Given minds shaped by sexual selection for ideological entertainment rather than epistemic accuracy, what hope do we have of discovering truths about the world? History suggests that we had very little hope until the social institutions of science arose. Before science, there was no apparent cumulative progress in the accuracy of human belief systems. After science, everything changed.
From a sexual selection perspective, science is a set of social institutions for channeling our sexually selected instincts for ideological display in certain directions according to strict rules. These rules award social status to individuals for proposing good theories and gathering good data, not for physical attractiveness, health, kindness, or other fitness indicators. Scientists learn to derogate the normal human forms of ideological display: armchair speculation, entertaining narratives, comforting ideas, and memorable anecdotes. (Of course, this spills over into derogation of popular science books that try to present serious ideas in attractive form.) Science separates the arenas of intellectual display (conferences, classrooms, journals) from other styles of courtship display (art, music, drama, comedy, sports, charity). Science writing is standardized to channel creativity into inventing new ideas and arguments instead of witty phrases and colorful metaphors. Scientists are required to provide intellectual displays to young single people (through undergraduate teaching,
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