The modern world is dominated by ideas that are threatening to kill us: that life is one long battle from conception to grave; that all creatures, including human beings, are driven by their selfish DNA; that the universe is just stuff, for us to use at will. These ideas are seen to emerge from science and hard-nosed philosophy, and become self-fulfilling. They have led us to create a world in perpetual strife, unjust and in many ways precarious. This remarkable book by an experienced author and thinker argues there's another way of looking at the world that is just as rooted in modern science, and yet says precisely the opposite: that life is in fact cooperative; that all creatures, including human beings, are basically nice; and that there's more to the 'stuff' of the world than meets the eye. Why Genes are Not Selfish and People are Nice is both a powerful call to action to rethink our assumptions, and a message of hope for those who believe we're doomed to self-destruction.
"This wise and far-reaching book points the way to a better, more inclusive kind of science and a better, more inclusive kind of religion in a positive, constructive relationship. This is surely what we need most in the twenty-first century and Tudge is a genial guide for all who feel the need to move on from scientific and religious fundamentalism, environmentally destructive capitalism and an economic philosophy of selfishness, competition and limitless growth. Tudge points the way to a new kind of agriculture, a new way of living in harmony with our planet and the universe, and with each other. This book is an impressive synthesis and is admirably non-technical, conversational and approachable. Tudge, one of our most distinguished science writers, is a prophet for our time, and a very welcome voice of sanity and reason."
– Rupert Sheldrake
"This book more than lives up to its subtitle. It does indeed challenge big bad ideas, whether they be about the natural world, the human condition within it, or our habits of thought and behaviour, and suggests some bigger, better ideas for the future. In short replace the conventional wisdom. All this is laid out in easy but scholarly fashion, and the conclusions are a personal testament. Think differently is the message. We are now better able to do so."
– Sir Crispin Tickell
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Colin Tudge is a biologist by education and a writer by trade. He has written many books on natural history, evolution, food and farming. He has a lifelong interest in agriculture; he and his wife, Ruth, run the Campaign for Real Farming. He lives in Oxford, England.