Category Archives: evolutionary psychology

An evolutionary psychology book that shows the discipline’s value—but not the value of memes

I’ve just finished reading Steve Stewart-Williams’s recent book The Ape That Understood the Universe (Cambridge University Press, revised edition 2019). I recommend it highly as a good way to get not only an introduction to evolutionary psychology, but also to see why the discipline is worthwhile and why its detractors are often misguided. Click on […]

Steve Stewart-Williams on the value of evolutionary psychology

When I give talks about why Americans reject evolution so frequently, I refer to Steve Stewart-Williams’s excellent book from 2010: Darwin, God, and the Meaning of Life: How Evolutionary Theory Undermines Everything you Though You Knew.  It goes through reason after reason why evolution not only undermines our ideas, but why that undermining makes people resistant […]

Are human facial expressions universal in which emotions they express?

The latest issue of Science Advances has a provocative and clever piece of research aimed at answering a long-standing question—one considered by Charles Darwin himself: are the facial expressions associated with human emotions universal across all cultures? And, if so, is that the result of evolution? The paper suggests that, at least for a limited […]

Steve Pinker weighs in on the “evolutionary psychology is impossible” paper

After I wrote my critique of Subrena Smith’s anti-evolutionary-psychology paper this morning—hers titled “Is evolutionary psychology possible?”—I sent the link to Steve Pinker, who’s quarantining on Cape Cod. He wrote back with some nice words of approbation, but added a few points. I thought these points were good, relevant and, as the first two weren’t […]

Did a philosopher make evolutionary psychology impossible?

Subrena Smith, an assistant professor of philosophy at The University of New Hampshire, has made a bold claim in the journal Biological Theory (click on screenshot below). She claims to have found a fatal flaw in the practice of evolutionary psychology, one that renders the entire discipline “impossible”. Click below to read the article for […]

Recommended readings on evolutionary psychology

I’m still a bit under the weather with an incipient cold, but I’m taking zinc lozenges, which do have some science behind them supporting the claim that zinc shortens the duration and severity of colds. At any rate, since I’ve used them I haven’t had a full-on cold for several years. (A confounding factor: I […]

The biology of male aggression, and why it’s not all “socialization”

While I’ve long been a critic of evolutionary psychology, I’m not stupid or woke enough—unlike some bloggers I won’t name—to dismiss the entire field as worthless. While it’s hard to test whether some behaviors in our species have evolved by natural selection, there are degrees of confidence we can get, and predictions one can make, […]

Evolution denialism from the Left

Evolutionary biology gets squeezed from both the Right (many of whose adherents simply deny evolution) and now from the Left as well.  A moiety of the Left, as I’ve written here frequently, has ideological reasons for attacking parts of evolutionary biology, especially those parts that involve genetics and behavior.  So, for example, we see these […]

Andrew Sullivan on evolutionary psychology

Since Andrew Sullivan has moved to New York Magazine, I find him more liberal, more tempered, more rational, and more readable. His three-part essay this week is notable for what he says in the first part: “#MeToo and the Taboo Topic of Nature” Don’t be put off by the title: it’s really a discussion of […]

When ideology trumps biology

If I was the late Andy Rooney, I’d say “You know what really bothers me? When science shows some facts about nature, and then someone rejects those facts because they’re inconvenient or uncomfortable for their ideology.” Indeed, when people ignore such inconvenient truths, it not only makes their cause look bad, but can produce palpable harm. Case in point: […]