The Origin of Science

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The Origin of Science addresses one of the great mysteries of human evolution: How did the human mind evolve the ability to develop science?

The art of tracking may well be the origin of science. Science may have evolved more than a hundred thousand years ago with the evolution of modern hunter-gatherers. Scientific reasoning may therefore be an innate ability of the human mind. This may have far-reaching consequences for self-education and citizen science.

The implication of this theory is that anyone, regardless of their level of education, whether or not they can read or write, regardless of their cultural background, can make a contribution to science. Kalahari Bushmen trackers have been employed in modern scientific research using GPS-enabled handheld computers and have co-authored scientific papers. Citizen scientists have made fundamental contributions to science. From a simple observation of a bird captured on a smart phone through to a potential Einstein, some may be better than others, but everyone can participate in science.

Endorsements

"This is an extraordinary book. Louis Liebenberg, our intrepid and erudite guide, gives us a fascinating view of a people and a way of life that have much to say about who we are, but which soon will vanish forever. His data are precious, his stories are gripping, and his theory is a major insight into the nature and origins of scientific thinking, and thus of what makes us unique as a species." Steven Pinker, Harvard College Professor of Psychology, Harvard University, and author of How the Mind Works.

"Louis Liebenberg's argument about the evolution of scientific thinking is highly original and deeply important." Daniel E. Lieberman, Professor of Human Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University, and author of The Story of the Human Body.

"Although many theories of human brain evolution have been offered over the years, Louis Liebenberg's is refreshingly straightforward... While the book challenges traditional ideas about the origin of science, its arguments are in line with current thinking on the evolution of human cognition." David Ludden, review in PsycCRITIQUES.

"The Origin of Science is a stunningly wide-ranging, original, and important book." Peter Carruthers, Professor of Philosophy, University of Maryland, and author of The Architecture of the Mind.

"Charles Darwin and Louis Liebenberg have a lot in common. Their early research was supported financially by their parents, and both studied origins... Both risked their lives for their work." Ian Percival, Professor of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Sussex and Queen Mary, University of London, and laureate of the Dirac medal for theoretical physics.

"Louis Liebenberg is a scholar and adventurer whose work combines academic rigor, inspired leaps of insight, and a remarkable willingness to risk himself in pursuit of an idea." Christopher McDougall, author of Born to Run.

Louis Liebenberg is an Associate of Human Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University and a Laureate of the Rolex Awards for Enterprise.

Paper copies of The Origin of Science will be printed on demand. If you would like to buy a paper copy, please send your contact details to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. so that we can add you to our database for pre-orders.

Articles

Liebenberg, Louis. (2013) "Tracking Science: The Origin of Scientific Thinking in Our Paleolithic Ancestors." Skeptic Magazine. Vol. 18. No. 3.

Liebenberg, Louis. (2006) "Persistence Hunting by Modern Hunter-Gatherers." Current Anthropology. Vol. 47. No. 6.

Liebenberg, Louis. (2008) "The Relevance of Persistence Hunting to Human Evolution." Journal of Human Evolution. Vol. 55, 1156-1159.

Videos

The Persistence Hunt

Louis Liebenberg Talks at Barefoot Connections Conference, Natural History Museum, London

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