Pop Evolutionary Psychology Takes a Dive!

The Scientific American has a great takedown of some of the more popular evolutionary pscyhologists (especially Stephen Pinker). It's nice to see the scientific community challenging some of the more mythopoetic assumptions of evolutionary psych ("Caveman drag meat back to cave. Cavewoman take care of children. Caveman like many hanky panky. Cavewoman no like hanky panky.") I absolutely LOVE the conclusion:

Of course, some speculations are worse than others. Those of Pop EP are deeply flawed. We are unlikely ever to learn much about our evolutionary past by slicing our Pleistocene history into discrete adaptive problems, supposing the mind to be partitioned into discrete solutions to those problems, and then supporting those suppositions with pencil-and-paper data. The field of evolutionary psychology will have to do better.

For fun, read the comments by the victims of David Buller's apt critique.


Anonymous said...

EvoDevo is "evolutionary developmental biology," not evolutionary psychology. If anything, Evo-devo ideas such as evolutionary constraints provide ammunition for criticism of evolutionary psychology.

Doc Mara said...

Thanks for the clarification. I'll change the title. I've studied "Developmental Psychology," so I wrongly assumed that both Evolutionary Developmental Biology and Developmental Psychology shared the "Devo."

Whip it good!