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Evolution, genetics & behavior

Gene ExpressionBy Razib KhanFebruary 23, 2010 6:17 PM


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Two posts for your consideration. On the Less Wrong weblog, Babies and Bunnies: A Caution About Evo-Psych. I am not one to make blanket dismissals of "evolutionary psychology." But, there are structural problems with the strong incentives toward generating hypotheses at the equipoise of novelty and intuitive plausibility. In other words, much of the evo-psych which penetrates the broader public mindspace is driven by demand-side forces. Over at EconLog Bryan Caplan has a post, Born Gay, where the newly famous Ryan Sorba is shown to be pretty close to a total behavior genetics denialist. Until they find the "gay gene" Sorba & company will reject the behavior genetics findings. Unfortunately, if the "gay gene" hasn't been found yet, we might have to a wait a while (i.e., probably not a common variant of large effect). It would be nice to do a survey of the rejection of specific behavior genetic results as a function of ideological differences. The is-ought problem doesn't seem to be a problem for most people; it seems a background assumption, so that what is is actually back-derived from what ought to be.

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