A superstar selectionist slams his critics

Steven Pinker’s writing is crisp and biting. He’s not always right, but damn he can weave a good argument. His recent book, Better Angels of our Nature, argued that human violence has been steadily declining over historic time. Pinker tends to explain natural phenomena as outcomes of natural selection, rather than neutral evolution or random chance. He is a proponent of evolutionary explanations for human behavior rather than arbitrary cultural ones. Because he frequently writes about the ways in which humans are subject to natural selection, Pinker has a host of intellectual enemies. In this essay, he effectively lashes out at the negative reviews of his book. The result is quite entertaining, and it provides a nice snapshot of the long-standing and still vibrant neutralist-selectionist divide. Enjoy it!


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