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Author Topic:   10 Books To Save Humanity!!
Straggler
Member
Posts: 10195
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 61 of 100 (562754)
06-01-2010 9:41 AM
Reply to: Message 58 by Dr Adequate
06-01-2010 12:27 AM


Re: Much Closer
But perhaps that too is not your question, or we would include the Origin of Species, the Principia, Einstein's papers, Archimedes' On The Method, and so forth, as being among the most brilliant of human achievements.

If we considered the seminal works in these areas to be the crowning achievement rather than the current state of knowledge in these areas then yes. But that is not what I meant. Is Origin of the Species mankinds pinnacle of insight in this area or is it mankinds current understanding of evolution by natural selection that is the intellectual achievement that we would want to pass on to future generations? (In which case Darwin's work was a vital stepping stone rather than the pinnacle) I would say the latter.

I which case the question would be what book best conveys that insight to future generations?

It's not clear what we're trying to do here.

So I have gathered and so I have conceded numerous times in this thread.

I dunno how else to put it and am frankly going to give up this thread as a bad call on my part.


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 Message 58 by Dr Adequate, posted 06-01-2010 12:27 AM Dr Adequate has not yet responded

  
Straggler
Member
Posts: 10195
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 62 of 100 (562771)
06-01-2010 12:46 PM
Reply to: Message 60 by Jumped Up Chimpanzee
06-01-2010 4:51 AM


Re: Thanks for the laughs
But I just wanted to say I haven't stopped grinning all weekend at the idea of Straggler getting more and more frustrated at the refusal/inability of most EVC members to give a straight and simple answer to a straight and simple question.

Well I am delighted to have been of such entertainment value.

Unherdable.

Well you know what they say about atheists..........


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 Message 60 by Jumped Up Chimpanzee, posted 06-01-2010 4:51 AM Jumped Up Chimpanzee has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 65 by Dr Adequate, posted 06-01-2010 8:01 PM Straggler has responded

  
Straggler
Member
Posts: 10195
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 63 of 100 (562773)
06-01-2010 1:07 PM
Reply to: Message 56 by Dr Adequate
06-01-2010 12:04 AM


Re: My Own (Initial) List
One thing I would suggest that I don't think has been suggested yet is some book lavishly illustrated with photographs showing our achievements in the fine arts, the decorative arts, and architecture. They can't take the Taj Mahal with them, but they can go with photographs of it.

I did include The Art Book in my original list with that sort of thing in mind. But I hadn't thought of architecture. If you consider that worthy by all means suggest such a book in your list.

Also, how about musical scores? Is there any (non-practical) work of man that exceeds the Goldberg Variations? Let's send 'em off with the works of Bach.

Again - If you think that is worthy include it in your ten books.

P.S: Are we assuming that the colonists are going to be using English as a common language? Our answers would be rather different if they were all Chinese.

Not necessarily. ZenMonkey has included works that originate in a number of languages and I don't see why we should restrict ourselves in that way. Pick what you would choose.

Look - I am not actually expecting the call requiring me to dive aboard a spaceship with 10 books with which to preserve mankinds cultural and intellectual legacy anytime soon. This is meant to be a "fun" exercise not something to drive me to the point of insanity.

I asked the question because it seemed like a good idea at the time and because I was interested in what others would say. Instead everyone but ZenM seems obsessed with the rules and definitions of what counts and what doesn't if they even get past the flight instruction manuals and pamphlets reminding colonists to wash their hands and wipe their arses (not in that order hopefully).

Pick whatever you think is worth preserving of mankinds creative, intellectual and cultural achievements. If you want to include your mum's recipe for apple pie that is fine.

But FFS DA just give us a list!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

(***Straggler plunges fist into screen and then falls to the floor screaming in exasperation before a van pulls up and the men in white coats drag him off for electro-shock treatment***)


This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
 Message 66 by ZenMonkey, posted 06-02-2010 12:46 AM Straggler has responded
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Straggler
Member
Posts: 10195
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 64 of 100 (562774)
06-01-2010 1:17 PM
Reply to: Message 52 by Theodoric
05-31-2010 8:34 PM


Re: My Own (Initial) List
I haven't been putting anytime into this because the premise seems so overwhelming.

It was meant to be thought provoking.

The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy

Also, I think Bill Bryson's "A Short History of Nearly Everything" would have to be on my list.

Your two are much more along the lines of some of the pop culture classics that I had in my initial list. ZenM is going purely down the classics and high brow literary worth route. Mine attempted to straddle a bit of both.

All approaches are welcome. Just a list and some reasoning behind it are that is required. there are no right answers.

Well that's two. I will try to put some effort into expanding this list.

Cool.


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Dr Adequate
Member
Posts: 15921
Joined: 07-20-2006
Member Rating: 3.8


Message 65 of 100 (562794)
06-01-2010 8:01 PM
Reply to: Message 62 by Straggler
06-01-2010 12:46 PM


Re: Thanks for the laughs
Well you know what they say about atheists..........

What does eating babies have to do with the topic?

Edited by Dr Adequate, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 62 by Straggler, posted 06-01-2010 12:46 PM Straggler has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 68 by Straggler, posted 06-02-2010 6:07 AM Dr Adequate has not yet responded

  
ZenMonkey
Member (Idle past 1918 days)
Posts: 428
From: Portland, OR USA
Joined: 09-25-2009


Message 66 of 100 (562817)
06-02-2010 12:46 AM
Reply to: Message 63 by Straggler
06-01-2010 1:07 PM


Re: My Own (Initial) List
Straggler writes:

ZenMonkey has included works that originate in a number of languages and I don't see why we should restrict ourselves in that way. Pick what you would choose.

Actually, only two books on my list were originally written in English, and Shakespeare is on the edge of needing translation for most readers. Having only one title to represent non-Western thought is shameful, though.

I am now wondering how Dr A would enjoy reading Newton directly.


I have no time for lies and fantasy, and neither should you. Enjoy or die.
-John Lydon

What's the difference between a conspiracy theorist and a new puppy? The puppy eventually grows up and quits whining.
-Steven Dutch


This message is a reply to:
 Message 63 by Straggler, posted 06-01-2010 1:07 PM Straggler has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 67 by Dr Adequate, posted 06-02-2010 3:19 AM ZenMonkey has responded
 Message 69 by Straggler, posted 06-02-2010 6:17 AM ZenMonkey has responded

  
Dr Adequate
Member
Posts: 15921
Joined: 07-20-2006
Member Rating: 3.8


Message 67 of 100 (562827)
06-02-2010 3:19 AM
Reply to: Message 66 by ZenMonkey
06-02-2010 12:46 AM


Re: My Own (Initial) List
I am now wondering how Dr A would enjoy reading Newton directly.

It's not clear how much I'd enjoy it, because I wouldn't do so in the first place.

The foundational documents of science are, in a sense, the least interesting, precisely because they are foundational. Darwin knew so much less about evolution than we do; Newton knew so much less about the calculus than we do. The reason that they are important in the history of science is that they took the seminal first step. Bully for them; but we want to know the latest thinking, not the first crude approach to the concept.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 66 by ZenMonkey, posted 06-02-2010 12:46 AM ZenMonkey has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 73 by ZenMonkey, posted 06-02-2010 5:40 PM Dr Adequate has not yet responded

  
Straggler
Member
Posts: 10195
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 68 of 100 (562844)
06-02-2010 6:07 AM
Reply to: Message 65 by Dr Adequate
06-01-2010 8:01 PM


Re: Thanks for the laughs
DrA writes:

What does eating babies have to do with the topic?

Actually I was referring to what Dawkins said about atheists:

quote:
Organizing atheists has been compared to herding cats, because they tend to think independently and will not conform to authority.

He should meet the EvC atheists who, as well as being utterly unherdable are also bloody minded pedants

Anyway - Organising atheists can be easy. You just need to tell them that there is a baby munching BBQ in the offering.

10 books?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 65 by Dr Adequate, posted 06-01-2010 8:01 PM Dr Adequate has not yet responded

  
Straggler
Member
Posts: 10195
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 69 of 100 (562846)
06-02-2010 6:17 AM
Reply to: Message 66 by ZenMonkey
06-02-2010 12:46 AM


Re: My Own (Initial) List
Having only one title to represent non-Western thought is shameful, though.

To be fair Western thought encompasses Western European languages other than English. The ancient Greeks and Latin texts I think would also qualify as forming the foundations of Western thinking.

So actually I would say the only genuinely non-Western text you have included is the Tao Te Ching.

On this broad subject I would recommend this book if you haven't already read it The Passion of The Western Mind


This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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Theodoric
Member
Posts: 5765
From: Northwest, WI, USA
Joined: 08-15-2005
Member Rating: 3.5


Message 70 of 100 (562872)
06-02-2010 9:44 AM
Reply to: Message 69 by Straggler
06-02-2010 6:17 AM


Re: My Own (Initial) List
On this broad subject I would recommend this book if you haven't already read it The Passion of The Western Mind

Sounds like a very interesting book. Found a used copy on Amazon for $3.50 and $3.99 shipping. Already ordered it. Thanks


This message is a reply to:
 Message 69 by Straggler, posted 06-02-2010 6:17 AM Straggler has not yet responded

    
dronestar
Member
Posts: 1345
From: usa
Joined: 11-19-2008


Message 71 of 100 (562933)
06-02-2010 1:52 PM
Reply to: Message 63 by Straggler
06-01-2010 1:07 PM


MY book list
Straggler plunges fist into screen and then falls to the floor screaming in exasperation before a van pulls up and the men in white coats drag him off for electro-shock treatment

After ten weeks of intensive treatment, a team of Viennese therapists with sloping brows declare their experimental treatment a failure . . . Straggler is led behind a wall. A single shot is heard.

Straggler, I think it might have helped if you attempted to personalize this list more. For example, "what personally inspires YOU, and what BOOK would that represent?"

For me, in no particular order:

• Music: A pop and/or classical songbook. How about the musically varied Beatles' "Fake Songbook".

• Architecture: Sir Banister Fletcher's "A History of Architecture". Maybe a book of actual blue-prints of the buildings would be more desirable than just 2-D photos?

• Art: Any one of those big, oversized, coffee-table-books, "History of Art". (Really, I would have imagined EVERYONE would have included at least this one book in the list.)

• Politics: The Prince, Niccolς Machiavelli. Manufactured Consent, Chomsky. Mein Kampf, Hitler. Mao Zedong 'Red Book'. Killing Hope: U. S. Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II, William Blum.

• Social: Harry Frederick Harlow research on maternal-separation and social isolation experiments on rhesus monkeys. Really.

• Religion: Choose any one of J. K. Rowling's "Harry Potter" book.

• Humanist: Amazing Randi's "Flim Flam"

• Humor: Gosh, what IS humor? (Do not derail the topic Dronester, do not derail). Hmmm, how about Steve Martin's "Cruel Shoes" or Woody Allens "Getting Even".

• Food: Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Herme. Or perhaps Kang & Kodos' meat-lover's guide, "To Serve Man."

• Erotica: (I'm the ONLY person to consider erotica on this forum? There be geeks!!!) How about either, the Kamasutra, or one heavily-laminated copy of "Big 'Uns"?

drnstr


This message is a reply to:
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ZenMonkey
Member (Idle past 1918 days)
Posts: 428
From: Portland, OR USA
Joined: 09-25-2009


Message 72 of 100 (562952)
06-02-2010 4:59 PM
Reply to: Message 69 by Straggler
06-02-2010 6:17 AM


Re: My Own (Initial) List
Straggler writes:

To be fair Western thought encompasses Western European languages other than English. The ancient Greeks and Latin texts I think would also qualify as forming the foundations of Western thinking.

So actually I would say the only genuinely non-Western text you have included is the Tao Te Ching.

I think we're in agreement here. What we think of as Western civilization absolutely starts with the Greeks. One could even argue that it starts with 5th and 4th century BCE Athens. The great civilizations that came before this were in a sense more Eastern than Western, or at least built on very different cultural foundations. The cultural concepts that we tend to identify as Western - individuality, democratic rule, free thought, rationality - begin in Greece.

What I was lamenting was that I knew so little about Eastern culture that I could really only come up with one title to represent it. Like most Americans, I suspect, I don't know nearly enough about The Mahabarata, The Analects of Confucius, or the I Ching, for example, to be able to testify to their greatness. But at least I managed to not limit myself only to English language texts.


I have no time for lies and fantasy, and neither should you. Enjoy or die.
-John Lydon

What's the difference between a conspiracy theorist and a new puppy? The puppy eventually grows up and quits whining.
-Steven Dutch


This message is a reply to:
 Message 69 by Straggler, posted 06-02-2010 6:17 AM Straggler has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 75 by Straggler, posted 06-02-2010 6:50 PM ZenMonkey has responded

  
ZenMonkey
Member (Idle past 1918 days)
Posts: 428
From: Portland, OR USA
Joined: 09-25-2009


Message 73 of 100 (562957)
06-02-2010 5:40 PM
Reply to: Message 67 by Dr Adequate
06-02-2010 3:19 AM


Re: My Own (Initial) List
Dr Adequate writes:

The foundational documents of science are, in a sense, the least interesting, precisely because they are foundational. Darwin knew so much less about evolution than we do; Newton knew so much less about the calculus than we do. The reason that they are important in the history of science is that they took the seminal first step. Bully for them; but we want to know the latest thinking, not the first crude approach to the concept.

Well, the worth of these foundational texts depends on what you're most interested in. I fully agree that if you want to know something about a topic in science, you should read the most recent stuff you can, whether in technical literature or in books for the laity. I agree that it's absurd to think you could learn much about evolution by reading Darwin. (Though many creos tend to believe just that, assuming that Origin is some sort of sacred text on the same level as the Bible.) I went to a Great Books college, and believe me, in some ways it really sucked to learn about genetics by reading selections from Mendel, and we had to supplement all the science classes with plenty of handouts.

On the other hand, learning geometry from Euclid is an awesome experience, and just might be the best way to do it. My take on the question assumed that our ship was going to be fully stocked with textbooks, so that the substance of human knowledge would be preserved. So what I was focusing on was works that were cultural monuments in themselves. Like I said, you can access as much information about any of the works I listed as you want, but it's the experience of reading the texts themselves that matters so far as I'm concerned here. I'm looking for the WOW factor, the visceral pleasure of seeing a creative mind at work, whether writing plays in a way that no-one had ever done before and transforming the English language in the process, or creating a startling new kind of physics, or opening up the doorway to understanding the history of life on this planet.

So I'd still encourage you to pick up the Principia sometime, Dr A. In some ways I'm sure that you do know more calculus than Newton did. But you can still be mighty impressed by watching how he lays it out brand new.

Edited by ZenMonkey, : Added rhetorical flourish.


I have no time for lies and fantasy, and neither should you. Enjoy or die.
-John Lydon

What's the difference between a conspiracy theorist and a new puppy? The puppy eventually grows up and quits whining.
-Steven Dutch


This message is a reply to:
 Message 67 by Dr Adequate, posted 06-02-2010 3:19 AM Dr Adequate has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
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Straggler
Member
Posts: 10195
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 74 of 100 (562964)
06-02-2010 6:41 PM
Reply to: Message 73 by ZenMonkey
06-02-2010 5:40 PM


Maths and Science
On the other hand, learning geometry from Euclid is an awesome experience, and just might be the best way to do it.

I guess the difference between maths and science in this context is that in the case of maths the original texts are no more or less valid than the latest (even if more refined) techniques. Whilst in science the more trial and error nature of the subject means that originating texts no matter how seminal they may be will always be lacking in terms of the latest evidence, findings and resulting conclusions. Darwins work with no notion of genetics being an obvious case in point.

So I'd still encourage you to pick up the Principia sometime, Dr A. In some ways I'm sure that you do know more calculus than Newton did. But you can still be mighty impressed by watching how he lays it out brand new.

I saw the original manuscript on display at Trinity college Cambridge. It is probably the closest I have come to understanding the reverence our theistic friends must feel for their bibles.

Geek factor 10........


This message is a reply to:
 Message 73 by ZenMonkey, posted 06-02-2010 5:40 PM ZenMonkey has not yet responded

  
Straggler
Member
Posts: 10195
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 75 of 100 (562967)
06-02-2010 6:50 PM
Reply to: Message 72 by ZenMonkey
06-02-2010 4:59 PM


Re: My Own (Initial) List
What I was lamenting was that I knew so little about Eastern culture that I could really only come up with one title to represent it. Like most Americans, I suspect, I don't know nearly enough about The Mahabarata, The Analects of Confucius, or the I Ching, for example, to be able to testify to their greatness.

Arabic texts, those originating in the Indian sub-continent, Eastern European, ancient oriental and heavens knows where else are probably a bit of a mystery to most of us here.

But at least I managed to not limit myself only to English language texts.

Dude I was well impressed with your selections. They seemed to well thought out and honestly considered. If some here (and I include myself) had come up with that list it could have seemed a bit pretentious. An attempt to seem learned and intellectual. But in your case they seemed genuine. Which is why I haven't really disputed your selections beyond my initial comments.

What subject did you study ("major in" as I understand the US use of this term) at college?


This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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