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evolutionary theory

Upending Civilization

One of the surprise bestselling books of 2022 is David Graeber’s and David Wengrow’s book The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity, in which they attempt to upend the standard and widely accepted model of how Hunter-Gatherer bands and tribes developed into chiefdoms and states. How accurate is their alternative history of humanity? In this review essay, Chris Edwards considers the evidence as presented in this compelling book.

Lucy Cooke — Bitch: On the Female of the Species

Shermer and Cooke discuss: the definition of male and female across the animal kingdom • male bias in the history of science • genes involved in sex determination and how they work • sexual selection • adaptationism vs. non-adaptationism • Why do women have orgasms? • why female animals are just as promiscuous, competitive, aggressive, dominant and dynamic as males • what humans can learn from non-human animals • maternal/paternal instincts • patriarchy/matriarchy across the animal kingdom • why the sexes are far more alike than they are different.

eSkeptic for December 28, 2021

Michael Shermer speaks with Brian Klass about power and corruption, based on his book Corruptible: Who Gets Power and How it Changes Us. PLUS: In Memoriam: Edward O. Wilson (1929–2021) — entomologist, evolutionary theorist, and unifier of all knowledge. Read the interview from Skeptic 6.1 (1998).

The Ionian Instauration—An Interview with E.O. Wilson on His Latest Controversial Book: Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge

In Memoriam: Edward O. Wilson (1929–2021) — entomologist, evolutionary theorist, and unifier of all knowledge. Read an extensive and intimate interview we published in Skeptic in 1998, Vol. 6, No. 1, conducted by our editor Frank Miele, upon the occasion at the time of the publication of Wilson’s game-changing book Consilience.

Michael E. McCullough — The Kindness of Strangers: How a Selfish Ape Invented a New Moral Code

In this sweeping psychological history of human goodness — from the foundations of evolution to the modern political and social challenges humanity is now facing — psychologist Michael McCullough answers a fundamental question: How did humans, a species of self-centered apes, come to care about others?

eSkeptic for September 15, 2020

In Science Salon podcast # 133, Michael Shermer speaks with Michael E. McCullough about his new book: The Kindness of Strangers: How a Selfish Ape Invented a New Moral Code.

Evolution & Creationism, Part 2: Who says evolution never happened, why do they say it, and what do they claim?

Dr. Michael Shermer continues the discussion of evolution and creationism, focusing on the history of the creationism movement and the four stages it has gone through.

eSkeptic for June 5, 2020

In this lecture on Evolution and Creationism (Part 2),Dr. Michael Shermer continues the discussion of evolution and creationism, focusing on the history of the creationism movement and the four stages it has gone through.

Dr. Robert Trivers — Evolutionary Theory & Human Nature

Dr. Robert Trivers and Dr. Michael Shermer have a lively conversation on everything from evolutionary theory and human nature to how to win a knife fight and Trivers’ membership in the Black Panthers. Don’t miss this engaging exchange with one of the most interesting scientists of the past half century.

Unmasking Darwin’s Cathedral: It’s Not Just About Religion

What is the origin of religion? Is it purely a cultural product or does it have deeper roots in our evolutionary past? Evolutionary biologist David Sloan Wilson argues in his book Darwin’s Cathedral that religion served as a social tool to unite groups into cohesive wholes by which they could out compete groups without religion, and thus the religious impulse was born. Biologist Peter Corning considers the pluses and minuses of this theory of religion in this review.

Why People Behave Badly

One of the most difficult problems in the social sciences is understanding why some people intentionally inflict emotional and physical pain on others. Such intentional pain occurs not only on a local level — within families, with “friends,” or in work situations, but also on a national and international scale — Hitler’s Holocaust, Stalin’s purges, and Chairman Mao’s slaughter of millions. Neuroscience is providing the potential for a revolution in our understanding of why “bad” people do what they do…

07-02-12

In this week’s eSkeptic, the Skeptics Society celebrates one of the greatest thinkers in history, Charles Darwin, on what would be his 198th birthday.

04-07-05

In this week’s eSkeptic, to commemorate Ernst Mayr’s 100th birthday, we reprint an interview from Skeptic magazine, The Grand Old Man of Evolution: An Interview with Evolutionary Biologist Ernst Mayr.

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