Saturday, July 28, 2007


Discussions of evolutionary psychology crop up now and then at the Pandagon and Echidne blogs, and I always like to participate because basically, I know alot more about evolutionary psychology (EP) than most people, even those who subscribe to its theories, and it makes for an easy debate victory.

Well why wouldn't I know more than most people, it was introduced to me, back in the 1980s under the name "sociobiology" (EP promoters sometimes claim there are differences between EP and sociobio, but I've yet to find anything solid) through the work of the mighty cultural materialist Marvin Harris, whose biography I hope to finish writing before I die.

I've also been arguing about EP with media types and EP bigwigs (like Steven Pinker,) since I picked a fight with John Tierney before he had his own op-ed column, way back in 1998, when he was promoting one of its various theories of female inferiority. He actually responded a couple of times, I think mainly because email was still a bit of a novelty and our media overlords found a piquant charm in communicating directly with the rabble - that wore off soon enough. I must look for that exchange in the archives one of these days.

In a recent thread at Pandagon, while arguing with an EP defender, I said that the EP view of human society seems to have been largely informed by The Flintstones. A bit hyperbolic, right?

Guess again.

During another discussion of EP, someone referenced "The Female Brain" by Loanne Brizendine, without irony as an authoritative source for understanding the Mysterious Female. I knew it was standard EP wackiness, but imagine my amazement when I discovered that at long last, evolutionary psychology has now become impossible to paradoy.

From a publishers statement, posted at Amazon:
Brizedine is not above reviewing the basics: "We may think we're a lot more sophisticated than Fred or Wilma Flintstone, but our basic mental outlook and equipment are the same."