By Hilary Rose, Steven Rose
At the present time, genes are referred to as upon to give an explanation for virtually each point of our lives, from social inequalities to wellbeing and fitness, sexual choice and illegal activity. in response to Darwin's concept of evolution and traditional choice, Evolutionary Psychology with its declare that 'it's all in our genes' has develop into the preferred clinical conception of the overdue twentieth century. Books resembling 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 impact once we open a Sunday newspaper. in recent times, despite the fact that, many biologists and social scientists have all started to contest this new organic determinism and proven that Evolutionary Psychology rests on shaky empirical proof, improper premises and unexamined political presuppositions. during this provocative and ground-breaking e-book, 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 viewpoint on human improvement which recognizes the complexity of existence by means of putting at its centre the residing organism instead of the gene.
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Extra info for Alas, Poor Darwin: Arguments Against Evolutionary Psychology
Chapter 2 was written by Charles Jencks in the light of his encounter with E. O. Wilson – the man whom the novelist Tom Wolfe described as the new Darwin – at a conference in Boston. 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. One of the more bizarre extensions of selfish genery in recent years has been the way in which a number of EP converts have taken up an almost off-the-cuff suggestion by Dawkins that there might exist units of culture, analogous to genes, which could similarly replicate and mutate inside individual people.
But the deforming fingers of the culture they produce persist long after both the knowledge-producers and indeed even the social hierarchies their biology celebrated have turned into dust. Thus the feminist movement of the 1970s found it necessary, not only to confront contemporary biologised theories of patriarchy, but to go back to Aristotle as a foundational and deeply patriarchal figure within Western thought to confront his theory of human nature. Feminists saw it as crucial to expose the inadequacy of his biologised account of male superiority in order to challenge the trouble this was still causing when trying to understand late twentieth-century gender relations.