However the unreliability of the results makes the claim an ongoing discussion and an open debate. The theory of evolution, first proposed by Charles Darwin (1809 – 1882) implies that all species are derived from common ancestors through natural selection (Phoenix, 2007 p.118-121). Natural selection is thought to be the main factor resulting in the diversity of species: it has been defined as a natural process, whereby only the variants best adapted to their environment develop the ability of a longer survival and pass on the best characteristics to future generations. Natural selection in species leads to 'adaptation' which is a change in behaviour as a consequence of surrounding modification. Within humans many adaptations have happened through Darwin’s theory of natural selection, one of these adaptations is called Theory of Mind.
Human development studies began with Darwin and other evolutionists who shared his theories. Darwin wanted to prove his theory of evolution; he believed the only approach to this was him studying human development. (Boyd& Bee, 2006) The definition of a lifespan is the average or minimum length of time an organism, material, or object can be expected to survive or last. (American Heritage Dictionary, 2000) The definition of development based on biology is the process of an individual organism growing organically a purely biological unfolding of events involved in an organism changing gradually from a simple to a more complex level. (Collins English Dictionary, 2003) Ultimately the two words conjoined define the methodical intra-individual change associated with progresses corresponding to age.
The evolutionary theory suggests that “prosocially tendencies exist in humans because of (a) genetically based predispositions to act prosocially, and (b) the evolutionary success of people who displayed such predispositions”. Penner, L. et al. (2005) This therefore suggests that prosocial behaviour is purely selfish as we will only engage in such actions to protect someone who we share genes with, so our genes will be passed onto future generations. “Kin selection is based on the premise that what matters in evolution is not individual fitness, but inclusive fitness, which is the successful transmission of one’s genes from all sources to the next generation” (Hamilton 1964). Kin selection therefore backs up the evolutionary theory as it provides an explanation as to why we regularly help our relatives.
Discuss the relationship between sexual selection and human reproductive behaviour. Natural selection favours the survival of the fittest. However, this explanation doesn’t explain the characteristics that do not assist in survival. For example, whilst a male peacock’s tail is good for the attraction of the female peacock, it is detrimental to its ability to fly. Darwin therefore suggested sexual selection stating that any characteristic that benefits reproductive success will become the norm over time as it is consistently selected.
Eugenics by definition is the science of improving a human population by controlled breeding or changing of genetics to increase the occurrence of desirable heritable outcomes. When we focus on perfecting and manipulation of the human genomes we can possibly make the perfect human, but even if we did, would it be an ethically correct thing to do. In today’s society this is possible with advancements in science but we do not do so because of the many dilemmas creating the perfect human would create. Imagine making every person who will be born in the future and making it so that they will all have blonde hair and blue eyes. You would face the issue of why is that considered the perfect genome and not brown hair with green eyes.
Dawkins seeks a naturalistic explanation of mind and consciousness in terms of Darwinian evolution. The struggle for survival between competing organisms favours those that possess a selective advantage, some gene whose phenotype makes them more likely to be able to pass on their genetic information. Naturally, organisms with the most advantageous genes will prosper & reproduce. Dawkins refers to genetic material as selfish insofar as DNA will not hesitate to sacrifice the life of its host organism. For Dawkins, an individual is no more than the totality of one’s genes; this stems from the ideology that a biological organism is simply an expression of its genes.
Evidence will be presented to illustrate the strength of each theory. Finally the main arguments of this essay will be summarized and will conclude that human language cannot be fully explained by evolution. It will end with suggesting that these theories have to be seen as provisional, due to the possibility of new findings. The growing interest in the origin of language can be seen as the outcome of significant technological changes in various scientific sectors. When genes and DNA were discovered in 1953, Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution has been supported in many aspects.
Early views on intelligence stressed the importance of adaptation to the environment and initially focussed on the studies of animals. Indeed, these early views considered the animal kingdom as the scale with very small creatures such as insects at the bottom and man (and ultimately, God) at the top. Theorists of intelligence have traditionally fallen into two camps: single or “g”, or multiple. The so-called "g-theorists" appear to be totally convinced that there is a single general factor of intelligence and many of these regard g-theory as fact. Charles Spearman (1863-1945), a pioneer of mental testing, proposed that an individual’s performance of intelligence tests was determined by a common factor that he termed “g” (general intelligence) and factors that were specific to the different kinds of tests, which he labelled “s” (specific factor).
In defining intelligence, Galton proposed that higher races would continue to evolve as intelligence is an evolutionary trait however lower races would cease to develop. Consequently as intelligence is inherited he stated that races that were more intelligent should reproduce and those who were part of the ‘lower race’ should stop reproducing. Galton’s theory of eugenics had powerful consequences, Laughlin (1922) developed the ‘Model Eugenical Sterilization Law’ in which he postulated that people such as those who were feeble minded, insane, criminals should be sterilized. Laughlin collected research which supported his argument; for example, the Kullikak Family, where one feeble minded woman lead to generations of equally feeble minded and defective people (Goddard, 1913). Subsequently, the ‘Model Eugenical Sterilization Law’ and the ‘American Immigration Restriction Act’ were heavily praised by Hitler as it was considered a way to exclude ‘undesirables’ due to race and hereditary
Therefore, the role differences we observe are more of a product of our biological inheritance than acquired through socialisation. As the evolutionary approach is a biological one, it suggests that aspects of human behaviour have been coded by our genes because they were or are adaptive. However, a debate of this approach is the nature vs. nurture approach, nature supporting the evolutionary approach being that we have evolved through survival value and its ability to increase an individual’s opportunities to pass on their genes, an example showing this was Bowlby’s theory of attachment – concerning the role of evolution is the explanation of stress as an adaptive response to environmental pressures. Animals born without such responses die quickly. Nurture, on the other hand, is a view proposed by the social approach suggesting behaviour is affected by experience and environment.