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Corroded Disorder
Corroded Disorder
21 used & new from $4.51

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars gotta give it a few listens, November 26, 1999
This review is from: Corroded Disorder (Audio CD)
like the other reviewer, i didn't think this cd was that great when I first got it, in fact i was quite dissappointed. However, keeping in my mind that this is actually a re-release of older material, i kept an open mind, got into a late eighties mind-set, and found out that this cd is pretty good-not as monumental as hard wired or millennium, but definitely a must-have for FLA fans.

Unweaving the Rainbow: Science, Delusion and the Appetite for Wonder
Unweaving the Rainbow: Science, Delusion and the Appetite for Wonder
by Richard Dawkins
Edition: Hardcover
76 used & new from $0.49

75 of 92 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good book, w/ a hopelessly unpopular message, November 20, 1999
Richard Dawkins reminds me of the protagonist in Plato's Cave analogy: one of those rare individuals who staggers out of the stygian depths of human ignorance and catches a brief but blinding glimpse of the way things actually are. However, on his joyous return to the cave to tell people about the marvel and wonder of what he has just witnessed, he is attacked and killed for ruining our blissfull stupidity. In other words, Dawkins is attempting to spread his (and science's) message about the external reality that we reside in, but the masses just don't want to hear it. They want their "spirituality" and "mysticism", whatever those things are supposed mean (looked 'em up in the dictionary and all i got were a few vague, circular, and ultimately meaningless definitions-not that i was surprised, however). Dawkins thinks that as long as people have an open mind and a decent ability to comprehend english, they will see the beauty of what he is saying-that the universe is bigger, better, more beautiful, amazing, awe-inspiring, and just completely more mind-blowing than anything that any religion or cult purported it to be. Judging from the many of the reviews, this is simply not the case. They would rather have their tiny, impotent god, their narrow-minded ideology that is responsible for much of the hatred and bigotry that we find lurking around us. People do not want to be told that they are just another animal, on just another planet, orbiting just another star, found in just another galaxy, which in turn, is perhaps in just another universe. We shout out against this clear voice of reason that we are the center of the universe, because our collective ego knows no bounds. We are not just animals we say desparately, trying to convince ourselves more than anyone else. Poor Mr. Dawkins; his intelligence, wit, clarity, and excellent prose style is wasted on these philistines, these "christians" and other self-righteous types, who would like nothing more than to see Mr. Dawkins "sin" of thinking rationally and not assuming that we, that hateful, murdering, genocidal portion of the animal kingdom that calls itself humanity, are the reason for the existence of everything, although our existence is necessary for nothing. Give us back our purpose, we shout at Mr. Dawkins, so that we won't have to realize how empty and shallow our lives actually are. Do not tell us that we are not immortal, we howl, so that we won't realize how much of our lives have been wasted in the pointless rat-race of capitalist America, home of the free and land of the depraved. We retort "your science cannot explain art, music, or literature", ignoring the fact that our god cannot even explain our existence-the same god who told us that the earth is flat and slavery is a-ok, as long as you give money to the church. However, Mr.Dawkins is not afraid of us, the great anti-intellectual american beast, and that is what makes us hate him even more.

The Blind Watchmaker: Why the Evidence of Evolution Reveals a Universe without Design (Reissued in 2006 and 1996)
The Blind Watchmaker: Why the Evidence of Evolution Reveals a Universe without Design (Reissued in 2006 and 1996)
by Richard Dawkins
Edition: Paperback
212 used & new from $0.47

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars not pure fact, but still very persuasive, October 18, 1999
First of all, let's get something straight: no scientific theory is absolute fact(although i don't recommend that you try to defy gravity or breathe in a vacuum or play w/ radioactive objects). Therefore, any objections to Dawkins' (or any other evolutionist)ideas which involve the statement "Evolution has never been proven as fact" are really just stating the obvious: no scientific theory has ever been proven as fact, if it could, it wouldn't be real, since NOTHING can ever be absolutely proven as fact (just ask any philosopher). So if the theory of evolution is not fact, then why should we consider it to be a good explanation of why organisms look and behave the way do? Because there is a mountain of evidence that supports it and Dawkins does a good job of introducing us to that mountain (although if you really wanted to be impressed by the theory of evolution, i suggest you go to your library and get a nice thick textbook on evolution; practically every objection to evolution will be answered quite convincingly). However, there are some intriguing objections that Dawkins does not talk about, like the claim that no new genetic information has ever been added-all variation is merely a result of pre-existing genetic material and not mutation. There are 3 problems w/ this argument: first, it's an idle, dogmatic assertion which is not based on any scientific data, secondly, since we only know fewer (ALOT fewer) than 1% of the genomes of all living organisms we have little frame of reference for declaring that all the genetic information of any given organism is pre-existing (how can we know that if we don't even know what the pre-existing information is in the first place?), and finally, there IS evidence of mutation leading to new genetic information (whew, long sentence!) !!! This evidence that i just mentioned relates to the phenomenon of gene duplication and the fact that many quaternary proteins (like hemoglobin) are composed of very similar subunits, subunits which happen to be so similar that it is likely they resulted from one gene which was duplicated (read: mutation) several times, resulting in a new protein and (gasp!) new genetic information. Of course this isn't absolute proof, but it is an interesting tidbit of information that many anti-evolutionists are (conveniently) unaware of. What's shocking, though, is an argument that Dawkins puts to rest to quite well keeps on rearing its ugly head. What is this argument you ask? The dreaded (and totally lame) Argument from Personal Incredulity (or disbelief to us Americans)! I swiped a quote from one of the previous reviews to demonstrate- "But on the grounds of natural selection alone there is no reason to expect such an outcome towards development of such complexity." Now this is just the type of statement that makes Dawkins cringe- a statement wherein a person w/ absolutely no authority makes an absolute, dogmatic statement saying that since organisms are so complex, it is impossible to imagine or believe that they are the result of natural selection and other assorted mechanistic factors. Why is this a bad argument, you ask? Well, Dawkins demostrates in his book why it is flawed, but i have a couple of points of my own to make- chiefly, that since organisms started out being very simple (theoretically the first organisms had just the bare necessities for survival)increased complexity is the ONLY the direction the organisms could go in. The bottom line is if you start out simple you have no choice but to become complex; there's just no where else to go. Second problem w/ this statement: since mutations usually lead to increase in genetic material, and an increase in genetic material leads to increased complexity (this goes well w/ the example of gene duplication), then natural selection based upon mutation would inevitably lead to increased complexity. This also well demonstrated by experiments in which new plant species have been created- it involves taking haploid amounts of dna from 2 different plant species, using the chemical colchicine to induce spontaneous polyploidy and Bam!!! you have yourself a new species of plant which happens to be bigger (literally), badder (figuratively), and more complex than its two parent species (coincidentally, it can longer interbreed w/ its progenitors, but it can interbreed w/ hybrids just like it, making it a different species no matter what definition you throw at it.) It is unlikely that you could acheive the same results by decreasing the genetic information of a plant-instead of getting a new species, you would get a new plant. So let's review: by doubling the genetic material (which also doubles the genetic info) of two diff. plant species in a zygote, you get a brand new species, which also happens to be quite viable (all the stuff that lead to this new species, by the way, can occur in the wild-in fact, many polyploid plant species show evidence having undergone this process naturally. But wait, you say, i've just duplicated the genetic information, not increased it. This may be true, in a technical, hair-splitting sense, but by doubling the dna, new variation and characteristics have been added, and most importantly, mutation will be more successful, since there's two of everything, and mutation to one gene, even if it's bad, may not result in death. The important thing to realize is that duplication of genetic material is looking more and more important everyday for increasing the variation in organisms, especially since it's present in everything from bacteria (which often have multiple copies of their single chromosome) to salmon and trout(which can be 7N!!). Well, i've just about typed my fingers off writing this thing, but have a message: although it annoys me when people challenge evolution it's a good thing, because it keeps us evolutionists from getting too lazy and somebody might actually be on to something ( i personally think Stuart Kauffman's complexity theory ideas are pretty nifty, although it's too early to say where it might lead us)!

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