Think twice (or why pop ev-psych might not be on the most solid foundation)
The evolutionary psychologist Dr Satoshi Kanazawa is (in)famous for his
provocative claims: atheist liberals are smarter than religious
right-wingers, black people are cognitively inferior to whites,
beautiful people have more daughters than sons, feminism is evil, and so
There are, as you might expect, some criticisms of his work's technical
quality. For example, Echidne here (pts 2, 3,
4), here, and here (pts 2, 3). Or
Andrew Gelman here (PDF) and with David Weakliem here
(PDF again). Or Culture Evolves (see the many links in the third
paragraph). Or Crooked Timber here.
Then too, there are signs that his facade of political neutrality is
either idiocy or lies (see also Cosma Shalizi).
Looooong story short, whether his provocative claims reinforce or
challenge your biases, you might just want to find a more credible
source than an evolutionary psychologist who proudly notes he hasn't
studied biology since high school and gets statistics wrong to boot.
Which is why I'll just wrap up with Daniel Davies:
We can see the modern descendant of this primeval behaviour in the
struggle in our comments section over the evolutionary psychologist,
academic racist, genocidal fantastist and general-purpose
embarrassment, Satoshi Kanazawa, on the general subject of everyone
with a perceived national, institutional, disciplinary or academic
connection to him desperately trying to backpedal and claim that he's
one of you lot, not one of us lot.
The Americans are pointing out that he works at LSE; the Brits that he
did all of his studies in America. The sociologists want to make it
very clear that he's a psychologist - the psychologists that his PhD is
in sociology. I have noticed that he actually works in the Managerial
Economics and Strategy Group (ie he's a business school type) and am
staying bloody quiet about it in the hope that nobody else will twig.
There might be something to this evolutionary psychology lark after all.