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Why guys are fathers and gorillas aren’t: The real story


In an age when some academics argue that human intelligence tests are unfair to apes (which is why they don’t ace them), some evo psych profs struggle to explain why guys care about their kids and gorillas don’t:

Being a “dad” is uncommon in the primate world. Most male primates have little to do with their offspring, especially apes. Other primate males are invested in mating. They typically don’t take the time to care for their young. They donate their DNA, and then they are on their way to mate with as many females as possible. So why are human males different? – Elizabeth Fernandez, “Why “Fatherhood” Is Unique to Humans among the Primates” at Forbes

News, “Fatherhood is not “subpersonal” ” at Mind Matters News

If one is not an evolutionary psychologist, the answer is obvious:

The fact that such modules do not correspond with neuroscience findings isn’t the only problem with the evo psych thesis. Another problem is that humans are not subpersonal. So what happens when actual human thinking comes into play? When comparing human fathers in a given ancient group to, say, males in a troupe of gorillas, several questions arise: …

2. Did the human group have a collective understanding that children come to exist as a result of specific sex acts (as opposed to sex, generally)? Thus, one specific man is the “father” of a child. Monogamy doubtless aids such a discovery. A number of conclusions follow, including the idea that the father of a child should be especially concerned with that child’s fate. Hence… fatherhood.

These ways of thinking are available to persons (perhaps not to subpersons?). But they do not require any high degree of technological development.

News, “Fatherhood is not “subpersonal” ” at Mind Matters News

Big evo psych news like the paper under discussion (paper, Paternal provisioning results from ecological change, Ingela Alger, Paul L. Hooper, Donald Cox, Jonathan Stieglitz, Hillard S. Kaplan, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences May 2020, 117 (20) 10746-10754; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1917166117, is open access. ) sure helps one see what evo psych critic Subrena E. Smith is talking about.

See also: Philosopher flattens evolutionary psychology. There is no such thing as a fossil mind. Rejecting evolutionary psychology means realizing that we cannot both claim to represent “Science!” and refuse to be bound by its standards.


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