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The Dragons of Eden: Speculations on the Evolution of Human Intelligence epub download

by Carl Sagan


We are in 1977, Sagan is guessing about the development of human intelligence

We are in 1977, Sagan is guessing about the development of human intelligence. He is thrilled that our big brains are speeding up development otherwise done by painstakingly slow natural selection. Remembering us that creativity and problem-solving are our unique skills.

How can I persuade every intelligent person to read this important and elegant book?. He talks about all kinds of things: the why of the pain of human childbirth. the reason for sleeping and dreaming. the definition of death.

Dragons of Eden book. Dr Carl Sagan takes us on a great reading adventure, offering his. The dragon concept is buttressed by so many old tales throughout numerous civilizations that Sagan implies there must have been a fearsome dragon or related animal in our distant past that shaped our evolution. I am not convinced per se but the rest of the book is much more serious than this topic. Carl Sagan is arguably the greatest science writer and educator of recent times. In this book his mind, through his theories, is on full display for all to see.

The Dragons of Eden: Speculations on the Evolution of Human Intelligence is a 1977 book by Carl Sagan, in which the author combines the fields of anthropology, evolutionary biology, psychology.

The Dragons of Eden: Speculations on the Evolution of Human Intelligence is a 1977 book by Carl Sagan, in which the author combines the fields of anthropology, evolutionary biology, psychology, and computer science to give a perspective on how human intelligence may have evolved.

Электронная книга "Dragons of Eden: Speculations on the Evolution of Human Intelligence", Carl Sagan

Электронная книга "Dragons of Eden: Speculations on the Evolution of Human Intelligence", Carl Sagan. Эту книгу можно прочитать в Google Play Книгах на компьютере, а также на устройствах Android и iOS. Выделяйте текст, добавляйте закладки и делайте заметки, скачав книгу "Dragons of Eden: Speculations on the Evolution of Human Intelligence" для чтения в офлайн-режиме.

by. Sagan, Carl, 1934-1996.

Top. American Libraries Canadian Libraries Universal Library Community Texts Project Gutenberg Biodiversity Heritage Library Children's Library. by.

Make the World a better place. The title of the book itself comes from the unexpected aptness of several different myths, traditional and contemporary.

Other readers will always be interested in your opinion of the books you've read. Dragons of Eden INTRODUCTION In good speaking, should not the mind of the speaker know the truth of the matter about which he is to speak?

explored in great depth in my book Men, Women, and Relationships: Making Peace with th. entertainment, cybersecurity and national intelligence. Collections of documents, images, videos, and networks.

explored in great depth in my book Men, Women, and Relationships: Making Peace with the. Opposite Se. Although the b. .The Limits of Organic Life in Planetary Systems. 29 MB·19,894 Downloads·New!. Nuclear Physics: Exploring the Heart of Matter. 276 Pages·2013·672 KB·87,131 Downloads·New! The principal goals of the study were to articulate the scientific rationale and objectives. Rising Above the Gathering Storm: Energizing and Employing America for a Brighter Economic Future.

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The well-known astronomer and astrobiologist surveys current knowledge of the development of intelligence on Earth in various forms of life and explains his persuasion that intelligence must have developed along similar paths throughout the universe

The Dragons of Eden: Speculations on the Evolution of Human Intelligence epub download

ISBN13: 978-0394410456

ISBN: 0394410459

Author: Carl Sagan

Category: Health and Fitness

Subcategory: Psychology & Counseling

Language: English

Publisher: Random House; 1st edition (April 12, 1977)

Pages: 263 pages

ePUB size: 1984 kb

FB2 size: 1813 kb

Rating: 4.1

Votes: 585

Other Formats: docx mbr doc lrf

Related to The Dragons of Eden: Speculations on the Evolution of Human Intelligence ePub books

Nothing personal
One of the late Carl Sagan’s hallmark qualities was to engage in speculation to a degree that was unusual for a rigorous scientist. While this sometimes resulted in largely unnecessary scorn and mockery from his fellow scientists, his honest skepticism combined with his open-mindedness also led to some of the most memorable popular science writing of our times. These qualities are on full display in this fascinating book, written in 1977 . Sagan tackles a topic that is far from his expertise – the evolution of human intelligence – and largely succeeds in presenting highly thought-provoking theses for us to ponder. Much of the book discusses what was then frontier research in neuroscience, but what makes it different are Sagan’s regular speculations.

The book tries to make sense of two important facts about the human brain: our strikingly different cognitive abilities relative to other animals and the interplay between emotion and reason. Sagan is quite upbeat about chimp intelligence and he spends a sizable part of the book talking about experiments that reveal chimps’ prowess in using sign language. He also talks about the mysterious communication used by whales and dolphins that still defies comprehension. Clearly apes can come quite close to using the kind of simple vocabulary that humans do, so why are humans the only ones which actually crossed the language barrier, profiting from breakthrough linguistic inventions like recursive embedding and complex sentence construction? Sagan advances a chilling and all too likely hypothesis, that humans killed off apes who they thought came dangerously close to mimicking their linguistic capabilities. Given how closely language is tied to human intelligence, it then ensured that humans would be the dominant species on the planet; chimps, gorillas and orangutans were presumably saved because they lived deep inside the inaccessible jungle. Sagan’s discussion of animal intelligence hems uncomfortably close to ethical discussions about the killing of animals that are still so pertinent; what gives us the right to clearly assign personhood to a one-month-old fetus but not to a two-year-old chimpanzee, to have serious qualms about terminating the life of the former while cheerfully ending the life of the latter? Coming on the heels of this comparison is Sagan’s commonsense (in my opinion) take on abortion: he tries to reach a compromise by arguing that it should be unethical to kill a human fetus after it develops the first rudiments of a cerebral cortex, presumably the one thing that distinguished humanity from other species. Later work would probably cast some doubt on this assertion, since reptiles have also now been found to possess cortical cells.

This part provides a good segue into the even more interesting part of the book which deals with some fascinating speculations on the reptilian origins of human intelligence. Sagan’s fulcrum for this discussion is a theory by psychiatrist Paul McLean who divided the brain into three parts (the “triune brain”). At the top is the uniquely human cerebral cortex which controls thought, reason and language. The second layer is the limbic system containing structures like the amygdala which modulate emotions like anxiety. The limbic system also includes the basal ganglia and the R complex, an ancient, inherited assembly responsible for instinctive behavior, including responding to reward and punishment. Finally you have the “neural chassis” which just like a car’s chassis includes structures like the brain stem responsible for basic and primitive functions: breathing, blood flow and balance for instance.

Sagan’s focus is the R complex, part of the “reptilian brain”. It is quite clear that parts of this brain structure are found in reptiles. Reptiles and mammals have an ancient relationship; reptiles originated 500 million years before human beings, so we came into a world that was full of hissing, crawling, terrestrial, arboreal and aquatic reptiles. As Sagan describes, it’s no surprise that many of the world’s foremost civilizations and religions used reptiles as key symbols; from the snake in Eden to the worship of snakes in ancient Egypt to snake symbolism in modern day India, reptiles and human have shared an indelible bond. Reptiles have also often featured as omens in dreams dictating the fates of empires and societies. Some of our reptilian connections raise mundane but fascinating questions; for instance, Sagan wonders whether the shushing sound we make for communicating silence or disapproval is a leftover of the hissing sound of reptiles.

But how does this relationship contribute to our behavior? It is here that the book takes off from firm ground and starts gently gliding on speculation.
Sagan’s main springboard for investigating the R complex is Roger Sperry’s seminal work in delineating the separate roles of the left and right hemispheres of the brain. As Sperry demonstrated in amazing split-brain studies, the left brain is more logical and analytical while the right is more synthetic imaginative. Sagan’s contention is that the right brain is really the essence of our reptilian origins, helping us fantasize and imagine, and it’s also a key part of what makes us creative human beings. This is most prominent when we are dreaming. Notice that dreams almost never include details of problem solving, instead they feature highly imaginative scenarios, part familiar and part alien that seem to be largely driven by our fears and hopes: are we partly seeing the world through our ancient reptilian neuroanatomy when we are dreaming, then? Are dreams holdovers from a prehistoric world where, because of inadequate shelter and protection, we had to stay alert and awake during the night to engage with snakes and crocodiles on their own terms? And in the ensuing history of civilization, did reptilian anatomy contribute to our achievements in art and music? Sagan believes that we should encourage the operation of our reptilian brain, constantly tempering its excesses with the logical constraints of the left hemisphere. This distinction between right and left brain behavior also raises very interesting questions regarding whether we can suppress one or another temporarily using drugs and surgery. In fact, it’s likely that that is partly what hallucinogens like LSD do. Here we see Sagan the Renaissance Man, trying to bridge hard scientific thinking with artistic intuition.

With its bold style and engaging language, “The Dragons of Eden” won a Pulitzer Prize. While I was aware of it, I always thought it would be too dated. I now realize that I was wrong and am glad I read it; it has given me plenty of fodder to think about and has prompted me to seek out new research on the topic. The book asks fascinating questions about our kinship with other creatures and about the evolution of our brain, topics that will be of perpetual and consummate interest as long as our species is around.
Nothing personal
One of the late Carl Sagan’s hallmark qualities was to engage in speculation to a degree that was unusual for a rigorous scientist. While this sometimes resulted in largely unnecessary scorn and mockery from his fellow scientists, his honest skepticism combined with his open-mindedness also led to some of the most memorable popular science writing of our times. These qualities are on full display in this fascinating book, written in 1977 . Sagan tackles a topic that is far from his expertise – the evolution of human intelligence – and largely succeeds in presenting highly thought-provoking theses for us to ponder. Much of the book discusses what was then frontier research in neuroscience, but what makes it different are Sagan’s regular speculations.

The book tries to make sense of two important facts about the human brain: our strikingly different cognitive abilities relative to other animals and the interplay between emotion and reason. Sagan is quite upbeat about chimp intelligence and he spends a sizable part of the book talking about experiments that reveal chimps’ prowess in using sign language. He also talks about the mysterious communication used by whales and dolphins that still defies comprehension. Clearly apes can come quite close to using the kind of simple vocabulary that humans do, so why are humans the only ones which actually crossed the language barrier, profiting from breakthrough linguistic inventions like recursive embedding and complex sentence construction? Sagan advances a chilling and all too likely hypothesis, that humans killed off apes who they thought came dangerously close to mimicking their linguistic capabilities. Given how closely language is tied to human intelligence, it then ensured that humans would be the dominant species on the planet; chimps, gorillas and orangutans were presumably saved because they lived deep inside the inaccessible jungle. Sagan’s discussion of animal intelligence hems uncomfortably close to ethical discussions about the killing of animals that are still so pertinent; what gives us the right to clearly assign personhood to a one-month-old fetus but not to a two-year-old chimpanzee, to have serious qualms about terminating the life of the former while cheerfully ending the life of the latter? Coming on the heels of this comparison is Sagan’s commonsense (in my opinion) take on abortion: he tries to reach a compromise by arguing that it should be unethical to kill a human fetus after it develops the first rudiments of a cerebral cortex, presumably the one thing that distinguished humanity from other species. Later work would probably cast some doubt on this assertion, since reptiles have also now been found to possess cortical cells.

This part provides a good segue into the even more interesting part of the book which deals with some fascinating speculations on the reptilian origins of human intelligence. Sagan’s fulcrum for this discussion is a theory by psychiatrist Paul McLean who divided the brain into three parts (the “triune brain”). At the top is the uniquely human cerebral cortex which controls thought, reason and language. The second layer is the limbic system containing structures like the amygdala which modulate emotions like anxiety. The limbic system also includes the basal ganglia and the R complex, an ancient, inherited assembly responsible for instinctive behavior, including responding to reward and punishment. Finally you have the “neural chassis” which just like a car’s chassis includes structures like the brain stem responsible for basic and primitive functions: breathing, blood flow and balance for instance.

Sagan’s focus is the R complex, part of the “reptilian brain”. It is quite clear that parts of this brain structure are found in reptiles. Reptiles and mammals have an ancient relationship; reptiles originated 500 million years before human beings, so we came into a world that was full of hissing, crawling, terrestrial, arboreal and aquatic reptiles. As Sagan describes, it’s no surprise that many of the world’s foremost civilizations and religions used reptiles as key symbols; from the snake in Eden to the worship of snakes in ancient Egypt to snake symbolism in modern day India, reptiles and human have shared an indelible bond. Reptiles have also often featured as omens in dreams dictating the fates of empires and societies. Some of our reptilian connections raise mundane but fascinating questions; for instance, Sagan wonders whether the shushing sound we make for communicating silence or disapproval is a leftover of the hissing sound of reptiles.

But how does this relationship contribute to our behavior? It is here that the book takes off from firm ground and starts gently gliding on speculation.
Sagan’s main springboard for investigating the R complex is Roger Sperry’s seminal work in delineating the separate roles of the left and right hemispheres of the brain. As Sperry demonstrated in amazing split-brain studies, the left brain is more logical and analytical while the right is more synthetic imaginative. Sagan’s contention is that the right brain is really the essence of our reptilian origins, helping us fantasize and imagine, and it’s also a key part of what makes us creative human beings. This is most prominent when we are dreaming. Notice that dreams almost never include details of problem solving, instead they feature highly imaginative scenarios, part familiar and part alien that seem to be largely driven by our fears and hopes: are we partly seeing the world through our ancient reptilian neuroanatomy when we are dreaming, then? Are dreams holdovers from a prehistoric world where, because of inadequate shelter and protection, we had to stay alert and awake during the night to engage with snakes and crocodiles on their own terms? And in the ensuing history of civilization, did reptilian anatomy contribute to our achievements in art and music? Sagan believes that we should encourage the operation of our reptilian brain, constantly tempering its excesses with the logical constraints of the left hemisphere. This distinction between right and left brain behavior also raises very interesting questions regarding whether we can suppress one or another temporarily using drugs and surgery. In fact, it’s likely that that is partly what hallucinogens like LSD do. Here we see Sagan the Renaissance Man, trying to bridge hard scientific thinking with artistic intuition.

With its bold style and engaging language, “The Dragons of Eden” won a Pulitzer Prize. While I was aware of it, I always thought it would be too dated. I now realize that I was wrong and am glad I read it; it has given me plenty of fodder to think about and has prompted me to seek out new research on the topic. The book asks fascinating questions about our kinship with other creatures and about the evolution of our brain, topics that will be of perpetual and consummate interest as long as our species is around.
Tejora
He put facts into the book that impressed me as an young scientist. I first read this book while attending a management training course. The teacher recommended that I read the book as it would help me understand how the human brain functions and how it evolved to function in that way. Most people would not think about this book as a management book, but it really emphasies how the reptilian brain is over laid by the mammalian brain. The reptilian brain is where strong emotions are generated that are controlled by the overlying mammalian brain. It really helps understand the emotional issues in our lives and our interactions with other people.
Tejora
He put facts into the book that impressed me as an young scientist. I first read this book while attending a management training course. The teacher recommended that I read the book as it would help me understand how the human brain functions and how it evolved to function in that way. Most people would not think about this book as a management book, but it really emphasies how the reptilian brain is over laid by the mammalian brain. The reptilian brain is where strong emotions are generated that are controlled by the overlying mammalian brain. It really helps understand the emotional issues in our lives and our interactions with other people.
Globus
As Sagan sets out early on, he is not an expert in any one subject here, but a jack of all trades. He serves as a bridge and synthesizer to the geniuses of their specialities and the rest of us. A must read. Some of the science is... dated, but on the whole his conjectures and larger narrative points are spot on
Globus
As Sagan sets out early on, he is not an expert in any one subject here, but a jack of all trades. He serves as a bridge and synthesizer to the geniuses of their specialities and the rest of us. A must read. Some of the science is... dated, but on the whole his conjectures and larger narrative points are spot on
MisterMax
We are in 1977, Sagan is guessing about the development of human intelligence. He is thrilled that our big brains are speeding up development otherwise done by painstakingly slow natural selection. Remembering us that creativity and problem-solving are our unique skills. I am writing this in 2018 (more than 50 years later) and there are dozens books out there discussing recent explanations on the workings of the human brain. But Sagan is still very entertaining and original. For example, for him consciousness and intelligence are result of "mere" matter sufficiently complexly arranged (his own words). Therefore, there is nothing stopping us from building intelligent machines. Just our own intelligence!
MisterMax
We are in 1977, Sagan is guessing about the development of human intelligence. He is thrilled that our big brains are speeding up development otherwise done by painstakingly slow natural selection. Remembering us that creativity and problem-solving are our unique skills. I am writing this in 2018 (more than 50 years later) and there are dozens books out there discussing recent explanations on the workings of the human brain. But Sagan is still very entertaining and original. For example, for him consciousness and intelligence are result of "mere" matter sufficiently complexly arranged (his own words). Therefore, there is nothing stopping us from building intelligent machines. Just our own intelligence!
Kagda
Great reading, although it can tend to "ramble" in typical Carl Sagan fashion. This is an older book where the period writers wrote with orthodox precision; something I enjoy. If you like the sciences life, you will enjoy this book.
Kagda
Great reading, although it can tend to "ramble" in typical Carl Sagan fashion. This is an older book where the period writers wrote with orthodox precision; something I enjoy. If you like the sciences life, you will enjoy this book.
Nalaylewe
I'm studying the evolution of the mind, for a grad course project, and found a lot of interesting background info in this text. As was the habit in the '70s, the writer does assume his audience is well informed and so he doesn't always indicate where his evidence or research came from, which is frustrating if you want to look deeper.

This text combines anthro, bio, and history in such a way as to be quite persuasive. However, if you're just looking for a synthesis it's very easy to skip the in-depth terms for the skeleton and evolution without missing the bigger picture. I gave it 5 stars because it IS an academic text, but the ease of reading is great for the lay person.
Nalaylewe
I'm studying the evolution of the mind, for a grad course project, and found a lot of interesting background info in this text. As was the habit in the '70s, the writer does assume his audience is well informed and so he doesn't always indicate where his evidence or research came from, which is frustrating if you want to look deeper.

This text combines anthro, bio, and history in such a way as to be quite persuasive. However, if you're just looking for a synthesis it's very easy to skip the in-depth terms for the skeleton and evolution without missing the bigger picture. I gave it 5 stars because it IS an academic text, but the ease of reading is great for the lay person.