This article shows how it is an easy road to publicity and general publication by repeating and reinforcing outright lies, inaccuracies, and agenda promotion. Miller and his co-author are from the right wing, and are of course, co-dependent on that sliver of the academy the promotes an equally shrill interpretation. I won't say on the left, because they really are cut off from all effective politics what so ever. Better to say that they see the world out of the orifice that corresponds to the organ that Miller views as the most important in the world. If only they could abandon pretense and engage in the wild orgies of passion that they so clearly long for, and leave the rest of us in peace. Please, you can try it out in second life, I can supply the place and the sex beds!
"Ten Politically Incorrect Truths About Human Nature" is the title by the way, so google will find it.
1. "It is difficult to ascribe the preferences and desires of women in 15th-century Italy and 21st-century Iran to socialization by media."
We know about women dying their hair blond because of... paintings, which was "the media" of that era. And "socialization by the media" is short hand for the ways which a society pushes people into believing that they must radically alter themselves. The women who were dying their hair were in the centers of commercial power, where peer pressure, social relationship, and status were important.
Iranians don't have access to Western television? The academics writing this paper have to do a bit more field work. More marks deducted for not examining the surveys in light of the difference between individuals who are at the pinnacle of power, and thus can be less concerned with correcting themselves, versus people who are trying to move up, and thus feel inferiority and a drive to mimmic the successful culture.
Studying a wide range of art in history, one doesn't find that the blond bombsehll is the perpetual standard. Women in Asia dyed their hair blacker, not lighter, for centuries. Whatever your hair color, indeed, whatever your body shape or type, somewhere, somewhen, there was a time when women wanted to look just like you.
All this being said, well "a woman is better off being attractive than smart, because men see better than they think." As long as men disproportionately control the economic future of a society, then there is going to be a disproportionate drive for women, not to look attractive, but to look like what men want women to look like.
I say this because there is another competition within and between women which is also important: status between women. Women send many signals which are not directed at men, because men don't notice them, but directed at other women which establish the hiearchy among women. This is also evolutionary in its root, though not of course in its particulars, because women command other women to do work, and that work frees up the alpha women from the drudgery of child raising, the wear and tear of house keeping, and the time sink of social group building. Of course, Alan Miller,, with his ideological axe to grind, doesn't think about how much of feminine fashion is directed at other women. Too much of his blood is out of his brain.
What they need to start with is reading Hughes and then ask a simple question about Italy in that moment, Europe in that moment, and trade in that moment. Italians, particularly those from the power center of Rome, are darker. So too are the people that made the goods that Venice traded with. They were also Islamic. But their customers, were Germanic. That is to say. Blond, in ideal if not always in fact. Being blond in 1500 was a very simple way of telling your blond Christian customers that you aren't a dark Islamic. Visual clue "I am like you."
By the way, the book they really need to cite is Blondes in Venetian Paintings, the Nine-Banded Armadillo and Other Essays in Biochemsitry where Bloch goes into how there was a flowering of Blond at that moment, and his conclusion points to status, not genetic desire for blond, as the reason.
Thus in cultures where sun bleaching would lead to lighter brown hair, such as Latin America, oh say a generation ago, being raven black haired was a sign that your locks were not baked in the sun picking coffee or tubers.
The same is true with the fair skin. If you work in the fields, teaches Gone with the Wind your hair and your face weather. Thus fairer skin, even fairer than is otherwise possible, as the pure white of Geisha and Oiren shows, is a sign of never having to set foot outside of the house. In late Qing china this was reinforced by footbinding. Proof that a woman is so cared for that she has never had to work is a big thing in history, and skin is one of the best measurements of it. The combination of blond and fair is important then, because blond with dark skin is a sign of the sun, where as blond with light skin is a sign of being favored.
Evolution wants men and women to send off signals of being fertile, healthy, successful and willing to mate. It does not dictate looking like the most recent beer commercial, even though beer has been helping people have sex for thousands of years, and may well have been one of the inducements to settled life. It is not just the opposite sex that is the target naturally. Where it is imbalanced, it says that there is a perceived imbalance in power.
2. Humans are naturally...
More than both actually. Evoltution does not care whether you are completely happy, it cares whether you are helpful in keeping a viable breeding group of your species going. In several studies on breeding habits of mamals under various conditions of adversity, it was seen that different species have different strategies for different favorbilities. One good example is mice that produce disproportionately more males when there is a surplus of food, because males are both more energy intensive, and can produce far more offspring, but more females when food is in short supply.
Monogamy is a strategy for dealing with adversity, which is a great deal of human society through most times. Monogamy offers a number of advantages for those who pair bond. So the pair bond impulse will get passed along. Having multiple partners is also a good strategy, either at the top, when there is plenty of everything, and at the bottom, where there are no stable pair bonds to be had. This means that various impulses to promiscuity will be passed along. There is also the reality that the pair bond itself is a co-evolution, the two partners don't have exactly the same interests, which means that strategies for pushing the other partner will also be passed along. That means infidelity.
So the correct answer is not even "monogamous verus polygamous" but that there are several evolutionary strategies for humans to form attachments, and that since all of them work some of the time, and the ability to shift from one to the other as times change is useful, individual people will be faced with different conflicting impulses.
How they act on these conflicting impulses is... hmmm .... another question.
3. Women benefit from ...
This is a fallacy of equivocation. Women benefit from accessing the wealthy of a single wealthy man, but they don't benefit from being his chattel, which in most times and most places is what marriage is. Instead, the typical pattern of prostitutes, courtesans and mistresses, is to provide services to wealthier men, and use this to build up enough resources so that they can select their own man, or they are selected by a man who is their "pimp" and that is their primary pair bond.
It should be noted that the dominant culture at any given time allows some degree of successful men, and specially statused women, to have many stable partners, they all also have festival or carnival times where license is permitted. And they prescribe monogamy for most of the rest of the year. The best performing societies then, are the ones that have stability generally, escape valves and rewards specifically. The most egalitarian societies are the ones that give the most rights to women, and take equality of women most seriously.
Saying that people benefit under inquality is therefore, in correct, everyone is worse off. Some individuals are able to improve their standing in the group, but only at the cost of even more misery to others.
4. "According to the Oxford University sociologist Diego Gambetta, editor of Making Sense of Suicide Missions, a comprehensive history of this troubling yet topical phenomenon, while suicide missions are not always religiously motivated, when religion is involved, it is always Muslim. Why is this? Why is Islam the only religion that motivates its followers to commit suicide missions?"
I am going to laugh out loud at this one. It is a complete lie. Not just fib, outright lie.
First the study begs its own question. It does not, for example, count Kamikazee pilots, where were certainly on a suicide mission, certainly religiously motivated through emperor worship and shinto, and certainly flying bombs. Cearly the person writing the study wanted to draw the conclusion, or the Japanese example would have been looked at.
As for why Islam as an ideology, that's wrong. The correct answer is "why now." I'm not an expert on explosives or other military technology, so I called up a friend who is. He was extremely dismissive. His point was that the explosives that make being a suicide bomber effective are recent, that Islamic/Jewish and Islamic/Christian conflicts are the only ones where an economically disadvantaged group very large surplus population faces the world's most advanced military hardware over a life and death land conflict, and that Islam is the religion that just happens to be the religion that is in place. He notes that there are plenty of bombers out of fundamentalist Christian sects and some out of radical environmentalism, but these all come from societies where times are good. He notes "if the study were correct, we would have to ask why suicide gunmen are all evangelical or protestant Christians, because that is the case as well. There is no such answer, it is the product of accessilbilty, demographics - and perceived enemies."
As for the merits of political suicide, I can answer this one, both Republican Rome and Revolutionary France had a cult of political suicide, as did feudal Japan. Making the statement that you would not wish to live in this culture any more and you seal your indictment of it with your death.
5. Sons and Divorce
"Since a man's mate value is largely determined by his wealth, status, and power—whereas a woman's is largely determined by her youth and physical attractiveness—the father has to make sure that his son will inherit his wealth, status, and power, regardless of how much or how little of these resources he has. In contrast, there is relatively little that a father (or mother) can do to keep a daughter youthful or make her more physically attractive."
This is an observation which lies by excluding qualifications that are usually part of the rest of the article. In dowry cultures, that is, ones where the family of the bride is supposed to offer money to marry off the daughter, the need for accumulation of wealth and status is as powerful as with males. Through much of history, it isn't that men divorced women because they wanted sons to be better off, it is that they wanted sons in the first place. While the majority of the reason for a son is the man's sperm, some part is whether the man and the woman are cross-fertile. Since a man can't do anything about his sperm, and isn't inclined to blame himself for anything, serially going through women until one produced sons is an historical game with, hmmm, a great deal of precedent.
So while the observation might be true in the present society which has both easy access to divorce and a strong correlation between where you start out and where you end up, and lack of dowry resources and destruction of women dominated social structures that women could use to increase their attractiveness by organizing other women around them, it isn't generally true, and the explanation isn't generally true either.
This is the closest they have gotten to being right about much of anything.
6."It is commonly believed that whether parents conceive a boy or a girl is up to random chance. lose, but not quite; it is largely up to chance. The normal sex ratio at birth is 105 boys for every 100 girls. "
Flunk biology and English in two sentences. Note: conceive in one sentence, and birth in the second. They know better than to assert conception, which is what they want for their ideological axe to grind agenda. There is no study that shows conception rates being the sole driver, which is what they need to prove their point. Instead they skip to birth order, which is the result of conceptions, and gestation. In order for gestation to back them up, there would have to be specific mechanisms that weed out boys earlier on. We know about these in some species, but no evidence, let me say it, less than no evidence, in humans.
Now for flunking English, they say "random chance" and then imply because the birth ratio is different, that this means it isn't "random". Let me explain what is wrong with this one from the point of view of a roulette wheel. If you bet on black on a European roulette wheel, you will lose slightly more than half the time, because of the green "0." The same is true of betting on red. This does not mean that the wheel isn't random, it means that it is not an exactly even bet. The same is true of human conception, the difference in birth ratios could still be "random chance." They talk about a celebrated hypothesis, but they assert an explanation which they don't differentiate from various others which are more likely given the data. Namely, more sons are the result of posher surroundings, not because evolution wants people on top to have more sons.
In fact the reverse is the case: the male carries on the family name customs of many poorer cultures leads to infanticide, and that isn't a trait of rich places. If there really were a "male bias" to gestation, then we would see rich countries having disproportionate rates of males at birth. We largely do not. Instead, the differences in ratio that we see almost all accumulate after birth, and are therefore not the result of the same kinds of effects we see in some species of mice, where the sex ratios are pronounced at birth. Instead industrialized nations have a declining rate of male births. That is declining. Down. Less. Fewer. Exactly the opposite of what their theory would predict. But why let facts get in the way of a good ideological lie? Next time I hear someone talk about how silly the virgin birth of Catholicism is, I will point them to this study and say "psychology wants you to swallow a lie just as large and for the same reason."
Namely they want you to believe that rich, male and fecund is the result of natural evolutionary forces, rather than the product of the better life that being rich and able to protect oneself from bad environmental factors, and they really want you to ignore the fact that if you are a male who isn't at the top of the heap, you are more, not less, in danger of losing your fertility, than the poor people someplace else.
More males are conceived than females, more male fetus' die during the course of pregancy, to get the birth ratio down to 101-107/100. Eventually this evens out By saying that "random" means "50/50," it makes me wonder how you can graduate from the London School of Economics, and not get statistics right. That is, unless you are simply lying about things, which both of these authors do repeatedly. The simplest explanation that fits the facts is that they want to write a book that every sexist male in creation will buy and spew at people around the water cooler. Good market, I service it too, so I can't complain that other people are too.
And the killer counter argument is the global sex ratio which wikipedia gives us a nice picture of here. The rich countries are no more female heavy than the poor, in fact, several developing countries such as India and China are male heavy. For young people poor means women, but not at birth.
The sex ratios at birth for Africa are comparable to Europe, but by 15 there are many more girls than boys. More boys die in infancy than girls. This indicates that it is not gestation and evolutionary biological programming, but environmental results of disease, war, economic disclocation. How do we know this, because by the time people get old, Africa, far from being female heavy, is male heavy. Why is this? Women die in childbirth in Africa at disproportionate rates. The factor that winnows the boys out young, winnows the women out between 15 and 55.
In short, disease, not the selective advantage of being incredibly rich, is a better explanation for why men or women are winnowed out of a population.
Over the course of years, more males die than females, and at a certain point, the two numbers cross. How delicate this curve is to evolution is a matter of debate, because it varies widely with society. However the general trend, that males are more death prone than females, and so humans have a slight bias in favor of producing a small surplus of males to start, and then this number is whittled down to just about even by the time pair bonding is supposed to start, is a large argument in favor of pair bonding being a primary, but not sole, way that humans are supposed to form attachments for having children. In species where one male to many females is the dominant mode, males get winnowed out much harder much earlier.
This one then is another lie, because the sentences were deliberately constructed to mislead. This one is wrong, because status isn't genetic. Instead, status produces better diet, and diet is the driver of having more males. The reason for this is immunological. In order for conception and birth to occur, a whole line of immunological tests have to be passed, by the egg, sperm, zygote, fetus. People who are in less immunologically stressed conditions, and which have better diet, mean that these tests are easier to pass, and therefore, more sons, since male fetus' are generally less hardy (stack of medical literature on this one) than female fetuses. As I noted above, this fits in with the nature of men as gambles in mammal mating games, a few successful sons leave lots of children, while women are more likely to breed, and therefore less likely to leave a line completely out of the picture.
But it isn't the, and Alan Miller and Kanazawa should know this if they do not, the correlative fitness of male genetic material and social status, because there's no good genetic correlation between aristocrats and better almost anything, that is why they are constantly raiding the chambermaid population, or up and coming merchant population, for new genetic material. It's that when life is good, you can have more, and healthier, children, and that is good for having sons, on average.
7. "Women often say no to men. Men have had to conquer foreign lands, win battles and wars, compose symphonies, author books, write sonnets, paint cathedral ceilings, make scientific discoveries, play in rock bands, and write new computer software in order to impress women so that they will agree to have sex with them. Men have built (and destroyed) civilization in order to impress women, so that they might say yes."
Philistinism! How the sweet sounds of just lying about art reach my ears. This is why we must must must must must must must teach more art in school. One of the problems here is that many of the artists in history haven't been breeders. Michelangelo was homosexual. So were a number of other famous artists, poets, actors and so on. If this were all and only about breeding, then Miller has to prove something. The missing thesis here is homophobia: "Non-heterosexuals are abnormal and deficient breeders."
This isn't easy to prove, probably because it is probably wrong. There are lots of other reasons to have young people engage in high risk activities. Chances are they are healthier than their older counterparts. They have fewer skills and less knowledge to bring to the community, so the loss of their experience is less than if say, the 50 year old matron who knows the herbs and how to deliver babies dies, or the 45 year old male who knows the animal migration routes dies. To credit "youth" as having only one activity, getting laid and having children, is an illusion that a professor who teaches young people, particularly attractive young people they want to have sex with (and I feel happy accusing Miller of this because he says that that is what being flashy in mid-life is about, so clearly he is writing this article to get laid by his own theory) would like to promote.
In otherwords, it is equally likely that the drive of young men to be brilliant is because it winnows down the gene pool favorably.
Let's take Michelangelo. Yes, while young, he is busy producing individual masterpieces, but then, when older, he is virtually put in charge of redoing the Vatican. The dome is his design, as is much of the high renaissance style. As an artist gets older, he is often made to be in charge of an empire. Artists that don't have a financial empire that brings them money for earlier works, tend not to be making art because they are busy starving to death. Many fields of art don't produce masterpieces so young. Shakespeare, who ever he or they were, didn't write best early, but later. Beethoven's piano sonatas, when all he had was his fingers, come early, but his symphonies, which are a measure of being able to gather large forces, come later. By the time Beethoven wrote his fifth symphony, Mozart and Schubert would have been dead. Mozart too, just got better with age. You can have 18 year old Mozart if you like, but give me later Mozart, who was not all that old, but was getting better with every passing stride.
The alternate explanation, one which fits the facts much better, is that young people engage in mental risk taking. Men particularly, because there is a surplus of them, evolution has adpated humans to let surplus people take risks, and then if they work out, reap the rewards, and in evolutionary terms, those rewards are reproductive.
What they want to talk around, and do over and over again, is something I see over and over again on Second Life. Virtual sex has a very, very, very, very low chance of producing children. It has a slightly better chance of forming a relationship to care for children that have already been produced. However, largely, it is because sex and social drives are powerful enough to exist for their own sake. That is, sex isn't just how we produce children, nor even how we produce children and hold on to partners, it is a way we organize our mental existence, our social existence, our creative existence. This is good for evolution, because it means that as humans we are directly or indirectly thinking about sex all the time.
But this is very different, very, very, very different, from sex being on breeding's leash all the time. That is, it is different from being able to draw, as Miller and Satoshi Kanazawa do over and over again, neat little lines from observed behavior, which is many things all stacked together, and some simple patriarchy propaganda version of evolutionary theory that they want to promote.
8. The Midlife Crisis…
Is completely without supporting data.
9. It is natural for….
Ummm can anyone point out the problem with this one. Clinton didn't have a child with Lewinsky, and in fact, engaged only in oral sex, which, I hope Miller and Kanazaw know, does not produce children. If this were all 100% Darwinian get your seed into the hole, then the urge to actually have vaginal intercourse would have been made overwhelming… it is in enough other cases.
This means that one of the points that Miller and Kanazawa simply refuse to talk about, because it over throws their obvious cock whore-ship, is that sex isn't just about direct reproduction in humans, or primates in general. Sex is also a means by which people relate to each other, establish dominance and status, organize relationships, and advertise status. This part of sexuality is as important as the the direct reproduction, and Miller and Kanazawa, if they weren't busiy being plutocratic pigs about everything, would recognize it. Human beings are group animals, the resources of groups determines how well entire groups of will be able to breed. Because of the very migratory nature of human history, and the number of times when evolution of humans hung by a thread, this means something that I think is important for people to understand.
I am not the best at this but let me try. The group needs to work out for their to be more children, but within that, different individuals are going to be competing to get the best result for themselves. Maybe that will mean everyone is better off, and maybe it wont. But sex is one means where genetic actors push to get the best outcome for themselves, without destroying the whole group.
If you think about it, many of the extreme cases that Miller and Kanazawa want to argue are evolutionary ideals, are really peacock feathers: places where ordinary pressures are temporarily removed, and allow a few factors to run riot. But that doesn't mean that those factors are the only "real" ones, and others are fake, but instead, that there are a hoste of competing factors, and in different situations different ones matter.
And I will say that Miller and Kanazawa lie about politics, or are hopelessly stupid about it, in the same way they lie, or are hopelessly ignorant, of art. Namely, what made Clinton's affair important was not that he got caught, but that he had a ruthless political opposition that was willing to go after him for it. I will also point out that Clinton left office about twice as popular as Bush is right now, with his somewhat obviously estranged wife as the leading contender for being the next President. So maybe he knew that while it might be unpleasant, it wasn't going to produce any children, and it wasn't going to put his time in office at risk, and it does not seem to have hurt Hillary to be the wronged woman. If anything, it makes her almost unassailable.
10 "Men sexually harass women because they are not sexist.
This one, really is truly ugly, only academic alpha men intent on sleeping with their undergraduates could write it. Remember, that is their thesis, everything is about men putting the cock in the hole to impregnate, so if they aren't doing it, they are evolutionarily abnormal by their own theory. Their strategy is to sell the patriarchy myth to other men who want to impose it as natural and inevitable, and use the status they gain to be attractive to women who want to be in the harem of the dominant alpha male.
Here on SL, there is little to no reproduction going on from casual sex. In fact, many of the couplings on SL are explicitly designed not to result in face to face, or flesh to flesh, meetings. Men sexually harass women because they are sexist, because they could not treat men in the same way, without getting themselves in a great deal of trouble. Miller and Kanazawa lie, again, about what they are talking about. The feminist theory of patrirarchy isn't that men don't want to abuse each other, on the contrary, layers of inequality, which Miller and Kanazawa celebrate repeatedly, are endemic to patriarchy as feminism describes it, however bad the writing is.
However, says the theory, they have both an incentive to force women to submit, and Miller and Kanazawa lie about academic feminism by implying that it doesn't understand the evolutionary drive to reproduce, and a greater ability to do so by force. In fact, power, in terms of reproductive success, is still power. It is Miller and Kanazawa, not academic feminism, that divide getting babies made, from other kinds of social status. This is really strange, after arguing it is all about fucking and getting the seed to grow, that power, status, genius, money and so on are all means to the end of fucking and getting the seed to grow, they suddenly want to abandon this paradigm in order to say that sexual harassment isn't about sexism. The way it should be looked at is the reverse: that power is a means of short circuiting the female choice involved, which Miller and Kanazawa argue else where is part of the game. From my own observation, the other side of this is that there are women who think that their advantage is that they can fulfill the desire of men to be perfect submissives better. Where academic feminism doesn't want to look to closely at evolution isn't at the behavior of men, but in the reality that there are women who want this game to go on, because they feel they can win this game better.
The "Story of O" is a good example, the woman who wrote it felt that she was not attractive or young, but wanted to hold on to her lover, so she created a book which is the fantasy matrix for millions. If have it, what ever it is, flaunt it. But then, also, try and take the advantages the others have.
The last thing I would like to note is their "more is better" theory of human children. This isn't really the case. In fact, industrialized societies, which have better survival rates, have fewer children. In biology there is a well established spectrum of "care verus number" as a strategy. The more care you give to make each individual more likely to survive, the fewer numbers. A great many points here I've been talking about how sex and status are used to get other humans in a group to give more care to high status individuals, so those individuals can do higher status activities. They may use this to make more children, but they don't necessarily have to. They might, as say Bill Clinton tried to do, spend time making the whole breeding group better off, so that their own genetic material sloshing around it has a better chance. Not just their direct descendants, but as Hamiliton showed, promoting your relatives is almost as good as having children yourself. In social insects in fact, breeders can be argued to be the way by which non-breeding workers produce offspring, rather than seeing workers as the way by which queens off load work. Honest, it is in The Selfish Gene and several other books that these two ought to have been reading, rather than looking at the most recent crop of undergraduates. Again, they accuse themselves of this, I'm just pointing out that either their are evolutionarily abnormal, or trying to screw their students but their own theory.