Saturday, February 20, 2016

COSMOSAPIENS by John Hands


COSMOSAPIENS by John Hands is a comprehensive exploration of many fields of science, from cosmology to geology to biology to chemistry to physics and astronomy to philosophy and religion. (Plus the nature of consciousness, the determinism of genetics, and the role of culture.) The many theories for the origins of life are examined with lucid prose expertly delivered by voice actor Gildart Jackson. The history of each theory is given, with reference to the beliefs of the day (what the public was thinking), and how new ideas and findings are opposed by those whose livelihoods are threatened. Scientists themselves fought bitterly sometimes with interpretations, and Hands is careful to put everything in context, showing what current consensus believes, why, and where it may be leading. He offers his own ideas too, explaining what humans can discover and what may never be accessible to discovery proof. (Multi-universes, string theory, etc.) Listeners are clear as to who believes what, and why. Was Einstein and Darwin right about everything? Apparently not. Darwin’s idea that individuals fighting for supremacy within species was somehow as important as fighting one’s environment for survival was overstated. The competition within species (which is supported today by our culture of combat), and even the competition between species, is not nearly as vital in “survival of the species” as is adaptation to change in the environment. Cooperation is more the rule than combat, and that cooperation can be inter-species as well. This is an epic book at an incredible download rental price less than the latest Kanye West album. A no-brainer pick, and my choice for AUDIOBOOK OF THE MONTH.         
John Hands has devoted more than ten years to evaluating scientific theories about the origins of the cosmos, life, and humanity. He graduated with a degree in chemistry from the University of London, was a founding director of Britain’s Cooperative Housing Agency, and tutored in both physics and management studies for the Open University. His fiction and writing have been published in eight countries.


Gildart Jackson’s acting credits span the stage and screen. He is most often recognized for his roles as Gideon on Charmed and Simon Prentiss on General Hospital. He has also starred in numerous television shows, including CSI and Vegas, and recently played the lead in the highly acclaimed independent feature film You, directed by his wife, Melora Hardin.

One of America’s great miscarriages of justice, the Supreme Court’s infamous 1927 Buck v. Bell ruling made government sterilization of “undesirable” citizens the law of the land.
New York Times bestselling author Adam Cohen tells the story in Imbeciles of one of the darkest moments in the American legal tradition: the Supreme Court’s decision to champion eugenic sterilization for the greater good of the country. In 1927, when the nation was caught up in eugenic fervor, the justices allowed Virginia to sterilize Carrie Buck, a perfectly normal young woman, for being an “imbecile.” It is a story with many villains, from the superintendent of the Dickensian Virginia Colony for Epileptics and Feebleminded who chose Carrie for sterilization to the former Missouri agriculture professor and Nazi sympathizer who was the nation’s leading advocate for eugenic sterilization. But the most troubling actors of all were the eight Supreme Court justices who were in the majority – including William Howard Taft, the former president; Louis Brandeis, the legendary progressive; and Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., America’s most esteemed justice, who wrote the decision urging the nation to embark on a program of mass eugenic sterilization.



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