Economics and similar, for the sleep-deprived

A subtle change has been made to the comments links, so they no longer pop up. Does this in any way help with the problem about comments not appearing on permalinked posts, readers?

Update: seemingly not

Update: Oh yeah!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Show me an "alpha male" and I'll show you a monkey

(posted here rather than CT because I like it too much to let it fester in comments but not enough to hog front page real estate)

In the Evolutionary Adaptive Environment, out on the African savannah, it was obviously vitally important for hominids to have a mechanism for identifying bores, weirdoes and nutters within the tribal group, and sloughing them off onto other tribes. Not only did this increase the reproductive fitness of the kindred-group, by getting rid of low-quality or dangerously insane group members, in the long run it helped to weaken the gene pool of rival groups by a kind of reverse eugenics.

We can see the modern descendant of this primeval behaviour in the struggle in our comments section over the evolutionary psychologist, academic racist, genocidal fantastist and general-purpose embarrassment[1], Satoshi Kanazawa, on the general subject of everyone with a perceived national, institutional, disciplinary or academic connection to him desperately trying to backpedal and claim that he's one of you lot, not one of us lot.

The Americans are pointing out that he works at LSE; the Brits that he did all of his studies in America. The sociologists want to make it very clear that he's a psychologist - the psychologists that his PhD is in sociology. I have noticed that he actually works in the Managerial Economics and Strategy Group (ie he's a business school type) and am staying bloody quiet about it in the hope that nobody else will twig.

There might be something to this evolutionary psychology lark after all.

[1] Actually I am theorising beyond the data here. It certainly seems to me that Kanazawa possesses a general cognitive ability to come up with fundamentally flawed research in the service of reactionary political views, and then to publicise his results in a calculatedly offensive manner. Someone like Noam Chomsky or Steven Pinker, however, might credibly argue that what we are actually seeing here is the operation of a number of specialised "modules" which have separately developed in Kanazawa, each one dedicated to the task of being a frightening academic loony on a slightly different topic.


4 comments this item posted by the management 3/13/2008 06:16:00 AM

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