Get Alas, Poor Darwin: Arguments Against Evolutionary Psychology PDF

By Hilary Rose, Steven Rose

ISBN-10: 0099283190

ISBN-13: 9780099283195

This present day, genes are known as upon to provide an explanation for virtually each point of our lives, from social inequalities to overall healthiness, sexual choice and illegal activity. in keeping with Darwin's conception of evolution and ordinary choice, Evolutionary Psychology with its declare that 'it's all in our genes' has turn into the most well-liked clinical concept of the past due twentieth century. Books comparable 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 be able to see their impression once we open a Sunday newspaper. in recent times, in spite of the fact that, many biologists and social scientists have started 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 booklet, Hilary and Steven Rose have collected 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 standpoint on human improvement which recognizes the complexity of existence by way of putting at its centre the residing organism instead of the gene.

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The ‘no-conflict’ theory is rejected by some historians. 42 Historian David Noble, in his book The Religion of Technology, takes issue with the very distinction between religion and science, demonstrating that science and technology have long been driven by ‘spiritual yearnings for supernatural redemption’. Early science was a religious endeavour devoted to bringing man closer to the Divine Being. 43 Today the religious impulse appears to be reviving. Having cut off the dialogue between science and the humanities through the ‘science wars’, many scientists are seeking to create a dialogue between science and religion.

Some of the resulting chapters are primarily critical of the claims of some of EP’s most prominent writers, others are concerned with developing alternative explanatory perspectives – in biology, anthropology, developmental psychology and social theory. Both the criticisms and the alternatives are important. 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.

This process was aided by Charles Jencks’s generous hospitality at Portrack and by the input of others present at the seminar, but who are not represented in this book: Cambridge (US) molecular biologist Jeremy Ahouse, MIT psychologist Bob Berwick and Birkbeck College historian of science Dorothy Porter. Many friends and colleagues have provided helpful comments on the various chapter drafts. The continuous support of the book’s agent Kay McCauley and editors Will Sulkin and Jörg Hensgen at Cape in London and Patty Gift at Crown in New York has been essential.

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


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