This site is not maintained. Click here for the new website of Richard Dawkins.


← How to Tell if a Guy Is Trustworthy

rsharvey's Avatar Jump to comment 28 by rsharvey

Comment #467781 by blitz442 on March 9, 2010 at 6:51 pm

Yes I think we are talking slightly at cross purposes.

What I disagree with is not the carrying out of such studies, but with the way they are reported/promoted. I hope I made it fairly clear that I believe statistical correlations between physical attributes and personality traits to be plausible. That isn't dangerous. But to say "testosterone makes you untrustworthy", that I think is a dangerous claim. (Here's a link related to the quoted 20% difference in testosterone levels -

Most scientifically literate people can tell that the implication here (as in the case that woman are more dexterous or linguistically skilled) is statistical. But that isn't what the piece implies: "Men with wider faces are not only perceived as untrustworthy, they may deserve the reputation".

Re: your second point, I do think there are some areas of knowledge which may be far more divisive than they are worth to us. There is a big difference between saying "sub-saharan blacks have on average a greater resistance to malaria than whites" and saying "black people, by causal implication are less trustworthy". One is totally benign and the other is pure poison. I'm not against doing the studies, but the promotion and reporting of the claimed outcomes has to be very careful.

Again though, I don't think we disagree.

Tue, 09 Mar 2010 19:24:00 UTC | #447805