Race vs. Gender Theories within Evolutionary Psychology

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Race vs. Gender Theories within Evolutionary Psychology

#1  Postby Edpsy77 » Sep 30, 2012 6:41 pm

Our society has different views in regards to race and gender evolutionary psychology. Racial evolutionary psychology’s(i.e. cognitive differences between races) applications and implications are substantially more negative than the implications and applications of gender evolutionary psychology. Evolutionary psychology is often applied as with the intention to improve heterosexual relationships and issues that pertain to men and women respectively. Gender Darwinian psychology theories of gender difference, particularly theories surrounding mating strategies has been supported by progressives such as Warren Farell, Dr. Drew and Cenk Uygur of the Young Turks(show on You Tube). On the other hand, racial evolutionary psychology has been supported by neo-nazis, KKK, slave masters of the 1800s, the former white dominating society in South Africa, and neo-conservatives that forbid breeding involving those with high-IQs and low IQS. Unfortunately, the greater amount of well-intentioned applications of evolutionary gender psychology does not mitigate the dubious evidence which often matches the quality of evidence posited in racial evolutionary psychology. What do you think of the evidence of evolutionary psychology in the fields of race and gender?
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Re: Race vs. Gender Theories within Evolutionary Psychology

#2  Postby Edpsy77 » Sep 30, 2012 6:48 pm

Let’s examine evolutionary theories in which Phillippe Rushton and David Buss are the prominent researchers in race and gender Darwinian theories, respectively. Rushton contends that blacks are innately inferior in cognition because they are descendants from an ecological environment (Africa) which imposed the least cognitive pressures. Buss posits that females are more discriminate in selecting long and short term mates because their bodies invest more in the production of offspring. Rushton and Buss provide evidence that agrees with their hypothesis. Rushton provides 30 years of IQ tests where blacks in all social regions score below whites. Buss provides self-reports that indicate men desire more short term partners and have more extramarital affairs in a various cultures. Our society is substantially more frequent in rebutting Rushton’s studies as unreliable while it accepts Buss reports as incontrovertible evidence that men and women have inherited dichotomous mating strategies. I understand society’s longing for understanding men and women but we cannot comprise the principles of science in order to accomplish this.
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Re: Race vs. Gender Theories within Evolutionary Psychology

#3  Postby TMB » Dec 30, 2012 8:32 am

Edpsy, noone seems inclined to take you up on your discussion, since I am interested in both topics, I will respond.

You said,

Our society has different views in regards to race and gender evolutionary psychology. Racial evolutionary psychology’s(i.e. cognitive differences between races) applications and implications are substantially more negative than the implications and applications of gender evolutionary psychology.


I would say the issue arises because the genders are complementary while races are not not. While there is plenty of emotion and controversy in the gender debate and men and women compete, they are still reliant upon working things out with each other. Race does not have this requirement.

Evolutionary psychology is often applied as with the intention to improve heterosexual relationships and issues that pertain to men and women respectively.


I do not agree, EP is an attempt to understand reality and since sexual selection is part of this. I do not see any specific drive to address gender conflict on the basis of EP. I would say rather that EP theories tend to inflame the debate, as it seems the idea that our biology determines who we are (as opposed to social conditioning) upsets many people, many feminists are violently opposed to the implications of innate biological differences between the sexes.

On the other hand, racial evolutionary psychology has been supported by neo-nazis, KKK, slave masters of the 1800s, the former white dominating society in South Africa, and neo-conservatives that forbid breeding involving those with high-IQs and low IQS.


I agree that there has been more drive to use science to argue a case for racial differences that generally provide support for one race to belittle or dominate the other.

Unfortunately, the greater amount of well-intentioned applications of evolutionary gender psychology does not mitigate the dubious evidence which often matches the quality of evidence posited in racial evolutionary psychology. What do you think of the evidence of evolutionary psychology in the fields of race and gender?


Where is the broad application of EP around gender to improve things? Perhaps I am missing the point you are making. I think in both cases the fact that humans are power seeking rather than truth seeking means that any discussion about possible better/worse values on either topic will get swamped by emotion and politics. I am not familiar with the EP around race, but am familiar with it around gender, and in general I think the EP evidence for gender differences is good. Do you have some specific examples of EP in gender that you are looking at?

I am not sure what specifics you are looking at, however I would say that the complementary roles in gender that do not exist in race means reactions will be different. Every race has their own gender component, and in some places it is still possible to be a relatively racially pure environment (eg Japan) and consider it normal, whereas single sex environments are very different, like monasteries/nunneries etc.

I do think there are similarities in the the way roles and responsibilities have been allocated in both gender and race. The moral high ground in the gender debate has been given to women, and men are seen as owing women more things to make them equal to men. In the race debate the white race is seen as being responsible for the ills of racism and addressing the unequal state of different races.

Let’s examine evolutionary theories in which Phillippe Rushton and David Buss are the prominent researchers in race and gender Darwinian theories, respectively. Rushton contends that blacks are innately inferior in cognition because they are descendants from an ecological environment (Africa) which imposed the least cognitive pressures.


Are you are looking to discuss a specific race and racial difference of black and another non black race and specifically on cognition? Can you provide more information on cognition and the implications of this as it affects the state of Africa today?

Buss posits that females are more discriminate in selecting long and short term mates because their bodies invest more in the production of offspring.


What do you mean? That women are looking for both short and long term mates because they have more biological parental investment than men? That women are looking for better genes for short term and better nurturers from long term?

Rushton provides 30 years of IQ tests where blacks in all social regions score below whites.


I have looked briefly at the work done by Rushton comparing the range of racial differences, but still not clear on why you are linking racial and gender discussions.

Buss provides self-reports that indicate men desire more short term partners and have more extramarital affairs in a various cultures. Our society is substantially more frequent in rebutting Rushton’s studies as unreliable while it accepts Buss reports as incontrovertible evidence that men and women have inherited dichotomous mating strategies.


I do not agree that we generally accept Buss reports on gender. In my experience very few people look at research in any depth, they might read the occasional book, which often promotes a specific position, read press articles and pick up other people opinions, however very few do any detailed research on all the work that is done in either gender or race. Most people already hold pre-conceived ideas on things that have very little basis in fact.

I understand society’s longing for understanding men and women but we cannot comprise the principles of science in order to accomplish this


I do not understand your position. You note that we do accept arguments from Buss on the basis of EP more easily than Rushtons on race, then make the above comment that seems to contradict this. What is your objective in this discussion?
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Re: Race vs. Gender Theories within Evolutionary Psychology

#4  Postby Beatsong » Dec 30, 2012 9:57 am

There are several ways in which the states of knowledge on gender and racial differences are very different from each other.

The most obvious is that there is a very clear, definable and undisputed biological difference between men and women, which is reliable and easy to apply in upward of 99% of cases (ie, excluding hermaphrodites etc.) By contrast, there is much dispute about whether the concept of race is even valid. I'm not taking a position on that dispute here (we already have the thread from hell for that!), just pointing out the difference. And even those who do see it as valid can't claim anything like the objective measurable difference between men and women. In the USA for example, where a lot of the data about IQ comes from, the assigning of individuals to racial groups is largely done by themselves, based on what they see themselves as. Yet it's estimated that the majority of "black" people there have some "white" blood in the background, and most of them have no idea how much.

There are other major problems with measuring IQ by race. Some of the various subsets of "black" or "negroid" race around the world have more genetic difference between them than they have with the "white" or "caucasian" race. The fact that one of those latter difference (skin colour) is visually very obvious, doesn't give it any particular wider significance.

Then there's the fact that IQ scores tend to change over time. In the USA again, while average black IQ scores have traditionally been lower than white ones, they have both increased over the course of the last century with black ones increasing faster thus narrowing the gap. How long this will continue or what its end point will be I have no idea, but it kind of gives the lie to IQ testing as some kind of objective, culturally blind measurement, and suggests that the gradually improving socio-economic position of blacks in America is in fact making a difference to such measurement.

Then there are the questions about the importance of IQ tests, and their validity as a single measurement, at all.

Personally I don't have a problem with the possibility that some people are genetically endowed with higher or lower levels of IQ (taking IQ in the limited sense of "the ability to make sense of complex information"), and that these levels may be influenced, like other genetic factors, by distribution of genes throughout the world. It doesn't even matter - it's like pointing out that some people are taller than others. It's just that there are an awful lot of variables, undefined and grey areas to be overcome before getting from there to a statement like "different races have different levels of cognitive ability". I don't know those could ever be overcome, given the inherent problems in concepts like race and IQ.

It's worth noting as well that while some (I would not say all) people accept evolutionary psychology's claims about gender differences in things like mating strategies, the general consensus now seems to be that everage IQs between men and women are about the same. Which makes sense: they're different in the things that are different between them (dicks and fannies; pregnancy, breastfeeding etc.) and similar in the things that are similar (brains for general problem-solving). Just as black and white people are different in the fact that they're - er, black or white.
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