Magazine December 31, 2015, Issue

The Reductionist Trap

The Evolution of Everything: How New Ideas Emerge, by Matt Ridley (Harper, 368 pp., $28.99)

The author of this always-informative new ode to Darwinism took a doctorate in zoology at Oxford. I am a grad-school dropout who took geology (Rocks for Jocks!) to avoid math as an undergrad at George Washington University. So it’s gingerly that I suggest Matt Ridley calm down a bit on the explanatory power of evolution by natural selection.

Ridley has written a number of books more narrowly focused on genetics and biological evolution, and, even having skimmed through them, I can say they are more careful on the subject than this latest free-for-all.

The central question about a cosmology of ideas in

In This Issue

Articles

Politics & Policy

Cruz vs. Rubio

Freud wasn’t talking about party primaries when he coined the phrase “the narcissism of small differences,” but he might as well have been. The similarities between Senators Ted Cruz and ...

Features

Politics & Policy

Climate Play-Acting

Goalposts move all the time, but rarely are they disassembled and carted away, leaving the teams to circle aimlessly while the crowd roars and the commentators prattle on as if ...

Books, Arts & Manners

Politics & Policy

True Grit

The movie poster for Room shows a young mother, head tilted back, garbed in comfortable-looking gray, swinging her little boy in her arms. He’s wearing a plaid jacket, a raccoon ...
Politics & Policy

A New Christian

Just a few things are widely known about Augustine of Hippo (354–430 a.d.), whose designations are as lofty and sweeping as saint, doctor (= “teacher”) of the Church, and the ...
Politics & Policy

Mystery Man

Writing about Bob Dylan’s politics would seem to be a thankless task. The famously curmudgeonly songwriter claims to know and care little about the subject, and what he has said ...

Sections

Politics & Policy

Letters

Can Peace in the Middle East Be So Simple? In “The Islamic War” (December 7), Victor Davis Hanson wonders why Islamists despise us “all the more” as the Middle East has ...
Politics & Policy

The Week

‐ It figures: Homeland Security has the only government employees who don’t spend enough of their workday on Facebook . . . ‐ Senator Cruz is rising in the polls, both ...
Politics & Policy

Poetry

WINTER SONG As we unfreeze our rosy faces We envy friends in warmer places, Though we are wont to wish them well, Even those toasting toes in hell. We feast on heavy meat, creamed peas, Fried ...

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