Death, Disease, and Politics | Dr. Randy Thornhill | The Jordan B. Peterson Podcast – S4: E:38

This episode was recorded on May 10th 2021.

Jordan Peterson’s guest today is distinguished Professor Emeritus at the University of New Mexico, American entomologist and evolutionary biologist, Dr. Randy Thornhill.

Dr. Thornhill’s research shines an enticing light on scientific areas that most people have never been exposed to. We come to understand and appreciate the importance of evolutionary biology in shaping our opinions, attitudes, and in many cases the decisions we make throughout our lives. Dr. Thornhill has authored and co-authored around 250 scientific publications, and a majority of his work has been cited in scientific literature over 35,000 times.

Dr. Thornhill shares his findings on attractiveness including cryptic female choice, symmetry, carotenoid pigments, and the characteristics of attractiveness. They also cover Dr. Thornhill’s parasite-stress theory, the critical role that infectious disease plays in humanity, IQ, sex, religion, and conservatism.

For information on Dr. Randy Thornhill’s publications, visit:

The Jordan B. Peterson Podcast can be found at

[00:00] Introduction
[00:18] Jordan introduces Dr. Randy Thornhill.
[01:30] Dr. Thornhill outlines his findings on the perception of attractiveness and why it’s important.
[11:00] Components of cryptic female choice.
[17:00] Other factors symmetry is associated with human beings. (IQ & Symmetry)
[20:00] Averageness and attractiveness.
[26:30] The ideology behind the Beauty Myth.
[32:30] Carotenoid pigments correlation with attractiveness.
[35:30] Building the optimum form based on the scientific data health markers.
[37:00] Collectivism vs. Individualism and the relationship with Conservatism and Liberalism.
[47:00] Dr. Thornhill’s parasite-stress theory, the relationship between parasite-stress & values.
[52:30] Personality predictors of liberalism & conservatism.
[58:00] The evidence to support the parasite-stress theory, & the power of the relationship between parasites and conservatives.
[1:06:30] The possibility of an increase in conservatism due to COVID.
[01:13:30] The relationship of the parasitic-stress theory to IQ.
[01:16:00] The critical role of infectious disease in regards to humanity and culture.
[01:21:30] Main objections to his theory and the evolution of progressing liberalism & the eradication of parasites and diseases.
[01:31:00] How the reaction to COVID is almost counter-intuitive to his theory.
[01:34:00] Parasite-stress and sex, sex positions, and sexual preference.
[01:39:00] Parasite-stress and religiosity.
[01:44:30] How studying changed the way he looks at society, people, & political belief systems.
[01:53:00] The relationship of childhood illness to conservatism.
[01:54:00] Eradicating Fascism by wiping out infectious disease.

Visit to view more information about Jordan, his books, lectures, social media, blog posts, and more.
Jordan B. Peterson is a professor of psychology at the University of Toronto, a clinical psychologist, and the author of the multi-million copy bestseller 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos, #1 for nonfiction in 2018 in the US, Canada, the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Sweden, the Netherlands, Brazil and Norway, and slated for translation into 50 languages.
Dr. Peterson has appeared on many popular podcasts and shows, including the Joe Rogan Experience (877, 958, 1006), The Rubin Report (12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos, Free Speech, Psychology, Gender Pronouns), H3H3 (#37), and many more. Dr. Peterson’s own podcast has focused mainly on his lecture series, covering a great deal of psychology and historical content. Jordan is expanding his current podcast from lectures to interviews with influential people around the world. We hope you enjoy this episode and more to come from Dr. Peterson in the future.



Beyond Order: 12 More Rules for Life:
12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos:
Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief:


12 Rules for Life Tour:
Reading List:


Personality Course:
Self Authoring Suite:
Understand Myself personality test:

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