Weekend Reading

Another wet almost-holiday weekend in the southern Appalachians. If you’re inside, dry and trolling for a few worthy things to read, try these:

– Interesting article from 2000 titled The Last Island of the Savages: Journeying to the Andaman Islands to meet the most isolated tribe on Earth about Sentinel Island, the place that proselytizing American was recently murdered in the Andaman Islands.

– A few weeks back, my 3QD column on wildebeests addressed the mental capacity of bees, ants and termites. In Bee-Brained, two academics, Lars Chittka and Catherine Wilson, explore insects’ minds much further.

The Uighurs and China’s Long History of Trouble with Islam by Ian Johnson.

– And finally, Sean Carroll has written a paper in which he tries to explain everything. (A timely sort of CliffNotes version from Martin Rees popped up in Prospect about the same time.)

Here’s a fun example quote from the Sean Carroll article:

“While a creator could explain the existence of our universe, we are left to explain the existence of a creator. In order to avoid explanatory regression, it is tempting to say that the creator explains its own existence, but then we can ask why the universe couldn’t have done the same thing.”

Carroll concludes that

“invoking a creator does not provide us any escape from the need to posit something that simply exists because it does, without further reasons to which we can appeal.”

That’s comforting because it means that after all, it really is turtles all the way down

Enjoy your weekend. See you next week.

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