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Mother Nature Is Trying to Kill You: A Lively Tour Through the Dark Side of the Natural World Hardcover – 4 Mar 2014

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It may be a wonderful world, but as Dan Riskin (cohost of Discovery Canada's "Daily Planet") explains, it's also a dangerous, disturbing, and disgusting one. At every turn, it seems, living things are trying to eat us, poison us, use our bodies as th

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 50 reviews
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
A fascinating read of the dark side of nature we seldom hear about 5 Mar. 2014
By Sun City Walt - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Unlike the dark side of the moon, the dark side of nature is simply fabulous and surprisingly extremely interesting. There abound creatures that exhibit the seven deadly sins of man: greed, lust,laziness, gluttony, envy, wrath and pride. In fact each of these sins form a chapter in Riskin's book. Dr. Riskin maintains our interest throughout by describing the most interesting and fascinating creatures that steel, rape philander, kill and put on glorious displays of razzle-dazzle to attract a female, all in the name to perpetuate their DNA. All this places new meaning to the word natural. Anyone pointing to nature to justify any of our vices, sexual orientation, or food preferences relating to meat or vegetables would find ample evidence here as nature dark veil is opened for our eyes to behold. This book is well written especially for the non-scientist to enjoy and understand. It is a non-fiction page turner which I heartily recommend.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
A Learning Experience 7 Mar. 2014
By Judith Victoria Douglas - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I found this a delightful book about how Mother Nature is not as nice as is popularly believed or advertised. Told in everyday explanations and vignettes for all to understand, with humor and personal experiences, this biologist explains through six of the seven deadly sins how every element in nature is better at committing them than we are, while trying to advance its own DNA at the expense of all others.
Doctor Riskin uses “meat robots” as the term for all living things, especially mammals (including us) because all behaviors are directed by the instinct to pass on DNA of…not the fittest, but the sneakiest, the most venomous, and the cruelest. From parasites, plants and birds, to sea creatures, insects and mammals there is no other purpose. And each does it in an amazing way evolved over time as situations changed so survival is assured.
Even man behaves according to the dictates of his DNA, rationalizing it’s natural, and if so, must be the only correct way to behave. He shows how this is absolutely not true, not in natural childbirth, not in natural foods, and certainly not in our warlike, self-serving, self-destructive behavior.
Man has, for better or worse, the ability to change Nature for his benefit, receiving the trophy for the last vice – pride. We believe, as the most advanced species, we’re different from the others, and normal rules don’t apply to us. But that has made us as short sighted as each element in nature that performs in the moment without understanding the consequences to their own future.
Even though scientists chip away at old theories and misguided, antiquated beliefs, society as a whole takes decades, even centuries, to accept the facts. We want to feel important, so we have a tough time letting go of our pride to accept the myriad of new and proven ideas. Doctor Riskin suggests the use of the word natural so prevalent now is a means of our transition, “saying nature is wonderful lets us accept we evolved from nature without letting go of the idea that we’re special.” Instead of being one among the animals we’re advancing other living things to a spiritual plane. In that way our egos don’t suffer. But though the living elements of Earth may appear holy and benign from a distance, working in harmony, they are really locked in a battle and we evolved in the midst of that bloodbath.
By making adjustments, through our foresight ability, we can stop acting in a self-destructive manner and “use our massive brains” to find solutions. “We have a choice.”
In speaking of the previous extinctions on Earth he is warning us of our own, because, no matter how “deadly and selfish and brutal nature may be, it’s unique, beautiful, surprising and more valuable than words can express.” And it will survive while we may not. Our future is in our hands.
I won this book in a giveaway prior to release in hopes of a review.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Wonderful 5 Mar. 2014
By Penny Thoughtful - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Although this book rehashes a bit of Richard Dawkins' The Selfish Gene, Riskin provides a lot of detail about the lethal side of plants and animals, as well as some up-to-date philosophy of how the naturalistic fallacy affects us humans. Best book I've come across all week. Highly recommended, if for no other reason than the description of the cuddling hyenas.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Quick, humorous, and well written. 22 May 2014
By Diogenes - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Great book, humorous, a quick read, and it'll tweak your world view. I recommend it. I also learned how to remove a bot fly.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Awesome, entertaining, readable 25 April 2014
By Simon Barron - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A very entertaining romp through the dark side of mother nature. Loved this book, although I'm sure religious authorities will be quick to discredit it.
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