Evolutionary psychology has been called the "new black" of science fashion, though at its most controversial, it more resembles the emperor's new clothes.
Geoffrey Miller is one of the Young Turks trying to give the phenomenon a better spin.
In The Mating Mind, he takes Darwin's "other" evolutionary theory--of sexual rather than natural selection--and uses it to build a theory about how the human mind has developed the sophistication of a peacock's tail to encourage sexual choice and the refining of art, morality, music, and literature.
Where many evolutionary psychologists see the mind as a Swiss army knife, and cognitive science sees it as a computer, Miller compares it to an entertainment system, evolved to stimulate other brains.
Taking up the baton from studies such as Richard Dawkins' The Selfish Gene, it's a dizzyingly ambitious project, which would be impossibly vague without the ingenuity and irreverence that Miller brings to bear on it.
Steeped in popular culture, the book mixes theories of runaway selection, fitness indicators, and sensory bias with explanations of why men tip more than women and how female choice shaped (quite literally) the penis.
It also extols the sagacity of Mary Poppins.
For more information about the title The Mating Mind: How Sexual Choice Shaped the Evolution of Human Nature, read the full description at Amazon.com, or see the following related books:
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