Talk:Evolutionary psychology

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A few suggestions I have are in regards to the section titled personality. In an essay on ukessays.com the author said, "In conclusion, both the environment and genetic configuration are essential determinants of an individual’s personality. One also has to examine the interaction between genetics and environment for a clear understanding on personality development. Different people with certain genotypes tend to blend into an environment which they deem to be suitable or comfortable. Therefore, it is possible to say that genes make the environment one will venture in. However, this can also be seen from a different point of view. Individuals, who are already born into a certain type of environment, unknowingly bring out or develop certain personality traits to blend in and fit into their environment. Thus, it is very difficult to determine the actual contributions of gene and environment to personality traits." I feel adding some of this information may be very informative to the readers. Essays, UK. (November 2013). Heredity and environment on the development of personality psychology essay. Retrieved from http://www.ukessays.com/essays/psychology/heredity-and-environment-on-the development-of-personality-psychology-essay.php

I hope you find this suggestion beneficial. Panzo.8 (talk) 00:25, 29 September 2014 (UTC)



There currently exists an Evolutionary Psychology Temp Page for the purposes of trying to provide an outline for the evolutionary psychology article and of minimizing the edit wars at the main article, as well.


Avoiding edit warring[edit]

Sonicyouth86, please discuss your proposed changes on the Talk page first. We apparently have very divergent views. Repeatedly reverting my edits back to yours without discussion / compromise here first amounts to edit warring. Memills (talk) 01:25, 31 March 2013 (UTC)

Please refrain from selective and unexplained removals of sourced content and rethink your strategy to introduce even more "rebuttals" to a section that has been criticized by multiple editors for its tendency to present "rebuttals" rather than "criticisms". Your explanation that something is "redundant" is unconvincing. Criticism of evolutionary psychology is the main article. The section "Reception" is supposed to summarize the content from the main article. I also noticed that you complain about redundancies but have no qualms about duplicating one more "rebuttal" (to a criticism that isn't even mentioned). And why do you remove references? --Sonicyouth86 (talk) 22:59, 2 April 2013 (UTC)
Let's see, the title of this section is... what?
I'm tempted to lob some ad hominems back. It is not an impressive approach, tho.
From WP:NPOVFAQ: "it is our job to work together, mainly adding or improving content, but also, when necessary, coming to a compromise about how a controversy should be described, so that it is fair to all sides."
And please do keep in mind WP:CRIT: "When incorporating negative criticism, the POV policy requires that negative material be presented in a balanced and fair manner. Additionally, the undue weight policy requires that negative criticism be presented in a way that does not draw excessive attention to the negative criticism." (emphasis added). Memills (talk) 02:26, 5 April 2013 (UTC)
The criticism has been banished to a separate section and presented in a manner that marginalizes the criticism via double "rebuttals". As it stands now, the section fails WP:Structure and your most recent edits did not help. You removed secondary sources (Wilson et al. and Levy) in favor of primary ones (Pinker without page reference), added more "rebuttals" to nonexistent criticisms, and gutted the section until only one short and unspecified critical sentence remained which you "rebutted" with two longer sentences that were based on primary sources, and included one "rebuttal" to something that wasn't even criticized. If it were up to you, more than two-thirds of the "Ethical implications" section would consist of "rebuttals". This is against pretty much all of our core content policies. --Sonicyouth86 (talk) 21:19, 6 April 2013 (UTC)
Again, the WP "POV policy requires that negative material be presented in a balanced and fair manner." Fairness, in this case, involves rebutting criticisms that are clearly false, especially those have been empirically shown to be false. For example, statement that evolutionary psychologists work to justify "existing social hierarchies and reactionary policies" is counter to the fact that evolutionary psychologists are generally more political liberal than most folks. Since the criticism is false, it amounts to an ad hominem on the field (WP:Label) and is not notable. The "reductionism and determinism" of evolutionary psychology is no greater than any other science, which again, calls into question the notability of that criticism. If we want to talk about fairness, there is an entire article that explores the criticisms (both straw men and substantive) in depth, Criticism of evolutionary psychology. Memills (talk) 04:13, 7 April 2013 (UTC)
WP:NPOV requires that negative material be presented in a balanced and fair manner. At the moment, the criticism is not presented in a balanced and fair manner because editors have been trying to prove that the "criticism is false". More specifically, WP:NPOV states that "back-and-forth dialogue between proponents and opponents" should be avoided. A reception or criticism section is about the reception or criticism, not about the way that evolutionary psychologists have responded to it. Evolutionary psychologists have the entire article to make their case and they should not get two and sometimes three chances to tell their side of the story. You can write the article Criticism of the criticism of evolutionary psychology if you must but you cannot cut down further on the actual criticisms and introduce even more "rebuttals". For years editors have complained about your editing and the structure of the evolutionary psychology and criticism of evolutionary psychology articles. Just some examples: [1][2][3][4][5][6][7][8][9][10][11][12]. Please do not refuse to listen to what other editors have been telling you for years. --Sonicyouth86 (talk) 16:46, 7 April 2013 (UTC)
Oh, you make me blush. But... I really cannot take all the credit. There have been many, many editors who have written and edited both this page and the associated criticism page to offer rebuttals to criticisms. I could make a list of them for you, with 30 diff links, but I've got a life outside of here...
And, as I have told you repeatedly, please cut the ad homimens. They only exacerbate the problem with your editing that the title of this section refers to (italics as ironic exemplars). Memills (talk) 01:57, 10 April 2013 (UTC)
Just thought I would comment that the obvious 'pro-EP' bias that Memills holds is one that has been pointed out by more than a handful of editors over the years. I agree with Sonicyouth86, that this page does not present a neutral point of view. The structure seems to go like this: "Critics say x,y,z, but evolutionary psychologists counter that such arguments are straw men - see Confer et al." Leaving aside the point about evolutionary psychologist always getting in the 'last word,' it is obvious to me that the Confer article does not actually address most of the criticisms. Memills knows this, which is why he does not provide page numbers and why he does not cite how it does accurately address the issues.--Logic prevails (talk) 17:21, 15 April 2013 (UTC)
My interest is accuracy. Logic prevails, welcome back. You have already stated your antipathy toward the field in the archives of these Talk pages, nothing new there.
But, for a little light hearted diversion: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l_2TxDpYdLQ Memills (talk) 16:16, 17 April 2013 (UTC)
The comical part about the video is the depiction of the critic of evolutionary psychology, portrayed as a football player who wears eye black and dabbles in cultural anthropology. Next time add some creationism to the stigmatized jock character and his interest in the social sciences and you're golden. A social psychologist would have a field day with the stereotyping in that video. It's a good illustration of the way sociobiologists and evolutionary psychologists have misrepresented academic criticisms.
As for the accuracy part please read the archives and comments about your involvement. It may be tempting to dismiss those comments as "creationist" [13] or whatever but please read them. Then you may want to reread the Confer et al. paper and see that the paper never actually claims that some of the criticisms are "straw men". The paper never uses that expression. It is something a specific editor made up. --Sonicyouth86 (talk) 17:14, 22 April 2013 (UTC)
Again, with the ad hominems? Someone should program an "ad hominem generator" to make it easier (something along the lines of the postmodernism generator).
According to, er, Wikipedia: "A straw man... is a type of argument and is an informal fallacy based on misrepresentation of an opponent's position."
Do Confer, et al., suggest that critics misrepresent evolutionary psychology? They do. In the abstact: "Some of the controversy stems... from misunderstandings about the logic of evolutionary psychology..." And in the body of the paper: some critiques are based on "...misunderstandings and mischaracterizations." Straw man args. About as unimpressive as ad hominems... Memills (talk) 22:07, 22 April 2013 (UTC)
Memills, I would also encourage you to re-read the Confer article and properly cite your sources. Quoting an article that claims "misunderstandings and mischaracterizations." Does not make it so. In my view, the article erects its own straw persons in its description of its critics. If you want to use the paper, you need to cite specifically how Confer et al. claim their critics to be misunderstanding them, and how they specifically address the criticisms. In my view, they gloss over the criticisms without addressing them, then go on to explain their point of view, relying on some of the very same assumptions that critics are attacking.Logic prevails (talk) 09:25, 23 April 2013 (UTC)
First of all, "misunderstanding" and "misconceptions" are not necessarily straw man arguments. Confer et al. use the word "mischaracterizations" once but you neglected to mention the context. What Confer at al. actually write is: "One quantitative study of the coverage of evolutionary psychology in these texts came to three conclusions: (a) Coverage of evolutionary psychology has increased dramatically; (b) the 'tone' of coverage has changed over the years from initially hostile to at least neutral (and in some instances balanced); and (c) there remain misunderstandings and mischaracterizations in each of the texts." That was the result of one quantitative study, not Confer et al., and that study examined the coverage, not specifically criticisms, of evolutionary psychology. To give you one example: An introductory psychology textbook can contain misunderstandings and misrepresentation of some of the more creative claims of evolutionary psychology without actually criticizing the claims.
The evolutionary psychology defense section not only violates WP:Structure but also WP:Original research as Confer et al. never actually claim that criticisms are based on straw man arguments. --Sonicyouth86 (talk) 17:24, 29 April 2013 (UTC)
Restored this subheading per WP Response Section which states:
"An acceptable approach to including criticisms in Wikipedia articles is to separate the description of a topic from a description of how the topic was received. The latter section may be titled "Reception", "Response", "Reviews" or "Reactions". These sections include both negative and positive assessments. This approach usually conforms to the WP neutrality policy, because it avoids being "all negative" or "exclusively laudatory" about the topic."
Also, to avoid excessive reliance on the Confer article (and its various interpretations), I have added additional relevant references. Memills (talk) 18:12, 26 May 2013 (UTC)
We already have a section on how the topic was received. What you want is a section on how evolutionary psychologists receive the reception. A classic violation of WP:STRUCTURE, again. Btw your additional references lack page references and the attributions are highly dubious. --Sonicyouth86 (talk) 19:40, 12 July 2013 (UTC)
Not "dubious" (what does that mean?) -- check them out. These are all books or articles written by academic scholars responding to critics. Memills (talk) 20:05, 12 July 2013 (UTC)
Read again and pay attention to the word "attributions", as in the claims that you attribute to the sources, not the sources per se, appear dubious. The Confer et al. source which you used for your "EP defense" section said nothing about "straw men" etc. in response to the specific criticisms mentioned here and there is no reason to believe that the new sources do. Also, there is the problem of missing page references and your continued violation of WP:STRUCTURE. --Sonicyouth86 (talk) 20:44, 12 July 2013 (UTC)
I think there is no need to revisit the "straw men" issue -- that was already covered, above. These are general books/articles that cover multiple responses to multiple criticisms. They are included as general references, not for each specific issue -- thus, no page #s required. Memills (talk) 21:00, 12 July 2013 (UTC)
You need to demonstrate that you are not adding original research as you did in the past when you added a "evolutionary psychology defense" (reading WP:NPOV might help) in response to unspecified criticisms and attributed the defense to Confer et al. although the source did not support the claim. There is no evidence that the new sources support it. You should probably read WP:Citing sources in addition to the other policies I mentioned. --Sonicyouth86 (talk) 21:25, 12 July 2013 (UTC)
You need to re-read WP:AGF. Without it, feel free to read some of the books / articles referenced to verify their relevance for yourself (added bonus: it would help to make your contributions here more informed).
Again, you and Confer? We've discussed this to death. You correctly said that they didn't use the words "straw man," specifically. I agreed. But, as I again repeat myself, their prose suggested that critics indeed made straw-man type arguments. I even quoted them on this for you. Wanna see it again? Memills (talk) 23:03, 12 July 2013 (UTC)
The sources that you added do not support the statements, hence your refusal to provide page numbers. The "evolutionary defense" section needs to be removed per WP:OR and WP:STRUCTURE. Yes, we did discuss your rather creative description of the Confer et al. paper, your belief that a mischaracterization is necessarily a straw-man argument, and the part "...misunderstandings and mischaracterizations" that you falsely attributed to Confer et al. --Sonicyouth86 (talk) 23:25, 12 July 2013 (UTC)
First, you object to Confer. Then I add more refs that provide rebuttals to critics. Then you say "The sources that you added do not support the statements, hence your refusal to provide page numbers." Er... these are general references that respond to many claims by critics. Tell ya what: I'll add "etc." to make this a bit more clear. Memills (talk) 23:57, 12 July 2013 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────First, you violate WP:STRUCTURE by adding a "defense" by evolutionary psychologists and then WP:OR by misrepresenting Confer. Then you restore the section and add a bunch of new "rebuttals" to critics, thus violating NPOV again. "These are general references that respond to many claims by critics". You are basically adding a list of books as a recommended reading list. You do not specify which criticism are "straw men" or misunderstanding and why, you just want to get in the last word, a blanket characterization of criticism as wrong. How would you feel about a "Critics response" to your "Evolutionary psychology defense" section where we could list a bunch of book recommendations and say "Scholars have addressed many of the justification by evolutionary psychologists (see, for example, books...). Among their rebuttals are that some explanations misrepresent the criticisms, are based on an incorrect nature vs. nurture dichotomy, are based on evolutionary psychologists' ignorance of basic principles of empirical research, an overactive imagination etc." --Sonicyouth86 (talk) 00:26, 13 July 2013 (UTC)

Actually, I have no problem with that. (In fact, there are a whole list of anti-EP books noted at the lede of the Criticism of evolutionary psychology page.
Do you not wish WP readers to know about books/articles by evolutionary psychologists wherein they respond to critics? Again, I repeat myself: WP policy clearly states that this section include both sides of a debate. Memills (talk) 00:39, 13 July 2013 (UTC)
WP policy states the exact opposite. Read WP:STRUCTURE and WP:NPOV (throw in WP:OR and WP:COI for good measure). WP readers do not need a vacuous "rebuttal" ("oh, how they misunderstand us!") on top of the specific "rebuttals" in the subsections and they don't need a response to the "rebuttals" and a "rebuttal" to the response to the "rebuttals" and so forth. What they need is an article that explains what evolutionary psychology is and then summarizes how evolutionary psychology was received. --Sonicyouth86 (talk) 01:12, 13 July 2013 (UTC)
What part of this do you not understand?
Again, from WP:CRIT specifically related to this "Reception" section: " ...(a) section may be titled "Reception", "Response", "Reviews" or "Reactions". These sections include both negative and positive assessments. This approach usually conforms to the WP neutrality policy, because it avoids being "all negative" or "exclusively laudatory" about the topic."
...but, again, I repeat myself. Memills (talk) 05:38, 13 July 2013 (UTC)

Memills has added some information about the defenders or evpsych. Sonicyouth says that the structure is bad. Let's find a way to include Memills's information in a better structure. The "defenders" material represents a sort of overview (of one side). Let's balance that with "detractors" at put it at the start of the "Reception" section. Then we can have a fair structure. Start with the detractors and defenders in general, then touch on specific points in the subsections that follow. Right now there's no introduction to the Reception section, and it deserves one. Then we get to use the information that Memills has provided us, and it's no longer capping the section as if it were a conclusion. Let's figure out how best to include his information rather than trying to exclude it. Leadwind (talk) 16:21, 14 July 2013 (UTC)

Please shoot me; I'm editing this haunted page again. I went ahead and wrote a brief intro to the reception covering some basic criticisms from Rose and Rose, to balance Memills' pro-EP material. I could also fold his "concluding" material into the intro, where it wouldn't seem like the "last word" on the issue. Leadwind (talk) 17:26, 14 July 2013 (UTC)

Looks good to me. Thanks Leadwind for suggesting a compromise. Memills (talk) 19:13, 14 July 2013 (UTC)
I've just wandered to this page and, knowing EP tends to be controversial, took a look at the talk page as well. So...just reading this back and forth I understand there may be some history here and some long-term disagreements between editors. However, just in tone, Memills seems to be making more effort to compromise. Sonic and others, you may very well be right, but it helps to dial back the tone a bit. Just my $.02. I'll try to take a look at the article and see if it reads balanced. StoneProphet11 (talk) 02:30, 22 June 2014 (UTC)
For what it may be worth, it looks pretty reasonable now, other than the SSSM section could probably use an EP response or two to critisms (I said the same on the main SSSM page). Otherwise I like the back and forth and think it's informative. I suspect people will usually "like" the articles on "their side" anyway. StoneProphet11 (talk) 02:34, 22 June 2014 (UTC)
Thanks for your comments StoneProphet11. Fyi, here are a couple of recent articles about the controversy that you may find of interest: Misrepresentations of evolutionary psychology in sex and gender textbooks (and a Psychology Today blog post about the article: Misinformation About Evolution In Textbooks), and, The evolutionary psychology of human mating: A response to Buller's critique. Memills (talk) 04:54, 22 June 2014 (UTC)

Avoiding edit warring[edit]

At 03:50, 5, May 2014 Memillis removed the following for the reason "non-EP sources" which I gather means that all seven sources were removed because they come from beyond evolutionary psychology. I dispute both that all sources must have an EP focus, and that none of these sources has an EP focus. To avoid an edit war, I leave it to third party editors to restore these sources as appropriate. The evaluative diversity article has an entire section on evolutionary explanations for the existence of evaluative diversity, and my goal here is for the evolutionary psychology article to include evaluative diversity in its list of areas in which evolutionary psychology has been applied.

On the other hand, diversity of personality may be a polymorphism, like gender and blood-type, which would evolve to benefit our species as a whole.[67] Computer scientists can solve wider ranges of problems when their algorithmic toolboxes have greater evaluative diversity,[68] various evolutionary theorists have shown that evaluative diversity could have evolved as a polymorphism among humans,[69] and evaluative diversity has been shown to significantly relate with some aspects of personality.[70] In other words, we may have different personalities at least partly because such diversity can improve evaluation by teams (as in a democracy).[71][72][73]
[67] Dean, Tim (2012). "Evolution and moral diversity". Baltic International Yearbook of Cognition, Logic and Communication 7.
[68] Santos-Lang, Christopher (2014). "Chapter 6: Moral Ecology Approaches". In van Rysewyk, Simon; Pontier, Matthijs. Machine Medical Ethics. New York: Springer. pp. 74–96.
[69] Sober, Elliott; Wilson, David Sloan (1998). Unto Others: The Evolution and Psychology of Unselfish Behavior. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
[70] Santos-Lang, Christopher (In Press). "Measuring computational evaluative differences in humans". WCSED Working Paper.
[71] Wilde, Douglass J (1997). "Using student preferences to guide design team composition". Proceedings of DETC ’97.
[72] Weisberg, Michael; Muldoon, Ryan (2009). "Epistemic Landscapes and the Division of Cognitive Labor". Philosophy of Science 76: 225–252. doi:10.1086/644786.
[73] Hong, Lu; Page, Scott E. (2001). "Problem Solving by Heterogeneous Agents". Journal of Economic Theory 97: 123–163. doi:10.1006/jeth.2000.2709.
I appreciate your good faith efforts and desire to improve the article.
Here is the diff in question.
I don't know if you are new to editing WP, but it is expected that you sign your comments here.
And, I don't know if you are new to EP, but no one in the field accepts a "good of the species" perspective. There is a large and growing body of work on personality and EP (as a scholar.google.com search will show). That material should probably be reviewed first before going to sources outside of the field. The paragraph also may be considered a synthesis, or original research WP:OR, and, it repeats the hypothesis already noted in this subtopic that personality may be a frequency dependent (or "polymorphic") trait. Memills (talk) 23:21, 5 May 2014 (UTC)
Instead of listing these sources under personality, one compromise might be to create a parallel subsection for evaluative diversity (aka "moral diversity"). It would be difficult to deny the significance of Sober & Wilson's work in this aspect of EP (scholar.google.com says they have been cited 2802 times), and I don't really see a better place to cite them in this article. Langchri (talk) 03:21, 6 May 2014 (UTC)


A simple question?[edit]

Does this statement make any sense at all? "Evolutionary psychologists respond that they do know many things about this environment, including the facts that only women became pregnant..." Clocke (talk) 00:28, 23 June 2014 (UTC)

Discussion on administrators' noticeboard[edit]

As I revisited this article, which has long been on my watchlist, after a phase of research reading, I discover that another editor here has a dismaying notice on his talk page and an active discussion of a topic ban for editor conduct. I wonder if this article is within the scope of the proposed topic ban. It seems only fair to let editors who watch this page know that these discussions are occurring, so that you may comment according to what you have observed. On my part, I hope all of us are able to establish a collaborative atmosphere here for using the best reliable secondary sources for updating this article and other articles on related topics, which are very important. -- WeijiBaikeBianji (talk, how I edit) 14:25, 1 July 2014 (UTC)

Whe = When ? or Sic ?[edit]

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Can some with the capability check to see if the spellin g is coorect in this source. I do not have the appropriate program to check myself. "Wright, Robert. "The Moral Animal Whe We Are The Way We Are: The New Science of Evolutionary Psychology". Retrieved 15 October 2013." Is it "When" or "Sic" ? Thank you.Srednuas Lenoroc (talk) 03:29, 5 April 2016 (UTC)

It's "Why" - see Amazon listing. I have fixed it. JohnCD (talk) 09:34, 5 April 2016 (UTC)