Emotions in charge in dogs

Emotions in Charge of both Dog and Human Language

Filed under: cognitive capacities, Evolution of Emotion, Language

  The most basic activity of this blog is to maintain vigilance of ongoing science, particularly in the fields of psychiatry and paleoanthropology but also in numerous other fields, and to apply all relevant new findings to the Blog’s broad paradigm of the human mind. In the September 2nd issue of Science an article entitled, …

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Solomon, Andrew

Andrew Solomon: “Breathtakingly original. . . . A great endeavor of the intellect”

Filed under: Emotional Fossils, Evolution of Emotion, Mental illness | 1 Comment

Andrew Solomon, after reading Old Mind, New Mind sent me these two sentences: In this breathtakingly original book, John Wylie proposes a new theory of mind, one that reconciles evolutionary biology with psychodynamics. This is a great endeavor of the intellect and a deep review of consciousness itself. In this post, I return the compliment. …

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Mental illness stigma

Hidden Evolutionary Benefits to Mental Illness?

Filed under: Evolutionary psychology, Human Nature, Mental illness

I recently got a note from someone about Old Mind, New Mind who has suffered from mental illness. As soon as he found out that the book was about the relationship between mental illness and human evolution, he assumed that I thought that mental illnesses are adaptive in some way and expressed his reservations about …

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The urban planet and the history of life

The Urban Planet & the History of Life

Filed under: Evolution of Emotion, Evolutionary psychology, History | 2 Comments

The May 20th Issue of Science is entitled The Urban Planet. The lead article starts out: In 2014, 54% of the world’s population, or 3.9 billion people, lived in urban areas. That’s up from one-third in 1950, and forecasters say the proportion will rise to 66% by 2050. More than half of urbanites live in …

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Freudian ego.

on the subject of consciousness

Filed under: cognitive capacities, Evolutionary psychology, Two Mind Hypothesis

From Old Mind, New Mind: Emotional Fossils and the Evolution of the Human Spirit Being conscious is one thing, but being conscious of being conscious is quite another . . . . I had been thinking about thinking from the very beginning of my journey as a philosopher. My original notion, drawn from my observations …

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Old Mind New Mind

Filed under: Author narrative, Emotional Fossils, Evolution of Emotion, Evolutionary psychology, Mental illness

An Evolved Will for Justice Separates Us from Apes Perhaps the world’s foremost scientist on the subject of mind evolution, Michael Tomasello, states in his recent book, A Natural History of Human Thinking (2014): The main problem is that collaboration, communication, and thinking do not fossilize, so we will always be in a position of …

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The Hobbits lived on the island of Flores for 700,000 yrs.

Hobbits Lived On Flores Island For 700,000 Years!

Filed under: Evolutionary psychology, History | 2 Comments

  From June 10 Science by Elizabeth Culatta: From the moment the announcement of a 1-meter-tall ancient human nicknamed “the hobbit” shocked the world in 2004, supporters and sceptics alike have longed for more fossils. After the first burst of discoveries, the team kept digging, at the original find site and at other sites in …

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Therapy for Liberals


Filed under: Evolution of Emotion, Human Nature, Justice | 2 Comments

The Blog’s “natural philosophy” of human evolution has many intellectual patrons. First is Carl Jung, whose studies of dreams and symbols revealed our collective unconscious. The Blog considers Jung’s collective unconscious in modern humans to be the submerged continent of the consciousness that for six-million years constituted the entire consciousness of our noble hominin ancestors. …

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Blaming the victim


Filed under: Evolutionary psychology, History, Human Nature | 2 Comments

Social psychologists, Laura Niemi and Liane Young wrote a piece in the NYTimes Review section on a study they conducted on what determines the degree to which people tend to blame the victims of crimes: In a recent series of studies, we found that the critical factor lies in a particular set of moral values. …

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Obedient dog


Filed under: Dominance and Submission, Evolution of Emotion, Evolutionary psychology, Group Selection | 1 Comment

In the June 3rd Issue of Science, a research report appeared on the status of a large collaborative effort to nail down the origin of dogs. The Abstract: The geographic and temporal origins of dogs remain controversial. We generated genetic sequences from 59 ancient dogs and a complete (28x) genome of a late Neolithic dog …

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Hiding in a hole


Filed under: Dominance and Submission, Emotional Fossils, Evolution of Emotion, Evolutionary psychology, Mental illness

We pick up the narrative as I am describing a prison inmate: He spoke slowly and deliberately with no emotion whatsoever. He had shot his wife dead after drinking one night. He said that he would always love her and was just waiting to die. He then went on to describe in spare, clear language …

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The Evolutionary Biology of Left and Right


Filed under: Belief, Human Nature, Monogamy | 1 Comment

In 2005, Newt Gingrich gave a several minute summary on the NPR series, “This I believe.” He started out by saying, “I believe that the world is inherently a very dangerous place, and that things that are now very good can go bad very quickly.” In the following talk, he gave many examples from all …

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Templeton Foundation Logo

Does Human Evolution Fit The Extended Evolutionary Synthesis?

Filed under: Evolutionary psychology, Extended Evolutionary Synthesis, Group Selection, Human Nature | 4 Comments

The John Templeton Foundation was established by the late investment tycoon to “encourage civil, informed dialogue among scientists, philosophers, and theologians.” Reported in the April 22nd issue of Science: the Foundation is now offering “an $8.7 million grant to researchers for experimental and theoretical work intended to put a revisionist view of evolution, the so-called …

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Filed under: Group Selection, Human Nature

My brother-in-law was a shepherd for a decade and wrote this wonderfully artful memoir about the experience. His pet peeve was that people would not infrequently ask him, “Aren’t sheep very stupid?” His ready answer was, “They’re smart enough to be successful sheep.” I am reminded of this by the fact that the incredibly prolific …

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Exam nightmare

What Is Mental Illness: Excerpt From The Book

Filed under: Mental illness, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

The general pathological mechanism of mental illness can be described as a self-reinforcing feedback loop. On the Fourth of July, the politician gets up on the podium and tries to begin his speech. Suddenly there is a piercing squeal from the speakers, and, as he speaks, it only gets worse. Very simply, the sound of …

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Pose Francis and Conscience

Is Conscience a Result of Natural Selection?

Filed under: Faith, God, Human Nature, The Ascension of the Human Spirit | 1 Comment

At the beginning of April, Pope Francis issued an “Apostolic Exhortation” on the subject of “Love in the Family,” which addresses the issue of divorce. Of great interest to the Blog is that the Pope has reintroduced conscience into Catholic dialogue. The Blog holds that the introduction of a collective conscience right at the beginning …

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The potimism of FDR

What Does Progressivism mean in the 21st Century?

Filed under: History, Human Nature

All of a sudden the term “liberal” is off the table, and everyone is using the term “progressive.”               Your only assignment in this first post is to listen carefully—more than just once— to Franklin Deleno Roosevelt’s fourth inaugural address in 1945. Keep in mind that Roosevelt was dying …

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No Bullshit

The Four Qualities That Make a Good Doctor

Filed under: Author narrative | 4 Comments

Upon my son and daughter-in-law’s graduation from Harvard Medical School, the Dean gave the students three pieces of superb advice. The first two are fairly standard: (1) “Be kind” (2) “Listen to your patient” A quick and easy way to determine whether you have a good doctor in the first ten minutes of an appointment …

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