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Henry Ruddle "Sapere Aude" RSS Feed (San Jose, CA USA)
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This Town: Two Parties and a Funeral-Plus, Plenty of Valet Parking!-in America's Gilded Cap ital
This Town: Two Parties and a Funeral-Plus, Plenty of Valet Parking!-in America's Gilded Cap ital
Offered by Penguin Group (USA) LLC
Price: $9.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Light and Fun in Tone, but Tedious in Content, October 3, 2013
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News Flash: Politicians are corrupt! As a news junkie, nothing in This Town surprised me, and much of it I already knew, albeit without the anecdotes and tedious details. The incestuous doings of Washington DC get reported on a lot already, so except for the specific characters that Mark Leibovich chooses to profile -- seemingly at random rather than for some special significance -- reading This Town felt like deja vu all over again. I came away with the impression that he organized the book as a series of chapters covering distinct topics, and then compiled lists of people he had reported on who fit into each topic -- underlining the ones he wanted to please, and crossing out the ones he wanted to displease by leaving them out or was afraid to displease by putting them in. Clearly, he's an exemplar of the corruption he portrays -- he will take his licks and spend some time in exile for profiting from dirty laundry, and then "lunch in This Town" again like every other member of The Club.


Stop Making Sense
Stop Making Sense
Price: $11.49

5.0 out of 5 stars Best live album ever, August 25, 2013
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This review is from: Stop Making Sense (MP3 Music)
A ton of Talking Heads classics in an energetic, live setting. I always skip the Tom-Tom Club intermission, but some people might like it.


Thinking, Fast and Slow
Thinking, Fast and Slow
Offered by Macmillan
Price: $9.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Systematic, Clear and Intriguing, March 11, 2012
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Anyone who has ever wondered why they have trouble getting motivated, jumping to the wrong conclusions or making the best decisions should read Thinking Fast and Slow. Our minds evolved for adaptive fitness and survival, not to make us happy, healthy, wealthy and wise, but if we really understand how our minds work we have a much better chance of reaching those goals too.


Nonzero: The Logic of Human Destiny
Nonzero: The Logic of Human Destiny
by Robert Wright
Edition: Paperback
Price: $14.31
224 used & new from $0.01

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A satisfying answer for meaning of life, July 21, 2008
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Whenever I encounter someone who struggles with the question of "Does life have meaning?" I recommend they read Nonzero. Usually they are not-yet-religious, but have become seekers, which worries me because seekers usually end up being ensnared by organized religion with all its supernatural mumbo jumbo unless they can find emotional satisfaction within the world of reason. Wright's Nonzero provides a rational, compelling antedote by explaining the complexity and apparent intentionality of life using completely natural, undesigned, undirected mechanisms that allow plenty of room for spirituality without religion.

Robert Wright's earlier (and excellent) book on evolutionary psychology, The Moral Animal, ends with the author as a confirmed determinist. I've always suspected that he wrote Nonzero in reaction to his own later struggles with reconciling the barrenness of determinism with his own feelings of spirituality and desire for meaning.


Religion Explained: The Evolutionary Origins of Religious Thought
Religion Explained: The Evolutionary Origins of Religious Thought
by Pascal Boyer
Edition: Paperback
Price: $12.34
109 used & new from $2.99

11 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A serious effort to get to the real roots of religious thinking, January 19, 2007
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Pascal Boyer goes deep in his effort to explain belief in the supernatural. As a result, some of the reading is a bit dull, but it is ultimately rewarding. He goes well beyond the "people are a afraid of death" and "social approval" sorts of explanations in his wide-ranging survey of current and historical supernatural beliefs. Most people today take monotheism as the norm, and Boyer shows how and why we got to this point, as religion came to mesh with an increasingly complex web of human intuitions and emotional needs, showing the edifice of religion to be nothing but a cultural artifact.


Letter to a Christian Nation
Letter to a Christian Nation
by Sam Harris
Edition: Hardcover
183 used & new from $0.20

7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Muhammed Ali of Non-Believers, January 19, 2007
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Sam Harris cuts through the manure in his challenge to religion in this electric and fast read. He sticks to his arguments, avoiding the temptations of judgmentalism and name-calling. As a member of a liberal church, I was an eager spectator at his eloquent boxing match with fundamentalists (Christian and Muslim alike), and so had to accept a beating when he jumped out of the ring to pummel us liberals for our mushy "each person follows his own path" orthodoxy. On it's face, the book sounds so contentious that it shouldn't sell outside the Harris family. You almost have to read it to understand why it's been on the bestsellers list for so long. I'm sure some of it comes from readers like me who plan to purchase extra copies to give friends and family.


Atheism, Morality, and Meaning (Prometheus Lecture Series)
Atheism, Morality, and Meaning (Prometheus Lecture Series)
by Michael Martin
Edition: Paperback
Price: $17.75
54 used & new from $0.24

16 of 28 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Too Dense, Too Defensive, January 5, 2005
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I had high hopes that Michael Martin's book would offer clear and concise description of a non-religious basis for morality, but what I found instead was a densely written, barely readable, defensive-almost-to-the-point-of-paranoia philisophical apology. Hello! Michael! Human morality predates Abraham, not to mention Jesus. Why write as if Christians invented it? If Christians want to claim that any non-God-based moral code is tantamount to relativism by reducing all arguments to the point of absurdity, let them. It's their intellectual cul de sac, and they appear to enjoy living there.

I found the Ideal Observer Theory completely unpersuasive. What is the difference between acting morally because the Ideal Observer would disapprove versus acting morally because God would disapprove? It's a distinction without a difference. Why look for morality in abstract concepts when it is so clearly visible in reality and human history? Thou shalt not murder? Duh! Humanity wouldn't exist if we hadn't figured that one out long ago.
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