Has anyone else noticed this irony: that a lot of the people who reject well-grounded science (evolutionary theory, climate change, etc.) hold exactly the same stereotypical ideas about gender that pop up repeatedly in evolutionary psychology? Obviously many of the denialists have religious reasons for rejecting sound science, while evolutionary psychologists and sociobiologists are overwhelmingly secularists. Yet they share the idea that men are the pursuers, women the pursued; that men are naturally dominant; that homosexuality is somehow aberrant.
Strange bedfellows, huh? Logically, we can be pretty sure no one working in the field of ev psych or sociobiology believes in creationism. These are disciplines that have spawned some of our most outspoken atheists. Many of these scientists them see their work as progressive, in fact. Many believe their research exposes the roots of human nature, allowing us to mold a kinder, more ethical society. In The Caveman Mystique, Martha McCaughey portrays this impulse as a quasi-religious reformist zeal that arose as practitioners of ev psych and sociobiology moved into the void left by the post-Darwin decline of religion.
To be fair, ev psych and sociobiology often look more regressive than they are because the media skews their findings to match existing gender stereotypes. However, the actual science is still too often rife with speculation and gendered assumptions (as figleaf shows today in a smart post on how these assumptions skew findings). And so it meshes all too easily with the stories that religious fundamentalists tell about our gendered “nature.”
On the flip side, I’d be interested to know if there’s a subset of creationists who also embrace ev psych. Seems to me that the “ev” part of it would be anathema to them. But otherwise the “psych” half would work pretty well for them, if they could only find a way to compress it into the past 6000 years.