Considerable debate has surrounded the question of the origins of evolutionary storytelling. One proposal views evolutionary storytelling as an adaptation for cooperation, whereas an alternative proposal views evolutionary storytelling as a by-product of evolved, non-storytelling, cognitive functions. We critically evaluate each approach, explore the link between storytelling and mendacity in particular, and argue that recent empirical work in the history of mythology provides stronger support for the by-product approach. Specifically, despite differences in mythological background, individuals show no difference in the pattern of their preference for unfamiliar mythological scenarios in particular, and level of mendacity in general. These findings suggest that evolutionary storytelling evolved from pre-existing mythology and proclivity toward mendacity, but that it may then have been subject to selection, creating an adaptively designed system for solving the classic problem of looking in the mirror.
Monday, February 8, 2010
Important New Paper on Evolutionary Explanation
Evolutionist Marc Hauser has an important new paper on: The Origins of Evolutionary Storytelling: Evolved Adaptation or By-Product? The work is, as usual, extremely sophisticated and complex. As a service, here is a summary of the research and findings, without all the big words: