Evolution, Contextual Behavioral Science, Religion, and Group Selection

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Dr. David Sloan Wilson is SUNY Distinguished Professor of Biology and Anthropology at Binghamton University. He applies evolutionary theory to all aspects of humanity in addition to the rest of life, both in his own research and as director of the Evolution Institute, a unique campus-wide evolutionary studies program that recently received NSF funding to expand into a nationwide consortium. His books include Darwin’s Cathedral: Evolution, Religion, and the Nature of Society; Evolution for Everyone: How Darwin’s Theory Can Change the Way We Think About Our Lives; The Neighborhood Project: Using Evolution to Improve My City, One Block at a Time and Does Altruism Exist? Culture, Genes, and the Welfare of Others; and a recently edited book, Evolution and Contextual Behavioral Science.

In this episode, our conversation we focused initially on Evolutionary and Contextual Behavioral Science, the recently published book edited by Dr. David Sloan Wilson and Dr. Steven C. Hayes. We discuss what evolutionary theory brings to the table, and its shortcomings in dealing with behavior (human and non-human), and the contributions of Skinner, behaviorism and contextual science that have been mostly ignored by mainstream Psychology. We then talk about the extended evolutionary synthesis, and how Lamarckism might still have a saying in how evolution by natural selection works. Finally, we briefly talk about religion as a human construct, and what the New Atheist get wrong about it; and about group selection included in a multilevel selection process.

Time Links:
01:05 Evolutionary and Contextual Behavioral Science
06:26 The work of B. F. Skinner
12:32 What contextual behavioral science adds to the cognitive picture of the human mind
20:51 Modularity of the human mind, innate and environmental mechanisms
31:24 Environment, development, and phenotypic plasticity
36:58 The extended evolutionary synthesis
43:36 Lamarckism, Darwinism, and the new synthesis
49:27 Religion as a human construct
1:01:01 About group selection
1:03:50 Follow Dr. Sloan Wilson’s work!

Follow Dr. Sloan Wilson’s work:
Faculty page: https://tinyurl.com/yadbq9sw
The Evolution Institute: https://tinyurl.com/ycyo8d7w
The View of Life Magazine: https://tinyurl.com/ybnrencj
Evonomics: https://tinyurl.com/yaoayddq
Twitter handle: @David_S_Wilson
Evolution and Contextual Behavioral Science: https://tinyurl.com/y9pypu7w
Darwin’s Cathedral: https://tinyurl.com/y8rhbbw5
Upcoming book, This View of Life: https://tinyurl.com/y9lh54ct
Other relevant links:
Tinbergen’s 4 Questions: https://tinyurl.com/y9ge5984
Skinner’s Selection by Consequences: https://tinyurl.com/ybzetc3a
The Adapted Mind: https://tinyurl.com/yay653pf