Best behavioral sciences books according to redditors

We found 896 Reddit comments discussing the best behavioral sciences books. We ranked the 319 resulting products by number of redditors who mentioned them. Here are the top 20.

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Behavioral psychology books
Cognitive psychology books

Top Reddit comments about Behavioral Sciences:

u/sweatpants2 · 37 pointsr/askscience

Hi, r/AskScience! It's my first time here, even though I'm a science enthusiast. Hope this is OK as a top-level reply:

I love the question, and I can think of no better address to it than from Desmond Morris' The Naked Ape. I'll largely be quoting directly since I feel he makes the case best, and I have to warn you there will be a lot of text. Hopefully you'll find it as engaging as I did. Here is some briefing on his point:

Morris describes laughter as a part of our broader evolution towards improved communication, the need for which stems even from the coordinated hunt; the value of which need not be mentioned. This, along with our success with Neoteny (the evolution in a species toward staying in an infantile/juvenile stage for a longer portion of the lifetime, taking juvenile traits into adulthood, and resulting in a longer state of parenthood) would explain a need to communicate more effectively with our mothers (+ fathers + tribes.)

Morris approaches laughter from the closely related topic of crying, (Chapter 3, "Rearing" starting from p. 117:)

> Crying is not only the earliest mood-signal we give, it is also the most basic. Smiling and laughing are unique and rather specialized signals, but crying we share with thousand of other species. Virtually all mammals (not to mention birds) give vent to high-pitched screams, squeaks, shrieks or squeals when they are frightened or in pain. Amongst the higher mammals, where facial expressions have evolved as visual signalling devices, these messages of alarm are accompanied by characteristic 'fear-faces.' Whether performed by a young animal or an adult, these responses indicate that something is seriously wrong. The juvenile alerts its parents, the adult alerts other members of its social group.

Morris describes some things that make us cry including pain, hunger, "some strange and unfamiliar stimulus," Crying evokes a protective response in parents, including the immediate closing of distance and checking the infant for sources of pain. Importantly, "the parental response continues until the signal is switched off (and in this respect it differs fundamentally from the smiling and laughing patterns.)" After further description, he continues,

> I have described this pattern in some detail, despite its familiarity, because it is from this that our specialized signals of laughing and smiling have evolved. When someone says 'they laughed until they cried', he is commenting on this relationship, but in evolutionary terms it is the other way around- we cried until we laughed. How did this come about? To start with, it is important to realize how similar crying and laughing are, as response patterns. Like crying, laughing involves muscular tension, opening of the mouth, pulling back of the lips, and exaggerated breathing with intense expirations. At high intensities it also includes reddening of the face and watering of the eyes. But the vocalizations are less rasping and not so high-pitched. Above all, they are shorter and follow one another more rapidly. It is as though the long wail of the crying infant has become segmented, chopped up into little pieces, and at the same time has grown smoother and lower.

> It appears that the laughing reaction evolved out of the crying one, as a secondary signal, in the following way. I said earlier that crying is present at birth, but laughing does not appear until the third or fourth month. Its arrival coincides with the development of parental recognition. It may be a wise child that knows its own father, but it is a laughing child that knows its own mother. Before it has learnt to identify its mother's face and to distinguish her from other adults, a baby may gurgle and burble, but it does not laugh. What hapens when it starts to single out its own mother is that it also begins to grow afraid of other, strange adults. At two months any old face will do, all friendly adults are welcome. But now its fears of the world around it are beginning to mature and anyone unfamiliar is liable to upset it and start it crying. (Later on it will soon learn that certain other adults can also be rewarding and will lose its fear of them but this is then done selectively on the basis of personal recognition.) As a result of this process of becoming imprinted on the mother, the infant may find itself placed in a strange conflict. If the mother does something that startles it, she gives it two sets of opposing signals. One set says, 'I am your mother- your personal protector; there is nothing to fear,' and the other set says, 'Look out, there's something frightening here.' This conflict could not arise before the mother was known as an individual, because if she had done something startling, she would simply be the source of a frightening stimulus at the moment and nothing more. But now she can give the double signal: "There's danger but there's no danger'. Or, to put it another way: "There may appear to be danger, but because it is coming from me, you do not need to take it seriously.' The outcome of this is that the child gives a response that is half a crying reaction and half a parental-recognition gurgle. The magic combination produces a laugh. (Or, rather, it did, way back in evolution. It has since become fixed and fully developed as a separate, distinct response in its own right.)

> So the laugh says, 'I recognize that a danger is not real,' and it conveys this message to the mother. The mother can now play with the baby quite vigorously without making it cry. The earliest causes of laughter in infants are parental games of 'peek-a-boo', hand-clapping, rhythmic knee-dropping, and lifting high. Later, tickling plays a major role, but not until after the sixth month. These are all shock stimuli, but performed by the 'safe' protector. Children soon learn to provoke them- by play-hiding, for example, so that they will experience the 'shock' of discovery, or play-fleeing so that they will be caught.

> Laughter therefore becomes a play signal, a sign that the increasingly dramatic inter-actions between the child and the parent can continue and develop. If they become too frightening or painful, then, of course, the reaction can switch over into crying and immediately re-stimulate the protective response. This system enables the child to expand its exploration of its bodily capacities and physical properties of the world around it.

> Other animals also have special play signals... The chimpanzee, for instance, has a characteristic play-face, and a soft play-grunt which is the equivalent of our laughter... As chimpanzees grow, the significance of the play signal dwindles even more, whereas ours expands and acquires still greater importance in everyday life. The naked ape, even as an adult, is a playful ape. It is all part of his exploratory nature. He is constantly pushing things to their limit, trying to startle himself, to shock himself without getting hurt, and then signalling his relief with peals of laughter.

There you have it. It gave me a lot to chew on, at least. The next paragraph is also interesting:

> Laughing at someone can also, of course, become a potent social weapon among older children and adults. It is doubly insulting because it indicates that he is both frighteningly odd and at the same time not worth taking seriously. The professional comedian deliberately adopts this social role and is paid large sums of money by audiences who enjoy the reassurance of checking their group normality against his assumed abnormality.

So basically, surprise/fear + 'it's okay' = humor, as reflected in its analogous expression in laughter. What do you think?

PS. If you liked that, you'll like the rest of the book. It's one of my favorites on evolution.

u/albasri · 26 pointsr/askscience

You may be interested in the books Optima for Animals and Vehicles.

u/Norwazy · 25 pointsr/MagicArena

Lots of people in here saying you should seek help but not really helping you with what help to seek.

Look into a specific type of therapy for this - Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.

You can buy a self help book online, they're fairly cheap. Or, you can look into a therapist that can go into that with you. This is a very good book for that

Work on yourself, don't let depression beat you down too hard.

u/warwick607 · 21 pointsr/enoughpetersonspam

Robert Sapolsky's new book Behave shits on Peterson's new book. Robert's book is probably the best book I've bought in my entire life. Seriously, I open it and learn something new everyday. If Robert and Jordan ever "debated" I guarantee that Robert would make Jordan look like Kathy Newman.

u/YoungModern · 19 pointsr/exmormon

Compulsory science education would be useless without compulsory critical thinking education. There are hundreds of thousands of people trained in the natural sciences (including professional scientists) who can't think critically -at least for topics outside of their narrow specialty. To make didactic science instruction compulsory would just exchange creationism for "intelligent design". Exchanging sets of what to think without how and why to think will lead to a recurrence of the core problem. This is why philosophy should be a core subject along with English and Math rather than an option in university.

u/albertyuthepianist · 19 pointsr/TrueAtheism

I recently read a book called Believing Bullshit: How Not to Get Stuck in an Intellectual Black Hole, and I think Stephen Law's argument against the "evil is the absence of God" is quite irrefutable.

The theist may argue that the presence of evil is the absence of the good, loving God. Maybe the theist will even take it a step further and say that God deliberately allows evil because, without evil, how will we know what is good? The inhumanity surely must exist to provide contrast to the humanity that is God.

At first, these seems quite solid of an argument, but one can easily refute it by flipping it upside down and making the following claim: God is actually an evil God who seeks to destroy humanity. The presence of good is the absence of God. This claim has equal validity as the theist's claim, so the argument of the "absence of God" to explain evil's presence doesn't work.

And yeah, the whole thing about Einstein and the big bad atheist professor is total bullshit.

u/Mimble75 · 17 pointsr/childfree

I just finished a book called Assholes: A Theory by Aaron James, and he talks a bit about the irrational and extreme anger we sometimes feel toward other people who are behaving like assholes. He says basically, when we feel this kind of wild anger that what's really happening is that we are fighting to be seen as morally equal to the asshole; that we are here, that we matter in the same way and are therefore deserving of better/fairer treatment from the asshole (or, that at the very least, the asshole is not deserving of special treatment just for being).

He says all this far more eloquently than I ever could though. I highly recommend his book.

u/GrumpySimon · 15 pointsr/books

"Don't Sleep, there are snakes" by Dan Everett - it's a fascinating book about a linguist/missionary who went to work with a tribe of Piraha speakers in the Amazon. Loses his religion, and discovers a language that doesn't really fit into the orthodox view of linguistics and is causing a whole lot of debate.

The Drunkard's Walk - is a great book on how misconceptions of probability rule your life. It's a fun introduction to probability theory and has all sorts of WTF moments in it.

Edit: oh and possibly my favorite book I've read all year is David Attenborough's autobiography A life on air - it's full of all sorts of amazing, hilarious, and insightful anecdotes of Attenborough's 40-odd years of making nature documentaries, and contains lots of interesting info about the state-of-the art in TV making over time (e.g. "we could only run that type of camera for 20 seconds, or it would overheat and catch fire"). Great stuff.

u/shachaf · 12 pointsr/AskReddit

A few that come to mind:

  • Impro: Improvisation and the Theatre, by Keith Johnstone. Discusses many things in the context of improvisational theatre, such as human interaction, creativity/spontaneity, stories, perception, and teaching.
  • The Moral Animal: Why We Are the Way We Are, by Robert Wright. Evolutionary psychology. Puts some concreteness, even obviousness, to many irrational human behaviors.
  • The Mind's I: Fantasies and Reflections on Self and Soul, edited by Hofstadter and Dennett. A selection of texts on consciousness, and reflections by the editors. Some is fictional, some non-fictional.
  • The Tao is Silent, by Raymond Smullyan. Eastern philosophy in an Eastern way by someone who thoroughly understands the Western perspective on things.
  • Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values, by Robert M. Pirsig. No one has mentioned this book so far, so I feel like I should; although it did not affect me directly in the way some of the other books here did, it certainly planted some ideas for "independent rediscovery" later on. Some things I've only thought of some time after reading it and then made the connection. This is Taoism from a Western perspective. I'll read it again in a few years and see how it's different.
  • The Art of Learning: A Journey in the Pursuit of Excellence, by Josh Waitzkin. A book about learning that says some important things quite well. I read this only a few days ago, but it's influenced my perspective on learning/teaching (and doing in general), so I thought I should add it to the list.
u/joeltrane · 11 pointsr/likeus

Check out this book, The Bonobo and the Atheist. It’s about the Bonobo culture and how they behave altruistically.

u/the_opinion · 11 pointsr/unitedkingdom

Are you on the Olympic mental gymnastics team or something? That isn't even close to what I said. You really think that allowing for people to have beliefs means I'm ok with being murdered? Jesus Christ dude. Here, stick this on your wish list, maybe Santa will bring it for you.

u/oleitas · 10 pointsr/booksuggestions

I'd recommend A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson. This book is great because it covers so many of the most scientifically important events throughout history, rather than just being a layman's introduction to a specific branch of science.

If you're at all interested in statistics and how misleading they can be, check out The Drunkard's Walk.

u/[deleted] · 10 pointsr/philosophy

If you dig this, I'd highly recommend checking out Dennet and Hofstadter's anthology of writings on consciousness, The Mind's I. It's thought-provoking and highly enjoyable, the opposite of a guilty pleasure.

u/distantocean · 10 pointsr/exchristian

That's one of my favorite popular science books, so it's wonderful to hear you're getting so much out of it. It really is a fascinating topic, and it's sad that so many Christians close themselves off to it solely to protect their religious beliefs (though as you discovered, it's good for those religious beliefs that they do).

As a companion to the book you might enjoy the Stated Clearly series of videos, which break down evolution very simply (and they're made by an ex-Christian whose education about evolution was part of his reason for leaving the religion). You might also like Coyne's blog, though these days it's more about his personal views than it is about evolution (but some searching on the site will bring up interesting things he's written on a whole host of religious topics from Adam and Eve to "ground of being" theology). He does also have another book you might like (Faith Versus Fact: Why Science and Religion are Incompatible), though I only read part of it since I was familiar with much of it from his blog.

> If you guys have any other book recommendations along these lines, I'm all ears!

You should definitely read The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins, if only because it's a classic (and widely misrepresented/misunderstood). A little farther afield, one of my favorite popular science books of all time is The Language Instinct by Steven Pinker, which looks at human language as an evolved ability. Pinker's primary area of academic expertise is child language acquisition, so he's the most in his element in that book.

If you're interested in neuroscience and the brain you could read How the Mind Works (also by Pinker) or The Tell-Tale Brain by V. S. Ramachandran, both of which are wide-ranging and accessibly written. I'd also recommend Thinking, Fast and Slow by psychologist Daniel Kahneman. Evolution gets a lot of attention in ex-Christian circles, but books like these are highly underrated as antidotes to Christian indoctrination -- nothing cures magical thinking about the "soul", consciousness and so on as much as learning how the brain and the mind actually work.

If you're interested in more general/philosophical works that touch on similar themes, Douglas R. Hofstadter's Gödel, Escher, Bach made a huge impression on me (years ago). You might also like The Mind's I by Hofstadter and Daniel Dennett, which is a collection of philosophical essays along with commentaries. Books like these will get you thinking about the true mysteries of life, the universe and everything -- the kind of mysteries that have such sterile and unsatisfying "answers" within Christianity and other mythologies.

Don't worry about the past -- just be happy you're learning about all of this now. You've got plenty of life ahead of you to make up for any lost time. Have fun!

u/Atupis · 10 pointsr/Suomi

Kirjasuositus aiheesta kiinnostuneille on muuten yksi parhaista tietokirjoista ikinä.

u/Tangurena · 9 pointsr/AskMen

That sort of toxicity has permeated pretty much all discourse in the US. Everything about politics, race, sex, sexuality and equality. Much of it comes from alienation, much from lack of exposure to other viewpoints. The end result is that people tend to use inflammatory language to denigrate opponents. I could write a long essay about this sort of issue, and folks have written whole books on the subject.

A lot of the issue is lack of empathy for "the other side". If they aren't human, then it doesn't matter how they get treated/killed. This is one of the first things done in warfare - dehumanize the enemy. You can see it when the media has such intense coverage about beheadings in Syria or the riots in Ferguson - the intent of the media is to make the audience feel that those people are rabid animals who have to be put down. No coverage of how they got there, why the folks do what they do, nothing about their families - just horrible coverage to inflame the audience to support overwhelming and crushing violence against them.

> actually addressing the issues and engaging in good-faith discussions

To begin with, not everyone agrees that X is a problem, let alone that it should be "fixed". Or even that it is a bad thing. You can see that in the political debates over global warming.

Some books on having intelligent conversations (in no particular order) include:
Believing Bullshit: How Not to Get Sucked into an Intellectual Black Hole. Helps identify BS in conversation/debates.
The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion. Explains how different people come to different political philosophies based on their values.
How to Disagree Without Being Disagreeable. The author has written a number of books with "gentle art of verbal self defense" in the title. Most are about how to identify verbal attacks and to side-step them.
Nonsense: Red Herrings, Straw Men and Sacred Cows: How We Abuse Logic in Our Everyday Language. Gives lots of examples of bad rhetoric.
Wie man mit Fundamentalisten diskutiert, ohne den Verstand zu verlieren. How to have a discussion with a fundamentalist without losing your mind. In German, I think I should do a translation of the book.

The formal subject of making arguments to convince others used to be called rhetoric. And it has been taught since the days of Plato and Aristotle.

u/shaggorama · 9 pointsr/MachineLearning
u/Routerbox · 9 pointsr/philosophy

I recommend some books to you:

Your sense of self, your "I", your mind, is produced by your brain, which is a physical structure that is not destroyed and remade during sleep. This is why you remember what happened yesterday. "You" are a pile of grey goo in a skull.

u/TestPilotBeta · 7 pointsr/neuroscience

Robert Sapolsky's relatively recent book, "Behave".

It is phenomenal.

u/Jevan1984 · 7 pointsr/TheMindIlluminated

Buddy, if you doubt my credentials, again, just ask me for LinkedIn privately and I'll send you the link...Also numerous people on this forum know me in real life..for example..batbdotb just crushed an 8 day home retreat with me at my house last month. You are welcome to come join the next time we do it.

>The core part of this discussion that you've had trouble overcoming since the beginning is you're just not familiar with the way that these types of discussions are conducted, so you shoot from the hip and make pop-psych, sweeping generalizations that someone who's seen some TED talks thinks is the scientific process.

LOL, oh you know how intelligence testing is discussed by people in the field? Do you know this from your years of experience as having a friend or two who learned about intelligence testing in a class in college?

>31 year old reference to support their point, and doesn't know that an academically trained person would comment on that.

You are being dishonest, I also pointed you to a book by Dr. Stuart Ritchie that was published in 2015 and summarizes all the latest research.

Here are more references

" intelligence testing is one of the great successes of psychology (Hunt, 2011). Intelligence test scores predict many real world phenomena and have many well-validated practical uses (Gottfredson, 1997; Deary et al., 2010). Intelligence test scores also correlate to structural and functional brain parameters assessed with neuroimaging (Haier et al., 1988; Jung and Haier, 2007; Deary et al., 2010; Penke et al., 2012; Colom et al., 2013a) and to genes (Posthuma et al., 2002; Hulshoff Pol et al., 2006; Chiang et al., 2009, 2012;"

u/yourfaceyourass · 7 pointsr/IAmA

>It's the struggle to give women the same rights and opportunities as men.

Feminism centers around "patriarchy" and such unfalsifiable hypotheses which are completely unacademic and unscientific, and wholly ignore biological, economic, social, and various such developments in favor a simplistic model of "female oppression". The movement has caused more harm than good both in legislation and in perpetuating false notions. If it were solely the idea that men and women ought to be equal, its sole existence as an ism warrants an explanation.

And I had this argument a billion times. As much as I advocate gender equality, feminism is not something I can adhere too. It is not the beacon of all hope that everyone ought to rally around.

Go read a book that isn't written by a feminist or about feminism. The Naked Ape by David Morrison should be a good start. Lets not act like everyone who reads feminist literature instantly becomes converted, as evidenced by the many in academia, notably anti-feminist "feminists" who have considered it to be the worst thing to happen to women.

u/PopcornMouse · 7 pointsr/explainlikeimfive

> What is consciousness?

"Consciousness is the state or quality of awareness, or, of being aware of an external object or something within oneself. It has been defined as: sentience, awareness, subjectivity, the ability to experience or to feel, wakefulness, having a sense of selfhood, and the executive control system of the mind... In the majority of experiments that are specifically about consciousness, the subjects are human, and the criterion that is used is verbal report: in other words, subjects are asked to describe their experiences, and their descriptions are treated as observations of the contents of consciousness." These methods are obviously heavily biased towards humans, we can't just ask a chimpanzee if it self aware, we must infer it from their behaviours and how they interact with their physical and social worlds. Easier said than done.

> Are single celled organisms like bacteria, conscious?


> How much up the evolutionary ladder do we have to go to start finding consciousness?

Evolution is not a ladder, there is no best species at the top of this ladder. Its more like a tree. In evolution, there can be many solutions to one problem. Take flight for example, insects, birds, and bats have all solved the problem of flight in different ways, with different combinations of traits, with different kinds of genes. The same is very likely true for consciousness and higher cognitive intelligence. We may very well find the exact gene(s) that make use conscious that does not mean that other species need those exact genes in order to be conscious too. Other species may solve the problem of consciousness in a different way than we have. If we look for species with characteristics that are exactly our own, well its like just looking for species with feathers and assuming they are the only ones that fly - you miss the bats and insects.

> How are humans able to make another conscious being?

We are not born conscious, it is a series of skills, traits, and abilities that develop during infancy and early childhood that lead to our conscious abilities. For example, children learn between the ages of 3-5 how to lie. Before this time period their brains are not developed enough to make the connection that their thoughts are distinct and different from other individuals thoughts. They think everyone knows what they are thinking, they can't lie. Some humans never develop the ability to be fully conscious, like severely autistic individuals. "Deficits occur in people with autism spectrum disorders, schizophrenia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, as well as neurotoxicity due to alcohol abuse."

Other animals can lie, and deceive if they want to. Are they conscious? its really hard to say. We have a couple of tests that give us a pretty good idea that other species exhibit consciousness. For example, the mirror test. You place an individual in front of a mirror with a dot on their body that they can only see looking through the mirror. If they touch the dot or look for the dot on their own bodies then they are making the link that the image in the mirror is themselves. Infants older than 18 months usually pass the mirror test, infants under 18 months don't. Other higher cognitive skills that have been observed in some species include object manipulation, tool making, multi-step problem solving, lying, sense of fairness, morals, ethics, and mourning the dead.

These animals in no particular order are: elephants, dolphins, birds like crows, ravens, or pigeons, pigs, all of the great apes, and some monkeys. Obviously we are talking about a really diverse group of species, species from many different and distinct evolutionary paths that are able to solve complex problems, communicate in complex ways, form complex social bonds, and importantly show signs of theory of mind, or consciousness. Generally speaking these animals function at a cognitive level similar to a 3-5 year old child.

The ethical question then becomes, if a chimpanzee can pass a mirror test, can be shown to have higher cognitive functions why do we deny them the basic rights we give to humans, when some humans including infants lack these skills? Should we keep these animals for our own amusement or instrument, we don't with ourselves but why is it ok with them? I won't comment on my opinion, but these are important ethical questions worth thinking about.

I recommend:

u/DerpalSherpa · 7 pointsr/bigfoot
u/Mauss22 · 6 pointsr/askphilosophy

This is a good introductory essay by Nick Bostrom from The Cambridge Handbook of Artificial Intelligence. And this is a relevant survey essay by Drew McDermott from The Cambridge Handbook of Consciousness.

If folks aren't taking well to the background reading, they might at least do alright jumping to Section 5 from the Descartes' Discourse (they can use this accessible translation). One little snippet:

>I worked especially hard to show that if any such machines had the organs and outward shape of a monkey or of some other animal that doesn’t have reason, we couldn’t tell that they didn’t possess entirely the same nature as these animals; whereas if any such machines bore a resemblance to our bodies and imitated as many of our actions as was practically possible, we would still have two very sure signs that they were nevertheless not real men. (1) The first is that they could never use words or other constructed signs, as we do to declare our thoughts to others. We can easily conceive of a machine so constructed that it utters words, and even utters words that correspond to bodily actions that will cause a change in its organs (touch it in one spot and it asks ‘What do you mean?’, touch it in another and it cries out ‘That hurts!’, and so on); but not that such a machine should produce different sequences of words so as to give an appropriately meaningful answer to whatever is said in its presence—which is something that the dullest of men can do. (2) Secondly, even though such machines might do some things as well as we do them, or perhaps even better, they would be bound to fail in others; and that would show us that they weren’t acting through understanding but only from the disposition of their organs. For whereas reason is a universal instrument that can be used in all kinds of situations, these organs need some particular disposition for each particular action; hence it is practically impossible for a machine to have enough different •organs to make •it act in all the contingencies of life in the way our •reason makes •us act. These two factors also tell us how men differ from beasts [= ‘non-human animals’].

That sets the stage for historically important essay from Turing of Turing-Test-fame. And that essay sets up nicely Searle's Chinese Room thought experiment. Scientific America has two accessible articles: Searle presents his argument here, and the Churchland's respond.

As always, the SEP and IEP are good resources for students, and they have entries with bibliographies on consciousness, the hard problem of consciousness, AI, computational theories of mind, and so on.

There are countless general introductions to philosophy of mind. Heil's Philosophy of Mind is good. Seager's introduction to theories of consciousness is also quite good, but maybe more challenging than some. Susan Blackmore's book Conversations on Consciousness was a very engaging read, and beginner friendly. She also has a more textbook-style Introduction that I have not read, but feel comfortable betting that it is also quite good.

Searle's, Dennett's and Chalmer's books on consciousness are all good and influential and somewhat partisan to their own approaches. And Kim's work is a personal favorite.

(sorry for the broad answer--it's a very broad question!)

u/anomoly · 6 pointsr/science

The author of that article recently released another book called The Believing Brain which covers agenticity, among other things, in great detail. I'm in the process of listening to the audio version and I recommend it.

Also, here's a link to a video where he covers an outline of what's covered in the book.

u/mrsamsa · 6 pointsr/samharris

>> heritability isn't a measure of genetics.
>Now you're playing semantics to the utmost.

Not semantics, I'm literally just giving you the scientific definition to fix a common laymen myth. A heritability estimate tells us nothing about whether a trait has a genetic component.

>The fact of the matter is you inherit certain genes from your parents. Your idea that nothing is actually genetically inherited is strange. IQ has been shown to be heritable, as has height. I understand the societal expectations creating the earring "heritability" but I have no idea what you're talking about when you say IQ isn't at least partially inherited from your parents.

You've misunderstood my claim. I'm saying that confusing heritability with genetics is a common mistake - you can have a completely genetically determined trait with a heritability of zero, or an entirely environmentally determined trait with a heritability of 1. You simply can't say anything about genetics from a heritability estimate alone.

Iq undeniably has genetic components, nobody is denying that. However, like height of plants, just because individual differences might be caused by genetics, you can't use that as evidence that group differences are also caused by genetics (as illustrated in my example).

>Because a professor of genetics at Harvard isn't saying that the position that Christianity is false is scientifically untenable (I would refer you to Dr. David Reich, Ph.D's article in the New York Times). In fact, here's some of it, followed by a link:
>> I have deep sympathy for the concern that genetic discoveries could be misused to justify racism. But as a geneticist I also know that it is simply no longer possible to ignore average genetic differences among “races.”

An opinion piece from a single person can't refute an entire consensus. Again that's how creationists argue their point.

>His article is a canary in the coalmine event. He claims to have NO IDEA! what we're going to find out about group differences going forward. Then why the hell is he so nervous? Because he knows that the odds are extremely high that the average IQ of a fully-nourished sub-Saharan African population and a fully-nourished Ashkenazi Jew population with equal access to education are not both 100.000000000000000000000000000000. You know that too, you just can't admit it, so you appeal to a scientific consensus that exists because people are terrified of having their careers destroyed. About that consensus...

Firstly, obviously I don't "know that" because I don't think there's any reason to suspect it's true.

Secondly, even accepting everything you say as completely true, notice that your "evidence" is a gut feeling from a single person. Why should I care if this guy thinks one day there will be evidence for your position?

>> Reich’s claim that we need to prepare for genetic evidence of racial differences in behavior or health ignores the trajectory of modern genetics. For several decades billions of dollars have been spent trying to find such differences. The result has been a preponderance of negative findings despite intrepid efforts to collect DNA data on millions of individuals in the hope of finding even the tiniest signals of difference.
>That is from the rebuttal letter 67 scientists "wrote" in response to Reich's article in the NYT.
>That rebuttal letter is here:
>Allow me to destroy that argument (and the credibility of that rebuttal letter):
>> Why so many African-Americans have high blood pressure
>Theories include higher rates of obesity and diabetes among African-Americans. Researchers have also found that there may be a gene that makes African-Americans much more salt sensitive. In people who have this gene, as little as one extra gram (half a teaspoon) of salt could raise blood pressure as much as 5 mm Hg.
>Oops! I guess the American Heart Association is a eugenics society now.

Wow, that was such an odd "debunking" I actually spent a while looking at the articles trying to figure out what claim you were debunking.

Firstly, finding of genetically linked diseases doesn't affect the point as you need to show that those genes correspond to a scientifically valid concept of race, and since no such thing exists, that's a problem.

Secondly, even accepting everything you say as true, a throwaway word that's irrelevant to their point doesn't prove anything important. Address the substance of the argument.

>This is an ad hominem attack.

Indeed it is! But remember that not all ad hominems are fallacious, some are extremely strong arguments - like ones about conflict of interest.

>Does the medical literature back what he was saying, or not?

It does not, as explained with my reference to the consensus position of the evidence.

>Has "compensatory education" increased IQ, or not? According to Dr. Haier, it HAS NOT! He has explicity said that compensatory education has not closed the black/white IQ gap. Dr. Haier's position (and he reveals this in his latest book) is that IQ is heritable, and we can raise it using CRISPR. The most generous interpretations of IQ being raised by compensatory education grant that it raised IQ by 4 points in cases of the application of an extremely rigorous program. That's 1/3 of a deviation. According to Haier, what happens is in children it looks like you can increase IQ a great deal, but as the child gets older, IQ becomes more heritable. In other words they lose those "gains".

And that's all irrelevant to the question of whether the gap is caused by genetics or not, of course. Even if it's entirely environmentally caused there's no reason to expect schooling to necessarily be able to fix the gap.

>A description of Haier's book (it was published 2.5 years ago):
>> This book introduces new and provocative neuroscience research that advances our understanding of intelligence and the brain. Compelling evidence shows that genetics plays a more important role than environment as intelligence develops from childhood, and that intelligence test scores correspond strongly to specific features of the brain assessed with neuroimaging. In understandable language, Richard J. Haier explains cutting-edge techniques based on genetics, DNA, and imaging of brain connectivity and function. He dispels common misconceptions, such as the belief that IQ tests are biased or meaningless, and debunks simple interventions alleged to increase intelligence. Readers will learn about the real possibility of dramatically enhancing intelligence based on neuroscience findings and the positive implications this could have for education and social policy. The text also explores potential controversies surrounding neuro-poverty, neuro-socioeconomic status, and the morality of enhancing intelligence for everyone.

The summary doesn't mention group differences, just that intelligence has a genetic component (which as I proved above, is irrelevant to group differences!).

u/jitterbugwaltz · 6 pointsr/exmormon This video is in the CES letter and poses some GREAT questions and points. I say "all" generally here, but I daresay ALL people who participate in ANY religion have had their own "witness" that what THEY believe is true.

Are they all/we all wrong? Absolutely not. But only because we are all different (societies, families, countries, cultures), and so what's "true" and "right" for each of us, individually, *must* change based on the individual.

PLUS the beautiful way you put it: spirits (or human consciousness if that's what you're into) respond to "moral beauty." (My dad is a music teacher and taught a Music & Psychophysiology class. Roughly put, is actually NO physical link between the ear and the spine, leaving no physical explanation for why you feel chills down your spine when you hear beautiful music. #MoralBeauty)

PLUS brains are built to justify their beliefs. (I'm only a couple chapters into this so can't fully endorse, but it's very interesting to me so far, despite the fact that I still hold spiritual beliefs (most would consider my spiritual beliefs to be a "woo-woo" or "new-age" variety)).

u/bunnyvskitten · 6 pointsr/depression_help

I lived / am living a very similar version of your interior life.
My therapist said something quite smart once. "Problems arise when life is asking you for something that you don't have." I found this statement scales up, down and sideways.

I would reccommend professional help. Talk to someone who will just 'hold you where you are'. Not question it or try to counter it. It sounds simplistic but saying how you feel and having someone NOT try to fix you actually has a fixing effect.

I would also reccommend working through this book:

Bad news is that this is hard work. Good news is that if you want to fix things you can. This is weather and weather changes.

u/Swag_Bro_420 · 6 pointsr/slatestarcodex

This book could be what you're looking for. It's more of a survey of IQ research in general, not HBD, but it does touch on racial differences.

u/tinfoilblanket · 6 pointsr/samharris

This is an interesting question, and it's a question that I don't know the answer to.

I'll give you a brief outline though of what I know about the possibility of increasing one's IQ/intelligence (the relationship between IQ and intelligence is itself a complicated subject).

First lets deal with heritability of IQ. The most popular estimate of the heritability of IQ among adults seems to be 0.8 or 80%. This is the estimate I've read from the APA (American Psychological Association) and from reading other sources on IQ.

However a common misconception that many people believe is that an 80% heritability means that 80% of one's IQ is due to their genes, which is wrong. What 80% heritability actually means is that 80% of the variability in IQ within a population can be explained by genetic differences.

Here's a quote from a University website that explains it with an example

>Heritability and environmentability are population concepts. They tell us nothing about an individual. A heritability of .40 informs us that, on average, about 40% of the individual differences that we observe in, say, shyness may in some way be attributable to genetic individual difference. It does NOT mean that 40% of any person's shyness is due to his/her genes and the other 60% is due to his/her environment.

Next lets deal with the Flynn effect.The Flynn Effect is the observation that for the past few decades, there has been an increase in average IQ by 3 points every 10 years. The relevant question here however is, does this imply that people are getting more intelligent? I personally don't know the answer to that, and I'm not sure if there is a settled answer in the psychometric community. However I do know that Flynn himself has expressed doubt on the view that we are getting more intelligent. I will provide 3 supporting pieces here:

Flynn himself has written in an essay (that I unfortunately have lost and have been unable to find for a few months) that he does not believe that the Flynn Effect is caused by an increase in general intelligence/g/g factor (this is a technical term).

There is also empirical evidence from psychometric research that the rise in average IQ (I.E. the Flynn Effect) is correlated negatively with the g-loading of a test. In simple language, this just means that broadly speaking if an IQ subtest relies heavily on general intelligence, there has been a smaller increase in the average than on IQ subtests that don't rely heavily on general intelligence.

There is also the question of if an average IQ increase of 3 points does not mean we are getting more intelligent, than what does The Flynn Effect mean?

Flynn himself has a great TedTalk answering this question, since as I mentioned before Flynn himself does not believe that we have gotten more intelligent. A TLDR of his explanation is that he thinks The Flynn Effect is due to a huge shift in the way we are taught to think about things and how we view the world. In his words, he believes humans have developed more sophisticated "mental artillery."

Lastly if you've been bored by my blathering here and just want a straight forward "Yes" or "no" answer, like I said I don't know the answer. However I do know two experts who each express the opposite answer to the question.

In this book written by an intelligence expert, he claims that little can be done to increase one's IQ however over a person's lifetime their fluid IQ will peak in their mid/late twenties then slowly decline thereafter whereas people's crystallized IQ steadily increases throughout their life

Whereas I have emailed Flynn before about a question related to this question, and he told me that in his book (that I will link below) he explains why he thinks that it is possible to increase one's IQ through hard work.

u/awkward_armadillo · 5 pointsr/DebateReligion

Are you open to doing some reading?


"Behave" by Robert Sapolsky


This book is an amalgamation of scientific research, referencing study after study that demonstrates how different aspects of our biology play key roles in our demeanor, our emotions and how we think and behave. Our gut flora, for instance, plays key roles in mood and perhaps even our social interactions [1] [2] [3]. That's just one example of the many dozens of lines of evidence that the book describes.


Now, it does look as though you've done some research into the philosophy of human subjective experiences, specifically qualia. I'm sure you're aware, but there are other philosophers who explain that qualia doesn't exist at all. Even one of the larger proponents of qualia, John Searle, doesn't ascribe it to a soul, or substance dualism, but to property dualism. Interestingly, Searle and Dan Dennett (a denier of qualia) had a published exchange on this very topic some 20 years ago. I'm not versed enough on the topic to actively engage in a debate on it, but it seems that, at second glance, qualia isn't necessarily all it's cracked up to be. Time will tell, of course.


With that said, there are vast amounts of data that thoroughly link our emotions, feelings, behaviors, etc. specifically to certain function of our biology. There is certainly more to be discovered in this field, but "Behave" spells out all of the nitty gritty details and compiles years and years worth of research. If you're actually interested in reading a thorough hypothesis coupled with the multiple lines of evidence to support it, I have a pdf copy of this book I'd be willing to share. Simply PM me your email address.

u/veteratorian · 5 pointsr/slatestarcodex

Not g (maybe?) or gap related, but it seems education improves IQ generally.

Stuart Ritchie, intelligence researcher and author of Intelligence: All That Matters has a paper here the abstract of which I will quote below:

>Intelligence test scores and educational duration are positively correlated. This correlation can be interpreted in two ways: students with greater propensity for intelligence go on to complete more education, or a longer education increases intelligence. We meta-analysed three categories of quasi-experimental studies of educational effects on intelligence: those estimating education-intelligence associations after controlling for earlier intelligence, those using compulsory schooling policy changes as instrumental variables, and those using regression-discontinuity designs on school-entry age cutoffs. Across 142 effect sizes from 42 datasets involving over 600,000 participants, we found consistent evidence for beneficial effects of education on cognitive abilities, of approximately 1 to 5 IQ points for an additional year of education. Moderator analyses indicated that the effects persisted across the lifespan, and were present on all broad categories of cognitive ability studied. Education appears to be the most consistent, robust, and durable method yet to be identified for raising intelligence.

u/Ambitious_Dust · 5 pointsr/atheism

You might enjoy reading Robert Sapolsky's Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst. If you're not familiar with him, I would encourage you to look him up, watch some videos, listen to Harris' podcast episode with him, etc. He gets into the biological mechanics that explains just how we do know how behavior works - an alternative to the theory of free will, if you will.

I will say that human behavior was the first big crack in the foundation of my faith. Understanding how children on the autistic spectrum aren't "acting out" or being "willfully naughty" because they respond to stimuli in previously unexpected ways started this rabbit trail. If a child on the spectrum isn't culpable morally for throwing a temper tantrum at the age of ten, then can the same be said about the culpability of the person with a lifelong eating disorder? Can you assign the moral blame of gluttony or anorexia on someone who doesn't possess more effective skills to navigate their own emotional battlegrounds? What about the person who was raised by an alcoholic and never experienced healthy relationships predicated on communication and respect? How can you be blamed for not knowing what you don't/can't know? How can you be morally culpable for not having skills you don't know exist?

Harris' book started to put this all into perspective for me. Understanding behavior in the same way as understanding weather patterns is a good reminder for me, so thank you.

u/calladus · 5 pointsr/atheism

>which accepted as true by a wide number of scientists

No, it isn't..

Check out Quantum indeterminacy

Quantum physics shows that all physical systems (including our universe, or you and me) necessarily have randomness as part of their basic makeup.

Also see the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle.

Now, having said that, it is possible to postulate a universe that looks as if it is random, even to our physics and math, but where every single state in our universe is actually predetermined. But in such a universe, we will be completely convinced that we live in an uncertain universe, and will act accordingly. Indeed, the sheer complexity of such a universe may make it seem as if it were random even to an observer who knew better - like watching a complex game of Conway's "Life". (See "Freedom Evolves" by Daniel Dennett)

But this is philosophy, and from what I read in the science journals physicists believe that the universe we live in does support indeterminacy.

u/shammalammadingdong · 5 pointsr/AcademicPhilosophy

You'll need this

u/speciousfool · 5 pointsr/robotics
u/MuffinMopper · 5 pointsr/IAmA

I read this novel about statistics and found it really digestible and interesting. If you read it you will basically understand how a normal distribution works, which makes you more knowledgeable about stats than 95% of the world.

Also this book is probably the most famous "pop stats" book ever written. People reference the book and its author all the time in basically every quantitative field.

u/steelypip · 5 pointsr/DebateReligion

Matter and energy are not all there is - there is also information. Information is real - it can be measured, created, destroyed, duplicated, modified and transmitted over huge distances. It is not supernatural, but it is what makes the difference between a dumb machine and life (or an intelligent machine).

Consider a Beethoven symphony. This does not have a physical existence, but it does exist. It has representations in the physical world - dots and lines on a piece of paper, vibrations in the air, grooves or microscopic holes in a plastic disk, arrangements of magnetic fields on a tape or hard drive. Even a pattern of neurons firing in someone's head as they play the music back in their mind. The symphony is not any of those things - it is in the pattern that they represent. The symphony is the information that each of them encodes.

Similarly, my consciousness is not my physical body or the energy that the body consumes, but the pattern of neurons in my head, and the dynamics of the way the neurons interact. I am information.

The difference between my minds "I" and a Beethoven symphony is that there is only one encoding of me, so if my body dies then I die with it. To destroy a Beethoven symphony you would have to destroy all the millions of different encodings that are out there.

Maybe someday we will have the technology to make backups of our consciousness, but I don't expect it will be in my lifetime.

Edit: For more on this viewpoint and on lots of alternative views, I recommend reading The Mind's I by Douglas Hoffstadter and Daniel Dennett.

u/disquieter · 4 pointsr/explainlikeimfive

A cellular automaton (CA) is an object that exists and continues to exist in a cellular space.

One kind of cellular space is an arrangement of cells in columns and rows, like a grid.

Each cell will either be ON or OFF in any single moment of time. In this basic cellular world there are rules that decide whether a cell will be ON or OFF in the next moment of time, given just two factors:

  • whether the cell is ON or OFF in the current moment; and
  • how many of its neighbors are currently ON. The second rule is adjustable. This is just a mathematical exploration, after all. :)

    If the cell is ON and not too crowded or too starved for neighbors, it will remain ON in the next moment of time. Otherwise, it will be OFF in the next moment.

    Most arbitrary arrangements of cells will disappear after just a few moments. But certain arrangements are special. They manage to persist over time. They do cool things like move across the grid, reproduce, or spawn others.

    CAs are these special arrangements of cells that manage to persist through time and/or do interesting things.

    CAs are interesting to mathematicians as systems/structures that can be studied based on starting with careful definitions of cellular worlds.

    CAs are interesting to intellectuals generally because CAs seem to resemble unicellular life forms. CAs and their worlds seem like a good metaphor for how life, a surprisingly complex and interesting phenomenon, can arise from what seem to be relatively simple rules of physics and chemistry.

    In short, CAs are cool, complex things happen in world with just a few simple rules. Kind of like life.

    If you want to read about some of the ways in which a particular CA world called the "Game of Life" (defined by mathematician John Conway) is really thought-provoking, you can read Daniel Dennett's awesome book, Freedom Evolves.

    Edit: I accidentally some words.
u/dantokimonsta · 4 pointsr/neuroscience

Every book on consciousness will have its own pet theory. I haven't found many great books on the neuroscience of consciousness, though Giulio Tononi and Christof Koch have a pretty good review paper on the subject. The one caveat is that they mostly review evidence for their own theory of consciousness, the Information Integration Theory.

As for the philosophy of consciousness, there are a number of good books, again each with their own agenda/pet theory. If you want the entire spectrum of opinions, check out Paul Churchland's Matter and Consciousness, which both provides a good overview of the field and also offers a defense of Churchland's materialist view; I'd also check out John Searle's The Rediscovery of the Mind, which presents Searle's biological naturalism, a sort of "centrist" view in the array of popular positions, and which is written in very straightforward language; a third option, which is more complicated than the other two but is really important in the field, is Chalmers' The Conscious Mind.

Hope that helps!

u/Catfish3 · 4 pointsr/askphilosophy

the main proponent of dualism in contemporary philosophy is david chalmers. his defining work is "The Conscious Mind: In Search of a Fundamental Theory," but you can also read all of his papers for free on his website. he has also at some points argued for panpsychism, but his core commitments still lie with dualism.

yes, he and his arguments are usually taken very seriously in academic philosophy. for example, here's a video of him at a conference on a boat, with other big name philosophers of mind such as dennett and the churchlands.

i guess i should also mention that the kind of dualism that chalmers argues for is not the classic cartesian substance dualism, but rather a weaker form of dualism called property dualism

here's a useful sep article about dualism

u/volvox12 · 4 pointsr/neuroscience

Consciousness: An Introduction, by Susan Blackmore, is great.

u/satanic_hamster · 4 pointsr/CapitalismVSocialism

> Yes and I agree, but some context here is they were also working with 1970s computers or just doing the calculations by hand down at the GOSPLAN building in downtown Moscow.

Yeah, I agree. But even then if you wanted to coordinate all that activity with an AI or something of that sort, it seems to me you'd still be doing it on the basis of mapping out all the various transactions and exchanges between people, and then just use Predictive Analytics or Markov Chains or something to predict the most efficient allocation of resources. It isn't an actual substitute for the Market like what the USSR did. It's just mapping it out.

> You see a lot of talk about A.I. for instance in the tech press and by Silicon Valley people but I don't see much productive investment going on in this sector -- at least nowhere near as much as there could be.

Well I do know a lot of research and mathematical breakthroughs are being made here and there. Particularly from people in the community like MIRI, independent contributors like Gary Drescher and Judea Pearl, etc. But maybe you had a different idea of productive investment. The idea of an AI Cold War is a very real and dangerous prospect that I think will be of greater concern in years coming.

> Yeah I have a lot to learn about it as well. But the commune system in the "production brigades" sense from what I understand largely went away with Deng's reforms. But there's been some new histories showing that it was really productive and good, and that getting rid of it was largely a political decision aimed at concentrating political power under Deng. And I think China has backslided on education in recent years in the rural areas -- trying to do something about that is one of Xi's big things.

Anything interesting you could point me to here?

u/moreLytes · 4 pointsr/DebateReligion

> (1) why am I so convinced that I could think something different?

You might be interested in Gary Drescher's account of free will, as it directly offers an explanation for your conviction. Specifically, he postulates that your intuition comes from an absence of a particular processing mechanism within your cognitive arsenal. The proposed mechanism, the "prejudiced-context principle", is responsible for preprocessing context-action-expectation schemas and removing paths that would mutually negate one another. While the principle could ultimately inform philosophical knots within volition, ethics, and Newcomb problems, Drescher argues that it was simply not selected-for across evolutionary time.

> (2) why would the truth value of any proposition I think matter?

What sort of significance are you inquiring about? What would happen if you learned that it probably doesn't matter, at least in the way you desire?

u/RidiculousIncarnate · 4 pointsr/technology

Read The Drunkards Walk. Sounds like it might be up your alley. As I recall, although its been quite a while, it has some interesting analysis of how the way we perceive how and why things happen in business or other areas of our lives.

Like movie execs who would get brought in to revitalize the studio, they would green-light a bunch of projects that would get added to the production pipeline and then a year or two later they would be removed from their position because the situation of the studio hadn't changed. Only then a year later the movies they had put into production would get released, like Titanic, make a billion dollars and they would get no credit for being the ones who chose to make that movie as someone else already has their job.

Fascinating read.

u/LadyAtheist · 4 pointsr/atheism

I'm currently reading a book by Frans de Waal, The Bonobo and the Atheist in which he argues proves that altruism is evolutionary. One example: caring for babies that are not your own. It happens in most mammal species and across species. He also mentions findings of Neandertal bones that indicate the crippled & deformed lived rather long lives:

Also, Paul Bloom in Just Babies talks about studies of infants that show that both "good" and "evil" are inborn (vs. the Christian view that we are born in a state of sin, which is rather remarkable since we are "innocent" when we are fetuses)

u/the_final_duck · 4 pointsr/askphilosophy

If you're interested in consciousness, The Mind's I is a great collection of essays and dialogues from different authors, most of which are very accessible. They cover the topic from a lot of different angles and do a good job of prompting the kind of conceptual groundwork you need in order to delve deeper into the subject.

u/legit_free_candy · 4 pointsr/matheducation
u/Cosmoviking · 4 pointsr/DebateAnAtheist

See Patton Oswalt and the Giant Invisible Anus for some of the psychology at work here, expressed in funny.

Your friend is on an emotional high that comes from a sense of surety, release, and joy. The best way I can describe it is to compare it to someone who gets found not guilty of a crime when they thought for sure they would be convicted. They feel like the whole world is theirs, like they have absolutely nothing to worry about (why would they? Their "eternal fate" is secured. All they have to do is love Jesus, "do his work," and wait for their coming reward). It's the feeling of knowing nothing TRULY bad can happen to you, and there being something awesome waiting for you. Imagine if you were both invincible and just won 200 million in the lottery. Something like that.

It almost certainly won't last. Something will eventually bring him down, back into the grind of everyday life. He'll crave that high again, and seek it out at revivals and retreats and missions.

TL;DR - There is no logical argument that will persuade them. They are wired on happy brain juice. See Michael Shermer's The Believing Brain.

u/ThinkAllTheTime · 4 pointsr/exjew

If someone feels confused or angry about serial killers, psychopaths, etc. I highly recommend Robert Sapolsky's book BEHAVE (link to Amazon).

Most people's confusion and anger regarding these topics are possibly from two misconceptions:

Firstly, they are working with a mistaken model of non-deterministic "free-will," which makes no sense, or secondly, they are exhibiting emotional reactions such as anger, fear, or vengeance, which, while being understandable given our ape-biology, is simply not rational.

I also highly recommend his fascinating interview about the criminal justice system with Alan Alda, linked here.

Feel free to ask more questions if you have any! Hope you enjoy.

u/RARemunin · 4 pointsr/neuroscience

It seems like there are lots of well written books lately exploring popular neuroscience topics from different angles. I might recommend Behave, which has some nice primers in the appendices. And Sapolsky is just a great communicator.

u/Swordsmanus · 3 pointsr/slatestarcodex

> If I want to learn more about this stuff, where do I start?

Not sure if it covers all that you're asking for, but if you want to get a solid base on intelligence and the research on it, here are a few good starting points published in the last year.

160-page digest: Intelligence: All That Matters

Textbook: The Neuroscience of Intelligence (Cambridge Fundamentals of Neuroscience in Psychology)

u/i_have_a_gub · 3 pointsr/tangentiallyspeaking

He doesn't really make an argument one way or the other, but I came away with a more nuanced view of the Hobbes vs Rousseau debate after reading Robert Sapolsky's new book. I don't think it's the case of it being one way or the other, but actually both.

u/MixedUpCody · 3 pointsr/Stoicism

I'm not a psychologist or psychiatrist, but I've found cognitive behavioral therapy to be helpful for depression and anxiety.

Specifically, this book, which lays out a 7 week plan to address your underlying thought patterns.

I hope this provides some help for you, and that you're able to find some comfort.

Good luck to you.

u/rarely_beagle · 3 pointsr/indepthstories

If you're interested in SES from an anthroplogical/primatological/neorobiological perspective, I'd recommend Behave by Robert Sapolsky, Stanford professor and popular youtube lecturer.

The book is mostly somewhere between a trade book and a textbook. Near the end, the author applies concepts to modern society and social interactions, from the ways in which people offload stress, to weaving biological and environmental causes of a crime, to the similarities between primate hierarchies and human SES. Note that some of the psychological studies have come under scrutiny over the past few years.

u/mjrice · 3 pointsr/askscience

In the realm of philosophy (not empirical science) Daniel Dennett does a (imo) nice job of making the case for free will in a deterministic universe in his book Freedom Evolves. Check it out if you are interested in this sort of thing.

u/McHanzie · 3 pointsr/RationalPsychonaut

As /u/Das_Erlebnis said, there's tons of literature in the philosophy of mind. Check out some books, e.g. Chalmer's [The Conscious Mind] ( and Dennett's [Consciousness Explained] (

Edit: I'll add Nagel's essay [What is it like to be a bat?] ( to the list.

u/23143567 · 3 pointsr/rational

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind and Good and Real - each could be considered a canon of rationalist thought on evolution of humankind and ethics respectively.

u/pixel_fcker · 3 pointsr/TrueReddit

If you're interested in statistics as it relates to many aspects of our lives--including the law--in often unintuitive ways, I highly recommend reading "The Drunkard's Walk"

u/CommentMan · 3 pointsr/books

A quick browse of my bookshelf and the ones that jumped out at me... some nonfiction, some fiction... some light, some heavy...

The Culture of Contentment by John Galbraith

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

Pimp by Iceberg Slim

The Naked Ape by Desmond Morris

Bloom County Babylon by Berkeley Breathed

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo

Turned On: A Biography of Henry Rollins by James Parker

Devil in the White City by Erik Larson

Beyond that, my most prized book is my hardback Norton Anthology of English Lit (2nd vol - the 'modern' stuff).

Thanks for the trip down memory lane! I'm def curling up with a good one when I hit the hay!

u/poorsoi · 3 pointsr/AskReddit

I'm currently reading The Naked Ape by Desmond Morris, so am naturally an expert on human behavior. (In all seriousness though, it's a fascinating book.)

Anyhow, I was reading the other day that animals (including humans) will often present themselves sexually to a dominant male in order to dampen his aggression toward them. It is typically females presenting to males, but not always. This occurs even among pair-bonded species when both parties know that copulation isn't actually going to take place.

So, early human female bats her eyelashes and dominant male doesn't attack her over stealing a bit of his deer carcass. Modern human female bats her eyelashes and dominant male doesn't give her a ticket for speeding.

u/Reintarnation · 3 pointsr/books

Desmond Morris's The Naked Ape.

u/WhiteMike87 · 3 pointsr/Anthropology

Check out the book "The Naked Ape". It examines humans as the animals which we are.

u/miklayn · 3 pointsr/philosophy

Is this from The Bonobo and the Atheist: In Search of Humanism Among the Primates?

Please cite your source.

Anyways, that book makes an interesting, and IMO a very strong case akin to your post title.

u/aspartame_junky · 3 pointsr/philosophy

Given that Daniel Dennett has recently published a book on thought experiments called Intuition Pumps and Other Tools for Thinking, I thought it would be good to show one of Dennett's most famous intuition pumps.

This section of the movie is based on Daniel Dennett's though experiment first published in Brainstorms: Philosophical Essays on Mind and Psychology and reprinted in his famous compendium with Douglas Hofstadter, The Mind's I.

The original paper is available here and elsewhere online.

The movie itself is a documentary and dramatization of several themes in the book The Mind's I and includes an interview with Douglas Hofstadter earlier on.

u/SubDavidsonic · 3 pointsr/philosophy

Although this sort of historical approach may work for some people, and it will definitely give you a very good background, it certainly didn't work for me. I wanted to get ideas that were articulated in easy to understand contemporary terms that I could grapple with right away without having to worry about interpreting them correctly first.

I started in early high school, after being recommended by a friend who was majoring in philosophy at the time with The Philosophy Gym by Stephen Law which gave a great and really readable introduction to a lot of philosophy problems. Depending on your previous knowledge of philosophy, it might be a bit basic, but even still it's a worthwhile read I think.

From then, I went on The Mind's I by Daniel Dennett and Douglass Hofstadter, which was a really good and fun introduction to philosophy of mind and related issues. After that I think you'll have enough exposure to dive into various subjects and authors that you come across.

u/nikofeyn · 3 pointsr/math

check out the book where mathematics comes from.

u/TheYeasayer · 3 pointsr/canada

There's actually a fairly good book written on the topic titled ["Assholes: A Theory"] ( about those lone individuals who ruin everything for everybody else. The book presents a philosophical theory as to why those assholes exist, why they disturb society so much, techniques in asshole management, and many historical and contemporary examples of assholes.

u/ThePhaedrus · 3 pointsr/books

Autobiography of a Yogi - While not mind altering, it gave me a new perspective on things I would have initially labeled as quackery.

The Believing Brain by David Shermer - explains the mechanics of why we believe in the things we do without any critical examination especially on topics like religion, politics, ghosts, and conspiracy theories.

Awareness by Osho - Osho might have been a controversial personality, but some of his writings were brilliant and refreshing. This book blew me away and provoked me to live life more consciously and with greater deliberation.

The Freedom of Choice by Tom Chalko - Simple but powerful read (only 100 pages)

u/steamwhistler · 3 pointsr/atheism

My first actual submission to r/atheism and first attempt at a rage comic. I know these are pretty cliche nowadays, but I had fun expressing myself with this and I hope someone else enjoys it. I highly recommend the book.

u/FMERCURY · 3 pointsr/AskScienceDiscussion

It's a good thought, but there are easier ways to do this that have been in use for a while, see:

There's even a relatively new technique called RNA interference that literally blocks mRNA from being transcribed, so you don't need to knock out the gene at all.

Moreover, we already have an (admittedly incomplete) understanding of what genes are involved in intelligence, and the answer is a lot. I think we're up to 1,000 or so. Ca^2+ transporters, respiratory chain proteins, you name it. May i recommend this book.

u/wyngit · 3 pointsr/singapore

There we go. Book 1.

Book 2.

Enjoy. If those two flew over your head, try this:

You're welcome.

u/blazesquall · 3 pointsr/StLouis

I was going to respond, but I left my second sock puppet at home.. and I just know if I tell you that I'm going to use the single one as multiple actors it would be above you.

Instead, let me just offer what little help I can :

u/Parmeniscus · 2 pointsr/PhilosophyofScience

Daniel Dennett's entire book on free will is a discussion of what free will is, why it can exist in a materialistic and natural world, and the implications of defining free-will out of existence - which has been done on one side by theologians who claim free-will must be supernatural, and on the other by naive neuroscientists who claim free will is an illusion.

u/claytonkb · 2 pointsr/singularity

Seth Lloyd -- Programming the Universe: A Quantum Computer Scientist Takes on the Cosmos

Gregory Chaitin -- How real are real numbers? -- this paper, and all of Chaitin's writing, has been hugely influential on my thinking

I haven't read it, but I have heard Nick Bostrom's Superintelligence highly recommended. Ditto for Max Tegmark's Life 3.0.

I also recommend reading anything by David Chalmers, just on general principle. The Conscious Mind is a good place to start. I find his methods of contemplating the problems of consciousness to be more robust than the standard fare. The hard problem of consciousness (as Chalmers has dubbed it) suggests that there is something fundamental about what we are that modern science has completely failed to capture, even in the most sketch outline.

To go further, I recommend reading in a mystical direction. Specifically, ask yourself why there are patterns in mystical traditions that have arisen independently? And these are not just vague, hand-wavey correlations, but very specific, detailed correlations like the anatomical descriptions of dragons as winged serpents that slither through the sky, and so on. See Immanuel Velikovsky's Worlds In Collision and subsequent works for more along these lines.

If this is getting too far afield then you can ask yourself an even more basic question: why do we experience dreams and where, exactly, are these experiences happening? If you say, "it's all just remixes of past experiences being sloshed around in your skull like those #DeepDream images", how come they are so specifically odd and out-of-character? I have had extended conversations in my dreams with people I know (and people I have never met) and the detailed character of these conversations is far beyond anything that my pathetic brain could cook up, even by remixing past experiences. In short, when I dream, I am sometimes having genuine experiences, just not the kind of experiences I have in my waking body. Anyone who has had a lucid dream (I have experienced this a handful of times) is acutely aware of the fact that dream-space is some other place than the meat-space we occupy during waking hours. Where is this other place and why does it exist? What does it really mean to have conscious experience?

u/edubkendo · 2 pointsr/Psychonaut

I don't think the subjective self (what I think you are calling "mind" here) is something separate from the physical brain (standard Cartesian Duality), but rather, is a property of it.

Couple of books I can recommend:

u/CuriousIndividual0 · 2 pointsr/neurophilosophy

There are a plethora of books on consciousness.

From the science side of things the neuroscientist Antti Revonuso has a book "Consciousness: the science of subjectivity" which has a good mix of the philosophy and science of consciousness. Christof Koch, probably one of the leading neuroscientists who study consciousness, has a few books as well. The Quest for Consciousness is one of his, which has lots of neuroscience particularly visual neuroscience in it. That is mainly science, not much philosophy. Another neuroscientist who studies consciousness is Stanislas Dehaene who wrote a good book Consciousness and the Brain: Deciphering How the Brain Codes Our Thoughts. Click on the image of each book on the left in amazon (which opens up a preview) and scroll to the contents page and see if any of these books are the kind of thing you are looking for.

From the philosophical side there is (among many others) Susan Blackmores "Consciousness: An introduction" (an introductory book David Chalmers recommends) and William Seagers "Theories of Consciousness: An Introduction and Assessment". There is also a great book that has short (5-7 pages) sections on philosophers and neuroscientists and their respective theories of consciousness by Andrea Eugenio Cavanna and Andrea Nani called "Consciousness: Theories in Neuroscience and Philosophy of Mind". The first half of Michael Tye's book "Ten Problems of Consciousness: A Representational Theory of the Phenomenal Mind" is great for an overview of 10 philosophical problems of consciousness. It is very accessible and there are summaries of each problem provided. There are also great resources online such as Van Gulick's SEP article on consciousness, which would actually be a great place to start, and use it as a place to lead you to areas you are most interested in. Here is also a brief introduction to the philosophy of mind (the main philosophical discipline that deals with consciousness).

So there's a few links to some books and online articles, which should be more than enough to get you going.

By the way, there is a free masterclass on consciousness with Christof Koch on the World Science U website. You may also be interested in that.

Additionally you may like to check out the subreddit /r/sciphilconsciousness, which is all about the sharing and discussion of content related to the science and philosophy of consciousness.

u/160525 · 2 pointsr/LessWrong

It might have been the good and the real by Gary Drescher.

u/MoreAccurate · 2 pointsr/DebateReligion

I mostly have a lot of books that helped me, but here are the most influential ones that I've read recently:

u/alexandrosm · 2 pointsr/atheism

I'd suggest Good and Real by Gary Drescher. Also take a look at, especially the sequences

Sometimes I wish I could forget having read this stuff just so I could enjoy reading them for the first time again. Enjoy!

u/humpolec · 2 pointsr/science

>I'm guessing that every possible interpretation of a system would have to be conscious by extension, which is unrealistic IMO as it would mean that everything is conscious in an infinite number of ways.

Gary Drescher suggests that's not a problem because only some interpretations can possibly matter to us (he also refers to Dennet's intentional stance, but that I don't know anything about yet).

u/OphioukhosUnbound · 2 pointsr/askmath

Of course.

Anything that can be described well, to the extent that it can be described well, is essentially math.

Math, at its core, is just statements whose statements are carefully defined in their own framework.

Now, whether those constructions can accurately model the world or its parts is a deep question in philosophy. But the question then isn’t whether math can do it, it’s whether it can be done at all. If you can’t do it as math you’re essentially saying it can’t be done. This would be in the area known as epistemology (the study of what can be known).

An example of this is mathematical models of consciousness. Which take, as axioms, some descriptions that philosophers give to “conciseness” and then use the power of mathematical formulation to see what the implications of that are. What ‘things’ in the universe would be described as conscious then, when is a person a dingle consciousness vs many, etc.

The center of that particular space is Tononi’s IIT (integrated information theory) - which has spawned many papers examining the implications, soundness of axioms, and mathematical implications. [an example paper, chosen somewhat at random here: Is Consciousness Computable? Quantifying Integrated Information Using Algorithmic Information Theory

[Note: I am a consciousness skeptic; I tend to think the concept is vacuous chauvinism at heart, but this approach to addressing it — essentially “if true then what” is valuable I think.]

There’s an excellent, incredibly short, and easy to read book on this general idea. One of the best examples of concise, readable, and deep writing imo. It’s Vehicles: Experiments in Synthetic Psychology by Valentino Braitenberg.
Again, tiny volume. It uses simple thought experiments to examine artificial machines “vehicles” that exhibit behavior we would naturally use emotional vocabulary to describe. It challenges the assumption that organic internals like “desire” and “anger” needs be endlessly complex. I highly recommend it. It does not drop many, if any equations, but the controlled nature of the experiments drops them firmly in a mathematical framework as desired.

u/Undecided_fellow · 2 pointsr/AskStatistics

I'm a big fan of The Drunkard's Walk. Also, the author Leonard Mlodinow (PhD in physics from Berkeley) has a number of other really good books on different scientific fields.

u/BoneByter · 2 pointsr/financialindependence

> that random stock algos can beat pros. That just doesn't seem right.

It makes sense if you look at investing as a game of chance rather than a game of skill. It's not like darts, it's like roulette. There's just too much randomness involved in the game to win when betting on single numbers/stocks.

Maybe you keep track of the table operators and realize that Joe lands mostly on low, even numbers, and hey! -- Jane has hit 21 red three times in the last quarter. And if she set up the wheel in the exact same position and launched the ball in the exact same way as those last three times you'd be a winner for betting on 21 red. But she won't, because she can't, even if she tries to. Someone sneezed nearby, there was an earthquake, her fingers are a little oily. There's just too much interference in the real world.

However, there is a winning strategy. Turns out betting (variable amounts) on all options wins you enough to keep playing. A little more, a little less, but the longer you play the better your prospects.

For another interesting book about a walk, see The Drunkard's Walk by Leonard Mlodinow.

u/identicalParticle · 2 pointsr/Fitness

I have another possible explanation for bad days at the gym, as well as good days. They can be eplained by NOTHING. They are simply the result of random chance.

In The Drunkard's Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives, the author explains this issue, and how misunderstanding it can lead to bad behavior, for training in particular.

A bad day (or a good day) is a rare event. Two bad days in a row is a very rare event. It's quite likely you'll do better during your next practice for no reason at all. And for many people, they'll incorrectly attribute this improvement to something that they did.

In training, it's well knows that rewarding people for doing well is more effective than punishing people for doing poorly. But when trainers see their students have a bad day, and they yell at them, they see improvement the next day! "Swearing at my students causes them to improve." Similarly when a student has a very good day, and the trainer compliments them, they see them getting worse the next day. "Complimenting my students makes them get worse!"

People can end up making a lot of bad decisions by not accounting for the effects of random chance. I'm not saying that's the case here, it's just something to keep in mind when you're evaluating your own performance.

u/UngluedChalice · 2 pointsr/news

If you multiply the probability of winning times the payoff, you find that each entry, assuming you wouldn't have to share it and you get the full $400 million, is worth $1.74. Since it costs $2 to play and there are other things that reduce the winning amount, it is not a good bet.

Source: page 77 of this book.

In 1992 the Virginia Lottery had a game in which the value of the ticket was a little over $3, but they charged $1 per ticket. So investors got together and bought a lot of tickets, and won doing it.

u/moon-worshiper · 2 pointsr/Anthropology

"The Naked Ape" - Desmond Morris 1967

The human ape is the only ape not covered in thick hair. Chimpanzees and orangutans may go in the water but they don't do it as a form of leisure. Orangutans will go to extremes to not get wet.

Bonobo aren't afraid of water and will play in it.

The big difference is the human ape is the only ape that enjoys being in ocean water. Almost all primates avoid ocean water. The hypothesis is that long periods in ocean water resulted in the human ape losing body hair.

u/Enkrod · 2 pointsr/atheism

Peter Railton's great essay about the subject is worth a read, as well as the TED Talk of Frans de Waal and his Book "The Bonobo and the Atheist: In Search of Humanism Among the Primates"

Morality is one of those concepts that are older than mankind itself.

u/busterfixxitt · 2 pointsr/atheism

A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson is a very readable and engaging book that covers what we know and more importantly HOW we know it. There's another version I believe called A Really Short History of Nearly Everything that appears to be a condensed version.

There are 3 audiobook versions, but the best one is narrated by William Roberts and is impossible to find online. I'm currently working on turning my mp3 version into a proper audiobook with chapters, etc. PM me and I'll send you the link when I upload it.

You may also be interested in Caveman Logic and the more dangerously titled The Bonobo and the Atheist

u/mrhorrible · 2 pointsr/philosophy

"The Mind's I"

Read this. It's a bit long, but includes many very thorough discussions of exactly what you're asking and proposing.

u/yourparadigm · 2 pointsr/AskReddit

You should read The Mind's I by Dennett and Hofstadter. There are a couple of essays that discuss this very problem, and they pose some interesting questions as to where in the brain the consciousness exists and how you might go about simulating it.

u/cr0sh · 2 pointsr/Cyberpunk

If any of you want to read a very fascinating book on this topic - I suggest:

/among others by Hofstadter...

u/jewdass · 2 pointsr/AskReddit

I agree with the other posters who suggested Dennett and Hofstadter... They also collaborated on a book called "The Mind's I"

Another suggestion would be "Emergence: The Connected Lives of Ants, Brains, Cities, and Software"

u/Spu · 2 pointsr/books

The Republic and Other Works by Plato
Einstein's Dreams by Alan Lightman
God's Equation by Amir D. Aczel
The Mind's I by Douglas Hofstadter and Daniel Dennett
*Shakespeare's Sonnets by Stephen Booth

u/SuperConductiveRabbi · 2 pointsr/videos

Forget a Hollywood movie, there are entire philosophical treatises devoted to what Karl cleverly sums up in that one sentence. Here's a good philosophical exploration of it.

u/airshowfan · 2 pointsr/atheism

Read naturalist explanations of decision-making, the image of the self, how thoughts work, qualia, etc. You probably want to start with I am a Strange Loop, then Consciousness Explained, and work your way to Godel Escher Bach. There are also many essays online about the non-supernatural nature of the mind, this one being one that atheist Redditors link to often. Also see Wikipedia articles about the mind, free will, etc.

Even after I became an atheist, I could not shake the feeling that consciousness could not be just patterns of atoms. Even in a universe that follows rules and that was not deliberately created as part of a plan, I thought that maybe there's some kind of "soul stuff" that interacts with our brains and is responsible for consciousness. But then, if I can tell that I am conscious, then 1) the soul stuff impacts the natural world and is thus observable and not supernatural, and 2) I am no different from a computer that understands itself well enough to say it is conscious. (It helped me to think of AIs from fiction, like HAL and Data, and try to think of what it would be "like" to be them. Books like The Mind's I are full of such thought experiments). So after thinking about it for a while, I was able to shed that last and most persistent bit of supernaturalism and embrace the naturalistic view of the mind.

u/Mysterious_Lesions · 2 pointsr/news

In his book, Assholes, the author refers to the uncanny capability of these type of people to selectively filter out contrary reality in their outlooks.

Not in the book, but you see phenomena like this in out-of-control (for a part of their life at least) celebrities such as Justin Bieber who are surrounded by sycophants and see only adulation around them. This allows them to act and talk with impunity without really seeing or hearing the naysayers.

u/TychoCelchuuu · 2 pointsr/askphilosophy

On this topic see Aaron James' aptly titled book, Assholes.

u/vampedvixen · 2 pointsr/AbuseInterrupted

I have a habit of buying presents for people that I don't like. I've sent a few people this book before:

They deserved it. But trust me, the giver knows when they're doing it. It's not a real gift. It's $15 worth of 'I hate you and wish you would go away'.

u/prider · 2 pointsr/funny

Assholes. There is a book written about them

u/jediknight · 2 pointsr/atheism

The smarter a man is, the smarter are his rationalizations.

You don't have to be stupid to keep the faith.

I understand your perspective and in a perfect world it might have been correct but the reality we live in is not like that.

Arguing that those who believe are stupid is a lost battle.

Read Michael Shermer’s "The Believing Brain" I'm sure it will ease your hate. We have such a short time here on earth. It would be such a waste to use it on hate.

As Kanji said in Ikiru: "I can't afford to hate people. I don't have that kind of time."

u/VoidXC · 2 pointsr/science

A good book that expands on this is The Believing Brain by Michael Shermer

u/peeping_bomb · 2 pointsr/atheism

Seconding this choice, since this book is more about science and skepticism rather than atheism.

The Believing Brain is another good one.

u/betterbox · 2 pointsr/atheism

[An excellent book on the question] (
It's a good read :]

u/unnamedstripper45 · 2 pointsr/askphilosophy

I can vouch for these:

The dummies one doesn't have as much formal logic but It's definitely more readable than the textbook.

u/frogshit · 2 pointsr/exchristian

I'm 24 and went through your same scenario about a year ago. Though, when I was younger I still did not believe in the "healings" or speaking in toungues so those were easy for me to see past. But I'll give you links to a couple things I've found along the way that may help you out!

This documentary may be great for you to watch. It will give you some brief insight into how healings are faked and why people believe them.

And if you're in the mood to read a book on the topic: The Believing Brain is a great read and thoroughly explains how and why our brain allows us to "Construct Beliefs and Reinforce Them as Truths"

>How do I account for those countless times I was "slain in the Spirit" and was literally on the ground shaking from the "mighty power of God." There were times I couldn't walk, talk or move because of "the weight of his glory."

All in all, it really comes down to the fact that you were indoctrinated to believe that these things can and do happen. When you were experiencing those things, your brain was basically in autopilot mode and reacted accordingly. This is especially true during the more physical happenings (when you felt you couldn't walk talk or move). You were essentially hypnotized by your brain and/or potentially your pastor even.

My best advice is to just read and watch videos/documentaries as much as possible. Learn as much as you can and you'll find the truth. Good luck! Feel free to PM me with any questions

EDIT: Another thing you should do if you haven't already is read through the FAQ over at /r/atheism. There is a ton of good information there.

u/mcrpworks · 2 pointsr/neuroscience

This stuff is mentioned in the book Behave: The Biology of Humans at our Best and Worst by Robert M. Sapolsky. I'd recommend reading it. Not advertising it either, I'm aware Reddit has advertisers for stuff.

I'll link the book in case you may want to give it a look at, what he covers is great, along with environmental disadvantages/advantages to brain development:

Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst

u/KaliYugaz · 2 pointsr/neoliberal

Sapolsky discusses it extensively in the relevant chapters of this book. All the studies referred to are cited.

u/LimbicLogic · 2 pointsr/JordanPeterson

Beat me to it with Sapolsky. His new book, Behave, is coming out in a few weeks! Can't wait!

u/hibou_confus · 2 pointsr/france

…ou alors peut-être que l'auteur s'est intéressé à l'état de la science sur le sujet ?

Si tu t'intéresses au sujet (et que tu parles anglais), tu devrais lire ce petit livre. Il n'est pas écrit par un journaliste mais par un chercheur spécialiste du sujet (lui) et est la meilleure introduction que j'ai vu sur l'état de la recherche sur l'intelligence pour le grand public. Ça devrait te faire reconsidérer ta vision des choses.

u/SemanticallyPedantic · 2 pointsr/NoStupidQuestions

That's uh... a pretty broad topic. I thought this book was a pretty interesting take on the subject:


u/BFSisreal · 2 pointsr/BFS

I'm glad to hear someone has the good sense to start you at a low dose. I've read way too many stories of people being prescribed to take the mid-range dose right off the bat. Inevitably they feel panic, sweating, "going crazy" ect. because almost no one should start on such a dose. I told my doctor I would quarter what he prescribed for the first week at least, maybe the first month. I've had every side effect from SSRI's- twitching, bruising, teeth clenching, stiff neck, additional anxiety and of course the debilitating nausea, ohhhhh the nausea. I recommend no coffee and no alcohol for the first month as well. It helps with the sickness. Anyone trying to break through the beginning of SSRI treatment is fighting the good fight though. I really do think it will be worth it. My doctor is an Upper Eastside old school man who would just as happily give all the Xanax a patient could ask for, so yeah, need to find a new doctor! He wants to up that kind of drug and I said no thank you many times. I wish you the best of luck. Tapering is the way to go for sure. this is a good workbook:

u/atomicmarc · 2 pointsr/atheism

Shermer would never suggest that there are "absolutely, positively" no aliens. But that's a different position than claiming there might be extra terrestrial intelligence in the universe (after all, humans are proof that it's possible). I think what he's talking about is how easily some people accept the tales of UFO visitations and abductions, usually without proof. He wrote about this in depth in his book The Believing Brain, which I highly recommend. In the book, he claims that the brain is a "belief engine" and explains why.

u/BeringStraitNephite · 2 pointsr/exmormon

Humans do confirmation bias really well, and educated ones do it even better. Read:
The Believing Brain: From Ghosts and Gods to Politics and Conspiracies---How We Construct Beliefs and Reinforce Them as Truths

u/pwinkbear · 2 pointsr/konmari

I suggest getting (Retrain Your Brain: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in 7 Weeks: A Workbook for Managing Depression and Anxiety)[] The book helps with depression and helps you to identify your vaules and align your actions with these values. Identifying your values is a good start when nithing brings you joy. The book also does a lot to help with climbing out of depression.

u/chartbuster · 2 pointsr/samharris

It's perhaps not precisely what you're looking for, but I'm reading the brief, "The Problems With Philosophy" by Bertrand Russel, even though I haven't finished the epic "A History Of Western Philosophy" and I'm interested in Bert's many other books. Might not be a great holiday reading companion though– but I think it would be fair to say that exploring Russel's work is a logical™ place to go from The Moral Landscape.

Not philosophy, but I've been listening to Robert Sapolsky's "Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst" audiobook– and I recommend it. I'd say it deserves a physical read more than some recordings of books, because it's not read by the author, and the dialogue with the reader that Sapolsky uses is really engaging.

u/resolutions316 · 1 pointr/marriedredpill

I'M LATE! But god damn it I'm posting.

Absolutely CRAZY couple of weeks. Moved into the new house, then immediately took off for a week in Paris with just the wife and I.

Had an amazing time, but am SO, SO excited to just settle in to the new house, get back on my diet plan, rebuild my routine and habits, etc. I love vacation, but I also love my day to day life.

(note: trying a slightly different format)

Rate the week (out of 5):


What were you grateful for this week?

Trip to Paris. This was a wonderful trip, and a huge reminder of what I've accomplished over the past year or so.

What needed work this week?

Found myself getting VERY reactive about sex. Time away also centered me around what I've been slacking on at home.


No diet plan or exercise due to trip. Weighed in on first morning at home at 179 - not too bad. Next morning I was down to 166 (1 lb over before I left).

We did a ton of walking. That said, lack of sleep and constantly eating out has really made me excited to get back on track.

Today my brain is absolute garbage - really need to catch up on sleep. May try dosing with melatonin today and getting to bed earlier than normal.


Reactivity about sex is clearly a huge deal for me, still. I clearly had a large covert contract that we would be having sex every day - and found that (for whatever reason, probably the huge amount of beautiful women in Paris) my sex drive was MUCH higher than normal. Those two things collided to drive up my initiations and my frustration when it wasn't reciprocated.


I have to remember a few things:


- Her reaction (or lack thereof) says nothing about my value as a person.


- I don't need to read into every encounter as a verdict on one part of our relationship or the other. There are a million and one factors in whether she's in the mood or not; take it for what it actually is and nothing more.


- I let these things ruin my mood, which in turn decreases my chances in the future. Beware of continuous hedonic adaptation stealing my ability to actually enjoy the present (upset about what things "should be," rather than enjoying things as they are).


Anyway, the experience - and becoming aware of it halfway through - helped to re-center me. Started re-reading MMSL and it re-connected me to where I was when I started this whole process. It reminded me that the process is what matters - like almost anything, progress here is characterized by long plateaus followed by large, quick advances.


We had sex twice, and mutually jerked off once while watching porn. Being as the porn thing happened last, I was almost irritated by it (I had initiated, gotten turned down, but then she got interested by me watching porn - enough to jerk off, but not enough to have sex).


Didn't though - had my head screwed on straight again by then. In a pique of irritation (after what was actually a great night out, and after about a bottle of wine), I made a move I haven't done in ages and tried to talk about our sex life. This was unproductive, as it always is when it's anything other than "making the implicit explicit" from a position of strength. Still, it was good in the sense that she opened up about her birth wound - she has a fistula that sometimes stuff from her digestive tract into her vagina. She's incredibly sensitive about it, and I realized that some of the times she's begged off sex because she "feels gross", it's actually been because she has leakage going on.


Like all people trying to understand their own behavior, myself included, this is part truth, part hamster. But it reoriented me to a few things: sympathy and empathy for her, rather than frustration; towards responsibility for my situation, rather than irritation for her; and back towards some of the "basics" I'd lost track of while working so deeply on my own co-dependency. Reconnecting to my ability to be angry is great, but I'd lost sight of working on attraction for a bit.


Part of the reason this trip was such a big deal for me was that it's been a sign of how much I've accomplished in the last few years.


Last time I was in Paris I was single, traveling alone, and poor as fuck. This time, our hotel bill for the week was more than my entire budget for a month-long trip ten years ago. It means a lot to me to be able to live this kind of life - defined by freedom, lack of anxiety, adventure.


I've worked very hard to make it happen. The wife appreciated it, but she doesn't really understand what it took, or how much effort I've really had to put in. Like most people, things seem simple, easy, or inevitable from the outside.


That's fine. I'd rather she not know. This is work I would do even if I was single - my trajectory has been mine alone. I've designed this life over many years now, and the fact that it looks easy from the outside is a compliment.

What am I looking forward to this week?

Getting back into the swing of things. We're finally in the new house, and I'm dying to just return to normal...getting back into the gym, the office, eating on my diet plan, hanging with my kids, etc. I like my routines.

What is important to me this week?

Just focusing on re-establishing a baseline. I've got plans for the next few months - things I was to improve or work on - but for now, I want to just re-build my "cornerstone habits": diet, exercise, sleeping well.


Got back into MMSL. A lot of it's old news now, but I remember how BLOWN AWAY I was when I read it the first time.

Behave -

I CANNOT RECOMMEND THIS BOOK ANY HIGHER. It is absolutely blowing me away - every single chapter is fucking me up. Incredible. Kind of book that changes how you see the world.

Read two "fun books" on vacation - Lexicon and The Yard. Both were fun thrillers. I can down that shit like nobody's business.


u/LuckyTheLurker · 1 pointr/Advice

You should talk to a professional but in the meantime look for a book about Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, CBT. It can help and you can practice it yourself.

This book is free for prime members on Amazon. I haven't read it yet but it has decent reviews.

u/JoselvisPrestalin · 1 pointr/zensangha

>I sorta see what you mean, but only kinda. I always took the "everything is mind" stuff to be more about how delineations between this and that are contextual constructs not really having any merit on their own, not that like sensory data is a construct or something. Am I making sense?

It's possible I've been misreading the Zen texts. I took it as mind creates these labels, it creates the conceptual framwork we see. As to joshu's quote, I took it as you're able to make things look however you want just by thinking about them in a certain way. Sort of like, it's not the flag waving, it's not the wind waving, but your mind waving.

>Poor fake puppies and chimps and shrimps :(

Yea, they went a bit far there for the Zen comparison, but it works in the book.

>This one apartment reminds me of the brain in a vat thought experiment.

I've heard of that.

Have you listened to this?

The second half goes into biology. Very interesting to me. I'm getting ready to read the guys book. He argues that free-will doesn't exist in part of it. link

u/Exanime4ever · 1 pointr/Theranos

The book you need to read to understand what happened here is Behave

In a nutshell, people believe what they want to believe... Elizabeth surrounded herself by powerful, old men who knew nothing of science... She impressed them, made then feel like a million dollars and promised them money and power... They wanted this to happen so they believe her even when others saw through Elizabeth and warn them

In their minds (EH and SB) they believed they were smarter than anyone around them and that all that was needed to produce the next revolutionary tech was to whip it out of people... The concept that very smart people had tried to accomplish this for decades was completely alien to them

u/ParkerColeman · 1 pointr/pornfree

The biggest FIVE tips I have for you:

- identify your triggers, and create new routines and habits to replace porn, and occupy the time when you'd normally use porn

- develop solid self-care routines, especially in the morning and before bed.

- Meditate every day, and become a student of mindfulness

- identify and heal the painful feelings you use porn to avoid (this is a slow, long-term process).

- Find someone outside yourself (this community, SAA, a therapist or counselor, a religious leader) to work through this with you.

First tip is create new routines. I like to look at this as a 3-step process:

  1. Think about the times you normally turn to porn -- often this will be specific times of day (late night, after video games, late morning, whatever). Other examples would be triggers, like getting into a fight with your GF, when you're tired, when you're angry, when you can't sleep, when you're drunk, and so-on. Make a list of all of these triggers, and update it as you recognize more of them.
  2. Consciously plan out a new routine -- choose an activity that you will do in those times whether or not you have the urge to look at porn (meaning, don't wait for a craving, make it a ritual every day or every time). Say to yourself, "when [situation] happens, I will choose to [activity]." -- Also, If you have too much resistance to working out or whatever, it can be as simple as "walk to the coffee shop and have a coffee" or "drive to the library and read a book for half an hour." Anything to break up the routine is great.
  3. Execute that plan consistently.

    Second tip is Self Care. This seems counterintuitive and unrelated to porn, but in my experience it is key. Taking care of your self makes you feel less emotional pain, which leads to fewer porn cravings (to escape that pain); and also fills your life with stuff that's not your addiction, rather than sitting on the couch trying "not to use."

    The 5 biggest pillars of Self Care are:

    move your body

    eat healthy food,


    get enough sleep, and


    (The last one, Meditate, is so key I made it its own tip.) You should create a new schedule where you work towards doing all of those things consistently, every day.

    Other examples of self-care include journaling, grooming, going for a walk, sports (cycling, yoga and climbing are my favorites), meditation, saying no, alone time, crafting, cooking, and gratitude.

    Third tip is meditate. It's important enough that it deserves its own section. There are a ton of great apps out there, but the two I recommend most for beginners are Insight Timer (free) and Headspace (a very worth-it $8/mo). They both offer really straightforward, non-woo-woo guided courses that make this crucial life skill very approachable. It may seem counter-intuitive that meditating every day will help you quit porn, but it really, really is helpful. And, as Dan Harris says, it really does, over time, make you "about 10% happier."

    Fourth tip is identify and heal the painful feelings you use porn to avoid. You may or may not be aware of it in yourself, but most people who use porn a lot and have a hard time quitting typically are experiencing some amount of emotional pain they're trying to avoid or anesthetize themselves from. The slow, gradual work of discovering your pain and trauma, acknowledging it, and healing from it, will dramatically reduce your random urges to look at porn.

    The easiest way to do this is therapy, counseling, or SAA/AA. If those options don't work, journaling your feelings and thoughts can help a lot, especially with identifying reoccurring patterns in your brain.

    Coming from someone who is skeptical about "self-help books," I have also learned that there are books written by actual doctors which are a far cry from The Secret and so-on. I personally recommend

    - Robert Duff, PHD (Aka Duff the Psych)'s two excellent books, and his podcast.

    - Seth J. Gillihan, PhD's Cognitive Behavioral Therapy workbook Retrain Your Brain in 7 Weeks

    Fifth tip is find someone outside yourself. I was resistant to this idea at first, but for me it has made a huge difference. I have come to believe that if you have tried quitting a few times already, but consistently relapsed, getting someone in your corner gives you a huge advantage. It makes your intentions and your setbacks much clearer, and gives you some really needed perspective when your brain starts asking you for dopamine.
u/ReebokQuestion · 1 pointr/politics

Robert Sapolsky's terrific book [Behave] ( has a great sub-chapter on the biological and psychological differences between liberals and conservatives. With appropriate caveats, Sapolsky states that "it's easier to make a liberal think like a conservative than the other way around." He points to a number of studies that, taken together, can be summarized as follows: conservatives are made much more anxious by ambiguity; dislike novelty and find comfort in structure and heirarchy; and more readily perceive changing circumstances as threatening. As Sapolsky puts it, the conservative mindset is that it's "better to resist change and deal with the devil that you know."

Liberals, by contrast, have a higher capacity for ["integrative complexity"] ( and prioritze hope and novelty over tradition and honor. It makes them more likely to support the candidate who is better positioned to achieve some form of progress, even if the candidate endorses policies that they disagree with. Obviously, this is a broad generalization (look no further than the shockingly large number of Bernie Sanders voters who refused to vote for HRC, even though doing so was effecively a vote for Trump). On balance, though, I have found the principle to be generally true.

u/JarinJove · 1 pointr/samharris

Try reading actual experts, since Murray is a political scientist like me with no qualification in IQ.

u/shelbyjosie · 1 pointr/newzealand
u/SomeGuy58439 · 1 pointr/FeMRADebates

INTJ generally when taking such tests, but I can't say that I consider them all that worthwhile.

I take the Stuart J Ritchie approach to IQ (he's the author of Intelligence: All That Matters) ... that it's valuable to be aware of the concept but not particular worthwhile finding out your own.

> BR: Is there any reason why a person would want to know their IQ?

> SR: I don't think it's particularly useful.

> I don't know what my IQ is. One of the guys in the psychology department here knows, because he tested me. And there's always a slight awkwardness when we're talking about IQ. He knows what my IQ is. But I have not, and I have no interest in knowing.

u/darkdeus · 1 pointr/genetics

I used this YouTube Channel in the past when I was taking Biochem. He has some good videos on genetics and biochemistry.

Robert Sapolsky is a professor of biology, and professor of neurology and neurological sciences and, by courtesy, neurosurgery, at Stanford University. You can find his entire intro course here:

I would highly recommend his most recent book as well:

u/I_blame_society · 1 pointr/exmormon

I've got insider information from a secret, deep undercover source that could be the deciding factor in winning this case. I can't tell you anything more at the moment, but money would really help me prepare this March Surprise. Trust me. Here's my paypal

u/UnsinkableRubberDuck · 1 pointr/funny

> I could try to argue all this but I really don't have the knowledge for it

Admirable of you to admit, rather than getting angry and stomping off. I encourage you to look into it yourself, but I can't really recommend any sources to go to. What I can do is recommend you maybe have a look at The Believing Brain, Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion, and, if you're feeling up to it, God is Not Great.

u/PragMATHimatiCOOL · 1 pointr/CrazyIdeas

No worries, I appreciate your continued interest and not dismissing this set of thought-patterns outright since there’s many compelling off-ramps / reasons they are not as common as you’d expect real/correct ones to be! :) Maybe the real “crazy idea” to me here is that it’s kind of wild how vastly common the non-reality-matching vague understanding is, when there is one that is more compelling / coherent / reality-observation-matching. I understand why we as humans have mostly begun thinking there, though, and it’s pretty interesting from a historical/evolutionary/meme-evolution angle.

Viewing the “mechanistic view” as opposed to “free will” is a false dichotomy—it’s crazy common though! In reality, the bundle of patterns we regard as “free will” is an emergent pattern FROM mechanistic patterns evolving. (In case you’re suuuper interested in a thorough slaying of the false dichotomy, the concisely-named Freedom Evolves by neuroscience-friendly philosopher-scientist Dennett is a mountain of science-backed evidence on the topic—but my caveat is he’s more annoyingly dense than anything you’ve just read from me! b/c this is hard shit we’re not very well set up / evolved to naturally comprehend—watching some YouTube videos of his might be more enjoyable)

I think the reason many folks view a vague concept of free will as vaguely opposed to a mechanistic view is often just (1) a failure of imagination — I can tell you I believe with extremely high confidence that there’s nothing non-physical about our brain’s operation in the mechanistic universe, and that doesn’t strike me as odd, wrong or irreconcilable. It just strikes me as—we were not historically great at thinking about how the very high level pattern of feeling of free will emerges from the low level pattern of the brain—given we didn’t even understand how the brain recognized objects based on our vision until less than 10 years ago—and it didn’t matter for our continued existence as patterns in the universe so why would we have evolved to care :D

Reason #2 is that many cling to a notion that the MIND must be somehow distinct from the BRAIN (i.e., “magical person sitting in your brain controlling it with levers” — we’ve peered into the brain and understand it quite well — that’s just not how the brain’s constituent patterns are structured). Why cling to such a notion? Why did we assume it’s distinct? Because it fits many of our preconceived world views — it helps us hold on to human special-ness, our religious precepts, hell—many words (fossils of past ideas) we are using to discuss with one another right now have these prejudices / assumptions baked in to them (notice the “I”s, “you”s, etc. — these are artificial distinctions we’ve just found evolutionarily / continued-pattern-existence useful).

We’re just in the last 5 or so years developing software thinking patterns (AI, narrowly focused than AGI) that have surpassed human-based thinking patterns in more and more fields. I can tell you with high confidence there is no ceiling that separates our bodies and brains and that which can be accomplished through software (even set within the Game of Life — just with a really large game board—the universe is vast like a super giant game of life game board). Those closest to development consider AGI something that will happen this century (myself included).

I believe there’s value in this reality-matching view becoming more common. It’s kind of like taking a dump and seeing things clearly when it clicks—damn—reality is all that is real. He’s a pattern, she’s a pattern, we’re all patterns, and that’s all cool!!

u/thedward · 1 pointr/programming

Thank you for your detailed reply.

You present a compelling list of things that we
don't fully understand about the human mind, but I'd
hesitate to lump all these things together in the
"concsiousness" bin. Otherwise, we risk "consciousness"
just meaning "the things about the mind we haven't
figured out yet".

> although they're superficially awake, they later have
> no memory of stretch of road they navigated.

Do we remember those things we were conscious of, or do
we say we were conscious of them because we remember

> And it doesn't help to try to explain it away by
> saying "it's just that their attention was diverted
> and they were multitasking", because all of those
> issues of attention and multitasking are part of what
> we need explained by a theory of consciousness.

This is certainly a phenomenon worthy of explanation,
but seems more likely to be a result of our
limitations. If we have a only a certain amount of
processing power available, we can't put everything at
top priority at once.

> I mean, think about it: a hypothetical AI might be
> able to pass the verbal Turing test and pass various
> visual and problem solving equivalent tests that have
> been proposed, but not be able to multitask, and not
> be able to divert its attention away from the world
> around it.

Or, it might be able to pass several verbal turing
tests at once, while creating a new branch of physics
and writing a play about existentialism. It might have
any arbitrary number of loci of conciousness limited
only by available processing power and memory. Only
having one locus of consciousness seems to be more of a
bug than a feature.

> Therefore, the usual "thought is all about logic"
> notion of AI, isn't even trying to explain certain
> things that just about everyone has noticed
> informally about the human mind.

I don't think anyone working in AI these days
subscribes to that particular notion. There is still
AI work going on using logic programming and such, but
I don't think anyone believes that is the pathway to
human level abstract thought.

> Another area is about the conscious mind versus the
> subconscious mind. There is controversy over whether
> the latter exists, but if it does, how are the two
> different?

I think anyone who would argue against the existance
of the subconcious mind is either being disingenuous
or playing terminology games. I'd argue that the
difference between what is conscious and subconcious
is largely a matter of processing priority and what
actually gets recorded into memory.

> Yet aside from trivial things (like startle
> reflexes), comparatively little is known about the
> subject. How are things allowed by the pre-conscious
> to become conscious, and why?

If we imagine each thought having a volume, then we
could say that the one with the loudest volume is the
one we actually hear, or are conscious of. That thought
can choose to raise the volume of a different one,
or you can have an emotional response that raises or
lowers the volume of various thoughts.

Our analytical thought is driven by our emotions. Our
emotions give us cues (sometimes commands) about what
is important.

> And how does all of this fit in with our intuitive
> feelings that we have free will?

The free will discussion is a whole other bag of
worms. I would highly recommend checking out [Freedom
-Dennett/dp/0142003840/) by Daniel Dennett. Even if you
don't agree with his conclusions, I think you would
find it interesting.

> Those things, and more, should be explained by a
> theory of consciousness.

I think it more likely than not that they will
eventually be explained by several different theories.

We may end up with a bunch of different theories that
explain almost all of these things, but I bet whatever
is leftover will still get labeled "consciousness". :)

> I believe that it may be possible to have some kind
> of strong AI without a theory of consciousness, and
> without the AI "being conscious", but I would think
> it's obvious that it could not be a human-like strong
> AI.

I strongly supsect that any AI we create will not be
very human like at all. Though it is possible we may
end up with uploaded people running on simulations of
the physical brain.

> I further believe that it could not duplicate the
> full range of human cognitive skills, absent such a
> thing. (We already know that it can do somethings as
> well or better, like play chess, but what about the
> entire range?)

An inhuman AI might be less competent than humans at
things specifically human (things that depend on our
particular emotional complement) or an AI that was
significantly smarter (whatever that means) than us
might be able to model human emotions well enough to
fake them when appropriate.

> This overlaps with, but is not identical, to the
> important role that emotion plays in human cognition
> (if emotion is not otherwise accounted for in a
> strong AI theory, then put it in the consciousness
> theory).

Emotion plays a key part in human consciousness, but it
may be that it is just one possible way of directing
consciousness. Even if we create AI with something like
emotion, it is unlikely that their emotions would map
directly onto ours.

This is fun.

Thanks again.

u/big_bad_bunny · 1 pointr/atheism

recommended reading: Freedom evolves by Daniel C. Dennett.

I found it a tough but very interesting, enlightening and liberating read. The book seems to downloadable as a free pdf too, but at first glance I couldn't find any sites that I trust enough to download from.

EDIT: Wikipedia article

u/Crazy__Eddie · 1 pointr/DebateAnAtheist

I could go on and on about how uninformed your post is, but it would take time and it would most likely be completely pointless and unappreciated. So I'll just give you this as a starting point to inform yourself. Obviously not the only way of looking at things but certainly an interesting one.

u/larkasaur · 1 pointr/skeptic

Dennett's book Freedom Evolves is a well thought out explanation of how free will coexists with determinism.

u/Eh_Priori · 1 pointr/TrueAtheism

Denett also wrote a book or two on the topic.

u/shizzy0 · 1 pointr/gaming

Strange article. I liked how he put the game into a serious context, but there are some statements that aren't well founded.

> Science in the shadow of Darwin therefore became concerned not with prescribing rigid order to the universe, but rather with observing the intrinsically random behavior of natural systems. There is a principle of spontaneity at work in the universe, and Darwin touched his fingers to its pulse.

We model genetic mutation as a random event, but that doesn't mean it happens spontaneously without any physical cause. We can't distinguish between a truly random event and a huge causal network whose components we lack observable access to.

> Determinism, in the long run, is untenable, and anything we cannot believe, in the long run, cannot possibly be true.

"Anything we cannot believe cannot possibly be true." Who says? This author obviously, but there's no principle that demonstrates we have a perfect receptacle to understand and believe what's true. Death probably won't serve as an entrance to a cushy afterlife. Lots of people refuse to believe that, but that doesn't mean it's not true.

Overall, I liked the article and the game sounds intriguing. I can see why the author wants to preserve notions like free will, but I don't see determinism being anti-thetical to free will. Daniel Dennett has a neat examination of this topic in his book Freedom Evolves where he demonstrates a world both with and without determinism that still has what he defines as free will.

u/lanemik · 1 pointr/DebateReligion

Compatiblist philosophers like Dan Dennett disagree with you. The topic looks like it might interest you, so check out Freedom Evolves and Elbow Room.

u/JamesCole · 1 pointr/askphilosophy

> What's does the "hard problem" consist of? From what I can tell,
> Chalmers thinks its a confounding problem that we can't understand
> what the experience of feeling pain is like, say, in terms of brain states.

It's more than simply that. But, because consciousness is such a slippery topic to talk clearly about, it's not easy to briefly describe it in a way that communicates the points clearly. Whether you agree with Chalmer's views or not, I think he does a pretty reasonable job of stating the "hard problem" (I read his The Conscious Mind), and his description is pretty lengthy.

> He seems to think that by looking at the brain of a person who's in pain, we should
> be able to know what their experience of feeling pain is actually like. I dont share
> this kind of concern

No he doesn't. It's more the opposite.

> And Chalmers leans toward consciousness being fundamental, I believe

It's not entirely clear what exactly should and shouldn't constitute "fundamental", but I don't think that's true. He's say that it's not something "physical", basically meaning not something that can be understood in structural or functional terms, but that doesn't necessitate it being fundamental.

And BTW I'm not saying I necessarily agree with Chalmers, I'm just trying to clarify what his position is.

u/stoic9 · 1 pointr/askphilosophy

I really enjoyed Dennett's Consciousness Explained. Chalmers' The Conscious Mind presents another popular view which, if I recall correctly, opposes Dennett's views. I'm slowly getting into work's by Steven Pinker.

Probably a general Philosophy of Mind reader would also benefit you just to get a good idea of the different views and topics out there within the discipline. I cannot remember which one I read years ago, although if I read one today I'd pick Chalmers' Philosophy of Mind or Kim's Philosophy of Mind.

u/throughawaythedew · 1 pointr/Retconned

If you are interested in this subject I would highly recommend David Chalmers "The Conscious Mind".

u/SilkyTheCat · 1 pointr/philosophy

> Of course it's contested, but so is evolution. If anyone would like to link me to any serious evidence, I would be delighted.

Here's a book on the subject from about 15 years ago. The author has written a lot on related topics since, and has also published more recent articles since on many of the problems discussed in the book.

u/goocy · 1 pointr/collapse

> What is consciousness?

Since neuroscience started to research this topic seriously, there's no more reason for mysticism. There's textbooks about it now. I personally read Dehaene's book and it cleared up all of my confusion.

u/UncleVinny · 1 pointr/PhilosophyofScience

BTW, here's Blackmore's book on the US version of Amazon.

u/rbarber8 · 1 pointr/AskScienceDiscussion

Science will probably never be able to answer this question, it is really more the realm of philosophy. There are many people who have many very different interpretations of what consciousness even is. A good introduction to the variety of different thought on the subject is this [book.] ( I can assure you though, none of your suggested origins really addresses the tough problems we face when we try to wrap our heads around the issue.

u/PartTimeGangster · 1 pointr/philosophy

There is a book that goes through this scenario by accepting the Everett explanation of quantum mechanics:

I recommend that you don't read it: it will suck you in and torment you. Just enjoy life mate.

u/wizardnamehere · 1 pointr/CapitalismVSocialism

> Well I do know a lot of research and mathematical breakthroughs are being made here and there. Particularly from people in the community like MIRI, independent contributors like Gary Drescher and Judea Pearl, etc. But maybe you had a different idea of productive investment. The idea of an AI Cold War is a very real and dangerous prospect that I think will be of greater concern in years coming.

Do you mean an AI cold war between American state backed tech firms and Chinese state backed tech firms?

u/fredmccalley · 1 pointr/PhilosophyofScience

The first couple of chapters of "Good and Real" are helpful here.

u/ArsenicAndRoses · 1 pointr/compsci

"Team Geek" by Fitzpatrick/Sussman

For me, theory has always been easy to pick up. But learning how to work well in a team has been a real challenge (especially dealing with unproductive people), and this book is a great resource for precisely that.

I'm also a fan of "Vehicles: Experiments in Synthetic Psychology"; This book is what first got me interested in and thinking about artificial intelligence at a young age.

Both books are short, cheap, and easy and fun to read even for the layperson or the young.

u/EML0210 · 1 pointr/philosophy

Braitenberg Vehicles

u/jnugen · 1 pointr/robotics

You may be thinking of 'Vehicles: Experiments in Synthetic Psychology':


It describes "Braitenberg vehicles":

u/nyx210 · 1 pointr/singularity

>It is actually impossible in theory to determine exactly what the hidden mechanism is without opening the box, since there are always many different mechanisms with identical behavior. Quite apart from this, analysis is more difficult than invention in the sense in which, generally, induction takes more time to perform than deduction: in induction one has to search for the way, whereas in deduction one follows a straightforward path.

Valentino Braitenberg, Vehicles: Experiments in Synthetic Psychology

u/DrJosh · 1 pointr/IAmA

I can't speak for all roboticists, but I'm a big fan of Mark's work. He has helped to show us that one can achieve sophisticated behavior with relatively simple machines. Valentino Braitenberg made a similar point in his wonderful book Vehicles.

u/wrtChase · 1 pointr/politics

I recommend reading this book

You're taking two observations and strongly correlating them, without actual evidence.

u/beroe · 1 pointr/booksuggestions
  • The Canon by Natalie Angier.

    This is a fast-paced, beautifully written, introduction to the sciences- there's a chapter each devoted to scientific theory, probability, measurement, physics, chemistry, evolutionary and molecular biology, geology, and astronomy. It's written entirely for laymen in an engaging way, and from 2007, so the information is quite current.

    For instance, from the evolutionary bio chapter:
    > Evolution is neither organized nor farsighted, and you wouldn't want to put it in charge of planning your company's annual board meeting, or even your kid's birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese. As biologists like to point out, evolution is a tinkerer, an ad-hocker, and a jury-rigger. It works with what it has on hand, not with what it has in mind. Some of its inventions prove elegant, while in others you can see the seams and dried glue.

  • I don't have The Drunkard's Walk by Leonard Mlodinow in front of me, but it's a good introduction to probability, with a bunch of real-world examples, and also good explanations of the theory. It changed the way I think about statistics.
u/krybop · 1 pointr/explainlikeimfive

Leonard Mlidinow in A Drunkards Walk makes an extremely compelling argument for why a CEO has no actual effect on a company's growth/success. And that judging a CEO on how successful the company is a lot like judgings a person for being able to predict a the next roll of a die will be a 6.

u/RampanTThirteen · 1 pointr/hiphopheads

The Drunkard's Walk was a pretty interesting read about how randomness and our poor psychological understanding of it affects so many things. Its in the same sort of genre as a Freakonomics or Blink type thing I'd say.

u/uhhhgoogy · 1 pointr/TagProIRL

The Drunkard's Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives

I read this 5 or 6 years ago and really enjoyed it. Has a lot of math, but includes a lot of history and some psychology as well.

From the Amazon page:

"By showing us the true nature of chance and revealing the psychological illusions that cause us to misjudge the world around us, Mlodinow gives us the tools we need to make more informed decisions. From the classroom to the courtroom and from financial markets to supermarkets, Mlodinow's intriguing and illuminating look at how randomness, chance, and probability affect our daily lives will intrigue, awe, and inspire."

u/jebuz23 · 1 pointr/actuary

Superforecasting has been on my "get to soon" list since I got it last Christmas. It just got a nice nod in the latest CAS magazine.

Along the probability/math lines, other books I've enjoyed are:

u/mariox19 · 1 pointr/IAmA
u/BurkeTheYounger · 1 pointr/pics

?? Then read some statistics. Even if 100% of these anecdotes was made up, what do you think of this article?

You can debate cause, but there is data on this issue. If you think it's racist to keep track of the data, IMO you're part of the problem.

From the article:

>Judging from online comments, there is a wide spectrum of views on this, from unapologetic racism to militant refusal to blame the problem on anything but historic white racism.

IMO all the people described in that sentence are the problem. Shitty behaviour is shitty behaviour, and even if it's not always going to give you accurate conclusions if you treat anecdotes as data, it's pretty hard to ignore your lived experiences.

See: Drunkard's Walk if you want to see how often we do this.

u/Beast_Ice · 1 pointr/todayilearned

read the drunkards walk and you understand why this is so.

u/DrunkMc · 1 pointr/truegaming

They refer to this in The Drunkard' Walk, but with pilots. (

We essentially have a skill level, but there are so many variables that some days you'll perform worse, some days you'll perform better. But overall, you'll tend to be closer to your normal skill level.

u/chopthis · 1 pointr/poker

The better question to ask is why do you need this in the first place? If you were playing good and running good your mental game would be fine. The only thing that affecting poker player results are playing bad or running bad. Playing bad can be fixed by analyzing hands, reading good poker books and training. The effects of running bad can be lessened by understanding probability and randomness better. Running bad shouldn't really be an issue if you are bank rolled properly because if it is, then you are playing bad.

Most poker players that I know that are always frustrated or constantly tilting are almost always playing at stakes their bankroll doesn't support.
If you are using the 100 times big blind and 25 buyins recommendation, you shouldn't really have a mental game issue because you should be able to absorb the variance.

Mental Game Books

  • The Mental Game of Poker

  • The Poker Mindset

    More understanding about probability, randomness and focusing on the present can be helpful. If you understand those more it should help your mental game. I would recommend these books and at least understand their central points:

  • The Power of Now - relates to poker because the hand you are playing now is the only hand you should worry about. There is no last hand. Each hand is a clean slate. Focus on the present hand.

  • The Drunkard's Walk - relates to poker because whether you double up and lost two buy-ins could just be randomness.

  • The 80 / 20 Principle - relates to poker because 80% of your wins or losses will most likely come from 20% of hands played. Thus making hand selection important.

  • The Black Swan - one "black swan" situation could triple you up or make you lose your whole stack. Typically this means knowing when to fold big hands like AA or KK.

  • Fooled By Randomness - relates to poker because you could win the main event and millions of dollars and still not be a good poker player. The poker gods and luck could have just wanted to hang out with you for a week.

u/MooseMalloy · 1 pointr/askscience

For further information, the book The Drunkard's Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives by Leonard Mlodinow contains a number of good examples of how humans have difficulties recognizing true randomness. For example, iTunes had to make the random play function less random in order to appear more random.

u/agconway · 1 pointr/math

Mathematical Tourist by Ivars Peterson is an entertaining book for math audiences of all levels. Light on depth but lots of breadth into modern math problems.

The Drunkard's Walk by Leonard Mlodinow is a great historical account of the development of probability theory and statistics with lots of interesting examples.

u/ZeroBugBounce · 1 pointr/AskReddit

Yeah, I didn't understand that point really correctly until I read The Drunkard's Walk. People vastly underestimate the role of randomness in how things are.

u/Morophin3 · 1 pointr/answers

Here are some cool videos for you(not really informative about the makeup of cells but nonetheless might interest you enough to read the amazing books that I've listed below! The microcosmos really is a whole 'nother world!):

Kinesin Walking Narrated Version:

This is a better model. Notice how the 'legs' shake around violently until it snaps into place. Sometimes the random motion of the jiggling atoms(these aren't shown. Imagine the Kinesin molecules shown in a sea of water molecules, all jiggling about ferociously. The 'invisible' water molecules are bumping up against the Kinesin, and it's evolved to work with the random motions) makes it step backwards! But the ATP/ADP process makes it more likely to step forward than backwards(an evolved process). This is explained well in the book Life's Ratchet below.

Molecular Motor Kinesin Walks Like a Drunk Man:

Here are some amazing book to read. Seriously read all of these, preferably in the order listed to get the best understanding. They will blow your mind many times over. Many, if not all, may be at your local library.

QED: The Strange Theory of Light and Matter:

Quarks: The Stuff of Matter

Thermodynamics:A Very Short Introduction

Life's Ratchet:

The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution

The Drunkard's Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives

I would also recommend taking a biology and maybe a chemistry class at your local community college, if possible. My biology class started with the smallest stuff, atoms(technically not the smallest, but whatever), and worked its way up through the chain of sizes up to the biosphere. It was very informative and there were a few people in their 40s(a guess) that really enjoyed the class. So you can do it, too!

u/MorbidPenguin · 1 pointr/suggestmeabook

Sex at Dawn by Christopher Ryan

The Third Chimpanzee by Jared Diamond

The Naked Ape by Desmond Morris

u/easterner7 · 1 pointr/AskReddit

this is the explanation I got while reading The Naked Ape

u/mangarooboo · 1 pointr/funny

We're naked, too. Naked Apes.

u/wrongright · 1 pointr/funny

Yes! I think you may be referring to The Naked Ape! A very interesting book!

u/Ramonster · 1 pointr/atheism

This may look odd but it makes sense to me, Desmond Morris looks at humans and studies it like any other animal. You can argue afterwards that mankind is not separate from he rest of the animal world after all and therefor not 'special' or 'elevated' but just another inhabitant of the earth doing its cycle.

u/mtb1443 · 1 pointr/askscience

The Naked Ape by Desmond Morris is like an owner's manual for a human. I remember reading in the 80s and it changed my view on how to interact with other humans.

u/travisdy · 1 pointr/ffxiv

Human nature isn't a matter of opinion--modern psychology and associated disciplines show humans to genuinely care about behaviors that show good will toward most strangers. The idea of humans as having a selfish core with a friendly exterior has been labeled "veneer theory" by the leading primatologist Frans de Waal and thoroughly debunked in that form. The idea that humans are generally unsociable and won't be nice to strangers if given zero motivation to do so has been shown to be incorrect by social psychology. The "Lord of the Flies" view of humans as unable to self-organize in uncertain times is also false as argued by cognitive psychologists. Humans are severely interested in being nice to other humans, according to the latest multicultural research in moral psychology.

I could give scientific articles instead of books, but these books are actually fun to read!

u/theluppijackal · 1 pointr/Christianity

Because the limits you're defining aren't even limits, they're impossibilities. It's like if I asked the worlds best mathematician to solve the square root of negative 1. It's an inane question. 'But I thought you were the best mathematician!'

Again, you're describing rules, principals, but not impossibilities. These rules, they function. As a small example, gravity. We know with [near] absolute certainty if gravity wasn't exactly as it was, life wouldn't exist. A touch weaker, no stars and planets [planet here I'm using the more strict definition which normally dictates a mass large enough to become spherical by default]. A touch stronger, planets too large and stars too powerful. You can't ascribe functions that don't work. It's like if I asked you to build a machine without the 6 basic machines.

Do bad things happen in nature? Yes, I wasn't denying that. but the picture you're painting of nature is merciless. I suggest you do some studying of your own. Read up on Bonobos.
Or hell, look up times animals have sacrificed themselves for other species. It happens.
I could also take the lame cop out and say animals with no abstract consciousness [such as insects] don't live in fear of being killed, but, that'd be lame of me.

From that second line of the last paragraph, it sounds more like you're examining everything from a dark coloured lens and being all nihilistic about this whole affair. You're picking the data that pleases your pessimism.

u/simism66 · 1 pointr/Psychonaut

Beyond the obvious choices, Watts' The Book, Ram Dass' Be Here Now, Huxley's Doors of Perception, Leary’s The Psychedelic Experience, and of course Fear and Loathing (all of these should be on the list without question; they’re classics), here are a some others from a few different perspectives:

From a Secular Contemporary Perspective

Godel Escher Bach by Douglass Hofstadter -- This is a classic for anyone, but man is it food for psychedelic thought. It's a giant book, but even just reading the dialogues in between chapters is worth it.

The Mind’s Eye edited by Douglass Hofstadter and Daniel Dennett – This is an anthology with a bunch of great essays and short fictional works on the self.

From an Eastern Religious Perspective

The Tao is Silent by Raymond Smullyan -- This is a very fun and amusing exploration of Taoist thought from one of the best living logicians (he's 94 and still writing logic books!).

Religion and Nothingness by Keiji Nishitani – This one is a bit dense, but it is full of some of the most exciting philosophical and theological thought I’ve ever come across. Nishitani, an Eastern Buddhist brings together thought from Buddhist thinkers, Christian mystics, and the existentialists like Neitzsche and Heidegger to try to bridge some of the philosophical gaps between the east and the west.

The Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way by Nagarjuna (and Garfield's translation/commentary is very good as well) -- This is the classic work from Nagarjuna, who lived around the turn of the millennium and is arguably the most important Buddhist thinker after the Buddha himself.

From a Western Religious Perspective

I and Thou by Martin Buber – Buber wouldn’t approve of this book being on this list, but it’s a profound book, and there’s not much quite like it. Buber is a mystical Jewish Philosopher who argues, in beautiful and poetic prose, that we get glimpses of the Divine from interpersonal moments with others which transcend what he calls “I-it” experience.

The Interior Castle by St. Teresa of Avila – this is an old book (from the 1500s) and it is very steeped in Christian language, so it might not be everyone’s favorite, but it is perhaps the seminal work of medieval Christian mysticism.

From an Existentialist Perspective

Nausea by Jean Paul Sartre – Not for the light of heart, this existential novel talks about existential nausea a strange perception of the absurdity of existence.

The Myth of Sisyphus by Albert Camus – a classic essay that discusses the struggle one faces in a world inherently devoid of meaning.

I’ll add more if I think of anything else that needs to be thrown in there!

u/smellegantcode · 1 pointr/philosophy

Most of us are unconscious several times in every 24 hour period, hopefully while safely in bed, so with so much discontinuity in our consciousness there is no reason to assume that today you possess "the same consciousness" as yesterday, but nor is there much of a reason to deny it either. It's a very typical metaphysical dilemma, in that it seems at first to suggest two distinct possibilities, one of which must be true and the other false, but on reflection it turns out there is no way (even in principle) to distinguish between them, so we may have been tricked by the appearance of a dilemma, but which just gives us two different ways of describing or approaching the same thing.

A common approach to creationism is to note that it describes an infinite set of possibilities: the universe might have been created at any instant in the past (even seconds ago) and you along with it, with all your memories in place so as to fool you into think the universe is much older. Much as fossils of dinosaurs are supposed to be a trick (put there by Satan?) in the more popular kinds of creationism.

Pretty much any idea that is likely to occur to us about minds/memory has occurred before to a lot of people and hence has been extensively written about by philosophers. Has anyone pointed you toward this book yet? It's a classic compendium of stuff along these lines.

u/_jacks_wasted_life__ · 1 pointr/neuroscience

> I am a Strange Loop

Hofstadter also wrote The Minds I, which is another interesting read.

u/ASnugglyBear · 1 pointr/suggestmeabook

Mind's I edited by Daniel Dennet and Douglas Hofsteader

A Sense of Style by Steven Pinker

The Origins of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind by Julien Jaynes (This is completely debunked, but mindblowing all the same).

u/Nadarama · 1 pointr/AskScienceDiscussion

Have you checked out r/LucidDreaming? It's more about techniques for gaining greater conscious control, and AFIAK there's little in the way of consciousness research along the lines you bring up (since no-one can even agree on how to define consciousness, we really don't have a place to begin); but it is fertile ground for speculation.

Though it has little material in the way of lucid dreaming, The Mind's I is a classic collection of accessible essays on consciousness from empirical perspectives; and Dream Work is likewise a classic on LDing.

u/perceived_pattern · 1 pointr/AskReddit

I'll take the time to write it up if you meant that sincerely (because I haven't tried explaining it to someone else before, which is usually pretty helpful for understanding).

But if you meant that facetiously, I expect you'll be surprised how much about the phenomenon of consciousness has been convincingly explained (or, rather, explained away) in the last 20 years. Watch some videos via Google, or try this 9 year old book with some mind-changing perspectives on the subject.

Happy exploring!

u/aim2free · 1 pointr/singularity

No, I haven't read that, but just checked a summary on wikipedia.

The impression I got that is that it is quite populistic. He doesn't say anything new apart from something I seems to have published about the same time on my blog, this part about accelerated returns. I did my PhD in computational neuroscience and have so far, not heard anyone but my self speculate about this about accelerated returns being of importance to the computational efficiency of the brain[1], so this is interesting. Otherwise (only gave it a quick look through, will likely get the book and read) it seems as he is just repeating things which e.g. Douglas Hofstadter, Gerald Edelman, Daniel Dennet and me (thesis from 2003, chapter 7 speculative part) have written about.

> apparently to give him the resources to put into practice his hypothesis from that book.

Yes, this is my theory as well, to make it appear as he will put into practice the hypotheses from that book.

The employment of him can have many reasons:

  1. to ride on the singularity "AI-hype"
  2. to stop him from actually implement conscious AI.
  3. naïve assumption that he could make it.

    No 1 would simply be a reasonable business image approach. No 2 would be a sensible beings action, as we do not really need any "conscious AI" (unless I am an AI, have A.I. in my middle names though...) to implement the singularity (which is my project). No 3 is also reasonable, as if the google engineers actually had as goal to implement conscious AI and knew how to do it, they wouldn't need Kurzweil.

    However, I suspect that google already know how to implement ethical conscious AI, as when I showed this algorithm from my thesis , he almost instantly refused talking to me more, and said that they can not help me.

    I showed that algorithm for 25 strong AI researchers at a symposium in Palo Alto 2004, and they said, yes, this is it.

    However, I have later refined it and concluded that the "rules" are not needed, these are built in due to the function of the neural system, all the time striving towards consistent solutions. I wrote a semi jokular (best way to hide something, learned from Douglas Adams) approach to almost rule free algorithm in 2011. The disadvantage with this algorithm is that it can trivially be turned evil. By switching the first condition you could implement e.g. Hitler, by switching the second condition you could implement the ordinary governmental politician...

  4. OK, my PhD opponent prof Hava Siegelmann has proved that the neural networks are Super Turing, but not explicitly explained the reason for them being, that is, not in language of "accelerated returns". She is considerably smarter than me, I do not understand the details of the proof.
u/Nomikos · 1 pointr/science

From the first 40 pages, it looks like a discussion on free will, determinism, religion, morality, etc. It's interesting, and the pages are really short. Reminds me of one of the stories of The Mind's I.
Edit: reading a bit further, it has a nice twist halfway.. I daren't predict what the rest is about.

u/zapper877 · 1 pointr/AskReddit

Get him into philosophy, niestche, Wittgenstein, Plato, especially socrates, you should read this wikipedia article on socrates here:

Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus

An amazing book to help you think more clearly about everything... an amazing read

Metaphors we live by

Title: Where does mathematics come from...

Check out the standard encyclopedia of philosophy to find things you might think he would like:

u/completely-ineffable · 1 pointr/philosophy

>Consider that other life forms have knowledge of their environment but have no mathematical abstractions as we know them. So knowledge doesn't need any human abstraction. i.e. no words, no numbers. It (the structure of the universe) simply exists with or without humanity.


I'd been meaning to look at Lakoff and Nuñez and this was a good impetus to look at it. What I learned is that in the first chapter they talk about the mathematical capabilities of (nonhuman) animals (pp. 21–23). Of course, raccoons can't do representation theory and owls can't do ordinal analysis (but some cats can do inner meow-del theory). Nonetheless, animals are capable of some level of mathematical abstraction. To use L&N's examples: rats can recognize small integers and some primates have been taught to calculate with numerals.

Why did you link to a reference which contradicts your assertions?

u/Cartesian_Circle · 1 pointr/math

I tend to be the oddball non-Platonist who things math is created, not discovered. Math that "works" sticks around.

Two readings that got me there: Metaphors we Live By, Where mathematics comes from. Both somewhat controversial.

u/BigXris · 1 pointr/AmItheAsshole

Every time I’m in this sub I think of this book:

This is actually a really good book about why people think they are special and how they’re not. Problem is, it kind of turned me into an asshole, because now I hunt assholes and tell them all about themselves. Which makes me an asshole.

An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind.

Peace out, assholes!

u/NukeThePope · 1 pointr/atheism

Thank you! This stuff was off the top of my head but strongly influenced by a recent reading of Michael Shermer's The Believing Brain. In this highly recommended book, Shermer pulls together a lot of neuro research including much that's fairly recent. Because of its up-to-date quality, I recommend this book over the "classic," The Demon Haunted World by Carl Sagan.

I believe I've correctly reproduced (or at least excerpted) what I learned from the book, but you (or rather the OP) will certainly be better off getting this directly from the horse's mouth.

u/aeyuth · 1 pointr/DebateReligion

this may answer some questions.

u/ggliddy357 · 1 pointr/Christianity

Thank you for asking a question. I have to give you credit, most people don't care enough to search.

Emotions are nothing more than chemical reactions in the brain. They absolutely can be tested. "Feelings" is just the word we give to certain brain states. Each brain state is simply a mix of hormones in the brain.

Both Sam Harris and Michael Shermer reference these studies in their most recent books. To answer you question directly, oxytocin is the chemical responsible for love.

By the way, you're back to shifting the burden of proof again. I'm not saying your beliefs are either true or not. I'm simply saying you have no evidence for them so there's no good reason to believe them. As I simply said before, you can believe any thing you want, but until you have evidence, you could be as crazy as the people who think they are Napoleon Bonaparte.

Think about it for a moment. I know people who claim to have been abducted by aliens and sexually probed while on the ship. Are they telling the truth? For them, yes. They believe it, and it's as real as anything else in their life. But is it true? Probably not.

It seems you have an opportunity here. I get the feeling you're pretty smart and might be looking for answers. That's a powerful combination. The problem, however, is that the places you've been looking for answers up until now have been pretty bad. You can go deeper down the rabbit hole into things for which there is no evidence, or you can discover reality as it is.

If you're interested in living an evidence based life there are books that will help. Can I recommend one or two to get you started?

Michael Shermer has written two books that will get you started. Either would be excellent for you and your position at the moment.

The Believing Brain and Why People Believe Weird Things.

Once you get a foundation of how things work, then we can move on the fun stuff like physics, biology, philosophy, astronomy...and so on.

Do you listen to podcasts? There are a few of these you might try out as well.

Rationally Speaking
The Skeptics Guide to the Universe
Point of Inquiry
Reasonable Doubts

In the end, as I said before, you're going to have to make a choice. Either the supernatural realm exists or it doesn't. And since there isn't any evidence now, nor has any evidence ever been shown that anything supernatural ever existed, it should be an easy choice.

It's pretty simple really. When someone says weird, crazy things they believe, I would believe them too, IF THEY HAVE EVIDENCE. If they don't, I'm sorry I'm going to withhold saying you're right or wrong until I have more information.

u/KajikiaAudax · 1 pointr/samharris

> heritability isn't a measure of genetics.

Now you're playing semantics to the utmost. The fact of the matter is you inherit certain genes from your parents. Your idea that nothing is actually genetically inherited is strange. IQ has been shown to be heritable, as has height. I understand the societal expectations creating the earring "heritability" but I have no idea what you're talking about when you say IQ isn't at least partially inherited from your parents.

> If you're going to so easily dismiss all the relevant scientists on this topic then what differentiates your position from creationism?

Because a professor of genetics at Harvard isn't saying that the position that Christianity is false is scientifically untenable (I would refer you to Dr. David Reich, Ph.D's article in the New York Times). In fact, here's some of it, followed by a link:

> I have deep sympathy for the concern that genetic discoveries could be misused to justify racism. But as a geneticist I also know that it is simply no longer possible to ignore average genetic differences among “races.”

His article is a canary in the coalmine event. He claims to have NO IDEA! what we're going to find out about group differences going forward. Then why the hell is he so nervous? Because he knows that the odds are extremely high that the average IQ of a fully-nourished sub-Saharan African population and a fully-nourished Ashkenazi Jew population with equal access to education are not both 100.000000000000000000000000000000. You know that too, you just can't admit it, so you appeal to a scientific consensus that exists because people are terrified of having their careers destroyed. About that consensus...

> Reich’s claim that we need to prepare for genetic evidence of racial differences in behavior or health ignores the trajectory of modern genetics. For several decades billions of dollars have been spent trying to find such differences. The result has been a preponderance of negative findings despite intrepid efforts to collect DNA data on millions of individuals in the hope of finding even the tiniest signals of difference.

That is from the rebuttal letter 67 scientists "wrote" in response to Reich's article in the NYT.

That rebuttal letter is here:

Allow me to destroy that argument (and the credibility of that rebuttal letter):

> Why so many African-Americans have high blood pressure
Theories include higher rates of obesity and diabetes among African-Americans. Researchers have also found that there may be a gene that makes African-Americans much more salt sensitive. In people who have this gene, as little as one extra gram (half a teaspoon) of salt could raise blood pressure as much as 5 mm Hg.

Oops! I guess the American Heart Association is a eugenics society now.

> As for people like Jensen and Rushton, how do you feel about the concept of "conflict of interest"? Are you aware of the Pioneer Fund?

This is an ad hominem attack. Does the medical literature back what he was saying, or not? Has "compensatory education" increased IQ, or not? According to Dr. Haier, it HAS NOT! He has explicity said that compensatory education has not closed the black/white IQ gap. Dr. Haier's position (and he reveals this in his latest book) is that IQ is heritable, and we can raise it using CRISPR. The most generous interpretations of IQ being raised by compensatory education grant that it raised IQ by 4 points in cases of the application of an extremely rigorous program. That's 1/3 of a deviation. According to Haier, what happens is in children it looks like you can increase IQ a great deal, but as the child gets older, IQ becomes more heritable. In other words they lose those "gains".

A description of Haier's book (it was published 2.5 years ago):

> This book introduces new and provocative neuroscience research that advances our understanding of intelligence and the brain. Compelling evidence shows that genetics plays a more important role than environment as intelligence develops from childhood, and that intelligence test scores correspond strongly to specific features of the brain assessed with neuroimaging. In understandable language, Richard J. Haier explains cutting-edge techniques based on genetics, DNA, and imaging of brain connectivity and function. He dispels common misconceptions, such as the belief that IQ tests are biased or meaningless, and debunks simple interventions alleged to increase intelligence. Readers will learn about the real possibility of dramatically enhancing intelligence based on neuroscience findings and the positive implications this could have for education and social policy. The text also explores potential controversies surrounding neuro-poverty, neuro-socioeconomic status, and the morality of enhancing intelligence for everyone.

u/hey_look_its_shiny · 1 pointr/quotes

I appreciate that you have had discussions with people in the field and read some papers that left you with the impression that you've outlined above. Unfortunately, it is not an accurate representation of the overall field's views on the subject.

In addition to the general roundup on IQ listed above, Wikipedia has also done a decent job of summarizing how neuroscience approaches inquiries into the neural bases of intelligence.

Edit: in addition to the above, here is a Cambridge University introductory-level Neuroscience textbook on intelligence. From the first paragraph of the summary: "He dispels common misconceptions, such as the belief that IQ tests are biased or meaningless, and debunks simple interventions alleged to increase intelligence."

u/RileyFenn · 1 pointr/DescentIntoTyranny

What about the guy who tried to run from the cops in a vehicle with his pregnant gf in it?

Because she got hurt doesn't mean she's automatically the victim and is "right."

I think the verdict to not indict Darren Wilson demonstrated that.

Here. Let me help you out. Put this on your wishlist for Santa.

u/Alanzos_Blog · 1 pointr/scientology

Here are two excellent books in this very subject:

The Believing Brain and Why People Believe Weird Things both by Michael Shermer, the head of the skeptic's society.

There is one passage which describes what you are talking about to a "T"

>In 1620 English philosopher and scientist Francis Bacon offered his own Easy Answer to the Hard Question:

>The human understanding when it has once adopted an opinion (either as being the received opinion or as being agreeable to itself) draws all things else to support and agree with it. And though there be a greater number and weight of instances to be found on the other side, yet these it either neglects and despises, or else by some distinction sets aside and rejects; in order that by this great and pernicious predetermination the authority of its former conclusions may remain inviolate … And such is the way of all superstitions, whether in astrology, dreams, omens, divine judgments, or the like; wherein men, having a delight in such vanities, mark the events where they are fulfilled, but where they fail, although this happened much oftener, neglect and pass them by.52

>Why do smart people believe weird things? Because, to restate my thesis in light of Bacon’s insight, smart people believe weird things because they are skilled at defending beliefs they arrived at for non-smart reasons.





u/zeyus · 1 pointr/exjw

Awesome, it's great you're so proud of her!

Haha knowledge that leads to everlasting boredom! Book studies were the worst, I always felt super obligated to study extra hard because there were so few people that often nobody would answer!

Don't be so sure that your family will keep abandoning you, it's possible sure, but there's always hope! Often they're surprised that you can leave the witnesses and live a normal, or even better than normal life (of course there's always the "blessed by satan" get out clause) but they do expect people who leave to get aids and die from a heroin overdose.

It's easy to prove them wrong! Either way though, you have your own family to look out for and you can learn what not to do!

On to the suggested reading. I've mentioned many on here before but I don't expect everyone to be aware of it all so here goes:

Reading (I have a kindle and love reading, but they're all available for ebook and in paperback)

u/TheSecondAsFarce · 1 pointr/skeptic

Check out Rob Brotherton's (2015) Suspicious Minds: Why We Believe Conspiracy Theories. He specifically focuses on the psychological components.

Another book worth checking out is Michael Shermer's (2012) The Believing Brain: From Ghosts and Gods to Politics and Conspiracies--How we Construct Beliefs and Reinforce them as Truths. While the book touches on a wide number of topics beyond conspiracy theories, it addresses much of the psychology underlying the belief in conspiracy theories.

u/lamblikeawolf · 1 pointr/AdviceAnimals

This book is basically dedicated to answering the question, "why do people believe things" and points out several ways in which people trick themselves into believing only what they want to believe and how it results in ignoring facts that do not fit with their pre-conceived paradigm.

It is full of science, and I highly recommend it for anyone interested in the topic.

u/maredsous10 · 0 pointsr/audiobooks

Almost anything Malcom Gladwell.

Disappearing Spoon

Feynman's Rainbow: A Search for Beauty in Physics and in Life

Euclid's Window : The Story of Geometry from Parallel Lines to Hyperspace

The Drunkards Walk : How Randomness Rules Our Lives

Steve Jobs Walter Issacson Book
A Short History of Nearly Everything
Eat That Frog
In Defense of Food

u/NegativeGhostwriter · 0 pointsr/neuro

The Mind's I: Fantasies and Reflections on Self & Soul- edited by Douglas Hofstadter and Daniel Dennett.

u/mauszozo · 0 pointsr/scifi

Already been mentioned but:

Neuromancer - genre defining, gritty, required reading. ;)

Snow Crash - Excellent, hugely enjoyable characters, good sci fi

Also good and haven't been mentioned:

Headcrash by Bruce Bethke - bizarre, silly, fun cyberpunk (for instance, full sensoral cyberspace connection is done through a rectally inserted probe..)

The Mind's I by Douglas Hofstadter - Excellent collection of short stories about cognitive machines

Wyrm by Mark Fabi - "Interweaving mythology, virtual reality, role-playing games, chess strategy, and artificial intelligence with a theory of a Group Overmind Daemon susceptible to religious symbolism, first-timer Fabi pits a group of computer programmers and hackers against a formidable opponent who may fulfill end-of-the-world prophesies as the millennium approaches."

u/NoWarForGod · 0 pointsr/atheism

Listen to this man, he is exactly right. Have you ever read this? Constructs this exact argument very well.

u/LeSlowpoke · -1 pointsr/iamverysmart

The easiest read you're going to have on this is Stuart Richie's Intelligence: All That Matters

In the scientific literature there is an r-factor of between .5 and .8 for the genetic heritability of IQ, with the rest being environmental factors - predominantly non-shared environment. The variance between .5-.8 in the relationship between heritability and IQ comes largely as a matter of when people are tested. Child IQ leans closer to .5, suggesting greater (nonshared) environmental effects, while adult IQ measures closer to .8.

If you want a really serious look at this, and if you actually gave a shit, you'd read Steven Pinker's The Blank Slate.

u/coldnever · -5 pointsr/philosophy

> Dismissing the work of top minds in their field with such disparaging remarks is an impressive show of arrogance-

An argument from authority is no argument at all. Truth doesn't work on human ego, it just is.

More importantly the enlightenment was wrong about human reasoning, see here:

That means many of our abstractions are not correlated with what is true about the world. So remember maybe it is you who are illiterate next time! Remember, I can tell you the facts and you will not reason to the right conclusion.

>The kind of "knowledge" we attribute to animals isn't even the confused knowledge of preliterate superstition,

Nice to see your prejudice showing, the fact is animals have knowledge enough to navigate their environment. Once you admit that, you admit that life doesn't need human abstractions in order to survive. AKA other life forms without human awareness gather information about their environment and have no human abstract systems.

You're playing a language game like Wittgenstein said, the FACT that these organisms can gain knowledge about their environment disproves this threads raging hatred of the idea that you can have knowledge without mathematics as humans know it! Mother nature doesn't give a fuck about the rage of a certain kind of primate species.

u/ficciones · -6 pointsr/philosophy

Philosophy is the ultimate weapon against religion. If you're an atheist and you don't know philosophy then any jackass apologist can run you ragged with a little Descartes or Hume. He doesn't even have to have read them, or have gotten them right! All he needs is a brief summary he's read in a tract along the way, and he will sure as shit tie you up in knots.

There are too many naive atheists who think all they need is a cursory understanding of science. Don't be that idiot, don't be that cliche. Religion has spent thousands of years honing its philosophical defences - weak though they may be, they can still trip you up if you're not familiar with the territory.

If you want a couple of shortcuts, read Stephen Law's Believing Bullshit and AC Grayling's The God Argument.

u/independentTeamwork · -9 pointsr/starcraft

It's really touching that you care about my education so much as to suggest this. Thank you! Amongst others, I'm currently reading this book during the holiday and it's great: by Sapolsky.

If you read it aswell I believe you will be happy to see it's arguments of there really being such a thing as "born in the wrong body", as some people that claim they are born into the wrong body really do have a brain structured as the opposite sex. For example, we look at instances of people with penis that claim they are female. Some of these do in fact have a female brain. Or maybe it's better to say, brain with structure most characteristic of those with xx chromosones so we don't step on any toes.

If you'd be so kind as to point out any wrongs again it would be much appreciated