Every living thing is assembled by its genes. This is a crucial starting point for exploring a fundamental human dilemma.
As stated so starkly by Richard Dawkins, a human is "a lumbering machine, created for the task of safeguarding and propagating the all-important genes within." I would add that since the machine's behavior is driven by brain circuits pre-wired by those genes, sometimes we are prone to doing things which work against our individual best interest in order to advance the cause of the genes. In other words, some of our genes are our enemies ("outlaw genes") because they jeopardize individual well¬being as they work to assure themselves genetic immortality.
Every thinking person must face the following dilemma: "How can I achieve liberation from genetic pitfalls when my values and thinking are so profoundly influenced by the very same genes that have created those pitfalls?" The more one tries to answer this question the harder it is to imagine that an answer is possible. Nevertheless, this is a challenge that can become irresistibly fascinating. This book is an attempt to bravely explore one of Humanity's most profound existential dilemmas.
The fate of a civilization is also affected by the "outlaw genes," especially those responsible for a feeling of discontent with civilization and a vague preference for a simpler society, which I would describe as resembling those found in the human ancestral environment. This book explores how a flawed human nature undermines every civilization, starting a decline and eventual fall. Those of us born during the 20th Century are lucky for having seen the best of times for our civilization, and as a questionable bonus we may now witness from close-up the forces that have condemned every past civilization to ruin.
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About the Author
My 38 years of employment were in several fields: radio astronomy, atmospheric boundary layer remote sensing, aviation safety and airborne atmospheric science. I have 70 peer-reviewed publications in scientific journals, four patents and numerous awards. The highlight of my pre-retirement career is participation as a principal investigator in all of the NASA-led international campaigns of airborne studies of stratospheric ozone depletion - commonly referred to as "the ozone hole." The airborne instrument that I developed was helpful in determining that man-made chemicals (chlorofluorocarbon, CFC) are responsible for the ozone hole. Another accomplishment during my career was the creation of an avionics instrument for warning and avoidance of "clear air turbulence," CAT, which is described in two of my four patents.
After retirement I resumed the childhood hobby of astronomy, and moved to Arizona where I have constructed a 2-dome observatory in my backyard. My participation in a professional/amateur project (XO) led to co-authorship of discovery papers of five exoplanets (planets that orbit other stars). I recently consulted as a Visiting Scholar for a university by observing a list of exoplanet candidates and dwarf eclipsing binary stars. My publication rates before and after retirement are comparable, so in effect I haven't retired.