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Full title A Devil's Chaplain: Reflections on Hope, Lies, Science, and Love [permalink]
Language English
Author Richard Dawkins (author)
Publisher Mariner Books
Categories Anthology, biology, essay and science
Publication year 2004
Original publication year 2003
ISBN 978-0-618-48539-0 [Amazon, B&N, Abe, Powell's]
Pages 263
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Structure [Toggle visibility]
  • Introduction to the American Edition
  1. Science and Sensibility
    • 1.1 A Devil's Chaplain
    • 1.2 What is True?
    • 1.3 Gaps in the Mind
    • 1.4 Science, Genetics and Ethics: Memo for Tony Blair
    • 1.5 Trial By Jury
    • 1.6 Crystalline Truth and Crystal Balls
    • 1.7 Postmodernism Disrobed
    • 1.8 The Joy of Living Dangerously: Sanderson of Oundle
  2. Light Will Be Thrown
    • 2.1 Light Will Be Thrown
    • 2.2 Darwin Triumphant
    • 2.3 The 'Information Challenge'
    • 2.4 Genes Aren't Us
    • 2.5 Son of Moore's Law
  3. The Infected Mind
    • 3.1 Chinese Junk and Chinese Whispers
    • 3.2 Viruses of the Mind
    • 3.3 The Great Convergence
    • 3.4 Dolly and the Cloth Heads
    • 3.5 Time to Stand Up
  4. They Told Me, Heraclitus
    • 4.1 Lament for Douglas
    • 4.2 Eulogy for Douglas Adams
    • 4.3 Eulogy for W. D. Hamilton
    • 4.4 Snake Oil
  5. Even the Ranks of Tuscany
    • 5.1 Rejoicing in Multifarious Nature
    • 5.2 The Art of the Developable
    • 5.3 Hallucigenia, Wiwaxia and Friends
    • 5.4 Human Chauvinism and Evolutionary Progress
    • 5.5 Unfinished Correspondence with a Darwinian Heavyweight
  6. There is All Africa and her Prodigies in Us
    • 6.1 Ecology of Genes
    • 6.2 Out of the Soul of Africa
    • 6.3 I Speak of Africa and Golden Joys
    • 6.4 Heroes and Ancestors
  7. A Prayer for My Daughter
    • 7.1 Good and Bad Reasons for Believing
  • Endnotes
  • Index
Full title The Beginning and the End [permalink]
Language English
Author Isaac Asimov (author)
Publisher Pocket Books
Categories Anthology, astronomy, essay and science
Publication year 1978
Original publication year 1977
ISBN 0-671-47644-0 [Amazon, B&N, Abe, Powell's]
Pages 253
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Structure [Toggle visibility]
  • Introduction

A THE PAST

  • 1 The Real Cyrano
  • 2 Of What Use?
  • 3 The Democracy of Learning
  • 4 The Monsters We Have Lived With
  • 5 The Fossil Fuels
  • 6 A Stop of Water

B THE PRESENT

  • 7 Smart, but Not Smart Enough?
  • 8 Recipe for an Ocean
  • 9 Technology and Energy
  • 10 The Glorious Sun
  • 11 Astronomy
  • 12 The Large Satellites of Jupiter
  • 13 The Natural Satellites
  • 14 Of Life Beyond
  • 15 The Beginning and the End
  • 16 Gravitation, Unlimited
  • 17 Man and Computer

C THE FUTURE

  • 18 The Big Weather Change
  • 19 Tighten Your Belt
  • 20 America—A.D. 2176
  • 21 The Coming Decades in Space
  • 22 Colonizing the Heavens
  • 23 The Moon as Threshold
Full title Lying [permalink]
Language English
Authors Annaka Harris (editor) and Sam Harris (author)
Categories Essay, philosophy and psychology
Publication year 2011
Original publication year 2011
Pages 66
Synopsis

Lying is a very short book about the implications and morality of lying. In short, Harris argues (successfully, in my opinion) that one should never lie, even about the smallest things, if what you're trying to do is build good relationships with people. He even goes into border cases, such as a wife asking her husband if she looks good in a dress (one can answer the sub-text of a question, not necessarily the literal meaning of it) and someone hiding a Jew when a Nazi comes a-knockin' on the door (in that case, you're not really trying to build a lasting relationship with the person).

Review

Sam Harris is a really talented writer, and reading his material is never boring. This book is no exception, and the fact that it's as short as it is, is a point in its favor. It's the perfect length when all you're doing is making an argument, not laying out in detail a theory. (I wish more writers would be similarly inspired to brevity.)

Structure [Toggle visibility]
  • What Is a Lie?
  • The Mirror of Honesty
  • Two Types of Lies
  • White Lies
  • Trust
  • Faint Praise
  • Secrets
  • Lies in Extremis
  • Mental Accounting
  • Integrity
  • Big Lies
  • Conclusion
  • Acknowledgments
Full title Mortality [permalink]
Language English
Authors Christopher Hitchens (author), Graydon Carter (foreword) and Carol Blue (afterword)
Publisher Twelve
Categories Anthology, autobiography, essay and memoir
Publication year 2012
ISBN 978-1-4555-2347-4 [Amazon, B&N, Abe, Powell's]
Pages 104
Synopsis

Mortality is a very short collection of essays that Hitchens wrote for Vanity Fair about his diagnosis of and living with oesophageal cancer. There are forays into other topics, but the essays mainly concern his living with cancer and all that that implies.

"To the dumb question 'Why me?' the cosmos barely bothers to return the reply: Why not?"

Review

It's a very short book, but the essays are interesting. If you're familiar with Hitchens' output, then you know what to expect.

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Full title The Sun Shines Bright [permalink]
Language English
Author Isaac Asimov (author)
Publisher Grafton
Categories Anthology, astronomy, chemistry, essay and science
Publication year 1987
Original publication year 1984
ISBN 0-586-05841-9 [Amazon, B&N, Abe, Powell's]
Pages 268
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Structure [Toggle visibility]

INTRODUCTION

THE SUN

  • 1 Out, Damned Spot!
  • 2 The Sun Shines Bright
  • 3 The Noblest Metal of Them All

THE STARS

  • 4 How Little?
  • 5 Siriusly Speaking
  • 6 Below the Horizon

THE PLANETS

  • 7 Just Thirty Years

THE MOON

  • 8 A Long Day's Journey
  • 9 The Inconstant Moon

THE ELEMENTS

  • 10 The Useless Metal
  • 11 Neutrality!
  • 12 The Finger of God

THE CELL

  • 13 Clone, Clone of My Own

THE SCIENTISTS

  • 14 Alas, All Human

THE PEOPLE

  • 15 The Unsecret Weapon
  • 16 More Crowded!
  • 17 Nice Guys Finish First!
Full title The Tragedy of the Moon [permalink]
Language English
Author Isaac Asimov (author)
Publisher Coronet Books
Categories Anthology, astronomy, chemistry, essay and science
Publication year 1975
Original publication year 1972
ISBN 0-340-19879-6 [Amazon, B&N, Abe, Powell's]
Pages 222
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Structure [Toggle visibility]
  • Introduction
  • A—About the Moon
    • 1—The Tragedy of the Moon
    • 2—The Triumph of the Moon
    • 3—Moon Over Babylon
    • 4—The Week Excuse
  • B—About Other Small Worlds
    • 5—The World Ceres
    • 6—The Clock in the Sky
  • C—About Carbon
    • 7—The One and Only
    • 8—The Unlikely Twin
  • D—About Micro-organisms
    • 9—Through The Microglass
    • 10—Down From The Amoeba
    • 11—The Cinderella Compound
  • E—About the Thyroid Gland
    • 12—Doctor, Doctor, Cut My Throat
  • F—About Society
    • 13—Lost in Non-Translation
    • 14—The Ancient and the Ultimate
    • 15—By The Numbers
  • G—And (You Guessed It!) About Me
    • 16—The Cruise And I
    • 17—Academe And I
Full title What We Believe But Cannot Prove: Today's Leading Thinkers on Science in the Age of Certainty [permalink]
Language English
Authors John Brockman (editor) and Ian McEwan (foreword)
Publisher Pocket Books
Categories Anthology and essay
Publication year 2005
ISBN 978-1-4165-2261-4 [Amazon, B&N, Abe, Powell's]
Pages 266
Synopsis

This book is a collection of very small essays by a bunch of leading scientists, philosophers, writers, and intellectuals on the title question. The topics range from artificial intelligence to consciousness to epistemology (and a lot in between).

Review

This was an immensely satisfying read. You get a lot of perspective just reading the speculations of these people. I highly recommend this book!

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