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What Is Your Dangerous Idea

Author: Mr. John Brockman
Publisher: Harper Collins
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The world's leading scientific thinkers explore bold, remarkable, perilous ideas that could change our lives—for better . . . or for worse . . . From Copernicus to Darwin, to current-day thinkers, scientists have always promoted theories and unveiled discoveries that challenge everything society holds dear; ideas with both positive and dire consequences. Many thoughts that resonate today are dangerous not because they are assumed to be false, but because they might turn out to be true. What do the world's leading scientists and thinkers consider to be their most dangerous idea? Through the leading online forum Edge (www.edge.org), the call went out, and this compelling and easily digestible volume collects the answers. From using medication to permanently alter our personalities to contemplating a universe in which we are utterly alone, to the idea that the universe might be fundamentally inexplicable, What Is Your Dangerous Idea? takes an unflinching look at the daring, breathtaking, sometimes terrifying thoughts that could forever alter our world and the way we live in it. Contributors include Daniel C. Dennett • Jared Diamond • Brian Greene • Matt Ridley • Howard Gardner and Freeman Dyson, among others


Science under siege

Author: Peter Banks
Publisher: Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales
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On Saturday 29 November 2008, the Royal Zoological Society of NSW held a forum with the theme of Science under siege. As the RZS is a zoological society, zoology under threat became the secondary theme and the basis for selecting speakers. This book records that forum with the papers developed for this book as the written word from the spoken presentations. Papers that were presented as posters are included, as are the edited plenary sessions which featured questions from the floor, with answers and comments encouraged from anyone in the forum. We were delighted that Mark Horstman, from ABC Catalyst, was willing to replace his peripatetic colleague Paul Willis, who was nonetheless very happy to write the foreword. There is a place for such skilled science communicators, we need more of them, and scientists at the lab bench, or in the field, or exploring computer models, or those that have now taken a job in the policy world, need to stay in touch with them. Some might say that the title “Science under siege” seems a bit extreme, but we invite you to examine the evidence as presented in this book. What follows is an edited version of the introductory material that advertised the forum: The title looks dramatic, but if you ask yourself, “is anything killing the science in your area of interest?” you might be surprised that you come up with a point or two. Then ask a wider set of questions, such as: are there any pressures that preclude people from doing good zoology; do either political/budgetary constraints impact on your field; is science in the media a subject that influences the outcome of your work; are there economic impediments to careers in zoology; is the education mix in Australia right for this new century; are the best researchers becoming full-time administrators, or the converse, the poor researchers becoming the administrators; can you place the Australian situation in an international context; are there reduced opportunities for human interactions with the natural world; is the virtual world killing reality; and what are your predictions of the future? To deal with such issues, the Royal Zoological Society of NSW has structured the day to emphasize a range of themes, beginning with identifying the issues, including those that are persistent and those that are emerging, and encompassing palpable hits to science. Direct and indirect hits to science include such matters as the withdrawal of funding, subversion of science, death by 1000 cuts, redirection of funding to fashion issues and using the name of science to justify things that are really not justifiable. The name of science is being dragged down. We need to confront the ever-present problem of ignoring the scientifically accurate for the politically correct. This raises such questions as to whether basic skills in biology are not being acquired because of public concern based on extreme animal rights propaganda. Good science is not optional, but what can be done if you are under siege? The answers include understanding the philosophy of science, the legal perspective and asking what scientists are (or should be) doing. Audience participation will be a central part of this forum. The plenary sessions will address questions raised by the speakers, and the posters, and debate issues and consider options for future directions. It is widely known that it is hard to pull a major paper together on this theme, but so many scientists know of at least one matter that they would like to draw to public attention. So, short contributions are included. Listen to the speakers present some overarching themes or compelling case studies, contribute to the debate on the day, then examine your stance on a variety of these subjects to see whether the day changes your view of this often cryptic aspect of zoology. As editors, we wish to acknowledge the skills of the referees (all papers were refereed by two peers), and the patience of the authors for what has been a long gap between the date of the forum and this publication. By the end of 2008, the Royal Zoological Society of NSW, along with everyone else, was caught by the GFC (Global Financial Crisis) and we simply had to extend the length of the queue for publication. We also reassessed our mode of publication. The Council of the Society voted to publish this production as an ebook, as well as a short print run for formal library deposit, and other essential matters. The ebook is open access to enhance the reach of the papers and the ideas. At the same time, the Royal Zoological Society of NSW signed a contract for a more international mode of access of the publications of the Society, and papers are now available via Metapress. http:// rzsnsw.metapress.com Science remains under siege, in our view, and now we have been alerted to the range of issues it becomes easier to spot the small, irritating closing of options that collectively amount to a denial of science and its relegation to an optional way of looking at the world. During production of this book, this matter became obvious on a number of fronts, which led us to invite the paper by Rosie Cooney and colleagues to defend their science of kangaroo conservation and commercial harvesting from an attack on the science. We also saw that this issue of science under siege needs more airing, and the Royal Zoological Society of NSW is planning its forum for the end of 2012 to take up another strand of this theme by capitalizing on the lifelong insights of scientists under the rubric of “grumpy scientists: an ecological conscience of a nation”. This idea in fact derives directly from the suggestions in the plenary sessions by Nick Holmes and Charley Krebs. We are also concerned for young scientists, with science under siege manifesting often in a failure to create permanent careers for science graduates that advance science itself, and zoology in particular, from flourishing and identifying problems and finding solutions. If we want to conserve the native fauna of Australia, then Australian zoologists will have to be key team members. We contend that to put science under siege, and zoology under threat, we not only further imperil our native wildlife, but also the careers of the small band of specialists that can see the issues, find the problems, implement solutions and evaluate the outcomes. In short, science under siege is not a light matter and no one in this forum thought so. Read on, form an opinion, and speak up and publish your thoughts, your examples and your solutions.


Are We Free Psychology and Free Will

Author: John Baer
Publisher: Oxford University Press
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Do people have free will, or this universal belief an illusion? If free will is more than an illusion, what kind of free will do people have? How can free will influence behavior? Can free will be studied, verified, and understood scientifically? How and why might a sense of free will have evolved? These are a few of the questions this book attempts to answer. People generally act as though they believe in their own free will: they don't feel like automatons, and they don't treat one another as they might treat robots. While acknowledging many constraints and influences on behavior, people nonetheless act as if they (and their neighbors) are largely in control of many if not most of the decisions they make. Belief in free will also underpins the sense that people are responsible for their actions. Psychological explanations of behavior rarely mention free will as a factor, however. Can psychological science find room for free will? How do leading psychologists conceptualize free will, and what role do they believe free will plays in shaping behavior? In recent years a number of psychologists have tried to solve one or more of the puzzles surrounding free will. This book looks both at recent experimental and theoretical work directly related to free will and at ways leading psychologists from all branches of psychology deal with the philosophical problems long associated with the question of free will, such as the relationship between determinism and free will and the importance of consciousness in free will. It also includes commentaries by leading philosophers on what psychologists can contribute to long-running philosophical struggles with this most distinctly human belief. These essays should be of interest not only to social scientists, but to intelligent and thoughtful readers everywhere.


Information consciousness reality

Author: James B. Glattfelder
Publisher: Springer
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What are You Optimistic About

Author: John Brockman
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In 2007 the leading online forum for scientists and thinkers, www.edge.org, issued its third annual question: 'What are you optimistic about, and why?' As with its predecessors -- 'What do you believe to be true but cannot prove?' and 'What is your dangerous idea?' -- the question created an instant media storm, with global reaction to the answers posted by some of the world's most eminent scientists and thinkers. WHAT ARE YOU OPTIMISTIC ABOUT is the third collection of answers to the Edge question. Featuring responses from Richard Dawkins, Brian Eno, Steven Pinker, Sir Martin Rees and Matt Ridley, and covering topics as diverse as the decline of violence, the path to enlightenment and mankind's enduring ability to solve problems, this collection is guaranteed to make you look on the bright side. Global warming, the war on terror and rampant consumerism getting you down? Lighten up! And read some of the world's brightest brains on their reasons to be cheerful.


Transhumanism and Society

Author: Stephen Lilley
Publisher: Springer Science & Business Media
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This book provides an introductory overview to the social debate over enhancement technologies with an overview of the transhumanists' call to bypass human nature and conservationists' argument in defense of it. The author present this controversy as it unfolds in the contest between transhumanists proponents and conservationists, who push back with an argument to conserve human nature and to ban enhancement technologies. This book provides an overview of the key contested points and present the debate in an orderly, constructive fashion. Readers are informed about the discussion over humanism, the tension between science and religion, and the interpretation of socio-technological revolutions; and are invited to make up their own mind about one of the most challenging topics concerning the social and ethical implications of technological advancements.


The Blank Slate

Author: Steven Pinker
Publisher: Penguin
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A brilliant inquiry into the origins of human nature. "Sweeping, erudite, sharply argued, and fun to read..also highly persuasive." -Time Now updated with a new afterword One of the world's leading experts on language and the mind explores the idea of human nature and its moral, emotional, and political colorings. With characteristic wit, lucidity, and insight, Pinker argues that the dogma that the mind has no innate traits-a doctrine held by many intellectuals during the past century-denies our common humanity and our individual preferences, replaces objective analyses of social problems with feel-good slogans, and distorts our understanding of politics, violence, parenting, and the arts. Injecting calm and rationality into debates that are notorious for ax-grinding and mud-slinging, Pinker shows the importance of an honest acknowledgment of human nature based on science and common sense.


My Revision Notes AQA A2 Religious Studies Religion and Ethics and Philosophy of Religion

Author: Richard Gray
Publisher: Hachette UK
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Unlock your full potential with this revision guide which provides both the key content you need to know and guidance on how to apply it for better grades My Revision Notes: AQA A2 Religious Studies: Religion and Ethics and Philosophy of Religion helps you to stay motivated and focused during your revision - and gives you the opportunity to practise and refine your skills to achieve the best grade in your exam. Breaks down all topics into short sections - easy to read and revise from Exam-style practice questions help confidence with the exam 'Issues arising' section specifically helps prepare for AQA AS RS AO2 questions Concise notes, clear layout and colourful features keep you engaged You can check your learning with the 'test yourself' questions and tick-box design


Fierce Leadership

Author: Susan Scott
Publisher: Crown Business
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From the author of the acclaimed book Fierce Conversations comes the antidote to some of the most wrongheaded practices of business today. · “Provide anonymous feedback.” · “Hire smart people.” · “Hold people accountable.” These are all sound, business practices, right? Not so fast, says leadership visionary and bestselling author Susan Scott. In fact, these mantras — despite being long-accepted and adopted by business leaders everywhere — are completely wrongheaded. Worse, they are costing companies billions of dollars, driving away valuable employees and profitable customers, limiting performance, and stalling careers. Yet they are so deeply ingrained in organizational cultures that no one has questioned them. Until now. In Fierce Leadership, Scott teaches us how to spot the worst “best” practices in our organizations using a technique she calls “squid eye”–the ability to see the “tells” or signs that we have fallen prey to disastrous behaviors by knowing what to look for. Only then, she says, can we apply the antidote.. Informed by over a decade of conversations with Fortune 500 executives, this book is that antidote. With fierce new approaches to everything from employee feedback to corporate diversity to customer relations, Scott offers fresh and surprising alternatives to six of the so-called “best” practices permeating today’s businesses. This refreshingly candid book is a must-read for any manager or leader at any level who is ready to take a long hard look at what trouble might be lurking in their organization - and do something about it.


How and Why Thoughts Change

Author: Ian M. Evans
Publisher: Oxford University Press
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Cognitive therapy, a core approach within a collection of psychotherapeutic techniques known as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), is fundamentally about changing peoples' thoughts-helping them overcome difficulties by recognizing and changing dysfunctional thinking styles. Among other strategies, it requires encouraging the development of skills for rehearsing new habits of thought, modifying biases in judging and interpreting social and emotional information, and for testing assumptions underlying dysfunctional and negative, distorted thinking. In How and Why Thoughts Change, Dr. Ian Evans deconstructs the nature of cognitive therapy by examining the cognitive element of CBT, that is, how and why thoughts change behavior and emotion. There are a number of different approaches to cognitive therapy, including the classic Beck approach, the late Albert Ellis's rational-emotive psychotherapy, Young's schema-focused therapy, and newer varieties such as mindfulness training, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), and problem-solving strategies. Evans identifies the common principles underlying these methods, attempts to integrate them, and makes suggestions as to how our current cognitive therapies might be improved. He draws on a broad survey of contemporary research on basic cognitive processes and integrates these with therapeutic approaches. While it may seem obvious that how and what we think determines how and in what manner we behave, the relationship between thought and action is not a simple one. Evans addresses questions such as: What is the difference between a thought and a belief? How do we find the cause of a thought? And can it really be that thought causes behavior and emotion, or could it be the other way around? In a reader-friendly style that avoids jargon, this innovative book answers some pertinent questions about cognitive therapy in a way that clarifies exactly how and why thoughts change. Evans demonstrates that understanding these concepts is a linchpin to providing and improving therapy for clients.