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Chapter V ("Creation by Law") attempts to refute Darwin's recent theory, and offers This looks like a very philosophical book about physical vs. There were 5 chapters on evolution, and I thought most of them were well-written. The life of any one physical DNA molecule is quite short - perhaps a matter of months.
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Darwin brings about the evidence for evolution because evolution is a necessary consequence of his theory of design. Paley was an English clergyman intensely committed to the abolition of the slave trade. By the s, Paley had become a much sought-after public speaker against slavery. Paley was also an influential writer of works on Christian philosophy, ethics, and theology. The Principles of Moral and Political Philosophy and A View of the Evidences of Christianity earned him prestige and well-endowed ecclesiastical benefices, which allowed him a comfortable life.

In , Paley gave up his public speaking career for reasons of health, providing him ample time to study science, particularly biology, and to write Natural Theology; or, Evidences of the Existence and Attributes of the Deity a , the book by which he has become best known to posterity and which would greatly influence Darwin. But Paley could now go much beyond Ray by taking advantage of one century of additional biological knowledge. Natural Theology is a sustained argument for the existence of God based on the obvious design of humans and their organs, as well as the design of all sorts of organisms, considered by themselves, as well as in their relations to one another and to their environment.

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The argument has two parts: There are chapters dedicated to the complex design of the human eye; to the human frame, which displays a precise mechanical arrangement of bones, cartilage, and joints; to the circulation of the blood and the disposition of blood vessels; to the comparative anatomy of humans and animals; to the digestive tract, kidneys, urethras, and bladder; to the wings of birds and the fins of fish; and much more. After detailing the precise organization and exquisite functionality of each biological entity, relationship, or process, Paley draws again and again the same conclusion, that only an omniscient and omnipotent Deity could account for these marvels of mechanical perfection, purpose, and functionality and for the enormous diversity of inventions that they entail.

Paley makes two remarkable observations, which enhance the complex and precise design of the eye. The first observation is that rays of light should be refracted by a more convex surface when transmitted through water than when passing out of air into the eye. What plainer manifestation of design can there be than this difference? What could a mathematical instrument maker have done more to show his knowledge of this principle. The second remarkable observation made by Paley that supports his argument is dioptric distortion: To correct this inconvenience has been long a desideratum in the art.

At last it came into the mind of a sagacious optician, to inquire how this matter was managed in the eye, in which there was exactly the same difficulty to contend with as in the telescope. Could this be in the eye without purpose, which suggested to the optician the only effectual means of attaining that purpose? Paley summarizes his argument by stating the complex functional anatomy of the eye.

Could the eye have come about without design or preconceived purpose, as a result of chance? Paley had set the argument against chance in the very first paragraph of Natural Theology a, p. But suppose I had found a watch upon the ground, and it should be inquired how the watch happened to be in that place, I should hardly think of the answer which I had before given, that for any thing I knew the watch might have always been there.

Yet why should not this answer serve for the watch as well as for the stone; why is it not as admissible in the second case as in the first? For this reason, and for no other, namely, that when we come to inspect the watch, we perceive—what we could not discover in the stone—that its several parts are framed and put together for a purpose, e.

This is how Paley formulates the argument for irreducible complexity: The outcomes of chance do not exhibit relation among the parts or, as we might say, they do not display organized complexity. The feet of the mole are made for digging; the neck, nose, eyes, ears, and skin, are peculiarly adapted to an under-ground life. Throughout Natural Theology , Paley displays extensive and profound biological knowledge.

In the Light of Evolution: Volume I: Adaptation and Complex Design.

The organized complexity and purposeful function reveal, in each case, an intelligent designer, and the diversity, richness, and pervasiveness of the designs show that only the omnipotent Creator could be this Intelligent Designer. Paley was not the only proponent of the argument from design in the first half of the 19th century. One of the treatises, The Hand, Its Mechanisms and Vital Endowments as Evincing Design , was written by Sir Charles Bell, a distinguished anatomist and surgeon, famous for his neurological discoveries, who became professor of surgery in at the University of Edinburgh.

Paley and Bell are typical representatives of the intellectual milieu prevailing in the first half of the 19th century in Britain as well as on the Continent. Later, however, after he returned from his 5-year voyage around the world in the HMS Beagle , Darwin would discover a scientific explanation for the design of organisms. Science, thereby, made a quantum leap. The evolution of organisms was commonly accepted by naturalists in the middle decades of the 19th century.

Alfred Russel Wallace — is famously given credit for discovering, independently of Darwin, natural selection as the process accounting for the evolution of species. Darwin and Wallace had started occasional correspondence in late At the time Wallace was in the Malay Archipelago collecting biological specimens. The meeting was attended by some 30 people, who did not include Darwin or Wallace. The papers generated little response and virtually no discussion, their significance apparently lost to those in attendance.

But the lesser credit given to Wallace than to Darwin for this discovery may not be misplaced. This progression, by minute steps, in various directions. Darwin saw The Origin as an abbreviated version of the much longer book he had planned to write. The ensuing chapters II—VIII of The Origin extend the argument to variations propagated by natural selection for the benefit of the organisms themselves rather than by artificial selection of traits desired by humans. As a consequence of natural selection, organisms exhibit design, that is, exhibit adaptive organs and functions.

This is how natural selection works: Individuals that have beneficial variations, that is, variations that improve their probability of survival and reproduction, leave more descendants than individuals of the same species that have less beneficial variations. The beneficial variations will consequently increase in frequency over the generations; less beneficial or harmful variations will be eliminated from the species.

Eventually, all individuals of the species will have the beneficial features; new features will arise over eons of time. It is interesting to contemplate an entangled bank, clothed with many plants of many kinds, with birds singing on the bushes, with various insects flitting about, and with worms crawling through the damp earth, and to reflect that these elaborately constructed forms, so different from each other, and dependent on each other in so complex a manner , have all been produced by laws acting around us.

Thus, from the war of nature, from famine and death, the most exalted object which we are capable of conceiving, namely, the production of the higher animals, directly follows. There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved Darwin, b , pp.

The success of pigeon fanciers and animal breeders clearly shows the occasional occurrence of useful hereditary variations. In one place, Darwin avers: Natural selection was proposed by Darwin primarily to account for the adaptive organization, or design, of living beings; it is a process that preserves and promotes adaptation. Evolutionary change through time and evolutionary diversification multiplication of species often ensue as by-products of natural selection fostering the adaptation of organisms to their milieu.

Evolutionary change is not directly promoted by natural selection, however, and therefore it is not its necessary consequence. Indeed, some species may remain unchanged for long periods of time, as Darwin noted. Underlying these changes are changes in the hereditary materials. Evolution can be seen as a two-step process. First, hereditary variation arises by mutation; second, selection occurs by which useful variations increase in frequency and those that are less useful or injurious are eliminated over the generations.

As a consequence, useful variations increase in frequency over the generations, at the expense of those that are less useful or injurious. The process of mutation provides each generation with many new genetic variations, in addition to those carried over from previous generations. Thus, it is not surprising to see that, when new environmental challenges arise, species are able to adapt to them. More than insect and rodent species, for example, developed resistance to DDT, Warfarin, and other pesticides in places where spraying was intense.

Although these animals had never before encountered these synthetic compounds, mutations allowed some individuals to survive in their presence. These individuals reproduced and, thus, the mutations providing resistance increased in frequency over the generations, so that eventually the population was no longer susceptible to the pesticide.

The adaptation had come about by the combined processes of mutation and natural selection. The resistance of disease-causing bacteria and parasites to antibiotics and other drugs is a consequence of the same process. When an individual receives an antibiotic that specifically kills the bacteria causing a disease—say, tuberculosis—the immense majority of the bacteria die, but one in several million may have a mutation that provides resistance to the antibiotic. These resistant bacteria survive, multiply, and spread from individual to individual.

Eventually, the antibiotic no longer cures the disease in most or all people because the bacteria are resistant. This is why modern medicine treats bacterial diseases with cocktails of antibiotics. If the incidence of a mutation conferring resistance to a given antibiotic is one in a million, the probability of one bacterium carrying three mutations, each conferring resistance to one of three antibiotics, is one in a quintillion one in a million million million.

Even at the peak of infection, when billions or trillions of bacteria exist in a sick person, it is not likely, if not altogether impossible, that any bacteria resistant to all three antibiotics will occur in any infected individual. Natural selection in combination with mutation becomes, in this respect, a creative process.

Moreover, it is a process that has been occurring for many millions of years in many different evolutionary lineages and a multitude of species, each consisting of a large number of individuals. Evolution by mutation and natural selection has produced the enormous diversity of the living world with its wondrous adaptations. Several hundred million generations separate modern animals from the early animals of the Cambrian geological period million years ago.

The number of mutations that can be tested, and those eventually selected, in millions of individual animals over millions of generations is difficult for a human mind to fathom, but we can readily understand that the accumulation of millions of small, functionally advantageous changes could yield remarkably complex and adaptive organs, such as the eye.

Natural selection is an incremental process, operating over time and yielding organisms better able to survive and reproduce than others. Individuals of a given species differ from one another at any one time only in small ways; for example, the difference between bacteria that have or lack an enzyme able to synthesize the sugar lactose or between moths that have light or dark wings.

These differences typically involve one or only a few genes, but they can make the difference between survival or death, as in the resistance to DDT or to antibiotics. Consider a different sort of example. Some pocket mice Chaetodipus intermedius live in rocky outcrops in Arizona. Light, sandy-colored mice are found in light-colored habitats, whereas dark melanic mice prevail in dark rocks formed from ancient flows of basaltic lava. The match between background and fur color protects the mice from avian and mammal predators that hunt guided largely by vision.

Mutations in one single gene coding for the melanocortinreceptor, represented as MC1R account for the difference between light and dark pelage Nachman et al. Adaptations that involve complex structures, functions, or behaviors involve numerous genes. Many familiar mammals, but not marsupials, have a placenta. Marsupials include the familiar kangaroo and other mammals native primarily to Australia and South America. Dogs, cats, mice, donkeys, and primates are placental. The placenta makes it possible to extend the time the developing embryo is kept inside the mother and thus make the newborn better prepared for independent survival.

However, the placenta requires complex adaptations, such as the suppression of harmful immune interactions between mother and embryo, delivery of suitable nutrients and oxygen to the embryo, and the disposal of embryonic wastes. The mammalian placenta evolved more than million years ago and proved a successful adaptation, contributing to the explosive diversification of placental mammals in the Old World and North America.

The placenta also has evolved in some fish groups, such as Poeciliopsis. Some Poeciliopsis species hatch eggs. The females supply the yolk in the egg, which furnishes nutrients to the developing embryo as in chicken. Other Poeciliopsis species, however, have evolved a placenta through which the mother provides nutrients to the developing embryo. Molecular biology has made possible the reconstruction of the evolutionary history of Poeciliopsis species. A surprising result is that the placenta evolved independently three times in this fish group.

Natural selection produces combinations of genes that would seem highly improbable because natural selection proceeds stepwise over long periods of time. Consider the evolution of the eye in humans and other vertebrates.

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Perception of light, and later vision, were important for the survival and reproductive success of their ancestors, because sunlight is a predominant feature of the environment. In addition, adaptations are expected to manifest as proximate mechanisms that interact with the environment in either a generally obligate or facultative fashion see above.

Evolutionary psychologists are also interested in identifying these proximate mechanisms sometimes termed "mental mechanisms" or "psychological adaptations" and what type of information they take as input, how they process that information, and their outputs. Evolutionary psychologists use several strategies to develop and test hypotheses about whether a psychological trait is likely to be an evolved adaptation.

Buss [53] notes that these methods include:. Evolutionary psychologists also use various sources of data for testing, including experiments, archaeological records , data from hunter-gatherer societies, observational studies, neuroscience data, self-reports and surveys, public records , and human products. Foundational areas of research in evolutionary psychology can be divided into broad categories of adaptive problems that arise from the theory of evolution itself: Problems of survival are clear targets for the evolution of physical and psychological adaptations.

Major problems the ancestors of present-day humans faced included food selection and acquisition; territory selection and physical shelter; and avoiding predators and other environmental threats. Consciousness meets George Williams ' criteria of species universality, complexity, [60] and functionality, and it is a trait that apparently increases fitness.

In his paper "Evolution of consciousness," John Eccles argues that special anatomical and physical adaptations of the mammalian cerebral cortex gave rise to consciousness. The concept of consciousness can refer to voluntary action, awareness, or wakefulness. However, even voluntary behavior involves unconscious mechanisms. Many cognitive processes take place in the cognitive unconscious, unavailable to conscious awareness.

Some behaviors are conscious when learned but then become unconscious, seemingly automatic. Learning, especially implicitly learning a skill, can take place outside of consciousness. For example, plenty of people know how to turn right when they ride a bike, but very few can accurately explain how they actually do so. Evolutionary psychology approaches self-deception as an adaptation that can improve one's results in social exchanges.

Sleep may have evolved to conserve energy when activity would be less fruitful or more dangerous, such as at night, especially in winter. Many experts, such as Jerry Fodor , write that the purpose of perception is knowledge, but evolutionary psychologists hold that its primary purpose is to guide action. Building and maintaining sense organs is metabolically expensive, so these organs evolve only when they improve an organism's fitness. Scientists who study perception and sensation have long understood the human senses as adaptations.

Homing pigeons, for example, can hear very low-pitched sound infrasound that carries great distances, even though most smaller animals detect higher-pitched sounds. Evolutionary psychologists contend that perception demonstrates the principle of modularity, with specialized mechanisms handling particular perception tasks. In evolutionary psychology, learning is said to be accomplished through evolved capacities, specifically facultative adaptations.

Motivations direct and energize behavior, while emotions provide the affective component to motivation, positive or negative. Recently, it has been suggested that reward systems may evolve in such a way that there may be an inherent or unavoidable trade-off in the motivational system for activities of short versus long duration. Cognition refers to internal representations of the world and internal information processing. From an evolutionary psychology perspective, cognition is not "general purpose," but uses heuristics, or strategies, that generally increase the likelihood of solving problems that the ancestors of present-day humans routinely faced.

For example, present day humans are far more likely to solve logic problems that involve detecting cheating a common problem given humans' social nature than the same logic problem put in purely abstract terms.


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Gamblers may falsely believe that they have hit a "lucky streak" even when each outcome is actually random and independent of previous trials. Evolutionary psychology is primarily interested in finding commonalities between people, or basic human psychological nature. From an evolutionary perspective, the fact that people have fundamental differences in personality traits initially presents something of a puzzle. The field of behavioral genetics is concerned with statistically partitioning differences between people into genetic and environmental sources of variance. However, understanding the concept of heritability can be tricky — heritability refers only to the differences between people, never the degree to which the traits of an individual are due to environmental or genetic factors, since traits are always a complex interweaving of both.

Personality traits are conceptualized by evolutionary psychologists as due to normal variation around an optimum, due to frequency-dependent selection behavioral polymorphisms , or as facultative adaptations. Like variability in height, some personality traits may simply reflect inter-individual variability around a general optimum. For example, if most of the population is generally trusting and gullible, the behavioral morph of being a "cheater" or, in the extreme case, a sociopath may be advantageous.

For example, later born children are more likely than first borns to be rebellious, less conscientious and more open to new experiences, which may be advantageous to them given their particular niche in family structure. However, shared environmental influences often decrease to near zero after adolescence but do not completely disappear. According to Steven Pinker , who builds on the work by Noam Chomsky , the universal human ability to learn to talk between the ages of 1 — 4, basically without training, suggests that language acquisition is a distinctly human psychological adaptation see, in particular, Pinker's The Language Instinct.

Pinker and Bloom argue that language as a mental faculty shares many likenesses with the complex organs of the body which suggests that, like these organs, language has evolved as an adaptation, since this is the only known mechanism by which such complex organs can develop. Pinker follows Chomsky in arguing that the fact that children can learn any human language with no explicit instruction suggests that language, including most of grammar, is basically innate and that it only needs to be activated by interaction. Chomsky himself does not believe language to have evolved as an adaptation, but suggests that it likely evolved as a byproduct of some other adaptation, a so-called spandrel.

But Pinker and Bloom argue that the organic nature of language strongly suggests that it has an adaptational origin. Evolutionary psychologists hold that the FOXP2 gene may well be associated with the evolution of human language.

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Currently several competing theories about the evolutionary origin of language coexist, none of them having achieved a general consensus. Tomasello argues that studies of how children and primates actually acquire communicative skills suggests that humans learn complex behavior through experience, so that instead of a module specifically dedicated to language acquisition, language is acquired by the same cognitive mechanisms that are used to acquire all other kinds of socially transmitted behavior. On the issue of whether language is best seen as having evolved as an adaptation or as a spandrel, evolutionary biologist W.

Tecumseh Fitch , following Stephen J. Gould , argues that it is unwarranted to assume that every aspect of language is an adaptation, or that language as a whole is an adaptation. He criticizes some strands of evolutionary psychology for suggesting a pan-adaptionist view of evolution, and dismisses Pinker and Bloom's question of whether "Language has evolved as an adaptation" as being misleading. He argues instead that from a biological viewpoint the evolutionary origins of language is best conceptualized as being the probable result of a convergence of many separate adaptations into a complex system.

If the theory that language could have evolved as a single adaptation is accepted, the question becomes which of its many functions has been the basis of adaptation. Several evolutionary hypotheses have been posited: Evolutionary psychologists recognize that these theories are all speculative and that much more evidence is required to understand how language might have been selectively adapted. Given that sexual reproduction is the means by which genes are propagated into future generations, sexual selection plays a large role in human evolution.

Human mating , then, is of interest to evolutionary psychologists who aim to investigate evolved mechanisms to attract and secure mates. In Robert Trivers published an influential paper [92] on sex differences that is now referred to as parental investment theory. The size differences of gametes anisogamy is the fundamental, defining difference between males small gametes — sperm and females large gametes — ova. Trivers noted that anisogamy typically results in different levels of parental investment between the sexes, with females initially investing more. Trivers proposed that this difference in parental investment leads to the sexual selection of different reproductive strategies between the sexes and to sexual conflict.

For example, he suggested that the sex that invests less in offspring will generally compete for access to the higher-investing sex to increase their inclusive fitness also see Bateman's principle [93]. Trivers posited that differential parental investment led to the evolution of sexual dimorphisms in mate choice , intra- and inter- sexual reproductive competition, and courtship displays. In mammals, including humans, females make a much larger parental investment than males i.

Parental investment theory is a branch of life history theory. Buss and Schmitt 's Sexual Strategies Theory [94] proposed that, due to differential parental investment, humans have evolved sexually dimorphic adaptations related to "sexual accessibility, fertility assessment, commitment seeking and avoidance, immediate and enduring resource procurement, paternity certainty, assessment of mate value, and parental investment.

Women are generally more selective when choosing mates, especially under short-term mating conditions. However, under some circumstances, short term mating can provide benefits to women as well, such as fertility insurance, trading up to better genes, reducing risk of inbreeding, and insurance protection of her offspring. Due to male paternity insecurity, sex differences have been found in the domains of sexual jealousy. This particular pattern is predicted because the costs involved in mating for each sex are distinct. Women, on average, should prefer a mate who can offer resources e.

Men, on the other hand, are never certain of the genetic paternity of their children because they do not bear the offspring themselves "paternity insecurity". This suggests that for men sexual infidelity would generally be more aversive than emotional infidelity because investing resources in another man's offspring does not lead to propagation of their own genes.

Another interesting line of research is that which examines women's mate preferences across the ovulatory cycle. Known as the ovulatory shift hypothesis , the theory posits that, during the ovulatory phase of a woman's cycle approximately days 10—15 of a woman's cycle , [] a woman who mated with a male with high genetic quality would have been more likely, on average, to produce and rear a healthy offspring than a woman who mated with a male with low genetic quality.

These putative preferences are predicted to be especially apparent for short-term mating domains because a potential male mate would only be offering genes to a potential offspring. This hypothesis allows researchers to examine whether women select mates who have characteristics that indicate high genetic quality during the high fertility phase of their ovulatory cycles. Indeed, studies have shown that women's preferences vary across the ovulatory cycle. In particular, Haselton and Miller showed that highly fertile women prefer creative but poor men as short-term mates. Creativity may be a proxy for good genes.

Reproduction is always costly for women, and can also be for men. Individuals are limited in the degree to which they can devote time and resources to producing and raising their young, and such expenditure may also be detrimental to their future condition, survival and further reproductive output. Parental investment is any parental expenditure time, energy etc. Components of fitness Beatty include the well-being of existing offspring, parents' future reproduction , and inclusive fitness through aid to kin Hamilton , Robert Trivers' theory of parental investment predicts that the sex making the largest investment in lactation , nurturing and protecting offspring will be more discriminating in mating and that the sex that invests less in offspring will compete for access to the higher investing sex see Bateman's principle.

The benefits of parental investment to the offspring are large and are associated with the effects on condition, growth, survival and ultimately, on reproductive success of the offspring. However, these benefits can come at the cost of parent's ability to reproduce in the future e. Overall, parents are selected to maximize the difference between the benefits and the costs, and parental care will likely evolve when the benefits exceed the costs.

The Cinderella effect is an alleged high incidence of stepchildren being physically, emotionally or sexually abused, neglected, murdered, or otherwise mistreated at the hands of their stepparents at significantly higher rates than their genetic counterparts. It takes its name from the fairy tale character Cinderella, who in the story was cruelly mistreated by her stepmother and stepsisters. Parental efforts and investments are valuable resources, and selection favors those parental psyches that allocate effort effectively to promote fitness.

The adaptive problems that challenge parental decision making include both the accurate identification of one's offspring and the allocation of one's resources among them with sensitivity to their needs and abilities to convert parental investment into fitness increments…. However, they note that not all stepparents will "want" to abuse their partner's children, or that genetic parenthood is any insurance against abuse. They see step parental care as primarily "mating effort" towards the genetic parent.

Inclusive fitness is the sum of an organism's classical fitness how many of its own offspring it produces and supports and the number of equivalents of its own offspring it can add to the population by supporting others. From the gene's point of view, evolutionary success ultimately depends on leaving behind the maximum number of copies of itself in the population. Until , it was generally believed that genes only achieved this by causing the individual to leave the maximum number of viable offspring.

However, in W. Hamilton proved mathematically that, because close relatives of an organism share some identical genes, a gene can also increase its evolutionary success by promoting the reproduction and survival of these related or otherwise similar individuals. Hamilton concluded that this leads natural selection to favor organisms that would behave in ways that maximize their inclusive fitness. It is also true that natural selection favors behavior that maximizes personal fitness.

Hamilton's rule describes mathematically whether or not a gene for altruistic behavior will spread in a population:. The concept serves to explain how natural selection can perpetuate altruism. If there is an "altruism gene" or complex of genes that influences an organism's behavior to be helpful and protective of relatives and their offspring, this behavior also increases the proportion of the altruism gene in the population, because relatives are likely to share genes with the altruist due to common descent.


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Altruists may also have some way to recognize altruistic behavior in unrelated individuals and be inclined to support them. Although it is generally true that humans tend to be more altruistic toward their kin than toward non-kin, the relevant proximate mechanisms that mediate this cooperation have been debated see kin recognition , with some arguing that kin status is determined primarily via social and cultural factors such as co-residence, maternal association of sibs, etc. Whatever the proximate mechanisms of kin recognition there is substantial evidence that humans act generally more altruistically to close genetic kin compared to genetic non-kin.

Although interactions with non-kin are generally less altruistic compared to those with kin, cooperation can be maintained with non-kin via mutually beneficial reciprocity as was proposed by Robert Trivers. Direct reciprocity can lead to the evolution of cooperation only if the probability, w, of another encounter between the same two individuals exceeds the cost-to-benefit ratio of the altruistic act:. Reciprocity can also be indirect if information about previous interactions is shared.

Reputation allows evolution of cooperation by indirect reciprocity. Natural selection favors strategies that base the decision to help on the reputation of the recipient: The calculations of indirect reciprocity are complicated and only a tiny fraction of this universe has been uncovered, but again a simple rule has emerged. One important problem with this explanation is that individuals may be able to evolve the capacity to obscure their reputation, reducing the probability, q, that it will be known.

Trivers argues that friendship and various social emotions evolved in order to manage reciprocity. Evolutionary psychologists say that humans have psychological adaptations that evolved specifically to help us identify nonreciprocators, commonly referred to as "cheaters. Humans may have an evolved set of psychological adaptations that predispose them to be more cooperative than otherwise would be expected with members of their tribal in-group , and, more nasty to members of tribal out groups.

These adaptations may have been a consequence of tribal warfare. Though evolutionary psychology has traditionally focused on individual-level behaviors, determined by species-typical psychological adaptations, considerable work has been done on how these adaptations shape and, ultimately govern, culture Tooby and Cosmides, As opposed to a domain-general cultural acquisition program, where an individual passively receives culturally-transmitted material from the group, Tooby and Cosmides , among others, argue that: According to Paul Baltes , the benefits granted by evolutionary selection decrease with age.

Natural selection has not eliminated many harmful conditions and nonadaptive characteristics that appear among older adults, such as Alzheimer disease. If it were a disease that killed year-olds instead of year-olds this may have been a disease that natural selection could have eliminated ages ago.

Thus, unaided by evolutionary pressures against nonadaptive conditions, modern humans suffer the aches, pains, and infirmities of aging and as the benefits of evolutionary selection decrease with age, the need for modern technological mediums against non-adaptive conditions increases. As humans are a highly social species, there are many adaptive problems associated with navigating the social world e.

Researchers in the emerging field of evolutionary social psychology have made many discoveries pertaining to topics traditionally studied by social psychologists, including person perception, social cognition, attitudes, altruism, emotions, group dynamics , leadership , motivation, prejudice, intergroup relations, and cross-cultural differences.

When endeavouring to solve a problem humans at an early age show determination while chimpanzees have no comparable facial expression. Researchers suspect the human determined expression evolved because when a human is determinedly working on a problem other people will frequently help. Adaptationist hypotheses regarding the etiology of psychological disorders are often based on analogies between physiological and psychological dysfunctions, [] as noted in the table below. Prominent theorists and evolutionary psychiatrists include Michael T.

They, and others, suggest that mental disorders are due to the interactive effects of both nature and nurture, and often have multiple contributing causes. Evolutionary psychologists have suggested that schizophrenia and bipolar disorder may reflect a side-effect of genes with fitness benefits, such as increased creativity. Some of these speculations have yet to be developed into fully testable hypotheses, and a great deal of research is required to confirm their validity. Evolutionary psychology has been applied to explain criminal or otherwise immoral behavior as being adaptive or related to adaptive behaviors.

Males are generally more aggressive than females, who are more selective of their partners because of the far greater effort they have to contribute to pregnancy and child-rearing. Males being more aggressive is hypothesized to stem from the more intense reproductive competition faced by them. Males of low status may be especially vulnerable to being childless. It may have been evolutionary advantageous to engage in highly risky and violently aggressive behavior to increase their status and therefore reproductive success.

This may explain why males are generally involved in more crimes, and why low status and being unmarried is associated with criminality. Furthermore, competition over females is argued to have been particularly intensive in late adolescence and young adulthood, which is theorized to explain why crime rates are particularly high during this period.

Many conflicts that result in harm and death involve status, reputation, and seemingly trivial insults. Therefore, it was important to be perceived as having a credible reputation for retaliation, resulting in humans to develop instincts for revenge as well as for protecting reputation " honor ". Pinker argues that the development of the state and the police have dramatically reduced the level of violence compared to the ancestral environment. Whenever the state breaks down, which can be very locally such as in poor areas of a city, humans again organize in groups for protection and aggression and concepts such as violent revenge and protecting honor again become extremely important.

Rape is theorized to be a reproductive strategy that facilitates the propagation of the rapist's progency. Such a strategy may be adopted by men who otherwise are unlikely to be appealing to women and therefore cannot form legitimate relationships, or by high status men on socially vulnerable women who are unlikely to retaliate to increase their reproductive success even further. Adaptationist perspectives on religious belief suggest that, like all behavior, religious behaviors are a product of the human brain. As with all other organ functions, cognition 's functional structure has been argued to have a genetic foundation, and is therefore subject to the effects of natural selection and sexual selection.

Like other organs and tissues, this functional structure should be universally shared amongst humans and should have solved important problems of survival and reproduction in ancestral environments. However, evolutionary psychologists remain divided on whether religious belief is more likely a consequence of evolved psychological adaptations, [] or a byproduct of other cognitive adaptations.

Coalitional psychology is an approach to explain political behaviors between different coalitions and the conditionality of these behaviors in evolutionary psychological perspective. This approach assumes that since human beings appeared on the earth, they have evolved to live in groups instead of living as individuals to achieve benefits such as more mating opportunities and increased status. Coalitional psychology posits five hypotheses on how these psychological adaptations operate: Critics of evolutionary psychology accuse it of promoting genetic determinism, panadaptionism the idea that all behaviors and anatomical features are adaptations , unfalsifiable hypotheses, distal or ultimate explanations of behavior when proximate explanations are superior, and malevolent political or moral ideas.

Critics have argued that evolutionary psychology might be used to justify existing social hierarchies and reactionary policies. In response to such criticism, evolutionary psychologists often caution against committing the naturalistic fallacy — the assumption that "what is natural" is necessarily a moral good. Evolutionary psychology has been entangled in the larger philosophical and social science controversies related to the debate on nature versus nurture.

Evolutionary psychologists typically contrast evolutionary psychology with what they call the standard social science model SSSM. They characterize the SSSM as the " blank slate ", " relativist ", " social constructionist ", and " cultural determinist " perspective that they say dominated the social sciences throughout the 20th century and assumed that the mind was shaped almost entirely by culture.

Critics have argued that evolutionary psychologists created a false dichotomy between their own view and the caricature of the SSSM. Some critics view evolutionary psychology as a form of genetic reductionism and genetic determinism , [] [] a common critique being that evolutionary psychology does not address the complexity of individual development and experience and fails to explain the influence of genes on behavior in individual cases.

The field of behavioral genetics is focused on the study of the proximate influence of genes on behavior. A frequent critique of the discipline is that the hypotheses of evolutionary psychology are frequently arbitrary and difficult or impossible to adequately test, thus questioning its status as an actual scientific discipline, for example because many current traits probably evolved to serve different functions than they do now. Some critics have argued that researchers know so little about the environment in which Homo sapiens evolved that explaining specific traits as an adaption to that environment becomes highly speculative.

Evolutionary psychologists generally presume that, like the body, the mind is made up of many evolved modular adaptations, [] although there is some disagreement within the discipline regarding the degree of general plasticity, or "generality," of some modules. In contrast, some academics argue that it is unnecessary to posit the existence of highly domain specific modules, and, suggest that the neural anatomy of the brain supports a model based on more domain general faculties and processes.

Cecilia Heyes argues that the picture presented by some evolutionary psychology of the human mind as a collection of cognitive instincts - organs of thought shaped by genetic evolution over very long time periods [] [16] - does not fit research results. She posits instead that humans have cognitive gadgets [] - 'special-purpose organs of thought' built in the course of development through social interaction.

These are products of cultural rather than genetic evolution, [] and may develop and change much more quickly and flexibly than cognitive instincts. Among their rebuttals are that some criticisms are straw men , are based on an incorrect nature versus nurture dichotomy, are based on misunderstandings of the discipline, etc. Their confusion is deep and profound. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For the academic journal, see Evolutionary Psychology journal. Introduction to evolution Evidence of evolution Common descent. History of evolutionary theory. Applications of evolution Biosocial criminology Ecological genetics Evolutionary aesthetics Evolutionary anthropology Evolutionary computation Evolutionary ecology Evolutionary economics Evolutionary epistemology Evolutionary ethics Evolutionary game theory Evolutionary linguistics Evolutionary medicine Evolutionary neuroscience Evolutionary physiology Evolutionary psychology Experimental evolution Phylogenetics Paleontology Selective breeding Speciation experiments Sociobiology Systematics Universal Darwinism.

Evolution as fact and theory Social effects Creation—evolution controversy Objections to evolution Level of support. History of evolutionary psychology. The Origin of Species. Theoretical foundations of evolutionary psychology. Consciousness and Animal consciousness. Evolutionary linguistics and Evolutionary psychology of language. Sex differences in psychology.

Evolutionary psychology of parenting. Human inclusive fitness and Kin selection. Evolutionary psychology and culture. Evolutionary psychology of religion. Criticism of evolutionary psychology. Standard social science model. Affective neuroscience Behavioral genetics Biocultural evolution Biosocial criminology Collective unconscious Cognitive neuroscience Cultural neuroscience Darwinian Happiness Darwinian literary studies Deep social mind Dunbar's number Ethnic nepotism Evolution of the brain List of evolutionary psychologists Evolutionary origin of religions Evolutionary psychology and culture Molecular evolution Primate cognition Hominid intelligence Human ethology Great ape language Primate empathy Chimpanzee intelligence Cooperative eye hypothesis Id, ego, and superego Intersubjectivity Mirror neuron Noogenesis Origin of language Origin of speech Ovulatory shift hypothesis Shadow psychology Simulation theory of empathy Theory of mind Neuroethology Paleolithic diet Paleolithic lifestyle Social neuroscience Sociobiology Universal Darwinism.

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