Resistance also served as part of Thoreau's metaphor comparing the government to a machine: On Civil Disobedience is another common title. The word civil has several definitions.
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.“The president used America’s military forces not against any real threat but as toy soldiers, with the intent of manipulating a domestic midterm election outcome,” said three professors.
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