Originally Posted by MindfulAgony
I think your mixing things up a bit. While working towards a Ph.D. in psychology (unfinished) David Buss was a star in the department. I spent a lot of time with the evolutionary psych folks partly because I had some intellectual interest in the subject matter. But, admittedly, also because David had the hottest grad students in the department (even the males were hot). Anyway, back to our topic.
In the passage you take issue with, Ryan and Jetha are talking about the evolutionary psychology theory of parternity certainty. As they explain, it hypothesizes that selection would favor men who acted to invest in their own children versus others because that investment is costly. It does not actively presume that this is a conscious psychological process that the more casual description in the book may seem suggest. Instead, evolutionary psych proposes that men evolved solutions to the problem of paternity certainty when they're engaged in long term mating strategies. Specifically, men were "evolved" to desire chastity, sexual fidelity, and abhorence for promiscuity in a long term mate. These long term "mating strategies" are hypothesized to be an evolved mechanism in men who have the challenge of paternity certainty.
Consciuos behavior, pre-conscious or unconscious desires are all involved here. Assuming that something has to be conscious to be driving behavior is a mis-understanding of psychological science.
They were simply describing the hypothesis around paternity certainty which is certaintly a cornerstone of theory of Evolutionary Psychology. Which is an area of research populated by both psychologists and biologists. With that further explanation, are you still convinced that they are misunderstanding natural selection?
The quote that bothered me seemed to imply that the desire for paternity certainty was conscious--but it's entirely possible that it was one of those shorthand ways of describing evolutionary processes that seem to indicate motivation or goals where there are none. I've only gotten to just that passage, so they may backfill with more details that satisfy me.