Loved this Tweet from a parody Salon account, and thought I needed to write about evo psych and feminism.
Turns out my friend Captain Weeaboo did a pretty nice job of addressing the issues, and with permission, here is the post:
STEM fields are generally not popular among people driven by political ideology, because STEM deals with facts as opposed to humanities which are generally based on confirmation bias and fail to have a coherent method like the scientific method. But one of the scientific fields that is most hated and attacked of them all has to be biology.
The field of biology makes a lot of discoveries that tell us a lot about the implications of humanity, biology has shown us some inconvenient truths about human nature, such as that we are in the long run not so different from animals after all. Opponents who criticize fields of biology and people who criticize most of STEM are generally ideology driven people. Anthropocentrists who want to conform the facts to make them fit in their beautiful worldview to justify their false sugarcoated lies. It all manifested itself when Darwin and Wallace introduced a scientific argument for evolutionary biology known as natural selection. It made the bold claim that animals and humans where not seperately created in their current form by a creator but rather that biological populations changed over succesive generations and that they all including humans share a common ancestor.
As expected people where absolutely outraged by this idea, they claimed that this theory of evolution was against God and the bible and considered it blatant heresy. Opponents of evolutionary biology mainly known as the creationists claimed that evolutionary biology and natural selection would justify things like eugenics, satanism, abortion, murder, selfishness and might is right morality. They purely opposed evolution not because they could scientifically disprove the theory, but because they disliked the implications of the theory and feared that it would not fit within their worldview. They where too blinded by their religious and political motivations to even consider the evidence. In modern days evolutionary biology has become overwhelmingly accepted, with an incredible amount of evidence from genetics to paleontology backing the scientific theory up, sure there are still creationist groups out there redressing themselves as “intelligent design” but i’m fairly confident science won the Evolution vs Creation war.
But now we have a new controversial field in evolution, with an entire new enemy trying to deny human nature. This field is known as Evolutionary Psychology which started with it’s older brother Sociobiology. Both Evolutionary Psychology and Sociobiology aim to seek a middle ground in the fallacious Nature vs Nurture debate and seek to explain cultures, social behaviour and intelligence through genetics and biology, Evolutionary Psychology specifically uses adaption and the principle of Natural Selection for this. The fields where popularized by men like E.O Wilson, Richard Dawkins and Steven Pinker and have till this day contributed a lot to the fields of biology and genetics. However since these fields reject the principle of a Blank Slate and that behaviour is purely shaped by culture and enviroment the field has once again gained a lot of controversy and attacks by ideology driven people scared of the implications.
In the 20th century it was first attacked by Neo-Lysenkoists like Richard Lewtonin and Stephen Gould who seeked to minimize the roles of genetics and biology as much as possible and outright rejected these fields, while they deny it, they where clearly motivated by political views and fear of biological determinism rather than actually opposing the science behind it. Now in the 21st century a whole other enemy has arrived to attack Evolutionary Psychology, these people specifically criticizing the role of EP in gender.
They are known as the Gender Feminists, people who view gender as a purely social construct and who seek to eliminate and destroy gender roles as they view it as harmful. These people completely reject the idea that gender has any biological influences, they believe that there is no difference between men and women from a genetic standpoint and that gender is essentially a blank slate molten by environment and culture. As such these feminists directly deny and hate Evolutionary Psychology with a passion, believing it enforces a patriarchy and viewing masculinity as superior, even going as far as to say that the field promotes rape.
These viewpoints are generally enforced in pseudoscientific fields like Woman Studies and Gender theory, fields that are strongly influenced by postmodernism and run rampant in academia. If you want to know more about these people i strongly recommend the Norwegian documentary “Hjernevask” which exposes the clear ideological motivation behind Gender Studies while providing clear scientific evidence against it.
Do you notice how extremely uncanney Creationism and Gender Feminism is? Both strongly oppose evolution in favor of a field that fits their own worldview, and both believe that accepting these evolutionary principles would lead to bad thing. Creationists believing it would lead to eugenics, racism, satanism and social darwinism. While Feminists believe it would lead to patriarchy, sexism, gender roles and biological determinism. While there are many other pseudoscientific beliefs SJW’s hold such as denial of transmedicalism (also known by tumblrites as truscum) and even more crazy the Otherkin/Headmate cultures, I want to mainly focus on feminists social constructionism and their criticism of Evolutionary Psychology.
Ironically most of the notable criticism of Evolutionary Psychology are self-proclaimed skeptics who you’d usually expect to make fun of such pseudoscience. Rebbeca Watson also known as the Skepchick is an atheist/skeptic notable for attempting to force feminism into the skeptic community. She poorly attempted to attack Evolutionary Psychology but has been excellently rebutted by real skeptics. (Credits to Ed Clint)
Overall here are some of the most notable criticisms of Gender Feminists who tend to attack Evolutionary Psychology.
1. Evolutionary Psychology enforces Gender Roles and patriarchy
Fallacies: Is/Ought, Appeal to Consequences.
Many gender feminists argue that if it is indeed true that genetics and biology plays part in gender that that would mean that people can justify gender roles based and going back to some kind of Hunter-Gatherer society where men are masculine and women and obedient since that is what biology dictates right? The problem with this argument is that it blatantly lumps an is with an ought. Just because the two genders may be biologically different does not mean that we ought to live different. Also should be noted that EP does not entirely reject the enviromental contributions to gender, again it’s a middle ground of Nature and Nurture.
I myself am a strong supporter in libertarianism which means i support individuals to aim for their own life, liberty and pursuit of hapiness which means i oppose limiting someone’s own freedom and pursuit of hapiness through lumping them into a gender role, i strongly believe a child’s growth is based on his/her own exploration. So you can say that i do not support enforcing traditional gender roles in society. That being said however we should neither completely reject gender differences alltogether and pretend that we can basically raise kids as if they’re the complete other gender. Take David Reiner’s case, he was part of an experiment in order to prove that gender was a social construct, he was biologically a boy but was raised as a girl after medical advice and when his penis was destroyed in a failed circumcision. So was this experiment evidence that gender was learned and not biological? Nope. He killed himself.
So trying to appeal to consequences like this is absolutely nonsense because consequences aren’t a one-way street. Cases like David Reimer clearly show the dangerous consequences that can come by believing gender to be a social construct.
2. Evolutionary Psychology promotes Racist and Sexist views
Fallacies: Strawman, Appeal to Consequences, Appeal to Emotions
Quite the contrary, Evolutionary Psychology generally looks at behaviour from a genetic and neurological viewpoint, which includes all races and sexes. And that has actually shown that there are far more genetic similarities. Evolution maintains that humans are one species which means they share pretty much the exact same basic featrues. Sure there are differences in races, sexes and even individuals but these differences tend to be minor and not something EP pays that much attention to.
What Evolutionary Psychology is saying that just like how natural selection and genetics shaped our physical properties it can also shape our psychological properties since physical and psychological properties are essentially based on adaptations. And yes just like there are physical differences in races and sexes there are some psychological differences, but again these are so extremely minor compared to the large functions of he human body that it’s entirely irrelevant.
3. Evolutionary Psychology promotes rape
Fallacies: Strawman, Guilt by Association, Appeal to Consequences, Association Fallacy
This is probably without a doubt one of the biggest reasons EP has a poor reputation among feminism. This argument is based on the book “A Natural History of Rape: Biological Bases of Sexual Coercion” which was a book introducing a EP solution to rape and maintain that rape is inherently biological as an evolutionary behavioral adaptation. It is generally accepted that this is the reason why a lot of animals including Ducks, Great Apes and Dolphins rape but when it comes the humans the subject is obviously controversial.
However feminists claiming that because this exists means that EP is wrong is absolutely ridiculous. First of all most EP’s maintain that there is no evidence for this hypothesis in the first place and consider it as possible at best. Second of all even if it is true that it is a biological adaptation it again does not equal that rape can be justified. I believe that studies about the biological nature of rape should be encouraged in order to know more about the psychology behind rape so that we can take measures to prevent it.
4. Evolutionary Psychology cannot be tested and is therefor unfalsifiable
Fallacies: Unwarranted Assumption
This is actually one of the few objections to EP that isn’t clearly motivated by politics. They maintain that when Evolutionary Psychologists make hypotheses they are mere stories that cannot be remotely tested in science like we can test Evolutionary Biology through experimenting with isolating Bacteria to watch them evolve.
Instead of using my admitted limited knowledge on the details of EP research to give examples of how to test these hypotheses here is another great article by Ed Clint providing exactly that.
5. There are cultures today and in history that did things different therefore EP is false and everything must be cultural
Fallacies: Nirvana Fallacy, Cherry Picking
This is a common argument i hear as well, especially in the context of hunter-gatherer societies where they show examples of cultures where the men are the gatherers. Though this is a common misconception of Evolution and science in general. Natural selection does not mean everything has to be absolute, with everything there will be exceptions and contrasts to what is generally expected, same goes with evolutionary biology and statistics. The point is that in general these societies act very much the same.
As for hunter-gatherer societies specifically these generally happen under specific circumstances rather than being a manifestation in the culture itself. For example men only gather when food especially meat is scarce and women tend to only hunt for small catch. It’s not that these people do not follow the hunter-gatherer rules but rather that they adapt to different circumstances at times.
My conclusion is that feminism has turned into a very fringe postmodernist ideology that aims to silence and criticize legitimate science that does not conform to their ideology, and as such are pretty much an example of modern day creationists. I wish that feminists would move their blinders and realize that there is so much more amazing and complex issues in EP rather than gender differences or stuff like that. Who knows.