Re: Books

Glenn Morton (
Wed, 03 Apr 1996 22:40:53


>I'd like to know if any of the ASA participants have read any of the
> following
>books and, if so, if you'd recommend them (or consider them a waste of $).
>- The Fossil Trail: How We Know What We Think We Know About Human
> Evolution, Ian Tattersall

This book was good. He has very definite biases in certain directions but
his information is up to date and his case is well reasoned. He believes that
Neandertaal was much different than H.sapiens. Tattersall absolutely refuses
to consider any of the objects and apparent activities of fossil man as being
indicative of self aware activities. He would not even consider the burial of
Neandertaal dead as being a human activity. In this respect he is like the
biologist who can not consider that stepping on a cat's tail causes the cat
pain. It causes the cat to yeowl and scratch and may even cause the cat's
nerves to fire (if appropriately wired) but of course, yeowling and scratching
are not pain. On that part I wonder about his objectivity. (but then he
would wonder about mine). In short, I found the book very interesting and
useful and well worth the $25 I paid for my copy.

>- The Emporer's New Mind, Roger Penrose

Thoroughly enjoyed it. He argues that mental activity is not
materialistic. There is an interesting counter to his argument by the Mad
Hatter, Frank Tipler in _The Physics of Immortality_ Tipler charges that
Penrose's argument against mechanisitic mental awareness is similar to that of
the creationist. (unfortunately I can't find that quotation).Penrose argues
that if the mind is subject to quantum, there is too many possible states for
the human mind to be in to explain how progress in mathematics occurs. Thus
Penrose concludes that something other than random quantum fluctuations
drives the mind and progress in mathematics.


Foundation,Fall and Flood