Dark Nature: Natural History of Evil, A

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9780060927905: Dark Nature: Natural History of Evil, A

At a time when violence threatens to become epidemic and genocide takes the place of diplomacy in many regions of the world, it is no longer enough to simply dismiss such dark behavior as "human nature." People need to know why such atrocities and horrors take place, and the usual moral, religious, political and philosophical explanations have proved inadequate.

With Dark Nature, world naturalist Lyall Watson presents a scientific examination of evil. Drawing on the latest insights of genetics, evolutionary ethology, anthropology and psychology, he takes the discussion of evil out of the realm of monsters and demons to reveal it for what it truly is: A biological reality that may be terrifying but can be controlled. Groundbreaking, fascinating and eminently readable, Dark Nature is a vital and timely antidote to modern despair.

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About the Author:

Lyall Watson was born in South Africa and educated there and in Britain, taking his Ph. D. at London University in 1963. He had a vast and varied career; he was involved in anthropology in Jordan, Nigeria, Indonesia and Brazil; archaeological excavations in Israel, Turkey and Peru; palaeontology in South and East Africa; marine biology in the Indian Ocean; botany in the deserts of Sonora; medical research in the Philippines; and represented the Seychelles on the International Whaling Commission. He spent years pursuing the paranormal and published many important works in the area. He died in June 2008.

From Publishers Weekly:

Watson (Supernature), who labels himself "an old-fashioned naturalist," ranges through philosophy, psychology, anthropology, history, ecology and especially biology. He begins with the unlikely pair of Aristotle and Goldilocks, the former who urged humans to strive for "the golden mean" and the latter who was satisfied only when things were "just right." We living creatures are pawns of our genes, no matter what species we belong to, and the genes operate on three rules, according to Watson: be nasty to outsiders, be nice to insiders and cheat where possible. It is because of these rules that our bodies repel parasites, that Serbs kill Croats and that human babies often pretend to be younger or hungrier than they are. Watson believes that aggression is in our genes and examines such phenomena as war, rape and murder as manifestations of that aggression. But while he firmly believes that humans are made up of both good and evil and that natural selection is completely amoral, he is sanguine about humans as the world's first ethical animals with the capability of making moral decisions. $30,000 ad/promo; author tour.
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