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Author Topic:   Laws of Attraction: The seduction of Evolutionary Psychology?
Silent H
Member (Idle past 5936 days)
Posts: 7405
From: satellite of love
Joined: 12-11-2002


Message 1 of 3 (290011)
02-24-2006 8:04 AM


Evolutionary Psychology continues to pop up in various threads regarding human behavior. This is particularly true for explanations of human sexuality, or attraction.
These explanations are not usually supported with evidence from science, or (rarely) when papers are mentioned, that a critical examination of their contents take place. And yet these explanations are treated by posters as if acceptable or accepted by both evolutionary theorists and psychologists alike... despite conflicting evidence presented on this matter.
Is Evo Psych truly a scientific field, with its conclusions accepted by members within the communities it purports to cross over? This thread is meant as a "catch-all" thread to examine Evo Psych in a sober manner, using its actual products, open for critical analysis.
Posters who support Evo Psych should present the best evidence for their claims from this field. I promise to only address the studies or articles presented, as well as the factual or logical claims made in support of the field. I will not answer posts containing derogatory personal statements about myself or others not supporting Evo Psych.
As a short synopsis of my own position: Evolutionary Psychology is a seductive theory which ultimately fails to be a science as it is currently practiced, and its conclusions are speculative at best, sophistry at worst.
It is based on a plausible or sound concept, that mental states or behaviors may have genetic components which have been driven by evolutionary pressures. The problem is in its methodology as well as its purported accuracy for explanation of human behavior.
The methodology appears to consist of a deductive procedure starting with the plausible theory stated above, followed by positing two correlated issues which could be argued would result in a selection for observed behavior if they were in fact connected. Unfortunately two correlations do not mean connection or causation, but this point is left unaddressed by EP adherents.
At the same time counter evidence is summarily dismissed or downplayed in light of the correlations. Unfortunately that is a circular logic, also unaddressed by EP adherents.
I am not arguing that psychological states or behaviors cannot or do not have an organic or physical nature connected to the brain, that some may be unconscious and hardwired to the human brain based on genes, and that some may have been driven by evolutionary pressures.
I am arguing that we do not have any solid evidence that most of our behaviors are hardwired, genetic, and evolutionarily selected. I am also arguing that highly particular psychological behaviors have not been accurately identified with actual evolutionary pressures that might have formed them. Finally, I am arguing that the field of EP has ignored the fact that evolution has created an organ which is capable of adapting to situations within its lifetime and so voids its methodology of correlation study which can be confounded by other nonevolutionary factors.
If one would like to see a specific critique of an EP paper by myself, rather than submit one of your own:
The role of body weight, waist-to-hip ratio, and breast size in judgments of female attractiveness, Sex Roles: A Journal of Research, August, 1998 by Adrian Furnham, Melanie Dias, Alastair McClelland
My analysis of this paper may be found via this link. You can answer my critique within this thread.
Here is a link to my critique of another paper on EP, though admittedly it is more or less pointing out that the paper agrees with my critique of popular EP references.
This is meant for the Is It Science thread.
This message has been edited by holmes, 02-24-2006 02:06 PM

holmes
"What you need is sustained outrage...there's far too much unthinking respect given to authority." (M.Ivins)

Replies to this message:
 Message 2 by AdminPhat, posted 02-24-2006 8:17 AM Silent H has not replied

AdminPhat
Inactive Member


Message 2 of 3 (290017)
02-24-2006 8:17 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Silent H
02-24-2006 8:04 AM


Holmes wants to know Is It Science?
Hello, holmes! Lets give it a whirl in Is It Science? then.
holmes writes:
As a short synopsis of my own position: Evolutionary Psychology is a seductive theory which ultimately fails to be a science as it is currently practiced, and its conclusions are speculative at best, sophistry at worst.
Comments, anyone?

This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Silent H, posted 02-24-2006 8:04 AM Silent H has not replied

AdminPhat
Inactive Member


Message 3 of 3 (290020)
02-24-2006 8:18 AM


Thread copied to the Laws of Attraction: The seduction of Evolutionary Psychology? thread in the Is It Science? forum, this copy of the thread has been closed.

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