Evolutionary psychology: Where do I go to get my tax money back?
A friend notes this revealing example of two evolutionary psychologists duking it out about whether groups of people can decide to behave better as a group, for mutual advantage - or is everyone merely governed by their selfish genes?
Condemning D. S. Wilson's argument that cooperative groups are more likely to survive than uncooperative ones, University of Washington psychologist David P. Barash insists that "the overwhelming conviction among evolutionary theorists remains that they are most unlikely."*
In other words, the cooperative groups that I experience every day, while riding Toronto Transit, are "most unlikely."
I want my tax money back.
Anyway, Barash goes on to make perfectly plain that evolutionary psychology is nothing but current local politics in a cave man face mask:
Perhaps, in the future, these supposed components of morality will be found to have genuine evolutionary underpinnings, but for now they seem closer to a political platform plank for the religious right; psychologists interested in achieving a new synthesis by applying evolutionary biology to human morality should bear in mind that just because these notions appeared in a Science Review does not make them genuine science.
I wonder how he'll vote in the 2008 US election?
*Apparently, group selection was declared "off limits" in 1966, so no virtuous evo psycho ever imagines that people foresee an advantage in working together. But then evo psychos probably don't believe in the reality of the mind either, so they are always looking for something that isn't there - the cave man gene that replaces awareness of one's situation in real time.
And, by the way, don't write to give me any more guff about how it isn't "real science" and therefore I shouldnt talk about it, as one would-be commenter tried to do:
... No reasonable scientist (or Darwinist as you like to say) would consider evolutionary psychology to be a legitimation of Darwin's evolution; its just a bastardized spin off for goofballs trying to explain things like current social preferences, ie evolutionary psychology = joke. ...
Of course it's not real science. Of course it's a joke. BUT notice that the evolutionary biologists NEVER get together to denounce it. That would put an end to it, but conveniently, they never do.
Or if they have, write and tell me and give me a link - and I will give them all the publicity in my power.
But I am not holding my breath. The reality is that they can't risk a spotlight on THEIR theories either. Otherwise they would act pretty quickly, just as MDs act against quack medicine.