Showing posts from August, 2005

Herbert Spencer's essays about education on Project Gutenberg

Following closely Friedrich Froebel's autobiography , another pioneering work in education has been posted to Project Gutenberg , after being prepared by Distributed Proofreaders (see my earlier post on DP), and again I'm credited in the text for my work on it. The book in question is the collection Essays on Education and Kindred Subjects by Herbert Spencer, a leading 19th century scientist whose radical social and political theories influenced the likes of Alexander Berkman, Voltairine de Cleyre, Henry George, Emma Goldman, and Benjamin Tucker. The group of essays "What Knowledge is of Most Worth?", "Intellectual Education", "Moral Education", and "Physical Education" were originally written in the 1850s and collected in book form in 1861. This edition adds five additional essays, as well as an excellent 1911 introduction by Charles W. Eliot. Known for creating the "Five Foot Shelf" collection of selected books, Eliot summ

r. i. p. UFO skeptic Philip J. Klass

I'm sad to see that today's New York Times has an obitiuary for Philip J. Klass, known among skeptics for his books about UFOs. One of these books, UFOs Explained , was the first skeptical book I read, which together with Martin Gardner's Science: Good, Bad, and Bogus , I found in my high school library. This is one of the factors that then led me to pick up Carl Sagan's books, starting with Broca's Brain (which has a section on pseudoscience) and the then-brand-new The Demon-Haunted World .

T. H. Huxley essays on Project Gutenberg

A 1902 collection by Thomas Henry Huxley, Lectures and Essays , including essays like "Autobiography", "Lectures on Evolution", "Naturalism and Supernaturalism", "Agnosticism", has just been posted to the website Project Gutenberg , after being prepared through Distributed Proofreaders . There's already a ton of Huxley material on PG , including many essay collections that overlap with this one (such as another one, posted just this past May, which also went through DP, Science and Christian Tradition , which has three essays in common: "The Value of Witness to the Miraculous", "Agnosticism", and "Agnosticism and Christianity"), but one can't have too much of a good thing.

Baby is Three

Two weeks ago, the humanist radio show Equal Time for Freethought (on WBAI in the New York City area), for which I'm on the staff as a researcher, celebrated its third anniversary. Given that tonight's show featured science fiction author David Gerrold, I think a reference to Theodore Sturgeon's famous short story is appropriate. Given how marginalized the show's philosophy of "secular humanism and scientific naturalism" is in our society and (especially) the mass media, I'm proud it's been on for so long. In fact, when I started listening to tonight's show I suddenly got a gut reaction of surprise to this — hey, humanism is coming from the radio! It may be a relatively small step towards getting the message out (especially in the constraints of a half-hour format) but it's still significant. Tonight's discussion was interesting, since I'm a longtime science fiction fan (as, of course, is interviewer Barry Seidman). Some of my favorit

Froebel's autobiography on Project Gutenberg

An eBook of the autobiography of Friedrich Froebel , the education pioneer best known as the inventor of kindergarten, has just been posted on Project Gutenberg . This was prepared via Distributed Proofreaders and I had a role in producing this as the "Post-Processor" (completing a finished copy of the book after it's been proofread); I'm credited in the text. (I've previously posted about my involvement with DP, where I explained the process a bit more). Since Froebel didn't write a formal autobiography, it's a compilation of two long autobiographical letters, heavily annotated by the translators (with 142 footnotes for a work of about 150 pages!) and also contains a Froebelian chronology and bibliography, so it has quite a bit of historical material. Quotes about Froebel's educational philosophy from the book: While others have taken to the work of education their own pre-conceived notions of what that work should be, Froebel stands consistently