The Evolutionary Psychology FAQ

Edward H. Hagen, Institute for Theoretical Biology, Berlin

Is evolutionary psychology a form of Social Darwinism?

No! As explained above in the section on racism, the evolutionary psychology theoretical framework strongly suggests that all individuals possess essentially identical adaptations, cognitive or otherwise. However, social hierarchies appear to be ubiquitous in both human and non-human social groups. How do they arise if all individuals possess the same capabilities? These capabilities can be degraded or enhanced by age, sex, access to social and material resources, injury, disease, birth defects, etc.--the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune. The fact that social hierarchies exist, and that evolutionary theory may help explain why, in no way justifies their existence, nor does it validate any particular ranking of individuals. Evolutionary psychology is not a moral framework! It is a framework for understanding human nature.

Copyright 1999-2002 Edward H. Hagen