A Liberal Theory of Human Nature

Haidt on Us-vs-Them

Filed under: Evolutionary psychology, Group Selection, Human Nature, Justice | 2 Comments

Below is a TED talk by Jonathan Haidt, the social psychologist who wrote The Righteous Mind, in which he introduced six belief categories: important issues to Democrats are care/harm, liberty/oppression, and fairness/cheating, whereas for Republicans the most important issues are loyalty/betrayal, authority/subversion, and sanctity/ degradation. In this video he tells us that openness to new …

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Stones striking stones

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 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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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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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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A Liberal Theory of Human Nature

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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A Liberal Theory of Human Nature

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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