Re: Personal responsibility [was Re: Genderless societies]

Lee Daniel Crocker (
Mon, 20 Sep 1999 18:01:17 -0700 (PDT)

> >For a man, the ideal strategy was to be more promiscuous.

> No solid evidence whatsoever has been produced as to the
> relative promiscuity of early man versus early woman.

That kind of evidence would be difficult to find, and I don't know of any either. What I was trying to do is posit a reason for the evidence I did offer--that female victims of sexual abuse suffer more damage that males. There /is/ plenty of evidence for that, and the evolutionary explanation is pretty compelling--at least as compelling, if not more, than 90% of what is commonly accepted in human psychology courses.

> Several recent studies based on DNA sampling have projected that
> as much as 25% of children may not be fathered by the husband of a
> given women. This has led many scholars to posit that early woman
> may have taken on a larger number of partners than previously supposed.

As I mentioned, there's no particular selection pressure on women for the carefully selected "co-investment" mate to be the same man as her selected "good genes" mate; Ridley speculates that this is a common pattern, and I don't doubt that many women then and today may have extended the pattern to more than two (there are even societies with explicit polyandries). Nonetheless, the overwhelming economic risk of completely random promiscuity for a woman compared to the complete lack of similar risk for a man is too large to /not/ have been an evolutionary pressure, and it does serve to explain the likely origin of many admittedly cultural biases and some hard data such as the study cited.

I'll also admit to a data point for the counterargument: the same pressures should exist for Bonobos, who have obviously not fallen upon the same solution (Bonobo females screw as often as they eat; including with inanimate objects and other females). I'm a big fan of hard evidence, and I admit there's little here. In the absence of proof, one should base opinions on plausible and likely explanations rather over desires. Perhaps it is my subconscious desire to justify male promiscuity that makes me want to believe this explanation (I doubt it; I was a virgin at 25 and have not been promiscuous since, so I have nothing to justify). But that works both ways: desire for political equality can cloud one's judgment of real physical and psychological differences (I'll call that "Sharon Presley Syndrome").

Lee Daniel Crocker <> <>
"All inventions or works of authorship original to me, herein and past,
are placed irrevocably in the public domain, and may be used or modified
for any purpose, without permission, attribution, or notification."--LDC