Race, Monogamy, and Other Lies They Told You: Busting Myths about Human Nature

Race, Monogamy, and Other Lies They Told You: Busting Myths about Human Nature

Race, Monogamy, and Other Lies They Told You: Busting Myths about Human Nature

Race, Monogamy, and Other Lies They Told You: Busting Myths about Human Nature

Synopsis

There are three major myths of human nature: humans are divided into biological races; humans are naturally aggressive; men and women are truly different in behavior, desires, and wiring. In an engaging and wide-ranging narrative Agustén Fuentes counters these pervasive and pernicious myths about human behavior. Tackling misconceptions about what race, aggression, and sex really mean for humans, Fuentes incorporates an accessible understanding of culture, genetics, and evolution requiring us to dispose of notions of "nature or nurture." Presenting scientific evidence from diverse fields, including anthropology, biology, and psychology, Fuentes devises a myth-busting toolkit to dismantle persistent fallacies about the validity of biological races, the innateness of aggression and violence, and the nature of monogamy and differences between the sexes. A final chapter plus an appendix provide a set of take-home points on how readers can myth-bust on their own. Accessible, compelling, and original, this book is a rich and nuanced account of how nature, culture, experience, and choice interact to influence human behavior.

Excerpt

Three major myths—about race, aggression, and sex—have a negative impact on our society and inhibit an accurate understanding of what it means to be human. These myths create a false set of societally accepted “truths” that in turn cause a range of problems for us. The myth that humans are divided into biological races—that black, white, Asian, etc. are natural categories—helps generate and maintain intolerance and inequality, and leads to difficulties in creating and sustaining communities in our increasingly diverse society. The myth that removing the constraints of culture and civilization reveals the innate, violent beast within us (especially in men) restricts how we can relate to one another, encourages fear, and enables an acceptance of certain kinds of abuse and violence as natural or inevitable. The myth that men and women are dramatically different in behavior, desires, and perspectives due to natural differences in “internal wiring” facilitates poor intersexual relations, creates and maintains sexual inequality, and causes a range of problems for individual men and women laboring under a preconception about who and how they are supposed to be.

Busting myths of human nature is not like busting the myth that a tooth left in Coca-Cola overnight will dissolve or that humans only use 10 percent of their brains. Most false beliefs are clearly refutable with a single, usually simple, test. There is not going to be one, or even a few, simple tests that will destroy every piece of the myths about race, aggression, and sex, but we can still show that they are wrong. There . . .

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