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Unread November 20th, 2005, 05:24 PM
James Brody James Brody is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2004
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Default Leaks in EP? Nope: Mutations!

Review of Buller

Buller published a dreadful book on the flaws of EP. It's recently the focus of a review on the EP List conducted by Ian Pitchford. I got pissed and threw together the following.


First, I am reminded of Eliot Valenstein whom I remember only because he couldn't replicate James Olds's work. (I once spent a weekend with Olds while he was still at Michigan, I still have no idea where Valenstein taught and remember his name only because his failures got him invited (once!) to give a talk at Pitt.)
Second, belief in EP probably a genetic thing. Either you do or you don't. There are implications for free will such that academics and fundamentalists often side with each other against the EP tribe. And academic EP fans in a peculiar way treat environments as the essential causative factor in evolution but ignore or ridicule developmental genetics. (See Bailey, 1998; Bouchard et al, 1996.) Such fans differ little from the traditional social science advocates: nurture does it all.

Ian's reviewer comments that EP is most closely aligned with mate selection. For that matter, so are "Desperate Housewives" and Clinton's biography. Sex, however, is not the only topic of human gossip. There are also murder, child rearing, reciprocity, cheater detectors, aging, suicide, personal will, criminality, ADHD, and bipolar disorder. And I use all of these topics in my clinical work.

I sometimes get objections about cross-species changes and meet people who demand a First Cause, but they routinely accept instincts and behavior genetics, perhaps because of news coverage and because we all live longer and no longer wait until we are 35 years old before noticing the mosaics that we share with parents and grandparents. As one irritable gentleman remarked: "I was upset because I resembled my father. Now I know why and it's OK. You've also taught me what to do about it."

So are contributions from the emergent networks fans. Not only gene assemblies but even gossip and influence fall into network structures, so do our capacities for planning and for self-regulation; failure to manage networks will someday be recognized as a clinical symptom that lines up with impulsiveness, developmental immaturity, Aspergers, or head trauma. (The network material is abundant not only in Watts or Barabasi but also in best-sellers by Gladwell or Levitt. And Strogatz may well have a catalytic effect on how we talk about imitation.)
Heuristics and application carry the day; the next generation of students belongs to us, not because of college courses or texts but because of The Nature Channel.

There IS a clinical sociobiology but about individuals, not population genetics...a clinical approach that handles both similarities and variations. And sociobiology has done an exploratory thing (a little symbiosis!) and pulled tools from its environment. The next generation of clinical texts will seed from Cohen, Buss, Rowe, Raff, Kauffman, and Barabasi.

As for Buller, let him end as an assistant professor in the Republican midwest...

Bailey, J. M. (1998) Can behavior genetics contribute to evolutionary behavioral science? In C. Crawford & D. Krebs (Eds.) Handbook of Evolutionary Psychology. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum, pp. 211-234.
Barabasi, A-L (2002) Linked: The New Science of Networks. NY: Perseus.
Bouchard, T. J., Lykken, D., Tellegen, A., & McGue, M. (1996) Genes, drives, environment, and experience. Chapter 1 in C.P. Benbow & D. Lubinski (Eds.) Intellectual Talent: Psychometric and Social Issues. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, pp. 5-43.
Buller, D. (2005) Adapting Minds: Evolutionary Psychology and the Persistent Quest for Human Nature. Bradford Books (MIT Press).
Buss, A. & Plomin, R. (1984) Temperament: Early Developing Personality Traits Mahwah, N.J.: Erlbaum.
Buss, D. (2000) Dangerous Passion: Why Jealousy Is as Necessary as Love and Sex. NY: Simon & Schuster.
Buss, D. (2005) The Murderer Next Door: Why the Mind Is Designed to Kill. NY: Penguin.
Buss, D. (1994) The Evolution of Desire: Strategies of Human Mating. New York: Basic Books.
Cohen, D. (1994) Out of the Blue: Depression and Human Nature. NY: Norton.
Cohen, D. (1999) Stranger in the Nest: Do Parents Really Shape Their Child's Personality, Intelligence, or Character? NY: Wiley.
Cohen, D. (2003) Where Did THAT Child Come From? Springfield, IL: Octavo Press.
Gladwell, M. (2005) blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking. NY: Little, Brown.
Gladwell, M. (2000) The Tipping Point: How Little Things Make a Big Difference. NY: Little Brown.
Kauffman, S. (1995) At Home in the Universe: The Search for the Laws of Self Organization and Complexity. NY: Oxford.
Kauffman, S. (2000) Investigations. NY: Oxford.
Kirschner, M. & Gerhart, J. (1998) Perspective: Evolvability. Proceedings National Academy of Science. 95(15), 8420-8427.
Kirschner, M. & Gerhart, J. (2005) The Plausability of Life: Resolving Darwin's Dilemma. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.
Levitt, S. (2005) Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything. NY: Morrow.
Margulis, L. (1999) Symbiotic Planet: A New Look at Evolution. NY: Basic Books.
Margulis, L. & Sagan, D. (2002) Acquiring Genomes: A Theory of the Origins of Species. NY: Basic Books.
Raff, Rudolf (1996) The Shape of Life. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.
Strogatz, S. (2003) Sync: The Emerging Science of Spontaneous Order. NY: Hyperion.

copyright 2005, James Brody, all rights reserved

Last edited by James Brody; November 20th, 2005 at 05:39 PM.
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