Steve Stewart-Williams quotes

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Steve Stewart-Williams

Birthdate: 1971

Steve Stewart-Williams is an associate professor in the school of psychology at the University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus, and author of the books Darwin, God and the Meaning of Life and The Ape That Understood the Universe . He was born in Wellington, New Zealand.

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„The pattern of sex differences found in our species mirrors that found in most mammals and in many other animals. As such, considerations of parsimony suggest that the best explanation for the human differences will invoke evolutionary forces common to many species, rather than social forces unique to our own. When we find the standard pattern of differences in other, less culture-bound creatures, we inevitably explain this in evolutionary terms. It seems highly dubious, when we find exactly the same pattern in human beings, to say that, in the case of this one primate species, we must explain it in terms of an entirely different set of causes — learning or cumulative culture — which coincidentally replicates the pattern found throughout the rest of the animal kingdom. Anyone who wishes to adopt this position has a formidable task in front of them. They must explain why, in the hominin lineage uniquely, the standard evolved psychological differences suddenly became maladaptive, and thus why natural selection “wiped the slate clean” of any biological contribution to these differences. They must explain why natural selection eliminated the psychological differences but left the correlated physical differences intact. And they must explain why natural selection would eliminate the psychological differences and leave it all to learning, when learning simply replicated the same sex differences anyway. How could natural selection favor extreme flexibility with respect to sex differences if that flexibility was never exercised and was therefore invisible to selection?“

—  Steve Stewart-Williams

Source: The Ape that Thought It Was a Peacock: Does Evolutionary Psychology Exaggerate Human Sex Differences? (2013), pp. 142-143

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