BioBooksAwardsComing NextContactBlogFun StuffHome

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Evolutionary Biology and Such

Instead of doing a review about something specific, I thought I'd give my impressions in general about the evolutionary biology/cultural evolution books I've been listening to. I'm not quite sure how I bought so many, although the descriptions do make them sound very interesting. Some have been, some haven't, but that's the same as any book.

So what I have learned in general? That there's vast disagreement among the experts in these fields.

I'll listen to one book that throws out a theory, offers supporting data, and data that refutes the other popular theories. The next book will have a proponent of one of the refuted theories as an author and I'll get the same thing, only for that scientist's pet thesis. It's left me with my head spinning and not sure who the heck is right.

What I learned about myself is that no matter how interesting the theory might be, I want evidence to back it up and I have no patience for anecdotal or indirectly inferred conclusions. There was a book I stopped listening to because it never offered proof, just anecdotes that were supposed to be irrefutable evidence. No. I want facts. Also, none of the other books I've listened to in this field have remotely supported the book with theories and no real data. I feel safe in saying the authors were more interested in selling books than in advancing science as their controversial (and unsupported theory) was focused on sex.

There's another book I downloaded from Audible in this field that I'd love to get through, but the narrator is really boring to listen to. This author takes the opposite opinion from the selfishness theory of evolution that many other experts in the field seem to assume is true.

When these other authors talk about generosity, it's always something that animals (and people) do because they expect to be repaid later. That the person performing the act, let's say sharing food when another family has none, expects the action to reciprocated later. We've all seen and heard stories of people risking themselves to save others. People donating generously to strangers. Good Samaritans who stop to help others. I don't believe this is all done with the expectation of reciprocity at some later time. And because I feel this way, I'd love to make it through the book that sounds as if it deals with this facet of evolutionary biology and genetics. Narrators really can make or break the book.

My final thought is that I'm tired of this topic. :-) I need to use my Audible credits on a different non-fiction topic.