The Top 10 Science And Reason Books of 2012

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Every year, Point of Inquiry invites scores of great authors on the air as guests. So as 2012 draws to a close, we thought we’d compile a list for you of some of the best recent books by authors featured on the show this year. 

Below, you’ll find a link to the book, a brief write-up, and a link to our interview with the author. If you somehow missed out on these titles (or these interviews), now’s the time to catch up!

—Chris Mooney & Indre Viskontas



1. Oliver Sacks – Hallucinations

Oliver Sacks

This latest offering from Dr. Sacks harkens back to the books that made him famous: Awakenings, An Anthropologist on Mars and The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, by infusing curious tales of brains gone awry with sensitive insights into what it means to be human. The author is not content to list symptoms of a disordered mind or treat hallucinatory experiences as characters in a freak show, and though the science of hallucinations remains relatively unknown, Dr. Sacks takes us through the looking glass and shows us how commonplace and illuminating our fantasy worlds can be. This book is a great gift for anyone interested in magic, illusion and sensory creativity.

Written By: Center for Inquiry
continue to source article at centerforinquiry.net

3 COMMENTS

  1. The best new book I read in 2012 was Talking to the Enemy by Anthropologist Scot Atran. Here is a review from the Guardian: http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2010/oct/24/scott-atran-talking-to-the-enemy-review

    Atran talked to terrorists and the communities that support them. His research contradicts the statements that Dawkins makes on a regular basis on the subject. Dawkins often talks about how religious schools such as Madrassas can brainwash vulnerable individuals.

    Atran shows that the actual data tells a different stories. Almost all of the terrorists are not isolated loners, on the contrary they often have strong family and community ties and these ties are what motivate them to violence, not (as Dawkins also claims) religious indoctrination but rather reaction to their perception of an injustice committed against their community.

    I would like to see Dawkins address this book as he is called out by name in one chapter as someone whose statements on these topics don’t correspond to the empirical data available.

  2. In reply to #2 by Red Dog:

    The best new book I read in 2012 was Talking to the Enemy by Anthropologist Scot Atran. Here is a review from the Guardian: http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2010/oct/24/scott-atran-talking-to-the-enemy-review

    Atran talked to terrorists and the communities that support them. His research contradicts the statements that Dawkins makes on a regular basis on the subject. Dawkins often talks about how religious schools such as Madrassas can brainwash vulnerable individuals.

    Atran shows that the actual data tells a different stories. Almost all of the terrorists are not isolated loners, on the contrary they often have strong family and community ties and these ties are what motivate them to violence, not (as Dawkins also claims) religious indoctrination but rather reaction to their perception of an injustice committed against their community.

    I would like to see Dawkins address this book as he is called out by name in one chapter as someone whose statements on these topics don’t correspond to the empirical data available.

    Red Dog, since the family and community are themselves religious, and will have inculcated their values in the terrorist as he grew up, I don’t see how you can separate the religion from the sense of community.
    In any case, the plain and obvious fact is, if he were not deeply religious, he would not sacrifice his own life so readily. An atheist would not be a suicide bomber. Even if he agreed with the terrorist act, he wouldn’t do it himself. THAT is the point made by Dawkins, and it answers your argument ( and evidently that of the book, which I haven’t read).

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