On previous episodes of the show, we've only touched on evolutionary psychology (EP)--mostly to ridicule it as pseudo science. But today Dr. Brian Boutwell returns to offer a spirited defense of this controversial field of research. After a brief recap of our previous discussions about genetics and IQ*, Dr. Boutwell answers my questions and explains that critics of EP are simply misinformed.
For the uninitiated, evolutionary psychologists argue that natural selection shaped our minds and behaviors just as it did our physical bodies. To support this hypothesis, practioners draw on a large body of evidence from different scientific fields, but their work has been harshly attacked by esteemed biologists as well as partisan political commentators.
So, is evolutionary psychology just a collection of unsubstantiated just-so-stories, as Stephen Jay Gould suggested? Or is it a valid field of scientific research that can inform our understanding of human nature?
*While asking one question, I misstated Dr. Eric Turkheimer's views on g and the Flynn Effect. Please see this essay by Turkheimer and our interview for clarification.
Visit Dr. Brian Boutwell's website, read his columns and follow him on twitter.
Episode 10: Are you born smart? The IQ debate: Dr. Brian Boutwell
The IQ Conundrum
Evolutionary Psychology: The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy
Darwinian Fundamentalism, by Stephen Jay Gould