October 11, 2010

From Catherine Scott:

Re: Women attracted to men in red, research finds (Aug. 2): When are we going to stop the knee-jerk pseudo scientific rubbish that attempts to explain the preferences of the supremely cultural animal, the human being, by references to what turns female baboons on?

This bowdlerised Darwinist nonsense, with its one factor explanation for human behaviour '- 'The savannah! The savannah!' - is preventing an intelligent engagement with a properly scientific search for the origins of human action.

Pulling out Occam's razor and getting to work with it suggests a more parsimonious explanation: see red on lots of high status people, come to associate red with status. No need to twist oneself into a foolish shape trying to prove via a series of untested assumptions that it's all down to mandrills' mating practices.

Dr Catherine Scott
Senior Research Fellow
Teaching, Learning and Leadership Program
Australian Council for Educational Research


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