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I hope you enjoy the dialogue with these good people of BT.


Lawrence,

I am asking that question so as to find an answer. I have one answer so far, and no reasonable person can prove it wrong, never mind doubt it, since that effort proves it too.

Thanks for the welcome. I took another bite out of the book and I am now at page 417. My reading continues to challenge my thinking, leaving me with questions seeking accurate answers. I don't want to publish an spoilers, but the book is a direct challenge, it says as much in so many words.



Thu Nov 05, 2009 9:36 am
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Anyone,

The connection in between people, that medium of exchange, is common, a common denominator, and it is universal.

I may be on a wrong path here, with this change of direction, this inspired new viewpoint, but it seems to me that the connection is employed by each of us in unique ways while the connection employs us the same way each time, and that is what I mean when I see it as being universal.

It connects us; why?



Sun Nov 08, 2009 9:54 am
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Lawrence, I am asking that question so as to find an answer.


My study has caused me to conclude, the answer is there is no answer, only belief. The individual, unique, and personal belief of each person who asks the question.

I am unable to comment on your "connection." I guess I'll have to get the book.



Sun Nov 08, 2009 10:04 am
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Lawrence,

Thanks for trying.



Sun Nov 08, 2009 10:13 am
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Joe Kelley wrote:
Previous to those books I did not have a working understanding of the word “meme”, for an example of what I am trying to say about reading in general.

The word “meme” passed my notice like more of the same useless fashionable noise, stuff for people seeking momentary entertainment – perhaps. I may be just babbling. The word “meme” is now a part of my thinking, a building block, a stepping stone, a higher step; I can see more, Seymour Butts.

A meme is a bridge builder, perhaps, a from of connective stuff, like the stuff that prevents all our cells from wandering apart, or like the stuff that keeps a metal paper clip floating on water.

Is a meme illustrated by an example of a meme, like a popular song is an example of a popular song? Is that like universal grammar being the common elements of all grammar, the stuff that causes the examples?

Uh-oh, as a conscientious objector to memes, will Bloom's book convert me? I guess I should be prepared to be changed by the book if I can manage to make room for it. I will say that your posts have been the most effective generator of interest toward a book that I have seen on Booktalk.



Sun Nov 08, 2009 10:21 am
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DWill,

Thanks for the positive input, the statement, and the question.

It is not often that I find someone who can read my words that express my interests and then have my interests pass to them, seemingly intact. This is good news to me. I often get responses where I’m told how stupid I am, insane, or speaking a foreign language.

I don’t know how someone can object to memes; perhaps a more specific statement can bring me up to speed?

As to being converted, in reference to memes, I am in the dark. As to being converted or having your current path altered by reading Bloom’s work, that will happen, it seems to me, it is unavoidable, you can avoid reading, but once reading, anything really, I think your path will change either slightly or significantly.

I can tell you honestly, and I think very accurately, that my path has changed significantly since reading The Lucifer Principle and then The Global Brain; two eye opening windows into another way of seeing that which is to be seen.

I really like the analogy of playing 3 way chess and having someone hand me a second queen to place on the board. The perspective offered by Bloom could already be something you see, just not something you see a clearly as possible.

The new book is not easy for me to read, not that it isn’t written well, I think that it is written very well for people who have a specific political viewpoint that I do not share, a viewpoint that I oppose, as far as I can tell. This contentious viewpoint of mine contributes to my difficulty in reading the Genius of the Beast. I read it just fine; perhaps I use the wrong words: the digesting of it is difficult; I really have to bend my viewpoint around to get past my bias. I have to be even more objective than the writer; perhaps.

I won’t be converted to capitalism or memes, those things are what they are, and I am not those things, they are separate from me.

If you have ever read Eric Fromm, you may be in a better position to know my contentions with The Genius of the Beast.

How about this:

If the new book is like a Trojan horse, converting the unwary, just know that the gift is filled with things that may harm you, take the gift, and use it for a bonfire?



Sun Nov 08, 2009 6:03 pm
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Hail,

I am at my copy of Genius of the Beast, it is digital, it is on a hard drive, and it now occurs to me to write about it, instead of reading it – for some reason this is what I see, to be, what I will do now.

This book addresses more than merely the salvation of a Nation of people, it addresses the path the must be taken in avoidance of a pre-mature end of our species.

That last sentence contains much of my objections to the book, as I’ve read it so far, with its obvious bias. My hope is to read through the book and have my contentions, my objections, seen clearly, laid out bare naked, and solvable, understandable, reasonable, and most importantly, to have these barriers, these contentions, left behind, where the path forward clearly avoids repeating similar road blocks, similar bottle necks, similar arguments, similar unnecessary conflicts, similar wastes of time and energy (power) that suck the life out of living.

Now that is a paragraph that can serve to be more specific concerning my concerns about the book. I’d have to write my own book to be as specific as Howard.

The seriousness of what this book addresses, again, is nothing less than the survival of our species, in my own way of seeing it. The path around our unfortunate end will be taken, or it won’t.

That is an objective viewpoint.



Mon Nov 09, 2009 8:00 am
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Joe Kelley wrote:
I don’t know how someone can object to memes; perhaps a more specific statement can bring me up to speed?

Tongue just a bit in cheek with the conversion remark, but yes, as a few people here are aware I haven't been able to grasp what memes are supposed to be, have also been openly doubtful. I think it's essential to be absolutely literal when examining this theory to be sure we are not elevating a metaphor to a physical reality. I haven't read any of Bloom's books, but Chris gave me a copy of Global Brain. Using the index, I find this as part of the description: "meme--a habit, a technique, a twist of feeling, a sense of things, which flips easily from brain to brain...Memes could carry their message via the swift intangibles of scent, sight, and sound" (p. 30). I see a concept in that, a way of envisioning language and culture, but if memes are supposed to have physical properties, as genes do, evidence needs to be provided. What instrument has been able to register a meme? Just how do we know they're there?

In your opinion, does Bloom deliver the goods that should remove doubts like mine?



Mon Nov 09, 2009 8:34 am
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DWill,

I know of only one irrefutable fact, all other perceptions posed as facts are subject to possible refinement, improvement, adjustment, greater precision, greater accuracy, and this, I suppose, requires doubt.

If the thing in view is the thing that is called a meme, not the sun, then the absolute perfect understanding of it, without doubt, is not within my power.

I have do doubt that I must, absolutely, avoid looking directly at the sun. I believe this to be true. I have no doubt about it, but I am fallible, certainly fallible, I have no doubt about that either, and so one thing tends to contradict the other, leaving doubt about it, tiny doubt, small doubt, miniscule doubt, but doubt none the less. Contradiction is cause for doubt.

I return to the one fact, the absolute one, and leave an open mind to varying degrees on all other things seen.

I did not get the idea that a meme is a thing, an entity, a measurable mass, a particle, a physically measurable object, or perhaps, a “physical reality”.

The observation that can be called a meme, as far as I understand the phenomenon, the process, the statistical occurrence among our species, is akin to things like fashion; like a popular song.

The meme isn’t the song, as far as I understand the observation, the song is a song, sounds, things that cause brain function in a measurable way are songs, while the meme is the connective thing, I suppose, the meme is the way of looking how the song connects all the people who share it, willingly, like moths to a flame.

I may be all wrong about this, I read about memes in Howard’s book, I’ve seen the word used since, the word has gained currency, and the word illustrates a meme, as it connects people. Like euphemism is a word and it is an example of a euphemism. Why not call a lie a lie?

In my opinion Bloom delivers a possible improvement in perception, I don’t think he is in the removing doubt business. I don’t get that business. I don’t think he does either. I can’t speak for him. I think he has a scientific mind, he must know that his is fallible too.



Mon Nov 09, 2009 10:09 pm
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Joe Kelley wrote:
If the thing in view is the thing that is called a meme, not the sun, then the absolute perfect understanding of it, without doubt, is not within my power.

Joe, thanks for your sincere attempt to explain the idea to me. I'm not looking for any kind of perfect, doubt-free understanding. I just need to know, to put it bluntly, whether memes are something I can or cannot safely ignore. I could not safely ignore, in terms of intellectual integrity, evolution or genes or historical geology. Those are facts which, if I was to ignore them, would result in placing myself in a partial fantasy world. So the question I ask myself is whether memes can have anything like that level of verification. If the answer is no, we are not dealing with a scientific principle but with philosophy or belief. That is not to denigrate the whole concept of a meme, just to give it a category.
Quote:
I did not get the idea that a meme is a thing, an entity, a measurable mass, a particle, a physically measurable object, or perhaps, a “physical reality”. The observation that can be called a meme, as far as I understand the phenomenon, the process, the statistical occurrence among our species, is akin to things like fashion; like a popular song.

The meme isn’t the song, as far as I understand the observation, the song is a song, sounds, things that cause brain function in a measurable way are songs, while the meme is the connective thing, I suppose, the meme is the way of looking how the song connects all the people who share it, willingly, like moths to a flame.

A meme sounds to me, from this poetic description, like an imaginative idea, or in your words, a way of looking. I'm still thinking that either a meme is not science or we must extend the boundary of science to include it. I'm not arguing with you at all unless you are saying that memes are something science has been able to demonstrate the existence of, even tentatively. As a "way of looking," they appear to suit individual purposes, just not mine.



Tue Nov 10, 2009 7:44 am
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DWill,

If the purpose of science is understood by you and you find cause to offer that understanding to someone else, so as to allow someone else the opportunity to know the purpose of science, as you do, then how do you employ science toward that end?

How do you accurately transfer your understanding of science to someone other than you?

Bear with me please, I think I am addressing your communication to me, as I think I understand that message accurately, and my next sentence may clear things up.

Why does the true understanding of science manage to transfer from person to person and how can that answer be presented as a physical measurement?

If you answer that question above, how do you transfer your answer to me? If you transfer your answer to me, accurately, but you have great difficulty transferring your answer to anyone else, for some as yet mysterious reason, what do you employ to explain the difference in transferability?

Why does the data transfer accurately to some people and not to other people?

Perhaps that last sentence works better to accomplish the goal?

If the tool called science is used to accomplish a more accurate measure of light particles, or waves, or for a more accurate measure of what causes gravity or electricity, then the user of the tool can “safely ignore” the meme in that employment of science to that end. That is what I think. I am often wrong.

If, on the other hand, the person using science to study gravity is someone who has been indoctrinated into a belief that smoking cigarettes will boost your health, and that false fashionable idea is being replaced by a more accurate one, where the tendency now is to suggest that smoking is not so good for your health, then that example of what may be called a meme cannot safely be ignored, in a measurable way – perhaps not absolutely without all safety.

Perhaps the scientist working on gravity is on the verge of discovering a possible synthetic form of gravity, I don’t know if that is possible, and that scientist dies from a blood clot, and the death is measurably attributable to tobacco consumption.

Had the scientist listened to the study of memes, long enough to give up the idea that smoking was a good idea, in this hypothetical case, the idea of synthetic gravity may have transferred from that one person to other people intact and accurately in some measurable way. People are floating around now.

Perhaps synthetic gravity is not safe. I don’t know, and I if I did know: how can I teach myself how better to transfer that knowledge intact?

I believe that a meme, which is a “way of seeing”, is like looking at “universal grammar”, which may be another thing that can safely be ignored by someone trying to figure out how better to understand gravity.

Now I am babbling. Babbling can sometimes measure up as an example of a meme. Why do people listen to lies told by politicians, and believe them?

Perhaps my response is overdone, or even lacking in grammar, lacking in transferability, insufficient to accomplish the goal.

I can rely upon quotes?


Quote:
I just need to know, to put it bluntly, whether memes are something I can or cannot safely ignore.



If you are suddenly struck with the urge to invade Iran to spread democracy or find those pesky weapons of mass destruction, then the answer could be yes in your case. I may be misunderstanding the whole concept, so my answer is along the lines of maybe.

My way of employing the thing in my view is useful to me as I try to avoid things that are not safe. A false meme is not the same example as a true meme, and to help in the effort to understand what I am trying to say, as a response to what I read from you, I offer this link:

http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/lite ... cture.html

Particularly this quote:


Quote:
Any man who has once acclaimed violence as his METHOD must inexorably choose falsehood as his PRINCIPLE.


Some people study the “way of seeing” that comes up with words like “meme” and sometimes the ideal behind that employment of power (time and energy) is not safe to the targeted market.

I think that the word “meme” is also along the same lines as the word “propaganda”.

Now there are three terms that can polarize the viewpoint.

1. Meme
2. Universal grammar
3. Propaganda

Which term is more useful and which goal, or interest, does it serve in any specific case?

Your case can be an illustrated example, as can mine. In my case all three words are useful and the goal in mind is to improve my perspective, and more specifically: to increase my power to perceive accurately.

I look at political economy. That is what I do. I do so because failing to do so will leave me unarmed, in my view. I will fail to gain the necessary power required to survive well, if I fail to perceive political economy accurately.

I have a one sentence explanation of my work in perceiving political economy more accurately, but that is not the topic.

I have reached that point of overdoing the response, almost certianly?

Quote:
As a "way of looking," they appear to suit individual purposes, just not mine.


Here is an example of a meme (perhaps): tl;dr

I an curious about your purpose, but that may not be a topical curiosity.



Tue Nov 10, 2009 10:46 am
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Post irrefutable fact
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If the thing in view is the thing that is called a meme, not the sun, then the absolute perfect understanding of it, without doubt, is not within my power.


Is this your
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I know of only one irrefutable fact, all other perceptions posed as facts are subject to possible refinement, improvement, adjustment, greater precision, greater accuracy, and this, I suppose, requires doubt.
?



Tue Nov 10, 2009 4:12 pm
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Lawrence,

I do not understand the question.

A meme, as far as I know, is a phenomenon. If a meme is a physical reality like a star, something that radiates brightly, then I'm having more trouble seeing a meme compared to how easy it is to see stars.

The star is a source of light, and that makes it easy to see. The star is a physical reality.

That is what I meant by the first sentence.

This:

If the thing in view is the thing that is called a meme, not the sun, then the absolute perfect understanding of it, without doubt, is not within my power.

I can add to that observation communicated to you another observatoin communicated to you where I compare my persent understanding of a meme as seen by Howard Bloom and my understanding of universal grammar as seen by Noam Chomsky.

I do not see “universal grammar” as a physical thing such as a star, and I don't think that Noam Chomsky does either.

A star is easy to see.

A meme (as seen by Howard Bloom, or you) is not easy to see.

Universal grammar (as seen by you or Noam Chomsky) is not easy to see - compared to seeing a star.

A star seen by me, you, Noam Chomsky, or Howard Bloom is easy to see in the same way for each of us – I presume.

The next sentence is not significantly related (not the same thing) as the first sentence you quoted.

This:

I know of only one irrefutable fact, all other perceptions posed as facts are subject to possible refinement, improvement, adjustment, greater precision, greater accuracy, and this, I suppose, requires doubt.

That is referring to anyone having doubts about memes, stars, universal grammar, looking directly at stars, placing your hand in a fire, shooting someone with a high powered gun, torture, mass murder, survival of the species, personal survival, birth, life, living, living well, being tortured, being threatened, happiness, profit, loss, cost, music, friends, love, hate, building models of World War Two fighter aircraft, reading, or anything that anyone may have doubts about, since it seems to me that doubt is inherent in perception. There is only one fact that isn’t subject to doubt, as far as I know. I'm not speaking about belief.

If you are wondering what that one fact is, and it isn’t just mine, presumably this fact is everyone’s one fact, then, if that is your question to me, then my request to you is to discover it. If you see it, let me know what you see.

I can then tell you if it is the same fact that I see: the one irrefutable fact; the one fact that is proven even as anyone endeavors to disprove it.



Wed Nov 11, 2009 6:45 am
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Joe Kelley wrote:
I an curious about your purpose, but that may not be a topical curiosity.

Joe,
I know there is a lot more to respond to in your post than just the statement above, but I think, as you imply by that statement, that we have much different interests in approaching the question about memes. I am trying to be cut-and-dried about the matter, while you are more into subtleties of epistemology. I like subtlelty, and hope I have the ability to appreciate it, but for my simple purpose right now, it doesn't suit. If I do read Bloom's new book, maybe my mind will open more to the things that most interest you about the subject.

Bill



Wed Nov 11, 2009 9:11 am
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Post Re:
DWill wrote:
Joe Kelley wrote:
I don’t know how someone can object to memes; perhaps a more specific statement can bring me up to speed?

Tongue just a bit in cheek with the conversion remark, but yes, as a few people here are aware I haven't been able to grasp what memes are supposed to be, have also been openly doubtful. I think it's essential to be absolutely literal when examining this theory to be sure we are not elevating a metaphor to a physical reality. I haven't read any of Bloom's books, but Chris gave me a copy of Global Brain. Using the index, I find this as part of the description: "meme--a habit, a technique, a twist of feeling, a sense of things, which flips easily from brain to brain...Memes could carry their message via the swift intangibles of scent, sight, and sound" (p. 30). I see a concept in that, a way of envisioning language and culture, but if memes are supposed to have physical properties, as genes do, evidence needs to be provided. What instrument has been able to register a meme? Just how do we know they're there?

In your opinion, does Bloom deliver the goods that should remove doubts like mine?


Bill, the point of the idea of memes is solely that the causal processes of evolution which we see in biology also occur in the realm of ideas and culture. The ideas prevalent today have a provenance from earlier ideas, and have not sprung forth from nothing. Think of it in terms of Keynes' observation that "The ideas of economists and political philosophers, both when they are right and when they are wrong, are more powerful than is commonly understood. Indeed the world is ruled by little else. Practical men, who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influence, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist.”

Every idea enters the world with causal power, greater or lesser, good or evil, enduring or ephemeral. As Heidegger put it, ideas plough the furrow of time. An idea with strong fecundity, durability and identity establishes a large meme, which continues to evolve in the same evolutionary causal way as biology. The argument is that all complex life obeys the law of evolution, so ideas, as an example of complex life, can be seen as following an adaptive path, which Dawkins describes as memetic.

Bloom is inventing new memes to establish a constructive myth for capitalism. His concepts such as secular genesis and messianic capitalism are intended to confront conventional thinking through a positive and practical cosmology.



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BOOK FORUMS FOR ALL BOOKS WE HAVE DISCUSSED
Atheist 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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