Category: Arts & Culture

Enlightenment Now: Steven Pinker Does It Again

By Michael Anderson

I’ve been a fan of Steven Pinker since 1994 when I came across his book The Language Instinct. I have read everything he’s written since then, with my favorite being The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature. His newest book is Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress — and as usual he blows me away with his intellect, wit, and distinctive writing style.

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The Brain As Expectation Machine: Understanding Placebos, False Memories, and More

BY NATHAN CURLAND

I was first introduced to Erik Vance when he was interviewed about his book by Steve Mirsky on a “Science Talk” podcast on Scientific American Online in November. That interview motivated me to borrow a volume from the library. It is quite a find.

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Homo Sapiens Have Conquered the World; Now What?

By Nathan Curland

Homo sapiens have, in the last few millennia, filled every corner of the planet and—in less than 100 years—have for all practical purposes conquered plague, famine, and war. How did this happen? 

What sets Homo sapiens apart from other species? What is the mind? Or consciousness? Do we have free will or are we just algorithms? 

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Book Review: Sing You Home by Jodi Picoult

By Mary McLeod

Few would call Jodi Picoult a literary author, that is a Nobel- or Pulitzer-quality writer. She does not experiment with the art form, but primarily writes straightforward novels about social issues many are still puzzling over or up in arms about, long after publication.

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A Book on Humanism for Kids

By Paul Heffron

When we were in Florida in January, my wife, Peg, went to a garage sale and snapped up a colorful paperback book in mint condition for a dollar. The book is Humanism, What’s That?: A Book for Curious Kids (Prometheus Books, 2005) by Helen Bennett. The author has impressive academic and professional credentials and does an excellent job of presenting humanism for kids ages 10 and up.

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