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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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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The Evolutionary Biology of Left and Right

Republicans Democrats and Human Nature

Filed under: Author narrative, Dominance and Submission, Emotional Fossils, Evolution of Emotion, Evolutionary psychology, Group Selection, Human Nature, Mental illness, Sexual Selection | 3 Comments

A glaring weakness of the agenda of the political left is that social justice does not appear to be rooted in the flesh and blood of human nature. The two most influential thinkers on our attitudes about what makes us tick are Charles Darwin and Sigmund Freud: we are ape-men who when psychoanalyzed are revealed …

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Parasitic Aliens

Parasitic Aliens

Filed under: eccology, Group Selection

I am reminded of the movies about aliens from other planets living among us by a remarkable article by Elizabeth Pennisi in the November 18 issue of Science entitled “An Evolutionary Classic.” Excerpts from the article: An army ant colony does not welcome outsiders. Not only are the ants notoriously fierce, but they specialize in …

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The Evolutionary Biology of Left and Right

The Evolutionary Biology of Left and Right

Filed under: Dominance and Submission, Evolution of Emotion, Evolutionary psychology, Group Selection, Human Nature, The Ascension of the Human Spirit | 1 Comment

The Blog has stated before that the philosophical difference between the political left and right have their roots in their different views of human nature. This very moment of transition offers the philosopher of human nature a rare opportunity to have the distinctions on display. Thomas Hobbes expressed attitudes human nature popular on the political …

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Breasts and Evolution

Breasts and Evolution

Filed under: Evolution of Emotion, Evolutionary psychology, Group Selection, Human Nature, Two Mind Hypothesis

The New York Times ran a story last week about “going flat” after breast surgery. With no idea of how it relates to such a decision, I thought it might be useful to frame-out one aspect of the evolution of human breasts according to the Blog’s two-mind paradigm. This one aspect concerns the fact that …

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The Evolutionary Biology of Destiny

The Evolutionary Biology of Destiny

Filed under: Dominance and Submission, Evolution of Emotion, Group Selection, Justice, Monogamy

First off, biological instincts for morality were evolved and refined over the millions of years of hominin evolution prior to the appearance of our own Homo sapiens species some 200,000 years ago. Over and above deep feelings for justice, our peculiar species has overlain a motivational layer animated by a mania to be admired by …

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World Series and Human Evolution

World Series and Human Evolution

Filed under: Dominance and Submission, Evolutionary psychology, Group Selection, Human Nature

This Blog is based on the premise that there was an evolutionary “metamorphosis” in the mental and emotional sphere that gave rise to our hominin “tribe” six million years ago. Pushed by harsh climates and the threat of extinction, the target of natural selection shifted from the fitness of individuals to the productivity of relationships. …

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Obedient dog

DOGS AND HUMAN SELF-DOMESTICATION

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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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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FRANS DE WAAL: FROM “WE’RE NOT THAT GOOD” TO “WE’RE NOT THAT SMART”

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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Authority's Evolution

The Epic Shift In Human Evolution

Filed under: Evolution of Emotion, Evolutionary psychology, Group Selection, Monogamy, Sexual Selection, Summary of Philosophy, The Ascension of the Human Spirit

The social structure of humans was due to a decisive-and-then-stable shift in the level of selection: from the selection of individuals (for fitness) in apes to the selection associations between individuals (for fecundity & productivity) in humans.

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Why So Snide About Psychoanalysis?

Filed under: Dominance and Submission, Emotional Fossils, Evolution of Emotion, Evolutionary psychology, Group Selection, The Deep Evolution of Emotion | 5 Comments

When one grasps the Darwinian dimension of psychoanalytic thinking, all the exquisite riches of a century of this creative thought about the inner dynamics of child development can viewed as the effect of natural selection.

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What’s Missing in Matt Ridley’s “The Evolution of Everything?”

Filed under: Dominance and Submission, Enlightenment Narrative, Evolutionary psychology, Group Selection, History, Mental illness | 2 Comments

You can quibble around the edges about his analysis (and painfully trite take on religion), but I think he is generally right just as I have been claiming in this blog: over the long haul, human history has been in the direction of greater justice accompanied by prosperity—resulting from the progressive coordination of our increasingly divided labor.

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Ian Tattersall

Career Splitter Ian Tattersall Slams Lumpers with a Cheap Shot

Filed under: Evolution of Emotion, Evolutionary psychology, Group Selection, Language, My Favorites, The Ascension of the Human Spirit

My uncle used to work at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. He was an artist in his soul and, among many other activities, designed the dioramas for the various exhibits. His favorite by far was the work he did at the Hall of Human Origins. He would often talk with great …

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