Dunno how you guys feel about evolutionary psychology...

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Re: Dunno how you guys feel about evolutionary psychology...

Postby CBrachyrhynchos » Tue Nov 13, 2012 5:57 pm

Valerie wrote:
CBrachyrhynchos wrote:In my not so humble opinion, evolution has nothing to say about abortion because evolution is a theory about the distribution of genes over multiple generations. It's not a theory of morality, ethics, or good governance. Talking about the ethics of abortion (or anything) in terms of biological evolution is as much nonsense as talking about ethics in terms of special relativity.


Which is why we aren't talking about ethics? Which I thought I made perfectly clear?


Not when you're mixing ethical claims with pseudoscientific handwavium:

As far as natural selection is concerned, this woman should...


That's a classic is/ought mistake. K-selection theory does not say what an individual should do. That's an ethical statement. K-selection theory only says what happens when significant numbers in a population follow the strategy under certain ecological conditions.

Similar to the above, natural selection wants.... So, again, natural selection is for abortion.


Natural selection doesn't have agency to "want" or "be for." All of these scenarios suffer from too much focus on the individual rather than population dynamics. And yes, you can certainly observe that k-selection theory includes phenomena like abortion and infanticide. (Although not within the scope of evolutionary psychology, because as evolutionary psychologists define their field they're limited to Homo sapiens and its immediate ancestors.)

But k-selection theory can't be used as an imperative statement because that requires philosophical assumptions beyond the scope of the science involved, (or science at all.) To quote Pinker here, "If my genes don't like it, they can go jump in the lake."

Even if you were to remove all the is/ought problems from your just so stories here, you need to provide evidence that attitudes about abortion are a) genetic, and b) originate in the paleolithic. Do you have any evidence that either is the case? EDIT: Among all the other problems, ambivalence and hostility to abortion can equally be argued to be successful reproductive strategies with trivial changes to assumptions about paleolithic hominid environments.
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Re: Dunno how you guys feel about evolutionary psychology...

Postby Valerie » Tue Nov 13, 2012 6:51 pm

I thought it was obvious to everyone here that evolution does not actually "want" anything, nor does it "think" you "should" do anything. It's an unconscious process that just happens. I used language that made it easier to talk about.
Lia S wrote:Valerie is right.

As usual.


TCampbell wrote:Val has a harem, but it's chiefly structured online at the moment.
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Re: Dunno how you guys feel about evolutionary psychology...

Postby Alice Macher » Tue Nov 27, 2012 6:47 pm

Val, I'm sure you'll appreciate this for more than one reason:

http://xkcd.com/775/
"Life doesn't wait forever." --Lisa Winklemeyer
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Re: Dunno how you guys feel about evolutionary psychology...

Postby Valerie » Tue Nov 27, 2012 8:03 pm

Alice Macher wrote:Val, I'm sure you'll appreciate this for more than one reason:

http://xkcd.com/775/


X3
Lia S wrote:Valerie is right.

As usual.


TCampbell wrote:Val has a harem, but it's chiefly structured online at the moment.
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Re: Dunno how you guys feel about evolutionary psychology...

Postby FlyingFish » Thu Nov 29, 2012 2:23 pm

I have to laugh at any specialized theory on why humans behave as they do. While Darwinist imperatives may be one influence on us, there are so many others, intermixed in such a complex manner, that to try to explain any random action of ours solely by its principles is such a gross oversimplification as to be useless, if not utterly misleading.

One does not talk about "gravity physics", as if gravity were the only force in the universe; one definitely does not try to use "gravity physics" to explain why a rocket rises. One just uses physics, which contains a vast combination of forces.
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Re: Dunno how you guys feel about evolutionary psychology...

Postby svenman » Wed Dec 05, 2012 3:23 pm

Aaaand today's SMBC strip provides a pretty spot-on commentary on this subject.
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Re: Dunno how you guys feel about evolutionary psychology...

Postby Giza » Thu Nov 14, 2013 1:15 pm

Bumping since I thought it was interesting and because a lot of people in the thread are still regular posters on the board.

I have issues with evolutionary psychology. Its not because it has the potential to be used for racist or sexist gain, because that wouldn't have anything to do with whether or not it is correct. My issue with evolutionary psychology is it is very difficult for it to make direct predictions of behavior that other models for psychology can't. Another issue is that I fear that evolutionary psychology is that it is unfalsifiable when looking at evidence retroactively. I feel like anything piece of evidence that exists can be rationalized to fit into the model. I just worry that the model isn't very useful because of these factors. I don't know much about evolutionary psychology however, so I may be completely wrong.
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