A compelling takedown of prevailing myths about human behaviour, updated and expanded to meet the current moment.
There are three major myths of human nature: humans are divided into biological races; humans are naturally aggressive; and men and women are wholly different in behaviour, desires, and wiring. Race, Monogamy, and Other Lies They Told You counters these pervasive and pernicious myths about human behaviour. Agustín Fuentes tackles misconceptions about what race, aggression, and sex really mean for humans, and incorporates an accessible understanding of culture, genetics, and evolution that requires 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, sex, and gender. This revised and expanded edition provides up-to-date references, data, and analyses, and addresses new topics, including the popularity of home DNA testing kits and the rise of '"incel" culture; the resurgence of racist, nativist thinking and the internet's influence in promoting bad science; and a broader understanding of the diversity of sex and gender.
List of Illustrations
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
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.
"Agustín Fuentes engages readers in a complex but well-mapped journey that challenges commonly accepted assumptions about the nature of race, aggression, and fundamental differences in the desires and behaviors of men and women [...] Readers for whom biology, anthropology, and psychology are not disciplines of practice or interest need not fret. 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."
"Where these myths come from, and how to bust them, is the basis of this lively, thoughtful book."
– Boston Globe
"Accessible, compelling, and original, this book is a rich and nuanced account of how nature, culture, experience, and choice interact to influence human behavior."
"In this compelling bit of pop science, [the author] 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
"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
"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 Independent Review of Books
"[Fuentes] debunks some popular misconceptions about evolutionary change and provides a basic primer on evolutionary theory."
– American Journal of Human Biology