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← How to Tell if a Guy Is Trustworthy

blitz442's Avatar Jump to comment 24 by blitz442

18. Comment #467758 by rsharvey

The same goes for the link between testosterone levels and trustworthiness. No-one is a slave to the chemicals of which they are composed.


Nor are we a slave to our genes. But certain genes may make certain types of behaviors more likely to appear.

I don't think that anyone is saying that if you possess a lot of hormone X, that and that alone automatically means that you will be more aggressive.

The claim is more along the lines of "increased exposure to cigarette smoke makes it more likely than you will get lung cancer".

The fact that other factors also contribute to lung cancer does not negate this statement. Neither do ancedotal observations that your friend Fred never smoked and got lung cancer, but Uncle Jim smoked 2 packs a day all his life and never got it. (not saying that you implied this)

To say that testosterone cause untrustworthiness is an especially dangerous claim to make when you consider racial differences (black males 20% higher testosterone levels than white males).


This is an interesting comment. It's almost as if any claim that states that certain traits might be more or less prevalent in some races rather than others should never be made, regardless of whether it is true or not.

Is it a "dangerous claim to make" that sub-saharan blacks have on average a greater resistance to malaria than whites? Apparently not, so why are claims about behavior (which are also influenced by genes) so off limits?

Even if it is true that high testosterone is a significant factor in untrustworthiness, that blacks have higher testosterone (evidence???), and that therefore the mean "untrustworthiness" of that race would be slightly higher, it STILL would not warrant increased suspicion of any INDIVIDUAL black person. This is because the variance of this behavior within the black population is surely just as high as within the non-black population.

Tue, 09 Mar 2010 18:51:00 UTC | #447790