Darwin when it suits us, feminist claptrap when it does not

The New York Times, ever ready to bash the heads of the Christians with Darwin’s mighty tomes, forgets Darwinism when it deals with a contemporary dispute as to why men and women behave differently. James Taranto in the Wall Street Journal writes that the NYT disparages Darwinist explanations of differences in male-female sexual behaviour when it suits them.

It turns out you can deny evolution and still get published on the New York Times op-ed page. Dan Slater did just that, in a piece yesterday called “Darwin Was Wrong About Dating.”

Slater–who has a new book out in which he claims that online dating, of all things, is revolutionizing the sexual marketplace–sets out to debunk a subspecialty known as evolutionary psychology, which seeks to explain differences between men and women in terms of Darwin’s theory of sexual selection.

In brief, the theory of sexual selection posits that members of each sex will employ different evolutionary “strategies” in order to ensure that their genes survive into future generations. Since the male makes the lesser investment in reproduction, men are driven to favor quantity over quality. They are especially attracted to youth and beauty because these are signs of fertility. But one man can reproduce with many women, so that there is no evolutionary need to be selective. The most efficient way to pass on his genetic legacy is to have intercourse with as many women as possible.

Of course the denial of any biological component to sexual, racial, ethnic, or tribal differences is the Big Lie of our time. If people are creatures of society rather than biology, and if society determines everything, then infinite progress, as the Left perceives it, can be made with the infinite malleability of Man. See the previous posting on Harald Eia’s Hjernevask, and subsequent related postings.

Quoting from Dan Slater’s NYT article:

Evolutionary psychologists who study mating behavior often begin with a hypothesis about how modern humans mate: say, that men think about sex more than women do. Then they gather evidence — from studies, statistics and surveys — to support that assumption. Finally, and here’s where the leap occurs, they construct an evolutionary theory to explain why men think about sex more than women, where that gender difference came from, what adaptive purpose it served in antiquity, and why we’re stuck with the consequences today.

Lately, however, a new cohort of scientists have been challenging the very existence of the gender differences in sexual behavior that Darwinians have spent the past 40 years trying to explain and justify on evolutionary grounds.

and after citing the Marxist fraud Steve Jay Gould as support for socio-cultural explanations, Slater continues:

BUT if evolution didn’t determine human behavior, what did? The most common explanation is the effect of cultural norms. That, for instance, society tends to view promiscuous men as normal and promiscuous women as troubled outliers, or that our “social script” requires men to approach women while the pickier women do the selecting. Over the past decade, sociocultural explanations have gained steam.

Note the invocation of “society”,  as if society were an autonomous external entity determining outcomes, rather than itself the outcome of a variety of pressures: resource constraints, human nature, external enemies and allies, means of production, culture and religion.

Anytime you hear the word “society” or “the System”, you are in the presence of the magical thinking of the political Left.

Cultural norms regarding sexual behaviour may vary from Saudi Arabia’s to Sweden’s, but they are all dealing with the same issues: the biological difference between  maternal versus paternal investment in children and the biological fact of male uncertainty and insecurity about paternity. You can lock the women up, as they do in Islam, or you can lock the men up, as they do in Sweden, for giving vent to their lusts without female permission, but you do not escape the consequences of the biological differences by talking about the subject as if those different interests did not exist.

And that, I argue, is precisely what the socio-cultural explanations lack: the rigor of thinking biologically about what is in each sex’s interest. Darwinist explanations cannot explain why Islamic societies differ so profoundly from European ones about female sexual freedom, but they can explain what human sexes have at stake in reproductivity. Contrary to the Leftist impulse, human sexuality is not just a matter of how we talk about the subject.

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Edward Bergonzi

Just a few points. While males invest less in the actual process of reproduction, one could argue that they invest far more for the right to pass on their genes. The male peacock’s finery makes it a more easy target for predators, e.g. As a Marxist, I reject your characterization of Gould. His “Marxism” was more familial background, “Stalinist” than any open political espousal. I always found his punctuated equilibrium hypothesis rife with post-modernism, and it was decidedly rejected and clarified by the great biologist, the late Erst Mayr. As I see it, the problem with what passes for “left” politics is its infatuation with identity politics; feminism, race, etc.

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