Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Myers gives Jerry Coyne a well-deserved thrashing

Jerry Coyne is a proud New Atheist along with misogynists Christopher "women aren't funny" Hitchens, Sam "women have too much estrogen to be skeptical" Harris, and Richard "Dear Muslima" Dawkins, which means that of course his true religion is evolutionary psychology*.

P. Z. Myers, who regrettably has some SJW tendencies like siding with that idiot Suey Park against Colbert, over the Redskins parody, nevertheless is a stalwart critic of the standard inanities of promoters of evo-psycho and responds to Coyne here:
But then Coyne pulls his magic “proof” out of his hat: the existence of sexual dimorphism. Yeah, who has a problem with that? Men and women look different in grand and subtle ways. Some of those differences were almost certainly selected for. Again, I don’t know anyone who denies that, so it’s kind of weird to use it as his triumphant example. Except that he seems to think all those lefty wackos — you know, feminists, apparently — are in the business of denying the obvious.
But the left-wing opposition to evolutionary psychology as a valid discipline in principle, especially when it involves differences in sexual behavior, seems to me based more on ideology than on biology. Ideologues cannot allow any possibility that males and females behave differently because of their evolution. Such people think that this would buttress the view that one sex would be “better” than the other.
I know a lot of modern radical feminists. I’m pretty solidly in the left-wing camp myself. And NO ONEdenies the physical differences between men and women, or claims that evolution could not have played an important role in shaping the diversity of modern humans. Nor do any claim that there aren’t significant behavioral differences — we encounter those every day. What we oppose is the credulous insistence that every single difference is a product of selection, that the influence of culture is noise gently overlaying the purity of the biological signal, and worst of all, the idea that the status quo is justified as a product of biology (which Coyne at least tries to distance himself from at the end).
But please, spare us the simplistic causal explanations for these differences that rely on cartoony, evidence-free speculation, like that men evolved to be bigger than women because they had to punch each other lots in fights for dominance. Perhaps we should recognize that culture creates roles that can generate differential selection pressure on men and women, and that human behavior is far more complex and cooperative than cavemen bashing each other with clubs.

*and Islamaphobia - you pretty much can't be a "New Atheist" unless you consider women to be intellectually inferior to men (not just "different" which they like to pretend is what they're really saying) and consider Islam to be the Great Satan.