Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Kanazawa on Tiger

I read Satoshi Kanazawa on Tiger Woods, and I cry a little that I never got the chance to have a beer with him during the three months that we overlapped at Canterbury (I didn't know he was here, and I was just settling in). When the staff club re-opens after Christmas, I will again kick Simon Kemp from the Psych department in the shins for letting Kanazawa go.
Bill Clinton became the President of the United States, unconsciously, indirectly, and ultimately, so that he could get laid. David Letterman became America’s favorite entertainer, unconsciously, indirectly, and ultimately, so that he could get laid. Tiger Woods became the most successful golfer in history, unconsciously, indirectly, and ultimately, so that he could get laid. It would be a tremendous evolutionary puzzle if these men, after spending their entire lives attaining the status and resources they attained, then didn’t have affairs. And their wives married them because they were the kind of men would could cheat on them.

Scientists are not in the business of making predictions for the future, at least not for the short run and not at the individual level, and, if they were, in the realm of human behavior, they would be wrong most of the time. But here’s a prediction that I can safely make for the year 2010.
During the course of the year 2010, there will be at least one sex scandal involving a notable politician, there will be at least one sex scandal involving a notable athlete, and there will be at least one sex scandal involving other celebrities. And the politicians, athletes, and celebrities involved will all be men.
Yes, this is the most banal prediction that anyone can make. (I also predict that there will be lots of snow in Buffalo, NY, this winter.) But do me a favor: If you are going to complain that my prediction is banal, which it is, then please don’t act surprised when it comes true, which it inevitably will. A statement cannot simultaneously be banal and surprising (let alone outrageous and disappointing) at the same time.

If, on the other hand, I turn out to be wrong in my prediction, I will hang up my hat as an evolutionary psychologist, and, after the last of the monkeys fly out of my ass, become a social constructionist feminist. Get back to me in January 2011.
I like folks who have confidence in their predictions and are willing to put things on the line.

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