The Evolution of Human Nature

Published June 20, 2013

EPPC Briefly


The Evolution of Human Nature

Several essays in the latest issue of EPPC’s journal The New Atlantis examine the efforts by scientists and philosophers to find Darwinian explanations for human nature and society. First, Randal R. Hendrickson reviews Steven Pinker’s latest book on the decline of violence and questions Pinker’s uncritical faith in reason. Then, Micah Mattix looks at books that seek to account for art and aesthetics in evolutionary terms. Whitley Kaufman challenges E. O. Wilson’s attempts to ground ethics in evolutionary biology. And Peter A. Lawler argues that evolutionary psychology reinforces the conservative lesson that we are not merely autonomous individuals but also social and relational beings.

More from The New Atlantis: Celebrating its tenth anniversary this year, The New Atlantis has been called “the best conservative publication in America.” Support our work by purchasing a subscription or gift subscription today.

Conservatism and Gratitude

Conservatism is deeply rooted in gratitude, explained EPPC Hertog Fellow Yuval Levin in accepting one of the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation’s four Bradley Prizes for 2013. In reflecting on Mr. Levin’s remarks, EPPC Senior Fellow Peter Wehner celebrates gratitude as “among the most attractive and winsome” virtues. All of us at EPPC have much to be grateful for, including our many generous supporters who make all of our work possible. We’re pleased to pass along that Charity Navigator, America’s largest charity evaluator, has awarded EPPC its highest rating of four stars and has declared that this “‘exceptional’ designation from Charity Navigator differentiates Ethics and Public Policy Center from its peers and demonstrates to the public it is worthy of their trust.” Please support EPPC.


Summer Movie Series: Why We Fight: War Movies and War, Then and Now

EPPC Resident Scholar James Bowman presents six films that reflect how the culture has influenced and been influenced by World War II and by the lesser wars fought since then: In Which We Serve, They Were Expendable, The Train, Full Metal Jacket, Black Hawk Down, and The Hurt Locker. The series takes place on Tuesday or Wednesday evenings through July 24. Register>>

2013 National Religious Freedom Conference

At the 2013 National Religious Freedom Conference, sponsored by EPPC’s American Religious Freedom Program, leaders of diverse faiths and bipartisan legislators from across the country briefed more than 200 conference participants on current threats to religious freedom and on efforts to enact new protections for religious liberty and rights of conscience. Read more>>


God and Family in the West

In an interview with Kathryn Jean Lopez of National Review Online, EPPC Senior Fellow Mary Eberstadt discusses her new book—How the West Really Lost God—and her thesis that “religious vibrancy and family vibrancy go hand in hand.” Read more>>

Zero-Sum Parenting

EPPC Fellow Mary Rice Hasson criticizes a new book on parenting for treating children as threats to a woman’s “identity and ‘authentic self.’” Read more>>

‘Pacem in Terris’ at 50

Pope John XXIII’s 1963 encyclical on peace “confirmed the late-20th century papacy as a unique voice of moral authority” and “inserted the Catholic Church fully into the late-modern debate over human rights,” observes EPPC Distinguished Senior Fellow George Weigel. Read more>>

How Obama Killed the Grand Bargain

The president had opportunities “to reduce the risks of a debt-induced economic crisis” but “chose instead to put other priorities ahead of forging a deal with his adversaries,” laments EPPC Senior Fellow James C. Capretta. Read more>>

In U.S. News and World Report, Mr. Capretta argues that “a ‘less bad’ near-term outlook” on the budget deficit doesn’t alter our nation’s primary long-term budget challenges. See also Mr. Capretta’s “Obamacare and the New Medicare Trustees’ Report,” in which he warns that, “far from improving the nation’s fiscal outlook, Obamacare has made the situation much worse,” and his “Yes, Premiums Will Go Up,” in which he explains that under Obamacare “the vast majority of individual-market participants will pay a lot more in 2014 for their health insurance.”

The Last Counter-Reformation Pope

Fifty years after the election of Pope Paul VI, EPPC Distinguished Senior Fellow George Weigel reflects on his “troubled pontificate” as a “threshold to the papacy of the future, the papacy of Evangelical Catholicism.” Read more>>

The Girl Scouts: A “Groundbreaking” Feminist Moment

A feminist documentary that was recently featured at a Girl Scout-sponsored event is “so unabashedly pro-abortion that it strips away all pretense that the Girl Scouts USA is ‘neutral’ on the issue,” reports EPPC Fellow Mary Rice Hasson. Read more>>

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