Without evidence of benefit, an intervention should not be presumed to be beneficial or safe.

- Rogue Medic

Read ‘The Book That Changed America’ for Darwin Day 2017

Book that Changed America - cover 1
 

Arriving just before the Civil War, On the Origin of Species was a godsend for abolitionists in America. Charles Darwin provided evidence that we are all the same in the eyes of science. Given that we are equals, should we treat other humans as less than ? This is part of what Randall Fuller writes about in the recently published The Book That Changed America: How Darwin’s Theory of Evolution Ignited a Nation.

Darwin provided scientific evidence for a common origin, which gave a scientific argument to those criticizing slavery. How is it moral to enslave other humans? Well, the Bible repeatedly endorses slavery and Jesus never criticized slavery. Jesus actually used slavery as an analogy for belief in God, with believers as slaves and the slave owners as God.

Contrariwise, those who focused on the good parts of the Bible and avoided the bad parts, used Darwin’s book as the basis for advocating for a more moral approach to our fellow humans. Those who read the Bible differently from the advocates of slavery saw that they were not along. Science also opposed the moral abyss of slavery.

Not to spoil the ending, but the abolitionists were not successful at reasoning with those in the Bible Belt to end slavery in America. We ended up with over 600,000 Americans dead over different interpretations of the Bible on how to treat humans.

Upton Sinclair wrote about a similar, and perpetual, problem. It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!

While science is not the best at providing us with morality, science is great at exposing the dishonesty of the excuses made in defense of immorality. And science keeps improving.

Suppose that I think that I am better than they are. Who are they? They are any group that is being selected for second class, or third class, treatment. It doesn’t matter what the group is, this kind of justification is not supported by science.

Picking on the weak is unlikely to be popular in the long term. Blaming this bad behavior on my personal interpretation of the desires of my God (who just happens to think like me) is eventually going to expose my immorality. The contradiction of promoting immoral actions, while blaming God, eventually exposes itself.

Read The Book That Changed America: How Darwin’s Theory of Evolution Ignited a Nation to see why abolitionists recognized On the Origin of Species as a godsend.

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Happy Friday the 13th – New and Improved with Space Debris


 

This is not your regular scary old Friday the 13th. This one is new and improved with Death from the Skies! Not the great book by Phil Plait, just the fear and anxiety of the What if . . . ?

This debris will not cause any harm to anyone, but the whole idea of superstition is to fear the unknown and come up with other superstitions to provide a feeling of control over the unknown. But look at the bones name!

WT1190F

It’s got to mean something!

It couldn’t just be a coincidence!

Those phrases are the basis of a lot of superstition and conspiracy theories.

For example, psychics aren’t going to be completely wrong all of the time, so they claim that their vague prediction, that is almost right if you ignore most of what really happened, is proof of their abilities, when it is only to be expected that nobody will be completely wrong all of the time unless they make very few predictions. Psychics make a lot of predictions in order to be able to say they got something right. Nostradamus was given credit for this for centuries, but he is just another one who makes vague predictions that cannot all be completely wrong.

Sylvia Browne is one of the most famous people to take advantage of this. She gets everything wrong, but spins it so that those who want to believe can ignore reality and continue to believe pay her millions of dollars.

Is a bunch of WTF debris on Friday the 13th something to worry about? No.

Our lack of understanding of probability is what we should really worry about. People do lie with statistics, but people lie much more often with words. How often do people claim that we should not understand English, because people lie with English? Why should we choose willful ignorance of probability and statistics, when the same argument would be ridiculed if it were made for something we like?

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The Thought Police – The Reason for Banned Books Week

 

What progress we are making. In the Middle Ages they would have burned me. Now they are content with burning my books.[1]

 


1933 May 10 Berlin book burning — taken from the U.S. National Archives.
 

I do not accept the idea that some ideas are too dangerous to consider.

That is one of the reasons I read banned books.
 

September 22 – 28, 2013 is Banned Books Week.
 

A person who won’t read has no advantage over one who can’t read.[2]

 


Image credit.
 

Ignore the thought police.

Pick a book to read.

Read it.

Are you ruined?
 

If a book can get you to view the world, or other people differently, is that a bad thing?

Can reading a book make you a bad person?

Can reading a banned book make you a bad person?

According to the people who ban books, Yes.

Are they right?
 

Does it matter if those burning books are conservative or liberal?

Not even a little bit.

All that matters is that they think they are so much smarter than you and me that they know what is best for you and me, but the rules are different for them.

A liberal nanny state and a conservative nanny state share the belief that the rulers are smarter than everyone else and that allowing people to think for themselves is evil.

They seem to see things as either good or evil.

If you agree with that. Stop thinking. Don’t read any banned books – except those banned by evil people.

Or we can think for ourselves and realize that things are not good vs. evil. Conspiracy theories are about oversimplifying things to the point of good vs. evil. Reality is not so simple.
 

Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity, but don’t rule out malice.[3]

 

Here is an interesting article suggesting five banned books to read.

Five Banned Books That You Should Read (That You Probably Haven’t)
9/23/2013 @ 12:28AM
By Alex Knapp
Forbes
Article
 

Banned Books That Shaped America

 

Happy Banned Books Week! September 30 to October 6, 2012

What if I Read Something that Changes My Mind – Banned Books Week 2011

Read A Banned Book To Celebrate Banned Books Week – 2009

Footnotes:

[1] Letter to Ernest Jones (1933)
as quoted in The Columbia Dictionary of Quotations (1993) by Robert Andrews, p. 779
Sigmund Freud
Wikiquote page

[2] The Man Who Does Not Read Has No Advantage Over the Man Who Cannot Read – Mark Twain? Inland Steel Company? Quin Ryan? Abigail Van Buren? Anonymous?
Quote Investigator
Posted on December 11, 2012
Article

[3] Hanlon’s razor
Wikipedia
Heinlein’s Razor
Article

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Happy Banned Books Week! September 30 to October 6, 2012

September 30−October 6, 2012 is Banned Books Week. The American Library Association is celebrating 30 years of protecting our books from the worst of us.

Read a banned book to expand your exposure to deviant ideas.

But deviant is bad!

No. Deviant is just not being like everyone else.

For example, George Washington was extremely deviant. He was so deviant that he was elected the first President of the US with no opposition and no political party affiliation.
 

Who else is deviant?

Anyone in the Guinness Book of World Records.

Who else is deviant?

Anyone who excels.

Excellence is deviant.

What is not deviant?

Participation prizes.

Even among the banned books, there are some that have exceptional opposition.

Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck

Banned . . . by the Fourth Province of the Knights of the Ku Klux KIan . . . (1980);[1]

That should be on the cover.
 

This book has been banned by the Ku Klux Klan –
 

the people who make the Westboro Baptist Church seem nice.
 

There are several books banned (and burned) by the NAZIs – people who make the Ku Klux Klan seem like underachievers.

Some books are just banned by functional illiterates –
 

 

1984, by George Orwell

Challenged in the Jackson County, FL (1981) because Orwell’s novel is “pro-communist . . . .”[1]

Banning books because of ignorance is a major theme, but this is a great example. 1984 is anti-communist.

This is similar to the way EMS is run in too many places – we cater to the least common denominator.

Should the least literate people be deciding what is appropriate for all students to read?

Should the least competent paramedics be determining what treatment is appropriate for all patients to receive?

Rather than cater to the ignorant, we should educate them. If they cannot learn, then we should ridicule them when they try to spread their ignorance.

See also –

Read A Banned Book To Celebrate Banned Books Week – 2009

What if I Read Something that Changes My Mind – Banned Books Week 2011

Footnotes:

[1] Banned and/or Challenged Books from the Radcliffe Publishing Course Top 100 Novels of the 20th Century
American Library Association
Banned Books Week
Web page

The ALA site has links to a variety of lists of banned books.

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Ray Bradbury Dead

Ray Bradbury died on Tuesday, but we can still listen to him read his most famous book. Fahrenheit 451. This is a wonderful experience in part because he still cared so much for the material so many years later.

This was written several years ago –

Bradbury still has a lot to say, especially about how people do not understand his most literary work, Fahrenheit 451, published in 1953.[1]

We have been missing the point, but what is the point?

HE SAYS THE CULPRIT in Fahrenheit 451 is not the state — it is the people. Unlike Orwell’s 1984, in which the government uses television screens to indoctrinate citizens, Bradbury envisioned television as an opiate.[1]

Bradbury imagined a democratic society whose diverse population turns against books: Whites reject Uncle Tom’s Cabin and blacks disapprove of Little Black Sambo. He imagined not just political correctness, but a society so diverse that all groups were “minorities.”[1]

Not being offensive has become a religion to many. This has resulted in a rebellion by some people of all political persuasions being offensive in large part for the sake of being offensive.

Maybe we do not need to go out of our way to be offensive, but do we need to stop going out of our way to avoid insulting idiots. When people make ridiculous statements, ridicule is appropriate. Pandering to fools is not appropriate.

When we pretend that there is anything too important to be criticized, we ridicule that which we try to protect, whether it is a spouse, a country, a religion, or anything else. Our desire to protect the image from reality is ridiculous.

Here are some samples from Fahrenheit 451. There is an audio book version read by Ray Bradbury, that is certainly worth listening to.

We need to be really bothered once in a while. How long is it since you were really bothered? About something important, about something real?

We must all be alike. Not everyone born free and equal, as the Constitution says, but everyone made equal. Each man the image of every other; then all are happy, for there are no mountains to make them cower, to judge themselves against.

Colored people don’t like Little Black Sambo. Burn it. White people don’t feel good about Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Burn it.

So few want to be rebels anymore. And out of those few, most, like myself, scare easily.

If you hide your ignorance, no one will hit you and you’ll never learn.

the most dangerous enemy of truth and freedom, the solid unmoving cattle of the majority. Oh, God, the terrible tyranny of the majority.

Others die, I go on. There are no consequences and no responsibilities. Except that there are. But let’s not talk about them, eh? By the time the consequences catch up with you, it’s too late, isn’t it,

Books can be expensive, but reading does not need to cost anything. The following sites allow access to free books, including the library, which may have the latest best sellers as well as the classics.

eBooks @ The University of Adelaide

The OnLine Books Page at UPenn

Project Gutenberg

LibriVox.org

At your local library you can find out how to use a library card to download current copyright protected audio books to a computer or MP3 player. These downloads have a limited life (a couple of weeks) before they are no longer useful.

These books are free to use.

Even I can afford them.

Footnotes:

[1] Ray Bradbury: Fahrenheit 451 Misinterpreted – L.A.’s august Pulitzer honoree says it was never about censorship
By Amy E. Boyle Johnston
Wednesday, May 30 2007
Article

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Some Gift Recommendations

I know. This does not allow for response times delivery times, but I procrastinate. Besides, if not for late presents, it would all be over too quickly. 🙂

We have two sponsors, which means I do receive some money from having them sponsor the EMS Blogs blog network.

Limmer Creative Learning Center, which I am not familiar with, but have heard good things about.

Informed’s EMS (and fire and police and nursing and . . . ) Field Guide Applications, which I have used and like.

Not sponsored recommendations –

Josh Knapp of EMS Office Hours has the side business of WANTYNU, when he is not running calls. He makes oxygen wrenches that fit more conveniently in a pocket than the typical oxygen wrench, which tends to jab you in places you don’t want to be jabbed – at least not on a call. These also seem to last longer.

I am more of a book person, so I will recommend a few books that are EMS and a few that are about general decision making, not just related to EMS, but definitely applicable to EMS.


Image credit.

Our own EMS Blogs author, Russ Reina, wrote Moments in the Death of a Flesh Mechanic You can get his book through the sidebar of his blog at EMS Outside Agitator.

Kelly Grayson wrote En Route – Life, Death, and Everything in Between, which you can get through the sidebar of his blog at A Day in the Life of an Ambulance Driver. If you have read his blog, you will love his book.

Peter Canning wrote Paramedic: On the front lines of medicine which is one of my favorite books, because I was at the same point in my career, also a second career, at the time I read it. He had a similar experience with an eclamptic patient a week, or two, after the baby was born – which was also not what I remembered from medic school about eclampsia. We were taught that eclampsia = pregnancy, but our patients did not go to the same paramedic schools we did. You can get his books through the sidebar of his blog at Street Watch: Notes of a Paramedic.

In the not necessarily medicine category are –

Thinking Fast and Slow, which just came out, by Daniel Kahneman. He is one of the originators of behavioral economics and won a Nobel Prize for it. Behavioral economics is about studying why we make irrational decisions so often and how to make better decisions. We do not want to be making bad medical decisions. Our patients’ lives depend on the quality of our decisions. NY Times Book Review.

[youtube]i_UVDD7ErJ4[/youtube]

Being Wrong by Kathryn Schulz. The title gives a lot away, but actually leaves a lot to cover. As she explains in the video, there is a lot about being wrong that we are not aware of. When our decisions can result in death or disability, we need to better understand what we can do to make better decisions.

What if everything you thought about being wrong was wrong?

[youtube]7p6365AVsIA[/youtube]

Predictably Irrational and The Upside of Irrationality are by Daniel Ariely. He began thinking about decisions when he was being treated for burns over most of his body during his military service.

Which hurts more – pulling a bandage off quickly or pulling a bandage off slowly?

Why is one more painful?

[youtube]_Y0w5EJC9o0[/youtube]

Fooled by Randomness by Nassim Taleb. He is probably best known for his sequel to this, The Black Swan, which described the financial problems that others began to notice in 2007 and 2008 – except he wrote the book in 2006 – when everyone was saying there was no problem. This book is about how we are easily fooled by thinking that random events behave according to some kind of predictable pattern. Some things do follow patterns and are predictable. Some things only appear to be predictable.

[youtube]0YaUIPbw-5w[/youtube]

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What if I Read Something that Changes My Mind – Banned Books Week 2011

But, what if I do read something that changes my mind?

That is called learning – and learning is a good thing.

Learning is one of the things to be expected from reading – learning is not one of the things to be prevented.

Happy Banned Books Week.

If there is a bedrock principle underlying the First Amendment, it is that the government may not prohibit the expression of an idea simply because society finds the idea itself offensive or disagreeable.

– Justice William J. Brennan, Jr. – Texas v. Johnson (1989)

If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion, or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein. If there are any circumstances which permit an exception, they do not now occur to us.

– Justice Robert Jackson – West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette (1943)

Should I read anything special for Banned Books Week?

This should be done throughout the year, not just during one isolated week.

What should I read for Banned Books Week?

Read something you would not ordinarily read.

If a book would be on your personal do not read list, consider reading that book.

Are you a Liberal and avoid reading books by Conservatives?

Are you a Conservative and avoid reading books by Liberals?

Just avoid the screeds that explain why the Conservatives/Liberals are destroying the country. Whining is not appealing from anyone.

Read something that may be shorter than a book, but much more important. The US Constitution and Amendments (for those outside of the US, read your own founding documents).

Anything that is so fragile that it must be protected from criticism is not worth protecting from criticism.

When I am told that I should be prohibited from reading something, I want to know what that persuasive book is.

What the censors are telling me is that this book is so much more persuasive than anything that they could come up with, that the only argument they can think of is to prohibit the book. In other words, the prohibitionists are the best promoters of banned books.

When we have been protected from thinking and discriminating among ideas, we lose our ability to think about anything. If we cannot reason for ourselves, does it matter what we read? If there is no ability to understand, then we should expect everything to be misunderstood.

My favorite banned book is Fahrenheit 451. There is a wonderful audio book version read by the author, Ray Bradbury, that is certainly worth listening to.

We need to be really bothered once in a while. How long is it since you were really bothered? About something important, about something real?

We must all be alike. Not everyone born free and equal, as the Constitution says, but everyone made equal. Each man the image of every other; then all are happy, for there are no mountains to make them cower, to judge themselves against.

Colored people don’t like Little Black Sambo. Burn it. White people don’t feel good about Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Burn it.

So few want to be rebels anymore. And out of those few, most, like myself, scare easily.

If you hide your ignorance, no one will hit you and you’ll never learn.

the most dangerous enemy of truth and freedom, the solid unmoving cattle of the majority. Oh, God, the terrible tyranny of the majority.

Others die, I go on. There are no consequences and no responsibilities. Except that there are. But let’s not talk about them, eh? By the time the consequences catch up with you, it’s too late, isn’t it,

While books can be expensive, reading does not need to cost anything. The following sites allow access to free books, including the library, which may have the latest best sellers as well as the classics.

eBooks @ The University of Adelaide

The OnLine Books Page at UPenn

Project Gutenberg

LibriVox.org

At your local library you can find out how to use a library card to download current copyright protected audio books to a computer or MP3 player. These downloads have a limited life (a couple of weeks) before they are no longer useful.

These books are free to use.

Late addition – 9/25/2011 19:35 – some people requested links to lists of banned books –

Wikipedia – Banned Book.

American Library Association lists of –

100 most frequently challenged books by decade.

Frequently challenged books of the 21st century by year.

Most frequently challenged authors of the 21st century.

Number of Challenges by Year, Reason, Initiator & Institution (1990 – 2010).

Banned and Challenged Classics.

The Back of the Medic also mentions Banned Books Week.

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Free Downloads Extended until January 17

The free downloads continue –

From January 4 to 10 17, 2011, Kaplan (Kaplan Publishing) will offer electronic versions of En Route for free download.

Free downloads of Kelly’s Book, En Route (and its nearly identical other version Paramedic’s Story) and over a hundred other books, are available for free from Kaplan Books until January 17, 2011. While there were some initial problems with the web address provided by Kaplan, everything seems to be working well, currently. Download some books now and read them later.

Pick your electronic device(s) and click on the name of the device for a link to the Kaplan page for that device. The price should be displayed as $0.00 for all of the titles in this offer. Don’t just stop with downloading both versions of Kelly’s book (they are slightly different), but look at the other titles available. I included a list of the books in their medical category and a list of the books in their nursing category.

They also have a College category, which includes a lot of advanced placement and SAT preparation books. They have an Education category, which includes books on teaching (in a variety of settings) as well as other test preparation books. They have a Graduate category, which includes a bunch of GRE and MBA titles and one on getting in to pharmacy school.The final category is Legal, with books by Plato, Clarence Darrow, Oliver Wendel Holmes and books on going to law school and books on working as a lawyer.

I think that all of these devices will ask you to register, but I doubt that you will be required to prove who you are, or where you are. An address in the US is required to download these free books. For those outside of the US, there is no reason that you could not use some free mapping software, such as Google Maps to identify a US address and enter that address in the form. I do feel horribly guilty providing information that might allow someone to provide false information to obtain something that is free. OK. I’m over it.

All of the electronic bookstores should have other titles available for free, so consider browsing their free bookstores. If you decide to purchase something, you will probably need to provide them with an address that matches your credit card billing address.

There are so many books available for free, that you may be able to keep yourself entertained and educated for months, or years, just on free books. My favorite source is the public library, which uses my tax dollars to buy books for me to read and audio books for me to listen to.

There are many on line sources for out of copyright books (before 1923 in the US), such as Project Gutenberg and some of these books made into audio books by volunteer readers, such as LibriVox. The free downloads of Kelly’s book mean that you do not have to wait for the copyright to expire to get it for free. That US copyright should expire some time after we are dead, so that might interfere with enjoyment of Kelly’s book.


Apple iPad

To get the free iBooks for Apple iPad, iPhone, and iEt cetera software this page will provide you with the information.


Sony eReader

To get the free Sony eReader software this page will provide you with the information.


Amazon Kindle

To get the free Amazon Kindle software this page will provide you with the information.


Barnes & Noble NOOKcolor

To get the free Barnes & Noble NOOKcolor software this page will provide you with the information.

Medical Titles –

Free Kaplan ebook titles: Author
Cleveland Clinic Guide to Arthritis Clough, John D
Cleveland Clinic Guide to Diabetes Reddy, Sethu
Cleveland Clinic Guide to Epilepsy Wyllie, Elaine
Cleveland Clinic Guide to Fibromyalgia Wilke, William S
Cleveland Clinic Guide to Heart Failure Starling, Randall
Cleveland Clinic Guide to Infertility Falcone, Tommaso
Cleveland Clinic Guide to Menopause Thacker, Holly L
Cleveland Clinic Guide to Pain Management Stanton-Hicks, Michael
Cleveland Clinic Guide to Prostate Cancer Klein, Eric
Cleveland Clinic Guide to Sleep Disorders Foldvary-Schaefer, Nancy
Cleveland Clinic Guide to Thyroid Disorders Skugor, Mario
Collected Writings Pasteur/Lister
Corpus Hippocrates
Diagnoses from the Dead Prayson, Richard
En Route Grayson, Steven “Kelly”
Eye of the Beholder Greenwald, Laura
Get Into Medical School Kaplan
Kaplan MCAT Biology Review Kaplan
Kaplan MCAT General Chemistry Review Kaplan
Kaplan MCAT Organic Chemistry Review Kaplan
Kaplan MCAT Physics Review Kaplan
Kaplan MCAT Practice Tests Kaplan
Kaplan MCAT Verbal Reasoning and Writing Review Kaplan
Kaplan Medical USMLE Step 1 Qbook Kaplan
Kaplan Medical USMLE Step 2 CK Qbook Kaplan
Malpractice Cure McCarthy, Edward D
Manual of Surgery Thomson, Alexis
Paramedic’s Story Grayson, Steven “Kelly”
Real Life of an Internist Tyler-Lloyd, Mark D
To the Rescue Harless, Nancy Leigh
USMLE Step 3 White Coat Pocket Guide Giaccio/McWilliams

Nursing Titles –

Free Kaplan ebook titles: Author
Call to Nursing Sergi/Gorman
Change Your Career: Nursing as Your New Profession Arnoldussen, Barbara
Final Moments Sherman, Deborah Witt
First Year Nurse Arnoldussen, Barbara
How to Survive Clinical Martin, Diann L.
Kaplan CCRN Kaplan
Kaplan NCLEX-PN Irwin /Yock
Kaplan NCLEX-RN Irwin /Burckhardt
Labor of Love Muhlhahn, Cara
Lives in the Balance Shalof, Tilda
Math for Nurses Kaplan
New Lives Huggins, Kathleen
Notes on Nursing Nightingale, Florence
Reflections on Doctors Ratner, Terry
Wonderful Adventures of Mrs. Seacole in Many Lands Seacole, Mary

Go.

Download.

Enjoy.

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