I'm an associate professor of psychology at Nottingham University Malaysia Campus. My research revolves around the idea that theories from evolutionary biology can shed light on human psychology. In particular, I'm interested in the evolutionary origins of altruistic behaviour and human sex differences. I also have a long-standing interest in the philosophical implications of evolutionary theory.
Before taking up my current position, I was a Senior Lecturer at Swansea University, and before that, I spent two years as a postdoctoral fellow at McMaster University in Canada, working in the lab of Martin Daly and Margo Wilson. I did my Ph.D. in psychology and philosophy at Massey University in New Zealand.
I also briefly pursued a career as a musician and put together an album of my songs; click here for a sample. (I like "Won't Stop till We Get Home" best.) I was born and raised in Wellington, New Zealand.
February 12, 2016 - Steve's Book Discussed in BHA Darwin Day Lecture 2016
Renowned evolutionary biologist Jerry Coyne discusses Steve's book in his recent Darwin Day Lecture for the British Humnist Association. Watch it here.
January 23, 2016 - Evolution of Psychopathology Conference
Steve invited to the Evolution of Psychopathology Conference at Oakland University, Michigan (April 18-20, 2016). Looking forward to it!
November 22, 2015 - The Unfair Treatment of the Animal Rights Movement
Jerry Coyne gives Steve's book the thumbs-up on his popular blog, Why Evolution is True! Click here to read the whole piece.
October 31, 2015 - Coming soon: Are Humans Peacocks or Robins?
Steve invited to write a chapter on human sex differences for The Cambridge Handbook of Evolutionary Perspectives on Human Behavior (edited by Lance Workman, Will Reader, and Jerome Barkow).
September 1, 2015 - New Job!
As of today, Steve is no longer a Senior Lecturer at Swansea University; he's an Associate Professor at Nottingham University Malaysia Campus.
July 23, 2015 - Coming soon: Afterlife Beliefs, an Evolutionary Approach.
Steve invited to write a chapter on evolutionary approaches to afterlife beliefs for The Oxford Handbook of the Psychology of Religion (edited by David M. Wulff).
July 23, 2015 - What's So Wrong with Princesses?
Steve gets a mention in Amy Alkon's "Advice Goddess Blog." - one of the most refreshingly un-PC blogs on the Internet!
July 12, 2015 - Steve's on the Cover of Free Inquiry Magazine!
Free Inquiry reprints Steve's forward to Martin and Augustine's Steve' foreword to Martin and Augustine's book "Myth of an Afterlife."
June 25, 2015 - Darwin and the End of Good and Evil.
Pablo Malo discusses Steve's book, Darwin, God and the Meaning of Life, in the "New Evolutionary Enlightenment."
June 9, 2015 – Andrew's a Doctor!
Huge congratulations to Andrew Thomas, who just passed his viva with flying colours!
May 18, 2015 - Just found out!
Steve' foreword to Martin and Augustine's book "The Myth of an Afterlife" is being reprinted in one of the top humanist magazines, Free Inquiry.
May 7, 2015 - Andrew submits his PhD!
The viva is scheduled for July. Good luck to the soon-to-be Dr. Andrew
April 30, 2015 - Interview with the New Evolutionary Enlightenment.
Steve’s interview with Pablo Malo is now online. It covers free will, human nature,
evolutionary ethics, and Steve’s next book. (Scroll down for the English version.)
April 22, 2015 - Out Now: Evolution and Morality.
Steve’s article "Evolution and Morality" has just been published in The International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences.
April 19, 2015 - Darwin and the Problem of Evil
A great article by Pablo Malo on Chapter 6 of Darwin, God and the Meaning of Life. If you haven't seen it already, be sure to check out the Stephen Fry video at the bottom of the page.
April 19, 2015 - Booklist Boyne the God of Babble
A response to Ian Boyne's article "Debating God at Easter": "he set up celebrated atheist authors Michael Shermer and Steve Stewart-Williams with extensive quotes before trying, in his convoluted way, to debunk these authors."
April 5, 2015 - Debating God at Easter
Ian Boyne discusses Steve's book in The Jamaican Gleaner: "I love Stewart-Williams' honesty and I am forced to quote him again: 'Thus even though we in the West live in a semi-post-Christian world, the ethical attitudes they inspired linger on...'"
March 30, 2015 - The Myth of an Afterlife
Martin and Augustine's book "The Myth of an Afterlife" is finally out! You can read my foreword to the book here or here.
March 4, 2015 - Steve and Andrew's Distinction between the MCFC and MMC Models Is Catching On!
From a recent article in Evolution and Human Behavior, "Did Sexual Selection Shape Human Music?":
"...given the importance of mutual mate choice (Stewart-Williams & Thomas, 2013), pair-bonding, and bi-parental investment in humans, it could be that more musically skilled individuals attract higher quality sex partners (rather than greater quantity; Miller, 2013; Stewart-Williams & Thomas, 2013)... Both explanations are in accordance with the mutual mate choice model rather than the male compete/females choose model and emphasise long-term mating and mate quality over quantity (Stewart-Williams & Thomas, 2013)."
February 14, 2015 – New Wikipedia Article on Steve's Book
There's now a Wikipedia page for the Polish edition of Steve's book, Darwin, God and the Meaning of Life.
February 13, 2015 – Steve Quoted in Latest Issue of New Scientist
The article is "10 Biggest Love Myths Exploded," by Mairi Macleod. Some excerpts:
"What men and women prioritise often depends on the type of relationship they are looking for, says Steve Stewart-Williams at Swansea University, UK. 'For one-night stands and other short-term relationships, women usually put a lot of weight on a mate's looks – often more than men'"...
"Even the most attractive males are likely to settle down at some point, notes Stewart-Williams. 'These men – the most eligible bachelors, the highest-status males in our species – often do what male chimpanzees never do: they fall in love.'"
February 2, 2015 – Interview with Steve's Polish Translator
Check out this interview with Piotr Szwajcer, who translated Darwin, God and the Meaning of Life into Polish.
"...authors such as Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and Steve Stewart-Williams. Did you have a chance to meet them in person?"
January 29, 2015 – Another Review of the Polish Edition of Steve's Book!
Quote: "an important voice in the discussion" (that's what Google translate says it says, anyway). DGML seems to be doing well in Poland!
January 26, 2015 – Show Your Work, Volume 1: Darwin, God, and the Meaning of Life (Review)
"After Darwin's daughter Annie died at the age of ten, he stopped going to church." -Steve Stewart-Williams
Søren Kaneda: "Sometimes an entire universe is encoded into a single sentence.
"Ten years from now, I'll remember this sentence. So much pain, so much devastation, packed into a couple words...
"Whether naturalism leads to nihilism is a contentious topic of debate, and this book helps to illuminate it. In part, I tried to answer this question in a different way - I wrote a novel about it."
January 22, 2015 – New Review of the polish Edition of Steve's Book
Marek Misiak reviews the Polish edition of Darwin, God and the Meaning of Life.
January 22, 2015 – Steve is the Answer! (To a Question in a Competition)...
Three Prizes to be Won!
Q3. Who is the author of the book "Darwin, God and the Meaning of Life"?
25/12/2014 – A Nice Christmas Present For Steve and Andrew!
Pablo Malo discusses Steve and Andrew's work on sex differences in the New Evolutionary Enlightenment.
26/11/2014 – Sex and the Size Effect – Why Reporting on Gender is Often Hyped
An excellent article by Ian Rickard discusses Steve and Andrew's work on sex differences:
"in reality, as Steve Stewart-Williams and Andrew Thomas have compellingly argued, human males and females might be psychologically far more similar than many of us imagine..."
07/10/2014 – New Review of the Polish Edition of Steve's Book
According to Google translate: "This book is relentless... not another atheist manifesto, but [an] accessibly written philosophical essay." Why thank you!
24/09/2014 – Friends or Foes: Is Empathy Necessary for Moral Behavior?
Decety and Cowell: "it would be misleading to see morality as a direct product of evolution. Morality is also a social institution, and many moral codes redirect or even oppose our evolved tendencies, such as in-group favoritism (Stewart-Williams, 2010)." Click here for more.
24/09/2014 – Jewish Philosophy for the Twenty-First Century
Alan Mittleman: "Can human dignity, broadly speaking, be rationally defensible within a framework increasingly shaped by neo-Darwinian evolutionary theory, evolutionary psychology (previously known as sociobiology) and neuroscience/neurophilosophy? Authors such as Steven Pinker, Peter Singer, and Steve Stewart-Williams do not think so" (p. 260).
"'We like to think that reason is the supreme adaptation,' Stewart-Williams writes, 'that rational animals deserve preferential treatment and that non-humans, because they don't have reason, have no intrinsic moral value. However, after Darwin, this is no different and no more convincing than, say, an elephant thinking that trunks are the supreme adaptation; that animals with trunks deserve preferential treatment and that non-elephants, because they don't have trunks, have no intrinsic moral value'" (p. 262).
20/09/2014 - Steve's Research Featured in Latest Edition of Workman and Reader's Evolutionary Psychology: An Introduction
"Stewart-Williams (2007) found that for low-cost aid, friends were given as much aid as kin but that when this shifted to high-cost aid, kin were favoured and the closer the kin relationship, the greater the aid provided..."
20/09/2014 - Steve's Book = Vacation Reading...
C. Boyd Pfeiffer: "The book I was reading was 'Darwin, God and the Meaning of Life – How Evolutionary Theory Undermines Everything You Thought You Knew', by Steve Stewart-Williams.
"It is a good book dealing with some difficult questions and some serious stuff. A passing gentleman saw the book cover and commented to me his thoughts.
"'That looks like an interesting book,' he said. 'You must be a minister.' Well, not exactly, which I briefly explained to him. But I suggested to him that he must be a minister to make such a remark. He admitted as much."
Click here for more.
11/09/2014 - New Review of the Italian Edition
A thoughtful review of the Italian edition of Steve's book (Steve's first book, that is - number two is on the way!)
02/07/2014 – The Polish Edition of Steve's Book Hits the Shelves!
The Polish edition of Darwin, God and the Meaning of Life is finally out. It's called Darwin, Bóg i Sens Zycia. Dlaczego Teoria Ewolucji Zmienia Wszystko.
28/04/2014 – The Meaning of Life According to Steve...
Steve's ideas on the meaning of life are discussed in detail in John Messerly's new book, The Meaning of Life: Religious, Philosophical, Transhumanist, and Scientific Perspectives.
26/04/2014 – Steve Cited in The Age of Atheists.
"Steve Stewart-Williams has taken this reasoning to its logical conclusion when he says, in Darwin, God and the Meaning of Life (2010), that there is no God, that the universe is entirely natural and in that sense accidental, so that there can be no purpose to life, and no ultimate meaning other than that which we work out for ourselves as individuals." Read an excerpt here.
24/04/2014 – New Review of Steve's Book.
Reasonandmeaning.com has a review of Darwin,God and the Meaning of Life.
23/03/2014 – Steve and Andrew's Memes Colonize Wikipedia!
Steve and Andrew's work on the evolution of sex differences is covered in detail in the French edition of Wikipedia.
17/03/2014 – Why the Gender Difference on SAT Math Doesn't Matter
Interesting article by Denise Cummins quotes Steve's latest Psychology Today article.
25/02/2014 – The Sticking Point: Why Men Still Outnumber Women in Science
Steve's latest article for Psychology Today tackles the vexed issue of sex differences in science.
23/01/2014 – Steve interested to learn he's "a priest of the House of Disbelief"!
According to a new essay on the New Atheism, "Such self-proclaimed superior honesty, bravery, morality and intellect is well spelled out by a priest of the House of Disbelief evolutionary psychologist, Dr. Steve Stewart-Williams." :)
18/11/2013 - Sex Differences: Proof of Sexism or a Sign of Social Health?
Steve's latest article for Psychology Today chosen as an Essential Read.
16/9/2013 - Cited by Neuroskeptic!
The inestimable Neuroskeptic mentions Steve and Andrew's new paper on sex differences.
03/09/2013 – New Article in Psychological Inquiry
Our target article, The Ape that Thought It Was a Peacock, is now available online.
Following the article are 14 commentaries by experts in the field: Laura Betzig; David Buss; Anne Campbell; Paul Eastwick; Peter Gray; Christine Harris; Douglas Kenrick; Geoffrey Miller; Lynn Carol Miller, John Christensen, William Pedersen, Anila Putcha-Bhagavatula & Paul Appleby; Michael Pham, Todd Shackelford & Austin John Jeffery; Nicholas Pound & Michael Price; S. Craig Roberts & Jan Havlicek; Charles Snowdon; and Wendy Wood & Alice Eagly.
Finally, there's our response to the commentataries.
You can access the target article here, and our response to the 14 commentaries on the article here.
03/09/2013 – Cross-Cultural Replication
The journal Evolution and Human Behavior publishes a replication of Steve’s altruism research. The study is by Ming Xue and it’s called Altruism and Reciprocity among Friends and Kin in a Tibetan Village.
07/08/2013 – Steve's Book Mentioned in Nature Magazine
According to Glenn Branch, P. Z. Myers' new book, The Happy Atheist, is rather disappointing, and "is not comparable with... Steve Stewart-Williams's Darwin, God and the Meaning of Life (Cambridge University Press, 2010)." Nice!
11/07/2013 – Now Available...
The corrected proofs for our article The Ape that Thought It Was a Peacock: Does Evolutionary Psychology Exaggerate Human Sex Differences? (Click the title to download.) Coming soon: 14 commentaries on the article from experts in the field, plus our response to the commentaries...
25/06/2013 – In The News
An article about the Turkish edition of Darwin, God, and the Meaning of Life.
20/06/2013 – Altruism Research Replicated
One of Steve’s studies was recently replicated in rural Tibet. You can find the corrected proofs here.
12/06/2013 – Seminar at Swansea University
Steve presents a seminar at the June meeting of the Research Group for Health, History and Culture, Swansea University. The title is: "The Ape that Thought It Was a Peacock: The Evolution of Mutual Mate Choice."
04/05/2013 – Coming Soon: The Ape that Thought It Was a Peacock, by Steve SW and Andrew Thomas
Our article, “The Ape that Thought It Was a Peacock,” is now in press with Psychological Inquiry. It should be out in the next few months – watch this space...
14/03/2013 - Is Your Future in Your Hands?
A nice little article on our recent 2D:4D data collection at Millbrook Academy.
13/03/2013 – “Our Cosmic Insignificance,” by Guy Kahane
“Stewart-Williams puts this most bluntly: ‘Science tells us that we are inconsequential specks of dust scrabbling around blindly on a pale blue dot orbiting a tiny star in an inconceivably large universe. Some say that size doesn’t matter, but we all know that really it does. How can anything we do be important?’” You can read the paper here.
12/03/2013 – A Successful Replication!
One of Steve’s studies replicated in a rural Tibetan village.
12/02/2013 – What was Darwin’s most important contribution?
“To honor Darwin’s 204th birthday yesterday, we asked a few of our leading experts on Darwin: ‘What was Darwin’s most important contribution?’” Check out Steve's answer here.
06/02/2013 – Talk at Brunel University
Steve gives a talk at the psychology department at Brunel University. The title is: "The Ape that Thought It Was a Peacock: Do Evolutionary Psychologists Exaggerate Sex Differences?" Brunel has an amazing masters program in evolutionary psychology – click here for details.
01/02/2013 – Get Your Genome Analysed with 23andMe
Steve is 2.8% Neanderthal! How about you?
02/01/2013 – “Is Murder Wrong?”
Dennis Prager discusses Steve’s work in the Jewish Journal: “The very premise of his book is that because there is no God, there is no ultimate morality or meaning to life, so we have to fashion a godless morality and meaning."
26/12/2012 – New Review of the Italian Edition
Maria Busca reviews Steve’s book in Iride: Filosofia e Discussione Pubblica.
08/11/2012 - Review
Review of DGML at Recensioni Filosofiche.
22/10/2012 - Coming soon: Evolution and Morality
Steve invited to write an article on evolution and morality for The International Encyclopedia of Social and Behavioral Sciences (2nd ed.).
28/09/2012 - The Rap Guide to Evolution!
Baba Brinkman releases the DVD if his Rap Guide to Evolution. Look for Steve’s name in the credits! (You’ll have to be quick or you’ll miss it!)
09/09/2012 - The Turkish Edition of DGML is out now!
The Turkish edition of Steve's book is now available. The title is Darwin Tanri ve Yasamin Anlami: Evrim Kurami Bildigimiz Her Seyi Nasil Alt Üst Etti?
27/08/2012 - Review
Review of the Italian edition of Steve's book (and the CD he released before going into academia!)
08/06/2012 - Mass Experiment: Do Hands and Fingers Point to Career Preferences?
Steve is leading a team of Swansea Uni researchers looking at the relationship between finger length and job preferences in secondary school students. The research will be featured in the Cheltenham Science Festival in 2013.
09/05/2012 – Atheism at Church!
Steve discussed his book Darwin, God, and the Meaning of Life with the Bethany Discussion Group, St Peter’s Church, Swansea.
17/04/2012 - In the News
"Dr Steve Stewart-Williams’ first published book, DGML, was recently translated into Italian. The book is also due..."
01/04/2012 - In the News
An article about Steve's work in the Jamaican newspaper, The Gleaner: "In his disturbing and provocative 2010 book, Darwin, God and the Meaning of Life..."
16/03/2012 – Academic Review
Review of Darwin, God, and the Meaning of Life in The Australian Humanist.
12/02/2012 - Steve's Book Featured in Darwin's Day Celebrations
To commemorate Darwin Day 2012, the UAAR (an Italian secularist group) organized two public presentations/debates on the Italian translation of Darwin, God and the Meaning of Life.
23/01/2012 - Conference to Debate Steve's Book
In January, a mini-conference was held in Torino, Italy, specifically to debate the ideas in Darwin, God and the Meaning of Life. It was led by professors from diverse fields, including Christian theology, Muslim theology, bioethics, and human genetics.
28/12/2011 - Interview on Italian Radio
Professor Maurizio Mori interviewed about Darwin, God and the Meaning of Life on Italian radio (Prof Mori did the Italian translation).
19/11/2011 - Review of Steve's Book - in Italian!
First review of the Italian edition of Darwin, God, and the Meaning of Life.
18/10/2011 - Steve on the Dennis Prager Show
Steve's interview with Dennis Prager is available for purchase here.
14/10/2011 - The Italian Edition is out now!
The Italian edition of Steve's book is now available. It's called Il senso della vita senza dio: Prendere Darwin sul serio. Check out the cover!
13/10/2011 - Adieu to God
Mick Power's new book, Adieu to God, is available now - featuring a glowing endorsement from Steve.
19/09/2011 - Academic Review
Review of DGML by Land and Shackelford in the Peer Reviewed journal Evolutionary Psychology: "Darwin, God and the Meaning of Life is a trailblazing advancement of the application of scientific values to traditionally metaphysical questions."
17/08/2011 - Review
Review of DGML on Barnes & Noble.
14/08/2011 - Coming soon: On the Origin of Afterlife Beliefs by Means of Memetic Selection
Steve invited to write the foreword for the Michael Martin and Keith Augustine's new edited book, The Myth of Afterlife: Essays on the Case against Life after Death.
12/08/2011 - Review
Review of DGML at Metapsychology.
09/08/2011 - Steve's book to hit bookshelves in Poland
Steve's book, Darwin, God and the Meaning of Life, to be translated into Polish.
28/06/2011 - Deconstructing the Conscious Universe
Nicole Villeneuve writing about a recent YouTube discussion of DGML.
12/06/2011 - Steve's book to hit bookshelves in Italy
Steve's book, Darwin, God and the Meaning of Life, to be translated into Italian (with a new preface for the Italian market).
21/03/2011 - Radio interview on Vertical Radio
Steve interviewed about his book on Leo Mark's Vertical Radio show.
03/03/2011 - Talk: Skeptics in the Pub
Steve gave a talk for the Skeptics in the Pub group: God, Meaning, and Morality after Darwin in Monkey Bar.
01/03/2011 - 150,000 hits and rising
Steve's blog post, Is the Universe Conscious? gets its 150,000th hit!
11/01/2011 - Steve's book to hit bookshelves in Turkey
Steve's book, Darwin, God and the Meaning of Life, to be translated into Turkish.
21/12/2010 - Radio interview with Dennis Prager
Steve interviewed about his book on the Dennis Prager show (a syndicated US radio show) : estimated audience size = 1.5 million!
22/10/2010 - Book Launch at Waterstones
Book launch for Darwin, God and the Meaning of Life; 12:00pm at Waterstones, Swansea University
20/10/2010 - Seminar
Steve presents a departmental seminar : Life after Darwin: No God, No Meaning, No Morality?
16/10/2010 - Newspaper report
Steve's new book Darwin, God and the Meaning of Life is featured in the
South Wales Evening Post.
01/10/2010 - Press Release
SU press release for Darwin, God, and the Meaning of Life.
30/09/2010 - Book Launch
Steve's book, Darwin, God and the Meaning of Life, is published in the UK. Click here to buy now!