[FRIAM] the pseudoscience of evolutionary psychology?

Nick Thompson nickthompson at earthlink.net
Tue Feb 20 17:14:38 EST 2018


Well, the reason we don't talk about oxytocin, or dopamine, or even testosterone, much, is that they aren't behaviors.  I really don't give a damn about your testosterone levels so long as you don't punch me in the nose.  

By the way, we have a friend back east who is constantly looking for new drugs to increase her energy and well-being, and so she decided to try testosterone.  After a month on testosterone supplements, she said:  "I am surprised you guys behave as well as you do!"

Testosterone IS a poison.  


Nicholas S. Thompson
Emeritus Professor of Psychology and Biology
Clark University

-----Original Message-----
From: Friam [mailto:friam-bounces at redfish.com] On Behalf Of u?l? ?
Sent: Tuesday, February 20, 2018 2:16 PM
To: FriAM <friam at redfish.com>
Subject: Re: [FRIAM] the pseudoscience of evolutionary psychology?

On 02/20/2018 12:26 PM, Steven A Smith wrote:
> I doubt that Nick nor I believe that *every* thought is traceable back 
> to some prehistoric evolutionary trait".

8^)  I know.  I'm just trolling you.  But the bait I'm trying to use is important.

> Female "display" is the one I identified here.   And it *definitely* 
> doesn't rule out precisely what you say in the next paragraph being at 
> work as well.  I don't think the two are mutually exclusive.

Right, which is why this is in the sub-thread started by Frank.  Artificial discretization seems rampant.  Why would we talk about things like "female display" or "alpha male" when there are MUCH more obvious things to talk about like oxytocin and dopamine?  As Dave points out, why would we talk about evopsych when we can talk about biology?

Feelings of belonging, love, and satisfaction can come from playing blackjack *or* coddling one's baby.  Women might show their arms because all the designers make clothing that bares arms *or* because they want to be provocative or both or for other reasons.  Why do we feel the need to trace one motivation to biology (and a phylogenetic tree) but not the other?

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