It's like the end of smallpox.
The end of evolutionary psychology
A new paper in PLoS Biology is rather like the last person to leave turning the light off. Evolutionary psychology as we understood it in the 1980s and 1990s is over. Darwin in Mind: New Opportunities for Evolutionary Psychology:
None of the aforementioned scientific developments render evolutionary psychology unfeasible; they merely require that EP should change its daily practice. The key concepts of EP have led to a series of widely held assumptions (e.g., that human behaviour is unlikely to be adaptive in modern environments, that cognition is domain-specific, that there is a universal human nature), which with the benefit of hindsight we now know to be questionable. A modern EP would embrace a broader, more open, and multi-disciplinary theoretical framework, drawing on, rather than being isolated from, the full repertoire of knowledge and tools available in adjacent disciplines. Such a field would embrace the challenge of exploring empirically, for instance, to what extent human cognition is domain-general or domain specific, under what circumstances human behaviour is adaptive, how best to explain variation in human behaviour and cognition. The evidence from adjacent disciplines suggests that, if EP can reconsider its basic tenets, it will flourish as a scientific discipline.Translation: 'we need to scrap this hoax and restore some pretense of science.'
By “evolutionary psychology” the authors are not addressing a field just at the intersection of evolutionary biology and psychology. Rather, they’re speaking to the group of scholars who came to the fore in the 1990s under the leadership of Leda Cosmides and John Toobey as UCSB. These thinkers adhered to a specific set of parameters outlined above in regards to the basic theoretical framework of evolution and cognition through which their empirical research was framed. I can not speak to the cognitive psychology, the presumed massive modularity for example, but it does seem that their assumptions about human evolutionary history are a touch antiquated.Evolutionary psychology is merely the application of evolutionary biology 'logic' to psychology. Stuff changes, survivors survive. Junk science.
Evolutionary psychology's assumptions about human evolutionary history aren't "antiquated". Its methodological assumptions are too similar to those of evolutionary biology, and its becoming an embarrassment to the atheist coven.
People are starting to notice. Time to cut it loose.
Sometimes I wonder if this might be a feature and not a bug. I’ve been told personally by two people who knew the goings on at the UT Austin evolutionary psychology program that there wasn’t much emphasis on keeping up to date on the most recent work in evolutionary or genetic science (or at least there wasn’t in the mid-2000s, which is when my sources were familiar with the state of the research being done). The impression I received is that that would just muddy the waters and weaken the theoretical basis of the research program.Fact-free storytelling is a feature, not a bug, of the whole Darwinian project.
But sometimes the bedrock needs to be shaken up. It seems that time is upon us. From what I can gather evolutionary psychology was very much a response to the sociobiology controversies of the 1970s. On the one hand there was a real scientific distinction. Many of the sociobiologists were fundamentally biologists dabbling in social theory, while evolutionary psychology was more often dominated by social scientists who took biology seriously. But the reality is that sociobiology by 1980 had a major public relations problem...
That damned Eichmann ruined sociobiology for everyone.
The evolutionary psychology paradigm was more constrained and tightly focused, and its emphasis on human universals helped it mollify somewhat the charges of ‘genetic determinism.’ After all, genetic determinism is a lot less threatening when it is proposing theses which one finds appealing and praiseworthy.'Positive eugenics' has a nicer ring.
At this point talking about the “Paleolithic Mind” and the “environment of evolutionary adaptedness” seems quaint.
It seemed quaint in the 1970's too. Was b.s., is b.s.
One must be cautious, knowing that a genomic region may have been the target of powerful selective forces within the last ~10,000 years does not usually transparently tell us exactly the functional fitness rationale for that adaptive event.No matter. Just make up a story. This is evolution, after all.
The letter of Toobey and Cosmide’s paradigm will be brutally violated in the coming decades. That’s science, the smasher of idols.
This idol was created by science. It's not being "smashed" because it has been 'found to be wrong'. How could 'stuff changes and survivors survive' be wrong?
Evolutionary psychology is being smashed because it's being understood by too many people, and it is an embarrassment to the atheist cult that is trying desperately to conceal the junk science at Darwinism's core.
Darwinism is layers of wrapped nonsense. Banality and tautology, all the way down. Evolutionary biology is shedding evolutionary psychology, like a snake sheds skin.