by a surgeon in an otherwise live person. They take the heart out, and carry out the transplant. And this goes on routinely, and with great support by the American people.

Now, in the blastocysts, we have to come back to the fact that we are talking about a 200 cell organism that is basically the next-of-kin are the two parents. And the next-of-kin could be asked, we are going to have to destroy this, or we can destroy it, or you could make it available for stem cell research. It is your call. There is no brain, so there is no issue there. Do you want to do it? And they say yes or no. And if they say yes, then I think one also confusion that may be on some people's mind here, we are not talking about cloning the embryo. We are talking about cloning the stem cells from the embryo. That is what is being cloned for potential medical use.


CHAIRMAN KASS: After the embryo is created by nuclear transplant.

DR. GAZZANIGA: That is different. But I would suggest that for the near future, that the hundreds of thousands of IVF frozen embryos are going to be the source of the biomedical community's interest. So, I think that is just not a relevant point.

So, if you get people thinking in terms of the transplant model, if you educate people that this blastocyst really is brainless, would thinking change? You know, there is a saying in Washington, what did you know and when did you know it. We are sort of all locked in by our culture, and I am wondering if Aquinas knew-- We could change the phrase and say, what did not he know when he said it. And if these people who did a lot of our moral thinking early in our human history knew what we now know today, I wonder what they would think. And I think that it is our duty to at least put those facts out on the table, and let this group and the larger American community try to sort it out.


CHAIRMAN KASS: Does not it affect your analogy that in the case of soon-to-be-pronounced brain-dead prospective donor of an organ, that that being has no future, whereas this blastocyst is not yet brain-dead? Sorry, not yet brained, but on the way. Does that bother the analogy?

DR. GAZZANIGA: It does not bother me. But--

(Laughter.)

CHAIRMAN KASS: Should it?

DR. GAZZANIGA: You remind me of my mother. The notion of potential energy, of course, is there, the potential of what could happen. But I just think that is just something you are comfortable with or you are not comfortable with, and that just does not bother me.




I know what you're thinking. You're thinking you ought to read all of the transcripts from the council. Me too.

Edited by: Chris OConnor  at: 10/4/05 12:39 am



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Post Re: Preface to Ethical Brain
I'm thinking I don't have time today to read them. I'll see about getting around to it later. I wonder if they have the transcripts on hard copy at the library.

Anyway, here are some notes to the preface.

1. I have a great deal of respect for the caution with which Gazzaniga seems to be approaching the subject. As a presidentially endorsed expert on neuroscience, it would have been fairly easy for him to have taken the position of an authority, speaking as though his pronouncements were in some way incontrovertible. He is at least clear about the fact that he is grappling with the issues as anyone must -- honestly and with a full awareness that he is fallible.

2. The preface raises a question that I think Gazzaniga would have done well to ask aloud -- namely, what is ethics? He gives a sort of cursory explanation of neuroscience, but when it comes to ethics he more or less assumes that we all know what he's talking about. But there's room for disagreement on what we mean by ethics, so I wonder if we shouldn't devote some part of our discussion to talking about what is normally meant by ethics, what Gazzaniga means by ethics, and what we personally mean by it. For a starting point, we might look at a statement Gazzaniga makes in the preface: "... I believed that by examining what we know from neuroscience I could 'prove' that certain ethical choices were warranted." (page xvi) The past tense indicates that the process of grappling with neuroethics has, in part, been a process of correcting that view. So it seems to me that Gazzaniga began with the impression that ethics could be conducted like a science -- or more to the point, like mathematics -- and has since gravitated away from that idea. And I think we'd do well to ask to what degree we agree with his initial impresson, or to what degree we sympathize with his implied revelation.

3. The preface is also a decent way to index some of the presuppositions Gazzaniga is carrying into his subject. One statement that struck me with particular force appeared on page xvii. In attempting to waylay the "slippery slope" argument, Gazzaniga asserts that "we are a moral society that will not allow such extremes." I don't think that statement at all deserves to be taken as given. How does one even begin to defend a statement like that? If nothing else, it seems to me that the resistence to certain scientific agendas would indicate to the thoughtful observer that large portions of the population doubt the moral culpability of other portions -- or perhaps even their own moral culpability. Gazzaniga's assumption seem to underly an "us and them" kind of mentality that says the people who have, in the past, gone to extremes -- chemical warfare in Eastern Europe, genocide in Africa and Europe, the military use of nuclear weapons -- are obviously not part of our society, which is good and moral. But it seems to me that it must be recognized that these deviations arise from our own societies, that we are capable of extremes. If we really felt ourselves to be intrinsically moral, I doubt we'd have the "slippery slope" argument at all; instead, we'd be arguing about the integrity of national security, because the only people we'd have to worry about are the proverbial "them" of less savory societies.

4. The preface also gives us the proper opportunity to inquire as to the limitations of neuroscience -- and more broadly, science in general -- to "define what it is to be human." (xviii.) At the beginnings of this inquiry I'd point to the fact that science almost always proceeds from the position of outside observer, whereas much of what we feel to be the hallmarks of humanity are known through subjective experience. And we have a right to ask which is the right course. In contrast to the scientific perspective assumed by Gazzaniga, I might suggest that of French philosopher Henry Bergson. Bergson draws a distinction between analysis and intuition that's worth considering. Analysis is the exploration of a thing from multiple external viewpoints -- the attempt to see the thing in three-dimensions, so to speak. Intuition, on the other hand, is the attempt to see the thing from the one position that is barred to analysis, from the position of actually being that thing. Science has methodologically limited itself to analysis, and we might be right to question whether or not the attempt to define our own humanity is possible from the position of analysis alone. Gazzaniga himself seems a little torn on this point, and it looks to me as though he's floundering a little to explain how he could let his "gut feelings" stand in the way of analysis. That conflict seems to be in large part responsible for his suggestion that there might be a universal ethic rooted in our brain chemistry.

5. Another passage on page xviii. deserves a little caution, I think. Gazzaniga writes, "... there is a system in the left hemisphere of the brain that functions to figure out the meaning or pattern of our own actions, our own felt states, and the meaning of actions and felt states of others." (Italics added.) Without more in-depth substantiation, it seems only safe to me to regard this as partially interpretive. That there is a system, as described by Gazzaniga, that works to discern patterns or meaning I won't doubt, but the question Gazzaniga is approaching here is that of whether or not we can choose to believe. We're hardwired to believe, he says, and in support of that idea he points to this system. But before I can feel justified in taking Gazzaniga at his word, I need to see how it was determined that this system was automatic rather than voluntary. But Gazzaniga can be forgiven for not going to detail in the preface -- let's hope that he fleshes out his idea in later chapters.

6. Getting back to the question of what we mean by ethics, Gazzaniga writes, "My hope is that we soon may be able to uncover those ethics, identify them, and begin to live more fully by them." (p. xix.) As I understand it, Gazzaniga is talking about a neurological basis for all ethics feeling -- one that explains the tension between the rational ethical decisions he feels ought to be made and the action, "irrational" ethical decisions he feels compelled to make. But what about a biological origin would necessarily recommend the neurologically imbedded ethics? Gazzaniga seems to believe that biological ethical instinct is a surer foundation for moral choice that any of the alternative modes -- social science, philosophy, pure logic, religion, and so on -- but I see no particular reason to agree with him on that point. If we find out, for instance, that we are hardwired to lie, should we live more fully by that ethic?

Those are some of the issues that struck me in the preface. Hope it spurs some of you to comment or at least contemplation.




Thu Oct 06, 2005 1:49 pm
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Post Re: Preface to Ethical Brain
Mad touched on something I wanted to explore, when he said, "That conflict seems to be in large part responsible for his[Gazzaniga's] suggestion that there might be a universal ethic rooted in our brain chemistry".
On p xvi Gazzaniga asks, "Could there be a universal ethic?". On p xix Gazzaniga declares, "In short, I would like to support the idea that there could be a universal set of biological responses to moral dilemmas, a sort of ethics, built into our brains". This is an interesting question. I look forward to reading more about Gazzaniga's theory. Do you agree that such a universal ethic exists in our brains? How would we go about proving or disproving such a theory?




Sun Oct 09, 2005 2:22 pm
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Post Re: Preface to Ethical Brain
I think the question of whether or not there could be a neurologically -- and therefore, genetically -- based "universal ethic" depends a great deal on what Gazzaniga means by that in the first place. Reading about the genetic basis for personality in Chapter 3 reminded me of something I realized the first time that I read Freud -- that specialists very often use words in a very limited way, such that it's easy to think that they mean more than they do. The genetic basis for personality, it turns out, only implies a group of about 5 traits, which are not usually the full range of expectations we usually call to mind when we think of personality. And the same may be true of Gazzaniga's "universal ethic" -- he may mean something a great deal less than what we mean when we use the term "ethics" in less specialized discussion. So for the mean time, I'm with holding judgement. I'm hoping that Gazzaniga will be fairly specific in later chapters, but until that time, I just don't know enough about what he means.




Sun Oct 09, 2005 2:42 pm
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Post Re: Preface to Ethical Brain
p. xiv - "It became clear to me that the beliefs we all hold can color our judgements on issues that should be considered independently of personal belief systems."

He didn't go into that statement much further other than to say: "... understanding how strong beliefs about anything became established in our minds has been a goal in my scientific life. As we will see, there is a brain mechanism underlying such phenomena, which when understood, leaves one with less of an absolutist view about all belief systems."

I don't know if that means he'll be revealing that "brain mechanism" in this book, or if that's something that will evenually be revealed in the bioethics community. But I hope it's explained in some detail in the book.




Sun Oct 09, 2005 5:51 pm


Post Re: Preface to Ethical Brain
Quote:
MadArchitect: For a starting point, we might look at a statement Gazzaniga makes in the preface: (quoting Gazzi) "... I believed that by examining what we know from neuroscience I could 'prove' that certain ethical choices were warranted." (page xvi)


What he said right before that was: "I wanted to debunk these fears, I believed ... "

The problem with extracting an author's sentence out of context (the context being that he was refering to "[wanting to debunk the fears of} ... concerns that researchers on aging want to create eternal life, or that stem cell researchers are destroying potential human beings, or that preimplantation genetics is a return to Hitler") for "a starting point" to our own discussion about ethics is that we might bog ourselves down in our own preconceived beliefs before giving the author a chance to get his point across without undue prejudice against his notion of what ethics means to him.




Sun Oct 09, 2005 6:32 pm


Post Re: Preface to Ethical Brain
Quote:
p. xviii - "The toughest beliefs to change seem to be religious beliefs."

I think having a majority of the population still believing that a man was born to a virgin 2000 years ago can attest to that.

He then states..
Quote:
"Perhaps a fear of giving up the deeply held beliefs that religion represents is a fear that we will become a world with no moral core, no guiding principles, no meaning."

I have a couple of problems with that statement.
First of all, he's only mentioning the true believers here. I don't think it's the true believers who have kept religious belief alive this long. I think it has more to do with the ones who deliberately brainwash people into believing these things.
Secondly, where is this "moral core" he's refering to? When you look around, do you see a world that reflects "guiding principles?" I don't see that religion has offered us any real, universal "meaning," either.




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Post Re: Preface to Ethical Brain
GOD defiles Reason: I don't know if that means he'll be revealing that "brain mechanism" in this book, or if that's something that will evenually be revealed in the bioethics community. But I hope it's explained in some detail in the book.

Given the title of chapter 9 -- "The Believing Brain" -- I'd say it's a fair bet that the overall gist of Gazzaniga's book concerns his conclusions about the "mechanism" of believing. Those are bound to be the more interesting chapters, simply for the reason that Gazzaniga is less likely to be dealing with subjects he's not terribly well qualified to deal with. So far, I'm not especially impressed with his ethical rationales, though I do feel more inclined to take his science at more or less face value.

What he said right before that was: "I wanted to debunk these fears, I believed ... "

I don't really see how that changes the character of the phrase I was looking at.

... before giving the author a chance to get his point across without undue prejudice against his notion of what ethics means to him.

Well, therein lies the problem. Because Gazzaniga hasn't been clear about what ethics means to him. I'm four chapters into the book, and he's discussed and concluded on a number of ethical issues without ever firming up his idea of ethics. What I am afraid will happen is, that Gazzaniga will wait until the end of the book -- that is, the chapters on his proposed universal, neurologically based ethic -- long after he has considered individual cases of ethics, to give a clearer picture of what he means by the term. And the real danger, I think, is that it won't be until then that we're made privy to the fact that he means something very different by "ethics" than what we would normally infer from that term -- something more clinical, in all likelihood, since he is proposing to locate the source of ethics by clinical means.

As for your discussion of the religious implications brought up by Gazzaniga, we could discuss that if you'd like, but I don't think that discussion will have much to do with the content of the book. Gazzaniga obviously felt that some mention of religion was due, but in these early chapters at least, he's not providing any real evidence or material for discussion. We have a much firmer basis in "The Ethical Brain" for discussing the neuroscientific implications for a secular ethics, and I think that's what we ought to concentrate on if we're trying to get the most out of the book.

Now it may be that Gazzaniga will look more closely at religious belief in the late chapters, where he turns to the neurological basis for belief. But for the moment, without any elaboration of evidence or even citation of an external source, I don't see any reason to treat Gazzaniga's statement about the "fear" behind religious belief as anything but a detour around a much larger subject that has very little place in the context of the book Gazzaniga wants to write.




Mon Oct 10, 2005 1:21 pm
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MurdockThe Glass Bead Game: A Novel by Hermann HesseA Devil's Chaplain by Richard DawkinsThe Hero with a Thousand Faces by Joseph CampbellThe Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor DostoyevskyThe Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark TwainThe Moral Landscape by Sam HarrisThe Decameron by Giovanni BoccaccioThe Road by Cormac McCarthyThe Grand Design by Stephen HawkingThe Evolution of God by Robert WrightThe Tin Drum by Gunter GrassGood Omens by Neil GaimanPredictably Irrational by Dan ArielyThe Wind-Up Bird Chronicle: A Novel by Haruki MurakamiALONE: Orphaned on the Ocean by Richard Logan & Tere Duperrault FassbenderDon Quixote by Miguel De CervantesMusicophilia by Oliver SacksDiary of a Madman and Other Stories by Nikolai GogolThe Passion of the Western Mind by Richard TarnasThe Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le GuinThe Genius of the Beast by Howard BloomAlice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll Empire of Illusion by Chris HedgesThe Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner The Extended Phenotype by Richard DawkinsSmoke and Mirrors by Neil GaimanThe Selfish Gene by Richard DawkinsWhen Good Thinking Goes Bad by Todd C. RinioloHouse of Leaves by Mark Z. DanielewskiAmerican Gods: A Novel by Neil GaimanPrimates and Philosophers by Frans de WaalThe Enormous Room by E.E. CummingsThe Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar WildeGod Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything by Christopher HitchensThe Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco Dreams From My Father by Barack Obama Paradise Lost by John Milton Bad Money by Kevin PhillipsThe Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson BurnettGodless: How an Evangelical Preacher Became One of America's Leading Atheists by Dan BarkerThe Things They Carried by Tim O'BrienThe Limits of Power by Andrew BacevichLolita by Vladimir NabokovOrlando by Virginia Woolf On Being Certain by Robert A. Burton50 reasons people give for believing in a god by Guy P. HarrisonWalden: Or, Life in the Woods by Henry David ThoreauExile and the Kingdom by Albert CamusOur Inner Ape by Frans de WaalYour Inner Fish by Neil ShubinNo Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthyThe Age of American Unreason by Susan JacobyTen Theories of Human Nature by Leslie Stevenson & David HabermanHeart of Darkness by Joseph ConradThe Stuff of Thought by Stephen PinkerA Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled HosseiniThe Lucifer Effect by Philip ZimbardoResponsibility and Judgment by Hannah ArendtInterventions by Noam ChomskyGodless in America by George A. RickerReligious Expression and the American Constitution by Franklyn S. HaimanDeep Economy by Phil McKibbenThe God Delusion by Richard DawkinsThe Third Chimpanzee by Jared DiamondThe Woman in the Dunes by Abe KoboEvolution vs. Creationism by Eugenie C. ScottThe Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael PollanI, Claudius by Robert GravesBreaking The Spell by Daniel C. DennettA Peace to End All Peace by David FromkinThe Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey NiffeneggerThe End of Faith by Sam HarrisEnder's Game by Orson Scott CardThe Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark HaddonValue and Virtue in a Godless Universe by Erik J. WielenbergThe March by E. L DoctorowThe Ethical Brain by Michael GazzanigaFreethinkers: A History of American Secularism by Susan JacobyCollapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed by Jared DiamondThe Battle for God by Karen ArmstrongThe Future of Life by Edward O. WilsonWhat is Good? by A. C. GraylingCivilization and Its Enemies by Lee HarrisPale Blue Dot by Carl SaganHow We Believe: Science, Skepticism, and the Search for God by Michael ShermerLooking for Spinoza by Antonio DamasioLies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them by Al FrankenThe Red Queen by Matt RidleyThe Blank Slate by Stephen PinkerUnweaving the Rainbow by Richard DawkinsAtheism: A Reader edited by S.T. JoshiGlobal Brain by Howard BloomThe Lucifer Principle by Howard BloomGuns, Germs and Steel by Jared DiamondThe Demon-Haunted World by Carl SaganBury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee BrownFuture Shock by Alvin Toffler

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