Note: Satoshi Kanazawa used the generic catchphrase "black" in the post I'm about to discuss. Since it's not clear from his context whether his racism was directed at people of African, or African-American origin, or even just anyone with skin he determines to be darkly pigmented, in this particular I'm just going to use his terminology and say "black."
Usually when anybody types the words "Satoshi Kanazawa" my eyes start to glaze over. For obvious reasons. When I see him he's cited approvingly my blood also boils, but that's been happening less and less, so mostly when I see him referenced I just move on.
But last he became so extreme that even Psychology Today (the Cosmopolitan Magazine of science journalism) woke up enough to yank one of his posts. (After altering the title from Kanazawa's original "Why Black Women Are Less Physically Attractive Than Other Women" to "Why Black Women Are Rated Less Physically Attractive Than Other Women" because that made it better.)
And now it sounds like (finally!) his employers at the London School of Economics might have been moved to action -- if not for his overt racism, sexism, and homophobia then at least for his really capricious methodology.
So anyway, there having been such an awesome uproar this time I had to take a look. And... yeah, he's pretty special that guy.
You sort of have to admire his serenely confident but argumentatively gratuitous shot that while “black women are on average much heavier than non-black women” that’s not why black women are uglier. Oh no, he's scientifically controlled for that so they're still just ugly even when you take into account that they're fat.
Next he blithly asserts that blacks on average are stupider (have lower intelligence) than all non-blacks… but that’s not why, quoth he, black women are uglier. Oh no, because, see, even though black men are just as stupid as black women they’re still significantly more attractive than non-black men. (Or, one supposes from his amended version, black men are rated more attractive. Which I guess is supposed to be less racist.)
But wait! Maybe they’re not gratuitous structural arguments: he may have brought them up by way of eliminating the factors most favored by his superficial racist stereotypes to get to his more fundamental ones: “well, you’d think black women were uglier because blacks are fatter and stupider but no, even filtering out their fatness and stupidity black women are still ugly.
Oh, and then there's this lovely bit!
[B]ecause they have existed much longer in human evolutionary history, Africans have more mutations in their genomes than other races. And the mutation loads significantly decrease physical attractiveness (because physical attractiveness is a measure of genetic and developmental health). But since both black women and black men have higher mutation loads, it cannot explain why only black women are less physically attractive, while black men are, if anything, more attractive.
He says that black male attractiveness eliminates as a reason the “fact” that since blacks “have existed much longer in human evolutionary history, blacks have more mutations in their genomes than other races.” And, you see, purer races prefer lower “mutation loads.” But once again, despite those preferences (and, don’t forget, men’s seed-spreading willingness to screw anything that moves… er… to make lower genetic “investments”) and all those icky mutations make black men “if anything, more attractive.”
(Speaking of “objectivity,” one can imagine that were Kanazawa of black heritage he'd instead have have concluded not that rather than having more “mutations” blacks have robust genetic diversity, which instead would be superior to those icky “inbred” races with their “evolved” aversion to replenishing their degenerate gene pools. He could even use same "objective" statistics to back back up that claim! But I digress.)
(Also speaking of “objectivity,” one can imagine that black people have more “mutations” because, as you say Rob, “black” is only a race in the sense that “black” people have darker skin, with the result that while “black” people descended from populations recently indigenous to north Africa, south Africa, central, east, and west Frica, south Asia, the Pacific Islands, Australia, parts of India, and so on are, yeah, a $@^%@ of a lot “older” and racially “mutated” since some of them are likely more genetically similar to what ever relatively genetic monoculture Mr. Kanazawa calls homeland than they are to each other. But I digress again...)
But nope, nope. Instead he says he's factored that out too: “mutations” don’t make black women uglier either. In fact, says he,
The only thing I can think of that might potentially explain the lower average level of physical attractiveness among black women is testosterone. Africans on average have higher levels of testosterone than other races, and testosterone, being an androgen (male hormone), affects the physical attractiveness of men and women differently.
Yup, that’s probably the only other thing that could possibly explain the difference. (If he'd said they had less oxytocin we could all go home.)
It’s also the point at which he stops being a racist asshole using raw statistics and becomes a… free-wheeling racist homophobe "evolutionary psychologist" of the sort that gives evolutionary psychology a really bad name.*
See testosterone, Kanazawa believes, makes everybody look more manly. And black women have more testosterone. Which makes them look more manly. And it's looking manly that makes them ugly.
And so by inference that makes anyone who’s attracted to black women Teh Gay Takei. And, as we all know, Teh Takei is an evolutionary dead end. So all right-minded, offspring-maximizing men recognize that black women are ugly: QED.
And does he present any graphs or charts to back up these assertions? No. Does he bring up any counterarguments? Not at all. Does he cite any prior research? Nope. Does he cite anyone else's research? Not that either. And does he bring up any other possible reasons why black women might be singled out as less attractive? Not a bit. Did he even stop check his arithmetic to make sure that, you know, the data he was using says what he wanted it to? Evidently not(!)
Nope, nearly all the preceding crap is just Kanazawa being an unencumbered racist doing what racists are really good at doing -- selectively using the tools of a still-emerging field of science to advance his foregone conclusions. He happens to use evolutionary psychology much the way early 20th-Century racists and classists used Darwin to advance "social Darwinism," the way Dick Army, Paul Ryan, and Brian Caplan use economics to advance their defense of the status quo, the same way Dinesh D'Souza and Charles Murray use statistics to defend segregation, and just the same way Donna M. Hughes uses feminism as sheeps clothing for her neoconservatism.
With any luck, though, this time next year Kanazawa will be publishing from The Spearhead or National Vanguard and working lecturing at Bob Jones University or Liberty University. Which, his nominal Darwinism notwithstanding, should welcome him with open arms.
* I.e. he starts pulling shit out of his ass and saying "it must be evolved because it gives me such a woodie" and leaving it at that. Evolutionary psychology itself isn't objectionable in principle -- it would be hard to argue that nothing about human behavior has been influenced by natural selection. And most practitioners are actually fairly moderate people and many of them are outright Unitarian, Birkenstock-wearing, old-school liberals. And as far as I know none of them actually like, let alone admire Satoshi Kanazawa. But! Up till now he's been the closest thing to a Carl Sagan EP has had. And... yeah... how's that been working?