Lately within the MGTOW community there has been some debate over the validity of evo-psych. I figured I would weigh in on this subject with the disclaimer that I have not, at this point, watched the various videos that have sprung up on the subject. This is intentional, since I believe that it helps me to reach outside of the box conclusions more often when I don’t know what anyone else has been saying on the subject. The following then, should be considered nothing more than a stream of consciousness, one in which arguments that may have already been raised and discarded may make an appearance, and in which preliminary ideas that may even be contradictory may be expressed. Consider this an off-the-cuff “freestyle” if you will.
So one thing I want to stress is that because a science or a scientific theory is not completely falsifiable, this does not mean that it is not a theory worth pursuing, there are many theories that we take as fact and extend validity to that are fundamentally untestable, but are backed up by so much mathematics and similar but not identical experimentation that it is taken as credible. An example of this is the big bang theory. We have laws of physics that explain how matter interacts in the universe on the quantum and macro scale and other physics models detailing forces, gravity, the weak nuclear force etc, that tell us how matter should have acted in the first billionths of a second following the big bang. We observe the cosmic microwave background, we observe the fact that galaxies appear to be moving away from each other at rapid speed, and thus we arrive at a conclusion given all of this evidence that the big bang occurred some 13.7 billion years ago. However, the question remains as to how one actually tests this claim. Can we take all matter in the known universe and concentrate it down into a single infinitesimal point and observe it right before it explodes?
Generating The sheer amount of energy required to do this if its even possible is, of course, beyond the technological capabilities of human beings and likely beyond the capabilities of anything human beings will evolve into in the future. Even if we could take all of the matter in the universe and restructure it into something that would simulate the big bang perfectly, this would require the decomposition of the atomic arrangements that make up every human being, including all of the heavier elements that make up a human being. Carbon, Phosphorus etc. would have to be reverse engineered back to hydrogen, and even the hydrogen itself would have to eventually be turned back into whatever existed before hydrogen in whatever existed before the big bang. This renders human observation completely impossible because the heavier elements that make up human beings technically wouldn’t exist and even if they did somehow, they would certainly not be arranged in such a way that it would make up billions of humans beings capable of observing the big bang from within the preexisting conditions before the big bang.
So the best we can do is to simply exist as “conscious” matter that eventually formed as a result of the big bang, interacting with other matter in our particle accelerators, tinkering around and attempting to smash together particles in such a way that closely simulates the conditions immediately following the big bang. And yet, there is enough theory, enough mathematics, enough controlled particle acceleration and enough of an understanding of physics to allow us to tell ourselves that we have a pretty good amount of information that tells us, this is how the big bang likely happened. So we believe it and we accept it.
The theory of evolutionary psychology is very similar in this regard, although I concede that the degree to which the theory of evolution is untestable is much more pronounced than that of the big bang in some aspects. The main aspect of un-falsifiability surrounds the fact that evo-psych is not something as simple as to be encapsulated in a elegant mathematical equation. Technically it is, but we certainly do not have the means to devise this equation. If we are all just matter, and the various arrangements of matter that human beings take creates this set of behaviors that we understand to be consciousness, then every interaction of matter and thus consciousness could theoretically be accounted for and predicted, all we would have to know is exactly what consciousness is and its relationship to the way physical matter is orientated in space.
So the proper statement is that evolutionary psychology isn’t unfalsifiable, but it is instead un-testable with the technology that we currently have available to us. In order to test evolutionary psychology, we would need several things, The understanding of the relationship between consciousness and matter I described earlier, a planet identical to earth in every way, 13 or so billion years, and a computational device capable of measuring all of the variables at play in the development of life on this identical planet. This device would also have the ability to make sense of and compile 13 billion years of data, if we had that, we could pinpoint exactly why the matter in the earliest forms of life did what it did in reaction to its environment, and continue this process until we could pinpoint exactly when the matter that made up life began to develop consciousness and instinct. We could then tease out when proto human beings started experiencing this consciousness, and given our complete understanding of the relationship between consciousness and matter, we could start to tease out in a definitive way, what evolutionary forces developed our current human psychology.
This is, again, simply not possible for our species technologically speaking at this point in time. But there is a human nature and a human psychology that has been formed over the course of this 13.7 billion year journey that has resulted in our species as well as, of course, the known universe and all of the life contained therein. It is our anthro-centric hubris that allows us to believe otherwise, we are the sum total of constant rearrangements of matter in the form of genetic mutations interacting with the environment, which is just another level of constantly rearranging matter itself.
In this constant flux of matter rearrangement we observe patterns, arrangements of matter that make up human beings, which replicate other human beings. Our behaviors, which again, are dictated by some sort of relationship between matter and consciousness should then be definitively relatable in some way to that relationship, and thus our brains, which are responsible for our psychology has also been molded in an ordered way by 13.7 billion years of atomic rearrangement.
We call this eternal dance of atomic rearrangement “evolution” specifically when dealing with the rearrangements of matter that create biological organisms. This validates, the concept of evolutionary psychology and solely the concept. There is such a thing as human nature based in evolutionary psychology, that, I believe is the reality. Another beast entirely is the the science of evolutionary psychology, the science of evolutionary psychology represents the sum total of thoughts that our species has had regarding this process of 13.7 billion years of matter rearrangement, and how that constant rearrangement of matter culminated in bipedal apes who’s biological imperative is to replicate itself, over and over again. I wish to make a clear distinction between the concept or occurrence of an evolutionary process that must have resulted in a human species that has an essential nature molded by reproductive drives, and our attempts to understand that process which I refer to as the science of evolutionary psychology.
In order to attempt to bridge the gap between the concept of evopsych and the science of evopsych, or I should say in order to attempt to know the difference, is to speculate, given our knowledge of this 13.7 billion year process, as well the question as to how the arrangements of matter that make up conscious human beings have been influenced by this constant biological imperative to replicate ourselves in a way that maintains this elusive thing, this mysterious thing we know as “consciousness”.
That last part was philosophical speculation on my part, but I do believe that we seek to replicate consciousness, specifically the arrangement of matter that allows for it, instead of simply reproducing organic flesh and organs. We fear diseases like Alzheimer’s disease, because on a sub-conscious level, we know that it is the degradation of the arrangement of matter that has allowed us to have the experience that we know as consciousness into an arrangement of matter that no longer will allow us to feel that, or to an arrangement of matter that only allows us the type of drastically reduced consciousness that is relatable to dementia or a vegetative state.
We fear, ultimately, the permanent decomposition of the unique arrangement of matter that makes us, us, that is death. The matter, given that it is indestructible, that made up our bodies will remain forever, or at least until some sort of reverse big bang knocks off a few electrons in the carbon atoms that make us up, but this could take a trillion years, if it even happens at all. The universe could simply expand infinitely into an inevitable icy death, spreading out all the matter in existence over such a massive scale that each atom that ever bonded to another atom would be separated by a distance of light years, or perhaps the universe and matter are infinite, perhaps there are multiple universes and the arrangement of matter that made up every human being to ever exist will one day happen again, and again and again for eternity, who knows?
I acknowledge fully and completely that I could be completely wrong about all of this, or completely right, or partially right, but I don’t have the tools or the intellectual capacity to prove any of it. Here’s the kicker, neither does anyone who says that evo-psych is nonsense, so we stick to what we know, or at least what we think we know, that after an initial big bang event, matter has been rearranging itself as per the dictates of mysterious forces such as what we’ve decided to call gravity, the weak and strong nuclear forces and electromagnetism, the four fundamental forces as they’re referred to in physics, and that this process has culminated in arrangements of matter that call themselves conscious human beings.
Given this information, we can theoretically conclude that there is, again, a conceptual basis for evolutionary psychology. The fact that we understand, to a reasonable degree that there is some type of ordered process taking place that has lead to matter creating conscious apes, and that any process where consciousness and ordered systems are relatable will also conclude in an essential nature of that consciousness, an essential human nature, should also lead us to conclude that there exists an essential human psychology. If there exists an essential human psychology, and there are two types of humans, male and female, we can also conclude that there is an essential male psychology that co-evolved alongside an essential female psychology.
What I mean to say is that the fact that we can not measure the progression of evolution and thus the progression of human consciousness with any degree of exactitude, does not discount the existence of an evolutionary progression of events that is relatable to human psychology. It is said that the game of poker is a derivative of the Persian game of As-Nas, which very well may be a derivative of something else.
I do not know the history of chance base card games, but i’m willing to speculate that we have had something resembling poker going back hundreds, maybe even thousands of years. If you imagine two human beings that lived 700 years ago playing some type of proto-poker, you could imagine that they would think that this game was, for the most part a random one, that although some strategy could be employed, it was mostly a luck of the draw thing. Then a few centuries go by and the human species starts to develop the science of mathematical statistical analysis, by the time we get to the 1970’s we have developed science that has allowed what was once a game that was universally believed to be mostly random, to be mastered by a bunch of twenty something MIT students implementing an ordered process of card counting.
Meaning that at one point, the two humans playing their proto-poker seven centuries ago did not have the computational and scientific theory necessary to reach the understanding that there is much more order than we would think surrounding these seemingly chance based card games, thus they likely concluded that the degree of randomness was much higher than it actually was. The fact remains however that the degree of randomness was fixed, it was the science of the time, that was lacking. It was the continual application of speculative reasoning, that allowed us to eventually discover the increased amount of predictability surrounding these games.
The two players, seven hundred years ago, not having the science to know if the game could be proven to be a lot less random than they could prove it to be at the time, nonetheless used speculative reasoning to deduce that it must follow some type of order, that there’s a set number of variables, and thus a set number of outcomes. They knew this intrinsically but eventually acquiesced to the fact that they didn’t have the tools necessary to prove it completely, so they left it alone, but that inkling and that suspicion persisted in the conscious of human beings. It didn’t go away, and we used these simplistic and obvious conditions, that is that theres a set number of variables and a set number of outcomes to speculate until eventually we advanced our understanding enough to definitively prove it.
Informed hypothetical speculation, that’s what we do with evopsych in my opinion. We do not have the tools to map out exactly how we evolved and exactly how this process has shaped our innate nature, but we have used what we do know, the fact that we have determined existence to be the sum total of a constant rearrangement of matter, as a basis for concluding that there must be an essential human nature. Since we cannot conclusively prove the exact process and thus the exact essence of the end result of it, we are left with evo-psych, which is speculative reasoning based in the fact that we know an evolutionary process has happened, but that we lack the technology to spell out exactly how it has happened, we then develop a hodgepodge of useful assumptions that are based on what we know must have happened.
We work backwards from there, trying to tease out some semblance of understanding from a set of conditions that may only be partially understandable. And yes, this creates an environment where conclusions may be reached that are either correct, partially correct or partially incorrect however you wish to phrase it, or even completely incorrect, but these speculations are not useless. They are in fact extremely important, and potentially critical if we want to one day develop theories that allow us to understand evopsych at a level that we once thought impossible.
In it’s essential nature, science involves simple observation of your environment, and formulation of a hypothesis about things you’ve observed in your environment, followed then by testing to rule out or support your hypothesis. We have observed the environment and, for the most part, have concluded that we’ve evolved through this process of natural selection which again is a simple ordered and constant rearrangement of matter. We beleive evolution to be a factual accounting of how our species got here. Now we’re left with the daunting task of teasing out the possible ways this process has shaped us in the psychological sense, but we barely understand our psychology, because we barely understand our consciousness, so we are left with a period where informed speculation is not only necessary, but likely the only real option we currently have at our disposal.
This informed speculation (evo-psych) should not be done away with simply because we can at this point only partially test them at best, since this is the point where the speculation forms the fertile top soil where increased understanding can potentially come from. So then, at this point we are left with the possibility that our exploration into evo-psych proceeds from a false premise, but with the knowledge that this process of speculation is simply a progression of understanding. Our descendants may look back on what we’re doing now with evo-psych and in comparison to what they understand in their time, look upon our understanding of it with an almost alchemical quality, perhaps they’ll say we were trying to transmute a golden conceptualization out of the base metals found in the theory of evolution, but perhaps they will also look back and say, “look they were onto something here, they had an inkling of what was the case here and here and there, and this inkling eventually flourished into what we understand to be the case now”.
Another possibility is that we will never have the capacity to completely understand the evolutionary forces and variables that shaped us, that we’re relegated by the forces of nature or God to exist just under the cusp of an ability to understand our own capabilities of understanding. Whatever the case may be, I do not consider it a fruitless endeavor to continue a study of evolutionary psychology or even to erect a framework that potentially proceeds from a false premise or two surrounding evolutionary psychology, so long as that premise arises from an understanding that an essential human nature must have coalesced in this thirteen billion year process of evolution.
Therefore, in regards to gender, I simply do not think it is possible that men and women have evolved such different morphology, with one gender developing a penis and the other a vagina and the reproductive systems that accompany them both, while developing absolutely no differences in behavior and psychology whatsoever. What we have to understand then, is that when different groups of human beings are under selective pressures from the environment, the random genetic mutations that those human beings pass on when they reproduce are going to be either deselected or selected by the environment. That’s simple enough to grasp, but if it can be definitively observed that women have a more developed Corpus Callosum than men, or that men have a significantly larger Inferior parietal lobule or that women have a more robust deep limbic system, then it becomes safe to conclude that due to the fact that we know there are anatomical differences in the brains of men and women, it is likely that there are also innate behavioral differences as well. I’ve just never understood how we can conclude that because of this or that bit of neurology that many serial killers lack it’s safe to conclude that they lack emotions as complex or misunderstood as empathy, but once it’s shown that men and women have demonstrable differences in brain anatomy we strain ourselves to downplay this in hopes of what I can only guess is not hurting women’s feelings?
Brain anatomy, and differences in brain anatomy are poorly understood, nobody is denying this, but I don’t believe that they are so completely misunderstood such that no conclusions can be drawn. Therefore any conclusions that we reach regarding the anatomical differences between gender or even race or even individuals should be explored, but never used to sub-humanize any race or gender or individual. That I think, is a fair and beneficial way to use evo-psych, and we should not throw away the possibility that these anatomical differences, can very well help us to understand a lot of our behavioral differences to varying degrees, even if we can never fully understand them.
I can pose the argument that we can look at other species and argue that a chimpanzee has an essential “nature”, and that male and female chimpanzees have also evolved essential natures and proclivities based off of their gender. I could theorize that this means that human beings must also have essential natures, that there must be essential female and male nature present in human beings as well, but this could be rebutted by saying that human beings are the only animal capable of the type of sentience that we have, thus any comparison to other members of the animal kingdom are rendered useless because of this fact.
So… a key question worth asking is as follows; when does it become possible for human beings to speciate, and if humans ever did speciate would these two branches of hominids have definitively different “natures” given that they both came from the only known organism that possesses this advanced type of sentience?
I recently read an article saying that when we finally colonize mars, the fact that mars has one third the gravity of earth as well as other factors could, given enough time, change the descendants of the colonizers of mars into a new hominid species altogether, distinct from Homo sapiens sapiens. The first new generations of martians would resemble a highly exaggerated version of our first ancestors that left the African continent that went on to develop European or Asian genetics after long term generational exposure to different environments, the first generation of martians would develop a different bone density throughout their lives due to the decreased gravity, and those humans that had the genetics best suited towards adapting under an environment that causes low bone density would be more likely to reproduce, this would continue until it bled into the social and cultural fabric of the subsequent martian generations, martian sports would account for lower bone density and lower gravitational pull, martian circadian rhythms would adapt as well.
The fact that one mars year is 687 days long as opposed to our 365 day earth year would result in cultural practices in tune not with the earthen solstices, but instead with those of the martian planet, and eventually the martian humans brains, after enough martian genetics were passed down would become neurologically wired to the 687 day year and the martian seasons in some unforeseen way. Martian women and martian men would eventually interact differently than men and women on Earth do seemingly naturally. Anyway these are just a bunch of thoughts that I’ve been meaning to get out surrounding this topic. To conclude, I do not think evo-psych should be discarded and will continue to use it even though I acknowledge that it is an imperfect model, but more sufficient I believe than a model which relies solely on social or environmental explanations for human behavior.