Is that all there is?

Testosterone Rex is a really stupid book. Interesting that none of the Establishment reviewers noticed. Anyhow, I was talking with a friend, and he opined that this is always the case – all the books by self-professed feminists are stupid. Since the world doesn’t work the way they’d like it to, this might seem inevitable, but on other questions I have to say that at least some of the people pushing false theories do a technically better job, are more proficient obscurers of the truth. For example, when Lewontin said that most genetic variation in humans is within-group [true] and therefore Pygmies can’t really be short [but they are short], he was pushing something untrue, but he didn’t sound nearly as dumb as Cordelia Fine when she claims that a guy getting tons of nookie won’t end up with extra kids.

If there are counterexamples, tell me.

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71 Responses to Is that all there is?

  1. Sam L. says:

    Well, if’n he’s really careful with the condoms…

    • or she believes in birth control and abortion. So the hypotheses should read Future Oriented WEIRD females (you know the kind that count 😉 ) can have copious amounts of sex without increasing their lifetime fertility. Otherwise YMMV.

  2. teageegeepea says:

    The bit about the Darwinian fitness of a man with many partners reminds me of Jeremy Bentham’s claim that “Women who submit to promiscuous embraces are almost universally unprolific”, as a supporting argument for the claim paederasty may be common in a society without it being prejudicial to population. Of course, Bentham’s analysis seems predicated on Malthusian conditions which no longer exist.

    • gcochran9 says:

      He was talking about infertility caused by STDS, and he was correct. The bit about pederasty was wrong, at least if he was talking about causation, because selection at the individual level is key.

  3. pyrrhus says:

    Feminism is an all encompassing but extremely stupid and contra-factual collection of beliefs, so subscribing to makes it pretty much impossible to write anything that isn’t idiotic…..

    • gcochran9 says:

      It is possible to develop clever false arguments, as opposed to stupid false arguments.

      • jasonbayz says:

        What was the argument that the pygmies weren’t really that short? They only photographed the shortest people in the tribe?

        • gcochran9 says:

          Lewontin was really making the argument for IQ, but it applies equally to any trait influenced by many alleles – like height.

          I do think that occasionally some anthropologist has suggested that Pygmies are short because of some environmental factor, but that’s pretty obviously insane. So much so that a fair number of people who are effectively nuts themselves won’t try it.

          • Jim says:

            It’s one thing to deliberately tell lies. But that anybody who knew anything about say Mbuti Pygmies could really believe that their short stature was environmental and not genetic adaption amazes me.

          • DDeden says:

            Pygmies are normal, its the rest of humanity that became taller than normal, due to natural selection for mutations favorable outside the rainforest.
            Same thing with okapi in the Ituri being normal while the open-plains ‘long-necked’ giraffes evolved due to selection for mutations favorable outside the rainforest.
            re. On the origin of species, C. Darwin

          • NobodyExpectsThe... says:

            Btw, is there any evidence of “crash” fast evolution on amazonian rainforest amerindians? Something similar to the Andean Plateau populations in contrast to the more “elegant” solutions of Tibetans.
            South American Amerinds are not particulary tall, but Yanomamos and the like, look substantially shorter already.

            • DDeden says:

              Why assume that LCA of AmerIndians were ‘particularly tall’? More likely they were about KhoiSan sized at crossing Beringia, thus Amazon natives remained this size while open plains-woodland AmerIndians became slightly taller. More parsimonious, right?

            • DDeden says:

              I presume you refer to the Denisovan-linked Tibetan adaptation to hypoxic atmosphere which Andean people lack (and so instead have high hemoglobin). Might indicate Tibetans (settled up high 9ka) got the Denisovan gene sequence after AmerIndians already left (24-13ka)?

      • Steve Johnson says:

        Is it possible for women to do that though? If they were equally able to come up with clever false arguments then they wouldn’t need to.

  4. Yudi says:

    A high-V low-M subpopulation has relatively few people with the math abilities to come up with clever but bad arguments…

  5. j says:

    Is that all there is? The answer, in Voyager, was “No, but she is unable to imagine it”.

  6. manwhoisthursday says:

    [H]e didn’t sound nearly as dumb as Cordelia Fine when she claims that a guy getting tons of nookie won’t end up with extra kids.

    Didn’t Ibn Saud have like 40 kids? Heck, there was this musician in St. Lucia I knew who had like 20.

    • gcochran9 says:

      More like 100: 45 sons.

    • TWS says:

      I worked with a guy who had at least fifteen kids by three different women. He was only married to one of them. He would set them up in his section 8 house and collect the government checks.

      One of his women a rather large Samoan lady beat the holy snot out of him because she found out about one of the others. He never quit with any of them though.

  7. RCB says:

    I haven’t read Joan Roughgarden’s “Evolution’s Rainbow”. But back when Joan was John, (s)he wrote a nice intro textbook on pop gen and evolutionary ecology, with differential equations and all. Certainly Roughgarden has the ability to make smart arguments about silly things, and Evolution’s Rainbow would be the place to look.

    • gcochran9 says:

      Wiki says ” In 2004 Roughgarden published a challenge to sexual selection titled Evolution’s Rainbow: a critique of Darwin’s sexual selection theory based on instances in which animals do not follow traditional sex roles where the male attempts to impress the female, and the female chooses her mate. It also contains a literature survey on unexpected sexual behavior in many species of animals.[3]

      An article published by her lab on these ideas received criticism in the pages of the journal Science. Forty scientists produced ten critical letters, some of which were vitriolic. However, Roughgarden, quoted as being “not altogether surprised” by the volume of dissent, argued that her team had replied to most of the criticisms.[4]

      In her 2009 book The Genial Gene, the case against sexual selection theory is continued and social-selection theory presented as an alternative. It lists 26 phenomena not explained by current sexual-selection theory that are better explained by social selection. According to Roughgarden, sexual selection theory derives from a view of natural behavior predicated on the selfish-gene concept, competition and deception, whereas the social-selection theory derives from teamwork, honesty, and genetic equality. She continues to make analytical studies that social selection is a more credible explanation in terms of population as a whole, as sexual selection is confined to interaction between individuals.[5][6] ”

      sounds like a pile of crap. Clearly another candidate for a GoFUNDME review.

      • Space Ghost says:

        sexual selection is confined to interaction between individuals

        I’m guessing Jo(a)n has not spent much time in San Francisco.

      • Michael Daxhammer says:

        Roughgarden really is crazy like shit. In a 2005 essay for the German popscience mag Spektrum she wrote about the origin and evolutionary sense of homosexuality literally claiming that gays don’t have a lower reproductive fitness than heteros because there are also childless couples on this fucking planet. I mean, WTF?

        “Ich gehe sogar so weit zu behaupten, dass Homosexualität Ăźberhaupt keinen Fitnessverlust mit sich bringt. (…) Es gibt keine wirklichen Belege dafĂźr, dass es Personen, die sich zu ihresgleichen hingezogen fĂźhlen, in ihrer Gesamtheit eine geringere reproduktive Fitness haben als Heterosexuelle. Schließlich bleiben auch viele Menschen, die ausschließlich heterosexuell leben, kinderlos. ”

  8. MawBTS says:

    Most books by feminists are emotional pornography (“you’re great and everyone else is the problem!”) read by an audience of other feminists, and few people besides. They’re not trying to convince, or persuade. Their readers are all pre-sold. If anything, they’ve gotten less cartoonish with time. In the 70s, they were fighting the epidemic of porn films where women are murdered and raped on camera, but in 2015 they’re fighting the epidemic of men explaining the plot of Lolita. (The first sentence is funny and made me smile, but then she ruins it by deconstructing the reference like your dad explaining a golf joke. Just LEAVE IT ALONE.)

    BTW, what does Greg think about the recent Vox article on Charles Murray?

    Charles Murray is once again peddling junk science about race and IQ

    Ignore the sensationalist title, I assume it was written by an editor. The article has claims that I know to be wrong (the black-white IQ gap isn’t narrowing), and some things that sound interesting but are unsourced (is it true that the early gains from eg Pre-K translate into better schools etc even if the IQ gains wear off?). Murray’s “toxic” for mentioning this stuff, but nowhere is it mentioned that he talks about it to better inform a welfare state.

    Counter article 1 (although Stuart J Ritchie claims it’s even worse than the Vox article)
    Counter article 2

    • Ziel says:

      Well that article is a good example of standard liberals sounding far less stupid than feminists. But I believe the article can be simply summed up as that while individual differences clearly have an inherited basis, group differences can be purely environmental, and since they can be, they therefore must be, and so Murray should just shut up about it.

    • EB says:

      So Flynn & Dickens are totally wrong about the 5 point narrowing?

      • Patrick L. Boyle says:

        The Flynn and Dickens paper has a problem. They attempt to bolster their notion that genetic effects are not very important with a Sports Analogy. They state that the improvement in US basketball skills must be purely environmental because we don’t breed for basketball skills.

        But of course we do – or I should say the Chinese do. The former NBA center Yao Ming was in fact part of a breeding program by the Chinese government – and it worked. They had mated a very tall and athletic man with a very tall and athletic woman and produced Yao – a man who is seven feet five.

        I was on the George Mason basketball team. We were not very good – not modesty, simple truth. A few years ago the George Mason team did very well indeed advancing to the final round of one of the tournaments. My team was all white and the more recent team was all black. I don’t see that as supporting the importance environmental factors.

        I don’t think Flynn and Dickens know much about basketball.

  9. RCB says:

    How about you give it a shot? Pick a dumb idea and try to convince us of it. Don’t tell us at first – you can use it as a test for your commenters.

  10. Benjamin.L says:

    I think Judith Butler and maybe others have a whole lot of verbal facility, i.e. good at arguing and would make good lawyers. Of course she can still be entirely wrong about reality.

    What about this distinction between empathizing and systematizing?

    I don’t think there’s anyone better than Camille Paglia at reading people i.e. empathizing, and she is a self described feminist.

    • Greying Wanderer says:

      “I don’t think there’s anyone better than Camille Paglia at reading people i.e. empathizing”

      shallow effect
      – same emotions so can recognize them in others
      – but weaker so less controlled by those emotions than others
      i.e. shallow effect -> hunter’s “empathy” imo

      (you could also call it pimp’s empathy)

      “maternal” type empathy is different imo

  11. Greying Wanderer says:

    western culture is the most chivalrous culture so even females are given more leeway to act out – even feminist ones, which is ironic

    feminism only survives because western men are too nice

  12. whyteablog says:

    Cordelia Fine is deficient at bullshit artistry compared to who- Boas, Montagu, Diamond, Lewontin, Gould? I can think of a bunch of race deniers in science and most of the important ones that come to mind have one thing in common. Jim Flynn and Richard Nisbett aren’t of that vein, I guess. Joe Graves. Note that these three actually believe their bullcrap, unlike any of the people mentioned above.

    (Venter denied race, but not gleefully. You could hear his arm being twisted when he did it.)

    It’d seem that a larger number of intelligent people believe that they have something to gain from denying race rather than sex.

  13. TWS says:

    The problem with going down this path is that pretty soon your lies need much bigger lies to prop them up. It would be easier to actually acknowledge the differences. Who’s paying for all the lies? Somebody has to be giving the liars money. Otherwise they’d be the nut jobs who say there’s a hollow earth or space aliens on the moon. Nobody would pay attention to them and they would be working out of their basements.

  14. Jim says:

    As for counterexamples the guy might happen to infertile.

  15. slatestarcodex says:

    Janet Hyde (see eg ) took me a couple of hours to really find the problems with, though I imagine you could do it much faster. Still probably better than Fine.

  16. norbert sailer says:

    Camille Paglia can be alright. She’s got some vicious zingers.

  17. ziel says:

    From Metallica to Peggy Lee

  18. sinij says:

    Does feminism imposes sufficiently high reproductive fitness penalty that this problem will solve itself in a couple generations?

  19. Ilya says:

    Dr. Cochran: you’re being mentioned and your and Henry’s work is being discussed:

    • Ilya says:

      “, claiming that the survival and reproductive gradients are different by continental and subcontinental locations—particularly with respect to social and mental skills—is unsupported by data.”

    • TWS says:

      They start right off with the Lewontin fallacy. I know everything they say after that is fertilizer.

    • epoch2013 says:

      “Wade and others often discuss the MAO­A copy number variant as the “warrior gene” because early candidate gene studies showed that this allele’s presence predicted violent behavior. They then point out that the “violent” allele is found at higher frequencies in the black population. However, such candidate gene studies—and this one in particular—have not withstood replication tests.”

      O? I never read that. Anybody knows?

  20. pavetack says:

    all the books by self-professed feminists are stupid. Since the world doesn’t work the way they’d like it to, this might seem inevitable

    Sounds like a related phenomenon to Steve Sailer’s First Law of Female Journalism: The most heartfelt articles by female journalists tend to be demands that social values be overturned in order that, Come the Revolution, the journalist herself will be considered hotter-looking.

  21. The Z Blog says:

    Feminism seems to be an avenue for attention seekers. Back when I was an undergrad, all of us knew that feminist girls were easy. They had low self-esteem so cheap flattery would work. That was a long time ago, but young people tell me it is largely still true. There are many more lesbians in the mix these days, but the basic assumptions still hold.

    This maybe explains why feminist books are terrible in attention getting ways. Cordelia Fine is primarily interested in getting attention. Her nonsense book has gained her attention, even if it is mostly derisive or patronizing.

  22. j says:

    i>Is that all there is? is the ultimate question and wish to receive your opinion on suicide (not mine). For me it is unexplainable that suicide exists and moreover, (a) it is so frequent and(b) there such difference among races. The annual age-adjusted suicide rate is 13.26 per 100,000 individuals. Men die by suicide 3.5x more often than women. White males account for 7 of 10 suicides in the USA.
    Suicide should have been long eliminated from human behaviors by evolution. How can one explain the suicide of a teenager? Is it a disease? From an evolutionary point of view, the phenomenon should not exist at all. And then, why Africans seem less susceptible?

  23. spottedtoad says:

    I liked Sarah Hrdy’s Mother Nature ( ). I think she thinks of herself as a feminist. As I recall she thanks Bob Trivers in the acknowledgments, which probably says something about her perspective.

  24. I dont know if I’m “establishment” but I’m certainly mainstream…

    • gcochran9 says:

      When Fine argued that it’s extremely unlikely that 100 one-night-stands would produce 100 extra babies, and therefore there’s no genetic point in being a player, she was being idiotic. For that matter, when she tried to argue that adolescent males aren’t really risk takers – that’s idiotic too. Is there some unstated, widely shared assumption among mainstream book reviewers that it’s impolite to point out that the author you’re reviewing is totally bonkers? Mad as a hatter? Dumb as a brick?

      Second questions: why does she have a job? Any job? I wouldn’t trust her to come in out of the rain.

      • The Z Blog says:

        I was reading something on National Review today and the thought was, “How is it this person got a job writing for this site?”

        Woody Allen famously said that “Showing up is 80 percent of life.” I suspect in areas outside the write answer fields, simply being persistent counts more than anything.

      • I wanted to leave the 100 babies argument to David Schmitt (as he’s been on the recieving end of it). However–he had better things to do and I wanted to get the review out. I don’t have better things to do now though, so a longer response is (hopefully) going in the book I’m working on. As for Cordelia Fine coming in out of the rain? I assume that she would just sit out there while claiming that being soggy was a patriarchal construct? Maybe she’s highly soluble? We can only hope.

  25. I recently published a detailed analysis on my blog in which I argue that, despite what I call the official narrative, the evidence suggests that, if women are underrepresented in philosophy, it’s not because of discrimination. However, I’m afraid it’s not a counterexample, but rather another example. I also discussed Cordelia Fine’s book a few months ago, which indeed doesn’t seem very good.

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