The evolutionary revolutionary

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Anyone familiar with evolutionary biology will probably have heard of Robert Trivers, the brilliant scientist who made major contributions to evolutionary theory back in the 70s. Unbeknownst to me, he had been on hiatus for a good while. Now it appears he’s back. The Boston Globe has an article about Trivers, his work, his eccentric life, and his impending return to the spotlight:

The evolutionary revolutionary.

It’s a good read.

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But Trivers has not limited his ideas to animals. The second half of his first major paper, “The Evolution of Reciprocal Altruism” (1971), was dedicated to hypothesizing that a large proportion of human emotion and experience-gratitude, sympathy, guilt, trust, friendship, and moral outrage among them-grew out of the same sort of simple tit-for-tat logic that governed the interactions between, say, certain fish and the species of shrimp that cleaned their gills.

The author is suffering under the illusion that humans are not animals.

A small point, perhaps, but it’s one of my pet peeves.

Will Trivers’ ideas on self-deception stand up, or is he deceiving himself?

Maybe it was just me, but I couldn’t get the link to the article to work in anything like real time…

Maybe it was just me, but I couldn’t get the link to the article to work in anything like real time..

the brilliant scientist who made major contributions to evolutionary theory back in the 70s.

Does this mean he actually came up with some evidence? That would be so awesome.…

Maybe it was just me, but I couldn’t get the link to the article to work in anything like real time..

It works fine for me.

advanced hominid Wrote:

Does this mean he actually came up with some evidence? That would be so awesome . …

Trollish statements like this would be less entertaining if they didn’t indicate that you hadn’t read the article.

The link worked fine today–leading to fascinating stuff. And sorry for the double post, I’m still getting used to the interface on this great site!

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This page contains a single entry by Steve Reuland published on March 28, 2005 4:01 PM.

Scientific American gives up was the previous entry in this blog.

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