Genetics of Original Sin: The Impact of Natural Selection on the Future of Humanity

Genetics of Original Sin: The Impact of Natural Selection on the Future of Humanity

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by Christian de Duve, Neil Patterson, Edward O. Wilson
     
 

Increasingly absorbed in recent years by advances in our understanding of the origin of life, evolutionary history, and the advent of humankind, eminent biologist Christian de Duve of late has also pondered deeply the future of life on this planet.  He speaks to readers with or without a scientific background, offering new perspectives on the threat posed by

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Overview

Increasingly absorbed in recent years by advances in our understanding of the origin of life, evolutionary history, and the advent of humankind, eminent biologist Christian de Duve of late has also pondered deeply the future of life on this planet.  He speaks to readers with or without a scientific background, offering new perspectives on the threat posed by humanity’s immense biological success and on the resources human beings have for altering their current destructive path.

Focusing on the process of natural selection, de Duve explores the inordinate and now dangerous rise of humankind.  His explanation for this self-defeating success lies in the process of natural selection, which favors traits that are immediately useful, regardless of later consequences. Thus, the human genome determines such properties as tribal and group cohesion and collaboration and often fierce and irrational competition with and hostility toward other groups’ attributes that were once useful but now often ruinously dysfunctional.

Christian de Duve suggests that these traits, imprinted into human nature by natural selection, may have been recognized by the writers of Genesis, thus inspiring the myth of original sin.  Is there redemption for genetic original sin? In a brilliant and original conclusion, the author argues that, unique in the living world, humankind is endowed with the ability to deliberately oppose natural selection. Human beings have the capacity to devise measures that, while contrary to local or personal interests, can bring forth a safer world.  

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780300182729
Publisher:
Yale University Press
Publication date:
02/28/2012
Series:
An Editions Odile Jacob Book Series
Pages:
256
Sales rank:
1,029,665
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.10(h) x 0.80(d)

Table of Contents

Contents

Foreword by Edward O. Wilson....................     xvii     

Preface....................     xix     

Acknowledgments....................     xxiii     

Introduction....................     xxv     

Part I. The History of Life on Earth....................          

Chapter 1. The Unity of Life....................     3     

Chapter 2. The Origin of Life....................     14     

Chapter 3. The Evolution of Life....................     23     

Part II. The Mechanisms of Life....................          

Chapter 4. Metabolism....................     41     

Chapter 5. Reproduction....................     52     

Chapter 6. Development....................     70     

Chapter 7. Natural Selection....................     77     

Chapter 8. Other Evolutionary Mechanisms....................     91     

Part III. The Human Adventure....................          

Chapter 9. The Emergence of Humans....................     105     

Chapter 10. Making the Human Brain....................     120     

Chapter 11. Shaping Our Genes....................     133     

Chapter 12. The Cost of Success....................     140     

Chapter 13. Original Sin....................     146     

Part IV. The Challenges of the Future....................          

Chapter 14. Option 1: Do Nothing....................     153     

Chapter 15. Option 2: Improve Our Genes....................     159     

Chapter 16. Option 3: Rewire the Brain....................     169     

Chapter 17. Option 4: Call on Religions....................     173     

Chapter 18. Option 5: Protect the Environment....................     187     

Chapter 19. Option 6: Give Women a Chance....................     200     

Chapter 20. Option 7: Control Population....................     204     

Epilogue....................     210     

Index....................     213     


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