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Official Poll - Sept/Oct 2003 Book of the Month(s) 
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Post Official Poll - Sept/Oct 2003 Book of the Month(s)
The time has come for us to decide our next book selection folks. And with so many great selections my job was extremely difficult. As a general rule I have been trying to keep the number of books in the poll to no more than four, but ideally only three. I can't tell you how hard it was this time to narrow the selection down. I've literally spent hours and hours reading about each book suggested in the Nominations for our September & October book poll thread. I'd love for us to read every single one.

The following are links to information about each of our choices so that we can all make educated decisions. Please don't vote blindly. We spend a full 2-months on our book selections, so this poll is very important. If you don't fully intend to read and actively participate on the boards and/or in the BookTalk chat room...please refrain from casting a vote.

Keep in mind that we will always invite the author from our current book to be our guest in the chat room. Think about this as you cast your vote. Think about what book will provide the most education and entertainment for us over the next several months.

1. The Red Queen: Sex and the Evolution of Human Nature
by Matt Ridley

Quote:
Why do we have sex? One of the main biological reasons, contends Ridley, is to combat disease. By constantly combining and recombining genes every generation, people "keep their genes one step ahead of their parasites," thereby strengthening resistance to bacteria and viruses that cause deadly diseases or epidemics. Called the "Red Queen Theory" by biologists after the chess piece in Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking-Glass which runs but stays in the same place, this hypothesis is just one of the controversial ideas put forth in this witty, elegantly written inquiry. Ridley, a London-based science writer and a former editor of the Economist , argues that men are polygamous for the obvious reason that whichever gender has to spend the most time and energy creating and rearing offspring tends to avoid extra mating. Women, though far less interested in multiple partners, will commit adultery if stuck with a mediocre mate. In Ridley's not wholly convincing conclusion, even human intellect is chalked up to sex: virtuosity, individuality, inventiveness and related traits are what make people sexually attractive.


2. Freedom Evolves by Daniel C. Dennett

Quote:
Trading in a supernatural soul for a natural soul-is this a fair bargain?" Dennett, seeking to fend off "caricatures of Darwinian thinking" that plague his philosophical camp, argues in this incendiary, brilliant, even dangerous book that it is. Picking up where he left off in Darwin's Dangerous Idea (a Pulitzer and National Book Award finalist), he zeroes in on free will, a sticking point to the opposing camp. Dennett calls his perspective "naturalism," a synthesis of philosophy and the natural sciences; his critics have called it determinism, reductionism, bioprophecy, Lamarckianism. Drawing on evolutionary biology, neuroscience, economic game theory, philosophy and Richard Dawkins's meme, the author argues that there is indeed such a thing as free will, but it "is not a preexisting feature of our existence, like the law of gravity." Dennett seeks to counter scientific caricature with precision, empiricism and philosophical outcomes derived from rigorous logic. This book comprises a kind of toolbox of intellectual exercises favoring cultural evolution, the idea that culture, morality and freedom are as much a result of evolution by natural selection as our physical and genetic attributes. Yet genetic determinism, he argues, does not imply inevitability, as his critics may claim, nor does it cancel out the soul. Rather, he says, it bolsters the ideals of morality and choice, and illustrates why those ideals must be nurtured and guarded. Dennett clearly relishes pushing other scientists' buttons. Though natural selection itself is still a subject of controversy, the author, director of the Center for Cognitive Studies at Tufts, most certainly is in the vanguard of the philosophy of science.


3. 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.


4. 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.


Results (total votes = 16):
The Red Queen - by Matt Ridley 6 / 37.5%  
Freedom Evolves - by Daniel C. Dennett 2 / 12.5%  
The Power of Myth - by Joseph Campbell 4 / 25.0%  
Philosophy in the Flesh - by George Lakoff & Mark Johnson 4 / 25.0%  

"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."



Mon Aug 04, 2003 1:25 am
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Post Re: Official Poll - Sept/Oct 2003 Book of the Month(s)
I forgot to mention this VERY important bit of instructions. You all should be familiar with it at this point. After you have cast your vote you MUST do one of the following for that vote to count:

1. Send an email to chris@booktalk.org and tell me your BookTalk name, and the book you picked.

2. Post a message directly in this thread with the book you picked.


This is our ONLY means of keeping this poll honest. Currently, anyone with an EZBoard account can come by and cast a vote in this poll. There are no safety mechanisms. So please be sure do let me know what book you voted for! 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."



Mon Aug 04, 2003 12:33 pm
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Post Re: Official Poll - Sept/Oct 2003 Book of the Month(s)
I voted for the Ridley.

Louis




Mon Aug 04, 2003 4:49 pm


Post Re: Official Poll - Sept/Oct 2003 Book of the Month(s)
I voted for Red Queen




Mon Aug 04, 2003 5:06 pm
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Post Re: Official Poll - Sept/Oct 2003 Book of the Month(s)
The poll will be coming down by Saturday night, the 9th of August. In the future we will have a calendar page that displays important dates clearly so these posts won't be necessary.

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."



Mon Aug 04, 2003 6:01 pm
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Post Re: Official Poll - Sept/Oct 2003 Book of the Month(s)
Joseph Campbell




Tue Aug 05, 2003 5:51 pm
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Post Re: Official Poll - Sept/Oct 2003 Book of the Month(s)
Red Queen.




Wed Aug 06, 2003 9:39 am
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Post Re: Official Poll - Sept/Oct 2003 Book of the Month(s)
Red Queen.

Chris

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Wed Aug 06, 2003 10:23 am
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Post Re: Official Poll - Sept/Oct 2003 Book of the Month(s)
power of myth




Wed Aug 06, 2003 10:32 am
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Post Re: Official Poll - Sept/Oct 2003 Book of the Month(s)
Philosophy in the Flesh




Wed Aug 06, 2003 11:53 am


Post I have not nor will I caste a vote
Honestly Chris, I don't feel that it would be right for me to vote. Why? Because I'm not interested in any of the choices. I did suggest a title which was not chosen for the vote, so I feel I have the right to speak my mind, unlike if I had not done anything at all.




Wed Aug 06, 2003 4:52 pm
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