Monday, August 3, 2009

What Makes Us HUMAN?

Richard Frias, our college intern for the summer, weighs in on Michael S. Gazzaniga's Human: The Science Behind What Makes Your Brain Unique.

Through all my years of rigorous science classes, from third grade earth science to my biology 101 course in college, I have always wondered how humans made the jump from primate to person. Sure, there are the diagrams and pictures of evolution but they do little to explain why I’m able to read a book or enjoy a piece of art. What is it exactly that makes us different from our evolutionary forefathers or the animals that surround us today? If we are just a part of an evolutionary hierarchy then why is it that a whale--with a brain five times larger than mine--is not the one writing this blog post?

By examining the biological, psychological and social context of our lives, Human: The Science Behind What Makes Your Brain Unique reveals unbelievable differences between man and beast while trying to pinpoint the change that made us thinking, sentient humans, different from our predecessors. For Gazzaniga, we can only understand the human condition by examining it in the social context of our lives. It’s amazing to think that our social context as a species can be responsible for our unique place in the evolutionary chain. I’ll never look at a group date or social networking sites the same again.

If you'd like to consider Human or Michael S. Gazzaniga's The Ethical Brain: The Science of Moral Dilemmas for one of your classes, please order a paperback examination copy.

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