Izawwlgood wrote:But isn't there an ample body of proof indicating some of these behavioral trends exist? The canonical step fathers being aggressive towards step children, or women being more likely to have orgasms with men who have symmetrical faces?
These aren't proof of anything. These are phenomenon, which would be explained
by a theory - not proof of a theory.
Making up a theory and using the phenomenon you want to explain
with the theory as evidence
of the theory is one of the many errors these very studies have committed.
Izawwlgood wrote:But what about the burden of disproving it? Like Indon said, bad science doesn't necessarily mean false, and what of all the theories that are sound but not yet proven?
They aren't necessarily true, either, and just because a theory sounds
nice doesn't make it any more likely to be true - in fact, sometimes the facts are outright counterintuitive (physical science example: non-determinism).
In fact, there might even be a part of our mindset which is genetically inclined
to look for that kind of innate explanation for behavior (I actually half-jokingly brought this point up earlier in the thread - while it was in a humorous format, it's just as valid as any other 'sound theory' in evo psych) that might be biasing us all.
mosc wrote:Yeah, I agree that the links are clearly there, we just haven't done the GOOD science enough yet to really find out what they are and how significant they are.
I don't think anything's clear about this - if it were, it wouldn't be so easy to screw it up like others have done.
Human behavior is not an easy or simple subject, and it is certainly not
one that we can or should rely on our intuition to assist us with.
But I'm sick of talking about how easy it is to screw this up! Let's talk about how to do it right
, for God's sake!
So I'll get the ball rolling.
I propose this requirement that an evolutionary psychology paper should meet before it should be published.Make (at least) one prediction based on the hypothesis and test it, demonstrating the test data in the paper
When you throw together some studies, you're demonstrating a phenomenon
- this is not evidence for your hypothesis, this is what you want to explain with your hypothesis. You must, with your hypothesis, make a prediction based on it, test it, and provide that
Preferably, pick a prediction that a major competing theory wouldn't also make, so you can distinguish your theories and your hypothesis doesn't look like a String Theory.Example
Hypothesis: That men, genetically, manifest riskier behavior than women as a mating display.
Observed data: Men manifest riskier behavior when women are present, but not when other men are present.
Prediction: That homosexual
men would manifest riskier behavior when other men
are present, and not
when women are present.
You could also make a similar prediction about bisexual men - and if data on both were consistent with your hypothesis, then it just became a theory worthy of ink.