The Evolution of Everything

How New Ideas Emerge

Author: Matt Ridley

Publisher: HarperCollins

ISBN: 0062296027

Category: Business & Economics

Page: 368

View: 5244

The New York Times bestselling author of The Rational Optimist and Genome returns with a fascinating argument for evolution that definitively dispels a dangerous, widespread myth: that we can command and control our world. Human society evolves. Change in technology, language, morality, and society is incremental, inexorable, gradual, and spontaneous. It follows a narrative, going from one stage to the next; it creeps rather than jumps; it has its own spontaneous momentum rather than being driven from outside; it has no goal or end in mind; and it largely happens by trial and error—a version of natural selection. Much of the human world is the result of human action but not of human design: it emerges from the interactions of millions, not from the plans of a few. Drawing on fascinating evidence from science, economics, history, politics, and philosophy, Matt Ridley demolishes conventional assumptions that the great events and trends of our day are dictated by those on high, whether in government, business, academia, or organized religion. On the contrary, our most important achievements develop from the bottom up. Just as skeins of geese form Vs in the sky without meaning to and ter-mites build mud cathedrals without architects, so brains take shape without brain-makers, learning happens without teaching, and morality changes for no reason other than the prevailing fashion. Although we neglect, defy, and ignore them, bottom-up trends shape the world. The Industrial Revolution, cell phones, the rise of Asia, and the Internet were never planned; they happened. Languages emerged and evolved by a form of natural selection, as did common law. Torture, racism, slavery, and pedophilia—all once widely regarded as acceptable—are now seen as immoral despite the decline of religion in recent decades. In this wide-ranging and erudite book, Ridley brilliantly makes the case for evolution, rather than design, as the force that has shaped much of our culture, our technology, our minds, and that even now is shaping our future. As compelling as it is controversial, as authoritative as it is ambitious, Ridley’s deeply thought-provoking book will change the way we think about the world and how it works.

The Evolution of Everything

How New Ideas Emerge

Author: Matt Ridley

Publisher: Fourth Estate

ISBN: 9780007542475

Category:

Page: 400

View: 8792

âe~If there is one dominant myth about the world, one huge mistake we all make âe¦ it is that we all go around assuming the world is much more of a planned place than it is.âe(tm) From the industrial revolution and the rise of China, to urbanisation and the birth of bitcoin, Matt Ridley demolishes conventional assumptions that the great events and trends of our day are dictated by those on high. On the contrary, our most important achievements develop from the ground up. In this wide-ranging and erudite book, Matt Ridley brilliantly makes the case for evolution as the force that has shaped much of our culture, our minds, and that even now is shaping our future. As compelling as it is controversial, as authoritative as it is ambitious, Ridleyâe(tm)s deeply thought-provoking book will change the way we think about the world and how it works.

The Evolution of Everything

How New Ideas Emerge

Author: Matt Ridley

Publisher: Harper Perennial

ISBN: 9780062296016

Category: Business & Economics

Page: 368

View: 9505

The New York Times bestselling author of The Rational Optimist and Genome returns with a fascinating argument for evolution that definitively dispels a dangerous, widespread myth: that we can command and control our world. Human society evolves. Change in technology, language, morality, and society is incremental, inexorable, gradual, and spontaneous. It follows a narrative, going from one stage to the next; it creeps rather than jumps; it has its own spontaneous momentum rather than being driven from outside; it has no goal or end in mind; and it largely happens by trial and error—a version of natural selection. Much of the human world is the result of human action but not of human design: it emerges from the interactions of millions, not from the plans of a few. Drawing on fascinating evidence from science, economics, history, politics, and philosophy, Matt Ridley demolishes conventional assumptions that the great events and trends of our day are dictated by those on high, whether in government, business, academia, or organized religion. On the contrary, our most important achievements develop from the bottom up. Just as skeins of geese form Vs in the sky without meaning to and ter-mites build mud cathedrals without architects, so brains take shape without brain-makers, learning happens without teaching, and morality changes for no reason other than the prevailing fashion. Although we neglect, defy, and ignore them, bottom-up trends shape the world. The Industrial Revolution, cell phones, the rise of Asia, and the Internet were never planned; they happened. Languages emerged and evolved by a form of natural selection, as did common law. Torture, racism, slavery, and pedophilia—all once widely regarded as acceptable—are now seen as immoral despite the decline of religion in recent decades. In this wide-ranging and erudite book, Ridley brilliantly makes the case for evolution, rather than design, as the force that has shaped much of our culture, our technology, our minds, and that even now is shaping our future. As compelling as it is controversial, as authoritative as it is ambitious, Ridley’s deeply thought-provoking book will change the way we think about the world and how it works.

The Physics of Life

The Evolution of Everything

Author: Adrian Bejan

Publisher: St. Martin's Press

ISBN: 1466891343

Category: Science

Page: 336

View: 4805

The Physics of Life explores the roots of the big question by examining the deepest urges and properties of living things, both animate and inanimate: how to live longer, with food, warmth, power, movement and free access to other people and surroundings. Bejan explores controversial and relevant issues such as sustainability, water and food supply, fuel, and economy, to critique the state in which the world understands positions of power and freedom. Breaking down concepts such as desire and power, sports health and culture, the state of economy, water and energy, politics and distribution, Bejan uses the language of physics to explain how each system works in order to clarify the meaning of evolution in its broadest scientific sense, moving the reader towards a better understanding of the world's systems and the natural evolution of cultural and political development. The Physics of Life argues that the evolution phenomenon is much broader and older than the evolutionary designs that constitute the biosphere, empowering readers with a new view of the globe and the future, revealing that the urge to have better ideas has the same physical effect as the urge to have better laws and better government. This is evolution explained loudly but also elegantly, forging a path that flows sustainability.

Intelligent Design Uncensored

An Easy-To-Understand Guide to the Controversy

Author: William A. Dembski,Jonathan Witt

Publisher: ReadHowYouWant.com

ISBN: 1458715574

Category:

Page: 228

View: 1409

What is ID? Why is it controversial? Intelligent design is surrounded by a storm of debate. Proponents and opponents have both sought to have their voices heard above the din. Is it unscientific? Is it a danger to real Christian faith? Is it trying to smuggle God into the classroom? Controversy can create confusion rather than clarity. So here to clear things up is Bill Dembski, one of the founders of intelligent design, who joins with Jonathan Witt to answer these questions and more. They plainly lay out just what intelligent design is and is not. They answer objections with straight talk that is down to earth. You'll be surprised at how often smart people have misrepresented ID. You might be surprised to see exactly how they respond to what turns out to be misleading arguments. Here is the book to make you intelligent about the whole fuss.

Nature Via Nurture

Genes, Experience, and What Makes Us Human

Author: Matt Ridley

Publisher: Harper Collins

ISBN: 0060006781

Category: Science

Page: 326

View: 6194

Documents the 2001 discovery that there are fewer genes in a human genome than previously thought and considers the argument that nurture elements are also largely responsible for human behavior.

The Red Queen

Sex and the Evolution of Human Nature

Author: Matt Ridley

Publisher: Penguin UK

ISBN: 0141965452

Category: Psychology

Page: 416

View: 338

Sex is as fascinating to scientists as it is to the rest of us. A vast pool of knowledge, therefore, has been gleaned from research into the nature of sex, from the contentious problem of why the wasteful reproductive process exists at all, to how individuals choose their mates and what traits they find attractive. This fascinating book explores those findings, and their implications for the sexual behaviour of our own species. It uses the Red Queen from ‘Alice in Wonderland’ – who has to run at full speed to stay where she is – as a metaphor for a whole range of sexual behaviours. The book was shortlisted for the 1994 Rhone-Poulenc Prize for Science Books. ‘Animals and plants evolved sex to fend off parasitic infection. Now look where it has got us. Men want BMWs, power and money in order to pair-bond with women who are blonde, youthful and narrow-waisted ... a brilliant examination of the scientific debates on the hows and whys of sex and evolution’ Independent.

Genome

The Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters

Author: Matt Ridley

Publisher: Harper Collins

ISBN: 0062253468

Category: Science

Page: 368

View: 8635

The genome's been mapped. But what does it mean? Arguably the most significant scientific discovery of the new century, the mapping of the twenty-three pairs of chromosomes that make up the human genome raises almost as many questions as it answers. Questions that will profoundly impact the way we think about disease, about longevity, and about free will. Questions that will affect the rest of your life. Genome offers extraordinary insight into the ramifications of this incredible breakthrough. By picking one newly discovered gene from each pair of chromosomes and telling its story, Matt Ridley recounts the history of our species and its ancestors from the dawn of life to the brink of future medicine. From Huntington's disease to cancer, from the applications of gene therapy to the horrors of eugenics, Matt Ridley probes the scientific, philosophical, and moral issues arising as a result of the mapping of the genome. It will help you understand what this scientific milestone means for you, for your children, and for humankind.

The Rational Optimist

How Prosperity Evolves

Author: Matt Ridley

Publisher: Harper Collins

ISBN: 9780062025371

Category: Business & Economics

Page: 480

View: 443

Life is getting better—and at an accelerating rate. Food availability, income, and life span are up; disease, child mortality, and violence are down — all across the globe. Though the world is far from perfect, necessities and luxuries alike are getting cheaper; population growth is slowing; Africa is following Asia out of poverty; the Internet, the mobile phone, and container shipping are enriching people’s lives as never before. The pessimists who dominate public discourse insist that we will soon reach a turning point and things will start to get worse. But they have been saying this for two hundred years. Yet Matt Ridley does more than describe how things are getting better. He explains why. Prosperity comes from everybody working for everybody else. The habit of exchange and specialization—which started more than 100,000 years ago—has created a collective brain that sets human living standards on a rising trend. The mutual dependence, trust, and sharing that result are causes for hope, not despair. This bold book covers the entire sweep of human history, from the Stone Age to the Internet, from the stagnation of the Ming empire to the invention of the steam engine, from the population explosion to the likely consequences of climate change. It ends with a confident assertion that thanks to the ceaseless capacity of the human race for innovative change, and despite inevitable disasters along the way, the twenty-first century will see both human prosperity and natural biodiversity enhanced. Acute, refreshing, and revelatory, The Rational Optimist will change your way of thinking about the world for the better.

God's Debris

A Thought Experiment

Author: Scott Adams

Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing, LLC

ISBN: 1449459846

Category: Religion

Page: 132

View: 6431

God's Debris is the first non-Dilbert, non-humor book by best-selling author Scott Adams. Adams describes God's Debris as a thought experiment wrapped in a story. It's designed to make your brain spin around inside your skull. Imagine that you meet a very old man who—you eventually realize—knows literally everything. Imagine that he explains for you the great mysteries of life: quantum physics, evolution, God, gravity, light psychic phenomenon, and probability—in a way so simple, so novel, and so compelling that it all fits together and makes perfect sense. What does it feel like to suddenly understand everything? You may not find the final answer to the big question, but God's Debris might provide the most compelling vision of reality you will ever read. The thought experiment is this: Try to figure out what's wrong with the old man's explanation of reality. Share the book with your smart friends, then discuss it later while enjoying a beverage. It has no violence or sex, but the ideas are powerful and not appropriate for readers under fourteen.

Where Good Ideas Come From

Author: Steven Johnson

Publisher: Penguin

ISBN: 1101444207

Category: Business & Economics

Page: 336

View: 4477

Look out for Johnson’s new book, Wonderland, now on sale. The printing press, the pencil, the flush toilet, the battery--these are all great ideas. But where do they come from? What kind of environment breeds them? What sparks the flash of brilliance? How do we generate the breakthrough technologies that push forward our lives, our society, our culture? Steven Johnson's answers are revelatory as he identifies the seven key patterns behind genuine innovation, and traces them across time and disciplines. From Darwin and Freud to the halls of Google and Apple, Johnson investigates the innovation hubs throughout modern time and pulls out the approaches and commonalities that seem to appear at moments of originality.

Do Humankind's Best Days Lie Ahead

Author: Steven Pinker,Matt Ridley,Alain de Botton,Malcolm Gladwell

Publisher: Oneworld Publications

ISBN: 1786070774

Category: Political Science

Page: 128

View: 7374

Four of the world’s most renowned thinkers take on one of the biggest debates of the modern era. “It’s just a brute fact that we don't throw virgins into volcanoes any more. We don't execute people for shoplifting a cabbage. And we used to.” - Steven Pinker “The idea that because things have gotten better in the past they will continue to do so in the future is a fallacy I would have thought confined to the lower reaches of Wall Street.” - Malcolm Gladwell

The Selfish Gene

Author: Richard Dawkins

Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA

ISBN: 9780192860927

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 352

View: 6706

An ethologist shows man to be a gene machine whose world is one of savage competition and deceit

The Free Market Existentialist

Capitalism without Consumerism

Author: William Irwin

Publisher: John Wiley & Sons

ISBN: 1119121302

Category: Philosophy

Page: 216

View: 9583

Incisive and engaging, The Free Market Existentialist proposes a new philosophy that is a synthesis of existentialism, amoralism, and libertarianism. Argues that Sartre’s existentialism fits better with capitalism than with Marxism Serves as a rallying cry for a new alternative, a minimal state funded by an equal tax Confronts the “final delusion” of metaphysical morality, and proposes that we have nothing to fear from an amoral world Begins an essential conversation for the 21st century for students, scholars, and armchair philosophers alike with clear, accessible discussions of a range of topics across philosophy including atheism, evolutionary theory, and ethics

Francis Crick

Discoverer of the Genetic Code

Author: Matt Ridley

Publisher: Harper Collins

ISBN: 0062200666

Category: Biography & Autobiography

Page: 224

View: 8837

Francis Crick—the quiet genius who led a revolution in biology by discovering, quite literally, the secret of life—will be bracketed with Galileo, Darwin, and Einstein as one of the greatest scientists of all time. In his fascinating biography of the scientific pioneer who uncovered the genetic code—the digital cipher at the heart of heredity that distinguishes living from non-living things—acclaimed bestselling science writer Matt Ridley traces Crick's life from middle-class mediocrity in the English Midlands through a lackluster education and six years designing magnetic mines for the Royal Navy to his leap into biology at the age of thirty-one and its astonishing consequences. In the process, Ridley sheds a brilliant light on the man who forever changed our world and how we understand it.

Blood, Sweat and Tears

The Evolution of Work

Author: Richard Donkin

Publisher: Texere Publishing

ISBN: 9781587990762

Category: Business & Economics

Page: 374

View: 807

Explores the historical development of work from the Stone Age to the present, examines how work structures have impacted human lives and social organizations, and argues that new ways of viewing work and management must be developed for the Information A

The Origins of Virtue

Human Instincts and the Evolution of Cooperation

Author: Matt Ridley

Publisher: Penguin Paperbacks

ISBN: 9780140264456

Category: Science

Page: 295

View: 8814

Suggests a biological basis for the social organization and cooperation shown by the human race, and traces the evolution of society

A Truck Full of Money

Author: Tracy Kidder

Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks

ISBN: 0812985354

Category: Biography & Autobiography

Page: 288

View: 5818

"A perfectly executed, exquisitely reported parable of the Internet age and the wild, mad adventure that is start-up culture."--Charles Duhigg Fortune, mania, genius, philanthropy--the bestselling author of Mountains Beyond Mountains gives us the inspiring story of Paul English, the founder of Kayak.com and Lola. Tracy Kidder, the "master of the nonfiction narrative" (The Baltimore Sun) and author of the bestselling classic The Soul of a New Machine, now tells the story of Paul English, a kinetic and unconventional inventor and entrepreneur, who as a boy rebelled against authority. Growing up in working-class Boston, English discovers a medium for his talents the first time he sees a computer. As a young man, despite suffering from what would eventually be diagnosed as bipolar disorder, he begins his pilgrim's journey through the ups and downs in the brave new world of computers. Relating to the Internet as if it's an extension of his own mind, he discovers that he has a talent for conceiving innovative enterprises and building teams that can develop them, becoming "a Pied Piper" of geeks. His innovative management style, success, and innate sense of fair play inspire intense loyalty. Early on, one colleague observes: "Someday this boy's going to get hit by a truck full of money, and I'm going to be standing beside him." Yet when English does indeed make a fortune, when the travel website Kayak is sold for almost two billion dollars--the first thing he thinks about is how to give the money away: "What else would you do with it?" The second thing he thinks is, What's next? With the power of a consummate storyteller, Tracy Kidder casts a fresh, critical, and often humorous eye on the way new ideas and new money are reshaping our culture and the world. A Truck Full of Money is a mesmerizing portrait of an irresistibly endearing man who is indefatigable, original, and as unpredictable as America itself. Praise for A Truck Full of Money "Kidder's prose glides with a figure skater's ease, but without the glam. His is a seemingly artless art, like John McPhee's, that conceals itself in sentences that are necessary, economical, and unpretentious."--The Boston Globe "Kidder's portrayal of living with manic depression is as nuanced and intimate as a reader might ever expect to get. . . . You can't help admiring Mr. English and cheering for him."--The New York Times