February 14, 2005

Rebuttals to Ev Psych

Posted by Arcane Gazebo at February 14, 2005 1:45 PM

Consider this a belated Darwin Day post: I've become highly skeptical of evolutionary psychology, especially with regard to gender roles (I just know too many people who don't fit the EP templates). So I enjoyed reading this LA Times op-ed (via Tapped) which raises a host of objections against the usual stories (e.g. "men evolved to be promiscuous, women evolved to be monogamous"). It's a combination of flawed methodology in the original studies, and new studies that support opposite claims.

The NYTimes op-ed page seems to be a hotbed of EP; the link above references Maureen Dowd, but Nick Kristof ran an EP argument last weekend that humans are genetically programmed for religion. This elicited a nice rebuttal by John Quiggin at Crooked Timber.

All this is not to say that EP is totally worthless; I imagine it's a lot better at the research level than at the op-ed-by-untrained-pundit level.

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