Amazing. Under this headline:
“Science still cannot explain why women sleep around”
“A study published today in Science details a series of careful experiments Swedish researchers conducted on mating seed beetles (pictured). They want to find out what the benefits were to females who mated with multiple males….”
Now, as a normal person, you are probably thinking: “WTF does a paper in Science about beetles have to do with promiscuity in women?” The answer would be NOT A GODDAMN THING.
This is one of the most blatant, shameless examples of “sexing up science” I’ve seen in a long time.
Here is the actual paper they are referring to:
Bilde, T., Foged, A., Schilling, N., & Arnqvist, G. (2009). Postmating Sexual Selection Favors Males That Sire Offspring with Low Fitness Science, 324 (5935), 1705-1706 DOI: 10.1126/science.1171675
It is a paper about seed beetles, people. Seed. Beetles.
In the press release covering this paper, there is no mention that this research means anything for mammals, much less humans. So… where did this get connected up to explaining why women “sleep around?”
In the messed up little head of the writer, that is where. Because human women liking sex is clearly deviant, and in need of explanation.
And that is how you get crazy sentences like this one:
“Why would these insects have sex with so many different men, only to choose the crappiest sperm?“
As I said initially, Amazing. Aside from the Green Porno of Isabella Rossellini, I am not aware of any human-insect hookups. (And, frankly, do not want to be aware of any, so please don’t email me.)
There are a whole host of other errors in this i09 article, and I’ll just pick this one: It does not use the term fitness correctly.
In evolution, the one who dies with the most babies wins. Even if the animal is small, unhealthy, and wimpy. The males with the most offspring are, by definition, the most fit.
BTW, I was asked recently to recommend some things to read critiquing evolutionary psychology, and this seems like a good spot to stick some links.
Related posts on Bad Evolutionary Psychology:
- Pop/Pap Psychology
- Susan Brownmiller dissects Thornhill’s book about rape (very well done!)
- An entertaining rant (although dated) from Natalie Angier
- Sexual Selections: what we can and can’t learn about sex from animals (Zuk’s very fun book)
- An interesting discussion of Evo Psych at Huffpo; They try to categorize the different flavors of EP