Last week The Royal Society awarded the polemical writer Cordelia Fine their Science Book of the Year award for Testosterone Rex. The central thesis of the book is that behavioral differences between men and women are better explained by culture than by testosterone and that the theoretical framework that evolutionary scientists regard as the root cause of several of the robust cross-cultural sex differences we see, namely Bateman’s principle and sexual selection, have been largely debunked, at least when it comes to humans. Since this runs contrary to the broadly held consensus in evolutionary biology the choice has naturally elicited criticism from both biologists and evolutionary psychologists.
Ad Hoc Hypotheses and Occam’s Razor
In her quest to deny that biology is responsible for sex differences in behavior, Cordelia Fine has a huge advantage: she benefits from that fact (which the award has made clear) that there are certain…
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