Saturday, April 01, 2006

Man is breedin' forever

The Guardian prints the text of a speech given by Ian McEwan on great books of science with specific notice of the excellent Selfish Gene. It remains my second favorite science book (the first is about nuclear weapons, but that's cuz I'm evil) . To be fair, I don't read as deeply in science as I do in, say, national security policy, but I read a bit. The book remains the clearest statement of how evolution works and how it affects the human behavior. At the most simplistic level, it states that our DNA's desire to be copied (into children) is the core driver of human behavior. There's more to it of course. The Amazon reviews make the book slightly less attractive. It's filled with all that "thinking people will love it, religous/conservative people won't" drivel that clogs up today's discourse. As if any one sort of person has a monopoly on rationality. So ignore the pompous reviews and read the book. It's really good.

McEwan also takes a stab at developing a canon of scientific literature after debating the criteria for inclusion. The list alone is worth checking out, but McEwan's prose makes it all the better.

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