Me and The Genies

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Content by persons      Sample chapter1      Sample chapter 2

Ideas
BY CHAPTER

      “Sung-Tin”
      
EVOLUTION AS ENTERTAINMENT

The initial premise: a Saturday morning TV cartoon series telling children how
evolution works would arouse intense public concern.

       “Reverend Kelly”
      
LOOKING TO EVOLUTION FOR VALUES
Of Darwin’s three main ideas, only natural selection remains controversial.
Kelly explains how it threatens values, and longs for a science providing students
with a sounder basis for self-respect.

       “Jim the Republican”
       
SECULARISM AS A FORCE IN POLITICS
Jim presents secularism as an extreme wing on the left, as Christian Fundamentalism
already is on the right. He tells how secularism is becoming organized, and stresses
the significance of evolution for political balance. Saturday morning children’s
television is key to the nation’s future values, he says.

        “Chinese dance troupe”
       
DOES EVOLUTION DETERMINE HUMAN NATURE?
Humanists feel threatened and fight back as Darwinism swings away from the humanist
towards the hard sciences. But these swings in Darwinism are inevitable, Sung-Tin says.

       “The Players”
       
FROM FLAT EARTHERS TO PHYSICALISTS
Sung-Tin describes the main positions she sees people falling into, from extreme Creationism
at one end to extreme scientific reductionism at the other.

         “Dr. Anton”
    
     THE “BULLDOG” DEFENSE OF NATURAL SELECTION
Dr. Anton illustrates natural selection’s unfortunate tradition of intellectual bullying.
Another enthusiast denies free will. Is this the way to win public support?

        “Sally”
       
STAKING OUT A MIDDLE POSITION
Sung-Tin raises the possibity of third option midway between natural selection and Creationism.

        “Sung-Tin as paramour”
       
BE AGNOSTIC ABOUT MECHANISM?
Sung-Tin recommends agnosticism—just not claiming to know— about the processes driving
evolution. To an “alien” like herself, neither natural selection nor Creationism makes much sense.
Why commit to assuming they exhaust all possibilities?

       “Beths Book”
       
INSPIRATION FOR SUNG-TIN’S THIRD POSITION
Could the process of evolution itself have evolved to become intelligent? Does our intelligence
come to us courtesy of intelligences supported by the genome? Beth thinks so.

       “Margaret, the Humanist”
       
GAME-THEORY STRATEGIES VS. FEELINGS
Does using game-theory to analyse morals threaten the integrity of feelings as a guide to behavior,
in friendship for example? Sung-Tin first defends moral relativism, then reassures Margaret that feelings
won’t lose their power to move us.

       “Dr. Norman”
       
BETTER WAYS OF  COUNTERING CREATIONISM
Insisting natural selection is the only process involved in
evolution may not be the best way of
countering Creationism.
Norman comes up with some more ingenious strategies.

        “Hitchhiker Mike”
       
WAYS EVOLUTION CAN THREATEN CREATIONISTS
Materialist beliefs make it harder to be religious. Mike wants his children to have
something to believe in. School teachers have no right to preach against religion.

        “Tom”
       
“LEAVE OUT THE ‘ISMS’, JUST TEACH THE MATERIAL”
It’s not science’s job to become a basis for morals or concepts of human nature, says Tom. OK then,
says Sung-Tin, teachers should purge from the teaching of science their own biases about human nature.

        “Sandra”
       
LEARNING TO BE HUMAN FROM COMPANION ANIMALS
What are the main sources of meaning available to us? Sandra and Jeff pit art against evolution.

        “Jeff”
       
THE EVOLUTIONARY ORIGINS OF CULTURE
Jeff and Sung-Tin once adopted, then split over, two ways you can look at culture evolving—
“The evolved phenotype” and “memes.” All explanations for human nature are ultimately circular,
Jeff concluded. But he passionately supports one, Sung-Tin explains.

        “Evolutionist round table”
       
WHEN HAS DEBATE TURNED INTO INQUISITION?
Is questioning natural selection’s role in evolution permitted? Or are we be experiencing a second
closing of the Western mind? Sung-Tin, defending Beth’s ideas, gets roughly handled. A round up
of ideas: Mind, intelligence, consciousness, emergence, mind-body interaction.

       “Dan” 1
       
PHILOSOPHY OF MIND, AND EMERGENCE
Dan explains why Sung-Tin’s ideas got a rough reception, how genetics claimed Darwin’s mantle,
talks about “mind” and “emergence,” and provides background on the controversy’s two champions,
natural selection and Creationism. He explains their strategies and assesses their chances.

        “Dan” 2
       
HOW TO FRAME THE QUESTION? WHAT QUESTION?
What’s the role of intelligence in evolution? That depends on what question we most want answered.
At what level of explanation should we pose our questions? What do we want evolution to account for?
What do we want explained?

        “Truth in Advertising”
       
ARE OUR VALUES A GIVEN? OR CAN WE CHOOSE?
“What level of explanation should you work on?” The level of a modern civilized nation’s values—
where they come from and who’s responsible for their consequences—is explored through

two case-studies, one involving celebrity-endorsement in advertising, the other involving
manufactured realism in movies.

        “Maxine and Jane”
       
HARNESSING THE POWER OF PARADIGMS
Is the pursuit of happiness a good idea? Video games? Natural selection? Should we care about
their potential impact on future generation’s self-concept? Are we qualified to judge?

        “Sung-Tin’s vision”
        EVOLUTION IS AS IMPORTANT AS WE MAKE IT
Evolutionary theories based on Beths Book will emerge as a new paradigm capable of dominating
the future world economy. 

        “Sung-Tin pops the question”
        EVOLUTION COMPLETES A PERIODIC TABLE OF WISDOM
Evolutionary theory unifies all our knowledge and experience. Sung-Tin describes a new
“periodic table” of knowledge. Using it she shows how, for want of evolutionary theory,
Western wisdom remains fragmented.

RESOURCES
“Beths Book”
complete

        The author and ‘Tom’
        HOW DIFFICULT IT CAN BE TO REACH AGREEMENT
Intelligent design in schools, why not? What is ‘intelligent design’?
What lies behind our different points of view? Who owns Darwin? Materialism vs dualism.
Matter and spirit. The value of multiple traditions.

        Notes on the novel