By Timothy H. Goldsmith
During this stimulating ebook, Goldsmith argues that biology has greatly to claim that are supposed to be of curiosity to social scientists, historians, philosophers, and humanists typically. He believes that any one learning the social habit of people needs to think about either proximate cause--the body structure, biochemistry, and social mechanisms of behavior--and final cause--how the habit got here to exist in evolutionary time. Goldsmith, a neurobiologist, attracts examples from neurobiology, psychology, and ethology (behavioral evolution). the result's a piece that overcomes some of the misconceptions that experience hindered the wealthy contributions the organic sciences need to provide in regards to the evolution of human society, habit, and experience of identification. one of the key themes addressed are the character of organic rationalization, the connection among genes and behaviour, these points of habit probably to reply to typical choice, the connection among evolution and studying, and a few possible modes of interplay among cultural and organic evolution. by way of re-examining the position of organic rationalization within the area of social improvement, the writer has considerably complicated a extra well-rounded view of human evolution and shed new gentle at the perennial query of what it ability to be human. His e-book will attract biologists, social scientists, conventional humanists, and normal readers.
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Extra resources for The Biological Roots of Human Nature
There are several reasons for this flexibility. , genera, families, orders) are quite arbitrary and vary from one kind of organism to another. The reasons for this should be obvious: One would be hard-pressed, for example, to classify different kinds of automobiles by the same criteria that would be useful in classifying airplanes. More important for our immediate argument, there are different schools of thought as to how a classification scheme should relate to evolutionary history. One school constructs hierarchical relationships on the basis of overall similarity; the more characters two organisms share, the closer they are placed in the scheme of classification.
The capacity of a kangaroo rat to form concentrated urine contributes to its fitness for life in the desert. These features of polar bears and kangaroo rats are adaptations to meet particular environmental challenges. 10 Usually, however, this is not a particularly useful exercise because natural selection does not have the luxury enjoyed by an engineer, who may choose from an array of materials and assemble them in any way that is consistent with the solution of the problem. Evolving organisms must cope with an evolutionary challenge by utilizing their genetic heritage and any small mutational changes that may come their way.
The term heritability, however, has an exact statistical definition that makes it trickier to use unambiguously. This is a matter of more than casual interest, because it provides a window on a more substantive issue. Imagine a population of individuals that vary with regard to some physical trait. One of the analytical tools of population geneticists is to try to correlate the variation with particular factors including aspects of the environment. Sometimes it is possible to partition the variation (technically, the variance) into genetic and environmental components, and if several influences are acting independently of each other, the sum of the individual variances will equal the total variance.
The Biological Roots of Human Nature by Timothy H. Goldsmith