The various excerpts that follow contain research findings and journalistic commentary that inform the issues discussed occasionally among a small group of humanists in the Bay Area. We are interested in how man-made places reveal the ways that varying values and norms stemming from changing environmental conditions interact with ( i.e., shape or are shaped by) our genetic heritage.
New studies on perfectionism show it may have a genetic link. Other studies suggest that parenting plays a role. But there are upsides and downsides to the findings. Melinda Beck has details on Lunch Break. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204840504578085802751238578.html#articleTabs%3Darticle
Corbis Chimpanzees are known to attack vulnerable stranger
Where does human savagery come from? The animal behaviorist Marc Bekoff, writing in Psychology Today after last month's awful events in Newtown, Conn., echoed a common view: It can't possibly come from nature or evolution. Harsh aggression, he wrote, is "extremely rare" in nonhuman animals, while violence is merely an odd feature of our own species, produced by a few wicked people. If only we could "rewild our hearts," he concluded, we might harness our "inborn goodness and optimism" and thereby return to our "nice, kind, compassionate, empathic" original selves. If only if it were that simple. Calm an…