Evolutionary psychology Human evolution Intelligent Design

Evolutionary psychology: A promising new strategy for anti-Semites?

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At Undark, Michael Schulson asks,

Why are ostensibly respectable, peer-reviewed journals now publishing discussions of what has long been dismissed as bigoted psychological research?

IN THE 20 years since the publication of his best-known book, “The Culture of Critique,” Kevin MacDonald, an emeritus professor of psychology at California State University, Long Beach, has complained that his work receives scant attention from academics — though there are reasons for the silence. The book, after all, has much in common with centuries-old anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, and, using the language of evolutionary psychology, MacDonald infamously argues that many Jews oppose the values of Western civilization in order to pursue insular group interests.

Since the book’s publication in 1998, MacDonald has openly aligned himself with white nationalists, including former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke, and testified on behalf of the Holocaust denier David Irving. More recently, MacDonald’s work has become popular among the ascendant alt-right. The Daily Stormer, a white nationalist blog, sometimes refers to him affectionately as “K-Mac.”

With a few exceptions, though, mainstream evolutionary psychologists have long ignored MacDonald’s work — that is, until this year. In March, the journal Human Nature published a pointed but respectful rebuttal of the theories postulated in “The Culture of Critique.” Then, in early June, a full-throated defense of MacDonald’s work appeared in Evolutionary Psychological Science, a mainstream, peer-reviewed journal published by Springer Nature.

That paper, titled “Jewish Group Evolutionary Strategy Is the Most Plausible Hypothesis,” largely repeats MacDonald’s arguments. It claims that Jews have evolved to pursue strategies that “promote Jewish interests in the West,” and that Jews may be biologically wired to be more ethnocentric than other peopleMore.

Dr. Schulson, yes, it’s a terrible thing. But first, evolutionary psychology has always been a pseudoscience. Most pseudoscience is not nasty. But when a pseudoscience is respectable (after all, Darwin’s name is often invoked by evolutionary psychologists), it is a more desirable target for nasties.

Second, Big Science today is having a hard time fighting off the progressives, who have become increasingly ati-semitic. What do you make of the advice to scientists assailed by pussyhats and others to just shout louder? Surely the message is, you are on your own!

Racism has infected even the classification systems of human evolutionary studies but — as we know well at Uncommon Descent — it is very hard to get and keep a serious discussion of that fact going.

Anyway, in planning a strategy, the thing to keep in mind is that it isn’t the disreputable pseudoscience you need to watch. It’s the respectable pseudoscience, the one defended in Springer publications.

See also: “The evolutionary psychologist knows why you vote — and shop, and tip at restaurants”

Nature advises scientists concerned about March for Science’s “special interests”: Shout louder.

and

Do racial assumptions prevent recognizing Homo erectus as fully human?

2 Replies to “Evolutionary psychology: A promising new strategy for anti-Semites?

  1. 1
    vmahuna says:

    I’ve read “Culture of Critique”, and I don’t recall much on the biological basis of the Frankfurt School’s clear goal of destroying Western society. The Frankfurt School moved from Germany to the US in the 1930s. But the transplants continued to write using their European educational backgrounds. And they were Socialist proponents of destroying independent sovereign countries, as the “no borders” folks continue to press for today. One does of course begin to notice the consistent ancestry of the leading members of the Frankfurt School.

  2. 2
    bornagain77 says:

    A passing note on the term “evolutionary psychology”,,, if a psychologist truly wants to help people recover psychologically, and truly wants to be successful in his practice of mental health, I strongly suggest that he drop these evidence free evolutionary ‘just so stories’ for how some mental illness may have come about, and instead focus primarily on their patient’s faith, or lack thereof, in God.

    Numerous studies have now shown that faith in God has a tremendous beneficial effect on both our mental and physical health:
    As Professor Andrew Sims, former President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, states, “The advantageous effect of religious belief and spirituality on mental and physical health is one of the best-kept secrets in psychiatry and medicine generally.”,,, “In the majority of studies, religious involvement is correlated with well-being, happiness and life satisfaction; hope and optimism; purpose and meaning in life;,,”

    “I maintain that whatever else faith may be, it cannot be a delusion.
    The advantageous effect of religious belief and spirituality on mental and physical health is one of the best-kept secrets in psychiatry and medicine generally. If the findings of the huge volume of research on this topic had gone in the opposite direction and it had been found that religion damages your mental health, it would have been front-page news in every newspaper in the land.”
    – Professor Andrew Sims former President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists – Is Faith Delusion?: Why religion is good for your health – preface
    https://books.google.com/books?id=PREdCgAAQBAJ&pg=PR11#v=onepage&q&f=false
    “In the majority of studies, religious involvement is correlated with well-being, happiness and life satisfaction; hope and optimism; purpose and meaning in life; higher self-esteem; better adaptation to bereavement; greater social support and less loneliness; lower rates of depression and faster recovery from depression; lower rates of suicide and fewer positive attitudes towards suicide; less anxiety; less psychosis and fewer psychotic tendencies; lower rates of alcohol and drug use and abuse; less delinquency and criminal activity; greater marital stability and satisfaction… We concluded that for the vast majority of people the apparent benefits of devout belief and practice probably outweigh the risks.”
    – Professor Andrew Sims former President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists – Is Faith Delusion?: Why religion is good for your health – page 100
    https://books.google.com/books?id=PREdCgAAQBAJ&pg=PA100#v=onepage&q&f=false

    In fact, in the following study it was found that, “those middle-aged adults who go to church, synagogues, mosques or other houses of worship reduce their mortality risk by 55%.”

    Can attending church really help you live longer? This study says yes – June 1, 2017
    Excerpt: Specifically, the study says those middle-aged adults who go to church, synagogues, mosques or other houses of worship reduce their mortality risk by 55%. The Plos One journal published the “Church Attendance, Allostatic Load and Mortality in Middle Aged Adults” study May 16.
    “For those who did not attend church at all, they were twice as likely to die prematurely than those who did who attended church at some point over the last year,” Bruce said.
    https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2017/06/02/can-attending-church-really-help-you-live-longer-study-says-yes/364375001/

    And this recent study is also of interest

    Study: Religiously affiliated people lived “9.45 and 5.64 years longer…”
    July 1, 2018
    Excerpt: Self-reported religious service attendance has been linked with longevity. However, previous work has largely relied on self-report data and volunteer samples. Here, mention of a religious affiliation in obituaries was analyzed as an alternative measure of religiosity. In two samples (N = 505 from Des Moines, IA, and N = 1,096 from 42 U.S. cities), the religiously affiliated lived 9.45 and 5.64 years longer, respectively, than the nonreligiously affiliated. Additionally, social integration and volunteerism partially mediated the religion–longevity relation.
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/study-religiously-affiliated-people-lived-religiously-affiliated-lived-9-45-and-5-64-years-longer/
    Can Religion Extend Your Life? – By Chuck Dinerstein — June 16, 2018
    Excerpt: The researcher’s regression analysis suggested that the effect of volunteering and participation accounted for 20% or 1 year of the impact, while religious affiliation accounted for the remaining four years or 80%.
    https://www.acsh.org/news/2018/06/16/can-religion-extend-your-life-13092

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