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Posted February 20, 2001
Well written book on evolution with some new material
The title of this book is a little misleading, because it is an excellent book on evolution in general. That is, it is much broader than the title implies, is very well written, and brings some new perspectives to the subject of human behavior and evolution. It is one of the better books that covers the subject as completely as possible and I would recommend it as an introduction to the subject for the novice or for additional reading for those already versed in the subject. Therefore, rather than giving and overview of the book, I will comment on just a few points Low makes that I found especially interesting. He advances the recent research that has been done on group evolutionary strategies. That is, we have evolved our higher intellect not for dealing with a harsh environment but for the sake of competing with each other. Humans, forming cohesive groups thousands of years ago, cooperated together to compete against other groups. That included genocide, warfare, etc. The smarter and more cohesive the group, the more likely it would win out over the less cohesive or less intelligent group. He also sheds light on our irrationality or our illogical behavior. As a species that evolved in social groups, we are far too responsive to the rare events that we feel threatened by. This means we are quick to pass laws or try to remedy problems that are essentially quite rare but become sensationalized in the press. We as a species are also quick to blame others for their bad behavior based on their flawed character, while our own failures are attributed to circumstances. We have an incredible ability to rationalize our own shortcomings. In addition, we are easily led by people with status, and are easily duped by their explanations of social situations. That is, we believe too readily what we are told by leaders. His covering of war and deception is also rich in explanations and insight. With regards to a one world government he states, 'In a major work on the kin selection roots of warfare, after eloquent analysis, the authors are reduced to calling for 'some form of world government, some management force that might stabilize the most immediate threat to humanity --- nuclear destruction.' The entire work, however, is an acknowledgment that the power of in-group amity and out-group enmity would likely force any such world government to be a conquest state, a chilling prospect.' It is refreshing to read an evolutionist that both understands our genocidal nature as part of our journey into modernity, but does not fall for the egalitarian solutions that so many of these authors try to put forth to save us. Low understands how such simple solutions will bring us once again into the folds of the totalitarian state.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.