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Why science and the media need a chaperone - It seemed like a good idea at the time... — LiveJournal [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]

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Why science and the media need a chaperone [Jul. 28th, 2008|08:49 am]
I love evolutionary psychology. It's fun as hell -- but really, it needs to be taken with a grain of salt. No, more science. I mean, theoretical is the key word here. And if this discipline (which often could use a little more discipline) needs to get a restraining order against the media.

Here's another blogger's post, if you want to see someone rip apart an article/media release based on bad use of statistics (pinging lowlandscot) and publishing theory as fact without a shred of critical thinking (pinging skivee).


I mean, what I find fun about EP is the rough and tumble of the theory and the arguments that follow regarding rigor and testing and science. An internet survey, as this blogger points out...not so rigorous. And you can only test so much, until we invent the way-back machine, so even with a whole bunch of data that says "yes, women tend to give directions based on landmarks and men on east/west and distance and that could be because of the division of food-finding labor way back when we were knuckle-draggers"

But the operative word is "could"...irresponsible "scientists" (really, theoretician) promoting books and media who will swallow any press release they're given and can't be bothered to search out a differing opinion....insert caveats...pfbbt!

[User Picture]From: lowlandscot
2008-07-28 05:59 pm (UTC)
Well as far as I'm concerned, the current scientific state of most evolutionary psychology is indistinguishable from a Rudyard Kipling "Just So" story, except for fancier jargon. Turning a spotlight of responsible research methodology on this bunch would be like pointing a Vickers machine gun at a litter of kittens. Throw the results into a boiling media cauldron where half the participants are looking for a cheap easy headline, preferably including the word "sex", and the other half have gigantic postmodern chips on their shoulders, and you get -- enough hot air to keep this sector of the blogosphere cranking for days.

I'd like to see the evolutionary psychology theory that explains how it is that the minute X% of the human population climbed enough rungs on the cultural evolution ladder that we didn't have to spend all our waking hours looking for lizards to eat, that practically the first thing we did -- after inventing the internet -- was to all start spending four hours a day leaving abusive comments in other peoples' blogs. And then I would publicize the EP drinking game: everytime a PhD writes "could" we all knock back a shot.
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