Supergenes: What Really Makes Us Human
Why do we behave so differently in different situations? Why did you choose the clothes you are wearing, the books you read and the friends and opinions you have? What is it about humans that has let us achieve so much, so quickly? This book tries to understand why the evolution of our human species is happening at a rate so much faster than may be explained by Darwinian biological evolution alone. The engine of our extraordinary social evolution is human behaviour. We have a deep-seated need to pass on to others some part of our own achievements, what we have made of our lives. Our survival and success now depends principally on our adaption to our social environment and not to our physical environment. It is these supercharged social genes that are the essence of our remarkable and accelerating rate of evolution today. This book looks critically at our present understanding of human behaviour and evolution to seek a consilience across a wide range of fields of research. More at www.supergenes.net
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Our Insulation from Reality
The Core of the Problem
The Properties of Supergenes
How Are These Genes Expressed?
What Causes Specific Genetic Traits to Survive?
How Stable Are These Evolutionary Strategies?
How Did We Get to Be like This?
The Newborn Child
The Social Life of the Developing Child
The Nurture Assumption
Growing up with Peer Groups
How We Relate to Groups
Group Influences on Children
Adult Group Structures
The Formation of Life
The Structure of the Human Genome
Genetic Diversity and Evolution
The Beginnings of Human Civilisation
Civilisation in the Technological Age
Modern Ideas of Human Evolution and Behaviour
Human Behavioural Ecology
Memetics and GeneCulture Evolution
What Do We Learn from These Evolutionary Theories?
Sociology and Social Psychology
So What Do We Really Know about Human Behaviour and Evolution?
Towards a New Synthesis
The Importance of Consilience
The Supergene Hypothesis
How Did Supergenes Arise?
The Life Cycle of the Supergene
The General Characteristics of Supergenes
The Development and Behaviour of Homo Sapiens
The Origins of Groups in Our Society
Overcoming the Limitations of Our Biogenes
The Information Explosion
The Origins of Language
The Earliest Stages Of Human Development
Life in the Womb
Passing Supergenes To Others
Interchanging Supergenes Successfully
Why Groups Are Critical For Supergene Transfers
The Drive for Power and Influence
How Our Supergenes Are Acquired
How Our Supergenes Evolve and Supergene Stability
Supergenes and Human Behaviour
Reinforcing Group Identities
The Importance of Trust in Politics and Public Life
Bad Behaviour and Evil Are Adaptive
Why Are Abusive Relationships so Common?
The Enigma That Is Altruism
Supergene Propagation for the Childless
Extreme Strategies for Supergene Propagation
Heroism and the Suicide Bomber
Why Adoption Is Relatively Unsuccessful
The Failure of Acquisitions and Mergers
Supergenes in the Big Bad World
Social Isolation and the Need to Conform
Manipulation of National Supergene Pools
Manipulating Your Supergene Pool
Controlling Our Minds
Advertising and Public Relations
Our Remarkable Supergenes
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