Ashley Zacharias's Reviews > A Natural History of Rape: Biological Bases of Sexual Coercion

A Natural History of Rape by Randy Thornhill
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Dec 21, 10

Read from December 18 to 19, 2010

Not particularly well written. Logical holes and gaps that you could drive a truck through. Way too defensive about feminists and social scientists. Not nearly enough data. Not a chart or graph in the whole book. But probably correct in most of the conclusions.
Feminists have said so many goofy things in the last fifty years that refuting them is a lot like taking on a baby in a cage fight. The audience is going to hate you, just because you look so mean.
The thing that really grates in this book is Thornhill's generalizations about social scientists. His "natural science chauvinism" is not pretty. In fact, there are a lot of hard-headed social scientists who are a lot more skeptical than Thornhill realizes.
Statistically, psychologists are less likely to believe in supernatural claims than any other profession, for example. And, to the extent that social learning theories are a kind of mysticism, a surprising number of psychologists dismiss them.
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Cadmium Candy I love your baby in a cage fight analogy.

There are a few holes in the logic, but far less than i find in most popular science books.

I thought it was beautifully written, i think what you see as "not well written" is that it's not written like a book, it's written more like a series of scientific papers (but written far better than most papers). I used to think most social science books were terribly written, but i'm beginning to think they're probably just a different style.

To me (an evolutionary biology grad student) the anti-social-science sections were quite amusing, particularly the evolutionary explanation for why people don't like evolutionary explanations, but i agree it's not a very constructive way to go about the argument, particularly if they want the book to be read and accepted by people other than evolutionary biologists.


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