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  • 1 Human Evolutionary Ecology Group Department of Anthropology, University College London, UK
  • | 2 AHRC Centre for the Evolution of Cultural Diversity Department of Anthropology, University College London, UK
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Abstract

Kanazawa (2007) proposes the ‘evolutionary psychological imagination’ (p.7) as an authoritative framework for understanding complex social and public issues. As a case study of this approach, Kanazawa addresses acts of international terrorism, specifically suicide bombings committed by Muslim men. It is proposed that a comprehensive explanation of such acts can be gained from taking an evolutionary perspective armed with only three points of cultural knowledge: 1. Muslims are exceptionally polygynous, 2. Muslim men believe they will gain reproductive access to 72 virgins if they die as a martyr and 3. Muslim men have limited access to pornography, which might otherwise relieve the tension built up from intra-sexual competition. We agree with Kanazawa that evolutionary models of human behaviour can contribute to our understanding of even the most complex social issues. However, Kanazawa's case study, of what he refers to as ‘World War III’, rests on a flawed theoretical argument, lacks empirical backing, and holds little in the way of explanatory power.

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Journal of Evolutionary Psychology 
Language English
Size  
Year of
Foundation
2007 (2003)
Publication
Programme
changed title
Volumes
per Year
 
Issues
per Year
 
Founder Akadémiai Kiadó
Founder's
Address
H-1117 Budapest, Hungary 1516 Budapest, PO Box 245.
Publisher Akadémiai Kiadó
Publisher's
Address
H-1117 Budapest, Hungary 1516 Budapest, PO Box 245.
Responsible
Publisher
Chief Executive Officer, Akadémiai Kiadó
ISSN 1789-2082 (Print)
ISSN 2060-5587 (Online)

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