Evolution of the Shrug: Darwin's Principle of Antithesis
Complete video at: http://fora.tv/2009/05/20/Adam_Gopnik_and_Steven_Pinker_Debate_Darwin
Harvard psychology professor Steven Pinker relays his favorite bit of "Darwiniana": Darwin's principle of antithesis. Darwin proposed that both animals and humans alike employ a certain set of biological signals to convey one emotion (like aggression), while using the exact opposite signals to convey the exact opposite emotion (like passivity).
Adam Gopnik, author of Angels and Ages, A Short Book About Darwin, Lincoln and Modern Life and Steven Pinker, author of The Blank Slate and many other works, discuss a fundamental question: How far can Darwin take us as a guide to why we are the way we are?
Both outspoken appreciators of Darwin, Adam Gopnik and Steven Pinker will compare their visions -- perhaps complementary, perhaps contrasting -- of what Darwin's legacy is on the two hundredth anniversary of his birth. - New York Public Library
Steven Pinker is a prominent Canadian-American experimental psychologist, cognitive scientist and popular science writer known for his wide-ranging advocacy of evolutionary psychology and the computational theory of mind.
Pinker is also a Harvard College Professor and Johnstone Family Professor in the Department of Psychology at Harvard University. Until 2003, he taught in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at MIT.