Evolutionary psychology claims to be the authoritative science of “human nature.” Its chief architects, including Stephen Pinker and David Buss, have managed to reach well beyond the ivory tower to win large audiences and influence public discourse. But do the answers that evolutionary psychologists provide about language, sex, and social relations add up? Susan McKinnon thinks not.
Far from being an account of evolution and social relations that has historical and cross-cultural validity, evolutionary psychology is a stunning example of a “science” that twists evolutionary genetics into a myth of human origins. As McKinnon shows, that myth is shaped by neo-liberal economic values and relies on ethnocentric understandings of sex, gender, kinship, and social relations. She also explores the implications for public policy of the moral tales that are told by evolutionary psychologists in the guise of “scientific” inquiry.
Drawing widely from the anthropological record, Neo-Liberal Genetics offers a sustained and accessible critique of the myths of human nature fabricated by evolutionary psychologists.