Pub. date: 2002 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412950664 | Print ISBN: 9780761922582 | Online ISBN: 9781412950664| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Evolutionary Perspectives on Crime
Although evolutionary theory was developed by biologists, social scientists since the last quarter of the twentieth century have been applying its principles to the study of human culture (anthropology) and the human mind (psychology). This fusion has been called sociobiology (Wilson 1975). Recently, criminologists interested in biosocial theory have begun to apply an evolutionary understanding to the study of the causes of crime. This development promises to expand the reach of criminological theory. Modern evolutionary theory began with the early nineteenth-century effort by theologians to enlist the assistance of naturalists and philosophers in proving the existence of God. In an argument originating with Thomas Aquinas, the perfection of the design of the natural world was said to demonstrate the existence of a divine creator. In 1859, in The Origin of Species , Charles Darwin provided a convincing argument that the design of living organisms can be explained by the process ...