Pharyngula

Among the many reasons that I detest evolutionary psychology, one has a name: Satoshi Kanazawa. He has a blog on Psychology Today called The Scientific Fundamentalist, and earlier he published this charming article: Why Are Black Women Rated Less Physically Attractive Than Other Women?. Don’t bother trying to follow the link, the article has mysteriously disappeared from the site…although you can still find a copy here, if you really must.

I’m a little surprised that it’s gone. After all, Psychology Today had no problem with his loving look at American politics in which he wanted Ann Coulter for president, because she would have nuked the Middle East on 12 September 2001. That’s just the kind of guy he is.

In order to make his determination that black women are ugly, he draws on The National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health) which I now learn to my surprise has a subjective component in which the people doing the survey make judgments about the subjects’ appearance.

Add Health measures the physical attractiveness of its respondents both objectively and subjectively. At the end of each interview, the interviewer rates the physical attractiveness of the respondent objectively on the following five-point scale: 1 = very unattractive, 2 = unattractive, 3 = about average, 4 = attractive, 5 = very attractive. The physical attractiveness of each Add Health respondent is measured three times by three different interviewers over seven years.

Good grief…shades of Francis Galton! For those of you who don’t know, creepy old man Galton ogled women and judged them for looks.

I may here speak of some attempts by myself, to obtain materials for a “Beauty Map” of the British Isles. Whenever I have occasion to classify the persons I meet into three classes, “good, medium, bad,” I use a needle mounted as a pricker, wherewith to prick holes, unseen, in a piece of paper, torn rudely into a cross with a long leg. I use its upper end for “good”, the cross arm for “medium,” the lower end for “bad.” The prick-holes keep distinct, and are easily read off at leisure. The object, place, and date are written on the paper. I used this plan for my beauty data, classifying the girls I passed in streets or elsewhere as attractive, indifferent, or repellent. Of course this was a purely individual estimate, but it was consistent, judging from the conformity of different attempts in the same population. I found London to rank highest for beauty: Aberdeen lowest.

Because, as we all know, beauty is easily measured in a linear scale with no possibility of subjective bias (I say sarcastically). I’m quite pleased that no one in my family is a participant in Add Health, because I’d have to kick them out of my house when they came around. Same with Galton. Fortunately, his leering pseudo-statistical brain is now dust and slime.

Kanazawa is the kind of guy who looks at such shaky subjective evaluations, and without even considering the biases of these self-appointed judges, declares that

It is very interesting to note that, even though black women are objectively less physically attractive than other women, black women (and men) subjectively consider themselves to be far more physically attractive than others.

Wait a moment there…where in this study is the objective evaluation of attractiveness? Because Kanazawa can stack up a bunch of scores and make graphs does not mean that they have suddenly acquired the property of objectivity.

Can Kanazawa make his interpretations even worse? Yes, he can. He has a real talent for this. He generously concedes that, although black women are fat and blacks are less intelligent, their shortcomings in those areas, which are associated with the perception of beauty, are inadequate to explain why black women are so ugly, especially since black men are judged attractive, and lord knows, they have inferior IQs. But then, no loss: he also thinks Africans are too dumb to live.

It seems to have been purged from Psychology Today, but I suspect this article will soon find a happy home on the pages of Stormfront and other such aryan racist tripe.

And then there’s this idiocy:

There are many biological and genetic differences between the races. However, such race differences usually exist in equal measure for both men and women. For example, because they have existed much longer in human evolutionary history, Africans have more mutations in their genomes than other races. And the mutation loads significantly decrease physical attractiveness (because physical attractiveness is a measure of genetic and developmental health). But since both black women and black men have higher mutation loads, it cannot explain why only black women are less physically attractive, while black men are, if anything, more attractive.

That makes no sense. My ancestors, your ancestors, and Kanazawa’s ancestors were all African — we share mutations with all Africans from before the time our European and Asian ancestors left Africa, and those ancestors then accumulated new mutations at the same rate as the populations left behind in the ancestral homeland. We European/Asian folk inherited a subset of the totality of human genetic variation, but there’s nothing that implies Africans are or have been mutating faster than anyone else.

I know that not all evolutionary psychologists are this bad; more of them need to stand up and repudiate this bigoted clown and his ridiculous interpretations of sloppy data.