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Divided Labours: An Evolutionary View of Women at Work (Darwinism Today series) 1st Edition
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Peter Singer in A Darwinian Left: Politics, Evolution and Cooperation (also reviewed by me) suggests some principles that a new Darwinian Left adopt. One is not to deny the existence of a human nature nor assume that it is "infinitely malleable". Another is not to assume "that all inequalities are due to discrimination, prejudice, oppression or social conditioning". It is in the spirit of attempting to apply these principles that I believe Divided Labours should be read.
The author is a law professor and his book reads like a legal brief. That said the writing is very clear and seemingly fair as far as it goes. He is particularly careful in specifying the limitations of what can be inferred from some of his evolutionary facts. He also provides some good examples of the kind of population thinking necessary for understanding many of these kinds of issues. He mentions that at the height of five-feet-ten the ratio of males to females is 30:1. A six-foot, only two inches taller, it is 2000:1. Understanding the implications of these kinds of facts is crucial and I wish he had included a chapter emphasizing the importance and differences of population thinking versus concentrating on the individual.
So what is the books brief?Read more ›
I share the concern echoed by other reviewers regarding the bizarre comment submitted by a "reader from Northeast USA." Any reasonable person who has read one of Kingsley Browne's many papers or heard him speak at conferences on evolutionary law will realize that his only agenda is to call the facts and their policy implications as he sees them. This is a scholarly agenda--unlike anonymous ad hominem attacks, a classic tactic of those whose agenda is truly political in nature.
I note with some astonishment that an anonymous reviewer on this website has characterized Professor Browne as a marginal academic who has written little and who does not separate his science from his politics. These claims are worse then nonsense - they constitute libel, pure and simple. The topic on which Browne writes is a sensitive one. Some people seem to believe, falsely in my opinion, that an evolutionary explanation of temperamental differences between men and women will lead to a letdown in the political drive to eliminate discrimination against women in the workplace. The anonymous reviewer may be libeling Browne in the hope of discrediting the scientific theories presented in Browne's book. This individual is spitting into the wind.
Browne is at best a marginal figure, certainly among evolutionary psychologists (most of whom I'm sure have never heard of him) but even among evolutionary legal scholars. As far as I know, he has written all of 2 law review articles in the past 2 decades, neither of which has attracted much attention (properly -- they're both so long and desperately political that they fall flat). The editors of Darwinism Today must have really owed Browne some kind of life debt to have allowed Browne to be included in a series with the likes of Daly and Wilson.
So, nothing leading about Browne. Also, nothing late about this work -- not to mention, very little that is right or interesting. Browne wants badly to argue that evolutionary research shows that efforts to increase sex equity in the workplace are doomed to failure. He first made this argument in print in the early 1980s, when sociobiology had such a narrow, static view of sex differences that it might have seemed plausible.
The problem for Browne is that evolutionary psychology has matured in the time since and can no longer support such simple-minded conclusions. So Browne has to resort to misrepresentation to make his political argument.Read more ›