Reddit reviews: The best philosophy of science books

We found 1,533 Reddit comments discussing the best philosophy of science books. We ran sentiment analysis on each of these comments to determine how redditors feel about different products. We found 420 products and ranked them based on the amount of positive reactions they received. Here are the top 20.

Top Reddit comments about History & Philosophy of Science:

u/dargscisyhp · 7 pointsr/AskScienceDiscussion

I'd like to give you my two cents as well on how to proceed here. If nothing else, this will be a second opinion. If I could redo my physics education, this is how I'd want it done.

If you are truly wanting to learn these fields in depth I cannot stress how important it is to actually work problems out of these books, not just read them. There is a certain understanding that comes from struggling with problems that you just can't get by reading the material. On that note, I would recommend getting the Schaum's outline to whatever subject you are studying if you can find one. They are great books with hundreds of solved problems and sample problems for you to try with the answers in the back. When you get to the point you can't find Schaums anymore, I would recommend getting as many solutions manuals as possible. The problems will get very tough, and it's nice to verify that you did the problem correctly or are on the right track, or even just look over solutions to problems you decide not to try.


I second Stewart's Calculus cover to cover (except the final chapter on differential equations) and Halliday, Resnick and Walker's Fundamentals of Physics. Not all sections from HRW are necessary, but be sure you have the fundamentals of mechanics, electromagnetism, optics, and thermal physics down at the level of HRW.

Once you're done with this move on to studying differential equations. Many physics theorems are stated in terms of differential equations so really getting the hang of these is key to moving on. Differential equations are often taught as two separate classes, one covering ordinary differential equations and one covering partial differential equations. In my opinion, a good introductory textbook to ODEs is one by Morris Tenenbaum and Harry Pollard. That said, there is another book by V. I. Arnold that I would recommend you get as well. The Arnold book may be a bit more mathematical than you are looking for, but it was written as an introductory text to ODEs and you will have a deeper understanding of ODEs after reading it than your typical introductory textbook. This deeper understanding will be useful if you delve into the nitty-gritty parts of classical mechanics. For partial differential equations I recommend the book by Haberman. It will give you a good understanding of different methods you can use to solve PDEs, and is very much geared towards problem-solving.

From there, I would get a decent book on Linear Algebra. I used the one by Leon. I can't guarantee that it's the best book out there, but I think it will get the job done.

This should cover most of the mathematical training you need to move onto the intermediate level physics textbooks. There will be some things that are missing, but those are usually covered explicitly in the intermediate texts that use them (i.e. the Delta function). Still, if you're looking for a good mathematical reference, my recommendation is Lua. It may be a good idea to go over some basic complex analysis from this book, though it is not necessary to move on.


At this stage you need to do intermediate level classical mechanics, electromagnetism, quantum mechanics, and thermal physics at the very least. For electromagnetism, Griffiths hands down. In my opinion, the best pedagogical book for intermediate classical mechanics is Fowles and Cassidy. Once you've read these two books you will have a much deeper understanding of the stuff you learned in HRW. When you're going through the mechanics book pay particular attention to generalized coordinates and Lagrangians. Those become pretty central later on. There is also a very old book by Robert Becker that I think is great. It's problems are tough, and it goes into concepts that aren't typically covered much in depth in other intermediate mechanics books such as statics. I don't think you'll find a torrent for this, but it is 5 bucks on Amazon. That said, I don't think Becker is necessary. For quantum, I cannot recommend Zettili highly enough. Get this book. Tons of worked out examples. In my opinion, Zettili is the best quantum book out there at this level. Finally for thermal physics I would use Mandl. This book is merely sufficient, but I don't know of a book that I liked better.

This is the bare minimum. However, if you find a particular subject interesting, delve into it at this point. If you want to learn Solid State physics there's Kittel. Want to do more Optics? How about Hecht. General relativity? Even that should be accessible with Schutz. Play around here before moving on. A lot of very fascinating things should be accessible to you, at least to a degree, at this point.


Before moving on to physics, it is once again time to take up the mathematics. Pick up Arfken and Weber. It covers a great many topics. However, at times it is not the best pedagogical book so you may need some supplemental material on whatever it is you are studying. I would at least read the sections on coordinate transformations, vector analysis, tensors, complex analysis, Green's functions, and the various special functions. Some of this may be a bit of a review, but there are some things Arfken and Weber go into that I didn't see during my undergraduate education even with the topics that I was reviewing. Hell, it may be a good idea to go through the differential equations material in there as well. Again, you may need some supplemental material while doing this. For special functions, a great little book to go along with this is Lebedev.

Beyond this, I think every physicist at the bare minimum needs to take graduate level quantum mechanics, classical mechanics, electromagnetism, and statistical mechanics. For quantum, I recommend Cohen-Tannoudji. This is a great book. It's easy to understand, has many supplemental sections to help further your understanding, is pretty comprehensive, and has more worked examples than a vast majority of graduate text-books. That said, the problems in this book are LONG. Not horrendously hard, mind you, but they do take a long time.

Unfortunately, Cohen-Tannoudji is the only great graduate-level text I can think of. The textbooks in other subjects just don't measure up in my opinion. When you take Classical mechanics I would get Goldstein as a reference but a better book in my opinion is Jose/Saletan as it takes a geometrical approach to the subject from the very beginning. At some point I also think it's worth going through Arnold's treatise on Classical. It's very mathematical and very difficult, but I think once you make it through you will have as deep an understanding as you could hope for in the subject.

u/anastas · 22 pointsr/askscience

My main hobby is reading textbooks, so I decided to go beyond the scope of the question posed. I took a look at what I have on my shelves in order to recommend particularly good or standard books that I think could characterize large portions of an undergraduate degree and perhaps the beginnings of a graduate degree in the main fields that interest me, plus some personal favorites.

Neuroscience: Theoretical Neuroscience is a good book for the field of that name, though it does require background knowledge in neuroscience (for which, as others mentioned, Kandel's text is excellent, not to mention that it alone can cover the majority of an undergraduate degree in neuroscience if corequisite classes such as biology and chemistry are momentarily ignored) and in differential equations. Neurobiology of Learning and Memory and Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuropsychology were used in my classes on cognition and learning/memory and I enjoyed both; though they tend to choose breadth over depth, all references are research papers and thus one can easily choose to go more in depth in any relevant topics by consulting these books' bibliographies.

General chemistry, organic chemistry/synthesis: I liked Linus Pauling's General Chemistry more than whatever my school gave us for general chemistry. I liked this undergraduate organic chemistry book, though I should say that I have little exposure to other organic chemistry books, and I found Protective Groups in Organic Synthesis to be very informative and useful. Unfortunately, I didn't have time to take instrumental/analytical/inorganic/physical chemistry and so have no idea what to recommend there.

Biochemistry: Lehninger is the standard text, though it's rather expensive. I have limited exposure here.

Mathematics: When I was younger (i.e. before having learned calculus), I found the four-volume The World of Mathematics great for introducing me to a lot of new concepts and branches of mathematics and for inspiring interest; I would strongly recommend this collection to anyone interested in mathematics and especially to people considering choosing to major in math as an undergrad. I found the trio of Spivak's Calculus (which Amazon says is now unfortunately out of print), Stewart's Calculus (standard text), and Kline's Calculus: An Intuitive and Physical Approach to be a good combination of rigor, practical application, and physical intuition, respectively, for calculus. My school used Marsden and Hoffman's Elementary Classical Analysis for introductory analysis (which is the field that develops and proves the calculus taught in high school), but I liked Rudin's Principles of Mathematical Analysis (nicknamed "Baby Rudin") better. I haven't worked my way though Munkres' Topology yet, but it's great so far and is often recommended as a standard beginning toplogy text. I haven't found books on differential equations or on linear algebra that I've really liked. I randomly came across Quine's Set Theory and its Logic, which I thought was an excellent introduction to set theory. Russell and Whitehead's Principia Mathematica is a very famous text, but I haven't gotten hold of a copy yet. Lang's Algebra is an excellent abstract algebra textbook, though it's rather sophisticated and I've gotten through only a small portion of it as I don't plan on getting a PhD in that subject.

Computer Science: For artificial intelligence and related areas, Russell and Norvig's Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach's text is a standard and good text, and I also liked Introduction to Information Retrieval (which is available online by chapter and entirely). For processor design, I found Computer Organization and Design to be a good introduction. I don't have any recommendations for specific programming languages as I find self-teaching to be most important there, nor do I know of any data structures books that I found to be memorable (not that I've really looked, given the wealth of information online). Knuth's The Art of Computer Programming is considered to be a gold standard text for algorithms, but I haven't secured a copy yet.

Physics: For basic undergraduate physics (mechanics, e&m, and a smattering of other subjects), I liked Fundamentals of Physics. I liked Rindler's Essential Relativity and Messiah's Quantum Mechanics much better than whatever books my school used. I appreciated the exposition and style of Rindler's text. I understand that some of the later chapters of Messiah's text are now obsolete, but the rest of the book is good enough for you to not need to reference many other books. I have little exposure to books on other areas of physics and am sure that there are many others in this subreddit that can give excellent recommendations.

Other: I liked Early Theories of the Universe to be good light historical reading. I also think that everyone should read Kuhn's The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.

u/proffrobot · 1 pointr/AskPhysics

It's great that you want to study particle physics and String Theory! It's a really interesting subject. Getting a degree in physics can often make you a useful person so long as you make sure you get some transferable skills (like programming and whatnot). I'll reiterate the standard advice for going further in physics, and in particular in theoretical physics, in the hope that you will take it to heart. Only go into theoretical physics if you really enjoy it. Do it for no other reason. If you want to become a professor, there are other areas of physics which are far easier to accomplish that in. If you want to be famous, become an actor or a writer or go into science communication and become the new Bill Nye. I'm not saying the only reason to do it is if you're obsessed with it, but you've got to really enjoy it and find it fulfilling for it's own sake as the likelihood of becoming a professor in it is so slim. Then, if your academic dreams don't work out, you won't regret the time you spent, and you'll always have the drive to keep learning and doing more, whatever happens to you academically.

With that out of the way, the biggest chunk of learning you'll do as a theorist is math. A decent book (which I used in my undergraduate degree) which covers the majority of the math you need to understand basic physics, e.g. Classical Mechanics, Quantum Mechanics, Special Relativity, Thermodynamics, Statistical Mechanics and Electromagnetism. Is this guy: Maths It's not a textbook you can read cover to cover, but it's a really good reference, and undoubtably, should you go and do a physics degree, you'll end up owning something like it. If you like maths now and want to learn more of it, then it's a good book to do it with.

The rest of the books I'll recommend to you have a minimal number of equations, but explain a lot of concepts and other interesting goodies. To really understand the subjects you need textbooks, but you need the math to understand them first and it's unlikely you're there yet. If you want textbook suggestions let me know, but if you haven't read the books below they're good anyway.

First, particle physics. This book Deep Down Things is a really great book about the history and ideas behind modern particles physics and the standard model. I can't recommend it enough.

Next, General Relativity. If you're interested in String Theory you're going to need to become an expert in General Relativity. This book: General Relativity from A to B explains the ideas behind GR without a lot of math, but it does so in a precise way. It's a really good book.

Next, Quantum Mechanics. This book: In Search of Schrodinger's Cat is a great introduction to the people and ideas of Quantum Mechanics. I like it a lot.

For general physics knowledge. Lots of people really like the
Feynman Lectures They cover everything and so have quite a bit of math in them. As a taster you can get a couple of books: Six Easy Pieces and Six Not So Easy Pieces, though the not so easy pieces are a bit more mathematically minded.

Now I'll take the opportunity to recommend my own pet favourite book. The Road to Reality. Roger Penrose wrote this to prove that anyone could understand all of theoretical physics, as such it's one of the hardest books you can read, but it is fascinating and tells you about concepts all the way up to String Theory. If you've got time to think and work on the exercises I found it well worth the time. All the math that's needed is explained in the book, which is good, but it's certainly not easy!

Lastly, for understanding more of the ideas which underlie theoretical physics, this is a good book: Philsophy of Physics: Space and Time It's not the best, but the ideas behind theoretical physics thought are important and this is an interesting and subtle book. I'd put it last on the reading list though.

Anyway, I hope that helps, keep learning about physics and asking questions! If there's anything else you want to know, feel free to ask.

u/RealityApologist · 2 pointsr/askphilosophy

>What are some conceptual mistakes that scientists make according to philosophers? Can you recommend me philosophical sources that kind of zoom out at what scientists are doing and what is wrong about it?

I think the most serious wide-spread conceptual problem in science right now is the fixation on "tractability" in scientific problems, and the resulting apprehension about holistic study and robust multi-scale modeling of complex systems. This is a particularly big problem with respect to climate science, and is at the root of much of the suspicion with which climate science is seen, both by some other scientists and the public at large. Fundamental physics (quantum mechanics, particle physics, general relativity, &c.) is seen--sometimes implicitly but frequently explicitly--as the paragon of good science, an ideal of success toward which other sciences strive, and a yardstick by which all other sciences are judged. A particular model, a general theory, or even an entire field of scientific inquiry is evaluated in part by how closely it mirrors the form and function of fundamental physics, and areas of science that differ significantly in appearance and practice from the physical ideal are viewed with suspicion--if not outright derision--by not only members of the general public, but sometimes by scientists themselves. This phenomenon of “physics envy” has been widely recognized inside philosophy (and some of the other humanities as well), but hasn't really been taken seriously inside most of science itself.

Fundamental physics has been extraordinarily successful in predicting and explaining the world around us, and continues to expand our understanding the universe in which we live and our place in it. Physics is, however, not the only science, nor are the formal and methodological virtues associated with successes in the history of physics appropriate models on which to judge the quality of other branches of the scientific project. Physics’ place as the universal ideal for scientific work becomes a problem when it causes us to disdain or reject the results of sciences that study very different kinds of natural systems, and which produce models and theories whose form and function reflect that difference.

Conceptually, I think this mistake can be traced to the work of early modern “natural philosophers” like Rene Descartes and Francis Bacon, who first pioneered the approach that would eventually become standard for contemporary scientific inquiry. Their work, like the work of fundamental physicists today, was designed and constructed with a set of assumptions about the nature and appearance of good science. I usually call the set of methodological assumptions underwriting the physics aesthetic “the reductive-analytic program.” The assumptions of the reductive-analytic program go something like this: the best (and indeed the only) way to understand a system is to decompose it into constituent parts, examine the behavior of those parts in isolation from one another, and draw from this examination general principles about their behavior in situ, and thus understand the system in its entirety. The right way to study anything, according to this way of thinking, is to study its parts: understand the parts, and you’ll understand the whole, synthesizing observations of isolated pieces into a single, unified, elegantly simple theory of a complicated system from a long series of small analyses.

The reductive-analytic program has worked remarkably well. Quantum field theory and particle physics represent perhaps its ultimate apotheosis, though its principles underwrite theories in biology, medicine, psychology, and many other fields. As a result, most educated adults in the Western world--scientists and non-scientists alike--have it in their heads that the reductive-analytic program just is science, and that a science is successful to the extent that it is compatible with this sort of inquiry. Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway have pointed to the widespread fixation on “tractability” as guiding ideal to which scientific problems are worth tackling, and which need to be reformulated, writing that “problems that [are] too large or complex to be solved in their totality [are] divided into smaller, more manageable elements.” The reductive-analytic program is markedly less helpful for understanding the behavior of systems with large numbers of diverse and strongly interacting components, systems with intricate structure at many spatiotemporal scales, or systems that exhibit extreme changes in dynamical form in response to small, seemingly inconsequential changes to either their environment or internal states. It is markedly less helpful, in other words, when attempting to understand complex systems.

Climate science is a paradigmatic “complex systems science,” and an illustrative case of how fixation on the analytic-reductive program may be hobbling progress, both in science itself and in sociopolitical applications of scientific knowledge. Complex systems like the global climate resist the methods of the analytic-reductive program; understanding the parts doesn’t always lead to understanding everything about the whole. Instead, understanding the climate system involves looking both at the behavior of small-scale components and at the behavior of the system as a whole, embedded in the sort of active, dynamic context in which we find it. The advent of the anthropocene means that the global climate can no longer be appropriately considered as a system existing separately and independently from human society and civilization. The kind of scientific methods and values necessary for this investigation are, if not outright discouraged, at least rarely taught explicitly in the course of any ordinary science education, unless one pursues a graduate degree in something like non-linear dynamics and complexity theory, something which most people (understandably) do not. This leaves ordinary citizens, political decision-makers, and even most scientists poorly equipped to think rigorously about the nature and scope of the problem we're facing.

If we're going to help people understand the reality of climate change, we'll have to begin by helping people (including scientists) understand some basic features of complexity science, and how the aesthetics of the science of complex systems differs from the aesthetics of fundamental physics and other products of the reductive-analytic program. Among other things, this means that we must help people become comfortable uncertainty, interdisciplinary collaboration, and the possibility that even the most precise scientific investigation might not yield the sort of neat answers and t-shirt ready systems of equations we’ve come to expect from reductive-analytic sciences. In some cases, our best science may not produce a single undisputed model under which all competitors are subsumed, but rather might yield a proliferation of diverse and distinctive models, some of which may appear to contradict one another, and that this model pluralism is something to be welcomed rather than eliminated. In many cases, computational models can be as reliable as real-world experiments when it comes to predicting the future of complex systems, and “science by simulation” should not be treated as a second-class citizen in the world of scientific methodology The results of climate science--like those of any complex systems science--might fall short of providing a single uncontroversial answer to the question of what we ought to do, just as they may fall short of providing a neat set of beautiful and elegant equations that explain our world. This does not mean that these sciences can be discounted, however; rather, it means that scientific investigation must be guided and supplemented by well-reasoned, mutually agreed-upon values.

u/InfinitysDice · 1 pointr/IWantToLearn

If you, perchance, liked the Harry Potter series, you might enjoy Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality, as a fairly pain free and enjoyable introduction to cognitive biases, logical fallacies, and other useful tools to better thinking. Elizer Yudkowsky, the author of HPatMoR maintains several resources that can also be useful in training your mind to be more rational, and a better critical thinker.


The Demon-haunted world: science as a candle in the dark by Carl Sagan is a fantastic book in praise of science, a primer for the scientific method, and a decent guide to why and how science works. Further, it covers the nature of conspiracy thinking and pseudoscience, how to identify these things, and why they are harmful to society. Available in audiobook, ebook, and paper formats.


Algorithms to Live by is a bit off to the side of your requested topic, but it's an interesting treatise on how computer science can teach you some of the optimal ways one can make certain types of decisions. It's a bit counterintuitive, in the advice given, for example: messiness is often more efficient than spending a lot of time organizing everything, humans can't really multitask, and hunches are sometimes your best tool for deciding a course of action. I've read the book and posses the audiobook, both are great.


Almost anything written by Richard Feynman is accessible, humorous, and wise, in an askew sort of way. He's good at approaching topics from odd angles.


The Great Courses offers many resources on Audible: I've read and enjoyed Your Deceptive Mind, Skepticism 101, and Your Best Brain, which cover cognitive biases, and logical fallacies in detail, how to think more clearly without false, misleading thought, and how to take care of you mind through better lifestyle choices.

u/omaca · 2 pointsr/books

I've just finished The Windup Girl, which I had been putting off for some time. It was, quite simply, the most astounding and breath-taking science fiction book I've ever read. I loved it.

However, my problem is that I buy books compulsively. Mostly hard copies, but recently I bought a Kindle and buy the odd e-book or two. I have literally hundreds of books on my "to read" list.

One near the top is A Place of Greater Safety by Hilary Mantel. I recently read her phenomenal Wolf Hall and was blown away by her skills as a story teller. I'm a bit of an armchair historian, and I'm particularly interested in the French Revolution (amongst other things), so I'm very excited by the prospects this book holds. If it's anything like Wolf Hall then I'm in for a very particular treat.

Also near the top lies Quantum - Einstein, Bohr, and the Great Debate about the Nature of Reality, Manjit Kumar's much lauded recent history of the emergence of quantum mechanics. I very much enjoyed other tangentially related books on this topic, including the wonderful The Making of the Atomic Bomb and The Fly in the Cathedral, so this should be good fun and educational to boot.

Having read and loved Everitt's biography of Cicero, I'm very much looking forward to his biographies of Augustus and Hadrian.

I'm listening to an audio-book version of The Count of Monte Cristo on my iPod, which I find rather enjoyable. I've only got through the first half dozen chapters and it's already taken a few hours, so this looks to be a nice, long-term and periodic treat for when I have time alone in the car.

Cronin's The Passage keeps piquing my interest, but I was foolish enough to buy it in that lamentable format, the much cursed "trade paperback", so the thing is a behemoth. The size puts me off. I wish I had waited for a regular paper-back edition. As it is, it sits there on my bookshelf, flanked by the collected works of Alan Furst (what a wonderfully evocative writer of WWII espionage!!) and a bunch of much recommended, but as yet unread, fantasy including The Darkness that Comes Before by Bakker, The Name of the Wind by Rothfuss and Physiognomy by Ford.

Books I have ordered and am eagerly awaiting, and which shall go straight to the top of the TBR list (no doubt to be replaced by next month's purchases) include Orlando Figes's highly regarded history of The Crimean War, Rosen's history of steam The Most Powerful Idea in the World and Stacy Schiff's contentious biography of Cleopatra.

A bit of a mixed bunch, all up, I'd say.

u/homegrownunknown · 2 pointsr/chemistry

I love science books. These are all on my bookshelf/around my apt. They aren't all chemistry, but they appeal to my science senses:

I got a coffee table book once as a gift. It's Theodore Gray's The Elements. It's beautiful, but like I said, more of a coffee table book. It's got a ton of very cool info about each atom though.

I tried The Immortal Life of Henrieta Lacks, which is all about the people and family behind HeLa cells. That was a big hit, but I didn't care for it.

I liked The Emperor of all Maladies which took a long time to read, but was super cool. It's essentially a biography of cancer. (Actually I think that's it's subtitle)

The Wizard of Quarks and Alice in Quantumland are both super cute allegories relating to partical physics and quantum physics respectively. I liked them both, though they felt low-level, tying them to high-level physics resulted in a fun read.

Unscientific America I bought on a whim and didn't really enjoy since it wasn't science enough.

The Ghost Map was a suuuper fun read about Cholera. I love reading about mass-epidemics and plague.

The Bell that Rings Light, In Search of Schrödinger's Cat, Schrödinger's Kittens, The Fabric of the Cosmos and Beyond the God Particle are all pleasure reading books that are really primers on Quantum.

I also tend to like anything by Mary Roach, which isn't necessarily chemistry or science, but is amusing and feels informative. I started with Stiff but she has a few others that I also enjoyed.

Have fun!

u/nn123654 · 8 pointsr/PoliticalDiscussion

I certainly hope so but I guess I should show my work to get to why I think the GOP might try to do this.

To start with we need to look at his history regarding climate change, the single most obvious example of this viewpoint is his 2012 tweet stating "The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.

The opposition of climate change goes back the the better part of 25 years and has been primarily lead by conservative think tanks which help shape conservative policy and media coverage of the subject. The biggest of these groups are the Heritage Foundation, the CATO Institute, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the Hartford Foundation, Americans for Prosperity, and the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). If you start to look at who appears on cable news shows and newspapers it is almost always someone from one of these groups that appear in opposition.

The book merchants of doubt does a fairly good job of describing the methodologies of these organizations many of which started out as PR firms for Tobacco companies. This academic paper also does a fairly good job of capturing trends related to this industry.

The primary reason I mention the last two paragraphs is not to debate your position but to explain why it is a key point of the GOP platform and how it is relevant to the Trump administration. Trump just named the leader of the Competitive Enterprise Institute as his nominee for head of the EPA. Pretty obviously it's clear that Myron Ebell will take steps to roll back any and all regulations on climate emissions.

As a result I expect fully expect him to roll back as many key provisions of major environmental legislation as possible such as the Safe Drinking Water Act, the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, and the Endangered Species Act. I would not be surprised if there was a movement to repeal these laws and abolish the EPA entirely as advocated by prominent figures in the GOP including Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio have said they wanted to do for years.

In Trump's recent statements on the transition and priorities for NASA he said:

> The new president-elect also has plans to abandon climate research, transfer Earth monitoring funding from NASA to NOAA, and strengthen the U.S. military’s stance in orbit.

This is consistent with what Ted Cruz has said on the subject which is:

> We must refocus our investment on the hard sciences, on getting men and women into space, on exploring low-Earth orbit and beyond, and not on political distractions that are extraneous to NASA’s mandate.

Given that it's been a classic GOP strategy to defund things that they don't like I don't see why they wouldn't do this with climate research. The Dickey Amendment has been incredibly effective in preventing anyone from challenging the NRA position on gun control by banning scientific research which may reach opposite findings.

Banning Climate Research would likely greatly damage the global science monitoring mission on climate change and make it much harder to convince other governments to act. This would be a great win for Trump as he could not only block climate change policy in the United States but also help block it throughout the world. If I were him and playing tactically I don't see why you wouldn't make this move.

If Trump's moves were all rhetoric as you suggest then I don't believe he would have made those choices and statements after the election.

> Contrary to most liberal opinion, most Republicans do not want to completely abandon Climate Change.

The GOP strategy until the 2008 election was to fight climate change. In 2012 it shifted to claiming "I'm not a scientist" and "I don't know" to deflect the question entirely. In 2016 the strategy has been to completely ignore and surpress the issue. I don't believe it was an accident that none of the GOP or presidential debates had the question of climate change in them.

They've instead worked to reframe it as a national security and energy issue shifting the blame to Obama's "War on Coal". From the GOP platform:

> Responsible production of America’s vast natural resources is necessary to achieve energy independence from foreign suppliers. Our energy policy should encourage investment, lower prices, and create jobs here at home. We support domestic energy production of clean coal and hydropower, as well as solar, wind, geothermal and nuclear power. And we support drilling for oil and natural gas in an environmentally responsible way. President Obama has pushed for overly restrictive EPA regulations that have cost American consumers and businesses tens of billions of dollars. Republicans have consistently voted for job creation in the energy sector through their support of the Keystone Pipeline and continued opposition to Obama’s “War on Coal.”

They not only want to completely abandon climate change, they already have.

Note to all the people down-voting because you disagree: don't. He's contributing to the discussion and answering the question. Down votes simply because you disagree aren't productive and are a violation of reddiquitte.

u/zeyus · 1 pointr/exjw

Awesome, it's great you're so proud of her!

Haha knowledge that leads to everlasting boredom! Book studies were the worst, I always felt super obligated to study extra hard because there were so few people that often nobody would answer!

Don't be so sure that your family will keep abandoning you, it's possible sure, but there's always hope! Often they're surprised that you can leave the witnesses and live a normal, or even better than normal life (of course there's always the "blessed by satan" get out clause) but they do expect people who leave to get aids and die from a heroin overdose.

It's easy to prove them wrong! Either way though, you have your own family to look out for and you can learn what not to do!

On to the suggested reading. I've mentioned many on here before but I don't expect everyone to be aware of it all so here goes:

Reading (I have a kindle and love reading, but they're all available for ebook and in paperback)

u/Reputedly · 25 pointsr/Foodforthought
  1. The Bible: Eh. I can sort of get behind this, but not for the reason he gives. The Bible's just really culturally important. I also wouldn't bother reading all of it. When I reread the Bible it's normally just Genesis, Exodus, the Gospels, and Eccelesiastes. A lot of it (especially Leviticus) is just tedious. The prophets are fun but I wouldn't call them essential.

  2. The System of the World: Newton intentionally wrote the Principia to make it inaccessible to layman and dabblers. I really don't think you should be recommending a book like this to people who aren't specialists. Sagan's A Demon Haunted World will probably fulfill the stated purpose Tyson sets out better.

  3. On the Origin of Species: A good book that's held up remarkably well, but a more recent book of evolution might be better. The Extended Phenotype or The Selfish Gene would both probably do a better job.

  4. Gulliver's Travels: This is a great book. I support this recommendation.

  5. Age of Reason: Haven't read it. I like Paine otherwise though. No comment.

  6. The Wealth of Nations: Similar to On the Origin of Species. It's still a great read that's held up really well and offers an interesting historical perspective. That said, economic theory has made some pretty important advancements in two centuries (the Marginal Revolution, Keynes, etc). Still, if you want to stick to the time you'll probably get more out of reading Ricardo's Principles of Political Economy.

  7. The Art of War: Very good book. I have nothing to add.

  8. The Prince: Same as the above. Fantastic book.
u/frontseatdog · 5 pointsr/TrueAtheism

If you're not already familiar, I suggest you start with the Wikipedia article on a priori and a posteriori knowledge.

> I understand what he means by the love example in that, while love is a series of chemical reactions, you can't really scientifically measure how "in love someone is" or the nuances of those feelings. Does this apply to the concept of God also?

Not exactly. The closest analogy to the claim that a god exists would be the claim that love exists. How would you prove that love exists? First, you would have to clearly define what you mean by love.

If you define it such that it's an unfalsifiable proposition, then the search is over before it begins; unfalsifiable claims are effectively indistinguishable from false claims and are only treated as true (or possible) by the exercise of wishful thinking.

On the other hand, if you define love in a way that is testable then run your tests etc. Note that in this scenario, how "in love someone is" may well be measurable.

This is why it's important to address someone's god claim first by insisting that they provide a testable definition. Obviously theists reject this approach, as it lays bare the weakness of their reasoning. You typically get deflective responses like "Well how would you test for happiness, or love, or whatever (immaterial concept they grasp at)." Of course anything that exists, even if it only has a subjective existence in the mind of one individual, can (theoretically) be tested if it is defined properly. Another common response is "Everything is evidence for (their) god." This is basically presuppositionalism, or circular reasoning. Circular reasoning proves nothing. And then there's "My god can't be defined, because that would set limits on him and he's too awesome for limitations." This makes the claim incoherent, because the god's attributes are incoherent. Incoherence is nonsense, by definition.

If you haven't read it, Carl Sagan's "The Demon Haunted World" is highly rated. I'm giving a copy to my youngest daughter.

u/FrancisCharlesBacon · -1 pointsr/TrueChristian

The Dictionary of Christianity and Science by Paul Copan, Tremper Longman III, Christopher L. Reese, and Michael G. Strauss. In one volume, you get reliable summaries and critical analyses of over 450 relevant concepts, theories, terms, movements, individuals, and debates on how Christian theology relates to scientific inquiry. It goes over the competing philosophies of science, and asks if they “work” with a Christian faith based on the Bible. Featuring the work of over 140 international contributors, the Dictionary of Christianity and Science is a deeply-researched, peer-reviewed, fair-minded work that illuminates the intersection of science and Christian belief.

Author Gerald L. Schroeder (widely known for converting atheist Anthony Flew to a Deist), Number 5 here was what convinced Flew. It's worth pointing out though that he conforms his theories to the current scientific paradigm of the age of the universe and strives for compatability when it comes to other areas like Pre-Adamite cave men. He is strongly against evolution and lays out why very thoroughly in his books. He is also Jewish.

The Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas S. Kuhn. Kuhn makes a well-reasoned argument that science is not an objective search for "truth," as many people believe. Instead, "normal science" is a problem solving endeavor, solving known problems by known methods. Science only changes the rules by which it operates (its "paradigm" - that over-used and often misused term in contemporary language) only when the current paradigm causes more problems than it solves. This is the real answer to any from any field who say, "The science is settled. There is no room for discussion." Those who make that statement need to re-read Kuhn and come to grips with the reality that all knowledge is inevitably socially constructed.

https://answersingenesis.org/answers/ An excellent resource that looks seriously at natural phenomenon in light of Scriptural revelation. They attempt to meet the skeptics own burden of proof by using established scientific methods. An important claim of theirs is that evidence always has to be interpreted. In the evolution vs. creationism debate for instance, there is no such thing as evidence with big bright letters stating that "this is a transitional fossil". There are not creationist fossils and evolutionist fossils, but there are creationist and evolutionist interpretations of the fossils. Charles Darwin himself made this point. In the introduction to The Origin of Species, he stated, “I am well aware that scarcely a single point is discussed in this volume on which facts cannot be adduced, often apparently leading to conclusions directly opposite to those at which I arrived.” Darwin was willing to admit that interpretation was key to choosing a belief. One scientist might view a particular fact as supportive of naturalism; another scientist might view that same fact as supporting creationism. I'd also point out the difficulty in in defending the young earth stance as it requires you to lay out all the arguments exhaustedly (which answersingenesis has done). Not only do you have to call into question the current scientific viewpoints but you also have to put forward the alternative theories. You have to do all this while your debate opponent can just sit back and appeal to authority and the current scientific consensus.

When Skeptics Ask by Norman Geisler and Ronald Brooks. Contains a good general overview of science and Christianity along with some other great chapters that answer quite a few questions that have been brought up by biblical skeptics.


Because Reddit leans liberal, and most Christians have not done a deep dive into the philosophy of science, they accept evolution without much thought. That's why you see them promoting people like Christian Francis Collins who created Biologos.com and attempts to reconcile Biblical narrative with evolution. Never mind that the attempts of Dr. Collins are thwarted by Scripture contradicting the evolutionary timeline.

It's important for people to realize that science is based on axiomatic assumptions that requires faith. These assumptions turn into glaring flaws when trying to develop truths about the past like macroevolution and should significantly reduce the certainty one has regarding it.

It's also important to remember that the Bible is not written as a scientific document using the standards of our own recent methodology (the scientific method). Over history what we have seen are Christian's assumptions of the world that we live in by taking (often times vague) verses from Scripture and interpreting them. A good rundown of this is here. http://www.ligonier.org/blog/what-rc-sprouls-position-creation/

For a more exhaustive (but not complete) overview of books related to intelligent design, see this page. It's worth noting though that like Natural Theology, some intelligent design authors get you only half way there (i.e.. Theism). The rest would have to be done by studying comparative religion.

u/BreSput · 2 pointsr/PhilosophyofScience

Curd and Cover is pretty much standard undergraduate textbook for philosophy of science courses. It has a ton of very good articles and a ton of very well put together commentary on each article. If you are interested in getting into the philosophy of science it is literally your best choice.

The Rosenberg and this book, which I have read and would definitely recommend, are very good supplements to help you understand the general themes in the philosophy of science, but the Curd and Cover is your best bet. If you have to choose one choose that one. It it such a good compilation of the most important essays in the philosophy of science.

Yeah. Don't know how much harder I can stress: Curd and Cover is great.

>This second one is from what seems like a very well respected and legit publishing company that has a gigantic list of books, which all seem excellent after reading descriptions:

You'd be surprised how little this means in academia, especially philosophy. Essentially if you have a good cv and can write a coherent statement of purpose you can get a book published, probably even on a big name academic publisher. Books aren't referee'd the way articles are, and if you get a book deal the chances of them pulling the plug is very small (you'd have to fuck up big). Articles by contrast have to go through a rigorous process of peer review, and only the best (hopefully) make it to the pages of a journal. Curd and Cover is a compilation of the best articles in the philosophy of science.

u/pretzelzetzel · 2 pointsr/atheism

Don't trust everything you read online, either. Books are still generally your best bet, because people who might not know what they're talking about can't edit them while you're reading them.

Obviously I'm not saying all books are better than all internets, but find some credible ones and you're much better off.

I'm not a scientist by training, but I can suggest a few books that will provide a pretty good counterbalance to what your mom will be teaching you. (A few of them have quasi-religious-sounding titles, too, so if she happened to find them lying around she might not get too angry.)

The Chosen Species: The Long March of Human Evolution

The Dragons of Eden: Speculations on the Evolution of Human Intelligence

The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark

A Brief History of Time

I can recommend more if you'd like. These ones are pretty broad surveys of the topics of (in order) evolution, more evolution, the role of science in society, and the physical nature of the universe. If you're homeschooled, I'm assuming high school-level? None of these books is technical - they're all 'popular science', intended to explain broad concepts to non-scientists. They're very, highly interesting, though, and it's easy to find recommended reading lists once you discover some specific topics that interest you. The Chosen Species itself has a lengthy and detailed bibliography and recommended reading section at the end.

I hope I've been able to help! Good luck!

u/rkiga · 1 pointr/explainlikeimfive

>You seem to be entirely ignoring that he didn't just like the golden ratio or think about it a lot, he blatantly incorporated it into his designs. This is the only bit that matters... he very clearly and obviously used it in many of his designs, which are considered to be of great beauty.

I know that he used the golden ratio. I never tried to deny that. But I completely disagree when you say that it matters. And especially if you think that it's the most important thing.

I ignored it because it has nothing to do with merit in my mind. Use of something by a famous person doesn't give it merit.

As an example, da Vinci experimented with materials. He wanted to use a different kind of paint that was oil-based instead of using fresco, painting on wet plaster. He wanted a medium that would let him layer on paint when it was dry. He flatly refused to paint frescoes. His experiments were extremely unsuccessful.

He never bothered to test his paints out before using them in large scale works of art. He abandoned works because they began to deteriorate while he was still painting them. Worse than that, he continued to use his experimental materials even after repeated failures. Look at how badly his The Last Supper has deteriorated. It probably looked even worse than that when he was still alive. That is after multiple restorations (but before the most recent restoration). It's a complete mess of cracks and missing pieces.

His Mona Lisa suffers as well from his experiments. He used wax in his paint and experimental varnish. It began to crack, fade, yellow, and darken almost immediately. As mentioned elsewhere in this thread, look at the difference in damage and color between his Mona Lisa, and the one supposedly done by a student sitting next to him: Mona Lisa vs Museo del Prado Mona Lisa. I'm not trying to say they should have looked exactly the same, because the original has been exposed to more of the elements. But the damage is far more extensive than if he had just used normal materials.

So should we admire da Vinci's experimental mind? His wanting to try something new to bring the art he had in his head into reality? Of course. Without experimenting, we'd have have no progress.

But should we admire his methods, or his refusal to use proper tools? Should we say that his paints and varnishes had merit? No! He made a mistake. Many mistakes. He was stubborn and foolish, and his great works of art suffered.

Le Corbusier using the golden ratio is not nearly as bad as that. His buildings haven't toppled because of the golden ratio. But just because a famous artist does something does NOT give it merit. Just because they do something doesn't make it significant. It could be that they're just doing things because they're set in their ways and stubborn as a donkey.

I'm not even trying to say that Le Corbusier's designs are bad. But if what you said were true. If picking a number and "blatantly incorporating it into your design" were all that mattered, then an artist could pick ANY number and do that. If so then everything has merit. So what's the point of saying that? Everything is the same then.

>Oh come on, that's written by some editor trying to appeal to as wide an audience as possible. Nearly all blurbs on the back of a book are stupid, and don't always give a reasonable insight into what the actual text is like.

The editor will also tailor the blurb towards the target audience. It's pretty clear that one is aimed at the nutjob crowd. So my pointing it out has more to do with why you would even link it to me in the first place. You complained before that I used that guy's blog as a source when talking about it, but then you suggest that I'm going to find scholarly notes in that book? Read through the "look inside". It's a practical guide on how to wave your hands and create art with the golden ratio.

>As far as proof, I don't know what you expect. In fact I'm sure you know that there isn't any "proof" because, what exactly am I trying to prove here?

You said that the Modernists cared where Modulor came from, and you said they cared about the golden ratio. Where are you getting that from? Where's your proof?

I want proof that any artist ever said that they used the golden ratio for a reason. Anything to show that the golden ratio has more merit than any random number.

You called that blogger a nutjob so I think you agree with me that some people take it too far. So when we get somebody like Le Corbusier it should be worth reading. Instead he talks about it in relation to music and then states in his words that his "scale" is based on "harmony" and using an arbitrary height as the basis for human beauty, and by extension the beauty in his architecture.

We have all these fake blog examples and then we get to a real example from a respected artist and his explanation is so incredibly stupid. Doesn't that bother you?

He could have picked a random number (well actually he did) and it would have been just as good, as long as he planned out his system with as much care. That's why I'm saying it's not the golden ratio that matters at all, it's what he did with his system that matters. Why the golden ratio? Why not pi, or tau, or e, or 5.2987, or 40?

If you take any graphic design class they will probably teach you about using a grid system. But there are so many different grid systems, it becomes completely silly. Proponents point to this example or that to show what makes it look beautiful. But it really doesn't matter which grid you use. What matters is that after you create a draft, you look at your work and fix things that look wrong to you, and that you make things consistent. Anyone who spends their time looking at art or design will be able to tell instantly if a page layout looks good or not. You don't need a ratio telling you where to place your gutters. Just as a photographer or art director doesn't use the rule of thirds to tell if a photo looks right or if it should be cropped.

Jan Tschichold came up with one such grid system in which he favored "natural" and "intentional" numbers like the golden ratio. He said that if a designer accidentally used one of those special numbers, that it was "unintentional" and therefor bad design. Even if the intentional design was exactly the same as the unintentional one. I find that line of reasoning idiotic.

>That the golden section is a geometric ratio which people tend to find innately pleasing? This is plainly unprovable. How could I possibly begin to prove such a thing?

How can you say that something is innately pleasing as a fact if you don't have anything at all to back it up? Did you read that on a blog or something? You say it as if it's common knowledge.

This is talked about in the book I link further down.

>I'm pretty sure you know that absence of evidence isn't the same thing as evidence.

The book tries to be a summary of all that is important in art history. You're right that absence of mentioning the golden doesn't prove that it has no merit at all. But the implications are that it's not important. It's in it's 14th (?) edition now, they've had plenty of chances to fill any holes in their coverage. And that's a hell of a lot more telling than your book link, so I wouldn't throw stones about this one if I were you.

>I was asking you for a scholarly work which argues against it, not one which ignores it.

You said my arguments were not "solid", but I never saw you ask for anything scholarly, even when I asked you for that exact thing. Considering you didn't even read the book you linked to me, I didn't even think about linking you any books. But I have some:

Mario Livio wrote a book about the history of the golden ratio. It's the only one I know of that talks at any length about the history of reasoning. He talks a lot about the history of math. He talks about where the golden ratio was and wasn't used. He makes several attempts to debunk various theories about artists who did or didn't use the golden ratio. Not all his arguments are perfect, but he's basically talking about pattern recognition and forms of apophenia. Then he talks about scientific and psychological studies about the golden ratio, their findings, flaws, and merits. And then he takes a strange turn and talks about God, evolution, mathematics, and philosophy. Here is a short article by the author: http://plus.maths.org/content/golden-ratio-and-aesthetics

If you want to learn about grid systems in graphic design and proofs of why Jan Tschichold is an idiot, read The Form of the Book by Jan Tschichold.

Prove me wrong, but you'll never link me anything worth reading because there's a problem for both of us. There are very few scholarly papers or books written about the golden ratio, whether for or against it. You said you don't think it's a fringe theory, but that's exactly how it's seen in the art history / art theory world. That doesn't prove that it has no merit, that's just my understanding of the situation. So there's little reason for any contemporary art historian to talk about it. There's not much incentive for anyone to argue against it, and it would take a very convincing paper or book to break through all the bullshit on blogs to get any art historian to change their mind in favor of it.

u/sheephunt2000 · 8 pointsr/math

Hey! This comment ended up being a lot longer than I anticipated, oops.

My all-time favs of these kinds of books definitely has to be Prime Obsession and Unknown Quantity by John Derbyshire - Prime Obsession covers the history behind one of the most famous unsolved problems in all of math - the Riemann hypothesis, and does it while actually diving into some of the actual theory behind it. Unknown Quantity is quite similar to Prime Obsession, except it's a more general overview of the history of algebra. They're also filled with lots of interesting footnotes. (Ignore his other, more questionable political books.)

In a similar vein, Fermat's Enigma by Simon Singh also does this really well with Fermat's last theorem, an infamously hard problem that remained unsolved until 1995. The rest of his books are also excellent.

All of Ian Stewart's books are great too - my favs from him are Cabinet, Hoard, and Casebook which are each filled with lots of fun mathematical vignettes, stories, and problems, which you can pick or choose at your leisure.

When it comes to fiction, Edwin Abbott's Flatland is a classic parody of Victorian England and a visualization of what a 4th dimension would look like. (This one's in the public domain, too.) Strictly speaking, this doesn't have any equations in it, but you should definitely still read it for a good mental workout!

Lastly, the Math Girls series is a Japanese YA series all about interesting topics like Taylor series, recursive relations, Fermat's last theorem, and Godel's incompleteness theorems. (Yes, really!) Although the 3rd book actually has a pretty decent plot, they're not really that story or character driven. As an interesting and unique mathematical resource though, they're unmatched!

I'm sure there are lots of other great books I've missed, but as a high school student myself, I can say that these were the books that really introduced me to how crazy and interesting upper-level math could be, without getting too over my head. They're all highly recommended.

Good luck in your mathematical adventures, and have fun!

u/thenumber0 · 1 pointr/math

A few years ago I was in a similar situation to the students you describe and am now at one of the universities you mention, so these suggestions are bound on what I found useful, or would have liked in retrospect.

Do you know about nrich? They have some interesting puzzles, arranged by keystage. They used to have a forum 'Ask NRICH' which was great, but currently closed for renovation, so look out for its reopening.

If it doesn't already exist, encourage the students to set up a maths society, research into something they find interesting (you can give suggestions) and give a brief talk to their peers.

However, what most inspired me was my teachers talking about what they found interesting. At GCSE, my teacher told us about Cantor's infinities as a special treat one day; we had pictures of Escher drawings in the classroom. At A Level, my teacher used to come in with maths puzzles he'd been working on over the weekend, and programs he'd written to demonstrate them (in Processing & Mathematica). Encourage them to come to you with questions too!

You can recommend some books to get them hyped. Anything you've enjoyed. I'd recommend Gower's Introduction to Mathematics for an idea of what maths is really about (beyond crunching equations at GCSE & A Level). Singh's Fermat's Last Theorem and Hofstadter's Godel, Escher, Bach are classics (especially on uni application forms) - the former an easy read, the latter somewhat more challenging. I'm sure you can find some more ideas on /r/mathbooks.

For STEP preparation, Siklos has an unbelievably helpful booklet. For the older ones, this would be instructive to look through even if they're not planning to apply for Cambridge.

Also (topical), arrange a class trip to see The Imitation Game!

u/CSMastermind · 1 pointr/learnprogramming

Entrepreneur Reading List

  1. Disrupted: My Misadventure in the Start-Up Bubble
  2. The Phoenix Project: A Novel about IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business Win
  3. The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don't Work and What to Do About It
  4. The Art of the Start: The Time-Tested, Battle-Hardened Guide for Anyone Starting Anything
  5. The Four Steps to the Epiphany: Successful Strategies for Products that Win
  6. Permission Marketing: Turning Strangers into Friends and Friends into Customers
  7. Ikigai
  8. Reality Check: The Irreverent Guide to Outsmarting, Outmanaging, and Outmarketing Your Competition
  9. Bootstrap: Lessons Learned Building a Successful Company from Scratch
  10. The Marketing Gurus: Lessons from the Best Marketing Books of All Time
  11. Content Rich: Writing Your Way to Wealth on the Web
  12. The Web Startup Success Guide
  13. The Best of Guerrilla Marketing: Guerrilla Marketing Remix
  14. From Program to Product: Turning Your Code into a Saleable Product
  15. This Little Program Went to Market: Create, Deploy, Distribute, Market, and Sell Software and More on the Internet at Little or No Cost to You
  16. The Secrets of Consulting: A Guide to Giving and Getting Advice Successfully
  17. The Innovator's Solution: Creating and Sustaining Successful Growth
  18. Startups Open Sourced: Stories to Inspire and Educate
  19. In Search of Stupidity: Over Twenty Years of High Tech Marketing Disasters
  20. Do More Faster: TechStars Lessons to Accelerate Your Startup
  21. Content Rules: How to Create Killer Blogs, Podcasts, Videos, Ebooks, Webinars (and More) That Engage Customers and Ignite Your Business
  22. Maximum Achievement: Strategies and Skills That Will Unlock Your Hidden Powers to Succeed
  23. Founders at Work: Stories of Startups' Early Days
  24. Blue Ocean Strategy: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make Competition Irrelevant
  25. Eric Sink on the Business of Software
  26. Words that Sell: More than 6000 Entries to Help You Promote Your Products, Services, and Ideas
  27. Anything You Want
  28. Crossing the Chasm: Marketing and Selling High-Tech Products to Mainstream Customers
  29. The Innovator's Dilemma: The Revolutionary Book that Will Change the Way You Do Business
  30. Tao Te Ching
  31. Philip & Alex's Guide to Web Publishing
  32. The Tao of Programming
  33. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values
  34. The Inmates Are Running the Asylum: Why High Tech Products Drive Us Crazy and How to Restore the Sanity

    Computer Science Grad School Reading List

  35. All the Mathematics You Missed: But Need to Know for Graduate School
  36. Introductory Linear Algebra: An Applied First Course
  37. Introduction to Probability
  38. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions
  39. Science in Action: How to Follow Scientists and Engineers Through Society
  40. Proofs and Refutations: The Logic of Mathematical Discovery
  41. What Is This Thing Called Science?
  42. The Art of Computer Programming
  43. The Little Schemer
  44. The Seasoned Schemer
  45. Data Structures Using C and C++
  46. Algorithms + Data Structures = Programs
  47. Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs
  48. Concepts, Techniques, and Models of Computer Programming
  49. How to Design Programs: An Introduction to Programming and Computing
  50. A Science of Operations: Machines, Logic and the Invention of Programming
  51. Algorithms on Strings, Trees, and Sequences: Computer Science and Computational Biology
  52. The Computational Beauty of Nature: Computer Explorations of Fractals, Chaos, Complex Systems, and Adaptation
  53. The Annotated Turing: A Guided Tour Through Alan Turing's Historic Paper on Computability and the Turing Machine
  54. Computability: An Introduction to Recursive Function Theory
  55. How To Solve It: A New Aspect of Mathematical Method
  56. Types and Programming Languages
  57. Computer Algebra and Symbolic Computation: Elementary Algorithms
  58. Computer Algebra and Symbolic Computation: Mathematical Methods
  59. Commonsense Reasoning
  60. Using Language
  61. Computer Vision
  62. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
  63. Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid

    Video Game Development Reading List

  64. Game Programming Gems - 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
  65. AI Game Programming Wisdom - 1 2 3 4
  66. Making Games with Python and Pygame
  67. Invent Your Own Computer Games With Python
  68. Bit by Bit
u/fubuvsfitch · 1 pointr/philosophy

This is pretty interesting: http://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/spirkin/works/dialectical-materialism/ch01-s04.html

An excerpt: Many general guiding ideas that lie at the foundation of modern science were first enunciated by the perceptive force of philosophical thought. One example is the idea of the atomic structure of things voiced by Democritus. Certain conjectures about natural selection were made in ancient times by the philosopher Lucretius and later by the French thinker Diderot. Hypothetically he anticipated what became a scientific fact two centuries later. We may also recall the Cartesian reflex and the philosopher's proposition on the conservation of motion in the universe. On the general philosophical plane Spinoza gave grounds for the universal principle of determinism. The idea of the existence of molecules as complex particles consisting of atoms was developed in the works of the French philosopher Pierre Gassendi and also Russia's Mikhail Lomonosov. Philosophy nurtured the hypothesis of the cellular structure of animal and vegetable organisms and formulated the idea of the development and universal connection of phenomena and the principle of the material unity of the world. Lenin formulated one of the fundamental ideas of contemporary natural science—the principle of the inexhaustibility of matter—upon which scientists rely as a firm methodological foundation

The latest theories of the unity of matter, motion, space and time, the unity of the discontinuous and continuous, the principles of the conservation of matter and motion, the ideas of the infinity and inexhaustibility of matter were stated in a general form in philosophy.

If we trace the whole history of natural and social science, we cannot fail to notice that scientists in their specific researches, in constructing hypotheses and theories have constantly applied, sometimes unconsciously, world-views and methodological principles, categories and logical systems evolved by philosophers and absorbed by scientists in the process of their training and self-education. All scientists who think in terms of theory constantly speak of this with a deep feeling of gratitude both in their works and at regional and international conferences and congresses.

Some people think that science has reached such a level of theoretical thought that it no longer needs philosophy. But any scientist, particularly the theoretician, knows in his heart that his creative activity is closely linked with philosophy and that without serious knowledge of philosophical culture the results of that activity cannot become theoretically effective. All the outstanding theoreticians have themselves been guided by philosophical thought and tried to inspire their pupils with its beneficent influence in order to make them specialists capable of comprehensively and critically analysing all the principles and systems known to science, discovering their internal contradictions and overcoming them by means of new concepts.

To artificially isolate the specialised sciences from philosophy amounts to condemning scientists to finding for themselves world-view and methodological guidelines for their researches. Ignorance of philosophical culture is bound to have a negative effect on any general theoretical conclusions from a given set of scientific facts. One cannot achieve any real theoretical comprehension, particularly of the global problems of a specialised science, without a broad grasp of inter-disciplinary and philosophical views. The specialised scientists who ignore philosophical problems sometimes turn out to be in thrall to completely obsolete or makeshift philosophical ideas without even knowing it themselves. The desire to ignore philosophy is particularly characteristic of such a trend in bourgeois thought as positivism, whose advocates have claimed that science has no need of philosophy. Their ill-considered principle is that "science is in itself philosophy". They work on the assumption that scientific knowledge has developed widely enough to provide answers to all philosophical problems without resorting to any actual philosophical system. But the "cunning" of philosophy lies in the fact that any form of contempt for it, any rejection of philosophy is in itself a kind of philosophy. It is as impossible to get rid of philosophy as it is to rid oneself of all convictions. Philosophy is the regulative nucleus of the theoretically-minded individual.

This is also pretty much where it all began:


Aristotle: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aristotle

Aristotle's views on the physical sciences profoundly shaped medieval scholarship, and their influence extended well into the Renaissance

In the biological sciences, some of his observations were confirmed to be accurate only in the nineteenth century.


In Aristotle's terminology, "natural philosophy" is a branch of philosophy examining the phenomena of the natural world, and includes fields that would be regarded today as physics, biology and other natural sciences

Now to your comment: I have not defined simply thinking as philosophy. When I think to turn on my blinker before I make a turn, I am not doing philosophy. I am thinking, but not philosophizing.

As for deciding which is science and which is philosophy being silly... well I think that notion is a bit confusing. Neither philosophy nor science are 'just thinking'. As for what makes science science: For one, science is ALWAYS FALSIFIABLE. Meaning, one can test the statements made by science. Philosophy is often abstract and untestable. Secondly, science is OBSERVABLE in the real world. We observe correlations in nature when we are doing science. Philosophy may or may not involve observation of natural phenomena. Science involves PHYSICAL EXPERIMENTATION. Philosophy involves thought experimentation. Science always makes PREDICTIONS. Philosophy doesn't have to make predictions. There are about six demarcating criteria that distinguish and define science as science. Science falls under the umbrella of philosophy. In other words, all science is philosophy, but all philosophy is not science.

My point is that if you know the history of science, and you know the history of philosophy, you know that philosophers are the fathers of modern day science. See, the inquisitive nature and thought that philosophers exhibited manifest itself in several ways. One of these manifestations was scientific method. See my last post.

I think also you may be misunderstanding the point. Not every scientist is thinking "I'm doing philosophy!" before he goes into experiment, although he is walking in the footsteps of philosophers, and even doing philosophy though he may not know it. Further, it was the love of wisdom, philosophy, that led to the scientific method in the first place. So any time someone is doing science, it is because they love wisdom (unless of course it's 'just a job'). They are seeking knowledge. This is philosophy. Philosophy both super cedes and precedes science.

If you have the time, and the money, and the desire, this is an excellent book:


u/beck1670 · 0 pointsr/LifeProTips

> So you're telling me that you can memorize the fibbonacci sequence but just can't wrap your head around remembering 1.6?

I took that as you saying that 1.6 is easier to remember Fibonacci. Was that wrong of me? How else could this be interpreted?

> So you only need to remember the Fibonacci sequence rule for all conversions of all units?

No, it's that 1.6 gets obfuscated by all of the other conversion factors, whereas Fib is unique and novel, making it noteworthy.

> How does that prove that rules are easier to remember than values? All it shows is that values are easier to remember if you also have rules.

We need the rules to make it easier to remember numbers. That's how hard numbers are to remember. Arbitrary rules are absolutely not easier to remember than arbitrary numbers, but when things have meaning then we can comprehend them. When we find simple rules that explain numbers, we find a simpler, more engaging way to think about a number that would otherwise be arbitrary.

> You may find it fascinating, I do not. I find it pointless.

This is why different people need different mnemonics! If you have the time, take a look through this page.. The takeaway message is the the Fibonacci sequence creates a lot of situations. The reason it works for miles to kilometers is because 1.6 is very close to the golden ratio (another number that I have to look up), which just shows up everywhere (which is fascinating in and of itself - there are entire books written about this one number and it's been known about since at least 300BCE).

I (like many other people) already learned about the Fibonacci sequence. Knowing that it applies to unit conversion means that I don't have to remember anything else - I've learned both things on their own terms, so the union is not a new thing to me. If you don't know the Fibonacci sequence, it might be a fascinating thing to learn. And lo and behold, you don't need to memorize a number (because very few people actually enjoy rote memorization).

u/rah_rah_amun_rah · 5 pointsr/politics


>Because you sound like a middle schooler who tried weed for the first time, and gets the million dollar idea that all mind-altering drugs are good because you dissociated for an hour.

I'm actually sharing second-hand the scholarship of Timothy Leary, as well as Carl Sagan's writing in Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark, which is a phenomenal book. The ideas are certainly not mine, though I do agree with them. I came across them because I was formerly a professor of rhetoric and composition and used counterculture as a topic of study for some of my classes and thus became interested in the psychedelic movement.

I've also never dissociated. Some people depersonalize while taking psychedelics, but I've never experienced that, either. Dissociation is more something you might expect from Ketamine or large doses of DXM. If anything, used responsibly by psychologically healthy people with fully formed brains, psychedelics connect you further with yourself and the world around you, not the other way around.

>Slowing down your synapses and making yourself see things in slow motion or fancy colors isn't going to make you or the population as a whole more enlightened.

This is just not how psychedelics work. Visuals are a very small aspect of the experience. They're also, by far, the most underwhelming aspect. Ideally, if you're doing psychedelics right, you never see anything that isn't there or doesn't really exist, you just notice details and patterns in things that are there everyday, but you usually don't notice.

But that's beside the point. The true value of the psychedelic experience is in the cognitive and emotional component.

Take the work or neuroscientist Andrew Newberg, for example, which demonstrates that brain activity in people tripping on psilocybin is roughly the same as that of mystics and religious clerics engaged in deep meditation or prayer. Or you could look at the various peer reviewed, scholarly studies that demonstrate the dramatic effects of psychedelics on prosocial behavior and psychological function.

If you think psychedelics are still fodder for basement dwelling hippie hangers-on who can't let go of the good old Haight-Ashbury days, you're just kind of behind the times. A lot has happened since then. You should catch up. It's interesting stuff.

>There have already been places where drugs were decriminalized entirely, like Portugal, where people actually started weaning themselves off of them and overall using psychedelics less because, believe it or not, constantly altering your mind with substances is unhealthy. As far as I understand the "euphoria" that was liberated there didn't cause a cultural renaissance either.

Portugal decriminalized drugs as a radical solution to their rampant issues with opioid addiction, but mostly to curb the country's HIV epidemic due to rampant IV drug use. It had basically nothing to do with psychedelics.

Simply put, psychedelics have never been particularly available or popular in Portugal, so to use them as your measuring stick is an odd choice. Portugal is better suited for an argument about relaxing drug laws to reduce overdoses and IV drug related diseases, as well as create better access to treatment options.

The example you're looking for would likely be the Haight-Ashbury in the 1960's, which was an absolute mess. But honestly, psychedelics weren't as much to blame for that as stimulants, opioids, PTSD, other forms mental illness, and the fact that most of the people in the Haight at the time were teenagers. Speaking contemporarily, San Francisco is the highest-ranking American city in terms of overall quality of life according to the Mercer Quality of Living Survey, so do with that what you will.

>All you're doing is highlighting how different attitudes towards substances here are, and how people could get hurt.

Look, I've studied this shit, both experientially and academically. You may not agree with me, and that's fine, but I really don't think I'm the one of the two of us who has weird, misguided ideas about psychedelics and how they work.

Psychedelics are not addictive, have incredibly high overdose thresholds that are nearly impossible to meet, and when used responsibly, have seriously positive applications in the psychological and social sciences, namely when used in conjunction with cognitive behavioral therapy in the care of trained professionals. The fact that you think this is middle-school philosophizing really says more about you than it does about me or psychedelics, namely that you don't know very much about psychedelics.

Lastly, here's a pro-tip for your cake day: when you go ad-hominem against someone with no substantive argument to follow, and they say, "Go on...", probably don't actually go on.

u/taanews · 1 pointr/Christianity

Thank you for your response and for the citation of the text.

As I argued above from multiple texts across the Old Testament, slaves were to be treated as human beings. To take Leviticus 25:44 which belongs to the same body of work as contradictory to the other texts above (where I also noted that slaves were allowed to be taken in war), due to vesting a modern notion of “being property” into the text is to interpret anachronistically. To point it out from the 10 commandments as you ask:

> “but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD your God. On that day you must not do any work, you, your son, your daughter, your male slave, your female slave, your ox, your donkey, any other animal, or the foreigner who lives with you, so that your male and female slaves, ‘like yourself’, may have rest. Recall that you were slaves in the land of Egypt and that the LORD your God brought you out of there by strength and power. That is why the LORD your God has commanded you to observe the Sabbath day.”
(Deut 5:14–15 NET)

Consider this as well: Israel has the law and knows the true God. If you are a slave there are many harsh places in the world that you could go, but if you go to Israel you have legal protections, and become acquainted with God.

Regarding applying moral notions to God, I wrote above. God doesn’t reserve rights for himself so much as dispense any rights anyone else has. That’s the Creator/Creature distinction.

Regarding DNA and paleontology, draw what conclusions fit with what is authoritative for you according to your worldview. Read Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas Kuhn. For myself, science is great as natural revelation filling in special revelation, but something subject to paradigm shifts is shaky foundation for a philosophical basis.

Regarding Adam & Noah, forgive my simplicity but Jesus believed them (Matt 19:4-5; Matt 24:37-39), and I trust him more than any man’s guesses since he’s God and he made them. I am still in r/Christianity right? This is the right place to post this? If you rather believe that you are assessing science’s assessment of the data correctly (layered as that is from the original data), that’s your decision.

As I said in another comment on this post, once we get off the Christian concept of God what is even the point of considering the OP’s question? I mean if Jesus isn’t God, Adam & Noah aren’t real, the Bible isn’t an accurate account of God, then what does it even matter if God can deceive or not, seeing as such a being likely doesn’t exist anyway?

The question only matters within the context of Scripture: does Scripture present a God who is indistinguishable from the devil? The answer is no. If we are going to be picky about what Scripture we are allowed to inform that interpretation by invoking science, why not just invoke science to disallow the concept of God and be done? If you want to debate the Bible’s reliability there are places for that, but that wasn’t the original question.

Thanks for reading. Let me know if I can clarify

u/enter_river · 2 pointsr/INTP

Ok, well let me preface this by saying that while I am indeed a PhD student, I am a brand new one, and I wouldn't want to assert any undue authority on the topic. I definitely encourage you to continue to explore these ideas on your own, but i'll give you a quick rundown of the topic as I understand it.

Complex systems science is a broad, interdisciplinary research program seeking to explain how organization emerges from the interactions between multiple independent agents in the absence of central planning and control. Each agent is following their own rules according to limited information about a shared environment, but through regular interaction with other agents certain system level structures and/or behaviors may emerge.

A classic example (IMHO) would be flocking behavior. For a long time researchers were trying to figure out how flocks of birds controlled their movement in flight. They spent a long time looking for some sort of "bird leader" (really), before realizing that those decisions are really being made by the flock itself through a form of collective computation rather than by any individual or group of individual birds. An individual bird will make sure it is pointing in the same direction as the birds around it (alignment), and stay as close as it can to the birds around it (cohesion), without running into other birds or crowding them (seperation). As long as all the birds are following those rules, the flock can move just fine. With just one or a few birds the interactions aren't very interesting, but when you scale it up you can get some pretty spectacular collective behaviors.

Now, my own background is in international relations and public policy, with a focus on political economy. My focus as a graduate student is on the processes by which informal norms and values are codified into formal institutional structures, and how the specific knowledge, beliefs, and values of individuals result in the collective behaviors and cultures of larger scale actors in the international system (nations, states, ngos, corporations etc.)

In addition to what I had said above, we're talking about fractal structures, self-similarity at scale, distributed information processing, the evolutionary algorithm, chaos, information and entropy à la Shannon. In my opinion at least these ideas will be the basis for a new non-linear, computational scientific paradigm which will finally allow us to gain insight into problems that have resisted analysis through traditional functional or linear regression type analysis. I also happen to thing it is the perfect XNTP discipline. So many different and challenging things to learn. So much of the foundation is still being laid here.

This is alot of text so far, and I'm not sure I've even conveyed anything of value, so I'm going to quit here. I'd be happy to try and answer any other questions you might have. I love this stuff and I love talking about it.

Here's some further resources:
Complexity Explorer
Santa Fe Institute
New England Complex Systems Institute
Think Complexity(pdf) -Allen B Downey
Complexity: a Guided Tour - Melanie Mitchell
Complexity: A Very Short Introduction - James H. Holland
Out of Control - Kevin Kelly

Edited: for formatting (I am not very good at Markdown) and to add a sweet bird video.

u/LRE · 8 pointsr/exjw

Random selection of some of my favorites to help you expand your horizons:

The Demon-Haunted World by Carl Sagan is a great introduction to scientific skepticism.

Letter to a Christian Nation by Sam Harris is a succinct refutation of Christianity as it's generally practiced in the US employing crystal-clear logic.

Augustus: The Life of Rome's First Emperor by Anthony Everitt is the best biography of one of the most interesting men in history, in my personal opinion.

Travels with Herodotus by Ryszard Kapuscinski is a jaw-dropping book on history, journalism, travel, contemporary events, philosophy.

A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson is a great tome about... everything. Physics, history, biology, art... Plus he's funny as hell. (Check out his In a Sunburned Country for a side-splitting account of his trip to Australia).

The Annotated Mona Lisa by Carol Strickland is a thorough primer on art history. Get it before going to any major museum (Met, Louvre, Tate Modern, Prado, etc).

Not the Impossible Faith by Richard Carrier is a detailed refutation of the whole 'Christianity could not have survived the early years if it weren't for god's providence' argument.

Six Easy Pieces by Richard Feynman are six of the easier chapters from his '63 Lectures on Physics delivered at CalTech. If you like it and really want to be mind-fucked with science, his QED is a great book on quantum electrodynamics direct from the master.

Lucy's Legacy by Donald Johanson will give you a really great understanding of our family history (homo, australopithecus, ardipithecus, etc). Equally good are Before the Dawn: Recovering the Lost History of Our Ancestors by Nicholas Wade and Mapping Human History by Steve Olson, though I personally enjoyed Before the Dawn slightly more.

Memory and the Mediterranean by Fernand Braudel gives you context for all the Bible stories by detailing contemporaneous events from the Levant, Italy, Greece, Egypt, etc.

After the Prophet by Lesley Hazleton is an awesome read if you don't know much about Islam and its early history.

Happy reading!

edit: Also, check out the Reasonable Doubts podcast.

u/dangling_participles · 4 pointsr/exmormon

Perhaps it's time to move away from LDS specific arguments, and start questioning the God concept in general; especially as it relates to morality.

One argument I've always liked, is that even if there is a god, by far the strongest test of morality it could ask for is if a person will be moral while believing there is no such being, and no promise of reward or punishment.

If she is willing to read, I recommend the following:

u/MahatmaGandalf · 2 pointsr/AskPhysics

The books others have suggested here are all great, but if you've never seen physics with calculus before, you may want to begin with something more accessible. Taylor and Goldstein are aimed at advanced undergraduates and spend almost no time on the elementary formulation of Newtonian mechanics. They're designed to teach you about more advanced methods of mechanics, primarily the Lagrangian and Hamiltonian formulations.

Therefore, I suggest you start with a book that's designed to be introductory. I don't have a particular favorite, but you may enjoy Serway & Jewett or Halliday & Resnick.

Many of us learned out of K&K, as it's been something of a standard in honors intro courses since the seventies. (Oh my god, a new edition? Why?!) However, most of its readers these days have already seen physics with calculus once before, and many of them still find it a difficult read. You may want to see if your school's library has a copy so you can try before you buy.

If you do enjoy the level of K&K, then I strongly encourage you to find a copy of Purcell when you get to studying electricity and magnetism. If you are confident with the math, it is far and away the best book for introductory E&M—there's no substitute! (And personally, I'd strongly suggest you get the original or the second edition used. The third edition made the switch to SI units, which are not well-suited to electromagnetic theory.)

By the way: if you don't care what edition you're getting, and you're okay with international editions, you can get these books really cheaply. For instance: Goldstein, S&J, K&K, Purcell.

Finally, if you go looking for other books or asking other people, you should be aware that "analytical mechanics" often means those more advanced methods you learn in a second course on mechanics. If you just say "mechanics with calculus", people will get the idea of what you're looking for.

u/thepastry · 4 pointsr/Physics

I just want to point out one thing that everyone seems to be glossing over: when people say that you'll need to review classical mechanics, they aren't talking only about Newtonian Mechanics. The standard treatment of Quantum Mechanics draws heavily from an alternative formulation of classical mechanics known as Hamiltonian Mechanics that I'm willing to bet you didn't cover in your physics education. This field is a bit of a beast in its own right (one of those that can pretty much get as complicated/mathematically taxing as you let it) and it certainly isn't necessary to become an expert in order to understand quantum mechanics. I'm at a bit of a loss to recommend a good textbook for an introduction to this subject, though. I used Taylor in my first course on the subject, but I don't really like that book. Goldstein is a wonderful book and widely considered to be the bible of classical mechanics, but can be a bit of a struggle.

Also, your math education may stand you in better stead than you think. Quantum mechanics done (IMHO) right is a very algebraic beast with all the nasty integrals saved for the end. You're certainly better off than someone with a background only in calculus. If you know calculus in 3 dimensions along with linear algebra, I'd say find a place to get a feel for Hamiltonian mechanics and dive right in to Griffiths or Shankar. (I've never read Shankar, so I can't speak to its quality directly, but I've heard only good things. Griffiths is quite understandable, though, and not at all terse.) If you find that you want a bit more detail on some of the topics in math that are glossed over in those treatments (like properties of Hilbert Space) I'd recommend asking r/math for a recommendation for a functional analysis textbook. (Warning:functional analysis is a bit of a mindfuck. I'd recommend taking these results on faith unless you're really curious.) You might also look into Eisberg and Resnick if you want a more historical/experimentally motivated treatment.

All in all, I think its doable. It is my firm belief that anyone can understand quantum mechanics (at least to the extent that anyone understands quantum mechanics) provided they put in the effort. It will be a fair amount of effort though. Above all, DO THE PROBLEMS! You can't actually learn physics without applying it. Also, you should be warned that no matter how deep you delve into the subject, there's always farther to go. That's the wonderful thing about physics: you can never know it all. There just comes a point where the questions you ask are current research questions.

Good Luck!

u/psykotic · 23 pointsr/programming

I firmly believe that dialogue is an undervalued and underexplored form for didactic writings, but I don't think The Little Schemer's two-column version with its short snippets of text is as good as it could be, or indeed very good at all. I would be in favor of something less catechismic and more discursive. And having more than two characters lets you illuminate questions and answers from many different angles. An example closer to my vision is Lakatos's Proofs and Refutations, which is half philosophy and half mathematics: the philosophy of mathematics as grounded in actual mathematical practice. That book is perhaps needlessly digressive, owing to its ultimately philosophical purpose, but it demonstrates an effective adaptation of classical philosophical dialogue to more mathematical matters.

Incidentally, Proofs and Refutations is the only book on the philosophy of mathematics that I'd recommend without hesitation or reservation to a fellow mathematician. You should all check it out. The excerpt on Amazon gives a pretty faithful impression.

If any of you know of any, I'd be very interested in other books that put dialogue to effective use outside its usual philosophical domain.

u/aPinkFloyd · 14 pointsr/exmormon

Lots of love for you, here are some thoughts of mine...

  • it is a mistake to believe that you should be asking the question "What is the purpose of my life?" it's not a question you ask, IT IS A QUESTION YOU ANSWER! and you answer it by living your life as ONLY you can, having the adventure that is your life experience, discovering the magical miracle that is ONLY YOU in all of this vast universe!

  • After losing Mormonism and the understanding of the universe that goes with it, I find myself an atheist, which has made this little journey of life INFINITELY more precious to me. It's all and everything we have! (as far as we know).

  • I have pulled in many helpful, empowering, peaceful ideas from Buddhism, Philosophy, Science that has helped me start to form a new, optimistic, and amazingly open minded new world-view. I no longer have to believe anything that doesn't make sense, I get to believe only sweet things now, and that is SO nice.

    Here are some resources that I have been really grateful for on my journey, which I am 12 months into...

    The Obstacle is the Way

    The Daily Stoic this is my new "daily bible" I read a page every morning

    Secular Buddhism podcast

    Waking Up podcast

    End of Faith

    The Demon Haunted World

    Philosophize This! podcast OR Partially Examined Life podcast

    I wish you the very best in your journey, be patient with yourself, you have EVERY reason to be! Start filling your mind with powerful positive ideas, keep the ones that help you find your way, set aside the ones that don't.

    And remember, you are young and free and the possibilities of what your life can become are boundless!
u/readbeam · 3 pointsr/suggestmeabook

I used to love all those new age books! Why not head down to the used bookstore and pick up half a dozen books that look fun out of that section? There's always something entertaining there. If she's a true believer, avoid anything that suggests people can survive by eating nothing but air.

Or, if she's not a true believer but just interested in the subject, have you considered getting her some non-fiction books that delve into the psychology behind ghost sightings and such? Like Investigating the Paranormal (less skeptical) or Demon-Haunted World (much more skeptical)?

Cows, Pigs, Wars, and Witches was a fascinating read and IIRC largely historical. She might also enjoy branching out into a book like The Predictioneer's Game, which is about game theory and how to use it effectively in modern life.

If she likes mysteries at all, I suggest Josephine Tey's The Daughter of Time. It's about a police officer who is laid up in hospital and decides to use the time to solve a famous historical mystery. You could also consider biographies of strong and active women who inspire -- Princess Diana, maybe, or Martha Stewart?

(Edited to add links)

u/Carl_Vincent_May_III · 1 pointr/sorceryofthespectacle

This has been my curse since college. In college I truly blossomed, it was a community college and the profs truly cared and were passionate about teaching. I was fascinated by every course I took, I read books related to the course material because I couldn't get enough. I was blessed by having not grown up religious, and I easily shed the sort of pseudo therapeutic deism I had in favor of physicalism, lifism, and humanism. Humans beings and life on Earth are the things of the most value we have ever experienced. However with the knowledge I gained, I realized the nature of social reality that we all do here: we live in a humanity-destroying doomsday device called capitalism, politics was utter bullshit, and nothing was there to prevent the apocalypse. My greatest fear was and is humanity destroying itself via its own stupidity. This became my Focus, my core query, and the essential dilemma between what I valued most and its utter negation destroyed me. And so I went under, and how I went under. Imagine everyone you love dying at the same time, over and over, with you helpless to stop it; I felt this for years. I tried distractions, to "simply be happy" and seek escapism in video games and the internet (which led me to Second Life and my business there which made me $9000 a month at my peak) and to hide myself from the world. I became a hermit in my own apartment, (later a room in my Mother's house) and have been ever since, until now.

It was also during college (2001-2004, broken up due to life circumstances) that I discovered Richard Dawkins' phenomenal work, along with many others in philosophy and science. I envisioned a science of creativity, of a way to augment people's innate creativity instead of the shitty definition of "memetic engineering" which is essentially engineering propaganda. I imagined an explosion of human creative experience known as the Memetic Singularity. I didn't realize it, but after making this my Focus I subconsciously sought it, and to the solution of my core query of how to prevent the death of humanity. Eventually, this led me here. And so here I am.

There are many that share my core queries of an expanding fractal of human experience / life-as-art and art-as life, and to prevent the destruction of humanity. Our synchronicity is us working along separate lines of inquiry that converge in very precise ways, the precision having increased until the memetic singularity was realized sometime in the last few months. The War on Nihilism, the War on Zero is over, we are in a post-war period of reconstruction. A really awesome Christmas (metaphorically) is coming where many gifts will be revealed that will allow humanity to reach its true potential that we all know deep down is our birthright.

I like your diagram and it is a good way to visualize and organize your mental schema on these topics. I'm not sure what sort of diagram I would make, but it would probably involve bubbles with topics with sub-bubbles branching off with sub-topics and a whole lot of cross-crossing lines of relations between them.

If you haven't already, I strongly recommend watching my special blends in order, without skipping anything (the whole is other than the sum of their parts.) The true message is in the interrelationships of the media used, both between blends and within them.

Carl Sagan is also one of my biggest role models, in the midst of the total chaos (parents, family, high school) of my teenage years I discovered amateur astronomy. I learned to love the cosmos, I built my own 10" Dobsonian Newtonian reflector, the night sky became a home to me. I had previously had a deep fear of the dark which vanished from this, which is why this book is so meaningful to me. What initiated my interest in astronomy was the movie Contact based on his book I had previously read. This scene in the movie describes the holy experience of astronomy that I felt many times just as strongly as the movie depicts. The scene isn't about aliens, it's about humanity and the universe, which has a sort of intrinsic quality of love to it, which it must to have created something as wonderful as life, love, and consciousness. We truly are the means by which the universe experiences itself.

Materialism isn't the problem, it's incomplete materialism that is Cartesian Dualism in disguise. The perception and not mere belief of holistic physicalism gives a sense of interconnectedness and wonder to all existence.

u/markth_wi · 10 pointsr/booksuggestions

I can think of a few

u/astroNerf · 2 pointsr/DebateEvolution

> Hovind does a great job of sounding convincing to somebody who doesnt have the facts.

... or someone who is not scientifically literate. I don't have all the facts either, but there are heuristics I use to determine whether someone is feeding me a line of BS or not. If you think your scientific literacy could improve, check out Carl Sagan's book The Demon-Haunted World. It's an excellent manual for learning critical thinking and skepticism. You can usually find a copy at used bookstores.

> So anyway that example you gave their pushes it to 50,000 years but what about older than that?

Right, since we're only speaking about radiocarbon dating here, 50,000 years is sort of the limit, since the half-life of C-14 is around 5700 years, after tens of thousands of years, there's so little C-14 left that it's increasingly difficult to use it as a means of dating.

If you want to date something older than that, you have to use methods other than radiocarbon.

One method is paleomagnetic dating.

Ice core dating is another. In this technique, not only can years be counted, but atmospheric gases can be sampled in these layers, and sometimes, these gases can be dated radiometrically. Years where there were large volcanic eruptions can be recorded, as that sediment is found in specific layers of the cores. I seem to recall that this method is good for up to 160,000 years ago.

Radiometric dating (as distinct from radiocarbon dating) are fairly widely-used methods. One example of this sort of dating is uranium-lead dating, and is the method used my Clair Patterson when he determined the age of the Earth back in 1956. There are a bunch of methods that are used, and in some cases, when using multiple methods to date something, we get results that are very close. In short: independent methods agree with each other.

If you've not seen any of it, you might enjoy Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey. In episode 7, titled The Clean Room, they detail how Clair Patterson, in his quest to discover the true age of the Earth, discovers something else rather unsettling. I won't spoil it for you - if you want to watch that specific episode, DailyMotion has a link here. It's a decent overview of radiometric dating. The whole series is pretty good, if you're looking to update your knowledge on modern science.

u/ofthe5thkind · 13 pointsr/Paranormal

I applaud your skepticism! I do take issue with a few statements:

>My younger brother (19), however, is a hardcore skeptic. He claims to have seen a cup levitate and move in front of him in the bathroom one night, and [...] I know that he is definitely not the type of person to do any investigating whatsoever and will just automatically assume that it was a ghost.

Your brother is not a skeptic.

>I always ridicule him for his insane belief.

That's not very nice.

>As an atheist, I can't help but look down upon people who hold religious beliefs because it all seems so absurd to me.

That doesn't help foster communication. I think you might benefit greatly from this half-hour talk from "bad astronomer" Phil Plait. The general idea behind the talk is: when have you ever changed your beliefs just because someone told you that they were stupid? Instead of helping your case, you are hurting it. You'll only cause them to reinforce their beliefs, even if your confirmed evidence directly disproves their beliefs.

>me being the logical person I am, I choose the side of "you're crazy and you imagined it", while he takes the "it was definitely a ghost" side.

You two should work on your communication, because this approach is going to go nowhere.

>It took my brother a little longer to come around to the fact that there is no god.

It is not a fact that there is no god.

>I consider myself atheist while I consider him to be agnostic.

It's a common misconception, but that's not how it works.

If you found confirmation bias [edit: interesting] (and all of the other names we have for the ways our brains will innately fool us), I'd highly recommend that you read Carl Sagan's The Demon-Haunted World: Science As A Candle In The Dark. I would suggest that you read it first, in private. Then I would suggest lending it to your brother to read, and asking him to recommend that you read a book of his recommendation. Afterwards, talk about your thoughts together.

Don't be mean to him, or dismissive. Sometimes, critical thinking has to be taught, or self-learned after experience. It's not a slight on my aunt's intelligence, for instance, that she believes that some forms of homeopathy is effective. I could tell her all day that we know that homeopathy doesn't work. I could give her thousands of pages of scientific journals explaining, in great and meticulous detail, why this is the case. She would likely dismiss "mainstream science," though, because it isn't supporting her worldview and/or belief system. That doesn't mean my aunt is a moron. It means, more than anything else, that she doesn't understand what a useful standard of evidence is in order to determine truths about our world.

>I don't believe in ghosts. Please tell me some experiences, give insight and opinions. Try to help me understand.

I've made similar posts searching for similar truths, like:

u/mindful_island · 2 pointsr/getdisciplined

For a good starter into critical analysis and the scientific method, along with general topics on not getting suckered into things, I recommend Demon Haunted World by Carl Sagan:


To help start thinking about balanced critical awareness you can try some little workbooks like this: https://www.amazon.com/Do-You-Think-What-Philosophical/dp/0452288657

That book isn't very in depth but I found it a good way to start exercising skepticism and logic.

To learn how to step back and pay attention to what is happening, including thought patterns, emotions and body states with a critical but calm eye, I recommend mindfulness practice in the insight meditation tradition, it is quite secular, rational and will be useful for anyone.

6 part introduction to mindfulness:


To dampen the irrational negativity I recommend the practice of metta which is something like purposefully practicing compassion, forgiveness and support.

For specific info on Metta(loving kindness) practice just ctrl+f on "metta" on this page: http://www.audiodharma.org/recommended_talks/

Then, I recommend two practical philosophies that both teach how to deal with internal dialogue and experience in rational and practical methods.

Secular Buddhism


You should start with the oldest episodes.

On the Stoicism side it would be helpful to read through Epictetus Enchiridion and Marcus Aurelius Meditations as starters. Try to find some modern translations to make it a bit easier unless you like the old language stuff.

I know that is a lot, I'd say start with either the mindfulness practice or Carl Sagan's book. Keep it simple and take your time.

u/pa7x1 · 9 pointsr/bestof

Here is a quick overview of the biggest flaws. This post by itself won't serve to explain in detail how Special Relativity (SR) and General Relativity (GR) work but hopefully should be enough to help you understand in what way what OP posted is bullshit and provide you some references to dig deeper if you are interested.

> I don't know the specific equation, though it is logarithmic so you have to be pretty far along the curve (much faster than we can travel even with long term nuke bomblet propulsion) to even be noticeable in casual observation.

Time dilation is not logarithmic, it is given by the gamma factor which takes the form 1 / sqrt(1-β^2 ), where β is just the speed of the moving target as a fraction of the speed of light.

>As far as time displacement, I think for all practical purposes, space displacement and time displacement are basically the same thing.

Well... no. Time and space "displacements" are not interchangeable for all purposes neither practical nor theoretical. In fact they are very different in SR and GR, time differences e.g. (t_1 - t_2)^2 are negative in relativity and space differences (s_1 - s_2)^2 are positive, if this doesn't tell you anything by itself try to find 2 numbers whose difference squared is negative. This difference is so important that by itself and assuming spacetime is flat you can derive all of SR.

So with that sentence he not only shows absolutely no understanding of relativity he also killed the only thing that makes Special Relativity different from Galilean relativity.

>In fact, a 'wormhole drive', or gate would effectively be the same as a time dilation drive, in that the mass of the wormhole provides the energy for the Einstein-Rosen bridge, which warps space in such a way that no time passes experientally for the passengers.

No idea what a "time dilation drive" but it is absolutely false that observers crossing and a wormhole don't experience time. In relativity you experience time, all the time at the same rate you are experiencing it right now. It's everyone else who you see experience time at different rates depending on their relative motion with respect to you (hence the name relativity). The best way to understand it is by thinking that everything moves through spacetime at the same speed (the speed of light), when you don't move through space you use all your speed moving forward in time , when something moves with respect to you through space they use a bit of their speed moving through space and the rest moving through time (total adding to the speed of light). Time dilation is just a consequence of this, you see them from your perspective use less speed to move through time.

From your perspective you are always stationary to yourself and you always see the passage of time at the same rate, the same rate you are experiencing it right now.

And the rest of his comment goes on with a very poor understanding of SR and GR.

If you want to dig deeper the wiki articles on SR and GR are actually a great source to start with and they come with graphics and animations that can help a lot visualizing the funky geometry.

Start with this one and follow the rabbit hole:

For a formal understanding of Special Relativity you don't need much math, a first year course on linear algebra is enough. This book will take you from the very basics to more advanced topics: https://www.cambridge.org/core/books/special-relativity/BDBCE66BDA2159DEF8226F8EE210AA8C

General Relativity requires a lot more math background, specifically differential geometry. A very nice book on the subject is Wald's General Relativity: https://www.amazon.com/General-Relativity-Robert-M-Wald/dp/0226870332

u/Cronecker · 2 pointsr/physicsbooks

The links between topology, geometry and classical mechanics are fairly well documented in the other comments. Geometry and topology are fairly important in modern physics, at least what I've seen of it. General Relativity is the main example of where geometric ideas began to enter into physics. A good resource for this is Sean Carroll's GR notes and corresponding book. There are more advanced GR texts as well, like Wald's book.

There are also some books which deal directly with the links between physics and geometry, such as Frankels book, Szekeres, Agricola and Friedrich and Sternberg. Of these I own Szekeres book which is very good, and Frankels looks very good as well. The other two I am not sure about.

Geometric ideas do raise their head in more areas, as an example it is possible to formulate electromagnetism in terms of tensors or the hodge dual (see here). Additionally, and this is a bit beyond my knowledge, a friend of mine is working on topics in quantum field theory involving knot theory. I'm not exactly sure how this works but the links are certainly there.

Sorry if this all has more of a differential geometry flavour to it rather than a topological one, the diff geo side is what I know better. Hope that all helps. :)

u/moreLytes · 6 pointsr/Christianity

> At first black holes were just a concept that was possible.

So, in order to repair your non sequitor, you have translated it to the 18th century. I would suggest that your example might have been improved had you chosen something relevant to modernity (see: M-theory).

> In 2010 a theory was published and peer reviewed that said that black holes could be wormholes to other universes. Scientist do not widely accept this or other alternate theories of black holes. They believe (because they cannot know) that black holes are collapsed stars.

Do you really believe that our understanding of black holes, or any topic of science, is a matter of taste? Do you really know so little of philosophy of science, and the practical establishment of scientific consensus?

> I do see secondary evidence [for theism] such as the universe, DNA, the precise strength of gravity to support life, the precise strength of the strong nuclear force to support life, the nearly unique properties of water.

Surely you can appreciate that a unifying characteristic of cosmogony, abiogenesis, and the origins of physical constants is scientific ignorance. So why are you so eager to connect that trait to your faith? Do you not understand how such a commitment is demonstrably hazardous to scientific literacy?

> My theory is that god exists and much like John Michell and Simon Pierre LaPlace in the 18th century I am waiting for science to catch up.

The mechanism by which science "catches up" is known as experiment.

What experiments could be performed to corroborate the existence of God?

u/JeeJee48 · 1 pointr/math

Having just finished my A levels, it's all about looking at stuff beyond the syllabus.

As I'm more interested in physics, outside of the classroom I've looked at angular momentum, quantum physics, relativity, particle physics, and more.
As far as maths goes, the only maths that wasn't covered on my further maths course was some of the basic functions of vector field calculus. (I didn't actually do any of it, but just began to understand the concepts. This really tied in with the field stuff I was looking at in physics).

One of the best things to have during your A levels is a friend studying the same subjects as you, so you can talk about all the interesting stuff that you and they find out. I learnt so much in informal conversations with him and my teachers, and also looking stuff up online, it almost overshadows my actual A levels!

As far as books go, I can recommend plenty of physics books, but as far as maths goes I would recommend looking at Ian Stewart's works. Also, this book is interesting: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Fermats-Last-Theorem-Simon-Singh/dp/1841157910
It doesn't contain a great deal of mathematics, but it is a very interesting read about the story of proving the theorem.

u/Kemilio · 2 pointsr/atheism

>maybe higher iq correlates to being right

You have the right idea. Having a solid foundation in logic correlates to "being right", and thankfully using logic is a learnable skill.

When it comes to understanding the world, you have two practical choices. You can rely on emotion and follow only what "feels good" (like you said, wanting to feel special and having the world make sense to you exclusively rather than learning how to make sense of the world, big difference). Here you risk being manipulated and fooled by emotionally controlling groups or individuals. You also risk being very wrong about how things in the world work.

Or, you can rely on reason and follow the path that corresponds logically with what you already know. It's not easy or fun at times, but if you really want to be able to understand how the world works then it's the only option. The best thing is that, once you establish a good system of logical checks, you develop a sense of true pride and confidence knowing that you can see past bullshit and even anticipate how things will happen. You become a better informed person, and that in itself is special.

If you're serious about this, I would recommend reading this book. It's a great introduction into analysing the world from a logical perspective.

u/jell-o-him · 6 pointsr/exmormon

Some here will disagree, yet I think your cause is a noble one.

My suggestion would be to keep encouraging her to be a freethinker, question everything, and learn all she can about science. If she can be at a point where she understands that "science is more than a body of knowledge, it is a way of thinking" (Carl Sagan), if she can fall in love with the wonders of the creation of the universe and the evolution of life on this world, then you'll be done, as those things will show any thinking person the absurdity of religion as a moral compass.

If she likes to read, here are some books you might consider getting for her:

  • The Demon-Haunted World by Carl Sagan. An amazing argument for the use the scientific way of thinking in every aspect of our lives.

  • A Universe from Nothing by Lawrence Krauss. How math and science can fully explain the creation of the universe, and a powerful argument against the universe needing a creator.

  • The Greatest Show on Earth by Richard Dawkins. The subtitle is The Evidence for Evolution. Meant as a book for readers your sister's age. Big plus is that if she likes it, she may want to read The God Delusion and/or The Magic of Reality.

    Edit: grammar
u/[deleted] · 9 pointsr/PhilosophyofScience

I was just asked this the other day by an incoming graduate student. It's really hard -- textbooks are a real hassle. For history, the best book I know, though it's limited in scope, is David Lindberg's The Beginnings of Western Science. It runs up through 1450. After that, you have trouble -- you have to start looking at individual figures or periods. H.F. Cohen's The Scientific Revolution is nice for its period. Then you get really fragmented. The Cambridge Studies in the History of Science series (1 2 3) is really nice for what it covers, if its topics interest you.

For PoS, again, textbooks are hard. I like the Curd and Cover anthology, it's got lots of primary readings with good explanatory material (dt already recommended that one, I see -- I didn't realize it because I've never referred to it by title...). Rosenberg's Routledge Introduction also seems pretty good, though I should warn that I've never read it, I'm going on brief skims and what I know of the author's other stuff (which is great).

Good luck! You can always come back here to ask questions!

u/lifestuff69 · 2 pointsr/TheRedPill

Watch The Rubin Report on YouTube. Dave Rubin interviewed both Ben Shapiro and Jordan Peterson, as well as MANY of the other names I see posted by others here. He interviews people from different political, social, and economic philosophies. I even fund him on Patreon because his channel is great (and important).


If I had to pick three people that made the most dramatic impact on my life in terms of how I think, seek and evaluate evidence, and use reason, these people would be at the top. While the people on my list did not always agree on everything, I do believe that they are/were intellectually honest:


Thomas Sowell

u/lysa_m · 1 pointr/math

Very good question. The answer is harder than you might think. It's really awful, when you get right down to it.

To start with, you can find the mathematical derivation of the behavior of an idealized spinning top in Goldstein, and it is surprisingly complicated; the explanation in the link from drabus' post describes some of it.

For a coin, it's actually quite a bit worse, because coind are not like tops in one very important way. There are two Euler angles (one that describes the slope of the face, and one that describes the direction the coin is facing without taking into account the slope) that behave like the angles for the spinning top, but the third angle ends up being equivalent to the distance the coin has rolled on the surface of the table (at least for an idealized coin, infinitely thin and with no slipping). Try to think about how that works; experiment with a real coin and a real top on the surface of a table to get a feel for what I'm talking about.

That third "angle" is really annoying mathematically, because it allows extra mathematical and physical wiggle room: Even if you tell me what all three angles are, I still don't know where on the table the coin is, even if I know where you started from and what your coordinate system is. For example, I could roll the coin around a circular path, or instead along a straight line, and get two different results.

This kind of ambiguity arises from the fact that there is only one angle representing the dynamics of the system at any point in time (the angle through which the coin has rolled while it's spinning), but two overall degrees of freedom that the coin can access by changing that one degree of freedom (the two dimensions of the surface of the table). The technical term for a system with this kind of behavior is non-holonomic, and it's in general a pain in the butt to analyze these systems.

As a side note, a real life top actually behaves a bit like a coin rather than the ideal version with a fixed vertex usually described; tops tend to roll along the surface of the table as they tip over, just as coins roll a bit as they spin. And coins, of course, skip a little, which is why they make that rattling sound as they spin. All of that makes the behavior and the mathematics even more complicated; most people have given up on the problem a long time before they ever arrived at this point.

u/jmscwss · 2 pointsr/ChristianApologetics

I had a comment in here giving a reason for he post, though that's not an explanation.

> Note: may not be the best place to post, but I needed to post somewhere in order to link it in Dr. Feser's open thread today, which he only does a couple of times each year. I've been working through his books since early this year, and developing this concept map as I progress.

By way of explanation, this is a work in progress to visualize the relationships between the concepts brought to bear in the philosophical advances of Aristotle and St. Thomas Aquinas. Beginning for the fundamental argument for the necessary reality of the distinction between actuality and potentiality, the concept map walks through the conceptual divisions of act and potency. Notably, the divisions of act arrive at a core conception of God as Pure Actuality, Being Itself, utterly devoid of any potentiality or passivity. This is not a proof of God, but rather simply serves to define God's role as the First and Unmoved Mover and Sustainer of all things.

The divisions of act and potency expand to the right of the map, where you see how actuality and potentiality come together as Form and Matter to produce concrete, material things.

Branching off of from the soul (here defined as the substantial form of a living substance), there is a section which details the powers or capacities of the different levels of living substances, which are hierarchically related, with respect to the corporeal order.

For now, the section on the Four Causes is placed on its own, as I still haven't decided where best to tie it in, since many topics make use of this principle. Particularly, Final Causation (defined as the end, goal, purpose, directedness or teleology of a thing) is essential to understanding the concept of objective goodness, which carries into the section on ethics (which, in this view, amounts to an understanding of the directedness of the will).

Also included, but not yet connected as well as it could be, is a section on the divine attributes, along with a brief explanation of how we can know them.

There is much more that can be included. As mentioned elsewhere, this was posted here so that I could link to the WIP. I had hoped that I could catch Edward Feser's attention in the comments of his open thread, which he posted on his blog site yesterday, and which he does only a couple times per year. This concept map is the result of my learning from his books:

u/The_Mighty_Atom · 2 pointsr/exchristian

>>Finally! do you have any good book recommendations? Again, thanks!

Ooh goody, I always love it when people ask for book recommendations. :)

Here's just the tip of the iceberg:

u/maruahm · 2 pointsr/Physics

I heard good things about it, but honestly as an applied mathematician I found its table of contents too lackluster. Its coverage appears to be in a weird spot between "for physicists" and "for mathematicians" and I don't know who its target audience is. I think the standard recommendation for classical mechanics from the physics side is Goldstein, which is a perfectly good book with plenty of math!

For an actual mathematicians' take on classical mechanics, you'll have to wait until you take more advanced math, namely real analysis and differential geometry. Common references are Spivak and Tu. When you have that background, I think Arnold has the best mathematical treatment of classical mechanics.

u/ProbabilityMist · 1 pointr/PastSaturnsRings

The amount of gibberish in this reddit post is astounding.

The Mandela Effect is a psychological false memory effect. Memories are stored in neural networks and pathways in our brains. Physically. Molecules in your head are in different patterns if there is a different memory. For a multi-dimensional Mandela Effect to exist that would mean that extremely complex patterns in our head that store memory and association would have to change without causing other side-effects (like affecting other memories, distortion of related memories), but foremost this would mean that the molecular structure inside your brain would have to change and different/other/more/less (connections between) neurons would have to be formed.

Also it's not logical that a mirror/parallel universe would change in such a way that it would create false memories. If something like that were possible it would seem to me that it's more likely that you will retro-actively never know that things ever were different. It conflicts with multiple theories about how we know physics work; e.g. why would just one memory be different and not everything after this memory (as we know that a butterfly effect type of effect is real which would cause lots of other changes in the other reality as well), and how would a merging of two brains occur?

Many if not all of these weird theories are based around a belief that our brains have some extraordinary capabilities that go way beyond anything science can measure or explain, even though it's never been possible to prove any paranormal capabilities for any person. There's millions of dollars available for people who can prove that they're paranormal and no-one's ever claimed it. What we have seen is that there are all kinds of illusions and visions that you can have with and without drugs, and with and without mental problems.

If you want to research weird and unexplained phenomenon, the scientific method and finding solid proof that is significant, is the only way to go. Otherwise the risk of kidding yourself and finding stuff you want to find instead of stuff that's actually there, is very real.

Please go, buy and read this Carl Sagan masterpiece: https://www.amazon.com/Demon-Haunted-World-Science-Candle-Dark/dp/0345409469

Btw if we are in a simulation my bet would be on that we're in a physics engine that simulates (or in fact creates) our laws of physics that will eventually lead to evolution and then to you and me. This means we're simulated atom by atom and the entity/entities responsible for its creation are not in control of what happens; we are (also, we aren't, because this may mean that our universe is completely deterministic and though we have (free?) will that which will happen will always happen). This would explain why our universe seems so well fine-tuned for life, although we may be very biased to look at it that way because we're now here and not anywhere else. There would be no reason to put weird stuff on Saturn. Stuff for which there are good scientific explanations and even successful lab tests replicating it at scale.

u/KerSan · 8 pointsr/AskScienceDiscussion

Start here.

Then go here.

When you're ready for the real thing, start reading this.

If you want to become an expert, go here.

Edit: Between steps 2 and 3, get a physics degree. You need to understand basically all of physics before you can understand anything properly in General Relativity. Sorry...

Edit 2: If you really want a full list of topics to understand before tackling general relativity, the bare minimum is special relativity (the easier bit) and tensor calculus on pseudo-Riemannian manifolds (extremely difficult). I'd strongly advise a deep understanding of differential equations in general, and continuum mechanics in particular. Some knowledge of statistical mechanics and the covariant formulation of electromagnetism would be pretty helpful too. It is also essential to realize that general relativity is still poorly understood by professionals, and almost certainly breaks down at large energy densities. I strongly advise just taking a look at the first two links I posted, since that will give you an excellent and non-dumbed-down flavour of general relativity.

u/Labyrinthos · 1 pointr/neurophilosophy

Let me get this straight. Nations have been keeping track of unindentified flying objects and that proves... what exactly? Aliens? Ancient aliens?

Homeopathy is not "partially correct", you are confusing it with placebo, and homeopathy claims to be a lot more than that. Homepathic so-called medicine has an effect identical to placebo, but their claims are much grander and are simply false, not "partially correct".

We seem to be getting a little off track here, and I feel I'm not getting through. I want to recommend a book to you that deals with these issues. The author is much better suited than me and certainly more persuasive. It's very accessible and quite a pleasant read. I hope you find the time to read it.

The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark, by Carl Sagan

u/panamafloyd · 2 pointsr/atheism

Read/watch more Sagan. He really wanted to talk more about science than superstition. Even the social/political situation about it.


Also, have you read any of Dawkins' books about biology, rather than superstition? He really didn't start directly attacking religion until he realized that anti-reality stuff was so prevalent in society.

I have to admit, first time I read this one..I had to have a dictionary open alongside it. :D


> Although, I'm struggling with the point to existence

I have to be honest. I really don't understand why so many people have this concern. I do understand that they feel it's legitimate, I just don't understand why.

I suspect my personal experience is behind that..I grew up Southern Baptist, and my first realization was full-tilt "I'M FREE!"

I don't care if there's no 'greater celestial reason' for my existence. I exist. I might as well do the most I can with it.

I love good food. I love sportscars. I love a woman's company. I love my daughter. I love soccer.

> and why the universe is the way it is.

I really don't know..but only the religious people in my life act as if that's some great crime. Personally..I'll just read the works of the people who are actually looking for it, instead of performing mental fellatio upon the pack of lying shamans who claim they actually know.

> I simply don't want to believe that I'm just an accident

Well, you're not! Go study more biology. That old Christian whine about "..the Earth is perfectly tuned for life!!" is pathetic.

The Earth came first. We're here because we come from it. Of course it's 'perfect' for us. It's our mommy.

> I'm done being force-fed information. I want to find out for myself.

And you can, if you just get past the fear. And I know that the fear can really blow around your mind for awhile. Wishing you well with it.

u/ziddina · 1 pointr/exjw

From the Pew Research Center, 2008: http://www.pewforum.org/2008/05/05/how-our-brains-are-wired-for-belief/

This link refers initially to sensationalistic journalism claims that "science" found religion to be pathological, but then discusses the evolutionary advantages of beliefs in religions: http://www.apa.org/monitor/2010/12/believe.aspx

[edit to add] Please note that for most of humanity's existence we believed in many deities, or animism. The concept of a single god is relatively recent, first being tried in ancient Egypt when Akhenaten attempted to switch the polytheistic Egyptians from their multiple gods to the worship of one single god, the Sun. That effort took place only 3,350 years ago, followed by the Israelites' gradual evolution from Canaanite polytheism into a sort of monotheism around 2,700 to 3,000 years ago.

So the "monotheistic" god of the bible - isn't. The bible is only around 3,000 years old, & it still contains references to the earlier Canaanite polytheism which strongly influenced its origins.

Carl Sagan wrote a popular book on the effects of belief titled "The Demon-Haunted World". This Amazon link has a small preview:


That is probably enough for now.

u/The_Dead_See · 2 pointsr/AskScienceDiscussion

A really fun one is Bill Bryson's A Short History of Nearly Everything. If you can find the version on tape read by Bryson himself, it's really lively and funny.

John Gribbin's The Scientists is a bit more straightforward, very good though.

Quantum by Manjit Kumar is a fun look at the last century and the development of the Standard Model.

I'm reading a pretty good one right now that I picked up from a goodwill store, it's called Theories of the World by Michael Crowe.

u/jello_aka_aron · 1 pointr/books

John Gribbin is a favorite science author of mine. In Search of Schrödinger's Cat is a cornerstone for understanding quantum physics as a layman and the follow-up Schrodinger's Kittens and the Search for Reality is also very good.

Michio Kaku is another good one. Rudy Rucker's nonfiction is definitely worth a look.

Dealers of Lightning: Xerox PARC and the Dawn of the Computer Age is a pretty awesome account of the lab that pretty much single-handedly invented the modern computer age.

And lastly (offhand) there's nothing better than The Structure of Scientific Revolutions for a view on how our notions of what the Big Ideas are in science change.

u/energirl · 1 pointr/reddit.com

I highly recommend anything Carl Sagan has written. The book Contact is a good start since it's fiction. It's basically Sagan's love note to science. I also enjoy many of his non-fictions since he has a way of explaining things so that even an ignoramus like myself can understand.

My favorite is The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark, but the first one I read was The Varieties of Scientific Experience: A Personal view of the Search for God. I really attribute this book with making me want to learn more about science. It's the first non-fiction book I ever enjoyed.

Oh yeah, and watch any interview you can find with Richard Feynman. He has such a great way of looking at everything!

u/acetv · 3 pointsr/learnmath

Check out some pop math books.

John Derbyshire's Prime Obsession talks about today's most famous unsolved problem, both the history of and an un-rigorous not-in-depth discussion of the mathematical ideas.

There's also Keith Devlin's Mathematics: The New Golden Age, which, to quote redditor schnitzi, "provides an overview of most of the major discoveries in mathematics since 1960, across all subdisciplines, and isn't afraid to try to teach you the basics of them (unlike many similar books)."

Flatland by Edwin A. Abbott is an interesting novel about dimension and immersion. An absolute classic, first published in 1884.

You should also check out the books on math history.

Journey Through Genius covers some of the major mathematical breakthroughs from the time of the Greeks to modern day. I enjoyed this one.

Derbyshire wrote one too called Unknown Quantity: A Real and Imaginary History of Algebra which I've heard is good.

And finally, you should check out at least one book containing actual mathematics. For this I emphatically recommend Paul Halmos' Naive Set Theory. It is a small book, just 100 pages, absolutely bursting with mathematical insight and complexity. It is essentially a haiku on a subject that forms the theoretical foundation of all of today's mathematics (though it is slowly being usurped by category theory). After sufficient background material is introduced, the book covers the ever-important Axiom of Choice (remember the Banach-Tarski paradox?), along with its sisters, Zorn's Lemma and the Well Ordering Principle. After that it discusses cardinal numbers and the levels of infinity. The path he takes is absolutely beautiful and his experience and understanding virtually drips from the pages.

Oh yeah, there's an awesome reading list of books put out by the University of Cambridge that might be of interest too: PDF warning.

u/the_tortfeasor · 1 pointr/atheism

If you are at a university with a good engineering program, you probably have access to other science courses that will really open up your eyes on these topics. I was already an atheist, but after taking a biology course, I really understood evolution. Similarly, taking an astronomy course would teach you about the big bang and the formation of the universe. Keep up the work on your own, but enroll in a couple extra classes outside your major that will expand your view. Any science classes will strengthen your critical thinking skills and you will be able to explore so much more on your own.

I also recommend Demon Haunted World by Carl Sagan as being one of the most influential books to me in shaping how I think and view the world. It's a very easy to read book and it's beautifully written.

Keep your eyes open and enjoy exploring science on your own!

u/ethertrace · 3 pointsr/DebateAnAtheist

> seems like what my friend says is not based in reality.

I concur with your assessment.

Your friend is trapped in their own hall of mirrors.

Usually I don't agree with the perspective that "you can't argue someone out of a position they didn't reason themselves into," but it seems valid in this case. They're going to have to have some sort of experience that changes the way they think at least a little bit before they're going to listen to anything you have to say. As of right now, as one might say in a martial arts movie, they are "not ready."

The two things that came to my mind when I read this were Richard Carrier's essay on Why I am Not a Christian, and Carl Sagan's book The Demon-Haunted World. I actually recommend these as reading for you and not your friend. They would in all likelihood dismiss the texts out of hand, but I think you would really benefit from the material and be able to pull out ideas from them that will help you better communicate to your friend the problems with their way of thinking.

u/Elliot_Loudermilk · 0 pointsr/newjersey

This has been a respectful back and forth, and I appreciate that. This will be my concluding comment.

> Religion has been the single greatest force limiting advancement in human history

This is the claim of the likes of Sam Harris. And this was the point that Nassim Taleb tried to make to him, although quite clumsily- religious thought has greatly contributed to building the Western world. For example, much of science has it's foundations in the presumptions produced by a religious worldview. Religion provides answers to existential questions that need to addressed before any scientific inquiry can be made. For example, one must have the presumption that the world is intelligible and comprehensible before engaging in scientific inquiry. If you don't start with that presumption, you cannot do science.

If you're interested in learning more about the philosophical presumptions that form the basis for scientific inquiry, check out The Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas Kuhn


u/penguinland · 1 pointr/atheism

I was raised Jewish, but both my parents are scientists and I was taught to question and investigate the world and figure out how things work. The more I learned about the world, the less sense Judaism made (indeed, the less sense any form of supernatural thinking made). Eventually, I had to admit that to the best of my knowledge, the world appeared to function without anything supernatural, there was no evidence that any miracle had ever happened, and indeed there was mounting evidence that my religion was untrue. I stopped being Jewish, and found that the phrase agnostic atheism fit my (lack of) beliefs perfectly: I have never seen decent evidence that a god exists, and I don't believe in anything without evidence.

If you've got some time to spend, I suggest watching the Why I am No Longer a Christian series. It's very long, but the audio is much more important than the video, so feel free to listen to it while you're folding laundry or something.

If you want a book, I highly recommend The Demon-Haunted World by Carl Sagan. Rather than being about atheism, it's about critical thinking. However, most atheists arrive at their conclusions because of critical thinking. Rather than explaining what to think, focus on how to think. The rest will follow.

u/Themoopanator123 · 11 pointsr/PhilosophyofScience

As for your main question, Theory and Reality by Peter Godfrey-Smith is definitely something you want to read. Godfrey-Smith's general work focuses on philosophy of biology as a subset of philosophy of science which may be particularly interesting to you. Theory and Reality itself deals with a wide range of issues. From epistemic, to methodological, to historical, to sociological. The only stuff it doesn't really touch on are the metaphysical issues in philosophy of science. But even if that's what you're looking for, the book's content will be indispensable to you in developing a baseline knowledge about philosophy of science which you can bring to the table when reading more specific literature that you're interested in. It's broad approach is also just a good way to discover said interests.

As for your bonus question, the answer really turns somewhat on what you mean by "testable" but especially on what you mean by "useless". Useless in terms of what? Forming justified beliefs? Or for instrumental applications? Or something else?

Given this uncertainty, two positions come to mind: verificationism about meaning and Popper's falsificationism. But I might be able to give you something better if you could answer my above questions.

Hope that's helpful!

u/hack_of_ya · 3 pointsr/space

Read about it and understand the science would be my tip.

And know that the fossil fuel industry has a campaign to spread any doubt they can about climate change science. They lose money if people divest from fossil fuels, and they know which tactics to use very well. They are using the exact same people who worked for the tobacco industry and said smoking doesn't cause cancer. These are lobbyists who just lie and lie for money and do not care how badly their lies hurt people. Everything is documented extensively in this book: https://www.amazon.com/Merchants-Doubt-Handful-Scientists-Obscured/dp/1608193942

As a climate scientist, I can tell you I do not get paid much at all. And I do not get paid depending on what my results are. I and all my colleagues would be extremely happy if we discovered climate change wasn't as serious as it is. I am working in this field because I find it interesting, I like the scientific process, and I'm passionate about understanding climate change better so I can contribute to stopping what is arguably the most serious future threat to humans and our civilisation.

On climate change specifically: We have known there is a greenhouse effect since the 1800s. We know the Earth's climate changes at regular cycles, natural climate change. We know what causes it to change, like orbital changes and sun output. The climate responds to whatever is the dominant forcing, what's impacting it the most. We know natural causes can not explain the warming happening now. We can measure what's causing it, and it's very clear that it's predominantly greenhouse gases from humans: https://www.bloomberg.com/graphics/2015-whats-warming-the-world/

We know humans are releasing greenhouse gases, and we can identify individual particles to make sure they're not from natural sources.
We also know that Earth is in an interglacial with warm stable temperatures, and passed the warming peak of it a few thousand years ago, and should therefore now be slightly cooling over thousands of years as we go into a glacial period. We know that the rate of warming happening now does not happen when the climate changes naturally. It's way too fast to be natural.

A good resource for any question about climate change: https://skepticalscience.com/

At the same time, there are numerous studies on how many climate scientists who think humans are the cause and dominant driver. The number is usually around 97%.

u/NukeThePope · 16 pointsr/atheism

I second the suggestion of Letter to a Christian Nation. While I loved TGD, I think it's better received by people who already like science, and who enjoy having a professor talk at them through a book. LtaCN is shorter and more to the point, so it may be a better choice as a first and maybe only atheist book.

After being reminded by Murrabit, I also recommend Carl Sagan's The Demon Haunted World. It's gentler, not as aggressive as LtaCN and doesn't have the "eww, Dawkins!" stigma. To Americans, Sagan is more lovable than Dawkins.

u/zonination · 1 pointr/AskReddit

I can post a few links from some books about numbers. I haven't read a few of them, but the history of some numbers like phi, pi, zero... all of them are fascinating.

u/SubsequentDownfall · 1 pointr/quantum

Quantum: Einstein, Bohr, and the Great Debate About the Nature of Reality

HUGE fan of this one. What it offers instead of many other books is it takes a historical approach to the story, which to me makes the subject significantly more interesting. He starts at Planck, describing his whole life by piecing together historical information, and does the same with every other physicist mentioned. With time, you have a full picture of each character and their life of debating each other on these topics. I really loved how he'd give a very full description of how a discovery happened, for example Heisenberg taking a very late night walk when he thought of the idea of the Uncertainty Principal. Kumar manages to keep the lead-up to each breakthrough very suspenseful by describing the state of physics at the time and the pressure each physicist was under. Later, after the famous debates we are presented with World War II and how each of the major players lived their lives throughout the war (Heisenberg worked on atomic weapon research for the axis, while Bohr was shipped to America to work on the Manhattan Project, and before the war they were both best friends). In the end you'll have a deep historical knowledge of these physicists, while having a good beginner understanding of the theories. I'm not a big reader, but I found myself glued to the book, extremely interested in what will happen next.

I remember getting a few good laughs in as well, while reading it.
For example, during the Solvay convention Einstein temporarily outsmarted Bohr with a surprise thought experiment, and in this picture we can really see the personality of each of them. (Look at Einstein's smug face)

u/lilkuniklo · 1 pointr/suggestmeabook

If you enjoyed Cosmos, I would also recommend Demon-Haunted World. Excellent for cutting through some of the bullshit that surrounds our day to day lives.

I would recommend reading some Richard Feynman too. Surely You're Joking is one of the favorites. He doesn't talk about lofty subjects or anything. He was just a down to earth guy from a working class family in Queens who happened to be a Nobel-prize winning physicist and a great storyteller. He was a genius without the facetious smartypants attitude.

This is a famous lecture of his if you want to get a feel for what his writing is like.

u/ChemicalSerenity · 2 pointsr/HumanistAtheism

Skepticism is a generally good idea to promote, imo. Regardless of your stance on religion, politics or anything else, operating from empirical evidence is a solid place to base your particular philosophy.

For anyone who has not yet read it, I strongly recommend Dr. Carl Sagan's book The Demon-Haunted World. It's not a book about atheism or politics et al, but rather how to approach the world by skeptical inquiry and rational evaluation, and the amusing (or terrifying!) things that result when people instead opt for living a life based on emotion, in-group identity, blind devotion to authority and otherwise abdicate their reason.

If you haven't yet read it, please consider picking it up and checking it out. Sagan's a solid and engaging writer, the book itself isn't overly long, and the perspectives you gain may serve you for a lifetime.

Plus, apparently it's on sale for $12 at amazon right now. :D


u/Daemonax · 1 pointr/skeptic

How can I best explain this... Did you see the submission about Sherlock Holmes?

While strictly true, we seem to have an uncanny ability to narrow in on the right answer, despite a theoretically limitless amount of alternative theories that can explain the data.

If you are interested, the book What is this thing called Science? has a good look at the problems with things like inductivism, naive falsification, positivism and other stuff.

Snowhare, below, also offers a good explanation. First principles being the basic axioms of logic...


I just thought of a way I can explain this. Naive inductivism would be like someone saying "just because you've thrown a rock up in the air, and each time you've done that it has come down, you can not say that it will always happen, that is an argument from ignorance because you're claiming that something you've not observed is going to continue to happen"...

Not the greatest explanation, but I hope it helps. Maybe someone else will be able to explain better.

u/ItsNotMineISwear · 156 pointsr/trees

I know trees loves to praise Sagan for his pro-cannabis stance (and they should, Mr. X is a great read), but really, watch/read Cosmos, read his other books (Demon Haunted World is great. Highly recommended). His love of cannabis is an afterthought compared to his love of science and critical thinking.

u/warren9001 · 24 pointsr/askphilosophy

Depends what you mean by “Mathematical Philosophy.”

Intro to Mathematical Philosophy is kind of an abridged version of Principia Mathematica. Russell is attempting to derive mathematics from basic logical principles.

Many of the principles you read about in this book are covered in the first couple weeks of a Real Analysis class, though, Russell definitely has his own style. It reads less like a textbook and more like Russell giving a lecture. Knowledge of Analysis would help. Though I don’t think it’s absolutely necessary. If you have a fair bit of math knowledge, and you go slow, I think you’ll be fine.

If you’re interested in the Philosophy of Mathematics, I would highly recommend Philosophy of Mathematics by Paul Benacerraf and Hilary Putnam. It is an anthology of different writings on the philosophy of math and even includes portions of Russell’s intro to mathematical philosophy.

u/Pelusteriano · 81 pointsr/biology

I'll stick to recommending science communication books (those that don't require a deep background on biological concepts):

u/MeVicCar · 4 pointsr/philosophy

The fact that you are still operating under of the assumptions that the Chicago and Austrian schools provide shows that your personal understanding of economics is at least 60 years old.

Get a book on complexity theory. If you are the practical guy you claim to be, I'm sure you will enjoy it.

Here's one for the layman: http://www.amazon.com/COMPLEXITY-EMERGING-SCIENCE-ORDER-CHAOS/dp/0671872346

Her's one if you are into math:

To put it simply, We could argue for years about the examples you gave simply because the complexity of those situations allows for a multitude of different, yet similarly rational, arguments (a fact which, as an admirer of the Austrian school, I'm sure you can agree with). There is a great little bit on Wikipedia's page on economic models (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economic_model) - under the heading "Are economic models falsifiable?":
The sharp distinction between falsifiable economic models and those that are not is by no means a universally accepted one. Indeed one can argue that the ceteris paribus (all else being equal) qualification that accompanies any claim in economics is nothing more than an all-purpose escape clause (See N. de Marchi and M. Blaug.) The all else being equal claim allows holding all variables constant except the few that the model is attempting to reason about. This allows the separation and clarification of the specific relationship. However, in reality all else is never equal, so economic models are guaranteed to not be perfect. The goal of the model is that the isolated and simplified relationship has some predictive power that can be tested, mainly that it is a theory capable of being applied to reality.

So the point of an economic model, indeed the point of any model is to, in the words of Wolfram, "Examine certain essential features of a system and idealize away everything else." Models are, by their very nature incomplete. There is also an infinite number of possible models, each with a varying degree of accuracy. With these two points in mind, it seems foolish for one to plant a stake in the ground at any one of them and say, with certainty, that this one is the best one. It is also similarly foolish to ask others to provide, immediately, models which will yield better results in every standard, or else you will go back to the old ones. Unfortunately, progress is made through trial and error, not sitting at a desk with head in hands.

u/AlSweigart · 2 pointsr/atheism

"The God Delusion" by Richard Dawkins. Dawkins doesn't really go into anything new or original, but the strength of the book is that is a great, concise summary of all the beginning arguments for atheism.


I'd follow it with Daniel Dennett's "Breaking the Spell", also a good recommendation. Same goes for Carl Sagan's "A Demon Haunted World"



Christopher Hitchens is a bit vitriolic for some, but "God is not Great" has some nuggets in it.


I personally didn't like Sam Harris' "End of Faith" but I did like his "Letter to a Christian Nation".


For the topic of evolution, Talk Origins is great (and free) http://toarchive.org/
Dawkin's "The Selfish Gene" is also a good read (and short). Not so short but also good are Dawkins' "Blind Watchmaker", "Climbing Mount Improbable" and "Unweaving the Rainbow"





u/Laughing_Chipmunk · 3 pointsr/askphilosophy

Good post. I must say i follow a similar train of thought considering most matters you have discussed. It seems scientific thought plays a big role, and hence would be wise to understand the philosophical stance of science, or at least the attempts that have been made to understand it. A book i haven't read yet, but will embark on soon is titled What is this thing called science which as far as i'm aware is the go to introduction to philosophy of science text, also among universities. Also there is a good series on youtube that i've watched which covers some of the main ideas in philosophy of science such as inductivism, deductivism, paradigm theory and systematicity. That's a good watch, ~ 12 lectures that go for about an hour or so each. I can give you the lecture slides if you want. Also in relation to philosophy of science, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions is also very popular in which Kuhn puts forth paradigm theory.

u/mariox19 · 2 pointsr/books

This is an older book that I read almost 25 years ago, so I'm not sure how it holds up, but I remember really enjoying In Search of Schrödinger's Cat: Quantum Physics and Reality. I'm by no means a science person, but I remember that I was really into the book, and if I concentrated on what I was reading in it, I felt like I really understood it. It's good writing.

Maybe someone else on here has read it and can chime in, otherwise you'll have to read the reviews on Amazon and make a judgement call. I will say that I enjoyed it far more than A Brief History of Time.

u/spaceghoti · 1 pointr/atheism

> This past week was busy and my yard was starting to get away from me a bit, so I got up and went out to weed/trim/mow/etc before it became prohibitively hot. My wife asked if I wouldn't mind going with her and the kids to church, and I declined as I was neck deep in work already.

I don't think this is unreasonable.

> When she came home she was upset because the kids had been difficult. She wanted me to commit to going with her every week again just to help with the kids, and I said I might be willing to if she'd sit with me for an hour every week and listen to/watch/read something of my choosing. She agreed instantly.

I don't think that's reasonable, but if it's a compromise you can both live with then sure. More power to you.

> So, I'm looking for some suggestions for material. I'd prefer something less abrasive (at least to start) but that doesn't shy away from questioning the existence of god and arriving at the conclusion that there isn't enough evidence to suggest he exists.


I can't recommend this enough. It doesn't attack religion much at all but it explains the necessity of skepticism and critical thinking. It's an excellent primer on the topic, one of the best I've ever read. From there you can extend to other books in our recommended reading and recommended viewing list from our sidebar to dig a little deeper into why we're skeptical about religious claims.

> Is there anything in the middle that might work? Any YouTube channels, podcasts, authors, documentaries, etc that you can think of?

After that I would also strongly recommend Evid3nc3's YouTube series Why I Am No Longer A Christian. Even as an atheist I learned a lot of things from this series.

u/irontide · 1 pointr/askphilosophy

> This means that their form must be such that to verify them and to falsify them must both be logically possible.

Popper is probably over-reaching here. Like you say, this would make the simplest of all statements, positive existentials, out to be mysterious.

He may also be setting up a position for the fall (you'd know the context of the statement better than I do). Popper was not a logical positivist, so it is possible when he discusses 'the positivistic dogma' it is in order to contrast it with his own view. His view is not positivistic, because he talks about the 'game of science', and this isn't something you can codify into a system of verification, and would be discounted as meaningless by hardcore positivists.

> Thanks for pointing me toward Lakatos. As far as I can tell, falsifiability is a core precept of empirical science, and I would be interested to read criticisms of it.

Falsifiability is no longer considered the hallmark of science (or a foundation of the philosophy of science) amongst most current philosophers of science. Lakatos is my own favourite (not that I'm a philosopher of science), and Kuhn's influence is of course enormous (though less in analytic philosophy than elsewhere in the humanities and the social sciences, by which I mean, isn't as monolithically popular). While the literature on this topic is enormous, this field possesses perhaps the finest intro-level textbook in philosophy (and certainly the best of my acquaintance), What is this Thing Called Science? by Alan Chalmers. If you have any interest in the topic at all, read that book. It's not the final word at all, but it is the best start you could have.

u/atheistcoffee · 3 pointsr/atheism

Congratulations! I know what a big step that is, as I've been in the same boat. Books are the best way to become informed. Check out books by:

u/RobbyDigital · 7 pointsr/milwaukee

My sister is easily fooled by stuff like this, so when I took her to Shakers, she wanted a reading. I got to sit in and listen. The "psychic" said that we were very lucky to find each other and that we make a great couple and will be very happy together. We never told her that we were brother & sister, and tried pretty hard to not laugh out loud. It was a good time, but please, do yourself a favor and read this book:

u/eek04 · 3 pointsr/AskScienceDiscussion

If you want things that "click" for quantum mechanics, the following three popular books were helpful to me (as a layperson):

  • John Gribbin's two books In Search of Schrödinger's Cat: Quantum Physics and Reality (1984) and Schrodinger's Kittens: And The Search For Reality (1995). These cover several different interpretations of Quantum Mechanics, and many perspectives.
  • Richard Feyman's QED (1985). This (while not being explicit about it) is rooted in the multiple worlds interpretation (which supposedly fits with Feynman's favorite formalism.)

    I know QED have been recommended to people that "know the math" but can't make it click.

    I'm sure there exists newer popular books that would also be helpful; I'm just not familiar with them.
u/SometimesY · 1 pointr/Physics

For some lighter reading.. How about The Grip of Gravity and E=mc^2 ? These two books are pretty cool. After reading E=mc^2 , Michael Faraday became one of my favorite physicists by far. And The Grip of Gravity is just awesome.

You should be able to find both of these at a local Half Price Books or something like it.

u/jacobheiss · 2 pointsr/DebateReligion

Sure, I personally know of many examples; that's why I mentioned it before. Also, your second paragraph did not seem remotely offensive to me; it just sounded like you were trying to clearly articulate your point! In response, I think there might be two helpful things to raise at this point before going into specific examples:

  • There is a difference between critical inquiry and what I guess I'd call mere criticism. For example, scientists are perpetually engaged in critical inquiry, testing both the results of and also the basis of their discipline, but they are in general disinterested in mere criticism--exploring whether or not science is loopy or of any value whatsoever. I think you may be mistaking this difference in the way you address religion, but a parallel set of conditions obtains. I know very few religious people who engage in mere criticism of religion (although there are some out there!), but I know of quite a substantial number who engage in critical inquiry.

  • It sounds like you may be transferring a lot of your personal experience with religion to other people's expressions of their experience. This might not be the case--you may actually be encountering a lot of people who engage in pseudo-critical thought about their religious beliefs--but I'd wager that this sentence is bordering a self-fulfilling prophecy in the strictly, psychological sense of the term:
    > when I read of how people "question their faith" I see a similarity. I see myself in their words. So far, I haven't seen anything deviate from this.

    Two concluding caveats; despite how frequently this point is raised in debate, it is not substantial:

    > a dozen religions believe contradictory things

    The way this is usually developed to merely criticize religion is like saying "because a dozen philosophies or aesthetic theories or anthropological worldviews believe contradictory things, they are all wrong." Just because two different religious loci make wildly different claims does not mean that they are both equally, wildly incorrect. On the other hand, this is a very good point:

    > some of these "self-criticisms" are no better than a person who's in love with someone who is emotionally abusive towards them but they can't bring themselves to leave. Any sort of "evaluating the relationship" is simply a joke. Any example of misconduct is explained away by rationalizing that "but everything else is OK and it feels good on top of that."

    I think what we are dealing with here is something that is not specific to religious belief but to any belief that is radicalized in the case of religion. This was part of the point Kuhn so famously made in The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, that there is a strong effect of personal bias and comfort and perceived upheaval in the way that any discipline develops. In other words, I would absolutely grant your point that a lot of religious people are sub-critical and self-deluded when it comes to their reflections on their own religion, but I would attribute this to a condition of humanity in general given its prevalence in other realms of rational endeavor and not just as something particular to religion.

    Perhaps this is so obviously prevalent in the case of religion for two reasons:

  • Religion necessarily deals with things close to the bone. There's a lot at personal stake for most people when it comes to whether or not Jesus rose from the dead circa 30 CE, but there's little personally at stake for most people when it comes to whether Marc Anthony married Cleopatra circa 32 BCE. It's more difficult to be critical about beliefs that are "close."

  • We live in a society that rarely speaks openly and pointedly about religious matters. Hence, people have difficulty treating them as a "subject" of a debate or a study without taking things very, very personally. This has been the case in the past for other disciplines in other contexts; for example, it is said that the followers of Pythagorous threw one of their own out of a boat to drown when he demonstrated that the square root of two was an irrational number. People take their religion much more personally now than they take their mathematics; hence, they tend to be ill-adept at a healthy sort of critical inquiry when it comes to religion in general.

    Nevertheless, I maintain that there are a lot of religious people who are healthily critical of their own beliefs.
u/T-HO-THA-MALE-HOOKER · 3 pointsr/PKA

i am reading these two books, http://www.amazon.com/In-Search-Schr%C3%B6dingers-Cat-Quantum/dp/0553342533 and http://www.amazon.com/Erwin-Schrodinger-Quantum-Revolution-Gribbin/dp/1118299264. i just ordered this book (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0983358931/ref=ox_sc_sfl_title_1?ie=UTF8&psc=1&smid=A1KIF2Y9A1PQYE) like 3 days ago and am gonna start reading it soon. also i started playing wow in early sept so i will skim the official mop strat guide just as some extra help once in a while. in school we just finished catcher in the rye and its pretty cool and mind altering.

u/robotco · 1 pointr/thatHappened

for those of you who want a great layman's explanation of E=MC^2 delivered through some pretty fascinating stories check out E=MC^2: A Biography of the World's Most Famous Equation by David Bodanis

it is very good

u/Taintlyn · 2 pointsr/askphilosophy

Sorry for the delayed response! I'm taking Summer courses, and they're eating up all my free time. I am so thrilled with all of the suggestions. Thank you all so much. I probably shouldn't have phrased my focus with such a narrow term. When I say astronomy, I'm also talking about cosmology, space and time. The main Phil o' Science text I'll be working with is


Curd, Cover, and Pincock's Philosophy of Science: The Central Issues
I plan on focusing on a couple sections within this text, including Science and Pseudoscience, Models of Explanation, Laws of Nature, and Empiricism and Scientific Realism. From these topics I'll incorporate the cosmology/space and time pieces.


The main text for the astronomy angle on the course will be
Kuhn's The Copernican Revolution: Planetary Astronomy in the Development of Western Thought


Everything that's been suggested sounds incredibly interesting. I think it might be neat to focus on gravity and use pieces like the suggested Smith and Wilson articles. I hope that clears things up. If there's anything else worth suggesting, I'm all ears. Even if I don't have time to incorporate it into the semester, I'm always looking to add things to my general reading list.

u/OhTheHugeManatee · 6 pointsr/AskReddit

what? That will help you become an independent person, and probably a functional human being. It will not help your critical thinking. How many americans are out on their own, but still accept everything Fox News and the bible tell them?

Carl Sagan wrote an excellent book about critical thinking and skepticism. It's called The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark. He talks a bit in general about why we need critical thinking and science, then goes on to discuss a variety of amazing science and pseudoscience, applying critical thinking to each. It's an excellent introduction to critical thought, easy and interesting to read.

u/Donkey_of_Balaam · 2 pointsr/Noachide

I bought this book but haven't started it. I fist saw Rabbi Shimon Dovid Cowen on YouTube. His book looked great. Rabbi Moshe Weiner gave it an enthusiastic endorsement. Perusing it I read about the Abraham-Brahman connection, which is fascinating.

My summer reading has been Job-like. I put Feser's latest opus on the trunk of my car before taking the garbage to the curb. Drove to work. "Where's my Feser?!" Derp. This happened once before with Schopenhauer, as if to vindicate him.

RADICAL summer reading about Maimonides fighting Kabbalah before there was a Kabbalah to fight.

u/nitrogentriiodide · 3 pointsr/askscience

I know this isn't what you requested, but as a high schooler, I enjoyed In Search of Schödinger's Cat.

The top level presentations on QM are very light on math, and anything below that brings out heavy linear algebra, differential equations, calculus, etc. So you've probably got that top level covered, and now you need to start solving problems. You could get credit for your efforts by picking one of the undergrad versions of QM from the Chemistry and/or the Physics depts.

I took the chemistry route, so we used Atkins, Cohen-Tanoudji, etc. For all the classes that I took and TA'd, the professor might recommend a book, but rarely reference it.

u/zygy · 1 pointr/math

I downvoted you for being narrowminded, but I still laughed. FWIW, I'm a math major and I loved the book.

Edit: Why don't you read something like this?

u/Light-of-Aiur · 1 pointr/atheism

It all depends on the goal. If OP wants to send a message, then choosing The God Delusion or God Is Not Great would certainly send that message. If OP wants a book that's a good read, both are still good choices, but now there're other books that are equally good choices.

The Little Book of Atheist Spirituality, The Portable Atheist, On Bullshit, On Truth, The Good Book: A Humanist Bible, The Moral Landscape, The Demon Haunted World, Religion and Science, and many others are excellent reads, but don't send that little (possibly unnecessary) jab.

u/Fuzzy_Thoughts · 13 pointsr/mormon

Have you read The Ethics of Belief by William K. Clifford? You would probably really enjoy it.

EDIT: This is a debate that could go in variety of directions, by the way. Here is some literature and key points on the subject. William James famously responded to Clifford's essay above with a piece titled The Will to Believe. This really is an incredibly interesting topic of discussion that usually ends up getting down to the questions: "What is justified belief?" and "What constitutes a basic belief?"

EDIT 2: You should read Carl Sagan's The Demon-Haunted World if you're interested in this sort of discussion as well. That book changed my life.

u/BruceIsLoose · 1 pointr/Christianity

> As an atheist I'm guessing you would suggest critical thinking.

I'd hope that anyone, regardless of their stance whether they think god(s) exist or not, suggests critical thinking.

> How do I go about "learning how to think not what to think?"

I love Carl Sagan's The Demon Haunted World. It isn't a book about atheism or anything like that (do recognize that he is an atheist and has a naturalistic/materialist mindset though) but does an amazing job at looking at how and why people come to the conclusions they do about things. It discusses the nuances of things such as UFO sightings, Big Foot, how science has been a good and reliable way (I'm not saying it is the only way) of discovering what is reflective of our reality and the world/universe we live in.

I can mail you my copy if you'd like.

u/immune2iocaine · 2 pointsr/malelifestyle

Not exactly "how to be a man", but general non-fiction I've really enjoyed:

Benjamin Hoff - The Tao of Pooh -- Sounds childish perhaps, but its a fantastic read. Worth the time.


Biography of E=MC2 -- Einstein's famous equasion, told biography style. Great read, not too "sciency".


Tim O'Brian - If I Die in a combat zone -- http://www.amazon.com/If-Die-Combat-Zone-Ship/dp/0767904435

Also, military field guides / training manuals are non classified and excellent resources for any sort of camping / survival you may do. Most surplus type stores carry them, or you can download and print your own!

u/ManInsideTheHelm · 4 pointsr/Physics

For anyone looking for beautiful formalism in classical mechanics, "Classical Mechanics" by Herbert Goldstein (link) is amazing. It paints the classical view of the world in such a clear cut way!

Even if it is not necessary for a modern physicist, it helps understand the scientific mindset pre-quantum and relativity frameworks. And some of the problems in the books are incredibly satisfying to solve.

u/RedoubtFailure · 1 pointr/Christianity

Absolutely. I found mastering Edward Feser's book, which establishes God from reason alone, incredibly convincing.

See here:
(By the way, as I read this book I challenged it constantly. In the end, the book won. Please give it a read.)

Also, noted Atheists do attack this book. It is rather comical to read their responses, followed by Feser, who always responds to their commentary. They truly have nothing, but I love the debate.

The most important thing here is to know that the only way to refute Feser's arguments is to attack the metaphysical underpinnings of his arguments. These are defended here:

This is powerful work. The same metaphysical underpinnings for science are the same used here in these arguments! If we were to throw out these assumptions, we should do exactly the same with all of science.

I find it irrefutable. But, if you do read these books, and want to debate the ideas I would be happy to engage! Again, I love the truth.

Let me know how it goes!

u/Labors_of_Niggales · 3 pointsr/books

I would either say A General Theory of Love or The Demon-Haunted World are books that I always recommend to people who want to expand themselves.

A General Theory of Love is the perfect message for those who think intelligence and self-mastery means an absence of emotions. For those of us who think being rational means not letting emotions into the decision making process, this book elucidates on why that is not healthy and also why you're probably lying to yourself if you think you are incapable of feeling emotions like "normal" people.

The Demon-Haunted World is a book for everybody. It is a philosophical book written by an astrophysicist using everyday language so nearly anybody can grasp its concepts. It brings the major philosophical question of why within the average person's conceptual grasp, without using any spiritual reasoning. I feel that when more people can contemplate that question, why, without immediately turning to the supernatural and shutting down the mundane, we will be a more level-headed species.

Eh, my two cents. ;-)

u/stoic9 · 1 pointr/askphilosophy

Vetting "good" philosophy sources can be tricky. After my students get a basic idea of some topic from wiki, I usually sent them to Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

For basic terms you might try A Dictionary of Philosophical Terms and Names. But keep in mind that sometimes people use terms rather oddly so sometimes it's best to just ask them to define how they are using them.

Then you might want to read some books related to the topics you are interested in. For example, if you are interested in the history or philosophy of science you might pick up The Structure of Scientific Revolutions or some other works in that area.

Basically dive in and start reading about the things that interests you, then try to bring that knowledge to the table...or use them to ask questions and get more help.

u/philb0t5000 · 9 pointsr/PhilosophyofScience

I highly recommend "Theory and Reality" by Peter Godfrey-Smith. Another great text is "What is This Thing Called Science?" by A.F. Chalmers. As a book with primary readings my favorite thus far is "Philosophy of Science: The Central Issues" edited by Martin Curd and J.A. Cover. The Curd & Cover book is a tad expensive, but it is worth every penny. There are about 50 primary texts with commentary, and introductions to each main section.

Some other books that may be of help and/or of interest after a basic foundation is set are: "Philosophy of Biology" by Elliot Sober; "Quantum Reality" by Nick Herbert; "The Structure of Scientific Revolutions" by Thomas Kuhn; "Sex and Death" by Kim Sterelny and Paul E. Griffiths; "Progress and It's Problems" by Larry Laudan; "The Empirical Stance" by Bas C. Van Fraassen; and "The Rise of Scientific Philosophy" by Hans Reichenbach. I welcome others to suggest more or to critique the ones I chose to highlight as too difficult or not worth the time.

Edit: Formatting and a comma.

u/ness36 · 2 pointsr/atheism

I would highly recommend this book by Carl Sagan:

The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark

here is a clip from a review by Amazon user "My Uncle Stu" that does a amazing job of explaining what the book is about:

>In Demon Haunted World, he writes about science, about what science is and what science isn't. Whenever you get in debates with religious types, or with those self-appointed geniuses, the philosophy majors, they will always hit you with the fact that science is just another belief system, just like any religion or philosophy. They will tell you science can't answer all the questions and is often wrong. Of course that is true, if you look at science strictly as a body of knowledge. But that is not what science really is. Science is a process. It is a way of approaching the world, a way of formulating and testing hypotheses. If it is just another belief system, then it is a belief system that grows by virtue of challenging its adherents to challenge and disprove the current state of knowledge. It's the only belief system where you have to be a skeptic to be a zealot.

I think understanding how the scientific method works is greatly helpful, since a lot of religious people think science is just a collection of ideas that are believed on faith, similar to religion, when really it is a method for finding out the truth.

u/MUnhelpful · 1 pointr/atheism

Just keep thinking, and consider whether moral claims seem reasonable, and whether factual ones match with reality. You'll figure out what to believe in eventually. It might help to read some Bertrand Russell (the first few sentences might be some of my favorite words of all time) or Carl Sagan on your way there. If you aspire to a rational worldview, Eliezer Yudkowsky's Sequences at LessWrong are a good start (and his Harry Potter fanfiction is great, too). I can also recommend QualiaSoup for "outside" views of religious beliefs and a good introduction to critical thinking, science, and morality without authority (this seems to be a difficult point for the religious).

u/Gruzman · 3 pointsr/bestof

I don't think he really "contradicted" as much as expanded on the idea of what Science really is, in a philosophical sense - and he goes on to mention Thomas Kuhn, a philosopher of Science. Someone that everyone, especially reddit should read. In fact, if one is to adequately understand the controversy that claims to Scientific knowledge still stir up today, one would do well to read/borrow/find this book: Philosophy of Science: The Central Issues.

Most people get very hung up on "Science can't be wrong, because it's Science." which is happily parroted by idols like John Oliver and Bill Nye, usually entirely for political expediency. They need to keep kids interested in its authority and prevent a relapse into belief systems that would abandon current progress. But these kinds of statements entirely sidestep the huge need for institutionalized debate and communication that lends Science, especially newer forms of Science their credibility.

u/MaceWumpus · 3 pointsr/askphilosophy

As /u/as-well notes, there are a number of possible interpretations of your question.

There's a bunch of work on whether philosophical methods can get you closer to the truth in the way that science does. This section from the SEP article on Naturalism will be helpful for you in that regard.

You might also be wondering about philosophers who attempt to use "scientific" methodologies in pursuing philosophical questions. There's a whole boatload of that sort of work, from Bayesians in epistemology to certain philosophers who work on semantics to "experimental philosophy" (which is, so far as I can tell, psychology done by philosophers). I'm not sure what a good introduction to this sort of work would be, but perhaps someone else can suggest some.

It seems like a number of other commentators have read you to be looking for "philosophy of science" broadly construed. That's a giant discipline, but it mostly deals with the nature of science and various issues surrounding it. If you're interested in that, I'd suggest starting out with a textbook like those by Peter Godfrey-Smith or Alan Chalmers. Under no circumstances would I recommend beginning with famous past philosophers of science like Kuhn, Popper, Carnap, or Lakatos: their discussions are both subtle and extremely opinionated, and are therefore likely to give you a really misleading picture of the discipline.

u/BukkRogerrs · 1 pointr/Physics

Most undergraduate coursework doesn't involve any GR because it isn't a standard part of the curriculum. Some schools may offer an introduction to it at an undergrad level, but it's by no means a topic that undergraduate physics students are expected to be familiar with. As someone else said, even in graduate school you may not touch general relativity if it has nothing to do with your area of study. I do particle physics, but I did take a couple classes on general relativity just out of interest. One was offered in the physics department, the other was in the math department. Although they were teaching the same subject, it was interesting seeing the almost entirely different approach each class took.

If you're interested in learning the math as you learn the physics this is a really helpful book.

u/evdekiSex · 7 pointsr/exmuslim

Edit: please read this masterpiece and how “jinn” concept is taken advantage of in every primitive society to fool and milk the people : https://www.amazon.com/Demon-Haunted-World-Science-Candle-Dark/dp/0345409469

These are cheap tricks, lool.

Your mum has been talking to him for years probably. So he knows what she is doing on a daily basis, so he blurted it to gain your mother’s trust and, hence her money.

Even if he doesn’t know her daily habits, going out and cutting flowers is a common routine in your neighborhood, so he made an educated guess.

Here, I make one for you : “ did you feel a special feelings while you were masturbating today, it was because a jinn was observing behind you. I can stop him but you must send me money first”. See, I also have psychics powers!

So, that is a cheap trick, but what do you call this?


Besides, if he has so stong psychic powers, he had better apply for this 1 million dollar award, nobody managed to claim for the last 50 years though:


u/ZBoson · 2 pointsr/askscience

Any mechanics text targeted for the standard junior level mechanics course for majors will cover it. I used Fowles and Cassiday when I took it. I'm not really sure what else is standard. The standard text in grad courses is Goldstein, which should be approachable by an undergrad at least. If you're crazy and a classical mechanics junkie like I was as an undergrad, Landau and Lifshitz vol1 is a beautiful treatment (that you unfortunately probably already need to have seen the material once to appreciate. Oh well. Like I said: if you're crazy). The issue here is that sometimes undergrad courses will skip these (as I learned, amazed, when I was encountering other grad students that hadn't done Lagrangian mechanics before) so make sure you read those chapters and do the problems: quantum mechanics is done in a hamiltonian formulation, and quantum field theory in a Lagrangian formulation (the latter is because the Lagriangian treatment is automatically relativistici)

I never had a course specifically on waves. It's something you'll likely hit pretty well in whatever non-freshman E&M course you take. Beware though that some courses targeted at engineers will do AC circuits at the expense of waves. But the text is still useable to look into it yourself.

u/glennfish · 1 pointr/EmDrive

In the context of learning, essentially what you are proposing is what Thomas Kuhn proposed as a paradigm shift. If you haven't read "The Structure of Scientific Revolutions" you and everyone should. It's available at amazon https://www.amazon.com/Structure-Scientific-Revolutions-Thomas-Kuhn/dp/0226458083

However, the premise that Kuhn proposed was that it took a generation of scientists to die away before the new ideas had a chance to emerge. When he wrote the book, that was probably true, but in the present, in many disciplines, the ability to change a paradigm has gone from 30 years to 18 months, so it may not be as relevant as it was when written.

As to the premise of I'll believe it when I see it, that seems more to be a license plate slogan, i.e. Wisconsin "Just cows and cheese."

The simple fact of the matter, and my returning to this forum after an absence, is that there is a very high risk now of creating false expectations instead of revolutionary discovery. In my other OP thread, there is commentary showing me to be a defender of test results from a methodological perspective, which ultimately turned out to be subject to falsification.

I am not capable nor qualified to argue the physics side of this. I am absolutely qualified and capable of arguing the social psychology side of this. My simple premise is this. Looking at this from a philosophy of science point of view (it's a real academic discipline), the debate in this forum has gone from wonder and excitement to pathological. The physics doesn't support this. The experimentation doesn't support this. The 7,000 odd subscribers to this forum have to understand that this is approaching a pathological and near theological debate comparable to Scientology or hollow earth beliefs.

There are some competent and highly qualified individuals doing best efforts research into the EMdrive phenomenon, and some of them have the capacity to produce results, if positive, deserve scrutiny. However, IMHO, this reddit forum at this time with the commentaries posted, with the lame debates posted, does not contribute to those who wish to learn and know more.

Essentially, there are no plausible arguments for EMdrive, and no theoretical models that extend beyond crack-pottery. There are some interesting experiments in process that may push for a closer look, but none of them have come to fruition.

I am trying to take the high road and simply state that EVERYONE is entitled to their opinion, and in Physics, EVERYONE is entitled to a poster presentation, however, in the end, data has be replicated and scrutinized and beat to death and is the only thing that contributes to an extension of what we think of as knowledge. EMdrive hasn't yet gone beyond the poster presentation stage.

u/bronzeclocksofbenin · 2 pointsr/booksuggestions

Perhaps "Quantum" by Manjit Kumar would be helpful. It goes over Bohr the scientist as well the legacy of Einsten, Planck, and others.

Link: http://www.amazon.com/Quantum-Einstein-Debate-Nature-Reality/dp/0393339882

Some things to remember though: Bohr helped start the quantum revolution, but his science is often considered the "old quantum". Yes, he was to first to state that electrons orbit atomic nuclei, but the current model of the atom is the Schrodinger model, which states that there is a "probability cloud" where the electron is most likely to be found around the atom. So the best advice I can give you before looking more into Bohr the Scientist is to see modern scientists standing on Bohr's shoulders rather than Bohr as the Atlas of modern quantum theory.

u/The_Kitten_Stimpy · 1 pointr/Physics

I reallt hopoe you have a decent background in and love of studying math. Live it and love it. If you have that and the curiosity to ask the questions above you are getting ready for one cool academic 'trip' when you advance beyone high school. That said go an buy 'In Search of Schrödinger's Cat: Quantum Physics and Reality" by John Gribbon it addresses almost exactly what you are asking. It is completely in layman's terms. I have been reading this over and over for at least 17 years and get a little closer, understand a little more each time. Link

u/Kagrabular · 2 pointsr/AskReddit

Demon Haunted World is great for teaching skeptical critical thinking skills.
When I was around his age I loved Redwall. They're great books that really appeal to a young boys sense of wonder and adventure, all while teaching great life lessons along the way.

u/ROM_Bombadil · 10 pointsr/Christianity

I agree that some sort of reason is required to make a leap of faith, but I still call it a leap because such a reason would be more social/psychological (What is my motivation to do this?) or aesthetic (does this provide a more elegant perspective of the universe) but since neither of those are based on logic or induction, I can't really call them rational reasons. They're simply explanatory reasons.

As I mentioned elsewhere in this thread, my personal epistimology here is highly influenced by Concluding Unscientific Postscript and Philosophical Fragments (Kierkegaard) as well as the Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas Kuhn.

u/Shareandcare · 1 pointr/atheism

>Where do I start?

Please read the FAQ.
Where can I read why the big bang is the closest theory or idea of rightness. Where can I read about ideas of the particles that made up every atom or whatnot smaller spec to create the big bang?*

Start with:

u/Orion952 · 1 pointr/math

Hartle: http://www.amazon.com/Gravity-Introduction-Einsteins-General-Relativity/dp/0805386629/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1420630637&sr=8-7&keywords=general+relativity

Pretty introductory, not a ton of math but enough to satisfy most undergrads. Includes a section on introductory Tensor Calculus.

Carroll: http://www.amazon.com/Spacetime-Geometry-Introduction-General-Relativity/dp/0805387323/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1420630637&sr=8-3&keywords=general+relativity

Probably the best intermediate book, does GR at an intermediate level. Includes several chapters on the math needed.

Wald: http://www.amazon.com/General-Relativity-Robert-M-Wald/dp/0226870332/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1420630637&sr=8-2&keywords=general+relativity

Covers GR at a fairly advanced level. More rigorous books exist, but are not appropriate for a first course.

u/AlphaCygni · 2 pointsr/nosleep

There are excellent books out there that explain this phenomena. Unfortunately, I have no titles to give you, but I've definitely read a few. I think that Sagan's Demon Haunted World is one of them.

IIRC from when I read them, the scientists point out that, before aliens, people often reported seeing religious figures/demons/angels. In other cultures, they report seeing the 'commonly viewed' figures of those cultures, from religious figures, to elves, to fairies, etc. At the turn of the century and before, many respectable adults reported seeing fairies, which was why that faked fairy photograph was so widely believed.

Our brains aren't perfect machines which accurately record the world and notice every detail. We actually interpret everything we see, adding things in and ignoring things deemed inconsequential. Since we, as a culture, share similar ideas, it makes sense that we would interpret odd shapes and things have glimpsed through the cultural lenses of what we would expect to be there when something is there that's not supposed to be. Before 'little green men' were aliens, they were goblins and other creatures. From wikipedia These examples illustrate that use of little green men was already deeply engrained in English vernacular long before the flying saucer era, used for a variety of supernatural, imaginary, or mythical beings.

Also, as an Evolutionary Anthropologist, I find it very telling about the human psyche that the physiology of these supposed advanced aliens is so strikingly similar to our own, with the changes in shapes like an overdeveloped human. The first time I saw a Homo sapiens skeleton placed next to a Neanderthal skeleton, I was struck by how we must have looked like aliens to them. It's very interesting that our 'enemy' is a more advanced version of ourselves.

u/LeChuckly · 16 pointsr/skeptic

> No, there's big money and has been for almost two decades in climate / environment related businesses and organizations.

If you think the money moving in the alternative energy industry is in any way comparable to the money moving in the fossil fuel sector - boy do I have an investment opportunity for you.

>I didn’t use the term scientists because there are quite a few scientists doing the real science

Correct. 97% of all climate change research (that is - papers published in peer reviewed journals) supports that climate change is happening and is driven by human activity.

>but there's also a lot of people (some with degrees, some without) that are sensationalizing the situation out of fear and/or personal gain motives.

That's as may be - but still - consider how much money someone like Al Gore stands to make off of his climate change movie - then go hop over and look at Exxon's quarterly profit statement.

There are solar systems between those two numbers.

Finally - many of the people disparaging the climate science are recycled actors from the tobacco industry's fight against regulation 60s-80s. Merchants of Doubt is an excellent, well sourced book that lays out the strategy and personalities behind climate change denial. One of the tactics that "experts" on the side of the Tobacco companies used was claiming that anti-smoking groups were personally profiting from legislation aimed at discouraging tobacco use.

This movie has already played once.

u/roontish12 · 1 pointr/atheism

Several good books, God Delusion I like. Demon Haunted World, Science as a Candle in the Dark by Carl Sagan is also a very good one. Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon is another good one.

u/TheRedTeam · 1 pointr/atheism

> There would be no schools or colleges without Christianity. Read your history, then tell me these men evaded thinking. Without Christianity, we would all be uneducated barbarians. Christianity brought brilliance like Bach and Beethoven and created Western Civilization as we know it. Without Christianity, we would be blue-painted barbarians.

This right here tells me your friend has zero knowledge of actual history. The stupid fuck probably thinks that thanksgiving really happened and that Columbus wanted to prove the earth was round. Basically, your friend doesn't have the necessary foundation to even argue with. Your best bet is to ignore the topic of religion, and buy him books like this and this as birthday presents or maybe do a book trade and you both read each other's... and then moved into books like this.

Second, you shouldn't use quotes with people like this, or if you do just plagiarize and say it's your own. Giving quotes gives them something to attack without personally attacking your words, it makes it too easy for them to go on the offensive without thinking about what you're saying.

u/kurtgustavwilckens · 1 pointr/askphilosophy

If you're interested in Epistemology, I recommend a book by Alan F. Chalmers called "What is this thing called science", which curiously has a retarded cat in the cover, wtf.


There it takes you through the basics of epistemology and mentions all the most important authors. From there, start working yourself through the tree, reading the books mentioned in other books whose topics spark your interest.

Of course, if you're interested in philosophy, there is no real replacement to studying it academically. It's how it's designed to be studied, pretty much.

Know that you're talking about a path of, at minimum, hundreds of books, with no upper limit. If you're going in it with a goal in mind and you're not enjoying every step of the way, then it's probably not for you. There never comes a point when you stop feeling you're ready to stop learning and start producing. A philosopher is a permanent student, and a great philosopher is first and foremost a great student that reads voraciously non-stop for reading itself, and not for something he may or may not do afterwards, in my opinion.

u/silence7 · 4 pointsr/climate


u/luminiferousethan_ · 3 pointsr/askscience

Quantum Mechanics is not really a subject that can be summed up in a reddit comment. The best way to learn about something is to read about it. Go to your local book shop or library and look for some books on the subject. I've read dozens of books on the subatomic and I still don't understand it fully. If you're aspiring to be a physicist, you should become reeeeeally familiar with reading.

Uncertainty is a good one that I've read. And another great one is In Search of Schrodinger's Cat

u/antonivs · 3 pointsr/technology

> As scientists, theories should always be called into question if there are doubts about their validity, surely?

Sure, but that goes both ways - well-verified science can also call results into doubt. As Carl Sagan put it, "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence." (On that note, if you're interested in an excellent book that deals with evaluating claims rationally and scientifically, I highly recommend Carl Sagan's The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark.)

In this case, there's nothing raising doubts about the validity of fundamental principles and theories like the conservation of momentum, special relativity, or quantum field theory, which are the theories which would have to be violated for these engines to work.

One of the consequences of the scientific advances of the past century or so is that science is now much more able to not only predict things accurately, but rule also rule things out with a high degree of certainty. The latter point often isn't well understood, so I'll give a very relevant example.

In 1915, Emmy Noether developed a very important mathematical theorem, now known as Noether's theorem, which has been called "one of the most important mathematical theorems ever proved in guiding the development of modern physics." What Noether's theorem
does is prove that conservation laws, like conservation of energy and conservation of momentum, necessarily arise from the existence of certain kinds of symmetry.

For example, our universe has a property called translational symmetry which we all take for granted: it's simply that when an object moves through space, it retains its shape - so e.g. a ball won't turn into a cube just because you move it a foot to the left. We can imagine universes where something like this happens, e.g. where the shape of space varies such that objects in space change shape as they move - but observation indicates that our universe doesn't work like that. Even under the most extreme circumstances that we've observed, our universe appears to respect translational symmetry. Noether's theorem tells us, with the certainty of a mathematical proof, that in any universe with this property, translational symmetry implies that a law of conservation of momentum exists.

So if someone says that they've found a way to get around conservation of momentum, there's one of three possibilities: (1) they've found a way to break translational symmetry; (2) something is wrong with mathematics itself, because it has produced incorrect results in the case of Noether's theorem, which has an easy to verify proof; or (3) the claimants are mistaken or lying.

(1) and (2) are both extraordinary claims, and certainly if there were any evidence that they were true, scientists would be all over it, because it would imply a major shift in the fundamentals of science and even mathematics. But there's no evidence that anything like this has happened. Instead, we have people making claims that simply don't add up when these fundamental physical theories are taken into account.

Of course, because of the above, even many purveyors of crank science know that violating conservation of momentum is a big no-no, which is why they've tried to claim that relativity and quantum theory somehow allows them to avoid this violation. The problem is, I could provide exactly the same sort of description for relativity as I have above, and it would similarly end up leaving us with a few extremely unlikely options followed by the option that the claimants are mistaken.

In each case, "claimants are mistaken" is not just the most likely option, it's almost certainly the correct one - and if it's not, it would imply that we're just terribly wrong about some of the most basic features of physics, a situation which up until now hasn't even been hinted at.

> I just like to keep an open mind about these things.

What if they were saying "our engine is powered by invisible fairies", would you still keep an open mind then? From the perspective of a scientist, what they're actually saying is little different from that.

u/Ibrey · 35 pointsr/askphilosophy

I think you will learn the most by reading five textbooks, such as A History of Philosophy, volumes 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5; or something like Metaphysics: The Fundamentals, The Fundamentals of Ethics, Theory and Reality: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Science, An Introduction to the Philosophy of Religion, and An Introduction to Political Philosophy.

If what you have in mind is more of a "Great Books" program to get your feet wet with some classic works that are not too difficult, you could do a lot worse than:

  • Plato's Euthyphro, Apology, Crito, and Phaedo, often published together under the title The Trial and Death of Socrates. Socrates is so important that we lump together all Greek philosophers before him as "the Presocratics," and this cycle of dialogues is a great window on who he was and what he is famous for.
  • The Basic Works of Aristotle. "The philosopher of common sense" is not a particularly easy read. Cicero compared his writing style to "a flowing river of gold," but all the works he prepared for publication are gone, and what we have is an unauthorised collection of lecture notes written in a terse, cramped style that admits of multiple interpretations. Even so, one can find in Aristotle a very attractive system of metaphysics and ethics which played a major role in the history of philosophy, and holds up well even today.
  • René Descartes, Discourse on the Method and Meditations on First Philosophy. Descartes is called the father of modern philosophy, not so much because modern philosophers have widely followed his particular positions (they haven't) but because he set the agenda, in a way, with his introduction of methodological scepticism.
  • David Hume, An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding. I think Elizabeth Anscombe had it right in judging Hume a "mere brilliant sophist", in that his arguments are ultimately flawed, but there is great insight to be derived from teasing out why they are wrong.
  • If I can cheat just a little more, I will lump together three short, important treatises on ethics: Immanuel Kant's Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals, John Stuart Mill's Utilitarianism, and Anscombe's paper "Modern Moral Philosophy".
u/tennanja · 0 pointsr/askscience

We DON"T know that, its just every time we check on them (do experiments) the results come out that in such a way that makes us think that the laws that we have deduced from previous experiments still hold true. The interesting thing about scientific paradigms is that we do something, then see a result and then try to come up with an explination of why that result happened, the better our explanation explains the result and explains other results and survives repeated testing the better our explanation is to determining how the world really works, from which we can do things that build on our explanation.

This in the end does allow false assumptions to exist in science (think phlogistion chemistry) but as the field of science requires more complicated and complicated excuses for why different events happened, they are replaced with a new paradigm that explains the physical world differently.

In the end we may find at some point down the road something that scientists believe an unquestionable rule of physics is actually incorrect because it cannot explain X,Y, or Z but a new explanation comes forth and explains the stuff the first law explained and X,Y, or Z, in a better, cleaner way.

To read more I suggest : The Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas Kuhn

u/unamenottaken · 3 pointsr/atheism

Sounds like you'd find interesting, and benefit from, learning 'critical thinking'. It helps tremendously with questions like yours.

Google it. And a good book, off the top of my head, is Carl Sagan's 'The Demon Haunted World'.

u/George_E_Hale · 0 pointsr/Ghosts

Ok, I want you to read what I am writing closely, not because I am trying to belittle your view or your beliefs in ghosts (which are yours to hold and I don't know your experience) but because we are talking about a way of knowing the world and I think it's important to think this through. First I will define some terms to make sure we know we are talking about the same thing:

Double blind: The person doing the experiment (the person on-site doing the testing) does not know exactly what the goal is. The people being studied also do not know what the goal is. This prevents the experimenter from fudging the data with his/her biases (e.g. not taking it seriously because he or she doubts the process, or looking for patterns in what is essentially random because he/she wants ghosts to be real.) It also prevents the people being studied from telling the experimenter what they think he/she wants to hear.

Experimental design: This means, among other things, randomization. You don't have people who already 100% believe in ghosts as part of your experiment, but nor do you fill it with a bunch of skeptics. You have as much as possible random sampling. You also
have more than one person you are experimenting on. The results of one experiment could be a function of coincidence, luck, whatever. Random chance. So you do it again. Multiple measures. Multiple participants. Different times of day or night, if this is relevant. This also means you control as many things as possible that could be effecting the outcome. If you wanted to do a longitudinal study you'd test the same things over a longer period of time.

You have two groups being experimented on differently--one group uses the Ouiji Board in the way you want it to be tested. The other group does not use the Ouiji Board properly but just sits with it in the room talking about whatever (or however you design this). Then you look at results and see: Are they all later having spooky experiences? If so then it's not because of how the Ouiji board was used (You still don't know why, and you'd have to explore this further.) Or you could have one group use the Ouiji board and another group just sit in a room watching a scary movie. Then see: Are they all having spooky experiences? Then it wasn't the Ouiji board that caused it. Again, you still don't know why. Occam's razor would suggest the easiest answer is probably the right answer: I.e. It's just emotions, it's just imagination. Again, you could explore as long as you wanted.

There are all kinds of ways to design studies, and each design is used to fit the question of interest (in this case, do Ouiji boards do anything?) But you have a question, and you have ways in which you can answer that question using your brain. If Joe uses the Ouiji Board at the same time as Sue, and Sue has no ill effects but Joe does, does this mean Sue is magically immune? Or does it mean Joe is imagining things? You can use experiments to test exactly this!

This doesn't even get into testing physical manifestations, a la Ghostbusters where you are looking at whatever ways you have of measuring sounds or what we see or whatever. Scientific thinking in the way I am describing it is meant to test whether any of this is in the imagination only or if something is actually going on. If it is, then you will need relevant people to explore what that something is.

IF you found something was actually going on, then breakthrough! you have done what no one else has done. Now it is time to analyze using physical measures.

If you do NOT accept this kind of analysis then that's up to you, but realize this lack of willingness to doubt yourself, to hold your assumptions and beliefs up to the light of scientific analysis, is equivalent to washing your hands of reason. It's what allows charlatans of all types to peddle mystic woo and rake in the cash from the gullible wishing for contact with the spirit world, for healing from crystals, for whatever. And it's dangerous and not good for a society to have people unwilling to make these connections.

Science, meanwhile, is not a religion. It is precisely science to say "We don't have all the answers." What science doesn't do is say "Well, we don't have all the answers, so I will assume demons are following me around." Science is about questioning, about exploration, about testing.

I highly recommend Carl Sagan's book The Demon-Haunted World. In it, he writes about his own life and his hopes, for years, this is Carl Sagan's hopes, that the weird supernatural shit we all read about as kids was actually real. And he is amazingly well-balanced and refreshingly unjudgmental in the book.

I hope this doesn't come off as me being an ass. The fact is 300 years ago if anyone had been doing well-designed studies they certainly would not have concluded that infection was jus random chance. They may not have known it was bacteria--just like if the Ouiji board did in fact do something you don't know that the thing being done is being done by a demon--but they would have known it was something. Again, as a result of scrupulous and rigorous testing, not quick assumption that conveniently confirmed their own beliefs (that's actually what often did happen, with unfortunate results.)

Edit: TL;DR: Whether or to what degree Ouiji boards are "real" and work can be tested by anyone with the time and willingness.

u/Sahqon · 3 pointsr/exchristian

> If not, I've been lied to and held to impossible expectations my whole life and that's hard to swallow.

You must realize that when you believed without question, you also "lied" to everybody else about the same thing. You are not a single person being lied to, you are part of a group in which likely no one is lying to anyone else, they just don't know any better (than you do), and everybody else is just confirming to the others that "of course we are right".

Read some books about the history of the religion (The Bible Unearthed or Who Wrote the Bible for the OT and the Jesus Wars for the NT are a good and rather entertaining overview), and maybe read Sagan's The Demon Haunted World to clear up some things about who believes what and why it's not necessarily a lie, but might still not be the truth. Seriously, it's about UFOs, lol.

r/academicbiblical is also good (and free), but it's sort of short answers to specific questions about the Bible. Their wiki is the best though!

u/srosorcxisto · 3 pointsr/satanism

Anything particular that you're looking for? Here are three of my favorites outside of the usual recommendations.

The Unique and Its Property (aka The Ego and His Own) by Max Stirner. Updated translation of the OG book on Egoism

The Demon-Haunted World by Carl Sagan. Great read on the the scientific method, skepticism and developing a baloney detection kit.

Captivate by Vanessa van Edwards. The best guide for lesser magic out there.

Edit: fixed links. I was posting from my cell phone which caused a lot of issues.

u/mr_sesquipedalian · 2 pointsr/exjw

Hey Dave,

I wanted to respond to this for a few days now. Sorry for the late reaction ;-).

It makes sense to be terrified at doom days predictions. We're all human and nobody is bulletproof to nonsensical ideas. You will find that even the smartest around us, believe in really silly things. This goes much further than religion. Alternative medicine (homeopathy, reiki, acupuncture), religion, conspiracy theories (911, Elvis still lives, we didn't land on the moon).

Wouldn't it be wonderful if we had a systematic way of knowing if 'things we know' (or ideas) were true or false. It would have to be testable and repeatable. and no matter what your origin was: American, African, Asian, European, you would have to come objectively to the same conclusion.

Science (from Latin scientia, meaning "knowledge") is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe.

I would argue that most people don't want to become disassociated with JWs anymore, because it's the most logic step, but because they don't feel that way anymore. In the end humans are guided much more by their feelings than logic. We consider ourself a logic bunch, but when it comes to reality, most people take the decision with their feelings and then rationalize them self right using logic. Then what happens, is that although this person is not a JW anymore, they are still susceptible to other ideas, like alternative medicine, conspiracies or other religions. And this is really where scientific literacy comes into play.

Since you said you're a techy, I think you will like the following recommendations. I really encourage you to google and watch the following people on youtube:

Sam Harris

Daniel Dennett

Christopher Hitchens

Richard Dawkins

Neil degrasse Tyson

And read: http://www.amazon.com/The-Demon-Haunted-World-Science-Candle/dp/0345409469

u/sketerpot · 1 pointr/atheism

> It assists because it shows that perceptions can be inaccurate.

That's a valuable lesson, but you can learn it in a much more useful form by reading Carl Sagan's excellent book The Demon-Haunted World, which has some fascinating discussions of just how our perceptions, thoughts, and memories can betray us. It's a really good read, if you haven't checked it out.

The book recommendation mafia STRIKES AGAIN!

u/rpros1 · 3 pointsr/books

My Recommendations:

Quantum: Einstein, Bohr, and the Great Debate about the Nature of Reality

Brian Greene Has Three Wonderful Books

The Quantum World: Quantum Physics for Everyone

The first one, is mostly history with a fair bit of Quantum/Particle physics.

Brian Greene covers topics from cosmology, quantum physics, and he is also a string theorist so he touches upon that.

The Quantum World is a more detailed introduction to quantum physics.

u/Irish_Whiskey · 2 pointsr/religion

The Case for God and The Bible: A Biography by Karen Armstrong are both good. The God Delusion is a simple breakdown and explanation of most major religious claims. Beyond Religion: Ethics for a Whole World by the Dalai Llama is an interesting book on ethics. The Koran: A Very Short Introduction by Michael Cook is 150 funny and insightful pages on Islam. Under the Banner of Heaven is a shocking and fascinating account of fundamentalist Mormonism. The Demon Haunted World by Carl Sagan discusses religion, and Cosmos and Pale Blue Dot are my secular versions of holy books. And of course given the occasion, I can't leave out God is Not Great.

I recommend avoiding authors like Lee Strobel and Deepak Chopra. Both are essentially liars for their causes, either inventing evidence, or deliberately being incredibly misleading in how they use terms. Popularity in those cases definitely doesn't indicate quality.

u/ALexusOhHaiNyan · 1 pointr/todayilearned


I don't really follow what you just said. Blanks that work just as well as bullets say nothing about bullets?

What I would say is the most important part is that it suggests what's in the pill might be irrelevant, and something outside of that is more important. Hope? Which would bring the discussion back to talk therapy and finding that hope again, not chemical solutions.

Also. Pharmaceutical companies cherry pick their data and corrupt science - that's the point to take home. Keep reading if youre not convinced





u/mechanician87 · 1 pointr/askscience

No problem, glad you find it interesting. If you want to know more, Steve Strogatz's Nonlinear Dynamics and Chaos is a good place to start and is generally very accessible. It talks about how to tell what regions of phase space are stable vs unstable, for example, and how chaos arises out of all of this. Overall it is a good read and has a lot of interesting examples (as is typical of a lot of his books).

For more on the Hamiltonian mechanics in particular (albeit at a more advanced level), the classic text is Goldstein's Classical Mechanics. Its definitely more dense, but if you can push through it and get at what the math is saying its a really interesting subject. For example, in principle, you can do a coordinate transformation where you decouple all the generalized momentum - coordinate pairs and do a sort of modal analysis on a system where you would never be able to do so otherwise (these are called action-angle variables)

u/lolrj · 2 pointsr/atheism

Catholicism is pretty interesting how they don't push the JUST BELIEVE down your throat. I grew up like that too, and the emphasis was just a lot more on the community, tradition and ritual. Then I went to an Evangelical church where the emphasis was on BELIEVE, BELIEVE, BELIEVE.

Anyway, just musing to myself. You said you're all good on science (Catholicism is good like that), but I would still highly recommend Demon-Haunted World, by Carl Sagan.

I'd also suggest some of Stephen Law's Philosophy Books.

I'd also suggest reading the Bible for yourself, if you haven't already :)

I guess you have to ask yourself what exactly it is that your belief depends on, then go after that yourself to find what other explanations are out there.

u/yself · 1 pointr/cogsci

>Any general ideas on how to determine what information is being communicated by vocalisations in a social task?

You asked for general ideas. I recommend reading, The Theory That Would Not Die: How Bayes' Rule Cracked the Enigma Code, Hunted Down Russian Submarines, and Emerged Triumphant from Two Centuries of Controversy.

Also, you will find a number of YouTube videos, with presentations by the author, Sharon Bertsch McGrayne.

In particular, I recommend her talk, "A History of Bayes' Theorem" at Singularity Summit 2011.

u/NeoMarxismIsEvil · 3 pointsr/exmuslim

I think the best answer to your question, is probably Chaos Theory. Here are some links:

u/wire_man · 1 pointr/askscience

A sufficient resource for explaining how to get to Classical Mechanics can be found here.

The idea is that if you have quantities on the surface of a geometry and quantities in the tangent bundle(where quantities like velocities lie), then your dynamics can be described by the interaction of the two under a small set of constraints. These constraints are set by the base axioms and principles of your understanding of the system.

Having these, you can formulate your dynamics which ever way you want. In other words, The Lagrangian is an arbitrary choice. Strictly speaking, it is a choice that physicists use because it makes that algebra easier. The Euler-Lagrange equations are the result of this, and can be used to describe the dynamics of the system. Similarly, once conservation laws in the Lagrangian have been established, the Hamiltonian can be calculated, and from there, invariants in the Hamiltonian can be used.

u/turfnturf · 1 pointr/books

1.Quantum by Manjit Kumar

2.Id recommend things like 1984 and Brave New World, I also like Twain, Steinbeck and Hemingway.

u/Thrug · 0 pointsr/AskReddit

It may also be worth pointing out that "liberal" or "left" in America is actually roughly centre for the rest of the developed world. Policies that are "crazy left" in the US, like government controlled universal healthcare, have worked really well for the rest of us.

The idea that the media should be drawing a line in the sand that is equidistant from both political parties is remarkably similar to the Golden Mean fallacy. Similarly, the media culture leftover from the Fairness Doctrine years assumes that equal time given to both sides of an argument is the best way to present it.

Equal time and obsession with what Americans regard as "centrist" (which is very right-wing for the rest of us), has caused you great harm in the past, and continues to do so. This book does a good job at explaining why.

u/kent_eh · 11 pointsr/TrueAtheism

It sounds like you two are discussing the basics of epistemology.

>I told her that I would have to think about it, but that you can't be scared to learn about things that disagree with your beliefs. I told her that a lot of times it feels bad to have your beliefs challenged, and that this can cause you to avoid learning things that you don't like or immediately discounting them.

That's a very good place to start.

>At this point she basically said "Yeah you have to make sure you aren't just accepting something because it agrees with what you already think."

She seems to have discovered confirmation bias on her own. Well done her!

Maybe introduce her to some information on critical thinking.

Given her parents and your desire not to ruffle their feathers too muck, I'd avoid The Magic of Reality: How We Know What's Really True for now. Maybe have a copy at your place that she might accidentally find on your bookshelf?

Perhaps The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark would be a good choice?

u/ThisIsMyRedditLogin · 2 pointsr/Christianity

> Take a deeper look at a lot of the stuff used to "contact" ghosts and spirits in hauntings.

I don't believe in ghosts. Why would I want to waste time hunting around the internet for the ramblings of paranormal fanatics?

> Same thing for the alien "contactees" there's all sorts of occult stuff there.

The people who usually get visited by aliens turn out to be village idiots and/or drunks. Why do aliens, in their powerful ships, always visit out of the way farms to rectally probe some innocent divorced farmer?

> "Channeling" messages from "aliens" who consistently lie about their origins and deny the Gospel every chance they get while proclaiming that man can be like God.

Aliens who lie about their origins and deny the Gospel? So aliens have come to earth and blurted out "Jesus doesn't exist"? And they also proclaim that humans can be like God?

Listen to me carefully. STOP DRINKING THE TURPENTINE. It's not helping you.

> Sounds like the same tune Satans been singing for years just cleverly repackaged.

Yup. That nasty Satan pretending to be an alien in a beautiful spaceship, experimenting on cows and telling farmers, with a probe up their anus, that Jesus doesn't exist. Damn that Satan to hell, along with his rectal probing device of deception!

This is the perfect book for you.

u/ChristianityBot · 1 pointr/ChristianityBot

Logged comment posted by /u/ThisIsMyRedditLogin at 06/10/13 15:28:17:

> > Take a deeper look at a lot of the stuff used to "contact" ghosts and spirits in hauntings.
> I don't believe in ghosts. Why would I want to waste time hunting around the internet for the ramblings of paranormal fanatics?
> > Same thing for the alien "contactees" there's all sorts of occult stuff there.
> The people who usually get visited by aliens turn out to be village idiots and/or drunks. Why do aliens, in their powerful ships, always visit out of the way farms to rectally probe some innocent divorced farmer?
> > "Channeling" messages from "aliens" who consistently lie about their origins and deny the Gospel every chance they get while proclaiming that man can be like God.
> Aliens who lie about their origins and deny the Gospel? So aliens have come to earth and blurted out "Jesus doesn't exist"? And they also proclaim that humans can be like God?
> Listen to me carefully. STOP DRINKING THE TURPENTINE. It's not helping you.
> > Sounds like the same tune Satans been singing for years just cleverly repackaged.
> Yup. That nasty Satan pretending to be an alien in a beautiful spaceship, experimenting on cows and telling farmers, with a probe up their anus, that Jesus doesn't exist. Damn that Satan to hell, along with his rectal probing device of deception!
> This is the perfect book for you.

u/dat_cosmo_cat · 2 pointsr/compsci

I read Complexity: A Guided Tour on a flight a few years back. It's a thoughtful and well written non-technical CS book, uses concrete real world examples with interesting historical tangents weaved in (I enjoy that "here's what people believed at the time/here's how this person figured out XYZ" sort of stuff). It kind of reminded me of Hawking's A Brief History of Time.

u/mhornberger · 22 pointsr/DebateAnAtheist

Will believers see the value of a position that starts off with "of course there is no God!" (1:15 or so) and then just uses church as a community center, or a place with decent art and music? Are believers willing to move beyond doctrine and dogma?

I like de Botton's work in general, though I haven't read this particular book. But in this Ted talk I think he's arguing against a straw man version of atheism. Very few atheists rail against every single thing from religion.

Many atheists like cathedrals and religious art, music, and literature. I'm fine with engaging the KJV as literature. But how many believers are? I've had believers actually repudiate even the moral content of the New Testament, if it is to be divorced from the supernatural authority of God.

What's interesting too is the mindset he's trying to persuade atheists to embrace is the one believers frequently accuse us of already having. They already think we follow Dawkins or Harris like secular popes. They think we believe in evolution or materialism as a secular dogma that we can't question.

Looking at the dictionary definition of sermon, "a talk on a religious or moral subject," we already have those. There are many great talks by Christopher Hitchens, Neil deGrasse Tyson and many others, entreating listeners to embrace a secular worldview. Look up "Skepticon" on Youtube. Talk after talk advocating for the superiority, even the moral superiority, of a secular worldview. Those are sermons. We already hand out copies of Sagan's Demon-Haunted World with hushed assurances of "read this--it changed my life." Sagan called science "informed worship."

We already have this stuff. What believers actually want is basically for non-believers to stop being critical of religion. Believers want atheists to be more "moderate" (by which they mean, respectful of religion, or just silent) but they themselves would reject almost every remedy de Botton offers. Most prominently, starting off with the position of "of course there's no God." Is that really the truce being offered?

u/bovisrex · 3 pointsr/books

A physics-guru friend of mine recommends this three-pronged punch: In Search of Schrödinger's Cat, The Tao of Physics, and Autobiography of a Yogi. Haven't gotten to the third one yet myself, but the first two were quite excellent.

u/Supervisor194 · 1 pointr/exjw

Once I woke up from unreservedly believing in fairy tales because that's what my parents taught me to believe - I tried tackling this question. I've never really stopped. Truth to me is what I know it is NOT. Truth with a capital T quickly brings us to very fundamental philsophical questions that may be beyond our comprehension in the way a shoe is beyond the comprehension of an ant.

The book that has helped me the very most in my quest was without question The Demon Haunted World - Science as a Candle in the Dark by Carl Sagan. For what we can know to be Truth, this book is an excellent guide to help keep people grounded. It's a fun read, too. Highly recommended.

u/MorbidPenguin · 14 pointsr/GradSchool

Off the top of my head, I would recommend The Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas Kuhn and The Demon-Haunted World by Carl Sagan.

The former is an excellent summary/treatise of how science works and what brings scientific revolutions about. The latter is an excellent intro to critical thinking. It's quite anti-religious, though, so that may turn you off.

u/ComplexAdaptive · 3 pointsr/complexsystems

It sounds like you might have a leg up on the "absolute beginner," but these were the books that helped me get my head around some of the basics: (using Amazon preview links for samples of the first two)


u/aperijove · 8 pointsr/history

Apologies if it's been referenced already, I think I read the whole thread but am on mobile and didn't see it mentioned.

Carl Sagan wrote a superb book on this topic, This Demon Haunted World, Science as a candle in the dark. He talks about the perception of witches being a mass psychosis and gets into the corruption and politics of it. A superb book.

The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/0345409469/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_i_5eXACbBCC82C2

u/nwob · 1 pointr/explainlikeimfive

So Fermat was a complete douchenugget and would scribble mathematical theorems in the borders of his maths textbook, a copy of Diaphantus' Arithmetica, with claims that he had solved them, but would fail to include any kind of proof of his method. He was a French magistrate who lived in the 17th century and did maths as a hobby, but managed to create some of the most confounding maths problems that have ever been solved.

It would be one thing to make a load of unsupported claims and then have them turn out to be false - but people set to work on Fermat's unproven conjectures after his death and one by one, they were proven.

His Last Theorem, so called because it remained unsolved for hundreds of years, is the quite simple assertion that, where a, b and c are positive integers, it is impossible that a^n + b^n will ever equal c^n, where n is an integer greater than 2. Seems simple on the surface. But it was absolutely impenetrable.

I'm not nearly good enough with maths to lead you through the proof, but if you're interested then I would recommend Simon Singh's book by the same name. He does a fantastic job taking apart the process and it's the most interesting maths related thing I've ever read.

When the theorem was eventually proved by British mathematician Andrew Wiles in May 1995, 358 years after it had first been proposed, it made use of cutting edge mathematical tools which had not even been conceived in Fermat's time. So the question remains - did he have a better method, or did he merely get it wrong?

u/jamille4 · 3 pointsr/exchristian

The Demon-Haunted World by Carl Sagan. Also, learn about other religions and their histories (not the most comprehensive, but you could start here). History of early Christianity was enlightening for me, as well.

u/tikael · 3 pointsr/atheism

Online resources.

Iron chariots wiki

Talk origins index to creationist claims

Atheist gems

As far as actual books on logic?

Demon Haunted World

How to win every argument

Books on atheism? Apart from the obvious ones by the four horsemen (Dawkins, Dennit, Harris, Hitchens).

Nuke the pope keeps a list.

Hope that helps

u/wrongright · 1 pointr/TrueChristian

>>or you have the equivalent of an online degree from the "college of creation"
from your abysmal analogies of DNA to computer code
you mean browsing the internet for anything that seems to confirm your pre-conceived notions
This is how I know you've never had a science class
your laughable comparison of computer code to DNA
You've been reading too many unscientific creationist websites.

Where you get your information, and whether or not you have constructed poor analogies, is not an appeal to your character or your emotions. Where you get your information, and how relevant your analogies of computers to biology are - is a pertinent criticism of your arguments and your line of reasoning. I think you would do well to re-visit the definition of an ad hominem.

In terms of whether or not you have ever had a science class, well, I apologize, but you have left me no choice but to conclude you know nothing of the scientific method if you think that IC is a perfectly acceptable hypothesis until it is "defeated". No, buster. That's not how science works. Either you were absent from science class those years, you didn't pay attention, you forgot, or you never enrolled. My statements are a relevant criticism (not an ad hominem) of your pseudo-scientific synopsis of the heartiness of IC as a hypothesis.

If you were using the DNA-code analogy in the same way Craig Venter uses it, I wouldn't have a problem. If you had said, "DNA is a lot like computer code except it wasn't demonstrably designed like code was", or "DNA has pieces of data that string along in sections to give instructions just like code does", or "DNA and code are similar, except code does not give complete instructions for the manufacture of 3D biomolecules that go on to make copies of themselves without any apparent intervention at all" - we wouldn't be having this conversation about how abysmally lacking your analogies are. Again, it's not an attack on you. It's an attack on the way you understand biology. It's the same with your car homology example. Those analogies fail and I have told you why.

>But my point is that you're arguing from an every-decreasing gap. Yes, it's still a gap for my side, but we continue to discover more purposes for what originally seemed pure evil. Yet the gap of evolutionary theory is ever-increasing as we continue to find more function and overlapping layers of complexity in genomes, while the models and observed evolution still accomplish very little.

I'm not sure what you mean here. The biologic theory of evolution gets more and more robust with every passing day. It's been criticized and thwarted for centuries and remains the only explanation. If your particular criticisms are so convincing to you, why aren't they causing more of a stir in universities? Do you happen to think you're the only person who ever thought the way you think? Oh sure, science and evolutionary theory are continually revised to fit the evidence, because that's what science does. It follows the evidence. The theory gets more accurate as time goes on. I think it's time you face that fact.

>You're losing the context of our discussion. Ken Miller claimed that any instance of homology refuted IC and showed common descent. Cars have homology but not common descent. It's irrelevant whether they reproduce.

You can't be this dense! It's very relevant whether cars reproduce, because common descent in biology involves REPRODUCTION TO GIVE RISE TO A SUBSEQUENT GENERATION. Cars don't manufacture themselves. Cars don't evolve. Organisms do. Your analogy fails... again. I'm fine with you comparing homology in, say, oysters, to homology in primates. That's apples to apples. Homology in cars? Gimme a break, dude. That's so incredibly immature.

Evolutionary theory has an avalanche of practical utility. Design does not. In order to be a working model a theory has to ANSWER more questions than it raises. Design cannot. There isn't a study you have cited yet that doesn't rely on the multi-faceted, highly tested, highly contested, highly predictive biologic theory of evolution. If you want to challenge it, you're gonna need a better audience than reddit. You're gonna need more than a B.S. in computer science. You're gonna need a model that explains biodiversity, genetics, ecology, limnology, zoology, botany, phylogeny, cellular, molecular, biochem, comparative anatomy, and everything else in biology just as well as evolution does, except better.

By developing this "better model" of yours, you're also simultaneously overturning the research of thousands of scientists from all over the world who are smarter than you, more diligent than you, who worked for a century and a half, many of whom are now deceased, who all vehemently accepted biologic evolution, whom the vast majority of which were also atheist - presumably because there is no need for a creator once there is a mechanism. So I wish you luck with that.

> I was raised agnostic and grew up reading Carl Sagan.

Every honest person in the world is admittedly angostic - so that doesn't really tell me anything. If you said you were gnostic it would just be an exemplification of intellectual dishonesty or stupifying ignorance. Agnosticism is also uninteresting because it makes no mention of your beliefs. Knowledge is a subset of belief, anyways. And it's belief that's interesting.

You used to read Carl Sagan? What the hell went wrong? The garbage you're quoting from now is awful. You should go pick this up. I think it would correct whatever problems you might be having with the fruits and labors of the true scientific community.

On to David Hume:

Point #1: The snowflake or the crystal may not pass your design criteria - but there are many other places where we see order in nature: Accretion disks in nebulae, growth rings in a tree trunk, the layering of scales on a fish, the shape of a drop of pure water (never really changes, does it?), ants marching into an anthill, the sound of a rooster crowing at dawn, the water cycle, the life cycle, the pattern of seeds on a strawberry, the golden ratio inside a snail shell, calmness before a storm, the shape of magnetic fields, and many, many others. There is plenty of order and purpose that has naturally arisen in the world.

>Likewise the crystaline structure of snowflakes is emergent from simple laws of chemistry.

That's sort of true, but...

>There are no such laws that make biology emergent in such a way.

...is dead wrong. Biology is also emergent from the laws of chemistry. For example: Oxidative phosphorylation in trees is almost the same as it is in humans because of convergent evolution. The biology of the MHC (major histocompatibility complex) is totally governed by chemistry and physics. That chemistry governing biologic processes is emergent from the laws of physics. Physics is emergent from 1st principles. 1st principles are nothing more than the predictive models we have created in science to describe the ways in which the universe works, all by itself.

On point #2: No. You misunderstand. Read it again: "But in order to point to a designed Universe, we would need to have an experience of a range of different universes. As we only experience one (universe), the analogy cannot be applied." (empahsis mine) Just because we suspect that its possible there are other universes, does not mean we have other universes to compare ours to. The design inference fails completely on just this point alone.

Point #3. No, that isn't outdated. Even if it were shown (somehow) that the world was designed, that can't get you to theism. Deism at best. You quoted Dawkins when he said the "illusion of design..." - I think you missed a word in there. The complexity of life is, indeed, fascinating, but it's had over 3 billion years to get that way.

Point 4:
>Any conceivable agent, even of unimaginable intelligence, would still be simpler than that.

How can it be conceivable and unimaginable at the same time? That's a contradiction.

Actually, it was Max Planck who was paraphrased to have said, "Science advances one funeral at a time" but I'm not sure if you understand the meaning behind that. the actual quote is "A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is more familiar with it." You and Michael Behe will be dead soon. But the principles of evolutionary biology will live on forever.

Stenger's legacy is that the fallacy of fine-tuning has been exemplified with heavy physics as well as a careful philosophical application of the anthropic principle. You can disagree all you like but that doesn't change the fact that you are here in this universe asking questions. Of course the universe seems fine-tuned for you! Your kind has been allowed by the laws of physics to exist in your current form. I rather like Douglas Adams on the subject of anthropics. "This is rather as if you imagine a puddle waking up one morning and thinking, 'This is an interesting world I find myself in — an interesting hole I find myself in — fits me rather neatly, doesn't it? In fact it fits me staggeringly well, must have been made to have me in it!' This is such a powerful idea that as the sun rises in the sky and the air heats up and as, gradually, the puddle gets smaller and smaller, frantically hanging on to the notion that everything's going to be alright, because this world was meant to have him in it, was built to have him in it; so the moment he disappears catches him rather by surprise."