Sex and the Single Terrorist

by Henry Farrell on November 25, 2007

Like several other contributors at Crooked Timber, I have little patience for evolutionary psychological explanations of the Sunday colour supplement variety. A couple of commenters suggested a couple of weeks ago that this was inconsistent with my “suggestion”: that Diego Gambetta’s paper on suicide terrorism and engineering was ‘fascinating.’ The intimation, as I understood it, was that I was prepared to give a free pass to dubious explanations that fit my ideological priors while giving a hard time to equally (or perhaps less) dubious explanations that didn’t. As it happens, when checking out Gambetta’s website again (I’m trying to engage his arguments about the Sicilian mafia extensively in the book that I’m finishing), I came across an interesting link that draws out the actual contrasts between Gambetta’s work and the preponderance of the popular ev-psych literature.

Some of you may remember an article entitled “Ten Politically Incorrect Truths About Human Nature” by Miller and Kanazawa that got some attention in the right-blogosphere a few months ago. Among other dodginesses, this article completely misrepresents the work of the aforementioned Diego Gambetta.
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