Race, Monogamy, and Other Lies They Told You: Busting Myths about Human Nature

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9780520285996: Race, Monogamy, and Other Lies They Told You: Busting Myths about Human Nature
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There are three major myths of human nature: humans are divided into biological races; humans are naturally aggressive; men and women are truly different in behavior, desires, and wiring. In an engaging and wide-ranging narrative Agustín Fuentes counters these pervasive and pernicious myths about human behavior. Tackling misconceptions about what race, aggression, and sex really mean for humans, Fuentes incorporates an accessible understanding of culture, genetics, and evolution requiring us to dispose of notions of “nature or nurture.” Presenting scientific evidence from diverse fields, including anthropology, biology, and psychology, Fuentes devises a myth-busting toolkit to dismantle persistent fallacies about the validity of biological races, the innateness of aggression and violence, and the nature of monogamy and differences between the sexes. A final chapter plus an appendix provide a set of take-home points on how readers can myth-bust on their own. Accessible, compelling, and original, this book is a rich and nuanced account of how nature, culture, experience, and choice interact to influence human behavior.

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From the Inside Flap:

“Unlike advocates who promote one-cause-fits-all explanations for human behavior, Fuentes appreciates the array of influences that make us human. This book is guaranteed to give the reader a more nuanced view of who we are, and why we do what we do.”―Joel Best, author of Everyone’s a Winner and Damned Lies and Statistics

“Agustín Fuentes has established himself as an original and authoritative voice for the study of human origins. While interrogating the narrative of where we came from, the domain of both science and mythology, he explains scientific subtleties with grace and ease and successfully guides us through a confrontation with our bio-cultural nature.”―Jonathan Marks, author of What it Means to be 98% Chimpanzee

“Fuentes brings together an enormous array of information from diverse fields to counter some of the most pervasive myths about human nature in our society.” ―Karen B. Strier, author of Primate Behavioral Ecology

“It is about time that an anthropologist discusses these pervasive myths of human nature and shows them to be just that: myths. Using data from across anthropology and debunking popular writings that do not account for all of the relevant literature, Fuentes does an exceptional job in deconstructing many commonly held beliefs concerning human behavior.” ―Robert W. Sussman, coauthor of Man the Hunted

“Fuentes challenges us to undertake the most fundamental of self-help programs and free ourselves of harmful misconceptions about race, aggression, and sex. By approaching the study of human nature through the lens of evolution, he has produced an illuminating, refreshing, and uplifting view of humanity that is both a superb history of our species and a manual for our future.” ―Nina G. Jablonski, author of Skin and Living Color

About the Author:

Agustín Fuentes is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Notre Dame. He is the author of Evolution of Human Behavior, Biological Anthropology: Concepts and Connections and Core Concepts in Biological Anthropology.

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