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Monday, July 09, 2007

Evolutionary psychology challenge:Read the latest and keep a straight face!

Those who will take themselves seriously but shouldn't attract comedians.

Bill Dembski scooped me on the latest idiocy of Darwinism's idiot child, evolutionary psychology:
Until very recently, it was a mystery to evolutionary psychology why men prefer women with large breasts, since the size of a woman's breasts has no relationship to her ability to lactate. But Harvard anthropologist Frank Marlowe contends that larger, and hence heavier, breasts sag more conspicuously with age than do smaller breasts. Thus they make it easier for men to judge a woman's age (and her reproductive value) by sight-suggesting why men find women with large breasts more attractive.

and on Fred Reed's hilarious take on it. Reed, of course, knocks the stuffings out of the pillow. Responding to "Blue-eyed people are considered attractive as potential mates because it is easiest to determine whether they are interested in us or not", he notes,
I think of those millions of pitiful Chinese women, sobbing quietly in corners, "Oh, how can I let him know I'm interested when I have these horrible dark eyes? Maybe I can write him a letter.."

One thinks also of the advice Naomi gives Ruth in the Book of Ruth. I doubt Boaz knew what colour Ruth's eyes were. It's not clear how he could.

Still, we need to put a pin on the map for this latest outburst of evo psycho ...

I am hardly surprised that an evolutionary biologist like Larry Moran, who is a successful textbook author (and no friend to ID), has enough sense to publicly blow clear of all the idiocy. Even the evo psychos themselves sense that something is going wrong, badly wrong.

However, comedy aside, the trenchant critiques I have heard are from common sense philosophers such as Jerry Fodor and David Stove and anthropologists such as David Buller and the husband and wife team of Steven and Hilary Rose (biologist and social scientist). Perhaps most evolutionary biologists are just hoping the vain mutterings of the evo psychos will cease on their own.

I just want to add two things, and the first one is very brief:

1. A key goal of evolutionary psychology is to greatly reduce the perceived role of the human mind as a factor in human behaviour. As the Psychology Today article puts it,
evolutionary psychologists see human nature as a collection of psychological adaptations that often operate beneath conscious thinking to solve problems of survival and reproduction by predisposing us to think or feel in certain ways.

The general drift is this: Your thought are not your thoughts; your decisions are not decisions. What happened a million or a billion yeas ago largely controls what you think. You don't. That is part of the larger goal to claim that the human mind can be explained by materialism. But it can't .

2. The second was the point I made yesterday, about the grammar of speculation disguised as fact (scroll down to second point, regarding "would have").

If you like this blog, check out my book on the intelligent design controversy, By Design or by Chance?, or my book of essays on faith and science topics, Faith@Science: Why science needs faith in the 21st century (Winnipeg: J. Gordon Shillingford, 2001). You can read excerpts as well.

My other blog is the Mindful Hack, which keeps tabs on neuroscience and the mind.

Are you looking for one of the following stories?

NEW!! Evolution in the light of intelligent design - look up intelligent design topics here.

Animations of life inside the cell, indexed, for your convenience.

Anti-God crusade ... no, really! My recent series on the spate of anti-God books, teen blasphemy challenge, et cetera, and the mounting anxiety of materialist atheists that lies behind it.

Catholic Church A summary of the Catholic Church's entry into the controversy, essentially on the side of ID.

Collins, Francis My review of Francis Collins’ book The Language of God

Columnists weigh in on the intelligent design controversy A summary of recent opinion columns on the ID controversy

Darwinism dissent Lists of theoretical and applied scientists who doubt Darwin

Gilder, George A summary of tech guru George Gilder's arguments for ID and against Darwinism

Intelligent design academic publications.

Intelligent design-friendly students should be flunked, according to bio prof Evolutionary biologist’s opinion that all students friendly to intelligent design should be flunked.

Intelligent design controversy My U of Toronto talk on why there is an intelligent design controversy, or my talk on media coverage of the controversy at the University of Minnesota.

Intelligent design controversy timeline An ID Timeline: The ID folk seem always to win when they lose.

Intelligent design and culture My review of sci-fi great Rob Sawyer’s novel, The Calculating God , which addresses the concept of intelligent design.

March of the Penguins A critical look at why March of the Penguins was thought to be an ID film.

Origin of life Why origin of life is such a difficult problem.

Peer review My backgrounder about peer review issues.

Polls relevant to the intelligent design controversy A summary of recent polls of US public opinion on the ID controversy

Stove, David O'Leary's intro to non-Darwinian agnostic philosopher David Stove’s critique of Darwinism.

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