Even in cases of behaviors that seem to hinder reproduction, evolutionary psychologists can invent some good-old “just-so story.” E.O. Wilson, a Harvard biologist and the founder of sociobiology, claimed that homosexuality might be selected for, because a homosexual would be able to help siblings have more offspring. Is there any empirical evidence for this? No, but apparently it is the best just-so story he could devise.
In a similar fashion Harvard University psychologist Steven Pinker asserts that infanticide has biological roots. He claims that ancient humans were picky about which babies they would raise to maturity. According to Pinker, “A new mother will first coolly assess the infant and her current situation and only in the next few days begin to see it as a unique and wonderful individual. Her love will gradually deepen in ensuing years, in a trajectory that tracks the increasing biological value of a child (the chance that it will live to produce grandchildren) as the child proceeds through the mine field of early development.” Pinker does not provide a stitch of evidence for this assertion, which runs contrary to everything I have ever heard from mothers.
It’s true that mothers in desperate circumstances must sometimes make harsh choices but they do not “coolly assess” so much as they protect themselves from total loss and unsustainable grief.
Recently the journal Evolutionary Psychological Science published an article by Edward Dutton, a religious studies scholar, entitled “Jewish Group Evolutionary Strategy Is the Most Plausible Hypothesis.” Dutton’s article supports the hypothesis of the anti-Semitic evolutionary psychologist Kevin MacDonald, who claims that Jews have biologically ingrained behaviors (think of all the negative anti-Semitic stereotypes here) that help them out-compete other races. More.
In short, because evolutionary psychology is a discipline without a subject (not-quite-humans don’t exist and maybe never have), it is prone to merely mirroring whatever popular culture endorses and providing an “evolutionary” explanation. Anti-Semites, newly popular on the left, may as well give it a try, right?
See also: Evolutionary psychology: A promising new strategy for anti-Semites?
“Intersectionality” and anti-Semitism: But one thing Dershowitz and everyone else can take home: Big Science today is cowardly and is simply letting the war on evidence and reality run the show, as long as boffins keep their jobs.
Richard Weikart: Why social science does not need evolutionary theory
“The evolutionary psychologist knows why you vote — and shop, and tip at restaurants”