Every aspect of culture has is orthodoxies, religious, political, economic, artistic and even scientific. Inherent in each orthodoxy are their articles of faith, dogmas, adherents, defenders, evangelists and prophets. There is no fault with any of these, but they must be understood for what they are. Massimo Pigliucci is, without question, a minister of scientific orthodoxy, and as such uses the tools and methods of his avocation. He must be read with this understanding. The first line of defense for orthodoxy is consensus, which he sites repeatedly, ignoring the basic understanding that consensus has never established fact. Instead of discussing questions rationally on their merits, he falls back on insults and demeaning language while attacking the motives and personalities of those who disagree with him, questioning their right to speak outside of their credentialed areas of expertise while repeatedly doing so himself.
As an engineer and physics instructor of 40 years, I have accumulated many questions on the positions commonly held in the scientific community, none of which were addressed seriously in this book. If you are looking for an emotional pep talk to sustain you in your commonly held opinions, this is your book, but if you are looking for an objective, rational discussion, look elsewhere. This is least informative and least credible book I have ever read on these topics.
The book contains some interesting information and is well written, but it is primarily just another response to cultural trends. The authors are unendingly critical of earlier scientists, participants in the "standard model", because they were so dominated by their Victorian culture. They then proceed to reinterpret everything through the dark glass of their own culture. Obviously, the book is far more supportive of open sexual relations, women's sexuality and a host of currently popular notions. I am not critical of their opinions, but the thin guise of scientific credibility is disappointing. As with all anthrepological work, it is riddled with unverifiable supposition and assumptions, presented without caveats. There is a fair amount of work cited, but no consideration for the credibility or motivation behind the cited work and no contrary studies are considered. A great deal of time is spent on the genetic and biological driving forces behind sex, but the issues they are contending with are equally, if not more, driven by culture, which is just as real and just as valid. If you are looking for a justification for a choice of lifestyle, this book will offer you any excuse you need, but if you are looking for objective science and understanding, keep looking. It is not to be found here.
The author is right in that history is not taught well in schools and is often viewed through rose colored glasses, for the sake of publishing success. I am a teacher and I can tell you that his condemnation of text book publishing is right on the mark. I also agree that today's students are turned off by history classes, BUT an entirely negative view of history, designed to condemn by modern standards and transfer untold guilt to current generations is not going to do anything to excite students. This books drips with self loathing and bias. The language is anything but objective. Somehow the author has lost touch with what history is all about and come to the belief that slapping a student across the face (figuratively) will make history lovers out of them. It doesn't work. If you are interested in history, I'd advise you to go find and interesting, objective author instead of wasting your time on this book. Sorry, but that's the way it is.
This book is more about chanting and mysticism than objective information. There is a bit of interesting insite into translations, but the vast majority is limited to new versions of old Christian mysticism. I did not regard it as a good use of my time.
This book should be a required reading for every economics class. In an interesting, if long, story, the value of individual effort is demonstrated as is the degrading swing towards social liberalism. You will believe.
I had hoped for information on the history and philosophy of the Kabbalah but this was more of a lecture on new age mysticism from a Jewish background. It is not very informative unless you are looking for another form of meditation.
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