Natural "narrative selection" was key to turning insignificant apes (who had tools for 2 million years) into the species that now dominates the bio-sphere.
“Teamwork is the signature adaptation of” humanity, says David Sloan Wilson. And our ancestors evolved ruthlessly cooperative means of ensuring productive social coordination.
Many don't have a leg to stand on where their understanding of evolution is concerned. David Sloan Wilson (head of the Evolution Institute) says "natural selection is life Monopoly." But, it could be more like basketball...
A key thought experiment, the "tragedy of the commons," is widely misunderstood, especially among certain kinds of economists. Elinor Ostrom won a Nobel Prize for showing how irrational they can be.
Each day, each of us faces 500 billion opportunities for genetic civil war to break out. Thankfully we've also evolved good ways to police and suppress these rogue parts, their mutinous mutations, and their declarations of independence.
Division of labor creates a need for others. And it logically connects your interests with the interests of those needed others (which complicates evolutionary trade-offs).
Evolution can be seen as a process of discovering logic that works well in a particular environment. But evolution can't see what our foresight can grasp. In some cases the logic inherent in relationships of need (e.g. within groups) can be decisive.
Many believe that evolution plays only ruthless "red in tooth and claw" games. But that view tends to ignore that nature is teeming with unseen or underappreciated teamwork.
The word “rational” needs to be rescued. Tom Stoppard’s new play shows that a major rational parable, the Prisoner's Dilemma, is widely misinterpreted. Seeing why "rationalists" do worse than Christians can help us avoid losing in evolution's "negative telos" games.
Strictly speaking, a “psychopundit” is William Saletan’s term for a scholar who uses psychology to explain what’s wrong with people who don’t vote for Democrats or recycle or otherwise agree […]
“[T]he Author of Nature has determin’d us to receive… a Moral Sense, todirect our Actions, and to give us still nobler Pleasures.” That appeal was made in 1725 by Scottish philosopher […]
A few weeks ago when I blogged about a social-psych study that found people have more empathy when they feel low in status, I wasn't aware how much work is being done on the rich-asshole problem in social science.
In an essay at the Web site of Skeptic magazine, David Sloan Wilson, author of Darwin’s Cathedral, concludes that when it comes to a scientific understanding of religion, Dawkins is […]
As I wrote last month, in the Year of Darwin, the loudest voice associated with science threatens to be Richard Dawkins and other New Atheist pundits who will argue their […]