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The Darwinian fallacy

By applying Darwinian theory to human behaviour, evolutionary psychologists such as Steven Pinker have provided striking insights. But the new Darwinians reduce culture to biology and do not understand how language and self-awareness have made humans different from animals

By Kenan Malik   December 1998

Boys are made to squirt and girls are made to lay eggs. And if the truth be known, boys don’t very much care what they squirt into.” Crude though it may be, Gore Vidal’s pithy quote neatly sums up the argument of evolutionary psychology.

The human mind is created by genes, the argument goes, the sole purpose of which is to reproduce themselves. The genes, which have been selected through evolution, programme the mind with behaviour patterns best designed to carry out their selfish aims. The reproductive strategies of men and women are different, so they have been programmed to…

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