on May 1, 2010
Ce livre se lit comme du bonbon tout en faisant comprendre de façon très claire à quel point la théorie de Darwin n'est pas basée uniquement basée sur la lutte mais aussi la coopération, ce dont je me doutais depuis toujours.
Très agréable à lire, et ce, même s'il s'agit d'infos scientifiques. bravo!
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on May 21, 2004
Roughgarden's convingly-argued case against the theory of sexual selection is long overdue, and the alternative she proposes -- social selection -- is intriguing. However, one is advised to approach the second half of the book with caution. Roughgarden is far too uncritical in her acceptance of sex differences research. Definitely read Fausto-Sterling, Tavris, and/or Hubbard before tackling this one.
on September 21, 2013
Everyone should read this book It's written by a transgendered woman biologist named Joan roughgarden. Even if your not particularly interested in biology it's a must read.I learned so much from reading this book. She covers all the topics , homosexuality in animals, intersex animals and people, cloning. Did you know some fish species have 3 sexes? It's a fascinating book. I couldn't put it down. She also talks about how biological theories are often biased specifically Darwin's theory. I'm much more enlightened after reading this book.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on July 2, 2004
I loved this clearly written, pioneering book. It's a perspective I've never read before, backed by lots of facts and reasonable logic. It's hugely broadening to read, and I'd recommend it to anyone with the slightest interest in human beings.
I bought this fearing it would be too dry. I couldn't put it down.
One of the most intellectually stimulating books I've read in years.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on July 18, 2004
... for the better. FINALLY! A book on the reality of nature (beyond classical, archaic and now defunct theories) is so long overdue seeing as how we are in the 21st century and all. Yes, I know it is difficult, and perhaps even painful, for some essentialists to accept but it is time now to move BEYOND Darwin. Let him go. Move on. There now, isn't that better?
Roughgarden has assembled an impressive arsenal of SCIENTIFIC (yes, SCIENTIFIC) findings that give a glimpse of the true diversity and beauty of gender and sexual expression across species and human cultures. It is also worth noting that, in a time when many heterosexual and homosexual men and women continue to stigmatize and silence gender and sexual diversity (ex: bisexuals and transgender individuals) by claiming that gender and sexuality are binary constructs, this book serves as a reminder that the world is not black-and-white and that nature's "exceptions" should not only be accepted but should be celebrated.
Kudos and thank you, Dr. Roughgarden!
1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on May 10, 2004
Cast around a bit on the web and you will find a respectful, carefully worded evaluation of Evolution's Rainbow by Simon LeVay which was written for Princeton University Press (who did not publish the book). The guist of that critique is that the Prof. Roughgarden starts with a important overview of sexual diveristy in nature, followed by a weak attack on the theory of sexual selection. I am not in a position to decide who is right. However, Prof. Roughgarden's unbelievably vituperative attacks on that evaluator (also available on the web) makes me suspect it is Dr. LeVay.
3 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on June 27, 2004
Roughgarden embarrasses herself and decides to abandon her former role as a scientist in favor of becoming a politically correct activist. This book has one huge, massive, fundamental flaw: It is not science, but it is presented as such. The real scientific method goes something like this: accumulate data, observations, and facts, then formulate a theory that best explains them. Roughgarden does the opposite: she starts with a theory already in mind, and then seeks out facts to support it. That is not the way to the truth -- it's just a form of narcissistic self-congratulation. I've spoken to many scientists in the biological sciences, and every single one of them dismisses this book out of hand as a joke. It has nothing to do with real science, they say -- it's just someone making a personal statement. By ignoring or abandoning the basic scientific method, Roughgarden has declared what side she's on: politics over truth. Activism over science.
As to the specifics of the case: Sure, as the author points out, there are hundreds -- yes, HUNDREDS, wow! -- of species with unusual gender or sexual roles. But what she intentionally fails to mention is that there are MILLIONS upon MILLIONS of species on earth, and that the few hundreds she describes are but the tiniest fraction of 1% of all species. All sorts of variations of all types can be found in the animal kingdom, much of it bizarre and much of it non-sexual. Of course there are some creatures with unusual gender identifications -- such variation is to be expected. But it doesn't prove anything beyond what we already knew about the diversity of nature. Then Roughgarden goes on to say, incredibly, that gender identification is nothing more than a choice, a cultural artifact -- even among the most primitive animals. In other words, gender is not necessarily biologically determined, she claims -- it's an intellectual decision. Yes: insects and lizards and fish DECIDE what gender they want to be, according to Roughgarden. It would be funny, an urban legend kook theory, if it wasn't given the veneer of respectability by UC Press, who decided to publish this book solely because it's so PC and "subversive."
Then Roughgarden foolishly tries to take on Darwin, but misses the point entirely. Her critique of Darwinian sexual selection is so amateurish, so politically motivated, that at this point in the book I actually started to feel sorry for the author. She had obviously lost her way intellectually, and no longer grasped the fundamentals of evolutionary theory. She seems to believe -- because her political stance compels her believe -- that current theories of sexual selection always entail passive females choosing the strongest, most aggressive males. Puh-leeze. There's no room in this short review to elucidate the full extent of sexual selection theory, but Roughgarden is just setting up a "straw man" argument that she can rebut -- even though no one in the world even holds the views that she's rebutting. And Roughgarden never explains how the genetic transmission occurs if sexual selection does not happen how Wallace and Darwin described it.
The entire second half of the book has nothing to do with science at all, and is just a feel-good litany of homosexuals and "transgendered people" throughout history and across various cultures. Is this news? No. Just because there was homosexual behavior in ancient Rome doesn't mean that it has any relevance to biological theories of evolution. This section of the book is just an exercise in identity politics, someone standing on the mountaintop and shouting, "There are others like me and we are acceptable!"
That's fine, Joan. You do that. Just don't call it science. It's an insult to all the other clear-minded people all over the world who are engaging in real science and seeking the truth without a political agenda in mind.