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Official Poll - Mar/Apr 2004 Book of the Month(s) 
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Post Official Poll - Mar/Apr 2004 Book of the Month(s)
The time has come to vote on our March & April 2004 book selection!


As always PLEASE DO NOT VOTE if you don't plan to read and participate on the message boards or at least in the chat room. We are a book discussion community and these poll are restricted to active members that actually read/discuss our book selections. Please respect this.

Also, it is VERY important that EVERYONE that does cast a vote either sends me an email telling me what book they selected, OR posts their choice right in this thread. You MUST do one of the two to have your vote count.

You can email me at chris@booktalk.org - be sure to include your BookTalk name so I know who you are. Thank you!

We have 3 choices in this poll. Please think hard about what book will be the most educational, entertaining, and worthy of discussion. No matter which book wins we will be asking either the author, or a representative of the author, to be our guest in the BookTalk chat room.




Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space - by Carl Sagan

From Publishers Weekly

In a tour of our solar system, galaxy and beyond, Cornell astronomer Sagan meshes a history of astronomical discovery, a cogent brief for space exploration and an overview of life-from its origins in the oceans to humanity's first emergence to a projected future where humans "terraform" and settle other planets and asteroids, Earth having long been swallowed by the sun. Maintaining that such relocation is inevitable, the author further argues that planetary science is of practical utility, fostering an interdisciplinary approach to looming environmental catastrophes such as "nuclear winter" (lethal cooling of Earth after a nuclear war, a widely accepted prediction first calculated by Sagan in 1982). His exploration of our place in the universe is illustrated with photographs, relief maps and paintings, including high-resolution images made by Voyager 1 and 2, as well as photos taken by the Galileo spacecraft, the Hubble Space Telescope and satellites orbiting Earth, which show our planet as a pale blue dot. A worthy sequel to Sagan's Cosmos.




How We Believe: Science, Skepticism, and the Search for God - by Michael Shermer

Amazon.com

One hundred years ago social scientists predicted that belief in God would decrease by the year 2000. "In fact ... the opposite is has occurred," Shermer writes in his introduction. "Never in history have so many, and such a high percentage of the population, believed in God. Not only is God not dead as Nietzche proclaimed, but he has never been more alive."

Why do so many believe in the existence of something so inexplicable? That's exactly what Shermer answers in this comprehensive, intelligent, and highly readable discussion about the nature of faith. "People believe in God because the evidence of their senses tell them so," claims Shermer, who is the publisher of Skeptics magazine. Having been a believer and a student of the history of science, Shermer (now an agnostic) is more interested in knowing why and how people believe in God rather than trying to prove who's right or wrong. As a result, this book is not only even-handed and thorough, it is also destined to become a timeless contribution to spirituality as well as science.
- Gail Hudson




Between War and Peace: Lessons from Afghanistan to Iraq - by Victor Hanson

From Publishers Weekly

Hanson (An Autumn of War), who has been compared to John Keegan as a historian of war, doesn't display the objectivity of a scholar here. These 39 previously published essays (35 from National Review Online) assessing the U.S. war on terrorism mostly focus on broad-brush denunciations of Europeans, Arabs, the U.N. and Muslims, reserving praise for the U.S. and Israel as beacons of democracy. America's pre-emptive war in Iraq is applauded and, Hanson says, Syria should be next. Saudi Arabia should be seen more as an enemy than an ally and actively subverted. His targets are mostly caricaturesa



Sun Feb 15, 2004 12:21 am
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Post Re: Official Poll - Mar/Apr 2004 Book of the Month(s)
I voted for Between War and Peace by Victor Davis Hanson. Having read five of his previous books, An Autumn of War, Carnage and Culture, Who Killed Homer?, Ripples of Battle and The Wars of the Ancient Greeks, as a frequent reader of his articles, and as a frequent listener to him on NPR (where he debated with Jared Diamond) and watcher of him on C-Span's BookTV and Booknotes, I was glad to see another book being published.

I hope the rest of you will have the opportunity to read and discuss Hanson's writings. Having read many of his articles, some of which went into this volume, I must warn you that the description by Publishers Weekly seems somewhat erroneous.

I personally am looking forward to his appearance on BookTV next month. On March 7, he will be on In Depth where he will be interviewed and answer caller questions live for 3 hours.

Edited by: pctacitus at: 2/16/04 11:16 pm



Sun Feb 15, 2004 1:10 am


Post Re: Official Poll - Mar/Apr 2004 Book of the Month(s)
Hello Chris,

I haven't voted and not only because I'm a newbie. Would it be possible for the selection to be posted with a bit more on the books' publication details? Just asking, as the practicality of finding the books locally isn't looking good (I'm not in the US/Canada).

For example, the Sagan book is shown as being out of print or available through special import only. I haven't turned it up through a second hand search, but am still looking. The Hanson book doesn't seem to have been released outside North America yet. This is based on information from two different bookshops I visited today.

By default, my vote would have to be for Shermer, as I've found a shop that does have his book (and I quail at the price, but let's not go there).

As such it's not readily practicable for me to participate. My apologies should this be the wrong time / place to raise this, but I was interested in taking part. Maybe next time around. :)

Tomorrow, in my experience, is usually the same day.




Sun Feb 15, 2004 4:33 am
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Post Re: Official Poll - Mar/Apr 2004 Book of the Month(s)
AirPrang

I never really considered that some of these books might not be available in certain areas. Where are you located? Pale Blue Dot should be available through Amazon.com just about anywhere I would think.

Chris

"The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read them"



Sun Feb 15, 2004 5:03 am
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Post Re: Official Poll - Mar/Apr 2004 Book of the Month(s)

I voted that we talk about Shermer's "How We Believe" cause his approach is interesting. He tried to take another approach than most and I think he has showed that one need many perspectives so we make progress in this field.

Bernt




Sun Feb 15, 2004 7:30 am


Post Re: Official Poll - Mar/Apr 2004 Book of the Month(s)
Too many musts for me, but I chose Sagan's Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space.

Ando




Sun Feb 15, 2004 10:22 am
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Post Re: Official Poll - Mar/Apr 2004 Book of the Month(s)
With some hesitation, I voted for Hansen. The hesitation comes from the format; we have not done well with collections, as opposed to (what is the antonym? Books?)

Reading Hansen, on the other hand, would fit in perfectly with both my epistemological philosophy and reason for belonging to BookTalk: I make a conscious effort to read and understand alternative viewpoints to my own (epistemology) and like the aspect of book talk where it exposes me to material or even subjects that I probably would not otherwise persue.


If you make yourself really small, you can externalize virtually everything. Daniel Dennett, 1984




Sun Feb 15, 2004 12:07 pm
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Post Re: Official Poll - Mar/Apr 2004 Book of the Month(s)
Pale Blue Dot

Edited by: ZachSylvanus at: 2/16/04 6:55 pm



Sun Feb 15, 2004 2:44 pm
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Post Re: Official Poll - Mar/Apr 2004 Book of the Month(s)
Ando

I hope you understand why there are those "musts." We have to keep this polling process fair. Right now anyone with an EZBoard account can cast a vote in our poll. You see how this would be a problem? Requiring each vote to be linked with the name of an active member is the only way I can keep the poll fair.

I voted for Pale Blue Dot.

Chris

"The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read them"



Sun Feb 15, 2004 3:53 pm
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Post Re: Official Poll - Mar/Apr 2004 Book of the Month(s)
I voted for How We Believe because I find such topics fascinating. It was really hard to choose between that and Pale Blue Dot given that I'm a Carl Sagan fan.

In Love and Reason,


Christian L. Ambrose




Mon Feb 16, 2004 2:13 am
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Post Re: Official Poll - Mar/Apr 2004 Book of the Month(s)
This is directed primarily to AirPrang...

Have you checked out local libraries? If your local branch doesn't have it, they can always get it via extensive interlibrary loan networks that pretty much all libraries have these days. Especially for older, or out-of-print books this is definitely the easiest way to go. (It's also the cheapest if you are like me and have no money.)

Good luck.

P.S. I'm going to vote for Shermer. Fits rather well with some personal reading I'm doing right now. (Oriental, esp Buddhist, vs Occidental religions, mysticism & philosophy, interesting differences and similarities in doctrine and faith.)




Mon Feb 16, 2004 8:12 pm
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Post Re: Official Poll - Mar/Apr 2004 Book of the Month(s)
How We Believe -- Shermer




Thu Feb 19, 2004 10:41 pm


Post Re: Official Poll - Mar/Apr 2004 Book of the Month(s)
I vote for "How We Believe".

I think that freethinkers should acquire as much understanding as possible regarding the critical topic of belief. Our lives are greatly influenced on a daily basis by those who believe. Hopefully Shermer will stimulate our thoughts and conversations regarding this topic.

I also think that we will have a much broader discussion because belief is a very relevant and controversial topic.

Eric Stamper




Fri Feb 20, 2004 2:09 pm
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Post Re: Official Poll - Mar/Apr 2004 Book of the Month(s)
Voted for Pale Blue Dot...




Sat Feb 21, 2004 12:43 pm
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Post Re: Official Poll - Mar/Apr 2004 Book of the Month(s)
I just tried to vote for Pale Blue Dot. I got some kind of error page saying something about a "failure". Please count me for Pale Blue Dot. I was torn between Sagan and Shermer, and finally decided to vote for Sagan.




Sat Feb 21, 2004 2:49 pm
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