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Book Club Selections
Apologies to all for duplication -- A bad copy and paste garbled the previous message.

For interested parties, please vote for 6 books, or if you like more than six, please rank your preferences. We'll issue results and schedule in the coming week.

Proposed books: RET Skeptics book club: April October 2004

Religion Explained, Pascal Boyer
Subtitle: The evolutionary origins of religious thought
Through the fields of cognitive science, linguistics, evolutionary biology, and anthropology, the author discusses the evolutionary causes of religion, humans need for religious thoughts, and the current state of religious thoughts and feelings resulting from our evolutionary history.

Debating Democracy, Bruce Johansen
Subtitle: Native American Legacy of Freedom
Through historical documentation, this book makes a case for the significant impact of native American society on colonial America and the founding fathers, and their incorporation of democratic procedures practiced by Native Americans into the US Constitution.

The Silent Takeover, Noreena Hertz
Subtitle: Global capitalism and the death of democracy
This Cambridge economist discusses the changing relationships between multinational corporations and world governments,
and specifically the dangerous shift of control from governments enforcing policy to governments changing policy to suit the needs of global capitalism. The author discusses the associated impact these policies are having on human rights,
income distribution, and the world financial and political landscape.

Freedom Evolves, Daniel Dennett
The author synthesizes philosophy and the natural sciences in a discussion of the concept of free will, and the use of biology and evolution as a perspective from which to analyze the evolution, and current state of, morals and political freedoms.

World on Fire, Amy Chua
This Yale law school professor discusses the negative aspects of globalization, through predominantly Asian case studies of the clash between market-dominant minorities and resentment from the ethnic majority. Various countries are used to exemplify the impact of globalization and the resulting wealth generated by these new markets, showing that they are controlled by a minority group which may or may not have been assimilated into the indigenous ethnic society. The author
has been called the anti Thomas Friedman.

Birth of the Mind, Gary Marcus
Subtitle: How a tiny number of genes creates the complexities of human thought
This NYU psychologist discusses the history of brain research up from its beginnings through the current human genome project, and discusses current state of research regarding our understanding of the function of the human brain.

Blowback, Chalmers Johnson
This book discusses the shift in US foreign policy from one of diplomacy to one of military might, and the unintended consequences and rising international backlash due to American politics overseas.

The Future of Life, Edward O. Wilson
This book by the noted biologist discusses the impact of human activity on the natural world, and identifies a plan for the protection of all species and the preservation of the biological heritage of Earth.

Theories of Culture in Postmodern Times, Marvin Harris
This anthropological theorist discusses the current nature of culture, critiques current trends in sociobiology, postmodernism, and afrocentrism, and gives a cultural materialists perspective on the fall of communism, the IQ test, and other relevant contemporary issues.

Traditional Values Revisited, Bedford McCoin
vol I: The Beginning
Vol II: The Renaissance Harvest
Vol III: 18th thru 20th Century
This east TN author explores the non-religious roots of our modern value system, in three short volumes. Through a use of commentary and quotations from the 'great books' by western thinkers, he attempts to trace our cherished traditional values to our intellectual history.


Posted by houston
Feb. 02, 2004