It wasn’t until her bikini thong hit me in the face that I recognized her. It was the sophomore from Holy Cross College I’d interviewed yesterday who had said her deepest desire was to marry a mature gentleman who would see her not just as a piece of flesh but as the intelligent entrepreneur she planned to be. I didn’t recognize her up on that stripper pole on the beach amid all this Spring Break mayhem. She had complained it was difficult to land a good man with all these loose girls sending the wrong impression.
He goes on to weave the latest evolutionary/social psychology/biology research into a story about how he "headed to Spring Break in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, so I could observe these principles at work in the courtship behavior of drunken beach apes." Wherein he indeed describes what he sees as if viewing primates, complete with descriptions of how women's menstrual cycles alter their mating preferences, etc.
Here's the kicker: the main principle Quirk wants to relate (perhaps with the aim of lending some reassurance to the self-image of the magazine's likely readers) is that women are attracted not to alpha males but to men with social respect and intelligence. "Female primates can tell the difference and boink accordingly." Classy.
From this, he assures us, "At Spring Break in 2011, science nerds will get more sex than jocks and cheerleaders, because science nerds will understand the biology of human desire." (Which sounds hilariously if probably unintentionally like the response in Revenge of the Nerds to the cheerleader's query "Are all nerds as good as you?": "Yes. Because all jocks think about is sports. All we ever think about is sex.")
Maybe I'm missing something here, but this seems to conflict a bit with all of that social respect and intelligence stuff. If there's one thing I know about women, it's that talking about how hormonal and easily manipulated they are isn't likely to endear you to them.
It doesn't speak well of H+ Magazine that they would publish this sort of thing. There's the question of the scientific validity of these claims, not to mention the article's apparent ignorance of the "Seduction Community", which has been attempting a similar (if arguably more respectful) project for decades. And then there's the writing itself, which should make anyone with even a shred of respect for women and women's rights shudder. Some of the commenters on the piece try to defend it as just a joke, but it sounds a bit more like the rantings of a few bitter science/engineering students I knew in college who tried to couch their misogyny in supposedly humorous or scientific language.
Appropriateness aside, I'd like to suggest that this piece is indicative of a deeper tension within transhumanism between the ev/social science outlook that wants to view humans as little more than animals and the Enlightenment outlook that wants to raise humans to the level of equal beings endowed with supreme individual rights and wills. The application of the former outlook to ethics leads to some attitudes that are directly in conflict with the latter. To put it another way, treating people in practice as little more than animals leads to some pretty un-Enlightened ideas and behavior. More about this later.
Update: Elana J. Clift, author of the work on the "Seduction Community" I linked to, adds in an email that the H+ article "sounds similar to a lot of the (b.s.) pop psychology/anthropology that people in the Seduction Community blather on about.... [I]n addition to women's rights and sexism against women you might mention how this kind of crap is harmful to men and how they are taught to view themselves, their intentions, their bodies, etc."