Why social science needs evolutionary theory


EXCERPT: . . . Evolution has shaped the human body, but it also shaped the human brain, so evolutionary principles are indispensable for understanding our psychology. Yet many students, teachers, and even social scientists struggle to see how our evolutionary history significantly shapes our cognition and behavior today. “Learning” and “culture” do not explain behavior so completely that turning to ideas from evolution is unnecessary. The lack of willingness to view human cognition and behavior as within the purview of evolutionary processes has prevented evolution from being fully integrated into the social science curriculum.

[...] Applying evolutionary theory to social science has the potential to transform education and, through it, society. For example, evolutionary perspectives can help social scientists understand, and eventually address, common social problems. Schoolyard bullying provides one example. Without an evolutionary understanding of the phenomenon, interventions are likely to be ineffective, since they misdiagnose the causes of bullying. Bullying is not merely negative interpersonal behavior; it’s goal-oriented and serves the social function of gaining status and prestige for the bully, which must be understood to combat it. For example, bullying often occurs in front of an audience, suggesting that social attention drives, and may reinforce, the behavior. A 2015 paper suggests most interventions don’t work because they remove the rewards of bullying—increased social status—without offering any alternatives. The researchers recommend that the esteem bullies seek “should be borne in mind when engineering interventions” designed to either decrease a bully’s social status or channel the bully’s social motivations to better ends. A deep understanding of the evolved functions of bullying, in short, provides a fulcrum for potential remedies....

MORE: http://nautil.us/blog/why-social-science...ary-theory
Evolution entails things social scientists just don't want to admit...likely because it undermines their political motives and biases. Gender differences and the largely immutable nature of humans chief among them.

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