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May 17, 2011

On whether controversial figures deserve media scrutiny

thislooksfamiliar said: Why are you giving this guy any press?

» We say: Same reason we gave Ben Stein’s awful comments on the Arab Spring press last night: Because, by focusing negative attention on their work, we discourage publications from paying them money for their unacceptable comments. Satoshi Kanazawa gets a paycheck from Psychology Today for his work, and if his work is of this nature, maybe he shouldn’t. Plus, on top of that, the article’s been everywhere today. People were talking about it, and we thought there was something we could add that wasn’t simply boilerplate “here’s what happened.” It’s important to focus on controversial comments — because in focusing on them, we collectively learn to rise above them.

0:11 // 3 years ago
May 16, 2011
Three ways Satoshi Kanazawa is the worst scientist — ever
As evolutionary psychologists go, he’s pretty much the worst of the bunch. And while his prior studies have been derided as “crap,” the latest one — now pulled by Psychology Today and replicated here — takes it to a whole new level. And with Kanazawa arguing that black women are less attractive than other races, of course it seems that someone has a huge PR problem. “It is very interesting to note that, even though black women are objectively less physically attractive than other women,” he writes (unbelievably), “black women (and men) subjectively consider themselves to be far more physically attractive than others.” While you’re trying to take that racist nugget in, here’s a sample of his broader work:
2006 In a study that was previously his most controversial, he argued that Africa was poor and unhealthy because people on the continent had low IQs. Uh, yeah. *steps back*
2008 In a bizarre hypothetical, Kanazawa argued that if Ann Coulter were president instead of George W. Bush, she would have dropped dozens of nuclear bombs immediately after 9/11.
overall Many of the articles that he writes for Psychology Today are thin on science and thick on shock value. Sample: “If Barack Obama Is Christian, Michael Jackson Was White." Wow. source
EDIT: The Noob Yorker recommends a follow-up piece by biology professor PZ Myers, where he rips apart Kanazawa further and breaks apart his bad science piece-by-piece. “It seems to have been purged from Psychology Today,” he writes in his most biting remark, “but I suspect this article will soon find a happy home on the pages of Stormfront and other such aryan racist tripe.”
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As evolutionary psychologists go, he’s pretty much the worst of the bunch. And while his prior studies have been derided as “crap,” the latest one — now pulled by Psychology Today and replicated here — takes it to a whole new level. And with Kanazawa arguing that black women are less attractive than other races, of course it seems that someone has a huge PR problem. “It is very interesting to note that, even though black women are objectively less physically attractive than other women,” he writes (unbelievably), “black women (and men) subjectively consider themselves to be far more physically attractive than others.” While you’re trying to take that racist nugget in, here’s a sample of his broader work:

EDIT: The Noob Yorker recommends a follow-up piece by biology professor PZ Myers, where he rips apart Kanazawa further and breaks apart his bad science piece-by-piece. “It seems to have been purged from Psychology Today,” he writes in his most biting remark, “but I suspect this article will soon find a happy home on the pages of Stormfront and other such aryan racist tripe.”

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21:46 // 3 years ago