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Evolutionary Psychology: Redpill, Manosphere Nonsense

Uploaded 12/12/2023, approx. 50 minute read

How do you know if your scientific discipline is a pseudoscience, if it is in some kind of trouble?

When people like Andrew Tate, Russell Brand, Jordan Peterson, in short, the intellectual giants of our age, when they support you vehemently, when they promote your tenets, and when they claim that your science dictates their view of the world and their decision making.

In the MOSFETRE, a region of the internet not known for its spectacular intelligence is very big on evolutionary psychology.

Voluntary psychology is a much hyped new field in psychology and it becomes so tainted by these intellectual supernova stars, it's become so tainted that today its practitioners are rebranding it as human ecology, human behavioral ecology or evolutionary anthropology.

Evolutionary psychology is out of fashion because it has become the domain of in-sales, of red pillers and of an assortment of online gurus which are much more brawn than brain.

The main claim of evolutionary psychology, and I'm going to use evolutionary psychology on purpose because rebranding doesn't change the content of what you have rebranded.

The main claim of evolutionary psychology is that psychological adaptations, psychological processes and mechanisms, psychological functions such as cognition, emotions and so on are reactive to the environment, the same way that physical organs such as your liver or kidney, your eyes and your heart are reactive to the environment.

These reactions take tens or hundreds of thousands of years and therefore they are evolutionary.

So what evolutionary psychology says is that psychology is a branch of biology, it is a form of evolution and evolutionary processes and mechanisms and equations govern the way we experience ourselves, the way the mind works and the way we interact with other people, the social aspect of psychology.

This is the main claim.

It is an exceedingly problematic claim.

It is so problematic that I would say that evolutionary psychology is utter unmitigated balderdash, total nonsense, pseudoscience masquerading as pseudoscience.


To start with, psychology itself is a pseudoscience.

Behaviours, unlike physical limbs and organs, are on a spectrum. They are also highly idiosyncratic, highly individualized.

There is something called the replication crisis.

We are unable to replicate the results of eight out of every ten psychological studies and experiments.

And this is known as the replication crisis.

The crisis proves that behaviors are so ephemeral, so mutable that essentially they are non-recurrent.

We improvise our behaviors on the fly.

Similarly, we form memories on the fly.

Nothing is fixed in stone. It's not like the sun or the atom or a cell, a human cell.

It's not something that is there whether you observe it or not.

The mere act of observation changes the subject in psychology.

When you observe someone, they become self-conscious and they become self-conscious.

It alters their cognitions, emotions, behaviors and reactivity.

So psychology is not a science.

Psychology is a classificatory system, an observational taxonomy.

Psychology is very strong on descriptions, describing things and observing things.

Psychology often confuses behaviors with routines and evolutionary psychology does it even more so.

Now let's start with the basic premise of evolutionary psychology.

Adaptation.

Adaptation applies to populations, not to individuals.

So any information we glean regarding cohorts and populations cannot be safely attributed to the members of these populations, to the individuals in these cohorts.

In short, population-wide behaviors, traits, parameters are not reducible to the individuals that comprise them.

There is very little that knowledge about populations teaches us about individuals.

In this sense, socio-biology and behavioral ecology are more scientific than evolutionary psychology because they admit that they deal exclusively with populations and that their knowledge and lessons are less applicable to individuals.

Adaptation is a totally automated, built-in, inherent and innate process.

Adaptation cannot take into account cognitions, emotions, beliefs, values and mental health disorders such as, for example, psychosis.

All these define the essence of evolutionary psychology, the essence of evolution.

I will go into it a bit more deeply soon.


Now when evolutionary psychology claims that its template and its foundation is genetic, in other words, the human genome, as it translates itself from genotypes to phenotypes and from genes via expression, expressed genes to behaviors and so on, the claim that all of human psychology can be reduced to the genetic hardware is beyond ludicrous.

Each psychological process, each behavior, each trait require and involve thousands of co-expressed genes.

I am not saying that genetics has nothing to do with behavior.

Of course, behavior, the mind, cognitions, emotions, reactions, they all take place within a highly specific hardware.

But this hardware cannot be translated or transliterated one to one with a software.

You cannot say this gene is the gene of pathological Gendler.

This gene has to do with narcissism.

This gene has to do with, I don't know what, this is nonsense.

This is complete nonsense.

Psychological phenomena are emergent phenomena.

That is known as epiphenomenon.

They reflect the complex, indescribable interplay, an interplay that cannot be captured with mathematical tools or any other way, interplay between tens of thousands of coterminous coexisting, co-occurring elements, aka genes, and within genes, of course, chromosomes and other things.

So there's no way we can claim to somehow decipher this.

This is way beyond our capacity.

This complexity is way beyond our computational, let alone intellectual capacity to grasp, to decipher, to analyze, and to reduce, for example, to a set of equations.

Compared to the human body, the universe is an exceedingly simple machine.

And compared to the mind, the human body is an exceedingly simple machine.

The mind is by far the most complex phenomenon to have ever occurred or emerged.

The claim that you can understand the mind by studying ten factors or three factors or is hubris.

It's also inane, not to say insane.

It's good.

It's media hype, and it's very good.

Sounds good online.

But it's not a serious thing.

Not serious and worse, bordering on scam.

Now I mentioned that the concept of adaptation cannot account directly for phenomena such as cognition.

Consciousness, whatever that may mean, the word consciousness is a big word in evolutionary psychology.

The only problem is no one succeeds to define it.

No one has succeeded to define it.

No one knows what the heck is consciousness.

There's a problem with terminology and vocabulary in evolutionary psychology.

They use many, many words which are exceedingly ill-defined or not defined at all.

The hallmark of a very bad science or pseudoscience.

Anyhow, even if we were to accept adaptation at face value, adaptation operates, as I said, in populations, not among individuals.

And so it is a very blunt instrument.

It cannot explicate specific cognitions or emotions or beliefs or values and definitely cannot account for self-destructive, self-impeding, self-obstructing phenomena such as personality disorders or psychosis, psychotic disorders or depression, even.

Adaptation is supposed to keep you alive.

Adaptation is about survival and reproduction.

Survival via reproduction.

And so how could it account for suicide, altruism?


As it is, the focus on reproduction and reproductive success is demented.

I mean, I have no other way to describe it.

It's utterly delusional.

It's utterly counterfactual.

First of all, a huge part of a population nowadays do not want to reproduce.

They absolutely don't want to have children.

They regard children as a serious threat to their happiness and their lifestyle.

And academic studies support this contention.

Parents, people with children, are much less happy than childless people.

So the inexorable urge to find an intimate partner made selection and then to reproduce as often as one can to have 200 children, 400 children.

I don't know where these guys, where these so-called scientists came up with this nonsense, utter unmitigated nonsense.

And also, even if you were to accept this assumption that everyone wants to have as many children as possible, especially men, even if you were to accept it, how would you explain rape?

Rape is a misogynistic power trip.

It's not about reproduction. It's not about sex even.

And yet evolutionary psychology explains rape as a way to reproduce.

Men who cannot obtain sex otherwise rape women in order to reproduce, say evolutionary psychologists.

When all the studies of rape and rapists have demonstrated beyond any doubt in the last 70 years, that rape has nothing to do with sex, or with reproduction of course, it is this kind of nonsensical claim that renders evolutionary psychology suspect, makes it sound totally detached from reality.

Evolutionary psychology flies in the face of the entire corpus of psychology.

Everyone we know about how the mind operates, people's motivations, how traits and behaviors are interlinked, all this is upended by evolutionary psychology.

And they come up with claims such as this, rape is about reproduction, people rape in order to have children.

They come up with this kind of claims, and I can give you another 10 claims, which are equally deotic, that undermine the whole foundation of this.

There is no debate, as I said, that genes in evolution are somehow linked to the brain, and that the brain is the seat of the mind somehow.

We are not sure yet how, but it is the seat of the mind.

It's a reasonable assumption.

And therefore, the mind is affected third hand, not directly, by the evolutionary processes which have embedded themselves into the gene, into our genes.

There is a connection, however tenuous, between evolution, our genetic make-up, and the way our mind functions, and its contents.

No one is disputing this. To dispute this would be equally stupid.

But to claim that only evolution, and only genes, determine this complex machine known as the human mind, is to be out of your mind.

And it leads to such preposterous claims as the one I've just told you about, regarding rape.

Additionally, evolutionary psychology ignores the critical role of intangibles in psychology.

Narratives, delusions, meaning, truth, security, a sense of security, happiness, personal development, and growth. All these are ignored in evolutionary psychology.

Evolutionary psychologists do take into account, and try to account for, changing environments, but only via the transmission mechanism of genes, and only over long stretches of time.

That's not the case with human beings.

evolutionary psychologists would do well to exit their laboratories and actually talk to people in a hub.

That's not the way how humans work.

Not at all. Not even remotely.

People are motivated, men and women, people are motivated, to self-sacrifice, and therefore not reproduce.

For example, soldiers at war, people are motivated to be altruistic, to give up on certain benefits and assets in order to help others, even other people who are not related to them. People would give up anything in order to acquire meaning.

Viktor Frankl's famous observations, meaning is crucial for mental health, for motivation, and so we imbue our lives with meaning. A lot of it is artificial and invented, but still, you know, a nation state is an example.

The church, people are willing to die for a piece of fabric known as the flag, because this piece of fabric endows them, imbues their lives with meaning and sense, makes sense of their lives.

What is the role of meaning in evolutionary psychology?

Nowhere to be found, of course.

How about love?

Not the biological urge to reproduce, not lust, not infatuation, not limerence, the deep, the profound, abiding, non-selfish sharing of space and time and life with another human being, including companionship and compassion and succor, even when the other person can give you nothing because they are sick, for example.

So how do you explain relationships that last after the reproductive age?

There's so many holes in evolutionary psychology that it makes Swiss cheese look solid, you know.

Evolutionary psychology challenges the concept of domain general psychology.

Domain general psychology simply says that we have a machinery, a universal computer, and this machinery can adapt itself to changing circumstances as required.

The machine itself doesn't have embedded sets of algorithms and instructions. It has a general program that allows it to react to changing environments, challenges, is it an entrance of other people into our lives, demands, crises, exigencies, vicissitudes, and so on.

So it's what Alan Turing called a universal machine or a universal computer.

This is what most psychologists believe, myself included.

The evolutionary psychologists believe in domain-specific modules.

They believe that the brain is divided into areas, each area dedicated to a task.

And so these are domain-specific modules, and they kick into operation when confronted with a stimulus or an environmental cue which triggers them or provokes them, brings them, arouses them into action.

Now, that's pretty easy to prove that it's not true, that it's wrong.

Because in traumatic brain injuries, the brain takes over, other parts of the brain take over.

So if some area of your brain is damaged, stroke, concussion, injury, proper injury, and so on. One area is damaged, another area of the brain takes over the functions of the damaged area.

That's a fact. That's an absolute fact.

The brain is built with enormous redundancy. You could cut away huge portions of the brain and still function utterly perfectly.

There's even been cases of people who were born with extremely little brain, and they're leading normal lives.

So yes, of course, various areas of the brain specialize in tasks, in specific tasks, but not because they are domain-specific or task-specific, but because they happen to be there.

And in case of injury, other parts take over and perform the same functions relatively perfectly.

In short, the brain is a product of learning, acquired skill sets, skilling, so that specific parts of the brain are reactive to specific tasks. A form of conditioning, if you wish, conditioning indeed, is a behavioral learning technique we learned via conditioning.

That's behaviorism in the 1960s.

So that's a huge debate here.

Is the brain an all-tasks, all-purpose, universal, redundant machine? Or is it a set of rigid modules, a collection of rigid modules, each one dedicated to a task?

I think neuroscience supports this contention of evolutionary psychology, and that's the understatement of the year, probably.

Computational models, and evolutionary psychology is computational.

It compares the brain to a computer, not a universal computer, but a series of task-specific computers.

Why would nature, by the way, come up with a seriously inefficient solution such as dedicated task-specific, domain-specific modules?

It's the most inefficient solution imaginable.

Why would nature come up with this inefficient solution rather than with a much more efficient solution over a universal machine that can do anything depending on environmental cues and stimuli?

Why would nature select this solution is beyond me?

Why would evolutionary psychologists claim that nature had selected this solution is also beyond me because it defies every fact we have?

Evolutionary psychology is humongously counterfactual in numerous cases.

Anyhow, the core of evolutionary psychology is the assumption that the brain is a computer, so they use computational models.

The typical computational model of evolutionary psychology is input stimulus, or Q, input, sensing of the input, and then output.

You see a spider, that's the input, you process the image, and then your output is fear, arachnophobia, you're afraid of spiders.

Okay?

That's a typical model in evolutionary psychology.

But of course, this model is a black box model.

What this model says is that we see event A and we witness event C. Event A is the spider, event C is the fear or recoil.

What happens between event A and event C is unknown.

That's the processing in the task-specific module.

Presumably, there's a fear-generating module and it processes spiders more than anything else because spiders are a very common example in evolutionary psychology.

I'm not quite sure why.

There's a place here for clinical psychologists and psychiatrists to analyze evolutionary psychologists.

But this model tells us nothing. It doesn't add to our knowledge. There's no enlightenment there. There's no insight. It's not science.

To say that event A leads to event C, but we don't know how, and to label the interim processing, the interim stage processing, that doesn't make you a scientist.

Compare for example, the dual inheritance theory, DIT, a competitor of evolutionary psychology, an adversary, if you wish. The dual inheritance theory claims that genes, our genetic makeup, genes interact with culture. Culture is a global name for the environment. Genes interact with the environment to generate the panoply and the kaleidoscope of human emotions, cognitions, traits, behaviors, choices, decisions, and so on and so forth, and mental illnesses as well.

Now that's a far more flexible approach.

In my view, also more falsifiable. In other words, it can yield, it can generate hypotheses and predictions that can be falsified, which is the essence of good science.

Environmental psychology cannot generate hypotheses that can be somehow tested or falsified. It suffers from a problem known as under generation of hypotheses.

One of the main reasons it cannot is because it's tautological, and I'll come to it a bit later.

Dual inheritance theory, one example is the Baldwin effect.

Dual inheritance theory is a serious competitor, which I think describes reality far more accurately.

Now, of course, evolutionary psychology is deterministic.

What these people say is that our history has, our history determined or determines who we are. That our Stone Age experience determined who we are today.

This of course ignores completely neuroplasticity, the enormous reactivity of the brain, the brain's huge elastic capacity to shape and reshape and shape shift as the environment changes.

And I'm talking about micro environments, not the Stone Age, not the Ice Age, but the invention of the smartphone, which is pretty recent. We've been completely transformed in 20 years. Our exposure to individual small screens has completely transformed us beyond recognition.

And this is the brain's neuroplasticity in action. I think we have been much more determined. I think we are who we are much more because of screens than because of our history hunting mammoths and other animals in the Stone Age.

I think to claim that our mental makeup, our mental map, to claim that our psychology is the outcome of our hunter-gatherer history and not of our exposure to modern technology in the last 400 years is a ridiculous, preposterous, reasonable claim.

I think modern human beings have been shaped mostly by the steam engine, the telegraph, the telephone, cinema, the internet and smartphones than they've been by their alleged history during the Stone Age.

I'm saying alleged because no one knows what has happened during the Stone Age.

That's another problem.

We know very little about the environment in such a distant past. We don't know how people lived in the Stone Age. We speculate, of course. We observe primitive tribes in the Amazon and we say they probably live the same way. Hunter-gatherer societies were presumed to have been nomadic, wandering all the time, all over.

Only recently have we discovered that hunter-gatherer societies actually established settlements and tended to the land, primitive proto-agriculture.

This is a recent discovery, like two, three years ago. We don't know anything.

It's arrogant and grandiose to claim that we have almost perfect knowledge about the Stone Age and therefore we can say that we are the products of the Stone Age.

Even if we were to have all the knowledge in the world about the Stone Age, why would the Stone Age be more relevant and more determining and more pertinent and more influential than, for example, the last hundred years with two world wars and an explosion of new technologies, space technologies, computing technologies and so on, artificial intelligence soon? Why would artificial intelligence be less influential in shaping us and making us who we are than, for example, our need to forage and to hunt?

We know very little about the environment in the past and any claim that our past is far more important than our present and our future is beyond ridiculous.

Human beings are storytellers. Humans are actually far more influenced by their visions of the future and their experience of the present than by anything that has happened to them in the past.

That's why people go to psychotherapy.

They try to forget the past or to somehow reframe the past.

People are capable of overcoming the past.

Unfortunately we are very rarely capable of overcoming the present and we always catastrophize the future.

These stories, this fiction that determines our lives, religion, for example, art, religion and art, in my view, have been far more influential and far more powerful in shaping who we are than anything we've experienced as hunter-gatherers.

This is also the question of transmission.

Allegedly our lifestyle somehow has altered our genes, epigenetically perhaps, via natural selection.

That could be true.

But these genes are expressed or dormant in reaction to environments. Technology is part of our environment nowadays. Religion has been a part of our environment for thousands of years. Genes are not masters of the universe. Genes don't control us. Genes don't define us. We are not robots with a genetic program.

That's a very counterfactual, delusional way of perceiving human beings.

They are not like that, simply, scientifically speaking.

So genes can't dictate to us how to behave, what to think, how to feel, how to relate to other people, interpersonal relationships and so on. Genes have no input in any of this, or very little input in any of this.

Definitely the environment is far more, far more relevant than any genes or any gene or array of genes.

The transmission mechanism is inefficient. Genetic templates are inefficient as behavior modifiers. The connection between genes and behavior is very tenuous.

Pollens, for example, are much more relevant.


And then there are issues that evolutionary psychology dramatically fails to explain, behaviors like rape, but also altruism, which is a conundrum.

There's a theory called inclusive fitness. You help your relatives because this way you propagate the genes down history. That's the selfish gene theory.

But inclusive fitness applies only to relatives. You share genes with your relatives. Even if it were true that the main purpose of human existence is reproduction, which is possibly the most stupid statement I ever heard in my life.

I repeat, because it's so stupid that it defies belief that anyone with any kind of academic degree can repeat it or make it the center of his work.

The sole purpose of human beings is to reproduce, to have children, to pass on their genes.

Really?

Okay.

But even if we were to assume that this is true, which it is not, this is not true.

That is not true. That's not why people write literature. That's not why they paint on caves or on canvases. That's not why they came up with religion. That's not why they invent most of technology.

It's nothing to do with reproduction.

People are reproduction averse nowadays, actually.

But inclusive fitness says that you pass on your genes in any way you can.

And if you cannot reproduce directly, you help your relatives.

You become altruistic and charitable. You support your relatives because half of their, or some portion of their genes is identical to yours.

It's a way to pass on your genes vicariously by proxy.

But this applies only to relatives, only to people who share genes with you.

How do you explain altruism, which is applied to total strangers, contributions to victims in war zones, survivors of earthquakes in countries you never heard of? How do you explain this? What does altruism have to do with genes or reproduction?

I've never heard a bigger piece of nonsense.

Reciprocity theories are counterfactual.

People don't act charitably and altruistically because they expect something in return. And if they do, they are narcissists.

People are altruistic because it's a basic human drive and motivation, possibly connected to empathy, which is also not well explained in evolutionary psychology.

Environmental psychology keeps talking about adaptations.

But the other phenomenon, what about expectations? What about byproducts of adaptation known as spandrels? What about random variability?

All these are not adaptations, but contribute to survival and contribute to shaping who we are, to making us who we are, to our identity. They have nothing to do with reproduction.

People are reproduction averse nowadays, actually.

But inclusive fitness says that you pass on your genes in any way you can.

And if you cannot reproduce directly, you help your relatives.

You become altruistic and charitable. You support your relatives because half of their, or some portion of their genes is identical to yours.

It's a way to pass on your genes vicariously by proxy.

But this applies only to relatives, only to people who share genes with you.


How do you explain altruism, which is applied to total strangers, contributions to victims in war zones, survivors of earthquakes in countries you never heard of? How do you explain this? What does altruism have to do with genes or reproduction?

I've never heard a bigger piece of nonsense.

Reciprocity theories are counterfactual.

People don't act charitably and altruistically because they expect something in return. And if they do, they are narcissists.

People are altruistic because it's a basic human drive and motivation, possibly connected to empathy, which is also not well explained in evolutionary psychology.

Environmental psychology keeps talking about adaptations.

But the other phenomenon, what about expectations? What about byproducts of adaptation known as spandrels? What about random variability?

All these are not adaptations, but contribute to survival and contribute to shaping who we are, to making us who we are, to our identity. They have nothing to do with reproduction.

People are reproduction averse nowadays, actually.

But inclusive fitness says that you pass on your genes in any way you can.

And if you cannot reproduce directly, you help your relatives.

You become altruistic and charitable. You support your relatives because half of their, or some portion of their genes is identical to yours.

It's a way to pass on your genes vicariously by proxy.

But this applies only to relatives, only to people who share genes with you.


How do you explain altruism, which is applied to total strangers, contributions to victims in war zones, survivors of earthquakes in countries you never heard of? How do you explain this? What does altruism have to do with genes or reproduction?

I've never heard a bigger piece of nonsense.

Reciprocity theories are counterfactual.

People don't act charitably and altruistically because they expect something in return. And if they do, they are narcissists.

People are altruistic because it's a basic human drive and motivation, possibly connected to fail.

Period.

Likely to fail.

And so evolutionary psychologists say, "That's not true."

All human beings smile. They all cry. Smiling and crying are not psychological artifacts, processes or elements, or I don't know how to call it. Smiling and crying have nothing to do with psychology.

There is an emotional correlate of smiling. Smiling is coupled with an emotion. Crying is coupled with an emotion, sadness.

But smiling, the act of smiling or the act of crying is biological because we know that animals do it as well.

And so, no, the answer is we cannot find something that all human beings share, cultural universals.


Cultural universals often confuse with skill acquisition or with conditioning.

Every human being is conditioned, we call it education, is conditioned via the processes of socialization and acculturation, social learning, modeling and so on.

Yes, we're all shaped by other people, by the environment, by expectations, by mores, by myths, by narratives. We're all shaped. We're all sculpted and molded.

We never remain the same, tabula rasa, whatever you want, blank slate.

That's wrong. We are born with innate capabilities which are reactive to environmental inputs and cues and stimuli.

So but the end result of conditioning, of acquisition of skills, of adoption of sexual and social skills, the end result is idiosyncratic and variable on the level of individuals and even on the level of cultures, all cultures, there is no universality, no humaneness, no homogeneity.

And this perhaps is the greatest rebuke and refutation of the inane claims and assumptions of evolutionary psychology.

Take promiscuity, for example.

For thousands of years, female promiscuity has been considered taboo, no-no. Promiscuities have been conditioned and socialized and acculturated and modeled to not be promiscuous.

Evolutionary psychologists would have claimed that lack of promiscuity or rejection of promiscuity or the taboo of promiscuity is a cultural universal.

But it's not and it has nothing to do with reproductive strategies, with mate selection.

This is nonsense. It's easy to prove because in the past hundred years promiscuity became a regular habitual behavior of females.

Women now are mostly promiscuous.

So promiscuity has nothing to do with genes, nothing to do with reproduction, nothing to do with biology, nothing to do with any of this nonsense. Promiscuity was forbidden by society.

The expectation was that women should not be promiscuous. It was communicated via socialization and acculturation by socialization agents such as parents and teachers. It was modeled by role models and so women ended up not being promiscuous, not because this was the best reproductive strategy or led to a greater number of offspring or survival or whatever.

Nothing to do with biology.

Promiscuity mate selection, reproductive strategies either have nothing to do with biology, nothing to do with biology.

Most of the claims of evolutionary psychology and of course geniuses like the people in the Manosphere and their luminaries, most of these claims are not true. They're counterfactual. They're simply not true about how men select women, how women select men, the selection criteria, how people reproduce, how they judge each other sexually and all these claims are not true, refuted dramatically and consistently in multiple studies.

So we need to be very careful not to confuse acquired skills, conditioning, socialization, acculturation, social mores, accepted norms, sexual scripts, social scripts. We should never confuse any of these things with a genetic template formed or shaped by millennia of previous existence of the past to condition us today on how to behave.

It's a very sweeping claim with legs of clay, very little foundation.

The environment of evolutionary adaptedness which is a core feature, a core element in evolutionary psychology.

This environment is problematic.

First of all it is retrodictive. It makes assumptions about the past which are unsubstantiated at this stage and which keep being undermined time and again.

I mentioned the fact that hunter-gatherers actually did live in the equivalent of villages and cities. They were not as nomadic as we think they were and if a man went out to hunt, how could he protect his family?

So the man could either be a provider or a protector, never both, as evolutionary psychology claims.

Retradiction is as dangerous as prediction.

No one Aristotle has said that the future is not truth value.

Similarly the past has no truth value if you don't possess full information.

The environment of evolutionary adaptedness is the core pivot, the pillar of evolutionary psychology is also teleological.

It makes a bizarre assumption that genetic selection, that evolution itself is goal oriented.

Evolution knows what the goals are and it shapes genes to somehow obtain these goals, realize or actualize these goals. That's teleology.

It's a no-no in science. It's forbidden.

To say that evolution and genetics are concerned with survival and reproduction is to say that they have a mind of their own.

Future shapes itself.

Genes transform themselves in order to accomplish survival and reproduction but genes and evolution are not, they don't have a consciousness. They don't make decisions. There's no free will there. These are automated processes and sometimes they lead to survival and reproduction and it may come as a shock to evolutionary psychologists but sometimes evolution and genes lead to extinction, evolutionary dead ends.

So not true.


And finally, there's a lot of tautology in evolutionary psychology.

Tautology simply means that we look at something, we observe a phenomenon and we justify it in its own terms.

Like this is happening because this was meant to happen. This is happening because the process led to it happening. That's the explanatory power in tautology, zero.

There's no explanation here. There's no added insight.

Evolutionary psychology moves in closed loops, solipsistic loops which lead nowhere.

Genetics cause our behaviors. Genetics, our history, evolutionary pressures led to the way we are today and the way we are today is because of evolutionary pressures. It's a loop. There's no explanation.

Take two examples.

The concept of mismatch.

Mismatch is an erstwhile adaptation that is no longer adaptive in a changing environment.

So you develop, an organism develops some adaptation which is very good, very helpful in a specific environment. The adaptation remains but the environment changes and then the adaptation becomes self-destructive.

Adaptation becomes unhelpful.

So an example, in an environment where food was scarce and unpredictable, you consumed as much food as you could when it was available. That's the adaptation.

In today's world, this adaptation remains and causes us to overeat, to over-consume food because food is available all the time. We consume it all the time. Junk food, anyone?

So this is the concept of mismatch.

But mismatch implies any number of possible original environments.

The adaptation of eating as much as you can, a buffet concept, a buffet concept, the adaptation could have arisen in any number of environments, in any number of scripts and scenarios. We don't know. We can't pinpoint the original, the original environment in which the adaptation had risen.

And so the explanation for the development of the behavior or the development of a trait, tracing it back to an uncertain environment, environment we can't be sure of, is of course not science.

If I say, listen, I developed, human beings developed adaptation X in response to environment Z. And now they're stuck with adaptation X when the environment is Q. And I ask you, what is adaptation X? Can you define it?

Sure, I can define it. Can you define environment Q, the new one?

Sure, I can define it. Can you tell me everything there is to know about environment Z where the adaptation had arisen, where the adaptation had emerged?

And you say, well, no, not really, because it could have been Z1, Z2, Z6. There are 256 possible environments in which the adaptation would have arisen, would have emerged.

So I can't tell you anything about environment Z. So what good is this kind of thing?

What are we learning here?

Nothing much.

On the very contrary, so tautology, because evolutionary psychologists say we can't be sure about the original environment. We can't be sure about it.

But looking at the adaptation, we can deduce, we can surmise the environment.

So we know nothing about environment Z, but looking at adaptation X, we can then speculate about environment Z.

Adaptation X means that we need to eat.

So environment Z, probably there was scarce food.

So we are going in evolutionary psychology from the adaptation to the environment rather than from knowledge of the environment to the adaptation.

And that is, of course, exceedingly wrong, scientifically speaking.

Succeedingly wrong.

We almost never do this in rigorous science.

When you see the effect, you cannot with any certainty ascribe to it a cause.

You need to know the cause.

And sometimes when you know the cause, you realize that you have misperceived and misdefined and mislabeled the effect, that the effect is not what you think it is.

So it changes the understanding of the effect as well.

You need to know cause and effect perfectly to do science. Period.

If you know only the effect and you're trying to learn about the cause from the effect, that is metaphysics. That is philosophy. That is religion.

You see the creation and you assume the existence of the creator. That's religion. That's all science.

And this is evolutionary psychology.

It resembles religion rather than science.

And so hunter-gatherers lived in settlements. They had rudimentary agriculture. Yes, they had agriculture, even domesticated animals. They had art.

Now this is very important, isn't it?

And we have come to know all this only in the past four years.

So everything evolutionary psychology based itself on when they were discussing hunter-gatherers societies in the stone age and how this shaped psychological adaptations and made us who we are was based on wrong information.

Extremely simple.

Our perception of hunter-gatherers societies up until four years ago was, I would say, fundamentally wrong.

Fundamentally wrong.

In addition to this, evolutionary psychology is very rigid. It refuses to countenance or to consider any other possible explanations, but its own.

It's very, very ideological. And it's very, as I said, religious.

It's like it has a dogma and a doctrine and you're not supposed to stray.

They even invent contemptuous monikers for other branches of psychology.

Consider, for example, the concept of supernormal stimulus. Supernormal stimulus is when an adaptation, a psychological adaptation is triggered by the existence of a stimulus to the point that it is overactive.

I mentioned, for example, junk food. The adaptation is you need to eat when food is available. The stimulus is junk food.

The result is obesity, overeating.

According to evolutionary psychologists, this is simply, this is a simple activation mechanism, simple trigger.

You see food you eat and this has nothing to do with anything else. It's just a reflex, basically.

It's a reflexive model.

Really?

What about impulse control, for example?

Here's another possible explanation.

The deterioration in our impulse control.

Impulse control nowadays is seriously compromised because we have short attention spans where we got used to instant gratification, etc.

So there's a problem with impulse control.

Maybe this is the reason we overeat.

How about the prevalence, the increasing prevalence and incidence of depression and anxiety?

Being food is a form of self-soothing.

Maybe that's the explanation.

We don't need to go back to the Stone Age to scarce food, to hungers and famines. We don't need to invent all kinds of high-falutin, fangled mechanisms that no one can ever spot or observe or whatever. We don't need to come up with exquisite explanations about psychological adaptations that are triggered from the Stone Age.

Why we need all these distal, over-complex theoretical apparatus?

Maybe we eat because we are sad and we want to self-soothe. Maybe we eat because we have no impulse control. We eat, we do drugs, we binge watch series on Netflix. These are all impulse control issues.

Maybe that's a problem.

Maybe we eat because we become addicted to food.

Why we need evolutionary psychology?

Evolutionary psychology in short is not parsimonious. It defies Occam's razor. It's bad science because it multiplies entities and assumptions unnecessarily.

Most of the added contributions of evolutionary psychology are not needed in order to explain human behavior. We can explain human behavior very well without evolutionary psychology.

Thank you very much.

Situation gets even worse with what is known as evo-devo.

Evo-evolutionary developmental psychology.

Because they confuse biology with psychology.

I mentioned evo-devo proponents say that smiling, crying and facial expressions are psychological adaptations.

No, they are not. They are biological. They have nothing to do with psychology. They are correlated with emotions. Everything is correlated with emotions.

You cross the street. There is an emotion. Everything you do, everything human beings do, trigger cognitions and emotions which are a form of cognition. Everything.

And yet, of course, sex is not a psychological adaptation. Sex is a biological act. Period.

But sex involves many, many emotions. More than most.

And yet we would not confuse sex with psychology.

Similarly, most of the examples given by evo-devo-devo psychologists have nothing to do with psychology. They have to do with biology.

And this is known as the pun-adaptationist fallacy.

Everything is a psychological adaptation. Body language. Facial expressions. You name it. Everything the body does is now suddenly a psychological adaptation.

Well, of course the body is influenced by the genome, genotype-phenotype.

So if you were to recast or reframe the body as a part of psychology, then of course it strengthens your case that the genes, the genes, express genes are heavily involved.

And when genes are triggered by the environment, when their expression is conditioned by stimuli from the environment, then you can link in nurture and nature all through the bridge of the body.

But that's wrong.

The initial assumption, the boundary condition is wrong. The body is not psychology. Body is not the mind. The mind is not the body.

You can reduce the mind or some functions of the mind to some activity in some organs, in the gastrointestinal system, in the brain, in the kidneys and so on.

But even then, it's not causation. It's correlation.

There's a mental process in the mind and there's some activity in the brain or blood flow in the brain. There's no causation here. It's correlation.

Evo-devo is wild speculation, which relies on misrepresenting biological, physiological, artifacts, behaviors, phenomena with psychology in the mind. It's a type of reductionism, but a bad type of reductionism, not even wise, not even intelligent.

The issue of function to form, problem to solution.

They say, for example, that the fact that a man can never know if he's the father, the uncertain paternity problem. A woman can be sure that she's the mother. A man can never be sure he's the father. He may have been cackled.

They say this uncertain paternity led to male romantic jealousy.

No kidding. Male romantic jealousy exists in childless couples. Male romantic jealousy exists in couples who decided to never have children. Male romantic jealousy exists in same-sex couples. Male romantic jealousy exists in reaction to an imagined loss or catastrophized loss. Male romantic jealousy exists not only with regards to the sex, sexual part of the infidelity, for example, but also regarding the intimacy part of the sex.

The claim that male romantic jealousy reflects uncertain paternity is profoundly stupid, counterfactual.

Any idiot would make this claim.

I'm sorry to say. I don't know what words I can use.

It flies in the face of everything any grandmother knows, anyone knows, any human being, anyone would tell you that romantic jealousy has nothing to do with paternity.

There's romantic jealousy in couples way beyond the reproductive age.

Take the other contribution, form to function, reverse engineering solution to problem.

So for example, they say, evolutionary psychologists say that morning sickness is a way to avoid the ingestions of toxins that may endanger the embryo.

Jesus Christ. I'm not religious, but it seems that I'm becoming one.

This is such nonsense, such nonsense.

Morning sickness stops in the second trimester.

It is biological. It's nothing to do with psychology. It's hormonal and it's the ingestion of toxins that may harm the embryo.

It's not to do with morning sickness because morning sickness occurs regardless of what you eat or don't eat. It's not a purging operation. It's not about cleansing the body.

On the very contrary, by the way, it can deny the embryo very important nutrients if it is very excessive and extreme.

But I've said, people who are capable of saying that morning sickness is a psychological phenomenon intended to protect the embryo or a psychological adaptation intended to protect the embryo via biological means of vomiting, that rape is about having children with a raped woman, who makes such claims, why would you give them the time of day?

In which sense are they scientists? And I would even go further. In which sense are they intelligent?

They're not. And I've just wasted one hour and ten minutes of my time and yours over something that I have no doubt would be considered fifty or hundred years from now the equivalent of astrology or alchemy.

Rank nonsense. Rank nonsense.

Move on. Nothing to see here.

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