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Nominations for our November & December book poll 
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Post Nominations for our November & December book poll
Please make your suggestions for our November & December 2003 book poll in this thread. Thank you.

Chris

"When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward,for there you have been, and there you will always want to be."



Tue Sep 09, 2003 6:40 am
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Post Re: Nominations for our November & December book poll
We should begin discussing our next book selection folks. I am going to make a suggestion here. The past several books have all been science texts. How do you all feel about having our next book selection NOT science related? Maybe a current events book would get more members active and participating on the boards. Any opinions?

Chris

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Fri Sep 19, 2003 5:01 am
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Post Re: Nominations for our November & December book poll
I am going to suggest that we pick some books that have won Pulitzer Prizes. The books are bound to be awesome, and we sure would benefit by having some of these authors as our guests.

www.pulitzer.org/

Here are some recent winners...

2003
2002
2001
2000
1999
1998 We read this one already!
1997
1996
1995

Chris

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Fri Sep 19, 2003 5:02 am
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Post Re: Nominations for our November & December book poll
Jeremy

You suggested "Understanding Power: The Indispensable Chomsky" in the book suggestion thread. I agree that Chomsky is a great choice, but I worry that this particular book might not be ideal for our purposes. Looks like it is a compilation of essays and seminars. "Atheism: A Reader" was a dud and I think its failure was a result of its format. Any opinions?

Everyone

Last poll we had some great books that still might work well on our upcoming poll.

The Power of Myth - by Joseph Campbell

Quote:
Among his many gifts, Joseph Campbell's most impressive was the unique ability to take a contemporary situation, such as the murder and funeral of President John F. Kennedy, and help us understand its impact in the context of ancient mythology. Herein lies the power of The Power of Myth, showing how humans are apt to create and live out the themes of mythology. Based on a six-part PBS television series hosted by Bill Moyers, this classic is especially compelling because of its engaging question-and-answer format, creating an easy, conversational approach to complicated and esoteric topics. For example, when discussing the mythology of heroes, Campbell and Moyers smoothly segue from the Sumerian sky goddess Inanna to Star Wars' mercenary-turned-hero, Han Solo. Most impressive is Campbell's encyclopedic knowledge of myths, demonstrated in his ability to recall the details and archetypes of almost any story, from any point and history, and translate it into a lesson for spiritual living in the here and now.


Philosophy in the Flesh : The Embodied Mind and Its Challenge to Western Thought

Quote:
George Lakoff and Mark Johnson take on the daunting task of rebuilding Western philosophy in alignment with three fundamental lessons from cognitive science: The mind is inherently embodied, thought is mostly unconscious, and abstract concepts are largely metaphorical. Why so daunting? "Cognitive science--the empirical study of the mind--calls upon us to create a new, empirically responsible philosophy, a philosophy consistent with empirical discoveries about the nature of mind," they write. "A serious appreciation of cognitive science requires us to rethink philosophy from the beginning, in a way that would put it more in touch with the reality of how we think." In other words, no Platonic forms, no Cartesian mind-body duality, no Kantian pure logic. Even Noam Chomsky's generative linguistics is revealed under scrutiny to have substantial problems.


Or we could go with an earlier book suggestion that was on our July & August poll:

Noam Chomsky - "Neccessary Illusions"

...or...

Tim Callahan - "Secret Origins of the Bible"

"When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward,for there you have been, and there you will always want to be."



Fri Sep 19, 2003 5:18 am
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Post Re: Nominations for our November & December book poll
This looks really good...

A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide by Samantha Power Samantha Power won the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for this book.

Quote:
During the three years (1993-1996) Samantha Power spent covering the grisly events in Bosnia and Srebrenica, she became increasingly frustrated with how little the United States was willing to do to counteract the genocide occurring there. After much research, she discovered a pattern: "The United States had never in its history intervened to stop genocide and had in fact rarely even made a point of condemning it as it occurred," she writes in this impressive book. Debunking the notion that U.S. leaders were unaware of the horrors as they were occurring against Armenians, Jews, Cambodians, Iraqi Kurds, Rwandan Tutsis, and Bosnians during the past century, Power discusses how much was known and when, and argues that much human suffering could have been alleviated through a greater effort by the U.S. She does not claim that the U.S. alone could have prevented such horrors, but does make a convincing case that even a modest effort would have had significant impact. Based on declassified information, private papers, and interviews with more than 300 American policymakers, Power makes it clear that a lack of political will was the most significant factor for this failure to intervene. Some courageous U.S. leaders did work to combat and call attention to ethnic cleansing as it occurred, but the vast majority of politicians and diplomats ignored the issue, as did the American public, leading Power to note that "no U.S. president has ever suffered politically for his indifference to its occurrence. It is thus no coincidence that genocide rages on." This powerful book is a call to make such indifference a thing of the past. --Shawn Carkonen


From Publishers Weekly
Quote:
Power, a former journalist for U.S. News and World Report and the Economist and now the executive director of Harvard's Carr Center for Human Rights, offers an uncompromising and disturbing examination of 20th-century acts of genocide and U.S responses to them. In clean, unadorned prose, Power revisits the Turkish genocide directed at Armenians in 1915-1916, the Holocaust, Cambodia's Khmer Rouge, Iraqi attacks on Kurdish populations, Rwanda, and Bosnian "ethnic cleansing," and in doing so, argues that U.S. intervention has been shamefully inadequate. The emotional force of Power's argument is carried by moving, sometimes almost unbearable stories of the victims and survivors of such brutality. Her analysis of U.S. politics what she casts as the State Department's unwritten rule that nonaction is better than action with a PR backlash; the Pentagon's unwillingness to see a moral imperative; an isolationist right; a suspicious left and a population unconcerned with distant nations aims to show how ingrained inertia is, even as she argues that the U.S. must reevaluate the principles it applies to foreign policy choices. In the face of firsthand accounts of genocide, invocations of geopolitical considerations and studied and repeated refusals to accept the reality of genocidal campaigns simply fail to convince, she insists. But Power also sees signs that the fight against genocide has made progress. Prominent among those who made a difference are Raphael Lemkin, a Polish Jew who invented the word genocide and who lobbied the U.N. to make genocide the subject of an international treaty, and Senator William Proxmire, who for 19 years spoke every day on the floor of the U.S. Senate to urge the U.S. to ratify the U.N. treaty inspired by Lemkin's work. This is a well-researched and powerful study that is both a history and a call to action.


Quote:
A character-driven study of some of the darkest moments in our national history, when America failed to prevent or stop 20th-century campaigns to exterminate Armenians, Jews, Cambodians, Iraqi Kurds, Bosnians, and Rwandans .

"When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward,for there you have been, and there you will always want to be."



Fri Sep 19, 2003 6:05 am
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Post Re: Nominations for our November & December book poll
I definitely agree with Chris that one of the reasons for the sagging discussions might be that the books we've been reading have been "preaching to the converted". Reading a different topic, even one most of us disagree with, would probably do a lot to invigorate the forums.

In this spirit I would like to advance a couple of options (I haven't read any of them):

The Virtue of Selfishness - Ayn Rand

Quote:
Ayn Rand here sets forth the moral principles of Objectivism, the philosophy that holds man's life - the life proper to a rational being - as the standard of moral values and regards altruism as incompatible with man's nature, with the creative requirements of his survival, and with a free society.


The State of Democratic Theory - Ian Shapiro

Quote:
Some accounts of democracy's purposes focus on aggregating preferences; others deal with collective deliberation in search of the common good. Shapiro reveals the shortcomings of both, arguing instead that democracy should be geared toward minimizing domination throughout society. He contends that Joseph Schumpeter's classic defense of competitive democracy is a useful starting point for achieving this purpose, but that it stands in need of radical supplementation--both with respect to its operation in national political institutions and in its extension to other forms of collective association. Shapiro's unusually wide-ranging discussion also deals with the conditions that make democracy's survival more and less likely, with the challenges presented by ethnic differences and claims for group rights, and with the relations between democracy and the distribution of income and wealth.


Daniel M. Wegner - The Illusion of Conscious Will

Quote:
Do we consciously cause our actions, or do they happen to us? Philosophers, psychologists, neuroscientists, theologians, and lawyers have long debated the existence of free will versus determinism. In this book Daniel Wegner offers a novel understanding of the issue. Like actions, he argues, the feeling of conscious will is created by the mind and brain. Yet if psychological and neural mechanisms are responsible for all human behavior, how could we have conscious will? The feeling of conscious will, Wegner shows, helps us to appreciate and remember our authorship of the things our minds and bodies do. Yes, we feel that we consciously will our actions, Wegner says, but at the same time, our actions happen to us. Although conscious will is an illusion, it serves as a guide to understanding ourselves and to developing a sense of responsibility and morality.Approaching conscious will as a topic of psychological study, Wegner examines the issue from a variety of angles. He looks at illusions of the will---those cases where people feel that they are willing an act that they are not doing or, conversely, are not willing an act that they in fact are doing. He explores conscious will in hypnosis, Ouija board spelling, automatic writing, and facilitated communication, as well as in such phenomena as spirit possession, dissociative identity disorder, and trance channeling. The result is a book that sidesteps endless debates to focus, more fruitfully, on the impact on our lives of the illusion of conscious will.


Just a couple of more or less random ideas for stuff I'd be interested in reading and discussing. Philosophy in the Flesh also sounds pretty interesting.

Louis




Fri Sep 19, 2003 8:04 am


Post Re: Nominations for our November & December book poll
I agree that discussing a book that contains a sustained and coherent exposition by one author might generate more energy, particularly if the book has some kind of emotional hook.

I would recommend the following books as possibilities (reviews of which are easily obtained from Amazon.com):

--Beyond Belief, by Elaine Pagels.

--When Religion Becomes Evil, by Charles Kimball

--The Future of Freedom, by Fareed Zakaria

--Finite and Infinite Games, by James Carse

--The Language Police: How Pressure Groups Restrict What Students Learn, by Diane Ravitch




Fri Sep 19, 2003 9:38 am


Post Re: Nominations for our November & December book poll
I have Finite and Infinite Games, good and easy to read book...I've heard of A Problem From Hell and wouldn't mind reading that (I've read The Bridge Betrayed and a couple other books on Bosnia, it's a good situation to study because of the clash of cultures and breakdown of humanity that will be the challenge of this century).

I'd also like to recommend (again) The Un-TV and the 10 Mph Car: Experiments in Personal Freedom and Everyday Life:

www.amazon.com/exec/obido...s&n=507846




Fri Sep 19, 2003 12:42 pm


Post Re: Nominations for our November & December book poll
I'll give you a list of books, hopefully someone will like one of them. Note these are all books that I have not read and generally do not own, but wish to. These are in no particular order.


Ripples of Battle: How Wars Fought Long Ago Still Determine How We Fight, How We Live, and How We Think by Victor Davis Hanson.

Public Intellectuals: A Study of Decline by Richard A. Posner.

Cato's Letters, Or, Essays on Liberty, Civil and Religious, and Other Important Subjects by John Trenchard, et al.

Quick Studies: The Best of Lingua Franca by Alexander Star (Editor)

What Went Wrong? by Bernard Lewis.

The Pleasures of the Imagination by John Brewer.

A Jacques Barzun Reader by Jacques Barzun.

The Greek War of Independence by David Brewer.

American Aurora by Richard N. Rosenfeld, Edmund S. Morgan.




Fri Sep 19, 2003 2:30 pm
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Post Re: Nominations for our November & December book poll
Excellent suggestions! Although I'll read any book that wins, I am going to suggest that this time we keep science books 100% out of the next poll. Lets change direction for 2 months and get some new members. We'll submit a press release to some major papers too.

Cris

"When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward,for there you have been, and there you will always want to be."



Fri Sep 19, 2003 3:31 pm
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Post Re: Nominations for our November & December book poll
I've decided that I want to read Mein Kampf (in English).

Watson refers to it in DNA: The secret of life, and I was reminded of the many times Origin of Species is referred to; and how often I shake my head and think, "Darwin implied that? In my three readings I never understood any such conclusion...."

So I think it would be very interesting to read for myself what Hitler actually said. Sonofabitch can't collect royalties, after all.


Science is neither a philosophy nor a belief system. It is a combination of mental operations that has become increasingly the habit of educated peoples, a culture of illuminations hit upon by a fortunate turn of history that yielded the most effective way of learning about the real world ever conceived. E.O.Wilson




Fri Sep 19, 2003 9:19 pm
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