Home » Darwinism, Evolutionary psychology » Wisdom from your local zoo: Introducing the “Evolutionary Agony Aunt”

Wisdom from your local zoo: Introducing the “Evolutionary Agony Aunt”

When Britain’s Guardian newspaper first introduced its “evolutionary agony aunt”, this writer thought – a spoof for sure. But where evolutionary psychology is concerned, it can be genuinely hard to tell.

No spoof. The Guardian burbled proudly, “A mere 150 years after Darwin published On the Origin of Species, we are proud to introduce our very own Evolutionary Agony Aunt” in the person of Carole Jahme, author of Beauty and the Beasts: Woman, Ape and Evolution and star of comedy Carole Jahme is Sexually Selected, described as a combination of Charles Darwin and Charlie Chaplin. We were told that her column will shine the “cold light” of evolutionary psychology on readers’ problems, in sharp contrast to the glossy magazines.

Carole counsels her troubled readers by citing the behaviour of chimpanzees, other apes, and monkeys.  And with what result?

Go here for the rest.

PS: I don’t know what’s with this “Comments are closed” bug. I didn’t close them and don’t know who did. Now even I can’t comment, but for now, just let me say that I think uoflcard below has a point. For me, the most striking thing, as noted in the stubbed article, is that the evolutionary agony aunt’s advice would be more concise and pertinent if she just dropped the ape fake. Basically, we are here on the Internet and apes are not.     

Carole: Get used to it. You are not a completely hopeless agony aunt, but you should work with humans, not chimps, bonobos, tamarinds, whatever. The closer you get to the human world, the better your advice becomes, in my experience.  This could have something to do with being a human yourself.

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One Response to Wisdom from your local zoo: Introducing the “Evolutionary Agony Aunt”

  1. It’s absolutely mind-blowing that people believe that hand waving. Every answer is “well that’s what was selected for in our ape ancestors”. yeah, altruism AND selfishness were selected for. They are somehow “wired” differently in different people (if it were really an integral, selected function, wouldn’t everyone operate the same way, like how all properly working hearts function the same way?) At some point in the future, this might be the most mocked era in human history. I would feel much better if it were a spoof, Denyse

    basically everything she says is here opinion mixed with “cause that’s what nature selected in the apes before us”. But if you can believe your own thougts are not controlled by you but rather by chemistry and physics, you can believe anything.

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