Figments of Reality - The Evolution of the Curious Mind by Ian Stewart PDF

By Ian Stewart

Peppered with wit and debatable issues, it is a fresh new examine the co-evolution of brain and tradition. Bestselling authors Ian Stewart and Jack Cohen (The cave in of Chaos, 1994) eloquently argue that our minds developed inside an inextricable hyperlink with tradition and language. They transcend traditional perspectives of the functionality and function of the brain to examine the ways in which the brain is the reaction of an evolving mind that's continually adjusting to a fancy atmosphere. alongside the best way they advance new and interesting insights into the character of evolution, technology, and humanity that may problem traditional perspectives on realization. The esteemed authors tantalize the reader with those daring new outlooks whereas placing a innovative spin on such vintage philosophical difficulties because the nature of unfastened will and the essence of humanity. This truly written and relaxing e-book will encourage any knowledgeable reader to seriously evaluation the prevailing notions of the character of the human brain.

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The role of experiments is clear and simple: it is to ensure that people do not believe things to be true merely because they want them to be. Experiments provide a ‘reality check’ that helps us avoid one of the great pitfalls of the human psyche: the belief that we know the answer before we start working on the problem. The role of theory is more subtle, and it is here that the conventional view of science omits a crucial feature. Everyone accepts that theories provide explanations of observed ‘facts’ by fitting them into a coherent conceptual framework.

In fact, in the evolution both of complex organisms and of mind, the central role is played not by the Grim Reaper, but by the Grim Sower, who starts things up by their billions so that nearly all of them have no option but to die before they have reached maturity. The popular view of ‘natural’ animal lives has been romanticised to such an extent that they are universally seen as idyllic, whereas actually the reverse is the case. Nearly all wild creatures die without breeding. For example, from the 10,000 eggs that a female frog lays during her lifetime, on average 9,998 die for each pair that survives to replace the parents and breed.

As Ferris showed, Cairns-Smith’s chemical intuition was justified, which adds weight to his view that the origin of our kind of life was subsequent to a much more primitive kind of clay life, a story that he calls ‘genetic takeover’. It is a story of a smooth transition from inorganic chemistry to our kind of life, eventually resulting in creatures about as organised as a bacterium, without a nucleus – what biologists call a prokaryote. We can even have our cake and eat it too: perhaps DNA piggybacked on RNA and RNA on clay.

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