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I don't mean to claim that there should be a conflict.
Most likely the conflict arises because of many things, such as 1)Women having been ostracized for much of our society's existence 2)People failing at the is-ought problem, and committing the Naturalistic Fallacy 3)Lots of media articles saying unbelievably naïve evolutionary statements as scientific fact 4)Feminists as a group being defensive 5)Specially defensive when it comes to what is said to be natural. 6) General disregard by people, and politically engaged people (see The Blank Slate, by Steve Pinker) of the existence of a non Tabula Rasa nature. 7) Lack of patience of Evolutionary Psychologists to make peace and explain themselves for the things that journalists, not them, claimed. and others...
But the fact is, the conflict arose. It has only bad consequences as far as I could see, such as people fighting over each other, breaking friendships, and prejudice of great intensity on both sides.
How to avoid this conflict? Should someone write a treatise on Feminist Evolutionary Psychology? Should we get Leda Cosmides to talk about women liberation?
There are obviously no incompatibilities between reality and the moral claims of feminism. So whichever facts about evolutionary psychology are found to be true with the science's development, they should be made compatible. Compatibilism is possible.
But will the scientific community pull it off?
Related: Pinker Versus Spelke - The Science of Gender and Science
David Buss and Cindy Meston - Why do Women Have Sex?
I'd like to divide three classes of reasons to read a discipline:
1) You are curious and want to begin reading by something 100-500 pages. I'd go for Pinker's 1990's "How the mind works"
2) You want to screen the whole field, by reading something 500-1500 pages. I definitely recommend David Buss 2004 "The Handbook of Evolutionary Psychology" which defeats the usual SI recommendations on the field
3) You want to know the state of the art of the field, so you really need something that is very recent, say from the last 2 or 3 years at most. This is me. Please help me if you know what should I read. 300-1500 seems a good interval.
Just for a comparative, in Cognitive Neuroscience, 3 would be 2009 "MIT The Cognitive Neurosciences IV"
Post your opinions on what 1 2 and 3 should be for Evolutionary Psychology.
Oh, and if you like Evolutionary Cognitive Neuroscience (a field so new I don't know any of the 3) please post yours too...
I am trying to establish what (if anything) makes human beings superior to other organisms.
I have a hypothesis that, the only thing at which human beings are "superior" to other organisms is that we can transfer information without a loss to other human beings.
This difference may already be well established. I couldn't find a good read on this, so I wanted to ask your opinion.
Many organisms seem to have superior capabilities than human beings; strength, speed, agility, vision, hearing, regeneration etc. And even high IQ (at least on a hardware level on dolphins etc) may not be unique to humankind.
So, my first suspect, high IQ alone does not seem to be a differentiator of our species. (It does not even seem to be predictor of success within the species)
Then I remember the famous experiment of hosing down of gorillas trying to reach bananas. (To which I can't find the original citation) Shortly;
- Some gorillas are hosed with cold water when they try to reach bananas.
- Then they learn to stop trying to eat these bananas.
- The gorillas are replaced with other gorillas one by one.
- The old gorillas prevent new comers from reaching the banana even though they are not hosed anymore.
- When all of the gorillas are replaced, they still stop each other from reaching the banana.
It seems like the information is partially transferred. They can't transfer the cause. But human beings can transfer the cause. So, are human beings the only species that can transfer information without a loss?
The primary assumption I made is that, human beings can transfer infomation without loss. This turns out to be the major discussion topic. Is lossless information transfer is even possible? There seems to be opposition against this idea also.
For example, isn't this a lossless transfer to the reader;
"The sunlight seems yellow to human beings who are at this point on earth when earth is positioned like this with respect to sun"
By the way, by information, I don't mean the representation of it but the information itself. (i.e. Digitizing, wording or syntax for short does not matter)
If lossless transfer wasn't possible, it looks like we couldn't advance (at least) technology at all (like the gorilla example) Or there may be countermeasures to this loss too. (Like various people attacking one problem over and over again independently and finding a combined solution of the problem at an acceptable level)
To sum up, are the following true assertations?
- Information can be transferred within a species without loss.
- Human beings are the only species that can transfer information without loss.
- Capability to transfer information without loss is what makes human beings superior to other organisms.
p.s. For this is my first discussion post, please don't beat this too hard :)
p.p.s. Distinguished does not mean superior.
In the spirit of You Are A Brain, this is a 6 minute presentation I gave at Toastmasters on Evolutionary Psychology and may repeat. Be sure to click on show speaker notes (in Actions) to see the full text.
Any suggestions for improvements? Some people didn’t get it. Also, is it accurate enough? Also, I think the Wason Selection argument isn’t all that compelling and takes up about half of the time. Is there a better example I could use? (The speech was supposed to be for either informing or persuading and persuading required informing so I tried to focus just on informing.)