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Thu Jul 26, 2012, 12:15 PM

An example of junk science re: objectification.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120725150215.htm

How Our Brains See Men as People and Women as Body Parts: Both Genders Process Images of Men, Women Differently

ScienceDaily (July 25, 2012) — When casting our eyes upon an object, our brains either perceive it in its entirety or as a collection of its parts. Consider, for instance, photo mosaics consisting of hundreds of tiny pictures that when arranged a certain way form a larger overall image: In fact, it takes two separate mental functions to see the mosaic from both perspectives.

A new study suggests that these two distinct cognitive processes also are in play with our basic physical perceptions of men and women --and, importantly, provides clues as to why women are often the targets of sexual objectification.

The research, published in the European Journal of Social Psychology, found in a series of experiments that participants processed images of men and women in very different ways. When presented with images of men, perceivers tended to rely more on "global" cognitive processing, the mental method in which a person is perceived as a whole. Meanwhile, images of women were more often the subject of "local" cognitive processing, or the objectifying perception of something as an assemblage of its various parts.

(snip)

"Local processing underlies the way we think about objects: houses, cars and so on. But global processing should prevent us from that when it comes to people," Gervais said. "We don't break people down to their parts -- except when it comes to women, which is really striking. Women were perceived in the same ways that objects are viewed."

...



Yeah, right. More evo psych nonsense.

How ridiculous to ignore reality. It's completely socialised behavior. Our sex obsessed society/media objectifies women constantly, yet somehow this woman thinks that ie just natural behavior? If the media put 500% more effort into obsessing on six-pack stomachs and broad shoulders like they do breasts, legs and bums, then it would end up viewing men as objects too.

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Reply An example of junk science re: objectification. (Original post)
redqueen Jul 2012 OP
hifiguy Jul 2012 #1
redqueen Jul 2012 #5
hifiguy Jul 2012 #6
redqueen Jul 2012 #8
hifiguy Jul 2012 #10
redqueen Jul 2012 #12
hifiguy Jul 2012 #17
seabeyond Jul 2012 #14
seabeyond Jul 2012 #9
hifiguy Jul 2012 #13
seabeyond Jul 2012 #15
hifiguy Jul 2012 #18
seabeyond Jul 2012 #19
One_Life_To_Give Jul 2012 #2
redqueen Jul 2012 #3
seabeyond Jul 2012 #11
hifiguy Jul 2012 #22
seabeyond Jul 2012 #23
hifiguy Jul 2012 #24
seabeyond Jul 2012 #25
hifiguy Jul 2012 #26
seabeyond Jul 2012 #27
hifiguy Jul 2012 #34
MadrasT Jul 2012 #4
redqueen Jul 2012 #7
MadrasT Jul 2012 #35
seabeyond Jul 2012 #16
pscot Jul 2012 #28
seabeyond Jul 2012 #29
ismnotwasm Jul 2012 #20
seabeyond Jul 2012 #21
redqueen Jul 2012 #30
seabeyond Jul 2012 #31
redqueen Jul 2012 #32
seabeyond Jul 2012 #33

Response to redqueen (Original post)

Thu Jul 26, 2012, 03:32 PM

1. Science, no, ideology yes.

The European Journal of Social Psychology is a peer-reviewed academic journal covering research in social psychology, including social cognition, attitudes, group processes, social influence, intergroup relations, self and identity, nonverbal communication, and social psychological aspects of affect and emotion, and of language and discourse.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Journal_of_Social_Psychology

See: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/10.1002/(ISSN)1099-0992

Do you have even the faintest idea how much you sound like a climate-change denier?

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Response to hifiguy (Reply #1)

Thu Jul 26, 2012, 04:02 PM

5. Uh, yeah... I can read, thanks.

Her theory is akin to those that claim the current climate change is due to natural fluctuations and that man's activities are not the cause.

So... no.

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Response to redqueen (Reply #5)

Thu Jul 26, 2012, 04:05 PM

6. Peer-reviewed science is what it is.

I emphasize peer-reviewed science. To merit publication in a peer-reviewed journal, the methodology and conclusions must, respectively be in accord with the currently recognized state of the art, and follow logically from the evidence offered. To quote Neil deGrasse Tyson, "the wonderful thing about science is that it's true whether you believe it or not."

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Response to hifiguy (Reply #6)

Thu Jul 26, 2012, 04:13 PM

8. Do you understand what those words mean?

Are you under the impression that anything published in a peer reviewed journal is therefore an unquestionable, established, scientific fact and that's that?

Is that what you think? That everything ever published in any peer reviewed journal has always proven 100% correct?

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Response to redqueen (Reply #8)

Thu Jul 26, 2012, 04:30 PM

10. I certainly do.

What it means is that the methodology is scientifically correct/acceptable, given the current state of the art in terms of reliability, and that the conclusions drawn from the experiment are in line with the methodology used in that experiment.

Peer-reviewed science is nothing more than the best available science at any given time. It is not an end point. It does not mean that it is not subject to later revision in light of better methodology or more experimentation. See, e.g., theories of gravity which had previously been taken to be the best available knowledge were revised after Einstein's hypotheses regarding relativity were supported by experiments involving solar eclipses.

Kindly don't condescend to me. I am being thoroughly civil here.

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Response to hifiguy (Reply #10)

Thu Jul 26, 2012, 04:35 PM

12. Her methodology is sound I'm sure.

Her evo psych reasoning and perception of cause and effect, not so much.

And this?

Do you have even the faintest idea how much you sound like a climate-change denier


This is your idea of being thoroughly civil?

Sorry, but that comment and your bolded and italicized formatting of the words 'peer-reviewed academic journal'.... Fail.

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Response to redqueen (Reply #12)

Thu Jul 26, 2012, 04:46 PM

17. There is no abusive language and the parallel is appropriate.

The best available peer-reviewed science - reams of it - indicates that the climate is changing for the warmer and that human actions, to wit the burning of fossil fuels, is a cause of that change, at least in significant part.

To deny that overwhelming evidence, which has been amassed by the best climatologists in the world, is foolish and intellectually dishonest. The conclusions of peer-reviewed science should always be taken seriously, though not unquestioningly, because of the safeguards built into the scientific method. And the scientific method always works.

The process of peer-review in academia, be it in the hard sciences like chemistry, physics or geology, or in social sciences such as poli sci, psychology or economics, is to insure integrity by evaluating an article in terms of the best practices available in the discipline at that particular time.

The scientific method is self-correcting because it is always open to what is accepted as true today being disproven in the future as a greater base of knowledge is amassed. While this is most demonstrably true in the hard sciences, it is also true in the softer sciences such as psychology. 100 years ago phrenology was taken seriously and it has been decades since that has been true. Experimentation and observation proved it to be false and psychology moved on. Hypothesizing things that can be tested and observed has been the hallmark of the scientific method since at least Galileo.

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Response to hifiguy (Reply #10)

Thu Jul 26, 2012, 04:35 PM

14. " you sound like a climate-change denier?"" I am being thoroughly civil here." ah, no.

Kindly don't condescend to me.


no more than you. and i believe you started it.

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Response to hifiguy (Reply #1)

Thu Jul 26, 2012, 04:22 PM

9. do you have the fainist idea how much you sound like an evo babbler???

Like the textbook marketing sidebar, this was not something I originally planned to discuss, so I'm dashing this off in my final hour guestblogging. Forgive the brevity. Those of us who are critical of evolutionary psychology (EP) are often accused of being anti-evolution and/or anti-psychology. Many of us are neither. That's because evolutionary psychology isn't really evolution and it isn't really psychology. It's more of a philosophy of science applied to human traits and behaviors. It's part of a range of ideologies that can trace their roots to eugenics: social Darwinism, sociobiology, behavior genetics, evolutionary psychology. All of these are part of what Nancy Ordover calls the "bio-psych merge" in her book American Eugenics. They are all attempts to graft hard science onto soft science in order to legitimize it, often undertaken by people with backgrounds in soft science. To me, EP proponents' touchiness about criticism often feels like an inferiority complex, psychologists who hate being lumped in with social sciences (especially anthropology). And in my experience, they are often touchier and more humorless than the feminists and postmodernists with whom they disagree most frequently.

Evolutionary psychology is at its worst (but most entertaining) when they create these imaginative after-the-fact "just so stories," making unfalsifiable claims that are not based on the data collected. For instance, one EP paper said women's brains developed to prefer pink because their brains specialized with trichromacy for gathering fruits:
... these underpin the female preference for objects 'redder' than the background. As a gatherer, the female would also need to be more aware of color information than the hunter. This requirement would emerge as greater certainty and more stability in female color preference, which we find. An alternative explanation for the evolution of trichromacy is the need to discriminate subtle changes in skin color due to emotional states and social-sexual signals; again, females may have honed these adaptations for their roles as care-givers and 'empathizers.'


* This kind of stuff appeals to people because it reaffirms what they already believe to be true: women are passive, nurturing care-givers who stayed at home or gathered berries. Never mind that pink didn't get canonized as a girl's color until recently (Answers to Inquiries, Our Continent 1882). That's why this is such a good example of the problem with EP. Some often-believed tenets of evolutionary psychologists:
Computational mind (the brain is more like a computer than a biological organ)
Determinism (biology is destiny)
Fatalism (free will/choice is an illusion)
Consciousness (subjective awareness deludes us into thinking we have free will)
Reductionism or essentialism (race and gender are concrete, not socially constructed, can be reduced to their genetic essence, and are quantifiable)
Intelligence is definable and measurable
Sexual selection should focus on benefits for the individual organism
The "function" or "purpose" of life is to make more life
The __ gene: The gay gene, the god gene, etc.


There's significant evidence that gene expression is not as clear-cut as these ideas suggest, and brain plasticity makes it difficult to prove that this or that part of the brain developed to address this or that adaptation. Clearly, genetics play a role in who we are. But it doesn't do any good to explain away phenomena like rape, altruism and other puzzling behaviors with unsupported statements that devolve into fanciful imaginations regarding their origins.

http://boingboing.net/2010/01/11/whats-wrong-with-evo.html


Should Evolutionary Psychology Evolve?

The field, however, is quite controversial. Proponents tend to explain every aspect of the human psyche through evolutionary adaptation, whereas opponents often express the criticism that these are ‘just-so stories’. Between these two positions, of course, many more moderate ones are possible. Now, a publication in PLoS Biology argues that evolutionary psychology itself should adapt to the knowledge gained from new findings in a variety of fields, ranging from evolutionary biology to cognitive neuroscience. Firstly, the authors identify the four basic tenets of evolutionary psychology.

*

Continuing, evidence is presented that there has been substantial genetic change in human beings, even in the last 50,000 years. There is even evidence suggesting that recent human evolution has been affected by human-induced changes in the environment (such as diet, or living conditions). These rapid changes are a challenge for the gradualism, as interpreted by evolutionary psychologists.

To challenge the idea of universalism, the authors cite evidence stressing the ‘malleability’ of the human brain, meaning that experience affects neural circuitry and gene expression in that remarkably complex center of the nervous system. The influence of development is equally stressed, as is the view that the human brain is built through continuous interplay between the individual and the environment. Gene-culture coevolution is also mentioned, signifying that cultural practices could have influenced selection pressures on the human brain.

Finally, massive modularity is questioned, through the existence of domain-general mechanisms (such as associative learning, which is fairly widespread in the animal kingdom), and through the broad involvement of diverse neural structures in many psychological processes.

http://www.science20.com/curious_cub/should_evolutionary_psychology_evolve-81112

________________________-

dont even pretend you do not know there is a lot of controversy with evo babble. and that scientists calls them out.

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Response to seabeyond (Reply #9)

Thu Jul 26, 2012, 04:35 PM

13. The one and ONLY pont I made in post #1

was that the article in question was published in a peer-reviewed academic journal. That is the only thing I said. I made no value judgment in support of or in opposition to the argument itself and that should be abundantly clear. For reasons why I take peer-reviewed science to represent something of value, see my post #10.

Questioning peer-reviewed science simply because it does not conform to your own idelogical predispositions is what climate-change deniers do.

That is the sum total of my earlier post.

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Response to hifiguy (Reply #13)

Thu Jul 26, 2012, 04:37 PM

15. you have made it clear since it made "peer-reviewed academic journal" it is valid.

no. it is not

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Response to seabeyond (Reply #15)

Thu Jul 26, 2012, 04:47 PM

18. Your statement is faith-based

and not couched in the discipline of the scientific method. If you choose to reject the scientific method, please be honest enough to say so.

Bye for now.

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Response to hifiguy (Reply #18)

Thu Jul 26, 2012, 04:55 PM

19. you would be wrong, but dont let that stop you. nt

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Response to redqueen (Original post)

Thu Jul 26, 2012, 03:35 PM

2. How do you infer Evo?

Just asking - I didn't see any statement indicating one way or the other?

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Response to One_Life_To_Give (Reply #2)

Thu Jul 26, 2012, 03:56 PM

3. This part:

"We can't just pin this on the men. Women are perceiving women this way, too," Gervais said. "It could be related to different motives. Men might be doing it because they're interested in potential mates, while women may do it as more of a comparison with themselves. But what we do know is that they're both doing it."


All this guessing as to motive, all the feigned surprise (at least I hope it's feigned) that women do it too... The subjects weren't from wildly different cultures with vastly different messages from society and media about which sex was the subject and which the object than vast majority of the time.

Then again a large amount of people have spent the last several decades desperately attempting to downplay the consequences of constant objectification... so it's hardly surprising.

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Response to redqueen (Reply #3)

Thu Jul 26, 2012, 04:34 PM

11. totally amazing tying evo babble to this when from the day girls and boys are born they are taught

and reinforced this behavior 24/7.

but, really, it is primal.

like those cavewomen were primpin for their man

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Response to seabeyond (Reply #11)

Fri Jul 27, 2012, 12:12 AM

22. Actually it is not hard to imagine an experiment

that would be most interesting if not exactly practical. There are peoples in the world who have had virtually no contact with the modern world. Examining their responses to the sorts of images/inputs used by the scientists in the study cited in the OP would at the very least provide an interesting control or baseline.

One either accepts the scientific method or one doesn't. If one does not accept the validity of the scientific method and its applicability to the investigation of phenomena in the universe, one is inhabiting the same intellectual (and I use that word loosely and advisedly) world as the cretins responsible for the creation museum.

No reputable scientist in any field starts with a conclusion, for this is antithetical to the scientific method and deductive logic. All real science starts with a hypothesis of the "Might there be a connection between X and Y, and if so, how might it operate?" Such a hypothesis fulfills the first, and most important principle of real science: Is the hypothesis falsifiable? If such a hypothesis is not shown to be false, it is then subject to further and deeper investigation. This is the basis for every advancement in knowledge humankind has made since at least the Renaissance in every field from physics and astronomy to medicine to psychology. Even something as abstract as philosophy is bound to the iron rules of logic and reason.

Lastly, while I have only a nodding acquaintance with evolutionary psychology and will argue neither for or against it, it seems entirely possible that certain pathways are hard-wired in to the human brain. Any reputable evolutionary biologist will tell anyone willing to listen that virtually everything about humans and their ancestors has changed, via the process of Darwinian natural selection, over many millennia. It does not seem at all far-fetched that certain behavior and perceptions patterns may be embedded in the depths of the brain, which neuroscience is only beginning to understand. To say that there is no case to be made, on what are essentially ideological grounds, for saying that certain behavior and perception patterns may not have contriuted to the process of human evolution seems to me to be short-sighted and close-minded. Further investigation is definitely merited. Let the chips fall where they may, but let science and its methods make that determination.

Science is what it is. It has rules, embodied in the timeless principles of the scientific method, the first of which is that nothing can be precluded unless it has been subject to experiment and falsified thereby. One either accepts and respects those rules or rejects them; however, they remain true whether or not one accepts them. As a matter of pure logic, that is simply the way it is.

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Response to hifiguy (Reply #22)

Fri Jul 27, 2012, 09:02 AM

23. there is plenty of documentation that challenges this. you obviously did not read any of it. to me,

that would suggest that one is "short-sighted and close-minded."

really, how seriously do you want me to take a scientist that says, see all the stores with pink? really, there is a biological reason for girls liking pink, let me prove it.

are you really so gullible?

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Response to seabeyond (Reply #23)

Fri Jul 27, 2012, 10:26 AM

24. Actually, I read that link, and most of the comments.

You are, as usual, cherry picking the most absurd examples and ignoring the criticism of the argument that advocates your position.

As usual, you ignore the considerable examples rebutting the article offered in the comments section:




slamorte 1:

It's more of a philosophy of science applied to human traits and behaviors.
Because applying a rigorous method of hypothesis and testing (science) to the study of human behavior is bad... how?

douglaseasterly 1:

To unilaterally attack Evolutionary Psychology is to deny that there is any part of human behaviour that is the result of evolution. This is the only claim that EP makes as a field and to go against this basic tenet goes against the oceans of evidence from genetics, neuroscience, psychology, ethology, etc. It is such a shallow understanding of evolution to claim that our limbs have been subjected to evolution, but not our neurology and behaviour.

Arguments against the tired straw-man claims delineated in this review and in many of the above comments: females preferring pink, the supposed link to eugenics (why isn't all of genetics washed away by this association fallacy?), specifying gene for behaviour. I have read a lot of work by EP authors over the past few years, and NO-ONE makes these claims! E.O. Wilson, Geoffrey Miller, Donald Brown, Leda Cosmides, and David Buss: their work exposes the intricate relationships between genetics AND environment that orchestrate the basis of human behaviour. Most importantly, these researchers also empathically remind us that what is discovered through science tells us nothing of morals or how we ought to live. Rather, the discoveries of EP act as evidence of our ancestry, and at times this evidence can be quite useful in helping us overcome our genetic dispositions“ not supplying us with a decree for indulging in them! What's wrong with Evolutionary Psychology? Nothing. What is wrong with Evolutionary Psychology criticism? Among other things like poor scholarship, several millennia of an unfortunately placed anthropomorphic egocentrism residing in any one of our historical and contemporary cultures.

Anonymous 1:

This article is just straw men and red herrings. Don't discard an entire field based on a few anecdotes. How about commenting on Darwin's chapter on instinct in The Origin of Species? (Read the rest of the book for context.) Then you might consider Darwin's book The Expression of Emotions in Animals and in Man.About that list of things that evolutionary psychologists supposedly think ”no, they don't. Even if you could dredge up an anecdote or two, most of those directly contradict fundamental ideas in evolutionary biology. The other ones are philosophical questions, not biological (e.g., the "purpose" of life).


Anonymous 2

What struck me most about this rather ill-informed article is that in the evolutionary psychology books I've ready, pretty much all of the "often-believed tenets of evolutionary psychologists" are argued against, de-emphasised or demolished.

How about giving *us* some evidence of *your* processes? Who are these evolutionary psychologists who defend these tenets without reservation? Let's say three prominent names per tenet, with supporting quotations and sources, and you may use the same name more than once.

Anonymous 3

This article is like saying "Leni Riefenstahl made Nazi propaganda, therefore filmmaking is evil." Or, "John Brinkley transplanted goat testicles into humans, therefore medicine is wrong."

I'll just respond to the "often-believed tenets of evolutionary psychologists" (without attribution or citation there's no context, so my responses can only be general).

muminds:

EP is not a sub-discipline of psychology, but a framework for understanding human minds. As Moriaty pointed out, "Why isn't it a good idea to look at psychology from an evolutionary perspective?" Why didn't you answer this question?

spacemonkey:

HA! CT and EP are much more nuanced overall than this article suggests. Read Steven Pinker's 'How the Mind Works' and Douglas Hofstadter's 'Godel Escher and Bach' and Bloom's 'The Lucifer Principle' then come back and look at these supposed beliefs of CT, EP, and AI researchers. This field is much deeper, nuanced, and subtle than this article suggests. Sure there will always be quacks in any field, but don't throw out the baby with the bathwater. There is so much to these fields to learn; it helps to be more charitable in the beginning to aid understanding. Stil, Pinker is just as guilty when he says the Social 'Sciences' are more concerned with politics than science, exclusively. He says in summary, even if science discovers some probable 'truth' about nature, it has to pass through the PC litmus test. Do feminists, LGBTs, ethnic minorities, and postmodern deconstructionsts approve? No? Then it MUST be quackery! Pinker just stereotypes the whole social science field as nothing more than a politically motivated field. Obviously that isn't entirely true either is it?

slida 1

There are certain points of view, schools of thought, that really hate the idea of any human behavior being hard-wired, and it is my opinion that this is what is really at the root at a lot of objections to evolutionary psychology. Just because you can use it to make claims that aren't in fact 'scientific', doesn't mean that it lacks value as way to try and better understand human behavior. Our behavior has obviously been shaped by evolution. Obviously.


Anonymous 4

The mind is what the brain does. If the brain is a product of evolution then so is the mind.

You can pull out one example like a preference for pink which seems silly and is probably culturally motivated but that doesn't invalidate the entire exercise. Humans became the way they are somehow. If you examine this process scientifically that means naturalistic explanations.

If all human behavior is biologically driven, including culture then it is understandable. Even if it is a highly complex emergent phenomena.

W. James Au

Many on the right reject evolutionary psychology because they dogmatically believe humans were created by God. Many of the left reject evolutionary psychology because they dogmatically believe humans were created by Society.

If you accept Darwinism as an explanatory theory for the origin of species, then you must also accept that natural selection strongly influences behavior of species, including primates. And if you accept natural selection influences behavior of primates, you must accept it influences human behavior. This does not validate any particular finding of EP, but it does strongly suggest we need to understand how we act through the lens of natural selection. Dress it up however you want, but saying otherwise relegates you to the intellectual level of creationists.


GeorgeStanton

It seems to me that evolutionary theories of animal behaviour have been fantastically successful. Nothing said in the post gives any reason why evolution should not also explain human behaviour.

Even if the human environment has changed substantially since evolution molded our behaviour, understanding the evolution can help us to understand why we act the way we do now.

Some of what you point out about evolutionary psychology is indeed pseudoscience, or just plain wrong. But it would be wrong to deny any scientifically proven conclusions that you happen to disagree with for political reasons. Humans have come along way from the "animals" we were and much of what evolution may reveal about human behaviour may be unpleasant, but in the long run denial serves no purpose.


Anonymous 5

This argument, citing the worst examples of bad reasoning, is remarkably similar to climate change denier arguments.

Evolutionary Psych is just as open to critique as anything else, periodically someone publishes something stupid or wrong-headed, but that can said of all fields.

(emphases added)


See also: http://hplusmagazine.com/2009/11/23/darwinian-psychologist-straw-mans-ass-kicked/

Your unfamiliarity with Darwinian natural selection is rather appalling. Your intellectual dishonesty is truly breathtaking. And if I were you, I would be exceedingly reluctant to call anyone else "gullible."

And if you can point out one, even one, statement I made in post 22 that is not supported by extrinsic, irrefutable facts, I will eat my proverbial hat.

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Response to hifiguy (Reply #24)

Fri Jul 27, 2012, 10:30 AM

25. unilaterally attack Evolutionary Psychology is to deny that there is any part of human behaviour

wrong. right there. just like the porn issue. talk about the harm and you must be saying YOU WANT TO BAN. just must be doing that. well wrong. there is a problem with the research, it is storytelling at best, put out as fact. that simple

pink.... cause way back when women just really like the color, really.

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Response to seabeyond (Reply #25)

Fri Jul 27, 2012, 10:33 AM

26. Jeezus.

Go ahead and ban me. You are the single most intellectually dishonest person I have ever encountered in my life. Trying to engage you in a logical argument is like trying to teach my cat to levitate. Utterly pointless.

Your willful ignorance of the scientific method and the logic underlying it is so complete, so total, and so absurd as to defy description. My mother taught me never to argue with fools or crazy people. Too bad I forgot that advice for a while.



ETA: Next time read the WHOLE post instead of teeing off on the first line. My point is reified 1000 times over.

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Response to hifiguy (Reply #26)

Fri Jul 27, 2012, 10:45 AM

27. i can say the same right back at you. so why bother? i have no desire to converse with a person

who refuses to look at facts, is condescending and continually throwing out insults.

it really is that simple.

it is a waste of my time.

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Response to seabeyond (Reply #27)

Fri Jul 27, 2012, 02:52 PM

34. I "throw out insults"

by questioning your knowledge of Darwinian natrual selection in one sentence at the end of a multi-paragraph post? That's the best you've got? How sad to be you.

Those of us trying to share our awe for this sublime illumination of human behavior are intimidated and embarrassed by these wacky attacks, which make it almost impossible to eradicate a perceived patronizing tone from a patient explaining that, actually, humans are animals; you can’t have nurture without nature; evolutionary biology demonstrates that racism is not justified; girls and boys really do come into the world with overlapping but distinguishable interests and cognitive tradeoffs which have been traced to sex hormones in the womb and not to the blue or pink towel.

Hop on Google.video and watch the kindly old environmentalist E.O. Wilson discuss his Pulitzer Prize-winning book On Human Nature Does he seem like a guy with a secret agenda to justify rape? Are Wilson, Pinker, Dawkins, Wright et al. funded by a secret cabal of right wing conspirators? Or is it the other way around? Maybe it’s not evolutionary psychology, but its critique, that is driven by ideology.

* * *

I keep a favorite cartoon on my Powerpoint presentation about evolutionary psychology that I give to college students. It has two panels. In panel one, a scientist is standing over a microscope and saying to his student, "Here are the facts. What conclusions can we draw from them?" In the second panel, a Creationist minister is holding the bible and saying to his student, "Here is the conclusion. What facts can we find to support it?"

When you lead with your ideals, sound conclusions will not result. They never do, simply because you decide a position is wrong or right before you learn what it says, and why it says it. When cultural constructivists accuse evolutionary psychologists of secret political objectives, they’re experiencing narcissism.


Joe Quirk, at http://hplusmagazine.com/2009/11/23/darwinian-psychologist-straw-mans-ass-kicked/ (emphasis added)

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Response to redqueen (Original post)

Thu Jul 26, 2012, 03:57 PM

4. I am also having trouble seeing any assertion about natural behavior or evo-psych

And it says that BOTH men AND women view women as objects (which to me, seems like a stronger argument for societal conditioning than anything else).

In this part (emphasis added)...

"We can't just pin this on the men. Women are perceiving women this way, too," Gervais said. "It could be related to different motives. Men might be doing it because they're interested in potential mates, while women may do it as more of a comparison with themselves. But what we do know is that they're both doing it."

Would there be an antidote to a perceiver's basic cognitive processes that lead women to be reduced and objectified? Researchers said some of the study's results suggested so. When the experiment was adjusted to create a condition where it was easier for participants to employ "global" processing, the sexual body part recognition bias appeared to be alleviated. Women were more easily recognizable in the context of their whole bodies instead of their various sexual body parts.

Because the research presents the first direct evidence of the basic "global" vs. "local" framework, the authors said it could provide a theoretical path forward for more specific objectification work.

"Our findings suggest people fundamentally process women and men differently, but we are also showing that a very simple manipulation counteracts this effect, and perceivers can be prompted to see women globally, just as they do men," Gervais said. "Based on these findings, there are several new avenues to explore."


...it seems like they are getting to asking "how does it come to be that women are objectified". That seems like progress to me. (I am not crazy about their speculations about motive, but it is clearly stated as speculation so I can live with it I guess.)

Can you help me understand where your interpretation comes from?

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Response to MadrasT (Reply #4)

Thu Jul 26, 2012, 04:07 PM

7. In addition to the comment quoted in post three, there's this...

A new study suggests that these two distinct cognitive processes also are in play with our basic physical perceptions of men and women --and, importantly, provides clues as to why women are often the targets of sexual objectification.


This isn't the reason why women are objectified, this is one result of their constant objectification.

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Response to redqueen (Reply #7)

Fri Jul 27, 2012, 03:27 PM

35. Ahhhhhhhhh

I see. Thanks.

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Response to redqueen (Original post)

Thu Jul 26, 2012, 04:42 PM

16. evo babble dismisses all of history for the first moment in time. they ignore conditioning, nurture,

society and culture to take all behavior to biology. it is a crock. it is story telling. people behave like this today, so it means this happened at the beginning of time.

when they start getting serious about the subject instead of game playing, then i will start listening again.

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Response to seabeyond (Reply #16)

Fri Jul 27, 2012, 11:19 AM

28. Explain this:

25,000 years may not be the beginning of time, but this image suggests some biological imperative drives the objectification of women.

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Response to pscot (Reply #28)

Fri Jul 27, 2012, 11:25 AM

29. see... this is exactly the crap i am talking about. you define it thru this period of time

it is a naked body. so today, we all yell.... see porn. there was porn way back then. gotcha.

then the story is told. it is a body of a naked women. if it were truly about the evolutionary psychology that is being spouted today, there would be a totally different figure there, cause what they suggest today in evolutionary psychology is there was only certain "hot" and "attractive" women for the alpha male way back then, and this was not it.

but, .... just take today and who we are and overlay it with way back then, coming to our conclusions.

way too easy and lazy.

thank you for the exact example i am talking about.

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Response to redqueen (Original post)

Thu Jul 26, 2012, 07:57 PM

20. Peer reviewed it may be

And I visit sciencedaily every day, but given the plasticity of the brain, and the complexity of gender roles I don't see this as particularly valid. If a certain population of men have been trained to objectify, of course any study is going to reflect this. To improve validity, You'd need samples from different races, different cultures, probably different times of the year as well as a variety of ages of the participants.




So it's a bullshit study.

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Response to redqueen (Original post)

Thu Jul 26, 2012, 09:28 PM

21. there are many explanations about the issues with evo psych. here are 6 major, not even the minor

Does evolutionary psychology have any problems?

Yes. Here are what I see as a few of the major problems currently faced by evolutionary psychology:

1. Evolutionary psychology is attempting to elucidate the functional organization of the brain even though researchers currently cannot, with very few exceptions, directly study complex neural circuits. This is like attempting to discover the functions of the lungs, heart, etc., without being able to conduct dissections. Although psychological evidence indisputably reveals that cognition has structure, it is less clear that it does so with sufficient resolution to provide convincing evidence of functional design. Can the current state of the art in cognitive psychology successfully cleave human nature at its joints? Maybe, maybe not. Despite these reservations, it is worth noting that virtually every research university in the world has a psychology department. Grounding psychology in an explicit framework of evolved function cannot help but improve attempts to unveil the workings of the brain. It is far easier to find something if you have some idea of what it is you are looking for.

2. The domains of cognition proposed by evolutionary psychologists are often pretty ad hoc. Traditionally, cognitive psychologists have assumed that cognitive abilities are relatively abstract: categorization, signal detection, recognition, memory, logic, inference, etc. Evolutionary psychology proposes a radically orthogonal set of 'ecologically valid' domains and reasoning abilities: predator detection, toxin avoidance, incest avoidance, mate selection, mating strategies, social exchange, and so on. These latter domains and abilities are derived largely from behavioral ecology. Although mate selection surely involves computations that are fundamentally different from predator detection, it is not so clear that the organization of the brain just happens to match the theoretical divisions of behavioral ecology. The concept of 'object' is obviously quite abstract, yet it is equally obvious that it is an essential concept for reasoning about mates, predators, kin, etc. The same goes for other 'abstract' abilities like categorization and signal detection. Ecologically valid reasoning about domains such as kinship may require cognitive abilities organized at higher levels of abstraction like 'recognition.' On the other hand, numerous experiments show that reasoning can be greatly facilitated when problems are stated in ecologically valid terms. Negating if-p-then-q statements becomes transparently easy when the content of such statements involves social exchange, for example. The theoretical integration of more abstract, informationally valid domains with less abstract, ecologically valid domains remains a central problem for evolutionary psychology.

3. Evolutionary psychology (and adaptationism in general) has devoted considerable theoretical attention to the issue of design, the first link in the causal chain leading from phenotype structure to reproductive outcome, but has lumped every other link into the category 'reproductive problem.' This failure to theorize about successive links can lead to spectacular failures of the 'design' approach. Three examples: 1) evidence of design clearly identifies bipedalism as an adaptation, but what 'problem' it solved is not at all obvious, nor does the 'evidence of design' philosophy provide much guidance (though more detailed functional analyses of bipedalism are further constraining the set of possible solutions). 2) Language shows clear evidence of design, and there are several plausible reproductive advantages to having language, so why don't many other animals have language? 3) It can be very difficult to determine whether simple traits are adaptations simply because there is insufficient evidence of design. Menopause may be an adaptation, but it has too few 'features' to say based on evidence of design alone (some 'features' of menopause, like bone loss, seem to indicate that it is not an adaptation). Very simple traits will not always yield to a 'design analysis,' simply because there isn't enough to grab onto.

4. Evolutionary psychology is founded on a model of ancestral human reproductive ecology (the EEA), yet the current version of this model is woefully out of date. Life history theory, the sub-discipline of biology devoted to understanding the fundamental aspects of the reproductive ecologies of plant and animals, has made enormous strides in the last decade or so. Little of this work has entered the 'mainstream' of human evolutionary psychology. Part of the problem is that the units of analysis for life history theorists (e.g., body size, mortality rates, taxonomic categories) are quite different than those used by adaptationists (e.g., strategies, design elements). Yet life history arguments are central to much work in evolutionary psychology (e.g., parental investment). Evolutionary psychologists need to get up to speed on the current state of the art in life history theory.

*

http://www.anth.ucsb.edu/projects/human/epfaq/problems.html

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Response to redqueen (Original post)

Fri Jul 27, 2012, 11:30 AM

30. Like clockwork...

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Response to redqueen (Reply #30)

Fri Jul 27, 2012, 11:57 AM

31. this would be a never ending process we do with women. but hell, lets not consider

always slicing women up, with just her "parts" as being part of the problem.




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Response to seabeyond (Reply #31)

Fri Jul 27, 2012, 12:20 PM

32. I guess that writer at iO9 had no problem seizing onto the evo psych angle.

To their credit, and to my surprise, writers at HuffPo did a much better job, despite the researchers best efforts to spin her research toward idiocy with boneheaded, patriarchy-coddlng comments like the following.

"It's both men and women doing this to women," Gervais said. "So don't blame the men here."




From HuffPo:


There could be evolutionary reasons that men and women process female bodies differently, Gervais said, but because both genders do it, "the media is probably a prime suspect."

Gee, really? Do you think?

So after going through all these rhetorical gymnastics to try to imply there's some merit to the evo psych bullshit theory she's just reinforced, we find out she hasn't actually been living under a rock as far as sociology and women's studies are concerned. Not completely. She seems to stick that "probably" in there to remind us how objective she is... reminescent of the way the media does when they pretend dems and repubs are equally guilty, or that there's a debate about global warming, or evolution. The theories linking widespread objectification in media and the altered perception of women and girls... along with the harmful effects of it... have been around for decades, and the overwhelming majority of studies confirm it.



"Women's bodies and their body parts are used to sell all sorts of products, but we are now for everyday, ordinary women, processing them in a similar way," she said.


Now? Yeah, I take back what I said about that rock.

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Response to redqueen (Reply #32)

Fri Jul 27, 2012, 12:30 PM

33. "the media is probably a prime suspect."

that is really crappy. to put out the evo bullshit to conclude. just bullshit and what feeds this crap.

geez

thanks redq

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