Rewriting Psychology with Six Novel Hypotheses

Hypothesis #1: Rewriting Evolutionary Psychology

          Humans are obsessed with their need for security. If you agree with geneticist Theodosius Dobzhansky (1973) that “Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution.” then obsession with security makes sense, because, contrary to evolutionary psychologists’ present understandings, natural selection selects for genes and traits on the basis of security.

          It is generally agreed by evolutionary psychologists and evolutionary biologists that reproductive fitness (reproductive success) is the main determinant of natural selection. It is also agreed that human behavior is adaptive, and that adaptations are shaped by genes that increase reproductive fitness by prolonging survival into the reproductive years. But this formulation fails to recognize that there is no trait that can act directly to prolong survival. Although there is no “prolonging survival trait or gene”, there are traits that do prolong survival, but they do so by preventing death. Taking security measures to prevent death is the one existing mechanism by which survival is prolonged. That is, prevention of anything might occur if security (safety) measures are taken before the demise occurs. Security is the proximate goal of adaptations; prolonging survival the ultimate goal. All medical and public health measures that have dramatically increased human life expectancy – from surgical operations to antihypertensive and antibiotic medications and clean water – are security measures that act to prevent death. That security measures increase survival into the reproductive years, is the likely cause that the ensuing increased reproductive fitness results in natural selection.

          Sexual selection also results in reproductive success and is naturally selected for, but is not an adaptation that increases security. For example, the beautifully plumed peacock's tail does not increase, it may even decrease, the peacock’s security, but, because the ornate tail leads to sexual selection, it increases reproductive success, and, therefore, is selected for by natural selection. Except for sexual selection human behavior is adaptive, so that security is the goal of almost everything we do. We value security more than we value anything else. Security is a primary concern of our every interest: personal, social, financial, health, home, national, etc. 

          Natural selection selects for adaptations that increase security, which shifts the understanding of evolutionary psychology and human behavior from that of prolonging survival to that of increasing security: a paradigm shift. Switching to a security paradigm may seem like a minor change, but if the hypotheses developed here, which are based on a security paradigm, are confirmed, monumental consequences from rewriting major segments of psychology and related disciplines will follow. Paradigm shifts are the cause of scientific revolutions (Kuhn 1962). Simply shifting natural selection’s paradigm from prolonging survival to security results in the ability to understand large segments of psychology and of human behavior that are otherwise not understandable or have been wrongly understood. This essay provides an overview of how a security paradigm is able to revolutionize understandings of psychology and of human behavior.

          Because natural selection selects adaptations based on a security paradigm, the goal of our behavior is to make us secure and/or feel secure. Being secure is recognized by the cognitive belief system (CBS), and when we appreciate that we are secure, we then feel secure, as recognized by the emotional belief system (EBS). Because of natural selection, we and all living organisms are a synthesis of security systems. That belief systems are security systems will be discussed in the next section.