By Kristina Houck
What makes us behave a certain way?
Ron Newby, a retired researcher and Del Mar resident discusses the human evolutionary path, brain, traits and behaviors in his recently released book, “Homo sapiens: A Liberal’s Perspective.”
“I’ve always been curious about human behavior and why we do what we do,” said Newby, who has lived in Del Mar for 10 years. He previously lived in Solana Beach for almost 30 years.
Although Newby, 76, wrote the book last year, he came up with the concept when he was in his 20s.
A California native, Newby earned degrees in botany and analytical biology at UC Santa Barbara before moving to San Diego in 1965. For 27 years, he worked as a researcher at the Salk Institute in La Jolla.
“I’m a very analytical person,” he said. “I’ve always questioned why things are the way they are.
“Being a biologist, I realized that we are animals. We belong to the animal kingdom. We have a scientific name, ‘Homo sapiens.’ But surprisingly, many Americans don’t believe in evolution. They believe in other ideas, outside the realm of science.”
A self-proclaimed atheist, Newby’s book explores politics, religion and topics such as overpopulation, wealth inequality and climate change.
“I’m very concerned we don’t realize we are animals. We just think we’re something special. We’ve even added an ‘e’ to ‘human’ to make it ‘humane,’” Newby said. “Some of us are very humane. Some of us are brutal and without compassion. We’ve had wars and we’ve had slavery and we’ve had torture.
“There’s a lot of potential disasters ahead of us, but we get polarized because we’re tribal animals.”
Released late March, Newby wrote the book in seven months. He said he only had three days off during that stretch of time.
“It’s important to have this conversation,” he said. “It’s important for people to realize we are tribal animals. It may give us a different perspective. Rather than shouting at each other, maybe we can start to think about solving some of the urgent problems of the world.”
For more information about the book or to purchase a copy, visit amazon.com or barnesandnoble.com.