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PZ Myers dissects evolutionary psychology: brief, sharp and fabulous

I admit I LOL'd at the part about lighting up "like a Christmas tree." WATCH AND LEARN all IDWs!

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Wednesday, June 21, 2023

The Skeptical Inquirer joins forces with rightwing political operative Jerry Coyne

Well you would expect something like this from The Skeptic, which is owned by extreme race pseudoscience supporter Michael Shermer.

But I didn't expect The Skeptical Inquirer would join forces with reactionary race pseudoscience ghoul Jerry Coyne and some creep I assume he met at Peter Thiel's CPAC for racists, Luana S. Maroja, who apparently takes money from rightwing crackpot Peter Thiel's leading courtier Bari Weiss.

This is your brain on race pseudoscience

It should be clear to everybody by now that Jerry Coyne is not a scientist - he is a right-wing political operative, probably taking money from Thiel or Koch or some other racist plutocrat. 

Coyne went after P. Z. Myers, who is a scientist. 

Coyne's utter lack of professional and personal ethics was on full display when he made a presentation at Peter Thiel's CPAC for racists (featuring racist troll Amy Wax) and mentioned Myers and described him as a "blogger" rather than a biologist. I'm amazed he didn't repeat that in the article:
3. Evolutionary psychology, the study of the evolutionary roots of human behavior, is a bogus field based on false assumptions. The biologist P.Z. Myers joined several other critics of this field (once called sociobiology) when he asserted that: “The fundamental premises of evo psych [evolutionary psychology] are false.” Even social psychologists, who almost universally accept evolution itself, are far less enthusiastic about the idea that evolution explains important aspects of human psychology, social attitudes, and preferences.

But Myers’s widely accepted view is misguided, for the fundamental premise of evolutionary psychology is simply this: our brains and how they work—which yield our behaviors, preferences, and thoughts—sometimes reflect natural selection that acted on our ancestors. Nobody denies this for our bodies—palimpsests of once-adaptive traits that are no longer useful (wisdom teeth, tailbones, and transitory coats of hair in embryos)—but opponents of evolutionary psychology deny it for our behaviors. But there is no scientific reason for such duality. Why on earth should our bodies reflect millions of years of evolution while our behaviors, thoughts, and psychology, molded by the very same forces, are somehow immune to our past? The only way this could be true is if human behaviors lacked genetic variation, a sine qua non for evolution. Yet research has shown that our behaviors are among the most genetically variable human traits!

And so the “sociobiology wars” of the seventies, launched by E.O. Wilson’s eponymous book, continue under a new name, but the subject remains human exceptionalism—the view that we’re somehow nearly free of the evolutionary forces that molded behavior in other species. It’s true that the early days of evolutionary psychology included some “soft” research that proposed dubious and untestable adaptive hypotheses for our behavior, but now the field has reached an explanatory maturity that has to be taken seriously.
Coyne links on "misguided" to an article in - what, an important magazine on biology? Or a general magazine like Scientific American? No, he links to garbage Areo, which is basically Quillette light

This is a good opportunity to post again Myers' evisceration of evolutionary psychology, in a superb video.

Coyne mentions E. O. Wilson, who as we know, irrefutably, was a racist.

Now once Areo and Wilson are cited, you know that jaw-dropping racist bullshit will not be far behind. 

All the blather about GWAS and "individual differences" and how race is really really real is worth skipping because all you have to know about Coyne and Maroja is the way they describe career racist Bo Winegard:
But the central question about genetics in the culture wars involves behavioral characteristics of different populations and ethnic groups, with differences in intelligence being the subject deemed most taboo. In light of the checkered history of this work, it behooves any researcher to tread lightly, for virtually any outcome save worldwide identity of populations could be used to buttress bias and bigotry. Indeed, even writing about this subject has led to sanctions on many scientists, who have “found themselves denounced, defamed, protested, petitioned, punched, kicked, stalked, spat on, censored, fired from their jobs and stripped of their honorary titles.” A well-known example is Bo Winegard, an untenured professor in Ohio who was apparently fired for merely suggesting the possibility that there were differences in cognition among ethnic groups. This is why most biologists stay far away from this topic.
I really hope Coyne's problem is early-stage dementia because otherwise he has no excuse for being such a sleaze. 

First, Marietta College did not release a public statement about Winegard's employment status, giving Winegard and a network of right-wing racist allies a chance to spin the issue as Winegard, Champion of Free Speech

Third, Winegard isn't only a race pseudoscience ghoul, he is a neo-Nazi with dreams of national racial quotas.

This is Jerry Coyne's example of a poor abused martyr for science. 

What a horrible reactionary ghoul Coyne has become. 

And the Skeptical Inquirer is a disgrace.

UPDATE: apparently Skeptical Inquirer has been on a downhill slide for years now, I just haven't been paying attention:

On Facebook:

Kavin Senapathy is with Martina Fern and
92 others.

March 18, 2020 ·

I have an update about how the Center for Inquiry and the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry have reacted to my recent Undark essay (https://undark.org/.../center-for-inquiry-race.../) in which I criticize their indifference to matters of race, racist pseudoscience, and the white supremacy among their ranks.
Wait for it …
Within days, they removed all of my Skeptical Inquirer articles and my Point of Inquiry episodes from their website...

From the Undark article:

Meanwhile, scientific racism — the idea that there are biological differences between so-called races, often paired with a notion that the white race possesses superior intellect — has made a disturbing comeback, in tandem with the resurgence of white nationalist groups. This revival of racist pseudoscience has prompted widespread alarm in the scientific community, including a 2018 statement from the American Society of Human Genetics that denounced attempts to use genetics to “bolster bogus claims of white supremacy.”

Two years ago, in an inept attempt to address the issue, CFI published a special issue of Skeptical Inquirer: “A Skeptic’s Guide to Racism.” The issue, penned exclusively by white men, demonstrated CFI leadership’s woefully shallow grasp of how racism works. In an article on “critical thinking approaches to confronting racism,” the magazine’s deputy editor, Benjamin Radford, referenced the view of evolutionary psychologist and author Steven Pinker that “the overall historical trends for humanity are encouraging”— a view that has been criticized as glossing over the plights of the most marginalized people. Radford’s contribution to the special issue also seemed to ignore the elephant in CFI’s room: He made not even a passing mention of the staggering racial disparities within his own organization — and within the very pages of the publication he was writing for.

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