Satoshi Kanazawa has once again used his magical powers of shitty interpretation to bastardize an otherwise decent study, and while he’s at it, the good name of science. He’s the author of such gems as “Why Liberals are More Intelligent than Conservatives” and even a book about “Why Beautiful People Have More Daughters“.***
With every blog post, he takes the already sketchy field of evolutionary psychology to a new low. His latest installment, titled “Why Black Women are Rated Less Attractive” is no exception. In fact, this one is so bad, Psychology Today pulled the article (good for them). But don’t worry, a copy can be found here. Poor Satoshi; PT may have to start requiring approval before he blogs, because once he posts something on the internet, it’s there to FOREVER embarrass Psychology Today.
In a nutshell, Kanazawa says that women as a whole are rated more attractive than men, but that African American women are consistently rated less attractive than women of other races. He demonstrates this with enough charts to choke a horse (not in the copy of the article, but some of them were posted here). His charts were compiled from Likert scale ratings taken from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health for short). Here he explains in his own words:
…the interviewer rates the physical attractiveness of the respondent objectively on the following five-point scale: 1 = very unattractive, 2 = unattractive, 3 = about average, 4 = attractive, 5 = very attractive. The physical attractiveness of each Add Health respondent is measured three times by three different interviewers over seven years.
When he first said that the attractiveness of the respondant was rated objectively, I assumed he meant they would be measuring feature symmetry or something. As it turns out, he could have compiled his data from hotornot.com – with a lot more than three ratings per participant.
I think I’ve figured out the formula of the self proclaimed “Scientific Fundamentalist”:
Sensational statement that will piss people off + Contrived post hoc rationalization = Amazing insight of Satoshi Kanazawa!
And don’t forget the graphs. Graphs are created from numbers, and numbers don’t lie!
In fact, I did an impromptu study just today to guage the sexiness of Satoshi Kanazawa. I used three random participants from my household: a man, a woman, and a parrot. I’ll just let the data speak for themselves:
***PZ evidently owns the book, but couldn’t finish it. His comments are priceless:
“[The book] sent multiple wtf signals bouncing around in my brain — the premise of the title is the product of statistical shenanigans, and I don’t think the authors would recognize a mechanism if it advanced menacingly on them and threatened them with physical dismantlement.”