Re: Evolution of Sexism

Len Piotrowski (
Thu, 22 Aug 1996 16:12:27 GMT

In article <4vdae9$> (Gerold Firl) writes:


>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.

You haven't presented any evidence of "violence effects" on an evolutionary

>Secondly, what are these "egalitarian" societies you refer to? The
>farther we get from hunter-gather lifeways, the less egalitarian
>societies tend to get

How untrue! I suppose you've missed some of the more interesting examples of
functional-ecological "adaptations" and human social structure, from both
ethnographic and archaeological sources.

>- 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.

Your conclusion doesn't necessarily follow from your supposition. Even
non-egalitarian cultures are not involved in the process of "adapting to an
environment of violence and war." In fact, it becomes the exception rather
than the rule if such a process even exists at all.

>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.

Sounds like your romantization, not anyone else's.

> 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?

I think it is up to you to name examples to support your own theory, Firl.
Where are all these "long-term adaptations" to war?

>|> > 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.

Hardly "well known" to physical anthropologists. Maybe you'd like to name this
the Firl Rule!



"If you can't remember what mnemonic means, you've got a problem."
- perlstyle