The book... I Need You!

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The book... I Need You!

#1  Postby hackenslash » Sep 10, 2010 12:12 am

After much thought, I have decided to bring the idea of the book that was discussed at RDF back to life. It is going to take a substantially different form than previously, for obvious reasons. It is my intention to provide an 'Idiot's Guide To Critical Thinking' (this may actually be the title, and is my working title).

Again, for what I hope are obvious reasons, rather than making this a book based on forum posts, I am taking the bull by the horns and writing this book myself, but I still need your input. I will be relying greatly on the content provided by the members here, and I will probably be opening topics across the forum on a broad range of topics so that members can contribute and correct my own misundertandings. If this begins to look like a viable project, a significant portion of the proceeds will go to the forum, and the running thereof. It would be really good if I could make the forum financially independent, so that LIFE does not have to bear the brunt of any shortfall in income, so that the forum can continue in perpetuity. While I, like many others, massively appreciate LIFE's amazing contribution to the sustenance of the community that was RDF, it is time, I think, to take responsibility for our own existence.

This book, unlike the previous incarnation, will not be based on forum posts but will, I hope, contain all of the things that were considered for the previous entity. My intention is to present an opportunity to the forum to have a major input into how the book runs. This will take the form of a) the topics that must be included, b) critical appraisal of what is written on any given topic, c) material for inclusion under any particular chapter heading, etc, and c) editing.

Unlike the previous incarnation, it is my intent to take full editorial and compositional control, although I would like input on each chapter as I complete it, so that any factual errors, disagreements, etc, can be resolved. Obviously, this is intended for mass publication so, in the event that this is actually picked up by a publisher, an in-house editor will have input into the final draughts.

When I first came up with this idea, we were still at RDF, and could possibly count on the backing of Richard, assuming the project had merit, to get us through the door with publishers. From here on in, we are alone, and the book will stand or fall on its own merits (as is proper, frankly). Here, I must take control in a manner that I never intended for the previous incarnation of the project, or it will never get off the ground. I hope that people will understand this decision.

I still intend to include a few posts from forum members, simply beause they are of such a quality and lucidity that my own feeble writings can't hope to match them. I have begun to earmark a few posts, and I will be contacting the authors as the project progresses.

Rest assured that all of those people who have contributed to my education in the last couple of years will be suitably credited, either along with their specific contributions, where appropriate (and where permission has been given to pinch their beautiful expositions), or in the acknowledgements, in those cases where specific material hasn't been employed directly but has contributed to the furtherment of the project, either by educating me or by just being brilliant. In the latter case, I will contact those members so that, where they agree, they can be mentioned by use of their real-life names. Where they do not agree, they will be referred to by their forum usernames. Suitable credit to the forum will be prominent.

Some may think this is an act of self-aggrandisement. This is not the case. This is a book that the world needs. If Sagan were still with us, I would be pestering him to write this. Dawkins is alreay a no-no, simply because the fuckwits think he is strident (I always loved that. Wait till these fuckers get a load of me and Cali (whose help I shall be counting on a great deal, among others, in provision of the hard science and the citations to back it up).

Are you with me? Any questions, ideas, chapter headings, etc, post them in thias thread.
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Re: The book... I Need You!

#2  Postby Goldenmane » Sep 10, 2010 1:00 am

*puts on thinking cap, makes coffee*
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Re: The book... I Need You!

#3  Postby Darwinsbulldog » Sep 10, 2010 1:18 am

Hmmm..., a vital part of critical thinking is loading up the brain with relevant information on the topic. The best way to get information is from original research and the papers that present that information. I think I will write a little piece on how to read scientific papers. We all know that there is a "literature" [cough!] of pseudo-scientific clap-trap, and so being able to tell the difference is vital.
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Re: The book... I Need You!

#4  Postby hackenslash » Sep 10, 2010 1:20 am

Bosh! And we're off!
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Re: The book... I Need You!

#5  Postby hackenslash » Sep 10, 2010 1:25 am

I should also mention, for those that are not comfortable with presenting their ideas in public, please PMme, and they can be brought under discussion. I'd hate to miss anything. We need greasy-fast lightning speed on this one. Hit hard, and don't compromise. present any idea, regardless of how silly you thnk it might be. I'm all ears.
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Re: The book... I Need You!

#6  Postby Audley Strange » Sep 10, 2010 1:45 am

One of my major pet peeves might be worth pointing out, that the only thing one should take from words written, is the explicit meaning of the words written. To project and extrapolate and infer that which is not written may provide some form of meaning but that meaning is often erroneous and biased based on the flawed assumptions of the reader.
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Re: The book... I Need You!

#7  Postby hackenslash » Sep 10, 2010 1:59 am

You're not kidding. It always bugs me when, after stating in very precise terms, somebody comes back saying 'so what you're saying is...'

AAAARGGGHHH!

No, fuckwit! I mean exactly what I said and nothing else!

That's a chapter heading, if I ever saw one. In fact, the chapter title will be 'So What You're Saying Is...'
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Re: The book... I Need You!

#8  Postby Goldenmane » Sep 10, 2010 2:00 am

Suggestion: make it clear that it is not to be expected that people will turn into Vulcans, that it actually takes effort to think critically. Critical thinking and effective reasoning are not the normal state of affairs in human behaviour. They are tools, and like any tools, their uses need to be learned.
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Re: The book... I Need You!

#9  Postby hackenslash » Sep 10, 2010 2:04 am

Indeed. Check your PMs for a beginning of a rough draft of the foreword.
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Re: The book... I Need You!

#10  Postby Audley Strange » Sep 10, 2010 2:21 am

hackenslash wrote:You're not kidding. It always bugs me when, after stating in very precise terms, somebody comes back saying 'so what you're saying is...'

AAAARGGGHHH!

No, fuckwit! I mean exactly what I said and nothing else!

That's a chapter heading, if I ever saw one. In fact, the chapter title will be 'So What You're Saying Is...'


That's great! Though personally I'd add a really...

"So what you're really saying is..."

Because the arrogance involved in misinterpreting someone and then telling them how your reinterpretation is what they actually meant has started wars, probably.
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Re: The book... I Need You!

#11  Postby Durro » Sep 10, 2010 3:00 am

Hack, if there's anything I can contribute or any proof reading you want me to do, please don't hesitate to shout out.

LIFE is getting together an array of articles that are going to be posted on a new "front page" area of the forum and there may be some good stuff there to choose from too.

Good luck with the writing project.

Steve
I'll start believing in Astrology the day that all Sagittarians get hit by a bus, as predicted.
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Re: The book... I Need You!

#12  Postby Steve » Sep 10, 2010 3:12 am

Just bookmarking ;)

Great project hackenslash! :thumbup:
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Re: The book... I Need You!

#13  Postby jaydot » Sep 10, 2010 6:49 am

:coffee:
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Re: The book... I Need You!

#14  Postby natselrox » Sep 10, 2010 6:52 am

Hmm...
When in perplexity, read on.

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Re: The book... I Need You!

#15  Postby sennekuyl » Sep 10, 2010 8:10 am

I'll help proof read, if you run out of educated people.
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Re: The book... I Need You!

#16  Postby Darkchilde » Sep 10, 2010 8:38 am

Hack, great idea, and I will help as much as I can.

One of the chapters that should be included is about pseudoscience. And I am not talking the garbage of astrology, homeopathy and the likes, which you already must have an idea of. I am talking of the kind of garbage like plasma cosmology, Farsight's relativity and the likes. I am talking about the pseudoscientific dribble of those who call themselves innovative scientists, and that they are misunderstood by what they call "mainstream science" but they fail to be able to publish even one paper... Just look around the pseudoscience subforum and you will see the quantum and physics woo...

Include anything that comes out of people like Deepak Chopra and the likes. Because they are using a wonderful and elegant theory, Quantum Mechanics and they are twisting it and peddling pseudoscientific woo so that people listen to them.

Maybe also include a chapter or two on the things that science fiction shows get wrong. For example, I like Fringe. I love it as a show, and I think that the story is good. However, as far as the science goes, it is mostly woo and fringe science and pseudoscientific babble.

But how many people can distinguish between the real science and the false (pseudo-) one? There are a few pointers there, especially in the pseudoscience forum.

Archaeology has a lot of woo as well, like the Nazca lines and all that ancient astronauts stuff; Atlantis and what not. There is a greek version of UFO+Archaeology woo called the El, supposedly the alien race from Sirius (oh yes), that gave their genetic makeup to the ancient Greeks. And a bit more on the conspiracy side.
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Re: The book... I Need You!

#17  Postby hackenslash » Sep 10, 2010 8:48 am

Good shout, DC. I had already planned at least a portion of a chapter on the like of Deepity Chopra and similar. I was going to call it Just How Deep is Deep.
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Re: The book... I Need You!

#18  Postby natselrox » Sep 10, 2010 8:50 am

Why write a book? A blog/website seems to be a much more open platform to me. It's got a lot more plasticity, interactivity and almost always a wider reach.

Just my 2 cents.
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Re: The book... I Need You!

#19  Postby Darwinsbulldog » Sep 10, 2010 8:52 am

hackenslash wrote:Good shout, DC. I had already planned at least a portion of a chapter on the like of Deepity Chopra and similar. I was going to call it Just How Deep is Deep.


And I am going to write a de-bunk of pure maffs and theoretical phykicks! :naughty2: :whistle:
Not totally trashing it you understand-its' heavy, important, brilliant stuff..just going to stop people worshiping it is all. ;)
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Re: The book... I Need You!

#20  Postby newolder » Sep 10, 2010 10:41 am

natselrox wrote:Why write a book? A blog/website seems to be a much more open platform to me. It's got a lot more plasticity, interactivity and almost always a wider reach.

Just my 2 cents.

+1

y not create a different meeja-genre? podcasts + forum/blog posts + whatever = 1 Hack slash = H/

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