Message 1 of 2 (796299)
12-28-2016 4:09 PM
I think that theories concerning the implications of evolution are problematic as well as claims about the intentions of evolution.
This particularly includes evolutionary psychology. Also it concerns issues such as the meaning of life or the ramifications of evolution on our values and goals and possibilities.
I think that on one portrayal of evolution it makes us victims of intentionless coercive drives in the service of mindlessly propagating our genes.
On the other hands it seems suspect to make any claims about what evolution "intends" or "intended" because of issues including falsifiability and competing theories. Then there is the issue of spandrels in which case anything could be classed as a spandrel.
So for example it would be bizarre to claim we evolved to play the piano. Following from that it would be dubious to say people play the piano to attract mates. I speak as a gay person who plays the piano for his own pleasure.
If I am a gay person playing the piano for my own pleasure in my own company I am not doing anything in the service of evolution.
So in this sense the paradigm of evolution gets spread to thinly as if it should be the dominant explanation of anything. (In a reductionist spirit)
I also think the naturalistic fallacy is invoked a lot and people even talk about and try to enact programmes in service of improving our evolution. Things that evolved cannot scientifically be defined as good without crossing the is-ought barrier.
So it is one thing to say that altruism benefits the gene pool but another thing to claim that it is good and should be pursued.