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WANTED: Book suggestions AND feedback for next Non-Fiction book discussion! 
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 WANTED: Book suggestions AND feedback for next Non-Fiction book discussion!
WANTED: We need your book suggestions for our next NON-FICTION book discussion.

A few simple rules...

1. Only suggest books or comment in this thread if you have 25 or more posts on BookTalk.org.

2. Only suggest books or comment in this thread if you fully intend to participate in the next non-fiction book discussion.

3. Suggest no more than 1, 2 or at the very max, 3 books, so put some thought into your suggestions and make them good.

4. Please read the suggestions other members make and then tell us which of those suggested books you also like.

5. Sell us on your suggestion! Include a link, a review, a book description and/or your own thoughts on the book or topic. If you just post a book title we'll assume you're not that into the book/topic or the idea of talking about the book/topic. We'll give your suggestion less weight than someone who sounds fired up about a book.

6. Stick with this thread! Please don't do a hit-n-run book suggestion. Once you've suggested your book please don't vanish. Watch this thread for additional suggestions, comments or even questions directed to you about your suggestion.

Did you read all 6 of these simple rules?

OK, now let's open the floor for non-fiction suggestions!



Tue Dec 23, 2014 8:49 pm
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Post Re: WANTED: Book suggestions AND feedback for next Non-Fiction book discussion!
Undeniable: Evolution and the Science of Creation
By Bill Nye "The Science Guy"
Released November 4, 2014

Quote:
"Evolution is one of the most powerful and important ideas ever developed in the history of science. Every question it raises leads to new answers, new discoveries, and new smarter questions. The science of evolution is as expansive as nature itself. It is also the most meaningful creation story that humans have ever found."—Bill Nye

Sparked by a controversial debate in February 2014, Bill Nye has set off on an energetic campaign to spread awareness of evolution and the powerful way it shapes our lives. In Undeniable: Evolution and the Science of Creation, he explains why race does not really exist; evaluates the true promise and peril of genetically modified food; reveals how new species are born, in a dog kennel and in a London subway; takes a stroll through 4.5 billion years of time; and explores the new search for alien life, including aliens right here on Earth.

With infectious enthusiasm, Bill Nye shows that evolution is much more than a rebuttal to creationism; it is an essential way to understand how nature works—and to change the world. It might also help you get a date on a Saturday night.


Why I'm suggesting this book...

This is and always has been our #1 most popular subject on BookTalk.org. Over the years our best book discussions (and discussions in general) have stemmed from atheism vs. theism.

This book was born from the February 2014 Bill Nye vs. Ken Ham debate and a group of us attended that live debate while concurrently participating in a live chat in the BookTalk.org chat room. It makes sense that we'd have similar interest in a follow-up book and discussion.

I'd love to do a live chat with Bill Nye.



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Robert Tulip
Tue Dec 23, 2014 9:03 pm
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Post Re: WANTED: Book suggestions AND feedback for next Non-Fiction book discussion!
I think I'd be up for reading some Nye.

I find evolution so fascinating, I'm happy to read another popular book on it every couple of years. Even having read a few books on it, I always feel like my grasp on some of the subtleties, and being able to explain it to other people, is not as good as it should be.



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Tue Dec 23, 2014 9:47 pm
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Post Re: WANTED: Book suggestions AND feedback for next Non-Fiction book discussion!
Chris, I would be happy to read and discuss this book, as a way to further explore the philosophy of science. But I have been looking at the preview at Amazon, and felt Nye's introductory argument had a number of simplistic trite comments. For example Nye says creationists "avoid the exploration of evolution because it reminds us all that humans may not be that special in nature's scheme." With great respect, I don't agree that Nye has obviously thought through this glib piece of rhetoric, which implies rather dubiously that he has a worked out understanding of why humans are not special.

I am fascinated by the philosophy of causality, and see this explained most effectively by writers such as Dawkins and Gould. Evolution is the sublime area of causality in operation. But the causal argument that Nye gives here in the quoted example seems to me to involve a superficial understanding of why we see this frustrating disconnect between science and religion. Nye's palebluedotism is a metaphysical theology, a new religion, a theory of value concealing unstated assumptions, and is contestable as a philosophy despite its apparent coherence with evolutionary science.


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Wed Dec 24, 2014 12:56 am
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Post Re: WANTED: Book suggestions AND feedback for next Non-Fiction book discussion!
Robert Tulip wrote:
Nye says creationists "avoid the exploration of evolution because it reminds us all that humans may not be that special in nature's scheme." With great respect, I don't agree that Nye has obviously thought through this glib piece of rhetoric, which implies rather dubiously that he has a worked out understanding of why humans are not special.


I haven't read it yet so I'm speculating, but others have said something like this, and it seems to be a straightforward consequence of evolution being true. I doubt Nye is saying that we shouldn't place a significant value on human beings, if that's your objection. But I think he's merely saying that unlike in the creationist view, the universe was not designed with humans in mind.



Wed Dec 24, 2014 1:05 am
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Post Re: WANTED: Book suggestions AND feedback for next Non-Fiction book discussion!
Dexter wrote:
it seems to be a straightforward consequence of evolution being true. I doubt Nye is saying that we shouldn't place a significant value on human beings, if that's your objection. But I think he's merely saying that unlike in the creationist view, the universe was not designed with humans in mind.


What I am interested in is how such seemingly straightforward statements end up having social and political implications that create barriers to dialogue and understanding. From my perspective, writers who approach philosophy from the framework of science often make comments like this which are needlessly polarising and which assume a lack of respect and understanding for the role of religion in society. It is possible to stringently critique religion while still respecting its social function.

I personally think that Nye's outlook places greater value on human life than creationism does, since evolutionary philosophy places human life in its real context of biodiversity and ecological complexity. But religion is a major psychological and social component of that complexity which I suspect Nye approaches as a dead end, rather than as the launching pad for the adjacent possible, to use an evolutionary phrase.


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Wed Dec 24, 2014 1:38 am
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Post Re: WANTED: Book suggestions AND feedback for next Non-Fiction book discussion!
I would like to toss in something for consideration:

Amazon: Did Moses Exist? The Myth of the Israelite Lawgiver

SHP: Did Moses Exist? The Myth of the Israelite Lawgiver

The Study Guide to Did Moses Exist?

Quote:
Book Description:

The biblical figure of Moses has been the center of fascination for over 2,000 years, but what do we actually know about him? Was he a real person? Did the Exodus truly happen? Or is the story in the Pentateuch a mythical account written centuries after the alleged events?

Why does Moses's story resemble that of other, older lawgivers and legendary predecessors? Why are there so many elements of sun and wine god myths in the tale of Moses? What does the focus on the serpent in his story signify? Who were Yahweh and the Elohim?

Did Moses Exist? includes:

* Maps and 126 illustrations
* Extensive bibliography, table of contents and index
* Hundreds of footnotes and citations from primary sources in multiple languages
* Best modern scholarship from credentialed authorities

Did Moses Exist? provides a massive amount of information from antiquity about the world's religious traditions and mythology, including how solar myths, wine cultivation and fertility cults have shaped the Bible and Judaism. This book may be the most comprehensive study to date, using the best scholarship and state-of-the-art research methods.

In the citations and bibliography appear numerous ancient sources such as the Bible, Anacreon, Apollodorus, Aristides, Aristophanes, Arrian, Cicero, Clement of Alexandria, Diodorus, Euripides, Eusebius, Herodotus, Hesiod, Homer, Josephus, Justin Martyr, Megasthenes, Origen, Ovid, Pausanias, Pindar, Plato, Plutarch, Porphyry, Seneca, Strabo, Varro, Virgil and others, often in the original languages, mostly Greek, Hebrew and Latin.

Also discussed are texts and words in Akkadian, Arabic, Assyrian, Babylonian, Canaanite, Phoenician, Ugaritic and other Semitic languages, along with Egyptian, Sumerian, Vedic and Sanskrit.

"There is no historical evidence outside of the Bible, no mention of Moses outside the Bible, and no independent confirmation that Moses ever existed."
- Dr. Michael D. Coogan, lecturer on the Old Testament at Harvard Divinity School

"We cannot be sure that Moses ever lived because there are no traces of his earthly existence outside of tradition."
- Egyptologist Dr. Jan Assmann, Moses the Egyptian

"The life of Moses contains elements--canonical and apocryphal--that mark him as a true mythic hero, and certainly he is Judaism's greatest hero and the central figure in Hebrew mythology."
- Dr. David Leeming, The Oxford Companion to World Mythology

"...the stories of the creation, of the flood, of Abraham, of Jacob, of the descent into and the exodus from Egypt, of the career of Moses and the Jews in the desert, of Joshua and his soldiers, of the judges and their clients, are all apocryphal, and were fabricated at a late period of Jewish history."
- Dr. Thomas Inman, Ancient Faiths and Modern

In my view, this book gives a thorough and detailed analysis of the creation of the Old Testament as well as the lead up to the New Testament. An excellent book to help understand what lead to the creation of the New Testament and the pre-Christian mythology and astrotheology that the authors relied upon all done in the way only DM Murdock could. Now is a good time with Easter just around the corner.

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Post Re: WANTED: Book suggestions AND feedback for next Non-Fiction book discussion!
I just talked to Ann Druyan, Carl Sagan's wife, and she agreed to another live chat if we read and discuss he Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark again. Are you guys interested by chance? Our first discussion was literally 10 years ago so we have mostly new members now. It would be a fresh and new discussion.


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Post Re: WANTED: Book suggestions AND feedback for next Non-Fiction book discussion!
But I'm pretty confident we could also get Bill Nye to agree to a live chat...



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Post Re: WANTED: Book suggestions AND feedback for next Non-Fiction book discussion!
Chris OConnor wrote:
I just talked to Ann Druyan, Carl Sagan's wife, and she agreed to another live chat if we read and discuss he Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark again. Are you guys interested by chance? Our first discussion was literally 10 years ago so we have mostly new members now. It would be a fresh and new discussion.

I read this book when it first came out, a long, long time ago. And would be glad to read it again.


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Mon Jan 12, 2015 11:45 am
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Post Re: WANTED: Book suggestions AND feedback for next Non-Fiction book discussion!
Ann Druyan's assistant just sent me an email asking to set up a date and time for a live chat. I think we should go for it. February and March perhaps? I'm not sure if this book warrants 3 full months.



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