Not having had the benefit/disadvantage of a university education (since the age of about 18 I’ve leant rather considerably towards the autodidactic), I occasionally find myself regretting that I never had the opportunity to attend lectures on the subjects that most appeal to and inspire me. It doesn’t trouble me too much, of course, since there are always other avenues of enquiry available — but a part of me has always had a niggling suspicion that it’s missed out on something vitally important.
And then I discovered the more intellectual provinces of that perceived dog-on-a-skateboard neighbourhood, YouTube, and suddenly I felt complete. (Well, as near as dammit )
The sheer volume of lectures now available is becoming positively staggering. Whether you want something on astrophysics or molecular biology, you’ll find it. Granted, it does to be selective — bad science can thrive in such an environment — but if you follow the basic rules, you won’t go far wrong.
I was especially pleased to discover The Stanford University YouTube Channel – the kind of “place” that makes me wish I had more time to spare.
The video below is the first of ten two-hour lectures from Stanford on Darwin’s legacy. I haven’t even begun to watch them yet but I thought I’d share now, anyway, before I forget. They’re bound to be good.
Twenty hours on Darwin’s legacy… call me sad if you like (though I’d rather you didn’t!), but if that isn’t as close as an atheist can come to heaven I don’t know what is.
All text © 2009 Gary William Murning