Category Archives: Evolution

Yuval Noah Harari, HOMO DEUS: A Brief History of Tomorrow (2017; 2015 in Israel)

This is, in effect, a sequel to SAPIENS. Top level summary: It opens with a long prologue: now that humanity has largely overcome famine, plague, and war, what next? Three possibilities: immortality, happiness, divinity. However these are predictions; this book … Continue reading

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Yuval Noah Harari, SAPIENS: A Brief History of Humankind (2015)

Yuval Noah Harari, SAPIENS: A Brief History of Humankind (2015) This is a history of the human species in the context of “Big History” – the first page sketches the history of the entire universe as a backdrop – and … Continue reading

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Peter Watts essay: “Understanding Sarah Palin, or, God Is In the Wattles”: Summary and Comments

From the book Peter Watts Is An Angry Sentient Tumor: Revenge Fantasies and Essays (Tachyon, November 2019), a selection of posts from the blog of Peter Watts, which has been running since 2007. Watts is the noted author of high … Continue reading

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Carel Van Schaik & Kai Michel, THE GOOD BOOK OF HUMAN NATURE: An Evolutionary Reading of the Bible (2016): Introduction

This is a fascinating book because it describes how there really is some rationale (if not reason or logic) to the stories in the Bible. It’s a set of answers to the general question, a sort of meta-question that one … Continue reading

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Links and Comments: Trump vs California; Rural America vs the big cities

Here’s another. Paul Krugman, Sept. 20th: Trump Declares War on California. Subtitled: “It’s a liberal state, so it must be punished.” I’m on a number of right-wing mailing lists, and I try to at least skim what they’re going on … Continue reading

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Dawkins v Wilson on Group Selection

A minor irritant in Dawkins’ book just discussed is that he several times describes claims by other scientists and then patiently explains why they are wrong. In one case it’s a recently published paper in a journal. In another he … Continue reading

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Dawkins, THE SELFISH GENE

Opening paragraph, of a chapter called “Why are people?” Intelligent life on a planet comes of age when it first works out the reason for its own existence. If superior creatures from space ever visit earth, the first question they … Continue reading

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E.O. Wilson: ON HUMAN NATURE

I first read this book shortly after its 1978 hardcover publication, and it was revelatory; elegantly written and insightful, it challenged conventional ideas about human nature, especially the one about the mind being a ‘blank slate’ completely molded by environment, … Continue reading

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Link and Comment: Adam Frank on the Earth’s Biosphere

Today’s NYT has an op-ed by Adam Frank, Earth Will Survive. We May Not., which keys off the theme of his new book, LIGHT OF THE STARS: ALIEN WORLDS AND THE FATE OF THE EARTH, just released this past Tuesday. … Continue reading

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Links from NYT recently, with Comments

Op-ed by Amy Sullivan in the New York Times, April 1 (posted March 31): Trump’s Christian Soldiers The recurring, amazing fact that the self-righteous evangelicals support someone like Trump. You could open a publishing press devoted to the theological and … Continue reading

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