Daniel Dennett, Simon Baron-Cohen & Subrena Smith
Most of us see human behaviour, like the rest of the animal kingdom, as driven by evolutionary drives to survive and reproduce. Evolutionary psychology has taken this one stage further with claims that "killing is fundamentally in our nature", and seeing human behaviours such as violence, social hierarchy, and sexual promiscuity as a product of evolutionary drives. But might this be a misleading and dangerous approach? Murder rates have fallen seventy-fold since the Middle Ages, and across the globe birth rates are a fraction of what they were a hundred years ago. Fathers are now actively involved in child care and we've radically changed our outlook on social issues like gender identity, suggesting that ideas and culture drive behaviour rather than evolution.
Should we conclude that evolutionary psychology is a blind alley with no predictive power? Are we capable of overcoming behavioural traits and therefore wholly responsible for our actions? Or is evolution an inescapable force and behavioural change a result of altered circumstances while our core nature remains identical?