I'll start with a nice survey quote:
The premises of this book are probably not what you think they are. Thinking is computation, I claim, but that does not mean the computer is a good metaphor for the mind. The mind is a set of module, but the modules are not encapsulated boxes or circumscribed swatches on the surface of the brain. The organization of our mental modules comes from our genetic program, but that does not mean that there is a gene for every trait or that learning is less important than we used to think. The mind is an adaptation designed by natural selection, but that does not mean everything we think, feel, and do is biologically adaptive. We evolved from apes, but that does not mean we have the same minds as apes. And the ultimate goal of natural selection is to propagate genes, but that does not mean that the ultimate goal of people is to propagate genes. (pp. 23-24)On adaptationism:
Natural selection is not the only cause of evolutionary change. Organisms also change over the eons because of statistical accidents in who lives and who dies, environmental catastrophes that wipe out whole families of creatures, and the unavoidable by-products of changes that are the products of natural selection. (p. 36)More on modules:
The word "module" brings to mind detachable, snap-in components, and that is misleading... [Among other things] mental modules need not be tightly sealed off from one another, communicating only through a few narrow pipelines. (That is a specialized sense of "module" that many cognitive scientists have debated, followiwng a definition by Jerry Fodor.) Modules are defined by the special things they do with the information available to them, not necessarily by the kinds of information they have available.On the question of hypothesis testing, Pinker shares in condemnation of "glib and lame" explanations of behavior, and goes on to give, as an example of evolutionary psychology done well, describes the case of a scientist who "synthesized hundreds of studies, done independently of each other and of her hypothesis" to support a particular explanation for morning sickness. (p. 37-40) In light of these things, I feel confident saying that the "one size fits all" approach of the SEP, hastily painting all evolutionary psychology as, say, adaptationistic, is not defensible.