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The Human Instinct: How We Evolved to Have Reason, Consciousness, and Free Will
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Simon & Schuster 2018
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From one of America's best-known biologists, a revolutionary new way of thinking about evolution that shows "why, in light of our origins, humans are still special" (Edward J. Larson, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Evolution).Once we had a special place in the hierarchy of life on Earth—a place confirmed by the literature and traditions of every human tribe. But then the theory of evolution arrived to shake the tree of human understanding to its roots. To many of the most passionate advocates for Darwin's theory, we are just one species among multitudes, no more significant than any other. Even our minds are not our own, they tell us, but living machines programmed for nothing but survival and reproduction. In The Human Instinct, Brown University biologist Kenneth R. Miller "confronts both lay and professional misconceptions about evolution" (Publishers Weekly, starred review), showing that while evolution explains how our bodies and brains were shaped, that heritage does not limit or predetermine human behavior. In fact, Miller argues in this "highly recommended" (Forbes) work that it is only thanks to evolution that we have the power to shape our destiny. Equal parts natural science and philosophy, The Human Instinct makes an "absorbing, lucid, and engaging...case that it was evolution that gave us our humanity" (Ursula Goodenough, professor of biology at Washington University in St. Louis).
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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
04/17/2018
Language:
English
ISBN:
9781476790282
ASIN:
B074ZLPNKK
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Citations
APA Citation (style guide)

Kenneth R. Miller. (2018). The Human Instinct: How We Evolved to Have Reason, Consciousness, and Free Will. Simon & Schuster.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Kenneth R. Miller. 2018. The Human Instinct: How We Evolved to Have Reason, Consciousness, and Free Will. Simon & Schuster.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Kenneth R. Miller, The Human Instinct: How We Evolved to Have Reason, Consciousness, and Free Will. Simon & Schuster, 2018.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Kenneth R. Miller. The Human Instinct: How We Evolved to Have Reason, Consciousness, and Free Will. Simon & Schuster, 2018. Web.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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      • bioText: Kenneth R. Miller is professor of biology at Brown University and the critically acclaimed bestselling author of Only a Theory, Finding Darwin's God, and The Human Instinct. He has appeared frequently on radio and television as a public advocate for evolution. In 2005 he was the lead expert witness for the victorious plaintiffs in the landmark Kitzmiller v. Dover trial, where he testified in favor of evolution and against "intelligent design." Among his honors are the Stephen Jay Gould Prize from the Society for the Study of Evolution, the Laetare Medal from the University of Notre Dame, and the Award for Public Engagement with Science from the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
      • name: Kenneth R. Miller
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shortDescription
From one of America's best-known biologists, a revolutionary new way of thinking about evolution that shows "why, in light of our origins, humans are still special" (Edward J. Larson, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Evolution).
Once we had a special place in the hierarchy of life on Earth—a place confirmed by the literature and traditions of every human tribe. But then the theory of evolution arrived to shake the tree of human understanding to its roots. To many of the most passionate advocates for Darwin's theory, we are just one species among multitudes, no more significant than any other. Even our minds are not our own, they tell us, but living machines programmed for nothing but survival and reproduction.

In The Human Instinct, Brown University biologist Kenneth R. Miller "confronts both lay and professional misconceptions about evolution" (Publishers Weekly, starred review), showing that while evolution explains how our...
isOwnedByCollections
True
title
The Human Instinct
fullDescription
From one of America's best-known biologists, a revolutionary new way of thinking about evolution that shows "why, in light of our origins, humans are still special" (Edward J. Larson, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Evolution).
Once we had a special place in the hierarchy of life on Earth—a place confirmed by the literature and traditions of every human tribe. But then the theory of evolution arrived to shake the tree of human understanding to its roots. To many of the most passionate advocates for Darwin's theory, we are just one species among multitudes, no more significant than any other. Even our minds are not our own, they tell us, but living machines programmed for nothing but survival and reproduction.

In The Human Instinct, Brown University biologist Kenneth R. Miller "confronts both lay and professional misconceptions about evolution" (Publishers Weekly, starred review), showing that while evolution explains how our bodies and brains were shaped, that heritage does not limit or predetermine human behavior. In fact, Miller argues in this "highly recommended" (Forbes) work that it is only thanks to evolution that we have the power to shape our destiny.

Equal parts natural science and philosophy, The Human Instinct makes an "absorbing, lucid, and engaging...case that it was evolution that gave us our humanity" (Ursula Goodenough, professor of biology at Washington University in St. Louis).
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      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
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        Starred review from January 8, 2018
        Miller (Only a Theory), professor of biology at Brown University, confronts both lay and professional misconceptions about evolution from both scientific and philosophical perspectives. He begins his fascinating work with a brief but cogent summary of the basics of human evolution, focusing on current data detailing highlights in the fossil record, genomic patterns attesting to the similarities found across a wide array of species, and the chromosomal relationships between humans and other primates. The conclusion he draws is clear and firm: “The intellectual burden of denying human evolution in the face of so many lines of evidence would be far too great for any fair-minded person to sustain.” Miller builds on this perspective as he addresses three controversial topics: evolutionary psychology, the nature and evolution of consciousness, and the existence of free will. He finds a middle ground between those who believe that evolution should explain every individual behavior and those who criticize evolution for not providing ready-made answers to vexing problems. Miller succeeds in his aims to correct misconceptions while showing that, instead of fostering a sense of pointlessness, learning about human evolution can produce a sense of “joy that we are approaching a genuine understanding of the world in which we live.” Agent: Barney Karpfinger, Karpfinger Agency.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        February 15, 2018
        An insightful defense of evolution that turns the arguments of creationists against them.As Miller (Biology/Brown Univ.; Only a Theory: Evolution and the Battle for America's Soul, 2008, etc.), notes, when people are polled on whether they believe in evolution, the majority are agreeable; only when asked if humans evolved does the bottom drop out. Most religions, writes the author, "agree on one thing, which is the uniqueness of the human species and the need for a special story to explain how we came to be....By telling us that we do not have such a story, by placing our origins squarely in the ordinary genetic, environmental, and selective processes that have produced every other living thing, evolution sweeps such narratives away and leaves us searching for our birthright as thoughtful, intelligent, and hopeful creatures." Miller disagrees with scientists who proclaim that humans are nothing special, that we are merely the product of natural laws in an indifferent universe. He also disagrees with those who claim that natural selection must be wrong because phenomena such as free will, consciousness, and culture don't increase reproductive fitness. They are not only mistaken, writes the author, but killjoys. His universe is a kaleidoscope of dazzling evolutionary possibilities that our existence illustrates. We are "creatures like no others, with extraordinary flexibility of behavior, powers of imagination, and, above all, conscious self-awareness. That self-awareness has enabled us, alone among living things, to stand above the imperatives of survival and reproduction and seek to understand how we came to be." Human culture, consciousness, and life itself are simply emergent properties. Our appearance was unpredictable but not random, and all organisms fill an evolutionary niche. We may be the first to fill ours, but it was there all the time.Evolutionary biology, neuroscience, and polemic combine in an appealing argument for human uniqueness.

        COPYRIGHT(2018) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        April 15, 2018

        Free will or determinism? Evolution or creationism? What makes us think the way we do? Is it DNA or a thought process? Miller (biology, Brown Univ.; Only a Theory) here discusses these questions and more through science and philosophy, without getting bogged down by either subject. He discusses DNA and René Descartes, Charles Darwin and Stephen Jay Gould in a way that makes readers feel as if they are having a personal conversation, using Miller's own research supported by scientists and philosophers throughout time. The author asks questions relating to how the human mind developed, what separates humans from other primates, what shapes who we are as a species, and what difference a few chromosomes makes. Readers will discover answers in this book. VERDICT Miller's latest work seamlessly crosses between science and philosophy, appealing to readers of both subjects. Those interested in the human condition or wishing to delve into an introspective text on the self and mind will appreciate the depth and thought.--Dawn Lowe-Wincentsen, Oregon Inst. of Technology, Portland

        Copyright 2018 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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How We Evolved to Have Reason, Consciousness, and Free Will
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