a.) To serve as a meeting site for students - whether general enthusiasts, clinicians, field workers, scholars, or bench scientists - of human behavior viewed with concepts from evolutionary psychology and sociobiology.
b.) To trade stories about our favorite people in evolutionary psychology and sociobiology as well as about their ideas.
c.) "Morphing" describes a process for turning one visual image systematically into another; the same concept applies to ideas as we pick through them, emphasizing one aspect, minimizing another, reversing a third, and so on. We all did this sort of thing in college and grad school in various discussion groups and "bull sessions." Perhaps we can experience it together through our forum discussions.
d.) To speculate about our origins and about applications of EP/SB to contemporary social and clinical problems.
Getting things rolling: I'm suggesting five domains; pick one or supply some of your own.
1.) Population and behavior. We drift to an era of high population and eroding resources. In other species these conditions are associated with physiological changes, lessened fertility, and eventual cannibalism. Will the same events occur with us? Are they already occurring in inner cities as well as third world nations? Or, will we move into an enzymatic model for managing energy where every transaction is planned and monitored to eliminate waste? Will our culture become more repressive to maintain civility?
2.) Are we still evolving? Of course. Is there validity to the idea that dramatic environmental changes are more likely to increase diversity by increased mutation rates, physical and behavioral shifts, and even the appearance of new species? How is it happening to us? How much have we changed in the past 30,000 years? Or, did it really grind to a comparative halt under a glacier in the Pleistocene?
3.) Are we really that unhappy? It has been suggested that a poor match exists between our Pleistocene-based natures and our current society. However, the contrary could be argued. H&G equipment will build H&G cultures despite technology. We possibly have "complex adaptive systems" for mobility. That system may have started with H. habilis, the runner as well as thinker and toolmaker. It possibly results in traffic jams today and Al Gore probably won't lick it before diminished resources take over. It can be further argued that some of the "miserable" in our culture would not have survived in Pleistocene. For example, data suggest that some bipolar (manic depressive) adults start life as difficult, noisy babies with erratic sleep habits and tempers and who do not cling to their mother. It's easy to imagine these children being left for the hyenas! What is the evidence and what are the sources for either point of view?
4.) Are any of us feeling rejected for our interests in evolution? The Pope has come to our cause, however, there are rumors that the American public as well as established clinical practitioners are not receptive to evolution as a theory of life or as a theory of human development. Europe is said to be very different in accepting evolution as the probable description of how we came to be. I've personally found non-therapy people in my geographic area to be interested and open to ideas about our behavioral origins and mechanisms so long as I don't wave the word "evolution" at them. I keep material personally relevant, and thereby interesting and useful for solving problems, and people seem accepting and enthusiastic. My experience with other mental health professionals is far more limited; however, I have heard that therapists can be more resistant than the average person! Has anyone felt "burned," ostracized, or shunned because of a belief in evolution?
5.) Finally, it would be fun to build a catalogue of clinical interventions but organized around Complex Adaptive Systems. For example, finding a support group might be effective because it hinges on primitive systems for mutual protection. Sending a child to bed earlier is probably more effective as a sanction if it results in his going to bed earlier than a younger sibling. A highly determined, manic child might be understood and managed better if his parents use sanctions that involve his obsessions for dominance. The personality disorders beg for evolutionary interpretation. The outcome could be very long and a useful, first step towards a mutual enrichment between EP/SB and existing mental health techniques.