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Author Topic:   Request for a general reading list
MSB21
Junior Member (Idle past 4383 days)
Posts: 4
Joined: 06-16-2012


(1)
Message 1 of 12 (665711)
06-16-2012 4:02 AM


Hi! I'm not totally sure how to articulate this, so I'll try to just lay out my situation and request briefly.
I was raised Christian and until a few years ago basically held the Bible-literalist/young-earth/whatever position. Much struggling and attempted studying has led me to jettison most of those views in favor of one that accepts what I think modern scholarship is telling us about life (evolution), the world (old-earth), and the related topics. In brief, I still consider myself a theist and a Christian (and am not interested in being persuaded otherwise), but now accept most of the things my old views rejected (the science stuff, the mythological aspects of the Bible, etc.).
My problem is that most of my family, friends and associates have issues with this. I'm not particularly interested in 'converting' any of them at this point, as I'm still working my own views out for myself (and I really do go out of my way to squash such conversations when others initiate them),but I would like to do justice to the topics in question when the inevitable conversations/debates/arguments/fistfights are forced on me (which is more often than I'd like).
I'm a writer and philosopher by training and trade, so my self-education on these matters has included a ton of books and a lot of internet reading, but I feel like I've just been jumping from one thing to the next, and since I don't have a formal background in the sciences, I'm honestly not sure how to go about constructing a good self-education program that will teach me more about these issues and prepare me to discuss them intelligently.
I said all that to say: would anyone be willing to either help me develop a reading list/study program designed to help me learn the ins-and-outs of the theory of evolution as it stands today, or point me to a resource where I can get some guidance on this? Obviously, evolution is only one of the topics at play here, but it seems to be the lynch-pin subject with most of the people I struggle with, and I'd really like to be able to represent it accurately and effectively.
My interest in this matter isn't limited to evolution, so suggestions for some great directed study in the other pertinent fields (cosmology, paleontology, quanta, etc.) are more than welcome, too. I guess what I'm really asking is 'where do I start?', which is a broad question, I know, but I hope my little spiel helped clarify where I'm at in all this.
At any rate, I look forward to suggestions and guidance, and I thank you in advance for reading what I've written!

Replies to this message:
 Message 4 by crashfrog, posted 06-16-2012 11:17 AM MSB21 has not replied
 Message 9 by CosmicChimp, posted 06-17-2012 8:00 AM MSB21 has not replied

  
MSB21
Junior Member (Idle past 4383 days)
Posts: 4
Joined: 06-16-2012


Message 5 of 12 (665730)
06-16-2012 4:21 PM


Firstly, thanks to Admin for approving my topic and putting it in the right place!
Secondly, jern, thanks so much for linking to your list of online resources- many of these are sources I've been relying on to learn, so I'm excited to know I've seemingly been on the right track. I've placed orders for the books you recommended and look forward to reading them.
Finally, crashfrog, I deeply appreciate your suggestion. To be honest, that's exactly the kind of interaction I'd love to have with the knowledgeable members of this board, but I was hesitant to take this approach because I'm sure on a forum this size, you must get all kinds of crazy questions from know-nothings, and I don't want to be one of those guys.
Let me ask you this: if I'm a 'greenhorn' with lots of questions, is it better to submit new threads for them, or to post questions on THIS thread and hope the right people read and respond to them? I'd like to do this in a way that's beneficial to me and enjoyable/efficient for the people who are kind enough to provide answers.

Replies to this message:
 Message 6 by crashfrog, posted 06-16-2012 5:32 PM MSB21 has not replied
 Message 7 by Genomicus, posted 06-17-2012 12:05 AM MSB21 has not replied

  
MSB21
Junior Member (Idle past 4383 days)
Posts: 4
Joined: 06-16-2012


(1)
Message 8 of 12 (665763)
06-17-2012 4:06 AM


Crashfrog, I appreciate and admire your insistence that I ask. This is exactly the spirit I was hoping to find. Genomicus, I appreciate your suggestion as well.
I went ahead and got the audio-book version of the Jerry Coyne book jerm suggested (I didn't want to wait for the hard-copy to arrive and I'm going to be doing some traveling this week anyhow, so I can listen while I go), so what I think I'm going to do is plow through that, try to get some understanding for how Coyne's work will help shape and expand what I know now, and determine how the information will be useful in articulating my position to my detractors. I know some questions will fall out of that process, so once I've finished Coyne, I'll post my first round of questions here.
Thanks again to all of you for your cordiality and interest in helping me learn! Until now, I haven't realized how few people I have in my life who are interested in actually engaging my struggle to sort out my views instead of discouraging me from going down this path, so thank you all; I feel like I'm not alone for the first time.
More to come!

  
MSB21
Junior Member (Idle past 4383 days)
Posts: 4
Joined: 06-16-2012


Message 12 of 12 (665865)
06-18-2012 4:44 PM


CosmicChimp, thanks so much for your interest in helping me and for the effort you took to send email... unfortunately, I didn't receive it. Could you resend, if it's not too much trouble? {NOTE: E-mail address available via link below message - Adminnemooseus} Thanks in advance, and thanks also for the encouraging words.
I'm really enjoying Coyne's book so far. A lot of this stuff is stuff I've already encountered in my studies, but having all in one place, concisely and with an end in mind, makes it easier to internalize and recall. I've already got several questions that have arisen from the reading, but will wait until I finish Coyne, because he likely answers most or all of them along the way.
Edited by Adminnemooseus, : Overprinted e-mail address (subject to spam harvesting) with message in red (source less subject to spam harvesting). The "e-mail" link should not be available to the unregistered and the unlogged in.

  
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