A Liberal Awakening

A Liberal Awakening – Part I: The Conservative Narrative

Filed under: Evolutionary psychology, Group Selection, Human Nature | No Comments

First of a series: click second or third Political beliefs both start and end with attitudes toward human nature. The right has long been associated with the Hobbesian view that the natural state of mankind is “warre of every man against every man—Bellum omnium contra omnes” (Leviathan, 1651). Material progress is made possible by business …

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The winning cartoon

EGO (Excerpt from book)

Filed under: Human Nature, Two Mind Hypothesis | No Comments

The motivation for self-display, which is part of virtually all aspects of modern human striving by individuals, throws a different light on the role of ego. Freud cast the ego in modern humans as a mediator between the superego, representing the inhibitions demanded by society, and the antisocial impulses of the (primate) id. To me, …

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Migration part of us from get-go

Migration Part of Us from Get-Go

Filed under: Ancient human migration, Evolution of Emotion, Sexual Selection | No Comments

In the January 26th issue of Science, Chris Stringer of London’s Natural History Museum and colleague, Julia Galway-Witham have an article that accompanies a research paper of a major fossil find in Israel: The skeletal features of our species, Homo sapiens, include a globular braincase, brow ridges that are divided into central and side portions, …

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Ape Mind, Old Mind, New Mind

Final Book Version on Amazon

Filed under: Author narrative, Evolutionary psychology, Group Selection, Sexual Selection, The Deep Evolution of Emotion

Since my retirement 10 years ago, Ape Mind, Old Mind, New Mind has been a work in progress. The basic ideas arose from my knowledge of the internal experience of the major mental illnesses directly imparted to me by thousands of my patients in 35 years of practicing psychiatry. The “data” of these composite descriptions …

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Fossil DNA Clarifying Human Migration

Filed under: Ancient human migration, History

In a review article in this week’s Science (358:1269), a review article by Christopher Bae, Katarina Douka, and Michael Retraglia review the progress in elucidating the migration of Homo sapiens out of Africa. Abstract: The traditional “out of Africa” model, which posits a dispersal of modern Homo sapiens across Eurasia as a single wave at …

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ancient dogs with leashes

Oldest depiction of dogs with humans plus inequality

Filed under: History

Two other posts on dogs, domestication and human evolution: here and here Also in the November 17th issue of science, an article about the history of inequality by Lizzie Wade. Summary Economic inequality has deep roots. A new study concludes that its ancient hotbed was the Old World: Societies there tended to be less equal …

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social networks

Sexual selection, modern humans and the enigma of vanity.

Filed under: Evolutionary psychology, Human Nature, Sexual Selection

Excerpt from forthcoming edition of Ape Mind, Old Mind, New Mind: There is paleontological evidence for sexual selection. What makes early human fossils recognizably modern has less to do with brute survival than with the attractiveness of males and females for each other. Modern human adults are more gracile and childlike, which is the result …

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A Runaway Passion for Justice

A Runaway Passion for Justice

Filed under: Dominance and Submission, Evolution of Emotion, Human Nature, Justice, Sexual Selection

This is a new section, added for the next edition of the book. It contains some early thinking about sexual selection while I was working in a prison. *** During this period in prison, I discovered a book written in 1930 by a brilliant English polymath named Ronald Fisher, who updated Darwin’s idea of co-evolution …

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Brain Science Reveals that Trust is Our “Default State”

Filed under: Group Selection, Human Nature, Justice

Some of you might believe that the natural state of mankind is “warre of every man against every man—Bellum omnium contra omnes” (Hobbes, Leviathan, 1651). Here is some hard evidence to the contrary: The most comprehensive and up-to-date lay book on the science of behavior is Stanford neuro-endocrinologist Robert Sapolsky’s Behave: The Biology of Humans …

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Vanity in Human Evolution

Vanity and Human Evolution

Filed under: Evolution of Emotion, Human Nature, Mental illness | 1 Comment

In Yuval Harari’s widely acclaimed book, Sapiens: A Brief History of Mankind (2015) he makes this sweeping statement: “The most important thing to know about prehistoric humans is that they were insignificant animals with no more impact on their environment than gorillas, fireflies or jellyfish.” He then makes the case that the event that catapulted …

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Lee Berger Continues to Shake Up Old Notions of Human Evolution

Filed under: Evolution of Emotion, Justice, Sexual Selection | 1 Comment

I just finished Lee Berger’s Almost Human. It is a passionate first-person account of his monumental fossil find: Homo naledii, and also describes his other spectacular find, Australopithecus sediba, both in proximate locations in South Africa. Berger has a very straight-forward writing style that lends the weight of common sense to his side of the …

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The P.C.-ness of “Psycho”

Filed under: Emotional Fossils, Mental illness

There is plenty to be outraged about in the crude bigotry of our president, but it is little noted that, when he throws around epithets like “psycho,” he is denigrating the mentally ill. Do you or someone you love suffer from “major” depression, panic disorder, schizophrenia, or bipolar disorder? I am a psychiatrist and have …

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The Evolution of Human Emotion

∾APE MIND • OLD MIND • NEW MIND: The Evolution of the Human Spirit∾ now on Amazon

Filed under: Human Nature, Justice, Mental illness, Myth, Self domestication, Sexual Selection, The Ascension of the Human Spirit, Two Mind Hypothesis

BACK COVER OF THE BOOK The Ascension of the Human Spirit (excerpt) The remarkable aspect of evolution by sexual selection, which Darwin so courageously proposed, is that it is driven merely by the desire for a trait, in this case the desire for justice. I had realized that sexual selection is not only driven by …

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Peacock's tail

Two Huge events in Human Evolution—and how they are related

Filed under: Sexual Selection

Darwin’s Theory of sexual selection finally liberated from the “adaptationists” There have been two very exciting events in the world of human evolution over the past month. First is Yale ornithologist, Richard Prum’s The Evolution of Beauty: How Darwin’s Forgotten Theory of Mate Choice Shapes the Animal World – and Us. Here is my review …

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evolution of emotion

The Role of Emotion (and domesticated animals) in Human Evolution, excerpt from Introduction

Filed under: Evolution of Emotion, Evolutionary psychology

We belong to the primate order of the mammalian class of the animal kingdom. A distinguishing characteristic of primate evolution is the manner in which their large brains were acquired. There is wide agreement that these outsized brains were evolved not in response to the outer physical environment but to the inner environment of an …

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vanity.

Monogamy, Sexual Selection, Temperament and Human Evolution (excerpt from the book)

Filed under: Evolution of Emotion, Evolutionary psychology, Monogamy, Sexual Selection

Some monogamy facts: 85 percent of birds, 3 to 9 percent of mammals—but fully a quarter of mammals’ primate component—are classed as monogamous. Selected species of primates began evolving monogamous social systems about 16 million years ago, relatively late in their 52-million-year history of group living. In each case, monogamy grew out of a promiscuous mating …

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Richard Dawkins, EOWilson, Nepotism and Human Bonds

Richard Dawkins, E.O. Wilson, Nepotism and the Nature of Human Bonds

Filed under: Evolution of Emotion, Group Selection, Human Nature, The Ascension of the Human Spirit | 7 Comments

I have been re-editing my book, and thought that this key juncture might hold together on its own. As mentioned, [Richard] Dawkins popularized the concept that natural selection can proceed at the level of genes. For example, some insects will sacrifice themselves for several of their genetic relatives. This is because it is actually the …

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