Evolutions: Fifteen Myths That Explain Our World by Oren Harman
A reimagining of modern science and ancient mythology, and of what it means to be human.
'Daring, learned and humane ... A revelatory restoration of wonder' Stephen Greenblatt. We no longer think, like the ancient Chinese did, that the world was hatched from an egg, or, like the Maori, that it came from the tearing-apart of a love embrace. The Greeks told of a tempestuous Hera and a cunning Zeus, but we now use genes and natural selection to explain fear and desire, and physics to demystify the workings of the universe. Science is an astounding achievement, but are we really any wiser than the ancients? Has science revealed the secrets of fate and immortality? Has it provided protection from jealousy or love? There are those who believe that science has replaced faith, but must it also be a death knell for mythology? Evolutions brings to life the latest scientific thinking on the birth of the universe and the solar system, the journey from a single cell all the way to our human minds. Reawakening our sense of wonder and terror at the world around us and within us, Oren Harman uses modern science to create new and original mythologies. Here are the Earth and the Moon presenting a cosmological view of motherhood, a panicking Mitochondrion introducing sex and death to the world, the loneliness of consciousness emerging from the memory of an octopus, and the birth of language in evolution summoning humankind's struggle with truth. Science may not solve our existential puzzles, but like the age-old legends, its magical discoveries can help us continue the never-ending search.
About the Author: Oren Harman is the author of The Man Who Invented the Chromosome and The Price of Altruism, which won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for best book in Science and Technology. He has a doctorate from Oxford University, is the Chair of the Graduate Program in Science, Technology and Society, and a Professor of the History of Science at Bar Ilan University.
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