Theory of Evolution: A History of Controversy [TTC Video]
07 February 2018, 06:04
Course No 174 | AVI, XviD, 480x352 | MP3, 128 kbps, 2 Ch | 12x30 mins | 2.1GB
Charles Darwin's theory of organic evolution—the idea that life on earth is the product of purely natural causes, not the hand of God—set off shock waves that continue to reverberate through Western society, and especially the United States. What makes evolution such a profoundly provocative concept, so convincing to most scientists, yet so socially and politically divisive? The Theory of Evolution: A History of Controversy is an examination of the varied elements that so often make this science the object of strong sentiments and heated debate.
Professor Edward J. Larson leads you through the "evolution" of evolution, with an eye toward enhancing your understanding of the development of the theory itself and the roots of the controversies that surround it. In these lectures you will:
- Explore pre-Darwinian theories of the origins of life, from Genesis and the ancient Greeks to such 18th- and 19th-century scientists as Georges Cuvier and Chevalier de Lamarck
- Follow the life and work of Charles Darwin, and the impact of his 1859 masterpiece, On the Origin of Species. Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection was immediately recognized as a threat to traditional religion, but was quickly accepted (the first printing of Origin of Species sold out on the first day)
- Examine the history of evolutionary science after Darwin—a fascinating story that includes the "rediscovery," after 35 years, of Gregor Mendel's work on genetic variation; the unearthing of prehominid, or early human, fossils by Raymond Dart in 1925 and the Leakey family in the 1950s; and the confusion created by the sensational, but later discredited, discovery of Piltdown Man—a fake evolutionary "missing link"—in 1912
- Trace the history of religious objections to evolution, from those of Darwin's own time to contemporary efforts to teach creation science in American schools. This includes a detailed discussion of the famous Scopes "monkey trial," which in fact was a staged media event, designed to create publicity for the town of Dayton, Tennessee.
Are Our Genes more Important than We Are?
This course makes it clear that the history of controversy surrounding evolution is not limited to a dispute between science and religion. Even within the scientific community, the fine details of the theory of evolution have long been a matter of passionate dispute.
In fact, in the last third of the 19th century, the principal objections were scientific, not religious. Although the fossil record was a key piece of evidence for evolution, it had gaps that could be used to argue against the theory. And both proponents and critics wondered how altruistic human qualities such as love and generosity could possibly have evolved through the competitive, often harsh, processes that Darwin described.
From Professor Larson's presentation, you will learn that new ideas in evolution science have often created new controversies. For example, is it truly possible, as some scientists now maintain, that humans exist merely to ensure the survival of their genes? Such research has created disagreement among scientists about the degree to which evolution drives human behavior, and has further alienated many segments of the public.
Evolution's "Dark Side": Social Darwinism
In these lectures, you will review perhaps the most sinister controversy associated with the theory of evolution: social Darwinism. From the beginning, the Darwinian theory of evolution has been linked to economic and political views. Thomas Malthus's theories of population growth and competition for limited resources even inspired Darwin's thinking on natural selection.
Unfortunately, later supporters of evolution carried this line of thinking too far. Beginning with Herbert Spencer, who coined the term "survival of the fittest," Darwin's ideas were used as evidence for a wide range of social beliefs, from laissez-faire capitalism to racism, colonialism, and, in perhaps the worst application, Nazism. In the United States, social Darwinism has served as a basis for the creation of IQ tests and for eugenics programs that resulted in the forced sterilization of thousands of mentally ill or retarded Americans.
Unsettling Implications: The Growing Gulf Between Science and Religion
During the late 19th century, largely through the efforts of scientists who sought to integrate evolutionary science with spiritual belief, evolution was widely accepted by the religious community in the United States. Today, this is hardly the case.
In his last four lectures, Professor Larson examines the trends that have, since 1920, widened the gulf between science and religion. These include an increase in fundamentalist Protestantism, the weakening of liberal Protestantism as a counteracting force, and the growing power of a firmly conservative South.
In the 1960s, federally funded neo-Darwinian textbooks provoked a conservative backlash. Beginning with the publication of Henry M. Morris's The Genesis Flood, efforts to gain equal time for the teaching of creation science, based on biblical teachings, gathered strength. Rebuffed by the courts, creationism continues to thrive through the increasing numbers of private Christian schools and through home schooling.
The growing gulf between science and religion has unsettling implications for our society. Large segments of the American population reject the naturalism of current evolutionary thinking. Nine of 10 Americans believe in spiritual causes for life, with only 10 percent accepting the purely naturalistic explanations espoused by evolution. Strikingly, these statistics are almost exactly the opposite among the scientific community.
A Pulitzer Prize-Winning Teacher
As both a historian of science and a professor of law, Professor Edward J. Larson brings exceptional qualifications to this subject. His book, Summer for the Gods: The Scopes Trial and America's Continuing Debate Over Science and Religion, won the 1998 Pulitzer Prize in History. His analysis provides an invaluable perspective on the volatile history of what is arguably the single most significant idea of modern times.
Martial Arts for Your Mind and Body [TTC Video]
04 February 2018, 09:53
Course No 9468 | MP4, AVC, 1280x720 | AAC, 192 kbps, 2 Ch | 25x30 mins | + PDF Guidebook | 11.75 GB
Martial arts. This phrase conjures up images of peak physical and mental fitness—speed, flexibility, and strength married to meditation, focus, and self-discipline, an image amplified by everything from elegantly choreographed Hollywood movies to mixed martial arts (MMA) cage matches. But the reality is that “martial arts” serves as an umbrella for an amazing range of beneficial and highly specialized practices, from kung fu to tai chi to jeet kune do.
One of the most intimidating aspects of pursuing martial arts is learning enough to understand what works best for you. What is the difference between practicing the quick jabs and furious kicks of karate and tae kwon do, the grapples and rolls of judo, the flowing forms of tai chi, or the street-fighting grit of Krav Maga? These forms of fighting have certain things in common, yet each practice has its own unique philosophy as well as a physical and mental approach. And yet, too often, students and prospective students never get to explore first-hand, and benefit from, the range of opportunities in the martial arts.
Martial Arts for Your Mind and Body offers an immersive introduction to nine leading examples of martial arts. Hosted and brought together by tai chi Grandmaster David-Dorian Ross, these 25 interactive lessons (one more than a typical course) give you a solid grounding in the different philosophies, styles, and techniques of the major martial arts families. For this course, Master Ross has hand-selected seven guest instructors who are award-winning experts in their fields. Whether sensei, sifu, or champion competitor, your teachers are drawn from the best of the best.
You don’t have to be a cross-training warrior or MMA fighter to benefit from exposure to a variety of martial arts. In fact, with suitable guidance, practicing martial arts offers invaluable physical and mental benefits to people of all ages, at all levels of physical fitness. From self-defense to the physical benefits of a disciplined exercise regimen, to the balance and harmony that studying martial arts can bring to all aspects of your life, Martial Arts for Your Mind and Body is an ideal place to begin, resume, or deepen your practice.
Survey Nine Families of Martial Arts
David-Dorian Ross has designed a survey of the martial arts, offering a unique foundation for improved physical and mental training, all of which can help you identify specific practices and traditions that may be especially benefical for you. The course lets you experience, albeit far more efficiently, the same sorts of explorations Master Ross undertook as a young practitioner, when he set out to find the right style of martial arts for himself. With seven guest instructors to accompany him, Master Ross takes you on a tour of:
- Karate: The way of the “empty hand” is perhaps the most well-known Japanese martial art in the West. From kicking to kata, learn the physical and mental techniques that make it such a formidable practice.
- Tae Kwon Do: Like karate, tae kwon do is known for lightning-fast high kicks and the breaking of boards. Find out how this form became so popular quickly after its development in post-World War II Korea, and what makes it unique among martial arts.
- Kung Fu: Beginning in China as far back as the 5th century, this practice has influenced most other forms of Chinese martial arts, and been codified into dozens of variations, many named after animals. Gain insight into the history and basic techniques of kung fu, as you explore the white crane style for close- to medium-range interaction, and then sample a long-range style for maximizing your reach known as praying mantis.
- Tai Chi: Martial arts are not only about speed or vigorous combat. Tai chi has that option but has famously developed practices to cultivate slow, graceful movements, with innumerable benefits for well-being. Tai chi (taiji quan) traces its origins to China in the 17th century.
- Judo: Known for its grappling, flipping, and throwing techniques, judo is an art of surprising grace from Japan. Practice the drills and techniques of “the way of gentleness.” Judo was the first martial art to use the belt system to classify fighters by skill level.
- Jujitsu: Akin to judo, Japanese Jujutsu and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu are “the pliable fighting art,” and make use of groundwork and wrestling holds to take control of the opponent. Get ready to stretch into new forms!
- Muay Thai: Originating in Thailand but often known simply as kickboxing in the West, Muay Thai is unique among martial arts for the way it incorporates shins, elbows, and the clinch into its fighting style. See why Muay Thai is a favorite among MMA practitioners.
- Jeet Kune Do: Developed by Bruce Lee as a hybrid of traditional Asian martial arts and more modern, global styles, jeet kune do is fascinating for the way it can be adapted and transformed by every individual practitioner.
- Krav Maga: Blending elements from jujitsu, boxing, wrestling, and more, Krav Maga forms a type of street fighting about what to do in situations with no rules. First developed as a way for Polish Jews to defend themselves from fascists, Krav Maga is the signature fighting style of the Israeli Defense Forces.
In addition to these major families, you will also learn about qigong, a system for understanding and working with energy, or Qi, that is frequently practiced alongside other martial arts like tai chi. You’ll also learn meditation techniques and other aspects of the mental and even spiritual side of the martial arts.
Learn Stances, Blocks, Kicks, and Chops
While Master Ross and his colleagues discuss and personally embody the theory and ideals of their respective practices, this is very much a participatory course. Set in a unique dojo-style studio, each of these lessons gives you the chance to work out alongside the instructors, giving you a true immersion in the martial arts. Workouts include warmups, drills, shadowboxing, combos, and partnered exercises. For instance, you will:
- Try an extended “horse stance” exercise to improve your mental toughness.
- Learn kata with Sensei Akira Fukuda, the Team USA Olympic coach, and master of all five styles of karate.
- Improve your physical and mental well-being with Master Ross’s TaijiFit flow workout.
- Participate in a series of one-step sparring exercises with Grandmaster Dave Wheaton.
- Perform a pattern of closed fist and open palm kung fu punches, followed by a combination drill.
- Explore the “why” of Muay Thai kickboxing combinations with five-time world kickboxing champion Kathy Long.
- Find out how to defend against chokes, shirt grabs, and attacks from behind in the Krav Maga style of street fighting.
- And much more.
Physical Mastery, Mental Practice
Master Ross’s approach in this course is to pause and give pointers for each technique. Special camera angles and 3D modeling show you all aspects of each move, and Master Ross's deep understanding of how to help anyone reap benefits from martial arts ensures that you are able to join in and participate safely from lesson one. With this unique approach, you will be ready to punch, kick, block, and grapple your way into improved physical fitness.
But of course, practicing the martial arts is about more than physical fitness or self-defense. Training regularly, with exposure to more than one martial art, benefits all aspects of your life, giving you greater focus, confidence, and self-discipline. The unparalleled experience of nine styles in this course will give you fresh insight into what martial arts are all about, and greater clarity about your own life and goals. Martial Arts for Your Mind and Body is here to show you a way to your best self.
What Einstein Got Wrong [TTC Video]
01 February 2018, 15:49
Course No 1307 | M4V, AVC, 1280x720 | AAC, 160 kbps, 2 Ch | 12x30 mins | + PDF Guidebook | 2.18GB
He was the quintessential genius whose brainpower rewrote the laws of the universe. Albert Einstein may have died decades ago, but his immense legacy continues. Who has not heard of Einstein’s theory of relativity, which revolutionized our understanding of space, time, and matter? His other discoveries are themselves titanic achievements that on their own would have made him a famous scientist.
But Einstein was not infallible. He rejected the possibility of black holes, and he was reluctant to accept the concept of an expanding universe or that gravity waves might exist. All are predicted by his general theory of relativity, and all have been well confirmed by observations. Furthermore, he was practically alone among his peers in resisting the startling implications of quantum mechanics—a theory that he helped found and whose strange picture of reality has been verified in experiment after experiment.
In other words, what Einstein got wrong includes some of the most exciting science of our time.
In a course aimed at the scientifically curious at all levels, What Einstein Got Wrong focuses on the great scientist’s mistakes as a window into his mind—his thought processes, prejudices, and philosophical outlook. Studying Einstein’s errors may well be the best way of getting inside the head of this incomparable and enigmatic thinker, who was so influential that Time magazine named him the Person of the Century in 1999.
Your professor on this thrilling intellectual journey is Dr. Dan Hooper, a researcher at the forefront of physics and a popular author and speaker on particle physics and cosmology. Dr. Hooper is Senior Scientist at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, and Associate Professor of Astronomy and Astrophysics at the University of Chicago.
In twelve half-hour lectures, Dr. Hooper discusses Einstein’s ideas—right and wrong—using minimal mathematics, so it’s accessible to curious minds everywhere. Those new to Einstein’s ideas will find What Einstein Got Wrong an excellent survey of the full scope of the master’s work, while those more experienced with physics and relativity will relish Dr. Hooper’s insights into Einstein’s legacy in modern physics, which lives on in myriad ways. Even Einstein’s mistakes inspired others along productive paths.
Einstein Invents Relativity but Doesn’t Fully Buy It
You begin with a two-lecture review of what Einstein got spectacularly right, notably his special and general theories of relativity. Proposed in 1905, special relativity introduced such concepts as the constancy of the speed of light, the relativity of simultaneity, time dilation, and the equivalence of mass and energy. General relativity, published a decade later, greatly enlarged the scope of special relativity by incorporating gravity, which Einstein showed is a geometric property of space and time.
Special relativity created a sensation among Einstein’s fellow scientists, but general relativity made him world-famous, giving him a reputation as a scientific magician. That reputation stuck, and only his colleagues appreciated the setbacks that dogged him throughout his career as he struggled to develop and interpret his theories:
- The relativity race: Einstein had the conceptual pieces of general relativity in place long before he worked out the mathematical details. Unwittingly abandoning a promising path to a definitive theory, he suddenly discovered he was in a race with the world’s foremost mathematician, who was working on his own formulation of general relativity. Einstein barely won.
- Black holes banned: The first meaningful solution to Einstein’s equations of general relativity were worked out by mathematician Karl Schwarzschild, whose calculations showed the possibility of infinitely dense objects, later dubbed black holes. Einstein held that natural forces would prevent such bizarre phenomena, and his influence long persuaded other physicists that black holes were impossible.
- His “biggest blunder”: Convinced that the universe is static and eternal, Einstein added a cosmological constant to his formula for general relativity to forestall the instability his theory predicted. When astronomer Edwin Hubble discovered that the universe is expanding—that is, it’s unstable—Einstein reportedly called the constant his “biggest blunder.”
Einstein Fights the Quantum Revolution
Along with relativity, the other great revolution in physics in the 20th century was quantum mechanics. Einstein led the way here too, by proving the particle nature of light and that atoms really exist. As with relativity, he was wary of accepting the full implications of the developing theory:
- “God does not play dice”: Experiments showed that matter behaves very strangely at the quantum scale. Einstein’s friend Max Born proposed that the traditional view of cause and effect does not apply in quantum mechanics, where interactions can only be understood in terms of probabilities. Einstein dismissed this view with the remark, “God does not play dice with the universe.”
- Schrödinger's cat: Working with colleagues Boris Podolsky and Nathan Rosen, Einstein devised a thought experiment that showed an apparent impossibility in a quantum state later called entanglement. This was the inspiration for Erwin Schrödinger's famous paradox involving a cat that is simultaneously dead and alive. But impossible or not, entanglement turns out to be real.
- Unified field theory: Inspired by James Clerk Maxwell’s unification of electrical and magnetic phenomena in a single theory called electromagnetism, Einstein sought to do the same for electromagnetism and relativity. His hope was that this “unified field theory” would restore determinism and scientific realism to the quantum world. But his labors were fruitless.
Dr. Hooper stresses that Einstein’s miscalculations, oversights, and false leads do not detract from his greatness. In the final lecture, he points out how missteps also plagued the careers of Johannes Kepler, Galileo Galilei, and Isaac Newton—three other indisputable giants in the history of science.
Indeed, mistakes are fundamental to scientific progress. One of Einstein’s colleagues at Princeton University, the physicist John Wheeler, observed that “our whole problem is to make mistakes as fast possible.” Only by priming the pump with theories that can be tested against evidence do we advance closer to the truth, throwing out the bad theories and improving the good. The beauty of science is not that it is infallible but that it corrects its mistakes. Einstein was a ceaselessly creative participant in this process, as you learn in What Einstein Got Wrong.