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reminder, PhACT lecture on Evolutionary Psychology this Saturday, Oct 18th at 2pm

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  • eric krieg
    People, When I was in school, plenty of people believed Freudian psychology which was merely a series of opinions parading as science. It s my understanding
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 16, 2008

           When I was in school, plenty of people believed Freudian psychology which was merely a series of opinions parading as science.  It's my understanding that psychoanalysis has been shown to work no better than placebo.   Still, there are areas of psychology that are rooted in real science.  Although some skeptics like Steven Gould have condemned the nascent study of "Evolutionary Psychology", it certainly seems to have a lot of explanatory power to me.  As far as I can see, most every human behavioral traits considered negative would appear to have been selected for during the majority of human history . . which would taken place in utter privation during primitive tribal years.  Such a list of long bemoaned tendencies like over-eating, philandering, hoarding, intolerance, laziness, deception, etc in pre-civilization would have added to the likelihood of passing on genes. Our earlier speaker, Michael Shermer follows up summarizing evolutionary psychology with the encouragement that on a meta level, we could expect evolution to also select for altruism and social cooperation.
           My last few years of trying to find a speaker on evolutionary psychology have culminated in I think a "natural selection" of Saturday's speaker, Robert Kurzban.  He is an associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania and has published much on the subject.  He has degrees from Cornell and the University of California and started PLEEP - Pennsylvania Laboratory for Experimental Evolutionary Psychology.  An overview of his talk is:

      We the Person: Evolutionary Psychology and the Many Branches of your Brain

      By Robert Kurzban

      A central tenet of evolutionary psychology is that the mind consists of a large number of specialized systems, operating semi-autonomously. Here I will review the basic principles of the adaptationist approach to understanding human cognition and argue that 1) a great deal of what goes on in the human mind is not accessible to consciousness, 2) many parts of the human mind are not designed to generate true beliefs, 3) human minds frequently contain mutually incompatible cognitive representations isolated from one another, 4) making the very idea of a unified “self” suspect, and, finally, that 5) these ideas, taken together, explain the omnipresence of human inconsistency, including moral hypocrisy.

      More info on our speaker is found at:

      Note that this and the next meeting will be at the new location in S2-03 on the second floor of the Winnet Student Life building.  This building is between the parking garage on 17th street and the building on the corner where we had met. Go up one flight of stairs and turn 180 to face down the hall where we will meet.  See

      If you can't make the lecture, you can at least hear a short lecture from him on innate human hypocrisy at:

      Set your calendar of November 15th for a lecture on False Memory Syndrome by member(s) of the controversial group, the False Memory Syndrome Foundation:

      December 14th is a Winter Solstice party in Elkins Park for members only.  Email me for details.

      Eric Krieg   erickrieg@...
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