Evolution Will Totally Make Us Prettier. Except for the Goblins.

For the second time in a week, I find myself wondering if the BBC is seriously just fucking with us. Just when you thought evolutionary theorists were the reasonable ones, along comes Oliver Curry of the London School of Economics to tell us that H.G. Wells was right — somewhere down the line, the human race will split into two sub-species.

One will look like this:

And the other will look like this:

The descendants of the genetic upper class would be tall, slim, healthy, attractive, intelligent, and creative and a far cry from the “underclass” humans who would have evolved into dim-witted, ugly, squat goblin-like creatures.

Um, how is that different from the way people regard thin, rich people vs. fat, poor people now?

Oh wait, it’s not. Which explains a lot.

Arguing the science here would be just too much for my tiny, female, humanities-trained, goblin-like brain. Maybe the human race will be split into Eloi and Morlocks in 100,000 years — the great thing about being an evolutionary theorist (or a sci fi writer) is, you’ll never find out if you’re wrong. But let’s take a look at some of Oliver Curry’s assumptions about just which characteristics we’ll select for as we get “choosier.”

Okay, wait, first, there’s the assumption that we will get choosier. Note that he specifically says this is with regard to picking sexual partners, not mucking around with genetic engineering. So, everyone who can’t bag a tall, slim, healthy, creative person is just gonna… abstain from sex? ‘Cause… why again? Article doesn’t say.

It does, however, tell us just how we’re all gonna get prettier before we split off into the hottie and goblin sub-species.

[I]n the nearer future, humans will evolve in 1,000 years into giants between 6ft and 7ft tall, he predicts, while life-spans will have extended to 120 years, Dr Curry claims.

Physical appearance, driven by indicators of health, youth and fertility, will improve, he says, while men will exhibit symmetrical facial features, look athletic, and have squarer jaws, deeper voices and bigger penises.

Women, on the other hand, will develop lighter, smooth, hairless skin, large clear eyes, pert breasts, glossy hair, and even features, he adds. Racial differences will be ironed out by interbreeding, producing a uniform race of coffee-coloured people.

Hoo boy, where to begin? I mean, apart from noting that they left out how women will also develop cold, wet noses and improved flyball skills along with the clear eyes, even features, and glossy hair?

All right. Let’s go with what I do buy out of all that:

  • “A uniform race of coffee-coloured people” — check. I don’t know about “uniform,” especially in only a thousand years, but I do suspect really dark people and ghostly pale fucks like me are likely to get bred out.
  • Increased height and life span — check. Already happening.
  • Generally better-looking people than we have now — check. For all my flaws, I’m definitely cuter than Lucy.

Aaaand… that’s pretty much it. ‘Cause the rest of it? Is way too deeply rooted in current cultural beauty standards to make any sense.

Let’s start with what we all know goes along with the increased height and life span: increased weight. Then let’s think about the so-called “obesity paradox.” (If you haven’t read Sandy’s series on it, check out the links on her sidebar.) “Paradoxically” — only if you believe the bullshit “obesity crisis” hype in the first place — fat seems to protect people against a whole whack of diseases, and lots of pesky studies show us outliving thin people.

Now, in the western world in 2007, it may seem bugfuck crazy to suggest that a majority of people would ever choose sexual partners because they’re fat. But we’re not just talking about westerners, or about what will happen in our lifetimes. We’re talking about the human race – which includes 850 million+ hungry people — and the next thousand years. So first, I know how TOTALLY ZANY this sounds, but I’m pretty sure not everyone in the world associates thinness with health, fertility, and A+ genes. Second, a thousand years will probably be long enough for even folks in the west to figure out that on average, fatter people live longer than really skinny people. 500 years might not be, but a thousand? I’m cautiously optimistic that a majority will have noticed that quirk by then.

Now, granted, there’s nothing about thinness, specifically, in the predictions for 1,000 years down the road — but there is in the predictions for 100,000 fucking years down the road. The “genetic upper class” of our extremely distant future will be “slim,” according to Oliver Curry. Despite what is already known about fat being associated with health benefits — especially in old age, which just might be of interest to a population living much longer than ever before — and about thinness being a greater threat to one’s longevity than moderate fatness, he really believes that things are gonna keep moving in the direction of slimness?

Mmkay. Tell you what, Oliver Curry. I’ll bet you a nickel you’re wrong. And as soon as someone invents a time machine, well head out to 102,007 and settle this.

Now back to 3007. I can’t decide if my very favorite new characteristic will be the bigger penises or the pert breasts. It’s so hard to choose!

I know that cultural norms are bound to change a LOT over the next thousand years, but I don’t imagine more and more people are going to be walking around naked. And one thing I’ve learned about living in a society in which most of us don’t walk around naked all the time is, I generally don’t find out the size of a guy’s penis until after I’ve decided to sleep with him. And since tiny penises work pretty much the same as big ones, I don’t really see big penis genes winning out at the end of the day, which means… there’s no logical reason why there would be more big penises in the future. Well, except insofar as it corresponds to us getting taller and fatter and shit, but that doesn’t mean cocks are gonna get proportionally bigger.

Also, I’d just like to point out that if penises did get bigger, vaginas would have to get bigger along with them, or else the big-dick genes would, in fact, die out. Technological advances aside, it’s gotta fit in the hole to make a baby, yo. And somehow, I sincerely doubt that Oliver Curry’s vision of a master race includes Amazon women with cavernous hoo-has.

Amazon women with “pert breasts,” however? Now you’re talkin’!

You all know how much I hate to puncture male fantasies, but I’m afraid I must now reveal the sad truth about “pert breasts” on women over the age of 18. Are you ready? They only come in three varieties: tiny, fake, and held up by a good bra. It’s certainly possible that cultural beauty standards will change over time so that naturally small breasts end up favored, but other than that, we run into the same basic problem described above in re penis selection: the guy’s not gonna know how pert those boobs actually are until he gets the chick nekkid, at which point, he’s probably not going to stop and say, “On second thought, no thanks. I was looking for someone with better genes.”

I mean, sure, he might use a condom that time and keep looking, just as women might keep looking for a guy with a bigger cock. But in the process of searching, you can be sure that some needle-dicked men will fall head over heels for some saggy-boobed women, and vice versa, and then they’ll have babies and it’ll all go to hell for another generation. Perhaps a generation of Morlock ancestors, granted, but still… I really don’t see those characteristics going away any time soon. And a thousand years is pretty damn soon, when you’re talking about making a population’s penises bigger and breasts firmer via evolution, not spam offers.

Having said all that, upon further reflection, I don’t think either one of those is actually my favorite predicted characteristic. No, my very favorite would have to be the “lighter skin” for women. At the same time we’re mixing up the races more and becoming a “uniform race of coffee-colored people,” teh womenz? Are somehow gonna get lighter skin. How do you suppose that one works? Is Unilever involved?

And that right there kinda sums up why I think Oliver Curry of the London School of Economics is full of crap. Are all these changes possible from an evolutionary theory standpoint? I can’t say for sure. I’ve got a female brain and a BMI over 30, so it’s a wonder I can tie my shoes. But the simple fact that this douche predicts evolution will make human beings look more and more like the western cultural — not biological — ideals of today tells me he’s almost certainly talking out his ass. I’m no scientist, as many a troll has reminded me, but I’m pretty fucking sure genes don’t thrive over the long run because they’re fashionable in certain places, during certain eras.

Of course, my short, fat ass is probably a proto-Morlock, so maybe I just can’t face the truth.

(Forgot to add: thanks to apricotmuffins for the link!)

100 thoughts on “Evolution Will Totally Make Us Prettier. Except for the Goblins.

  1. Of course, my short, fat ass is probably a proto-Morlock, so maybe I just can’t face the truth.

    Mine too. I, for one, am looking forward to feasting on tasty Eloi.

    Mmmmmmm. Eloooooooi.

  2. And somehow, I sincerely doubt that Oliver Curry’s vision of a master race includes Amazon women with cavernous hoo-has.

    I’m laughing so hard I can barely sit up.

  3. I thought he was saying that the attractive people are going to make the beautiful master race, and all us ugly folks are going to spawn the trogolodytes.

    I think that is where the needle dicks and saggy-boobed come in.

  4. Good god, this post took my breath away. Also, that corn-eared pig goblin guy totally made me laugh out loud at work and almost blow my cover. Luckily the intern doesn’t care.

    So, everyone who can’t bag a tall, slim, healthy, creative person is just gonna… abstain from sex?

    Nono, they’re just going to bag short, fat, ugly, unhealthy, small-minded people, hence the Morlocks. Your fantasy of people who are decent-looking, medium-height, average-weight, and/or have good personalities and some quirks occasionally passing on their genes is just absurd.

    I mean, apart from noting that they left out how women will also develop cold, wet noses and improved flyball skills along with the clear eyes, even features, and glossy hair?

    This sentence is, quite literally, so funny I forgot to laugh. Instead I clutched my head and stared open-mouthed. It may be the pinnacle of the writing profession.

    As for the perky breasts and the big dicks and whatnot… god, I wish I had his job. I don’t usually sit around and think up sci-fi sex fantasies based on The Time Machine, but if I got paid for doing that and calling it science? Shit, I’d be on that like fat on Kate.

  5. I thought he was saying that the attractive people are going to make the beautiful master race, and all us ugly folks are going to spawn the trogolodytes.

    I think that is where the needle dicks and saggy-boobed come in.

    Indeed, that’s how it works in the 100,000-year vision. (Setting aside that fantasy of average people that Fillyjonk mentioned.) But in the “short term” of the next 1,000 years, we’re all supposed to get better looking. According to current standards. Mmhmm.

    Also, if we all get hotter in the next 1,000 years, I’m not sure where the Morlocks will come from. Recessive genes?

  6. Also, if I did my “scholarship” in the same way that Oliver Curry does, I would have soooooo much more time to write SP posts! Who needs the library when you can just masturbate and call it research?

  7. I thought he was saying that the attractive people are going to make the beautiful master race, and all us ugly folks are going to spawn the trogolodytes.

    And it makes total sense, because all models have breath-takingly gorgeous parents, and striking or unusual features never come out looking weird on a child. Similarly, nobody as homely as Mick Jagger or Steven Tyler could ever have a pretty child. It’s just logic! And maybe statistics!

  8. Evobiologists like this make the baby Dawkins cry.

    I mourn that my Morlock ass will not live to see the big-dicked Jamie Foxx lookalikes. But then, with my cavernous hooha, it might not be worth it.

    I’ve got a female brain and a BMI over 30, so it’s a wonder I can tie my shoes.

    Now I kind of want to see you take apart Louann Brizendine’s The Female Brain

  9. I just don’t understand where the goblin people come in. Okay, so the beautiful people are going to start breeding only with each other (he neglects to explain why, or who defines beautiful) But anyway, okay, so they do, and they start getting taller and more attractive. But that still doesn’t explain why the other class of people get shorter, squatter, and more goblin like. Wouldn’t they just kind of stay the same?

    Also, I’d just like to point out that if penises did get bigger, vaginas would have to get bigger along with them, or else the big-dick genes would, in fact, die out.

    Ha! No doubt! Honestly, if I was choosing my lover based on penis size, I would choose someone smaller than my fiance because, well, it doesn’t fit as well as it could. (TMI, heh). Bigger is not always better!

  10. Becky, maybe it’s just in relation to the Race of Hotties — “humans” will just look like fat little goblins. And their skin will be so comparatively dark, it’ll look green.

  11. Well, I for one can’t wait to be looking on from the afterlife watching my descendents slowly turn to trolls. Maybe once we’re in eternity it will be like one of those time lapse clips where something that took a long time goes really fast? I hope so.

    So here’s what I don’t understand… well I am a girl so I guess there’s a lot of this here science stuff that I Don’t Get but anyways.

    1. 95% of people who try to lose weight cannot keep it off
    2. Naturally fat people who don’t diet live longer healthier lives than naturally thin people.
    3. More than (or just about? whatever) half the human population that has consistent access to food has noticeable amounts of fat on their bodies.
    4. For 90% of human history we were hunter-gatherers facing frequent famine and starvation cycles. People who held on to fat reserves the longest would have survived to make babies.

    So… can someone tell me how this is not They Way Things Are Supposed To Be, or Evolution. Have we not evolved into Fattiez?

    Seriously though, I’m not a scientist and am not exceptionally empirical by nature. But I really don’t understand the “evolution” argument that we are all supposed to be thin. I have yet to see anyone adequately explain how being thin would be advantageous/attractive to prehistoric humans, let alone present day ones.

    Anyways I’m off to chew on my own toes… like a good little goblin.

  12. I found your blog through anothers. I love the flickr site you have and your blog. I look forward to reading more, just wanted to say hello!

  13. OMG… I’m laughing so hard that my 10 year old is complaining that I’m “vibrating the couch!!!” and whining at me because I won’t read the whole thing out to her.

    But you know what stood out for me when I read this article?

    He carried out the report for men’s satellite TV channel Bravo.

    Oh yes, that channel of excellence. The channel whose idea of an in-depth expose is revealing the actual size of a model’s bra.

    ’nuff said, methinks.

  14. Anyways I’m off to chew on my own toes… like a good little goblin.

    A Song by Blackadder

    See the little goblin,
    see his little feet.
    And his little nosy-wose,
    isn’t the goblin sweet?

  15. Women, on the other hand, will develop lighter, smooth, hairless skin, large clear eyes, pert breasts, glossy hair, and even features, he adds. Racial differences will be ironed out by interbreeding, producing a uniform race of coffee-coloured people.

    Dr. Curry doesn’t seem to have a very firm grasp on genetics or how evolution works (maybe that’s why he’s at the London School of Economics rather than a university biology department). Unless women who have naturally pert breasts, naturally glossy hair, and are naturally hairless have more children than women who only appear to have those traits (i.e., wear a bra, use conditioner, shave their legs), the human population isn’t going to change in that direction. I’d actually argue the opposite: as it becomes easier to change your appearance with chemicals or surgery, there will be less selection for any particular appearance trait.

    Also, I think he’s wrong on skin color too. Think of four o’clock flowers: if you cross a red flowering plant with a white flowering plant, you end up with pink-flowered offspring. If you cross the pink flowers, though, you end up with red, pink and white flowered offspring in a 1:2:1 ratio. The genetics of human skin color is more complicated than that, but the same principals apply. Humans will likely always come in a variety of shades.

  16. Woman, you are a force to be reckoned with! While, as you profess, you are not a bonified scientist, you do appear to have some serious analytical skills. Or it that ‘teh skillz?” The world needs more people like you!

  17. Nice one!

    So, what’s really interesting to me, in my travels on the world wide web, is that the people writing this crap equate the westernized vision of beauty as the ultimate standard. That this is inherently the BEST possible example of a human being. Tall, light skinned, thin (though not mentioned here), and in this case well endowed (either above or below).

    What I don’t get is when a child is born, they have no idea what language is, what love is, what is and is not considered desirable in a mate. Anyone who really believes that we’re all hard wired to immediately select the best possible example of the human species, which at this point would be a westernized version, just doesn’t get it. Can attraction be chemical and be beyond our logical grasp? Yes. But is it also possible that, the best example of a fertile or virile human being is fed to us by a money grubbing media conglomerate? I think so.

  18. This numbnut sounds like the “experts” who trot out the claptrap about how blondes are “going extinct” or some such every few years or so.

    It’s a shame so many people can’t understand evolution.

  19. Peggy, please stop ruining western man’s dream of a superior light-skinned race, with big schlongs and pert breasts! :)

  20. Unless women who have naturally pert breasts, naturally glossy hair, and are naturally hairless have more children than women who only appear to have those traits (i.e., wear a bra, use conditioner, shave their legs), the human population isn’t going to change in that direction.

    Maybe he’s a Lamarckian.

    his research interests on are the evolution of moral and political thought

    I think his research interests are “whacking off on a piece of paper and calling it research.”

  21. Peggy, I hear you on the flowers, and I can certainly think of examples off the top of my head of people with one white and one black parent who end up looking pretty damned white. (Wentworth Miller, Rashida Jones, Malcolm Gladwell… Not to mention the handful of twins where one looks black and the other looks white.) And of course, people like that having babies with even whiter people are how you get white assholes claiming they deserve minority scholarships, several generations down the line. But generally speaking, don’t non-white genes (and by that, I don’t just mean black, even though those were the only examples I gave) trump white ones more often than not?

  22. Upon reading the BBC article (and your excellent follow-up, Kate), I concluded that this guy was full of crap and wondered what, exactly, his qualifications are…

    He received his PhD from the Government Dept. at the London School of Economics, but that was all I was able to find (I even looked on his website ::rolls eyes::). No CV, no listing of degrees – it is odd, as I am curious as to his education level(s) in philosophy, psychology, and biology.

    Was anyone able to find out more (admittedly, I am making dinner, so I didn’t perform an exhaustive search)?

    Not that having twenty PhDs would make him less of an ass.

  23. My fat-ass is too lazy to look up a cite right now (and I really should get back to that job thing) but last time I checked the rich skinny people aren’t reproducing at a rate sufficient to replace themselves.

  24. What the hell is an economics professor doing discussing evolution and genetics anyway? Correct me if I’m wrong, but last time I checked a PhD is non-transferable to other specialties. Since “Freakonomics,” all these accounting dorks think they can whip out statistical regressions on everything and look brilliant. I’m a Six Sigma black belt and I know the pitfalls of these types of prediction models. Short story is that, even despite Kate’s BRILLIANT dissection of his illogic, even he would agree that the P values on this type of prediction are completely insignificant because there’s no way you could know all the variables involved. Not only that, he’s just a ‘tard. Hilarious column, Kate, as usual…

  25. Lise, on October 25th, 2007 at 8:35 pm Said:

    “I mourn that my Morlock ass will not live to see the big-dicked Jamie Foxx lookalikes. But then, with my cavernous hooha, it might not be worth it.”

    Holy crap this made me snort my milk!

  26. I”m expecting that we’ll have biological engineering in much less than 1K years. People will be able to revise their bodies, and genes won’t matter much. Presumably, they’ll get status by keeping up with the latest body fads or being/wearing custom designer bodies.

    Also, high status people tend to breed at a below replacement rate. This could change, but I believe it’s been stable for a while.
    Even if Curry is right, those pretty people are going to be very rare.

  27. Re. designer genes

    Yeah, I have fictiony day dreams of a plot with a segment of society evolving who are “naturalists” or “unmods” or some such — folks who take their bodies as they are. Considered terribly unfashionable as a group, of course. They get the kind of crap I get for not dying my hair, only in spades.

  28. If he is a evolutionary biologist than I am a ballerina astronaut.

    I vote for taking a collection and sending this dumbass a copy of ,origin of species, the selfish gene, and getting him a seat in an intro level college biology class. stat.

    AND a curse on the journalists who are just repeating this as if this dude is credible AT ALL. I am going to get so many questions from students in my evo class tomorrow about this crap.

  29. oh dear lord. *facepalm* delurking to say, this “story” isn’t just a giant steaming pile of pants, it isn’t even NEW pants. it was run in its imbecilic glory last year, in The Sun.

    (mr bad science, the entertaining (though certainly not immune to fatophobia – while he gets the knife into gillian mckeith and her ilk very nicely he just can’t resist being condescending about the fat folks while he’s at it) dr ben goldacre mocked it here:

    http://www.badscience.net/?p=316 )

    i’m off to wonder morosely if the bbc are ever going to do any decent science reporting ever again.

  30. dang, I meant “then” not “than”

    I’m smert, I sware.

    and hilarious post Kate, forgot to mention that before.

  31. As for the cavernous vaginas, we’d have to likely give up walking upright, or our organs would fall out our giant pelvic outlets.

    Come to think of it, women walking on all fours kind of jives with the whole shiny hair and perkiness thing.

    Didn’t evolution already provide us with golden retrievers?

  32. “Didn’t evolution already provide us with golden retrievers?”

    Not ones that can cook & clean, though!

  33. “Also, I’d just like to point out that if penises did get bigger, vaginas would have to get bigger along with them, or else the big-dick genes would, in fact, die out”

    The vagina is a muscle, not a passive hole. It stretches to accommodate whatever it wraps around.

    http://www.scarleteen.com has good anatomical info.

  34. LSE isn’t just an economics school, it’s actually one of the most prestigious tertiary institutes in the UK. (kind of like MIT isn’t a technical community college, even though it sounds like maybe it ought to be). It is fairly safe to assume this guy is a reputable academic, although I’d be interested to read his actual academic theories, rather than the media version.

    This article is old in the BBC too (17 Oct, 2006). Because they archive all their stuff, sometimes you get a weird throwback in the ‘most read’ or ‘most emailed’ sections, because there is a flurry of interest in things. It often happens when people follow related links from more current articles and pass them on, I think.

    I found the most insulting thing the assumption that these short, fat goblin people would also be really stupid. I just don’t see how the smarts would suddenly be transferred to the tall, coffee people.

  35. My fantasy is that Anne X scours the internet for people making pussy jokes, calls them biologically ignorant (without checking whether they have vaginas of their own), and then pimps Scarleteen at them. Like a vagina astronaut.

    Oh, and Shy Lurker, thanks for the point about LSE — I was just about to say that. I’m pretty disappointed actually — it’s a great school, what are they doing with this crackpot?

  36. Hah! I wish I could put vagina astronaut on my résumé. Sadly I cannot.

    Just a lurker (ex-lurker?) that cringes whenever someone pulls the “vaginas are holes blahblahblah” thing. Because it is usually done seriously, you know? Sadly. So the joke went over my head and raised my hackles instead.

    Peace?

  37. I think you should look into being a vagina astronaut or at least a vagina pioneer. It turns out that, with the Oliver Curry method, all you need to do is develop an elaborate fantasy about it, and it will become true!

    Kate was just joking, but I understand the peeve.

  38. Reputable scientists say all sorts of whacked-out stuff. Just look at dear Dr. Watson…

    I did some looking into Dr. Curry, and he seems fairly reputable. He only finished his PhD 2 years ago, and I’m going to assume he made the mistake of talking to a reporter who didn’t understand what he was saying. (It happpens alot – my advisor is doing work on H. floresiensis and you would NOT BELIEVE the amount of BULLSHIT that gets reported by the media as fact). More than likely he made a few suggestions as to what we generally select for now and extrapolated it to future generations as a possibility and the reporter went all cross-eyed and decided that THESE ARE what would be selected for, rather than a possibility.

    I say this because no one graduates with a doctorate in evolutionary anything that thinks that pertness of breasts is accounted for by anything other than a decent bra. Seriously. The suspensory ligaments in your breasts are lovingly referred to by anatomists everywhere as “Cooper’s Droopers” for a reason.

    :)

  39. Reputable scientists say all sorts of whacked-out stuff. Just look at dear Dr. Watson…

    GOOD POINT.

    Although I’m not sure anybody seriously still considers Jim Watson a “reputable scientist.” Has he contributed at all since ’53, besides writing autobiographies and being inflammatory?

  40. Just a lurker (ex-lurker?) that cringes whenever someone pulls the “vaginas are holes blahblahblah” thing. Because it is usually done seriously, you know? Sadly. So the joke went over my head and raised my hackles instead.

    Peace?

    It’s all good, Anne. Especially since it gave us the phrase “vagina astronaut.”

    And yes, I was joking, although quite honestly, as the owner of a vagina muscle, I would say that even if it CAN expand to accommodate whatever goes into it, there are certainly limits on what feels good.

  41. Kate, I just recently found your blog, and this post made me so happy– if I could have your babies I would! Okay, not really, but thank you for existing

    Anna X, it always bugs me when people say the vagina can expand to accept anything, and then they use the example of childbirth. I always want to point out that pregnancy produces hormones that make that stretch possible, and even then lots of women need stitches afterwards.

  42. I always want to point out that pregnancy produces hormones that make that stretch possible, and even then lots of women need stitches afterwards.

    Not to mention, I don’t think I’d enjoy giving birth as often as I have sex.

  43. Holy crap, that is like a very bad science fiction story, and I really like science fiction!

    How stupid do news reporters think people are?

  44. As a proud member of the itty bitty titty committee, I can confirm that small breasts stay pretty darn pert! If only I weren’t so short and hairy and with my damn asymmetrical facial features, I could be one of those super-people of the future!

    Actually, Lucy looks kinda short and hairy and she has some pretty pert breasts herself! I could be part of a sub-group of humans who will devolve back into monkeys! We’ll end up competeting with the goblins for the menial jobs.

  45. But generally speaking, don’t non-white genes (and by that, I don’t just mean black, even though those were the only examples I gave) trump white ones more often than not?

    Well, my understanding is that there is incomplete dominance between the alleles that encode the genes that determine human skin color (like the flowers), so if everybody’s genes were mixed the majority of people would have an intermediate skin tone with a fewer number at the extremely light and extremely dark ends of the spectrum. I don’t think the human race will ever be uniformly skin toned.

  46. Peggy, please stop ruining western man’s dream of a superior light-skinned race, with big schlongs and pert breasts!

    LOL, that would be rather interesting if all those characteristics were on the same individual. If there are guys who really want to see Curry’s dream come true, they should certainly do their part and refrain from having offspring unless they are chisel-chinned and well hung.

  47. We’ll end up competeting with the goblins for the menial jobs.

    Yes. And the Beautiful Coffee People will speak disparagingly of the way Monkeys will do jobs that Goblins just won’t do.

  48. From his faculty page:
    Dr Curry’s research interests are focussed on evolutionary explanations of human nature, especially moral and political thought and behaviour as well as the implications for social sciences especially moral and political theory.

    There is a lot of highly speculative theorizing from evolutionary psychologists about the evolution of behaviors that are not actually known to have a genetic basis and aren’t even universal to all humans. That’s not to say that there isn’t a genetic basis for some behavior, but that we don’t really understand the biological basis of most behavior well enough to make good evolutionary hypotheses about them.

    Curry’s research publications appear to be a of cross between philosophy and biology (and his position is indeed in a philosophy department*). Those who are curious about his background, you can read his doctoral thesis, “Morality as Natural History”. It turns out PZ Myers wrote a takedown of the nonsense.

    * The London School of Economics and Political Science is indeed prestigious in the social sciences, but it doesn’t even include any basic science departments, just philosophy of science, bioethics, etc.

  49. Unhurt said:

    … it isn’t even NEW pants. it was run in its imbecilic glory last year, in The Sun. […] i’m off to wonder morosely if the bbc are ever going to do any decent science reporting ever again.

    Note that actually the BBC article is from 2006 too. Oh, I see Shy Lurker already said that. I realised when it was first mentioned here that I’d seen if before, but not just how long ago!

    It’s still bollocks though. I wonder if those get bigger too?

  50. For some reason this whole article reminds me of the Rocky Horror Picture Show where Tim Curry as Frank-n-Furter creates the “perfect” human being. Possibly it’s the connection between the Currys (Tim and Oliver) but it’s also the laughable tosh that he’s spewing.

    Seriously, pert brests and glossy hair? Dr Oliver, I can see you carrying out your research in a bondage basque surrounded by adoring freaks.

    Hmm, strikes me as normal academic behaviour…..

  51. ealonar blair said:

    “It’s still bollocks though. I wonder if those get bigger too?”

    oh dear. so, one glorious day, all men will resemble the viz character ‘buster gonad and his unfeasably large testicles’? i no longer want to visit the future.

    (in ‘the third chimpanzee’ jared diamond suggests that there IS evidence that the human penis is the size it is because of selective pressure for bigger ones. however, he also interprets the evidence to conclude that its size is intended to impress or intimidate *other men*…)

  52. this “story” isn’t just a giant steaming pile of pants, it isn’t even NEW pants. it was run in its imbecilic glory last year, in The Sun.

    And the best bit?:

    The “research” – or “essay” – was paid for by Bravo, a bikini and fast car “men’s TV channel” celebrating its 21st year in operation. Just to give you a flavour of Bravo, tonight at 11pm you can catch the movie classic Temptations: “When a group of farm workers find that the bank intends to foreclose on their property, they console each other with a succession of steamy romps. This might go some way to explaining the “pert breasts” angle of Curry’s “new research”.

    Beeb, you’re dead to me, reprinting soft-porn ad copy as “science”.

  53. …Wow.

    I haven’t even completed my undergraduate degree in English and even I know more about evolutionary theory than he does. That’s just tragic.

  54. Peggy said: The London School of Economics and Political Science is indeed prestigious in the social sciences, but it doesn’t even include any basic science departments, just philosophy of science, bioethics, etc.

    I think this is the somewhat confusing part of this whole twisted tale. Respected scientists with loads of degrees and credentials say stupid (and flat-out wrong) things all the time, but I am just curious as to how much in the way of science experience Curry has, mostly because I would expect someone who researches evolution and morality to have credentials in BOTH biology and philosophy (he only seems to have the latter, though I may be missing something).

    Nevertheless, it would be crap no matter what he had his degrees in – scientists aren’t immune from bias or making blindingly silly statements (or having their results misconstrued by the media, though I’m not sure how much that is the case here).

  55. I find it amusing that this story is coming from the same nation whose Miss World committee has instructed its representative to gain weight so that she’ll have a “curvier” figure that will be more appealling to the judges.

    Setting aside the idea that she’ll be able to gain weight “strategically,” I can’t help but wonder: if the “global” standard of beauty — i.e., Miss World — is supposed to be curvy, doesn’t that sort of blow this guy’s theory out of the water?

  56. I see where he is coming from: when I first arrived in the UK I thought the population looked strange. You can see how genetically it has divided, with the tall good looking types with more money and better jobs, and the bald, dumpy people doing the crap jobs. Regarding race appearances, I think Brazil is where we are going: all cappuccino in looks.

  57. Jmars, it doesn’t really take even that degree of effort to blow his theory out of the water. :)

    But luckily he has a friend in Bob here, whose comment is so hilarious that I won’t even bother to respond.

  58. You know, we may turn into goblins, but remember that the goblins made short work of their more highly-evolved neighbors Moria in Lord of the Rings. Maybe theres a Bolrock we can befriend who will help us?

  59. If I hadn’t seen some of the programs on BBC tv when I lived in Britain, I might be tempted to think the editors of BBC News were on crack. Alas, I think it’s in the water of the building.

    Of course, I’m clearly Morlock-related myself, so my thinking’s probably wrong on that point.

  60. Of course, I’m clearly Morlock-related myself, so my thinking’s probably wrong on that point.

    Also your penis is very small.

  61. Tall, good-looking types get better jobs in the UK? Have you ever heard of Winston Churchill?

    This cracked me up (once I rescued it from the spam filter, which doesn’t like short comments with multiple links).

  62. All of my test comments in this post were to determine whether a failure occurred. My results are in a comment to the IE Users post. It appears, though, that something in IE6 may be the culprit as I had failures under IE6 with both WinXP and Win2K. This post is from WinXPHOme/IE7

  63. And people accuse us of not embracing empiricism here at SP!

    Thanks for your experimental pioneering, kdp.

  64. It seems to me that there is nothing more important (or perhaps as speculative) as evolutionary biology. While Curry is operating as a populizer here, I have to say that I’m fairly unimpressed with the frivilous analysis here. The author seem to have taken Curry’s extrapolation personally, as have many commenters here.

    That persons living in an era of historically unprecedented plenty face genetic consequences because of their genetic heritage in this environment is simply a fact. Take the condition of hemochromatosis, which results in dangerously heightened iron absorbtion: this was a beneficial mutation that probably occurred in the 1st millenium AD, but is actually damaging with today’s rich diet in industrialized nations. So social arrangements can have genetic consequences, and if they last long enough, evolutionary ones.

    Is the rise of institutionalized individualism some kind of fad, or is it likely to last? Opinions can differ on this, I suppose. But I really think that the longterm biological consequences of our arrangements today are at least as worthy of being explored as the far more ubiquitous environmental models, which in the end are probably about as reliable as the specific instance of Curry’s.

  65. I have to say that I’m fairly unimpressed with the frivilous analysis here.

    Right. It’s the analysis that’s frivolous.

    Did you read the part about the big dicks?

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  67. White male xenophobes are its pinnacle, you know.

    Also, I’m not going to get deeply into this right now, but can I just register my extreme discontentment with what people seem to think “postmodern” means?

  68. Also, I’m not going to get deeply into this right now, but can I just register my extreme discontentment with what people seem to think “postmodern” means?

    Hee. Yes, you may.

  69. So, everyone who can’t bag a tall, slim, healthy, creative person is just gonna… abstain from sex? ‘Cause… why again?

    I stopped reading after that! It’ll never happen, Mr. Curry! :)

  70. We’ll end up competeting with the goblins for the menial jobs.

    Yes. And the Beautiful Coffee People will speak disparagingly of the way Monkeys will do jobs that Goblins just won’t do.

    HEEHEEHEE OMG I think I love you!

    You know, Kate, frivolity is a factor for obesity. Better watch it! You’ll never get married (of course, then you’d just pack on the pounds anyway!)

    Speaking of packing on the pounds, that phrase was used in the Miss England/Miss World article somebody posted up there… Interesting. She’s definitely promoting HAES by refusing to be a big woman when she says she’s naturally athletic, but the article makes it out to sound like she’s getting some guilty pleasure out of “forcing herself to eat” a high fiet diet.

    Ooooh, oh! And I LOOOOooooooOOOOOOVE how David’s last paragraph on his own site (whose tab comes up with Spectator spelled incorrectly, btw), basically jsut starts throwing pseudo-sholarly language out there to confuse all of us WOMINZZ and really connect with the men!

  71. I wasn’t able to comment on this before because I was on the work machine (hence, IE) and this comment section kept crashing. Now that I’m on Safari…all I can say is, HAHAHAHAHA! You do know what will happen when the human race all becomes, by current standards, flawlessly beautiful? What else? The ante will get upped for what “beautiful” is, yet again. Every blemish will stand out in bas relief. Ideal nose and perfect tooth symmetry standards will become ever more exacting. The tiniest softening of a “square” jaw will be cause to get a million-dollar facelift. A guy with a squeaky voice will stick out all the more and will be pressured to undergo costly hormone treatments and Bast knows what else to try to deepen it. And I don’t even wanna THINK about what women will have to go through to shrink feet that are too big and clunky for $5000 shoes.

    Like my ex-boyfriend used to say, “People love to complain.”

  72. Just so you all know, I am somewhat sympathetic -w- the ‘FA’ movement, in that I agree with some of its basic assumptions – that the MSM promotes toxic ideas about what people, especially women , should aspire to look like, and that there is a certain human dignity that is pervasively denied to those who do not fit this artificially conceived ideal. This is certainly more true in some locales than others: I recall one wag suggesting that LA and San Francisco seem to want to revoke the citizenship of anyone with a ‘non-ideal’ body shape. I don’t really begrudge you all hitting me a bit, since I came in here irritably,as I didn’t like the way that Evolutionary biology was treated in the post. I should probably point out that my site is a collaberation and that if anything I am the xenophilic one there (I know, obvious joke here), where my friend and cowriter Rick is the one so concerned -w- improperly documented immigration, and doubtless penis size too (sorry, Rick :-) ). Anyway, I may stick around a bit, especially after reading through a bit and enjoying some of the wit.

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