1. Snoopingaround
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    Snoopingaround Banned

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    Science Books

    Discussion in 'Book Discussion' started by Snoopingaround, Aug 12, 2011.

    I didn't see a thread like this in the recent pages, so I will start a science books thread here. Personally, I have to admit that I am more of a non-ficton reader. One of my big interests is science. There are a number of excellent authors out there, including Steven Pinker, Richard Dawkins, Lawrence Krauss, Michio Kaku, Stephen Hawking, and so on. Also, some popular sci-fi authors have also written very good non-fiction works, like Isaac Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke. What are some of your favorite science books and authors? Have you read any good science books lately?
     
  2. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Besides Hawking and Dawkins, I've read only Darwin's Origin of Species. I admit that I don't read much science nonfiction.
     
  3. andrewjeddy
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    andrewjeddy Member

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    I know we are not supposed to debate on here. So I hope my different veiws on Science will only cause alarm and horror and turn this thread into a debate thread. While I have read some of Darwin and Dawikins I completely disagree with their conclusions. Those I consider to be the real scientists include Ken Ham, Jay Wile, John C. Witcomb, Henry M. Morris, Thomas G. Barnes, Frank Lewis Marsh, and Carl Wieland. In my opinion their explaination makes much more sense scientifically.
     
  4. StrangerWithNoName
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    StrangerWithNoName Longobard duke

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    Richard Feynman's books on physics, he explained difficult concepts in a original and weird way.
     
  5. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Had to look up Ham on Wikipedia:

    Went to some of his writing and say his explanations for his viewpoints. Whether you agree or disagree with his beliefs, they're certainly not very scientific, and you can't really call him a "real" scientist to the exclusion of the others in any objective sense.

    As for interesting science books - Feyman, I agree, is good. Also Kaku and Greene, if you like physics.
     
  6. StrangerWithNoName
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    StrangerWithNoName Longobard duke

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    Does this guy live in a psychiatric ward or something like that?
     
  7. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Heh. No, but unfortunately the kind of things he writes is eagerly consumed by the credulous and those lacking education in sciences.

    There is actually some interesting work on things like physics and Genesis, but the scholarship in that area that is interesting demonstrates a consistency between a lot of modern physics and what is in some of these religious texts (for example, tying Genesis into a Big Bang cosmology). It doesn't adopt the out-dated 19th century imperative of putting itself in conflict with science, like Ham does. I read a book dealing with Genesis and Big Bang cosmology, and the author tried to construct an argument that the creation story in Genesis really is consistent with that sort of cosmology. Of course, this author (a Rabbi I believe) was reasonable enough to recognize that the scientific evidence couldn't just be dismissed with a wave of the hand. Even though we don't have a complete understanding, or necessarily even an entirely correct one, any scientific approach still has to be able to address it.

    Instead, it is looked at more like some kind of collective unconscious, or collective understanding of cosmology somehow shared by humanity. And of course virtually all of the stories in Genesis predate the Bible and Christianity or even Judaism, with similar stories found among previous religions from Babylonians to Sumerians, Egyptians, Hindus, etc. The authors of the Bible certainly had these existing stories and beliefs to draw on.

    So there is some interesting work there in terms of "myth" and how it might relate to reality, or how there might be some interpretation of truth in them in terms of cosmology.

    But the approach of Ham that out-of-hand discounts mountains of scientific evidence in favor of starting with a preconceived religious notion and then working forward to explain everything in terms of that - well, that belongs back in the 19 century, or even before, when it sprang from fears of loss of political power due to a shrinking sphere of the Church. Irrational, of course, because there is no inherent conflict in science and religious faith - only the conflict that is manufactured by people who seem to need it.
     
  8. andrewjeddy
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    andrewjeddy Member

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    I disagree. I completely agree with Ken Ham and I think that his veiws are perfectly scientific. While they do not agree with Evolution that does not mean that they don't agree with science. Consider that most of the greats of Science were strong Christians: Newton, Galileo, Copernicus, Louis Pasteur, Rene Descartes, Robert Boyle, Michael Faraday, Gregor Mendel, Max Planck, and Albert Einstein- all of whom were not only great men of science, but also great men of God. You see, science and Christianity, contrary to popular opinion, are not contradictory. Christianity gives a rational explaination of Christianity. I can answer anyone who wants to debate this further, but as we are not supposed to debate on here, please PM me and I will gladly answer you.
     
  9. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    No one said Christianity and science can't coexist. The implication was that Young Earth Creationism is not based in good science, which is an objective fact.

    Feynman and Dawkins are both great science writers; Hawking is also quite good, if a little dense (but when you're writing on quantum mechanics, I guess a little difficulty is to be expected).
     
  10. AfterBroadway
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    AfterBroadway Senior Member

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    Haha...silly creationists. Anyway, I'm about to read The Disappearing Spoon, it's about the history of the periodic table of elements and some facts about the elements. I'm also in the middle of reading The Interpretation of Dreams.

    My girlfriend on the other hand reads a lot of nonfiction, she's reading a book on linguistics, and a book called Inside Joke, about humor and why we find certain things funny.
     
  11. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    The problem is that science is based on certain principles. The scientific method. Ham and his ilk do not utilize it. I don't see a conflict between science and religion. People like Ham perpetuate one where none exists.

    Whether you agree or disagree with Ham and others who hold similar beliefs, it is obectively not scientific, and no amount of saying it is will make it so.
     
  12. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    For a good introduction to physics, Isaac Asimov's three volume series Phyisics is very readable and will give you a decent Foundation*.












    * pun intended - Asimov loved puns.
     
  13. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Heh. Nice :D
     
  14. StrangerWithNoName
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    StrangerWithNoName Longobard duke

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    Of the ones you cite, Galileo was almost burned alive by the Catholic Church and Einstein was no christian at all: he was a non observant jew like Feynman. Christianity and believing in God are two different things, the former being a religion based on revelation from above cannot be explained rationally, and no Pope ever tried.
     
  15. Snoopingaround
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    Snoopingaround Banned

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    Ken Ham is a fundamentalist. His views are based on the bible, and not based on the scientific method. Reasoning based from a preconceived ideology, and bringing in "evidence" to support this ideology, disregarding all other evidence and information, is fundamentally unscientific. Everyone has an absolute right to their belief systems and religions, but they should also recognize that it is incorrect to apply scientific methodology in order to "prove" a particular religion. The religion itself must be based on observable phenomena and verifiable facts in order for one to claim scientific principles and knowledge from it. I suppose that someone can come up with a religion or religious cult based on mathematics and physics and natural laws, but then that would be more of a philosophical system rather than a religion (I am thinking of Pythagoras's little cult he had going back in ancient times). A religion is based on faith beliefs, and science is not. They do not necessarily conflict with each other, but they certainly are seperate from each other. Some people seem to have a difficult time with this, especially religious fundamentalists.
     
  16. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    As a scientist myself, I have to say that even science is based on faith beliefs. They are based on empirical observations, and rely on predictive mathematical models, Where the models deviate from observations, new theories are devised.

    Because I understand the process, and I trust the sources of those observations, I have faith in science and its most fundamental assumptions.

    I also understand the origins and the human need for religion. And that is also why a fundamental requirement of a modern religion is that it is neither provable nor disprovable. My atheistic beliefs are quite unshakeable, and not least because I can examine them as impassively as I can examine science for cracks.

    But it is unfair to state that science is not also faith-based.
     
  17. art
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    art Contributing Member Contributor

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    Avoid Dawkins. He is an ignoramus.

    John Gribbin's, Science. A History is delightful.
     
  18. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Dawkins is an ignoramus? Wow. I've heard him called many things, some of which have probably been justified, but "ignoramus" has never been one of them.

    John Gribbin, however, is a bit too far out on the fringe to take really seriously, IMO. I find his "designer universe" idea is simply not credible.
     
  19. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I find this confusing, in the light of the following:

    This means that they are NOT based on faith. Science is based on fact, not faith.
     
  20. art
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    art Contributing Member Contributor

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    Credibility is besides the point. A peculiar and playful idea, certainly, but is it logically unsustainable? Likely, not.

    Anyhow, his thoughts on that matter do not impinge on the work I suggested above which was applauded in many circles.

    Dawkins might well be able to elucidate evolutionary mechanisms very adroitly but he doesn't understand science. Sorry if that comes as a shock, but there you go. I'm not alone in thinking this...quite a number of learned agnostics/ atheists think he's something of an embarrassment.
     
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  21. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    The faith comes in to the most funadamental assumptions. Conservation of energy, time, gravity, even matter itself, all are accepted on faith, although the most far-looking scientists are questioning even these fundamentals.

    Just as theologians examine the fundamentals of their faiths, scientists continually question the assumptions that are at the foundation of science.
     
  22. StrangerWithNoName
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    StrangerWithNoName Longobard duke

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    They do, they always did: Einstein questioned several times the gravitational mass and its equivalence to the inertial mass, in singularities (black holes, white holes) energy doesn't conserve, time was considered for many years a constant arrow and people reacted in shock when they found out it could dilatate.
     
  23. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Yes, the true genius in science is identifying the assumptions that were never consciously made. These are often the assumptions that prove to be invalid under certain conditions.
     
  24. StrangerWithNoName
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    StrangerWithNoName Longobard duke

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    Im not a genius, but a simple R&D engineer and ex researcher, but everytime in my job I take this approach, and most of the people who work with me are doing the same: nothing is dogma.
     
  25. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    I don't know that I agree entirely. Seems to me there is empirical evidence that supports these assumptions. Doesn't mean they are absolutely true, and far-looking scientist, as you say, do question the fundamentals. But the fundamentals have been developed through the scientific process.

    Faith of the religious type is an entirely different way of "knowing." I don't mean to imply it is lesser, but it is quite different from scientific knowledge, and I think a lot of difficulty comes from trying to take one area of knowledge and apply it to the other.
     

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