Print Story lolz. Geoffrey Miller: bigot, eugenicist, CrossFitter
By gzt (Mon Jun 17, 2013 at 09:14:07 PM EST) gzt, geoffrey miller is a eugenicist, crossfit eugenics (all tags)
Geoffrey Miller, who is a tenured professor in New Mexico doing research in evolutionary psychology (currently visiting at NYU), sent out some tweets about how obese people shouldn't bother applying to be PhD students because a PhD requires discipline, which you cannot have and be obese. He has also written an article claiming Chinese eugenics is great and a tweet basically claiming that life would be awesome if everybody ate Paleo and did CrossFit.

Here's the Atlantic article:

Here's his silly eugenics article:

Here's a rebuttal:

Crap like this is why I don't read The Edge. Prefer Bono.

How seriously can you take any academic who has "evolutionary" in the name of his research specialty yet believes in the Paleo diet?

Paleo aficionados on the internet also have problems with misogyny and other such things. Of course, this does not really distinguish them from internet communities in general, so, like, you know, whatever.

Still digging the Eleanor  Friedberger album.

Still digging Adventure Time. C'mon, grab your friends.

Then again, perhaps he is simply voicing the latent fact of academic life that, you know, people who don't fit a certain model get discriminated against. e.g.,

I don't know where our air conditioning unit is. We're the middle unit of a three-unit building, and I can see the AC units of the outside units, but I don't see mine when I walk the perimeter. I know we have a functional central AC, though, because I could turn it on if I wanted and I've seen the impact on my electrical bill. Those suckers are running their ACs right now. So many kWh down the drain...

Gotta do work or something.

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lolz. Geoffrey Miller: bigot, eugenicist, CrossFitter | 23 comments (23 topical, 0 hidden)
other notes by gzt (2.00 / 0) #1 Mon Jun 17, 2013 at 10:29:51 PM EST
I've noted before my amusement at people who call themselves bayesians as like a philosophical thing about their cognition when they don't ever do any difficult integrals, use gibbs sampling, do markov chain monte carlo... but they do sometimes use bayes' theorem, which frequentists are quite fond of as well.

anyway: i found something else amusing about them. a lot of them say they're bayesian and say they're working to overcome bias by being bayesian. this means they don't understand bayesian inference at all, as the point of bayes is that you introduce bias to reduce variance.

other notes: it is impossible to have a conventional uniform probability distribution over a countable set (because countable additivity). however, if you mangle the distribution by making it finitely additive instead of countably additive, you can! but it has terrible properties and you should not do it.

cf: Kadane, J.B. and O’Hagan, A. (1995). “Using Finitely Additive Probability: Uniform
Distributions on the Natural Numbers,” Journal of the American Statistical Association,
(1995), 626-631.

What a maroon.... by ucblockhead (2.00 / 0) #2 Mon Jun 17, 2013 at 11:17:37 PM EST
Thinking that a "one child" policy could have much to do with eugenics shows an impressive level of idiocy.

"We want to promote certain genes so we are going to make sure by law that everybody gets one shot and no more at spreading theirs!"
[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman

there are certain "eugenic" results by gzt (2.00 / 0) #3 Mon Jun 17, 2013 at 11:51:12 PM EST
eg odd sex ratios.

also the rebuttal article points out that the one-child policy is actually set up in such a way that non-Han ethnicities and the rural poor have more children than Han urbanites. which is kind of a eugenic result of sorts, though opposite to his point.

[ Parent ]
Results maybe by ucblockhead (2.00 / 0) #7 Tue Jun 18, 2013 at 10:38:27 AM EST
I'm just saying that to breed an animal, you restrict all breeding for most and the breed a small minority with the traits you want as much as possible.  Someone with the word "evolutionary" in his title should know that.

Sex is the one trait you can't breed for.  An overabundance of men can't produce an overabundance of men in future generations.
[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman

[ Parent ]
an overabundance of men by the mariner (2.00 / 0) #21 Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 09:30:18 AM EST
means inferior specimens will breed at an attenuated rate as compared with the usual 50-50 composition. elementary.

[ Parent ]
How many red flags can he wave? by wumpus (2.00 / 0) #4 Tue Jun 18, 2013 at 01:46:16 AM EST
I may be Husi's only big believer in evo-psych, so I better point out a few things:

Evo-psych: It draws all the nuts who used to go on about on social Darwinism. Can't help it.
Psychology: traditionally the home of those looking to heal themselves.
Geoffrey Miller's CV: Notice anything unusual? How about a complete lack of any connection to an actual biology department since being a "dual major" undergraduate who could only manage a BA (no BS along with it). Talk loudly about somewhat controversial (even in real biological circles, I think) evolutionary topics when you aren't a biologist. Is this a triple bonus score on the kook meter (similar to comparing yourself to Einstein)?
Eugenics: Maybe he can help fill in the gaps of the Desponina's family tree. The mind boggles.
Paleo diet: I'm a bit surprised at this. It looked like a fairly green and sane idea, but apparently taken over by caveman wannabes. I guess by now everyone else who bought into has noticed the completely missing science and left.
Eugenics and paleo diet: ""if we all ate Paleo diets and did CrossFit, mental and physical health would soar." Soooo, just how fast is eugenics going to make our health soar when 100k years of evolutionary pressure during the neolithic period didn't make a dent in our biology? Maybe there is a reason you can't get in a biology department.
Crossfit: I'll leave this to gzt, but do they even acknowledge the idea of over training? Last I heard, it was pretty much the limiting factor in human training. While it might be less obvious if you aren't stressing the same muscles all the time (but probably the cardio system in ways that runners/cyclists/triathletes often overtain in), your choices appear to be 1. do less than absolute max during most training sessions, 2. Overtrain and watch your health & performance mostly decline, 3. Do a whopping amount of steroids.

Evo-psych gives psychology a chance to be built on a scientific foundation. Psychology needs all the help it can get, and that certainly doesn't include a lot of the jokers that it seems to attract. Show me a real biologist with a proper Darwinist foundation and a strong knowledge of neuroscience and I'll listen to them about Evo-psych.


as science, evo-psych is fine by gzt (2.00 / 0) #5 Tue Jun 18, 2013 at 09:25:33 AM EST
my real annoyance only begins when people get religious about it. it's pretty good in an academic context, but it produces people like this sometimes.

one amusing thing is that he believes physical and mental health would soar. and he's not making a claim like, "if people would get an hour of vigorous exercise 4 times per week and eat a sufficient amount of fruits and vegetables...". it's specific to CF and Paleo.

re: paleo. That was my initial impression of it, too. I mean, it seems reasonable that if you eat meat and a lot of fruits and vegetables, you'll probably do okay. It's hard to overeat on steak and broccoli, you fill up pretty quick. Protein is much more filling than other foods of similar caloric content. etc etc. But it's got a lot of religious weirdos in it and it has no science to it.

re: CrossFit(TM). things they officially don't believe in: overtraining, periodization, eating wheat, global warming, long distance running, conventional exercise science... They're the Scientology of fitness. Anyway, yes, overtraining is the limiting factor, high caliber athletes get around it with various schemes known collectively as "periodization". Or steroids.

[ Parent ]
CrossFit as the Scientology of fitness by wiredog (2.00 / 0) #6 Tue Jun 18, 2013 at 09:40:11 AM EST
I should post that to my FB feed, but that would cause an unnecessary ruckus. We're actually pretty good about keeping politics and religion out of there.

G+, OTOH, is a more troll friendly place.

And there is the TNC affiliates group on FB....

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

[ Parent ]
you're back on FB ? by sasquatchan (4.00 / 1) #9 Tue Jun 18, 2013 at 10:58:00 AM EST
you missed my linkage:

The snark is strong with this one ..

Crossfitters tend to have the bright smiles, boundless energy, and barely concealed smugness often associated with adherents of slightly denigrated religions, like Mormons or Heaven's Gate UFO doomsday preppers.

[ Parent ]
Never friended any hussites. by wiredog (2.00 / 0) #11 Tue Jun 18, 2013 at 01:07:08 PM EST
Is there a HuSi group?

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

[ Parent ]
A zombie Husi group by georgeha (2.00 / 0) #12 Tue Jun 18, 2013 at 03:02:40 PM EST
with about one post a month.

[ Parent ]
that mean my request by sasquatchan (2.00 / 0) #18 Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 12:18:25 PM EST
gonna get rejected ? hah.

[ Parent ]
Paleo by ucblockhead (4.00 / 1) #8 Tue Jun 18, 2013 at 10:43:22 AM EST
As a diet, it's better than a lot of fad diets.

It's scientific grounding is only slightly better than homeopathy.  Anyone who thinks prehistorical people got a lot of meat is deluded.  It was three months of crickets and the occasional rabbit and then gorge on mammoth for two days until it goes bad.
[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman

[ Parent ]
From what I've read by kwsNI (4.00 / 2) #10 Tue Jun 18, 2013 at 11:05:26 AM EST
Nutritionists think the Paleo diet isn't bad but... the whole Paleo explanation is bunk, it'd actually be healthier if they added low-fat dairy, legumes and whole grains, and it's damned hard to actually follow. 

The idea of eating whole, unprocessed foods should be part of every diet, but the whole paleo rationale that got them there is false.  Sort of like totally butchering the equations but still picking the right answer on a test. 

I like the WebMD review, it hits most of the points I've seen made about the diet. 

[ Parent ]
I like evo-psych by MillMan (2.00 / 0) #13 Tue Jun 18, 2013 at 07:23:22 PM EST
I think to outright reject it requires subscribing to theories of mind that are long obsolete. Academic treatments of the subject are dramatically different than the social darwin agenda driven stuff.

"Just as there are no atheists in foxholes, there are no libertarians in financial crises." -Krugman

[ Parent ]
Evo-psych by ucblockhead (2.00 / 0) #14 Tue Jun 18, 2013 at 08:35:59 PM EST
The trouble with it is that most proponents don't seem to actually understand evolutionary theory.   I have more critiques, but this says it better.

I think to be taken more seriously, there has to be more lines drawn from actual genes that code to actual proteins that correlate with behaviors and less "This behavior seems to me to be better therefore evolution made it!"
[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman

[ Parent ]
I don't know about most by wumpus (2.00 / 0) #16 Tue Jun 18, 2013 at 11:35:13 PM EST
which was why I pointed out a certain lack of background in the CV above.


[ Parent ]
Well by ucblockhead (2.00 / 0) #22 Mon Jun 24, 2013 at 11:51:26 AM EST
I read Pinker's book on the mind, and Pinker clearly didn't when he wrote it.
[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman
[ Parent ]
evolution is about more than genes by lm (2.00 / 0) #19 Thu Jun 20, 2013 at 07:18:13 AM EST

That said, I agree that there should be more examination of the mechanism of inheritance of certain traits and less speculation on why certain behaviors are good (or bad) according to a given (usually over simplified) model.

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
Well yeah by ucblockhead (2.00 / 0) #23 Mon Jun 24, 2013 at 11:55:11 AM EST
That's getting into fuzzy areas.  Move far enough in that direction and you start to get to cultural evolution.  But it is important to consider that if you go far enough in that direction, the rules change and "Natural Selection" may not apply the same way (or at all.)
[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman
[ Parent ]
Or let me put it this way by ucblockhead (2.00 / 0) #15 Tue Jun 18, 2013 at 08:38:59 PM EST
I firmly believe that genes drive behavior.

On the other hand, pretty much every evo-psych claim about how genes drive behavior in humans is at best pure speculation and at worst just the pure codified biases of the speaker.
[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman

[ Parent ]
Season 2 is out now. by ammoniacal (2.00 / 0) #17 Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 01:37:14 AM EST
I can't stand the mash-up releases they've done before now, with non-sequential eps on a disk. Fucking stupid, man.

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

This is why I don't read The Edge. Prefer Bono by ambrosen (2.00 / 0) #20 Thu Jun 20, 2013 at 06:09:54 PM EST
You would choose the week when Herring's on holiday to make that joke, wouldn't you?

lolz. Geoffrey Miller: bigot, eugenicist, CrossFitter | 23 comments (23 topical, 0 hidden)