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Hum Nat. 2012 Sep;23(3):306-22. doi: 10.1007/s12110-012-9150-z.

How conservative are evolutionary anthropologists?: a survey of political attitudes.

Author information

1
Department of Anthropology, University of Washington, Seattle, 98195, USA. lyle3@u.washington.edu

Abstract

The application of evolutionary theory to human behavior has elicited a variety of critiques, some of which charge that this approach expresses or encourages conservative or reactionary political agendas. In a survey of graduate students in psychology, Tybur, Miller, and Gangestad (Human Nature, 18, 313-328, 2007) found that the political attitudes of those who use an evolutionary approach did not differ from those of other psychology grad students. Here, we present results from a directed online survey of a broad sample of graduate students in anthropology that assays political views. We found that evolutionary anthropology graduate students were very liberal in their political beliefs, overwhelmingly voted for a liberal U.S. presidential candidate in the 2008 election, and identified with liberal political parties; in this, they were almost indistinguishable from non-evolutionary anthropology students. Our results contradict the view that evolutionary anthropologists hold conservative or reactionary political views. We discuss some possible reasons for the persistence of this view in terms of the sociology of science.

PMID:
22886547
DOI:
10.1007/s12110-012-9150-z
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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