Basic Human Instincts

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December 26, 2011


Interview with Alex S. Key, author of the book The Third Basic Instinct: How Religion Doesn't Get You (Revised Edition)




Mike Carruthers:
Every creature on the earth has two basic instincts, survival and reproduction and what makes humans different from other creatures is our third basic instinct.

Alex S. Key:

And I propose that the third basic instinct is innate human curiosity - our desire to stimulate our minds, our desire to learn, the instinct to learn.

Alex S. Key

Alex S. Key, author of the book The Third Basic Instinct: How Religion Doesn't Get You... 


There probably isn't a scientist today who can explain why humans evolved the large brain and no other creature did. And the dinosaurs were around for two hundred million years and didn't evolve a large brain but curiosity is actually something that can explain this missing link in evolution - because it gets us to use our minds.


Of course other animals do display curiosity.


And certainly when we look at our puppy dogs and we see them raise their eyebrows in curiosity (and chimpanzees are actually more curious than dogs) but in both cases and in all of the cases these creatures (including dogs) will spend hours and hours just lazing around virtually doing nothing.


Humans can't do that, says Alex, our brains won't let us.


Even if we're sitting on the sofa, we have to turn that TV on because we have to stimulate our minds, we have to have a conversation and pick up the phone - we can't just sit there and do nothing. And if you look at children by the way, they have the greatest example of the learning instinct in action every day because they have the most to learn.



  • Length: 1:45 minutes (1.61 MB)
  • Format: MP3 Mono 44kHz 128Kbps (CBR)
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