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Book Book

Death, Hope and Sex

BMJ 2000; 320 doi: (Published 22 April 2000) Cite this as: BMJ 2000;320:1152
  1. Gavin Yamey
  1. BMJ

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    James S Chisholm

    Cambridge University Press, £17.95, pp 310

    ISBN 0 521 59708 0

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    There have been many attempts to use evolutionary theory to justify controversial moral or social positions. In the 19th century the British social philosopher Herbert Spencer proposed a social Darwinism that would marry evolutionary ideas and Protestant ethics. In the 1970s, the discipline of sociobiology gained popular appeal for its synthesis of the natural and social sciences. And in Sweden's recent policies of eugenic sterilisation the state itself was attempting an enforced “survival of the fittest.”

    James Chisholm wants to save evolutionary theory from accusations of misuse and abuse. We have nothing to fear from it, he argues, for it offers a humane explanation for our behaviour and …

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