James Costa: Darwin, Wallace, The Origin of Species, and The Descent of Man

The Dissenter | 3 September 2021 | 1h 08m | Listen Later | iTunes | Spotify
Interview with James Costa touching on Wallace and Darwin’s Origin of Species, but mainly focussed on The Descent of Man. Discusses where Darwin’s ideas came from, and in what ways they differ from Wallace’s; sexual selection; our primate origins; the evolutionary origins of our mental faculties; race and sex differences; cultural evolution; (cultural) group selection; Darwin as a precursor of evolutionary psychology; eusocial insects, and group selection.

Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human with Richard Wrangham

The Innovation Show | 26 December 2019 | 0h 49m | Listen Later | iTunes | Spotify
Interview with Richard Wrangham about his book Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human. Argues that the habit of eating cooked rather than raw food permitted the digestive tract to shrink and the human brain to grow; helped structure human society; and created the male-female division of labour. As our ancestors adapted to using fire, humans emerged as “the cooking apes.”

This is one of my all-time favourite books.

The Great Slowdown and Why It’s Good, with Danny Dorling

Intelligence Squared | 5 May 2020 | 0h 59m | Listen Later | iTunes | Spotify
Interview with Danny Dorling about his book Slowdown: The End of the Great Acceleration―and Why It’s Good for the Planet, the Economy, and Our Lives. Argues that fertility rates, growth in GDP per person, and even technological progress have all steadily declined since the 1970s. Rather than lament this turn of events, Dorling says we should embrace it as a moment of promise and a move toward stability.

Ellen Peters on Innumeracy in the Wild: Misunderstanding and Misusing Numbers

New Books in Mathematics | 31 May 2021 | 1h 08m | Listen Later | iTunes | Spotify
Interview with Ellen Peters about her book Innumeracy in the Wild: Misunderstanding and Misusing Numbers. Describes the three components of numeric ability – objective numeracy, subjective numeracy, and the innate number sense – and how they vary within and across populations. Discusses the inequities caused by this variance in quantitative reasoning skills.

Nichola Raihani – The Social Instinct: How Cooperation Shaped the World

The Dissenter | 2 September 2021 | 1h 00m | Listen Later | iTunes | Spotify
Interview with Nichola Raihani about her book The Social Instinct: How Cooperation Shaped the World. Discusses mechanisms used to explain the evolution of cooperation – kin selection, reciprocal altruism, and group selection; the role of mothers and fathers and cooperative breeding; grandmothers; why men live so long; why people help unrelated others; interdependence; why we care so much about what other people think of us; social comparison; the ability to join together and rebel against tyrannical leaders; and how to promote large-scale cooperation.

Babies, Grandmas, and Our Most Human Capacities

Many Minds | 18 August 2021 | 1h 05m | Listen Later | iTunes | Spotify
Interview with Alison Gopnik discussing the optimisation of the explore-exploit trade-off in various contexts: childhood as a time of exploration ahead of exploitation as an adult; older hunters training young hunters, freeing up the more productive middle-aged hunters; the division of labour among bees; octopuses distributing explore/exploit across their tentacles and head; the role of climate change in evolution; and more.

Jason Munshi-South: Rats and Evolution

Razib Khan’s Unsupervised Learning | 13 August 2021 | 1h 03m | Listen Later | iTunes | Spotify
Interview with Jason Munshi-South about the ecology and genetics of rats. Discusses the brown rat versus other species; their interactions with mice and cats; the origins, phylogeography and genetics of brown rats; and their use as a model organism.