Evolutionary Psychology Reboot

or Rebash?

The accumulation of small heritable changes within populations over time.

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Re: Evolutionary Psychology Reboot

#21  Postby scott1328 » Apr 20, 2018 2:42 am

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Re: Evolutionary Psychology Reboot

#22  Postby Rachel Bronwyn » Apr 20, 2018 2:49 am

Which has no relevance to the fact evolutionary psychology in its current form is pretty worthless and unscientific.

Cito di Pense wrote:
zoon wrote:Unlike you, PZ Myers doesn't say anywhere that he would like to see more funding for evolutionary psychology, or that he makes a distinction between the useful and the harmful variety.


If what EvPsych has on offer are glib rationalizations, from an evolutionary perspective, 'explaining' (e.g.) how we come to like sitting down and eating sugar, then no, I don't want to see more funding for evolutionary psychology, either. Psychology already contributes a lot of research of dubious value to anyone with a couple of extra neurons to rub together without looking deep into the past to come up with something to tell the creationists.


Yep. There actually are people and means by which how our evolution has effected our psychology could be studied scientifically. What we see though is girls like pink because women collected berries and a bunch of rationalisations for the belief black people just aren't as intellectually capable as white people. Why should that be funded? It doesnt have a scientific basis. It's just explanations white guys think of while sitting on the toilet. By all means, people can believe it but it's just that - belief.
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Re: Evolutionary Psychology Reboot

#23  Postby Hermit » Apr 20, 2018 9:23 am

scott1328 wrote:Some history of Myers idiocy https://www.skepticink.com/lateraltruth ... -evopsych/

Rebecca Bradley bookends her article with "peer-reviewed". Every time I read "peer-reviewed" I hear "Sokal".
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Re: Evolutionary Psychology Reboot

#24  Postby scott1328 » Apr 20, 2018 9:58 am

Hermit wrote:
scott1328 wrote:Some history of Myers idiocy https://www.skepticink.com/lateraltruth ... -evopsych/

Rebecca Bradley bookends her article with "peer-reviewed". Every time I read "peer-reviewed" I hear "Sokal".

Is that a good or bad?
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Re: Evolutionary Psychology Reboot

#25  Postby SpeedOfSound » Apr 20, 2018 10:22 am

zoon wrote:...
At the same time, I would perhaps agree with criticism of attempts to use evolutionary psychology to tell us anything substantive about how we think in ordinary social life, or, even worse, about how we should think? Even neuroscience, the direct study of the brain as opposed to the study of how the brain evolved, still tells us almost nothing of immediate usefulness in ordinary life, in spite of the vast amount that is being discovered. (I'm talking about everyday social interactions here, rather than the curing of diseases.) It's certainly interesting and fun to become aware of ways our behaviour could have evolved, and to see the precursors of our behaviour in that of other animals, but it seems to me unsafe to bring evolutionary thinking into, for example, political decision-making.

Now this I disagree with. I have spent more than a few years 'encoding' neuroscience into my mindset and it informs me about what it is I am doing, why, how, and further how I can make it better. Granted a lot of that is intuitive but remember that intuition is just a machine learning module for solving a particular problem that gets better the more highly trained it is. Highly trained means lots of information. Information is education. Useful education is called 'science'.

There! That one right there tells you something really important about how you think.
zoon wrote:
...


Lots more to respond to here zoon. Your posts pack it in. Let me get back when I have more time.
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Re: Evolutionary Psychology Reboot

#26  Postby Hermit » Apr 20, 2018 10:26 am

scott1328 wrote:
Hermit wrote:
scott1328 wrote:Some history of Myers idiocy https://www.skepticink.com/lateraltruth ... -evopsych/

Rebecca Bradley bookends her article with "peer-reviewed". Every time I read "peer-reviewed" I hear "Sokal".

Is that a good or bad?

Is what good or bad? If you are referring to the bookending of an article with mentions of "peer-reviewed" while failing to defend research methodology by evolutionary psychologists - which is what Myers spends a significant time on criticising - then, yeah, that's bad. It reeks of an appeal to authority. Peer reviews are an effective filter in the hard sciences. In the social sciences not so much. Hence my mention of Sokal.
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Re: Evolutionary Psychology Reboot

#27  Postby SpeedOfSound » Apr 20, 2018 10:30 am

Rumraket wrote:PZ Myers made a ridiculous and hyperbolic statement (“the fundamental premises of evo psych are false”) , then was forced to run away from it. In that respect, Jerry Coyne is absolutely correct.

PZ Myers says one thing first ("My main point: Developmental plasticity is all. The fundamental premises of evo psych are false."), which is ridiculous and absurd, Jerry Coyne then criticizes those statements by PZ by pointing out OBVIOUSLY evolved psychological tendencies and behaviors (we desire food, sex, etc. and consistently act on it), then PZ Myers completely reverses his position on the point criticized by Jerry Coyne.

But as evo-psych is actually practiced, PZ Myers has a point.
PZ Myers: I detest evolutionary psychology, not because I dislike the answers it gives, but on purely methodological and empirical grounds: it is a grandiose exercise in leaping to conclusions on inadequate evidence, it is built on premises that simply don’t work, and it’s a field that seems to do a very poor job of training and policing its practitioners, so that it primarily serves as a dump for bad research that then supplies tabloids with a feast of garbage science that discredits the rest of us.


The parts in blue I can agree with, but I disagree with the rest.


It's one of those academic pissing matches where the baby crawls out the back and gets eaten by wolves while the adults duke it out. Tooby and Cosmides made some real errors in publicity due to excitement. Worse, their methods borrowed more from psychology than biology.

But for me Pinker, Robert Wright, and Matt Ridley really set the hook deep with their imaginative writings. Now that we have the hook set we need to start crafting a science. From systems to observables.
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Re: Evolutionary Psychology Reboot

#28  Postby SpeedOfSound » Apr 20, 2018 10:35 am

Hermit wrote:
zoon wrote:PZ Myers is claiming that he's not questioning the evolved nature of our brains, but he does then criticise, as SpeedOfSound says, every attempt to study psychology in the light of evolution. I agree with Jerry Coyne and the people here who say that this looks very much like an ideological attempt to shut down evolutionary thinking.

Having taken to a dislike of the Minnesota loudmouth a long time ago, years before he joined the Atheism+ crowd, I naturally jumped on the link you provided to see his ideological attempt to shut down evolutionary thinking. There is not even a hint of that, so I guess there is evidence of your and Coyne's assertion that you have not linked to for our perusal.

As for evolutionary psychology itself, it's chapter X of the debate concerning nurture versus nature. I don't think we have anywhere sufficient data to discuss that issue with any prospect of some kind of resolution. To forestall accusations that I too want to see evolutionary thinking shut down for ideological reasons I'd like to mention that, on the contrary, I'd like to see more actual research done, which means more funding for evolutionary psychology.


I was just going through all his material on the blog and youtube and trying to get a grip on what the issue is. Google it my friend. I like PZ. He is a bit edgy but that happens when you are sandblasted by idiots. Then I became concerned when he went after my baby. I'm trying to get a grip and figure out what it is that he is saying that I should take to heart.
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Re: Evolutionary Psychology Reboot

#29  Postby SpeedOfSound » Apr 20, 2018 10:44 am

Rumraket wrote:It is a valuable field of scientific investigation, but very little competent investigation has been done. Lots of grandiose declarations are made, with very little evidence to show for it.

It has a lot of potential, but the standards are lacking. I suppose one problem is that some the questions that researchers in the field are seeking to address are practically extremely difficult to accomplish as they require data collection across the whole spectrum of cultures and nationalities in the world, needs to be combined with genetics studies again across geographical and national boundaries, and have to yield statistically significant results.

Think of a simple problem like color preference among the sexes, endlessly debated among psychologists. Do boys really intuitively prefer colors different from girls, and if they do, is this a preference that evolved due to natural selection? To ascertain what is true, you have to gather huge amounts of data if you are not in a position to actually fund and set up the rearing of children of the different sexes under properly controlled conditions where they are not culturally forced to think of certain colors as "boy" or "girl" colors. Then you need to combine that with genetics studies to find the genes responsible (supposing you even manage to find evidence for a difference in preference that isn't just due to culture), and then look for evidence of positive selection on certain mutations. This is incredibly difficult, expensive, and time-consuming work. And all to address what seems to be intensely irrelevant anway?


I prefer a bottom up approach. Observation or actually anecdotes gets you an observable and then a hypotheses. Next one has to find through developmental neuroscience what the mechanics are. Evolutionary analysis follows easily. The bottom up approach is the science part. Tis is all very imprecise and should never develop into certainties until of course we have ALL the mechanics worked out.

Still it can inform us as to possibilities. My example with my sons above is how an unproven possible bit of knowledge about biology informed and modified my behavior as a parent. Similar bits can modify my own self as a bigot, a gun nut, a conservative, and a male sexual pig. Thepop science is damned useful if we stop short of making it just another religion.
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Re: Evolutionary Psychology Reboot

#30  Postby SpeedOfSound » Apr 20, 2018 10:49 am

Rumraket wrote:
Cito di Pense wrote:
zoon wrote:Unlike you, PZ Myers doesn't say anywhere that he would like to see more funding for evolutionary psychology, or that he makes a distinction between the useful and the harmful variety.


If what EvPsych has on offer are glib rationalizations, from an evolutionary perspective, 'explaining' (e.g.) how we come to like sitting down and eating sugar, then no, I don't want to see more funding for evolutionary psychology, either. Psychology already contributes a lot of research of dubious value to anyone with a couple of extra neurons to rub together without looking deep into the past to come up with something to tell the creationists.

:this:

Evolutionary biology isn't just story telling. We want some actual evidence that supports those stories. That means comparative genetics data must support the stories. Any idiot can sit and just invent adaptive explanations for why humans do X. But it's supposed to be a science.


Some new thinking in psychology would be good. I think a few respiration sensors glued to the subject are worth about a dozen psychologists and statisticians in figuring out what is actually going on. Most of our 'rational' thinking is actually observable as increased respiration and blood sugar variations. :what:
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Re: Evolutionary Psychology Reboot

#31  Postby SpeedOfSound » Apr 20, 2018 10:51 am

Rachel Bronwyn wrote:Which has no relevance to the fact evolutionary psychology in its current form is pretty worthless and unscientific.
...


Well then there ya go! We have something to fix.
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Re: Evolutionary Psychology Reboot

#32  Postby SpeedOfSound » Apr 20, 2018 10:53 am

Rachel Bronwyn wrote:
...

Yep. There actually are people and means by which how our evolution has effected our psychology could be studied scientifically. What we see though is girls like pink because women collected berries and a bunch of rationalisations for the belief black people just aren't as intellectually capable as white people. Why should that be funded? It doesnt have a scientific basis. It's just explanations white guys think of while sitting on the toilet. By all means, people can believe it but it's just that - belief.


But what if we actually find some particular mechanism in the brain, traceable in development of the brain, that makes it statistically more likely for a female of the species to prefer pink? What then?
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Re: Evolutionary Psychology Reboot

#33  Postby scott1328 » Apr 20, 2018 1:30 pm

What peezee suffers from, and I am detecting inklings of in this thread, is the Naturalistic Fallacy. That if something exists in nature it is to be desired, good, or proper. Couple that with peezee's implicit sexism (which I also am detecting in this thread) that if a trait is masculine, then it is better, therefore the detection of masculine traits in nature somehow implies that men are better. Therefore, since men are not better and natural traits are good, then the research must be bad. This is reasoning driven by ideology; it is not letting the facts guide the conclusion.

ETA: I am granting peezee the benefit of the doubt, that what he is exhibiting is sexism and naturalistic fallacy. What is entirely in the realm of possibility, and evident in much of his writing, is a snobbish elitism and paternalism(sic) that the hoi polloi is unable to understand the nuances of the research into the innateness of hot-topic traits, and therefore research into those traits must be stopped lest the public seize on those ideas without the benefit of his education and intellect. In either case, ideology is driving the message, not the science.
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Re: Evolutionary Psychology Reboot

#34  Postby SpeedOfSound » Apr 20, 2018 4:20 pm

scott1328 wrote:What peezee suffers from, and I am detecting inklings of in this thread, is the Naturalistic Fallacy. That if something exists in nature it is to be desired, good, or proper. Couple that with peezee's implicit sexism (which I also am detecting in this thread) that if a trait is masculine, then it is better, therefore the detection of masculine traits in nature somehow implies that men are better. Therefore, since men are not better and natural traits are good, then the research must be bad. This is reasoning driven by ideology; it is not letting the facts guide the conclusion.

ETA: I am granting peezee the benefit of the doubt, that what he is exhibiting is sexism and naturalistic fallacy. What is entirely in the realm of possibility, and evident in much of his writing, is a snobbish elitism and paternalism(sic) that the hoi polloi is unable to understand the nuances of the research into the innateness of hot-topic traits, and therefore research into those traits must be stopped lest the public seize on those ideas without the benefit of his education and intellect. In either case, ideology is driving the message, not the science.

Big plus one on all that.

The shame is that when this sort of pissing match happens we lose track of the task at hand which is to make the science right and improve the methods. Often the baby gets thrown out with the dirty bath.

And yes, sexism of this kind is a problem with people that are vehemently against sexism yet still possess a healthy degree at this meta-level. Instead of having it that woman are of equal value and rights, woman have to be made 'into' men.

My personal opinion on the sexes is that they are different and men are too emotional and too often prone to irrational violence both literally and often implicitly in the decisions they make. I think that is biological and knowing that I try to be better.
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