This primer on essential scientific literacy gives readers the basics to understand themselves and the world around them, plus a glimpse of how much more science has to offer.Science tells us a good deal about who we are, where we come from, the nature of the universe, how our brains work, and much, much more. Unfortunately, most people are largely unaware of this treasure trove of information. As a result, we are more prone to do things like aim nuclear weapons at each other, inflate the meaning of cultural differences, lay waste to the land, poison and deplete the oceans, fill the sky with carbon, and generally make poor judgments that cause needless trouble.This book seeks to remedy this situation by providing scientific answers to the most basic yet important questions about existence. Following the standard six-question list used by journalists researching a news story, critical-thinking advocate Guy P. Harrison turns to science to answer the who, what, why, when, where and how of life on Earth.How old is our planet? Where did it come from and where is it located in the universe? What is everything made of? When did life begin? Who are we as a species and what connections do we share with other life forms? Why is human culture continuously plagued by war, disease, and crime? Harrison not only offers science's best current answers to these crucial questions but shows how all of this information fits together. Going well beyond the simplistic factoids readily available on any smartphone, he reveals the wider implications and deeper meanings inherent in the scientific worldview.Both entertaining and informative, this exciting tour of the cosmos and human nature will leave readers with an accurate, up-to-date view of realities small and large, near and far.
At Least Know This Review
- January 1, 1970BookAt Least Know This: Essential Science to Enhance Your Life by Guy P. Harrison“At Least Know This” is an excellent book that informs you of who and where you come from a scientific perspective, the essential science to know! One of my favorite authors, anthropologist and critical thinker Guy P. Harrison takes the reader on a journey of essential knowledge. This informative 384-page book includes the following ten chapters: 1. The Who, What, Why, When, Where, and How of Everything, 2. Who Are We?, At Least Know This: Essential Science to Enhance Your Life by Guy P. Harrison“At Least Know This” is an excellent book that informs you of who and where you come from a scientific perspective, the essential science to know! One of my favorite authors, anthropologist and critical thinker Guy P. Harrison takes the reader on a journey of essential knowledge. This informative 384-page book includes the following ten chapters: 1. The Who, What, Why, When, Where, and How of Everything, 2. Who Are We?, 3. When Did Everything Begin?, 4. What Is Everything Made Of?, 5. What Is Life?, 6: How Did We Get Here?, 7. Why Does Human Biological Diversity Confuse Us?, 8: How Do Brains Work, 9. Where Are We?, and 10. How Will Everything End? Positives: 1. Loved this book! The master of clarity and good thinking is back and better than ever. Well-researched and well-written book that is fun to read. 2. An excellent topic, the essential science to know. This book exemplifies the treasure that is knowledge. This is an ambitious book that covers so many topics from the beginning of our universe to who we are now and the future.3. Excellent use of visual and supplementary materials. Timelines, highlights of key topics, photos, and charts all included complementing the excellent narrative. I love how the information is conveyed that this book will assuredly be a reference book for years to come. The section on Our Crowded Genus as case and point. 4. Mr. Harrison has the gift of an educator and the curiosity of a scientist. He treats his topics with the utmost of care and respect and he does so with the joy of a child in awe of the universe.5. The excellent introduction sets the tone for this wonderful book. “The purpose of this book is to focus readers on simple questions with profound answers. These are the queries that have great relevance to our lives and worldview.”6. The book is full of wisdom. “Knowledge adds value to our humanity.”7. Does a great job of describing all the key topics introduced. In explaining science, “Critical thinking and the wise application of knowledge enable us to reach beyond the limits of instinct and transcend many of our evolutionary obstacles.”8. Provocative questions with satisfying answers. So who are we? “The current conclusion, based on overwhelming anatomical, fossil, and genetic evidence, is that we are very closely related to modern great apes, chimpanzees most of all. We share a common ancestor with modern chimps, and this ancestor lived millions of years ago. It was widely thought that the human line split with the chimp line about 6 million years ago in Africa.”9. Practical advice backed be the best of current science. “It's difficult to overstate the importance of this. Vigorous and consistent physical activity stimulates the growth of new neurons in the human brain throughout life.”10. Excellent explanation of the big bang theory. “The Big Bang does not mark the actual beginning of the universe. Most people seem to miss this, but the theory describes what happened from a small fraction of a second after the expansion began and onward.”11. Quantum mechanics for the layperson. Excellent decision to make this chapter short and get to the essence of it. “This chapter, more than any other, shows that the universe does not conform to human expectations or intuitions—not even close. The very nature of reality, and virtually everything we think we know about it, seems to go out the window once we take a close look at atoms. quantum mechanics or quantum theory, the science of atoms and subatomic particles, shows us the awesome power of science.”12. An awesome chapter on life. “The critical component within this change, the thing that makes evolution so productive and creative, is that there is descent with modification, heritable change in populations across generations. Evolution happens when certain traits prove useful enough in the present environment that they may be favored, or selected, passed on to offspring at a higher rate due to their survival/reproductive value.”13. The explanatory power of evolution. Provides the six misconceptions about evolution that should be extinct.14. An excellent section on inequality. “One of his books, The Great Leveler: Violence and the History of Inequality from the Stone Age to the Twenty-First Century, details some of the problems that were created by the transition from hunter-gatherer societies to agricultural societies and how they continue to harm us in many ways today.”15. Did I mention that this book provides excellent supplementary material? I did, but it’s worth repeating provides an excellent What Have We Done? A Human Timeline. 16. Such an important chapter on human biological diversity treated with the utmost care and respect. “In fact, many geneticists are outspoken about the need to abandon race as a means of analyzing and describing Homo sapiens. They warn that it is not only socially harmful but also scientifically wrong.”17. Throughout the book makes great use of expert references. “Human memories are constructed and routinely reconstructed, Loftus explains: “Memory works a little bit like a Wikipedia page. You can go in there and change it—but so can other people…. We can't reliably distinguish true memories from false memories. We need independent corroboration.”18. A tour of our immediate neighborhood, astronomy. “Thanks to the Cassini space probe's remarkable work, for example, Enceladus, another one of Saturn's moons, is now thought to have a warm ocean with enough heat activity from thermal vents to possibly support life.”19. So what are the odds that Homo sapiens make it to 2100? Find out.20. Links to copious references and an excellent bibliography. And much more…Negatives:1. More an observation than a negative, since I consider this book worthy of a future reference the hardcopy version will be better than the kindle version because of formatting.2. No mention of ice cores with regards to explaining how we know about past climate and even an easy debunk of young earthers.In summary, this is the book I wished I had written! This book exemplifies my joy of reading; Mr. Harrison successfully captures the essence of science that indeed can enhance your life. It doesn’t matter that I’m familiar with a lot of the information presented here I always learn something new and inspirational that can and will help enhance my life. The book is so helpful in the information conveyed and how it’s conveyed that it will be a fun reference book for years to come. A fun way to learn about science and your life, I can’t recommend this enough! Further suggestions: “Think Before You Like”, “Think”, “50 Reasons People Give for Believing in a God" and “50 Popular Beliefs That people Think Are True” by the same author, “The End” by Phil Torres, “The Age of Everything” by Mathew Hedman, “The Believing Brain…” and “Why People Believe Weird Things” by Michael Shermer, “Why Evolution Is True” by Jerry A. Coyne, “Wonders Life” by Brian Cox, “Last Ape Standing” by Chip Walter, “Catastrophes” by Donald R. Prothero, “Science Matters” by Hazen and Trefil, “The Blind Spot” by William Byers, “The Rocks Don’t Lie” by David R. Montgomery, “Spectrums” by David Blatner, “The Sixth Extinction” by Elizabeth Kolbert, “This Changes Everything” by Naomi Klein, and “The Price of Inequality” by Joseph Stiglitz.more
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