CLASS 22 Critique of Evolutionary Psychology Darwin is

  • Slides: 22
Download presentation
CLASS 22

CLASS 22

Critique of Evolutionary Psychology

Critique of Evolutionary Psychology

Darwin is the Devil’s Messenger =

Darwin is the Devil’s Messenger =

- Contradicts most religious teachings - Human beings are special – not animals -

- Contradicts most religious teachings - Human beings are special – not animals - Surely, we don’t come from primordial slime - No absolute proof

ALTERNATIVES? Cultural and religious traditions - Multitudinous versions - Not scientific - No way

ALTERNATIVES? Cultural and religious traditions - Multitudinous versions - Not scientific - No way of evaluating: you believe it or you don’t

Evolutionary Psychology Reminder: – EP claims that the mind evolved as well as the

Evolutionary Psychology Reminder: – EP claims that the mind evolved as well as the body (both are pre-wired) – i. e. , the way we think and act was also selected for its adaptive value

1. The Story-telling Complaint - Easy to make up stories to explain current facts

1. The Story-telling Complaint - Easy to make up stories to explain current facts - Explanations are post-hoc - Unique predictions are more impressive

2. The Pessimism Complaint - EP too pessimistic about the source of our bad

2. The Pessimism Complaint - EP too pessimistic about the source of our bad qualities - Also implies inflexibility - i. e. , we can’t fix it

Examples of Bad Traits attributed to Evolution - Prejudice & Xenophobia - Aggression (Lorenz)

Examples of Bad Traits attributed to Evolution - Prejudice & Xenophobia - Aggression (Lorenz) - Rape (Thornhill) - Infanticide (Daly & Wilson)

3. The political complaint • EP justifies the status quo – i. e. ,

3. The political complaint • EP justifies the status quo – i. e. , men in power • sex roles are predetermined by biology: – “Biology is destiny”; “boys will be boys” • EP response: – Doesn't mean it's not true – naïve optimism can be dangerous

4. The Impossibility Complaint -if EP is correct, then how can there be…. .

4. The Impossibility Complaint -if EP is correct, then how can there be…. .

a. Altruism • sacrificing oneself for others • seems to refute evolution • EP

a. Altruism • sacrificing oneself for others • seems to refute evolution • EP response from Wilson – Inclusive fitness – Reciprocal altruism

b. Homosexuality ORIGIN? • Choice ? • Genetic ? • Childhood events ? •

b. Homosexuality ORIGIN? • Choice ? • Genetic ? • Childhood events ? • Congenital (hypo-masculinization)

How could Homosexuality Be Adaptive? • worker bee version • submissive version • creative

How could Homosexuality Be Adaptive? • worker bee version • submissive version • creative version

c. Birth control • Birth control is common among human societies • Refutes evolution?

c. Birth control • Birth control is common among human societies • Refutes evolution? • EP RESPONSE: absolutely not

Proximate mechanisms • Evolution selects proximate mechanisms (we enjoy warmth, sweet & fatty foods,

Proximate mechanisms • Evolution selects proximate mechanisms (we enjoy warmth, sweet & fatty foods, sex, sleep) • These desires continue even if we attempt to over-ride their effects (e. g. , birth control, artificial sugar) • Preferences not learned; they are intrinsic desires selected by evolution • Mostly unconscious and unconnected

d. Steven J. Gould’s critique • evolution, yes -- EP, no • not all

d. Steven J. Gould’s critique • evolution, yes -- EP, no • not all evolved traits are adaptive – some are just spandrells • Our main evolved trait is an amazing learning processor

A SCIENTIFIC ALTERNATIVE TO EP EXPLANATION OF SEX DIFFERENCES

A SCIENTIFIC ALTERNATIVE TO EP EXPLANATION OF SEX DIFFERENCES

Social Learning Theory • All sex differences can be explained by cultural conditioning •

Social Learning Theory • All sex differences can be explained by cultural conditioning • differences derive from social roles • Males & females grow up in different cultures

BUT why universal sex roles ? Eagly and Wood • sex role differences derive

BUT why universal sex roles ? Eagly and Wood • sex role differences derive indirectly from universal physical differences 1. males bigger and stronger 2. females carry the babies • sex roles are assigned to fit those differences • later maintained by tradition

Wrap-Up: • Recent increase in activity & influence of EP • EP now on

Wrap-Up: • Recent increase in activity & influence of EP • EP now on equal footing with SLT for explaining human behavior • Biggest controversy over sex differences

Wrap-Up: • Best presentation of EP is book by • Steven Pinker: • “The

Wrap-Up: • Best presentation of EP is book by • Steven Pinker: • “The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature”