Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Satoshi Kanazawa is a douchebag and Psychology Today pays him for it.

Satoshi Kanazawa writes a blog for Psychology Today called The Scientific Fundamentalist. This doesn't mean that he's a Christian Fundamentalist--frankly I think he'd have a brighter view of human nature if he were--but that he believes human behavior originates in the "fundamental" source of evolution.

I agree that human behavior is evolved, but I believe that we evolved into humans. If we still had the hierarchies and behaviors of apes on the savannah, we'd be apes on the savannah. (Also, even apes are often more complex than Kanazawa assumes.) It's like saying "dolphins are descended from land creatures with legs, therefore dolphins have legs." And the idea that men are harem-keeping sperm machines and women are antler-contest-judging baby machines is some serious dolphin legs. Morality, creativity, abstraction, empathy--these are our flippers.

But science schmience, it's all just a very loose framework for Kanazawa to be a garden-variety douchebag.

On successful women:
When we think of “successful women,” we don’t think of the Octomom, Nadya Suleman, even though, in purely reproductive terms, she is probably the most successful person in the United States today. We cannot think of any other woman – or man – who has produced 14 children. Nadya Suleman is 14 times as successful as Hillary Clinton is, but Suleman is not the one we have in mind when we think of “highly accomplished successful women.” [...] Nobody recognizes women who are successful in female terms.
Sure, and in purely number-of-toes terms, that girl in India with four legs was the most successful woman in the world. Redefining "success" to something that provides considerably less happiness and security and self-actualization than, you know, success, is just a word game. I'm not knocking babies, but if sheer number of babies is the way women succeed, I want a dick right now.

...Hey, what about guys who father umpty-zillion kids? Why aren't they the paragons of success in male terms? What more could a man aspire to?

On why women secretly want their husbands to cheat:
All women have a vested reproductive interest to marry a man who is as desirable and attractive (physically and otherwise) as possible, but the more desirable and attractive the husband is, the greater the chances that other women would want him as well and thus the greater the chances that he would be unfaithful. There is a surefire way to guarantee that their husband will never cheat on them, and that is to marry the biggest loser that they can find so that nobody else would want him. But obviously no woman would want to do that.
Yeah, and the whole concept of a guy who is desirable but also has ethics and self-restraint is a wishful-thinking myth, rather than, you know, the norm among humans. You know what I really don't get about all these just-so stories? Why, if humans are inevitably programmed to act a certain way, they don't act that way more. If men are born to cheat as the sparks fly upward, where did the idea of monogamy even come from? (Don't try and tell me with a straight face that women won't sleep with another woman's man.) If indiscriminate polygyny was natural for humans, we'd--naturally--be doing it.

This shit about "you should be grateful, bitch, it means I'm good enough for you!" makes me really wish he was a Christian Fundamentalist. At least they understand monogamy.

On why feminism is "illogical, unnecessary, and evil":
The fact that men and women are fundamentally different and want different things makes it difficult to compare their welfare directly, to assess which sex is better off; for example, the fact that women make less money than men cannot by itself be evidence that women are worse off than men, any more than the fact that men own fewer pairs of shoes than women cannot be evidence that men are worse off than women.
Well, I happen to be a woman who somehow learned to speak human languages, and I would like to assure you that I like money--and political power, and sexual freedom, and personal autonomy--a whole lot more than I like shoes. Even Manolos. Or babies. Or, OMG, baby Manolos. What women want isn't some mystery and it isn't different from men; we want what people want.

Another fallacy on which modern feminism is based is that men have more power than women. Among mammals, the female always has more power than the male, and humans are no exception.
EPIC ZOOLOGY FAIL.

Also, humans are the only animal capable of replacing an "is" with a "should" when it comes to our social structure. Lack of language and abstraction means no lioness is ever going to say to the others, "hey ladies, how about we don't bring him free food and let him kill our cubs today?" People can do a little better than that.

On how women's ability to refuse sex means they're, like, totally in charge of the world:
Imagine for a moment a society where sex and mating were entirely a male choice; individuals have sex whenever and with whomever men want, not whenever and with whomever women want. What would happen in such a society? Absolutely nothing, because people would never stop having sex! There would be no civilization in such a society, because people would not do anything besides have sex. This, incidentally, is the reason why gay men never stop having sex: there are no women in their relationships to say no. Sexually active straight men on average have had 16.5 sex partners since age 18; gay men have had 42.8.
So yeah, all those gay artists and writers and politicians and freakin' gay fry cooks for that matter? Clearly couldn't be contributing to society, because they're way too busy having sex.

I always wonder why "men don't say no to sex" bullshit is often found in the same arenas as "men are innately and irrevocably attracted to Megan Fox, sorry uggos" bullshit. If men will go for anything with a vagina, how can they also be such picky fucks?

“For a man to walk into a bar and have his choice of any woman he wants, he would have to be the ruler of the world. For a woman to have the same power over men, she’d have to do her hair.” In other words, any reasonably attractive young woman exercises as much power as does the (male) ruler of the world.

A) That's not power. If I have a choice of having armies at my command and millions of acres of land and billions of dollars, or being able to fuck a dude... I'm not going go rub my chin and go "hmm, seems about even."

B) That's not true. I'm a reasonably attractive young woman (perhaps not for a Megan Fox definition of "reasonably"?) and I can't freaking do that. My pull rate, when I'm really putting it out there, is maybe 65%? And that's for any acceptable guy, not for the one single top-choice guy (as if I knew who that was anyway). Bars have other women in them, you know. Other women, and guys who aren't looking for sex, and guys who don't go for my type, and guys who are turned off when I do something awkward, and all these other crazy variables that don't exist in UGH MONKEY SEE MONKEY FUCK Land.

It might be true that an attractive young woman who goes into a real nasty dive-bar and just announces she's going to fuck someone tonight would get her choice of the joint, but that's not power, that's not even safe.

C) There is a large set of "women" that do not belong to the subset "reasonably attractive young women." What're they, chopped liver? When guys like this say "women," I get the feeling that they mean her. But she's a woman and so is she and she is no less a woman. And I don't mean to insult these women when I say I don't think they can just choose from a cock smorgasboard every time they walk into a room. (Except that biker chick. She might.) Where do they get their "power"?



Sure he's just some crazy fuck on the Internet, but he's getting paid for this shit. By actual serious grownups. It blows my mind.

32 comments:

  1. New link for the enemies list?

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  2. Mangoesandlimes - Eh, maybe. I think he's a little too trollish to be of continued interest. With Cosmo and Twisty and PUAs I feel like I can dig into their arguments a little; with this guy a lot of it just comes down to "no, you're a dumbhead."

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  3. And this would be merely the most egregious example yet I've seen of why Psychology Today is pure trash journalism rather than anything resembling science journalism focusing on psychology.

    As for this dickhead, he's getting the conclusions he wants specifically by defining "access to pussy" as the single most valuable thing on the planet.

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  4. I really want to know what I've been doing wrong, because I still haven't slept with Christian Bale or Johnny Depp or Gale Harold. I must not be a woman I guess.

    Unless he meant to compare attractive women to POWERFUL men. So even playing devil's advocate and assuming his strange worldview is correct:

    Some women are attractive and can get laid. Others are not.

    Some men are powerful, and can get laid, others are not. However, a weak man can become powerful, whereas beyond a certain point, the woman's looks are entirely predetermined.

    So...like...how are women more powerful, even within his structure?

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  5. This is the guy who always includes the Ph.D. after his name but never says what it's in, right?

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  6. Dear God, I hate Satoshi Kanazawa.

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  7. I am SO FUCKING SICK of people acting like society would fall apart if women weren't the "gatekeepers" of sex. Implicit in this idea is the implication that women don't want or like sex as much as men do.

    Well, hell, I can't speak for all women, but I like sex PLENTY, thank you. If I say no to it, it's usually because I'm being propositoned by someone I don't find attractive (and guess what? Even those slutty, slutty gay men are fucking guys they want and saying no to guys they don't want).

    And how, exactly, does saying "no" constitute any form of power when a lot of guys will just go ahead and take it by force, anyway? As long as guys are bigger and stronger than us, we're at their mercy. If we don't have sex, it's by their good graces. This is terrifying and doesn't make me feel especially empowered.

    Also, choosing what goes in your body isn't a power, it's a basic right. Is it some grand social triumph when a dude tells the waitress to leave the onions off his burger, too?

    And how hilarious that this douchebag is comparing Hilary Clinton's success to Octomom's. Because lying on your back is totally the same amount of work as campaigning for office.

    Maybe if the human race were dying out, churning out a bunch of kids would be a huge deal. As things stand, though, not so much. I mean if you like kids and want to have a bunch, go ahead; I just don't think it's a feat on par with having a lot of money or pollitical or social influence.

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  8. Also: the fact that men are bigger and stronger and PUSHY is a major part of me being a sexual gatekeeper. If guys let me guide the level of our physical intimacy without trying to take it further than what I'm already doing--and if I felt like I could say "Okay, that's enough" at any point without them being angry or resentful or going ahead and raping me because I got 'em all worked up--then I'd've fucked a LOT more guys by now, because I'd feel safe enough to let loose. I'm a "gatekeeper" because people keep trying to break down my gate, dammit.

    Oh, and by the way, the gay definition of sex is different from the straight one. In Straightland, "sex" means getting one of your holes pounded. For gay folks, it means a whole range of different stuff--basically, if you're gay and you've had an orgasm in the presence of another person, that's sex. The indescriminate gay sex that Douchebag Science Guy mentions? I'd bet my life it includes hand jobs, blow jobs, etc. If you only counted penis-into-ass sex, I bet the stats between the straight and gay communities would be a lot more similar.

    Being penetrated is fun, but exhausting. And potentially painful. And makes the penetrate-ee feel kind of vulnerable. Nobody's gonna say yes EVERY SINGLE TIME.

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  9. Anyone who equates reproduction with 'success' is so mind-numbingly stupid that even attempting to respond to their pathetic excuse for an argument would require a lobotomy.

    I'm going to drink heavily and beat myself over the head with a crowbar for a while. I will then compose an article that will make me a billionaire as soon as I submit it to PT.

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  10. It's not just psychology today. A lot of "science" magazines are written by people who don't really understand the science involved, or have any sort of imagination as to what people actually use science for.

    I recently read an article in New Scientist that was also ridiculous beyond belief. Let's ignore the Star Trek metaphors that ended up confusing and annoying Star Trek fans because they didn't make sense in context (and non-fans wouldn't get them anyway). It basically said that space travel is impossible because even if you travel at 99.999998% of the speed of light, it would still take about 50,000 years to reach the galactic core. Even though time dilation would be such that only 10 years would pass for the crew, they wouldn't get home until 100,000 years after the mission. So, impossible.

    Seriously, WTF?
    1. Wrong. It would take 26,000 years, not 50,000.
    2. Why the hell would you want to travel to the center of the galaxy? It's full of black holes and deadly radiation. You'd just die.
    3. There are a lot of interesting "nearby" places (in a relative sense) that would take only a few decades at that speed.
    4. Anyone who had a reason to travel that far is obviously not planning to return, duh.

    Epic science failures make it to print all the time. Unfortunately.

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  11. >All women have a vested reproductive interest to marry a man

    Uhuh? So if I can cite one counterexample, the whole argument implodes? Fail.

    I know that people like this exists, but as you said, he's being paid for this drivel, and that's (insert Stingray-isms) insane.

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  12. We cannot think of any other woman – or man – who has produced 14 children.

    He clearly does not watch TLC.

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  13. Imagine for a moment a society where sex and mating were entirely a male choice...There would be no civilization in such a society, because people would not do anything besides have sex.

    [blinks]

    Y'know, the "if men could autofellate we'd never leave the house knowwhaddamean" thing is a pretty stupid, simpleminded joke as it is. But to see the same idea repeated in a psychology mag is pretty fucking depressing. Insulting, too.

    I'm actually a big believer in evolutionary psychology, but share two major concerns with you over how it's often done:

    1 - The proponent almost invariably forgets that civilization, self control, and higher reasoning are as much a part of the suite of human survival adaptations as our raging horniness. This is verifiable in real life: by the flat evolutionary measure of success, have we produced more humans with or without the supposedly "unnatural" expectations of civilization?

    2 - The proponent generally focuses entirely on the "shoulds" of the thought-experiment, and rarely makes much of an attempt to test the hypothesis against reality. Case in point: _do_ people get nothing else done if they can get orgasms at will? Most of us can masturbate. And hell, I'm in a 24/7 DS relationship with two submissive women who have stronger sex drives than mine. I _could_, for all practical purposes, have all the sex I want. I still have interests outside the bedroom, thanks.

    Hey, can't this guy get some kind of journalism award for ignorantly offending women, men, and the very core principles of science all in one article? ;)

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  14. I have nothing to add to this discussion except to say that Biker Chick is awesome! If I could, I'd totally have Biker Chick's babies.

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  15. To be fair, when he refers to sex, perhaps he's referring to reproductive success, which is, after all, all that our genes care about. But even then Octomom wouldn't be a success in the long-run. Her fourteen children are unlikely to get enough parental attention to be functional enough to survive and raise functional offspring.

    Also, dude? Rock stars are in pretty much ideal circumstances for polygyny, what with the groupies and the social acceptance of rock-star promiscuity. And yet many of them are in monogamous relationships. The lead singer of Green Day has been married for fifteen years, apparently completely monogamously, and I doubt that he's what anybody would call the biggest loser.

    Also, judging by my male friends, without the female gatekeeper function men would end up playing Xbox all day.

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  16. I saw a presentation about the sex-lives of lab mice. For optimal reproductive success, males should engage in intercourse with as many different females as possible. However, in experiments they didn't--they demonstrated clear preference for familiar females. Which isn't monogomy by any means, but the professor's interpretation was that mice--and probably all mammals-- have more emotional complexity than a simple selfish-gene scenario. And, yeah...we're not mice.

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  17. A lot of classical assumptions about sexual selection are starting to crumble as researchers go "Well, fine, let's just test this then". One of the biggest things that's falling apart is how often females actually do choose the showiest, most high-status males available- the answer is turning out to be "not nearly as often as we thought".

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  18. "The lead singer of Green Day has been married for fifteen years, apparently completely monogamously, and I doubt that he's what anybody would call the biggest loser."

    I would, but that's based more on his music than his marriage.

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  19. Humph. I love Green Day and I am not ashamed. Old stuff was better, though.

    ...Still not the biggest loser. Satoshi Kanazawa has him beat on so many levels.

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  20. The real question is, has the Green Day guy fathered the maximal number of children with his wife? If not he's pretty much wasting his life.

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  21. But even then Octomom wouldn't be a success in the long-run. Her fourteen children are unlikely to get enough parental attention to be functional enough to survive and raise functional offspring.

    In our culture, pretty much everyone survives long enough to get, and will get, opportunities to procreate. The bars are very, very low.

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  22. Bruno - I know a family with fourteen sequential kids (it's actually not that rare), and they're all in shape to survive and reproduce. But it's extremely likely that some or all of the octuplets are severely disabled, considering their extremely low-weight and oxygen-deprived births. I'm guessing they won't all be able to reproduce.

    Which means that Ms. Suleman is a total failure at life, obviously.

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  23. Two kids, according to Wikipedia. He is a failure at LIFE! He should stop producing pop-punk and get on the baby-making! A man's place is in the kitc-- wait a second...

    Good point, Bruno. But I like that Holly proved I was accidentally right. :)

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  24. There is a surefire way to guarantee that their husband will never cheat on them, and that is to marry the biggest loser that they can find so that nobody else would want him. But obviously no woman would want to do that.
    Nobody else caught this? My anecdotal experience is that those guys cheat quite a bit.

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  25. When we think of “successful women,” we don’t think of the Octomom, Nadya Suleman, even though, in purely reproductive terms, she is probably the most successful person in the United States today. We cannot think of any other woman – or man – who has produced 14 children.

    This isn't even correct. There's a family somewhere in the South that consists of mom, dad, and 16-17 kids. I saw an article about them somewhere on the newswire, maybe a year or two ago. She's averaged something like a kid a year for their entire married life together. (It was, of course, slanted against them since they belong to a fundamentalist Christian church and use their beliefs to defend the size of their family.)

    The record is held by a 19th-century Russian peasant woman, who had something like fifty kids, including many sets of twins and triplets, over her reproductive life.

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  26. http://www.pacificnet.net/~joelinux/clowncar.jpg

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  27. elmo:
    Y'know, the "if men could autofellate we'd never leave the house knowwhaddamean" thing is a pretty stupid, simpleminded joke as it is.

    "Case in point: _do_ people get nothing else done if they can get orgasms at will? Most of us can masturbate."

    Let's look at what you're responding to:

    Imagine for a moment a society where sex and mating were entirely a male choice...There would be no civilization in such a society, because people would not do anything besides have sex.

    Masturbation =! sex. If solo masturbation were as fulfilling as sexual activities involving other people, what would be the point of non-reproductive sex? Why wouldn't non-reproductive sex have become largely obsolete long ago? Masturbation, after all, is far easier and less risky.

    Clearly masturbation (e.g. autofellatio, solo orgasms) cannot be conflated with actual sex to the degree that you imply in your argument. Gay sex is non-reproductive, yet on average they have even *more* sex. If mere masturbation is anywhere near as fulfilling a great deal of HIV/AIDS sure could have been avoided in their communities! But it's not.

    Regarding Satoshi Kanazawa, most of what he says here actually isn't exceptional among evolutionary psychologists. My own views are more nuanced, but if you have such a problem with Satoshi, you'll likely have a problem with *most* evo psychs.

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  28. elmo:
    Y'know, the "if men could autofellate we'd never leave the house knowwhaddamean" thing is a pretty stupid, simpleminded joke as it is.

    "Case in point: _do_ people get nothing else done if they can get orgasms at will? Most of us can masturbate."

    Let's look at what you're responding to:

    Imagine for a moment a society where sex and mating were entirely a male choice...There would be no civilization in such a society, because people would not do anything besides have sex.

    Masturbation =! sex. If solo masturbation were as fulfilling as sexual activities involving other people, what would be the point of non-reproductive sex? Why wouldn't non-reproductive sex have become largely obsolete long ago? Masturbation, after all, is far easier and less risky.

    Clearly masturbation (e.g. autofellatio, solo orgasms) cannot be conflated with actual sex to the degree that you imply in your argument. Gay sex is non-reproductive, yet on average they have even *more* sex. If mere masturbation is anywhere near as fulfilling a great deal of HIV/AIDS sure could have been avoided in their communities! But it's not.

    Regarding Satoshi Kanazawa, most of what he says here actually isn't exceptional among evolutionary psychologists. My own views are more nuanced, but if you have such a problem with Satoshi, you'll likely have a problem with *most* evo psychs.

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  29. Socioengineer,

    Kindly proceed to the very next sentence after the text you quoted, in which I addressed partnered sex in addition to solo orgasms.

    ...if you have such a problem with Satoshi, you'll likely have a problem with *most* evo psychs.

    That's largely where I stand, yes. The _principle_ of evolutionary psychology is so basic and inherent that it almost has to be true, but as practiced by the great majority of its proponents, it's wildly oversimplified and based more on mentally justifying assumptions rather than on testing those assumptions against observation.

    Having confidence in the principles of the science but a lack of confidence in the community currently practicing the science isn't a contradiction, and it's hardly limited to evolutionary psychology.

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  30. I don't think it's just Psychology Today.

    British Mensa magazine for August 2012 has a cover splash for "Evolution and Intelligence: A Startling New View". It too is by this particular fruitbat, but possibly even worse.

    "Voluntary childlessness is [...] the greatest crime against nature, which is why intelligent people do it.

    I feel the urge to pat him on the head and say, "No, dear. Voluntary childlessness to the extent that we can practice it is one of the ways we can best be assured that there will be a planet, an ecosystem and--even, humans" in the next 200 years' time". Whenever people have tried unrestrained breeding as a strategy in urban/modern civilisation the result hasn't been particularly pretty.

    At first I thought it was the slightly less barking argument that childlessness might be a Bad Thing in terms of carrying on the species (although quite frankly enough people are competently managing basic Having a Couple of Children already...) but no, elsewhere in the article it became clear that it was all about TEH WIMMINZ and specifically that 'a few' children was not enough, it was absolutely the more the better. And as usual for evo-psych barking lunatics, men get a free pass on the grounds that they enjoy spreading their seed, but women have to be rapid-fire baby factories.

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  31. I am embarrassed that this bag of flaccid dicks is Japanese (remember, if you're not white, actions of one are taken for the entire ethnicity).

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