Jason's Reviews > The Red Queen: Sex and the Evolution of Human Nature

The Red Queen by Matt Ridley
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's review

really liked it
Recommended to Jason by: Heather

Well, I had hoped to write this review closer to having read the book, but I'll write this anyway, just without some of the examples I was hoping to remember.

Roughly the first 1/2 to 2/3 of the books covers the different explanations for why sex arose and the mating habits of various non-human species. One thing that is great about this book is it will relate a theory, then an insufficiency in the theory, then a counter theory, then additional findings, and back and forth and so on. If there isn't a consensus it just leaves the question open and for you to ponder yourself. For anyone interested in how science is done, numerous examples ideas blossoming, be attacked, rediscovered, etc. are recounted. Also, lots of different case studies are recounted. All the stories of different species behavior is entertaining in and of itself.

In the last part of the book, humans are closely examined. As long as you repeatedly the disclaimer at the beginning of that section, that you may be able to say something about males are more X on average and females are more Y on average, but individual instances of men and women, of course, may run counter. Also, that evolution has primed certain tendencies for each sex, but tendencies are not fate and thus, again, you can only talk about averages or generalities. If you remember that, and don't get your undies in a bunch, the discussion of how human nature is/was shaped by evolution is illuminating.

So I recommend this to everyone, especially those interested in how the brain works, how people work, and/or how science works.
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Reading Progress

February 18, 2008 – Shelved
Started Reading
July 29, 2008 – Finished Reading

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