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Statistics on Post-Modern haters of Evolutionary Psychology?
Posted: 26 October 2012 09:47 AM   [ Ignore ]
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Does there exist such research?
E.O.Wilson got so hated that some activists
poured water over his head at an event
to show their protest against SocioBiology.

When I read threads on atheist forums
then I often hit upon Post Modernists
that say that Evolutionary Psychology
is “just so stories” and debunked decades ago.

If somebody start a thread about books
which explain religion from evolutionary
point of view then it get either dismissed
or just ignored.

But I have no statistics and no good links
I conclude this from some 10 years of
reading on atheist forums.

Now personally I don’t buy anything a EP
researcher say but this extreme skepticism
them meet among atheists do surprise me.

CFI is new to me I have not searched through
the archives to see how it turn out here so
I ask about your own personal experience.

Are you one of the skeptics if Evolutionary Psychology
and if so then what is it that made you skeptical?

One idea I have is that maybe it is for political reason many are skeptical?

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Posted: 26 October 2012 10:45 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Fred, I am not a student of Evolutionary Psychology, but from the perspective of a Behavior Analyst, whose focus is more on ontogeny (of individual organisms), the basic premise, still, seems sound to me, as long as one does not go overboard with the idea and try to explain all human behavior in terms of something determined solely by evolution, without regard to developmental experiences.  (One might think that that should go without saying, but, in my experience on this forum, it hasn’t.)

It is clear that humans have respondent behaviors (behaviors that we are born with or which we will grow to have simply by virtue of our biology and genetic inheritance), just as all organisms do.  And clearly, this is a product of evolutionary processes.

We also have operant behaviors, the capacity for which is also a product of evolutionary processes.  But our capacity for operant behaviors, which are learned through an individual’s environmental experiences, makes our “psychology” more than simply a matter of what has been passed on by evolution.

So, IMO, one should not, at all, deny the role of evolution in our “psychology”.  It is more a question of the extent of the effect of evolution on the behaviors that we have AND the extent of the effect of environmental experiences on the behaviors that we have.

[ Edited: 26 October 2012 10:55 AM by TimB ]
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Posted: 26 October 2012 11:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Thanks Tim!

Yes some EP maybe do overdo it. Them too eager to come up with interpretations.
What I try to address is the extreme hatred directed against the whole field
and the total dismiss of it from some atheists, humanists and so on.

I can find it likely that Christian Fundamentalist would not want to hear
that religion can be something that evolution made possible.
Sure some Liberal or Progressive? Christian do support evolution.

But these atheists I talk about get extremely upset and show direct hatred.

Okay will be interesting to get feedback from them too.
Lacking the statistic I can only rely on gut feeling and poor memory
but it has alarmed me how frequent such dismissing happens.
Thanks for you nuanced answer.

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Posted: 26 October 2012 11:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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TimB - 26 October 2012 10:45 AM

Fred, I am not a student of Evolutionary Psychology, but from the perspective of a Behavior Analyst, whose focus is more on ontogeny (of individual organisms), the basic premise, still, seems sound to me, as long as one does not go overboard with the idea and try to explain all human behavior in terms of something determined solely by evolution, without regard to developmental experiences.  (One might think that that should go without saying, but, in my experience on this forum, it hasn’t.)

Although I don’t know anybody who would try to explain all of human behaviour being entirely determined by genes (or “determined solely by evolution” as you say), it’s funny that when you do a proper study—as opposed to “trying to explain” a certain phenomenon—it almost always turns out to based a lot more on genetic basis than originally thought.

Take, for example, Gregory Clark’s upcoming paper on the low long-term social mobility:

“We can’t predict the individual aspects of where you’ll end up, but if we want to rank you overall in society, maybe as much as 60 percent of the outcome is determined at the time of conception.” G. Clark

So again, 60% is far from 100%, but I am sure it’s much bigger that any developmental psychologist would want to accept while “trying to explain” how it can’t be nowhere this high.

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Posted: 26 October 2012 11:49 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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George - 26 October 2012 11:24 AM
TimB - 26 October 2012 10:45 AM

Fred, I am not a student of Evolutionary Psychology, but from the perspective of a Behavior Analyst, whose focus is more on ontogeny (of individual organisms), the basic premise, still, seems sound to me, as long as one does not go overboard with the idea and try to explain all human behavior in terms of something determined solely by evolution, without regard to developmental experiences.  (One might think that that should go without saying, but, in my experience on this forum, it hasn’t.)

Although I don’t know anybody who would try to explain all of human behaviour being entirely determined by genes (or “determined solely by evolution” as you say), it’s funny that when you do a proper study—as opposed to “trying to explain” a certain phenomenon—it almost always turns out to based a lot more on genetic basis than originally thought.

Take, for example, Gregory Clark’s upcoming paper on the low long-term social mobility:

“We can’t predict the individual aspects of where you’ll end up, but if we want to rank you overall in society, maybe as much as 60 percent of the outcome is determined at the time of conception.” G. Clark

So again, 60% is far from 100%, but I am sure it’s much bigger that any developmental psychologist would want to accept while “trying to explain” how it can’t be nowhere this high.

As I said, it is more a question of the extent of the effect of evolution on the behaviors that we have AND the extent of the effect of environmental experiences on the behaviors that we have.

But I advise caution in interpreting “as much as 60 percent of the outcome (of social ranking being) determined at the time of conception” as meaning that environmental experiences will not play a part (in that 60%).  Because, at the time of conception, the future probablities for relative enviromental experiences are also somewhat determined.  For example, the experiences of a child concieved by desperately poor parents, are likely to be drastically different, than the experience of a child with exhorbitantly wealthy parents.

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Posted: 26 October 2012 12:03 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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FredW - 26 October 2012 11:23 AM

Thanks Tim!

Yes some EP maybe do overdo it. Them too eager to come up with interpretations.
What I try to address is the extreme hatred directed against the whole field
and the total dismiss of it from some atheists, humanists and so on.

I can find it likely that Christian Fundamentalist would not want to hear
that religion can be something that evolution made possible.
Sure some Liberal or Progressive? Christian do support evolution.

But these atheists I talk about get extremely upset and show direct hatred.

Okay will be interesting to get feedback from them too.
Lacking the statistic I can only rely on gut feeling and poor memory
but it has alarmed me how frequent such dismissing happens.
Thanks for you nuanced answer.

I have, more than once, expressed my thoughts re: how humans may be naturally predisposed, in some ways, to religious thinking and behavior, and have never recieved extreme responses of dismissal or hatred on this forum.

And as far as (as you say) “that religion can be something that evolution made possible”, well of course it is. Everything that humans do is made possible by evolution.

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Posted: 26 October 2012 12:35 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Thanks to both of you.

Cool, that is why I did join. I actually hoped to find
a forum where one don’t get absolutely dismissed
if one even hint at that it can be at least partly
something that has to do with evolution.

So that looks hopeful.

I am not good at xx% but would it be possible to say
that there is almost always both innate traits that many share
and also always individual psychological and social and cultural
considerations or biases we get from the family and society
that we grew up within?

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Posted: 26 October 2012 02:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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FredW - 26 October 2012 12:35 PM

Thanks to both of you.

Cool, that is why I did join. I actually hoped to find
a forum where one don’t get absolutely dismissed
if one even hint at that it can be at least partly
something that has to do with evolution.

So that looks hopeful.

I am not good at xx% but would it be possible to say
that there is almost always both innate traits that many share
and also always individual psychological and social and cultural
considerations or biases we get from the family and society
that we grew up within?

I would say that some behaviors are completely innate.  For example, if I sniff some pepper and then sneeze, the behavior of sneezing is a reflexive, completely biologically based behavior in that circumstance.  But if I pretend to sneeze, let’s say because there is a toddler present, and I have learned through experience that my pretend sneezes amuse toddlers, then that behavior is a product of social learning.  But it may also be partially determined by an innate desire, possibly passed on by evolutionary processes, to find a way to relate positively with toddlers.

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Posted: 26 October 2012 04:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Tim,

Have you heard about the twins separated at birth and later reunited to learn that they both enjoyed pretending to sneeze on an elevator full of people?  wink

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Posted: 26 October 2012 05:27 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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George - 26 October 2012 04:04 PM

Tim,

Have you heard about the twins separated at birth and later reunited to learn that they both enjoyed pretending to sneeze on an elevator full of people?  wink

I have not.  Perhaps both were born with a predilection for getting a strong reaction from others. And both happened to learn through experience that sneezing on an elevator was a good way of getting that kind of reaction.  Or both may have independently learned to enjoy that kind of reaction.  It may be that some kids are born with an excessive need for getting a reaction out of others.  And/or it may be that some kids simply learn easy or effective ways of getting a reaction out of others.

I don’t think that I was born knowing that pretending to sneeze would make toddlers laugh.  I think that I learned it by trying it.  It works,  especially when you suspensefully over-exaggerate the build up to the sneeze.

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Posted: 26 October 2012 05:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Yeah, I don’t think there is a gene for pretending to sneeze of an elevator.  grin

BTW, IIIRC, they both also liked to wear a rubber band around their wrists, both were firemen and married to women with the same name. I think I read about it one of Pinker’s books.

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Posted: 26 October 2012 08:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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George - 26 October 2012 05:55 PM

Yeah, I don’t think there is a gene for pretending to sneeze of an elevator.  grin

BTW, IIIRC, they both also liked to wear a rubber band around their wrists, both were firemen and married to women with the same name. I think I read about it one of Pinker’s books.

  Jim Springer and Jim Lewis?

Here’s the wiki about the guy who studied them. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_J._Bouchard,_Jr.

It has some links to references about the twins.

[ Edited: 26 October 2012 08:33 PM by mid atlantic ]
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Posted: 27 October 2012 05:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Twin studies are very interesting.
I have cousins that are twins.

And some 30 years ago I fancied a twin
and is it not odd that I fancied her and not
her twin sister looking the same and behaving
same. What did cut it for me is that “my” twin
smiled at me a fraction of a second earlier than
her twin sister. And she smiled more inviting too.

But the embarrassing thing is that after splitting up
and then meeting one of the twins on a Subway Train
then them looking exactly same I had no idea which one
it was but based on that she had a smile that where reserved
I wild guessed it where the twin me had not been together with.

But I did not dare to ask. And she did not tell me either.
I trust she knew I had no clue on which of them it was.

I’ve heard “horror” stories where twins pranked their BoyFriends
and slept with them pretending to be the twin them together with.

That is not nice behavior. smile

Evolutionary Psychology to me is something that I really like.
But I do realize it is a field that is in it’s infancy and have
a long way to work to find reliable experiments to come up
with models that can predict human behavior.

What is your views on this idea that we have two systems.
First system is a fast intuitive response and the
Second system is the psychological and social and cultural
and ideological and political learned way to respond.

Take the way we react to food. Some react extremely strong
against eating animals. These become militant Vegans that
burn down Lorries or Trucks with meat in them. They harrass
persons that work at institutes that test on mice and they
let loose of Foxes and other fur animals Ferrets? Fur Farmers?

That feeling of it being wrong to eat any kind of animal they feel.
would that be a First System feeling of disgust or a Second System
learned feeling of behavior? I saw some documentary on people
around the world and what they accepted to eat. Worms, Snakes
insect larvae, Ants, Rats, even Dogs and Cats,

Such makes me curious on how it works. Is that something we
intuitively feel or something we learn from parents and mates?

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Posted: 27 October 2012 06:57 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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I have three sons and the oldest one likes to eat exactly the same things as my wife. My middle son’s taste is identical to mine. My youngest boy is only four, so he is only developing his taste, but I think he will acquire my wife’s taste.

The one thing I find very interesting is that the taste of my older boys is not a mix of my wife’s and my tastes.

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Posted: 27 October 2012 08:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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FredW - 27 October 2012 05:48 AM

...What is your views on this idea that we have two systems.
First system is a fast intuitive response and the
Second system is the psychological and social and cultural
and ideological and political learned way to respond…

We have two systems of behavior.  Respondent behavior is that in which a stimulus elicits a response. We simply react reflexively to a stimulus. We have some built in respondent behavior as part of our biological make up.  But we can also learn new respondent behavior by exposure to pairing of stimuli that we automatically respond to with previously neutral stimuli.  (e.g., Pavlov’s dogs salivated when meat was presented.  Presentation of the meat was paired with a ringing of a bell.  Eventually the dogs salivated when the bell was rung, without meat being presented.  IOW, the dogs learned to salivate when a bell was rung.) 

Operant behavior is the 2nd system.  In a given stimulus setting, one emits a response, if the reponse is followed by a reinforcing consequence, the emitted response is more likey to occur again, in the future, in that stimulus setting.  If the emitted response were followed by an aversive consequence, it would be unlikely to occur in that stimulus setting in the future.

That, in a very small nutshell, is how we learn.

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Posted: 27 October 2012 09:12 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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First thanks for you explanation Tim!

George I want to comment on taste smile

George - 27 October 2012 06:57 AM

I have three sons and the oldest one likes to eat exactly the same things as my wife. My middle son’s taste is identical to mine. My youngest boy is only four, so he is only developing his taste, but I think he will acquire my wife’s taste.

The one thing I find very interesting is that the taste of my older boys is not a mix of my wife’s and my tastes.

I read something about us humans roughly can be categorized into three types due to how many
taste buds our tongue have factually. Bu coloring the tonge and using a picture if tongue
measureing say one inch square? You place a white plastic something on tongue
and it has a one inch square that allow you to get same take on all tested individuals
and then compare all pics of tongues. Then the three categories can be say

1. Few taste buds compared to mean average numbers
2.  the mean average number
3. more taste buds than the mean average number.

Now those with 1. few such needs very strong spice to feel the same intensity
as the 2. with average do. So 1. tend to spice more and stronger spice.
3. have so many that almost nothing is needed for them to say it is way too spicy.

such can be very misleading when one acquire taste from child to grown up.

The first category can adjust to any kind of taste them just think it is too bland? or mild.
Second category easily adjust to grown up taste being average from start.
Third category unfortunately think every food they taste is too spicy and them
want food with no spice at all and even reject a lot of veggies as too strong.
even without salt and spice.

I remember a Ketchup? that I bought not knowing me category three.
Everybody I tested it on told me it where either too mild or normal
and I refused to eat it. My tongue burned like hell and the after taste
lasted for many hours and my body felt sick. Garlic and Corint or something?

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