evolution

University of Kentucky

It always strikes me as a little odd when someone talks about either believing or not believing in evolution. While I understand the theological arguments, and trust me…we’re not getting into one today…the current scientific evidence shows evolution to be a fact, not a belief system.

But still, about half the population of the US says they don’t believe that…and a recent article in Orion Magazine points to school systems as being the number one culprit.

  In his book, Does Altruism Exist?: Culture, Genes, and the Welfare of Others, David Sloan Wilson, one of the world’s leading evolutionists, addresses a question that has puzzled philosophers, psychologists, and evolutionary biologists for centuries: Does altruism exist naturally among the Earth’s creatures?

    Diane Ackerman is the author of the books: One Hundred Names for Love, A Natural History of the Senses, and The Zookeeper's Wife. In her latest book, The Human Age, she offers some optimism for our planet and explores the ways people are shaping the modern world, and argues for a new understanding of our relationship with the environment and our own bodies.

    

  At some point during the last 100,000 years, humans began exhibiting traits and behavior that distinguished us from other animals, eventually creating language, art, religion, bicycles, spacecraft, and nuclear weapons—all within a heartbeat of evolutionary time. Now, faced with the threat of nuclear weapons and the effects of climate change, it seems our innate tendencies for violence and invention have led us to a crucial tipping point. Where did these traits come from? Are they part of our species immutable destiny? Or is there hope for our species’ future if we change?

With fascinating facts and his unparalleled readability, Jared Diamond intended his book, The Third Chimpanzee for Young People: On the Evolution and Future of the Human Animal, to improve the world that today’s young people will inherit.

The constraints of physical shape have helped guide life's evolutionary path.

Jayanth Banavar, dean of the College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences (CMNS) at the University of Maryland, discusses how geometry plays a significant role in development and evolution.

Studying the DNA of the ancient Amborella flower is opening up new insights into the evolution of certain plants and animals.

The University at Buffalo's Dr. Victor Albert is looking deeply into the ancient origins of this Amborella and working to sequence its genome in order to better understand how life has developed on Earth.

    It may be a wonderful world, but as Dan Riskin (cohost of Discovery Canada’s Daily Planet) explains, it’s also a dangerous, disturbing, and disgusting one. At every turn, it seems, living things are trying to eat us, poison us, use our bodies as their homes, or have us spread their eggs. In Mother Nature Is Trying to Kill You, Riskin is our guide through the natural world at its most gloriously ruthless.

Using the seven deadly sins as a road map, Riskin offers dozens of jaw-dropping examples that illuminate how brutal nature can truly be.

    

  New Yorker staff writer and best-selling author Elizabeth Kolbert offers a startling look at the mass extinction currently unfolding before us in her new book – The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History.

Over the last half billion years, there have been five major mass extinctions – we’ll learn more about the sixth with Elizabeth Kolbert.

    Joshua Greene is the John and Ruth Hazel Associate Professor of the Social Sciences and the director of the Moral Cognition Laboratory in the Department of Psychology, Harvard University.

In his new book, Moral Tribes: Emotion, Reason, and the Gap Between Us and Them, he explores the underlying causes of modern conflict.

  The mostly forgotten explorer Paul du Chaillu introduced the world to gorillas. His methods were attacked and his work discredited during his lifetime, but he also experienced fame and redemption.

Author Monte Reel illuminates the little-known tale of the 19th century explorer in his new book Between Between Man and Beast: An Unlikely Explorer, the Evolution Debates, and the African Adventure that Took the Victorian World by Storm.

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