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Smarty-Pants Critique

We have an unclearly articulated objection to works from the Evolutionary Psychology viewpoint such as The Moral Animal. Though we like many of the ideas, there seems to be something wrong with the attitude. It seems like be are being lectured by an insufferable smarty-pants know-it-all who takes iconoclastic glee in dashing our naive understandings of our behavior. If there are Icons of human understanding that have outlived their usefulness, then disposal must be done reverently, using approved techniques.

The best explanation of the problem with this literature is willful Level Confusion with denial of the reality of emergent phenomena such as emotion and culture. These authors also seem to disagree with our view that life can and should have a spiritual dimension, and some of them are evangelical atheists.

The smarty-pants crowd has a particular problem with Stephen Jay Gould. Though they fairly criticize some of his more speculative theories, his resolute opposition to evolutionary psychology, and his dalliance with Richard Lewontin (purveyor of Marxist biology), what really bugs them is how his spin on evolution successfully competes with their own.

analysis/evolution/smarty_pants.txt · Last modified: 2013/11/07 14:05 by ram