Singer's A Darwinian Left

nemonemini at nemonemini at
Sun Dec 9 11:29:07 MST 2001

To: evolutionary-psychology at
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The Yale Review if Books
Volume 4 No. 2

Can Darwin Replace Marx?
Peter Singer's shabby attempt to teach the left the uses of evolution.
A Darwinian Left:  Politics, Evolution, and Cooperation
Peter Singer
Yale University Press, 70 pp., $9.95 Joshua Foer is a freshman in

reviewed by Joshua Foer

When A Natural History of Rape by Randy Thornhill and Craig Palmer hit
bookstores early last year, it was greeted by one of the most
barrages of criticism by intellectuals on the left of any book since
The Bell
Curve. The book placed rape in the context of its evolutionary
history and
attempted to explain how one of the most despicable of human acts is
actually a
genetically developed strategy employed by some men to propagate
their genes.
Masked behind the many accurate critiques of Thornhill and Palmer’s
science was a much deeper discomfort on the part of many on the left
with the
burgeoning field of evolutionary psychology and its Darwinian
explanations of
human behavior.

In his short book A Darwinian Left, bioethicist Peter Singer seeks to
guide the
left towards a new appreciation of evolution and undo the uneasiness
Darwin reflected in the response of so many liberals to works of
like A Natural History of Rape. Moreover, he hopes to make
evolutionary theory
the centerpiece of a new ideological approach on the left.

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