Two Cheers for Evolutionary Psychology

My dad used to tell me that gambling was only thing that made him interested in mathematics. His desire to succeed at a vice required to pick up some virtues of intelligence. In a similar vein, becoming involved in Game gave me a interest in evolutionary psychology that I otherwise would not have. I absorbed books like “The Red Queen” and “Sperm Wars,” both going into fascinating detail about what men and women are attracted to and why. (I might also recommend “Why Beautiful People Have More Daughters”) It wasn’t just for my own selfish motivation of figuring out what the aspects of a natural alpha, I was legitimately interested in understanding the basis of our desires. The talk of early single-celled blobs bored me, I was more interested in human interactions and how we screen others for health, success and other factors.

It’s quite striking that someone like Richard Dawkins, far from the classic definition of alpha, would become such a hero within the Community. But he provides an important narrative to those who would like to believe it. Sexual desire is encoded into our DNA and we have been blessed a tremendous system to detect what sexual partners are best for us. The complexities of humanity are truly a wonder to behold.

We as humans should know as much about ourselves as we can discover. As Thomas Jefferson put it, “there is not a truth existing which I fear or would wish unknown to the whole world.” If man is going fully prosper, he must know what his tendencies are, and then use his rational faculties to make the right decisions to guide his life. If he just goes on his basest instincts, he’ll be denying his humanity and suffer greatly for it. “Nature to be commanded, must be observed,” Francis Bacon stated centuries ago. That would seem to imply that is man is capable of commanding nature. (Subduing and conquering the earth if you’re the religious type).

Evolutionary psychology should not be an excuse to default into our animal past, it should be an attempt to show how man how he came to be. Too often, I’m afraid EvoPsych provides a convenient excuse to escape responsibility for our humanity and deny the existence of free will. A man who enjoys sleeping with sluts and uses the excuse, “I can’t help it! I’m only acting in accordance with my nature” is a coward who evades morality. A woman who sleeps with two men in order to have a “sperm war” is even worse. EvoPsych is a fascinating look of how gender roles, but it’s not a moral defense of them. (Although there can be a moral defense of gender differences as I looked at in a previous post) Is it any wonder then why so many people are so desperate to discredit evolution? They’ve been led to believe that backers of evolutionary theory are indifferent to morality. Wholesale acceptance of EvoPsych without regard for a system of morality is a step away from nihilism.

Biomechanics are not god, we are. We are the powerful beings in the world, and in a sense, we are swifter than nature. Evolution is an extremely slow process, yet man was able to achieve more in the last 10,000 than he did in the previous 100,000. Even backers of EvoPsych acknowledge this by saying even though we live in extremely advanced times, we largely have the same brains we did in prehistoric times. But then if the prehistoric brain was capable of building the Empire State Building and putting a man on the moon, is it really that bad? For instance, agriculture is what made all civilization possible, and it could have only been put into practice by a rational mind. Let us not pretend now, that we are merely slaves to our evolutionary whims. We are far stronger and far more capable.

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2 responses to “Two Cheers for Evolutionary Psychology

  1. Pingback: Linkage is Good for You: English Rose Edition « In Mala Fide

  2. Pingback: Linkage is Good for You: English Rose Edition

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