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Ch. 10 - Global Warming and Psychic Claims: A Comparison 
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Post Ch. 10 - Global Warming and Psychic Claims: A Comparison
Ch. 10 - Global Warming and Psychic Claims: A Comparison



Thu Jul 30, 2009 12:47 pm
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The author here makes a good point that the science behind global warming is not so black and white as many of us think. I used to scoff at global warming "deniers" while now I sense that we are perhaps overreacting.

For example, did you guys see this editorial in the New York Times? See below for the complete text.

One line jumps out at me:

. . .Mainstream scientists warn that the longer the world waits, the sooner it will reach a tipping point beyond which even draconian measures may not be enough. Under one scenario, atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases, now about 380 parts per million, should not be allowed to exceed 450 parts per million.

As complex and uncertain as the data is, how in the heck did "mainstream scientists" come up with this exact figure of 450 parts per million?

Also, it seems we have our blinders on regarding the role population may have in global warming. At 6.8 billion and projected to rise to 9 billion within 50 years, it would seem to me that no matter how many people are driving Priuses and trying to cut down on how many times they flush the toilet, that we are pushing the limits of what the earth can take.

I think Riniolo makes a good point regarding the tendency to cherry pick the weather patterns during a certain time period that will best illustrate our point, i.e. the time period that best illustrates how weather is warming.

Rinolio wrote:
I resisted (although many "global warming" advocates do not) "cherry-picking segments that could have made the numbers look even more compelling or suspicious depending on how I chose to present the data. Starting or ending a time segment with high or low scores is the easiest way to accomplish this goal.


In any event, when I was fairly convinced of the reality of anthropogenic global warming, I did become emotionally invested in that position. After some heated arguments with some people on another forum, I started doing some research (so as to argue my position better), but I started to realize the data was much more complex than I had imagined. Since then I have backed off considerably, although this topic still gets me fired up so I have to remind myself of that fact.

I do, of course, know there might be something to global warming, but we do need to understand the process better before coming up with grand, overreaching solutions that very well might not do anything good and may actually do harm. I think the most reasonable position is caution, but not panic.


New York Times wrote:
The Climate and National Security

Published: August 17, 2009
One would think that by now most people would have figured out that climate change represents a grave threat to the planet. One would also have expected from Congress a plausible strategy for reducing the greenhouse gas emissions that lie at the root of the problem.

That has not happened. The House has passed a climate bill that is not as strong as needed, but is a start. There are doubts about whether the Senate will pass any bill, given the reflexive opposition of most Republicans and unfounded fears among many Democrats that rising energy costs will cripple local industries.

The problem, when it comes to motivating politicians, is that the dangers from global warming — drought, famine, rising seas — appear to be decades off. But the only way to prevent them is with sacrifices in the here and now: with smaller cars, bigger investments in new energy sources, higher electricity bills that will inevitably result once we put a price on carbon.

Mainstream scientists warn that the longer the world waits, the sooner it will reach a tipping point beyond which even draconian measures may not be enough. Under one scenario, atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases, now about 380 parts per million, should not be allowed to exceed 450 parts per million. But keeping emissions below that threshold will require stabilizing them by 2015 or 2020, and actually reducing them by at least 60 percent by 2050.

That is why Rajendra Pachauri, the head of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change — no alarmist — has warned that “what we do in the next two or three years will determine our future.” And he said that two years ago.

Advocates of early action have talked about green jobs, about keeping America competitive in the quest for new technologies, and about one generation’s moral obligation to the next. Those are all sound arguments. They have not been enough to fully engage the public, or overcome the lobbying efforts of the fossil fuel industry.

Proponents of climate change legislation have now settled on a new strategy: warning that global warming poses a serious threat to national security. Climate- induced crises like drought, starvation, disease and mass migration, they argue, could unleash regional conflicts and draw in America’s armed forces, either to help keep the peace or to defend allies or supply routes.

This is increasingly the accepted wisdom among the national security establishment. A 2007 report published by the CNA Corporation, a Pentagon-funded think tank, spoke ominously of climate change as a “threat multiplier” that could lead to wide conflict over resources.

This line of argument could also be pretty good politics — especially on Capitol Hill, where many politicians will do anything for the Pentagon. Both Senator John Kerry, an advocate of strong climate change legislation, and former Senator John Warner, a former chairman of the Armed Services Committee, say they have begun to stress the national security argument to senators who are still undecided about how they will vote on climate change legislation.

One can only hope that these arguments turn the tide in the Senate. Mr. Kerry, Mr. Warner and like- minded military leaders must keep pressing their case, with help from the Pentagon and the White House. National security is hardly the only reason to address global warming, but at this point anything that advances the cause is welcome.



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Last edited by geo on Mon Aug 24, 2009 9:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Mon Aug 24, 2009 7:42 pm
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I agree with you geo about caution and not panic being the wise course. I also think it's not entirely a bad thing that so many people are on the global warming bandwagon. If nothing else, it's spurred increased concern over the environment with more and more people recycling, and much more attention to pollution. I also think it's a good thing that it's motivating us toward energy sources other than oil, so that we lessen the transfer of wealth to middle eastern nations.



Mon Aug 24, 2009 8:49 pm
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geo wrote:
I do, of course, know there might be something to global warming, but we do need to understand the process better before coming up with grand, overreaching solutions that very well might not do anything good and may actually do harm. I think the most reasonable position is caution, but not panic.

But it seems inescapable, Geo, that the world is warming rapidly, though the rate differs for different areas. I think that doubters have had their own reasons for using anomalies in complex sets of data to make us think that the picture is complicated, when actually it isn't so much. When you read reports of the loss of Arctic sea ice ( such as http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090810/ap_ ... e_retreats), what else can you conclude than that something very significant is happening?

With regard to taking action, it's true that we can't know for sure whether measures we take will be effective. But the way I look at this is, the consequences of inaction are likely to be more serious than the costs of actions to combat GW, even if we are not fully successful. Why risk it? There is even reason to think that a post-carbon economy will enable humans to thrive in ways we can't now imagine. So I favor being less cautious about approaching this problem.


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Tue Aug 25, 2009 8:08 am
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Interbane wrote:
I agree with you geo about caution and not panic being the wise course. I also think it's not entirely a bad thing that so many people are on the global warming bandwagon.


DWill wrote:
But it seems inescapable, Geo, that the world is warming rapidly, though the rate differs for different areas. I think that doubters have had their own reasons for using anomalies in complex sets of data to make us think that the picture is complicated, when actually it isn't so much.


Our planet has a long history of climate change and it's possible that the current warming trend has nothing or very little to do with human activity. We may not be seeing the big picture very well. That said, I'm all for reducing carbon emissions and reducing our dependence on foreign oil and developing greener technologies. These are things we should do regardless of whether the current warming trend is driven by greenhouse gases.

Riniolo doesn't specifically mention Al Gore in this chapter (I think that he's intentionally trying to steer clear of the fracas), but he does discuss the vanishing glaciers on Kilimanjaro which is something Gore talks about in his movie. And I'll quote from Riniolo here for those who aren't reading along in the book.

Quote:
There does seem to be evidence that is inconsistent with the notion that Mount Kiliminjaro's glaciers are melting because of global warming (just as there is evidence inconsistent that the sinking of the Titanic was foretold by paranormal powers). First, the ice fields on Kiliminjaro have varied throughout history; they have not simply started to retreat recently (Thompson et al. 2002). Second, the current melting started over a hundred years ago (before global warming was described), and similar patterns have been found on Rwenzori and Mount Kenya (Kaser et al. 2004). Third, the air temperature has remained relatively constant, indicating that other factors are likely causing melting (Kaser et al. 2004). Fourth, tropical glaciers are impacted by a wide variety of inputs (not just air temperature) such as incoming shortwave radiation, precipitation, cloudiness, and air humidity (Kaser 1999). Fifth, historically, has had a greater glacier field when temperatures were warmer than in recent times, and within the last hundred years the glaciers have been retreating both during cooler and warmer conditions (Michaels 2004). Sixth, plausible alternatives have been suggested as the causal factors for the vanishing glaciers on Kiliminjaro. For example, deforestation has altared the moisture content of the air blowing up the mountain (Mason 2003).


I don't want to sound like I'm denying global warming because actually it's something I'm very concerned about. But I'm also concerned about people oversimplifying this issue and overreacting when I don't think we fully understand scientifically what's going on. It's already a polarizing issue along party lines: the conservatives claim global warming is bunk and the liberals are over-assured of its reality (see the New York Times editorial). Let's say we go into a cooling trend over the next ten years, this newfound environmental awareness will fade like a melting glacier (sorry, couldn't resist) and the conservatives' distrust of the "liberal agenda" will have been validated.

Another example of oversimplification is a tendency for people to really believe they are doing something great for the environment simply by driving a Prius. C'mon, get real. I mean that's something, sure, but probably we need to make major lifestyle changes to really address global warming (if it really is a direct consequence of human activities). We are only being delusional if we think driving a Prius and changing to compact fluorescents (CFs) will make a meaningful difference over the long run. (Not that we shouldn't do these things. We definitely should!)

I like what U2 frontman, Bono, said in a recent op-ed. The emphasis is mine.

Bono wrote:
Carnival is over. Commerce has been overheating markets and climates ... the sooty skies of the industrial revolution have changed scale and location, but now melt ice caps and make the seas boil in the time of technological revolution. Capitalism is on trial; globalization is, once again, in the dock. We used to say that all we wanted for the rest of the world was what we had for ourselves. Then we found out that if every living soul on the planet had a fridge and a house and an S.U.V., we would choke on our own exhaust.


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Tue Aug 25, 2009 7:57 pm
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geo wrote:


Another example of oversimplification is a tendency for people to really believe they are doing something great for the environment simply by driving a Prius. C'mon, get real. I mean that's something, sure, but probably we need to make major lifestyle changes to really address global warming (if it really is a direct consequence of human activities). We are only being delusional if we think driving a Prius and changing to compact fluorescents (CFs) will make a meaningful difference over the long run. (Not that we shouldn't do these things. We definitely should!)

I like what U2 frontman, Bono, said in a recent op-ed. The emphasis is mine.

Bono wrote:
Carnival is over. Commerce has been overheating markets and climates ... the sooty skies of the industrial revolution have changed scale and location, but now melt ice caps and make the seas boil in the time of technological revolution. Capitalism is on trial; globalization is, once again, in the dock. We used to say that all we wanted for the rest of the world was what we had for ourselves. Then we found out that if every living soul on the planet had a fridge and a house and an S.U.V., we would choke on our own exhaust.

I agree. To think we're going to be able to spend ourselves out of our environmental problems is crazy. That buying anything, such as a Prius, is seen as a "Green" action shows mostly the success of marketers in co-opting the environmental movement. Buying an automobile for private use is not green. I saw a letter in the N.Y. Times explaining how, due to the manufacturing and disposal of the batteries in hybrid cars, their footprint is actually greater than a Hummer H3's!

I hope Bono is well aware that touring musical groups are no example of greenness, either, no matter how they might try to promote it.

It could be that we've made a mistake in insisting on or denying global warming. The world is complex, and it is certain that there will be some data available that will seem to refute global warming. But what does this matter if, say, the arctic icecap is melting? This in istelf will likely have catastrophic effects. When we found out about the ozone hole over Antarctica, we didn't say, oh well, this is only in one place. We did something about the problem, banned chlorofluorocarbons. Similarly, if accelerated Arctic ice melting is real, we have plenty to go on without distracting ourselves with debates about whether the entire globe shows warming. I guess the question now is whether there is any good reason to doubt that our northern polar ice is melting at an unnaturally rapid rate.


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Wed Aug 26, 2009 9:37 am
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I don't remember where I first heard this position, but it seems like a practical theory.

We don't need to wait until all the evidence is in before we start addressing a problem, we should act as soon as it becomes clear there is a good chance there is a problem. This applies to our health, our children's safety, and our environment.

In the matter of global warming, the evidence seems to indicate that there could be a problem and there is a good likelihood that human causation is a contributing factor. Based on this, it is reasonable for us as a society to begin to make changes. Increasing our priority of alternative energy sources, conservation and efficiency improvements is a good place to start.

If, when all the evidence is in, it is determined that there is no human causation to global warming, what have we lost? If the evidence shows high causation, what have we gained by addressing it early?

It seems to me early action is a good investment either way.



Wed Aug 26, 2009 10:38 pm
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That sounds to me like a sensible position. The greatest problem we're going to have, though, is pushing ourselves to really do enough. To "begin to take action" sounds fine until we find out that actions that will make a meaningful difference will probably need to be drastic. Even the European countries that have done far, far more than the U.S. has done to cut carbon emissions, have not been able to meet their own targets.


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Thu Aug 27, 2009 7:41 pm
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Agreed. Large issues usually require large actions, or at least actions by a large group of people. It just seems that sometimes people tend to wait until all the evidence is in before they take any action.

Example: In the 60's and 70's research started to show the dangerous effects of smoking. Some people stopped smoking, but many continued to smoke stating that all the evidence wasn't in. For some it was too late by the time all the evidence was in.

I do realize that this may seem counter to much of what Riniolo says. I don't mean to suggest that we take actions willy nilly based on flimsy evidence. However I do think it is sometimes practical to take actions based on a preponderance of the evidence (to borrow a legal term).



Thu Aug 27, 2009 8:20 pm
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DWill wrote:
It could be that we've made a mistake in insisting on or denying global warming. The world is complex, and it is certain that there will be some data available that will seem to refute global warming. But what does this matter if, say, the arctic icecap is melting?


This is a good point and I think I need to remind myself from time to time not to critical-think my way out of seeing the forest for the trees. The arctic icecap is, in fact, in decline. Since 1979, it has declined about -10% per decade, or 72,000 square kilometers (28,000 square miles) per year. And it seems that the best explanation for this decline so far is anthropogenic global warming.

However, where our critical thinking needs to come into play is in looking at various proposed solutions. For example, the cap-and-trade legislation would barely do anything to reduce greenhouse gases globally and if it puts the U.S. at a disadvantage we need to address that. Furthermore, I see what's happening in Washington is a lot of power brokering and people who are positioning themselves for financial gain. As I mentioned earlier, global warming is such a complex topic and most folks have a fairly limited understanding of the science behind it (myself included) that we tend to have strong emotions either for or against it and that may undermine our usual skepticism of the political process.

This is an interesting editorial in the Wall Street Journal. I'm not saying I completely agree with it, but I think it's worth reading.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124286145192740987.html


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Fri Aug 28, 2009 7:40 pm
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I wish I'd been able to obtain the book so I could comment on the real subject of it, but my order was cancelled. I hope to have it soon from another source. I'd be interested to see if Riniolo mentions what you do, which is the danger of overanalyzing or waiting to get a degree of certainty that can't be achieved with complex issues. Avoiding an emotional response is usually recommended, but then how does anyone take action without the emotional impetus which seems to come from a feeling of certainty, whether or not this feeling can truly be said to be justified by facts?


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Fri Aug 28, 2009 9:51 pm
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Having read this chapter, I better understand the effect of some of my biases and assumptions regarding global warming. I also understand why measurements of temperature and loss of ice cover are not simple facts unmediated by people. A skeptical approach is needed. Those who say that any expression of doubt, anything less than advocacy for the position, is taken as reactionary and backward do have a point. There is an orthodoxy to be dealt with on this matter. The good guys are those who think GW shouldn't be questioned. That is a big problem from a critical thinking standpoint.

I was wrong about the truth of global warming not mattering if the northern ice cap truly is shrinking. It does matter whether the earth as a whole is warming due to human input, because if it is not, there is no conceivable way to target just one area of loss and attempt to slow it down.


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Tue Sep 08, 2009 3:02 pm
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CWT36 wrote:
Agreed. Large issues usually require large actions, or at least actions by a large group of people. It just seems that sometimes people tend to wait until all the evidence is in before they take any action. Example: In the 60's and 70's research started to show the dangerous effects of smoking. Some people stopped smoking, but many continued to smoke stating that all the evidence wasn't in. For some it was too late by the time all the evidence was in. I do realize that this may seem counter to much of what Riniolo says. I don't mean to suggest that we take actions willy nilly based on flimsy evidence. However I do think it is sometimes practical to take actions based on a preponderance of the evidence (to borrow a legal term).

Colin, your comment here (my bold) illustrates how Riniolo may be using the concept of critical thinking to pursue a political agenda. In terms of the physics, I just don’t agree with Geo that global warming is a complex problem. Humans are shifting carbon from under the ground into the air at a rate of gigatonnes per year, causing the greenhouse effect. This is fairly simple and the evidence is clear. To deny this is to act rather like the cooked frog in a pot who waits until the water is too hot before trying to jump but then finds it is too late. Riniolo’s version of ‘critical thinking’ would say to the frog that the warming of the water is barely detectable so not to worry. If the frog could take a bigger view – a more wholistic version of ‘critical thinking’ - it would see the path to boiling and jump out. We are in an equivalent situation regarding climate change.

Where climate change gets complex is mainly the politics, and this is where global warming is a great example of your comment in the thread on the introduction:

CWT36 wrote:
Page 18 - "It is a fundamental flaw to assume that the mind is not influenced by the process of natural selection and that critical thinking skills exempt us from biases that are part of our evolutionary heritage." <> It seems that he is implying that biases are a result of natural selection. If this were to be so, there would have to be some evolutionary advantage to these biases. I find this intriguing. Does anyone have any insight into this?


Our evolutionary heritage encourages us to think and act locally, not globally. If I can have a bigger car and house and more children then that seems to be good for me. Global warming undercuts this instinctive mentality with a major externality – our collected local behaviour could cause human extinction. Natural selection has provided us with both the instincts to focus on local needs and the reasoning capacity to consider global needs. For global needs to win against the power of human instincts will require a transformation of politics.

On global warming, I am an optimist that geo-engineering can solve the problem. Large scale production of algae in the ocean is the best way to rapidly push the CO2 concentration down towards 350 ppm while also cooling the oceans, growing protein and providing fuel and fertilizer.

http://www.350.org/understanding-350 has some good information, but is far too bottom-up and doesn’t address the primary need for global engineering solutions.



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CWT36 wrote:
Page 18 - "It is a fundamental flaw to assume that the mind is not influenced by the process of natural selection and that critical thinking skills exempt us from biases that are part of our evolutionary heritage." <> It seems that he is implying that biases are a result of natural selection. If this were to be so, there would have to be some evolutionary advantage to these biases. I find this intriguing. Does anyone have any insight into this?

Riniolo puts our cognitive biases into an evolutionary psychology frame, in which the biases do aid in survival and so are selected. He is forthright enough to admit that evolutionary psychology can be speculative. Whatever scenario is chosen can seem plausible but very hard to find real evidence for. But what he says is that humans who tended to persist in their beliefs, rather than abandon them at the first appearance of apparently disconfirming evidence, would have a better chance of passing on their genes. What they had determined to be right through their accumulated experience, probably was, so those who flip-flopped could be more likely to die early. His example is on p. 95. Being persistent in believing things also meant, though, that sometimes we'd persist in a false belief, and to do this we 'needed' some cognitive justifications. Apparently that situation was on average less harmful to survival than abandoning a belief.

I agree with Riniolo--this seems speculative, and not that convincing to me. Could it be that cognitive biases are simply by-products of the development of our cortex? Not every feature of an animal has been a fulcrum for natural selection, some just are there because they didn't get in the way. I think Riniolo's scenario also doesn't explain how emotional biases came to be so important in our beliefs. Although emotional biases can be linked to natural selection, it seems that emotional attachments to our beliefs would not arise just so we would persist in them. This would be an effect of emotional involvement, but isn't an explanation for origin.



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Tue Dec 16, 2014 11:30 am

2estiychin

Billion + believe in Satan. Should all schools be mandated to teach Creationism?

Tue Dec 16, 2014 11:12 am

Gnostic Bishop


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BOOK FORUMS FOR ALL BOOKS WE HAVE DISCUSSED
King Henry IV, Part 1 - by William ShakespeareAtheist Mind, Humanist Heart - by Lex Bayer and John FigdorSense and Goodness Without God - by Richard CarrierFrankenstein - by Mary ShelleyThe Big Questions - by Simon BlackburnScience Was Born of Christianity - by Stacy TrasancosThe Happiness Hypothesis - by Jonathan HaidtA Game of Thrones - by George R. R. MartinTempesta's Dream - by Vincent LoCocoWhy Nations Fail - by Daron Acemoglu and James RobinsonThe Drowning Girl - Caitlin R. KiernanThe Consolations of the Forest - by Sylvain TessonThe Complete Heretic's Guide to Western Religion: The Mormons - by David FitzgeraldA Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man - by James JoyceThe Divine Comedy - by Dante AlighieriThe Magic of Reality - by Richard DawkinsDubliners - by James JoyceMy Name Is Red - by Orhan PamukThe World Until Yesterday - by Jared DiamondThe Man Who Was Thursday - by by G. K. ChestertonThe Better Angels of Our Nature by Steven PinkerLord Jim by Joseph ConradThe Hobbit by J. R. R. TolkienThe Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas AdamsAtlas Shrugged by Ayn RandThinking, Fast and Slow - by Daniel KahnemanThe Righteous Mind - by Jonathan HaidtWorld War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max BrooksMoby Dick: or, the Whale by Herman MelvilleA Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer EganLost Memory of Skin: A Novel by Russell BanksThe Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas S. KuhnHobbes: Leviathan by Thomas HobbesThe House of the Spirits - by Isabel AllendeArguably: Essays by Christopher HitchensThe Falls: A Novel (P.S.) by Joyce Carol OatesChrist in Egypt by D.M. 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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