Evo psych likely got started when psychologists wanted to get in on illuminating findings in evolution, like the Cambrian Explosion. Trouble is, there aren’t any prehumans around. And we don’t have a good reason to believe that early humans differed much from us in psychology.
If one’s research is in a hole as deep as evolutionary psychology is when accounting for compassion, why not stop digging? Stop digging? The hole evolutionary psychologists are digging IS the enterprise. Any motive that didn’t merely spread selfish genes would be invisible to them.
If our behavior is said to stem from our prehuman past, not from our present circumstances, evolutionary psychology is a discipline without a subject.
It’s apparently not an adaption to reducing infection risk.
Probably, any perspective that sees humans as merely evolved animals will offer platitudes and prescriptions for suffering, rather than insight or inspiration.
Most likely, “emotions research” is nonsense. But tying it to Darwinism means that its practitioners can hammer down hard on that lectern even if they are not making sense to the people whose emotions they are supposed to be describing. It’s all those people’s fault for being “creationists.”
As noted at the article, it’s an open question whether the mind evolved at all and therefore whether evolutionary psychology is any help in understanding it.
If one is not an evolutionary psychologist, the answer is obvious.
Seriously enough to realize that it is not really a discipline in science.
Sheldon: Did you notice how Smith trashes Evolutionary Psychology because it uses “circular” reasoning? Then she realizes it sounds like an ID criticism, so she rushes to defend the remaining Evolutionary sciences with this paragraph…
But that’s not the amazing part. The amazing part is the admission of skepticism at a popular scitech mag. Hey, we can provide lots of examples of flapdoodle. But we took for granted that all these science writers actually believed in it. And not wanting to just pick a stupid useless fight with true believers, we mostly talked (well, okay, hooted, really) among ourselves…
Philosopher of biology Subrena E. Smith: Furthermore, evolutionary psychological hypotheses turn on inferences about hypothetical structures for which there is a dearth of empirical support, and there is no evidence that the minds of our prehistoric ancestors possessed this sort of architecture.
It’s amazing what passes for insight among evolutionary psychologists. How would it help anyone decide how to help a depressed person? Read the whole thing for sure. It gets into beehives and such.
At the BBC, a writer offers an explanation of the Christian practice of Communion, Darwinism-style. Along the way, he discovers that apes are spiritual.
The researchers offer various evolutionary psychology musings, bypassing the obvious point: When tragedy or disaster strikes, merely facile, trendy accounts of life don’t work anymore. So people turn to timeless questions and timeless truths.