What Makes Us Humans

Michel Tibayrenc, MD, PhD
Institut de recherche pour le développement (IRD; France)

Francisco J. Ayala, PhD
Catedra Francisco Jose Ayala of Science, Technology, and Religion, University of Comillas, Madrid, Spain

Series: Human Evolution, Biological and Cultural Domains
BISAC: SCI036000



Volume 10

Issue 1

Volume 2

Volume 3

Special issue: Resilience in breaking the cycle of children’s environmental health disparities
Edited by I Leslie Rubin, Robert J Geller, Abby Mutic, Benjamin A Gitterman, Nathan Mutic, Wayne Garfinkel, Claire D Coles, Kurt Martinuzzi, and Joav Merrick


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The knowledge on human biology is blooming. Progresses in genomics, epigenetics, neurobiology, human evolution, population genetics, and prehistory is extremely fast presently. However, few bridges have been launched between these fields on one hand, and human sciences (ethics, politics, psychoanalysis, philosophy) on the other hand. Now knowledge on human nature and on what makes us specifically humans do need tight collaborations between biological and human sciences.

One of the specific goals of the book is to sort out, in our knowledge on human nature, what is: (i) strongly supported; (ii) still speculative; (iii) still extremely tentative; (iv) obviously (sometimes purposely) misleading; (v) definitely to be rejected. Such a sorting out is sorely needed, since this theme is politically loaded and full of propaganda, storytelling and “fake news”. This kind of endeavor is urgent because there is now a strong tendency in the general public to lose confidence in science and to believe in alternate sources of knowledge with uncertain backgrounds (social networks, internet).

This books uniquely offers a thorough discussion, based on biology as well as on human sciences, on major societal debates of the time, such as origin of humankind, human genetic diversity, biology of cognition, science in front of intolerant ideologies, science and religion, and science and creationism/intelligent design. Its specific feature is sorted by the present states of knowledge, what is robust, then still speculative, unintentionally or intentionally (“scientific fake news”) misleading, and obviously wrong. Thorough updating is based on more than 300 references from the specialized literature as well as from the general media. The book, which is written in an accessible language and is completed with a glossary of specialized terms, will be therefore profitable to specialists of the concerned fields, university professors, teachers, students, as well as the general public.
(Imprint: Nova)

Introduction: Human Nature: A Hot Spot for Storytelling, Fake News and Speculation

Chapter 1. Origins of Mankind; Human Lineages and Archaic Adaptive Introgression

Chapter 2. Human Diversity; Taxonomical and Medical Implications

Chapter 3. Darwinian Medicine: Reinventing the Wheel?

Chapter 4. Brain Genes, Cognition, Psychiatry and Genetics

Chapter 5. Scientific and Ethical Views on Discriminative Thoughts: Science and Politics

Chapter 6. Science and Religion: Is the Dialogue Possible?

Chapter 7. Non-Scientific Accounts: Creationism and Intelligent Design

Conclusion: Sorting Out Well-Supported From (I) Still Speculative and (Ii) Misleading, Erroneous Knowledge

About the Authors



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