Steven Pinker’s Advice To The Next Generation Of Evolutionary Psychologists Post: October 1, 2013 4:58 pm Author: David Sloan Wilson
Excerpt: He calls for more integration with evolutionary genetics and more generally the fully rounded approach associated with Nobel Laureate Niko Tinbergen, who stressed that all evolved traits should be studied from functional, mechanistic, developmental and phylogenetic perspectives.
My comment: Post: October 17 2013 5:16 am
Natural selection is touted as the only scientific explanation for WHY an animal’s behavior is usually well adapted for survival and reproduction in its environment.
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are nonprotein-coding RNA molecules that regulate gene expression post-transcriptionally by targeting specific sequences in messenger RNAs (mRNAs), which leads to translational suppression or mRNA degradation.
Steven Pinker suggests in this interview that our language ability should be approached from what is currently known about genetics and the functionally conserved molecular mechanisms that link the sensory environment to adaptively evolved behaviors during their development.
Given Tinbergen’s 4 questions and Pinker’s perspective on integrating evolutionary genetics, the question arises: How does social context alter the microRNA/messenger RNA balance to result in natural selection for the development of bird song and human language?
In my model, the epigenetic effects of olfactory/pheromonal input on hormone-organized and hormone-activated vertebrate behavior establish the underlying adaptively evolved dynamics that lead from ecological, social, neurogenic, and socio-cognitive niche construction in song birds to human language abilities.
How else can evolutionary genetics be used to answer Tinbergen’s four questions in the context of evolutionary psychology (i.e., WHY an animal’s behavior is usually well adapted for survival and reproduction in its environment).
In the past 86 years, no experimental evidence of cause and effect has supported the concept of mutation-initiated natural selection. However, experimental evidence of cause and effect again recently linked nutrient-dependent pheromone-controlled adaptive evolution to sexual selection in song birds via molecular mechanisms conserved in species from microbes to man. Hopefully, another generation of evolutionary psychologists will not continue to ignore experimental evidence as they propagate their theories about the development of language from bird song, or the development of any other behaviors without consideration for biological facts.