December 17, 2020 | David F. Coppedge

On the Evolution of Cuteness

Darwin silliness has reached a new low. A grad student is working on a paper about how evolution makes people watch cat videos.

 

The only logical response to the story you are about to hear is to shake your head. A guy at the University of Oslo will probably get a PhD by giving Darwin credit for human attraction to cute animal videos on the internet. He must have been hard at work gathering his data.

Evolution is the reason you want to watch internet cat videos (University of Oslo). Notice that the guy doesn’t say evolution is “a contributing factor” to wanting to watch cute animal videos. It is “the” reason. “Being distracted by cute animals is one of the most important characteristics of being human today, argues media researcher” Andreas Ervik, grinning in his 15-minutes-of-fame photo in the article. In fact, it is “all because of evolution.” Whew. Oh boy.

In evolutionary biology, important keywords are Charles Darwin, natural selection and survival of the fittest. The idea is that weaker species, genes or humans are overcome by the stronger. However, when Ervik looks closer at how we spend our time on the internet, he sees a completely different development.

“Play, stupidity, cuteness and humour are four factors that are at least as important to evolution as the idea of survival of the fittest.”

Dear descendants of Holocaust victims and communist purges, we are so sorry. How tragic that your loved ones, whose pictures maybe sit on your mantle, whose memoirs tell of the tortures they endured, were victims of rulers who didn’t understand Darwinism. Think of the happy lives they could have had, the joyful cultures they could have participated in, if Stalin and Mao and Hitler had only understood that nature is all about the survival of the cutest.

In his thesis, he relates the development of these four factors to similar societal processes outside the internet – also in the animal and plant kingdoms. For mammals, including humans, being cute has played an important role in evolution.

“Cuteness has evolved along with a focus on care and a type of behaviour that is non-aggressive and empathetic. In that sense, cuteness has been crucial for humans when it comes to sociability and being able to take care of offspring in the way that we do and for as long as we do. We also transfer this to other species.”

It’s obvious where Ervik has been spending his time. He’s been goofing off watching cat videos, then trying to sanctify his lack of self-control by offering it as a sacrifice to King Charlie. That was so easy; he just needed to parrot memes he has been hearing all through school about how Darwinism, the Stuff Happens Law, is the skeleton key to quick-and-easy scientific explanation in biology.

If that were the only example of Darwin silliness, it would be bad enough. Readers of CEH know that more are always plopping out of the secular-media drainpipe.

Study finds a manly beard may help drive sales (Phys.Org). This conclusion might be true; many men like their beards, and many women appreciate them, too. They often do present an air of confidence and experience, not in all cases, but often, as long as they are well groomed. But what’s Charlie got to do with it?

While past research has focused on the benefit of beards in attracting potential mates (cue bearded Bumble profiles) and in the interview process, the researchers believe these studies are the first examination of the beard’s effect in sales and service contexts. This effect is rooted in evolutionary psychology, which is one of many biologically informed approaches to the study of human behavior.

“Beards may go in and out of style in terms of their ability to increase physical attractiveness, but from an evolutionary perspective, they consistently serve as a cue to others about one’s masculinity, maturity, resources, competence, leadership and status,” Mittal said. “In sum, the ability to grow a healthy beard inherently signals ‘immuno-competence,’ and this has downstream effects on the way a bearded individual is evaluated in many facets of life.”

This is odd, since some studies have concluded that facial hair is full of germs. What’s evolution got to do with it, though? Why must everything be put into an “evolutionary perspective” instead of just a perspective? More sloppy science has been offered as a sacrifice to the Bearded Buddha.

Remember that “evolutionary psychology” has been a laughingstock to many scientists, including evolutionists (6 June 2008). That’s because it can explain anything and everything, therefore nothing. It can explain the gaudy peacock’s tail by the myth of “sexual selection” just as well as it can explain why all ravens are black (both male and female).

Presumably biological science will have to toss the previous explanation that beards evolved to cushion men’s jaws from fist punches (1 June 2020). The researchers could have measured if sales go up twice as high if the customer punches out the bearded salesman and he survives. “Praise Darwin!” the customers would exclaim. “I’ll buy two!” They should have also done a controlled experiment by putting fake beards on saleswomen, or shaving off half of the beard on the men and seeing which side customers preferred looking at. Good grief. Did they run other controls, by judging reactions by beard color or length? Remember, terrorist al-Baghdadi was notably hirsute. That wouldn’t make him a great salesman. Successful clean-shaven salesmen should be miffed at this careless research.

This silly study was published in the Journal of Business Research with the dumb-pun title, “It grows on you: Perceptions of sales/service personnel with facial hair.” It shows that Darwinism has even infected the business world. Is it not possible to just appreciate the differences between men and women without feeling obligated to put an evolutionary spin on everything? Evolution adds nothing to the article, except perhaps entertainment. The entertainment value is highest when one realizes the Darwinists are serious.

The rhythm of change: What a drum-beat experiment reveals about cultural evolution (Phys.org, Science X Staff). While smart readers are feeling entertained with silly evolution stories, let’s try one more: the evolution of drum beats. Darwinists at the Santa Fe Institute played childish games with 120 people, asking them to play “telephone” by repeating a rhythm down the line with a drum set. What this proves about evolution is anybody’s guess. They presented their cocky views about “the evolution of rhythm” to the Royal Society – and the veritable institution that used to demand nullius in verba (nothing by authority) published it anyway. Anything honoring Darwin always gets a pass. It’s surprising they didn’t make a cat video of Tom playing the tom toms, to help out Andrea Ervik’s doctoral research.

“This was a proof of concept experiment to show that with different environments, different cultural patterns would emerge,” says Miton. “What’s important is that we showed that you can parse out ecological and psychological factors.”

She says she hopes this simple drum-and-telephone experiment will inspire new ways to tease out the many influences on cultural evolution in the future.

There you have it again: the real reason Darwinism is so popular among lazy scientists. It guarantees job security for storytellers.

 

This is why science needs debate. Such stupid ideas wouldn’t make it past a single PhD creationist or theistic philosopher without a severe episode of scolding and shaming. The police would arrest the suspects for impersonating a scientist (16 July 2014). 

Two trending memes in academia this millennium have been “diversity and inclusion.” There is, however, absolutely NO diversity of thought or inclusion of Darwin skeptics within King Charlie’s totalitarian realm. Unless you wear the D-Merit Badge with Darwin’s bearded face on it, you don’t get into the Insiders’ Club where all the research and publishing decisions are made. Unless you worship at the Darwin idol and make a sacrifice, you are booted out and condemned as a pseudoscientist.

Don’t let that bother you. Once Humpty Darwin falls, you will be lauded as a prescient visionary and futurist who ignored the looney tunes all along, focusing the cracking sounds in the wall instead. Do you want the praise of men before the wall falls, or after?

Humpty Darwin sits on a wall of foam bricks held together by decayed mortar. Cartoon by Brett Miller commissioned for CEH. All rights reserved.

 

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Categories: Dumb Ideas, Human Body, Mammals

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