Leaps in Logic and Loose Associations
I'm on a horse.
Posted May 23, 2011
I have been swamped with an intensive 3 week course where I encourage young students to examine themselves and society. So, of course, I caught wind of the Kanazawa debacle, but I could not find a spare minute to post. I will not rehash was has already been well said, but I must share my first reaction.
The Old Spice "I'm on a horse" commercial was the first thing that came to mind. Random? Yes.
When reading the piece, I almost chuckled at the leaps in logic and loose associations. The conclusions made based on correlations he failed to contextualize and operationalize were reminiscent of those early papers I receive from undergrads. Yet, sadly it was not meant to be a joke.
"Black women have lower average level of physical attractiveness net of BMI. Nor can the race difference in intelligence (and the positive association between intelligence and physical attractiveness) account for the race difference in physical attractiveness among women. Black women are still less physically attractive than nonblack women net of BMI and intelligence. Net of intelligence, black men are significantly more physically attractive than nonblack men.... 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. Men with higher levels of testosterone have more masculine features and are therefore more physically attractive. In contrast, women with higher levels of testosterone also have more masculine features and are therefore less physically attractive. The race differences in the level of testosterone can potentially explain why black women are less physically attractive than women of other races, while (net of intelligence) black men are more physically attractive than men of other races."
I'm glad the "only thing I can think of" is the Old Spice man. Rather than rage, be in denial, or cry about the lack of scientific rigor, I'll opt for humor. From a boat, to tickets, to diamonds. He's on a horse, and Black women are less physically attractive. It seems as if Kanazawa might face penalities. But if not, hopefully the coverage will firmly shift him and his non-contextualized study more clearly outside the realm of scientific research.