Wow. Just wow
, there are some seriously messed up people on the internet.ginasketch
linked to a blog entry, which linked to a blog entry, both of which, and the comments absolutely and completely baffle me.Scott Aaronson
Consider two men, A and B. Man A steals food because he’s starving to death, while Man B commits a rape because no woman will agree to have sex with him.
From a Darwinian perspective, the two cases seem exactly analogous. In both we have a man on the brink of genetic oblivion, who commandeers something that isn’t his in order to give his genes a chance of survival. And yet the two men strike just about everyone — including me — as inhabiting completely different moral universes. The first man earns only our pity. We ask: what was wrong with the society this poor fellow inhabited, such that he had no choice but to steal? The second man earns our withering contempt. We ask: how could this monster, this animal, have been identified and stopped earlier?
Complicating the puzzle further, the very same people (namely liberals) who’d tend to be the most sympathetic in the first case, are also the ones who’d tend to be the least sympathetic in the second case.
While Robin Hanson
When we give food aid we don't just give rice and beans to keep folks from starving; we give them enough to have a moderately tasty diet. We do nothing remotely similar for sex.
To me the obvious answer is that our concern about inequality is not very general - compared to inequality in access to food, humans are just not that concerned about sexual inequality, especially for men. Presumably for our ancestors, the gene pool of a tribe could benefit from equalizing food in ways that it could not benefit by equalizing sex.
And, interestingly enough, neither man
can rationalise this situation. And the comments are just as bad. There seems to be some sort of mental block going on which makes them equate women with bread. Or think that rape is just sex, and sex isn't all that bad, or... something. I don't even know.
Which is frustrating.
OK, here's the argument:
A starving man steals food in order to survive. We, the observers sitting in judgement, usually forgive him this act as something committed in order to save his life.
Another man hasn't had sex for a while and is getting the urge. So he rapes a woman. We, the observers sitting in judgement, usually condemn him.
And they pose the question why?
And they are both Professors
. I'm kind of surprised they made it to adulthood while not being able to tell the difference between a woman and a loaf of bread, but I guess that's privilege for you.
(Do you get it now? If I point to a white man and say 'he can afford to have theoretical discussions about whether or not rape is like stealing bread because a vagina is as alien to his very being as is a loaf of bread', will you understand what privilege is? It's a very obvious and crude example, but they're equating rape to stealing bread
The moral void here is of course obvious, and seems to stem from some sort of belief that men have an ethical and human right
to sex in the same way that they have a right to food. But what worries me the most is that they think they keep using buzzwords like 'Darwinian' and 'genes' to try and make like their hideous oversimplifications have any evolutionary weight at all. Which, of course, they don't.
There's plenty of evolutionary imperative behind morals and altruism; from 'if I protect you, you'll help me' to 'that's my daughter/wife you bastard' through 'if I share my bread with you we can work together'. And it boggles the mind that people who think they're intelligent can actually think this is a point worth debating.
- Dying of starvation is not evolutionarily equivalent to not getting laid. How hard is this, seriously? Starvation is an immediate problem that needs to be dealt with right now. Blue balls is not. Dying terminates all of your potential fitness and damages the fitness of your surviving kin if they are in any way reliant on you. Not having sex right at this moment does not damage your fitness. For a significant detrimental effect to fitness to occur, there would have to be extensive periods of no-sex throughout your sexual peek, and one sexual act is not going to remedy that.
- Rape is not about procreation. It's not even about sex. It's a violent act of exerting control over another human being. In primates, it does not form a major part of reproductive strategy. It does, however, fulfil a social role in chimps that use buggery to exert social dominance; or, y'know, humans who use rape as a tactic in war.
- Men do not have a right to sex. SERIOUSLY. It's generally accepted that everyone has the right to life, but sex is not a right that society has an ethical imperative to supply. If you really insist on having this spelled out in evolutionary terms, it's because fitness is not just about offspring, and because the contribution to the population a living person can provide is not limited to their genes. But mostly it's because men do not have a right to sex.
The fundamental aspects of evolution is so appallingly subverted that both posts (I'm scared to read the rest of their blogs) read like cunningly crafted strawmen set up by Creationists.
Evilutionists are so morally depraved they need to have long drawn out arguments over whether rape is equivalent to stealing a loaf of bread
It even works in that people on Gina's (locked) posts were commenting about how this is why evolutionary psychology is bullshit. Which, at the risk of sounding whiny, it's not
. It's a fascinating subject, and one I consider very important to understanding the human animal. It's just not a basis to build a morality on, because invariably you'll get men like these who sprout utter bollocks like this.
I sincerely don't recommend reading the comments on Aaronson's post, because it does get eyebleeding. There are people who think forcing a wife to have sex isn't 'rape', there is condemnation of women who refuse to have sex, there is further misappropriation of evolution, and worse. There are many that qualify for an entire section on spEak You're bRanes
. Hanson's commenters are a little more intelligent, but the general tone is still very much one of a bunch of pretentious pricks with no experience of either starving nor of rape.
However, I leave you with an excerpt from my favourite comment on Aaronson's blog, because sadly, it's kind of ture:
Not only with rape but with all things we find morally reprehensible, we’re really only disgusted when it happens to “people.” The reason rape (for example) has become less and less acceptable is that our definition of a person has become more and more liberal.