In response to Michael Goldhaber:
> But I do know that a few years ago I was surprised
>to see that Herb Gintis (of Bowles and Gintis, economists and authors of
>a good critique of the American educational system and other left-wing
>studies had written a very abusive and negative review of the Rose's
>ALAS POOR DARWIN.
Unless the claims about the Rose's indifference to accuracy,
especially in quoting opponents, made in the review on the Human
Nature site are simply false, that's understandable.
>While Michael Weissman is evidently right to suggest we have some
>inherited tendencies, which we know because we share these tendencies
>with most other mammals, evolutionary psychologists mostly focus on the
>unknown and probably unknowable era of \spcifically proto-human
>evolution, being mostinterested in tendencies that are not shared with
>other mammals, and for which evidence, even in anthropological terms, is
>necessrily questionable, since virtually all present day cultures have
>been influenced by the west by this point, and ealrier investigatros of
>them from the west had by now unknowable biases to see what they thought
>they should see.
Right, but the alternative to doing difficult and questionable
science in this area seems to be to do no science at all, i.e. to
fall back on wishful thinking, anger, etc. to supply predictions
about how people will behave. The Left's batting average here ain't
so good. And there are genuine archeological ways of spot-checking
some assertions. For example, the politically correct view that
cannibalism was a western myth is now pretty much dead, thanks to
Furthermore, if tendencies are very widespread in different
contemporary societies including those with less Western contact,
reported in various anthropological studies, reported in ancient
literature, shared with many other mammals, and also obvious
consequences of selection pressure under realistic circumstances,
maybe it's reasonable to think that they did evolve in the ordinary
way. Just to make sure that this doesn't turn into an exchange of
meaningless polite generalities, I should say that I suspect that
differences in male and female mating preferences probably fall in
>Further, followers of evolutinary biology, if not all its practitioners
>strongly support neo-liberal or libertarian ideologies, and the common
>drift of their work on ev. psych has that written all over it.
That's sounds like an unsupported claim. I have the personal
impression that the typical ev psych types grab bits and pieces of
socialist and capitalist ideas. People like Pinker are hardly on the
right of the American spectrum, whether we like that or not. What
would be the fun of claiming to have a new social science if it just
led you to accept a pre-existing ideology?
>by the way, though anthropological studies are always suspect, I
>understand that in not all socieities are insults responded to in kind.
>Unless one could definitively demonstrate the opposite, why should we
>believe the tendency evolved as such?
Right. It's interesting to ask how widespread that particular
tendency is, whether there are any special features shared by
societies which lack it, etc. The question is, whether these are
legitimate questions for research. Ev. psych types say yes. This list
seems to say no, unless one signs a prior agreement to exclude any
answers that point to strong evolved tendencies, other than the
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