Monday, January 05, 2009

Music is an earworm. No wait, it is evolutionary cheesecake. Oh, wait, just a minute .... This just in ...

Driving back with friends from Ottawa to Toronto recently, I managed to catch this program where a CBC journalist interviewed humanist neurologist Oliver Sacks on the subject of music. Sacks disagrees with Harvard's Steve Pinker, who claims that music is evolutionary cheesecake but then he stops midway through the program and makes a big pitch for materialism that completely goes against everything else he has said. And of course music could just be an earworm after all ....

The only thing music cannot be, apparently, is a hint that there is more to life than nature red in tooth and claw.

Here's the interview. Funny, these people would pick the Year of Completely Ridiculous Darwin Hagiography to just fall apart intellectually. Some big changes are obviously happening.


I love it. Gossip can be good for you ...

A friend on his lunch break sends me this - the latest nonsense from "evolutionary psychology":

Google News Alert

Bruce Schneier: More on the Broad View of Security CSO - Framingham,MA,USAFor example, a lot of the seemingly irrational security trade-offs that the behavioral economists have documented can be explained by the evolutionary ...See all stories on this topic

Have you heard? Gossip can be good for you Chicago Tribune - United StatesGossiping about neighbors, co-workers and, increasingly, celebrities all grows from the same evolutionary root: survival. Back in the day, if you didn't ...See all stories on this topic

Does religion provide an evolutionary advantage? Science a Gogo - USA He found persuasive evidence from a variety of domains - including neuroscience, economics, psychology and sociology - that religious beliefs and religious ...See all stories on this topic

Look at that middle story: I wonder whether a study detailing how gossip isn't good for you – relative to minding your own business and getting on with the job at hand - would see the light of day ... ?

One thing to note about EP is its utter predictability. It always seems to be about whatever foolishness is noised about in pop culture. If the talk show circuit likes it, it is definitely science. And who could possibly argue with that?

It certainly never seems to be about anything that provides real insight into human nature. But then it couldn't be, could it?

See also: Recently, a friend sent me this Google alert for "evolutionary psychology" (Similar nutty stories)

Go here for other stories on evolutionary psychology (scroll down to second and following).