One of my favourite authors is under the unfortunate and deeply mistaken impression that there is something called human nature. He wrote to me:
> Human nature from the perspective of evolutionary-psychology *is* a constant. It's the society we live in and how that effects how our genetic predispositions towards certain behavior that changes.
This is fatuous, silly, foolish, stupid, empty-headed and ludicrous nonsense. It is actually worse than your proposition that fusion power is the wave of the future. Allow me to disillusion you of not one but three completely-fucking-wrong foundational ideas you hold which underpin your first sentence alone.
Myth 1: there is such a thing as "evolutionary psychology" in the sciences.
Truth: there is not. Psychology is a proto-science that does not meet the standards of rigour and formality that a real science must. Nonetheless, many of its practitioners (but not even a majority of them!) try to address objectively real phenomena of the mind. The same thing goes for biology although a greater proportion of biologists try to address objectively real phenomena - perhaps even a majority.
However, so-called "evolutionary biology" which tries to "explain" particular evolutionary pathways through pure guesswork is not a science at all nor is it in any way scientific. What it is is a bunch of handwaving nonsense and Just So storytelling. A bunch of arbitrary and irrational Bad Explanations. Neither correct nor incorrect, but simply bad - unworthy of any consideration as they are strictly pre-scientific. Evolutionary biology is not a proto-science, it is a fake science.
What do you get when you couple the massive uncertainty of a proto-science (psychology) with another proto-science (say, biology)? You get a pseudo-science. And what do you get when you couple a proto-science with a pseudo-science? You get something worthy of the death penalty. It is an INSULT to TRUTH for you to even utter the words "evolutionay psychology" thus lending that hogwash the smallest modicum of credibility by acknowledging its existence.
Myth 2: there is something like a singular "human nature" that is genetically determined
Truth: all three parts of this ridiculous notion are empirically false.
First, there is no singular "human nature" by ANY possible meaning of the term. Neither personality nor personality types nor even the basic substrate of cognition of human beings is singular. There is absolutely nothing which all human minds share in common, not at any moment in history and certainly not throughout history.
Nothing makes this more obvious than looking at a primitive neolithic human mind, a mind incapable of the simplest abstractions like counting to 3. And if that isn't enough then there's the empty minds of feral human-animals that are incapable of language or complex learned behaviour or even primitive consciousness. And as if that weren't bad enough, there is the plurality of cognitions available.
I am capable of both analysis (logic) and synthesis (spontaneous, broadband creativity). Analysis is the form of cognition encoded in artificial intelligences such as CYC. Synthesis, the capacity for multidimensional decomposition, is the form of cognition encoded in every neural network no matter how primitive. The noted natural language machine learning engines all function on the basis of multidimensional decomposition.
There exists no other forms of cognition other than analysis and synthesis. And more importantly, not all humans are capable of both forms of cognition. Being capable of both, I see the lack of either (and usually both) in human beings as a huge yawning gap in people's minds.
Consider the ridiculous claims of a singular "human nature" against the empirical fact that what people use to think isn't the same from person to person.
Second, the set of things (actions, behaviours, desires, motivations, drives, whatever) that are ingrained in human beings from birth is EMPTY. Humans have no instincts. Newborns do have a few simple reflexes such as automatically grasping whatever's in their hands and taking a big breath then holding it when put underwater. This is why infants don't automatically drown when put in water.
Let us digress for a moment on the question of what an instinct is. An instinct is a behaviour that never had to be learned. If it had to be learned then it's not an instinct! Dogs burying bones is an instinct. Dogs leaving shit in public places is an instinct. Cats buring their shit is an instinct. If you have to train a behaviour out of a puppy, then it's probably an instinct.
Humans have no instincts. But what about love, Richard? Love is not an instinct! As a matter of empirical fact, maternal love is a modern invention and so can't possibly be an instinct. And filial love grows out of the mother's nourishment and taking care of the newborn so it too isn't an instinct!
The closest thing to a hardwired instinct humans have is empathy. And empathy can't really be counted an instinct because exactly like analysis and synthesis, it is a general computing substrate. Empathy doesn't dictate any behaviours or thoughts or drives or motivations or anything else.
My empathy for instance is a tool that I use to exquisite effect in order to destroy people that disgust me. If you were thinking that empathy means "peace & loving kindness" you can forget it. Empathy is just knowing what makes others tick by automatically and subconsciously being able to simulate their minds using your own brain. Empathy is precisely limited by your own knowledge and cognitive capacity.
Third, genes don't code for shit in human neuroanatomy. Our species' genome has about 25000 genes of which about 6% are unique to chimps and humans. That's only 1500 genes of which most are going to be chimp genes. Meanwhile, we have about 100 billion neurons. What genes code for is a general computing substrate as Henry Markram explains in Supercomputing The Brain's Secrets.
Myth 3: human biology and human psychology can be cleanly differentiated and do not straddle each other.
Truth: the multiple feedback cycles going both ways between human biology and human psychology as well as the blurred regions between the two make any kind of categorization of "culture vs nature" a ridiculous exercise for pseudo-scientific nitwits touring the talk show circuits.
In fact, this is ridiculous on its face as even a cursory glance at height charts over historical periods will reveal. Why height charts? Because humans a few centuries ago were shrimps. And this hasn't changed due to evolution but due to better nutrition and hygiene. Both things which cause the development of stronger immune systems and greater cranial capacity.
The Flynn Effect, a sustained increase in the average IQ scores of populations by 3 points every decade for the last 120 years, ever since records began ... proves our ancestors were dim-witted fucking idiots. Our parents are on average 6 IQ points stupider than we are. In fact, we have detailed records showing how people in generations past were much less accustomed to abstraction than we are. Even simple abstractions like 'mammal' would be unfamiliar to them, things they do not use in everyday life.
It is a meaningless and anti-scientific exercise to try to categorize nutrition OR hygiene in the ridiculous "nature vs culture" obsolete fake-debate which stupider generations than ours were obsessed with. Square pegs round holes, people!
Myth 4: human psychology must be explained in terms of other things such as biology and culture.
Truth: human psychology is axiomatic. There is no explanation for human psychology other than more human psychology. There CANNOT BE any explanation for human psychology other than itself for the very simple reason that psychology as a field of science is the only possible root and basis of EVERY social science.
Every science dealing with human beings that lacks a rigorous basis in psychology is a proto-science at best. Every social "science" that CLAIMS a basis other than psychology ... is a lying pseudo-science. So-called "mainstream" economics (also known as market, analytic, Austrian, Chicago, and financial) is pure pseudo-scientific gibberish and hogwash. Neither industrial nor developmental economics claim any rigorous basis in anything. And behavioural economics looks for a basis in psychology, although it's hardly rigorous yet.
If you need another example of the social sciences' dependence on psychology, I need only point to deMause's work on the history of childrearing. In his work, he explains many social artifacts by tracing them back to childrearing styles, the psychology of the parents that used them and the psychology of the children that evolved from it. The ultimate explanation for all social phenomena is psychology, and the only explanations for psychological phenomena are ... more psychology.
Just as it is ridiculous to try to find an "explanation" for mathematics in the exact sciences since the latter uses and depends on the former. So too it is ridiculous to try to find a "cultural" or "environmental" or any other "explanation" for psychology in the social sciences. The social sciences all use and depend on psychology. Perhaps there is an explanation for psychology in mathematics. More likely there isn't. Psychology simply is. Either get used to it or shut the fuck up.