Scientific American is back to distorting the facts to buttress its ideology

October 24, 2023 • 11:00 am

It’s been a while since Scientific American has published misleading and distorted articles to buttress its “progressive” Left ideology, and I hoped they had shaped up. (To be honest, I haven’t followed the magazine, and got the following link from a reader.) My hope was dashed yesterday when I read this new article claiming that women constituted a high proportion of hunters in early hunter-gatherer societies.  It is full of misconceptions and distortions (some of which must be deliberate), neglects contrary data, is replete with tendentious ideological claims, and even misrepresents the claim they’re debunking.  You can read it for free by clicking on the screenshot below or by going here:

First, the idea that they’re trying to debunk is that women were “second class citizens” in early societies, forced to gather food because they were tied to childcare duties, while men did all the hunting. This is apparently an attempt to buttress the editors’ and authors’ feminism. But feminism doesn’t need buttressing with data on hunting; women’s equality is a moral proposition that doesn’t depend on observations about hunting. In other words, women have equal moral rights and should not be treated unfairly because fair treatment is the moral thing to do. If women never hunted, would we then be justified in treating them as second-class citizens? Hell, no!  Here’s their thesis:

Even if you’re not an anthropologist, you’ve probably encountered one of this field’s most influential notions, known as Man the Hunter. The theory proposes that hunting was a major driver of human evolution and that men carried this activity out to the exclusion of women. It holds that human ancestors had a division of labor, rooted in biological differences between males and females, in which males evolved to hunt and provide, and females tended to children and domestic duties. It assumes that males are physically superior to females and that pregnancy and child-rearing reduce or eliminate a female’s ability to hunt.

Man the Hunter has dominated the study of human evolution for nearly half a century and pervaded popular culture. It is represented in museum dioramas and textbook figures, Saturday morning cartoons and feature films. The thing is, it’s wrong.

The story is in fact the cover story of the November issue, so the magazine will never, ever issue a correction or clarification:

Click to read for yourself:

First, note that I’ve written at least five pieces on the “woman hunter” hypothesis: here, here, here, here, and here. The source of the hypothesis was a PLOS One paper arguing the following (from the PLOS One paper):

Of the 63 different foraging societies, 50 (79%) of the groups had documentation on women hunting. Of the 50 societies that had documentation on women hunting, 41 societies had data on whether women hunting was intentional or opportunistic. Of the latter, 36 (87%) of the foraging societies described women’s hunting as intentional, as opposed to the 5 (12%) societies that described hunting as opportunistic. In societies where hunting is considered the most important subsistence activity, women actively participated in hunting 100% of the time.

According to the authors’ data, then, 36 out of 50 societies in which there were data on women hunting (72%), the hunting was intentional.  That is the important result: in most societies, women participated in hunting.  The present paper also implies that this was not rare participation—say a few women included in a big hunting party—but that women constituted a substantial proportion of those engaged in hunting, and that a substantial proportion of hunter-gatherer societies had women hunting.  Here’s how the new Sci Am paper ends:

Now when you think of “cave people,” we hope, you will imagine a mixed-sex group of hunters encircling an errant reindeer or knapping stone tools together rather than a heavy-browed man with a club over one shoulder and a trailing bride. Hunting may have been remade as a masculine activity in recent times, but for most of human history, it belonged to everyone.

“Hunting. . .  belonged to everyone” clearly implies, as the paper does throughout, that women’s hunting was nearly as frequent and important as men’s hunting. This is an essential part of the authors’ ideological contention, for if women hunted only rarely, or constituted only a small fraction of hunting groups, that would imply intolerable hunting inequity.

But the authors’ defense of their hypothesis is deeply flawed. Here are six reasons, and I’ll try to be brief:

1.)  Nobody maintains that, as the authors assert, “men carried this activity out to the exclusion of women”. This may have been a trope in the past, but even those rebutting Obocock and Lacy’s (henceforth O&L’s) data these days do not claim that women never hunted. Of course they did, and no scientist would say that “no women ever hunted” because we cannot document that. The question, which the authors don’t address, is how frequently they hunted and what proportion of hunters did they constitute?  (See below for more.)

2.) I don’t know anyone (I may have missed some) who argues that men evolved to hunt: that is, natural selection acting on hunting behavior itself caused a difference in the sexes in their propensity to hunt. The alternative hypothesis—and one that is far more credible—is that sexual selection based on male-male competition and female choice led, in our ancestors, to the evolution of greater size, strength, musculature, and physiology in men than in women. Once that had evolved, then men would obviously be the sex that would participate in hunting. (And yes, childcare by women is also a possible reason.) The authors’ claim that “males evolved to hunt and provide, and females tended to children and domestic duties” is thus misleading in that males probably got their generally superior athletic abilities (see below) as a result of selection, and their hunting then became a byproduct of that. Similarly, women tend to their children more because that’s another result of sexual selection (women have greater reproductive investment in children), and their lower participation in hunting could also be a byproduct of that.

O&L don’t mention this alternative hypothesis in their paper.

3). The authors neglect important data casting doubt on O&L’s conclusions. Soon after the original paper by Anderson et al. appeared, other anthropologists began to find fault with it. To see examples of how Anderson et al.’s data is dubious,  see my posts here, here and here giving other people’s rebuttals.

Here are the conclusions from one critique, which does recognize women’s value in hunting small animals:

100% of the societies had a sexual division of labor in hunting. Women may have participated with men in some hunting contexts, typically capturing small game with nets, but participated much less in large game hunting with weapons or by persistence. Even within these contexts, it was usually the case that the role of women during the communal hunt was different. For example, women flushed wild game into nets while men dispatched the game.

These are my subjective ratings based on the papers I read in Anderson et al. (2023) and the supporting literature I cited. You may disagree and assign some different ratings. The point is that there is substantial variation across cultures in sex-based hunting roles. Additionally, none of the societies truly have an absence of these roles.

. . . Why did the perception of “man the hunter” arise? It’s likely because we see many sex-segregated hunting practices, particularly in hunting large game with weapons. Additionally, when you think of hunting, the first thing that comes to mind may not be chasing birds into nets. You probably think of a man with a spear — usually a man, not a woman, with a spear.

Here are tweets from another anthropologist looking at many societies, about which I wrote this:

Before I go, I’ll call your attention to a series of tweets by Vivek Venkataraman (start here on Twitter), an assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology and Archaeology of the University of Calgary. His university webpage describes his interests:

Dr. Venkataraman is an evolutionary anthropologist who is broadly interested in the evolution of the human diet and food systems, and their relation to life history and behavior. He is assistant director of the Guassa Gelada Research Project ,and also the co-founder and co-PI of the Orang Asli Health and Lifeways Project (OAHeLP)

Venkataraman is somewhat dubious about some of the PLOS One paper’s results, especially the 80% frequency of women hunting among all hunter-gather societies. On the other hand, like me, he applauds any new data that can change our views of biology, and thinks the frequency of hunter-gatherer societies in which women hunt is somewhere between 13% and 80%; but he also thinks that women’s hunting was even more frequent in the past than it is now (see below)

Have a look at these. . . .  tweets, which involve examining many more “forager” societies:


The O&L paper does not mention these criticisms, and therefore does not answer them.  They are relying on data that has come into severe question because of its incompleteness and possible cherry-picking. They simply cannot be unaware of these data; they just ignored them.  (Note: I haven’t looked for more recent data addressing O&L’s claim,)

4.) The authors repeatedly imply that, in effect, males and females are equal in athletic performance, undercutting the idea that men hunted because they were athletically better equipped to hunt. But O&L’s claim of “athletic equity” is false. The authors note that women outcompete men in some endurance sports, citing this:

Females are more regularly dominating ultraendurance events such as the more than 260-mile Montane Spine foot race through England and Scotland, the 21-mile swim across the English Channel and the 4,300-mile Trans Am cycling race across the U.S.

I looked up the Montane Spine Foot race, and the Wikipedia tables for summer and winter events give the results of 17 races, one of which was won by women. (I presume they compete together; if not, the women’s times are still slower.)

Likewise, in all English Channel crossings in which there are men’s and women’s records (there are two- and three-way crossings in addition to single crossings), the men have faster times.

Finally, in all the Trans Am Bike Race results given on Wikipedia (11 are shown), a woman won only once: Lael Wilcox in the 2016 eastbound race. In all other races save one, in which a woman finished third, no women ever placed in the top three.

I conclude that O&L’s claim that women “regularly dominate” in these events is at best a distortion, at worst a lie. There is no “dominance” evident if a woman only had the fastest time in a single event.

Further, while it may be the case (I didn’t look it up) that women more often win events in archery, shooting, and badminton, in every other competitive sport I know of, men do better than women. Here is a table from Duke Law’s Center for Sports Law and Policy giving men’s and women’s best performances in 11 track and field events, as well as boys’ and girls’ best performances. In every case, not only was the record held by a man, but the best boy’s performance was better than the best women’s performance.

There is no doubt that, across nearly all sports, men perform better than women. That’s expected because of men’s greater upper-body strength, bone strength, athletic-related physiology, and grip strength. I didn’t look up sports like tennis, but we all know that the best men outcompete the best women by a long shot, something Serena Williams has admitted.  And. . .

She and her sister Venus were both thrashed by Germany’s world No.203 Karsten Braasch at the Australian Open in 1998 while trying to prove they could beat any man outside the top 200.

If I erred here, please correct me!

Here’s a quote by O&L (my bolding)

The inequity between male and female athletes is a result not of inherent biological differences between the sexes but of biases in how they are treated in sports. As an example, some endurance-running events allow the use of professional runners called pacesetters to help competitors perform their best. Men are not permitted to act as pacesetters in many women’s events because of the belief that they will make the women “artificially faster,” as though women were not actually doing the running themselves.

Here the authors are wading into quicksand. In fact, the entire quote is offensive to reason, for it implies that, if women were treated the same as men in sports, they would do as well. Given the differences between the sexes in morphology and physiology, such a claim flies in the face of everything we know.  The “pacesetters” argument is purely hypothetical, and I’m betting that women who had pacesetter men (note: not pacesetter women), would not turn women into winners. But of course it’s worth a try if O&L are right.

5.) O&L claim that both sex and gender are a spectrum, and sex is not binary. Here’s their quote (emphasis is mine):

For the purpose of describing anatomical and physiological evidence, most of the literature uses “female” and “male,” so we use those words here when discussing the results of such studies. For ethnographic and archaeological evidence, we are attempting to reconstruct social roles, for which the terms “woman” and “man” are usually used. Unfortunately, both these word sets assume a binary, which does not exist biologically, psychologically or socially. Sex and gender both exist as a spectrum, but when citing the work of others, it is difficult to add that nuance.

No, Scientific American: I know your editor thinks that biological sex is a spectrum, but she’s wrong and so are you. The “sex is a spectrum” mantra is another ideological tactic mistakenly used to buttress trans people or people of non-standard genders. But Mother Nature doesn’t care about ideology, and, as Luana Maroja and I showed in our paper on “The Ideological Subversion of Biology” (see point #1, about sex), sex is binary in all animals. In humans, for example, the frequency of exceptions to the binary is only 0.018%, or 1 person in 5600. That is about the same probability of flipping a nickel and having it land on its edge, but we don’t say “heads, tail, or edge?” when calling a coin toss.  For all practical purposes, sex is binary, and if you want to argue about it, don’t do so here. And, as Luana and I emphasized, whether or not sex is binary has no bearing on the treatment (or nearly all rights) of trans and non-standard-gender folks.

6.) Whether or how often women hunted is irrelevant to our views of men and women. Really, why does ideology push Scientific American, and in this case O&L, to distort the facts and to leave out contrary data, when the rights of women don’t depend in the least on whether they hunted or on their relative athletic performance?  Women’s rights rest on morality, not on observations of nature. Yes, there are some trivial exceptions, like those of us who don’t think that transwomen should be allowed to compete athletically against biological women, but there are many feminists who agree with that.  The real feminist program of equal rights and opportunities for women has nothing to do with whether they hunted as much as men in ancient (or in modern) hunter-gatherer societies.

In the end, we have still more evidence that Scientific American is no longer circling the drain, but is now in the drain, headed for, well, the sewers. It used to have scientists writing about their field, with no ideological bias, but now has ideologues (these authors happen to be scientist-ideologues) writing about science in a biased and misleading way.

Apparently this trend will continue, and apparently the publishers won’t do anything about it. So it goes. But those of you who want your science untainted by “progressive” ideology had best look elsewhere.

58 thoughts on “Scientific American is back to distorting the facts to buttress its ideology

      1. PCC(E), I put a comment up with links to yours (your’s?) and Carole Hooven’s eXtwitter posts – is it in quarantine?

      2. Sorry I didn’t mean to imply that Singal’s post mentions the new SciAm nonsense. It just touches on similar themes.

        1. Indeed, cannot be unread – we must give credit – from eXtwiffer (so bear that in mind), it says :

          “William M. Briggs – Statistician to the Stars!”

          witty name! A play on the 80s fad of advisor (or whatever) to the stars.

    1. The summary reveals the authors’ goals more clearly than ever (emphasis by me):

      To be clear: this is a call-to-arms. This is not a how-to or a roadmap. This is an invitation to continue the conversations begun in the SBN 2022 Symposium on Hormones and Trans Health. With the enclosed guidance and our collective creativity, we believe that the behavioral neuroendocrinology community is well-positioned to implement this deconstructionist approach in lieu of binary sex frameworks, to move away from this hypersimplistic sex model and conceptualize “sex” (and non-sexed) physiologies as multiple, interacting, variable, and unbounded by gendered limitations.

      This cannot be done all at once. We recommend determining a point of entry through one or two of the above questions by examining what seems most feasible and relevant to each research question. Ultimately, we hope this commentary provides the impetus for bold new hypotheses, methods of inquiry, and data analysis that using an unsexed framework can promote. In doing so, we will pave the way for innovative methods, heightened rigor, and a more socially responsible science.

      This is ideological propaganda at its best. Scientific rigor, facts and evidence are to be sacrificed on the altar of moral superiority.

      1. I’m surprised they didn’t say that the sex binary mystifies the true nature of potential realities (Queer Theory).

        Categories mystify (to Queer Theory).

      2. That reads curiously like the infamous Wedge Document from the Discovery Institute, where a Plan is laid out for the future take-over of science by Intelligent Design.

        1. I can’t understand what is going on there – and I usually let loose about the dialectic, gnosticism, and hermeticism. This Wedge Document seems … brute force, or something.

    2. Where Scientific American avoids social science, their articles are generally worth reading. I enjoy the articles on math, cosmology, physics, etc. This issue, for example, has an article on growing superior silicon carbide crystals in space. My reading is that the large majority of SA’s articles would not change if the editor were not wedded to an ideology that distorts both selection and content of social studies material. I can enjoy consuming the magazine by skipping the rotten apples.

    3. By “exceptions to the binary” you must mean exceptions to XX and XY karyotype? Because how can a person be of a sex that is neither male nor female?

  1. SA: “Man the Hunter […] m is represented in museum dioramas and textbook figures, Saturday morning cartoons and feature films. The thing is, it’s wrong.”

    IMHO, this ^^^ is all they really have as the kernel. I can imagine sitting with my roommates around the TV, hangin’ out, watchin’ Netflix, and this idea comes up.

    Add in some references to literature, and thus, the report that had to be on the editor’s desk by five O’clock was born.

    I say this because IMHO I seem to perceive this pattern – at core, a grievance about movies, TV, or music – i.e. Culture – gets a sort-of post-whateverism academese injection so it gets taken seriously. In this instance, for a quite substantial effect.

    Additionally/lastly: The first non-linguistic definition of “gender” I can find so far is elaborated upon in the occult doctrine The Kybalion by The Three Initiates, published 1908 (free online). John Money and Robert Stoller invented “gender identity” in the 60s, and I think that’s when Judith Butler started writing about “gender”. Where they got it I’m not sure, but there is no empirical basis for “gender” that cannot be explained by sex (as far as I know).

    Sorry that ran long.

    1. Margaret Mead wrote about sex and “temperament” in her 1935 book of that title, arguing that much of what we now call “gender” (her “temperament”) was culturally patterned in the three societies she wrote about. The problem seems to be that “gender” has both cultural and psychological expressions, and it is often difficult, in Mead’s work and elsewhere, to distinguish the two.

  2. Even if you accept the assertion that women were as biologically competent hunters as men (a big if) then I am also going to assert that they would avoid hunting while gravid and immediately after birth because they had other priorities. So for part of their lives women would not have been as available to hunt as men.

    Now swing your mind around to modern societies. How many women are active as soldiers, firemen or trawler men? Rather lower than the ‘expected’ 50%. Why should we expect parity in prehistoric times for physically demanding activities?

    1. “How many women are active as soldiers, firemen or trawler men” Even in the 21st century my opinion is that is still down to men. My wife, who is a very successful Aerospace Engineer Director would disagree with me however and opine that women have more sense so let the men do it.
      In a discussion as to what the planet would be like if women ran everything and men were the underclass, a female friend said “ it may not necessarily be much better, but it would certainly be very different!

      1. Opinions are easy. And it’s easy to say you ‘let’ someone do it when you are incapable.
        I speak as someone who watched the transition of wharf labor from when it was entirely physically demanding hard work to its transformation to mostly machine operation and the consequent introduction of women into the workplace.
        And yes, even then the women did ‘let’ the men do the harder of the remaining physical work that was just that bit too hard.
        I doubt any of the women or people involved in that paper has any idea of extreme, hard, physical work.
        I did it by choice, but many ‘men’ had no choice and were forced by necessity and ability to do back breaking work, so flippant sentences like “… as to what the planet would be like if women ran everything and men were the underclass, … get a bit tedious.

  3. I too interpreted “inequity between male and female athletes” as meaning unequal performance, but my wife interpreted “inequity” according to the Oxford definition: lack of fairness or justice. Using that interpretation, I think the sentence makes sense, although the pacesetter example is still dubious.

    1. That’s not what equity means these days (although I agree that’s what it meant historically), equity means equality of outcome in modern DEI parlance.

      1. PCC(E) wrote a piece here on equity.

        It was a while ago – it had a Bernie Sanders clip.

        My take away : equity is a property of real estate. Otherwise, it’s trying to stand in for “equal… ” ummm…

        See the post!

  4. I look forward to the next revelations in Sci Am, for example that the ability to give birth is distributed in a spectrum, and that women often sang in the bass section of pre-historic choral groups.

    We need a sociological/psychological inquiry into the sentiments behind these tortured attempts to erase/obscure the sex binary. Obvious explanations (e.g., the appeal to nature fallacy) are insufficient. Two further explanations. (1) A vague opposition among “Progressives” to all distinctions between one category and another, like their opposition to academic tests, standards, and so on. Progressives’ discomfort with the very concept of distributions of properties—occasionally revealed in dopey comments about statistics—is related to this sentiment. (2) Mimicry. The mysterious tendency to simply copy behaviors is obvious in children, and equally obvious among adults all around us. How else did empty-headed phrases like “deep dive” get into such common use? Once someone announces that sex (or anything else) is spectral, etc. etc., we can expect copy-cats to follow.

    1. I get a kick out of your commentary.

      I can see the notion of “social construction” at work – if only women had historically been encouraged to hunt, sing bass (actually maybe), drive hot-rods (maybe), play football, etc. then we would see equal outcomes everywhere in society – here, parity – 1-to-1 – in everything.

      But we don’t. So we must use the “social construction” in human society to … (does something) … and it will be correct.

      IOW the “does something” is alchemy.

      And yeah, as you point out, discernment is missing. Queer writers abhor discernment, and the origin is Hegel’s dialectic – same in kind, different in degree, as I tend to go on about. That’s alchemical. The interest in applying that to sexes goes back to antiquity in hermetic alchemy.

    2. Also, I forgot: Hegel was into categories – he or one of the major figures supposedly has a take on the categories of apples – red, green, etc.

      I still haven’t found the passage.

    3. All this fuss, yet knowing which animals to house together to reliably produce offspring remains a simple question. As is the question of which of the pair will likely bear them.

  5. Hunting may have been remade as a masculine activity in recent times, but for most of human history, it belonged to everyone.

    The authors may have struggled with this conclusion, weighing the pros and cons of “Evidence Shows Prehistoric Women Hunted as Often as Prehistoric Men” vs. “Evidence Shows Trans Men Have Always Existed.”
    Could have gone either way, I think.

  6. I guess that, having trashed the conclusions drawn by evolutionary psychologists, they now are moving on to rewriting the history they were based upon. At least the baboons at FtB will be delighted.

  7. The pacesetter example is even worse than you can imagine.

    It’s actually not hypothetical.

    First, pacers are used in distance running to try to ensure faster times. They help by setting a pace so that it isn’t tactical, and by allowing others to draft of them, saving a bit of energy. In most high level non-championship (i.e., Olympic) marathon, you’ll have pacers. Though some races choose to go without to focus more on competition than times.

    In the marathon, the major ones (NYC, Chicago, London, Berlin, etc.) split between having the professional women start first, before the men and everyone else, and starting everyone at the same time. Some races start the women separately. Some all together.

    This creates two different dynamics. In the races that the women start separately, it is a women’s only race. Meaning the pacers are also women. Why? Because it’s a women’s only race.

    In the races where everyone starts at the same time, it’s obviously mixed. So you have men and women running at the same time, and that means you often get the top women running with sub-elite men. In this case, the pacer for the top women are often men.

    Why? Because you can hire an elite male to be a pacer for the entire race (because they are significantly faster). In women’s only races, the best of the best women are the ones competing for the win, so you have to find someone who is just a touch slower to be a pacer. Because of this, the female pacer only makes it to half-way or a little past. Meaning, the top athletes still have to run 10-13 miles without a pacer.

    Because of this: World Athletics has two designations for records: A women’s only marathon record and a mixed marathon record.

    It’s important to note that both are recognized, but they are split because we recognize that the races with a pacer the entire way are going to have an advantage over the ones with just halfway.

    It’s also important to note that this splitting of records was to make sure that the races who preferred a women’s only race (or starting first) weren’t disincentivized to do so. There are many benefits to having a women’s only race (i.e., easier to spotlight the women as they aren’t lost competing among sub-elite men, easier to follow for TV as you don’t have to squeeze in a TV truck in between packs of men running, etc.)

    Anyways, the point is. It’s an insanely dumb statement the authors made. One that betrays that they know nothing about elite running.

    And as you correctly pointed out, the time gap between men and women holds at around 9-10% or in some cases much larger in not only the women’s marathons with a male pacer the entire time, but also in every ultramarathon record from 50 miles on up to thousands of miles.

    1. What I don’t get is what do ultramarathons have to do with hunting. I can’t imagine a scenario where it’s practical for a hunter to run after prey for over 26 miles.

  8. Why didn’t they mention the growing and persuasive body of evidence that men are just as good at gestating babies as women and have only been held back by sociocultural expectations?

    Not a good look
    Do better

  9. ” rooted in biological differences between males and females” So wait Sciam is acknowledging there is a way to distinguish men from women without havng to rely on their gender identification.
    So if someone asks me how do I identify a women, I can say using the same biological differentiation that Sciam does.

  10. Jerry, I agree with your thesis here but just for the record, in equestrian sports (Dressage, Stadium Jumping, Three-Day Eventing) men and women compete together, at the Olympics and in general. These sports require real athleticism (you’re not just sitting on the horse while it does all the work) and some strength, especially in the legs, but they do not require great strength. Historically the very best riders have included both men and women.

    1. Out of curiosity, does the sex of the horse come into play (i.e. are both male and female horses used)?

      1. Both males (stallions as well as geldings) and females are used. Even in the most physically demanding (for the horses) of these sports, Three Day Eventing, females perform at the top level. However, in horse racing, where speed and endurance are all that matter, mares compete against stallions and geldings but only win occasionally. There have only been three occasions where fillies (they’re technically not mares until they are four years old) have won the Kentucky Derby.

    2. Yes, I meant to mention equestrian sports (I have it written on my list here!) but I forgot to put it in the post. And yes, those sports require skill and strength. I just forgot to include it. But I stand behind my claim that, among all sports, in the vast majority men outperform women. I also stand by my claim that this says nothing about women being “inferior” in general.

  11. The three ultra sports that Sci Am erroneously claims women beat men in (and which you correct) are those that really ought to give women every advantage:

    -higher body fat to prevent hypothermia in cold open-water swimming and long outdoor events in bad weather often at altitude,

    -low aerobic power requirements given the steep trade-off in human physiology between power delivered and the time that power level can be sustained without exhaustion, a power level met almost entirely from body fat at 3500 kcal/lb,

    -little requirement for upper-body strength…

    And still the men win. Just not by as much as they do in sports like weight-lifting and pool swimming.

    The other thing to remember is that these ultra events are niche sports enjoyed by a few highly dedicated amateurs who have almost no chance of winning a purse or an endorsement large enough to pay for the cost of traveling to and participating in the event. I met a cyclist on a vacation a few years ago who told me it cost him $60,000 to race his bicycle across the United States and his support crew was mostly volunteers. He wasn’t filthy rich, either. Professional athletes won’t find the juice isn’t worth the squeeze. They concentrate on more lucrative events that are more interesting to fans, because shorter with more competitors where large numbers trump statistical oddities.

  12. Comprehensive Sex Education (CSE) indoctrinates grade-school students to see that “Sexuality is linked to power” (see the UNESCO documents).

    It would make sense that, to abolish that power, clever alchemists – indoctrinated with CSE – might try to simply abolish sex.

  13. Ugh! Thank you Jerry. It is so frustrating when the best way to elevate women is viewed as making them seem more like men.

  14. “The inequity between male and female athletes is a result not of inherent biological differences between the sexes but of biases in how they are treated in sports”
    Taken to its conclusion, that’s a nice way of saying that female athletes are, without exception, too dumb or lazy to overcome a couple of obstacles on their way to greatness. Honestly, I prefer the “they’re doing the best their bodies allow them to do, but their bodies are different” explanation – it seems both obviously correct and fair.

    Also, is it just me, or have western societies developed a massive blind spot with respect to the importance of having and raising children? I don’t want to sound old-fashioned, but without children, a society is doomed… and yet, for generations, women have been judged on how well they compete with men in men’s domains and scorned if they wanted to spend the appropriate time and effort on women’s domains. And now they’re starting to judge our ancestors as well. Like, when you’re eight months pregnant or nursing a baby who has to be carried everywhere and will starve in a matter of days if you don’t feed it, grabbing a spear to chase down a bison is not the smartest move, for yourself and your offspring. That seems bloody obvious, and yet, someone gets paid by Scientific American to write “that’s wrong.” WTF?

  15. A hundred years from now SA will be telling it’s 10 subscribers that NBA rosters were equally male and female based on something someone dug up from somewhere. Maybe a lost Futurama episode.

  16. When I read these pseudoscientific papers written to promote ideology rather than truth, my first thought is: “Ideology makes you stupid”.

    Excellent rebuttal by Jerry. And of course I strongly agree that we do not need this sort of “findings” to support the cause of women equality in the modern society.

  17. Re: point 3, my reading of the quoted author’s criticism is based on the claim that Aka women catch birds, when the source indicates they actually catch the same Duikers as other tribes being compared. That different societies maintain sex specific hunting behaviour (eg. one flushes small game, the other nets then and clubs them to death with whatever is handy) but in some tribes reverse the roles even when hunting the same animals is interesting, and says more about our social flexibility than anything.

  18. Funny, I always thought that when they said “man evolved as a hunter” that the sentence could have been written as “humans evolved as hunters”! That is, it didn’t mean men the sex, it meant man as in Homo sapiens. One of the funny problems with language. It never would have occurred to me that in any hunting society, women did not also take part. I think in the course of our (human) social evolution, it was only when a certain level of affluence was reached that, in some societies, man became dominant and patriarchal and sexist. I get the feeling that in the sciences today, the pressure to publish unique stuff makes people build false dichotomies and false scenarios, maybe not even consciously, just to be able to say they have a new and unique outlook so they’ll get published.

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