Richard Dawkins

[English | 1941– ]

Richard Dawkins is an English evolutionary biologist, author and professor at Oxford University. His seminal work is The Selfish Gene (1976), which popularised the gene-centred view of evolution and introduced the term meme. His book, The Magic of Reality (2011), really fascinates me!

The Magic Of Reality By Richard Dawkins - dust jacket
The Magic Of Reality: How we know what’s really true

PDF extracts:
¶  pp. 12-13 from ‘The Magic of Reality’ (Dawkins, 2011)
¶  pp. 32-52 from ‘The Magic of Reality’ (Dawkins, 2011)
¶  pp. 118-139 from ‘The Magic of Reality’ (Dawkins, 2011)
¶  pp. 246-265 from ‘The Magic of Reality’ (Dawkins, 2011)


Here are some more of his books:

Richard Dawkins

Climbing Mount Improbable
How could such an intricate object as the human eye – so complex and so precise – have come about by chance? In this masterful piece of popular science, Richard Dawkins builds a powerful and carefully reasoned argument for evolutionary adapatation as the force behind all life on earth. The metaphor of ‘Mount Improbable’ represents the combination of perfection and improbability that we find in the seemingly ‘designed’ complexity of living things. And through it all runs the thread of DNA, the molecule of life, responsible for its own destiny on an unending pilgrimage through time.

Science in the Soul
This book is a series of essays and letters written by Dawkins. Topics range from evolution and Darwinian natural selection to the role of scientist as prophet, whether science is itself a religion, the probability of alien life in other worlds, and the beauties, cruelties and oddities of earthly life in this one. Critics have said that this collection is a, “sparkling showcase for Professor Dawkins’ rapier wit and, the beauty of his prose.”

Unweaving the Rainbow
Keats accused Newton of destroying the poetry of the rainbow by explaining the origin of its colours. In this text, Dawkins argues that Keats could not have been more mistaken, and shows how an understanding of science enhances our wonder of the world. He argues that mysteries do not lose their poetry because they are solved: the solution is often more beautiful than the puzzle, uncovering even deeper mysteries. Dawkins takes up the most important and compelling topics in modern science, from astronomy and genetics to language and virtual reality, combining them in a landmark statement on the human appetite for wonder. This book has been labeled:

A dazzling, passionate polemic against anti-science movements of all kinds.

The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution
Charles Darwin’s masterpiece, On the Origin of Species, shook society to its core on publication in 1859. Darwin was only too aware of the storm his theory of evolution would provoke but he would surely have raised an incredulous eyebrow at the controversy still raging a century and a half later. Evolution is accepted as scientific fact by all reputable scientists and indeed theologians, yet millions of people continue to question its veracity. In The Greatest Show on Earth Dawkins, like a detective arriving on the scene of a crime, sifts through fascinating layers of scientific facts and disciplines to build a cast-iron case: from the living examples of natural selection in birds and insects; the ‘time clocks’ of trees and radioactive dating that calibrate a timescale for evolution; the fossil record and the traces of our earliest ancestors; to confirmation from molecular biology and genetics.

The Blind Watchmaker
Acclaimed as the most influential work on evolution written in the last hundred years, The Blind Watchmaker offers an inspiring and accessible introduction to one of the most important scientific discoveries of all time. A brilliant and controversial book which demonstrates that evolution by natural selection – the unconscious, automatic, blind yet essentially non-random process discovered by Darwin – is the only answer to the biggest question of all: why do we exist?

The Four Horsemen
This is an edited work. Known as the ‘four horsemen,’**** these four big thinkers of the twenty-first century met only once. Their electrifying examination of ideas on this remarkable occasion was intense and wide-ranging. Everything that was said as they agreed and disagreed with one another, interrogated ideas and exchanged insights – about religion and atheism, science and sense – speaks with urgency to our present age.

The Four Horsemen

The dialogue was recorded, and is now transcribed and presented in this book. Questions they asked of each other included: (1) Is it ever possible to win a war of ideas? (2) Is spirituality the preserve of the religious? (3) Are there any truths you would rather not know?


Notes
**** “The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse”
The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse are described in the last book of the New Testament of the Bible (the Book of Revelation). According to the main modern interpretation, this prophecy describes a period of time when a quarter of the population of the earth would be killed by a combination of wars, famine and disease. It is the precursor to the myth of armageddon.

Cavaleiros
In the Book or Revelation we watch the end of times beginning with the opening of the Seven Seals. The first four seals reveal the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse , leaders of disgrace.

Apocalypse
— The complete final destruction of the world, as described in the biblical book of Revelation.
— An event involving destruction or damage on a catastrophic scale. “The apocalypse of World War II.”

Armageddon
— In the bible, the last battle between good and evil before the Day of Judgement.
— A dramatic and catastrophic conflict, especially one seen as likely to destroy the world or the human race.
“nuclear Armageddon”

Our brains explained

neuro-01

1. The Pratfall Effect – your likability will increase if you aren’t perfect.

2. The Pygmalion Effect – greater expectations drive greater performance.

3. The Paradox of Choice – the more choice we have, the less likely we are to be content with our decision.

4. The Bystander Effect – the more people who see someone in need, the less likely that person is to receive help.

5. The Spotlight Effect – your mistakes are not noticed as much as you think.

6. The Focusing Effect – people place too much important on one aspect of an event and fail to recognise other factors.

British Humour

when we say English humour, we think of: Michael McIntyre

JS87386921
He makes witty remarks of daily life.

Main Categories of Humour are:

1. Irony we highlight when something is different.
Example:
Our local fir station burnt down last night.

Phrase:
– Oh the irony!
– Oh how ironic!


2. Sarcasm uses irony to mock or ridicule.
Example:
When something bad happens, and you respond is:
That’s just what I needed today!

Phrase:
– I’m being sarcastic.
– that was sarcasm.


3. Dead Pan/ Dry Humour when something amusing or funny is said with a straight face and serious tone.

* Best jokes delivered direly.


4. Wit making quick and intelligent remarks and comments. preferably with a straight face.

* To be called as witty in UK is the mother of all compliments.


5. Self-deprecation making fun of oneself.
Example:
– BRITAIN IS A GREAT PLACE TO VISIT if you don’t mind poor weather and questionable food.
– I’m so bad at cooking, I could burn water!

* we don’t like to show off in the UK, instead we like fun of ourselves.


6. Innuendo/ Double Entendres when we intentionally say things that could be interpreted as taboo or sexual in meaning.
Example:
– I would like to see his meat between two vegetables.
– There is a plate of sausages over there, would like to give her one.

* This are huge part of British culture/ English Humour.


7. Banter playful teasing that can be quiet harsh.

*Banter could be teasing, but Witty Banter could be very intelligent comment.


8. Puns/ Play on Words making funny comments by bending and using the language.

* Its very common to Puns on shops names

Example:
– Bread Pitt
– Thai me up (authentic thai cuisine)
– Junk & Disorderly (Furniture Dealer)
– Frying Nemo (Fish & Chips)
– Fuckoffee (Café)
– Hand Job (Nails & Spa)
– Pussies & Bitches (Petshop & Grooming Salon)
– Indian Bones (Pet Wash)


From America with Love

we only live once, right?

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing, my darling)
i fear

no fate(for you are my fate, my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world, my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

Penned by: Edward Estlin “E. E.” Cummings (or as he liked to write it: e e cummings), an American poet and essayist. He dabbled in the erotic genre (this/I like^).

Although Cummings could and did write traditionally styled verse including sonnets, much of his work did not conform to established poetic styles and structures. Cummings experimented radically with form, punctuation, spelling and syntax; and invented compound words to create a highly individualistic style of expression (this too I;m liking a lot).

📙 Catcher in the Rye

J. D. Salinger | American | 1919–2010

Among other things, you’ll find that you’re not the first person who was ever confused, frightened and sickened by human behaviour…

…you’ll learn from those, if you want to; it isn’t education, it is history and it is poetry.

Noted for its themes of angst and alienation and its critique on superficiality in society, Catcher in the Rye is often listed as one of the best novels of the twentieth century. The work is regarded as, “the defining work on what it is like to be a teenager;” although it is a bit dated now. It is usually placed alongside The Great Gatsby as being a classic of the post WWII era.

J. D. Salinger is a classic writer in the sense that he took his writing very seriously. He was was known to have locked himself up for hours and hours every single day. He’d write, revise, edit, rewrite again and again (and again). Arguably, Salinger wrote to collect his thoughts and ideas for his own peace of mind and mental health (i.e., not to get rich).

Don’t ever tell anybody anything.

To experience pure pleasure

must we suffer deep pain?

What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.

I’ve read that evidence suggests pain may actually enhance the pleasure and happiness we get from life. The argument goes like this: without pain life becomes boring and dull. If we are given all the chocolate in the world, we would soon forget what it was that made our desire for chocolate so desirable in the first place.

By definition a permanent state of pleasure would not be pleasurable. We need something other than pleasure, for pleasure to compare to. But must it be pain? Could it not just be normality?

Must we take the rough to get the smooth…

On being Stoic

Stoicism 101

“The endurance of hardship without complaint.”

1.

Stoicism does not focus on complicated theories, it focuses on how one can overcome one’s own destructive emotions and act upon what one can actually act upon.

2.

Three individuals helped create and shape stoicism, they were: Marcus Aurelius, an emperor of the Roman Empire (he is said to have sat down each day to write himself notes about restraint, compassion and humility. Epictetus the Slave, who endured the horrors of being a slave but later went on to set up a school where he taught many of Rome’s VIPs and intellectuals. And another Roman great called Seneca the Serene.

3.

Stoicism’s key points: (a) it sets out to remind us of how unpredictable the world can be (b), how brief our moment of life is (c), how to be steadfast, and strong, and in control of yourself and (d), that the source of our dissatisfaction lies in our impulsive dependency on our reflexive senses rather than logic.

stoicism--01

Life imitates art*

*art imitates Life

ladies’ man //
meaning: a man who enjoys spending time and flirting with women.
e.g., “Vincent Willem van Gogh was nothing more than a ladies’ man.”
.

libertine //
meaning: a person, especially a man, who freely indulges in sensual pleasures without regard to moral principles.
e.g., “Vincent Willem van Gogh saw himself as a libertine but actually he’s rather conservative.”
.

philanderer //
meaning: a man who readily or frequently enters into casual sexual relationships with women (i.e., a womaniser).
e.g., “Vincent Willem van Gogh was known as a philanderer”
.

playboy //
meaning: a wealthy man who spends his time enjoying himself, especially one who behaves irresponsibly or has many casual sexual relationships.
e.g., “Vincent Willem van Gogh wasn’t the marrying type, he was just a playboy”
.

sybarite //
meaning: a person who is self-indulgent in their fondness for sensuous luxury.
e.g., “Vincent Willem van Gogh was a sybarite, he’d only be driven in Rolls Royce cars and he’d only wear Rolex watches.”
.

Winterson’s “Oranges” & “Why?”

(1959– )

Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit is considered to be a classic “coming-of-age” novel however, it is known to basically be a memoir. The book is about a girl, who incidentally is lesbian, growing up in a strict religious household in a small English town. It is, as somebody wrote, British author Jeanette Winterson’s ‘Künstlerroman.’*

Half a lifetime later Winterson kind of rewrote it in, Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? These to books are inseparably connected as they are in fact two versions of the same story. The youthful one with more fairytales narrated in an experimental way (written at 26 years of age); the second, with more philosophical and political ponderings, the work of the same storyteller in her mid-50s.


* Künstlerroman (German; plural -ane) means a narrative about an artist’s growth to maturity.