Archive for the ‘ Books ’ Category

The Blind Watchmaker by Richard Dawkins

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496 pages | W. W. Norton & Company | English | ISBN -10: 0393315703 | ISBN-13: 978-0393315707

Oxford zoologist Dawkins (The Selfish Gene, The Extended Phenotype trumpets his thesis in his subtitlealmost guarantee enough that his book will stir controversy. Simply put, he has responded head-on to the argument-by-design most notably made by the 18th century theologian William Paley that the universe, like a watch in its complexity, needed, in effect, a watchmaker to design it. Hewing to Darwin’s fundamental (his opponents might say fundamentalist) message, Dawkins sums up: “The theory of evolution by cumulative natural selection is the only theory we know of that is in principle capable of explaining the evolution of organized complexity.” Avoiding an arrogant tone despite his up-front convictions, he takes pains to explain carefully, from various sides, why even such esteemed scientists as Niles Eldredge and Stephen Jay Gould, with their “punctuated equilibrium” thesis, are actually gradualists like Darwin himself in their evolutionary views. Dawkins is difficult reading as he describes his computer models of evolutionary possibilities. But, as he draws on his zoological background, emphasizing recent genetic techniques, he can be as engrossing as he is cogent and convincing. His concept of “taming chance” by breaking down the “very improbable into less improbable small components” is daring neo-Darwinism.

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A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson

As the title suggests, bestselling author Bryson (In a Sunburned Country) sets out to put his irrepressible stamp on all things under the sun. As he states at the outset, this is a book about life, the universe and everything, from the Big Bang to the ascendancy of Homo sapiens. “This is a book about how it happened,” the author writes. “In particular how we went from there being nothing at all to there being something, and then how a little of that something turned into us, and also what happened in between and since.” What follows is a brick of a volume summarizing moments both great and curious in the history of science, covering already well-trod territory in the fields of cosmology, astronomy, paleontology, geology, chemistry, physics and so on. Bryson relies on some of the best material in the history of science to have come out in recent years. This is great for Bryson fans, who can encounter this material in its barest essence with the bonus of having it served up in Bryson’s distinctive voice. But readers in the field will already have studied this information more in-depth in the originals and may find themselves questioning the point of a breakneck tour of the sciences that contributes nothing novel. Nevertheless, to read Bryson is to travel with a memoirist gifted with wry observation and keen insight that shed new light on things we mistake for commonplace. To accompany the author as he travels with the likes of Charles Darwin on the Beagle, Albert Einstein or Isaac Newton is a trip worth taking for most readers.DOWNLOAD – MEDIAFIRE

Programming Video Games for the Evil Genius by Ian Cinnamon

Description:

Always wanted to be a genius game creator? This Evil Genius guide goes far beyond a typical programming class or text to reveal insider tips for breaking the rules and constructing wickedly fun games that you can tweak and customize to suit your needs!

In Programming Video Games for the Evil Genius, programming wunderkind Ian Cinnamon gives you everything you need to create and control 57 gaming projects. You’ll find easy-to-follow plans featuring Java, the most universal programming language, that run on any PC, Mac, or Linux computer.

  • Illustrated instructions and plans for an awesome mix of racing, board, shoot ’em up, strategy, retro, and puzzle games
  • Gaming projects that vary in difficulty-starting with simple programs and progressing to sophisticated projects for programmers with advanced skills
  • An interactive companion website featuring a free Java compiler, where you can share your projects with Evil Geniuses around the globe
  • Removes the frustration-factor-all the parts you need are listed, along with sources

Regardless of your skill level, Programming Video Games for the Evil Genius provides you with all the strategies, code, and insider programming advice you need to build and test your games with ease, such as:

  • Radical Racing
  • Screen Skier
  • Whack an Evil Genius
  • Tic-Tac-Toe Boxing
  • Snake Pit
  • Space Destroyers
  • Bomb Diffuser
  • Trapper
  • Oiram
  • Java Man
  • Memory

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Debating Religion with… Science?

If I was going to recommend any of the books I have read promoting atheism out of the many I have read so far, the first book that comes to mind is Victor Stenger’s God: The Failed Hypothesis: How Science Shows God Does Not Exist.

I enjoyed this book for many reasons, but the number one reason would have to be it does something very few people are willing to do: it argues against religion with current scientific knowledge. So few people are brave enough in bring science into a debate about religion.

For one thing, science and religion are two fundamentally opposed institutions, at least to me. One tries to explain Nature with appeals to higher powers. The other more or less tries to understand how things work in Nature and see how this understanding can be used to explain Nature, those science is far from really “explaining” anything.

Stenger thinks, of course, science better understand the Universe than religion, thus religion is a best redundant, and at worst harmful to the human race. He also outlines fundamental logical errors in the understanding of the various types of Gods that people profess exist. A list is given by him by which he thinks people should use to gauge extraordinary claims. In the beginning of the book, he is trying to loosen the reader’s emotions and get them to think ratioanlly.

But after the first chapter Stenger lays down everything he can in the most general of terms to keep the book short, but in-depth enough to give you a good feeling of the many arguments and counter-arguments for the existence of God. This book is not meant to be the be-all-end-all of atheist books, but it is the stepping stone to a thorough understanding of the many atheistic and scientific arguments to the existence of God. Which brings us to the best quality of this book, the fact that it is heavily sourced and the end-notes are accessible and allow you to explore even more content outside of the book.

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