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Blicero
Knight-Baron


Joined: 07 May 2009
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 04, 2016 5:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Kaelik wrote:
I will be traveling on airplanes kind of a lot soon, because that is a thing I do around Christmas most years.

As such I require things to be read.

Generally speaking I like sci-fi/fantasy, but probably, if there's much of that I already have found it, I just bring it up as an aside. The main thing I'm looking for recommendations for would be non-fiction books about philosophy/science/sociology/scholarship.

The problem is, they need to not make over use of charts and diagrams, which narrows the field, since those things usually convert like garbage on my kindle.


I've been reading Seeing Like a State (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seeing_Like_a_State). I would call it a social sciences book. Libertarians who read it tend to enjoy it a lot I think, which may be a warning sign regarding its quality. I've found some of the author's observations to cohere with my own experiences.
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Mechalich
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Joined: 04 Nov 2015
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 04, 2016 7:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

phlapjackage wrote:
This year I read some of Stephen Jay Gould's books and found them interesting. I don't usually read serious philosophy/science/sociology/scholarship, but his stuff was pretty readable to me.

Ever Since Darwin
Wonderful Life
The Panda's Thumb


Gould's a bit dated by now though. Wonderful Life in particular has been largely upended by a cladistics-based understanding of the same data. Not that it's not still worth reading, but something to be aware of.
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phlapjackage
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Joined: 24 May 2012
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 04, 2016 9:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Mechalich wrote:
Gould's a bit dated by now though. Wonderful Life in particular has been largely upended by a cladistics-based understanding of the same data. Not that it's not still worth reading, but something to be aware of.
I would love to read a good book with this kind of information, that also makes the information as accessible as Gould made it. Do you have any recommendations?
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Mechalich
Knight-Baron


Joined: 04 Nov 2015
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 04, 2016 10:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

The current gold standard treatise regarding the subject is The Cambrian Explosion, by Erwin and Valentine, but it is a textbook, meaning that it's both expensive and not intended for general audiences (also I haven't read it since my paleontological interests are focused from the Ordovician onward). You might try Life on a Young Planet, which I also haven't read but is at least focused in the same time frame. If you're interested in the biology of living invertebrates the most easily accessible (and certainly best looking) survey is Animal Earth: the Amazing Diversity of Living Creatures.

Now on the subject of early vertebrate evolution I have read, and do recommend The Rise of Fishes by Long (the 2010 edition). It is a textbook and therefore expensive (see if you can find a library that has it) but very readable and not especially technical with a plethora of helpful photographs and illustrations.
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Occluded Sun
Knight-Baron


Joined: 02 May 2014
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2016 8:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Gould lied about the data and its implications. I suggest finding a more honest author to learn about biology.
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erik
Prince


Joined: 07 Mar 2008
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2016 8:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

While I have a vague recollection of Gould being a douchebag. My memory files that classification as personal rather than professional. As such I append a "citation needed" for your claim, OS.
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Occluded Sun
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2016 11:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

What, you're too lazy to search out your own data?

Try starting here.
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Chamomile
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Joined: 03 May 2011
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2016 11:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

The Dictator's Handbook is non-fiction and kind of within the fields given. I enjoyed it a lot and it doesn't have any charts that I can remember.
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Kaelik
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2016 11:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Occluded Sun wrote:
What, you're too lazy to search out your own data?

Try starting here.


Oh look, OS has literally no idea what he is talking about, the thing he actually said (that Gould lied about data) is totally false even by his own pathetic attempt at citing, and the reason OS hates Gould is because Gould had the temerity to disagree with a guy who claimed black people were racially stupider.

Well, we dug to the bottom of the OS is mad at Gould well, is anyone even remotely surprised that at the bottom it turns out that OS's racism is behind it all? I confess to not being even remotely surprised.
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Mechalich
Knight-Baron


Joined: 04 Nov 2015
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2016 12:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Gould was the kind of old-school high-powered scientist who had a tendency to pontificate. He considered his opinion, even when he wasn't as well informed as he perhaps ought to have been, to be extremely valuable, especially towards the later period of his career. This sort of throwing around of the weight of accumulated knowledge was and is extremely common in science, though the dawn of information sharing via the internet has changed it somewhat. Paleontology, however, is an extremely slow-moving field and continues to incubate and retain figures like Gould in way more rapidly moving disciplines like genetics largely do not.

Gould in particular was notable for holding on to very controversial opinions in the field and getting into arguments with other prominent scientists (many of whom, like Dawkins and E.O. Wilson, of which the same thing could be said). His skill with a writer, which put him in the public eye and fed his ego, may have actually contributed to this by making in harder to back down.

As a writer on evolutionary biology speaking to the public Gould was one of the most effective voices of the 20th century - he's far more readable than Dawkins for certain. The only real argument against reading his writings now is that they're old - Wonderful Life was published in 1989 and is now over a quarter-century old. It, and much of his other writing, largely predates the seismic change that ran through paleontology and evolutionary biology generally through the broad acceptance of cladistics - which occurred primarily in the 1990s because the PCR reaction was developed at that time, making large-scale genetic analysis practical.

It is difficult to overstate the impact cladistics analysis has had on evolutionary biology and systematics in the past twenty years or so, unfortunately it is also difficult to explain what cladistics is and how it works (even as someone with a background in taxonomy and graduate research under his belt I'll confess that I've never quite mastered some of the more complex elements) and I'm not aware of any popular science work that gets things right. Naming Nature by Yoon gets it almost perfectly wrong and I'm not aware of anyone else who's tried to tackle the subject.
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erik
Prince


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2016 4:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Occluded Sun wrote:
What, you're too lazy to search out your own data?

Try starting here.


No, I'm too lazy to search out your data, dipshit.

I'm not going to go research every racist nutjob's claims. That's the whole point of "citation needed". If you make dubious assertions, then you must back them up. Not expect other people to do your legwork.
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phlapjackage
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2016 5:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Occluded Sun wrote:
Gould lied about the data and its implications


I read a law blog for funsies, and one thing the law-talking guy says is that you know a claim is baseless when it makes a very general claim and doesn't mention specifics about what the claim is actually about. I think that definitely applies here.
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Koumei: and if I wanted that, I'd take some mescaline and run into the park after watching a documentary about wasps.
PhoneLobster: DM : Mr Monkey doesn't like it. Eldritch : Mr Monkey can do what he is god damn told.
Chamomile: Deaddmwalking... was a holy warrior dedicated not to a specific cause, but to doing battle with a single foe. With his nemesis forever banished from our shores, he goes off to become a normal denner who puts irritating people on ignore rather than endlessly engage them.
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Kaelik
ArchDemon of Rage


Joined: 07 Mar 2008
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2016 6:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

phlapjackage wrote:
Occluded Sun wrote:
Gould lied about the data and its implications


I read a law blog for funsies, and one thing the law-talking guy says is that you know a claim is baseless when it makes a very general claim and doesn't mention specifics about what the claim is actually about. I think that definitely applies here.


To be fair, he might have just been trying to hide his racism, since according to OS

"The data" is "Black people have tiny brains next to my big giant white brain."

and "the implications" are "therefore I'm write in my belief in the racial inferiority of black people, and we really should keep them as slaves for their own good."

I mean, I could understand why a blatantly racist monster might want to hide the specifics of what they believe even if they thought they had a good case.
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That's libertarians for you - anarchists who want police protection from their slaves.
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Occluded Sun
Knight-Baron


Joined: 02 May 2014
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2016 7:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Gould lied about so many things it's tedious to narrow them down.
Quote:
If you make dubious assertions, then you must back them up.
I'll remember that if I ever feel like making dubious assertions.

In the meantime, the various controversies surrounding Gould are so well-documented and easily accessed that there's little point in citing them rather than merely mentioning their existence.

If you rely on evidence people present to you, you'll be very easily lead by people presenting only evidence that helps their cause. Actual skepticism requires searching out data, not sitting back and waiting for it to be delivered on a silver platter.


Last edited by Occluded Sun on Tue Dec 06, 2016 7:48 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Occluded Sun
Knight-Baron


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2016 8:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

To return to the topic of book recommendations, here's one:
The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark
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Kaelik
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2016 8:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Occluded Sun wrote:
To return to the topic of book recommendations, here's one:
The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark


I've never heard about this book, but now that I know it has the seal of approval of the racist advocate of slavery who believes black people are biologically stupider, who thinks that he should never have to prevent evidence of his claims, I can safely file that under "books I will never read."
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Kaelik gonna kaelik. Whatcha gonna do?
That's libertarians for you - anarchists who want police protection from their slaves.
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sendaz
Journeyman


Joined: 27 Dec 2015
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2016 8:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

It's written by Carl Sagan and focuses on critical and skeptical thinking, and yes we can see the irony here in it's submission.

The story within of the invisible, incorporeal, floating dragon who spits heatless fire is an amusing side mental experiment.
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Occluded Sun
Knight-Baron


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2016 9:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I also recommend the Principia Discordia, although I don't think many here will get the joke.
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Occluded Sun
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2016 9:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Also, by all means read works by Steven Gould. Impulse was particularly good, I thought.
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Mechalich
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 10, 2016 6:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

phlapjackage wrote:
I would love to read a good book with this kind of information, that also makes the information as accessible as Gould made it. Do you have any recommendations?


Largely as a result of this discussion, I finally got around to reading The Monkey's Voyage by de Queiroz, a text I'd been meaning to read for some time. That's the book you want. While the primary subject is different - biogeography instead of structural development - it covers many of the same theoretical topics and actually expands on the Gouldian 'decimation' hypothesis directly through the mechanism of dispersal. It's not quite as accessible as Gould from a writing perspective (that's a high bar) by not overly technical - notably de Queiroz manages to discuss the implications of the cladistics revolution on his subject without getting bogged down too heavily in the statistical complexity of the field (which is immense).
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phlapjackage
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 10, 2016 8:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Mechalich wrote:
Largely as a result of this discussion, I finally got around to reading The Monkey's Voyage by de Queiroz, a text I'd been meaning to read for some time. That's the book you want. While the primary subject is different - biogeography instead of structural development - it covers many of the same theoretical topics and actually expands on the Gouldian 'decimation' hypothesis directly through the mechanism of dispersal. It's not quite as accessible as Gould from a writing perspective (that's a high bar) by not overly technical - notably de Queiroz manages to discuss the implications of the cladistics revolution on his subject without getting bogged down too heavily in the statistical complexity of the field (which is immense).
This is probably along the lines of what I'm looking for, thanks! I'm not at all knowledgeable about these fields and so unless the writing is interesting, I know I'm going to put the book down after a few pages.
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PhoneLobster: DM : Mr Monkey doesn't like it. Eldritch : Mr Monkey can do what he is god damn told.
Chamomile: Deaddmwalking... was a holy warrior dedicated not to a specific cause, but to doing battle with a single foe. With his nemesis forever banished from our shores, he goes off to become a normal denner who puts irritating people on ignore rather than endlessly engage them.
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spongeknight
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 20, 2016 6:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Sea Change by S.M. Wheeler is a bizarre but rather well done novel. Read it recently, would recommend.
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