Living This Way

i-0e04765eca436db089c33d7650d20208-natbuzz.jpgWhen it comes to human nature, everyone’s an expert—so let’s argue about it, shall we? On Cognitive Daily, Dave Munger reviews an investigation into the truly fairer sex which suggests that “men are more tolerant of their friends’ failings than women.” Not convinced? Then counter your intuition on The Frontal Cortex, where Jonah Lehrer writes “nothing destroys a luxury brand like a sale.” Consider the possibility of pulling yourself up by the bootstraps on Laelaps, where Brain Switek discusses Louis Leakey’s “fuzzy” postulation that “the invention of stone tools allowed humans to domesticate themselves and accelerate evolution.” Go on and question the innateness of Good and Evil with Razib Khan on Gene Expression, in light of the finding that eighteen-month-olds don’t hesitate to lend strangers a helping hand. Finally, if you missed it, see David Sloan Wilson’s fascinating series about group selection on Evolution for Everyone, where he speculates that our ancestors used their rock-throwing prowess to “suppress bullying and other domineering behaviors within-groups.” Now write up some comments and let us know where we got it all wrong.

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Believe It or Not

i-2a3fa094858972d2fdacc1af837b5f04-lion.jpgHumans believe a lot of things, for a lot of reasons. Confronted by a student who had learned lions’ manes are an expression of their testosterone level–and not just a bit of claw-catching fluff–Greg Laden observes that when someone finds you wrong on one count, they will assume you are wrong about everything. He calls this “a known feature of student thinking in early development,” a true-or-false mentality which sooner or later must reconcile itself with the complexity of our universe. Elsewhere, Razib Khan theorizes on Gene Expression that organized religion arose to meet the needs of our agricultural ancestors. He says that over the last 200 years, industrialization has allowed Westerners to achieve income equity more reminiscent of hunter-gatherer societies, resulting in the “unwinding” of institutional and interpersonal hegemonies. Finally, Eric Michael Johnson in The Primate Diaries explores different kinds of human reciprocity, from ritual gift-giving to organ transplant.

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