How NOT to think about human behavior

Echidne, Amanda Marcotte, Laelaps and Larry Moran beautifully destroy the “Ten Politically Incorrect Truths About Human Nature” article from the recent issue of ‘Psychology Today’, the latest garbage from the Evolutionary Psychology crowd. Much fun was had by all….


8 responses to “How NOT to think about human behavior

  1. As regards to the blue-eyed blonde as the best looking woman, statistically this is horse pucky.
    Take the billion females in the world who are neither too young nor too old, and of them take the best-looking thousandth fraction. Of the million best-looking females left, take the best-looking thousandth of them, leaving a thousand real lookers. Virtually all of them will be dark-haired, dark-eyed, and dark enough complected to qualify as having a complexion rather the absence of one.
    Face it, brunettes rule the world of beauty.

  2. i agree about brunettes, but that’s not what the article says. it’s not that blondes are more attractive; rather, that youthful women are, and blond hair is a better indicator of youth
    Blond hair is unique in that it changes dramatically with age. Typically, young girls with light blond hair become women with brown hair. Thus, men who prefer to mate with blond women are unconsciously attempting to mate with younger (and hence, on average, healthier and more fecund) women. It is no coincidence that blond hair evolved in Scandinavia and northern Europe, probably as an alternative means for women to advertise their youth, as their bodies were concealed under heavy clothing.

  3. I know this is a fun barstool chatter, but please read the linked articles – those are serious criticism of the entire endeavor.

  4. Thanks for passing this along!

  5. Do you think that Trivers-Willard is garbage?

  6. I read all of the posts that you link to and none of them “destroy” the referenced article. Only one or two of the “facts” actually get challenged, the rest of the commentary only looks at the hypothetical explanations. Many of the objections claim that the article contradicts itself, but what they point to do not necessarily conflict.
    None of the critiques offer any evidence that counters the claims made in the article. One reference to an MIT study, intended to counter the article actually ends up supporting it’s claim. The examples offered alongside the MIT study (actually published on Alternet, hmm.) do not seem analogous phenomenon. The closest example, Kamikaze, actually support the reasoning presented in “Ten Politically…” as the social conditions reflect each other.
    Further, each of the critiques do not take early human society or primate groups as their frame of reference. The original article may or may not have factual support; none of the linked to critiques present reasons to disregard the claims.

  7. I want Zuska‘s take on number 10 from the article.

  8. Rule of thumb: anytime you see something claiming to be “politically incorrect” you are about to see BS.