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Evolutionary Psychology: Valid theory or bullshit?

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#31 serp777

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Posted 14 February 2015 - 04:17 AM

 


Finally, its also likely that altruism, as a trait, already existed in the population. Those who weren't altruistic became outsiders while those who were altruistic and cooperative formed civilizations. The civilizations lead to more food and technology which caused certain genotypes to reproduce far more than anti social, unaltruistic genotypes. This would lead to a prevalence of genotypes that predisposed individuals to be more moral and altruistic.

 

 

I am dubious about your claim that our civilization is based on morality and altruism as we understand them.  I claim that history, even recent history, proves exactly the opposite - the killers and exploiters and psychopaths have been the "succesful" ones in human history, and this continues to be the case just as much today as in the past (see corporate capitalism).

 

I think you are confusing cooperation with morality/altruism.  Most of the history of civilization is a story of psychopaths cooperating to overpower the weaker and steal their resources.  This certainly continues to be the case in the U.S.

 

 

Evolutionary psychologists would accept a range of behaviors--a standard deviation if you will. Psychopathy is actually a genetic flaw or environmental damage to a specific part of the human brain that controls empathy. In fact, the evidence that we have an empathetic section of the brain shows that morality does have a genetic and evolutionary component.

 

Generally however, we see that societies which are moral and lawful tend to do better--there are less rebellions and better success. Its why the enlightenment was such a relatively peaceful period for a while, because people started adopting additional moral values. The assyrians on the other hand which were cruel and very immoral amongst themselves and others lasted like two decades. You see the immoral societies frequently being destroyed quickly.

 

I am not confusing the difference between cooperation and morality. Cooperation is working together towards a common goal for the benefit of both parties, while morality is a set of standards or rules to determine the limits of our behavior. You cant have cooperation without morality. The two have a strong relationship. Cooperation requires a set of standards that both parties need to continue to work together and function efficiently. Cooperation naturally requires and implies a morality.

 

Id like you to answer how you would have a society without any morality at all? Bad things happen but on average people are moral. People are moral within their own groups and domain, but against other groups that morality is not required. It wasn't necessary that one group had to be moral to another in order for both societies to exist. In fact warfare and conflict leads to a lot of development to fight the war. Both the conflict and morality can be explained in terms of evolutionary psychology.

 

Id like to know what theory you propose to explain what we see? Is it intelligent design or is it just random arbitrary chaotic noise?
 


Edited by serp777, 14 February 2015 - 04:19 AM.

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#32 Multivitz

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Posted 07 January 2016 - 12:05 AM

Are the deep beliefs of morality questionable? What is a mature outlook? What defines maturity in the mainstream neurological and physiological view of the mind?
Like the great thinkers say, it's all been done before, there's little new. We get our languages massaged, words twisted, letters removed from alphabets over time. Or the masses being disenfranchised from words, and the original meanings, over time. Phychology don't evolve. What happens is the sociological commentary gets noted by the ones who want to record it (write a text book for education in the current language used). We can compare all we want, but it's as much use as playing the blame game!
Life goes on, morals of nature and natural reasoning will exist through heart felt doubtless truth. Well there's always hope.
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#33 mr1001nights

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Posted 30 April 2017 - 06:33 AM

Evolutionary psychology tends to underestimate spandrels: features that are byproducts of adaptive functions, but that don't necessarily serve an adaptive function. To answer the original post, much of human behavior can be analyzed in terms of a spandrel theory called "Terror Management Theory", which is, btw, also very relevant to understand the desire for immortality.

 

I recently edited a video presenting some of the evidence and historical implications of the theory

 

 

Interestingly, the other competing (or complementary) major theory of self-esteem comes from CP - coalitional psychology (also known as “Sociometer Theory”) basically saying that what others think of us has survival & reproductive benefits, so that a sense of self-esteem would help us improve or maintain this fitness by self-monitoring - gauging others’ opinion and modifying our behavior accordingly. 

 
The problem with this CP explanation as a sole explanation is that 
 
1) Every major culture we know of features religious or supernatural beliefs which have less to do with what others think of us than with what gods or spirits think of us. 
 
2) Our status or “what others think of us” is mediated by invented, largely arbitrary cultural activities and beliefs (abstract meaning systems) that have virtually nothing to do with the specific adaptive threats we encountered (or that could even be logically postulated) in the course of evolution. Work on primates shows that coalitions and alliances in primate groups serve very specific adaptive goals. 
 
3) CP cannot account for the fact that reminders of death increase allegiance to these abstract meaning systems, and that, conversely, challenges to these meaning systems increase death-thought accessibility. These abstract meaning systems may indeed facilitate the formation and maintenance of coalitions, but TMT evidence shows that this is largely on the basis of a suppression of unconscious death-anxiety (an unfortunate byproduct of our adaptive intelligence), not as a specific adaptation for survival.

Edited by mr1001nights, 30 April 2017 - 06:40 AM.


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#34 Ark

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Posted 30 April 2017 - 07:19 AM

I believe in a theory of Evolutionary *Design*.

Edited by Ark, 30 April 2017 - 07:23 AM.


#35 Keizo

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Posted 30 April 2017 - 08:03 PM

 

 


Finally, its also likely that altruism, as a trait, already existed in the population. Those who weren't altruistic became outsiders while those who were altruistic and cooperative formed civilizations. The civilizations lead to more food and technology which caused certain genotypes to reproduce far more than anti social, unaltruistic genotypes. This would lead to a prevalence of genotypes that predisposed individuals to be more moral and altruistic.

 

 

I am dubious about your claim that our civilization is based on morality and altruism as we understand them.  I claim that history, even recent history, proves exactly the opposite - the killers and exploiters and psychopaths have been the "succesful" ones in human history, and this continues to be the case just as much today as in the past (see corporate capitalism).

 

I think you are confusing cooperation with morality/altruism.  Most of the history of civilization is a story of psychopaths cooperating to overpower the weaker and steal their resources.  This certainly continues to be the case in the U.S.

 

 

Evolutionary psychologists would accept a range of behaviors--a standard deviation if you will. Psychopathy is actually a genetic flaw or environmental damage to a specific part of the human brain that controls empathy. In fact, the evidence that we have an empathetic section of the brain shows that morality does have a genetic and evolutionary component.

 

Generally however, we see that societies which are moral and lawful tend to do better--there are less rebellions and better success. Its why the enlightenment was such a relatively peaceful period for a while, because people started adopting additional moral values. The assyrians on the other hand which were cruel and very immoral amongst themselves and others lasted like two decades. You see the immoral societies frequently being destroyed quickly.

 

I am not confusing the difference between cooperation and morality. Cooperation is working together towards a common goal for the benefit of both parties, while morality is a set of standards or rules to determine the limits of our behavior. You cant have cooperation without morality. The two have a strong relationship. Cooperation requires a set of standards that both parties need to continue to work together and function efficiently. Cooperation naturally requires and implies a morality.

 

Id like you to answer how you would have a society without any morality at all? Bad things happen but on average people are moral. People are moral within their own groups and domain, but against other groups that morality is not required. It wasn't necessary that one group had to be moral to another in order for both societies to exist. In fact warfare and conflict leads to a lot of development to fight the war. Both the conflict and morality can be explained in terms of evolutionary psychology.

 

Id like to know what theory you propose to explain what we see? Is it intelligent design or is it just random arbitrary chaotic noise?
 

 

 

I think using the term altruism is confusing and not necessary, instead I would recommend thinking of things simply in terms of competition, cooperation and apathy.

One could also make distinctions between various types of competition. Today in what most people would recognize as civilization the competition mostly takes place on the economic level. This is not unlike tribal warfare, except it doesn't involve killing other people and taking their women. One group of people tries to get an advantage in the society, and I think it is no secret that sex (reproduction) is one major motivating factor in why people work and try to make money, although in today's western society unfortunately money has less usefulness in attracting mates than it once had.

 

As far as morality, that is something that will always be with us, but there are many ways one can view it, personally I would be inclined to view  it as largely irrational but useful. 

I think it would be problematic to confuse morality with "being nice", that's certainly not how a great many people view it. 

There are many cases where killing people and not cooperating is the sane thing to do, or the most effective method of achieving a goal or upholding a system of standards. Islam has a great system of ideological perpetuation in how it treats out-groups, it makes absolute sense to treat them like slaves or not give them the same rights unless you want to be taken advantage of and your system slowly crumble (like it has been crumbling in the West for some time) due to all the parasitism on your system and society. 



#36 Eryximachus

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 10:21 PM

This is a truly sad thread to read.   One expects outright hostility to evolutionary psychology by the masses.  It is almost illegal to admit the obvious truth: man is created unequal.  

 

But here? 

 

We are denying Darwin, natural selection, and genetics itself? Someone actually brought up the preposterous and widely disproven concept of epigenetics, a bona fide relic of Soviet times when the tabula rasa myth of man born equal was state law.  

 

Really sad to read, especially the cursing.  

 

Meanwhile, China is rolling out CRISPR technology that will not only produce children with longer lifespans, but higher intelligence.  

 

Good luck with that noopept!



#37 jroseland

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Posted Today, 11:01 AM

You know what's a more interesting question...

 

Why do modern white people (seemingly) have an anti in-group preferences? Blacks, Jews, Latinos and almost every other racial or identity group you can point to have an aggressive, vocal explicit in-group preference, it's clearly a beneficial evolutionary adaption. Yet white people as a group, especially in Western democracies have a conspicuous out-group preference. As a group we spend billions (maybe trillions) altruistically trying to help strangers in other countries who don't look or talk like us.

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Is this just because of political correctness? Is it because of corrupt politics? Or are there deeper underlying evolutionary reasons for this?



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#38 Rob Roy

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Posted Today, 11:14 AM

You know what's a more interesting question...

 

Why do modern white people (seemingly) have an anti in-group preferences? Blacks, Jews, Latinos and almost every other racial or identity group you can point to have an aggressive, vocal explicit in-group preference, it's clearly a beneficial evolutionary adaption. Yet white people as a group, especially in Western democracies have a conspicuous out-group preference. As a group we spend billions (maybe trillions) altruistically trying to help strangers in other countries who don't look or talk like us.

 

 

Is this just because of political correctness? Is it because of corrupt politics? Or are there deeper underlying evolutionary reasons for this?

 

Only people of Northwestern European descent have this tendency.   Outgroup hostility is fairly average in Eastern and Southern Europe. 

 

As for the why? Who knows.   We do know that humans by and large are tribal creatures, and became so due to competition over scarce resources. It is likely that such competitive pressures were less important than openness to outsiders in the distant past.  Northwestern Europe at that time was likely sparsely populated with a harsh climate.


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