Re: iwama note, censored?
I think reductionist explanations of human behavior based on wild evolutionary speculation are mostly nonsense. To start with, humans and their evolutionary precursors are not and never were herd animals. Next, plenty of women are competitive, yet according to this type of thinking they should be programmed to sit around and preen or something. Plenty of humans are happily monogamous yet still ultra-competitive - they already "competed" for their mate and won the one they want, yet they still go on to try to get the most money or win at sports, etc... The list of potential objections goes on and on.
The primary problem with all this evolution-based fad thinking is that we really don't know jack about how people or pre-people behaved tens or hundreds of thousands of years ago. What we have is a few bones and tool fragments and a whole bunch of made-up stuff.
The secondary problem is with reductionism in general. When you reduce the complexities of a system - in this case human behavior - down to a few simple principles, you end up with a cartoon that has little explanatory power. The rationalizations needed to stretch the model to fit all the objections become increasingly convoluted and eventually ridiculous.
This time its evolutionary this-or-that, last time around it was Freudian-based, with everything reduced to phallic symbols and the desire to screw one's mother, before that it was a rationalist model that posited all human behvior could be boiled down to logic. In a couple decades, the new reductionist fad will look just as silly as the old one.
Last edited by Kevin Wilbanks : 09-09-2006 at 11:37 AM.