(crossfiled to Shut up, you losers, and just pay)
About the latest “origin of religion” book, Damon Linker writes,
The Belief Instinct: The Psychology of Souls, Destiny, and the Meaning of Life
by Jesse Bering
W.W. Norton & Company, 252 pp., $26.95
Who will save science from the scientists? I often ponder that question when I peruse the writings of evolutionary psychologists—and did so once again as I read Jesse Bering’s new book, which is at once marvelously informative and endlessly infuriating.
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The first thing to be said about this account is that it is an example of evolutionary psychology at its very worst: shifting abruptly between experimental data about modern civilized human beings and groundless speculation about our evolutionary ancestors; and reducing all human motivation to the desire to get laid; and presupposing what it seeks to prove. (Why did proto-humans begin to condemn “impulsive, hedonistic, and uninhibited” behavior if they did not already possess the capacity for moral judgment and self-restraint that supposedly developed only later, with the advent of gossip?)
There, now that you’ve got a bit of Science into you, you can stop asking questions that imply that you believe you have a working mind. Your trouble is, you haven’t been properly Darwinized, so you still notice things.