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Wellington hosts Rebecca Watson

  • Dec 6, 2012 · 6:00 PM
  • Kingsgate Hotel

Rebecca Watson is an internationally-renowned skeptic. She's the founder of the Skepchick blogging network, and one of the rogues on the top-rating Skeptics Guide to the Universe podcast.

Rebecca will be speaking on the following topic:

How Girls Evolved to Shop, and Other Ways to Insult Women with "Science"

As skeptics, we often turn to scientific research to inform our worldview. Unfortunately, a lot of research hits the mainstream media regardless of whether or not the science is solid. Evolutionary psychology is a field seemingly tailor-made for newspaper headlines and popular science books, but how much of it is true? Did differences between the brains of men and women really evolve during the Paleolithic? Did cave-gentlemen really prefer blondes? And why do women have sex? Let's look at what some great (and not-so-great) scientific minds have to say.

Rebecca is here courtesy of the New Zealand Skeptics, Inc.

This talk is open to the public and a small token fee will be collected at the door to offset the cost of hosting the event. Rebecca will also be selling various swag!

Doors open at 6pm with the talk expected to start no later than 7pm. The hotel bar shall be open and we have the venue for the evening. Feel free to hang around and chat after the talk.

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  • Matthew W.

    The point of skepticism, as I understand it, is not to breed little scientists out of all of us, though that would be nice, but for people to be aware of false doctrines.
    It seems to me that the false doctrines are the result partly of evopsych and partly of media and our own biases. To point this out seems fine, and to do it entertainingly is the skeptics in the pub ethos.
    The talk was 'hey, call yourself skeptic, be aware of this'. And be aware and ready for it when you are out there having this kind of conversation over a latte with people who don't get it.

    3 · December 9, 2012

    • A former member
      A former member

      Well said, Matthew. I think a more involved analysis might have meant the talk was less accesible for a lot of people, which is likely to put them off both feminism and skepticism. The information for a more critical analysis is there for anyone who wants to get further into it, but as a general 'head's up, this is out there and it's insidious and obnoxious' I thought she did a good job (although I couldn't make it to the talk, so I'm going on a video I saw of it).

      2 · December 10, 2012

  • Lew S.

    I was disapointed with Rebecca's talk and found it very suprficial. For ecample - its easy to gather "bad science" deadlines from newspapers - but so what - so papers present bad science - and are sexist - didn't we already know that?

    So was the talk menat to be a critical analysis of evolutionary psycology - then it seemd to me to be rather superficial - gathering information from "outliers" I 've been involved in the feminist movemnet for over 40 years and yes new generations need to assume the mantel - but this was a very lightweight analysis.

    December 9, 2012

    • Lauren

      I wouldn't call Hatfield and Clark an outlier per se - it's used as a reference by Dr. Fletcher in the VUW Soc. Psyc. course, along with other similar evo. psyc. papers.

      As a "new generation feminist" I thought Rebecca was keeping the conversation alive, which is the most important part of the modern feminist agenda given the lack of receptivity in a post modern, post-feminist world.

      1 · December 9, 2012

  • Rob E.

    Lew, I expected from the title of her talk "How Girls Evolved to Shop, and Other Ways to Insult Women with 'Science'" that this wasn't going to be a dense academic critical review. Rebecca was there to talk about Sexism. Evo-psy seems to be abundant with low hanging fruit. I thought her talk was entertaining and funny, Rebecca is a living rebuttal to Hitchens' (somewhat tongue in cheek) assertion that Women aren't funny.

    1 · December 9, 2012

  • Com N. S.

    I'm wondering if you have seen this write-up about Rebecca's "Women Evolved To Shop" presentation. It is a great prelude to her appearance and highly recommended http://skepticink.com/incredulous/2012/12/01/science-denialism-at-a-skeptic-conference/
    Skepticism should be practiced by everyone, especially skeptics. I'm sure you all agree

    December 4, 2012

    • Gregory G.

      The linked article is the usual defensiveness from psychology. Ignore it. Psych can't handle public exposure because the psychologist has no lab coat.

      December 6, 2012

    • Hugh Y.

      "I'm wondering whether she's critiquing the study itself or the popular presentation of it, which will inevitably be tainted by sexist stereotyping."

      She certainly hoed into the popular presentation of it, and especially the venal "scientists" who give their name to PR crap dressed up as science. Her critique of the EvoDevo was also good. We must certainly beware of claims that we are hardwired for things that confirm our prejudices.

      December 7, 2012

  • James K.

    It's always a please to hear Rebecca talk.

    December 7, 2012

  • Matthew W.

    Great evening. Can't wait to read the fresh controversies!

    December 6, 2012

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