Sunday, May 31, 2009

Behavior Problems

In attempting to explain behavior, evolution has become dramatically more complex in recent decades. Love, hate, deception, cheating, suspicion … the list of nuanced behaviors evolution now explains goes on and on. And the explanations are rather incredible. Children use temper tantrums, for instance, to manipulate parents. Parents countered this with the ability to discern and children, in turn, refined their manipulation with heartfelt whining. All a result of the complexities of natural selection. Such highly detailed, elaborate, speculation has raised evolution’s legendary just-so stories to a new level.

But speculation on steroids is not the only problem with today’s version of evolution. As is often the case, though evolutionists are convinced their theory is a fact they can’t quite figure out how it works. This leads to competing hypotheses which, in this case, deal with the different levels at which natural selection may work. Is natural selection more important at the level of the individual and family or the group and society?

The theory is in disarray, but evolutionists remain as confident as ever. Here is what one evolution said this week about new research supporting one hypothesis:

Inclusive fitness is the thing. It's a powerful way to think about the world and a powerful way to model the world.

It is true these hypotheses can model a variety or behaviors, but such explanations also raise profound problems for evolution.