Four Fallacies of Pop Evolutionary Psychology; January 2009; Scientific American Magazine; by David J. Buller; 8 Page(s)
Charles Darwin wasted no time applying his theory of evolution to human psychology,
following On the Origin of Species (1859) with The Descent of Man (1871) and The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals
(1872). Ever since, the issue hasn¿t been whether evolutionary theory can illuminate the study of psychology but how it will do so. Still, a concerted effort to explain how evolution has affected human behavior began only in the 1970s with the emergence of sociobiology. The core idea of sociobiology was simple: behavior has evolved under natural and sexual selection (in response to competition for survival and reproduction, respectively), just as organic form has. Sociobiology thereby extended the study of adaptation to include human behavior.
In his 1985 critique of sociobiology, Vaulting Ambition, philosopher Philip Kitcher noted that, whereas some sociobiology backed modest
claims with careful empirical research, the theoretical reach of the dominant program greatly exceeded its evidential grasp. Kitcher called this program ¿pop sociobiology¿ because
it employed evolutionary principles ¿to advance grand claims about human nature and human social institutions¿ and was ¿deliberately
designed to command popular attention.¿