HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Topics » Gender & Orientation » Men's Group (Group) » Evolutionary Psychology a...

Sat Oct 27, 2012, 12:34 AM

Evolutionary Psychology and anti-intellectualism.

I've noticed from time to time, the utter disdain some of our radfem friends have for the field of Evolutionary Psychology. Now, being a huge fan of Anthropology as well as Psychology as academic pursuits, I always thought the concepts were pretty sound. Upon doing further research, I discovered that while the field can trace it roots back to Darwin, there is a more modern movement afoot. At the risk of falling into an appeal to authority fallacy black hole, I further discovered that the two people considered as the "founders" of the modern EvoPsych field are a married couple, Leda Cosmides and John Tooby, who have their Harvard PhDs in Cognitive Psychology and Biological Anthropology, respectively. Not exactly what I, or any other serious person, would consider "woo." So, where exactly does this anti-intellectual hatred for the field come from? Now, admittedly, I probably did study some of this material back when I thought it would be neat to get a degree in Clinical Psychology, but didn't realize there was a separate field apart from Anthropology, but I'm not 100% up to speed on everything about the field. Does seem to have some damned fine credentials behind it though (Twisty's derision notwithstanding lol)

37 replies, 4023 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 37 replies Author Time Post
Reply Evolutionary Psychology and anti-intellectualism. (Original post)
opiate69 Oct 2012 OP
Warren DeMontague Oct 2012 #1
rrneck Oct 2012 #5
opiate69 Oct 2012 #6
Upton Oct 2012 #7
hifiguy Oct 2012 #15
4th law of robotics Oct 2012 #25
hifiguy Oct 2012 #28
iuzyp Oct 2012 #2
Warren DeMontague Oct 2012 #3
opiate69 Oct 2012 #4
Major Nikon Oct 2012 #10
Warren DeMontague Oct 2012 #11
Major Nikon Oct 2012 #12
hifiguy Oct 2012 #16
caseymoz Oct 2012 #13
4th law of robotics Oct 2012 #8
opiate69 Oct 2012 #9
caseymoz Oct 2012 #14
Mosby Oct 2012 #17
opiate69 Oct 2012 #18
Mosby Oct 2012 #19
opiate69 Oct 2012 #20
Warren DeMontague Oct 2012 #24
hifiguy Oct 2012 #29
lumberjack_jeff Oct 2012 #21
Mosby Oct 2012 #22
Major Nikon Oct 2012 #23
4th law of robotics Oct 2012 #27
Mosby Oct 2012 #30
4th law of robotics Oct 2012 #35
lumberjack_jeff Oct 2012 #31
hifiguy Oct 2012 #32
Mosby Oct 2012 #33
lumberjack_jeff Oct 2012 #34
4th law of robotics Nov 2012 #36
4th law of robotics Oct 2012 #26
Warren DeMontague Nov 2012 #37

Response to opiate69 (Original post)

Sat Oct 27, 2012, 01:36 AM

1. Because it's madness- sheer madness!- to suggest there may be evolutionary or biological drivers in

human behavior.

Such dangerous talk completely negates everything we learned in sunday school everything we were taught at Smith College about how Satan tempted Adam and Eve into original sin Patriarchy corrupted and destroyed the natural pre-Patriarchal pristine state of humanity and furthermore it reinforces dangerous ideas about how we are, after all, animals we are, after all, animals.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Warren DeMontague (Reply #1)

Sat Oct 27, 2012, 12:20 PM

5. Gah!

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Warren DeMontague (Reply #1)

Sat Oct 27, 2012, 12:28 PM

6. It does seem to be...

Yet another area where the radical, fringe feminist left lays a big old wet, sloppy kiss on the radical, fringe, religious right.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to opiate69 (Reply #6)

Sat Oct 27, 2012, 01:32 PM

7. Yeah..

the anti porn radfems and fundies have been in bed together since at least Dworkin's testimony before the Meese Commission. I see where we've been accused of taking Dworkin "out of context"...well, if one believes in personal freedom, I don't know how you can present Dworkin's alliance with Ed Meese as anything other than in a negative light...

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Warren DeMontague (Reply #1)

Mon Oct 29, 2012, 05:53 PM

15. The woo spewed against evolutionary psych is insane

- I mean up there with the "I'm not saying it was aliens, but it was aliens" guy and the playing-with-their-own-poop fundy numbskulls who blame bad weather on teh geyz. If this woo were true something truly remarkable would have happened - human beings, good old homo sapiens, the species who is wise, would be the one and only higher animal on the planet with no hardwired instincts and predispositions. Dogs bury bones, cats cover their poop, chimps climb trees, grazing animals band together in herds, but nope, one animal in the history of the evolution of life has no hardwired instincts - humans. The likelihood of this being true is on the Santa Claus/transubstantiation level of sheer ridiculousness and impossibility.

That this "concept" is absolutely barking-at-the-moon, batshit fking insane is so readily apparent to anyone who knows anything about natural selection that it barely merits refutation.

Science is bad because it might discover evil things, especially things that disagree with our already set-in-stone ideas of what the world is. For christ's sake don't confuse the issue with hard scientifically-tested, rigorously evaluated evidence!

Exactly the same types of fact-free rationalizations are heard from the young-earth creationist dimbulbs. The one core fact about science and the scientific method is that anything learned by its application is subject to revision in the light of more advanced knowledge. Otherwise it ain't science.

The postulations of evolutionary psych will either be found plausible and valid through the application of the scientific method or they won't. My money is that a surprising amount of the hypotheses will wind up scientifically valid.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to hifiguy (Reply #15)

Tue Oct 30, 2012, 10:38 PM

25. "The one core fact about science and the scientific method . . . "

 

The one core fact about science and the scientific method is that anything learned by its application is subject to revision in the light of more advanced knowledge. Otherwise it ain't science.


And yet some theories, like those about the patriarchy, revolve around an immutable conclusion and bending facts to agree with that conclusion.

Are you saying that's not real science?

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to 4th law of robotics (Reply #25)

Tue Oct 30, 2012, 10:51 PM

28. You might say that.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to opiate69 (Original post)

Sat Oct 27, 2012, 06:13 AM

2. *groan*

 

chock up another gender essentialist post.

There's "damn fine credentials" behind climate denialism, too. Just because some jackass got a PhD doesn't mean his research isn't full of specious arguments and cherry picked data. Doesn't surprise me this group will grasp at straws to justify their obsession with alleged behavioral differences between peepee and hoohoos.

You guys DO know there are more than 2 biological sexes, right? You could have a different chromosomal configuration and not even know it.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to iuzyp (Reply #2)

Sat Oct 27, 2012, 06:24 AM

3. "chock up"?

And I'm supposed to be the one with the "volatile room temperature IQ"???



Hey, too bad you can't edit that thing, huh.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Warren DeMontague (Reply #3)

Sat Oct 27, 2012, 12:17 PM

4. *snork*!!! Oh, and... Hi again, iverglas!

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Warren DeMontague (Reply #3)

Sat Oct 27, 2012, 09:05 PM

10. You can't win, Darth

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Major Nikon (Reply #10)

Sat Oct 27, 2012, 09:19 PM

11. More like this:

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Warren DeMontague (Reply #11)

Sat Oct 27, 2012, 09:23 PM

12. Same thing

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Warren DeMontague (Reply #3)

Mon Oct 29, 2012, 05:57 PM

16. Another one bites the dust:



Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to iuzyp (Reply #2)

Mon Oct 29, 2012, 01:04 AM

13. Can't tell if that rant is real or parody.


I can't even tell who it's supposed to be answering. For someone adept at spotting specious arguments and cherry-picked data, maybe it's time to concentrate on coherency and clarity. Or maybe try to to say which argument is specious and how, or which data is cherry-picked? You've apparently gone through the entire academic field quite carefully.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to opiate69 (Original post)

Sat Oct 27, 2012, 04:08 PM

8. Fundamentalists of all stripes reject science

 

When it fails to back their beliefs. Find Ann old boat and call it the ark or decide that ancient humans were matriarchal based on some random conjecture and you're back to being respectable scientists.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to 4th law of robotics (Reply #8)

Sat Oct 27, 2012, 04:23 PM

9. Too true, 4thLaw.. too true

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to opiate69 (Original post)

Mon Oct 29, 2012, 01:22 AM

14. I think they don't like it . . .


. . . because of its implication of gender determinism, or determinism, period. However, I haven't had one radfem or feminist helpful enough to verify if that's the case.

I tried to say that sociobiology implies no such thing. That a biologist doesn't see genetics as determining outcomes at all, if anything, they see genes providing possibilities.

Though I have to admit, they may be suspicious as male scientists tell them certain facts, theories and hypotheses. They may think the data has been cooked to undercut feminism. In presuming the data is corrupt, they then throw it out and make their own guess. And wouldn't you know, they base their guesses on social science, a category of academia known for it's reliable data and unbiased researchers, all of whom in no way want to prove their own theories and launch social movements based on them.


Until you actually get more female scientists into the sociobiology or psycho-biology fields, you're not going to settle this. Not when distrust is running so high.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to opiate69 (Original post)

Tue Oct 30, 2012, 05:37 PM

17. evo psych (sociobiology) is mostly bullshit

Furthermore cultural antho is also mostly bullshit.

I would explain but I don't see the point for this group.

Nothing personal.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Mosby (Reply #17)

Tue Oct 30, 2012, 05:50 PM

18. Oh, well.... Mosby sez so, so it must be trufax!!!

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink



Response to Mosby (Reply #19)

Tue Oct 30, 2012, 06:41 PM

20. Hmm... ok..

Cursory look at the first link reveals it was written by the "author" who called the people who defended the falsely accused Duke rape suspects "rape-loving scum." Not exactly someone who seems to have a firm grasp on facts or reality. And really, since when is ab English Lit major an expert on human behavior??
Will look at those other links later.
Edit: Ok.. so, then we have a wiki page which only really says that there is some criticism of the field, and that it may or may not be valid criticism. Not anything any professor worth his tenure would accept as a source.

Then, thete`s a psychologist whose big claim to fame is criticizing 12 step programs and conventional thought on alcoholism.. lo and behold, his biggest funding sources are liquor lobbying organizations.

And then, a bunch of random rad-fem blogs, most of which just refer right back to Amanda "rape-loving scum" Durcotte.

Academics: You`re doing it wrong.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to opiate69 (Reply #20)

Tue Oct 30, 2012, 09:29 PM

24. Yeah. I know for a fucking FACT that alcoholism has a genetic and physiological component.

I don't buy into the "12 steps as the only way" thing, either, but I will say that for people who have the physiological situation or relationship to alcohol that characterizes serious or chronic alcoholism, they can't fuck around with alcohol, period, at all. Trying to "teach Moderation" to people with that condition is a cruel joke.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to opiate69 (Reply #20)

Tue Oct 30, 2012, 11:51 PM

29. Why am I not surprised that an ax-grinder is at the base of this?

I read a few of the links, a couple of which looked like Meta-threads, and wound up eventually looping back to a quote from the founders of the discipline:

As Leda Cosmides and John Tooby write: "...in the rush to apply evolutionary insights to a science of human behavior, many researchers have made a conceptual 'wrong turn', leaving a gap in the evolutionary approach that has limited its effectiveness. This wrong turn has consisted of attempting to apply evolutionary theory directly to the level of manifest behavior, rather than using it as a heuristic guide for the discovery of innate psychological mechanisms." In other words, there may be an evolutionary basis for certain meta-aspects of human psychology rather than a direct link to individual behaviors. Which sounds entirely logical and possible, but time will tell.

Which amounts to saying that would-be popularizers are jumping the gun. So let's leave this to the actual scientists and see if the experimental and predictive methodologies develop and improve. It will either proved valid to some greater or lesser degree or it will turn out to be a dead end. To squawk at the outset that "there are questions that shouldn't be asked" is the same kind of bullshit spouted by the young earth creationists and other anti-science crackpots.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Mosby (Reply #19)

Tue Oct 30, 2012, 07:22 PM

21. Are you suggesting that men don't have the capacity to understand it?

I would explain but I don't see the point for this group.


If so, you're not as smart as you think.

Nothing personal, of course.

I respect those who come here to argue their point. I don't respect those who feel the need to pinch a turd on the doorstep and airily decline to even explain why.

And when the first link is authored by a blogger who's too offensive for the Edwards campaign...

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to lumberjack_jeff (Reply #21)

Tue Oct 30, 2012, 08:12 PM

22. I'm posting from my phone

My work computer is fucked up right now so I tried to find some relevant links via my phone browser but maybe I didn't.

I posted a reply in a mens group post recently about boys underperforming in language skills/reading and I was ridiculed. The experiment I posted was extremely well done though it has not yet been replicated. Anyone who understands research should find it significant. Due the response I received I lowered my expectations regarding this group.

Any social science endeavor must be based on experimentation, evo psych is limited to self report data.

In addition to severe DV limitations there is the problem of construct validity, and imo this issue can't be overcome, at least right now.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Mosby (Reply #22)

Tue Oct 30, 2012, 09:29 PM

23. There's plenty of social science concepts which can't be effectively tested

That doesn't mean they are invalid. It just means that as yet nobody has been able to prove them objectively so they should be taken with a grain of salt.

There are people on both sides of the debate whose knowledge and experience on this subject far exceeds my own and I dare say anyone who cares to participate in this group. As such I don't see the point of trying to ridicule anyone who has made a decision either way. There are good arguments on both sides.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Mosby (Reply #22)

Tue Oct 30, 2012, 10:45 PM

27. Many disciplines can't be based on experimentation

 

Part of any real experiment is a control group right?

Ok, where's the control earth for climate change models?

/do you believe humans, alone among all thinking animals, have no behavioral traits influenced by genetics? Are we entirely blank slates when born? For instance, we have no natural fear of falling (we don't live in trees any more) or loud noises, or any of that stuff?

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to 4th law of robotics (Reply #27)

Wed Oct 31, 2012, 02:51 PM

30. some things are very hard or nearly impossibe to test

Most economic "theory" for example, is hard to test because you can't manipulate anything. That does not mean the ideas stemming from economics have no value at all but its very limited, ultimately economists make educated guesses. If you think about it economic theory should be part of social psych but is isn't because its nearly impossible to apply the scientific method.

The biggest issue in climate research is rate of change and there is a great deal of variability in rates for exactly the reason that it can't be tested. The best they can do is make simple comparisons of rates of greenhouse gas levels through the millenia and extrapolate from that.

Standard evolutionary theory is also nearly impossibe to test using experimentation. A lot of key ideas like natural selection cannot be proven, but ideas like Directed Mutation can be tested and, not surprisingly, is completely changing the way scientists think about standard evo theory.

Evopsych is very limited in that they can develop questionaires and that's about it. In the research biz self report data (from questionaires) is considered about the weakest DV data one can obtain. There is also the problem of what is exactly being tested (construct validity) imo this is a huge problem that cannot be overcome.

There is no question that humans have instinctive behaviors but there is a huge jump from that to saying for example that men are naturally polygamous. Maybe they are but it can't be proved or disproved using current research techniques.

Experimentation today often does not use the "control group" type of effects testing. The big thing today is Structural Equation Modeling, which does not use control groups.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Mosby (Reply #30)

Wed Oct 31, 2012, 10:25 PM

35. I think you are grievously misunderstanding what evo-psych

 

is all about.

It isn't simply "a bunch of questionares".

For instance: you can observe prostitution among chimps and other primates.

You can also observe it historically among many human societies from records.

This would suggest there is something biological to this process, rather than it being an unnatural construct of the patriarchy.


There is no question that humans have instinctive behaviors but there is a huge jump from that to saying for example that men are naturally polygamous. Maybe they are but it can't be proved or disproved using current research techniques.


Behaviors that appear pretty much uniformly across cultures that have never previously had contact would suggest that there is a biological basis to that behavior. Yes?

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Mosby (Reply #22)

Wed Oct 31, 2012, 03:52 PM

31. I think it's safe to agree that psychology, evolutionary or otherwise, is a soft science.

The question is whether evo psych is a better predictor of human behavior across societies than the alternatives. As a parent of a child with autism, I am confident that nurture takes a distant back seat to nature in our basic cognitive perceptions and reactions to stimulus.

We can consciously change our reactions to that stimuli only to a degree.

With enough behavioral intervention, it may be possible to get juvenile male primates to play with dolls instead of trucks, but that doesn't change their inherent preference.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to lumberjack_jeff (Reply #31)

Wed Oct 31, 2012, 05:12 PM

32. Well said, jeff.

I am dx'd on the spectrum (Asperger's) and brain wiring is what it is. To argue that somehow humans are the only higher animal born without some sort of meta-programming defies common sense, as I discussed on this thread.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to lumberjack_jeff (Reply #31)

Wed Oct 31, 2012, 07:06 PM

33. psychology does cover a lot of ground these days

The nature vs nurture dichotomy is more complicated then it used to be, for example schizophrenia is known to have genetic and environmental aspects, it develops from interactions between a persons genetics and the environment. So there are significant non genetic causes of schizophrenia, just like a lot of other hard to define illnesses and disorders.

Autism probably has a major environmental component, its only partly due to genetics. The results of the human genome project shows that genetics are linked to the environment, there is simply no way to separate the two.

There is a lot of interesting research coming out about gut microbes, seems that they communicate directly with our brains and might have a large role in our overall mood. Again this is an environmental effect, nothing to do with genetics since we are born with a sterile gut.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Mosby (Reply #33)

Wed Oct 31, 2012, 08:06 PM

34. I think the analogies between psychology and environmental science are apt.

Environmental science can't predict what the weather will be in Nashville on Thanksgiving day. So too, EvoPsych can't predict my individual behavior.

Claims to the contrary would in fact be "bullshit".

Environmental science can predict that the average temperature of the next few Nashville thanksgivings will be higher than the last few, and EvoPsych can predict that most boys born next year (across all cultures... in fact among all hominids) will prefer balls and trucks, and only a small part if any of that preference will be due to parental influence.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Mosby (Reply #33)

Thu Nov 1, 2012, 12:13 PM

36. The genetic component would be neuro-science

 

not psychology.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Mosby (Reply #19)

Tue Oct 30, 2012, 10:43 PM

26. Claim: evo-psych is bullshit

 

Evidence: look at what these socials scientists and bloggers have to say!

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to opiate69 (Original post)

Fri Nov 9, 2012, 08:34 PM

37. This is the stuff that makes people think it's okay to cover up or apologize for child abusers, huh?

Wow. Who knew the Vatican, for instance, was such a hotbed of "Evo Psych"?

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Reply to this thread