Tagged genes

The “New Biology” and “The Self”

A couple of weeks ago I posted some musings about “the self” in anticipation of being on a panel with Steven Pinker (author of The Blank Slate and The Stuff of Thought) and Noga Arikha (author of Passions and Tempers: A History of the Humours) at Tufts University. The panel, convened by Jonathan Wilson, was titled “The New Biology and the Self,” and what follows was my contribution. The graduate student referred to is Monica Chau of Emory University.

I told a very smart neurobiology graduate student named Monica yesterday that I’d been asked to speak on “The New Biology and the Self.” She said, “What’s the new biology?” I said, “I don’t know, but that’s the least of my problems. What’s the self?” Read more

What is “the Self”?

And assuming we can answer that, how is science changing it?

Big philosophical concepts bother me, but I am expected later this week at Tufts University, where I’ll be on a panel discussing “The New Biology and the Self.” So I need to get over my reluctance to talk about the self. And it’s not the only big idea that gives me trouble.

Consciousness and free will are two other notions Read more

Darwinian News, Hot Off the Press

In the Darwin bicentennial, new insights into fossils, genes, birdsong, and cancer.

google-logo-fossil1The latest issue of Nature to land in my mailbox-the May 28th one-was not a tribute to Darwin in honor of his 200th birthday and the 150th of The Origin of Species; Nature has been there, done that. But it might as well have been another celebration for him, Read more

Neuronews

Brain science's astounding pace of discovery is bringing new hope to many.

I want to take a rest from the political and religious wars and instead do a little of what I do with my students at the start of each semester. I'm teaching my course on the human brain this fall, and as usual my first lecture was called "While You Were Catching Rays-Discoveries Since the End of Last Semester."
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“Evil Genes”

Evil is real, and so are evil genes.

Today I stumbled on a C-SPAN presentation by Barbara Oakley about her book Evil Genes: Why Rome Fell, Hitler Rose, Enron Failed, and My Sister Stole My Mother’s Boyfriend. I haven’t read the book, but it evidently overlaps with many things I’ve long thought and written myself, in The Tangled Wing and elsewhere.
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Eat Like a Hunter-Gatherer

An excellent new study once again takes us back to the future.

Last week’s issue of The New England Journal of Medicine carried another powerful vindication of The Paleolithic Prescription, a book co-authored by Boyd Eaton, Marjorie Shostak and me just twenty years ago. Boyd and I fired the first salvo in the same journal in 1985, with an article called “Paleolithic Nutrition.”
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