Re: Evolution of Sexism

Gerold Firl (
20 Aug 1996 21:24:25 GMT

In article <4v47n9$>, Beth Williams) writes:

|> In <empty-1608962016430001@> (CU
|> Student) writes:

|> >In article <4utck6$>, (Gerold
|> Firl) wrote:

|> >> A game-theory analysis of social stability shows why universal
|> pacifism
|> >> cannot endure; violent societies rapidly colonize and exploit a
|> >> peaceful mileau. Under conditions of resource scarcity, this can
|> lead
|> >> to increasing escalation...
|> >> In times of violence, men step up and women fade into the
|> background.
|> >> In times of peace, women become more prominent. It might be
|> interesting
|> >> to look for cycles of patriarchy and egalitarianism related to
|> >> conditions of turmoil/violence/resource scarcity and
|> stability/peace/
|> >> abundance.

|> >-- Furl's comments -- the dynamics of social stability, and
|> >possibility for cycles of instability --are intriguing.

|> Before accepting Firl's comments as true, it would be useful to
|> actually look at data (something he often forgets to do.) In
|> egalitarian societies, women do not *fade* during times of intergroup
|> violence/war...In fact, their social and economic importance is
|> highlighted during these times (who keeps the group organized while the
|> men are at war? Who feeds the remaining population and provisions
|> travelling troops?) The development of patriarchy is linked not to
|> violence (which is more likely a *symptom*) but to private property.

For one thing, you are looking at too short of a time scale to see how
violence effects evolutionary change. I'm looking at a timescale of
centuries, not years.

Secondly, what are these "egalitarian" societies you refer to? The
farther we get from hunter-gather lifeways, the less egalitarian
societies tend to get - with an interesting exception in the case of
the west. hunter-gatherers do not tend to engage in war, except as the
victims of more "advanced" cultures, so the most egalitarian cultures
are not involved in the process of adapting to an environment of
violence and war.

you have a very romantic idea of life among the iroquois, where
everything was wonderful, life was good, and nobody was more equal than
anybody else. I realize it's important to you to believe that, so lets
not use them as an example; can you name another society which has made
long-term adaptations to war without depreciating the status of women?

|> > However, I've wondered about the hypothesis that universal male
|> bias by
|> >mothers (for males) might be related to, or else compensatory for,
|> male
|> >genetic weakness, i.e., at every stagew of the life cycle, from
|> conception
|> >onward, human males die in significantly greater proportions than
|> females.

|> Have I missed something? _Whose_ hypothesis is this, and what evidence
|> is there to support such wild claims?

See my previous reply; you have missed something. The fact that males
die at higher rates than females at every age is well known.

Disclaimer claims dat de claims claimed in dis are de claims of meself,
me, and me alone, so sue us god. I won't tell Bill & Dave if you won't.
=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=---- Gerold Firl @ ..hplabs!hp-sdd!geroldf