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Testosterone Rex – Myths of Sex, Science, and Society Hardcover – 13 January 2017
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A provocative and often fascinating book.-- "The Economist"
Cordelia Fine's Testosterone Rex: Myths of Sex, Science, and Society does the public service of deconstructing the biological and societal tenets on which the continued inequality of the sexes is largely founded. . . . Using humor and her uniquely accessible academic writing style, . . . [Fine disrupts] what we think we know about gender difference.--Katie Klabusich "Rewire"
Fascinating [and] bold. . . . Fine has written a book that's not only well-researched and convincing but also . . . delightfully humorous.--Barbara J. King "NPR"
Fine's funny, spiky book gives reason to hope that we've heard Testosterone rex's last roar.--Annie Murphy Paul "New York Times Book Review"
In addition to being hopeful, Fine is also angry. We should all be angry. Testosterone Rex is a debunking rumble that ought to inspire a roar.-- "The Guardian"
In this witty corrective, psychologist Cordelia Fine examines the fraying "biological big picture" of sexual selection, and corrals findings in evolutionary science, neuroscience and endocrinology to add nuance to it.--Barbara Kiser "Nature, "Best Science Picks""
The expression 'essential reading for everyone' is usually untrue as well as a cliché, but if there were a book deserving of that description this might just be it.--Antonia Macaro "Financial Times"
About the Author
- Publisher : W. W. Norton & Company (13 January 2017)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 272 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0393082083
- ISBN-13 : 978-0393082081
- Dimensions : 16.76 x 2.54 x 24.38 cm
- Best Sellers Rank: 227,244 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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She rails against strawmen arguments that no one actually believes (i.e., she argues against men and women having two totally different types of brains, with no overlap at all in competitiveness between males and females), while ignoring the more subtle arguments that people actually promote (i.e., that even a modest difference in competitiveness between the sexes on average would result in large differences in the sex ratio at the tails of the distribution).
She also makes preposterous claims that demonstrate her poor understanding of evolution. For instance, at one point, she claims that reproduction is not the primary purpose of sexual intercourse in humans. This is clearly wrong. Regardless of how few copulations result in fertilization, and regardless of whatever other purposes copulation serves (e.g., pair bonding), to the extent that the word "purpose" has any meaning in evolutionary biology at all, then the "primary purpose" of sexual intercourse is CLEARLY reproduction.
In general, the style of writing is poor and distracted, and attempts at humour fall flat.
In short, this is not a good book. It is largely an exercise in water-muddying, in which the author presents little tidbits of contradictory information, hoping that you ignore larger trends. To give just one example of the ludicrous style of argumentation in this book, the author calculates that the probability that a man could successfully fertilize 100 women in a year is 0.0000000000000000000001 or some similarly small number. Therefore, she concludes that the classic argument in evolutionary biology that male reproductive success is limited by the number of females he can fertilize must be false. She ignores the general point that a male clearly has a much, much greater chance of fertilizing two (or three, or four) women in a year than a woman has of being fertilized by two (or three, or four) men in a year. Males do have greater variance in reproductive success than females, but you wouldn't know it from reading this book.
However, I did appreciate the discussion of how males and females might perceive risks & rewards differently based on societal factors. The book is at its best when it is discussing social issues rather than biology.
Misinformation about sex-differences science is expected because discussions are so easily coloured by politics. T’s author cleverly illustrates this with an incident early in her academic development where she admits to her own bias when using non-scientific grounds to dismiss a published ‘natural history’ hypothesis for rape.
“T” is a book of evidence, showing both that “typical” sex differences are real and to a large extent supporting biological explanations.