I’ve spoken before about the biases rampant in science, due to the disproportionate influence of straight white men in the field. I gave one example of the effects of gender-biased language in scientific papers. But there’s so much more than one example. In fact, there are so many examples that I keep a personal “infuriation diary” of all the scientific articles I or my colleagues come across that are flawed because of gender and sexual bias (and some plain old human sloppiness.) So I will share the latest entries in my infuriation diary with you.
Men with big balls make bad fathers!
Or so this study concludes. What this group did was recruit fathers of babies who were living and co-parenting with their female partners. They gave the mothers and fathers questionnaires about how much each of them contributed to parenting. They recorded brain activity in the fathers when they looked at pictures of their children. Then they measured testicular volume in the fathers.
The group of scientists found a negative relationship between testicular volume and parenting effort in fathers, which they trumpeted as evidence for Life History Theory, which basically says that men have a trade-off between mating effort (time spent courting women and getting them pregnant) and parenting effort (time spent raising babies.)
Which sounds very scientific and all, but the methods are riddled with holes.