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Evolution and human nature: Does the former explain all of the latter?

May 14, 2009 |  5:13 pm

If you're interested in why we act the way we do, and the extent to which biology, shaped by evolution, governs our behavior, you'll be interested in a whole series of essays, now online, by notable scientists and thinkers who were posed the question, "Does evolution explain human nature?"

The 12 essays, also available in booklet form, were commissioned by the John Templeton Foundation, a philanthropic organization that supports "research on what scientists and philosophers call the Big Questions," according to a blurb on the back of the booklet. The effort is one part of the foundation's celebration of the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin.

The answers to that question?

"Obviously," says Emory primate researcher Frans de Waal.

"Yes," says Robert Wright, author of "The Moral Animal" and other books on evolution.

"Except where it matters," says Simon Conway Morris, professor of evolutionary paleobiology at the University of Cambridge.

"Not entirely," says Dr. Francis Collins, ex-head of the National Human Genome Research Institute.

This and more. It's an interesting read. Go here to check out all the essays.

-- Rosie Mestel