[PDF / Epub] ☂ The Red Queen: Sex and the Evolution of Human Nature Author Matt Ridley – Kairafanan.co

Referring To Lewis Carroll S Red Queen From Through The Looking Glass, A Character Who Has To Keep Running To Stay In The Same Place, Matt Ridley Demonstrates Why Sex Is Humanity S Best Strategy For Outwitting Its Constantly Mutating Internal Predators The Red Queen Answers Dozens Of Other Riddles Of Human Nature And Culture Including Why Men Propose Marriage, The Method Behind Our Maddening Notions Of Beauty, And The Disquieting Fact That A Woman Is Likely To Conceive A Child By An Adulterous Lover Than By Her Husband Brilliantly Written, The Red Queen Offers An Extraordinary New Way Of Interpreting The Human Condition And How It Has Evolved


10 thoughts on “The Red Queen: Sex and the Evolution of Human Nature

  1. says:

    Things I learned from this book human women like tall men, human men like beautiful women, barn swallow women like men with long, symmetrical tails, gentlemen prefer blondes, sperm are small because they made a dastardly deal with nature, gender exists and there are two of them essentially as an accidental by product of a primordial genetic arms race, why we think that we or anything else has sex as opposed to splitting in half or excanging packets of DNA , why roosters have wattles and how nucleic cells probably developed.None of these things help me get laidso far.


  2. says:

    Coming out of pre veterinary medicine and a slew of genetics classes, I can say that nothing in this book is particularly mind blowing except the hubris The author has drawn up a laundry list of assumptions about all of humanity and left out a good deal of its subjects As a scientist or, at the very least, as a lover of science the references were interesting enough to keep me reading But as someone with sexual awareness, a hesitancy to polarize gender and sexuality, and my own idea of what a woman might think or want this was a very difficult book to swallow In fact, it s akin to dry Kool Aid.If you are satisfied with the hetero normative, monogamous, anglo, male dominated definitions of sex and partnership and if you are going to read this book as popular literature rather than as complete and well founded scientific conjecture go right ahead It s a fun book.But if you are someone who is easily irritated by flawed logic and narrow surveys used to prop up wobbly theorizing, skip it.The good news is Ridley doesn t care As all great scientists do, he spent a good deal of time throwing his name in with philosophers, sociologists, and naturalists and saying that he, too, was capable of flaws Just like them Moreover, he expects a lot backlash from the less thans who can t comprehend the magnitude of his reasoning So go ahead and say that you don t like his book Ridley is one step ahead of you He knows you re coming you predictable sap Despite that lovely manipulation, I still didn t like it It gets two stars for all of the awesome material his book used badly and referenced.


  3. says:

    What could have shaped the human mind is an endlessly interesting subject, no question about that Speculating about contributions of the genes, nature, nurture, culture is fun, as much as getting a new perspective on what has always seemed obvious Still, I did not like this book as much as I probably would, had it a bit less of sheer speculations Some readers praise Ridley for objectively presenting to them so many different and often contradictory theories When discussions are heated, it is indeed a virtue But flaws in some of the theories are evident even before the argument is over, so why include those if a few paragraphs later Ridley admits that the theory does sound pretty wrong An example attractiveness of slender women nowadays supposedly signalizes their wealth because not every woman can afford a healthy diet Further, certain claims are given as well known widely accepted facts while they may not even be true One example is Chomsky s hypotheses about Universal Grammar and language innateness It is far from true that all linguists agree with Chomsky Pinker, whom Ridley cites a few times, surely does but there are linguists in the world Another example neural networks have recently had a huge comeback, researchers have very big hopes for deep learning Obviously Ridley dismissed them as incapable of learning far too early A few times I was wondering where Ridley got his facts from For example, describing highly sexed emperors he states that the ancient civilizations we know of were all ruled exclusively by ruthless men with hundreds of wives and thousands of children mostly sons One of his examples is Akhenaten who in fact is known as a loving husband and father of a dozen of children There are numerous depictions of him playing with his daughters Also, apparently Ridley never heard of successful female pharaohs His knowledge of the ancient civilizations seems to be based on a cartoon about an evil pharaoh and his poor slaves.Finally, what annoyed me most is the plasticity of Ridley s evolutionary arguments If there is a trait which he states is characteristic of modern men, he simply says that it was obviously advantageous for males in the past Usually he throws in a thought experiment or some bizarre example from the animal world and off to the next section and a new trait But this is not what is needed to prove a hypothesis First, the trait may be not as characteristic of men as he wants it to look like For example, he says boys are better in math than girls , or girls are better in linguistic tasks although even at his time there were studies showing that it very much depends on how boys and girls are treated at elementary school In fact there are countries where girls are better in math Iceland Second, for a evolutionary argument to apply, there must be a gene, so why not name it right away Third, why should this particular gene be gender specific, why wouldn t it reveal its power in the other gender too Wouldn t men benefit from better language skills something he claims women are better at I doubt so Finally, if the gene has not yet been discovered, why not show a mathematical model which would at least demonstrate that the benefit of the trait is real and would affect the reproductive success of its carrier What happened with females who were not so eloquent Were they and their children killed by better versed women Surely I do see a benefit in being a good talker and I can imagine why this quality could be important for women than men, but it still does not explain why this supposedly genetic trait should propagate There is a big difference between soft skills and traits like fear the snakes or lactose tolerance for which reproductive advantage is obvious To summarize, an interesting read but with far too many annoying errors, logical flaws and sloppy arguments.


  4. says:

    Well, I had hoped to write this review closer to having read the book, but I ll write this anyway, just without some of the examples I was hoping to remember.Roughly the first 1 2 to 2 3 of the books covers the different explanations for why sex arose and the mating habits of various non human species One thing that is great about this book is it will relate a theory, then an insufficiency in the theory, then a counter theory, then additional findings, and back and forth and so on If there isn t a consensus it just leaves the question open and for you to ponder yourself For anyone interested in how science is done, numerous examples ideas blossoming, be attacked, rediscovered, etc are recounted Also, lots of different case studies are recounted All the stories of different species behavior is entertaining in and of itself.In the last part of the book, humans are closely examined As long as you repeatedly the disclaimer at the beginning of that section, that you may be able to say something about males are X on average and females are Y on average, but individual instances of men and women, of course, may run counter Also, that evolution has primed certain tendencies for each sex, but tendencies are not fate and thus, again, you can only talk about averages or generalities If you remember that, and don t get your undies in a bunch, the discussion of how human nature is was shaped by evolution is illuminating.So I recommend this to everyone, especially those interested in how the brain works, how people work, and or how science works.


  5. says:

    This was one of those books that I bought because I was sucked in by the title and the cover Plus I thought, hey that s kinda out of my comfort zone, I d like to push myself to read something new and possibly difficult to understand.I couldn t make it past the first chapter, so I read the end in hopes to find what his conclusion is and its we are all apes in the end I find that rather depressing and quite hard to believe I find it hard to swallow that we are only biological animals who are driven only by the need to find a way to better our species by sex with those chosen for their perfection I look at all we create and imagine and I see so much than that He does grant that we are creative, but still underneath it all we are just creative apes We are such a diverse species full of such hate, but also so much beauty We can be blindingly compassionate and also completely clueless and self absorbed There are so many variations that it is hard to explain them all through sexual Darwinism.I probably missed something there in the middle, but if his conclusion had been less crass maybe I would have been driven to read of what drove him to that conclusion.


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  7. says:

    I enjoyed this book and recommend it highly Some may see it as a cynical view of human nature, however I found it to be an engaging and convincing one My favorite quote from this book sums up the totality of the text for me the choosiness in human beings in picking their mates has driven the human mind into a frenzied expansion for no reason except that wit, virtuosity,inventiveness, and individuality turn people on It is a somewhat less uplifting perspective on the purpose of humanity than a religious one, but it is also liberating Be different.


  8. says:

    This is really well written, but I just can t really wrap my head around the themes of sexuality in this book, especially as it concerns the idea of gender Also I don t really trust men of science who can write things like boys are better in math than girls or girls are better at linguistic tasks as if they are universal truths instead of biased theories.


  9. says:

    How much generous it would be if, instead of writing parables about childhood wounds, psychologists were to accept that some differences between the sexes just are, that they are in the nature of the beasts, because each sex has an evolved tendency to develop that way in response to experience. The Red Queen Sex and the Evolution of Human Nature is a very accessible book It is easy to read, follow and understand After reading this book, you will never look the same at a cheating spouse, a woman who had plastic surgery or a rich man.


  10. says:

    I might have rated this highly if I hadn t just come off a spate of reading very similar and slightly better works that incorporate much of its content in pithier form Daniel Dennett s Darwin s Dangerous Idea and Steven Pinker s How the Mind Works, though those were both written afterwards , yet its central metaphor of sexual selection as arms race is compelling enough that I finished it alongside the superior Dennett and Pinker books anyway The red queen of the title is derived from the famous character in Lewis Carroll s Through the Looking Glass who at one point tells Alice that in her world, you have to run as fast as you can just to stay in place Life is similar, in that hard won evolutionary advantages are obsoleted almost instantly as competitors adapt to keep up the book is about how sexuality is used both on a macro level between species, as a gene shuffler that can provide a leg up over parasites and asexual organisms that are forced to evolve a bit slowly and on a micro level within species, as males and females choose different game theoretic strategies to maximize reproductive fitness Obviously we re most interested in human sexuality, so the book does not disappoint in its exploration of titillating topics like adultery, incest, homosexuality, polygamy, promiscuity, age differences, dimorphism, fashion, and communication, with plenty of comparisons to analogous behavior in the animal kingdom There s also plenty of pages on whether all this exciting behavior is due to nature or nurture, which I did not find to be as well written as Dennett or Pinker s very similar sections in their books strawmen start popping up in conjunction with loaded subjects like feminism, though this happened somewhat in Pinker s book as well readers who aren t idiots will be unsurprised that Ridley falls into the sensible it s both, to some degree, depending on what you re talking about camp I found the red queen idea to be a an illuminating metaphor and I enjoyed Ridley s take on sexual selection, even if as a work specifically on evolutionary biology it didn t rise to the level of Richard Dawkins The Extended Phenotype, which I consider to be one of the best books existing on the subject, but since I read it right next to books that seemed to recapitulate most of its insights in fewer pages I m not sure I would recommend it above either It was a better written treatise on human sexuality than your average porn, though, that s for sure.