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The Red Queen: Sex and the Evolution of Human Nature [Kindle Edition]

Matt Ridley
4.8 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (19 Kundenrezensionen)

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From Publishers Weekly

Why do we have sex? One of the main biological reasons, contends Ridley, is to combat disease. By constantly combining and recombining genes every generation, people "keep their genes one step ahead of their parasites," thereby strengthening resistance to bacteria and viruses that cause deadly diseases or epidemics. Called the "Red Queen Theory" by biologists after the chess piece in Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking-Glass which runs but stays in the same place, this hypothesis is just one of the controversial ideas put forth in this witty, elegantly written inquiry. Ridley, a London-based science writer and a former editor of the Economist , argues that men are polygamous for the obvious reason that whichever gender has to spend the most time and energy creating and rearing offspring tends to avoid extra mating. Women, though far less interested in multiple partners, will commit adultery if stuck with a mediocre mate. In Ridley's not wholly convincing conclusion, even human intellect is chalked up to sex: virtuosity, individuality, inventiveness and related traits are what make people sexually attractive. Photos. BOMC and QPB alternates.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Kirkus Reviews

A former editor of The Economist asks how sexual selection has molded human nature. The title here alludes to a scene in Lewis Carroll in which Alice and the Red Queen run as fast as possible to remain in the same place. Ridley looks first at current thinking on why sexual reproduction exists at all, when many organisms manage quite well without it. The answer has to do with disease: a species must rebuild its defenses from one generation to the next merely to keep from falling behind in the race against opportunistic viruses. Sex, by allowing a new shuffle of the genetic material with each generation, improves the chance of survival. But the predators also improve with each generation, so the race (vide Lewis Carroll) is never over. Turning to animals, Ridley describes mating patterns with an eye as to whether mates are selected for health and vigor, or for esthetics. He concludes that both play a role: neither sickly fashion-plates nor healthy wallflowers will pass on their genes as often as those who combine both beauty and health. Given the contrast between a brief sexual act and long years of child- rearing, aggressive males will tend to have more children, while nurturing women will have healthier ones. Those who select mates with these qualities will transmit them to ensuing generations, along with other qualities affecting offspring survival. Ridley contends--not a popular thesis in recent decades--that such genetic programming is far more central to human nature than social conditioning. Extensively researched, clearly written: one of the best introductions to its fascinating and controversial subject. (Notes, bibliography, index; eight pages of photos--not seen) -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.


  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • Dateigröße: 722 KB
  • Seitenzahl der Print-Ausgabe: 416 Seiten
  • Verlag: Harper Perennial; Auflage: Reprint (14. Februar 2012)
  • Verkauf durch: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ASIN: B006O4227U
  • Text-to-Speech (Vorlesemodus): Aktiviert
  • X-Ray:
  • Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 4.8 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (19 Kundenrezensionen)
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: #19.729 Bezahlt in Kindle-Shop (Siehe Top 100 Bezahlt in Kindle-Shop)

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5 von 5 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Informative, witty and fun to read 6. Juli 2000
This is the book that first demonstrated to me the power of evolutionary psychology to help us understand ourselves. Published a year before Robert Wright's The Moral Animal, which covers much of the same territory, this is to my mind a more sophisticated and more direct exposition. Both books are characterized by a sly wit and an incisive expression, but Ridley meanders less among the relics of Freud and Darwin and is less concerned about whether we're moral or not and more concerned with what's sexy and why. He had a lot of fun with this book and it shows.
The "red queen" is a metaphor for an arms race. In an arms race both sides run as fast and as hard as they can to stay in the same place relatively speaking. In evolution the arms race is between parasite and host or between predator and prey. Both are running as fast as they can just to keep up, because when one gets an advantage, the other finds a counter. The red queen comes from Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There (1871) since that monarch ran as fast as she could but never got anywhere at all. The red queen is also a metaphor for the theory that there is no "progress" in evolution, that "...species do not get better at surviving... Their chances of extinction are random" (p. 64).
Ridley covers a lot of territory here, ranging from sex to the handicap principle to gossip to why our brains are big (to figure out what the other person is up to!). The Red Queen answers the question, "Why is there sex?" Apparently we have sexuality rather than asexuality because of the arms race between microbes and our immune systems. Sex is a way of storing defenses against parasites in the gene pool of the species and then mixing them anew each generation to fool the microbes.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Answers to the why questions about humans. 13. Juli 1998
I've owned this book for three and a half years and it still sheds light on re-reading. This book is a survey of how Evolutionary Biology (Sex) affects the human mind. It's starts off slowly with a survey of why sex is necessary i.e. genetic diversity is good. It then explores the ways sex works for the animal kingdom before zeroing in on humanity. Ridley then covers male desires from sex and female desires from sex. It's certainly given me an insight into what people are seeking from relationships at a deeply fundamental level. I'm a layman in this field and find that the book gives great food for thought on human behaviour and concludes by explaining how the great works of literature are the places to look for insight to human nature. This book is an essential for any modern library. You will refer to it again and again.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Now in my top 10 most influential books 10. Mai 2000
Von Ein Kunde
This is on my list of Books Everyone Should Read, up there with _The_Gift_of_Fear_. Where deBecker explains violence, Ridley explains sex. You might not like what you read, but Ridley has really done his research. I disagree that he is unbiased; Ridley also says he is not unbiased, but he does say he tried hard not to be. In fact, it's the best job of research analysis and synthesis I've seen in a long time. One should never be afraid to face facts, and really, it doesn't say anything that you don't already know - it just makes it more comprehensible.
If you want to see how scientific and rational thought should be done, this is the book for you. Arguments and counterarguments are presented clearly and given equal time. If the behavior of the opposite sex ever confused you or angered you, this is the book for you. There's nothing like understanding to help us get along with each other.
He's a bit idolizing of some of his sources but it doesn't get in the way of what he's saying. It's information dense, but the writing is not at all dry. It was hard for me to put down.
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4.0 von 5 Sternen Where I came from (updated version). 24. Juni 2000
I found this book concerning scientific research on the evolution of sex pretty darn good, but rather complicated. Dont expect light holiday reading, but do expect a congenial informative style, and a smoragasboard of ideas regarding the evolution of a very complex part of biological behaviour, with particular reference to one homo sapien sapien.
Matt Ridley provides a good overview of scientific debate and research regarding the evolution of sex in the myriad species of earth (blue planet, third rock form sun). He melds the tension between inborn/innate characteritics and learning/culture amicably. This 'tension' is a perennial one, being more about definitions and models than absolutes, but one in which a better understanding and complementary framework is gradually gaining consensus. Any scientist worth his salt will realise that the tension between these two complimentary parts of our existance will be continued to be modified, updated, redefined and reviewed with the further gathering of knowledge. There are no absolutes when it comes to such things. Matt Ridley manages to hold and communicate this understanding pretty admirably.
Having read and admired some of his works, I do detect a subtle bias in his discourses, but it is not a bias which is held without evidence, nor one in which the tension between doubt and certainty is absent. He backs up his assertions with empirical evidence, he bases models of the human condition on such evidence, and he allows room for modification and review where necessary. Just the way science should be. He does have his leanings, but he makes it clear where these are, holding these with sobriety.
There are many theories of sex outlined in this book. I won't spoil the fun by detailing them.
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Die neuesten Kundenrezensionen
5.0 von 5 Sternen Makes Sense
The arguments presented here withstand scrutiny, the author includes his own doubts about the arguments presented and admits that the red queen theory isn't perfect but is the one... Lesen Sie weiter...
Vor 12 Monaten von Andrew Terry Buttigieg veröffentlicht
5.0 von 5 Sternen Excellent book
Another great book by Matt Ridley. It's a bit more dense than his outstanding book "Genome". Lesen Sie weiter...
Veröffentlicht am 5. Juli 2000 von Christopher M. Adams
5.0 von 5 Sternen provokingly sane evolutionary biology
After reading Robert Wright's 'The Moral Animal' (another excellent book on the subject) i was ready for more, and this book certainly keeps up the high quality penetrating and... Lesen Sie weiter...
Veröffentlicht am 16. Mai 2000 von Willem Noe
5.0 von 5 Sternen Human society, animals in zoos and TV will never be the same
Ricley is a master of the human and animal scene. You will never view a historical film, observe animals on TV or in the zoo without thinking of this book. Lesen Sie weiter...
Veröffentlicht am 2. April 2000 von Allan Karson
5.0 von 5 Sternen Opened my eyes to a whole new world
This is the book that introduced me to what has become a favourite avocation: Evolutionary Biology.
The Red Queen is a fascinating and accessible introduction to a profoundly... Lesen Sie weiter...
Veröffentlicht am 26. März 2000 von CD Harris
5.0 von 5 Sternen A "must read" for students of the human condition
This is a thorough, cogent and very readable treatise on the one subject that fascinates us all. I have also read Ridley's "The Origins of Virtue. Lesen Sie weiter...
Veröffentlicht am 11. März 2000 von Barry Wiggins
4.0 von 5 Sternen OK, 4 1/2 Stars...
Like everyone else, I found the book entertaining, fascinating, illuminating, etc., so I don't have much to add to what others have already said. Lesen Sie weiter...
Veröffentlicht am 9. Januar 2000 von Martian Bachelor
5.0 von 5 Sternen Be careful--This will change your view of the world
I first read this book when I was 14. It was recommended to me by the father of my boyfriend at the time with these words of advice: It will change your life. And it certainly did. Lesen Sie weiter...
Veröffentlicht am 23. Dezember 1999 von Hilary Saltmarsh
5.0 von 5 Sternen A fascinating insight into human behavior
This book demolishes the vogue current theories that beauty is a result of what society says it is. Rather sexual attraction has to with our own biologically programmed bodies,... Lesen Sie weiter...
Am 31. August 1999 veröffentlicht
5.0 von 5 Sternen Fellow brain-author/physician loves this book!!
Ridley writes the most interesting book out there on human sexual sociobiology. He takes a very unbaised scientific stance, but nonetheless paints some very frightening truths if... Lesen Sie weiter...
Am 18. August 1999 veröffentlicht
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