Monday, July 19, 2010

EvPsych Narrative That Domestic Abusers Are Guarding Their Victims

I came across an article which asks Why do so men beat up their wives and girlfriends? on Psychology Today by Satoshi Kanazawa which conflates statistical outcomes with evidence of causation. The article begins with:
In a previous post, I address the question of why so many battered women stay in their abusive relationships. (Answer: So that they could produce violent sons with the abusive husbands, who will grow up to kill many men.)

This answer clearly conflates an outcome of remaining in an abusive relationship: violent sons with the premise that this is the true underlying reason women stay. In that previous post, staying is positioned as in opposition to the "importance of life, survival, and individual welfare" but this is based on ignorance. Leaving an abuser can result in the loss of all 3 of these. This can happen even when the victim is using the best resources available.

The number of boys and girls fathered by abusers vs. non-abusers can clearly be impacted by more than biology. An abuser who wants sons and not daughters can adapt the abuse to increase or decrease the chance of a miscarriage. Yet this reality is ignored just as the very real risks of leaving an abuser were ignored.

In the investigation of why men abuse their partners, the competing premises Kanazawa presents neatly reduce domestic violence to being caused by the valuing of the abused person's reproductive value or not valuing this. Then DV statistics are positioned as by necessity proving one of these premises true and the other false. This misuses data since it presents any data set as proving evolutionary psychology to be a valid explanation for abuse.

Too often when I see someone supporting evolutionary psychology to explain domestic or sexual violence, that person's understanding of the behaviors they are trying to explain seems based on popular narratives about violence rather than on solid research or scientific thought.


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posted by Marcella Chester @ 9:59 AM   2 comments links to this post


At July 19, 2010 6:59 PM, Anonymous gidget commando said...

Some of these ev-psych types are really giving me a rash lately.

At July 20, 2010 11:10 AM, Blogger JENNIFER DREW said...

Evolutionary psychology is commonly used to excuse/exonerate/justify male violence against women. Why? Because on no account must males be held accountable for their decision and choice to commit violence against women. This includes using coercion, psychological violence, threats and not forgetting of course the pseudo male entitlement to control and dominate all females.

However, evolutionary psychology is very much at odds with patriarchal claims that men are supposed to dominate and control women, because evolutionary psychology promoters claim 'it is the male's genes or his hereditary background.' This conveniently ignores fact all societies are constantly evolving and changing, which means women and men do not remain 'static' but are constantly evolving and changing, in line with how cultural ideologies change.

Why are women blamed when kill a violent male partner in self-defence. Surely, this is an evolutionary factor wherein women are supposedly programmed to protect themselves. But no, evolutionary psychology ignores this fact and instead attempts to exonerate/minimalise male accountability which led to female killing him in self defence.


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