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Killer apes, naked apes, & just plain nasty people : the misuse and abuse of science in politics / Richard J. Perry.

  • Perry, Richard John, 1942-
  • Books

About this work

Also known as

Killer apes, naked apes, and just plain nasty people


In Killer Apes, Naked Apes, and Just Plain Nasty People, anthropologist Richard J. Perry delivers a scathing critique of determinism. Exploring the historical context and enduring popularity of the movement over the past century and a half, he debunks the facile and the reductionist thinking of so many popularizers of biological determinism while considering why biological explanations have resonated in ways that serve to justify deeply conservative points of view.


Baltimore, Maryland : Johns Hopkins University Press, 2015.

Physical description

xiii, 212 pages ; 23 cm

Bibliographic information

Includes bibliographical references and index.


Introduction. Where are we going with this? There's a history here -- What's in a word.
1. Don't get me started. Humans and "Nature" -- It wasn't always about biology -- But maybe they really are different! -- It's all uphill from here -- Romantic supremacy -- Philosophical biology -- Biological stories. -- 2, Eugenics: Bad people, good people, better people. The right sorts of people -- What's to be done? -- Parasites and pests -- Manipulating biology -- The gift of IQ -- Boas and "Fixed Traits" -- Out with eugenics, for now; but we still have IQ! -- 3. Killer apes, naked apes, and just plain nasty people. Enter the killer apes... -- Followed by the naked ape... -- Followed by nasty people -- It gets worse -- A serious flaw in the argument -- I know, but it still seems real -- Back to eugenics. -- 4. Mind games. Social programs? Not so fast -- Seeing double -- Wait - What were those scores again? -- You say heritability, I say inheritance - Let's call the whole thing off -- Let's get that social ranking straight -- Nothing if not persistent -- Twins, again! -- Hot air from Canada and from across the Pond -- Everyone needs a friend. -- 5. Sociobiology: A new science of the same old thing. "Go to the ant, thou sluggard. Consider her ways and be wise" -- Edward, have you met Herbert? -- Quiet...I think the genes are up to something -- What's good for the goose -- Wait...Are we still doing science? -- Pull up a chair; It's story time -- The generic "Primitive" -- Americans and Brits: The generic humans -- A genetic guide to behavior. -- 6. And yet another new science of the same old thing. It blinded them with science -- It takes a village -- Making the exotic familiar, and the familiar genetic -- Waltz of the pseudohypotheses -- What's with the big brain, anyway? -- What, indeed? -- 7. That's just about enough of that. "When wild in the woods the noble savage ran" -- Steven - You look as if you've seen a ghost -- Calm down; It's only an abstraction -- Are you still here? -- What's the big deal? -- What's the score so far? -- Some things we do know about the Pleistocene -- Going off script -- Battle of the sexes? -- A word about ethnography. -- 8. It's not that simple. So what's the alternative? -- Ah, tradition -- Somehow it all fits. -- 9. What's the agenda? Solutions that cause problems -- The beat goes on -- Reflections on the mystique of science.


  • English

Where to find it

  • LocationStatus
    History of Medicine
    Open shelves

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  • 9781421417516
  • 1421417510