Comment sectionThe use and abuse of Darwinian psychology: Its impact on attempts to determine the evolutionary basis of human rape☆
Review articleOpen access

AbstractThis paper evaluates the impact of the recent theoretical shift to Darwinian psychology on attempts to determine the evolutionary basis of human rape. The first step in this evaluation is a summary of the debate over whether human rape is an adaptation or a by-product of other evolved differences between men and women as it was presented in a pre-Darwinian psychological framework. These early evolutionary explanations are then contrasted with more recent works addressing the same issue from the perspective of Darwinian psychology. It is concluded that while the new approach may have helped generate new predictions, it has also led to the unwarranted exclusion of relevant data, led to questionable interpretations of new types of data, introduced ambiguous jargon, and potentially jeopardized the testability of certain evolutionary explanations. The root of most of these problems is suggested to exist, not in the principles of Darwinian psychology, but in the exaggeration of the differences between Darwinian psychology and earlier evolutionary approaches.

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