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

Popular Science

By: Agustín Fuentes(Author)

304 pages, 1 b/w photo, 8 b/w illustrations, 1 table

University of California Press

Paperback | Mar 2015 | #221172 | ISBN-13: 9780520285996
Availability: Usually dispatched within 48 hours
NHBS Price: £23.99 $32/€27 approx
Hardback | Jun 2012 | #221189 | ISBN-13: 9780520269712
Availability: Usually dispatched within 4 days Details
NHBS Price: £23.99 $32/€27 approx

About this book

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 Agustin 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, Race, Monogamy, and Other Lies They Told You is a rich and nuanced account of how nature, culture, experience, and choice interact to influence human behavior.

"The author masterly conveys his knowledge in an informative way [...] If you are willing to enhance your worldview by sleuthing to discover 'who we are and why we do what we do, Race, Monogamy, and Other Lies They Told You is for you. Whether you agree with Fuentes or not, it will at least engage your critical thinking skills and encourage you to be a more active and discerning consumer of information."
Science (AAAS)

"This book is a must for anyone looking to explore where the lines of human nature and artificial class structure are, and where Fuentes says they've been artificially created."
Charleston Post & Courier

"Accessible, compelling, and original, this book is a rich and nuanced account of how nature, culture, experience, and choice interact to influence human behavior."
– Ian Paulsen Birdbooker Report/The Guardian

– J. Stauder, University of Massachusetts––Dartmouth Choice

"Students who had read the book praised the lively style and found it especially convincing [...] Fuentes convey[s] what I most want to tackle in a semester-long Anthropology 101 course [...] Presenting scientific evidence from diverse fields including anthropology, biology, and psychology, Fuentes dismantles persistent fallacies about the validity of biological races, innateness of aggression and violence, nature of monogamy and differences between sexes."
Living Anthropologically

"Useful [...] [Fuentes] debunks some popular misconceptions about evolutionary change and provides a basic primer on evolutionary theory."
– Joan C. Stevenson, Western Washington University American Journal Of Human Biology

"Engaging [...] Fuentes's work goes a long way toward burying some of the most pervasive myths about human beings."
– Stefano B. Longo and Nicholas Malone, Monthly Review

"Just might be the winner of my brain crush of the year award."

"In this compelling bit of pop science, Fuentes, professor of anthropology at Notre Dame, asks readers to throw out their preconceptions about what it means to be a human [...] It is a weighing of experience with a healthy dose of speculation and doubt that Fuentes claims is the key to uncovering anthropological truths, and thereby navigating the world as a more responsible and unbiased member of society."
Publishers Weekly

"Fuentes deserves praise for and success with this book. The myth-busting toolkit, which is essentially a pattern of questioning, is a wonderful device [...] Fuentes is not just informing, he is teaching readers how to think critically."
Washington Ind Rev Of Bks

"Lively, thoughtful book [...] He's firmly on team logic."
Boston Globe

"As an introductory text for students [...] the book is clear and engaging. Fuentes provides brief and understandable accounts about the basic biological and cultural concepts associated with each of the myths he lays out, as well as a set of endnotes that might encourage students to look up more material on their own."
American Journal of Physical Anthropology


List of Illustrations Preface Acknowledgments

Part 1. Myth-Busting Tool Kit
1. Myths about Human Nature Are Powerful and Misleading
2. Culture Problems with What We Believe about Being Human
3. Evolution Is Important but May Not Be What We Think

Part 2. Busting Three Myths about Being Human
Prelude: Human ? Nature + Nurture
4. The Myth of Race
5. Myths about Aggression
6. Myths about Sex
7. Beyond the Myths: Now What?

Appendix: Getting the Information Yourself

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Agustin 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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