When the instincts to virtue signal are combined with curiosity about science, open-mindedness about values and viewpoints, rationality about priorities and policies, and strategic savvy about ways and means, then wonderful things can happen. These more enlightened forms of virtue signaling have sparked the Protestant Reformation, American Revolution, abolitionist movement, anti-vivisection movement, women’s suffrage movement, free speech movement, and Effective Altruism movement. But when the instincts to virtue signal are not combined with curiosity, open-mindedness, rationality, and strategic savvy, then you get Robespierre’s Reign of Terror, Stalin’s Holodomor, Hitler’s Holocaust, mao’s Cultural Revolution, and Twitter.
Geoffrey Miller, Virtue Signaling: Essays on Darwinian Politics & Free Speech, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 2019
The relationship between fitness and survival creates a deep asymmetry in nature.
It’s why, for women, it’s even more important to be sexually disgusted by ineffectiveness than to be sexually attracted to effectiveness. Effectiveness requires a lot—thousands of genes, hundreds of adaptations, dozens of organs, and millions of neurons working together in awesomely intricate ways to produce sustained, adaptive behavior. But there are an infinite number of ways to be ineffective as a male animal, from being spontaneously aborted as a blastocyst to losing competitions to rivals, and literally every point in between. […]
Thus, apart from cultivating signs of effectiveness, it can be even more important to stop showing signs of ineffectiveness. In most species, in fact, a lot of female choice is about avoiding the bad rather than approaching the good.
Tucker Max & Geoffrey Miller, Mate: Become the Man Women Want, New York, 2015
General intelligence […] is the best-established, most predictive, most heritable mental trait ever found in psychology. Whether measured with a formal IQ test or assessed through informal conversation, intelligence predicts objective performance and learning ability across all important life-domains that show reliable individual differences.
Geoffrey Miller, ‘Mating Intelligence: Frequently Asked Questions’, in Glenn Geher and Geoffrey Miller (eds.), Mating Intelligence: Sex, Relationships, and the Mind’s Reproductive System, New York, 2008, p. 373
Shortly after Charles Spearman’s key work in 1904, intelligence became the best-studied, best-established trait in psychology. Higher intelligence predicts higher average success in every domain of life: school, work, money, mating, parenting, physical health, and mental health. It predicts avoiding many misfortunes, such as car accidents, jail, drug addiction, sexually transmitted diseases, divorce, and jury duty. It is one of the most sexually attractive traits in every culture studied, for both sexes. It is socially desired in friends, students, mentors, co-workers, bosses, employees, housemates, and especially platoon mates. It remains ideologically controversial because its predictive power is so high, and its distribution across individuals is so unequal.
Geoffrey Miller, Spent: Sex, Evolution, and Consumer Behavior, New York, 2009, pp. 144-145
The mind of the opposite sex is an exotic dark continent at age 15, a partly-explored colony at age 35, and an over-familiar garden at age 55.
Geoffrey Miller, ‘Mating Intelligence: Frequently Asked Questions’, in Glenn Geher and Geoffrey Miller (eds.), Mating Intelligence: Sex, Relationships, and the Mind’s Reproductive System, New York, 2008, p. 378
In recent years much nonsense has been written by post-modern theorists such as Michel Foucault about the “social construction of the body,” as if human bodies were the incarnation of cultural norms rather than ancestral sexual preferences. These theorists should go to the zoo more often. What they consider a “radical reshaping” of the human body through social pressure is trivial compared to evolution’s power. Evolution can transform a dinosaur into an albatross, a four-legged mammal into a sperm whale, and a tiny, bulgy-eyed, tree-hugging, insect-crunching proto-primate into Julia Roberts—or Arnold Schwarzenegger. Selection is vastly more powerful than any cosmetic surgeon or cultural norm. Minds may be sponges for soaking up culture, but bodies are not.
Geoffrey Miller, The Mating Mind: How Sexual Choice Shaped the Evolution of Human Nature, New York, 2000, p. 255
The healthy brain theory suggests that our brains are different from those of other apes not because extravagantly large brains helped us to survive or to raise offspring, but because such brains are simply better advertisements of how good our genes are. The more complicated the brain, the easier it is to mess up. The human brain’s great complexity makes it vulnerable to impairment through mutations, and its great size makes it physiologically costly. By producing behaviors such as language and art that only a costly, complex brain could produce, we may be advertising our fitness to potential mates. If sexual selection favored the minds that seemed fit for mating, our creative intelligence could have evolved not because it gives us any survival advantage, but because it makes us especially vulnerable to revealing our mutations in our behaviour.
Geoffrey Miller, The Mating Mind: How Sexual Choice Shaped the Evolution of Human Nature, New York, 2000, p. 104