2018, Oxford University Press
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Human beings have long seen themselves as the center of the universe, the apple of God’s eye, specially-created creatures who are somehow above and beyond the natural world. This viewpoint–a persistent paradigm of our own unique self-importance–is as dangerous as it is false.
In Through a Glass Brightly, noted scientist David P. Barash explores the process by which science has, throughout time, cut humanity “down to size,” and how humanity has responded. A good paradigm is a tough thing to lose, especially when its replacement leaves us feeling more vulnerable and less special. And yet, as science has progressed, we find ourselves–like it or not–bereft of many of our most cherished beliefs, confronting an array of paradigms lost.
Barash models his argument around a set of “old” and “new” paradigms that define humanity’s place in the universe. This new set of paradigms range from provocative revelations as to whether human beings are well designed, whether the universe has somehow been established with our species in mind (the so-called anthropic principle), whether life itself is inherently fragile, and whether Homo sapiens might someday be genetically combined with other species (and what that would mean for our self-image). Rather than seeing ourselves through a glass darkly, science enables us to perceive our strengths and weaknesses brightly and accurately at last, so that paradigms lost becomes wisdom gained. The result is a bracing, remarkably hopeful view of who we really are.
2021, Sage Publications
This thoroughly revised Third Edition of Peace and Conflict Studies, by David P. Barash and Charles P. Weber, sets the gold standard as an accessible introduction and comprehensive exploration of this vital subject. The authors share their vast knowledge and analysis of 21st-century world events—including new coverage on timely topics such as the scope and history of peace and conflict studies, the nature of violence and nonviolence, cutting-edge military technologies, the rise of the “BRIC” countries, and the US and Global Peace Indexes. With an encyclopedic scope, this introductory book chronicles a plethora of important global topics from pre-history to the present.
2017, Oxford University Press
Approaches to Peace: A Reader in Peace Studies, Second Edition, provides a unique and interdisciplinary sampling of key articles and short literary selections focusing on the diverse facets of peace and conflict studies. Featuring both classic and contemporary work, it enables students to read highly influential articles while also introducing them to the most current perspectives in the field. Timeless classics from Leo Tolstoy, the Bhagavad Gita, Martin Luther King, Jr., Gandhi, and Henry David Thoreau are included alongside contemporary pieces by Johan Galtung, Betty Reardon, and many others. Updated to address current concerns, the second edition incorporates seventeen new articles, including selections from Al Gore on climate change, Jeffrey Sachs on Third World economies, and Desmond Tutu on reconciliation. A new chapter on terrorism offers work from Eqbal Ahmad, Richard Falk, Samuel Huntington, and others.
Ideal on its own as a foundation text in any introductory peace studies course, Approaches to Peace, Second Edition, is also compact enough to use as a supplement with more specialized readings. Each selection is prefaced by a short introduction highlighting the author’s background, the work’s historical context, and the selection’s significance in terms of the “big picture.” Study questions and a list of suggested readings at the end of each selection also provide useful resources for students.
2016, Oxford University Press
In this changing world of what is socially and politically “correct,” polygamy is perhaps the last great taboo. Over the last thousand years, monogamy – at least in name – has been the default setting for coupledom and procreation in the Western world. And yet, throughout history, there have been inklings that “one-man, one-woman” is an uncomfortable institution for human beings. The consistently high rate of marital “cheating” by both sexes, plus the persistent interest in a variety of sexual partners – on the part of women as well as men – suggest strongly that monogamy isn’t easy, and certainly isn’t “natural,” for either sex. Esteemed writer and evolutionary biologist David P. Barash tackles this uncomfortable finding: that humans are actually biologically and anthropologically inclined toward polygamy. Drawing on decades of research, Barash presents a remarkable array of scientific evidence from evolutionary biology and cross-cultural studies that guide the reader through the hidden impacts of polygamy on such crucial behavior as violence, parenting, sexual preferences, adultery and efforts at monogamy itself, along with mind-bending speculation about the possible role of our polygamous predisposition when it comes to human genius, homosexuality and even monotheism. But take heart, monogamists! Although our species has long been “out of Eden,” this fascinating read is ultimately reassuring that “biology is not destiny.”
2014, Oxford University Press
Many high-profile public intellectuals — including “New Atheists” like Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, and the late Christopher Hitchens — have argued that religion and science are deeply antagonistic, representing two world views that are utterly incompatible. David Barash, a renowned biologist with forty years of experience, largely agrees with them, but with one very big exception: Buddhism.
In this fascinating book, David Barash highlights the intriguing common ground between scientific and religious thought, illuminating the many parallels between biology and Buddhism, allowing readers to see both in a new way. Indeed, he shows that there are numerous places where Buddhist and biological perspectives coincide and reinforce each other. For instance, the cornerstone ecological concept — the interconnectedness and interdependence of all natural things — is remarkably similar to the fundamental insight of Buddhism. Indeed, a major Buddhist text, the Avatamsaka Sutra, which consists of ten insights into the “interpenetration” between beings and their environment, could well have been written by a trained ecologist, just as current insights in evolutionary biology, genetics and development might have been authored by the Buddha himself. Barash underscores other notable similarities, including a shared distrust of simple cause-and-effect analysis, an appreciation of the “rightness” of nature, along with an acknowledgment of the suffering that results when natural processes are tampered with. Buddhist Biology shows how the concept of “non-self,” so confusing to many Westerners, is fully consistent with modern biology, as is the Buddhist perspective of “impermanence.” Barash both demystifies and celebrates the biology of Buddhism and vice versa, showing in a concluding tour-de-force how modern Buddhism –shorn of its hocus-pocus and abracadabra — not only justifies but actually mandates both socially and environmentally “engaged” thought and practice.reassuring that “biology is not destiny.”
2012, Oxford University Press
For all that science knows about the living world, notes David P. Barash, there are even more things that we don’t know, genuine evolutionary mysteries that perplex the best minds in biology. Paradoxically, many of these mysteries are very close to home, involving some of the most personal aspects of being human.
Homo Mysterious examines a number of these evolutionary mysteries, exploring things that we don’t yet know about ourselves, laying out the best current hypotheses, and pointing toward insights that scientists are just beginning to glimpse. Why do women experience orgasm? Why do men have a shorter lifespan than women? Why does homosexuality exist? Why does religion exist in virtually every culture? Why do we have a fondness for the arts? Why do we have such large brains? And why does consciousness exist? Readers are plunged into an ocean of unknowns–the blank spots on the human evolutionary map, the terra incognita of our own species–and are introduced to the major hypotheses that currently occupy scientists who are attempting to unravel each puzzle (including some solutions proposed here for the first time). Throughout the book, readers are invited to share the thrill of science at its cutting edge, a place where we know what we don’t know, and, moreover, where we know enough to come up with some compelling and seductive explanations.
Homo Mysterious is a guide to creative thought and future explorations, based on the best, most current thinking by evolutionary scientists. It captures the allure of the “not-yet-known” for those interested in stretching their scientific imaginations.
2011, Oxford University Press
From the child taunted by her playmates to the office worker who feels stifled in his daily routine, people frequently take out their pain and anger on others, even those who had nothing to do with the original stress. The bullied child may kick her puppy, the stifled worker yells at his children: Payback can be directed anywhere, sometimes at inanimate things, animals, or other people. In Payback, the husband-and wife team of evolutionary biologist David Barash and psychiatrist Judith Lipton offer an illuminating look at this phenomenon, showing how it has evolved, why it occurs, and what we can do about it.
Retaliation and revenge are well known to most people. We all know what it is like to want to get even, get justice, or take revenge. What is new in this book is an extended discussion of redirected aggression, which occurs not only in people but other species as well. The authors reveal that it’s not just a matter of yelling at your spouse “because” your boss yells at you. Indeed, the phenomenon of redirected aggression–so-called to differentiate it from retaliation and revenge, the other main forms of payback–haunts our criminal courts, our streets, our battlefields, our homes, and our hearts. It lurks behind some of the nastiest and seemingly inexplicable things that otherwise decent people do, from road rage to yelling at a crying baby. And it exists across boundaries of every kind–culture, time, geography, and even species. Indeed, it’s not just a human phenomenon. Passing pain to others can be seen in birds and horses, fish and primates–in virtually all vertebrates. It turns out that there is robust neurobiological hardware and software promoting redirected aggression, as well as evolutionary underpinnings.
Payback may be natural, the authors conclude, but we are capable of rising above it, without sacrificing self-esteem and social status. They show how the various human responses to pain and suffering can be managed–mindfully, carefully, and humanely.
2009, Bellevue Literary Press
In The Myth of Monogamy, husband and wife David P. Barash (an evolutionary biologist) and Judith Eve Lipton (a psychiatrist), stunned the public by showing how rare monogamy is in nature. Now, in Strange Bedfellows, they look at the other side of the coin: how biology actually promotes monogamy in some species and how these lessons apply to human beings. An accessible work of science that is relevant to our intimate daily life, Strange Bedfellows will reassure some people, surprise others, and engage everyone. David P. Barash and Judith Eve Lipton have co-authored six books, including The Myth of Monogamy and Making Sense of Sex.
2007, Bellevue Literary Press
“Barash . . . brilliantly integrat[es] science, literature, and pop culture into elegant and insightful commentaries on the most interesting and important questions of our time. A delightful read.”—Michael Shermer, author of The Science of Good and Evil
“Entertaining and thought-provoking.”—Steven Pinker, author of The Blank Slate
If we are, in part, a product of our genes, can free will exist? Incisive and engaging, this indispensable tour of evolutionary biology runs the gamut of contemporary debates, from science and religion to our place in the universe.
2005, Delacorte Press
What can elephant seals tell us about Homer’s Iliad?
How do gorillas illuminate the works of Shakespeare?
What do bloodsucking bats have to do with John Steinbeck?
MADAME BOVARY’S OVARIES
A Darwinian Look at Literature
According to evolutionary psychologist David Barash and his daughter Nanelle, the answers lie in the most important word in biology: evolution. Just like every animal from mites to monkeys, our day-to-day behavior has been shaped by millions of years of natural selection. So it should be no surprise to learn that the natural forces that drive animals in general and Homo sapiens in particular are clearly visible in the creatures of literature, from Henry Fielding’s Tom Jones all the way to Helen Fielding’s Bridget Jones. Seen through the lens of evolutionary biology, the witty repartee of Jane Austen’s courting couples, Othello’s tragic rage, the griping of Holden Caulfield, and the scandalous indiscretions of Madame Bovary herself all make a fresh and exciting kind of sense.
The ways we fall in—and out—of love, stand by our friends, compete against our enemies, and squabble with our families have their roots in biological imperatives we share not only with other primates but with an amazing array of other creatures. The result is a new way to read, a novel approach to novels (and plays) that reveals how human nature underlies literature, from the great to the not-so-great.
Using the cutting-edge ideas of contemporary Darwinism, the authors show how the heroes and heroines of our favorite stories have been molded as much by evolution as by the genius of their creators, revealing a gallery of characters from Agamemnon to Alexander Portnoy, who have more in common with birds, fish, and other mammals than we could ever have imagined.
As engaging and informative as a good story, Madame Bovary’s Ovaries is both an accessible introduction to a fascinating area of science and a provocatively sideways look at our cherished literary heritage. Most of all, it shows in a delightfully enteraining way how science and literature shed light on each other.
2002, Sage Publications
Thoroughly revised, the Second Edition of Peace and Conflict Studies sets the new gold standard as an accessible introduction and comprehensive exploration of this vital subject. The authors share their vast knowledge and analysis about 21st-century world events – including new coverage on timely topics such as terrorism, the truth and reconciliation process, and the clash of civilizations. With an encyclopedic scope, this introductory text chronicles a plethora of important global topics from pre-history to the present.
2003, Henry Holt & Co.
Humans, like bacteria, woodchucks, chimpanzees, and other animals, compete or cooperate in order to get food, shelter, territory, and other resources to survive. But how do they decide whether to muscle out or team up with the competition?
In The Survival Game, David P. Barash synthesizes the newest ideas from psychology, economics, and biology to explore and explain the roots of human strategy. Drawing on game theory-the study of how individuals make decisions-he explores the give-and-take of spouses in determining an evening’s plans, the behavior of investors in a market bubble, and the maneuvers of generals on a battlefield alongside the mating and fighting strategies of “less rational” animals. Ultimately, Barash’s lively and clear examples shed light on what makes our decisions human, and what we can glean from game theory and the natural world as we negotiate and compete every day.
2001, Transaction Publishers
Let’s face it, say Barash and Lipton: Males and females, boys and girls, men and women are different. To be sure, these differences are often heightened by distinctions in learning, cultural tradition, and social expectation, but underpinning them all is a fundamental difference that derives from biology. Throughout the natural world, males are those creatures that make sperm; females make eggs. The oft-noticed “gender gap” derives, in turn, from this “gamete gap.” In Gender Gap, Barash and Lipton (husband and wife, professor and physician, biologist and psychiatrist) explain the evolutionary aspects of male-female differences.
After describing the theory underlying the evolutionary explanation of male-female differences-in accessible, lay-person’s language-they show how it applies to specific examples of animal behavior. Then, they demonstrate comparable male-female differences in the behavior of human beings cross-culturally, as well as within the United States. Barash and Lipton apply this approach to male-female differences in sexual inclinations, propensities for violence, parenting styles, and childhood experiences. They invoke much work within the traditional social sciences, such as psychology, anthropology, and sociology, which have typically ignored biological factors in the past.
Part of the highly successful revolution in scientific thought has been the recognition that evolutionary insights can illuminate behavior, no less than anatomy and physiology. This new discipline, sometimes called “sociobiology” or “evolutionary psychology,” promises to help us make sense of ourselves and of our most significant others, shedding new light on what it means to be male or female. Now available in paperback with a new introduction by the authors, this accessible volume integrates work from a variety of fields, applying a new paradigm to research on gender differences.
2001, W. H. Freeman & Co
Using the same DNA fingerprinting technology used in the courtroom, biologists have now been able to trace parenthood in animals for the first time with certainty. The results have been astonishing: Even among those species previously thought to be monogamous, cheating on your mate is common–for both sexes.
In The Myth of Monogamy, David Barash and Judith Eve Lipton describe how this new research shows that there is simply no question whether sexual desire for multiple partners is “natural.” It is. Similarly, there is no question of monogamy being “natural.” It isn’t.
Armed with this evidence, scientists have also been able to explain such important questions as why animals (including humans) cheat; why the myth of monogamy was created in the first place; how men and women were sucked into the monogamy hoax; who stands to gain the most by perpetuating the myth of monogamy; and how big of a role procreation plays in the desire to have several sex partners. Finally, The Myth of Monogamy explores the implications of these dramatic new findings for humans, in terms of relationships, parenting, aggression, and more.
A provocative new study of an emotionally charged issue, The Myth of Monogamy illuminates a part of our natural make-up that is as fascinating as it is frustrating.
2001, Allyn & Bacon
Understanding Violence provides an interdisciplinary sampling of readings geared toward deconstructing violence using a scholarly approach. Drawing from key contributors across such fields as psychology, criminology, sociology, anthropology, biology, and political science, this text provides a core curriculum in the subject as a whole – what every student should know, regardless of specialization. However, the readings are concise enough that professors could use the book as a supplement to additional material in their preferred discipline.
There is a revolution underway in biology. It is based on a new perception of bodies and genes, in which the former are the end product of the latter within the continuum of evolution. Twenty five years after Richard Dawkins helped revolutionize our thinking about “selfish genes,” it is time to re-evaluate. Revolutionary Biology explains in simple, vivid terms what this exciting approach has to offer, and then applies its stunning insights to human beings. This novel perspective, galvanizes our understanding of how evolution works, what living things are all about and, not least what it means to be human. The controversial disciplines of sociobiology and evolutionary psychology have generated startling insights into longstanding questions concerning the nature and purpose of families, altruism vs. selfishness, and free will vs. biological determinism. Written by one of its foremost figures, Revolutionary Biology is a manifesto and educated layman’s guide to this ongoing revolution.
Barash’s purpose is to demystify the basic concepts of the genetic revolution and take the reader on a tour–accessible and authoritative–of the principles that underlie this fascinating turn in scientific thought. Much has been written about evolution, animals, and the animal and evolutionary origins of human behavior, yet only recently have biologists begun to appreciate these connections. The key concept is that genes–not species, not groups, and not even individuals–are the apple of evolution’s eye. The result has been a major biological paradigm shift that is making itself felt in the social sciences as well. Barash explores the phenomenon of altruism both at the animal level, and the human level.
Barash draws not only on a wealth of biological evidence but on literature, philosophy, and the familiar details of everyday life to communicate the essentials of this increasingly influential approach to the study of the human species. Clearly and engagingly written, Revolutionary Biology will be fascinating reading for those seeking an entry into this new science.
2000, W. H. Freeman & Co
This text is an accessible overview of how the natural world works, seen in the context of how we – humans – fit into it. It begins with the micro issues, a close-up of DNA, genes, viruses and cells, and then moves out to explore the larger systems of human biology: sex and reproduction, the brain and behaviour, and energy. Finally, we stand back and take a look at the species “Homo sapiens” from the viewpoints of ecology, evolution and sociobiology. The result is a portrayal of mankind that enables readers with an interest, rather than a background, in science to become “bioliterate” and able to understand the discoveries that make headlines in the news.
2002, Transaction Publishers
In Making Sense of Sex, the husband and wife team of David Barash, an evolutionary biologist, and Judith Lipton, a clinical psychiatrist, draw on their respective areas of expertise to explore and explain the central fact of our existence-that men and women are fundamentally, unalterably different. They present an eye-opening and wide-ranging consideration of what those differences are, how they came to be, why they are important, and what they mean in our everyday lives.
The authors integrate biological and anthropological findings with real-life stories of indviduals to address the conundrums that surround male-female behavior and relationships. Drawing on the latest research in evolutionary biology, they trace the multifaceted gender gap to the basic, defining difference between males and females: that one makes sperm, the other, eggs. They show how that distinction explains why women and men differ in essential ways, exploring such questions as: Why are men more attracted than women to pornography, group sex, and one-night stands? Why are women the “gatekeepers” of sex? Why do women have orgasms?
Making Sense of Sex is a highly informative and entertaining look at human relationships. The book will help readers not only to better understand themselves, but to better understand their children, their relatives, and their lovers with whom they share so much yet find so infuriatingly and fascinatingly different.
Do the fractious groups of Arabs and Israelis actually need each other? Can the Pentagon find new enemies to replace the USSR? Are married couples held together by a shared sense of enmity toward outside parties and even each other? Who is more likely to cultivate enemies – men or women? Is the ‘devil’ a created enemy? Is the need for enemies psychological, sociological, or biological? These and other fascinating questions are explored by David P. Barash as he skilfully combines findings from biology, psychology, sociology, politics, history, and even literature to shed new and unexpected light on the human condition.Barash also offers startling and controversial observations about who we are as human beings and why we seem to thrive on adversarial relationships. He argues that we create and perpetuate our ‘enemy system’ by ‘passing the pain along’ – from child abuse to ethnic antagonism. We may well harbour a vestigial ‘Neanderthal mentality’, which induces us to behave in ways that were adaptive in our evolutionary past but which have broad and even global implications today. “Beloved Enemies” concludes with a hopeful message: we can overcome, not simply our enemies, but our need to have enemies, and our penchant for creating them. To those who seek a better understanding of the nature of conflict and to those who remain confident that we can find answers to seemingly endless and complex antagonisms, this book offers much food for thought.
1992, Wm. Morow
Not really an academic tome or objective analysis of American liberalism, this is more what the author calls “a manifesto.” It is an impassioned defense of modern liberalism in the United States. As Barash accurately reminds us, a liberal is one who has an imagination but is not one with both feet firmly planted in the air. According to him, liberalism, at least today, constitutes the forgotten foundations of our modern political culture. He wisely reminds us that in spite of the current low state of the word “liberal,” we continue to support liberalism itself. It’s a message worth hearing and heeding. Recommended for all political science collections.
1989, Lyle Stuart (Carol Communications)
Barash ( The Whisperings Within ) here contemplates the pleasures of outdoor activities. Each one discussed is “noncompetitive, relatively solitary, environmentally sensitive and ecologically appropriate” and, he notes, none requires extraordinary skill or expense–though some may question the cost of keeping a horse. Barash discourses on vegetable gardening, beachcombing, birdwatching, wood-chopping, cross-country skiing, backpacking and mountain climbing. He limits star-gazing to what can be seen with the naked eye (best position is flat on one’s back). Horseback riding, according to Barash, is a sensory extravaganza; and horse-keeping teaches us basic virtues such as responsibility and consistency. The author recounts his own experiences in the great outdoors in a book that celebrates nature.
This book should be of interest to introductory courses in peace studies, political science, international relations and philosophy.
1989, Stanford University Press
A technical but accessible monograph comparing the behavior,and evolution of the world’s marmot species.
A book intended for the intelligent layperson, ‘The Hare and the Tortoise’ presents a new way of thinking about human beings and their place in the world, developing the thesis that most of our current problems are due to the conflict between rapidly moving culture (the hare) and slow moving biology (the tortoise). Following a description of the fundamentals of biological evolution, Barash shows how the paradigm of biology/culture conflict illuminates current issues related to sex, feminism and sexism, family structure and function, aggression; the nuclear arms race, population environmental abuse and alienation. In making these arguments Barash ranges widely from early jawless fish to the work of Barbara Ehrenreich, from the sexual behaviour of chimpanzees to the abuse of nuclear weapons. The Hare & the Tortoise’ abundantly illustrated with examples from history, current events & the lives of animals, is a compelling and highly readable examina tion of the complex interplay between cultural behavoiour and tradition.
This book describes the dangerous but fascinating disconnect between our instinctive tendencies – especially as they relate to violence and war – and our nuclear armed world.
1982, Grove Press
1983, University of Washington Press
1979, Harper & Row