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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
Images Back of A Devil's Chaplain.Spine of A Devil's Chaplain.Front of A Devil's Chaplain.
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 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 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!

Images Back of What We Believe But Cannot Prove.Spine of What We Believe But Cannot Prove.Front of What We Believe But Cannot Prove.

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