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Whether you're interested in science, religion, or philosophy, you might find these transcripts in the form of text, sound or video illuminating.
The Forgetting Pill Erases Painful Memories Forever by Jonah Lehrer. This new model of memory isn’t just a theory—neuroscientists actually have a molecular explanation of how and why memories change. Whenever the brain wants to retain something, it relies on just a handful of chemicals. Even more startling, an equally small family of compounds could turn out to be a universal eraser of history, a pill that we could take whenever we wanted to forget anything.And researchers have found one of these compounds.
Science and Medieval Christianity by Richard Carrier. A commentary on Christianity's role in the progress of science. Does Christianty really deserve credit for founding science?
It seems biology (not religion) equals morality by Marc D. Hauser. For many, living a moral life is synonymous with living a religious life. However, Hauser says relligion is not the source of our moral insights, but rather it comes from nature, in our biological code.
Winning the ultimate battle: How humans could end war by John Horgan. Most people believe that war is "part of human nature" or "in our genes". But is it really? Experts claim that war is not innate, and that humanity is already moving in a direction that could make war a thing of the past.
Self Awareness: The Last Frontier by V.S. Ramachandran. One of the last remaining problems in science is the riddle of consciousness. The human brain—a mere lump of jelly inside your cranial vault—can contemplate the vastness of interstellar space and grapple with concepts such as zero and infinity. Even more remarkably it can ask disquieting questions about the meaning of its own existence. "Who am I" is arguably the most fundamental of all questions.
Two Big Things Happening in Psychology Today A Talk by Daniel Kahneman. "There's new technology emerging from behavioral economics and we are just starting to make use of that. I thought the input of psychology into economics was finished but clearly it's not!" --Daniel Kahneman
Searching for Intelligence in Our Genes by Carl Zimmer. The strength of genes’ effect depended on the socioeconomic status of the children. In children from affluent families, about 60 percent of the variance in IQ scores could be accounted for by genes. For children from impoverished families, on the other hand, genes accounted for almost none. The idea that you’re born with 15 genes, and they set in stone how intelligent you’re going to be and how your brain is going to develop, is almost certainly wrong.
A New State of Mind by Jonah Lehrer New research links dopamine to complex social phenomena. A part of the brain called the nucleus accumbens, contains dense amounts of dopamine neurons involved with the processing of pleasurable rewards like food and sex.
[This seems a possible source for qualia (feelings and sensations) which Danniel C. Dennett, Douglas Hofstadter, and others claim derives solely from neuron computational symbol manipulations. Ed.]
Using Causality to Solve the Puzzle of Quantum Spacetime by Jerzy Jurkiewicz, Renate Loll and Jan Ambjorn. Over the past few years our collaboration has developed a promising alternative to this much traveled superhighway of theoretical physics. It follows a recipe that is almost embarrassingly simple: take a few very basic ingredients, assemble them according to well-known quantum principles (nothing exotic), stir well, let settle—and you have created quantum spacetime. The process is straightforward enough to simulate on a laptop.
Where angels no longer fear to tread Science and religion have never understood each other. Now the former has decided to resolve the problem by trying to explain the existence of the latter.
Out of the Blue by Jonah Lehrer. Can a thinking, remembering, decision-making, biologically accurate brain be built from a supercomputer? The Blue Brain project launched by Henry Markram, consists of four black boxes, each about the size of a refrigerator, and filled with 2,000 IBM microchips, and is biologically accurate.
Social Networks are Like the Eye by Nicholas Christakis. There is a well-known example in evolutionary biology about whether the eye was designed, or is “just so” because it evolved and arose for a reason. How could this incredibly complicated thing come into being? It seems to serve an incredibly complicated purpose, and the eye is often used in debates about evolution precisely because it is so complex and seems to serve such a specialized and critical function. For me, social networks are like the eye.
Could there be a Darwinian Account of Human Creativity? by Daniel C. Dennett. The "creations" by animals (bird nests, for example) may look similar to artwork by sculptors and artists, and surely difference exist, but what differences and where does evolution come into both animal and human design processes? Dennett argues that both involve "cranes" (evolutionary constructions) instead of "skyhooks" (divine causes).
It All Began with an End – New Theory on Origin and Future of the Universe The universe’s clock has neither a start nor finish, yet time is finite according to a New Zealand theorist. The theory, which tackles the age-old mystery of the origin of the universe, along with several other problems and paradoxes in cosmology, calls for a new take on our concept of time.
The Cyclic Universe A Talk with Neil Turok Turok's theory implies that the universe did not have a single beginning but rather, a cyclic number of big bangs as a result of parallel universes (branes in string theory) colliding with each other. This better explains the inflationary universe, dark matter, and why a big bang occurs without having to resort to the anthropic principle (a flaky argument which never really makes any predictions), and eliminates the problems of the beginning of time.
A History of Violence by Steven Pinker. The claim that violence has been diminishing may seem somewhere between hallucinatory and obscene. Yet recent studies that seek to quantify the historical ebb and flow of violence point to exactly that conclusion.
The Edge Annual Question -- 2007: What are you optimistic about? Scientists give their opinions. Daniel C. Dennett, Michael Shermer, Howard Gardner, Steven Pinker, etc.
Neuroscientists Create Out-of-Body Experiences Stimulating parts of the brain can induce paranormal feelings. But it's inside the brain, not "out there." These feelings also occur without electrical stimulation such as people who undergo sensory deprivation as during strokes, high altitude climbing, and during surgery procedures. Schizophrenics and epileptics also experience paranormal feelings. These feelings may temp one to invoke the supernatural but it really involves the brain's attempt to make sense of conflicting information.
The Energy of Empty Space That Isn't Zero A Talk with Lawrence Krauss. There appears to be energy of empty space that isn't zero! This flies in the face of all conventional wisdom in theoretical particle physics. It is the most profound shift in thinking, perhaps the most profound puzzle, in the latter half of the 20th century.
Robert Wright interviews Daniel C. Dennett [Video] 1 hour, 10 minutes long. A fascinating discussion between two scientific philosophers on consciousness, evolution, free will, and the supernatural. Notice that, although they have disagreements, they don't hate each other, threaten their opponent with death or supernatural judgement.
Mirror Neurons and the Brain in the Vat by V.S. Ramachandran. Researchers at UCLA found that cells in the human anterior cingulate, which normally fire when you poke the patient with a needle ("pain neurons"), will also fire when the patient watches another patient being poked. The mirror neurons, it would seem, dissolve the barrier between self and others. This research implies that mirror neurons can be used to provide rational rather than religious grounds for ethics (although we must be careful not to commit the is/ought fallacy).
The Edge Annual Question - 2006: "What Is Your Dangerous Idea?"
The history of science reveals many discoveries that people of the day considered socially, morally, or emotionally dangerous (the Copernican and Darwinian revolutions, for example). Now scientists answer the question, "What is your dangerous idea?"
Bible Bullshit! [video] Penn & Teller explain problems with the Bible from there Showtime program, Bullshit!. Includes Michael Shermer. Note the video, in vwm format, requires MicroSoft's Windows media player. Program length: approximately 30 min.
"Intelligent Thought" at Edge This section gives members of the Edge community an opportunity to present their writings on evolutionary science to each other and to our readers. The Edgies have been busy writing OpEds and articles in leading newspapers and magazines bringing "intelligent thought" to bear on the issues of the day. These articles come from John Allen Paulos, Richard Dawkins, Jerry Coyne, Marcelo Gleiser,
Note: "Intelligent Thought," coined by Marc D. Hauser, serves as an alternative approach to "Intelligent Design."
Gödel And The Nature Of Mathematical Truth: A Talk with Rebecca Goldstein. Gödel mistrusted our ability to communicate. Natural language, he thought, was imprecise, and we usually don't understand each other. Gödel wanted to prove a mathematical theorem that would have all the precision of mathematics-the only language with any claims to precision-but with the sweep of philosophy. He wanted a mathematical theorem that would speak to the issues of meta-mathematics. And two extraordinary things happened. One is that he actually did produce such a theorem. The other is that it was interpreted by the jazzier parts of the intellectual culture as saying, philosophically exactly the opposite of what he had been intending to say with it.
Our Godless Constitution by Brooke Allen. The Founding Fathers were not religious men and our Constitution makes no mention whatever of God. They understood the history of corruption and tyranny that had resulted from theocracies. That gave them ample reason to fight hard to erect, in Thomas Jefferson's words, "a wall of separation between church and state."
The Edge Annual Question - 2005 "What do you believe is true even though you cannot prove it?"
Scientists give, perhaps, the best example of people who have the least amount of belief compared to other groups such as religious and political groups. But in the question posed by The Edge, "What do you believe is true even though you cannot prove it?" seems to go against this idea. One hundred seventeen scientists answered the question but in most of their responses, they could have substituted the word "believe" with "think" without changing their ideas, one iota. The Edge could just as well have asked, "What do you THINK is true..." Believing without evidence describes faith, and I doubt that most scientists hold to faith. Of course some do such as Tor NØrretranders, but then he makes this clear by his language. I submit that in most of these responses, their "beliefs" act as nothing more hypothesis, imagination, and conjecture. Nevertheless, this question produced intriguing responses from some of the world's best scientists.
Gödel and Einstein: Friendship and Relativity by Palle Yourgrau. If Einstein succeeded in transforming time into space, Gödel would perform a trick yet more magical: He would make time disappear. Each man's discovery, moreover, established a profound and disturbing limitation and the elimination of absolutes. From their long walks together, from their endless discussions, something beautiful would result.
A Full-Force Storm with Gale Winds Blowing A Talk with Robert Trivers. "For the last ten or fifteen years, I've been trying to understand situations in nature in which the genes within a single individual are in disagreement-or put differently, in which genes within an individual are selected in conflicting directions. It's an enormous topic, which 20 years ago looked like a shadow on the horizon, just as about a hundred years ago what later became relativity theory was just two little shadows on the horizon of physics, and blew up to become major developments. In genetics it's fair to say that about 20 years ago a cloud on the horizon was our knowledge that there were so-called selfish genetic elements in various species that propagated themselves at the expense of the larger organism. What was then just a cloud on the horizon is now a full-force storm with gale winds blowing."
Dr. Abele: A Turn to the (Religious) Right by Dr. Robert Abele. The focus of the first part of this article shows attempts of Christian zealots to have people believe that the United States was founded as a Christian nation. Second, the main figures of this movement who serve in Congress, their positions and their proposed legislative agendas will become highlighted.
Natural-Born Dualists A talk with Paul Bloom.The notion that our souls are flesh is profoundly troubling to many, as it clashes with religion. Dualism and religion are not the same: You can be dualist without holding any other religious beliefs, and you can hold religious beliefs without being dualist. But they almost always go together. And some very popular religious views rest on a dualist foundation, such as the belief that people survive the destruction of their bodies. If you give up on dualism, this is what you lose.
Common-sense dualism is wrong. There is no consensus as to precisely how mental life emerges from a physical brain, but there is no doubt that this is its source. If by 'soul', then, you mean something immaterial and immortal, then souls do not exist. All of us are soulless bodies...
Language, Biology, and the Mind A talk with Gary Marcus. A long held belief states that the human mind represents something special that occurs separate from the material world. Marcus thinks that "the mechanisms that build our brains are just a special case of the mechanisms that build the rest of our body. The initial structure of the mind, like the initial structure of the rest of the body, is a product of our genes."
Affective Forecasting: What you think you're going to get, and what you don't get, when you get what you want A Talk with Daniel Gilbert. The problem lies in how we imagine our future hedonic states. We are the only animals that can peer deeply into our futures-the only animal that can travel mentally through time, preview a variety of futures, and choose the one that will bring us the greatest pleasure and/or the least pain. This is a remarkable adaptation-which, incidentally, is directly tied to the evolution of the frontal lobe-because it means that we can learn from mistakes before we make them. We don't have to actually have gallbladder surgery or lounge around on a Caribbean beach to know that one of these is better than another. We may do this better than any other animal, but our research suggests that we don't do it perfectly. Our ability to simulate the future and to forecast our hedonic reactions to it is seriously flawed, and that people are rarely as happy or unhappy as they expect to be.
In the River of Consciousness by Oliver Sacks. Mind = camera? No: we cannot remain passive, impartial observers. Every perception gets shaped by us, whether we realize it or not.
Religion: For Dummies Interview by Laura Sheahen. Scientist Richard Dawkins on Darwin, the Sistine Chapel, and why we would live better without religion.
EINSTEIN AND POINCARÉ: A Talk with Peter Galison Peter Galison, Professor of the History of Science and of Physics at Harvard, asks how Poincaré and Einstein "could have radically reformulated our ideas of time and space by looking at the way that philosophically abstract concerns, physics concerns, and ... technological problems of keeping trains from bashing into each other and coordinating mapmaking across the empires might fit into a single story."
Regarding Einstein's and Poincaré's account of simultaneity, he wonders: "Is it really physics, or fundamentally technology, or does it come down to philosophy?" He calls it "an extraordinary moment when philosophy, physics and technology cross, precisely because of the intersection of three very powerful streams of action and reasoning at the turn of the century."
The Future of String Theory -- A Conversation with Brian Greene String theory used to get everyone all tied up in knots. Even its practitioners fretted about how complicated it was, while other physicists mocked its lack of experimental predictions. The rest of the world was largely oblivious. Scientists could scarcely communicate just why string theory was so exciting--why it could fulfill Albert Einstein's dream of the ultimate unified theory, how it could give insight into such deep questions as why the universe exists at all. But in the mid-1990s the theory started to click together conceptually. It made some testable, if qualified, predictions. The outside world began to pay attention.
We are all Africans by Pat Shipman The hypothesis that humans evolved out of Africa has become compelling.
Stephen Gould's Evolution by Doug Pond. Scientists and academics have attacked him but Gould, according to Pond, "could turn an opponent's argument on its head, then spin it around with an endless stream of metaphors, cultural references, and other literary devises."
Science as Democratizer by Robert Lawrence Kuhn. Kuhn observes: "In general, countries that have stronger sciences have stronger democracies. And in countries where science has little strength and scientific ways of thinking have no apparent impact, governments tend to range from undemocratic to totalitarian."
The Politics of Christianity: A talk with Elaine Pagels. Does President George W. Bush speak for God? The kind of Christianity that pervades the religious right in this country divides the world between the saved and the damned, between God's people and Satan's people, between good and evil. Pagels sees that Christians use the bible selectively, "they choose the parts they like and they leave out the parts they don't. In this case the parts they like are the parts about an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, that is-and a life for a life.... You don't hear much about forgiveness and turning the other cheek from our President and his administration. The Old Testament is what they choose for this occasion because it suits their purpose."
Why I Deny Religion, How Silly and Fantastic It Is, and Why I'm a Dedicated and Vociferous Bright. by James Randi
The Bright Stuff by Daniel C. Dennett. "A bright is a person with a naturalist as opposed to a supernaturalist world view."
The Genome Changes Everything: A Talk with Matt Ridley. "For the first time in four billion years, a species on this planet has read its own recipe, or is in the process of reading its own recipe. That seems to me to be an epochal moment, because we're going to get depths of insight into the nature of human nature that we never could have imagined, and that will dwarf anything that philosophers and indeed scientists have managed to produce in the last two millennia."
A Bozo of a Baboon: A Talk with Robert Sapolsky. For the humans who would like to know what it takes to be an alpha man-if I were 25 and asked that question I would certainly say competitive prowess is important-balls, translated into the more abstractly demanding social realm of humans. What's clear to me now at 45 is, screw the alpha male stuff. Go for an alternative strategy. Go for the social affiliation, build relationships with females...
Pulling Our Own Strings An interview with Daniel Dennett on determinism, human "choice machines," and how evolution generates free will.
Why Do Some Societies Make Disastrous Decisions? by Jared Diamond [I wish every American would read this article. Keep in mind that Diamond's observation can also apply to political and military decisions. The reader will surely see parallels to the Gulf wars and the Right-Wing control of the U.S. along with its possible disastrous world-wide effects.]
Bin Laden's victory by Richard Dawkins. "Saddam Hussein has been a catastrophe for Iraq, but he never posed a threat outside his immediate neighbourhood. George Bush is a catastrophe for the world. And a dream for Bin Laden."
The Lords of Vengeance By William Rivers Pitt. "I fear that too many of you support this war because you have relied upon our mainstream television news media for information about this whole issue... Unfortunately, it is all but certain that the Iraqi people will see neither freedom nor democracy because of the cultural divisions within that nation."
Myths cloud issues regarding court's ruling on Pledge of Allegiance by Matt Barry
Bush 'morals' invalid by Dara Purvis
You Ask The Questions: Richard Dawkins Dawkins explains his atheism
Second verse, same as the first by Doreen Miller. "In the upside-down world of George W. Bush and company: black is white, ignorance is strength, a greater police state is freedom, rising unemployment signifies economic recovery, lack of evidence is proof of guilt, war is peace, and a loving God guides and blesses the violent aggression of leaders and their armies to resolve disputes. In short, George Bush's idea of heaven is hell."
Bush's Messiah Complex With George Bush's religious "gut instinct," his reliance on the Bible, and his religious rhetoric, he has thrown the world into a militaristic framework. As this article concludes, "When his crusade goes terribly wrong, as it is likely to do, Bush will owe a lot of people an explanation. Meanwhile, we must do whatever we can, nonviolently, to oppose this military messianism."
Redemption by John Brand. "My salvation is far deeper than the mere escape from hell. My salvation liberated me, above all, from ancient myths and superstitions. In this existential moment, I live free from haunting fears imposed upon humankind thousands of years ago. It almost makes me shudder to realize that our religious heritage stems from a nomadic people who were totally ignorant about even the most basic realities of the world in which they existed."
Pedophilia's Double Standard by Christopher Hitchens. "...the existence of a vast pedophile ring in the United States in the twenty-first century is something more than an affront to "family values." And the fact that this ring is operated by named and senior churchmen, who continue to hold high office and to officiate at Sunday ceremonies, is something more than an outrage."
Freedom Illustrated: The Art of Civil Liberties
Who are the terrorists? by Raff Ellis. Ever wonder how the U.S. government goes about deciding who "is" a terrorist or which groups "are" terrorists groups? If not for the foreign requirement for the term, would the U.S. fall under the label of terrorism?
U.S. Had Key Role in Iraq Buildup High on Bush's justification for war against Iraq include Saddam Hussein's use of chemical weapons on his own people and the accumulation of biological weapons. U.S. officials never acknowledge that these offenses date to a period when the U.S. considered Hussein as a valued ally and helped Suddam build up his weapons.
Fanning the flames of resentment (By Ash Pulcifer) resentment toward the United States has grown tremendously in the last two years. In 19 of the 27 countries polled, attitudes toward the United States have fallen. According to the Defense Science Board, "historical data show a strong correlation between U.S. involvement in international situations and an increase in terrorist attacks against the United States."
University of Jihad Husaun Haqqani examines how geo-politics, sectarian conflicts and poverty have transformed religious schools in his country into breeding grounds for hatred and violence.
Kurt Gödel--Separating Truth from Proof in Mathematics Many believers claim the existence of absolute Truths. At one time, many mathematicians believed that mathematics gave examples of absolute Truths. But Kurt Gödel's 1931 Incompleteness Theorem showed that absoluteness doesn't even hold for mathematics (long thought as the exemplar of absoluteness). In short the theorem states that in any axiomatic mathematical system, there will occur statements that no one can prove, thus any axiom system must remain incomplete. Since the entire bases of religion bases itself on axiom beliefs (gods, spirits, etc.), and its language (scriptures, tenants, etc.) sits within the logical construct of grammar, so also must go the entire construct of religious and moral absoluteness. Whether or not a religionist accepts (or even knows about) Gödel's theorem, does not change the reality that the Incompleteness Theorem destroys the idea of absolute truths regardless of whether it sits in science or religion.
This article by Keith Devlin outlines the importance of Gödel's discovery. (Also read D.R. Hofstadter's, Gödel, Escher, Bach.)
Survival of the Slickest: How anti-evolutionists are mutating their message, By Chris Mooney
In the hands of the three witches In spite of George W. Bush's itching desire to start a war with Iraqi, with his belief that it will curb terrorism, he doesn't seem to realize that Iraqi stands as an enemy to Osama bin Laden. George Galloway claims that Osama bin Laden wants Bush to start a war with Iraqi.
Why Religion Doesn't Matter A response to Huston Smith's Why Religion Matters
''Militant patriotism and America's jihad'' Virtually all Christians agree with the violence oriented nature of Islam, yet they fail to see the same in their own religion. If you look from Islam's side, Christianity looks just as reactionary and violent.
'The Boogie Man is coming' George Bush and his corporate string pullers have reaped a political harvest by propagandizing (and thus fooling) Americans by making them believe that "Boogie Men" present a threat greater than car accidents, gun killings, pollution, cancer, heart attacks, or viral disease.
Science, semi-science and nonsense An interview with Michael Shermer about his book, The Borderlands of Science.
Q&A: Steven Pinker of 'Blank Slate' An interview with Steven Pinker, cognitive scientist with M.I.T., about his new book.
Photos: Godless Americans March On Washington (GAMOW). This historic event occurred on Nov. 2, 2002. For the first time agnostics, atheists, freethinkers, secular humanists gathered together in one place (can you imagine?) to form a political action group.
The Creationist Holy War by John Bice
Freedom of the press index The U.S. ranks 17th. Netherlands, Norway, Iceland, and Finland ranked 1st.
"How Free Are We?" Quiz Do you think America represents the country with the most freedom?
Against terrorism or expansion of the American Empire? by William Blum
''A recipe for disaster'' By Doreen Miller.The document outlining the National Security Strategy of the United States gives some examples of why other countries hate the United States.
I'm an American tired of American lies, by Woody Harrelson
Who Will Count The Dead?
The U.S. showed admirable compassion by caring and giving millions of dollars to the families of the Sept. 11 victims. But what of those poor innocent Afghan civilians who died unknowingly for our cause? What compassion have we bestowed toward blameless humans who died from U.S. bombing attacks? Have we ever felt we need to console the families who had members die or maimed because of our New War Against Terrorism? Apparently the slaughter of innocent foreign civilians bears absolutely no responsibility or concern from our government or our citizens. This article at least makes an attempt to count the dead, for history's sake.
Religion's misguided missiles
Richard Dawkins looks at the terrorist suicide attacks against the WTC and the Pentagon.
This Is Your Brain on God, by Jack Hitt
Professor Michael Persinger uses electromagnetic fields to stimulate the brain's temporal lobe to produce psychic experiences, including God and otherworldly sensations.
Design for a life: A Talk With Patrick Bateson
Some people see the process of growth and development as very simple, that it is something that is read out of the genes, and that when the human genome project is completed we shall have an understanding of all human behavior. Others take the view that the developmental process is so complicated that we shall never understand it properly. Bateson takes the view that although on the surface developmental processes may look complicated, the underlying rules are analogous to those that underlie a game like chess.
When Religion Steps on Science's Turf: The Alleged Separation Between the Two Is Not So Tidy, by Richard Dawkins
Dawkins accuses some rational people such as S.J. Gould of "cowardly flabbiness of the intellect" when it concerns analyzing the different domains of religion & science. An interesting reply to Gould's book, "Rock of Ages."
Richard Dawkins on "Ideas and Issues" [audio]
(WETS-FM) Hugh LaFollette, host. 30 minute radio interview with Richard Dawkins in a discussion about evolution. (RealAudio):
The End of Time: A Talk With Julian Barbour
The basic idea of his theory says that time does not exist as an invisible river of time that flows. He says that things ocur in an instant of time, or a 'now.' As we live we seem to move through a succession of instants of time, nows.
Children Don't Do Things Half Way. A Talk with Judith Rich Harris
According to Harris, parent rearing has no long-term effects on the child's personality, intelligence, or mental health. Instead, Harris thinks that genes and the society outside the family has far more influence on the child's personality.
Which would you choose? (A) Solve a major philosophical problem or (B) to write a book that stays on the required reading list for centuries.
What is the most important invention in the past two thousand years?
Introduction by John Brockman. More than 100 scientists and authors have contributed:
Howard Bloom rails on the Christian Right. [video/audio]
A powerful tirade from a man who will one day be spoken of in the same context as R. Buckminster Fuller, Sigmund Freud, Einstein and Sir Issac Newton.
The following requires Real Player:
Audio version: http://www.pseudo.com/links/archiveplay.asp?archid=4737&archtype=aud
ANIMAL MINDS: A Talk With Marc D. Hauser
Philosophers often like to use examples of animals to show how difficult it is to understand the representations and thoughts of creatures that lack language. Moreover, some philosophers will claim that in the absence of language, there can be no thought. If that's true we're in a very difficult bind when it comes to understanding animal thought. In fact, some would claim that the entire enterprise is bankrupt ...... What I argue is that some of the most profound problems having to do with the human mind can only be addressed by studying animals, not humans. http://www.edge.org/3rd_culture/hauser/hauser_index.html
Richard Dawkins & Steven Pinker debate: "Is Science Killing The Soul?"
Do souls exist? What does "soul" mean? Interesting dialog between two leading scientists: http://www.edge.org/3rd_culture/dawkins_pinker/dawkins_pinker_index.html
Daniel C. Dennett: "The Evolution of Culture."
If you're interested in evolution and memetics, this transcript from one of the leading philosophers of our time provides an insightful look at culture: http://www.edge.org/3rd_culture/dennett/dennett_p1.html
For more interesting reads and audio conversations (from which many of the above reads originate), visit the following sites:
The Edge: http://www.edge.org/
The Infidel Guy: http://www.infidelguy.com/
The World of Richard Dawkins: http://www.world-of-dawkins.com/