[FRIAM] the pseudoscience of evolutionary psychology?

uǝlƃ ☣ gepropella at gmail.com
Thu Mar 8 15:26:37 EST 2018

Ah!  OK.  I take it that you're not looking at any of Peterson's videos, then ... only at the commentary about his videos/lectures/book, etc.

I also hear you when you say you haven't seen evidence that Peterson is an evolutionary psychologist (because his Wikipedia page or whatever doesn't mention it).  But that's some sort of persnickety "letter" vs. "spirit".  Even if there's some obscure technical defn of "evolutionary psychologist" that Peterson does not meet, he's clearly a clinical psychologist whose professorial lectures and his pop book justify his psychological framework with concepts from biological evolution.  So, he fits pretty much every defn of "evolutionary psychologist" I can think of, in my naivety.  If you can present a definition for which he does not fit, I'd appreciate hearing it.

More directly, though, it's not at all clear that the typical conservative rhetoric consists of evolutionary arguments.  There's a common conception that much of conservative rhetoric denies biological evolution.  I've already agreed that Peterson and his ilk (like Harris and Haidt) often slip down the slope into typical conservative rhetoric.  But that ilk makes a special appeal to authority by winding back to more solid turf, invoking "science" (neuro- for Harris, social- for Haidt, evolution for Peterson) when the validity of their inferences are challenged.  In these cases, we have to separate the champion from their followers.  Peterson's fanboys might rely on the typical conservative rhetoric, but Peterson does not.  He pretends/tries to *derive* typical conservative rhetoric from more primitive principles.

I suppose I can answer my own question to you and say that the analogies Peterson:Harris and Peterson:Haidt are broken because Peterson has no credible (scientific) background in evolution.  He's merely cherry-picked popularized tokens from evolution to use willy-nilly.  But, implicitly assuming that is analogous to implicitly assuming meteorologists *obviously* can't speak credibly about climate science.  And we know how badly that assumption has hurt the climate science literacy.  As unfair as it is (http://quillette.com/2016/02/15/the-unbearable-asymmetry-of-bullshit/), the burden lies upon those of you who are literate to illuminate and educate those of us who are pseudo-literate.

Hence, this thread.

On 03/08/2018 11:13 AM, Roger Critchlow wrote:
> I'm not finding any pseudo-scientific arguments in the stuff I'm looking
> at.  It's just typical conservative rhetoric: my rights, my rights!  the
> marxists, the marxists! all to defend the established order at any cost.  I
> guess this article,
> https://www.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/rights-favorite-new-intellectual-has-some-truly-pitiable-ideas-about-masculinity,
> from your first post found some evolutionary psychology, but it sounds more
> like rhetorical sawdust than the planks he stands on.
> I guess maybe I am being picky.

☣ uǝlƃ

More information about the Friam mailing list