Thursday, April 26, 2012

More than protozoa …

… John Gray: The Knowns And The Unknowns | The New Republic. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

… Haidt’s attempt to apply evolutionary psychology is yet one more example of the failures of scientism. There is no line of evolutionary development that connects our hominid ancestors with the emergence of the Tea Party. Human beings are not amoebae that have somehow managed to turn themselves into clever primates. They are animals with a history, part of which consists of creating cultures that are widely divergent. Using evolutionary psychology to explain current political conflicts represents local and ephemeral differences as perennial divisions in the human mind. It is hard to think of a more stultifying exercise in intellectual parochialism.

1 comment:

  1. I frequently run into parallel situations with other Americans who haven't traveled overseas or studied other cultures: they often think that their local knowledge and cultural patterns are universal. It's pretty much a truism to anyone's who studied history, culture, and anthropology, that anything that you take for granted as a cultural norm or accepted piece of wisdom, a contradicting example can be found. Where many pundits fail on this point is that they decry this as cultural relativism when it fact it's just a reminder that people have developed many answers to the same problems, and some of those answers work better than others.