The discussion on this list has been disappointing. There's nothing
to be gained from slowly escalating the name calling, each time
pointing to the other guy's last remarks as justification for
More importantly, the close-mindedness exhibited about evolutionary
psychology and "human nature" more generally suggests a sort of
intellectual fear. I know that all sorts of intellectual crackpots
routinely rally under the banner of 'open-mindedness', but
evolutionary psychology is not cold fusion or a perpetual motion
scheme. Rather than violating well-established general principles, it
takes ordinary science into areas where the evidence is pretty shaky
and likelihood of being influenced by prejudice is pretty high. So
the way in which it ought to be doubted is very different from the
way that, say, parapsychology ought to be doubted, to say the least.
I mean, does anybody here question that evolution by natural
selection and sexual selection occurred? Does anybody question that
such selection influenced the brain? That it, for example is
responsible for our tendencies to like to eat, have sex, avoid
temperature extremes, etc? The questions are how detailed are the
propensities we have inherited, how flexible under various social
conditions, what are some of the specific propensities and what are
some of their specific environmental dependences, etc. To simply say
that we all here have agreed there's no such thing as human nature
either says we've agreed to be nuts or to be hypocrites or doesn't
say much of anything.
Michael B. Weissman <[log in to unmask]>
ph: 217-333-7897 fax:217-333-9819
Physics Dept., MC-704, UIUC
1110 W. Green St.
Urbana, IL 61801-3080
...Bush lost the nation's popular vote to Gore by 539,897 votes...