But the issue of whether there are genetically-based differences in behavior, physiology, mentation, and other non-physical attributes of populations is simply off the table. It’s not just that we shouldn’t investigate them (for one can make a case that that research might itself have invidious social consequences), but that those differences don’t exist. I’ve even heard people called “racists” by cultural anthropologists — one of the worst fields for ideologically motivated scholarship — simply for suggesting that there might be behavioral genetic differences between human groups. You can discuss the issue, but there’s only one position considered acceptable. ...Remember this whenever you see academic research or opinions on the subject of racism or sexism. Only one view is tolerated, and that view is completely contrary to the facts and common sense.
When it comes to the sexes, though, it’s a different matter. In the hominin lineage males and females have been coevolving (either cooperatively or antagonistically) for 6 million years or so — ample time for differences in behavior, wants, thought patterns, and so on to evolve, just as morphological differences between men and women have clearly evolved. Do those genetic differences in thought and behavior exist? I suspect they do, at least for traits connected to sexuality and sexual behavior. Just as animals ranging from flies to mammals show consistent (though not universal) patterns of male/female differences in sexual behavior — differences explainable by sexual selection — so I expect the human lineage evolved similar patterns. After all, males are larger and stronger than females, and you have to explain that somehow. How do you do so without explaining evolved differences in behavior — probably based on sexual selection?
Yet the idea that males and females show evolutionary/genetic differences in behavior is also anathema in liberal academia, and for the same reason that population differences are anathema. Such differences, so the thinking goes, would support either racism (on the part of populations) or sexism (on the part of males and females). But of course that thinking is false: we can accept evolved differences without turning them into social policy. And it’s of interest to many evolutionists, including me, to know the extent to which groups and sexes have evolved along divergent pathways.
Still, many feminists, liberals, sociologists, and cultural anthropologists deny any such divergence. Yes, men and women differ in body size, strength, and structure, but there are, so they say, no such differences in the brain and behavior. In all other traits, so the trope goes, men and women are equal. And given equal interests and talents, then the only thing enforcing anything other than a 50% representation of men and women in professions must be cultural pressures: viz., sexism. Thus, unequal representation in professions is prima facie evidence of sex discrimination.
Thursday, October 06, 2016
Behavior difference are off the table
Leftist-atheist-evolutionist professor Jerry Coyne writes: