Human Nature : Evolutionary Psychology :: Dreams : Freud

That is, not much serious research on one is done through the other. But it’s fun to think about.

Zenpundit links to a piece on Whirled View about nuclear disarmament.

Cheryl’s reference to “evolutionary psychology” is a misdirection, but an accidental and understandable one. “Evolutionary Psychology” is a small, marginal, not particularly useful, if incredibly interesting take on the intersection of human evolution and human psychology.

A far more useful field is “behavioral genetics.” The current media-friendly discussion on “human nature” comes from “behavioral economics.” And of course, there is a whole lot of work on cognition that does not necessarily invoke evolution at all.

With respect to nuclear arms, international relations, and human nature is this: people predictably make irrational decisions that can only leave themselves worse off. Here is a Scientific American piece on bubbles and a post over at gnxp about neurotypicals.

Cheryl’s conclusion

Part of human nature is the ability to evaluate our situation and to change our behavior….

So we should be able to consider, and work toward, outlawing nuclear weapons.

Makes almost no sense. Of course we are able to evaluate our situation and change our behavior. Indeed, those systems that allow people to do this most often can lead to catastrophe more often, because of the lack of a governing infrastructure (such as a Military-Industrial Complex) that prohibits bad outcomes.

People rarely understand the consequences of their behavior. Feel-good liberals in the Obama administration, in an attempt to protect science, censor science (Half Sigma, Slashdot). The same thing happened under Bush and Clinton.

Similar politically correct idiocy controls every area of human endeavor that has not been automated into mindlessness.

This is a consequence of our human nature — we are irrational, prejudicial creatures with limited attention and even worse facility for logical thought. Smart people regularly say dumb and stupid things, not because they are bad, or even stupid by human standards, but because they are human.

Smart people regularly do stupid things too, as history has shown.

The real discussion on nuclear weapons should not be conducted in the optimistic tones of Cheryl’s post. Rather, the appropriate question is this: Given that the world’s military forces will be under the control of humans in the near-to-mid term, should those military forces also include nuclear weapons? And in that discussion, breazzy assurances that we can evaluation our surroundings are so can outlaw nuclear weapons have no place.

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