Author Topic: Evolution of the Mind: 4 Fallacies of Psychology  (Read 563 times)

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Offline Mutha

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Evolution of the Mind: 4 Fallacies of Psychology
« on: December 20, 2008, 07:16:21 AM »
From Scientific American

Evolution of the Mind: 4 Fallacies of Psychology

Quote
Some evolutionary psychologists have made widely popularized claims about how the human mind evolved, but other scholars argue that the grand claims lack solid evidence
By David J. Buller


Key Concepts

   * Among Charles Darwin’s lasting legacies is our knowledge that the human mind evolved by some adaptive process.
   * A major, widely discussed branch of evolutionary psychology—Pop EP—holds that the human brain has many specialized mechanisms that evolved to solve the adaptive problems of our hunter-gatherer ancestors.
   * The author and several other scholars suggest that some assumptions of Pop EP are flawed: that we can know the psychology of our Stone Age ancestors, that we can thereby figure out how distinctively human traits evolved, that our minds have not evolved much since the Stone Age, and that standard psychological questionnaires yield clear evidence of the adaptations.


Charles Darwin wasted no time applying his theory of evolution to human psychology, following On the Origin of Species (1859) with The Descent of Man (1871) and The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals (1872). Ever since, the issue hasn’t been whether evolutionary theory can illuminate the study of psychology but how it will do so. Still, a concerted effort to explain how evolution has affected human behavior began only in the 1970s with the emergence of sociobiology. The core idea of sociobiology was simple: behavior has evolved under natural and sexual selection (in response to competition for survival and reproduction, respectively), just as organic form has. Sociobiology thereby extended the study of adaptation to include human behavior.

In his 1985 critique of sociobiology, Vaulting Ambition, philosopher Philip Kitcher noted that, whereas some sociobiology backed modest claims with careful empirical research, the theoretical reach of the dominant program greatly exceeded its evidential grasp. Kitcher called this program “pop sociobiology” because it employed evolutionary principles “to advance grand claims about human nature and human social institutions” and was “deliberately designed to command popular attention.”

Times have changed. Although some self-identified sociobiologists are still around, the current fashion is evolutionary psychology. Evolutionary psychology maintains that adaptation is to be found among the psychological mechanisms that control behavior rather than among behaviors themselves. But, as the old saw goes, the more things change, the more they stay the same. Although some work in evolutionary psychology backs modest claims with careful empirical research, a dominant strain, pop evolutionary psychology, or Pop EP, offers grand and encompassing claims about human nature for popular consumption.
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Offline 604ipe

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Re: Evolution of the Mind: 4 Fallacies of Psychology
« Reply #1 on: December 22, 2008, 01:35:12 AM »
Inconclusive.

We need more research. Much more over time.

Offline username

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Re: Evolution of the Mind: 4 Fallacies of Psychology
« Reply #2 on: January 06, 2009, 06:23:56 AM »
We discussed this in my psychology class, about how we shouldn't differ natural selective pressure from social pressures. There is no possible way we could of adapted so quickly over a short period of time. When we figured out how fertilize and use the lands resources rather than wander we are able to put our mind towards things other than survival. The same way that every generation in advanced countries IQ is on the rise has nothing to do with the fact that we are breeding smarter babies. I thought this was a great insight on how our minds have begun to develop from hunter gatherers, but we had two very religious Christians in the room who were pissed because this would also be under the assumption we evolved from a less intelligent non dominant species. They would like to think we have always been this smart because we were given this intelligence to acknowledge God. Which made me wonder would a child who was barred from other humans in the wilderness would probably act out the same way our ancestors did. That would mean this child would not be worthy of our societies God because they don't possess this knowledge. Also intelligence then isn't a factor of how many math problems you could work out or how much you can memorize but how well you can problem solve. As hunters in order to survive we would need a intelligence advantage over much faster predictors, being a social life form intelligent members designing improved weapons allowing for our survival.
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