Unnatural Selection – Reviews

  • ‘An entertaining and engrossing read. Roeder smartly integrates evolution, genetics and cognitive science to show how the rise of the geek is inevitable – and well underway. It’s a fabulous book about human destiny’– Rob Brooks, professor of Evolutionary Biology, University of NSW
  • ‘Roeder’s excellent book is thought-provoking and enjoyable – it provides a fresh perspective on human progress.’ – Professor Simon Baron-Cohen, Cambridge University, UK
  • ‘Everyone knows that the kinds of people that would have been rejected as social outcasts in the 1950s — the shy science nerds, the persnickety math geeks, the obsessive recluses who turned their parents’ garages into chemistry labs — have transformed the way we live in the past 20 years, quietly rising to positions of great power in the process. In this provocative book, Mark Roeder explains how they have become a social force driving a new kind of human evolution.’– Steve Silberman, editor, Wired magazine
  • ‘Unnatural Selection paints a compelling picture of human adaptability, identifying new traits within all of us that are helping us to survive and succeed in a climate-controlled world dominated by information. This is not just wishful thinking for geeks — technology is changing the landscape of society, and Roeder describes how humanity is changing along with it.’– Daniel Wilson, New York Times best selling author of Amped, and robotics engineer.
  • ‘Mark Roeder takes us on an incredible literary journey through the realities of the new era we have entered as humankind – the Anthropocene – in which Darwin’s ‘survival of the fittest’ theory no longer applies. Or, at least’ ‘fittest’ has an entirely new definition. Unnatural Selection is a beautifully written introduction to the important truths surrounding the inexorable march of technology. Roeder’s bold new theory suggests we can no longer turn a blind eye to the impact of the cognitive revolution that is unfolding’– Gold Coast Magazine
  • ‘It is becoming evident that our great technical achievements have far outstripped our capacity to evolve socially and emotionally. This has left us adrift, unable to connect with ourselves and with others. This deep disconnect has left us both lonely, yet at the same time, terrified of true intimacy and lacking the tools to form meaningful relationships. In Unnatural Selection, Mark Roeder has brought scholarship and prescience to understanding this dehumanizing challenge; and in then finding a “middle way” to use technology for our benefit and not be used by it. This is a most important book for our times.– Peter A Levine, PhD, Best selling author of Waking the Tiger, Healing Trauma, and In an Unspoken Voice, How the Body Releases Trauma and Restores Goodness.
  • Darwin’s theory of evolution into the nihilistic, technological obsessed 21st century, Roeder presents the prototype ‘Homo Geektus’ as the face of professional success in the digital age. He argues that once pitiable nerds with shy, studious personalities are the new ideal, conditioned to thrive in a cyber culture. The author takes a tone of sarcastic glee yet builds his case with convincing data from various evolutionary ages. The chapter called “The Gift of Weakness” sets the intellectual table, depicting Man’s fight for survival in the “technological Greenhouse” instead of a cave as we shift from the nature-based “Holocene” age to the “Unnatural Selection” favoring know-how over physical aggression. Roeder emphasizes the “mutual interaction between the environment and nature,” in this case, an invisible but powerful data infrastructures dominated by outsiders whose mental strength allows them to create/alter alternative informational and sensory realities “without…asking anyone’s permission.” Roeder offers a thoughtful, contemplative treatise told with wit and wisdom.– Publisher’s Weekly
  • ‘A fresh account of why Darwin’s theory is out of date in a world now ruled by the masters of technology.’– The Australian
  • One of the most provocative insights of the book is the idea that the modern world is wired to favour those with characteristics that were until recently seen as disorders, namely autism and ADHD. In each case, Roeder notes, those experiencing these conditions often have ‘remarkable visual skills’ and can ‘pick patterns, see trends, spot anomalies and get the gist of a picture much faster than a so-called normal person’. The information economy rewards these people, thus suiting them to a world in which ‘physical limits are transcended through technology’. The author’s most chilling message about the effects of late modernity is the often-corrosive effect of the communications revolution on our ability to form meaningful connections with others.– Tim Roberts, MC Reviews
  • ‘Fascinating stuff’– Adam Spencer, ABC Radio 702.