A Wild Ride With Robert Sapolsky

My friend Brent sent me a link to a page on the web. It's a conversation with Robert Sapolsky, a quiet, funny, apparently brilliant professor of biological sciences at Stanford University and of neurology at Stanford's School of Medicine. Professor Sapolsky has written several books such as:

The link Brent sent me was called TOXO and he suggested it to me because our book club is reading The God Virus: How religion infects our lives and culture, by Daniel W Ray. Now the video on that page was Robert Sapolsky talking about a most interesting parasite called Toxoplasma. This is what pregnant women need to worry about, and why they avoid cats and cat feces. It can wreak havoc on their unborn baby's nervous system.

If you read The God Virus, which talks about parasites and viruses as an analogy for religion, I highly recommend watching this video. If you aren't going to read the book I still recommend the video. The transcript is underneath it too, which will make it even more accessible for you. But the video is longer than the transcript. So take 25 minutes and enjoy it. Here's another link to the video. I'm telling you, it's fascinating. As I mentioned, the video is longer than the transcript. He goes into telemeres and molecular age, which I heard a study about recently confirming what he is explaining.

What he's talking about touches on evolution, common ancestors, parasites and how they go about getting where they need to be, motorcyclists and speed freaks, and schizophrenics, as well as the government's interest in this parasite. A wild ride indeed!

Of course, as a skeptic, I thought I'd just look around a bit and see who this Sapolsky guy is, since I'd never heard of him. I found his books (linked to above), his Wikipedia page, and a very cool speech he gave to Stanford students about to graduate. It's about the uniqueness of humans. Here is the Stanford speech:

TED likes him too. Here's his bio page.
"If a rat is a good model for your emotional life, you're in big trouble." Robert Sapolsky

I guess it's no surprise that he's an "unbudgeable atheist". Did I mention he was awarded a MacArthur Genius Grant? But if you watch the videos, you'll find that he's fairly easy to understand, so he's able to teach what he knows, which is awesome.

Oh, and the connection between toxoplasma and schizophrenia? Science Daily has a few studies that I could find:

Cross-posted from Morgantown Atheists

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