The John Batchelor Show

Sunday 10 February 2013

Air Date: 
February 10, 2013

[Photo, above: Northrop, Henry Davenport Charming Bible Stories (Philadelphia, PA: J.H. Moore Company, 1893)]


Hour One

Sunday 11 Feb 2013 / Hour 1, Block A: Cain's Legacy: Liberating Siblings from a Lifetime of Rage, Shame, Secrecy, and Regret by Jeanne Safer Ph.D.; 1 of 2

Reeve Lindbergh, author of Forward From Here and Under a Wing 

Cain’s Legacy is a compelling, deeply intelligent book about a subject all too often avoided: how destructive relationships between siblings can be, how much a bad sibling relationship can hurt us long after our childhood years are over, and what can be done to acknowledge and repair the damage. Dr. Jeanne Safer has made another courageous, illuminating journey into the dark places of family life.”
Elizabeth DeVita-Raeburn, author of The Empty Room: Understanding Sibling Loss
“In Cain’s Legacy, Jeanne Safer goes where at least a third of Americans fear to tread—to their troubled and seemingly intransigent relationships with their adult siblings. Safer makes the powerful argument that our brothers and sisters have a profound influence on who we are—even when we appear to be disconnected. For siblings in strife to make peace with the past, and even forge a new present, requires clear-eyed plumbing of the nature of the connection, says Safer. Cain’s Legacy shows you how.”
Douglas Mock, George Lynn Cross Research Professor of Zoology, University of Oklahoma, and author of More Than Kin and Less Than Kind: The Evolution of Human Conflict
“In Cain’s Legacy Jeanne Safer unravels the complex emotional dynamics of human sibling relationships.  And I’m glad she does—while most of us make a hash of our dealings with sibs, it helps to know that others are muddling through these issues as well. Her insights on family social tensions help us to understand the incomprehensible.”
New York Journal of Books
“Psychotherapist Jeanne Safer’s Cain’s Legacy is highly recommended for those who want to think about siblings in a new way, as well as get critical insights into the area of sibling strife, its causes, and potential remedies.  Dr. Safer digs deep into the world of sibling strife and makes this complex, emotionally charged area accessible to the reader through exceptional organization and conceptual clarity.

Sunday 11 Feb 2013 / Hour 1, Block B:  Cain's Legacy: Liberating Siblings from a Lifetime of Rage, Shame, Secrecy, and Regret by Jeanne Safer Ph.D.; 2 of 2

Sunday 11 Feb 2013 / Hour 1, Block C: .The Folly of Fools: The Logic of Deceit and Self-Deception in Human Life by Robert Trivers; 1 of 2

Bob Trivers is a bit of  but his ideas on parental investment, parent-offspring conflict, and altruism have been landmarks in evolutionary psychology, and even though some of his ideas may be far-fetched, they’re never boring. He’s one of the most important evolutionary thinkers of our era.

I’ve just received a copy of his new book, The Folly of Fools: The Logic of Deceit and Self-Deception in Human Life, whose thesis, as stated on the book jacket, is that “in order to deceive others, we often deceive ourselves first.” In other words, we have evolved brain “modules” to hide our own motivations, or suppress data or arguments that conflict with our genetic interests.

This is definitely a book worth reading if you’ve any interest in the evolution of human behavior, and you can get it for less than seventeen bucks on Amazon.  This book has been in the works for a very long time: as I recall, it was originally supposed to have been co-authored with Huey Newton, a founder of the Black Panther party (now that would have been interesting!), but Newton was shot to death in 1989.

 I note that the back dustflap comes with a ringing endorsement from Richard Dawkins:  This is a remarkable book, by a uniquely brilliant scientist.  Robert Trivers has a track record of producing highly original ideas, which have gone on to stimulate much research.  His Darwinian theory of self-deception is arguably his most provocative and interesting idea so far. This book is enlivened by Trivers’s candid personal style, and is a pleasure to read. Strongly recommended.

Some of the chapter titles are “Deception in nature,” “False historical narratives,” “Religion and self-deception,” and “Fighting self-deception in our own lives.”

Sunday 11 Feb 2013 / Hour 1, Block D:  The Folly of Fools: The Logic of Deceit and Self-Deception in Human Life by Robert Trivers; 2 of 2

Hour Two

Sunday 11 Feb 2013 / Hour 2, Block A:  . The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter--and How to Make the Most of Them Now by Meg Jay; 1 of 2

"The professional and personal angst of directionless twentysomethings is given a voice and some sober counsel in this engaging guide. While Jay maintains that facing difficulties in one's 20s 'is a jarring--but efficient and often necessary--way to grow,' the author is sincere and sympathetic, making this well-researched mix of generational sociology, psychotherapy, career counseling, and relationship advice a practical treatise for a much-maligned demographic." (Publishers Weekly )  "A clinical psychologist issues a four-alarm call for the 50 million 20-somethings in America.... A cogent argument for growing up and a handy guidebook on how to get there." (Kirkus Reviews  "Excellently written, this book is sensitive to the emotional life of twentysomethings." (Library Journal   "THE DEFINING DECADE [is] just the wake up call many twentysomethings need." (The Coffin Factory )  "I strongly recommend THE DEFINING DECADE for anyone in their 20s trying to figure out their life's direction. You'll learn how to search productively, how to avoid being indulgent, and how to turn good opportunities into great ones." (Po Bronson, author of What Should I Do With My Life?, co-author of Nurtureshock )

Sunday 11 Feb 2013 / Hour 2, Block B:  . The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter--and How to Make the Most of Them Now by Meg Jay; 2 of 2

Sunday 11 Feb 2013 / Hour 2, Block C:  . Reinventing Discovery: The New Era of Networked Science by Michael Nielsen; 1 of 2

"Anyone who has followed science in recent years has noticed something odd: science is less and less about a solitary scientist working alone in a lab. Scientists are working in networks, and those networks are gaining scope, speed, and power through the internet. Nonscientists have been getting in on the act, too, folding proteins and identifying galaxies. Michael Nielsen has been watching these developments too, but he's done much more: he's provided the best synthesis I've seen of this new kind of science, and he's also thought deeply about what it means for the future of how we understand the world.Reinventing Discovery is a delightfully written, thought-provoking book."--Carl Zimmer, author of A Planet of Viruses and The Tangled Bank: An Introduction to Evolution

"This is the book on how networks will drive a revolution in scientific discovery; definitely recommended."--Tyler Cowen, author of The Great Stagnation

"Science has always been a contact sport; the interaction of many minds is the engine of the discipline. Michael Nielsen has given us an unparalleled account of how new tools for collaboration are transforming scientific practice. Reinventing Discovery doesn't just help us understand how the sciences are changing, it shows us how we can participate in the change."--Clay Shirky, author of Here Comes Everybody and Cognitive Surplus

"This wonderful book is a pleasure to read. Michael Nielsen writes in an authoritative yet clear, concise, and accessible style, making an informative and compelling case for open, networked science and how to achieve it."--William Dutton, director of the Oxford Internet Institute

"In Reinventing Discovery, Michael Nielsen introduces us to the new world of the modern scientist, where the Web is amplifying communication and accelerating discovery in unexpected ways, making for extraordinary problem solving. This is a unique and valuable book."--Victoria Stodden, Columbia University

Sunday 11 Feb 2013 / Hour 2, Block D:  Reinventing Discovery: The New Era of Networked Science by Michael Nielsen; 2 of 2

Hour Three

Sunday 11 Feb 2013 / Hour 3, Block A:  Your Killer Emotions by Ken Lindner; 1 of 2

Sunday 11 Feb 2013 / Hour 3, Block B:  . Your Killer Emotions by Ken Lindner; 2 of 2

Sunday 11 Feb 2013 / Hour 3, Block C:  . The Power of the Prophetic Blessing by John Hagee; 1 of 2

Pastor John C. Hagee is the founder and Senior Pastor of Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, Texas, a non-denominational evangelical church with more than 20,000 active members. Pastor Hagee is President of John Hagee Ministries, which telecasts his national radio and television teachings throughout America and in 245 nations worldwide.  Pastor John Hagee received his theological training from Southwestern Assemblies of God University, his Bachelor of Arts degree from Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas and earned his Masters Degree from North Texas University.  Pastor Hagee has received Honorary Doctorates from Oral Roberts University, Canada Christian College, and Netanya Academic College in Israel. He is the author of 34 major books including four on the New York Times Best Seller's List. Among his works are commentary study Bibles, novels and numerous devotionals. His upcoming book entitled "Power of the Prophectic Blessing" is published by Worthy Publishing.  Over the years, John Hagee Ministries has given more than $60 million toward humanitarian causes in Israel. In 2006, Dr. Hagee founded, and is the National Chairman of Christians United For Israel, a grass roots national association through which every pro--Israel Christian ministry, para-church organization, or individual in America can speak and act with one voice in support of Israel in matters related to biblical issues. Dr. Hagee gains support for this worthy cause by conducting A Night to Honor Israel in every major city in America and by organizing an annual Washington D.C.-Israel Summit where CUFI delegates have the opportunity to meet the members of congress face to face on behalf of Israel. Christians United for Israel has grown to become the largest pro-Israel organization in the United States - with over 750,000 members-- and one of the leading Christian grassroots movements in the world.  Pastor Hagee and his lovely wife Diana are blessed with five children and 12 grandchildren.

Sunday 11 Feb 2013 / Hour 3, Block D:   The Power of the Prophetic Blessing by John Hagee; 2 of 2

Hour Four

Sunday 11 Feb 2013 / Hour 4, Block A:  Brain Bugs: How the Brain's Flaws Shape Our Lives by Dean Buonomano; 1 of 2

"Writing a book about the hardware and software flaws of the human brain is an ingenious idea, and Buonomano has fully delivered on its promise. To a degree that is difficult for most of us to imagine, much less understand, our successes and failures, joys and sufferings, are the product of protein interactions and electrical changes taking place inside our heads. Brain Bugs is a remarkably accessible and engaging introduction to the neuroscience of the human condition."

Sam Harris, author of the New York Times bestsellers The Moral Landscape, and The End of Faith

"In Brain Bugs, Dean Buonomano has brilliantly pulled off what few psychological scientists can do. In elegant and clear writing, he masterfully conveys the astonishing capability of the human mind, along with its flaws and limitations."
Elizabeth Loftus, Distinguished Professor at the University of California, Irvine, and author of Eyewitness Testimony

"He takes readers on a lively tour of systematic biases and errors in human thinking, citing examples that are staples of psychology courses and other popular books. What is new, however, is Buonomano’s focus on the mechanisms of memory, especially its "associative architecture," as the main causes of the brain’s bugs." 
Christopher Chabris, New York Times

"What makes the book all the more compelling is the lucidity with which Buonomano recognizes, amidst its weaknesses, the brain's insurmountable strengths, feats artificial intelligence is ages from reaching--most notably, its remarkable penchant for pattern-recognition and what Buonomano calls "the inherent and irrepressible ability of the brain to build connections and make associations." 
Maria Popova, The Atlantic

"One of the things I liked most about this book was the way it leaps from neuron to brain and then to person and on to society and back again, making useful comparisons all the way."
Susan Blackmore, Focus Magazine

About the Author  Dean Buonomano is a professor in the Departments of Neurobiology and Psychology and the Brain Research Institute at UCLA. He lives in Los Angeles, California.

Sunday 11 Feb 2013 / Hour 4, Block B:  Brain Bugs: How the Brain's Flaws Shape Our Lives by Dean Buonomano; 2 of 2

Sunday 11 Feb 2013 / Hour 4, Block C:  The Happiness of Pursuit: What Neuroscience Can Teach Us About the Good Life by Shimon Edelman; 1 of 2

David Eagleman, Director, Laboratory for Perception and Action, Baylor College of Medicine, and author of Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain  “Edelman marries his scientific mind with his poetic eye to give us the neuroscience that matters the most: an understanding of our own lives.”

Ben-Ami Scharfstein, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy, Tel-Aviv University, and author of Art Without Borders: A Philosophical Exploration of Art and Humanity
“For all its seriousness, ambition, and learning, Shimon Edelman’s The Happiness of Pursuit is an extraordinarilyhuman book. It is ambitious because he bases his view of the nature of happiness on what for many of his readers will be an unusual conception of the relation between the brain, the Self, and the body. Happiness, says Edelman, is not simply a state of mind one tries to attain, but an unceasing activity. That is, whenever it does attain its goal, after a pause for savoring its success it must change its goal for a new one. The Happiness of Pursuit shows Edeman to be a witty, resourceful, raconteur. You never forget his presence. He leans out of his book as if he were at an open window beckoning to us to come inside and listen.”
Dan Lloyd, Brownell Professor of Philosophy, Trinity College
“The ancient injunction to ‘Know thyself’ gets a lively update in Shimon Edelman’s eclectic examination of ‘knowing’ and ‘self’ through the lens of twenty-first century cognitive science. It’s human to wander thoughtfully through real and imaginary landscapes, learning as we go—this is happiness, embodied in Edelman’s witty odyssey, which provokes the very pleasures it describes.”

“Taking passages by luminaries including Homer, William Shakespeare and Jorge Luis Borges as touchstones, Edelman powers along on his ‘quest for an algorithmic understanding of happiness’, revealing that it is this computational journey that constitutes the good life.”

“From Bayes’ theorem of probability to Shakespeare’s ‘Romeo and Juliet,’ Edelman offers a range of references and allegories to explain why a changing, growing self, constantly shaped by new experiences, is happier than the satisfaction any end goal can give us. It turns out the rewards we get for learning and understanding the workings of the world really make it the journey, not the destination, that matters most.”
New Scientist
The Happiness of Pursuit is for fans of enquiries into the nature of the brain, mind—and happiness itself…. [Edelman] offers a happy addition to the classic recipe of ‘self-knowledge, self-improvement, and, eventually, selfless conduct’—a coherent notion of the self.”
The Winnipeg Free Press (Canada)
“Edelman’s explanations of just how the mind works…are dense but fascinating…. Without resorting to empty enthusiasm he demonstrates just what a marvel the mind is. He is especially good at explaining how facial recognition works (‘analogy rules all’) and how babies learn language (‘language is also a game that plays people’).”


Sunday 11 Feb 2013 / Hour 4, Block D:   The Happiness of Pursuit: What Neuroscience Can Teach Us About the Good Life by Shimon Edelman; 2 of 2

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