Saturday, September 4, 2010

McArdle: We Are Not Bonobos!

I'm pretty much at the point where it's easier to find commentary about Megan than it is to visit her & deal. Probably not a good sign for my mental health, but the increase in "How can this person be so ob-fugging-tuse?" items recently is an indication that our mission here has not been completely in vain.

I'm not familiar with Ms. McArdle's work, but if she's got a gig at The Atlantic, which is one of the most respected magazines in the country, presumably this is far below her usual intellectual standard.
Benefit of the doubt. Those scientists/academics do live in one hell of an ivory tower, don't they?
Wonderful as it would be if Ms. McArdle's opinion of our book were to change when/if she gets around to actually reading it, I'm not holding my breath because I don't think she's responding to the substance of the book at all; she's responding to what it makes her feel, which is something entirely different.


Susan of Texas said...

The commenters really went to town on McArdle. She may never get fired but she'll never command respect either.

Anonymous said...

Don't forget her criticism about their failure to address jealousy, when an entire chapter is devoted to it. But it was in Chapter 10, way beyond her attention span. When alerted to this chapter, she pronounced it terrible. What a spoiled child.

Anonymous said...

The sad thing is that there are probably a number of good reasons to criticize a book like this, and Megan doesn't know them and wouldn't know how to present them if she did.

Dhalgren said...

Well that might just have to be the final word on Megan. Not to suggest you close the blog, but when one sees the last gram of credibility blow away from Megan's career, it's time, as doctors say, to 'call it.'

Time of death, Aug 30th 2010, 16:26

Dhalgren said...

'You dolts! I said in the first sentence of my post that I was in THE MIDDLE of Sex At Dawn. Jeeeez.'

You know, because Megan has to keep up the appearance that she reads several books simultaneously, and that she has an informed opinion before reading the bloody things.

atat said...

And I guess that's probably the same reason she's now telling everyone that she usually keeps 50(!?) tabs open in her browser during her 12(!?) hour work days.

Anonymous said...

REM saw all this coming.

"I am, I am, I am Suderman.

And I will fuck anything."

NutellaonToast said...

Man, who is this fucking Megan person? Never heard of her before but she sounds fucken annoying.

Anonymous said...

I like how she confuses evolutionary biology with evolutionary psychology. There's some good work being doing in EP*, but a lot of it is crap written by self-aggrandizing egomaniacs who seek attention by either supporting or tearing down conventional wisdom about human sexuality and gender roles.

I haven't read Sex At Dawn, but it looks like typical sex focused pop-EP (hopefully not too much on gender roles, which can get pretty odious).

Megan is maybe half-right, but for the wrong reasons. EP is not evolutionary biology. We can draw some parallels between humans and bonobos, but we aren't the same.

Humans aren't natural completely monogamous, but we are one of the most monogamous animals out there. I can't respect any EP work on human sexuality that doesn't at least discuss r vs. K selection. EP usually focuses on "sperm is cheap, eggs are expensive" (and hence males tend to fuck around and females are choosy about who they mate). True, but humans are about as K selected as you can get. K selection is "eggs are expensive" applied to the species (both sexes) as a whole. r selection is species wide "sperm are cheap". We have one of the longest gestation periods out there, we usually bear only one offspring at time, we have a very long time to sexual maturity, and probably the longest period of any animal where offspring are completely dependent on parents. I don't think a child can even survive without adult investment until at probably at least 7, and at this point in the US a typical period of parental investment is approaching 22 years.

The needs of our offspring have given us good evolutionary reason to be mostly monogamous and form long term pair bonds.

*For good work in EP, there's stuff that would make Megan even angrier. Examining our psychology with regard to economics shreds most of the base assumptions economists make. We're naturally fairly altruistic (Ayn Rand is wrong). We don't behave as economically rational actors in most situations. We discount the future too strongly.