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am 19. Juli 1999
Author did a superb job of providing good scientific backing for his findings but, at the same time, made this an easy, even humourus read for the layman.
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am 5. April 1999
This book is awesome. Dispense with theology and college philosophy. The answers lie here.
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am 6. Januar 1998
Wright's analysis of evolutionary psychology offers fascinating insights into the shaping of human behavior. Evolutionary psychology takes as its formula - does a behaviour increase the chances of reproductive success? - and studies the relationships between people in this context. This new science has offered interesting theories on the old issues of monogamy and faithfulness, trust, and status. The science constantly reminds us that we were designed in a painstaking evolutionary laboratory over eons - and that modern civilation has dramatically changed our context without allowing our genes to catch up. Behaviours that made sense a million years ago don't help out on the daily commute. The Moral Animal offers a summary of current thinking on this important new science. Wright presents as his case-study in intricate detail the life of Charles Darwin, and assesses his behavior in light of evolutionary psychology. The concept is interesting, and demonstrates how the science can be applied to specific, individual behavior, but the reader quickly is convinced that he would prefer it never be applied to himself. The downside of this book is the arrogant attitude of "hey, we finally figured everything out." The author constantly points out why prior theories are "wrong" and evolutionary psychology is right. Wright is fascinated with the single issue of status, and spends the majority of the book discussing this one issue, often repeating the same analysis over and over. The study would be even better if presented with a smaller chip on the shoulder.
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am 22. November 1999
All I want to say is summed up in this paragraph from The Moral Animal. It is deeply disturbing to me that this type of mysogeny is being published and lauded (by male reviewers, mind you) in 1990. Did you skip the beginning of the book with its incredibly anti-women agenda? We obviously haven't come very far.
Female orangutangs are a good example. They do often seem to exercise positive choice, favoring some males over others. But sometimes they resist mating and are forcibly subdued and -- insofar as this word can be applied to nonhumans -- raped. There is evidence that the rapists, often adolescents, usually fail to impregnate. But suppose that they succeed with some regularity. Then a female, in sheerily Darwinian terms, is BETTER OFF MATING WITH A GOOD RAPIST, A BIG, STRONG, SEXUALLY AGGRESSIVE MALE; her male offspring will then be more likely to be big, strong, and sexually aggressive--and therefore prolific. So female resistance should be favored by natural selection as a way to avoid having a son WHO IS AN INEPT RAPIST (assuming it doesn't bring injury to the female)... Once females in general begin putting up the slightest resistance, then a female that puts up a little extra resistance is exhibiting a valuable trait. For whatever it takes to penetrate resistance, the sons of strong resisters are more likely to have it than the sons of weak resisters. Thus, in sheerly Darwinian terms, coyness becomes its own reward. And this is true whether the male's means of approach is verbal or physical.
Nice to know that if you get raped, at least any child born of that hateful act will go out and do the same thing. Thanks, Robert.
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am 24. März 2000
Don't waste your time or money. Though the science is adequate and the logic occasionally interesting to follow, the author cannot hide his thinly veiled sexist victorian philsophy. The text is full of barbs aimed at feminists, prostitutes, female scientists, and just about everyone else who doesn't happen to buy the religious right version of morality. If you want insight into the dynamics of male/female relationships, you'd be better served reading "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus" (but not by much). This book has a hidden agenda, and an ugly one at that.
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