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Please "check in" here if you plan to participate in Darwin's Dangerous Idea! 
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 Please "check in" here if you plan to participate in Darwin's Dangerous Idea!
Please "check in" here if you plan to participate in Darwin's Dangerous Idea!

Everybody benefits by knowing who else is planning to read and discuss the book so please make a brief post here checking in and letting us know of your intention to join this book discussion.



Thu Feb 16, 2017 11:56 pm
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Post Re: Please "check in" here if you plan to participate in Darwin's Dangerous Idea!
I plan to participate but may be skipping around in the book--just to give warning of what might seem an ADD approach. When I think about any book discussion I've been in, the book is never discussed in its entirety; rather, it always happens that a certain few topics grab the attention of the group. Keeping to chapter sequence usually doesn't work.



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Chris OConnor
Fri Feb 17, 2017 7:07 am
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Post Re: Please "check in" here if you plan to participate in Darwin's Dangerous Idea!
I'll be participating. Looking forward to it.


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Chris OConnor
Fri Feb 17, 2017 8:53 am
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Post Re: Please "check in" here if you plan to participate in Darwin's Dangerous Idea!
I'm going to read the chapter Bully for Brontosaurus first myself. I'm guessing this book can be read out of order without too much of an issue.



Fri Feb 17, 2017 9:49 am
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Post Re: Please "check in" here if you plan to participate in Darwin's Dangerous Idea!
I'm in. I expect to have my copy any day now.

For the record, I'm just now completing the last chapter of the Bryson book after taking a number of detours through chapters of "Cosmos", "Origins Reconsidered" and "Sapiens" for more info on favorite topics.
I expect to be dipping further into Harari's "Sapiens" as I get into Dennett's book.



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Fri Feb 17, 2017 11:43 am
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Post Re: Please "check in" here if you plan to participate in Darwin's Dangerous Idea!
Yes


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Fri Feb 17, 2017 3:58 pm
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Post Re: Please "check in" here if you plan to participate in Darwin's Dangerous Idea!
Chris OConnor wrote:
I'm going to read the chapter Bully for Brontosaurus first myself. I'm guessing this book can be read out of order without too much of an issue.

Well why not start there, then? When is this discussion set to start, Chris?



Fri Feb 17, 2017 6:53 pm
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Post Re: Please "check in" here if you plan to participate in Darwin's Dangerous Idea!
I'm going to make a sincere effort to read the whole thing, I want to get the full background, I'm not sure how independent the chapters are. I see there is some material on morality towards the end, I happened to be reading a bit on meta-ethics, so I'm very interested in what he has to say, as it seems to me you've got to bring in evolution to have a complete discussion of the subject.



Fri Feb 17, 2017 8:06 pm
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Post Re: Please "check in" here if you plan to participate in Darwin's Dangerous Idea!
I will be participating. I have comments already for Ch. 1.

I have read a good part of Ch. 10, and find it to be distressingly badly written. Rather than sorting out what the issues are and doing his best to resolve them, Dennett accuses Gould of switching the grounds for "debate" and then proceeds to demonstrate in lurid detail that he cannot himself decide what is at issue. Well, maybe I will skip over to comment on Ch. 10 quite soon.

However, I think it is important to try to put it in the context of his philosophical points, and I have not read those yet. The issue of "telos" (roughly, purpose or goal) is a crucial one for philosophy, with many widely varying claims being made about it, some of them mutually incompatible. Arguably it is the reason for reading Dennett's book. I am really only interested in his back and forth with Gould to the extent that it sheds any light on how we should approach the issue of "telos".

And, since I did not get back to the "which book should we read" thread quickly enough to reply, let me say that I have no reason to believe that "punctuated equilibrium" has been discredited. Although there seem to have been points on which Gould has been shown to have claimed too much for it, the basic idea of stasis and the math behind the challenge by Mayr, Gould and Eldredge to a gradualistic idea of genetic change and speciation seem to be pretty solid. I think it would be great if more light got shed on that question, as it is pretty interesting to my mind.



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Sat Feb 18, 2017 4:48 am
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Post Re: Please "check in" here if you plan to participate in Darwin's Dangerous Idea!
Re-reading the first 2 chapters of this book, I think it is some brilliant writing, putting some context in the history of thought, then illustrating the importance of Darwin.

But some of the reviews point out his digressions into debating with Gould and others. There may be some interesting issues there, hopefully it doesn't get bogged down too much.

I've read and listened to Dennett's debate on free will with Sam Harris, and I found that Dennett was uncharitable and even disingenuous. So while I expect to learn from him, I will definitely be reading his opinions with a critical eye.



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Post Re: Please "check in" here if you plan to participate in Darwin's Dangerous Idea!
Harry Marks wrote:
. . . let me say that I have no reason to believe that "punctuated equilibrium" has been discredited. Although there seem to have been points on which Gould has been shown to have claimed too much for it, the basic idea of stasis and the math behind the challenge by Mayr, Gould and Eldredge to a gradualistic idea of genetic change and speciation seem to be pretty solid. I think it would be great if more light got shed on that question, as it is pretty interesting to my mind.

I agree with you. I don't think punctuated equilibrium has been discredited so much as becoming not as significant as it once was portrayed. Evolution sometimes occurs slowly and gradually and sometimes happens relatively quickly. And this concept is simply not controversial (except to Creationists). Many of the abrupt transitions in the fossil record have been shown to be caused by migratory events. But I'm looking forward to reading Dennett's take on it.

Here's a great description of punctuated equilibrium.

http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrar ... ctuated_01


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Sat Feb 18, 2017 12:44 pm
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Post Re: Please "check in" here if you plan to participate in Darwin's Dangerous Idea!
The forum is up and ready for use. The discussion months are March, April and May, but there is no reason why we cannot start early.



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Post Re: Please "check in" here if you plan to participate in Darwin's Dangerous Idea!
geo wrote:
Here's a great description of punctuated equilibrium.
http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrar ... ctuated_01

The diagrams make a great presentation of the forces involved in the punctuated equilibrium mechanism. Good background for those interested in Ch. 10. Thanks.



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Fri May 26, 2017 3:37 pm
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Post Re: Please "check in" here if you plan to participate in Darwin's Dangerous Idea!
Thanks Harry Marks for the introduction to this site. It likely would have provided some additional support for me as I struggled through the final chapters of Dennett's book. I expect to visit the site regularly as I now work my way through a book I should have read years ago - Dawkins "The Blind Watchmaker".



Thu Jun 01, 2017 6:33 am
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