- Paperback: 474 pages
- Publisher: University of California Press; 2nd Revised edition edition (April 1, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0520260120
- ISBN-13: 978-0520260122
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 48 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #205,578 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Evolution’s Rainbow: Diversity, Gender, and Sexuality in Nature and People Paperback – April 1, 2009
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From the Inside Flap
"An entrancing tale of sexual ambiguity in animals and people, but also that rarest of literary beastsa science book written from the heart."Steve Jones, author of Darwin's Ghost
"A thoughtful and scholarly, yet deeply personal, perspective from a brilliant theoretical biologist. This articulate and provocative disquisition is must reading for anyone fascinated by one of the most important contemporary social challenges."Simon Levin, author of Fragile Dominion
"This book challenges not only the assumptions about male-female differences in behavior and homosexual-heterosexual differences, but also the very meanings of maleness’ and femaleness’ in physical and biological terms. Roughgarden builds a strong case for biological diversity related to what humans call sex, gender, and sexuality."Bonnie Spanier, author of Im/partial Science: Gender Ideology in Molecular Biology
"Joan Roughgarden asks, and indeed tries to answer, all the big questions about sexual diversity among humans and animals. She takes her readers on a wonderful journey through ecology and evolution and is a brilliant and talented narrator. Evolution's Rainbow will fundamentally change many ongoing conversations on sexuality and science."Judith Halberstam, author of Female Masculinity
"Every now and then science focuses on a subject that matters. Gender and gender differences matter to us social primates. And we will judge, condemn, restrict or incarcerate people based on our notions of biologically normal variability in gender and sexuality. Thus, it is immensely important when a book comes along, written clearly and authoritatively by an eminent scientist, that demonstrates how wrong most people’s ideas are about this subject. This is such a book."Robert Sapolsky, author of A Primate’s Memoir
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All of her discussions, though, serve another purpose, and that is to contrast how certain aspects of what Darwin believed have been supplanted. For example, there is little reason in Darwinian thought as to why there could possibly be any evolutionary advantage in having a small percentage of gay or transsexual individuals in a population, as they don't typically reproduce. However, Roughgarden shows how having adult members with no offspring actually can increase the odds that the young that are produced survive until they are able to breed. So it is not just about breeding, which is what much of Darwinian thought revolves around, but rather breeding AND ensuring that the young live to sexual maturity and mating themselves.
All in all I found this an engaging, clearly-written, solidly documented work that doesn't require you to be a biologist, just a person with some understanding of science and a willingness to learn new ideas. highly recommended!