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Ask Dr. Pinker! Self Help from a Self-Important Evolutionary Psychologist

Dr. Tooby Dawkins Pinker, Distinguished Professor of Evolutionary Psychology and Master of Great Hair, answers your self help questions.

Dear Dr. Pinker:

After ten years of marriage, I fear that the romance has left my relationship. What can I do to make my husband interested in me again?

Dear Sexually Challenged Female:

It is obvious that your husband is following an instinctive drive, common among primates and our primate ancestors, to respond to perky, rosebud colored protuberances that denote fertility, and thus reproductive success. I propose that you visit a plastic surgeon and get them restored immediately. Then you will find no doubt that your husband's interest will return.

Dear Dr. Pinker:

Try as I might, I just can't shed those extra twenty pounds so that I can fit into my summer dress, Can you suggest how I can lose that extra weight?

Dear. Tubby:

To survive cold and barren paleolithic nights, our ancestors found survival value in storing valuable nutrients in adipose tissue. Thus evolution saw to it that you would be instinctively drawn to the fast foods that would be stored as fast fat for the coming winter. For your ancestors this made for survival, but for you it means fat chubby thighs. Ha! Ha! What an intentional jokester evolution is! Anyways, I would recommend bolting your refrigerator and running five miles a day while imagining you are being chased by Neanderthal cave bears.

Dear Dr. Pinker:

My husband doesn't want to mow the lawn. Can you suggest a way to motivate the lazy bum?

Dear Bummed Out:

Don't blame your husband, because his instincts are really the cause of his supposed malingering. You see, thousands of years ago, his male ancestors would hunt for game in tall grasslands that would also have provided him cover from predators. Thus mowing the lawn would deprive him of this cover, therefore activating an innate fear mechanism that you falsely identify with being lazy. Nonetheless, this inherited mechanism can be countered by an even more powerful and instinctive mechanism, namely the fear of an angry spouse with soup bone or frying pan in hand, which I suggest you try.

Dear Dr. Pinker:

As patriarch of a household that believes in liberal democratic values of equality, justice and sacrifice for the common weal, I am terrified that our son is adopting a conservative Republican point of view that advocates Social Darwinistic viewpoints such as might is right, every man for himself, and a reduction of our civil and constitutional rights. Can you show me how I can steer him straight?

Dear Liberal Democratic Pansy Wuss:

Obviously, your son has been reading me, and recognizes that there is an inherant human nature derived from evolution that is not nice. So get over it! The kid's not a blank slate that you can brainwash, though I do think that evil virus like ideas or memes have infected your brain, thus preventing you from recognizing that we are truly publicity seeking, self aggrandizing, and selfish assholes at heart. I have had the courage to recognize this and so should you. Thus, I recommend that you let in a few new memes as an antidote to your quaint 18th century thinking. May I suggest my brilliant ground breaking work along with a subscription to the National Review and Wall Street Journal.

Dear Dr. Pinker:

After reading your self help advice, it seems to be to boil down to ad hoc bullshit explanations and 'cures' such as boob jobs, dieting, corporal punishment, and neo-fascism. What a crock of ....

Dear Whiner:

Let me interrupt you with a few basic facts. First, if you want to know how the mind works (but not the brain, which doesn't matter),. you've got to know the prior problems that confronted our primate ancestors. Thus our minds are indelibly etched with all sorts of phrenological carvings that look like a psychological Mount Rushmore. Secondly, it is proven, by me of course, that we also have language instincts that sometimes lead us to bubble up with bon mots of the four letter kind. Besides yourself, I have often noticed this instinct come to play in my lecture audiences, which often seem like Tourette syndrome sufferer conventions. But as a scientist, I understand. Ultimately biology is destiny, and so am I! Next question!

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