Evolution without adaptation?
|Abstract||Within a decade or so following publication of Barkow, Cosmides and Tooby’s landmark book The Adapted Mind: Evolutionary Psychology and the Generation of Culture (1992), evolutionary psychology had bulldozed its way into the public eye. Its topics were sexy, and not just figuratively. Among them were questions about why men prefer nubile women with large breasts, why women prefer broad-chested men who drive fancy automobiles, why men view sexual infidelity as more serious than emotional infidelity while women show the opposite pattern, why people view incest with revulsion. Evolutionary psychologists also sought to explain why stepfathers abuse their stepchildren more often than their biological children, and why rules of reasoning, such as material implication, are easier to apply when trying to spot a cheater than when deciding whether an odd number would be on one side of a card if a vowel was on the other. And while there were critics (e.g. Stephen Gould, ‘‘Evolution: The Pleasures of Pluralism’’, 1997), evolutionary psychology had built a head of steam and its shibboleths soon became the darlings of the popular media. Of course men prefer nubile women: natural selection would have eliminated men who chose to mate with females too young or old to bear children. Obviously women prefer high status males – women who preferred mates who could not provide for their children would not have spread their genes beyond the next generation. And what else but natural selection could explain why people react with disgust to incest? The most significant bump in the road for evolutionary psychology arose with the publication of David Buller’s exhaustive critique..|
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