Elaine Morgan (born 1920) is a Welsh feminist writer, best known for her television work, including screen writing most of the episodes of Dr Finlay's Casebook. She is also the author of several books about the aquatic ape theory, among them The Descent of Woman, The Aquatic Ape, The Scars of Evolution, The Descent of the Child and, her latest, The Aquatic Ape Hypothesis. She also authored Falling Apart and Pinker's List. Morgan is generally described as more of a popularizer of science than a scientist.
Morgan first became drawn into scientific writing when reading popularizers of the Savannah Hypothesis of human evolution such as Desmond Morris. She described her reaction as one of irritation because the explanations were largely male-centered. For instance, if humans lost their hair because they needed to sweat while chasing game on the savannah that did not explain why women should also lose their hair as, according to the savannah hypothesis, they would be looking after the children. On re-reading Desmond Morris's The Naked Ape she encountered a reference to a hypothesis that humans had for a time gone through a water phase, the so-called aquatic ape hypothesis. She contacted Morris on this and he pointed her to Alister Hardy. Her first book The Descent of Woman (1972) was originally planned to pave the way for Hardy's more academic book, but Hardy was never to publish his book. In her later books she tried to write on more scientific basis or more "po-faced" as she herself described it (listen to the radio programme referenced below.) As an outsider and a non-scientist she claims to have encountered hostility from academics. Many of her books seem to be written as much to counter the many arguments put forth against the Aquatic Ape Theory as to advance its merits.
Morgan has been accused of using sloppy and unscientific methods in her scientific writing - for instance, systematically distorting quotes to support her position .
Her most recent book, "Pinker's List", is a response to Steven Pinker's "The Blank Slate," in which he warns that a sinister group of radicals is taking over the establishment, and claims that his own right wing convictions have now been validated by science. Morgan rejects his claim to objectivity and argues that the "blank-slate" beliefs he caricatures have long been extinct.
Morgan's later books on the aquatic ape hypothesis are:
- The Aquatic Ape, 1982, Stein & Day Pub, ISBN 0-285-62509-8
- The Scars of Evolution, 1990, Souvenir Press, ISBN 0-285-62996-4
- The Descent of the Child, 1995, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-509895-1
- The Aquatic Ape Hypothesis, 1997, Souvenir Press, ISBN 0-285-63377-5
Books on other topics:
- Falling Apart: The Rise and Decline of Urban Civilisation, 1976, Souvenir Press Ltd. ISBN 0-285-62234-X
- Pinker's List, 2005, Eildon Press, ISBN 0-9525620-2-2
You can download recordings of the BBC 4 radio programme, 'The Scars of Evolution', from this link: http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/science/scarsofevolution.shtml The recordings contain much of the material above, often in Elaine Morgan's very own words.Template:Enwp