Archive for the ‘evolution’ Tag

Women wearing red are seen as more attractive

New research has found yet another way that our thinking is often much less rational and far more influenced by external factors than we’d like to admit.  These findings, produced by a team led by psychology professor Andrew Elliot of the University of Rochester in New York, indicate that men find women who wear the color red to be more physically attractive than those who wear other colors.

Ladies, wear this color if you want to be seen as more physically attractive to men

Ladies, wear this color if you want to be seen as more physically attractive to men

They did several sets of experiments.  In one, researchers used a computer to modify the color of clothing worn by women in various pictures.  Men who saw a picture of a given woman wearing red rated her, on average, as being more attractive than did men who saw the same woman in the same photo but with her shirt changed to a different color.  In the other set of experiments, men were shown pictures of women that were unmodified but that were framed with a colored border.  Women were rated as more physically attractive and sexually desirable when their pictures were framed with red than when they were framed with another color.

Homosexual men and color blind men were excluded from the study, which utilized about 100 men, mostly college undergraduates.  They did not rate women wearing red any differently in terms of intelligence, likability, or kindness—only attractiveness.  Researchers conclude “The women shown framed by or wearing red were rated significantly more attractive and sexually desirable by men than the exact same women shown with other colours.” The study is published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

The lead researcher notes that:

throughout history many cultures have linked sex with the colour red, ranging from ancient peoples who used ochre body paints on fertile females to modern-day “red-light” districts.

But Dr. Elliot speculated that men’s response to red may also have deep biological roots that go beyond a learned cultural response. The sexual parts of female baboons and chimpanzees take on a conspicuously red hue when they are reaching ovulation. In similar fashion, many human females will become flush-faced when they are interested in a male, Dr. Elliot said.

“It may well be that males have this deep-seated sense of red indicating sexual availability,” he speculated. “I think females can use that to their advantage—and to wear it or not, depending on their desires.”

So, ladies, this should make it easier for you to decide what to wear on your next first date.  If you like the guy, wear red; if you want to lose him, wear another color.  Or maybe just wear red anyway, because in other research conducted by those same scientists, men said they were willing to spend more money on a date if she were wearing red than if she were wearing another color.

Church of England apologizes to Charles Darwin

The Rev. Malcolm Brown, the head of the Church of England’s public affairs department, has said that the Church owes Charles Darwin an apology, “for misunderstanding you and, by getting our first reaction wrong, encouraging others to misunderstand you still.” He said that in a larger essay, “Good religion needs good science,” which itself if part of an excellent series of articles and essays, found at here, on Darwin that the Church of England is releasing in advance of 2009, which is both the bicentennial of the scientist’s birth and the 150th anniversary of the first publication of On the Origin of Species.

Charles Darwin, shortly after his return from the voyage of the Beagle

Charles Darwin in the late 1830s, shortly after returning from the Beagle's historic voyage

They compare hostility to Darwin and evolution to the opposition that Galileo faced for saying the Earth moved around the Sun. Pope John Paul II officially apologized for the Catholic Church’s role in putting Galileo on trial and stifling his ideas. Some have criticized the apology, calling it “ludicrous” or “pointless,” the latter being the characterization of Darwin’s great-great-grandson.

I think it is appropriate to admit fault where it is real, but care should be taken to not distort the history of the church’s reaction to the theory of evolution which is certainly not the story of universal rejection. Indeed, the publication of The Origin of Species in North America was organized by Darwin’s confidante, Asa Gray, professor of natural history at Harvard and a committed Christian. (Gray later wrote a book titled Darwiniana.) The British historian James Moore writes that “with but few exceptions the leading Christian thinkers in Great Britain and America came to terms quite readily with Darwinism and evolution”, and the American sociologist George Marsden reports that “…with the exception of Harvard’s Louis Agassiz, virtually every American Protestant zoologist and botanist accepted some form of evolution by the early 1870s.” And it wasn’t just scientists among Christians who quickly embraced evolution. One Anglican clergyman wrote to Darwin suggesting that evolution was actually a “loftier” conception of God than the old-fashioned idea of God creating humans the easy way, by just molding them out of dust. In other words, there is grandeur in this view of life.

I do very highly recommend the articles published by the Church of England on Darwin and his life, though I have only begun to skim through them myself. They point out that Darwin was raised and always surrounded by Anglicans and even studied briefly for the priesthood as a young man (some Islamic Creationists take this to be proof that evolution is a Christian plot to undermine the morals of good Moslems). His journey away from Christian faith into what he later said was best characterized as agnosticism, not atheism, had nothing to do with his scientific discoveries; it was largely the result of his daughter’s death, which he found difficult to square with the existence of a loving, all-powerful God.

Darwin knew that his research and theories would prove controversial and expected the attacks that he received. However, his fears that his family and friends would reject him were happily unfounded. When he died in 1882, he became one of only five non-royals to be given a state funeral in the 19th century and was buried in Westminster Abbey, close to John Herschel and Isaac Newton.

Comments are welcome. And you can check out those aforementioned articles here: http://www.cofe.anglican.org/darwin