Review of The Evolution of Desire – David Buss

Por Vitor Grando

I’ve finished my first reading of 2016: The Evolution of Desire  written by the evolutionary psychologist David Buss.

Buss appears in that famous norwegian documentary series Brainwash, whose episode The Paradox of Equality became specially popular and has thrown a bomb on the norwegian progressists and their social-construcivists theses, according to which the human mind is nothing more than a social construction. We are born as a blank slate and it is our culture that imposes upon us what we will turn out to be. This, obviously, includes our concepts of man and woman. No one is born a man or a woman, but we become a man or a woman, they say.

The Evolution of DesireEvolutionary psychology is the psychological discipline that tries to understand the human mind in light of the evolutionary process that has formed it. If we are to admit that we are a product of a lengthy evolutionary process, it becomes obvious that the pressures of the natural selection have imprinted on our minds certain natural predispositions that works as biological limits to cultural influence. Evolutionary psychology does not say that everything is biology. It just reminds social-constructivist that we are also biological beings and, therefore, we can not ignore biology.

Having stated this, when we consider the selective pressures on the course of the evolution of man and woman, we realize that those pressures were absolutely different. This – sorry, progressists – has made fundamentally different genders. That’s just the way it is.

For example, man is attracted specially to the youth and beauty of the female; the woman is attracted specially to those characteristics what makes a man able to provide for her and her offspring. Why is that? Because those are the characteristics the indicate a higher reproductive potential.

Beauty and youth indicates good genes and reproductive potencial, that’s why men are attracted to these characteristics. Now, material resources and specially those characteristics that indicative a potential to gather many resources: ambition, dependability, proactivity, confidence, leadership, etc are the characteristics that makes women attracted to, because those characteristics indicated in the course of our evolutionary history who could better guarantee the future of her offspring. Beauty, says Buss, may be in the eyes of the beholder, but those eys and the minds behind the eyes have been shaped by millions of years of human evolution.

What makes it specially interisting is that you don’t necessarily need to believe in evolutionism to make use of evolutionary psychology against the social-constructivist. What matters is that the majority of them believes that the human being is a product of this process and all we need to do is to force them to face the implications of their own beliefs so as to show their dogmatism, fanaticism, anti-scientificism and all those criticism that they keep accusing religious believers and conservatives of.

You have to hypotheses of how the human nature where made. Or (1) God has created us as we are now or (2) we were shaped in the course of million of years of selective pressures (having God guided this process or not). In both ways, we have to admit that Nature (or God, if you wish) imposed restrictions to the cultural influences upon us.

If you want to understand why do men act as men and why do women act as women and why each gender has different mating strategies and different points of view on sexuality, The Evolution of Desire is a good start.

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