Thursday, January 29, 2009

Looooooooooooooooong reading list (and a personal update)

Okays, I'm taking a super easy load this semester and I'm gonna have a ton of free time for the next few months. In the fall I'm going to be taking math & SCIENCE classes again, but I can't wait till then so...................I'm going to devote the time to the many books that I haven't finshed or even started yet. Specifically the SCIENCE books, and even more specifically, the biology books (Imma geek!). Seriously, I've thrown most of my $ at buying pop science books and old textbooks and I'm going to use the next few months to get a shit load of reading done. 

The list includes:
The Origin of Species
The Selfish Gene
Endless Forms Most Beautiful
Evolution: What the Fossil Record Says and Why it matters
The Extended Phenotype
The Beak of the Finch
Why Darwin Matters
The Dragons of Eden
The Ancestor's Tale
The Blind Watchmaker
Ever Since Darwin
Darwin's Dangerous Idea
Your Inner Fish
What Evolution Is

I've almost finished some of them, haven't even opened others. I'm gonna try and post reviews of the books when I get down with them. (First one will be on Why Darwin Matters, it's the shortest!)

I doubt I'll be able to finish the whole list but the more I get out of the way, the more prepared I'll be for my bio courses in the summer & fall. I feel kinda lazy because I'm just reading popular science books, but I feel these books are good place to start. I can't wait to take real science classes again in the fall. SCIENCE, I miss you so! (I apologize if your geek detector just went haywire) I have soooooooooooo much to learn.....lets start with the basics! If you guys want to suggest any books, feel free to. 

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Adaptation>Mutation in Human evolution


Yeah yeah yeah, I know only evo bio majors and such will get a kick out of this HOWEVER, this article deals with our own evolution. I'm espcially excited because adaptation is what I'm focusing on right now. 

"We are on a crest of a wave showing that adaptation is a lot more prevalent than we thought"

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

" evidence for evolution" *facepalm

Now I wish I could laugh at the breath taking stupidity of some of the people out there but I guess because of my major....................I just have to facepalm*

I was told by a creationist that there was "no evidence for evolution" and to provide evidence for it since I was the one making the claim that evolution was, you know, A FACT.

I posted a rather annoyed response, basically asking him WHICH part of evolution did he need help with? Natural Selection? Genetic Drift? Gene Flow? Mutations? All of these don't count? I mean seriously! Come on! 

Oh well, I have to make this funny somehow................(thinks really hard)........I'll get back to you!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

YAY Dan Dennett!

Okays, My friends and I went on a mini road trip down to Stanford to see Daniel Dennett give one of the Presidential Lectures.


Short Version: It was AWESOME


Slightly Longer Version: First of all he's a huge guy! Like around 6 1/2 feet or something! And I'm a huge dork so when I went up to him to get my copy of Darwin's Dangerous Idea signed, I stuttered and tripped all over myself when he was signing book. However I did say to him that it was people like him and Dawkins who got me into science in the first place. (I was an atheist before I read either of them)I never noticed how poetic science and nature are, well at least until I stumbled across these guys in my local Barnes and Noble. Now I can’t get enough of them, hence the major.

But his lecture blew me away! Titled "The evolution of why as an answer to free will" it was about how free will can co exist with a completely secular outlook.
 I hate having to reduce it but think of it like this: The saying “free as a bird” isn’t as meaningful as “free as a human”. We’re the only creatures that are able to apply cognitive reasons to our actions. Birds and dogs etc are ruled by instinct more so than we are.  The power we have to reflect, to question, to invent, to imagine, is freedom, at least according to Dr. Dennett. Did we come about by the mere physical laws of the universe? Yes. Did any intervening higher power (Skyhook? No. Crane? Yes) help us out? No. However, we our no longer as bound by instinct and nature as we used to be strictly because of the evolution that brought us about! I was smiling the whole time….


(Wow, I just bastardized a great lecture. BUY HIS BOOK)


Anyways, for a better understanding of his ideas on this subject check out his book Freedom Evolves.  For his wonderful book celebrating and discussing the philosophical implications of the theory of evolution; check Darwin’s Dangerous Idea. And for his thoughts on religion check out Breaking the Spell.


After the lecture ended, one of my bolder friends rushed up to him to get a group photo. I’ll post as soon as we brighten up the image a bit, it’s kinda dark. NO IT’S NOT PHOTOSHOPPED lol.


I was so happy to see him! Read his books! Go! Do it!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

DMCA abuse by the Immoral

YAY! Check out my blog about it below!

Words cannot express the awesome

The titans of Youtube's scientific and freethinking establishment have banded together and created an Alliance against censorship and DMCA abuse. These guys have always been my heroes, but simply beyond words.

Seeing people so passionate about free inquiry and intellectual disscussion is simply wonderful.

Pardon me while I pimp for their accounts:

Hopefully this will send a message to any and all sulking creationist trolls who would rather suppress knowledge and drag not only themselves but others into a intellectual abyss that there's a group who will is more than willing to put up a fight about it. XD!