How Our Predisposition Toward Empathy Taints Our Logic

Our sexually selected instincts for displaying sympathy tend to affect our belief systems, not just our charity and courtship behavior. When individuals espouse ideological positions, we typically interpret their beliefs as signs of good or bad moral character. Individuals feel social pressure to adopt the beliefs that are conventionally accepted as indicating a "good heart," even when those beliefs are not rational. We may even find ourselves saying, "His ideas may be right, but his heart is clearly not in the right place." Political correctness is one outcome of such attributions. For example, if a scientist says, "I have evidence that human intelligence is genetically heritable," that is usually misinterpreted as proclaiming, "I am a disagreeable psychopath unworthy of love." The arbiters of ideological correctness can create the impression that belief A must indicate personality trait X. If X is considered sexually and socially repulsive, then belief A becomes taboo. In this way our sexually selected instincts for moralistic self-advertisement become subverted into ideological dogmas. I think that human rationality consists largely of separating intellectual argument from personality attributions about moral character. Our difficulty in making this separation suggests that political, religious, and pseudo-scientific ideologies have been part of moralistic self-display for a very long time.


We find logical ideas repulsive when they conflict with our need to associate with sensitive people. If a person suggests a correct and logical idea, but it is an idea that lacks empathy, we tend to find the individual repulsive (This happened to me on a thread when I suggested letting pandas go extinct).

Folksonomies: evolution logic irrationality ideology mate selection

/religion and spirituality (0.451212)
/society/racism (0.447602)
/health and fitness/disease/heart disease (0.420236)

sexually selected instincts (0.988439 (negative:-0.783922)), moral character (0.804951 (negative:-0.229719)), bad moral character (0.783924 (negative:-0.525210)), Predisposition Toward Empathy (0.726563 (negative:-0.893462)), ideological correctness (0.708450 (negative:-0.783016)), ideological positions (0.704158 (negative:-0.439741)), ideological dogmas (0.695660 (negative:-0.798214)), logical idea (0.685148 (positive:0.228824)), personality attributions (0.680663 (positive:0.295491)), logical ideas (0.678864 (negative:-0.893462)), Taints Our Logic (0.677143 (negative:-0.893462)), sensitive people (0.676542 (negative:-0.893462)), belief systems (0.674631 (negative:-0.769630)), courtship behavior (0.670069 (negative:-0.705810)), pseudo-scientific ideologies (0.668707 (negative:-0.535203)), Political correctness (0.667303 (neutral:0.000000)), disagreeable psychopath (0.659906 (negative:-0.761419)), social pressure (0.656449 (neutral:0.000000)), personality trait (0.653022 (negative:-0.783016)), human rationality (0.651359 (positive:0.295491)), intellectual argument (0.650141 (positive:0.295491)), right place (0.648306 (negative:-0.214588)), good heart (0.644187 (positive:0.388207)), long time (0.643865 (negative:-0.535203)), human intelligence (0.642757 (negative:-0.331782)), moralistic self-display (0.638851 (negative:-0.535203)), moralistic self-advertisement (0.636743 (negative:-0.798214)), beliefs (0.579038 (negative:-0.371070)), individuals (0.556971 (negative:-0.439741)), pandas (0.541015 (negative:-0.721310))

scientist:JobTitle (0.685136 (neutral:0.000000))

Religion (0.977582): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Psychology (0.894353): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Ideology (0.742025): dbpedia | freebase
Sociology (0.729990): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Science (0.695567): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Philosophy (0.664866): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Epistemology (0.663699): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Truth (0.637702): dbpedia | freebase

 The Mating Mind
Books, Brochures, and Chapters>Book:  Miller, Geoffrey (2011-12-21), The Mating Mind, Random House Digital, Inc., Retrieved on 2013-06-24
  • Source Material []
  • Folksonomies: evolution science sexual selection