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Old 03-30-2011, 06:39 PM
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BlackUnicorn BlackUnicorn is offline
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Originally Posted by Myrddin View Post
Erm, that is usually what evolutionary biologists mean by natural. Have you read The Selfish Gene?[/URL].
I don't mean evolutionary biology as a science, but its bastardization as 'evolutionary psychology' which makes assumptions about the evolutionary basis for behavior in modern humans. Although natural is not right, the proponents of this philosophy do emphasize that changing sex roles, for example, is basically a futile attempt because men's philandering and violent behaviors are so ingrained in the human genetic make-up. This pseudo-science presents itself as value-neutral, but has very strong Social Darwinist undertones and owes its birth to a specific historical situation where religion is again gaining ground in science and politics. With the onslaught of the religious right in American politics, for example, many natural scientists have succumbed to making natural science into a pseudo-religion/world explanation which makes it easy to discredit science as a tool, as well.

I have not read the Selfish Gene but know the basic argument behind it, which of course isn't the same thing as having actually read and understood it as it was originally formulated by the author. The word 'selfish', however, illustrates to me well the basic fallacy behind this school of thought; anthropomorphizing nature and evolution to have goals, mental states etc.

Originally Posted by Myrddin View Post
There must be some evolutionary influence on behaviour, otherwise different species wouldn't have such different (usual) sexual patterns. For example, the other two chimpanzee species tend to use sex the way we'd use a polite handshake. Why don't humans?
Yeah, absolutely. There are probably no social behaviors in modern humans which could not have an evolutionary effect, and which thus could not become the 'evolutionary basis' behind future behaviors in our species. However, assuming a hypothetical past situation and THEN assuming a unilateral, as opposed to multiple co-existing, evolutionary progress for some behaviors we witness in today's populations is mere speculation; entertaining, but garbing it as 'science' is unfounded.
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