Darwin's Dangerous Idea [PDF]
20 December 2013, 07:41
1996 | PDF | 3.03MB
In a book that is both groundbreaking and accessible, Daniel C. Dennett, whom Chet Raymo of The Boston Globe calls "one of the most provocative thinkers on the planet," focuses his unerringly logical mind on the theory of natural selection, showing how Darwin's great idea transforms and illuminates our traditional view of humanity's place in the universe. Dennett vividly describes the theory itself and then extends Darwin's vision with impeccable arguments to their often surprising conclusions, challenging the views of some of the most famous scientists of our day.
Darwin Among The Machines [EPUB]
20 December 2013, 07:29
2012 | EPUB | 2.71MB
Darwin Among the Machines tells the story of humankind’s journey into the digital wilderness. Introducing a cast of familiar and not-so-familiar characters, historian of science George B. Dyson traces the course of the information revolution, illuminating the lives and work of visionaries—from Thomas Hobbes to John von Neumann—who foresaw the development of artificial intelligence, artificial life, and artificial mind.
This profound and elegant book derives both its title and its outlook from Samuel Butler’s 1863 essay, “Darwin Among the Machines.” Observing the beginnings of miniaturization, self-reproduction, and telecommunication among machines, Butler predicted that nature’s intelligence, only temporarily subservient to technology, would resurface to claim our creations as her own. Updating Butler’s arguments, Dyson distills the historical record to chronicle the origins of digital telecommunications and the evolution of digital computers, beginning long before the time of Darwin and exploring the limits of Darwinian evolution to suggest what lies beyond. Weaving a cohesive narrative of his brilliant predecessors, Dyson constructs a straightforward, convincing, and occasionally frightening view of the evolution of mind in the global network, on a level transcending our own. Dyson concludes that we are in the midst of an experiment that echoes the prehistory of human intelligence and the origins of life.
Just as the exchange of coded molecular instructions brought life as we know it to the early earth’s primordial soup, and as language and mind combined to form the culture in which we live, so, in the digital universe, are computer programs and worldwide networks combining to produce an evolutionary theater in which the distinctions between nature and technology are increasingly obscured. Nature, argues Dyson, is on the side of the machines.
Skeptics and True Believers [EPUB]
20 December 2013, 07:14
1998 | EPUB + MOBI | 1.19/4.36MB
Years ago, noted science teacher and writer Chet Raymo embarked upon his own quest to reconcile the miracle stories he learned as a child with the science he learned as an adult. Skeptics and True Believers is the culmination of that search—a passionate, ever-inquisitive statement that science and religion can mutually reinforce the way we experience the world.
Acknowledging that the scientific and the spiritual communities are increasingly split, Raymo builds strong bridges between them. He illustrates his argument with an array of thought-provoking stories, such as the remarkable migratory flight of a small bird called the red knot; the long, glorious glide of the Comet Hyakutake across the night sky; a hilarious alien abduction that didn't happen. Together, they are compelling evidence that religion should embrace the reliable knowledge of the world that science provides, while at the same time science should respect and nourish humankind's need for spiritual sustenance. "Miracles are explainable," Raymo paraphrases the writer Tim Robinson, "it is the explanations that are miraculous."
For anyone drawn to reflect on life's meaning and purpose, Chet Raymo's uncompromising skepticism and reverence for mystery will affirm and inspire.