Evolutionary Biology and Psychology
And while some tribes permitted some degree of violent behavior from males, it was only allowed along strictly enforced lines and usually could not be expressed toward anyone inside of the tribe.
There is nothing natural, or biological, about boys behaving against the needs of their communities.
As a society… [we hide] behind the unfortunate saying “Boys will be boys”. Adults wring their hands and stand passively by while boys behave selfishly, irresponsibly, or violently.
Some adults, particularly some men, don’t just tolerate antisocial behavior from boys but actually openly joke or wink about it, egging boys on. Then we act baffled and concerned when these boys grow up to become the men that adults have prepared them to be – competitive, selfish, and aggressive.
In the words of a wise bumper sticker that succinctly captures this problem,
“Boys Will Be Men”.
Lundy Bancroft and JAC Patrissi
Rape is not “evolutionary”. It is the result of wrong thinking.
If you are a normal (non-violent) heterosexual man, contemplate raping a woman, if that’s possible for you.
What is your emotional response? What goes through your mind? That the victim’s terror, screams, or fighting back will make the sex more fun? That, afterwards, you won’t be hunted, harmed, or even killed by her family members, jailed, outcast or ostracized by good people, but praised and fêted?
Asserting that rape is adaptive genetically is like asserting that murder is adaptive genetically. And it is well known that sociopaths don’t live as long as non-sociopaths.
Rape is aberrant behavior, period. Behaviors that cause damage, pain, and fear are fought back against by both men and women; such behaviors tend not to result in the advancement of any individual.
We need to take our natural abhorrence of violence into the scientific realm where even today there are those trying to find reasons for its continued existence. I’m looking at you, evolutionary “scientists”.
The evolutionary scientists of today are anthro-apologists looking for the roots of abuse, misanthropy, and misogyny in what they take for granted is the normalcy of such behavior. Their theories fail because abuse, violence, misanthropy, and misogyny are not adaptive on any level.
It is usually the men who presume that violence against women is natural, adaptive, and evolutionarily sound, but many women believe them. We all must stop believing in the idea that violence is natural.
It’s time, not only for our societies and for our species as a whole, for our scientists to stop trying to find the normalcy in violence and fear.
Let’s start by realizing that violence isn’t adaptive and start discussing the scientific reasons for deploring it, and for our species giving it up, not making “scientific” excuses for it, or feeling sorry for the perpetrators of it.
February 28, 2013
Science, Math, Men, Women
April 10, 2012
David Barash and the “Myth” of Monogamy
January 10, 2012
January 8, 2012
Orders of Difficulty
July 8, 2011
The Non-Irony of Slutwalks
August 12, 2011
Today’s evolutionary psychology is a materialist pseudoscience based on false scientific premises and on wrong assumptions about human nature which support today’s cultural, not evolutionary, bias toward male superiority (and entitlement) over women.
The fact is that sexual desire, sexual activity, and sexual jealousy are biologically inherent in both men and women (or perhaps it would be better to say all genders of human being) to the same degree equally. There is far more individual variation than variation across the sexes.
The few books available that get evolutionary psychology right (equating the genders) have been written by those rare psychologists who have spent most of their careers talking to men and women about their relationships, how they really feel, and what works and what doesn’t to maintain a happy and successful pair bond – and then have not applied cultural bias to their findings (such as “co-dependence”) or made-up theories (such as the “Mars/Venus” dichotomy).
Examples of Good Science:
Should I Stay or Should I Go?
A Guide to Knowing if Your Relationship Can – and Should – Be Saved
Lundy Bancroft and JAC Patrissi. Berkley Trade, 2011 (book).
- Bancroft and Patrissi provide a far more realistic view of our evolutionary past than most academic evolutionary psychologists. Bancroft just can’t be beat.
The New Science of Adult Attachment and How It Can Help You Find and Keep Love
Amir Levine, Rachel Heller. Tarcher, 2010 (book). (Kindle)
- Levine and Heller flounder a bit, generalize far too much, and are sometimes very unprofessional in their personal remarks, but their scientific basics are generally sound.
Books that get evolutionary psychology wrong usually were written by materialist (a scientifically out-of-date philosophy) academics who have spent little of their careers actually talking to people; their studies and conclusions are based on and skewed in favor of both their scientific and their cultural biases and preconceptions.
For instance, they usually conclude that men both desire and engage in more sexual activity than women (wrong; this is reporting error, and if scientists thought about it they would realize that it wouldn’t even be possible), that sexual promiscuity is not only natural but desirable (wrong; even apes, chimpanzees, birds, and other animals get jealous and fight to keep their pairings monogamous), and that pair bonding and monogamy are unnatural, undesirable, and anti-evolutionary (wrong, wrong, and wrong, scientifically speaking).
Unfortunately, such thinking is exemplary of the state of the pseudoscience of evolutionary psychology today; worse, evolutionary scientists who engage in such culturally-approved thinking are the ones who get reported upon (and fawned over) in the news media.
Examples of Bad Science:
The Myth of Monogamy
Fidelity and Infidelity in Animals and People
David P. Barash Ph.D. and Judith Eve Lipton. W. H. Freeman, 2001 (book).
Sex at Dawn: The Prehistoric Origins of Modern Sexuality
Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jetha. HarperCollins, 2010 (book).
From Sex to Money to Food: Taming Our Primal Instincts
Chapter One at The New York Times (book chapter)
Terry Burnham and Jay Phelan, Perseus Publishing, 2001
Book Review: “Mean Genes: From Sex to Money to Food, Taming Our Primal Instincts” by Terry Burnham and Jay Phelan
Damian Moskovitz, Atlas Society, October 2001 (book review).
Our Big Brains Can Overcome Our Selfish Genes
From a lecture by Richard Dawkins, the Charles Simonyi Professor of the Understanding of Science, given at the Royal Institution, in London, 12 February 2002.
Posted by Charles Simonyi Professor of the Public Understanding of Science,
Oxford University, at The Conversation website.
Under “bad science” there are also the following articles, which are very confused on the science and contain the typical bad advice of reporters not up on the science:
Bad Advice for Cheated Wives
A former escort turned “infidelity counselor” tells women to give their husbands more sex. It’s not the answer.
Tracy Clark-Flory, Salon, April 16, 2013
- Salon’s “sex reporter” writes that “having lots of sex with your husband” is “pedestrian, misguided” advice. She’s wrong. Her parents were right (and so is the woman she writes about, who has listened to the complaints of 1,000 men) that “sex is the glue that holds a marriage together”. Clark-Flory cites only the cultural / evolutionary psychology fallacy that women are, or should be, the “sexual gate-keepers” in a relationship (I shudder for the women who believe this, and the futures of their marriages). Clark-Flory is woefully undereducated about what she writes about; a problem with many reporters, but she can do better (in fact, I list another article of hers in the Resources section below).
I’m Just a Jealous Guy
Carole Jahme shines the cold light of evolutionary psychology on readers’ problems.
This week: Sexual Jealousy.
Carole Jahme, The Guardian, July 6, 2010
- An awful example of how the utter wrongness of bad “evolutionary psychology/biology” has infiltrated the news media and general public opinion. Shame on anyone who promotes such misogynistic wrong thinking.
Selfish Gene Theory Of Evolution Called Fatally Flawed
Y. Bar-Yam, Formalizing the gene centered view of evolution, Advances in Complex Systems 2, pp.277-281 (1999).
Back to the Stone Age
Two strong believers in evolutionary psychology tell us how we can live better lives.
Erica Goode, The New York Times, December 31, 2000
Sexual Behavior in Pre Contact Hawai‘i: A Sexological Ethnography
Milton Diamond, Ph.D., Revista Española del Pacifico. 2004. 16: 37-58
Why Most Published Research Findings Are False
John P. A. Ioannidis, PLoS, August 30, 2005
They Don’t Make Homo Sapiens Like They Used To
Our species — and individual races — have recently made big evolutionary changes to adjust to new pressures.
Kathleen McAuliffe, Discover Magazine, February 9, 2009
Are we witnessing the end of science?
Almost all the great revolutions in scientific thinking may be behind us,
but the way modern science is conducted stifles radical new ideas
Ehsan Masood, The Guardian, June 22, 2009
Human Nature Today
David Brooks, The New York Times, June 25, 2009
- “Evolutionary psychology leaves the impression that human nature was carved a hundred thousand years ago, and then history sort of stopped. But human nature adapts to the continual flow of information … Individuals aren’t formed before they enter society. Individuals are created by social interaction. … There’s no escaping context. That’s worth remembering next time somebody tells you we are hardwired to do this or that.”
Why Do We Rape, Kill and Sleep Around?
The fault, dear Darwin, lies not in our ancestors, but in ourselves.
Sharon Begley, Newsweek, June 29, 2009 (Republished at The Daily Beast)
- A highly intelligent smackdown, um, analysis of evolutionary psych/bio. There was much opposition to this article among evolutionary “scientists” (or perhaps mostly sensationalistic journalists), of course.
Questioning Evolutionary Psychology
Recently, the doubts and questions plaguing the theory of evolutionary psychology
have boiled up to the mainstream press.
Christie Nicholson, Scientific American, July 17, 2009 (notes and podcast)
- Scientific American is not the most up-to-date or reliable resource in general, however.
Skipping Spouse to Spouse Isn’t Just a Man’s Game
Natalie Angier, The New York Times, August 31, 2009
- “Evolutionary psychology” alternative hypotheses.
Why Do Women Have Sex? For the Same Reasons Men Do.
Tracy Clark-Flory, Salon, October 5, 2009
Beyond the Genome
Brandon Keim, Wired, October 7, 2009
Pink Brain, Blue Brain
Claims of Sex Differences Fall Apart
Sharon Begley, Newsweek, September 3, 2009 (Republished at The Daily Beast)
Another Darwinian Fairy Tale Gives Us Old Time Religion in our Jeans.
Or Was That Genes?
Marc Jampole, OpEdge (blog), November 17, 2009
What Do Pleistocene Hunters Have to Do with Poker Anyway?
Absolutely Nothing, Mr. McManus.
Marc Jampole, OpEdge (blog), December 22, 2009
Tiger Woods’ Adultery: The Scientific Defense
A new book argues that dudes just can’t help chasing tail. Give me a break!
Mary Elizabeth Williams, Salon, March 25, 2010
Lies, Damned Lies, and Medical Science
David H. Freedman, The Atlantic, November 2010
- “Much of what medical researchers conclude in their studies is misleading, exaggerated, or flat-out wrong. So why are doctors — to a striking extent — still drawing upon misinformation in their everyday practice? Dr. John Ioannidis has spent his career challenging his peers by exposing their bad science.”
Do Humans Prefer Free Love Over the Bonds of Nuclear Family?
Maia Szalavitz, Time – Healthland, November 2, 2010
- No. At least no one in his or her right mind, independently, uninfluenced by cultural pressures to “conform” to counterculturalism.
The top 10 most spectacularly wrong widely held scientific theories
Eric Berger, Houston Chronicle, November 24, 2010
- Note that none of the new theories which replaced the old are any “truer”, and will be replaced in their turn; that science is “better” today than in the past is debatable to completely untrue. Or perhaps some of the older theories (especially those not as ancient and thoroughly discredited as those presented in this article – the operative words here are “eventually discarded” – which can take centuries) will be revived in new forms. That happens a lot, too.
A Roomful of Yearning and Regret
Wendy Plump, The New York Times, December 9, 2010
- What it’s like to cheat and to be cheated on.
Nice Guys Finish First
David Brooks, The New York Times, May 16, 2011
Scientist Tim Flannery Ties Darwinian Myths to Politics of Selfishness
and Myth of Free Markets
Marc Jampole, OpEdge (blog), May 19, 2011
Twin Studies are Pretty Much Useless
Brian Palmer, Slate, August 24, 2011
- Palmer still believes in the “promissory” science, though, unaccountably.
Men Aren’t Funnier Than Women, but We’ll Keep Pretending They Are
A new study says the female funny bone is equal to the male,
even if it’s not perceived to be.
Amanda Marcotte, Slate, October 20, 2011
- Women are as funny as men. And as smart. Period. End of story.
Steven Pinker’s Book is a Comfort Blanket for the Smug
Andrew Brown, The Guardian, November 8, 2011
- “The factual errors in The Better Angels of Our Nature destroy Pinker’s thesis, rendering it no more than a bedtime story.”
Women’s Progress Marches Backward
Whether you look at job stats or the pay gap, at the movie awards or Sunday morning TV,
it’s been a rough 2011
Irin Carmon, Salon, December 19, 2011
- Why?: 1) The outsized influence over news media, and therefore society, of reactionary fundamentalist religious protest due to their misunderstanding of God’s will regarding what are actually human cultural taboos, 2) evolutionary “science”, which, with little to no actual science to uphold them, remains biased toward those taboos, and 3) women’s reluctance to respond to, fight against, and protest those taboos in public and private – due to those very taboos.
Dr. Robert L. Spitzer, Noted Psychiatrist, Apologizes for Study on Gay ‘Cure’
Benedict Carey, The New York Times, May 18, 2012
- It isn’t just women who suffer from misguided “science”, of course. See below, also.
Regretting the Gay Cure
Psychologist Robert Spitzer has more to be sorry for.
Katie Roiphe, Slate, May 22, 2012
Good Scientist! You Get a Badge.
Precious research money is wasted on unreal results,
but we can change the culture of science.
Carl Zimmer, Slate, August 14, 2012
The Brain Chemistry of Social and Sexual Monogamy
Brian Alexander and Larry Young, Slate, November 27, 2012
- This article makes a couple of good points on this topic that most get wrong – an important one being that the powerful cheat at the same rate as the not-powerful (rather than more), and for the same reasons as the not-powerful (rather than different ones). I’ve been pointing that out forever. However, like most articles it is a mixture of the true and the false. The authors still assume that brain chemicals that somehow spontaneously appear in the brain not just influence but can control behavior. That is false. Thinking – thought – mental activity, generated by consciousness using free will, directs all behavior, period. Brain chemicals are generated according to conscious (or subconscious) thought to set up a physiological response, but the thinker is still in control of his or her behavior at all times, regardless of his or her brain chemicals or physiological response. (Think about it and you’ll conclude that this is true, if you can get over the false materialist beliefs that have been sold to society by wrong-thinking scientists.) As well, comparing primate behavior to voles or other critters is dangerously unscientific. Humans in particular can easily maintain or increase the desire, the sex, and the attachment in a relationship, if the relationship is rewarding and the motivation strong. It’s all about choice. (Note: I replaced the non-sequitur titles for this article generated by some Slate title writer with the article authors’ title – still misleading, but better.)
Michael Schulman, The New York Times, January 9, 2013
Darwin Was Wrong About Dating
Dan Slater, The New York Times, January 12, 2013
- Reporters turn to the widely-quoted evolutionary scientist Steven Pinker as a so-called “authority”, but he’s an infamous (to me) hard materialist, and an out-of-date scientific resource. He is often looked at askance, viewed with suspicion and concern, as misguided from within even some of the scientific community.
Science: A Relationship You May Not Understand
Tania Lombrozo, NPR, February 25, 2013
- Terrifically condescending, Lombrozo discounts current scientific method while she also retains unaccountable faith in it. Strange.
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Last Updated: April 28, 2013
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