Darwinism Today

Darwinism Today is a series of short books by leading figures in the field of evolutionary theory. Each title is an authoritative pocket introduction to the Darwinian ideas that are setting today's intellectual agenda.

The series developed out of The Darwin Seminars at the London School of Economics. The seminars have provided a platform for distinguished evolutionists to present the latest Darwinian thinking and to explore its application to humans.

The programme has had an enormous impact, both in helping to popularise evolutionary theory and in fostering cross-disciplinary approaches to shared problems. With the publication of Darwinism Today we hope that the best of the new Darwinian ideas will reach an even wider audience. Books from the series have been translated into Danish, Dutch, French, Greek, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese and Spanish. The entire series is published in the US by Yale University Press|.

Darwinism Today is published by Weidenfeld and Nicolson (London); the series is edited by Helena Cronin and Oliver Curry.

Please direct any queries about the series to Oliver Curry at o.s.curry@lse.ac.uk|

Praise for Darwinism Today

'Buy these books by the dozen, and send them to all your relations instead of Christmas cards.'
Richard Dawkins, author of The Selfish Gene

'Bulletins from the barricades of an intellectual revolution - these radicals know how to write.'
Matt Ridley, author of The Origins of Virtue

'These fascinating and provocative pieces explore new implications of "the most important idea that anyone ever had".'
Steven Pinker, author of How the Mind Works

Current titles

John Maynard Smith FRS
Shaping Life: Genes, embryos and evolution
1998
John Maynard Smith argues that the currently polarised debate in biology between evolutionary thory's concern with adaptation and embryology's concern with development is marked less by science than by ideology - reductionism to the right and holism to the left. But, thanks to advances in the science underpinning both viewpoints, a rapprochement is near.
Amazon UK| | Amazon US|

Kingsley Browne
Law, Wayne State, Michigan
Divided Labours: An evolutionary view of women at work
1998
Kingsley Browne - American lawyer and evolutionary thinker - takes a fresh look at the notorious differences in earnings and status between men and women in the workplace. He proposes the thought-provoking and controversial view that sex discrimination alone cannot account for these disparities and that the burden of responsibility lies instead with evolved differences between the sexes.
Amazon UK| | Amazon US|

Colin Tudge
Author of The Engineer in the Garden, The Day Before Yesterday and The Variety of Life.
Neanderthals, Bandits and Farmers: How agriculture really began
1998
Colin Tudge overturns the traditional view that agriculture began in the Middle East 10,000 years ago. He argues instead that agriculture in some form has always been in the repertoire of our ancestors - a versatility that made them all the more effective hunters and gatherers. Unearthing the truth about what could well be the most important period in our history, Tudge offers new insights into the origins and future of farming.
Amazon UK| | Amazon US|

Martin Daly FRS and Margo Wilson FRS
Psychology, McMaster
The Truth about Cinderella: ADarwinian view of parental love
1998
A child is one hundred times more likely to be abused or killed by a step-parent than by a genetic parent. In a classic application of evolutionary theory, Daly and Wilson argue that the official orthodoxy, which ignores family ties, obscures the increased dangers to children living in stepfamilies. This threat, although a recurring theme of folk-tales worldwide, has nevertheless been scandalously neglected by policy makers and opinion formers.
Amazon UK| | Amazon US|

Peter Singer
Bioethics, Princeton. Author of Animal Liberation and Practical Ethics.
A Darwinian Left: Politics, evolution and cooperation
1999
Humans are natural born co-operators. So why is left-wing politics so contemptuous of biological theories of behaviour, leaving the right wing to claim Darwinism as its own?

In this ground-breaking book, Peter Singer traces the history of this intellectual divide and concludes that it is high time that the left radically revised its outdated view of human nature. He shows how the insights of modern evolutionary theory can help to set realistic and realisable goals, re-invigorating left-wing thinking.

This is a new vision of the political left from one of the leading moral philosophers of our time.
Amazon UK| | Amazon US|

Richard Wilkinson
Public Health Sciences, Nottingham
Mind the Gap: Hierarchies, health and human evolution
2000
Inequality kills. Deaths from stress-related diseases, accidents, murders and drug and alcohol abuse are all markedly higher in countries with pronounced income inequality. Even within a single corporation, death rates from heart disease among those at the bottom can be three times higher than among those at the top.

In Mind the Gap, Richard Wilkinson asks why inequality should have such effects. Why are humans so sensitive to relative poverty? The answer to this question - which draws on modern evolutionary theory, evolutionary psychology, studies of hunter-gatherer societies, primatology, the biochemistry of stress and the social psychology of cooperation - is that, during the course of human evolution, the social environment has been at least as important as the physical environment.

Unequal societies are marked by greater competitive interaction between their members and fewer opportunities for cooperative interaction. The biological consequences of more competitive social environments are those associated with 'stress': prolonged exposure to the body's 'fight or flight' response.

This highly original work has relevance for many of the most pressing social and political issues of our time, not least in Britain, which has seen Europe's most drastic increase in income inequality over the past decade.
Amazon UK|Amazon US|

Catherine Salmon and Don Symons
Psychology, Redlands; Psychology, Santa Barbara
Warrior Lovers: Erotic fiction, evolution and female sexuality
2001
Romance novels and pornography are multi-billion-dollar global industries. In Warrior Lovers, Catherine Salmon and Donald Symons show how the stark contrasts between these erotic genres reflect the very different selection pressures that forged women's and men's sexual psychologies during human evolutionary history. In particular, the authors analyse a new subgenre, written by and for women: 'slash fiction'.

'Slash' depicts romantic and sexual relationships between heterosexual males, fictional characters from television and film, such as Star Trek's K/S (Captain Kirk and Mr Spock) - the term 'slash' denoting the punctuation mark that unites the pair.

The heroes of romance novels and slash fiction alike are 'warrior lovers' who embody the qualities that our female ancestors valued in a mate. But, whereas romance-novel readers fantasise about being 'Mrs Warrior', slash fans prefer to fantasise about being a 'co-warrior'.

By separating the essential features of female erotic fantasy from the variable, the authors get to the heart of what women really want.
Amazon UK|Amazon US|

Forthcoming titles

Leda Cosmides and John Tooby
Psychology and Anthropology, Santa Barbara
Universal Minds: Human nature and the science of evolutionary psychology
The mind is a collection of tools designed by natural selection to solve the problems faced by our ancestors. From recognizing faces to falling in love, from acquiring a language to reciprocating favours, evolutionary psychology is at last unravelling the mystery of what it means to be human. Here two pioneers of the field, Leda Cosmides and John Tooby, explain the science behind the headlines.

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