A novel take on history of human kind from an atheist misanthropic perspective.
The book comprises of four main parts, each being regarded as a revolution. The first part tells about an insignificant animal that lived 2.5 million years ago. We the humans; homo sapiens popped up in Africa some 150,000 years ago. The earliest dominance that the sapiens gained over their siblings was through communication and cooperation. This was regarded as the cognitive revolution
The ability to grow stuff from the ground brought about the second revolution: Agricultural revolution. This severely changed the efforts humans made towards life and also had an impact on their health.
The third revolution was further integration of the human kind. Humans managed to cooperate and connect with each other through mediums like religion and nationality.
The fourth and final revolution was the scientific revolution. The unhinged drive for knowledge that made an insignificant animal, the most advanced specie ever to live on the planet.
A DEEPER LOOK ON THE BOOK AND SOME ARGUMENTS
THE ‘OBJECTIVE’ ARGUMENT
Almost everybody claims and wants to be as ‘objective’ as possible when it comes to answering questions regarding the human existence. Whether its the ones that follow a mainstream creed or the ones that unequivocally deny the existence of a supreme deity or the the diplomatic ignoramuses that fail to form an opinion or are too scared to challenge the believes and norms of the time. But i find it inevitable that regardless of which ever one of the formerly discussed, you are, your opinion will never be 100% objective. A brain at the state of Tabula rasa is one that can only be possessed by a baby. Thus we’re all influenced by some creed or even by the mentality of soi-disant lack of creed or disapproval for creed or in popular terms; atheism. And since we are always influenced, we will look for what we want to look and we will believe in what we want to believe. Coming back to the book, the author in the beginning portion of the book, expresses his discontent for monogamous marriages. It seems to me that this assumption comes from his apathy for religions that mostly promote the concept of monogamous marriages. Further the author, at various points very conveniently uses certain scientific studies to validate his points but also very conveniently leaves out the ones that come into direct contradiction of his points. We all remember the famous Margret Mead, author of the ‘Samoan hoax’, the reason for bringing her up is to throw some light on the ‘not so old’ fact that us humans are the best rationalizers of our own transgressions. Using ‘scientific study’ to justify our dogma (or in this case, lack of dogma) is not new. The bottom line is ‘no one is 100% objective’
THE ‘BIOLOGY ENABLES’ ARGUMENT
The second most prominent argument in the book is the ever popular atheist argument, ‘biology enables’. According to this argument, one should consider biology when thinking about decisions pertaining to morality or what is considered natural and unnatural. Although i am a big fan of separating cultural norms from our decision making process, the biology enables argument when applied effectively, very easily justifies incest, as long as mutual consent and protection during coitus is employed. But i say, why stop here?. I am sure we’ll somehow find a way around the ‘consent’ argument and eventually justify bestiality and pedophilia as well.
THE ARGUMENT FOR MATRIARCHY
The thought of a superior society with a Utopian sound to it is not an old concept. We often contemplate about the inequalities of our society and go on to present what we consider to be the Utopia (or at least a better version of the society). But even these fantasies are built on our subjective view and sometimes even personal transgressions, as in the case of Margret Mead talking about a sexually liberated Samoan society. Similarly, the author, very predicatively, also takes jabs at the all evil patriarchy. I suppose this opinion is also formed with thanks to his apathy for mainstream creeds, since most mainstream religions are built around patriarchy. While i find his take on matriarchy rather interesting, especially the point about how elephants operate in a matriarchal society. But the author, again, very conveniently discusses the mammal groups with matriarchy in a positive light but forgets to mention his favorite bonobos (with matriarchal society), who are just as violent as the chimpanzees (with patriarchal society). As far as humans are concerned, European Queens were 27% more likely to rage wars, but since that study was done after the book was written, i suppose we should cut the author some slack.
CONCLUDING REMARKS AND MY RATING
You might be thinking that i view the book negatively, i don’t. I actually like the book for the reason that its a conversation starter and introduces a lot novel takes on questions pertaining to our history. But having said that, the book severely lacks proofs. How are mere assumptions regarding the supposed genocide of neanderthals any more believable than the mainstream religions. There will never be cold hard evidence as far as our journey from a bacteria is concerned, just like we will never know the GPS location of heaven and hell. There will however be assumptions which will always correlate with our personal belief system.
As for the rating, i would give this book a solid 3.5 stars out 5!