Biotechnology

Recently at Reason.tv: Matt Ridley on Evolution, Economics, & "Ideas Having Sex"—The best-selling author discusses whether human progress has a future.

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Matt Ridley, an Oxford-educated zoologist, turned to journalism in 1983 when he got a job as The Economist's science reporter. He soon became the magazine's Washington correspondent and eventually served as its American editor.

Ridley has written several acclaimed books that combine clear explanations of complex biology with discussions of the science's implications for human society. In the reason.tv interview, Ridley discusses some of the themes in The Red Queen: Sex and the Evolution of Human Nature; The Origins of Virtue: Human Instincts and the Evolution of Cooperation; Genome: The Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters; and Nature via Nurture: Genes, Experience, & What Makes Us Human; as well as his forthcoming book which seeks to understand how and why human progress happens.

Paul Feine and Alex Manning interviewed Ridley in the Milton and Rose Friedman Reading Room at Chapman University in Orange, California.

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  1. How long? Usually you note the length of the vid.
    Thanks

  2. I heartily recommend “The Origins of Virtue.”

  3. Brilliant. More Matt Ridley, please.

  4. Fucking English people with their articulate and witty prose. They act like they invented the language.

  5. Matt Ridley says that the average person is 3 times richer than 50 years ago despite there being 3 times as many people. But I suggest that our wealth is not despite our increasing population, but because of it.

  6. Is it just me, or is there excessive buffering, for everyone?

  7. “The Origins of Virtue” is an excellent book. The virtues it deals with are those that make trade and social life possible – trust, fairness, etc.

    The true story that he ends the book with is particularly good.

  8. But I suggest that our wealth is not despite our increasing population, but because of it.

    I tend to agree, Lee. Wealth is created by (free) people – it stands to reason that the more of them there are, the more wealth there is to go around.

  9. Yes, more people lead to more wealth per person. The greatest source of wealth is inovation. The more people you have, the more discoveries you get.

  10. R C Dean | July 23, 2009, 4:34pm | #

    Fucking English people with their articulate and witty prose. They act like they invented the language.

    I’ve watched plenty of articulate and witty English people fuck, and they have yet to include linguistics in their pillow talk.

  11. His optimism is refreshing; good show.

    Oh, and the run time is a little over nine minutes.

  12. Trust and contracts from the bottom up, and not from the top down. Revolutionary thinking. Great interview. I’m impressed with Mr. Ridley.

  13. does he mention the failure of northern rock where he was non-executive chairman?
    A job that he only got because his father had been chairman there?

  14. Mr. Ridley recommends we look to the animals as the best way to understand our mating patterns. Why do people like Mr. Ridley never suggest that animals ought to look to humans to understand why they behave the way they do? If humans are every bit as much a product of evolution as the lesser animals are, then why do we need to get guidance from the birds about our sex lives? Can’t we trust our own instincts embedded by millions of years of evolutionary development?

  15. “…when we were animals…”? What are we now? FAIL

  16. I haven’t read anything of his since the Red Queen. Looking forward to his new book.

  17. Since this got a bump:

    William, I don’t think he means that the mating patterns of birds are an example for us to follow, I’m almost certain he means that we can look to birds for insights into already happening, current human behavior. Following a person from cradle to grave to observe mating behavior is problematic, to say the least. Birds are much easier to study, for a million reasons.

  18. Totally off topic, but y’all might enjoy the fact that Paul Krugman is giving a talk at the World Science Fiction Convention next week in Montreal. It’s about how reading SF made him get into Economics.

  19. Jeff P,

    Got to be Asimov. I figure Krugman has a lust to force the City on us.

    Asimov is one of my favorites, but the only libertarian stuff in his books might be the Spacers. Maybe.

  20. And don’t forget psychohistory!

  21. “Totally off topic, but y’all might enjoy the fact that Paul Krugman is giving a talk at the World Science Fiction Convention next week in Montreal. It’s about how reading SF made him get into Economics.”

    The fiction describes Krugman, but not the science.

  22. Thanks for the useful tip

  23. Thanks for the useful tip

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