Bittersweet Destiny: The Stormy Evolution of Human Behavior / Edition 2

Bittersweet Destiny: The Stormy Evolution of Human Behavior / Edition 2

by Del Thiessen
     
 

ISBN-10: 1412842573

ISBN-13: 9781412842570

Pub. Date: 07/01/2012

Publisher: Transaction Publishers

Bittersweet Destiny combines discourse on the evolution of human behavior with a philosophical perspective. It explores evolutionary theory aimed at determining human behavior. Del Thiessen presents this material against the broad background of everyday life, allowing the reader to see the theory of evolution as it has shaped his or her own behavior. However

Overview

Bittersweet Destiny combines discourse on the evolution of human behavior with a philosophical perspective. It explores evolutionary theory aimed at determining human behavior. Del Thiessen presents this material against the broad background of everyday life, allowing the reader to see the theory of evolution as it has shaped his or her own behavior. However, he points out that when evolutionary theory is aimed at human behavior, the critics object, and controversy results.

Thiessen argues that nothing in our lives makes sense unless we look at it through a biological lens. We can thereby understand our origin, our affiliation with all animals and plants, and our cultural destination. However, we can also discover a dark side to our destiny—our favoritism to those who share our own genes, our ability to deceive, and our capacity for abuse, rape, and murder. Good, bad, and indifferent, we serve the replication of our DNA. Critics extrapolate evolutionary theory to a wide range of animal species, and even human morphology and physiology, but when the same perspective is applied to human behavior there is strong dissent. What these critics fear, according to Thiessen, is that accepting evolutionary notions about human behavior strikes at the heart of free will, self-determination, and social equality.

Bittersweet Destiny describes the heroic efforts of naturalists Charles Darwin and Alfred Wallace to unlock the secrets of evolution. It continues with a vivid description of our fossil history and our chance beginnings. From there the story implicates disease processes in evolution, highlights our rational and irrational nature, focuses on those characteristics of brain evolution and language that make us distinctive, and illustrates our most basic survival and reproductive mechanisms. Thiessen warns the reader that things are as they are no matter what we might wish; we ignore facts and controversy at our own risk. This book will be significant to anthropologists, psychologists, biologists, and sociologists.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781412842570
Publisher:
Transaction Publishers
Publication date:
07/01/2012
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
433
Sales rank:
1,231,194
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.80(h) x 1.00(d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements vii

A Short Note to the Reader ix

Preface|xiii

Preface to the Paperback Edition xv

Introduction 1

Part I Truth in the Marble

1 Arrow of Destiny 11

2 The Shattered Mirror 33

Part II Valley of Becoming

3 Uncertain Survival 49

4 Bones and Stones of History 69

5 Bone Talk 95

6 Invisible Imperative 111

7 Undaunted Reality Submerged in Beauty 141

8 Rules of the Mind 159

Part III Winds of Being

9 The Taming of the Irrational Mind 179

10 The Strange Evolution of the Human Brain 205

11 The Motor Basis of Mind 227

12 The Light and Dark Sides of Consciousness 249

Part IV Rush Toward Tomorrow

13 Years Without Solitude 269

14 Mining the Depths of the Cultural Gene 293

15 The Yin and Yang of Sex 321

16 The Dark Lens of Evolution 351

Part V Into the Mountains

17 The Last Millennium 379

Epilogue 401

Index 411

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