The racist BS of Intelligence and Breast vs. Ass Preference

Here’s one for the Evolutionary Psychology Hall of Shame:

The author of this “study” has a theory, which is his, that breasts are an expensive ornament that could only be selected for in a stable environment where individuals can afford them. They’re kind of like elaborate antlers in species that have them, I guess. Maybe. I could consider an argument along those lines, except this one runs off the rails pretty quickly.

My theory of the evolution of breasts is that they are an adaptation for a slow life history rather than a fast life history. Breasts are K-selected. r-selected animals with a fast life history have short lifespans and mature quickly. K-selected species have longer lifespans, invest more in their children and take longer to mature. Fast life history is an adaptation to unstable ecologies where mortality is more random and uncontrollable so the best option is to have as many offspring as possible. By contrast in predictable environments, there’s an advantage to investing more in offspring to increase their chances.

Breasts by selecting for stable, long-term relationships between males and females facilitate long-term investment in offspring. It makes sense that only humans would have permanent breasts. Compared to other primates we have a slow life history strategy. We live for a particularly long time, take a long time to mature and need substantial resources and protection to develop our large brains.

For those of you fortunate enough to have never encountered racist literature, this r and K stuff, while legitimate parameters in ecology and evolutionary biology, is going to be sadly abused by racists. They want to argue that different populations of humans are living in very different r and K selection regimes, and that they have been living in those situations for long periods of time that are evolutionarily significant. They only trot out these terms to justify with pseudoscience their biases. So be warned: this is garbage science of the rankest kind.

You can’t see the axes of the big graph in the tweet above, so let me extract it for you.

The title, Intelligence and Breast vs. Ass Preference, should alert you to the absurdity that is about to follow. Note the horizontal axis: National IQ. This is a totally bogus parameter. As near as I can tell, it comes from the work of Richard Lynn, an English psychologist associated with a network of scientific racists who fabricated a list of IQ values associated with different nationalities which supported his bias that Africans were less intelligent than Europeans who were less intelligent than Asians. He’s on the board of the Pioneer Fund, an organization that hands out cash to other racist groups and individuals, and he’s also on the board of the notoriously racist journal Mankind Quarterly, which is a recipient of those funds. It’s an incestuous gang of bad pseudoscientists who reference and support each other’s bad pseudoscientific claims.

Now turn your eyes to the vertical axis, Big Boobs-Big Ass Google Trends Search Ratio.

Yes, it’s exactly what it sounds like. He used Google Trends to look at the frequency of people in various countries searching for the terms “Big Boobs” vs “Big Ass”. In English. He even admits that his results may reflect a linguistic bias, unaware that there are a lot of other reasons why this could be a very poor metric for measuring anatomical preferences. He’s an idiot trying to shoehorn technical terms from evolutionary biology into an inappropriate context with an incredibly sloppy methodology, all to support his racist biases.

Also note that Emil O W Kirkegaard, another racist, is touting this “work”, suggesting that it should appear in the next issue of Mankind Quarterly, which does tell you something about MQ’s standards.

He did later sort of retract that, dismissing criticisms of the inanity of that graph by saying this was a blogpost, not a formal study and making it clear that it wasn’t his work, but George Francis’s.

I want you to know that it was painful for me to dig into Kirkegaard’s repulsively racist Twitter history, in part because he has me blocked (Yay! And also easily circumvented), but also because it was imbedded in all kinds of wretched crap. Did you know Gypsies got bigger balls than Hungarians? And that Unnatural hair color really is a danger zone marker? (You will not be surprised to learn that a picture of Rebecca Watson is used as evidence, although I’m sure she’s tired of it.)

I need a shower after that.

Kirkegaard, by the way, is an editor for Mankind Quarterly. You should be troubled by the fact that Psychology Today, a reasonably mainstream publication that I already didn’t trust at all, has cited him in a terrible article that claims “Higher rates of mental illness have been found on the far left.” The foundation of the entire claim is built on a single paper by Kirkegaard published in Mankind Quarterly, which, I remind you, he edits.

The real danger zone marker here is Mankind Quarterly. Any time you see that journal cited, know that you are going to be exposed to toxic racist bullshit of the worst kind, with the kind of rigor that can be demonstrated with a graph of Intelligence and Breast vs. Ass Preference.


  1. kome says

    Emily Merchant just published a piece in Stat about holding science to a higher standard when it comes to racism.

    I’m starting to think that the idea of “higher standard” implies that we hold science to any standard at all when it comes to racism. And I don’t think we do. Antisemitism, sexism, and racism pretty routinely get published in scientific journals. Discrimination and harassment, and race-based gatekeeping, are protected institutional practices that keep non-whites and non-men out of the academy. And yet nothing really seems to be done about it.

    It is kind of annoying that the scientific community writ large seems okay with allowing the edifice of Science to be used as another weapon in the arsenal of the white supremacists.

  2. david says

    If I wanted to find information about Emil Kirkegaard, I would search for “big ass”.

  3. Pierce R. Butler says

    Even without the red-flag words, a graph of purported comparative intelligence which misspells “inteligence” discredits itself.

  4. Akira MacKenzie says

    “Intelligence and Breast vs. Ass Preference…”

    When Brett Kavanaugh writes psychology papers.

  5. Owlmirror says

    He used Google Trends to look at the frequency of people in various countries searching for the terms “Big Boobs” vs “Big Ass”. In English.

    He didn’t even try to use synonyms?

    Also, a big ass:
    (   )(   )

  6. says

    …the Pioneer Fund, an organization that hands out cash to other racist groups and individuals…

    And apparently they have enough surplus cash to hand some out to Beavis and Butthead.

    (You will not be surprised to learn that a picture of Rebecca Watson is used as evidence, although I’m sure she’s tired of it.)

    No, sadly, I’m not at all surprised that at least a few of those jackasses STILL have a hate-on for her, over ten years after “elevatorgate”/”Dear Muslima”. That fact alone says a LOT about their innelekshal caliber.

  7. raven says

    He used Google Trends to look at the frequency of people in various countries searching for the terms “Big Boobs” vs “Big Ass”. In English.

    This leaves out the English, British, and anyone in the UK. Also Australia, who don’t have asses but do have bums.

    Arse is the British slang word referring to (1) the human or animal posterior, or (2) a stupid person. Ass is the American equivalent. Arse is an old word, with origins going all the way back through Old English to the language’s Germanic roots.

    How to Use Arse vs. ass Correctly – Grammarist › usage › arse-ass

    I suppose this means the British and Australians are neither r nor K selectors. They must just use asexual propagation.

    I couldn’t decide whether this was drivel or gibberish.
    It is both.
    About that intelligence thing. These white racists certainly don’t exhibit any notable intelligence. All the white racists I’ve seen have been rather dumb. They usually have low education levels, long periods of being unemployed, problems with domestic violence, and criminal records for pointless crimes

  8. chrislawson says

    EvoPsych is only getting worse over time. It’s so bad now that I suspect that the real motivation here is the equivalent of “owning the libs” rather than anything remotely to do with experimental investigating. It’s become a race to the bottom to see who can serve up the most repulsive dish of racism, sexism, class elitism, and genetic determinism, smothered in a sauce of stupid correlations to hide the bitterness.

  9. Gaebolga says

    From the images in the Twitter post:

    “With the exception of our cousins, the Bonobos and a few other unusual cases, humans are unique…”

    [Emphasis mine]

    Someone needs a dictionary…

  10. christoph says

    I’m wondering if this article is just another prank. It’s too stupid for anyone to take seriously…

  11. PaulBC says

    Whatever some individual finds erotic is a combination of genetics, lived experience, and cultural norms. That said, I don’t get the fixation on breasts, particularly very large as opposed to shapely. When do I get funding for my research?

    It strikes me that your butt is a much better indicator of whether you’re keeping yourself in shape. Gluteal muscles are very practical for bicycling, walking, and running. There’s a reason for the expression “get your butt in gear.” Plus, you have some padding to sit on. And, you know, pelvic thrusts. Breasts, well I don’t want to offend anyone by saying they just kind of flop around in the breeze… but I said it.

  12. says

    In my experience making it taboo creates the attraction. I grew up in a culture that has nothing useful but paranoid and control and bigotry when it comes to sex. And I think I was part of a group of kids that show sexual interest younger than others. I just knew there was something I wanted to know about, the instincts don’t go away because childhood behavior gets shamed instead of explained.

  13. Tethys says

    The title sounds like something a teenage boy in the depths of puberty might write.

    It rather sinks the premise when the supposed evolved trait (anatomical sexual preferences) is most commonly exhibited by their own human subset of heterosexual males.

    Women as a whole, the entire LGBTQ rainbow, and any men who aren’t sexually attracted to boobs or female butts aren’t even considered in his narrow excuse for a mind.

  14. PaulBC says


    (This seems apt for the next thread.)

    And maybe foot fetishes as well, which I add purely hypothetically for the sake of completeness and not out of any prurient interest.

  15. elfsternberg says

    “It’s a race to the bottom…” I’ll have you know some of us have a fondness, one might even say a preference, for bottoms!

  16. Ed Seedhouse says

    Technically, doesn’t “owning the libs” mean you are a slaveholder?

  17. UnknownEric the Apostate says

    Pshaw. They clearly ripped off my peer reviewed paper “Queen’s ‘Fat Bottomed Girls’ vs. Skid Row’s ‘Big Guns'”: A Rockin’ Question For The Ages.” You might have read it in Pointless Quarterly Review.

  18. sayke says

    I went on a bit of a deep dive on Personality Traits, Mental Illness, and Ideology. I wanted to see what the general consensus on the article was, but Psychology Today never linked to it on Twitter where people might comment on it. Interestingly, neither did the author. But looking at his twitter, he’s a standard anti-woke douchebag wrapped in an intellectual superiority complex. His other Psychology Today articles mirror this blatantly too. Example: Are Conservatives Healthier Than Liberals? Whatever helps him sleep at night, I guess.

  19. Louis says

    I thought all the smart money was on intelligence being related to loving the cock.

    I am really going to have to tell my friend Big Gay Dave he’s wrong, and I reckon that’s not going to be an easy conversation. I mean, these racists, so heteronormative. Dave hates that.