I have to take one more slash at evolutionary psychology, and then I’ll stop for the day. But first, maybe I should give you the tells I use to recognize good evopsych from bad evopsych (oh, dear, I just admitted that there’s some respectable evopsych out there…).
Here’s an easy indicator. If it’s a paper that presumes to tell you the evolutionary basis of differences between the sexes or races, it’s bullshit. That means the author is going to trot out some prejudice about how sexes or races differ before building some feeble case from a collection of poorly designed surveys or sloppily analyzed statistics to make up a story. Unsurprisingly, those differences always fit some bigoted preconception, and always have, from Galton’s determination of the ‘objective’ degrees of feminine beauty between races to Kanazawa’s, ummm, determination of the ‘objective’ degrees of feminine beauty between races. There really hasn’t been a lot of creativity in this subfield.
If it’s a paper that compares the behavioral psychology or cognitive abilities of different species, there’s a chance it might have something interesting to say. At least there’s a possibility that the crude kinds of essays for examining the workings of the brain might be able to detect a difference of that magnitude. But don’t forget that 90% of everything is crap, so don’t assume that just because the author is discussing chimpanzees vs. humans that it’s necessarily good work.
But now, here’s the ravingly awful side of evopsych, magnified even more because it’s not a scientist trying to make an argument: it’s a floridly batty pick-up artist trying to claim that evopsych supports his hatred of women. His deserved hatred of women, I should say, because he really regards them as little more than hideously deformed animals. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you…Heartiste, explaining why women hate evolutionary psychology. (Warning! You may want a bucket and damp cloth handy, to clean up any vomit. Below the fold because, well, this guy is a fucking abusive moron.)
What’s a man-jawed, fuzz-faced, beady-eyed fembot to do when her raison d’être is rendered null and void? One thing we know for certain: she won’t be happy to read studies dropping a hot, steaming deuce into her brain case.
There is a level of psychological distress more disconcerting, more bowel-evacuating, than even that of coming to realize one is hitched to a hollow ideology. Ultimately, feminists are afraid of what evolutionary psychology has to reveal because feminists are afraid of attractiveness standards, and of unchangeable attractiveness standards in particular. Because, you see, in the arena of sexual marketability, it is men who are the sex with more options to improve their dating market value. Women are, for the most part, stuck with their desirability, or lack thereof, the moment they are conceived. Outside of expensive, radical cosmetic surgery the effectiveness of which is questionable at best and monstrous at worst, the average woman will not be able to make herself more beautiful and, hence, more likely to snag a high value man anytime in her life. She can only lower her mate value by, for example, getting fat, old, burdened with bastard spawn or facially disfigured.
Wow, I’m so glad I’m a man and don’t have to worry about getting fat and old, and that the only thing of worth in my existence might be my “mate value”.
But wait…he didn’t explain why women fear evopsych so much. In fact, he didn’t say much of anything other than insult all those horrible, yucky women who are doomed to decay. He really doesn’t have much to say about the science, actually, because he doesn’t understand science himself.
The question of evolutionary psychology’s status as a hard science is not something of much relevance. All that matters is whether or not its findings make sense. And compared to competing humanities and “soft science” fields, evolutionary psychology makes a lot of sense. It, and not “cultural conditioning” theories, best explains the patterns of human behavior anyone can see in action every day if they aren’t up to their eyeballs in denial, or striving for social status points over their SWPL frenemies.
(I have no idea what SWPL means. Don’t worry about it; any pick-up artist site will be richly larded with acronyms and bizarre terminology to fit their pseudo-scientific ideology, so it really doesn’t matter.)
There’s another phrase that real scientists use to describe accepting a science because it “makes sense”. It’s called confirmation bias. It’s something we generally oppose, and try to rule out. To a particularly ignorant layman like Heartiste, though, it is instead a virtue to be embraced.