Patriarchy’s Evolutionary Plausibility

Over many decades, now, a popular idea across the humanities and social sciences has been that of patriarchy. Etymologically the word means the rule of the fathers – or at least the elder males (father-like). It has taken on, though, a more general reference to the idea of men ruling over women. If one looks […]

Religion and Evolution, Let’s Try Again

Evolutionary theory in general, and evolutionary psychology in particular, have tended to align with the modern movement often referred to as the new atheists and humanists. Indeed, the prominence of those such as Dawkins and Dennett encourages a lumping of the two together. This isn’t quite fair. The new atheists are after all activists for […]

You never know, unless you try! (Though, you might soon.)

Conjuring up a well of limitless human potential, an old platitude – “you never know, unless you try” – is coming to now take on a slightly different inflection. In the process, the accuracy of the claim is likewise sliding slowly toward obsolescence. The original meaning of the phrase suggested that anything might be possible […]

Are We Humans Our Own Primary Hostile Force of Nature?

There are a lot of popular clichés about humans among people not as informed as they should be about evolutionary biology that get too much air play and word of mouth. For instance, there’s the claim that we’re the only species that fight each other in groups. Not true. Or that we’re the only species […]

Do We Overvalue Cooperation?

A big topic in the scholarship on human social evolution is our peculiar proclivity for cooperation. There’s no doubt that human cooperation is pretty remarkable, in a number of ways. The benefits it brings in terms of pooled risk, division of labour and economies of scale, etc., are well known. And, from a strictly evolutionary […]

Is Global Warming Going to Make the World More Conservative?

While there continues to be forecast disagreements about actual temperature increases, and even still debate over to what extent human caused warming is involved, it seems likely that we’re looking at a temperature increase over the next century. There’s a good chance it’ll be in the 3-4 degrees range. In all the talk you’ve heard […]