Beautiful Hand axes at the Nasher Sculpture Center

Beautiful Hand Axes at the Nasher Sculpture Center

Filed under: cognitive capacities, Evolution of Emotion, History, Sexual Selection | No Comments

Knowing my interest in human evolution, my son’s Texan mother-in-law gave me the brochure of an exhibit at the Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas that she visited, entitled “First Sculpture: Handaxe to Figurestone.” The brochure contained many pictures of beautifully rendered paleolithic hand axes as well as naturally formed sculptures that had been “framed” by …

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The Montreal Review

The Montreal Review

Filed under: Evolution of Emotion, Evolutionary psychology, Group Selection, Mental illness, Sexual Selection, Summary of Philosophy | No Comments

After drafting sections of an essay in the blog, it was finally published in the Montreal Review and can be seen by clicking here. This is the cover letter I sent: For many years the political right has implicitly drawn on the authority of Darwin’s paradigm of life as a struggle for fitness to support …

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Out of Africa

Big Data Revolutionizes Out of Africa Story

Filed under: Ancient human migration, eccology, History, Migration

Every once in a while, an article captures my imagination. Such is the case with one written by Axel Timmermann & Tobias Friedrich entitled “Late Pleistocene climate drivers of early human Migration” (Nature, Vol. 538: 6 Oct. 2016). This is big data applied to a most fascinating topic. Here is the abstract: On the basis …

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THE EVOLUTION OF SYMBOLS

THE EVOLUTION OF SYMBOLS

Filed under: Evolution of Emotion, Human Nature, Sexual Selection

When Science places a finding on their cover, it usually means that it is significant, which is indeed the case with the article by D.L. Hoffmann, et al. Entitled “U-Th dating of carbonate crusts reveals Neandertal origin of Iberian cave art.” A relatively new method of dating utilizing the carbonate drip-precipitated coating overlying the art …

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We didn't get smarter, but just got together

We Didn’t Get Smarter, We Just Got Together

Filed under: Ancient human migration, Evolutionary psychology, Human Nature

The main function of these posts is to interpret new scientific findings in the paradigm of human evolution portrayed in this blog. In the last few months, I have lapsed in keeping up with breaking developments in the field because I have been busy writing an essay on the subject, having posted some of the …

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A Liberal Theory of Human Nature

Human Nature – Part VI: Homo vanitas

Filed under: Human Nature, Justice, Sexual Selection

Jean Jacques Rousseau wrote, “Nothing can be more gentle than [the human] in his primitive state, when placed by nature at an equal distance from the stupidity of brutes, and . . . civilized man.” If Rousseau were around, he would probably identify apes as the stupid brutes, but I would extend his “civilized” qualifier to …

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A Liberal Awakening - Part V: Upright Posture, Great Big Brains and Only One Hand Ax

Human Nature – Part V: Upright Posture, Great Big Brains and Only One Hand Ax

Filed under: cognitive capacities, Evolutionary psychology, Group Selection, Language

For a fossil to be designated a hominin there must be evidence of upright posture.  However, any orthopedic surgeon can tell you that upright posture produces extreme vulnerability for injuries to the lower back (perennially among the top ER visits), hips and knees, so it is reasonable that the evolutionary advantages of such a costly …

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Human Nature – Part IV: The New Narrative of Human Evolution

Filed under: Evolution of Emotion, Evolutionary psychology, Group Selection, Human Nature, Justice, Language

Forth in series: click for first, second, or third There is evidence that, in a period of sharply declining temperatures, a collapse in the ape population occurred at the time hominins split off from apes. My view is that in the context of birthrates falling toward extinction, hierarchical dominance competition became a dangerous waste of …

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A Liberal Awakening - Part III

Human Nature – Part III: The Evolution of the Invisible Hand

Filed under: Evolution of Emotion, Evolutionary psychology, Justice, Mental illness

Third in series: click for first or second (two more coming) I entered the field of psychiatry forty-seven years ago imbued by Jung’s theory of a collective unconscious. Jung felt that Freud’s concept of his superego was an attempt to make the collective unconscious personal instead of “universal and deeply historical.” As I began to think …

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A Liberal Awakening - Part II

Human Nature – Part II: The Vast Silent Cradle of Our Human Passions

Filed under: Evolution of Emotion, Evolutionary psychology, Group Selection, Human Nature, Justice, Language

Second in a series: Click for first or third It is not generally understood that there is virtually no scientific knowledge about how the mind of apes evolved into our own mind. Huge amounts of scientific knowledge about the minds of apes and humans (particularly children) are neatly being stacked upon the cliffs on either …

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A Liberal Theory of Human Nature

Human Nature – Part I: The Conservative Narrative

Filed under: Evolutionary psychology, Group Selection, Human Nature

First of a series: click second 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 competition permitted …

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The winning cartoon

EGO (Excerpt from book)

Filed under: Human Nature, Two Mind Hypothesis

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

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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