nature s oracle the life and work of w d hamilton

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Nature S Oracle

Author : Ullica Segerstrale
ISBN : 9780198607274
Genre : Biography & Autobiography
File Size : 82. 39 MB
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W.D.Hamilton was responsible for one of the major revolutions in evolutionary thought since Darwin - that of the 'gene's eye view of life'. He was a scientific pioneer, a misunderstood genius: risk-taker, jungle explorer, and uncompromising truth-seeker. This illuminating and moving biography documents Hamilton's extraordinary life and science.

The Deeper Genome

Author : John Parrington
ISBN : 9780192552471
Genre : Science
File Size : 38. 27 MB
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Over a decade ago, as the Human Genome Project completed its mapping of the entire human genome, hopes ran high that we would rapidly be able to use our knowledge of human genes to tackle many inherited diseases, and understand what makes us unique among animals. But things didn't turn out that way. For a start, we turned out to have far fewer genes than originally thought — just over 20,000, the same sort of number as a fruit fly or worm. What's more, the proportion of DNA consisting of genes coding for proteins was a mere 2%. So, was the rest of the genome accumulated 'junk'? Things have changed since those early heady days of the Human Genome Project. But the emerging picture is if anything far more exciting. In this book, John Parrington explains the key features that are coming to light - some, such as the results of the international ENCODE programme, still much debated and controversial in their scope. He gives an outline of the deeper genome, involving layers of regulatory elements controlling and coordinating the switching on and off of genes; the impact of its 3D geometry; the discovery of a variety of new RNAs playing critical roles; the epigenetic changes influenced by the environment and life experiences that can make identical twins different and be passed on to the next generation; and the clues coming out of comparisons with the genomes of Neanderthals as well as that of chimps about the development of our species. We are learning more about ourselves, and about the genetic aspects of many diseases. But in its complexity, flexibility, and ability to respond to environmental cues, the human genome is proving to be far more subtle than we ever imagined.

Creatures Of Cain

Author : Erika Lorraine Milam
ISBN : 9780691181882
Genre : History
File Size : 43. 19 MB
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After World War II, the question of how to define a universal human nature took on new urgency. Creatures of Cain charts the rise and precipitous fall in Cold War America of a theory that attributed man’s evolutionary success to his unique capacity for murder. Drawing on a wealth of archival materials and in-depth interviews, Erika Lorraine Milam reveals how the scientists who advanced this “killer ape” theory capitalized on an expanding postwar market in intellectual paperbacks and widespread faith in the power of science to solve humanity’s problems, even to answer the most fundamental questions of human identity. The killer ape theory spread quickly from colloquial science publications to late-night television, classrooms, political debates, and Hollywood films. Behind the scenes, however, scientists were sharply divided, their disagreements centering squarely on questions of race and gender. Then, in the 1970s, the theory unraveled altogether when primatologists discovered that chimpanzees also kill members of their own species. While the discovery brought an end to definitions of human exceptionalism delineated by violence, Milam shows how some evolutionists began to argue for a shared chimpanzee-human history of aggression even as other scientists discredited such theories as sloppy popularizations. A wide-ranging account of a compelling episode in American science, Creatures of Cain argues that the legacy of the killer ape persists today in the conviction that science can resolve the essential dilemmas of human nature.

The Moon In The Nautilus Shell

Author : Daniel Botkin
ISBN : 9780199913916
Genre : Science
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Argues that since natural ecological systems are constantly fluctuating, our plans, policies, and laws governing the environment must change to reflect this new understanding.

Wild Life

Author : Robert Trivers
ISBN : 1938972120
Genre : African American scientists
File Size : 24. 72 MB
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Robert Trivers is a living legend in biology and the social sciences, a man the Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker calls ''one of the great thinkers in the history of Western thought" and Time magazine named one of the greatest scientists and thinkers of the 20th Century. His theories on the evolutionary tensions between parent and offspring, sibling and sibling, man and woman, friend and friend, and a person and himself or herself have not only revolutionized genetics and evolutionary biology but have influenced disciplines from medicine and the social sciences to history, economics, and literary studies. But unlike other renowned scientists, Trivers has spent time behind bars, drove a getaway car for Huey P. Newton, and founded an armed group in Jamaica to protect gay men from mob violence. Now, in the entertaining tradition of Surely You're Joking Mr. Feynman, Trivers tell us in his inimitable voice about the inimitable life behind the revolutionary science. He comments with irreverent wit and penetrating insight on everything from American racism to the history of psychiatry to who killed Peter Tosh, musical heir to Bob Marley. Sprinkled with anecdotes about such luminaries as Richard Dawkins and Stephen Jay Gould, and with photographs throughout, this volume is sure to enlighten and entertain anyone with an interest in science, the human condition, or the nature of creative genius.

Defenders Of The Truth

Author : Ullica Christina Olofsdotter Segerstråle
ISBN : 0198505051
Genre : Psychology
File Size : 33. 12 MB
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For the last twenty-five years, sociobiologists have come under continuous attack by a group of left-wing academics, who have accused the former of dubious and politically dangerous science. Many have taken the critics' charges at face value. But have the critics been right? And what are their own motivations? This book strives to set the record straight. It shows that the criticism has typically been unfair. Still, it cannot be dismissed as "purely politically motivated". It turnsout that the critics and the sociobiologists live in different worlds of taken-for-granted scientific and moral convictions. The conflict over sociobiology is best interpreted as a drawn-out battle about the nature of "good science" and the social responsibility of the scientist, while it touches on such grand themes as the unity of knowledge, the nature of man, and free will and determinism. The author has stepped right into the hornet's nest of claims and counterclaims, moral concerns, metaphysical beliefs, political convictions, strawmen, red herrings, and gossip, gossip, gossip. She listens to the protagonists - but also to their colleagues. She checks with "arbiters". She plays the devil's advocate. And everyone is eager to tell her the truth - as they see it. The picture that emerges is a different one from the standard view of the sociobiology debate as a politically motivated nature-nurture conflict. Instead, we are confronted with a world of scientific and moral long-term agendas, for which the sociobiology debate became a useful vehicle. Behind the often nasty attacks, however, were shared Enlightenment concerns for universal truth, morality and justice. The protagonists were all defenders of the truth - it was just that everyone's truth was different. Defenders of the Truth provides a fascinating insight into the world of science. It follows the sociobiology controversy as it erupted at Harvard in 1975 until today, both in the US and the UK. But the story goes more deeply, for instance in its account of the circumstances surrounding W.D. Hamilton's famous 1964 paper on inclusive fitness, and in the connections of the sociobiology debate to the Human Genome project and the Science Wars. General readers and academics alike will find much to savour in this book.

The Flexible Phenotype

Author : Theunis Piersma
ISBN : 9780199233724
Genre : Medical
File Size : 52. 85 MB
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This book attempts a true synthesis of animal physiology, behaviour, and ecology by developing an empirical argument that describes the intimate connections between animal phenotype and environment, using the results of a long-term research programme on migrant shorebirds and their invertebrate prey.

Remarks On Bentham S Philosophy

Author : John Stuart Mill
ISBN : 9783640234936
Genre :
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Classic from the year 2008 in the subject Philosophy - Philosophy of the 19th Century, grade: -, -, - entries in the bibliography, language: English, abstract: First published in 1833. Excerpt: It is no light task to give an abridged view of the philosophical opinions of one, who attempted to place the vast subjects of morals and legislation upon a scientific basis: a mere outline is all that can be attempted. The first principles of Mr. Bentham's philosophy are these--that happiness, meaning by that term pleasure and exemption from pain, is the only thing desirable in itself; that all other things are desirable solely as means to that end; that the production, therefore, of the greatest possible happiness is the only fit purpose of all human thought and action, and consequently of all morality and government; and moreover, that pleasure and pain are the sole agencies by which the conduct of mankind is in fact governed, whatever circumstances the individual may be placed in, and whether he is aware of it or not. Mr. Bentham does not appear to have entered very deeply into the metaphysical grounds of these doctrines; he seems to have taken those grounds very much upon the showing of the metaphysicians who preceded him. The principle of utility, or as he afterward called it, "the greatest-happiness principle," stands no otherwise demonstrated in his writings than by an enumeration of the phrases of a different description which have been commonly employed to denote the rule of life, and the rejection of them all, as having no intelligible meaning, further than as they may involve a tacit reference to considerations of utility. Such are the phrases "law of nature," "right reason," "natural rights," "moral sense." All of these Mr. Bentham regarded as mere covers for dogmatism, excuses for setting up one's own ipse dixit as a rule to bind other people.

Species

Author : John S. Wilkins
ISBN : 9780520271395
Genre : Science
File Size : 42. 77 MB
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In this comprehensive work, John S. Wilkins traces the history of the idea of "species" from antiquity to today, providing a new perspective on the relationship between philosophical and biological approaches.--[book cover].

The Indispensable Excess Of The Aesthetic

Author : Katya Mandoki
ISBN : 9781498503075
Genre : Philosophy
File Size : 30. 71 MB
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This book offers a compelling account of the evolution of sensibility, weaving together Darwinian and biosemiotic theory. It works along non-anthropomorphic aesthetics of the appreciation and creation of beauty in nature as an end in itself which has practical benefit.

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