Could your husband, brother or father be the worst man in history? University of Queensland-trained anthropologist Peter McAllister claims today's man isn't a patch on what he once was: that despite his huge brain, the modern bloke fails to measure up physically, creatively and emotionally with men of the distant past.
Join the author of Manthropology: The Science of the Inadequate Modern Male for some lively debate and discover why ancient men were smarter and stronger, and what the future holds for this once-mighty gender.
The event is presented by the Adelaide-based RiAUS (The Royal Institution of Australia) as part of National Science Week. The moderator is radio broadcaster Amanda Blair.
Peter McAllister is a science writer and archaeologist from Western Australia. His main research interest is paleoanthropology, and he writes funny and informed science books about what evolution can teach us about the human condition. His popular science book, Manthropology, is currently under development as a documentary series.
McAllister also writes prize-winning sci-fi thrillers like his novel Cosmonaut, which was developed for a major motion picture by Warner Brothers and Village Roadshow. Outside his work as a scientist and writer, McAllister has held jobs as: a journalist, a graphic artist, an advertising salesman for a country music radio station, and once (nearly) as a Chinese-speaking football commentator.
The science of humanity. Anthropologists study human beings in aspects ranging from the biology and evolutionary history of Homo sapiens to the features of society and culture that decisively distinguish humans from other animal species. Because of the diverse subject matter it encompasses, anthropology has become, especially since the middle of the 20th century, a collection of more specialized fields. Physical anthropology is the branch that concentrates on the biology and evolution of humanity. The branches that study the social and cultural constructions of human groups are variously recognized as belonging to cultural anthropology (or ethnology), social anthropology, linguistic anthropology, and psychological anthropology. Archaeology, as the method of investigation of prehistoric cultures, has been an integral part of anthropology since it became a self-conscious discipline in the latter half of the 19th century.
I've allready replied to this on Youtube, but I'll repeat the comment here for the benifit of others:
...Thanks for the reply, and yes my objections are on an emotional level, but I also have objections that go to the very core of Peter M.'s conclusions. Whilst from an anthropological point of view his work may be accurate - it hardly comes as a revelation, and futhermore it fails to substansiate his claim that "men today are worse in every way".
Quite simply because we have no real measurement for self worth. How do you define this? The truth is that there is no way to define "better", better at what? Using computers, doing maths? lifting weights? How do you define the value of a man? The simple point is that you can't - and you shouldn't - but Peter does.
I may well accept the claims that there are manual tasks that our ancestors could do better, and that since changing our environment evolution has been given a new set of criteria for natural selection. This is true, and I don't see it as a bad thing. But I have some futher objections to Peter's book:
1. The engendered nature of the book. Why do women somehow escape the gaze of this anthropologist? Why did he make comparisons between modern male and ancient female? Why not compare males and females respectively? This strikes me as populist and un-scientific. All he is trying to say is that "you got beaten by a girl, now go have a cry about it". Surely this reduction of the srength of humans over time is not a gender specific trait, and if Peter avoided the criticism of women 'cause of the backlash he may have recivered by society - then such a book should not have been attempted. The fact that this book was written in such a sexist manner is inexcusable, and nothing good is likely to come from it.
2. And again my second objection is that Peter attempts to move anthropology into sociology in such a populist fashion. I see his male bashing retoric as nothing more than siding with the popular position of the day. He bags out men because it is percieved to be acceptable, and I'd like to make clear that it is not! It is entierly unacceptable. The only thing that I find worse is that some women might consider it funny - its not funny, its tragic and extremely offensive.
3. This book operates under an extreme masculine stereotype seen within gender studies, which reduces a man down to his basic physical attributes, with the implication that he is nothing more than this. A man is said to be nothing more than the product of his muscles and his ability to copulate. In such a manner he is considered non-essential and expendable, he is de-humanised. Any positive emotional traits a man has are considered his "feminine side". This is to say: that such things are alien to him.
The error that Peter has fallen into, is an error of omission. He takes a line that affirms popular feminist gender studies dogma. By portraying the modern man as a "straw man", lend scientific weight to the validation of reversed discrimination against men. And I can see this as being the only outcome of this book. The men in our generation are under attack from every possible direction. They do poorly in school, have low self-esteem, poorer health, less medical attention, less legal support, face discrimination in the courts, do less well in family court settlements, lower life expectancy, work longer, die from suicide, face daily ridicule and do not enjoy the support of women - who simply do not understand what they are going through. The modern man is indeed in crisis (But apparently Peter thinks men are to blame for this too).
So I see Peter M.'s book as a copout, that will only add to the problem. Some may think that his book will have a motivational effect, but his simple statement during the interview "Q: who would want to read a book that bags out men like this?" "Peter: Well, women!..." Tells me everything I need to know about his intentions. Peter has no intention of providing a solution to the problems that men face, in essence, I believe that he has nothing to say at all.
Originally Posted by TheManWhoSpoke
Man I just bought this book, and it sux.If you are a self-respecting man
ok, I guess, I got the point
Would not like to spend money for such a stuff.
But your comments stimulate the curiosity - I hope to have once a chanse to see the electronic copy of the book (it's nice to know also the negative positions... and it is interesting to see, what does the author use for arguments)
By the way, do you dislike the book purely from the emotional position? or there are also concrete discrepancies in his argumentation/conclusions/etc?
Thanks in advance for the answer!
Man I just bought this book, and it sux.If you are a self-respecting man
DO NOT BUY IT!!!
I think that the level of male bashing in this book is absolutely appauling, and completely reprehensable. After reading the introduction and then skimming the contents, I felt like doing some serious physical damage! I guarantee you that if Peter McAllister were in the room right now I'D KNOCK HE'S BLOODY HEAD OFF!
I know that this comment may appear offensive and abusive, and I am not normally the kind of person who would be abusive. But I feel very strongly about this book, and its author. this book IS OFFENSIVE!!!! And so I find abuse to be the only valid response.
The very notion that there may be women who gain pleasure for the self-deprication of men is appauling, and I think that such women ought to be ashamed of themselves . There is no excuse for this!!!
Neanderthals are not our ancestors nor are chimps x| we share a common ancestors with them. We evolved for endurance more than both aforementioned species. *keeps watching* Ancient tales about warriors are inaccurate and highly untrustworthy. *keeps watching* although it's interesting, it starts with quite a load of strange assumptions.
The message I was trying to get across is that there are to many variables to make a claim that modern man is inferior to prehistoric man. Where do you draw the line on who is prehistoric or not? The guy said that Mongolians were prehistoric even though they still live today in there own community. He didn't mention that Neanderthals are most likely not our ancestors but most likely a different species.
We have defeated neanderthals not because we are stronger but because we are smarter. We could drive a knife into their back, we could cough a contagious desease in their face or just poison them. What neanderthals seems to be were not capable of. That's why they were an evolutionary dead end.