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At a time when violence threatens to become epidemic and genocide takes the place of diplomacy in many regions of the world, it is no longer enough to simply dismiss such dark behavior as "human nature." People need to know why such atrocities and horrors take place, and the usual moral, religious, political and philosophical explanations have proved inadequate. With Dark At a time when violence threatens to become epidemic and genocide takes the place of diplomacy in many regions of the world, it is no longer enough to simply dismiss such dark behavior as "human nature." People need to know why such atrocities and horrors take place, and the usual moral, religious, political and philosophical explanations have proved inadequate. With Dark Nature, world naturalist Lyall Watson presents a scientific examination of evil. Drawing on the latest insights of genetics, evolutionary ethology, anthropology and psychology, he takes the discussion of evil out of the realm of monsters and demons to reveal it for what it truly is: A biological reality that may be terrifying but can be controlled. Groundbreaking, fascinating and eminently readable, Dark Nature is a vital and timely antidote to modern despair.


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At a time when violence threatens to become epidemic and genocide takes the place of diplomacy in many regions of the world, it is no longer enough to simply dismiss such dark behavior as "human nature." People need to know why such atrocities and horrors take place, and the usual moral, religious, political and philosophical explanations have proved inadequate. With Dark At a time when violence threatens to become epidemic and genocide takes the place of diplomacy in many regions of the world, it is no longer enough to simply dismiss such dark behavior as "human nature." People need to know why such atrocities and horrors take place, and the usual moral, religious, political and philosophical explanations have proved inadequate. With Dark Nature, world naturalist Lyall Watson presents a scientific examination of evil. Drawing on the latest insights of genetics, evolutionary ethology, anthropology and psychology, he takes the discussion of evil out of the realm of monsters and demons to reveal it for what it truly is: A biological reality that may be terrifying but can be controlled. Groundbreaking, fascinating and eminently readable, Dark Nature is a vital and timely antidote to modern despair.

30 review for Dark Nature: A Natural History of Evil

  1. 5 out of 5

    Tony

    As a biologist and naturalist, Lyall Watson makes no judgments about things like cannibalism and infanticide and can even point to their ecological or genetic upsides. And he does so in entertaining, teasing fashion with writing like: -- Eating people is wrong. Right? Yes, but some of my best friends are cannibals. -- Conflict is easy to understand. It is peace that needs explaining. -- It seems that women have two types of orgasms. Teasing, yes, but sometimes uncomfortable or even disagreeable. I ( As a biologist and naturalist, Lyall Watson makes no judgments about things like cannibalism and infanticide and can even point to their ecological or genetic upsides. And he does so in entertaining, teasing fashion with writing like: -- Eating people is wrong. Right? Yes, but some of my best friends are cannibals. -- Conflict is easy to understand. It is peace that needs explaining. -- It seems that women have two types of orgasms. Teasing, yes, but sometimes uncomfortable or even disagreeable. I (not a scientist) thought, for example, that he took his generalizations of rapists too far. And as a debating point, I don't think the resort to "but spiders do it" is a winning argument. Yet even Watson draws a line at serial killers, seeing no reproductive benefit to the hobby. Still, he went to court to stare at pre-teens who kill and, failing that, looked at pictures of the faces of other mass-murderers. He believes he found an answer in their lifeless eyes, what he calls the Other Look. To corroborate his theory, he looked at statues - It stares back at me from the marble busts of Caligula and Nero, but not from those of Julius Caesar or Ptolemy.; paintings - I see it in the paintings of Cesare Borgia and Torquemada, but not in the likenesses of Dante or Petrarch.; and even pictures - And it leaps out at me from photographs of Rasputin and Idi Amin, but I can find no trace of it in the many images of Winston Churchill or John F. Kennedy, whatever their other faults. You know, Science. So there were times where he kind of lost me. And he finally did when talking about Evil - Real Evil - in the form of the witch-hunt . . . against President Clinton and his wife. He says their opponents used demonology by reference to "Do-gooders, the Democratic leaders, the liberal intelligentsia, and a decadent Eastern press. I do not discount that there was a campaign against the Clintons, although some only used the word perjurer. But if I said that such a campaign was waged by haters, racists, the Radical Right, Bible-toters, would I be engaged in "demonology?" Would I, in a word, be evil? Watson immediately continues his point: Self-righteousness feels good. We are right; they are wrong. We are innocent; they are guilty. We tell the truth; they lie. He is, of course, absolutely right, even as he applies these banalities selectively. We need enemies, he writes. I just think when he says "we" he might mean "them." Please, please do not take the above to mean that I'm a Trump-er, or that I'm defending the impeachment process against Clinton. I'm not. But when hypocrisy is evident in successive paragraphs, it ought to be pointed out. And if Watson thinks he can discern evil from an artist's oil painting, well, maybe he should go back to measuring a hyena's clitoris, which, I have to say, he is really good at.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Dave

    This book was written long before America's latest, simplistic round of Us vs. Them; Good vs. Evil. A thoughtful and highly enjoyable study drawing upon ancient and modern cultures alike. Dark Nature treats evil (or doing bad) as a necessary and/or built-in component to "survival of the fittest" and the human condition (sorry creationists!). Mr Watson writes in a way that is both enlightening and entertaining. This is one of the few books I've read multiple times, if only for the section on the s This book was written long before America's latest, simplistic round of Us vs. Them; Good vs. Evil. A thoughtful and highly enjoyable study drawing upon ancient and modern cultures alike. Dark Nature treats evil (or doing bad) as a necessary and/or built-in component to "survival of the fittest" and the human condition (sorry creationists!). Mr Watson writes in a way that is both enlightening and entertaining. This is one of the few books I've read multiple times, if only for the section on the so-called prisoner's dilemma.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Diogenes

    “War-waging and peace-making are as old as ants and apes” (p. 138). I originally purchased and read this hardcover in 1996 or so, after being recommended to me by an Anthropology professor at Purdue University. After reading Columbine by Dave Cullen, I felt a strong desire to re-read this and I yanked it from the shelf, in between The History of Hell by Alice K. Turner (1993) and The Origin of Satan by Elaine Pagels (1995)—I was an Art History major at the time, and I am a life-long metal listen “War-waging and peace-making are as old as ants and apes” (p. 138). I originally purchased and read this hardcover in 1996 or so, after being recommended to me by an Anthropology professor at Purdue University. After reading Columbine by Dave Cullen, I felt a strong desire to re-read this and I yanked it from the shelf, in between The History of Hell by Alice K. Turner (1993) and The Origin of Satan by Elaine Pagels (1995)—I was an Art History major at the time, and I am a life-long metal listener where such topics are part and parcel within topical subject matter. Watson passed in 2008. He was the opposite of a chaos theorist. He believed nature, even cosmic nature, finds balance eventually, and hypothesized that the universe itself was some living entity: “Our world is finely wrought and delicately balanced. It is filled with surprising coincidences and the sort of unnatural instability that plucks order out of chaos. It has extraordinary persistence, a lovely symmetry, and so much numerical coherence that it becomes hard to accept its existence as just an accident. The most astonishing discovery has been that much of it is far from the equilibrium which entropy requires and that it succeeds, somehow, in staying that way. The tuning involved in this is so precise that even our entire galaxy, which was once thought of as merely an inanimate collection of matter, now takes on many aspects of life” (p. 20). Building off Artistotelian ethics and expounding on the philosophy of “evil” through the lens of biology and nature, Watson wrote a fascinating treatise here which summarizes that “[g]enes are simple-minded and mean-spirited. They have no vision and cannot be expected to have the welfare of the whole species at heart. Which is why universal love does not exist or make evolutionary sense. Generosity and unselfishness are not part of biological nature. Where such things exist, they have had to be learned or cultured by working against the trend. The sad fact is that we are born selfish ” (emphasis mine, p. 54). And he proves this point profusely. It explains so much. Legal systems, morality, social norms, and religious belief systems have all been hammered into place over the 5,000 years of “civilization” to attempt to thwart our simple, often cruel biological imperatives which may never truly be extinguished, being so deep into our genetic programming. Now, if you believe the Earth was “created” 6,000 years ago, please move on. Your Fantasyland awaits in some other review. We are animals first and foremost: biological organisms with the same basic needs as all other biological organisms, fueled (and often enslaved) by our biochemical hormones. Unfortunately, we seem to be the only known animal that does everything it can to not appear to be an animal, at least the majority of us. Watson illustrates how violence, xenophobia, betrayal, and rape are all a part of the deep history of homo sapiens, facets of our species that still persist in powerful ways—from the indigenous tribes of Brazil to the street gangs of Chicago to the factions of Iraq and Syria (just gaze at your news feed, or crack open a history book). Our ape kin do this too. Going back to the murdering kids of Columbine in 1999, one could wonder how such psychopathic behaviors persist, but all one needs to do is read love-letters written by strangers to men in prison. Dangerous creatures have a sex appeal to some others, and many are conniving narcissists—they rut, and those biological tendencies continue onward. Part of it is nature, part of it is nurture. Like a domesticated dog abandoned on the side of a rural road, it will either become food for something else, or it will revert back to its feral nature and survive, alone or as apart of a pack. It takes little time for this transformation to occur, and the same goes for humans. If you’ve been apart of, or a witness to, a bar or street fight, you know how easily some men can be provoked. Sex and ego are prime drivers for provocation. It happens in sporting events, on street corners, in politics, and in war zones. Dark nature is webbed into our history, our entertainment, and our fantasies, across cultures and creeds. It is meshed within the primitive us-versus-them dynamic that plagues humanity. It seems doubtful we will ever move beyond it, especially now that many “Western” nations are falling into seemingly hopeless tribalism, that truths and facts and laws and morals are seeming to lose their potency, and in which the engines of delusion and fantasy are incredibly powerful forces lashing out from all corners of our existence. In a recent article of The New Yorker (https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/20...) looking at the tribes of Brazil struggling to hold off the destruction of their forests, the author (Jon Lee Anderson) asked a tribal leader why he thought the indigenous youth were no longer seeking out his wisdom. The leader cupped his hands and stared into them, illustrating the hypnotic lure of cell phones. Is unregulated technology our collective undoing in terms of managing civilization peacefully? “The sad truth, however, is that the odds are not in our favor. As Abba Eban remarked ruefully during the 1967 Arab-Israeli war: ‘We are but men, and use reason only as a last resort’” (p. 175). Do we succumb to our ancient animal nature, or can we actually rise above and beyond it, evolving into an empathetic and compassionate species seeking to shepherd the very planet that gave us the possibility for organic life in the first place? I think the odds are better for a giant asteroid to smack into the planet and wipe out all mammals. Maybe in a few million years, the insects will do better. Watson began his book with a humorous retelling of an interview between someone and Arthur C. Clarke, the positive futurist: “He was being asked about the possibility of extraterrestrial intelligence and was replying, as usual, with that mixture of optimism and longing that makes his science fiction so attractive. But the interviewer was in no mood for metaphysics and kept pushing for sensation, asking, ‘Where are these other civilizations?’ and ‘When are we going to meet them?’ Clarke responded in his usual fluid way, refusing to be drawn into quick and easy answers, but then the interviewer changed direction and provoked a reply I had never heard before. ‘If we do eventually meet them,’ she asked, ‘should we be afraid?’ Clarke was obviously intrigued by this approach. ‘It is possible,’ he said, ‘that alien races could be warlike and aggressive. Although we used to find solace in the notion that if they were truly evil, they would destroy themselves long before they ever got the chance to become a threat to us . . . ‘ [a nod to the Fermi paradox, perhaps] Then there was a long pause before the master added quietly, ‘ . . . but I wouldn’t count on it’” (p. X). Additional research: Noga Arikha pens a nice essay for Aeon where “[the neurosurgeon Itzhak Fried] believes that, under given circumstances, about 70 per cent of the population can be subject to it [where the acting self splits away from the feeling self, a phenomenon that Fried calls ‘cognitive fracture’] and be able to take part in crimes as part of a group.” (https://aeon.co/essays/is-neuroscienc...) Think of the Europeans upon Native Americans, Europeans upon Africans, Europeans upon Tasmanians, Turks upon Armenians, the Nazis, the Japanese in Nanjing, Stalin upon Ukraine, Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia, the Rohingya, etc., etc., etc. It’s nauseous to dwell upon the history of humanity. This is what we are, hiding behind thin veils of projected personas, and our incredible selfishness.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    I was so relieved to finish this book. This was recommended to me while on vacation in Denmark. I certainly don't shy away from heavy topics and ordinarily enjoy reading non-fiction (more so than fiction). However, the author's thesis seemed seriously confused. He also seemed to add anecdotes and facts in a disorganized way and it was unclear how these supported his thesis, because it was unclear what his thesis was. At first, he seemed to be saying that violence and other acts of evil need to be I was so relieved to finish this book. This was recommended to me while on vacation in Denmark. I certainly don't shy away from heavy topics and ordinarily enjoy reading non-fiction (more so than fiction). However, the author's thesis seemed seriously confused. He also seemed to add anecdotes and facts in a disorganized way and it was unclear how these supported his thesis, because it was unclear what his thesis was. At first, he seemed to be saying that violence and other acts of evil need to be examined in the context in which they occur - and if these acts produce an overall benefit to the species and promote stability and balance, they are good. For example, infanticide is ok in this species because blah blah blah. Kind of John Steward Mill (if it makes people happy and doesn't hurt anyone, it's ok) but instead of individuals, the entire species. I like John Stewart Mill, but from the perspective of individual humans and their rights, not this species thing. Later, he seems to indicate that it is our genes that make us do evil things and we must actively counter-balance our natural tendency toward xenophobia and evil acts. I agree with him that everyone, even ordinary normal people, have the capacity to participate in evil, but I'm not sure it makes sense to attribute humans' capacity for evil all to evolution. I liked that he mentioned Levi Strauss who I read in sociology/anthropology classes at Earlham and used the word "bricolage" which I hadn't seen in print for nearly a decade. However, I honesty don't know how he got this thing published as it seemed a confused mishmash with no clear thesis and he seemed to have ADD or something they way he jumped around with his stream of consciousness.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Andrew Rothschild

    Dark Nature is a companion to Supernature and Lifetide. Its not really a study or thesis as much a series of notes, perhaps a sketch of something that never really came together as an argument. It is however thought provoking and worth the read.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jerry Wall

    Lyall Watson does its again. Marvelous writing, great story, splendid history, and grand finish. Basic biology shows that to prosper three rules: Be nice to insiders (those like us), be nasty to outsiders (the other), and cheat a lot (put insiders first and foremost), Selfish gene is archetype of that approach. Who would have thought that by looking at how small animals or groups of cells, flourish and continue, would lead us to a picture of why, as thinking, reasoning beings, we need to override th Lyall Watson does its again. Marvelous writing, great story, splendid history, and grand finish. Basic biology shows that to prosper three rules: Be nice to insiders (those like us), be nasty to outsiders (the other), and cheat a lot (put insiders first and foremost), Selfish gene is archetype of that approach. Who would have thought that by looking at how small animals or groups of cells, flourish and continue, would lead us to a picture of why, as thinking, reasoning beings, we need to override the demands and requirements for life and continuity to include empathy, altruism, and societal history lessons. . . . enduring paradox of good gods who allow bad things to happen. p. 4 A man who fears everything becomes a coward, and the one who fears nothing is a dangerous fool. p 8 Evil. . . . Anything, in short, that is bad for the ecology. p. 09 Eadem Mutata resurgo --"Though changed, I shall arise the same." p. 13 Bad desire consists of wanting, not just too much, but also too little. p. 37 "Evil" is far more difficult to define, but could perhaps best be described as that which is consistently or deliberately bad. p 46 There are several genetic instructions which seem to be common to, and appropriate to all life. And Rule Number One among these is: Be Nasty to Outsiders. p. 54 Rule Number Two: Be Nice to Insiders. p. 56 All genes are concerned with is becoming better represented in the gene pool. p. 58 The law of successful preydom is " Don't make yourself conspicuous." p. 68 Tribes on the Amazon . . Waste is one of their cardinal sins, as is a lack of generosity. p. 142 Senoi semi never seem to kill each other at all. p. 154 Homo pecans = Man the killer. . 165 Being clever in the art of conflict resolution is clearly more important than simply being right. p. 169 There were 13,220 Handgun murders in the United States in 1992, just 262 of which were ruled as justifiable homicides in cases of self-defense. Handguns were involved in sixty percent of all homicides and seventy - three percent of the murders of children under the age of fourteen. p. 189 A million violent crimes a year are committed with handguns and in just three years between 1990 and 1992 , more Americans were killed by them than dies during the entire seven years of the Vietnam War. p. 190 @!!!!!! . . . evil is banal, chillingly ordinary. p. 218 of killers the eyes know nothing of contrition., p. 220 of killers in their expressions it is not something, but the lack of something. p. 220 (subjective) Mass murder is nothing new It has been happening ever since we armed ourselves in ways that made killing easy. p. 224 !!!!!! Obiter n.b. Serial killers or extreme killers, (cannibals, torturers, etc.) are described variously as having an appearance of evil (?) from the subjective view of their describers. Every society seems to need an Outsider. p. 236 !!!!! We need, it seems, to give evil a face. p 243 . . . Church and state . . . turned old women, who were expendable anyway, and often seen to be troublesome and eccentric, into perfect low-cost scapegoats. p. 244 !!!!! A real or imaginary outgrip. . . . p. 244 Not one of his (Jos. McCarthy) accusations was ever substantiated. * * * We need enemies. Without them, we would only have ourselves to blame. p. 247 !!!!!!!! . . . bird songs, those "profuse strains of unpremeditated art," stand revealed now as fragments of an ongoing domestic argument based on male suspicion and female protestations of fidelity. p. 251 It has become all too easy too point out the faults in others. * * * There is in this defiance, this shaking of zests at the heavens, a hint of the origin of religion. p. 262 If a behavior offers no benefits, the genes will very soon drop it and push evolution in some other direction * * * John Stuart Mill . . . Something is "good" if it raises the amount of happiness in the world, "bad" if it increases suffering. p. 276 All three genetic laws-- be nice to insiders, nasty to outsiders, and cheat a lot -- require it. * * * . . . we need to keep reminding ourselves that Huxley's "enemy" and ours is one whose strengths depend upon billions of years of selection for selfishness. p. 277

  7. 5 out of 5

    Alistair Daynes

    I asked myself a question one month back, can a world exist with less ‘bad’ and more ‘good’? This lead me to a deep conversation and this book (one I am eternally grateful for receiving). An insight read into what makes us human A paragraph I wrote before reading which I believe holds true: 🧬 Considering you and I share 99% of our DNA with chimpanzees, and we’re shooting through space on a blue planet orbiting a fireball, you might imagine how very lucky we are to be alive. Now when we ask how did I asked myself a question one month back, can a world exist with less ‘bad’ and more ‘good’? This lead me to a deep conversation and this book (one I am eternally grateful for receiving). An insight read into what makes us human A paragraph I wrote before reading which I believe holds true: 🧬 Considering you and I share 99% of our DNA with chimpanzees, and we’re shooting through space on a blue planet orbiting a fireball, you might imagine how very lucky we are to be alive. Now when we ask how did we get here and what separates us from our nearest relatives .. it is not that we’re stronger than them 🙊, or even smarter (if you consider Neanderthals brains were 15% larger than our Homo Sapien ancestors)... it’s that we survived through the global ice-age because of our ability to come together. Our genes are challenging foundational evolution. For humanities story is not survival of the fittest, but survival of the friendliest. Humans, deep down and generally speaking, we’re all good okes (contrary to the news today). Remember that 1% which makes us human. Be kind x”

  8. 4 out of 5

    Stacy

    Even if I have an incredibly hard time articulating what it is about, I really enjoyed this book. I found myself trying to tell others, "you should read this!" but when they said, "what's it about?" I couldn't express what Watson so clearly and elegantly conveys. It's the creation of the universe.... and wildlife.... and humans.... and morphic resonance... and how everything has a place and a purpose.... fear and denial... it's the most artful discussion of evil there could possibly be. It's not Even if I have an incredibly hard time articulating what it is about, I really enjoyed this book. I found myself trying to tell others, "you should read this!" but when they said, "what's it about?" I couldn't express what Watson so clearly and elegantly conveys. It's the creation of the universe.... and wildlife.... and humans.... and morphic resonance... and how everything has a place and a purpose.... fear and denial... it's the most artful discussion of evil there could possibly be. It's not graphic (well.... 95% of it isn't graphic, but we're talking about evil, after all) or dark just for the sake of being blunt, which is what makes this book beautifully crafted.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Joseph Gilberti

    Opened up a whole new area of knowledge.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Ron

    A naturalist attempts to put good versus evil into biological perspective. He uses a generalized concept that "good" is anything that benefits a group's ecology while "bad" is anything that disrupts ecological balance. He goes on to distinguish between weak evil and strong evil. Weak evil can be explained through sociobiological and evolutionary processes which may be necessary to bring the ecology back into harmony. Strong evil is excessive, maladaptive behavior which seems to have no productiv A naturalist attempts to put good versus evil into biological perspective. He uses a generalized concept that "good" is anything that benefits a group's ecology while "bad" is anything that disrupts ecological balance. He goes on to distinguish between weak evil and strong evil. Weak evil can be explained through sociobiological and evolutionary processes which may be necessary to bring the ecology back into harmony. Strong evil is excessive, maladaptive behavior which seems to have no productive or sociobiologic significance. These include actions such as torture and serial murders. The author provides interesting analogies for explaining weak evil. He states that these can be explained through the pathic principles for ecological disturbance by loss of place, loss of balance, and loss of diversity. He also explains that some actions are guided by genetic rules which he describes as "be nice to insiders, be nasty to outsiders, and cheat whenever possible." Through these principles, the author explains that certain behaviors such as cannibalism and ethnic cleansing can be rationalized by groups when taken in social context. On the other hand, the torture that may occur during ethnic cleansing is harder to justify. The author attempts to explain this by saying that the development of the human brain has allowed the species to move from biological evolution to cultural evolution. Cultural evolution is a faster process and can be guided more by imagination than by genetic principles. It does not need to account for species survival and can be highly variable among subgroups within a community. Once the author makes this distinction, it feels as though the topic becomes less focused. The author moves away from biological explanations and clear analogies. He then branches out into mythology, psychology, and theology as an attempt to explain why "strong evil" occurs. These sections could have received further explanation.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Mario

    This was the first book in a while I kept coming back too. Maybe it helped me understand some of my co-workers/collaborators :). It was a bit of a slog to get through certain sections and he did totally meander in the middle and switched up focus at the end, but it still gave me many things to chew on. I like that he started off with axioms and gave evidence for each, but he seems to abandon them in the middle and didn't use them to good purpose at the end. I guess it sounds like I didn't like t This was the first book in a while I kept coming back too. Maybe it helped me understand some of my co-workers/collaborators :). It was a bit of a slog to get through certain sections and he did totally meander in the middle and switched up focus at the end, but it still gave me many things to chew on. I like that he started off with axioms and gave evidence for each, but he seems to abandon them in the middle and didn't use them to good purpose at the end. I guess it sounds like I didn't like the book, on the contrary I did but it had so much more potential. I was still able to get what I needed out of it but was hoping for something spectacular. I guess I'll keep looking but this was a good start into the field of evil. (Although I think I'll pick something a bit lighter next and come back to evil later)

  12. 5 out of 5

    Literary Lion

    I liked the overall concept of this book: that one can make a case for the absolute existence of good and evil based on natural law. It started out with some interesting threads, got off-track in the middle, and then at the end went completely bonkers. Sadly, the author didn't argue his case very well, but it did open up for me some new ways of looking at the universe. I liked the overall concept of this book: that one can make a case for the absolute existence of good and evil based on natural law. It started out with some interesting threads, got off-track in the middle, and then at the end went completely bonkers. Sadly, the author didn't argue his case very well, but it did open up for me some new ways of looking at the universe.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Dave Sippel

    Yes, this is a science and biology heavy book but Watson makes it easy for the average person to read. It explains how many undesirable human characteristics (murder, rape, infanticide) are also found in nature. While not excusing any of these behaviors, Watson does make claims that they can be traced back to biology.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Scott

    Transformative book. Studied Lyle Watson's ideas on human nature in the context of several literary and film classics (Voltaire, Goethe, Twain, Oscar Wilde, Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, Alien, Silence of the Lambs, Nietzsche). If you've got the time, Watson's got some answers. Transformative book. Studied Lyle Watson's ideas on human nature in the context of several literary and film classics (Voltaire, Goethe, Twain, Oscar Wilde, Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, Alien, Silence of the Lambs, Nietzsche). If you've got the time, Watson's got some answers.

  15. 5 out of 5

    David

    Got a lot out of this book when I read it a few years ago. Biologically speaking, we humans aren't so nice. When it comes down to the basics of survival and propagation we tend to set morality aside if it doesn't serve those goals. Got a lot out of this book when I read it a few years ago. Biologically speaking, we humans aren't so nice. When it comes down to the basics of survival and propagation we tend to set morality aside if it doesn't serve those goals.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Richard

    I'm just getting started on this book, so my opinion isn't complete, but so far this book has been an excellent read. My background is in ecology, and yet I am having my eyes opened by neat little twists in the way Watson presents some very novel and unintuitive ideas. I'm just getting started on this book, so my opinion isn't complete, but so far this book has been an excellent read. My background is in ecology, and yet I am having my eyes opened by neat little twists in the way Watson presents some very novel and unintuitive ideas.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Kate

    Overall this was a very interesting book. The first and last chapters are full of weird, unscientific speculation, but once you get past that (skip those chapters, trust me, you won't miss much) both the content and style become excellent. Overall this was a very interesting book. The first and last chapters are full of weird, unscientific speculation, but once you get past that (skip those chapters, trust me, you won't miss much) both the content and style become excellent.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    The first two chapters draw you in with the beautiful language and interesting ideas. Then it becomes harder to understand and less interesting.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Russ

    this man clearly has severe ADD. what happened to his point? who knows?

  20. 5 out of 5

    Steven

    A very interesting and at times challenging book. Not one of his best but after saying that it's still very good. The Romeo Error & Gifts of Unknown Things in my view are his best. A very interesting and at times challenging book. Not one of his best but after saying that it's still very good. The Romeo Error & Gifts of Unknown Things in my view are his best.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Miss J Lipscombe

  22. 5 out of 5

    Eronysis

  23. 4 out of 5

    Johannes Haasbroek

  24. 4 out of 5

    UseOfWeapons

  25. 4 out of 5

    Travis Retzlaff

  26. 4 out of 5

    Inky

  27. 5 out of 5

    Simon Oates

  28. 4 out of 5

    Cindy

  29. 4 out of 5

    Marcus

  30. 5 out of 5

    Hendrik Mentz

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