There’s another evo-psych stoush brewing in the atheist/skeptic blogs, predictably arising ultimately from Rebecca Watson saying those four little words a while ago and apparently she has not been denigrated enough yet for doing that because she’s still talking about stuff that bothers/insults women! PZ is far from impressed, and Stephanie Zvan found the time to dissect the latest critique and its embarrassing misunderstandings/misrepresentations of Rebecca’s speech against bad science used to buttress the gender status quo.
Anyway, here’s my chosen nugget.
jose at Pharyngula
Evolutionary biologists love Matsuzawa and Jane Goodall and and their research on qualities we long thought were uniquely human but turns out they aren’t. They love to talk about the evolution of morality, the evolution of politics, of culture, of the artistic sense, etc. But these are topics evolutionary psychology hardly covers. There is instead an obsessive focus on gender roles.
This actually parallels something Rebecca said in her talk, in a response to a question:
Q: Is there any good evolutionary psychology?
A: Is there any good evolutionary psych. Probably? I’m guessing yes, but it’s so boring, because you can only make it interesting if you make up everything. Because, really, good evolutionary psychology would be more like, “Well, we don’t really know what happened in the Pleistocene, and we have no evidence for this, but maybe this”. It’s not the sort of thing that makes headlines. So if there is good evolutionary psychology, it’s not in the media, and therefore, it might as well not exist as far as the general public is concerned.
At this point in time, given what we know of the sort of evo pysch speculations which the mainstream media loves to push, it’s pretty much guaranteed that if an evo psych study’s results are getting headlines then it’s either bad science or bad journalism, and far too often it’s both. Sucks to be one of the minority rigorous evolutionary psychologists who are working hard on solidly evidenced studies, because the pop-evo-psych shonks are ruining their name.