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On the Origin of Tepees: The Evolution of…
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On the Origin of Tepees: The Evolution of Ideas (and Ourselves) (original: 2011; edição: 2011)

de Jonnie Hughes (Autor)

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We humans pride ourselves on our capacity to have ideas, but perhaps this pride is misplaced. Perhaps ideas have us. After all, ideas do appear to have a life of their own. Many biologists have already come to the opinion that our genes are selfish entities, tricking us into helping them to reproduce. Is it the same with our ideas? Jonnie Hughes, a science writer and documentary filmmaker, investigates the evolution of ideas in order to find out. Adopting the role of a cultural Charles Darwin, Hughes heads off, with his brother in tow, across the Midwest to observe firsthand the natural history of ideas--the patterns of their variation, inheritance, and selection in the cultural landscape. In place of Darwin's oceanic islands, Hughes visits the "mind islands" of Native American tribes. Instead of finches, Hughes searches for signs of natural selection among the tepees.--From publisher description.… (mais)
Membro:alexanddan
Título:On the Origin of Tepees: The Evolution of Ideas (and Ourselves)
Autores:Jonnie Hughes (Autor)
Informação:Free Press (2011), Edition: 1st., 320 pages
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On the Origin of Tepees: The Evolution of Ideas (and Ourselves) de Jonnie Hughes (2011)

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Exibindo 4 de 4
author seems terrified by idea that there might be anything other than matter and mechanical process involved in life on earth
  ritaer | Aug 10, 2021 |
This may be a candidate for a common book - an interesting discussion of evolution, both in the biological and cultural sense, focusing on North America, tepees (and yes, the title does play of the Origin of Species), genes, memes, and the noosphere.
As I had just finished E.O. Wilson's Diversity of Species, some small parts of the book sounded very familiar, but then of course that would make perfect sense in a book about how ideas slowly develop from one person to the next. ( )
  WiebkeK | Jan 21, 2021 |
Perfect for me. ?I've been fascinated with the Idea of memes ever since I read The Meme Machine. ?áI strongly believe they're real, and that more research needs to be devoted to them. ?áMaybe Hughes will open some eyes, and wallets, with this charming book. ?áHe explains clearly, engagingly, and with wit, how Life works. ?áHe draws examples and analogies not only from biology, but from geology, history, and sociology. ?áThe structure of the book is built on a road trip that he & his brother (Englishmen) took through tepee country from the Mall of America to Calgary, and the trip itself is metaphor to help us understand the big Ideas he's exploring.

As to the exact degree of readability - well, I have read fairly widely in the popular science books of the topic, and yet I did have to pay attention and read more than a sub-chapter at a time. ?áHowever, I believe that a novice to science reading might feel even more engaged (because less distracted by thoughts of 'yeah, I know this, move along) and would thus follow along more easily. ?áHughes is both educated as a scientist and accustomed to educating others, and it shows. ?á

But even if you don't understand everything he says, you'll likely get all sorts of tidbits of other knowledge along the way. ?áThis is the first time I've learned, for example, how Custer messed up and met his Last Stand, and the first time I've learned the names and specific diets of some of Darwin's Galapagos' finches. ?á And if you need more help understanding the principle of the Selfish Gene, you'll get it here. ?áIf you need help understanding that the Tree of Life isn't nearly as cleanly organized as most drawings of it, and you wonder why birders' life-lists keep getting new & fewer sub-species on them, and you don't realize that the platypus is not really all that weird, you'll get it.

I want more than Hughes's speculation, but that will have to wait until more science is done. ?áI believe this is the newest available book on memes in most libraries, and it's definitely the best, by far, of any I've found since Blackmore's. ?áIf you know of any others plz let us know.

Meanwhile, I love the distinction between artificial and natural selection. ?áThe former is faster, because the breeders can choose only the *best* of each generation. ?áThe latter can only pick out the very *worst.*

And I love the explanation for the fact that homo sapiens readily live many post-reproductive years - 'elders' are good vessels for Ideas, which can be transmitted to the young, which means that the memes experience reproductive success.

I'd consider going further than Hughes: ?áI'd say that 'Selfish Memes' are even more critical to understanding human evolution than are Selfish Genes. ?áAfter all, they explain not only the value of our elders, not only our technological prowess, but also our ability to be stupid and do things like cause the near extinction of the buffalo, let us justify our addiction to gambling, and excuse our obsession with media celebrities.

You should read this and decide for yourself if you think memes are real....

Meanwhile, I'm off to add some of the items in the bibliography to my to-read lists. ( )
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Jun 6, 2016 |
Science writer Jonnie Hughes sets out on a trip across Middle America and Canada with his brother to explore the evolution of the tepee (how long did it take him to figure out a subject that would sound like ‘species’, I wonder?). Along with the travelogue and his discoveries about the tepee (and cowboy hats and a few other things), he explains to us the theories of evolution and natural selection among living things, and the idea of memes. Not memes as in internet quizzes or cat pictures, but memes as in perpetuated, spreading, ideas. Memes are like genes, but instead of spreading biologically, they spread psychologically. They change through time- parts that don’t work get dropped; new things that make the idea better are included. The tepee is a meme; it has changed through time to meet conditions, and has spread to different people.

It’s an interesting book; Hughes is humorous and is good at breaking concepts down. That ideas evolve through time and space can’t be doubted, but at times Hughes writes about memes as if they are living things that exist independently of human minds, that they have a drive to survive of their own. I found that a bit… odd. Likewise, he writes of genes as if they have an actual wish to survive and so drive evolution purposely. While I’m pretty certain he does this as a writing technique, rather than truly thinking that ideas are living things with a will to live and spread, I found it a bit disturbing.

Despite this one oddity, I really recommend this book. He explains how speciation occurs in both animals and in languages in an extremely clear way; his story of how the cowboy hat evolved to fit the new environment of the west – and how it’s now stopped evolving, much as humans have- is wonderful. Hughes has a great future as a writer of science for the layman. ( )
  lauriebrown54 | Oct 28, 2011 |
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We humans pride ourselves on our capacity to have ideas, but perhaps this pride is misplaced. Perhaps ideas have us. After all, ideas do appear to have a life of their own. Many biologists have already come to the opinion that our genes are selfish entities, tricking us into helping them to reproduce. Is it the same with our ideas? Jonnie Hughes, a science writer and documentary filmmaker, investigates the evolution of ideas in order to find out. Adopting the role of a cultural Charles Darwin, Hughes heads off, with his brother in tow, across the Midwest to observe firsthand the natural history of ideas--the patterns of their variation, inheritance, and selection in the cultural landscape. In place of Darwin's oceanic islands, Hughes visits the "mind islands" of Native American tribes. Instead of finches, Hughes searches for signs of natural selection among the tepees.--From publisher description.

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