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Coffee!!! Evolution explains why Dad’s dancing is so awful, except where it isn’t

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If anyone thinks that “evolutionary psychology” is a discipline, this should remove all doubt:

The cringeworthy “dad dancing” witnessed at wedding receptions every weekend may be an unconscious way in which ageing males repel the attention of young women, leaving the field clear for men at their sexual peak.

“The message their dancing sends out is ‘stay away, I’m not fertile’,” said Dr Peter Lovatt, a psychologist at the University of Hertfordshire who has compared the dancing styles and confidence levels of nearly 14,000 people.

His research has backed up scientific studies showing a connection between dancing, hormones and sexual selection.

Men between the ages of 35 and 60 typically attempt complex moves with limited co-ordination …

Dr Lovatt pointed to research showing that women could gauge the testosterone levels of their dance partners by the style and energy of their moves, and suggested that “dad dancing” may be a way of warning women of child-bearing age that they might be better off looking elsewhere.

– Matthew Moore, “’Dad dancing’ may be the result of evolution, scientists claim Middle-aged men who embarrass their children with flamboyant dance moves now have the perfect excuse – evolution.” 15 Dec 2009

But why read that when you can just check out the Looney Tunes on YouTube? It’s so obvious that this is just popular culture pretending to be science of some kind. Dad is not the chief person who should be embarrassed.

Note: I remember the wedding of one of my children, when my very old dad dragged a recalcitrant grandson onto the dance floor and taught him the steps. Like many retirees in his community, he entertained at seniors’ residences, as part of a country dancing troupe. Life experience causes me to brand “evolutionary psychology” as merely a way for poorly performing academics to attract the attention of popular culture, by relying on assumptions familiar to many, like “Dad can’t dance”.

The fact that the roots of this sort of thing are firmly in popular culture, not science, can be ascertained precisely from the fact that it is assumed that Dad can’t dance. In most cultures, he can and does. Heck, even in my whitebread Canadian culture, he could and did.

My suspicion of evolutionary biology (which I assume may be a science of some kind) is, in part, based on obvious unwillingness to simply confront and denounce all this EP nonsense as the non-science/pseudoscience that it in fact is. I can only assume that their reason is that their own science is so poor that they dare not get a discussion started. They can prove me wrong, of course, by denouncing EP.

Also, just up at The Mindful Hack

That’s my blog on neuroscience and design

So, if you are French, your neurons run your life?

If you believe in God, is it just because you think you are God?

Neuroscience and design: fMRI flops at first criminal trial

Proof that there is, or is not, free will is worth what, in money?

Thicker foreheads: Meet thickets of Darwinism

(Note: If you follow me at Twitter, you will get regular notice of new Mindful Hack posts, usually when I have posted five or so stories.)

All you can say about this science is that it provides one of the very rare occasions where Denyse O'Leary and Professor Larry Moran actually agree. Seversky
Does evolution explain why,,, I can't dance? I Can't Dance - Genesis (official video) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QtjqxZMqMTA Phil Collins - Another Day in Paradise http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U66rzHtW2qQ Peter Gabriel & Kate Bush -Don't Give Up http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gJWurqWTeSk bornagain77
I just saw a headline on MSN that relates to this: Why humans have no fur — explained: Discovery supports theory that heat shaped many features of human body (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/37640858/?gt1=43001) Here's a nice quote at the end: "No one knows for sure when we became proficient at sweating and when we lost our fur," he added. "But this paper provides strong evidence that the climatic conditions that would have favored such adaptations intensely were present for a long time." Tsinadree
I will say one positive thing about EP. It is very, very entertaining. It's also fun! I feel like playing scientist. Let's see... Why are people impatient and rude when in car traffic but are more polite when on foot? ENTER SCIENCE When the cavemen were hunting in the presence of large beasts, they had to act very quickly and selfishly if their genes were to survive. But when they were walking with their families, with women and children, only the ones who could then be patient would be able to have their genes selected. If they got too impatient, they could exhaust their children to the point of death or separate from them too much, making them vulnerable to attacks from animals or other cavemen (who were presumably working on another genetic feature we now carry, as well). Today, our godless electrochemical kludges that we call brains are associating automobiles with the large animals of our ancient history. END SCIENCE uoflcard

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