The Evolutionary Mechanism of Human Dysfunctional Behavior – REVIEW

Litercurious Book Review

Title The Evolutionary Mechanism of Human Dysfunctional Behavior
Author Ivan Fuchs
Publisher Radius Book Group (April 19, 2019)
Format Kindle, Hardcover, Audiobook     
Page 604     
Language English     
ISBN #10 /#13 9781635766011  / 9781635766011     

“This book is an attempt to explain some of the phylogenetic mechanisms that brought about in humans the innate liability of developing varied forms of dysfunctional or maladaptive behavior, the graver of which are categorized as mental disorders.” The Evolutionary Mechanism of Human Functional Behavior. (Fuchs, 2019, LOC 104).

Prescient

Please note, if you are not a psychiatric professional read the summary and then go to the Synopsis and take a look at the diagram I have provided for your understanding. If you are a mental heath professional please read on.

Author’s Bio

Dr. Ivan Fuchs is the author of The Evolutionary Mechanism of Human Dysfunctional Behavior. Dr. Fuchs retired after 3 decades of experience gained from working as a Practitioner of Clinical Psychiatry. Originally from Hungary, Dr. Fuchs emigrated to Israel early in his career where he currently resides today with his family.  

“In my opinion, these mechanisms, or more exactly, their extreme poles on a diversified scale (as a result of relaxation of natural selective pressures), constitute the inherited foundations of most common mental disorders.” (Fuchs, 2019, LOC 209).

Who is the audience for this textbook?

Dr. Ivan Fuchs forms a thesis in The Evolutionary Mechanism of Human Dysfunctional Behavior. Dr. Fuchs based his theory on his extensive professional experience; principally psychiatry, knowledge of biology, genetics, and primatology. Dr. Fuchs thesis is not peer reviewed or published in any professional scientific journals. Dr. Fuchs expresses doubt that this publication will have broad appeal and he believes that it will fall into a narrow niche’ primarily for medical professionals. Those most likely to benefit from reading Dr. Fuchs theory would be: Professional Mental Health Clinicians and Researchers; Research Fellows, Students of Psychological Medicine; Researchers of Psychiatric Medicine; Students of Psychiatry, and Clinical Psychiatrists interested in this evolving subject.

Synopsis

Due to the complexity of the Fuchs theory and the myriad of related co-dependencies, I have chosen to focus on the key concepts of his treaty. I’ve done this in order to minimize extraneous issues and to simplify the review to enhance understanding for the reader.

In brief, the author of The Evolutionary Mechanism of Human Dysfunctional Behavior posits that there are two separate and distinct Natural Selection Pressures that have influenced human development over Phylogenetic Period. The Selective Pressures are the Active and Reactive Mechanisms of Mental Disorders.

Natural Selection Pressures

1. Active Mechanisms of Mental Disorders

Consisting of three key mechanisms; these are as follows:

  1. Forces of Natural Selection
  2. Intra-group Natural Selection Pressures (IGNSP’s)
  3. Late Stage of Human Evolution; Post Agricultural Revolution 10,000 years ago.

2. Reactive Mechanisms of Mental Disorders

4. Relaxation from Natural Selective Pressures due to genetically diverse factors including but not exclusive to: Cross cultural breeding, advances in democracy, proliferation of technology, and interbreeding.

Dr Fuchs volume does not contain any illustrations or models of his theory, so I have created one here to aid the reader in understanding his central concept.

Geneticist Theodosius Dobzhansky “It is possible and indeed probable, that occupational differences between human populations usher in some correlated genetic differences” (Dobzhansky, 1962, p. 250). And: “When the environment is highly diversified, as it is in civilized societies, all these genotypes may find suitable opportunities.” (Dobzhansky, 1962, p. 250).

Dr. Fuchs proposes that the relaxation from Sexual Selection Pressures also have influence vis-à-vis the “Good Genes Hypothesis: (Buss, 2008, pp. 190-191), as well as “minor Marriage” custom of third-world cultures (Wilson, 1998, p. 175), where decisions relating to marriage are not made by the couple, but controlled by some authority figure often for the financial benefit of the bride’s family in the form of a dowry. Dr. Fuchs observes that only humans and some primates share aberrant behaviors and responses to Evolutionary Mechanisms. He also postulates that over time incidences and varieties of mental health disorders have increased in humanity arising from the Reactive Evolutionary Forces.

“To my knowledge no evidence exists that the human genome is changing in any overall direction. The big story in recent human evolution is not directional change, not natural selection at all, but homogenization through immigration and interbreeding. Its main consequence is the gradual erasure of previous racial differences. It also increases the range of individual variations within the population and across the entire species. Many more combinations of skin color, facial features, talents, and other traits influenced by genes, are new arising than ever existed before. Variance increases, the extremes are extended new forms of hereditary genius and pathology are more likely to arise.” (Wilson, 1998, pp. 271-273, emphasis added).

Conclusion

The Evolutionary Mechanism of Human Dysfunctional Behavior by Dr. Ivan Fuchs is likely to be best received by medical professionals. Due to a combination of the complexity and virgin science nature of the subject, there will likely be limited interest from the laity. The appeal could be increased through the utilization of diagrams, images, lists, tables, and chronology; as well as empirical evidence. 

This book is based more on Dr. Fuchs opinion rather than on The Scientific Method. The complete lack of peer review papers, the absence of empirical and other supportive data impedes its worth. However, the theory is an interesting and challenging one. As with many books of its type it provides a very dry read. This dryness could be ameliorated through appropriate use of graphic enhancements. I also noticed a great deal of repetition within the text. The repetition Dr. Fuchs states is an aid to impress elements of his theory in the mind of the reader. 

I found the scattered nature of the sections in this book added to the difficulty of understanding the underlying theory. There was a lack of flow that created confusion at times; not due to the subject matter or the jargon but arising out of the jumps across multiple chapters. I found run-on sentences and the generally poor use of punctuation and grammar impeded the enjoyment of reading. The combination of writing style, lack of infographics, and poor punctuation made this book a beast to read. Happily, these limitations are easily remedied with the aid of a competent editor. To the editor please include a glossary of medical terms for the uninitiated.

Summary

For the layperson, this book discusses the opinions of Dr. Fuchs. In short, the idea is that in the past humanity and some primates collaborated on the basis of natural selection. This natural selection changed across time from Active to a Relaxation of the forces (pressures) that had earlier shaped humanity. In the later stage (Relaxation Phase) the pressures changed by external factors such as technology and interbreeding. As a result, there is speculated to be an increase in the number and variations of mental health disorders. It is also expected that there will be an increase in the numbers of geniuses and other gifted humans. The concept is interesting and challenges traditional theories. If you are interested in this topic, I would wait for the illustrated and re-edited version.   

Suggested Reading

Bake, M. (1998) Darwin’s Black Box: The biochemical challenge to evolution. New York: Simon & Schuster.

Sadock’s comprehensive textbook of psychiatry, 8th Ed., Col. 1 Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-lll) (Fuchs, (2019), LOC 3747). Link to the entire manual: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3176302/  

P. R Adoriaens &A. De Black (eds.), Maladapting minds: Philosophy, psychiatry, & Evolutionary theory. Oxford. OxfordUniversity Press.

Daly, M., & Wilson, M. (1995) The Man Who Mistook his Wife For a Chattel.

Perry, S. (2011). Manipulative monkeys: The capuchins of Lima’s Barbuda. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Acknowledgment

My sincere thanks go to: The Author, NetGalley, and the Publisher, for affording me the opportunity to review of The Evolutionary Mechanism of Human Dysfunctional Behavior.

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