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The Red Queen: Sex and the Evolution of Human Nature (1993)

de Matt Ridley

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2,142247,518 (4.02)73
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 method behind our maddening notions of beauty, and the disquieting fact that a woman is more 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.… (mais)
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Inglês (23)  Coreano (1)  Todos os idiomas (24)
Mostrando 1-5 de 24 (seguinte | mostrar todas)
An evolutionary perspective on sex, mating, beauty and other pieces of human nature. Inspires to think about the deep reasons for our desires and behavior. Also the idea of the red queen (constant conflict which spurs evolution but doesn't give any side a hude advantage) can be imaginativly applied to other systems. I'm happy i was introduced to this perspective and i think i need to strengthen my understanding of it with other books. Someone recommended me to read Steve Pinker. ( )
  rubyman | Feb 21, 2024 |
It has changed the way I see the world. ( )
  adze117 | Sep 24, 2023 |
نظرة عن كثب على مسارات تطور الكائنات وكيف أنها مقادة وموجهة بالسعي للتكاثر أكثر من النجاة. كما يناقش تقدم ذكاء البشر ونمو قدراتهم الدماغية على أنها نتيجة للبحث الحثيث عن الشريك المناسب.

«عندما يتعلق الأمر بالنجاة، فإن قدراتنا الدماغية فائضة عن الحاجة. أما بالنسبة للانتخاب الجنسي، فإن ذكاء الإنسان هو كذيل الطاووس؛ أداة إغراء. أي أننا أصبحنا أذكى لأن الأذكياء يحصلون على الشريك المناسب بسهولة أكثر».
«أعطتنا القشرة المخية الحديثة، وهي أحدث إضافة تطورية على الدماغ البشري، القدرة على تحفيز الآخرين وترفيههم - وهو أمر جوهري عند مغازلة شريك في عالمنا الاجتماعي.» ( )
  TonyDib | Jan 28, 2022 |
I might have rated this more 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 character in Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking-Glass who at one point tells Alice that in her world, you have to run as fast as you can just to stay in place. Life is similar, in that hard-won evolutionary advantages are obsoleted almost instantly as competitors adapt to keep up - the book is about how sexuality is used both on a macro level between species, as a gene-shuffler that can provide a leg up over parasites and asexual organisms that are forced to evolve a bit more slowly; and on a micro level within species, as males and females choose different game-theoretic strategies to maximize reproductive fitness. Obviously we're most interested in human sexuality, so the book does not disappoint in its exploration of titillating topics like adultery, incest, homosexuality, polygamy, promiscuity, age differences, dimorphism, fashion, and communication, with plenty of comparisons to analogous behavior in the animal kingdom. There's also plenty of pages on whether all this exciting behavior is due to nature or nurture, which I did not find to be as well-written as Dennett or Pinker's very similar sections in their books (strawmen start popping up in conjunction with loaded subjects like feminism, though this happened somewhat in Pinker's book as well); readers who aren't idiots will be unsurprised that Ridley falls into the sensible "it's both, to some degree, depending on what you're talking about" camp. I found the red queen idea to be a an illuminating metaphor and I enjoyed Ridley's take on sexual selection, even if as a work specifically on evolutionary biology it didn't rise to the level of Richard Dawkins' The Extended Phenotype, which I consider to be one of the best books existing on the subject, but since I read it right next to books that seemed to recapitulate most of its insights in fewer pages I'm not sure I would recommend it above either. It was a better-written treatise on human sexuality than your average porn, though, that's for sure. ( )
1 vote aaronarnold | May 11, 2021 |
The author is at his best when he constantly asks "why?" on issues that may seem mundane or which we take for granted. Why sex not asex? Why does our concept of beauty take on its current form? Why are we mostly monogamous? How has sexual selection shaped out intelligence? My only gripes about this thought provoking read are that it's about a decade old (painfully obvious by the incorrect statistics on the human genome) and Ridley sometimes overstates his conclusions for the sake of the lay audience. ( )
  bsmashers | Aug 1, 2020 |
Mostrando 1-5 de 24 (seguinte | mostrar todas)
There is a wealth of information here, and it is an excellent source for researchers because of its descriptions of studies and its extensive extensive reference section, as well as being an interesting book for a scientifically literate public.
 

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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 method behind our maddening notions of beauty, and the disquieting fact that a woman is more 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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