The Meme Machine
Paperback ISBN: 019286212x
What is a meme? First coined by Richard Dawkins in The Selfish Gene, a meme is any idea, behavior, or skill that can be transferred from one person to another by imitation: stories, fashions, inventions, recipes, songs, ways of plowing a field or throwing a baseball or making a sculpture. The meme is also one of the most important--and controversial--concepts to emerge since The Origin of the Species appeared nearly 150 years ago. In The Meme Machine Susan Blackmore boldly asserts: "Just as the design of our bodies can be understood only in terms of natural selection, so the design of our minds can be understood only in terms of memetic selection." Indeed, Blackmore shows that once our distant ancestors acquired the crucial ability to imitate, a second kind of natural selection began, a survival of the fittest amongst competing ideas and behaviors. Ideas and behaviors that proved most adaptive--making tools, for example, or using language--survived and flourished, replicating themselves in as many minds as possible. These memes then passed themselves on from generation to generation by helping to ensure that the genes of those who acquired them also survived and reproduced. Applying this theory to many aspects of human life, Blackmore offers brilliant explanations for why we live in cities, why we talk so much, why we can't stop thinking, why we behave altruistically, how we choose our mates, and much more. With controversial implications for our religious beliefs, our free will, our very sense of "self," The Meme Machine offers a provocative theory everyone will soon be talking about.
Why Evolution Is True
Paperback ISBN: 0143116649
"Coyne's knowledge of evolutionary biology is prodigious, his deployment of it as masterful as his touch is light." -Richard Dawkins In the current debate about creationism and intelligent design, there is an element of the controversy that is rarely mentioned-the evidence. Yet the proof of evolution by natural selection is vast, varied, and magnificent. In this succinct and accessible summary of the facts supporting the theory of natural selection, Jerry A. Coyne dispels common misunderstandings and fears about evolution and clearly confirms the scientific truth that supports this amazing process of change. Weaving together the many threads of modern work in genetics, paleontology, geology, molecular biology, and anatomy that demonstrate the "indelible stamp" of the processes first proposed by Darwin, Why Evolution Is True does not aim to prove creationism wrong. Rather, by using irrefutable evidence, it sets out to prove evolution right.
The Genius Within
Discovering the Intelligence of Every Living Thing
1st Edition Hardcover ISBN: 0151005516
Argues that intelligence--an ability to react, change behavior, and survive--exists in all forms of life, including bacteria, insects, and animals, and presents evidence about the intelligence of the smallest living things. 25,000 first printing.
How Humans Made Language, How Language Made Humans
Paperback ISBN: 0809016478
How language evolved has been called “the hardest problem in science.” In Adam’s Tongue, Derek Bickerton—long a leading authority in this field—shows how and why previous attempts to solve that problem have fallen short. Taking cues from topics as diverse as the foraging strategies of ants, the distribution of large prehistoric herbivores, and the construction of ecological niches, Bickerton produces a dazzling new alternative to the conventional wisdom. Language is unique to humans, but it isn’t the only thing that sets us apart from other species—our cognitive powers are qualitatively different. So could there be two separate discontinuities between humans and the rest of nature? No, says Bickerton; he shows how the mere possession of symbolic units—words—automatically opened a new and different cognitive universe, one that yielded novel innovations ranging from barbed arrowheads to the Apollo spacecraft. Written in Bickerton’s lucid and irreverent style, this book is the first to thoroughly integrate the story of how language evolved with the story of how humans evolved. Sure to be controversial, it will make indispensable reading both for experts in the field and for every reader who has ever wondered how a species as remarkable as ours could have come into existence.’
The Third Chimpanzee
The Evolution And Future of the Human Animal
Paperback ISBN: 0060845503
A renowned scientist examines the less than two percent of human genes that distinguish us from chimpanzees and that link human behaviors--such as genocide, drug addiction, and the extermination of other species--to our animal predecessors.
The Triumph of an Idea
Hardcover ISBN: 0060199067
A companion volume to the PBS series chronicles the theory of evolution, from Darwin's Origin of the Species to the Human Genome Project and beyond. 100,000 first printing. (A seven-part WGBH/PBS televsion series, produced by Richard Hutton, airing Fall 2001)
Before the Dawn
Recovering the Lost History of Our Ancestors
Paperback ISBN: 014303832x
A provocative alternate history of humanity's ancient ancestry and the evolution of human nature draws on ground-breaking scientific findings to offer insight into such debated issues as the evolution of language and race, the domestication of companion animals, and the defeat of the Neanderthals. Reprint. 50,000 first printing.
The Making of the Fittest
DNA and the Ultimate Forensic Record of Evolution
Paperback ISBN: 0393330516
A geneticist and author of Endless Forms Most Beautiful discusses the role of DNA in the evolution of life on Earth, explaining how an analysis of DNA reveals a complete record of the events that have shaped each species and how it provides evidence of the validity of the theory of evolution. Reprint. 20,000 first printing.