Saturday, May 23, 2009

Now that everyone is tweeting, maybe I'll start blogging.

I'm coming late to the blogging game, but I would like to do some writing to work through some ideas and I figure blogging might help develop the discipline of writing regularly. I bring no heavy credentials to this other than someone who reads and thinks. I am impressed with science as a way of understanding the world. I got interested in biology from the naturalist angle, have even given nature hikes to school children at a nature preserve. When the creationism/intelligent design debates started heating up, I realized my understanding of evolution was somewhat thin. I decided to remedy that to make sure I had enough of a grasp of the subject to explain the major ideas of modern evolutionary theory and intelligently defend evolution against its challengers. Reading has only deepened my interest in the subject, especially ethology.
I had earlier been curious about psychology and had been directed to some Jungian material. There were some interesting metaphors in the Jungian approach, but as a whole, I found it very unsatisfying. It felt much more like religion than science. I finally got a foothold in some modern social psychology and have been connecting a lot of dots together via books based on disciplines from cognitive neuroscience to primatology. It's an exciting time; the level of understanding of the human mind has grown by leaps and bounds in the last couple of decades. If you think psychology means Freud, think again.

For what it's worth, I'll offer a list of some of my favorites of my recent reading, in no particular order, but all recommended.

"Strangers to Ourselves", Timothy Wilson
"Stumbling On Happiness", Daniel Gilbert
"The Happiness Myth", Jennifer Michael Hecht
"Mistakes Were Made", Tavris and Aronson
"On Being Certain", Robert Burton
"How We Decide", Jonah Lehrer
"Proust Was A Neuroscientist", Jonah Lehrer
"Descartes Error", Antonio Damasio
"The Body Has A Mind Of Its Own", Blakeslee and Blakeslee
"A Brief Tour Of Human Consciousness", V.S. Ramachandran
"Our Inner Ape", Frans de Waal

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