, 1975 . One of the most beautiful things I ve ever read came from this book If the human brain had only one synapse corresponding to a monumental stupidity we would be capable of only two mental states If we had two synapses, then 2 2 4 states three synapses, then 2 3 8 states, and, in general, for N synapses, 2 N states But the human brain is characterized by some 10 13 synapses Thus the number of different states of a human brain is 2 raised to this power i.e., multiplied by itself ten trillion times This is an unimaginably large number, far greater, for example, than the total number of elementary particles electrons and protons in the entire universe. The most hauting question that this book poses is this Chimpanzees can abstract Like other mammals, they are capable of strong emotions.Why, exactly, all over the civilized world, in virtually every major city, are apes in prison For a species that has proclaimed itself to be the rulers of Earth, this is not a very difficult question to answer for us It is a single word suppression We humans never much liked competition from other creatures and history tells us that this was how we overcame all our natural predators through weaponry or guile in the eons past A moment of reflection on our past brings up that question why did the other humanoids not survive while our ancestors did How did they all gt wiped out Natural selection could not have been the only answer.This book is one that shook me out of cerebral complacency and like a good author, Sagan opens the cobweb laden windows of my brain and lets the light in.This is a book length introspection into the nature of human intellect From the first tottering steps of our primate ancestors to today s technologically addicted life forms, how has the journey been for that mass of tissue between our ears This is what Sagan attempts to answer In simple,lucid and easy to comprehend prose the author breaks down the story of how our brains assumed today s form and reflexes It is a tour de force that mixes and matches history,paleontology, psychology and other branches of human understanding to come up with a fascinating study.The evolution of the brain and how the most primal fears in our psyche still rule our subconscious is a fascinating observation and forms the best part of this book The aspect of the Triune brain and the R complex s involvement in human behavior is what Sagan calls the Dragons chained away in the dungeons of our minds Our basic aversion to reptiles and the dreams populated with snakes coupled with the dreams of a fall from a height are all speculated upon by Sagan in teh backdrop of our dreams They were quire revelatory and while I might at a later point in time with reading debate these points, they did rekindle my interest in the human brain s inner workings I finished reading, put down the book and ran my fingers through my hair and muttered You are a rockstar to my brain The kind of rockstar who you can never fully figure out is how it might react to that comment This book is highly recommended and it is no fluke that I rate all of Sagan s books so far as five stars This is stuff that will genuinely interest the skeptical mind. The Dragons of Eden speculations on the evolution of human intelligence, Carl Sagan The Dragons of Eden Speculations on the Evolution of Human Intelligence is a 1977 book by Carl Sagan, in which the author combines the fields of anthropology, evolutionary biology, psychology, and computer science to give a perspective on how human intelligence may have evolved 2014 1368 243 235 243 20 Dr Carl Sagan Takes Us On A Great Reading Adventure, Offering His Vivid And Startling Insights Into The Brains Of Humans Beasts, The Origin Of Human Intelligence, The Function Of Our Most Haunting Legends And Their Amazing Links To Recent Discoveries I d read this book a few years ago, and loved it It s a great introduction to brain anatomy, consciousness subconsciousness, and evolution An easy read, if any book that deals with these types of topics can be considered as such Sagan is good at presenting complex material in an interesting and palatable way It made me want to start paying attention to my dreams He also relates one of his personal experiences of smoking marijuana, and his theories of the effects it might have on the brain and consciousness. Carl Sagan is a big name, or at least he used to be But other than the series Cosmo or the movie with Jodi Foster, he was known for his speculation in everything In this case, it s consciousness By the title, he s referring to the lizard brain And considering the fact that he was writing this out of the 70 s and he disclaimed the hell out of it, it s meant to be a conversation starter for laymen.All good And it s good, too If I was reading this 40 years ago or even 30 years ago, I d nod energetically at a lot of the ideas The writing is good, the ideas sound, and the subject is still obviously open today.So what did I have a problem with Actually, my complaint is rather prosaic It s just dated HEAVILY dated It s like the line from Hitchhiker s Guide to the Galaxy where Prosser still thinks that digital watches are a good idea.There are better books that do the job of this one, but for the time I m sure it was pretty fantastic Not everything was dated Philosophy and basic math and the broad strokes were good But the fields of mental health, computers and computer games, the current development of cloning, AIs, and a huge extra list WAS.Alas Time marches on. Chimpanzees can abstract Like other mammals, they are capable of strong emotions.Why, exactly, all over the civilized world, in virtually every major city, are apes in prison Humans have systematically exterminated those other primates who displayed signs of intelligence Carl Sagan is the best science teacher one can ever get Even though I am not a biology major, I was able to enjoy this book A great book where he talks about EVERYTHING that you ever wanted to know about your brain Probably one of the best non fictions I have ever read Some info that made me love this book how much info do our genes carry evolution of human brain various components of human brain right and left hemisphere of brains what exactly is intuitiveness why do humans and other mammals sleep difference between dream sleep and dreamless sleep REM sleep what do our dreams mean why do some people sleep for longer time while some sleep for lesser time extraterrestrial intelligence what causes some of the mental illnesses why animals cannot talk Reptiles vs MammalsPulitzer Prize Winner In this Pulitzer prize winning book, Carl Sagan, indubitably one of the finest scientific minds of our time, expresses his thoughts about life, most particularly about intelligent life, and its relation with the environment that gave it origin and shaped it.Aided by anthropological notions, evolutionary biology, psychology, and computer science, Sagan gives a well balanced perspective of how human intelligence evolved However, notwithstanding Sagan s expertise in astrophysics, he warns us that in the neurosciences he s of an amateur scholar than consumed expert That, added to the age of the book, results in much of the book being speculative work Interestingly, some of his assumptions have been latter integrated to the commonly accepted model for the evolution of the human brain.One of my favorite sections of the book takes on the biological function behind human intelligence I particularly like when Sagan considers the complexity of biological life forms, putting in perspective the real significance of our cultural and technological advances Anyone interested in human evolution will find this book exciting The meaning of the evolution of extra genetic intelligence brains in animals and humans and extra somatic intelligence writing, books, computers in humans, the nature of instincts buried in our older reptilian brain regions, the conflict between the left and right neocortex and the purpose of each, this is exciting stuff that we can all see at work in our lives, giving evolution an extra layer of reality.After finishing reading, I was left wondering if the next evolutionary step would imply a complete detachment of our mind from the primate emotional instincts, and reliance only on the rational, advanced brain Is our brain on its way to become alike to Artificial Intelligence I think Sagan did an extraordinary job with this book His writing is engaging and easy to understand, even if you re not too much into the sciency stuff Most impressive is how diverse, interesting and mind opening are the many well informed topics contained in the ca 250 pages of this book A recent book, Up from Dragons The Evolution of Human Intelligence 2002 coauthor by Sagan and John Skoyles actualizes the concepts and hypotheses first presented in Dragons of Eden But, don t get fooled, Up from Dragons is not a replacement reading to Dragons of Eden, it s a follow up for it will be a shame to miss Sagan s great original prose.
Ann Druyan, he was co producer of the popular motion picture, Contact, which featured a feminist, atheist protagonist played by
- 271 pages
- The Dragons of Eden: Speculations on the Evolution of Human Intelligence
- Carl Sagan
- 04 October 2018 Carl Sagan