Monday, June 6, 2011
Evolutionary psych Weinergate
A few years ago, I wrote a review for Scientific American Mind of Why Beautiful People Have More Daughters, a not very good book touting evolutionary psychology. (The review's behind a paywall, though the start of it is here.) I still think the book is overly reductionist in its view of human nature, but one assertion strikes me now as meriting more credence than I gave it at the time. That's the assertion that male politicians get caught up in sex scandals not despite their careers, but because their careers are fundamentally aimed at maximizing their reproductive fitness, i.e., attracting lots of women. The same drive that makes them successful politicians is what makes them fall. Still seems something of an overstatement, but less so as I think about it and see scandals that would be hard to explain if this evo psych tendency weren't at least a factor. All of which is to say, soon enough I expect, goodbye Anthony Weiner.