I’ve long been bothered by evolutionary psychology. Thoughts leave no fossils, the way bones do. So we can know that ancient Egyptians suffered from tuberculosis, or Neandertals from arthritis, but it’s much harder to know how they brought up their children.
Behaviors may leave fossils, although the interpretation of them is much more difficult than the lesions of tuberculosis or arthritis. A Neandertal grave with the body carefully arranged and flowers around it may mean respect for the dead or magic to keep death away from the living. Or both, or something we haven’t thought of.
Dan Slater this morning provides what may have really been bothering me about the field. I haven’t paid enough attention to its methods, but I have noticed, far too often, that its results tell us that men do things pretty well and we should allow them to keep doing what they’re doing: following their penises, mostly. Read More