Download e-book for iPad: Alas, Poor Darwin: Arguments Against Evolutionary Psychology by Hilary Rose, Steven Rose

By Hilary Rose, Steven Rose

ISBN-10: 0099283190

ISBN-13: 9780099283195

This day, genes are known as upon to provide an explanation for virtually each element of our lives, from social inequalities to health and wellbeing, sexual choice and criminal activity. according to Darwin's conception of evolution and traditional choice, Evolutionary Psychology with its declare that 'it's all in our genes' has turn into the preferred medical idea of the overdue twentieth century. Books similar 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 impression once we open a Sunday newspaper. in recent times, 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 facts, improper premises and unexamined political presuppositions. during this provocative and ground-breaking booklet, Hilary and Steven Rose have amassed jointly the main eminent and outspoken critics of this trendy 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 way of putting at its centre the dwelling organism instead of the gene.

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G. Runciman, have been attracted to evolutionary theory. His work has been sympathetically discussed in the major theoretical journal New Left Review, which indicates something of the complicated cultural and political reaction to evolutionary theory. Elsewhere the political agenda of EP is transparently part of a right-wing libertarian attack on collectivity, above all the welfare state. Thus, as Hilary Rose’s chapter explains, it shows itself to be recruitable around almost any political agenda – except that of racism, which is ruled out by its insistence on the unity of the human species.

Here Wilson developed his argument for Consilience – the unity of the sciences and the subordination of art to human evolutionary imperatives – a claim which Jencks demolishes in a stylishly ironic essay. Chapter 3 is by the molecular biologist Gabriel Dover. His target, as indicated by the chapter’s title, is Richard Dawkins’s slogan, ‘the selfish gene’. Dover’s own research programme has led him to a different and more complex view of the nature of genetic mechanisms in evolution, notably the concept of adoptation, and his chapter serves both as a critique of Dawkinsian genetics and an explication of the alternative view.

Scientists promoting genetic explanations use a language replete with religious metaphors and concepts such as immortality and essentialism – indeed, the gene appears as a kind of sacred ‘soul’. And as missionaries bringing truth to the unenlightened, they claim their theories are guides to moral action and policy agendas. They are, I argue, part of a current cultural move to blur the boundaries between science and religion. 6 In the 1930s in Britain and the United States, this effort took the form of the ‘evolutionary synthesis’, which seemed to reconcile Darwinism and Mendelism – selection and genetics – theories that were apparently contradictory.

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


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