Monday, 7 December 2009

Evolutionary Psychology EXP +0.1

I'm halfway through The Moral Animal. I can only dream, at this juncture, to have an inch of the book's capability of convincingly defending evolutionary psychology as an extremely powerful and rigorous science despite it's youth across most of its controversial involvements particularly in politics and morality (it has often been stereotyped and/or attacked as being unapologetically right-wing and misogynistic).

I am far from eloquent in protecting evolutionary psychology and knowing completely all of its intricacies. Thus, as a noob, I can only adopt a reactive stance: some of the things worth noting about evolutionary psychology that I think debunks its myths and stereotypes include its capacity to provide support for morality and conservatism and why utmost respect for women is vitally important, demonstrate that pornography is detrimental and that sexual indulgence and openness - against modern popular sentiment - really may not be the way to go, and also illuminatingly explain how the emotional ferocity of post-WWII feminism has not only backfired but has ironically sustained some of the problems that women face in trying to gain leverage.

Evolutionary psychology, whose roots lie in the Darwinist theory of natural selection, has traditionally (and contemporarily still) been accused of being sweeping generalizations. This is unsurprising since the now-defunct social Darwinists bludgeoned natural selection and used it to provide flimsy evidence for unfounded theories about human nature, most of which ended up supporting ruthless politics and public policies often in the interest of men. Early Darwinists, sociobiologists and evolutionary psychologists from back in the 1970s have been scorched by cynics as well, so it can be assured that evolutionary psychology has evolved into a science that takes great care to tread carefully with its claims such that evolutionary psychologists today are 'masters of careful qualification'.

Further, while some of evolutionary psychology's analyses may be clinical (in the sense that it merely states concepts unemotionally: for example, men have been shown to be wired to seek new and younger mates), they are not prescriptive as people are prone to misunderstand (because men are inclined to seek new and younger mates does not mean they should do so). More importantly, evolutionary psychology exposes slippery slope tendencies that modern society may be vulnerable to. For example, in response to people who have argued that traditional chastity and sexual repression has led to "a pitiable alienation ... of men from their own sexuality", Robert Wright writes that "indulging these [sexual] impulses has helped bring a world featuring, among other things: lots of fatherless children; lots of embittered women; lots of complaints about date rape and sexual harassment; and the frequent sight of lonely men renting X-rated videotapes while lonely women abound."

It is therefore in this light that The Moral Animal has presented itself as a book that is truly aimed at reflecting deeply at worldly issues rather than just being another sensational story attempting a potshot at being marketably intellectual.

As a person so enamoured by the possibility of choosing the academics as a direction in life and career, I am hungry to learn all I can to defend and contribute to this compelling science of evolutionary psychology.

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