Posted on September 30, by Scott Alexander [Content warning: Try to keep this off Reddit and other similar sorts of things. All the townspeople want to forgive him immediately, and they mock the titular priest for only being willing to give a measured forgiveness conditional on penance and self-reflection. They lecture the priest on the virtues of charity and compassion.
Biological Bases of Sexual Coercion, which argued that rape is in the vernacular of evolutionary biology an adaptation, a trait encoded by genes that confers an advantage on anyone who possesses them. Back in the late Pleistocene epochyears ago, the book contended, men who carried rape genes had a reproductive and evolutionary edge over men who did not: That would be us.
And that is why we carry rape genes today. The family trees of prehistoric men lacking rape genes petered out. The argument was well within the bounds of evolutionary psychology. Founded in the late s in the ashes of sociobiology, this field asserts that behaviors that conferred a fitness advantage during the era when modern humans were evolving are the result of hundreds of genetically based cognitive "modules" preprogrammed in the brain.
Since they are genetic, these modules and the behaviors they encode are heritable—passed down to future generations—and, together, constitute a universal human nature that describes how people think, feel and act, from the nightclubs of Manhattan to the farms of the Amish, from the huts of New Guinea aborigines to the madrassas of Karachi.
Evolutionary psychologists do not have a time machine, of course. So to figure out which traits were adaptive during the Stone Age, and therefore bequeathed to us like a questionable family heirloom, they make logical guesses.
Men who were promiscuous back then were more evolutionarily fit, the researchers reasoned, since men who spread their seed widely left more descendants. By similar logic, evolutionary psychologists argued, women who were monogamous were fitter; by being choosy about their mates and picking only those with good genes, they could have healthier children.
Men attracted to young, curvaceous babes were fitter because such women were the most fertile; mating with dumpy, barren hags is not a good way to grow a big family tree. Women attracted to high-status, wealthy males were fitter; such men could best provide for the kids, who, spared starvation, would grow up to have many children of their own.
Men who neglected or even murdered their stepchildren and killed their unfaithful wives were fitter because they did not waste their resources on nonrelatives.
And so on, to the fitness-enhancing value of rape. We in the 21st century, asserts evo psych, are operating with Stone Age minds. Over the years these arguments have attracted legions of critics who thought the science was weak and the message what philosopher David Buller of Northern Illinois University called "a get-out-of-jail-free card" for heinous behavior pernicious.
But the reaction to the rape book was of a whole different order. Biologist Joan Roughgarden of Stanford University called it "the latest 'evolution made me do it' excuse for criminal behavior from evolutionary psychologists.
For decades Hill has studied the Ache, hunter-gatherer tribesmen in Paraguay. From its inception, evolutionary psychology had warned that behaviors that were evolutionarily advantageousyears ago a sweet tooth, say might be bad for survival today causing obesity and thence infertilityso there was no point in measuring whether that trait makes people more evolutionarily fit today.
Even if it doesn't, evolutionary psychologists argue, the trait might have been adaptive long ago and therefore still be our genetic legacy. An unfortunate one, perhaps, but still our legacy.
Short of a time machine, the hypothesis was impossible to disprove. Game, set and match to evo psych.
Or so it seemed. But Hill had something almost as good as a time machine. He had the Ache, who live much as humans didyears ago. He and two colleagues therefore calculated how rape would affect the evolutionary prospects of a year-old Ache.
They didn't observe any rapes, but did a what-if calculation based on measurements of, for instance, the odds that a woman is able to conceive on any given day. The scientists were generous to the rape-as-adaptation claim, assuming that rapists target only women of reproductive age, for instance, even though in reality girls younger than 10 and women over 60 are often victims.
Then they calculated rape's fitness costs and benefits. Rape costs a man fitness points if the victim's husband or other relatives kill him, for instance. He loses fitness points, too, if the mother refuses to raise a child of rape, and if being a known rapist in a small hunter-gatherer tribe, rape and rapists are public knowledge makes others less likely to help him find food.
Rape increases a man's evolutionary fitness based on the chance that a rape victim is fertile 15 percentthat she will conceive a 7 percent chancethat she will not miscarry 90 percent and that she will not let the baby die even though it is the child of rape 90 percent.
Hill then ran the numbers on the reproductive costs and benefits of rape. It wasn't even close: For years the loudest critics have been social scientists, feminists and liberals offended by the argument that humans are preprogrammed to rape, to kill unfaithful girlfriends and the like.
This was a reprise of the bitter sociobiology debates of the s and s.There Really Was A Liberal Media Bubble Groupthink produced a failure of the “wisdom of crowds” and an underestimate of Trump’s chances. (and accept the fact that, yes, the right is happier than the left).
By Lt Daniel Furseth. Today, I stopped caring about my fellow man. I stopped caring about my community, my neighbors, and those I serve. I stopped caring today because a once noble profession has become despised, hated, distrusted, and mostly unwanted. The Crucible Essay “Who Is Really To Blame?
” In The Crucible, there are many occasions in which people are harmed, both physically and emotionally. In some cases, people were injured and even killed, and in other instances, people’s emotions were damaged.
Many people died after a series of accusations, lies, and harsh acts of jealousy. A friend of a friend told me that he tried to set the price of his game to some figure or other but that Valve vetoed it and set it to something else. I have long called myself a social conservative. I think it is very important to have standards for behaviour (etiquette) and defined roles.
The problems with this system is not that it exists, but the lack of flexibility and the value placed on them.