By David J. Buller
Was once human nature designed via normal choice within the Pleistocene epoch? The dominant view in evolutionary psychology holds that it was once -- that our mental diversifications have been designed tens of millions of years in the past to unravel difficulties confronted via our hunter-gatherer ancestors. during this provocative and full of life publication, David Buller examines intimately the main claims of evolutionary psychology -- the paradigm popularized through Steven Pinker within the clean Slate and through David Buss in The Evolution of hope -- and rejects all of them. this doesn't suggest that we can't observe evolutionary conception to human psychology, says Buller, yet that the traditional knowledge in evolutionary psychology is misguided.Evolutionary psychology employs one of those opposite engineering to give an explanation for the advanced layout of the brain, realizing the adaptive difficulties our ancestors confronted after which inferring the mental diversifications that developed to unravel them. within the rigorously argued primary chapters of Adapting Minds, Buller scrutinizes a number of of evolutionary psychology's so much hugely publicized "discoveries," together with "discriminative parental solicitude" (the concept that stepparents abuse their stepchildren at a better price than genetic mom and dad abuse their organic children). Drawing on a variety of empirical study, together with his personal large-scale research of kid abuse, he exhibits that none is really supported by way of the evidence.Buller argues that our minds aren't tailored to the Pleistocene, yet, just like the immune process, are constantly adapting, over either evolutionary time and person lifetimes. We needs to flow past the reigning orthodoxy of evolutionary psychology to arrive a correct realizing of how human psychology is motivated through evolution. once we do, Buller claims, we'll abandon not just the hunt for human nature however the very suggestion of human nature itself.
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Extra info for Adapting Minds: Evolutionary Psychology and the Persistent Quest for Human Nature
But why do I say that genes “influence” phenotypes, rather than saying that genes “determine” phenotypes? This is because, by themselves, genes don’t determine anything. One can’t simply put some carefully selected genes in a petri dish, for example, and grow a cute little button nose. For how a gene affects the phenotype of an organism depends on precisely when (or if ) it is switched on and off in the process of development, and that in turn depends on the properties of the gene’s environment.
But what causes evolution? As mentioned earlier, evolution can occur only if there is variation in a population. For, if evolution is change in gene or genotype frequencies, there must be at least two genotypes occurring at a particular locus in a population, the frequencies of which then get altered across generations. So, if a population is composed of organisms that are genetically identical, the only way that evolution can occur is if a new genetic variant gets introduced into the population.
The way the above principles apply to such cases is in terms of probabilities. That is, there is a 25 percent chance that a child of two heterozygotes will be AA, a 50 percent chance that it will be a heterozygote like its parents, and a 25 percent chance that it will be aa. This use of probabilities assumes that the genotypes of zygotes in an indefinitely large population of heterozygotes would occur in the 25/50/25 percent frequencies mentioned above, even if many heterozygote pairs in that population produce only one child.
Adapting Minds: Evolutionary Psychology and the Persistent Quest for Human Nature by David J. Buller