Satoshi Kanazawa trolls the internet again

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Satoshi Kanazawa, the loser who claims evolutionary psychology proved that black women are ugly, only to have Psychology Today sort of apologize for publishing his crap, is back to explain how smart women who voluntarily don’t have kids are actually stupid.

To explain his reasoning – for it is only reasoning, the only data involved being that which shows the smarter a woman is the less likely she is to give birth – he offers this:

If any value is deeply evolutionarily familiar, it is reproductive success. If any value is truly unnatural, if there is one thing that humans (and all other species in nature) are decisively not designed for, it is voluntary childlessness. All living organisms in nature, including humans, are evolutionarily designed to reproduce. Reproductive success is the ultimate end of all biological existence.

What’s fun about someone like Kanazawa is that statements like this actually reveal their worldview and intelligence. So, applying at least as rigorous a scientific standard as Kanazawa himself aspires to, let’s psychoanalyze the troll. And I’m going to dig deeper than “misogynistic homophobe” because that interpretation is so obvious.

1) He ignores that evolutionary biologists can’t even decide why sex evolved at all (asexual reproduction produces far more offspring), let alone determine that the entire evolutionary “purpose” of sex is reproduction. This suggests a personality that either isn’t curious enough to keep up with its own field (perhaps seeing its work only as a way to glorify itself?) or chooses to ignore good science if it doesn’t fit his agenda (lazy thinking).

2) He ignores long-standing research indicating that same sex relationships exist in all sorts of species, and we don’t know why, but it suggests that “every single individual replicating him/herself” may not be crucial to species survival, and that sex may serve purposes other than reproduction.

3) In this worldview, homosexuality must be “truly unnatural.” The common view that homosexual relationships are inferior because they don’t normally lead to reproduction is indicative of a personality that limits itself to highly oversimplified,  dualistic thinking and lacks the intellectual curiosity to uncover – or debate – nuance.

4) He doesn’t concern himself with the intelligence of men who choose not to reproduce. This is where his misogyny becomes obvious. Can you ask what is the evolutionary purpose of women who don’t reproduce without being a misogynist? Yes, in biology you can. But once you render your conclusions in such inflammatory terms as that these “smart” women are really “dumb” “losers”, it really, really begs the question of what you think of men who choose not to make babies. And your silence on that matter belies the idea that you were merely posing a legitimate question about biology, suggesting instead that you were looking for an excuse to call smart women “dumb” “losers.” And what kind of personality is most likely to resent smart women (or black women, referring to his other bit of offal)? A highly insecure man who is incapable of the high levels of critical thinking required for his position – not necessarily due to a lack of intelligence or thinking skills. Sometimes huge, bulging, painful egos cause capable brains to act quite stupid. Oh, hey, where did I just hear someone talking about smart people doing stupid things? Hmm.

It certainly is possible that Kanazawa just really hates smart women, black women and women who aren’t held back in the workplace by motherhood and so on, and is just looking for “science” to back up his bias. In fact, I think that’s really likely based on anecdotal evidence from my personal interactions with people who hold his views. But my point here is to show that even by his own scientific standards – that is, rolling theories from his personal interpretation of data – the most charitable view you can have of him is that he does not apply much intelligence to his work.

Comments

  1. Alara Rogers says

    Actually, I do understand his perspective, but he’s wrong in where he lays the blame.

    Humanity is shooting itself in the evolutionary foot, and has been for at least five thousand years, by making the burdens of motherhood *worse* than they should be, while at the same time giving men the rewards of motherhood. In other mammals, males don’t father; they impregnate females but have nothing to do with raising the young. Humans are one of very few mammalian species where males get a direct emotional reward for producing young… but males are granted that reward without doing the commensurate work that the females are doing, even beyond the biological distinctions. Men get rewarded for being good dads for doing a fraction of the parenting work that women are expected to do at a bare minimum.

    We’re an intelligent species, and like other primates, we have a sense of fairness. We can’t get around these biological facts. So the fact that we create an environment in which any intelligent woman can see that she will be penalized for reproduction in ways that men are not, thus creating a profound societal disincentive for smart women to reproduce… that is the fault of human society. It’s not the fault of individual women; they are doing the smart thing for themselves as an individual, which is all that evolution is ever supposed to do. You’re going to personally suffer if you reproduce, and you know how to avoid it? Then you’re going to avoid it. What sense does it need to make to you that you’re an evolutionary dead end? Why would you care? What is this species doing for you that you care about how it functions when you’re dead?

    It is not on the individual to care about evolution. It is on evolution to care about the individual, as in, give the individual incentive to reproduce. But humans’ cultural, memetic evolution has quickly overtaken biological evolution as the primary driver of our behavior in aggregate, and our cultural memes define mothers as stupid. By definition. Your mom loves you but she doesn’t know shit. Or your mom is very smart but by giving up everything smart people use as social markers of their smartness in order to have you, she proved that she is irrationally driven by emotion. Or she continues to display markers of smartness in which case poor you because she’s a crap mom. The idea that mothers think, that it is to the benefit of children that mothers think, this isn’t on the social radar. We believe somehow deep inside that mothers are mindless. And many of the childfree are responding to that — either misogynistically, by deciding that *they* will never be mindless like a mother, or with thought, recognizing that there’s nothing about being a mother that demands mindlessness but they don’t want to put up with the unfairness and the bullshit that it takes to fight that perception.

    So kanazawa is right in the sense that smart women self selecting out of the gene pool is bad for the species, but he’s wrong in blaming the women themselves for it. They’re just doing what the intelligence and comprehension of fairness that they evolved to have is suggesting is the best idea for them! If we as a society, if we as a species, want to reverse this, we need to recognize the intelligence and contributions of mothers, we need to stop penalizing mothers socially and financially, and we need to stop granting rewards to men for doing next to nothing. Men should not be allowed to have the emotional rewards of being a parent if they won’t make any of the sacrifices being a good parent takes, and women should not be treated as if they are bad parents because they won’t sacrifice every last little bit of themselves, as if that even has good outcomes for children.

    Kanazawa is indeed demonstrating his misogyny. He doesn’t need to explain why smart men don’t have kids because that’s not actually a thing. He does, however, need to consider why, if smart women are smart, why are they doing something he considers stupid. If you define another human being as “smart” and then declare that what they’re doing is stupid, it probably means you have not thought things through. If a majority of the smart people do something you disagree with, it is probably you that are wrong, and very likely because you are stupidly overlooking important facts possibly due to a personal bias. Like, that motherhood causes women to suffer enormous social, financial and cultural penalties that are actually much worse for smart or ambitious women than they are for others. Like, that you’re contributing to the problem by blaming women for being stupid when in fact they are acting in rational self interest, and if *you* had any common sense you’d recognize that the problem isn’t with the individual behavior of individual women at all.

    Also, this guy basically just needs to have everything he ever says hacked with an overlay of an endless repetition of his most egregious crap because there is no way a man who tried to claim that black women are biologically not attractive should ever in a zillion years be taken seriously as a scientist, or even as a blogger. But it’s not that he’s wrong that it’s bad for humanity that smart women don’t reproduce, and it’s not that he’s overlooking the behavior of smart men doing the same thing, because they *don’t*. Men don’t suffer the penalties women suffer and don’t accordingly behave similarly. There’s no deficit of smart men reproducing (and also no deficit of men who have reproduced being able to display cultural markers of smartness, which is another flaw in Kanazawa’s logic. Mensa-invited, 160+ IQ, supergenius housewives and SAHMs get defined as dumb moms by our society because they display no cultural markers of intelligence except when you actually talk to them, which doesn’t show up in statistics.) It’s that he’s wrong that it’s on the women to change their behavior or that they are being “stupid” in doing what they’re doing. It’s on humanity to change our behavior. But we’ve been doing this shit for 5,000 years, so I don’t see it getting perfect any time soon.

  2. Cheryl says

    I can think of four reasons an intelligent woman might be less inclined to want children: she doesn’t feel she’s at a place in her life to be able to support a child; she’s single and doesn’t want to raise a child alone; what she wants in/from her life isn’t compatible with having children; she has no desire to be a mother. In the past several years, I’ve started to shift toward seeing a childfree future for myself. There are things I’d like to do in/with my life before the urge to travel and explore leaves me, and only God knows when that’s going to happen. I want to give any kids I have as stable a life as possible, so I’d want to have kids after I settled in one spot.

    It pisses me off that people who decide not to have kids are considered selfish. How is it selfish to decide that your life isn’t compatible with having children, or you do not want to do the ‘parent thing’? One of my best friends does not want kids and I wholeheartedly support that decision because, as fabulous and wonderful and awesome as she is, she is not mother material. Her not having kids is a kindness to the unborn, which she freely acknowledges. She’s known she hasn’t wanted to have kids since she was eight.

    Those who trumpet on about biology being destiny annoy the heck out of me. Whatever, silly pathetic loser men-people. Pretty damn weak destiny if you ask me, not that you would, because I’m ‘just’ a woman and only good for crapping out babies, cooking your meals, and cleaning your house. If you wanted my opinion, you’d tell it to me, right? Wrong. This is me, going to university for my MA and PhD, and I’ll tell you what I think–in terms that will make your small, small mind explode because you can’t begin to comprehend the product of a broad, educated mind. This is me, childfree and happy, proving that biology is just a word.

    I’d love to see the results of a study on why educated, intelligent men choose not to reproduce. Seriously, I’d be interested to know what men to have to say, and to compare those results to the results of the study that was done on women (if the results of this study are reliable).

  3. says

    SunlessNick, precisely! Otherwise, my armchair personality profile in this article would be science. ;)

    Alara Rogers, very, very well said. When you’re talking about species evolution, it actually makes sense to talk about what the species is doing as a whole. Individuals are programmed to look after their individual survival, and when a species is successful, the “right” choices for most individuals will also be the “right” choices for species survival. Arguing that women should sacrifice individual survival for the species is not biology – it’s philosophy. And his philosophy is misogynistic.

    Cheryl, I too admire some people I know who chose not to have kids. Some were infertile and simply decided it wasn’t so important that they needed to spend six figures on fertility or adoption. Others were fertile but just realized they were to wrapped up in their own things to be good parents. I’m child-free because I’m nearly infertile (would cost a lot to conceive) and I’m not rich enough to adopt, and the one thing I learned from my parents’ marriage is that I will never, ever bind myself financially or legally to a partner (which happens even when you have a kid with someone who, at the time, isn’t involved with the child). If anyone thinks that’s irresponsible or bad in any way, I ask them precisely how much money they’ve donated to PCOS research, to the protection of abused spouses and kids, and so on. Because if you’ve done diddly squat about the problems I have faced, then you can just fuck off with your opinions about how I’ve coped with them.

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