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Book Club, Sunday - Our Inner Ape

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SUNDAY - JULY 8TH, 4:00 p.m., Barnes and Noble Bookseller, Kingston Pike, a little west of the West Town shopping mall. Skeptic Book Club: "Our Inner Ape," by Frans de Waal.



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"Our Inner Ape" was the New York Times Notable Book of the Year in 2005.

Frans de Waal is C. H. Candler Professor in the Psychology Department of Emory University and Director of the Living Links Center at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center, in Atlanta. He has been elected to the (US) National Academy of Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, and the Royal Dutch Academy of Sciences.

Concerning his book, Frans de Waal writes:
http://www.emory.edu/LIVING_LINKS/OurInnerApe/book.html)

When people do evil things, such as when they commit genocides in Bosnia or Rwanda, we call them "animals." If people do altruistic things, such as when they save another's life or give generously to the poor, we attribute this to our noble human morality. We call them "humane."
Both sides of human nature, however, are tied to our biology. This theme of the duality of human nature, hovering between beast and angel, is brought home in Our Inner Ape by looking at our two closest animal relatives, the chimpanzee and the bonobo. The chimpanzee has a reputation as murderous and power-hungry, whereas the bonobo, the hippie of the primate world, seems to prefer to "make love - not war." Both apes are equally close to us on the primate family tree, but comparisons with chimpanzees have thus far dominated the media and literature. This is because until recently little was known about the bonobo. The bonobo's female dominance, cooperative nature, and use of sex to restore peace poses a challenge to certain male-biased theoriesthat equate humanity's aggressiveness with progress.



Posted by pking
July 03, 2007