LIFE

Why Sex Differences Matter: The Darwinian Perspective

[9.30.09]

If we want to change the world, we need first to understand it. And when it comes to understanding human nature — male and female — Darwinian science is indispensable.

HELENA CRONIN launched and runs [email protected]. She is a Co-Director of LSE's Centre for Philosophy of Natural and Social Science. Author,The Ant and the Peacock: Altruism and Sexual Selection from Darwin to Today.

Beauty's Child: Sexual Selection, Nature Worship and the Love of God

[9.30.09]

...I want to engage you in a discussion of the deep history of beauty. By deep I mean as seen from an evolutionary perspective. I am an "evolutionary psychologist".  I believe that to understand and fully appreciate human mental traits, we need to know why they are there — which is to say what biological function they are serving.  Evolutionary psychology has been making pretty good progress. But, as we say, "there are still some  elephants in the living room" — big issues that no one wants to talk about. And human beings worship of the beautiful remains  one of the biggest.

THERE IS GRANDEUR IN THIS VIEW OF LIFE

[9.22.09]

It is no accident that we see green almost wherever we look. It is no accident that we find ourselves perched on one tiny twig in the midst of a blossoming and flourishing tree of life; no accident that we are surrounded by millions of other species, eating, growing, rotting, swimming, walking, flying, burrowing, stalking, chasing, fleeing, outpacing, outwitting. Without green plants to outnumber us at least ten to one there would be no energy to power us. Without the ever-escalating arms races between predators and prey, parasites and hosts, without Darwin’s ‘war of nature’, without his ‘famine and death’ there would be no nervous systems capable of seeing anything at all, let alone of appreciating and understanding it. We are surrounded by endless forms, most beautiful and most wonderful, and it is no accident, but the direct consequence of evolution by non-random natural selection – the only game in town, the greatest show on Earth.

RICHARD DAWKINS, elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in May, 2001, is a writer known for his popularization of Darwinian ideas as well as for original thinking on evolutionary theory.

Richard Dawkins is an evolutionary biologist and the former Charles Simonyi Professor For The Understanding Of Science at Oxford University; Fellow of New College; author of The Selfish Gene, The Extended Phenotype, The Blind Watchmaker, River out of Eden (ScienceMasters Series), Climbing Mount Improbable, Unweaving the Rainbow, The Devil's Chaplain, The Ancestor's Tale, and The God Delusion.

Richard Dawkins's Edge Bio Page

Darwin's Intellectual Legacy to the 21st Century

Topic: 

  • LIFE
http://vimeo.com/82231559

From the Program Notes: "Our intention is to illuminate and discuss how Darwinian thought influenced the disciplines that focus on the study the individuals (biology, neuroscience, psychology); the individual within their social interactions (anthropology, sociology, economy, political science); and how these concepts pertain, in general, to a moral philosophy.

Darwin's Intellectual Legacy to the 21st Century

Why Chile?
[9.7.09]

 


 

Alvaro Fischer

Leda Cosmides

Helena Cronin

Daniel C. Dennett

Nicholas Humphrey

         
Ian McEwan Steven Pinker Matt Ridley John Tooby

Date: September 7-8, 2009

Venue: CasaPiedra
Av. San José María Escrivá de Balaguer 5600, Vitacura, Santiago.

ED. NOTE: Edge has been invited by the organizers to attend the Darwin Seminar in Santiago and join the eight speakers (all Edge contributors) on a trip to the "extreme south" including a trip along "The Beagle Channel", named after the ship HMS Beagle which surveyed the coasts of the southern part of South America from 1826 to 1830.

Charles Darwin, on the second trip of HMS Beagle under Captain Robert FitzRoy, wrote in his field notebook in 1833, "many glaciers beryl blue most beautiful contrasted with snow". [...] [...] [...] [...].

From the Program Notes: Our intention is to illuminate and discuss how Darwinian thought influenced the disciplines that focus on the study the individuals (biology, neuroscience, psychology); the individual within their social interactions (anthropology, sociology, economy, political science); and how these concepts pertain, in general, to a moral philosophy.

We wish to explore how, from Darwinian thought, there emerges a vision of what it is to be a human being. And that this vision is fundamental and coherent with the entire body of accumulated scientific knowledge. With reverence for the details of their application, it is the impact of Darwin's ideas that is the reason we are celebrating Darwin's anniversary.

Edge looks forward to publishing video highlights of the trip as part of our celebration the three hundredth edition of Edge, later in September.

JB

AMAZING BABIES

Topic: 

  • LIFE
http://vimeo.com/80904630

"We've known for a long time that human children are the best learning machines in the universe. But it has always been like the mystery of the humming birds. We know that they fly, but we don't know how they can possibly do it. We could say that babies learn, but we didn't know how."

AMAZING BABIES

[8.11.09]

We've known for a long time that human children are the best learning machines in the universe. But it has always been like the mystery of the humming birds. We know that they fly, but we don't know how they can possibly do it. We could say that babies learn, but we didn't know how.

AMAZING BABIES 
A Talk with Alison Gopnik

ALISON GOPNIK, a psychologist at UC-Berkeley, is coauthor of The Scientist in the Crib: Minds, Brains, and How Children Learn, and author ofThe Philosophical Baby

Alison Gopnik's Edge Bio Page

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