Camping and Kanazawa

Yes, this used to be an unpublished half-post. Decided to run with it an publish it anyway before it gets too irrelevant. Urgghh, everything's moving too fast.

Evolutionary psychologist, Santoshi Kanazawa has perhaps set himself to be the Harold Camping of Darwinism. Both men, in recent weeks, have single-handedly shamed their bases and have become the poster children of all that is wrong with "these" sorts of people.

Long after May 21st rapture deadline, we're all here, save for the unfortunate events occurring in the Midwest. Never mind his failed 1994 predictions of the end of the world, nor Christ stating, and I quote "no one knows neither the date nor the time," the fact that the proclamation was a surprise to many in Nigeria, a country which hosts perhaps some of the most zealous Christians on the planet, should have convinced everyone of where they'd be after the weekend. And another thing about that, the idea that rapture central was in some random community in Florida - or was it California - highlights the pervasiveness of the idea of 'American exceptionalism," not only in politics, but also in religion. But, I digress.

Sadly, many have used the eccentricities of this senile radio host to point out their views on fundamental flaws of religion. Somewhat of an over-reach considering that many, within Christiansdom, including myself, dismissed Camping and those of his ilk a long time ago. I would have rather, people pay attention to news such as this, which begs for a face-palm.

Yes, I let out a chuckle or two at the Savage Mind's dismissal of evolutionary psychology and Kanazawa's, Why Black Women are Ugly piece (H/T Loomnie). I can't really imagine who in science-dom would take the article seriously. Anyone who provides an argument stating someone has a "higher mutation load," deserves a serious side-eye. Really, Kanazawa - you could think of any other way to make that sound more science-y? I kid. While I am suspicious of some of the goals of evolutionary psychology, I am not in a hurry to dismiss the field, yet. It could use a bit of help with PR. Kanazawa represents its wacky extremes, who unfortunately, speak louder than its moderate majority and severely threaten the field's credibility. In the words of Sex and the City's Steve Brady, "there's some good stuff here."**

My understanding of Darwin is largely limited to a few undergraduate courses here and there (I must admit, my interest in science primarily centers on its application, i.e. not basic science), but it does not seem as if Darwin's intent was to birth a religion - that is to give meaning and a purpose to just about everything - to provide a unifying principle by which everything has its being (or perhaps, I tell myself this, in order to reconcile my faith and my clinical background allows me to comfortably stay away from such debates). But some elements of evolutionary psychology have made the mistake of, as Savage Minds points out, of using basic biology to explain behavior - but, to the ignorance of other very real and tangible forces at play.

I’ve yet to come across an evolutionary psychological explanation that doesn’t have a corresponding – and often more plausible – cultural explanation; while the cultural explanation might not ultimately be right, if you’re going to build a science on the primacy of the biological over the cultural, you’re going to have to at least consider the cultural as an alternative hypothesis!

**I'd figure that to understand the above, you would have to be a dedicated follower of the TV series, of which, sadly, I am. Quote comes from some earlier episode where Steve Brady, Miranda's love interest, makes one of many pleas to save their relationship...