Re: Brave maidens

Robert Snower (rs222@WORLDNET.ATT.NET)
Fri, 19 Jul 1996 06:26:40 GMT

At 03:12 AM 7/18/96 +0000, Julian O'Dea wrote:
>Some time ago on the Ethology list we had a discussion on human bravery and
>the possibility of a sociobiological explanation, along the lines of kin
>selection and the ideas of Hamilton and Trivers.
>Some of those involved in the discussion were Arnold Chamove, Joseph M. Stookey
>Sturla Molden, Alex Olvido and Joao Pedro Neves.
>At the time I referred to something I christened the "Grace Darling
>Effect". Grace Darling was a famous young heroine who helped her father
>row a boat out to a shipwrecked ship and rescue people. Her feat was
>celebrated in the eponymous poem by William Wordsworth.
>At the time I wrote:
>"What I am referring to is that a surprising number of heroic acts are done
>by teenage and younger girls.... This does not sit well with any of the
>sociobiological explanations that I have seen discussed. A pre-pubescent
>girl is unlikely to be advertising herself as altruistic to attract the
>opposite sex and also, I would have thought, unlikely to be indulging in
>misdirected altruism towards relatives. As a female who has not bred, it
>makes little sense for her to endanger herself. "
>Since then I have obtained information on the bravery awards made by the
>Australian Government over the last five years. These will be fairly
>"clean" data as the stories will have been officially checked. So I am not
>having to rely on media reports.
>The following cases have been described.


>>Does anybody have any comments or thoughts?

All applications of sociobiological theory to Homo sapiens should carry a
". . . in the absence of countervailing cultural influence." For culture is
not an addendum to biology--it transforms it. That is its mission.

Best wishes. R. Snower