CHEATIN’ HEART FALLACY: (1) Screw around. (2) Guess how screwing around might profit offspring. (3) Don’t test guess. (4) Label guess “evolutionary psychology.”
Let’s start with a quote from How Stuff Works’ An Evolutionary Reason For Women to Cheat?
”Women… might be more upset by their lover’s emotional infidelity, because it threatens those resources she needs for her children. But because women are so invested in receiving those resources, researchers weren’t sure at first why women would threaten them by cheating at all. As it turns out, even after women choose a partner that they deem worthwhile to father their children, researchers believe they still seek out a better one in a competition that we’ll deem ‘Sperm Wars.’
“Here’s how Sperm Wars works: According to a 2006 study published in Hormones and Behavior, women tend to be unfaithful at the most fertile part of their menstrual cycle, even if they’re not trying to get pregnant. And the men they tend to cheat with are by and large better looking than their own partners. Even if their own spouse is a hardworking, high-earning, compassionate man, the study revealed, women would cheat if they didn’t find the man attractive, perhaps because of some old instinct that good genes are synonymous with good looks.”
Of course, there’s no practical way to test this explanation, so it’s scientifically useless. Problem is, it sure sounds scientific when you tack on buzzwords like “evolution.”
“But Ashkuff, haven’t scientists conducted research?” Yes, but that research says little about women’s actual motivations. It merely suggests that, when women feel like cheating, they do so when they’re feeling most randy, and they do so with handsomer guys; especially if their beau isn’t very handsome, himself.
To which I say: duh! Hormones make it easier to lose control (that goes for guys, too!) and it’s tougher to resist a handsome face. Beyond that, forcing these facts into the paradigm of evolutionary psychology seems dogmatic.
Too often, people screw around, guess how screwing around might profit offspring, and don’t test that guess, only to label it evolutionary psychology. I call that the “Cheatin’ Heart Fallacy.” Read more about misapplication of evolutionary psychology, in Gannon’s “Critique of Evolutionary Psychology” via Psychology, Evolution & Gender.
Question for the discussion thread: have you ever heard someone use “evolution” or something like it to justify screwing around? If so, how? Of course, any other comments are welcome, too. Even short and stupid ones. So be awesome and say something below! No registration required. Yay, anonymity!