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Lee T Blauersouth @AmmoniteInk
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Here's a mental health rant intended to get this off my chest, more than anything else.

Lemme talk for a sec about Evolutionary psych, what it is, what it ISN'T and why most of the people publishing and discussing it are full of shit.
A bit of background- being the completely extra person we know I am, I did an original research thesis in undergrad.
Specifically, I did a cross-cultural study on which had a more powerful affect on infant cuteness ratings- signals which were supposedly determined by evolution, or those thought to be culture-bound.

40 urban, US university students & 40 university students from rural China.
Still pleased I was able to do a translated, truly cross-cultural study for this, by the way. Networking power move, right there.
I did a full meta-analysis of all relevant, previously published data before I even designed my survey. I continue to know a shit ton about infant cuteness ratings. (peak adorable is 9mo, on average, btw. We had a photo shoot to commemorate it for Starling)
The results were STARK.

All but one of the infant cuteness factors thought to be ingrained in our evolution showed significant cultural impact.
"Babies with hair are cuter due to evolution!"

Not in china where male babies often have their hair shaved.

"Babies with high, minimal eyebrows are cuter!"

Not when male babies are more culturally desirable than female ones. Then you want low, manly eyebrow babies.
Now I'm not saying "my undergrad thesis proves that evolutionary psychology is all wrong!". Evolution is real and it's shaped out brains. There's no question about that in my mind.
But when a 21 year old with a few convention connections manages to undermine over a decade of published research in the span of 6 months, it's a signal we have a problem.

My results prompted me to look at the literature again.
Most of the "cross cultural studies" were comparing, say, the US and France. Or the US and white Australians. Cultures that are direct decedents of white, western Europe. That's what we were treating as representative of human diversity.
A LOT of ev psych studies pull this, if indeed they bother with cross cultural studies at all, instead of trying to find an evolutionary justification for something found within the culture of the researcher.
Researchers see something, and try to figure out why "Evolution" would lead us to behave this way, as if that is the only force at play in human behavior. As if human culture has never led us to behave in a way contrary to our instincts. It drives me up the wall.
Culture DEPENDS on us altering, ignoring, or otherwise channeling our instincts. My daughter is one year old and I'm already trying to shape the impulses zooming around that fresh new brain.
For example, I discourage her from eating bugs. Even though humans eat bugs in a lot of the world! But my culture hasn't taught me which bugs in my habitat are safe to eat, so I pull her away from her bug-eating impulse.
Right now, evolutionary psychology is being misused to justify shitty male behavior as somehow natural, inevitable, or even desirable for the good of the species.

Bull. Crap.
THESE males in this PARTICULAR BRANCH OF HUMAN CULTURE have been allowed to get away with impulsive behavior as if that's fine. As if society doesn't DEPEND on all of us focusing on our prosocial instincts at the expense of our selfish instincts.
Evolutionary psychology in the US at least is also heavily indebted to the history of US eugenics. The idea that the "good genes" DESERVE to triumph, and boy howdy, sometimes it really shows.
PS I know I say this a lot, but read "War Against the Weak" if you want a depressing, bleak but thoroughly researched explanation of the history of US eugenics, it's connection to Nazis, and WOW it makes modern US politics make a lot more sense.
What we actually do know about human evolution is that we are an adaptable, social species. We are supposed to live in communities and families. Our survival is incredibly dependent on that.
We have ludicrously underdeveloped newborns, take forever to reach maturity, and suffer massive psychological damage when isolated for long periods. (I've had clients still hallucinating after solitary confinement in prison years before. Isolation is BAD FOR HUMAN BRAINS).
We also know that we were migratory, hunting and gathering for the VAST majority of human history. All of written human history is a tiny drop in the bucket of our history as a species, and "society" as we know it hasn't been around for long enough to have nearly as much impact.
Human beings are NOT SUPPOSED TO BE HOMOGENEOUS. Firstly, evolution depends on variety and mutation. On lots of different organisms running around with different traits that interact with the environment in different ways.
We've spread all over the place, to all kinds of environments because we are adaptable. Because we change behavior and preferences and habits and food and skills and rituals. Our adaptability comes, largely, from our differences.
If we have a problem, and throw 6 identical brain/body combos at it, chances aren't great that we're gonna solve that problem.

Throw 6 different brains in 6 different bodies at it, and now we have a shot at coming up with something.
Have a community that all behave identically, and the first time something puts toxins in that environment, everyone dies.

Our species survives because we're all behaving differently, so very little can knock out a whole community.
Evolution has no "goal". But if it did, it wouldn't be to create one "ideal", perfect human. We have survived and thrived as a species because our communities contain variety, and we have even further variety between communities.
So every time we jump to the conclusion that evolution favors a specific human behavior without a BOATLOAD of truly cross-cultural proof, we're being patently ridiculous.

We're supposed to prefer different things, behave differently, think differently. It's a feature, not a bug.
And even if at some point in our history a particular asinine behavior was favored in a particular environment, that doesn't mean it continues to serve us in this, modern context. It doesn't mean we have to put up with it.
The urge to kill is perfectly natural.

That doesn't mean we get to run around killing willie-nilly. We set that impulse aside in favor of other, equally legitimate but more community living appropriate instincts.
In conclusion, freely side-eye anyone who tries to use ev psych to justify crappy behavior.

We can choose to make certain behaviors non-rewarding in our current environment. We are not passive variables of evolution. We are part of it.
PS anyone trying to "well actually" or "yes but" or "not all men" in my mentions will be muted or blocked, depending on my whims, and will not be given the satisfaction of a "debate" so they can fling their crappy pop-psych research at my.
Oh hell, my mentions just settled down and I think this one might have legs.

And will probably do horrible things to my mentions.

If you wanna read book 1 of the series that led me down the rabbit-hole of eugenics research, it's over here:…
Sorry, sorry, one more thing. I wish to highlight that ev psych is being used by racists, homophones, and ableist assholes, not exclusively misogynists. The ven diagram has a large overlap, but it isn't quite a single circle.
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