October 08, 2002
More Steven Pinker
Pinker article for perusal. I picked up his The Language
Instinct on the weekend.
Posted by Bill Stilwell at October 08, 2002 11:15 AM
Don't bother reading Pinker! I started reading How the Mind Works and burst out laughing when I read his theory involving female sexuality and how women are "naturally" more monogamous than men. Is this a wistful male fantasy, or what? Any observant cultural scientist would know, based purely on empirical evidence, that this is simply not the case. Mr. Pinker based his conclusion in part on that out-dated, antiquated theory that women are monogamous because of the fact that they invest more when it comes to pregnancy. However, one learns in Anthro. 101 that people in primitive societies often had absolutely no clue that the sex act resulted in a baby nine months later. Indeed, in one culture, it was thought that a woman became pregnant by stepping over a grave when a spirit would enter and impregnate her. The sex act was thought to be totally unrelated to procreation.
In addition, one would have to wonder why there exists all over the world many restrictions and harsh penalties for women engaging in sex outside of marriage especially with more than one partner. Obviously, if women were not so inclined, there would be no need for all of these sometimes very harsh restrictions when it comes to sex. For example, even today in our society, females are told to avoid engaging in sex with many partners, or they will be ostracized, unmarriageable and called sluts.
Furthermore, Mr. Pinker argues that evolutionary principles are at work in making a woman naturally monogamous. However, it would seem that common sense would dictate that it would be evolutionarily advantageous (like with other animals) for a woman at ovulation to have multiple partners such that the "best" most viable sperm would succeed at making the "best" offspring.
For these and many other reasons, I was astonished that a scientist like Mr. Pinker would continue to espouse such blatantly false assertions that have little basis in reality. Any scientist worth his salt knows that what people or women may say in public can differ from what they do or believe in private in part because of cultural expectations.
Accordingly, as a result of his erroneous assertions with respect to female sexuality, I lost interest in his book.