Men overestimate their intelligence in all 12 countries, research finds

International Men Of Immodesty (Medical News Today):

“We found a consistent difference in how intelligent men and women believe themselves to be; with men giving themselves significantly higher levels of intelligence in all 12 [countries]. Not only did men award themselves high scores in traditional male abilities like spatial and logical reasoning, they also gave themselves higher ratings in verbal ability.

[…]

“These results do not reflect any actual differences between men and women’s levels of intelligence,” added Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic. “Rather, our study shows that men like to have a high opinion of themselves and are prone to over-estimate their level of intelligence while women are more modest, and even under-estimate their own intelligence.

The 12 countries studied were: Australia, Austria, Brazil, France, Iran, Israel, Malaysia, South Africa, Spain, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States.


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67 Responses to “Men overestimate their intelligence in all 12 countries, research finds”

  1. Kathy Says:

    The way that men overestimate also seems to go with my theory that men feel diminished by successful, accomplished women. Of course, I can’t speak for men, but that has been my long term impression.

    I laugh everytime I read that Macon D handshake post. LOLOLOL.

  2. intelligence and gender « Raven’s Eye Says:

    […] Restructure The researchers asked people to place themselves on a scale of general intelligence ranging from 55 […]

  3. thordaddy Says:

    Kathy,

    That impression doesn’t make much sense.

    First, are men competing with females in endeavors where females are likely to be successful and accomplished without affirmative action (without the help of other males)?

    Secondly, how many men actually want a successful and accomplished female (I assume this means a career female)?

    Third, aren’t successful and accomplished females actually bitter about the fact that most men could care less about their career success and accomplishment?

  4. Kathy Says:

    Thordaddy,
    All of your questions are leading questions, could you please rephrase?

  5. jwbe Says:

    Kathy, what is a ‘successful, accomplished’ women?
    Intelligence has nothing to do with being successful or having ‘good’ education. Further, what is being successful?

  6. Kathy Says:

    I would say that successful for me would mean that what i am doing is fulfilling, that it means something, that my job is something that contributes to society, that is my own personal meaning of successful.
    i would say that accomplished is someone who is able to perform a talent or skill in a finely honed manner, such as the way that Restructure writes.
    I never mentioned “good” education, did I?

  7. jwbe Says:

    thanks for clarification. No, you didn’t mentioned good education, but it sounded that way.
    You wrote ‘men feel diminished by successful, accomplished women.’

  8. jwbe Says:

    as a sidenote (to Restructure): Is it necessary that a certain idiot can post here when ‘we’ should ignore him? I find it difficult to have to ignore his comments.

  9. Kathy Says:

    yes, jwbe, and i can see how you would have thought that i meant that success is a measure of intelligence, i think that is a strong perception that people have, and perhaps why some men may feel intimidated by women who they consider to be intelligent.

  10. jwbe Says:

    when you write ” The way that men overestimate […]that men feel diminished by successful, accomplished women.” when the article was about intelligence, there is somehow no other understanding, is it?

  11. thordaddy Says:

    Kathy

    Men don’t feel diminished by successful and accomplished females because such a thing is rather undesirable in the meaning you give.

    Men desire women and those females that think having a skill/talent that makes them a lot of money is something men look for in a woman are sadly mistaken.

    In fact, successful and accomplished females are usually embittered by the fact that their careerism represents nothing that a man desires in a woman.

    jwbe,

    I’m glad you’ve taken your orders from restructure and played good lil’ boy/girl.

  12. Kathy Says:

    jw, i think that intelligence, success, and accomplishment are tied together in the perception of many people’s minds, i think that is probably why women underestimate their own intelligence,i think children are given messages early on, we are highly competitive, in the US anyways, and girls learn that outperforming boys, in, for instance, a math class, that the boys won’t like them as much.

  13. Kathy Says:

    thorndaddy,

    I don’t agree,I think men desire women who they can control.
    Men desire women who they feel attracted to, not by who the woman is.

  14. thordaddy Says:

    Kathy,

    Men desire women who are committed to a relationship and career females almost never fit the bill. That’s why when career females fail to find a man that actually wants a commitment they are left to rationalize such failure as men not wanting a successful and accomplished female.

    The reality is that the only type of males that a career-oriented female is likely to find are other non-committed males who’s bank account is paramount.

    You seem to fail to recognize that men don’t want bread-winning females. There is nothing desirable about them least of all their commitment to career over family life.

  15. NancyP Says:

    I suspect that few non-working women would be interested in raising a family on thordaddy’s wages. In fact, thordaddy might be able to move out of his parents’ basement if he married a woman who cared to get enough education or skills to make more than poverty-level wages.

  16. Kathy Says:

    thordaddy,
    there are plenty of women who have careers and raise families, with and without a spouse.

    the picture you paint is the toxic social ill of patriarchy, not all men and women subscribe to that toxicity as you seem to be doing, but unfortunately, enough people, both men and women, do repeat the same familiar patterns of the past.

  17. thordaddy Says:

    Kathy,

    If what you say is true then who are the “men” that feel diminished by a successful and accomplished woman?

    Do you have a particular “man” in mind or are you claiming this a general feeling amongst all men?

  18. Chris Diaz Says:

    The study doesn’t surprise me. I think it probably relates to men’s inner and socialized competitiveness.

    Kathy, you said, “men feel diminished by successful, accomplished women”. I think that’s true, but oversimplified. Here’s my stab at why that is often true:

    1) The “tradtional” roles we’ve been socialized with.
    2) Guys can be real a-holes to another man if they perceive
    that he is comfortable “subordinting himself to a woman”.
    That’s part of the culture, so, peer pressure makes it
    hard for alot of men to try to “break the mold”.
    3) Here’s the one you might not like. In my opinion, there
    are some white feminists who grew up in middle of upper
    middle class homes, and misuse feminism. I think some
    of them have basically grown up spoiled and misuse
    feminism to maintain that lifestyle. It’s a shame, because
    they damage the crediblity of the millions of other women
    who fight patriarchy and sexism with integrity.

    These spoiled women are, essentially, trying to become
    white men in terms of domination rather than equality.
    Unfortunately, their privleged backgrounds means they
    are the ones most likely to become the “successful,
    accomplished women” of which you speak. So,
    sometimes, I think men feel diminished by some
    successful, accomplished women because they actually
    are being diminished.

  19. foxrafer Says:

    This makes me laugh but doesn’t surprise me at all. I wonder if it’s related to the fact that a lot of men seem to honestly believe they’re 2 or 3 inches taller than they really are. Women never tell me I must be 6′ tall. Men who like to think they’re my height always insist I must be taller.

  20. Kathy Says:

    Chris,
    I completely agree with you that some white privileged women use feminism to their advanage, they benefit from white privilege, affirmative action, and they can also choose to stay home to take care of the children while their spouse works extra long hours.

  21. jwbe Says:

    >I think men feel diminished by some
    successful, accomplished women because they actually
    are being diminished.

    how so?

  22. jwbe Says:

    >they can also choose to stay home to take care of the children while their spouse works extra long hours.

    women today can make the choice to work [despite the fact of having children]. Staying at home is the ‘old model’ out of times where men were the sole providers, keeping women in the position of being dependend.

  23. Kathy Says:

    jwbe, not all women today can make that choice. some women must work, or are the sole providers.

    married couples say they are making a choice, but i am not totally convinced that men feel good about that choice.

    equality was supposed to be the goal, not dominance.

    what does seem to happen is that the man is then working twice as much, in order to make up for the loss of income.

  24. Chris Diaz Says:

    jwbe,

    You asked, “how so?”
    I talked about it in my previous comment. But, I’ll try to explain again here. I think that the vast majority of feminists/womenists who are women of color or poor know what being down is all about. I think they want what’s right, less patriarchy, less sexism, and to get the playing field more level.

    On the other hand, I think there are alot of feminists (mostly white) that grew up in upper middle class homes that were spoiled as children. Their paths tend to be pretty direct. Good high school, good college, good job. Of course, mommy and daddy are reaching in the piggy bank the whole time to make sure all goes as planned.

    So, these women get out of college, spoiled from age 0 to age 23. They most likely have very sincere interests in the women’s movement for the noble reasons I described above. But, for them, it’s more than that. It’s also about holding on to the spoiled and privileged lifestyle they are used to. Everything in society: Parents, television, magazines, law enforcement, etc… tells them they are the cream of the crop, the cute well-off girl who drives a nice car, eats Kashi, has the most beautiful white skin, a little nose, and says “amazing” alot.

    So, for them feminism isn’t just about the good fight. It is also about having a tool to maintain being ms. spoiled and prvililged. So, again, you may wish to read my previous post. In my opinion, the majority of men that feel diminished by successful, accomplished women feel so due to insecurities, socialization, and peer pressure.

    But, there are men who feel diminished because they actually are being diminished by spoiled, aggressive, and vindictive feminists who tarnish the good name of the vast majority of feminists/womenists who routinely show the highest level of integrity.

  25. jwbe Says:

    >what does seem to happen is that the man is then working twice as much, in order to make up for the loss of income.

    and there are enough cases where the reverse is true, women as the sole providers

  26. jwbe Says:

    Chris, I think your point of view is biased

  27. Hardlearn? Says:

    Biased because you see a flaw in his reasoning or biased because you don’t like his conclusion?

    Chris Diaz: How are these men being diminished? I can see the feeling of being diminished due to a particular image one might hold of himself, but that would be due to the image, not what the spoiled lady is actually doing.

  28. jwbe Says:

    >Biased because you see a flaw in his reasoning or biased because you don’t like his conclusion?

    first, it seems that he considers every women as a feminist. He also seems to understand ‘success’ only as something like equally participating in the men’s world.

    Some ‘spoiled women’ cannot ruin the reputation of feminism as a whole, this subtly demands 100% correctness of victims of male dominance as well as 100% agreement within women’s movements.
    I have a lot to criticize within feminism. most of all the failure of white women as a collective to dismantle Eurocentrism and white supremacy.

    his language:
    >spoiled, aggressive, and vindictive feminists

  29. Restructure! Says:

    i would say that accomplished is someone who is able to perform a talent or skill in a finely honed manner, such as the way that Restructure writes.

    Thanks. One of the things I’m trying to do on this blog is communicate well.

    as a sidenote (to Restructure): Is it necessary that a certain idiot can post here when ‘we’ should ignore him? I find it difficult to have to ignore his comments.

    I want to maintain transparency on this blog.

    I was thinking about SXSW’s panel summary on “Can Social Media End Racism?” According to them, there are three ways to leverage social media in combating racism in your communities:
    1. Spread Knowledge
    2. Creating a Refuge
    3. Mobilizing the Base

    Racialicious is a type 2 blog, while my blog is type 1. My blog is not a refuge or a sanctuary, although that’s not an invitation for more trolling, either.

    Stuff White People Do is probably type 1 and type 2… Actually, that’s too generous. I was about to say that SWPD is a “safe space for white antiracists to talk about race without being criticized”, but the criticism-shielding only applies to Macon D and not other white antiracists. It’s more like an echo chamber, not even a refuge for other white antiracists than himself.

  30. Restructure! Says:

    Chris Diaz,

    I agree with jwbe that it seems like you consider every white woman a feminist, or you consider every ‘successful’ white woman a feminist.

    You were answering why “men feel diminished by successful, accomplished women”, and one of reasons you listed was (white) feminism. Many ‘successful’, career-oriented (white) women are not feminists; they are just benefitting from the right to work, a legal right that was secured via feminism.

    You are not distinguishing yourself from those men who look at women in traditionally men’s fields and call them ‘feminists’. For example, some white men think that all female engineers are ‘feminists’, because they find female engineers threatening, not because of any professed political beliefs of the female engineers. Female engineers are engineers who happen to be women; they are probably not doing it as a political statement, but because they enjoy engineering.

    An extreme example of this is the École Polytechnique massacre in Montreal. This guy went to an engineering school and shot 14 women, claiming that he was “fighting feminism”. Ironically, if he wanted to find feminists, they would most likely be in social sciences, not engineering. I find most engineers (including female engineers) know jack about feminism, and think that all social sciences are useless.

    In other words, for many men, the term “feminism” becomes a catch-all term for women getting some of what were traditionally only male privileges, regardless of the political (or apolitical) beliefs of these women. (I’m not suggesting that making this “woman in traditionally men’s fields = feminist” is one step closer to being a killer, but I was bringing up that example because it is a common fallacy illustrated by a case that was made famous by its violent extension.)

  31. jwbe Says:

    >Stuff White People Do is probably type 1 and type 2… Actually, that’s too generous. I was about to say that SWPD is a “safe space for white antiracists to talk about race without being criticized”,

    I think a safe space for white antiracists is the same or similar like a safe space for PoC antiracists.
    MD does not offer this

  32. Chris Diaz Says:

    jwbe,

    Everyone is biased. I’m not proud of any bias I have, but to say I don’t have any bias would be a lies, as it would for anyone else. As far as me seeing all women as feminists, good point. The way I wrote it does sound that way. I shall endeavor to improve the lucidity of my comments.

    Now, here’s where you and I differ jwbe. You said, “Some ’spoiled women’ cannot ruin the reputation of feminism as a whole, this subtly demands 100% correctness of victims of male dominance as well as 100% agreement within women’s movements.” I understand where you are coming from. I know how opponents of justice seize on any cracks or divisions within social justice movements, whether that movement be anti-racism, anti-sexism, anti-homophobia, etc.. But, I just can’t….I can’t follow the pure utilitarianist philosophy you describe.
    I cannot be 100% anything. My primary interest is anti-racism. But, I cannot and will not, under ALL circumstances and without regard for the evidence, stand against the side of a white person when they dispute with a person of color. So, it appears we do not have a misunderstanding as much as a wide philosophical gap.

  33. Chris Diaz Says:

    Hardlearn,

    I just want to remind anyone reading this that 90% of the time it is the woman being diminished by the “successful” man, as I alluded to in my initial comment.

    In my original post, I discussed at length the ways in which I believe MOST men feeling diminished is a personal problem, or, phony sense of diminishment. This comes from socializiation, peer pressure, and assumption their privilege is “the way it’s supposed to be”.

    Nonetheless, I believe that there are men (not alot but certainly not extremely rare) who are very much intimidated and shamed by female ideologues, whether those ideologues identify as nothing, feminists, whatever.

    If you’ll notice, jwbe commented that some women might feel a need to go along 100% with women’s side all the time in order to not hurt the women’s movement overall. That is certainly their perogative. But, I, personally, can’t do that (on race matters). Isn’t it plausible that if a small group of women with similar thinking to jwbe work in a department that individual “innocent” men, along with the real sexist villains, are toast. This is especially true if the other women passively approve of the ideologues or simply don’t speak out against them.

    I am most familiar with the situation in hospitals and universities. There are certainly groups of women in these institutions that have the “go 100% of the time with the woman regardless of the evidence” philosophy.

    So, again, let me be clear. With all else being equal (especially race), it is women that get diminished by men in the workplace the vast majority of the time, say, 90%. But, at least in my mind, wrong is wrong, even if only 5-10% of the time. My “ends justify the means” sympathies only go so far, regardless how noble the cause.

    Finally, in my estimation, most of the 100% are white women from comfortable backgrouds. I do think the 100 percenters among this group carry that attitude as much for their own selfish reasons as they do for the benefit of women in general.

  34. Chris Diaz Says:

    Restructure,

    You’re right. I did sound that way. My personal job now is to reflect on how much my comments reflected writing error versus my own biases. Thanks for the reminder.

  35. Restructure! Says:

    Chris Diaz,

    If you’ll notice, jwbe commented that some women might feel a need to go along 100% with women’s side all the time in order to not hurt the women’s movement overall.

    I don’t think that’s what she meant. I think she meant that it seems that you are requiring that 100% of feminist-identified women do not use the label of “feminist” for selfish/stupid reasons, that if one feminist-identified woman is spoiled, then you think that feminist ideology as a whole is partly about being spoiled.

  36. Chris Diaz Says:

    Restructure,

    I think you’re right about the 100% thing. So, jwbe does not necessarily think that way at all. I do think there are those within any social justice movement who pretty much do think that way, though.

    So, whatever comments I made thereafter still reflect my thinking, minus assuming jwbe is part of this group. You have just shown me I have wrongly implicated jwbe . Sorry jwbe. It was an honest mistake from my reading of your comment, not a cowardly smear tactic.

  37. jwbe Says:

    @Chris,
    hell no, I really don’t believe that my English is that bad that people can’t understand what I say. Chris, you twist around what I criticized YOU said.

    >I understand where you are coming from.

    you understand exactly nothing, you wrote about feminists who would ruin the reputation, you subtly demanded therefore 100% correct feminism, based on the assumption that every women actually is a feminist

    >But, I just can’t….I can’t follow the pure utilitarianist philosophy you describe.

    tell me my alleged ‘pure utilitarianist philosophy’ I describe.

    you wrote:
    >But, there are men who feel diminished because they actually are being diminished by spoiled, aggressive, and vindictive feminists who tarnish the good name of the vast majority of feminists/womenists who routinely show the highest level of integrity.

    I wrote:
    >Some ’spoiled women’ cannot ruin the reputation of feminism as a whole, this subtly demands 100% correctness of victims of male dominance as well as 100% agreement within women’s movements.

    what in my answer is not clear?

    And what expectation do you have when you talk about feminists with a “good name” who show the “higest level of integrity”.

  38. Restructure! Says:

    jwbe,

    I don’t think it had anything to do with your English, but I don’t think he was twisting around what you said on purpose, either.

    I think he was just biased and perceived what you were saying as what he assumes feminists to be saying.

  39. jwbe Says:

    Restructure, what I wonder and what I find quite annoying is that people, and almost all of them are white American men, read something entirely different into something what is actually written.

  40. Nquest Says:

    Chris Diaz: “My primary interest is anti-racism. But, I cannot and will not, under ALL circumstances and without regard for the evidence, stand against the side of a white person when they dispute with a person of color.”

    In other words, a White person, to you, is inherently more believable and need not supply any evidence in a dispute with a POC… whatever the dispute is, the burden of proof is on POC by the powers you invest in Whiteness, apparently…

    Not unless you have another explanation as to what your unprovoked statement means and why it’s relevant in this discussion…

  41. jwbe Says:

    a not constructive comment:
    They all, those self-proclaimed white “anti-racists” should just walk to Macons site, there they can celebrate each other and give cookies to each other how good they are. *rollmyeyes*

  42. Chris Diaz Says:

    jwbe,
    I think you’re letting your passions get the best of you. I misunderstood what you wrote and I owned up to the fact that I was wrong. If you just wanna keep bashing me, I don’t care at all.

    Nquest,
    Can you just ask me a direct question and not beat around the bush? First off, I’m not white. Second, you see that word “ALL”, yeah, the one in capital letters…well, it turns out that actually is important to the sentence. So, again, please be direct. If you wanna call me a sellout or dumb or sexist or whatever, just get on with it and don’t waste our time.

    Restructure,
    Just wanted to say hi. lol

  43. jwbe Says:

    Chris, nonetheless you wrote what you wrote, also with alleged feminists ruining the reputation feminism should have according to you.
    And no, it’s not about Chris-bashing, but you don’t seem to be able to understand.

  44. Restructure! Says:

    Nquest,

    I think C D was saying that he will not always side with a POC. He thought that jwbe as a feminist always sided with women.

    Chris Diaz,

    The sentence that Nquest quoted *is* ambiguous, and his interpretation is one of the readings of it. It could be read as: “Under ALL circumstances and without regard for the evidence, I cannot and will not stand against the side of a white person when they dispute with a person of color.”

  45. Chris Diaz Says:

    Restructure,

    I see your point.

  46. Nquest Says:

    Chris: “If you wanna call me a sellout or dumb or sexist or whatever, just get on with it and don’t waste our time.”

    I was quite direct in saying that your statement was unprovoked. I also directly appealed for you to provide an explanation for your unprovoked (and curious) statement.

    I’ll be even more direct in saying that it strikes me as rather odd that someone who truly has anti-racism as their “primary interest” would have to announce it in a thread where anti-racism, per se, is not the topic.

    So, to be direct, your statement strikes me just like the White person who says, “I’m not a racist but…” then follows that unprovoked statement with a comment that betrays the “please believe me” confession.

  47. Chris Diaz Says:

    NQuest,
    I don’t even know what you’re talking about anymore, just seems like some passive-aggressiveness to me.

  48. Feynman was not being arrogant when he told people, “You’re wrong!” « Restructure! Says:

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  49. “Arrogance” is when men lie and women tell the truth. « Restructure! Says:

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  50. Robert Wiblin Says:

    Probably there is a larger evolutionary benefit to extreme overconfidence among males than among females – I bet the same overconfidence exists in animal species too.

  51. Restructure! Says:

    Most non-human animals do not display self-awareness or metacognition, so they would not be able to think about or rate their own intelligence.

    I’m not convinced by evolutionary psychology speculations, when there are so many social reasons why women underestimate their intelligence, such as stereotypes of women being stupid, a history of universities not allowing female students, which shapes the image of what an intellectual looks like, etc.

  52. Robert Wiblin Says:

    Well it’s not entirely speculation – we have good evidence that males are more likely to take risks in many species and there are good ‘selfish gene’ explanations for this behaviour pattern.

    One way to drive those males to take those risks is to make them overconfident about their strength, intelligence, potential status, etc. Animals are self aware and judge these things and reveal them through their interactions with other animals.

  53. Restructure! Says:

    I find bonobo arguments more convincing than general “animal” arguments, because they are most similar to humans.

    However, bonobo societies are matriarchal.

  54. Robert Wiblin Says:

    Closer to humans is nice, but the most important difference here is that whichever gender need invest less in children (usually but not always males) should go for a low probability-high payoff strategy (because there is a high change they will never reproduce at all due to the choice of the other gender), while whichever gender needs to invest more should play it safe (because they are likely to reproduce if they can just survive).

    We observe riskier behaviour in the small-investment gender across many animals, including some primates (I don’t know about bonobos exactly), so this possibility should be considered in human behaviour too.

  55. Restructure! Says:

    Once again, speculatively comparing humans to random organisms in the animal kingdom is unnecessary when there is already evidence of culture causing behaviour in humans. Women are confident and men are tentative when writing about stereotypically feminine topics.

  56. Robert Wiblin Says:

    Not specially selected organisms – most of them in fact.

    You say there is nothing to explain, but in fact there is something else to explain: why do men take more risks than women? I’m suggesting that we could parsimoniously explain both higher risk taking and higher overconfidence bias in men, with an explanation that would check out with our understanding of evolution and sexual selection.

    I’m not saying this is correct, but I don’t think we can say it’s untrue just because we have another option to explain it, because we don’t know whether the incentives alone explain all of the difference or only some (in fact even none is a possibility given the difficulty of proving causation).

  57. Robert Wiblin Says:

    The link about gender and different topics seems to have a really simple explanation: the men know more about changing tyres and the women know more about makeup, and people are more confident talking about things they know about.

    The fact remains that in general men have a more unreasonably high opinion of themselves and are also more willing to take risks and on average put themselves forward aggressively for promotion, etc.

  58. Restructure! Says:

    I’m not sure about risk taking, as there is still no hard evidence that the gender difference is hard-wired, but it’s just that many people prefer evolutionary explanations because they dislike social explanations.

    However, I find that gender discrimination parsimoniously explains a whole range of gendered behaviour—and there is a lot of evidence for the existence of gender discrimination—but most men reject these explanations out of hand because it means that sexism still exists. They don’t like that unsavoury premise, because it means that they benefitted from male privilege, so they try to look for alternative explanations while denying that there is sexism.

  59. jwbe Says:

    >Well it’s not entirely speculation – we have good evidence that males are more likely to take risks in many species and there are good ’selfish gene’ explanations for this behaviour pattern.

    Humans don’t know the behavior of most animals even closely enough to make such generalisations. In addition, in many cases, animal behavior has been interpreted the wrong way with human biases and how humans wanted to see animals and not how animals actually act.
    ‘Risktaking’ also differs throughout life/age, female animals with ‘kids’/puppies act differently than without etc.
    ‘Risktaking’ and overestimating ones abilities in the world of animals also does not necessarily lead to group support of such sometimes a-social behavior.

  60. gnosiophobe Says:

    many people prefer evolutionary explanations because they dislike social explanations.”

    I agree. I’ve noticed some people like to come up with evolution-related reason to explain why this and that happens, and when they read studies about gender difference they quickly conclude that a tendency of men or women to do something means that they’re “biologically programmed” to be that way–and we’d best accept that as fact of life without further thinking about it.

    I haven’t studied the animal kingdom enough to be able to assert with utter confidence how similar or dissimilar their behaviors are to humans’, but I’m of the opinion human society is a bit more complex than a matter of the survival of the genes. For all I know, evolutionary psychologists (and those who play one on the internet) can go to hell.

  61. Robert Wiblin Says:

    Obviously I can reply that people here don’t much like evolutionary explanations because it complicates their simple victimhood story, but that doesn’t really get us much closer to knowing which of our explanations is in fact correct.

    We know enough about a sufficient number of animals and the evolutionary principle underlying our observations to make such generalisations.

    “but I’m of the opinion human society is a bit more complex than a matter of the survival of the genes.”

    Very complex way of ensuring the survival of genes and memes.

    “For all I know, evolutionary psychologists (and those who play one on the internet) can go to hell.”

    Why?

    Even if it is biologically determined that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t work to prevent suffering where it exists and can be prevented – ought and is not connected.

  62. Restructure! Says:

    Obviously I can reply that people here don’t much like evolutionary explanations because it complicates their simple victimhood story, but that doesn’t really get us much closer to knowing which of our explanations is in fact correct.

    1. I don’t dislike evolutionary explanations. I dislike particular evolutionary explanations if they are inferior to particular social explanations.
    2. This has nothing to with people wanting to be the victim. There is a lot of evidence of bias.

  63. Robert Wiblin Says:

    Oh absolutely, but I would say that there’s lots of evidence for our biases being the result of evolution, not society (check this one for example: http://lesswrong.com/lw/yj/an_especially_elegant_evpsych_experiment/). Merely pointing to a possible ulterior motive for the other party’s beliefs (as you started doing for why I like ev psych) doesn’t help you determine if they are right or wrong.

    “I dislike particular evolutionary explanations if they are inferior to particular social explanations.”

    I think we disagree here on whether it’s an inferior explanation. We have 100 points of variation (arbitrary) to explain here and two different possible explanations we want to test. To show that an explanation does in fact explain some points of variation, we have to prove a number of things. We have gotten most of the way to showing that incentives explain at least some variation (have we shown causation? I don’t recall). But none of the experiments I’ve seen show that it explains all 100 points, so whether genes can explain some proportion of the variation is as yet unknown.

    In what way is the genes explanation inferior then? Before you were saying it was merely superfluous.

  64. Restructure! Says:

    Oh absolutely, but I would say that there’s lots of evidence for our biases being the result of evolution, not society (check this one for example: http://lesswrong.com/lw/yj/an_especially_elegant_evpsych_experiment/).

    I’m not understanding that experiment. Did it find that the children’s age versus parental grief graph correlates with the !Kung age versus reproductive-potential graph? Why do prepubescent children have reproductive potential?

    Merely pointing to a possible ulterior motive for the other party’s beliefs (as you started doing for why I like ev psych) doesn’t help you determine if they are right or wrong.

    No, I wasn’t talking about you, and I didn’t know that you liked ev psych. I wasn’t using it as an argument about correctness of social explanations, but I was just pointing out that if a premise of an explanation is that there is social bias, then the explanation should not be automatically discounted because of it.

    I think we disagree here on whether it’s an inferior explanation. We have 100 points of variation (arbitrary) to explain here and two different possible explanations we want to test. To show that an explanation does in fact explain some points of variation, we have to prove a number of things. We have gotten most of the way to showing that incentives explain at least some variation (have we shown causation? I don’t recall). But none of the experiments I’ve seen show that it explains all 100 points, so whether genes can explain some proportion of the variation is as yet unknown.

    Yes, I generally agree, but what specific points of variation are we trying to explain? Perhaps we are looking at different data sets.

    In what way is the genes explanation inferior then? Before you were saying it was merely superfluous.

    Do you mean genes explanations in general, or a specific explanation for a specific phenomenon? I was speaking of “particular” explanations.

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  66. a girl Says:

    @ jwbe:
    Some ‘spoiled women’ cannot ruin the reputation of feminism as a whole, this subtly demands 100% correctness of victims of male dominance as well as 100% agreement within women’s movements.
    I have a lot to criticize within feminism. most of all the failure of white women as a collective to dismantle Eurocentrism and white supremacy.

    What Chris is saying is quite interesting. He is indicating that he is aware of people who might be marginal voters or marginal cultural participants. This is to say that while he admits that most feminists are moderate, there are some he doesn’t like. This means he thinks differently than you do and this agreement on some issues and disagreement on others is a good look into the psychology of people who are more centrist. He is trying to break the logic of different points of view down and this is something that people should take consideration of because if you don’t understand how politics work it is very difficult to effect it no matter how right you might be; personality politics matter and the perceptions of personality politics sometimes matters more than the absolute number of people who fit the stereotype. Politics is not all about rational thought, otherwise it would make a lot more sense to a lot more people.

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