Natural Selections


192 pages

Trade Cloth

List Price US $25.00
ISBN: 9781934137055


ISBN: 9781934137246

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“Combining humane sensibility with commonsense, wisdom, knowledge, wit, and sheer intelligence, David Barash’s writing is a tonic for the mind.”

Richard Dawkins, author of The God Delusion

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“…entertaining and thought-provoking.”

Steven Pinker, author of The Blank Slate

“Absurdly [labeled by] neoconservative David Horowitz as one of America’s 101 most dangerous academics… [author] David Barash’s latest book… seeks to follow the concepts of evolutionary psychology and sociobiology to their logical conclusions.”

L.A. Weekly

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“The writing is lucid, lively, and imaginative, and makes skillful use of analogies.”


Natural Selections picks up where Steven Jay Gould left off. A delightful read.”

Michael Shermer, author of Why Darwin Matters

“David Barash’s lively yet serious writing provides an intelligent, expert introduction to the latest and best evolutionary thinking about human behavior.”

Ellen Dissanaykae, author of Homo Aestheticus

“‘Touche,’ the slashing fencer shouts in Thurber’s celebrated cartoon, while the sliced head hardly knows what’s hit it. Such is the fate of sacred cows that find themselves in the path of the redoubtable David Barash.”

Harold Fromm, Co-editor of the Ecocriticism Reader

“The most literate popularizer of Darwinism since Thomas Huxley…. A journey to the center of human nature, where the view is not always agreeable.”

Kirkus Reviews

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Is consciousness simply the product of neurons firing in the brain or does it imply a human soul? If we are largely a product of our genes, can free will exist? Why do so many people turn their backs on rationality? As the secrets of the human genome are revealed, science, philosophy, and religion struggle for supremacy on the battlefield of ideas.

Never wittier than when confronted with the most serious among the “great questions,” David Barash here decodes the contentious debates on intelligent design, gender differences, the conflict between cultural and biological evolution, and the meaning of life. No mere debunker, he offers an optimistic view of human potential: as a self-identified “evolutionary existentialist” he opposes the “tyranny of the natural”—just because it’s “natural” doesn’t mean it’s good for you (think typhoid and tsunamis).  We may be the products of hundreds of millions of years of evolution, but as conscious beings we can—and should—make ethical choices.

If the 20th century was the Atomic Age, the 21st century will be known as the “Age of the Genome.” Incisive and engaging, Natural Selections is an indispensable tour of evolutionary biology for our times.

Excerpt from Natural Selections