Read e-book online Alas, Poor Darwin: Arguments Against Evolutionary Psychology PDF

By Hilary Rose, Steven Rose

ISBN-10: 0099283190

ISBN-13: 9780099283195

At the present time, genes are referred to as upon to provide an explanation for virtually each element of our lives, from social inequalities to overall healthiness, sexual choice and illegal activity. in keeping with Darwin's concept of evolution and common choice, Evolutionary Psychology with its declare that 'it's all in our genes' has develop into the most well-liked medical concept of the past due twentieth century. Books akin to Richard Dawkins's The egocentric Gene, Edward O.Wilson's Consilience and Steven Pinker's The Language intuition became bestsellers and body the general public debate on human lifestyles and improvement: we will see their impact once we open a Sunday newspaper. lately, despite the fact that, many biologists and social scientists have began to contest this new organic determinism and proven that Evolutionary Psychology rests on shaky empirical proof, incorrect premises and unexamined political presuppositions. during this provocative and ground-breaking ebook, Hilary and Steven Rose have amassed jointly the main eminent and outspoken critics of this stylish ideology, starting from Stephen Jay Gould and Patrick Bateson to Mary Midgley, Tim Ingold and Annette Karmiloff-Smith. What emerges is a brand new point of view on human improvement which recognizes the complexity of lifestyles by means of putting at its centre the dwelling organism instead of the gene.

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Extra info for Alas, Poor Darwin: Arguments Against Evolutionary Psychology

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He and other scientists have promoted this model of human nature in popular books and magazines with missionary fervour, aiming to convert the unenlightened. So ardent are their efforts, it is almost as if they aspire to assure the Darwinian fitness of the theory – to assure its survival in the world of cosmic ideas. Their claims, their language and their style have striking religious overtones. In this chapter I do not attempt to evaluate the scientific validity of the ideas promulgated by evolutionary psychologists or sociobiologists.

It’s an old academic adage, but nonetheless true, that bad theory can never be driven out solely by criticism. A better alternative has to be offered. Critics of EP such as the science journalist John Horgan11 and the religious affairs commentator Andrew Brown12 have usefully interrupted the self-referential flow of the EP narrative, but replacing a flawed narrative has ultimately to come from within the disciplines themselves. The book is organised as follows. In the first chapter, the sociologist Dorothy Nelkin reflects on the religious language and metaphor with which so much evolutionary psychology, particularly in its US variant, is suffused.

And they project an idea of genetic essentialism, suggesting that by deciphering and decoding the molecular text they will be able to reconstruct the essence of human beings, unlock the key to human nature. As geneticist Walter Gilbert put it, understanding our genetic composition is the ultimate answer to the commandment ‘know thyself’. ’21 Such images fuel popular narratives of genetic essentialism – a picture of the gene as the essence of the person, the locus of good and evil, the key to the ‘secret of life’.

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Alas, Poor Darwin: Arguments Against Evolutionary Psychology by Hilary Rose, Steven Rose


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