In an article for Nautilus, Cristine Legare explains “Why Social Science Needs Evolutionary Theory.” An associate professor of psychology at the University of Texas, Austin, she laments that the social sciences are missing out, because they ignore the findings of evolutionary theory. She states, “The lack of willingness to view human cognition and behavior as within the purview of evolutionary processes has prevented evolution from being fully integrated into the social science curriculum.”
The emptiness of her approach is even more evident when she provides a concrete example to illustrate her point that “Applying evolutionary theory to social science has the potential to transform education and, through it, society.” The example she proffers is schoolyard bullying. According to Legare, “Without an evolutionary understanding of the phenomenon, interventions are likely to be ineffective, since they misdiagnose the causes of bullying.” Bullying, she explains, is caused by the desire to gain status and prestige.
Now, ask yourself the question: Did we need evolutionary theory to tell us this, and can evolutionary theory in any way confirm the truth or falsity of this view of bullying? More.
Of course not. If we needed something other than current humans to study, we could try domestic animal bullies. One does not need reason or moral awareness to be a bully, just an urge to be the alpha, the one on top.
The main reason bullying is not tackled in school systems is that many of the parents are bullies too and few administrators are heroes. More knowledge of evolution* won’t fix that.
* Evolution? Out of courtesy, Weikart calls what Legare is doing “evolutionary theory.” Let’s just say it isn’t population genetics or a founder effect. It’s plain old evolutionary psychology, a discipline with a pop science audience but without a subject.
See also: At Nautilus: Psychology needs evolutionary psychology. Legare refers to her work as “evolutionary theory” but actual evolutionary theory is a discipline with subjects like the physical fossils of homo Naledi and Neanderthal man, real and frozen in time.
Richard Weikart: What motivated Hitler to commit genocide?
“The evolutionary psychologist knows why you vote — and shop, and tip at restaurants”