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Evolutionary Psychology Tall Tales from New Scientist

An article titled “Human Nature: New rules for an old game” was carried in the May 24, 2003, edition of New Scientist magazine. The paper was most interesting from the point of view of revealing the inconsistencies to which evolutionists” errors and their blind devotion thereto have led them. The article contained an interview with Sarah Blaffer Hrdy, emeritus professor of anthropology from University of California. Unquestioning support for evolution was apparent right from the first question: “How have our views of primate behaviour changed over the past few decades?”

A reader seeing this question in New Scientist might well form the impression that the origin of human behaviour lay in that of the primates who allegedly represent our evolutionary ancestors. The question refers to evolution in a manner which leaves no room for doubt.

Yet this picture is misleading. The theory of evolution is not even capable of accounting for the so-called biological evolution of man. Its accounts of human behaviour are nothing more than tall tales, with no scientific content at all. (For detailed information see Harun Yahya, Darwinism Refuted, “The Origin of Man”,

Evolutionary Psychology: A Discipline As Unscientific As Fortunetelling

Throughout the interview Hrdy draws a parallel between primates and human behaviour, claiming that certain behaviour peculiar to human beings is a legacy from man”s so-called primate ancestors. Evolutionists have invented a new discipline called evolutionary psychology in order to show that forms of human behaviour are a result of evolution. Unable even to account for biological human evolution, evolutionists make claims in the field of evolutionary psychology which are just as fantastical and unscientific as those of biological evolution. These claims, described as “just so stories” by many scientists, are an important component of evolutionary propaganda. (*) The claim, for instance, that “Dinosaurs opened and closed their front legs when hunting insects, thanks to which they evolved into winged birds,” which can be found in almost all biology text books, is just one such example. The article in New Scientist is another example of extrapolations based on wishful thinking and imagination. Evolutionists seek to give the impression with these imaginary scenarios that evolution is a scientific fact which explains all areas of human life.

As well as being unscientific, the claims made by evolutionary psychologists are also dangerous from the point of view of the degeneration of societal moral values and human behaviour. This discipline, which equates human behaviour with that of animals, portrays a number of poor moral values as justified and reasonable. They claim that jealousy, aggression, homosexuality, cheating and a great many other vices are “natural” behaviour seen in our animal ancestors, and that these are a genetic inheritance passed on by those ancestors. Even infanticide is whitewashed by some evolutionists, like Steve Pinker. According to this fallacy, people must not be condemned for such behaviour, nor regarded as guilty of anything, since such flawed behaviour is a “law of nature.”

One encounters several such examples in New Scientist article. For example, Hrdy makes the following statement concerning maternal behaviour:

When I published The Woman That Never Evolved, I expanded the argument that females might try to mate with a number of males to confuse paternity, and that this might apply in humans as well. The idea was not well received. For example, Don Symons, who wrote the key work The Evolution of Human Sexuality, said in an essay called “Another woman that never existed” that this simply could not have been part of our evolutionary heritage. His reasoning was that a human female needs investment from a husband to provide for her and help her raise her extremely costly infant.

Of course I agree that human females need a lot of help, but I envision mothers as resourceful opportunists who elicit help from a range of different parties. Many aspects of women”s personalities are about just this eliciting support. But Symons was assuming that that kind of help was only going to come from a husband certain of his paternity, otherwise, he believed, no male would invest…

These statements basically summarise evolutionists” view of humans. The above quote contains the very different views of two evolutionists, both of whom describe mothers as opportunistic and looking out for their own interests. There is no doubt that a great many people do think in that way. However, it poses a grave threat to society”s moral values to say that such poor values are behaviour shared with primates, for which reason they are necessary in the fight for survival. A great number of present-day high school and university psychology courses speak of the so-called evolutionary origin of human behaviour and such behavioural flaws inherited from animals. There is no doubt that when behaviour and character defects which should be condemned and criticised by society as a whole are described by people bearing the title of scientist as “normal behaviour under the law of nature” this will have a negative effect on a large part of that society.

In describing human behaviour, it is as if evolutionary psychologists are referring to the behaviour which animals exhibit instinctively. The fact is, though, that human beings possess reason, conscience and free will. Every human being knows how to be self-interested, selfish and aggressive, and that benefits can accrue from that. However, a great many people use their free will and conscience and do not display such behaviour; but are rather self-sacrificing, loyal and gentle. In other words, aggressive and badly behaved people are so not because they have inherited this from their animal ancestors but because they fail to use their conscience and free will to aviod immorality.

Even some evolutionists do not accept the claims made by evolutionary psychology, describing them as “fairy tales” or “comic stories.” For instance, despite being an evolutionist Jerry A. Coyne from University of Chicago, has described evolutionary psychology”s claim to explain everything as “megalomania” and said the following in an article called “The Fairy Tales of Evolutionary Psychology”:

The problem is that evolutionary psychology suffers from the scientific equivalent of megalomania. Most of its adherents are convinced that virtually every human action or feeling, including depression, homosexuality, religion, and consciousness, was put directly into our brains by natural selection. In this view, evolution becomes the key–the only key–that can unlock our humanity. (Coyne, Jerry A. [Department of Ecology and Evolution, University of Chicago], “The fairy tales of evolutionary psychology.” Review of “A Natural History of Rape: Biological Bases of Sexual Coercion,” by Randy Thornhill & Craig T. Palmer, MIT Press, 2000, The New Republic, March 4, 2000.)

Professor of Genetics Gabriel Dover describes evolutionists” capacity to tell tall tales in all fields thus:

This problem of just-so story telling… runs much deeper and wider, embracing many new disciplines of evolutionary psychology, Darwinian medicine, linguistics, biological ethics and sociobiology. Here quite vulgar explanations are offered, based on the crudest applications of selection theory, of why we humans are the way we are. There seems no aspect of our psychological make-up that does not receive its supposed evolutionary explanation. (Gabriel Dover, “Dear Mr Darwin: Letters on the Evolution of Life and Human Nature” [1999], University of California Press, Berkeley CA, 2000, p. 45)

Tim Birkhead, professor of behaviour ecology in Sheffield University says this in a criticism of evolutionary psychology:

With very little effort needing to be made, evolutionary psychology will be left as a theoretical entertainment instead of a true science. (Coyne, Jerry A. “Of Vice and Men: The fairy tales of evolutionary psychology,” The New Republic, April 3, 2000)

Hrdy”s Fruit Fly Tall Tale

One of the questions put to Hrdy was this:

It looks as if there is a battle between the quality mode, in which the female insists on rearing quality offspring, and the quantity mode, in which the male insists on making many offspring. Is there a way out?

Hrdy replies by citing a study on Drosophila fruit flies:

The [drosophila] males are very polygynous… They increase their own reproductive success by releasing toxic molecules in their seminal fluid along with the sperm, a potion that increases the chance that their sperm will inseminate the female. But these molecules are so toxic that even though they increase the chance that the female will produce young soon, over cumulative matings the poisons significantly shorten her life. Rice and Holland”s brilliant if draconian experiment was to impose monogamy: for 44 generations each male could breed with only one female, and each female with only one male. Guess what happened? After 44 generations, the sperm ceased to be toxic. Monogamous male drosophila were forced into reinventing the Talmudic injunctions “Love your wife as yourself and honour her more.”

The change observed in that experiment was one in the biology of the seminal fluid produced by the flies. After 44 generations, sperm began to be produced without poisons. This is not a product of “philosophy” as Hrdy maintains. The poison produced in the sperm depends on a specific chemical formula. To claim that this poison was eliminated from the sperm at the will of the male means accepting that this poison is also produced at the will of the male, which is a claim devoid of any scientific and logical foundation. Everyone knows that living things do not produce secretions in their bodies by deciding to do so. A male fly cannot know the chemistry of the poison which will increase the fertility of female flies, and it cannot produce it of its own volition. Furthermore, flies are bereft of any features such as consciousness or emotion, and behave in accordance with their instincts. They cannot, as Hrdy would have us believe, possess any philosophies. These are parts of the “just so stories” related by evolutionists. It is clear that they have no scientific and logical foundation.


The claims reported in New Scientist consist of unscientific fantasies by a researcher who believes, because of her ideological tendencies, that man evolved from ape like ancestors. Our advice to New Scientist is to abandon these evolutionary psychology claims, which have no scientific value, and also to renounce its blind support for Darwinism.

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