Evolution's Rainbow by Joan Roughgarden
Diversity, Gender, and Sexuality in Nature and People

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Synopsis

In this innovative celebration of diversity and affirmation of individuality in animals and humans, Joan Roughgarden challenges accepted wisdom about gender identity and sexual orientation. A distinguished evolutionary biologist, Roughgarden takes on the medical establishment, the Bible, social science—and even Darwin himself. She leads the reader through a fascinating discussion of diversity in gender and sexuality among fish, reptiles, amphibians, birds, and mammals, including primates. Evolution's Rainbow explains how this diversity develops from the action of genes and hormones and how people come to differ from each other in all aspects of body and behavior. Roughgarden reconstructs primary science in light of feminist, gay, and transgender criticism and redefines our understanding of sex, gender, and sexuality. Witty, playful, and daring, this book will revolutionize our understanding of sexuality.

Roughgarden argues that principal elements of Darwinian sexual selection theory are false and suggests a new theory that emphasizes social inclusion and control of access to resources and mating opportunity. She disputes a range of scientific and medical concepts, including Wilson's genetic determinism of behavior, evolutionary psychology, the existence of a gay gene, the role of parenting in determining gender identity, and Dawkins's "selfish gene" as the driver of natural selection. She dares social science to respect the agency and rationality of diverse people; shows that many cultures across the world and throughout history accommodate people we label today as lesbian, gay, and transgendered; and calls on the Christian religion to acknowledge the Bible's many passages endorsing diversity in gender and sexuality. Evolution's Rainbow concludes with bold recommendations for improving education in biology, psychology, and medicine; for democratizing genetic engineering and medical practice; and for building a public monument to affirm diversity as one of our nation's defining principles.
 

About Joan Roughgarden

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Joan Roughgarden is Professor of Biological Sciences at Stanford University. She is the author of several books, including Evolution and Christian Faith: Reflections of an Evolutionary Biologist.
 
Published December 6, 2005 by University of California Press. 474 pages
Genres: Political & Social Sciences, Nature & Wildlife, Science & Math, Education & Reference, Professional & Technical, Health, Fitness & Dieting, Gay & Lesbian, Humor & Entertainment. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Evolution's Rainbow

Publishers Weekly

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This brilliant and accessible work of biological criticism has the potential to revolutionize the way readers conceive of gender and sexuality in the natural world. Roughgarden, a professor of biol

Mar 29 2004 | Read Full Review of Evolution's Rainbow: Diversit...

The Guardian

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Evolution's Rainbow: Diversity, Gender and Sexuality in Nature and People Joan Roughgarden University of California Press £18.95 pp472 Academic presses do not usually play practical jokes, but I suspect this book - which bizarrely hybridises science, religion and identity politics - of being a ...

Aug 01 2004 | Read Full Review of Evolution's Rainbow: Diversit...

The Guardian

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Evolution's Rainbow: Diversity, Gender and Sexuality in Nature and in People by Joan Roughgarden 474pp, University of California Press, £18.95 The second question most parents ask of their new-born baby, once its intactness is assured, is ostensibly about sex - is the child a boy or a girl.

Aug 21 2004 | Read Full Review of Evolution's Rainbow: Diversit...

Publishers Weekly

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Roughgarden, a Stanford biology professor and author of Evolution's Rainbow , is impatient with the current tone of creation/evolution debates, but takes them seriously as an expression of a "pent-up urge for talking about God" in American public life.

Jun 26 2006 | Read Full Review of Evolution's Rainbow: Diversit...

Publishers Weekly

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Roughgarden, a professor of biology at Stanford University and a member of the Academy of Arts and Sciences, argues that the diversity of gender and sexuality one finds in many species suggests that evolutionary biologists of a strictly Darwinian bent are often misguided, since, according to Roug...

Mar 29 2004 | Read Full Review of Evolution's Rainbow: Diversit...

Daily Kos

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