November 10, 2002
Just in it for the sex

Danish science writer Tor Nørretranders (of "The User Illusion" (Mærk Verden in danish) fame) has written a new book on evolution, cooperation, the gift economy, and sex. The basix premise : Everything we do, we do basically for sex. Sex is the ONLY major driver for human endeavour.

Not having read it yet it sounds like this book fits into the same mould as his previous books. The basic premise can be inferred from general principles (The laws of evolution in this case) without writing a 330 page book. Scientific ideas used to sell the story are oversold as controversial and sometimes they are even oversold as new. A Case in point for this books seem to be 'the economics of cooperation' as analyzed using the Prisoners Dilemma. This is one of the oldest ideas in 'experimental mathematics', and newspapers were covering this story at least 10 years ago. Thirdly - once the creative (or other) juices start flowing, the story tends to get ahead of the basic premise, and some wild claim is added to the mix. In this case the merging of 'gift economy' (e.g. Open Source) and the whole sex thing.
It's a shame - the basic story is interesting in and of itself. The setup to make all this magical and exciting makes the story less appealing to me. I'd like just the facts - without the mystery. The notion that there has to be a msytery around for a phenomenon to be exciting is dangerous in my opionion.


While the domain business is 50% porn (and no, that is not a stupidly generalized exaggerated number, it is just a fact) I can assure you - talking from work, while updating the servers on a sunday afternoon, huge cold coming on, hung over from yesterdays birthday bash - that there is absolutely no sex involved in the actual work here at Ascio

Posted by Claus at November 10, 2002 05:52 PM