[extropy-chat] Calling all EvoPsych Jedi...

Keith Henson hkhenson at rogers.com
Sat May 7 01:10:06 UTC 2005

At 07:51 PM 06/05/05 -0400, you wrote:
>At 09:19 PM 5/5/2005, Keith Henson wrote:
>>>Am I missing something here based on an insufficiently deep knowledge
>>>of EP? Can anyone shed some light on why so many professors seem to
>>>think EP is crap?
>>You will find that most of them are social "science" people and EP pretty 
>>much junks their entire life work, and all the theories back to the 
>>beginning of time for their fields.  EP does integrate psychology and 
>>related subjects seamlessly into the rest of human knowledge where 
>>currently the social sciences are this floating blob with no underpinnings.
>>The rest of science is really one piece where the divisions between 
>>chemistry and physics are more historical than an actual discontinuity. ...
>>I predict that EP and related evolutionary understandings will displace 
>>virtually all of social science, kind of like plate tectonics displaced 
>>theories in geology.
>>But it will take the present generation of social "science" professors 
>>dying off to do it.
>I don't plan on dying off anytime soon, and as economics is a social 
>science, I must be one of these professors you are talking about.  I'm a 
>big fan of evol pysch, and its expectation of functionality behind most 
>behavior is close to a similar expectation of economists.  Economics is 
>already quickly moving to integrate EP insights as they come along.  I see 
>little chance of EP displacing economics, nor should it.

Sorry, I didn't state that clearly.

"I predict that EP and related evolutionary understandings will displace 
[the underpinnings of] virtually all of social science, kind of like plate 
tectonics displaced [foundation] theories in geology."  It is not like 
sediment geology was dumped, but what drove places to sink and accumulate 
sediment is now understood in terms of plate tectonics.

Biology can't really be understood without evolution.  Social sciences make 
no sense without the lower level underpinnings of biology, including 
evolutionary psychology.

Economics is based off biology.  Economics is a factor for all life, even 
the most primitive, since they have to allocate resources to growth, 
reproduction, etc.

Humans behave as if to maximize reward and minimize effort, but what is the 
agent benefiting and over what time frame?  There are things human are 
*known* to do, for example punishing cheaters at considerable cost to 
themselves that don't make much sense until you understand that such 
psychological traits have been shaped by evolution.  The reward for 
punishing cheaters, for example, was spread over your relatives who had 
copies of your genes, so even if punishing a cheater cost you dearly, the 
cost was made up by the benefits to copies of your genes in other band members.

Another example why do humans exchange huge amounts of resources for 
addictive drugs?  What is the mechanism?  They also work very hard for 
status, one classic example is judges who give up large amounts of income 
for the higher status of a judge.  Why is this?  The answers are obvious if 
not downright trivial given EP.

EP puts the half of the foundation under economics that plain biology does not.

Keith Henson

PS,  I bet you can think of a dozen professors who will never buy into the 
world view of EP.  :-)

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