Monday, January 21, 2002

THANK YOU, SCIENCE WATCH: This article has this paragraph second:

The notion of the coy female and ardent male - the woman being fussy over her choice of mate, the man being indiscriminate and promiscuous - is now entrenched in Western thought. As the distinguished Observer writer Katharine Whitehorn summed it up: 'Outside every thin girl, there is a fat man trying to get in.'

Precisely where is this entrenched? Romances tend to play off these stereotypes, not lend credence to them. Then comes this:

But now researchers are questioning the notion. With increasing frequency they are finding examples - among animals and humans - that show females can be sexual predators for whom infidelity has clear evolutionary advantages. As this week's Nature explains in a major study of the field, researchers are finding the world of sex far more complicated than previously thought.

I mean, they had to do research to figure that one out? The Blogistan Institute For Science would like to point out that --after doing years of research-- the majority of scientists are nerds. Awright, I'm being too hard on the article, which is mostly reporting on the tide changing against strict evolutionary psychology conceptions of male-female differences --which traditionally actually are the ones in the first paragraph quoted above. (Or making a tide up; it's from The Guardian, and since I know bupkis about British papers I don't know if it's one of the liberal ones or not. But the hardcore evolutionary psychology views are traditionally associated with conservatism, rightly or wrongly. Probably because Stephen Jay Gould is not hardcore and he's a liberal, thus the hardcore guy he spars with, Richard Dawkins, becomes conservative by elimination. Maybe.) So maybe it's science's view of sexual prowess that's changing. I tend to agree with Charles Harness circa The Rose that art discovers everything first anyway, so I guess figuring out that sex is complicated in 2002 is pretty good evidence of that.

The other goofy science item today is this item saying that men prefer women who smell like their fathers. This is offered up as more evidence for our genes being secretly in control of us. There may be alternate interpretations of the same evidence, though.

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