- Tapa dura: 375 páginas
- Editor: Twelve (4 de junio de 2013)
- Idioma: Inglés
- ISBN-10: 1455511919
- ISBN-13: 978-1455511914
- Valoración media de los clientes: Sé el primero en opinar sobre este producto
- Clasificación en los más vendidos de Amazon: nº1.009.232 en Libros en idiomas extranjeros (Ver el Top 100 en Libros en idiomas extranjeros)
Denial: Self-Deception, False Beliefs, and the Origins of the Human Mind (Inglés) Tapa dura – 4 jun 2013
Descripción del producto
"The most exciting idea in evolution since Darwin . . . A work of beauty and simplicity."--Abraham Verghese, author of "Cutting for Stone"
"This is perhaps the most exciting idea in evolution that I have read since Darwin. Danny Brower's manuscript survived his untimely death and how it came to Ajit Varki's hands is an evolutionary story in itself. Varki is a renowned physician-scientist, and what Ajit is doing is to take this manuscript and reworking it, producing a work of beauty and simplicity. It is the tale of the very thing that makes us human. A marvel." "Abraham Verghese, Author of Cutting for Stone""
"Groundbreaking new ideas often come from the most unexpected sources. Here is such an instance, wherein two scholars from disparate disciplines unrelated to human origins have come up with a completely novel theory--to explain one of the most fundamental of human questions: where did we humans come from, and how did we get here? A must read for anyone interested in this age-old quest." "Peter Agre, Nobel Prize in Chemistry, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health""
"A highly readable manifesto for anthropogeny (the study of human origins), DENIAL is written in a lively and engaging style that communicates the excitement of asking the big questions: how are humans different from all other species, and why did other species not evolve a full theory of mind, given the wide-ranging benefits that this brings to humans? Issuing a provocative challenge to future scientists, Ajit Varki's scholarly journey leads him to speculate about the role of our awareness of our mortality, and our simultaneous tendency to live in denial of it." "Simon Baron-Cohen, director, Autism Research Centre, Cambridge University""
"This book answers the never-ending quest of what sets our species apart with a delightful suggestion. It is not so much our awareness of mortality that is special, the authors claim, but rather our ability to push this awareness to the farthest recesses of our minds. The ostrich has nothing on us." "Frans de Waal, author of "The Bonobo and the Atheist"""
"Quite a book, with a revolutionary point of view that I find critically interesting. An enormous effort--an intriguing message and a major contribution." "Roger Guillemin, winner of the Nobel Prize in Medicine""
"A tremendously engaging story-full of human interest, wit, scientific detective work, and imaginative speculation. It's great to see Varki and Brower pushing the limits. It makes us fellow-travellers into the field of the known unknowns." "Nicholas Humphrey, Author of "Soul Dust "and "The Mind Made Flesh"""
"I found DENIAL intriguing at first, while perusing it. It soon became fascinating as I started to read it in earnest. I have long held that once they acquired the advanced intelligence characteristic of Homo sapiens, our ancestors became aware of their mortality. Anxiety about death leads to belief in the afterlife and other religious and ethical tenets. That is what I had learned from philosophers, theologians, and others. DENIAL turns these ideas on their head. DENIAL forcefully argues that it was awareness of mortality and its ensuing denial that prompted the evolution of our exalted intelligence. Original, engaging, and beautifully written." "Francisco J. Ayala, University Professor and Donald Bren Professor of Biological Sciences at the University of California, Irvine; recipient of the National Medal of Science and the Templeton Prize, author of "The Big Questions: Evolution"""
"A magnificent scholarly work, both in terms of the science and the manner in which Varki has ethically tackled a gigantic path opened up by Brower. Wherever one dips into it, one gets involved almost immediately in some fascinating question. A superb book." "Derek Denton FRS, University of Melbourne, author of P"rimordial Emotions"""
"Engaging and intellectually exciting. Almost as fascinating as the novel ideas of Brower on the evolutionary origins of a distinctly human consciousness is Varki's story of how he stumbled upon them, and became preoccupied with their potentially profound implications about what differentiates humans." "Sanjay Nigam, author of" Snake Charmer" and "Transplanted Man"""
Reseña del editor
"Inspired by an unfinished manuscript by an insect geneticist, a physician scientist describes why humans are able to deny reality and ignore their own inevitable deaths to the detriment of the entire species and what might be done to change this mindset. 25,000 first printing."Ver Descripción del producto
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Ever wonder why, of all the various life forms on this planet, humans are the only creatures with the brainpower necessary to plan far in advance, collaborate, tell stories, and pass along information in ways that help future generations succeed? If you answered yes, this book will interest you, unless your answer also included “because god.” Religious types and climate change skeptics might want to give this a pass.
Authors Ajit Varki a distinguished physician and researcher, and Danny Brower, an insect geneticist, came up with a fascinating theory to explain our incredible, almost ludicrous success thanks to our unique brains. (Brower died in 2007 and really only contributed the fundamental argument to the theory in a long-ago conversation; crediting him was a nice touch). The theory posits that developing a full theory of mind, meaning one is self aware and realizes other people have similar minds and thoughts –- and thus are predictable and able to be influenced –- faces an almost insurmountable evolutionary barrier. The realization that you are going to die (‘mortality salience”) is maladaptive, refocusing precious energy on preservation instead of procreation. In other words, once you are truly self aware, you would be better served ignoring biological dictates to reproduce at all costs, and focus on living longer.
The authors believe that it’s highly likely our ancestors, and even other animals (elephants, corvids, etc.), bumped up against this barrier many times in the last few hundreds of thousands of years. And, unable to continue reproducing effectively, those new traits -- that would have been so beneficial – were out-bred changes that increased overall reproductive fitness. And so, we were doomed to never get thse sexy brains of ours until we, luckiest of all creatures – at this point, a group of maybe ten thousand or so proto-ancestors – developed full theory of mind while simultaneously developing the ability to deny reality.
We all are pretty clear on how good humans are at denial. If you really think about how short our lives are, how meaningless in the grand or even the mediocre scheme of things, we would probably just curl up at home with a jug of whiskey and Netflix and wait for the end. Instead, we march around the world doing things and fighting wars and building skyscrapers and generally just strutting about being confident that what we do is important and matters.
The theory is simple, brilliant and completely un-provable, but makes a great deal of intuitive sense and offers an explanation of why humans have thrived. Of course, there are some issues that accompany our expertise in reality denial, including building our own religious straight-jackets, and the current skepticism around climate change, to which an entire chapter is devoted.
Here are a few great lines:
“Anxiety attacks represent a sudden episodic failure of the human reality denial system, transiently unmasking the fear of death. The fact that there is no known naturally occurring equivalent of this disease in other animals … suggest that it is telling us something about human cognitive origins.”
And, when writing about how lying to procure mates (an adaptive reproductive strategy) might have created the full theory of mind: “Males would be selected to be better and better liars [to convince females to mate], and females would counter by being selected to be better and better lie detectors [to ensure mate choices were based on the best available information]. Evolving something approaching a full TOM [theory of mind] would be very helpful to both sides in this mental gamesmanship.”
It’s a good read, a little repetitive at times, but built on a solid foundation and filled with interesting and thought provoking asides. For example, I couldn’t help but wonder if some of the current mental health issues humans deal with are a by product of the genetic mutations that allowed us to develop our significant reality denial mechanisms.
Intriguing and well worth the time, and hopefully an area that will get more scientific research attention.
Most probably I would not have read this book, except that I happened to meet Ajit Varki at a conference recently. (Btw, the conference was 'From Bones to Genomes' at Sitges close to Barcelona - a fantastic conference with speakers like Matt Ridley, Svante Paabo, Chris Stringer etc - making it a veritable heaven for those interested in Evolution, Genetics and Population history). His book was also mentioned in some side discussions and that prompted me to download the kindle version (talk about the benefits of technology!) and take a stab at it.
However the approach of the book was rather surprising. Ajit had decided on the answer upfront - that humans were able to cross the 'intelligence barrier' by being able to deny the inevitability of death. To make it clearer, according to Ajit the barrier that prevents any species from attaining self consciousness is that it will not have the neuronal connections or capabilities to handle the fact that death is inevitable. Only the human brain developed in such a way that both self consciousness and death denial ability developed together at some time (only once) in our past and that was the turning point. The book is then one long argument (in the author's words) to try to convince himself and the reader that the argument is correct. (lot of cherry picking!) Ajit acknowledges that there is no clear evidence to prove his thesis and also acknowledges that it is not falsifiable but does try to be as fair as possible in outlining that. He still gets carried away with his theory and even attempts to compare the situation with that of Darwin's Evolution theory in the late 19th century. But he ignores that Darwin did not start with a conclusion - he had discovered a large number of facts that led him to a conclusion which is not the case here.
The book is an interesting read and the author is a very knowledgable person that makes the narrative fun. But I have to say that his answer to an all-important question is possible but not probable.
This is definitely a book for those with a scientific or fact based viewpoint. I don't think many readers from a theological or religious perspective will accept the premise or conclusions of the authors.