[Marxism] evolutionary psychology and socialism?

L mechphisto at gmail.com
Sat Aug 7 20:58:49 MDT 2010


On Sat, Aug 7, 2010 at 7:58 PM, Carrol Cox <cbcox at ilstu.edu> wrote:

> For a wonderful puncturing  of myths abut "genes," see this lecture by
> Richard Lewontin:
>
> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=we4ZzjKxFHM
>
>
Hmm, that's a fascinating talk. But, even though true and factual (as far as
I know), I don't see how it fundamentally refutes (what little I know) about
evolutionary psychology.
I mean, if you clone a red rose and plant it in different elevations, each
cutting will be different because of environment, sure. But you won't expect
one cutting to develop into a carnation, or, for that matter, into a yellow
rose instead of red.
We know that the human brain develops with a certain architecture. An
architecture that developed through evolution. This says nothing about
individual behavior. But it does say something about gross
behavioral tendencies. You can't say the brain is identical in a species
enough to accept that it gives us all the capability of speech, to do math,
to comprehend a certain wavelength of light as "blue," etc., and not also
accept that this same organ isn't also going to provide some behavioral
qualities shared among the species (by and large) because of the
foundational "circuitry" it develops with.

Isn't the concept of similar approaches to
risk assessment and averseness among higher order primates a fully accepted
concept?

I did a little reading about Richard Lewontin, and I see that it appears
there's a political issue to the refutation of evolutionary psychology.
Obviously this isn't across the board, as I know Marxist and self-described
American leftist Kim Stanley Robinson fully accepts evolutionary psychology
(to a more or less degree). So I don't accept that this topic has to be
decided on by what one's politics are. Interestingly, my college professor
and mentor, who helped lead me toward understanding fundamental Marxist
criticism and become a leftist myself, was himself very anti-"human nature."
I always wanted to really understand why he felt this way, but he passed
away before I had the opportunity. :( My own rabid attitude is to completely
divorce my politics from scientific truth, and simply accept what the
evidence shows and then adapt my political beliefs around that.

And so far as I can see, I don't see any truly convincing evidence to
counter the idea that SOME amount evolutionary psychology isn't valid.

Liam W
-- 
"Life isn't about 'finding yourself;' life is about creating yourself!"



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