The Red Queen: Sex and the Evolution of Human Nature
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 i...more
Roughly the first 1/2 to 2/3 of the books covers the different explanations for why sex arose and the mating habits of various non-human species. One thing that is great about this book is it will relate a theory, then an insufficiency in the theory, then a counter theory, then additional findings, and back and forth and so on. If there isn ...more
I couldn't make it past the first chapter, so I read the end in hopes to find what his conclusion is and its we are all apes in the end. I find that rather depressing and quite hard to believe. I find it hard to swallow that we are only biological animals who are dr ...more
The Red Queen: Sex and the Evolution of Human Nature is a very accessible book. It is easy to read, follow and understand.
After reading this book, you will never look the same at a cheating spous ...more
Almost anything he has written, including his Guardian articles, are worthy of a reader's time. This particuar publication is a mind blowing look at evolutionary biology from the origin and end game of sex in our cultural and genetic lives.
There are many books on this topic but f ...more
First, the author seemed extremely out of touch with society and came across as a very typical privileged white male in his views. It was painful to read sometimes when he'd go on about how women can do whatever they want these days with no limitations! Painful.
Second, I especially disliked his lambasting of feminism as being completely wrong due to som ...more
Ridley is intelligent enough to know it himself, too. I had to smile at his own comments on the book.
‘Half the ideas in this book are proba ...more
I disliked the first chapter: anything titled "Human Nature" in this day and age seems preposterous. I kept on reading, nevertheless, hoping I'd find salvageable bits from this.
I was absolutely enraptured by chapter three, at which ...more
The thesis is that much of human intelligence is a result of a sex-selection arms race.
As a background, we are asked basic questions like, "why sex"?
Ridley does a good job quantifying this question and providing an honest, if uncertain answer.
The short answer is, the perpetual arms races with viruses and parasites makes sex worth the cost.
That cost can be as large as the Peacock's tail feathers, or the giant human brain.
In the case of the human brain, the battle of ...more
And it certainly does make it strange to go to a party and watch all the humans hooking up.
This book is far superior to Sex at Dawn: The Prehistoric Origins of Modern Sexuality. They are often paired and compared, even though they are not, and should not be considered to be, in the same category: The Red Queen is how proper science is done, while Sex at Dawn is a theoreti ...more
the general answer has to do with parasites, and with the idea that like ...more
Genes change their locks to combat parasites and parasites make new keys. They prey is always one step faster that the predator. “Sex, according to the Red Queen theory, has nothing to do with adapting to the inanimate world—becoming bigger or better camouflaged or more tolerant of cold or better at flying—but is all abou ...more
To make his case, it's necessary for Ridley to give an account of what has been found true of animal behavior before moving on to relate it to the most familiar animal, man. These accounts of the sex lives of birds and mammals and so on are rather dull to me.
But stick with it! The book gets more interesting until it becomes absolutely fascinating with the chapter "Sexing the Mind". From that point on I was ha ...more
Evolution is a process of survival and reproduction, but most evolutionary theory focuses on the survival side of things. The Red Queen argues that, in fact, the action is on the reproduction side of things.
This book offers a take on how sex, not survival, has been the primary driver of evolution, and more importantl ...more
Some interesting propositions -- read for a lark.