Next up: A ‘scientist’ and his moronic ranking of objective attractiveness
I remember writing before on this blog about the incredibly myopic understanding some people bring to the term ‘world’. This kind of mentality as well as basic laziness combines to make this piece of supposed research particularly egregious. The so-called scientist in this case wrote an article which appeared on Psychology Today’s blog asserting that black women are objectively less attractive than other groups of people and purporting to find explanations for this phenomenon.
The first question that comes to mind is who the targets of the survey he bases his conclusions on are. Were people in African countries polled to find out who they consider attractive? Or in middle eastern countries? Or even in China or India? Were all his targets based in the United States? A look at the article shows that the answer to this question is yes. This leaves me wondering how this man can make such definitive pronouncements on the attractiveness of whole categories of people found worldwide based on the opinions of Americans alone.
This brings me to my next point. Assuming people all over the world had been polled, he might have found (curiously) that people are more likely to rate what they are familiar with as more attractive. For instance, it would be very surprising to find that people in Nigeria or Ethiopia or Iran consider white or East Asian women more attractive than their local women (now such a result would be interesting and could be worth finding an explanation to). Wouldn’t this therefore lead to the rather obvious point that attractiveness is a subjective quality not easily measured by objective means? Or as they say, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I find it very interesting that Kanazawa made no attempt to define his measure of attractiveness or explain what makes it objective.
That this ‘scientist’ is apparently too lazy or lacking in intellectual capacity to reason his way through these obvious points calls his work into question. It also casts serious aspersions on the organisations he is affiliated with.
For an editor to have read such a piece and not only failed to notice these glaring weaknesses in his logic but to go as far as thinking it a solid article to run in a magazine that presents itself as a credible science/psychology resource is really telling. *
Now, I have never picked up a copy of Psychology Today and been impressed by its content. Every time I’ve looked at an edition of this magazine, the topics covered have either been lightweight or given such fluffy treatment that there is not much knowledge to be gained from reading more closely. So perhaps I should not be surprised to learn that such tripe would pass their standards. However, that this ‘scientist’ (who has not shown himself worthy of the title really) is also a scholar at the London School of Economics is quite shocking to me because I was under the impression that they had a strong reputation. This piece is not the first of its kind published by Kanazawa so it’s fair to say he has a track record in this area. If this is what passes for scholarship at LSE these days, then I am very surprised. Really, they’d get much more value for their money paying me to conduct research that would be credible and not bring their institution such ridicule. At least I know the difference between bullshit and a scientific hypothesis.
* The piece actually appeared on the website, not in the magazine and so was not approved by the editorial staff of Psychology Today. See the apology issued by Psychology Today for more details: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/brainstorm/201105/apology-psychology-today