The Red Queen: Sex and the Evolution of Human Nature

The Red Queen Sex and the Evolution of Human Nature Referring to Lewis Carroll s Red Queen from Through the Looking Glass a character who has to keep running to stay in the same place Matt Ridley demonstrates why sex is humanity s best strategy for o

Referring to Lewis Carroll s Red Queen from Through the Looking Glass, a character who has to keep running to stay in the same place, Matt Ridley demonstrates why sex is humanity s best strategy for outwitting its constantly mutating internal predators The Red Queen answers dozens of other riddles of human nature and culture including why men propose marriage, the methReferring to Lewis Carroll s Red Queen from Through the Looking Glass, a character who has to keep running to stay in the same place, Matt Ridley demonstrates why sex is humanity s best strategy for outwitting its constantly mutating internal predators The Red Queen answers dozens of other riddles of human nature and culture including why men propose marriage, the method behind our maddening notions of beauty, and the disquieting fact that a woman is likely to conceive a child by an adulterous lover than by her husband Brilliantly written, The Red Queen offers an extraordinary new way of interpreting the human condition and how it has evolved.

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    174 Matt Ridley
The Red Queen: Sex and the Evolution of Human Nature

  1. Matthew White Ridley, 5th Viscount Ridley DL FRSL FMedSci born 7 February 1958, in Northumberland is an English science writer, businessman and aristocrat Ridley was educated at Eton and Magdalen College, Oxford where he received a doctorate in zoology before commencing a career in journalism Ridley worked as the science editor of The Economist from 1984 to 1987 and was then its Washington correspondent from 1987 to 1989 and American editor from 1990 to 1992.

584 Reply to “The Red Queen: Sex and the Evolution of Human Nature”

  1. Things I learned from this book human women like tall men, human men like beautiful women, barn swallow women like men with long, symmetrical tails, gentlemen prefer blondes, sperm are small because they made a dastardly deal with nature, gender exists and there are two of them essentially as an accidental by product of a primordial genetic arms race, why we think that we or anything else has sex as opposed to splitting in half or excanging packets of DNA , why roosters have wattles and how nucl [...]

  2. Coming out of pre veterinary medicine and a slew of genetics classes, I can say that nothing in this book is particularly mind blowing except the hubris The author has drawn up a laundry list of assumptions about all of humanity and left out a good deal of its subjects As a scientist or, at the very least, as a lover of science the references were interesting enough to keep me reading But as someone with sexual awareness, a hesitancy to polarize gender and sexuality, and my own idea of what a wo [...]

  3. What could have shaped the human mind is an endlessly interesting subject, no question about that Speculating about contributions of the genes, nature, nurture, culture is fun, as much as getting a new perspective on what has always seemed obvious Still, I did not like this book as much as I probably would, had it a bit less of sheer speculations Some readers praise Ridley for objectively presenting to them so many different and often contradictory theories When discussions are heated, it is ind [...]

  4. This was one of those books that I bought because I was sucked in by the title and the cover Plus I thought, hey that s kinda out of my comfort zone, I d like to push myself to read something new and possibly difficult to understand.I couldn t make it past the first chapter, so I read the end in hopes to find what his conclusion is and its we are all apes in the end I find that rather depressing and quite hard to believe I find it hard to swallow that we are only biological animals who are drive [...]

  5. Well, I had hoped to write this review closer to having read the book, but I ll write this anyway, just without some of the examples I was hoping to remember.Roughly the first 1 2 to 2 3 of the books covers the different explanations for why sex arose and the mating habits of various non human species One thing that is great about this book is it will relate a theory, then an insufficiency in the theory, then a counter theory, then additional findings, and back and forth and so on If there isn t [...]

  6. This is really well written, but I just can t really wrap my head around the themes of sexuality in this book, especially as it concerns the idea of gender Also I don t really trust men of science who can write things like boys are better in math than girls or girls are better at linguistic tasks as if they are universal truths instead of biased theories.

  7. How much generous it would be if, instead of writing parables about childhood wounds, psychologists were to accept that some differences between the sexes just are, that they are in the nature of the beasts, because each sex has an evolved tendency to develop that way in response to experience.The Red Queen Sex and the Evolution of Human Nature is a very accessible book It is easy to read, follow and understand After reading this book, you will never look the same at a cheating spouse, a woman [...]

  8. I enjoyed this book and recommend it highly Some may see it as a cynical view of human nature, however I found it to be an engaging and convincing one My favorite quote from this book sums up the totality of the text for me e choosiness in human beings in picking their mates has driven the human mind into a frenzied expansion for no reason except that wit, virtuosity,inventiveness, and individuality turn people on It is a somewhat less uplifting perspective on the purpose of humanity than a reli [...]

  9. This was an interesting exploration of the reasons for sexual reproduction in many organisms, as well as then discussing the science with relation to human sexuality and sociology Ridley makes good thorough use of a broad range of research findings in the area, discussing these with mainly even handedness and a breadth of illustrative examples The central theme relates to the importance of sexual reproduction in protection from disease and in best perpetuating our genes It s an educational and r [...]

  10. As I was reading the first chapter, I kept thinking I was embarking on something written by a geek giggling at the word sex I don t think I was entirely wrong, but if there was any giggling from the author at the mention of sex, it was for truly fascinating reasons.I disliked the first chapter anything titled Human Nature in this day and age seems preposterous I kept on reading, nevertheless, hoping I d find salvageable bits from this.I was absolutely enraptured by chapter three, at which point [...]

  11. I really wanted to love this book It was a fun and at times thorough overview of human sexuality I do have some complaints about it, however First, the author seemed extremely out of touch with society and came across as a very typical privileged white male in his views It was painful to read sometimes when he d go on about how women can do whatever they want these days with no limitations Painful Second, I especially disliked his lambasting of feminism as being completely wrong due to some femi [...]

  12. I might have rated this highly if I hadn t just come off a spate of reading very similar and slightly better works that incorporate much of its content in pithier form Daniel Dennett s Darwin s Dangerous Idea and Steven Pinker s How the Mind Works, though those were both written afterwards , yet its central metaphor of sexual selection as arms race is compelling enough that I finished it alongside the superior Dennett and Pinker books anyway The red queen of the title is derived from the famous [...]

  13. Matt Ridley was educated at Oxford and is a journalistic scientist, which means he is able to translate the complicated scientific breakthroughs and understandings to the wider public in a clear and succinct manner.Almost anything he has written, including his Guardian articles, are worthy of a reader s time This particuar publication is a mind blowing look at evolutionary biology from the origin and end game of sex in our cultural and genetic lives.There are many books on this topic but few ar [...]

  14. My God, I loved this book Extremely accessible, yet very substantial I don t think I can ever think about sex or human nature the same way I feel that this is one of those seminal books that a person can t go back from.And it certainly does make it strange to go to a party and watch all the humans hooking up.

  15. an exposition of the basic idea that man is a self domesticated animal , only far interesting and accessible than that sounds matt ridley tackles the question of why human beings reproduce sexually you d think the answer d be because it s fun , but you d be wrong when in the race for genes to reproduce themselves in mass quantities, asexual reproduction is efficient and a certain success, numbers wise the general answer has to do with parasites, and with the idea that like alice in wonderland [...]

  16. The Red Queen theory stems from the Queen in Alice in Wonderland who runs and runs but stays in the same place She never gets any further because the world is moving with her Genes change their locks to combat parasites and parasites make new keys They prey is always one step faster that the predator Sex, according to the Red Queen theory, has nothing to do with adapting to the inanimate world becoming bigger or better camouflaged or tolerant of cold or better at flying but is all about combatt [...]

  17. I learned a lot from this book.The thesis is that much of human intelligence is a result of a sex selection arms race.As a background, we are asked basic questions like, why sex Ridley does a good job quantifying this question and providing an honest, if uncertain answer.The short answer is, the perpetual arms races with viruses and parasites makes sex worth the cost.That cost can be as large as the Peacock s tail feathers, or the giant human brain.In the case of the human brain, the battle of t [...]

  18. Since this is a science book it is troubling that this doesn t follow the scientific method Frequently topics are not developed logically leading to confusing and odd sentences Some interesting propositions read for a lark.

  19. This was like being in a work release program with an educated half wit.Very questionable reasoning throughout.

  20. Nothing sexier than reading about about the genetic reasoning behind objectifying the opposite sex, that s what I always say.

  21. I didn t give five stars because I found this book something of a slog in the beginning.To make his case, it s necessary for Ridley to give an account of what has been found true of animal behavior before moving on to relate it to the most familiar animal, man These accounts of the sex lives of birds and mammals and so on are rather dull to me.But stick with it The book gets interesting until it becomes absolutely fascinating with the chapter Sexing the Mind From that point on I was hanging on [...]

  22. A fascinating book on my favorite topic The author refreshingly acknowledges that half of the theories he espouses in the book are likely to be wrong for instance, I am highly skeptical of Ridley s theory that human large brainedness arose from runaway sexual selection favoring cute, disproportionately large heads Nonetheless, I have no good reason to doubt this, and, as Ridley notes, all arguments of runaway sexual selection involve somewhat circular reasoning I was fond of Ridley s literary al [...]

  23. SOOO glad to be done with this book I don t understand how it has such a high rating My uncle sent it to my daughter, so I wanted to read it first I d let her read it, but I don t know why she would want to He states a theory, and then loves to say, but, wait, in the black tailed, orange rimmed sage grouse, the opposite happens It s annoying how he picks out a totally obscure animal insect bacteria to prove the theory has flaws Clearly, he has done an amazing amount of research but to what end I [...]

  24. This is Evo Psych masquerading as hard science It is sometimes dense and technical, sometimes defensive and condescending There is some well researched science, some reasonable observations, and some logical conclusions, but they are so inextricably tangled with sweeping generalizations, correlations misinterpreted as causations, and ambiguous data presented as certainty as to render the whole mess too annoying to read I gave up with about 70 pages to go Life is too short, and surely there is so [...]

  25. The author attempts to avoid heteronormativity and sexism and fails outright Only the first half of the book is worth reading I got to learn about all different strategies that nature uses for sexual and asexual reproduction and different biological applications of game theory Past that, the rest merely reeks of essentializing Victorianism The first half of the book will endure the second half is already dated.

  26. Unnecessary book that just forever states the obvious, written by someone without very much credibility and it seems to show Essentially encapsulates in 350 pages what one could do alone in 20 minutes of just thinking.

  27. It was eye opening and very interesting I got some essential information about human animal s sexuality from an evolutionary perspective.

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