The mechanisms of evolution can be difficult to understand because evolution does not follow any defined plans and thus gives rise to adaptations whose paths are sometimes surprising. This video shows an example of this "blind" and "imperfect" evolution : the course followed by the laryngeal nerve in giraffe.
This example clearly shows that evolution doesn't follow the most direct path nor the most logical or effective one... Evolution is a blind mechanism which builds on what is already in place. As long as it's working, it's working!
Learn more: watch a short animation that aims to rectify common misconceptions about evolution such as the "survival of the fittest" or evolution's "goal"...
Evolutionary psychology is not really a sub-discipline of psychology as it's a new way of approaching the questions of psychology from the special perspective of evolution.
Instead of regarding the human brain as Tabula Rasa, a kind of blank slate on which everything (or nearly) is written (as the main current in social science do), evolutionary psychologists see it more like a Swiss Army knife: a collection of various tools, each of which performs a specific function. Those tools would be over the course of time selected by evolution
Naturally, evolutionary psychologists do recognize that all individuals develop their own personal preferences and abilities in the course of their lives. But according to evolutionary psychology, behind these personal attributes, that can be learned, lie certain innate, universal attitudes that are found in all cultures. This matrix is the “human nature”. This human nature is the result of the long evolutionary process, the fruit of the history of...
"Survival of the fittest", "adaptation to the environment", "evolution's goal"... : a short animation to rectify common misconceptions about evolution.
Darwin's dangerous idea: a BBC documentary that traces the impact of Darwin's discovery and its influence on the politics and societies since 150 years.
Part I: Religion rejects the evolution How could we Humans evolve from monkeys? Shocking!
In the first episode of the three-part series, Andrew Marr shows how the theory of evolution has transformed our understanding and our perception of humankind.
The idea at first was violently disputed because it ruined the credibility of the religious authorities but also, most of all because it disturbed people religious perception of the world such as their need for a creator. Darwin's idea also bothered because he provided a new way of thinking about the origins of human morality, a new way to look at the origin of the "good" and "bad" behaviors.
Part II: evolution in the hands of ideology Let's kill in the name of "the survival of the fittest" and civilization!
Just released from the religious censorship the theory of evolution...
Robert Sapolsky is a professor of biology and neurology. His analysis is based on thirty years of studying baboons in East Africa.
Humans can no longer be considered the only animal that:
kills members of its own species (though we are the only one that kills remotely)
has a theory of mind (though we are the only one with a "secondary theory of mind"*)
understands something like the Golden Rule (we are the only one with the capability to understand it in a broader perspective taking into account the particular circumstances)
shows elements of empathy (though we are unique in the range of empathy that we feel toward strangers, members of other species and even abstract representations)
is motivated by reward, even uncertain one (but we are the only one that has long lag times between stimulus and reward that could happen even after death)
cultural transmissions of behavior or cultures (but we are the only animal able to transmit complex cultures)
Richard Dawkins is an evolutionary biologist. His very famous book "The Selfish Gene" (an international bestseller, translated into over 25 languages with more than a million copies) extends the explanation of evolution given by Charles Darwin by designating the gene, rather than the species, as the unit of natural selection.
If much has been written on his approach, causing heated discussions, it's because this book disrupts the traditional conceptions on humans and proposes a pretty simple explanation to human tensions. Richard Dawkins considers that the living been serves as a survival machine for what pilots them : the genes. This approach is revolutionary because it proposes to look at the person no longer as an entity on its own, but as a multitude of entities, the genes, each pursuing...