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Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors ePUB Ë Shadows of PDF

NATIONAL BESTSELLER Exciting and provocative A tour de force of a book that begs to be seen as well as to be read The Washington Post Book WorldWorld renowned scientist Carl Sagan and acclaimed author Ann Druyan have written a Roots for the human species a lucid and riveting account of how humans got to be the way we are Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors is a thrilling saga that starts with the origin of the Earth It shows with humor and drama that many of our key traits self awareness technology family ties submission to authority hatred for those a little different from ourselves reason and ethics are rooted in the deep past and illuminated by our kinship with other animalsSagan and Druyan conduct a breathtaking journey through space and time zeroing in on critical turning points in evolutionary history and tracing the origins of sex altruism violence rape and dominance Their book culminates in a stunningly original examination of the connection between primate and human traits Astonishing in its scope brilliant in its insights and an absolutely compelling read Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors is a triumph of popular science


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    This is the fourteenth book I've read for my 52 in 52 project and it's the only one so far that I finished reading in about one day Saying that I could hardly put the book down is pretty accurate But the authors Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan made their writing and analysis so engaging and fairly easy to understand that getting through was not a laborious task Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors as I wrote in one of my tweets tonight puts the Bible to shame The book is not a parody of the Bible but it is a million times better and plausible of a story about the origins of the universe which the Bible doesn’t touch on and who we are as Homo Sapiens If you ever watched Sagan’s classic PBS series Cosmos then you have an idea of what Shadows is all about I’m not going to go into detail about what their book is about there’s plenty reviews on com and other places but what struck me most about his book is the conclusion it makes By comparing humans to our closest ancestors the chimpanzees babons and other primates they contend we need to realize that we though of higher “intelligence” are simply not that far removed from our cousins and theywe are seriously not that special This is not meant to be a put down on the human species but it’s to put in perspective about who we are what our potential isIt’s interesting that they quote a bit of verse from Walt Whitman whom I was considering reading a biography about for my next book before reading this one Walt wroteI think I could turn and live with animals they’re so placid and self contain’dI stand and look at them long and longThey do not sweat and whine about their conditionThey do not lie awake in the dark and weep for their sinsThey do not make me sick discussing their duty to GodNot one is dissatisfied not one is demented with the mania of owning thingsNot one kneels to another or to his kind that lived thousands of years agoNot one respectful or unhappy over the whole earthWhitman takes some poetic license in his critique of his fellow man but the point of his and the authors’ analysis is that there are two sides to human beings We are humbled by our existence but we are also conceited vicious greedy and selfish On the one hand we have great potential for love for one another but on the other hand we continue to do some very barbaric things to one anotherThe authors say it better than I do“We must stop pretending we’re something we’re not Somewhere between romantic uncritical anthropomorphizing of the animals and an anxious obdurate refusal to recognize our kinship with them—the latter made tellingly clear in the still widespread notion of “special” creation—there is a broad middle ground on which we humans can take our stand” Sagan and Druyan use essentially the second half of their book to develop the above conclusion I think they take a little too long to prove their case but I can understand the challenge to do so given that most of humanity is still mucked and mired in religious mythology and in denial of our essential human nature that it’s not inconceivable that were headed for destruction—not destruction of the planet mind you but of our ourselves and other living organisms We would do ourselves a great service by holding weekly meetings discussing books like this one rather than further deluding about some great omnipotent being that is supposed to be controlling everything It’s really time we move past all thatend