Selbermach Samstag LXXXVI

Welche Themen interessieren euch, welche Studien fandet ihr besonders interessant in der Woche, welche Neuigkeiten gibt es, die interessant für eine Diskussion wären und was beschäftigt euch gerade? Welche interessanten Artikel gibt es auf euren Blogs oder auf den Blogs anderer? Welches Thema sollte noch im Blog diskutiert werden?

Fehldarstellungen von Evolutionärer Psychologie in Gender-Büchern

Eine Studie behandelt klassische Falschdarstellungen von Evolutionärer Psychologie:

Abstract: Evolutionary psychology has provoked controversy, especially when applied to  human sex differences. We hypothesize that this is partly due to misunderstandings of  evolutionary psychology that are perpetuated by undergraduate sex and gender textbooks.  As an initial test of this hypothesis, we develop a catalog of eight types of errors and  document their occurrence in 15 widely used sex and gender textbooks. Consistent with our  hypothesis, of the 12 textbooks that discussed evolutionary psychology, all contained at  least one error, and the median number of errors was five. The most common types of  errors were ―Straw Man,‖ ―Biological Determinism,‖ and ―Species Selection.‖ We  conclude by suggesting improvements to undergraduate sex and gender textbooks.

Quelle: Misrepresentations of Evolutionary Psychology in Sex and Gender Textbooks

Eine interessante Stelle aus dem Artikel:

The idea that human nature—including differences between the sexes—is  biologically influenced was once relatively standard, indeed, taken for granted by most social scientists (Degler, 1991). In the early 1900‘s, however, a number of scholars,  influenced by the incipient disciplines of cultural anthropology and behaviorism, began to  question this assumption. The gradual revelation of the crimes committed by the Nazis  alarmed the public and academics alike and further promoted concerns about the social and  political implications of biological approaches to human nature (Laland and Brown, 2011).  These concerns and skepticism have persisted, to some degree, as protection against what  some scholars view as an attempt to justify inequitable social policies and institutions  (Lopreato and Crippen, 1999; Lord and Sanderson, 1999). That is, biologically based views  of human nature are, within certain academic communities, seen as a form of apologetics  for an unjust social system and for myriad other social evils (e.g., sexism, racism,  classism). This seems especially true for broadly liberal disciplines that aspire actively to  ameliorate social suffering

Also ein starkes Mißtrauen gegenüber biologischen Erklärungen gerade nach der Nazizeit, weil man das Gefühl hatte das damit nur unliebsame Systeme geschützt werden sollten. Das ist ja in der Tat ein sehr häufiger Vorwurf („ihr wollt nur die 50er wieder“), der aber eben meist auf Fehlvorstellungen darüber, was eigentlich vertreten wird beruht

However, recent research has shown that, despite popular assumptions, liberalism  does not predict a rejection of applying evolutionary theory to humans (Perry and Mace, 2010). Furthermore, from the imperfect data we possess, EPs appear no more likely to  adhere to conservative political beliefs than other social scientists (Tybur, Miller, and  Gangestad, 2007). Therefore, political ideology, although a probable source of some  hostility toward EP, is not a powerful predictor of a scholar‘s willingness to apply EP to human behavior.

Evidence indicates that, in fact, a misunderstanding of the basic principles of EP is a  more powerful predictor of hostility toward it than is political ideology (Perry and Mace, 2010). A student, for example, who is taught that EP ignores the importance of culture  might understandably develop a skeptical, perhaps even hostile, attitude toward EP. A  similar problem led to hostility toward behaviorism, especially as propounded by B.F.  Skinner. Students were taught that Skinner eschewed instincts altogether and that he completely ignored internal processes (Jensen and Burgess, 1997). Instincts and internal processes quite clearly exist, so this led to dismissals of Skinner and accusations that his framework was entirely wrong (in fact, embarrassingly so). These errors were included in  textbooks and propagated to the next generation of students, who continued to reject ―Skinnerism‖ (DeBell and Harless, 1992). We suggest that a similar process involving sex  and gender textbooks may explain some of the hostility toward EP. Thus, a combination of  liberal ideology and broad misunderstanding of the content of EP may combine to lead sex and gender scholars to view EP as a conservative and wrongheaded approach to explaining human sex differences.

As a first step in testing our hypothesis that a cycle of ignorance contributes to the  hostility directed toward EP, we coded its presentation in sex and gender textbooks. We  predict that presentations of EP will be frequently inaccurate.  It is important to note that sex and gender scholars and sociologists probably hold a more negative view of EP and have more misconceptions than scholars in many areas of  psychology (e.g., cognitive scientists, developmentalists, neuroscientists, linguists, etc.)  (Geher and Gambacorta, 2010; Lopreato and Crippen, 1999; Perry and Mace, 2010). Many psychologists who do not identify as EPs have fully integrated the Darwinian revolution into their research and possess an acute knowledge of evolution and natural and sexual selection.

Eine sehr wahrscheinliche These: Viele Kritiker von evolutionärer Psychologie beschäftigen sich weder mit den konkreten Theorien noch den Gründen, aus denen sie angenommen werden. Das führt dazu, dass sehr schnell Fehlvorstellungen über die konkreten Theorien vorkommen.

Zu den Fehlern, die überprüft worden sind:

E1) Lack of Evidence/Lack of Falsifiability. The assertion that many or all claims by EPs (1) lack substantive confirmatory evidence and/or (2) are unfalsifiable.

R1) (1) Evidence supports many claims made by EPs. Buss, Haselton, Shackelford, Bleske,  and Wakefield (1998, Table 1) summarized 30 empirical discoveries about human nature  generated by explicit evolutionary theorizing, including mother-fetus conflict and  landscape preference. More recently, Buss and Schmitt (2011, Table 1) summarized 17  robust empirical findings regarding sex differences in desire for sexual variety. Many more  empirical findings are reviewed in introductory evolutionary psychology textbooks (e.g., Badcock, 2000; Barrett, Dunbar, and Lycett, 2002; Buss, 2008; Cartwrigtht, 2000; Gaulin  and McBurney, 2004; Workman and Reader, 2004). (2) Most hypotheses proposed by EPs  are falsifiable. Buss‘s introductory textbook (1999) presented 11 methods and data sources  for testing evolutionary hypotheses (p. 54) and concluded that at least two of the methods  must support a hypothesis for it to have a ―firm empirical foundation‖ (p. 65). Ketelaar and  Ellis (2000) devoted a full article to falsifiability and demonstrated that the charge that EP claims are generally unfalsifiable is unwarranted. Last, Schmitt and Pilcher (2004) laid out a rigorous program for testing evolutionary based hypotheses, and this emphasized the importance of generating and testing empirical predictions.

Textbook Example: ―Sociobiology has some success in applying evolutionary theory to animal behavior, but because it is virtually impossible to test the natural selection principles on which it is based, empirical support for evolutionary links to human behavior is weak.‖  (Lindsey, 2011, p. 25).

Ein alter Kritikpunkt, man könne eben nicht zurück in die Steinzeit reisen und dort die Menschen beobachten. Ich hatte hier auch schon einmal etwas dazu geschrieben: Kritik an evolutionärer Psychologie

E2) Biological Determinism/Dichotomy between Nature & Nurture. (1) The assertion that EPs contend that biology determines or can explain all human behavior. (2) The  assertion that some phenomena are entirely cultural whereas others are entirely biological.

R2) (1) EPs do not contend that human nature is ―hardwired‖ by genes or determined  exclusively by ―biology.‖ In fact, introductory evolutionary psychology textbooks warn  about deterministic views of human nature (e.g., Buss, 2008; Gaulin and McBurney, 2004).  For example, Rossano (2003) states, ―Evolutionary psychologists firmly reject both genetic  determinism and environmental determinism and, instead, contend that both genes and  environment must be considered in understanding the human mind‖ (p. 28). (2) EPs believe  that understanding human nature requires an interactionist framework; i.e., incorporating both biology and culture. As Tooby and Cosmides (1992) point out:  Evolution shapes the relationship between the genes and the environment such that  they both participate in a coordinated way in the construction and calibration of  adaptations. Thus, evolutionarily patterned structure is coming in from the  environment, just as much as it is coming out from the genes. (p. 86)  In short, nature and nurture are inseparable in the EP account.

Textbook Example: ―What‘s more, if these [biological] explanations are true, no amount  of political initiative, no amount of social spending, no great policy upheavals will change  the relationships between women and men‖ (Kimmel, 2013, p. 22).

Die biologischen Ansätze stellen in der Tat darauf ab, dass es ein Zusammenspiel von Kultur und Natur gibt, wobei teilweise die Kultur bestimmte biologische Anlagen ausformt. Natürlich können wir dabei auch Umstände schaffen, die wesentliche Veränderungen bewirken, ein Beispiel ist der Zugang zu effektiver und preisgünstiger Verhütung, ein anderer unser Sozialsystem, beides kulturelle Errungenschaften die auch das Verhältnis zwischen den Geschlechtern erheblich verändert haben. Zudem können sich eben auch Unterschiede zwischen Leuten und auch zwischen Völkern zeigen, die eine andere Ausrichtung begünstigen.

E3) Naturalistic Fallacy. The assertion that EPs contend that what exists is either ipso  facto good or morally desirable simply because it exists.

R3) The accusation that EPs are guilty of the naturalistic fallacy is belied by numerous  writings from early sociobiologists (e.g., Alexander, 1979; Symons, 1979) and more  recently from evolutionary psychologists. In The Selfish Gene, Richard Dawkins (1976)  writes, ―I am not advocating a morality based on evolution. I am saying how things have  evolved. I am not saying how we humans morally ought to behave‖ (pp. 2-3). Many introductory textbooks on evolutionary psychology contain explicit warnings about  committing the naturalistic fallacy (e.g., Bridgeman, 2003; Buss, 1999; Cartwright, 2000;  Palmer and Palmer, 2002; Rossano, 2003).

Textbook Example: ―Biological arguments reassure us that what is is what should be, that  the social is natural. Finally, such reassurances tell us that these existing inequalities are not our fault, that no one is to blame, really‖ (Kimmel, 2013, p. 22).

Der naturalistische Fehlschluss kommt in der Tat sehr häufig vor. Gerne eben auch als Vorwurf, dass man es eben so wolle oder so für richtig halte und wie man so etwas sagen könne. Was alles gar nichts damit zu tun hat, wie bestimmte Sachen sind. Es ist in der Tat ein Punkt, auf den in Büchern über das Thema sehr häufig hingewiesen wird.

E4) Political/Ideological Agenda/Consequentialist Fallacy. (1) The assertion that EPs have a conservative, rightwing political agenda and that this agenda significantly influences  their research. (2) The assertion that evolutionary accounts are morally dubious and  possibly dangerous if widely disseminated.

R4) (1) To the extent that we have empirical data on the political views of EPs, this  assertion appears to be false. Most of the early sociobiologists were liberals or social  democrats (including E.O. Wilson and Richard Dawkins), while Robert Trivers, who developed the theory of parental investment, was a political radical who coauthored a paper  with Huey Newton (Segreståle, 2000; Trivers, 2002). A recent study of EPs found that their political views match those of social scientists in general—0 of 31 EPs identified with the Republican Party (Tybur et al., 2007). Even if it were true that EPs have more conservative views than other social scientists, it would not automatically follow that they are more likely than others to use their scholarship to advance a conservative agenda. We know of no data addressing this possibility, and the textbooks making this assertion do not provide any evidence for it. (2) Unfortunately, almost any view of human nature can be used to justify self-serving behavior that harms other people, ranging from the extremes of Nazism on the right to communism on the left (Pinker, 2002). The communists, for example, perpetrated numerous ghastly crimes, which were justified by a singular commitment to human flexibility, environmental determinism, and equality (Pipes, 2001). However, the factual content of a theory or proposition is not determined by the perceived good or ill it may do to society.

Textbook Example: ―Another concern is the claim that gender differences have evolved over time, which implies that gender differences are inevitable and unchangeable. Biology then becomes an excuse for accepting differences and not advocating for social change‖ (Rider, 2005, p. 117).

Wie oben schon gesagt in der Tat ein sehr häufiger Vorwurf. Es scheint für einige schwer zu verstehen zu sein, dass man nach der Prüfung bestimmter Fakten zu einem Ergebnis kommt und dies vertritt, weil man es für wahr hält und das zur Folge hat, dass man die daraus herzuleitenden Fakten akzeptieren muss. Es ist nicht das „Wollen“, dass das „sein“ schafft. Wir können die Realität nicht immer und unter allen Bedingungen unserem Wollen anpassen.

Ich schrieb dazu schon einmal: 

„Was ist das Anliegen, wenn man sagt, dass die Welt eine Kugel und nicht eine Scheibe ist? Was will man damit bewegen? Reicht es aus, dass man Männer und Frauen verstehen will, ein Interesse an dem Thema hat, die Forschung überzeugend findet und merkt, dass etwa poststrukturalistische Theorien keinerlei Grundlage haben?

Selbst wenn unsere Welt mit den biologischen Erklärungen die absolute Hölle auf Erden wäre würde es sie genau so wenig falsch machen wie es die Erde flach macht, wenn dies zu einer besseren Welt führen würde.“

E5) Species Selection. The assertion that evolution via natural and sexual selection operates to ensure species survival or that the survival of the species is the ―goal‖ of  evolution.

R5) Charles Darwin (1859/1958; 1871) argued that natural and sexual selection targeted the individual, not the species. In the 1960s, evolutionary biologists revolutionized the field by formalizing the insight that it was not the individual but the gene that was the fundamental unit of selection (Dawkins, 1976; Hamilton, 1964a,b). Although there is debate about the importance of differing units or levels of selection (e.g., group, individual, gene; Wilson and Wilson, 2007), biologists are nearly unanimous that species level selection does not occur:  In the early post-Darwinian period when thinking about selection was rather confused, it was often said that such and such a character had evolved because it was ―good for the species.‖ This is quite misleading. The selected character had originated because it benefited certain individuals of a species and had gradually spread to all others. The species as an entity does not answer to selection. (Mayr, 1997, p. 2092)

Textbook Example: ―Evolutionary theory argues that in any species, including humans, certain characteristics persist across generations—passed along genetically—because they help the species survive‖ (Lips, 2006, p. 132).

Ein klassisches Fehlverständnis, da die Evolution eben bei den Genen ansetzt und daher nur über das Individuum oder Verwandtenselektion arbeiten kann, eine Gruppenselektion hingegen, in dem Sinne, dass die Gruppe an sich gefördert wird, findet nicht statt, da hier die klassischen Selektionsmechanismen nicht greifen können.

E6) Straw Man Argument (Not Otherwise Specified). A misrepresentation of the opponent‘s position which creates the illusion that the argument in question has been refuted when, in fact, the actual position of the opponent has not been addressed.

R6) Straw Man arguments must be examined case by case but often involve oversimplifying the arguments of EPs to make them appear careless or reductionist. For example, many critics of EP assert that the theory posits that all men are promiscuous when, to our knowledge, this is not a serious position of EPs.

Textbook Example: Because each Straw Man argument is somewhat unique, aside from those that fall into specified errors we have already cataloged, each requires its own explanation (see Appendix for detailed comments on each coded Straw Man error).

Strohmänner gibt es in der Tat wie Sand am Meer in der Kritik an evolutionärer Psychologie. Es wird ein vermeintliches Argument dargestellt, dass so aber gar nicht vertreten wird und dies dann entkräftet.

E7) Intentionalistic Fallacy. The assertion that EPs contend that humans intentionally attempt to enhance their inclusive fitness and are explicitly aware of such intentions. For example, the claim that using contraception and engaging in sex for the sake of pleasure rather than reproduction refutes evolutionary arguments regarding natural and sexual selection.

R7) EPs do not believe that humans are consciously aware of the ―evolutionary logic of  their behavior. E.O. Wilson, the founder of sociobiology, made the point that the brain ―has been programmed to perform as if it knows [emphasis added] the underlying evolutionary logic of its affective biases (Wilson, 1975, p. 4). Similarly, John Tooby and Leda Cosmides (1992), two of the founders of evolutionary psychology, state ―…the biological concept of functionality differs from the folk notion of functionality as goal-seeking behavior. Although some of our evolved psychological mechanisms propably operate through goal-seeking, surely none of them has fitness maximization as a mentally represented goal‖ (p. 54). Even in cases where humans explicitly represent goals (e.g., I need to protect my child;  I would like to have sex), EPs do not posit that they are aware of the evolutionary logic  guiding the specific goal in question (see for example, Buss, 1999; Geary, 2005).

Textbook Example: The sociobiological view of sex differences assumes that sexual intercourse will lead – or is intended to lead – to reproduction. Today, I doubt that the majority of men are thinking about establishing paternity and the majority of women are thinking about their partners‘ ability to support a child when deciding whether or not to engage in sex. (Helgeson, 2012, p. 114)

In der Tat ist der Unterschied zwischen dem Grund für die Selektion der Gene, die ein bestimmtes Verhalten bewirken, und den tatsächlichen Zielen der Menschen für viele Kritiker schwer zu verstehen. Menschen wollen nicht das „Ziel“ einer Evolution erreichen, sie können vollkommen davon unabhängige bewußte Ziele haben und dennoch nach diesen Kriterien selektiert worden sein.

Natürlich ist Fortpflanzung etwas, was in einem starken Zusammenhang mit Evolution und damit auch mit der Selektion aller Lebewesen steht. Aber das bedeutet nicht, dass Menschen bewusst Fortpflanzung betreiben wollen müssen. Es reichte vollkommen aus, sie mit einem Sexualtrieb zu versehen, dessen Befriedigung Nachwuchs zur Folge hatte.

E8) Mechanical Demonstration. The assertion that if a scholar lacks knowledge of the specific proximate mechanism(s) contributing to a behavior, then that scholar is unable to legitimately make any claims about the evolutionary function of the behavior. For example, the claim that sex differences in cognition cannot have an evolutionary basis because the precise genes, neurotransmitters, and evolutionary pressures giving rise to them are not perfectly understood.

R8) It is, of course, desirable to have perfect knowledge of all of the physiological, genetic, and historical components of a hypothesized adaptation, but this is not necessary to make informed hypotheses about human adaptations. George Williams (1966) developed rigorous criteria for evaluating adaptations (reliability, efficiency, and economy) and these criteria can be used for evaluating evident design features of humans (e.g., the eye, opposable thumbs, fever) without knowing the precise physiological basis of the adaptation in question (see also Buss, 1999; Tooby and Cosmides, 1992). We also note that scholars using non-evolutionary perspectives routinely and fruitfully advance hypotheses about the causes of behavior without providing a comprehensive account of all mechanisms involved in the causal pathway.

Textbook Example: Evolutionary psychologists fail to specify the biological mechanisms from evolution to behavior. Their basic arguments are that evolution occurred over millions of years and, voila, we have a certain pattern of gender differences in the 21st century. But evolution can act only through genes, and genes influence behavior because they direct the synthesis of certain proteins and not others, leading to differing levels of biochemicals such as neurotransmitters or hormones. This is the era of the Human Genome Project, in which specific genes that create specific medical conditions and behaviors are being identified. Evolutionary psychology has failed to incorporate this work, and fails to specify which genes and biochemicals are responsible for the patterns of gender differences that they claim have evolved. (Hyde and Else-Quest, 2013, p. 35)

Ein „Argument aus Unwissenheit“, die allerdings in vielen Fällen noch nicht einmal wirkliche Unsicherheit ist. Wir mögen insoweit noch nicht immer genau verstehen, was biologisch abläuft, aber wir haben zumindest Vorstellungen und Modelle davon. Es ist insoweit der Versuch immer weiter in die Tiefe zu gehen, irgendwann auf ein „das können wir noch nicht genau erklären“ zu stoßen und damit zu unrecht die ganze Theorie als widerlegt oder falsch oder nicht vertretbar abzulehnen. Natürlich können auch die sozialen Theorien nicht genau erklären, warum ein Mensch Geschlechterrollen folgt und wie dieser Unterordnungsprozess unter die Rolle genau abläuft, aber da werden solche Kriterien dann nicht angewendet.

An der Studie sind als Anhang Fehler in der Darstellung aus verschiedenen „Genderbüchern“, etwa Kimmel oder Connell, dargestellt, die interessant zu lesen sind.