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Thursday, June 04, 2009

Uncommon Descent Contest Question 5: Darwinian fairy tales: Why middle-aged men have shiny scalps

Here at Robert Murphy's "Free Advice" blog, a post called - advisedly - Just-So Darwinism:
"Art and hairlessness co-evolved because they fed off each other. The girl whose skin was least hairy could paint it, tattoo it, decorate it and clothe it more adventurously than could her furry sisters. So she got more and better men. And in consequence her children - even the males, though to a lesser degree - lost their hair too. We had become the naked ape."

OK, you got that? Remember, the whole point of this story is to explain why older men with thinning hair are actually attractive to young women (despite the myths that Rogaine and others would have you believe, and despite all those male models with full heads of hair). So to do that, the story starts out with why evolution made women lose their (body) hair, which then caused their male offspring to lose their (body and scalp?) hair, even though the original motivation (sexual selection a la the peacock) never caused female baldness to become prevalent.
Hat tip: Darwinian Tales (by "Vox Day"), who kindly wrote to say, "Knowing of your intense interest in the "big bazooms" theory [of evolution], I think you'll enjoy this."

Yes, it is true. I collect stupid theories (like the sexy baldy and the "big bazooms") theory of evolution, the way some people collect ceramic busts of Elvis Presley, not because they admire them but because they are intrigued by the fact that anyone, anywhere would actually admire them.
The biology of baldness is complex. Some theorists believe that it renders older men so unattractive that - rather than sowing additional wild oats - they are forced to spend more time with their families and so help their children to survive. But the myriad Becky Sharps [gold digggers] in literature and history help to disprove that theory.

[ ... ]

Terence Kealey is vice-chancellor of Buckingham University
It is a bad sign when an educated person emits this rubbish.

Years ago, I listened to a gynecologist explain during a panel discussion that hair provides sexual excitement, hence "evolution" retains pubic hair. Was she right? Wrong? Who cares?*

This much I know is true: Pop Darwinism is vastly more ridiculous than the real kind. What is interesting is that so few serious Darwinists wish to cut the pop science loose.

So, for a year's free subscription to (decidedly not yer granny's explanation of why younger Christians are getting tired of all this materialist rubbish, but a more plausible one) plus free, fun back issues, here's the contest question:


What is the down side for serious Darwinists to just cutting the "evolutionary psychology" psychodrama loose, and focusing on what real science can say about evolution?
Truth in Advertising: I write the Deprogram column for Salvo. (I have no ties to any of the other contest prize sponsors.) I don't deal only in ID at Salvo; I deprogram people from many health nut moments as well.

Get writing and have fun! You must go here to Uncommon Descent to register to comment. Here are the contest rules:

*Fact (that will save you thousands of dollars of therapy, medical treatments, and/or legal fees): If you are a guy and want a girl to be nice to you, just try being consistently nice to her. If that doesn't work, move on. Keep being consistently nice to girls until you find one who really appreciates that, and chances are you have found your match. Okay, maybe not - but your chances with her are waaaaaay better than they are with the girl who just wants a guy to be in a big fight with.

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