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The Red Queen 
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Post The Red Queen
There is, it is safe to say, such a thing as the typical human stomach, and it is different from a non-human stomach.

It is the assumption of this book that there is also, in the same way, a typical human nature. It is the aim of this book to seek it.
The Red Queen appears to be the ideal sequel to The Blank Slate. We have read about what human nature isn't, with some discussion of what it is; now we are going to delve in to what it is, and how it got that way.

Science is neither a philosophy nor a belief system. It is a combination of mental operations that has become increasingly the habit of educated peoples, a culture of illuminations hit upon by a fortunate turn of history that yielded the most effective way of learning about the real world ever conceived. E.O.Wilson

Sat Aug 30, 2003 2:10 pm
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Post Re: The Red Queen
I can't believe what a perfect follow-up this book is to The Blank Slate. And I was wondering about whether or not Ridley could be considered a freethinker too.

Check out this quote from page 6:

To those that believe that the world was made in seven days by a man with a long beard and that therefore human nature cannot have been designed by selection but by an Intelligence, I merely bid a respectful good day. We have little common ground on which to argue because I share few of your assumptions.

This book is looking good...I can't put it down actually. I've got my yellow hi-liter out and am making quite a mess already.

Page 8:

In other words, you are decended not from your mother but from her ovary. Nothing that happened to her body or her mind in her life could affect your nature (though it could affect your nurture, of course--an extreme example being that her addiction to drugs or alcohol might leave you damaged in some nongenetic way at birth). You are born free of sin. Weismann was much ridiculed for this in his lifetime and little believed. But the discovery of the gene and of the DNA from which it is made and of the cipher in which DNA's message is written have absolutely confirmed his auspicion. The germ-plasm is kept seperate from the body.

I've never seen this fact worded so eloquently. Ridley has a way with words.

Page 9:

If man has evolved the ability to override his evolutionary imperatives, then there must have been an advantage to his genes in doing so. Therefore, even the emancipation from evolution that we so fondly imagine we have achived must itself have evolved because it suited the replication of genes.

So our free will is really a product of our evolution too...not something unique and seperate. We weren't granted free will from an invisible superhero floating somewhere up in the sky, but by our own gradual evolution.


"When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward,for there you have been, and there you will always want to be."

Tue Sep 02, 2003 6:44 am
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Post Re: The Red Queen
Wow! I'm really loking forward to reading this book, but:

the emancipation from evolution that we so fondly imagine we have achived

We haven't!

Edited by: PeterDF at: 9/8/03 9:32 am

Mon Sep 08, 2003 8:30 am

Post Re: The Red Queen
i find it interesting that Red Queen is appreciated as the perfect 'follow up' book to Blank Slate considering that the Red Queen was first published in 1994. :p

imho, it should be the introductory book to understanding Blank Slate. No! Let me amend that. The introductory book should be Robert Wright's Moral Animal:Why we are the way we are: The new science of Evolutionary Psychology and the Red Queen would be valuable supplementary reading followed by the likes of Blank Slate, The Mating Mind etc.

Thu Sep 11, 2003 12:53 pm
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Post Re: The Red Queen
'The Moral Animal' by Robert Wright was my introduction to Evolutionary Psychology. It also was a book I could not put down. I have pleasant memories tackling that thick book on hot summer days in my hammock on my little hill surrounded by a circle of old cedar trees overlooking the road and our yard about 5 years ago.

The Red Queen is another book I could not put down until finished. I was supposed to use my vacation to scrape and paint our house but squandered a lot of morning hours reading this book.

No, we have not escaped the clutches of evolution as our population booms to the sky; just enjoing a temporary reprieve from the help of another evolutionary battle--that of the memes and its ensuing technology. But the pressure has started, first in the 1920s with the ever-increasing use of voluntary birth control, and where birth control fails to halt the explosion, the aids crisis in Africa and the energy crunch of this century will fill the gap. Countries most dependent on energy will be the hardest hit with economic collapse, and with that, a halt to the distribution system of food, material, and even water. Much death and chaos will result. This is the century that humankind will pass through a bottleneck through critical choices made now. Unfortunately, the decisions by the Bush administration are HUGE steps backwards, almost making possible future recovery highly unlikely.

Our answer out of the clutch of evolution is a solution to "Tragedy of the commons" (please follow link). But the end conclusion may suggest there really isn't a solution which is another way of saying there is no way out of evolution's clutches.


Monty Vonn
PO Box Q
Bellingham, WA 98227-0599

The Questarian Society

Thu Sep 18, 2003 5:02 am

Post Re: The Red Queen
The tragedy of the commons is a great subject. Hopefully the problems that will inevitably hit countries that have poor long term planning will inspire other countries to develop alternative energy because of the demand. Whoever comes up with good systems will make a hell of a lot of money, and when the consequences of poor planning become unavoidable, the demand will be there.


Sat Oct 04, 2003 1:05 am
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