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Author Topic:   A Natural History of Rape?
Parsimonious_Razor
Inactive Member


Message 1 of 33 (90452)
03-05-2004 4:02 AM


Has anyone read Thornhill and Palmer? Or the Thornhill and Thornhill papers on the adaptive properties of rape?

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0262201259/103-9332473-9389403?v=glance

Any comments? This theory has been hit hard from both sides of the political spectrum but none of the critiques seem to actually bear on any of the content of the studies and only vague naturalistic fallacies.


Replies to this message:
 Message 2 by crashfrog, posted 03-05-2004 4:25 AM Parsimonious_Razor has replied
 Message 6 by Silent H, posted 03-05-2004 2:47 PM Parsimonious_Razor has replied

  
crashfrog
Member (Idle past 704 days)
Posts: 19762
From: Silver Spring, MD
Joined: 03-20-2003


Message 2 of 33 (90454)
03-05-2004 4:25 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Parsimonious_Razor
03-05-2004 4:02 AM


Any comments?

I haven't read any of the works you're talking about but I don't know that the case is clear-cut for me. For instance, it hardly seems likely that rape is adaptive in a species where the females are fertile for only about three days out of the month - and it's a different three days for every female. It seems like the odds of getting a random woman pregnant through rape are fairly low.

Also I understand that a lot of rapists are people who already enjoy reproductive or sexual opportunity. That suggests that it's more about power than about reproduction. Not to mention the propensity of some rapists to insist on sex acts that are obviously non-procreative.

What are they saying, exactly? That there's a "rape gene?" If rape is an adaptive behavior then how is it promulgated?

A number of the reviews on Amazon point out that they gloss over a lot of data and fail to address some obvious questions. I guess I'm doubtful that rape in humans is best explained via adaptive factors. I think that the social factors are considerably more influential.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Parsimonious_Razor, posted 03-05-2004 4:02 AM Parsimonious_Razor has replied

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1.61803
Member (Idle past 741 days)
Posts: 2928
From: Lone Star State USA
Joined: 02-19-2004


Message 3 of 33 (90535)
03-05-2004 1:26 PM
Reply to: Message 2 by crashfrog
03-05-2004 4:25 AM


dat book cost $
plus the fact that I'd have to shell out 35 bucks to read it. I'll wait for the DVD. Joking aside, I would hate to think rape as an adaptive strategy rather than a abberant psycological deviant behavior of one who feeds his needs by commiting rape. But I remember hearing something about Jane Goodall reporting that Chimps commit all sorts of behaviors we deem as morally wrong such as murder, rape, incest, and cannalbalism. My question would be are these behaviors adaptive and can they be applied to the human condition as well?
**edited to add: Please dont stone me it is just a thought.

[This message has been edited by 1.61803, 03-05-2004]


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Parsimonious_Razor
Inactive Member


Message 4 of 33 (90561)
03-05-2004 2:33 PM
Reply to: Message 2 by crashfrog
03-05-2004 4:25 AM


crashfrog writes:

For instance, it hardly seems likely that rape is adaptive in a species where the females are fertile for only about three days out of the month - and it's a different three days for every female. It seems like the odds of getting a random woman pregnant through rape are fairly low.

Well Jon and Tiffany Gottschall did a study that found rape victims were twice as likely to become pregnant as women having a consensual one night stand. The actual percentage for fertile women was about 8-10% well above a significant level for natural selection to work on.

Also there is a lot of work being done now that SUGGESTS (though its still early) that males do have mechanisms for detecting where on the cycle a woman is probably through pheromones. There is also the fact that a woman at peak fertility will usually act significantly different in public surroundings. This isn’t a blame the victim statement, she didn’t lead the rapist on, but her interactions with guys she might be interested in are much more sexually charged its possible a rapist viewing the scene could pick up these cues as well (unconsciously most likely).

crashfrog writes:

Also I understand that a lot of rapists are people who already enjoy reproductive or sexual opportunity. That suggests that it's more about power than about reproduction. Not to mention the propensity of some rapists to insist on sex acts that are obviously non-procreative.

The reproductive advantage to rape is potentially about eliminating the commitment, time and energy involved in raising offspring as well just the sexual access. If current sexual access were the main factor in male psyches I doubt extra-pair copulation would be as significant as it is.

There are certainly acts of rape that are non-procreative but these are not the majority of acts. Especially in reproductive age females.

Reproductive age females make up the vast majority of rape cases, these victims are most likely to suffer repeated vaginal intercourse.

crashfrog writes:

What are they saying, exactly? That there's a "rape gene?" If rape is an adaptive behavior then how is it promulgated?

Well genes as defined as a heritable unit, see my other thread in evolution about my current problems with defining any trait as DNA based. It is promulgated through the same mechanisms that make men prefer low waist to hip ratio, facial symmetry and estrogen markers. Sexual behavior and sexual preferences are clearly evolutionarily defined and can be "passed" down through heritable mechanisms.

crashfrog writes:

A number of the reviews on Amazon point out that they gloss over a lot of data and fail to address some obvious questions. I guess I'm doubtful that rape in humans is best explained via adaptive factors. I think that the social factors are considerably more influential.

Well Amazon reviews can only really go so far. But I agree the book does have a tendency to go quickly from data to conclusion because its point is more about actively changing rape counseling and prevention education. The papers the book is based on are extensive; it was I believe an 8 part series.

I think power and social theories have to deal with some of these points:

1) The vast majority of rapes are of reproductive age females.
Another similar study found that the likelihood a woman or women are rapped after a robbery is HIGHLY correlated with whether the woman is of reproductive age. If they are post or pre the robber is likely to just rob the house, rarely to you get rape. Reproductive age females suffer significantly more in robbery/rape crime.

2) 90-99% of all rapes victims are female.

3) Forced penile-vaginal intercourse is more likely in sexual assaults of reproductive age females. And these younger women are more likely to be subjected to multiple episodes.

4) Rape has been found in every culture studied. For example the Yanamamo Indians essentially every female has been raped at least once.

And then there are the anti-rape adaptations of women during there cycle:

1) At the peak fertility of their cycle women are more likely to go out to and meet new people BUT they take MANY more precautions when not at peak fertility. They go to safe places, familiar places and will bring friends. They have much more heightened senses of wariness over dangerous or unknown areas.

2) When reading accounts of sexual coercion women at peak fertility have a double or triple increase in grip strength.

3) And the big sub field here is the post-traumatic stress of the rape. Reproductive age females, in a committed relationship, who are vaginally raped, with no signs of external trauma are FAR more likely than say a women of post-reproductive age, single, orally or anally raped, and with obvious signs of abuse. This is an extreme example but each of these factors: Age, Marital Status, Type of rape, Physical abuse, have been shown to independently correlate highly with the amount of post-traumatic stress. This fits in perfectly to the view that the dangers of rape are removal of reproductive choice (age, type of rape) and damage to existing relationships (marital status, signs of physical abuse). If rape were purely about power or humiliation I would imagine you would see the opposite pattern.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 2 by crashfrog, posted 03-05-2004 4:25 AM crashfrog has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 8 by Silent H, posted 03-05-2004 3:48 PM Parsimonious_Razor has replied
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Parsimonious_Razor
Inactive Member


Message 5 of 33 (90564)
03-05-2004 2:42 PM
Reply to: Message 3 by 1.61803
03-05-2004 1:26 PM


Re: dat book cost $
1.61803 writes:

plus the fact that I'd have to shell out 35 bucks to read it. I'll wait for the DVD. Joking aside, I would hate to think rape as an adaptive strategy rather than a abberant psycological deviant behavior of one who feeds his needs by commiting rape. But I remember hearing something about Jane Goodall reporting that Chimps commit all sorts of behaviors we deem as morally wrong such as murder, rape, incest, and cannalbalism. My question would be are these behaviors adaptive and can they be applied to the human condition as well?

There are cheaper ones, its available in the library, and the papers Thornhill wrote are available in any university library. I can dig up all the citations if people want. Rape has been found in many different species, and more than rape you can find primitive forms of most types of coercion. For example, mud dauber's (sphecid wasp) use harassment as their primary means of gaining sexual access. These behaviors certainly seem to have adaptive benefits under certain circumstances.

It's these certain circumstances that are important especially in humans. Rape is a conditional adaptation. It relies on a whole host of cues to be activated and it is not the preferred reproductive strategy for most men (courtship offers huge advantages like repeated access to the same female and higher quality females) but rape can be advantageous if practiced under specific conditions.

Rape does not seem to be something practiced only by a small number of phenodeviants. A quick examination of wars can tell you all you need to know about the potential for just about any male to rape.

A quick point: just because rape might be natural or have offered reproductive advantage this does NOT make right in any way. The naturalistic fallacy always seems to works itself in. I even have a hard time myself always keeping it straight.


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Silent H
Member (Idle past 5057 days)
Posts: 7405
From: satellite of love
Joined: 12-11-2002


Message 6 of 33 (90567)
03-05-2004 2:47 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Parsimonious_Razor
03-05-2004 4:02 AM


quote:
This theory has been hit hard from both sides of the political spectrum but none of the critiques seem to actually bear on any of the content of the studies and only vague naturalistic fallacies.

I have not read the book, but I am looking for what I can find online by them and so far it is none too promising.

Here's some quotes by Palmer on his "theory" from a website discussing their rape theory:

Thornhill and Palmer take aim at the prevailing societal notion that rape isn't about sex but about male power and is "a symptom of an unhealthy society in which men fear and disrespect women."

Palmer and Thornhill say some sociologists advance a view that, they think, incorrectly assumes that rape is "unnatural behavior that has nothing to do with sex and one that has no corollary in the animal world."

They counter that rape is part of the male mental sexual psyche; was at least part of a successful male reproductive strategy in human evolutionary history; and is strong enough to survive today despite strong social sanctions and legal penalties.

But they do not equate "natural" as good and agree that their public mission is to make rape extinct as a trait in human beings.

In an interview, Palmer said the article aims to convince "those who accept evolution but don't see it as applying to the brain and behavior and particularly the behavior of rape.

"We have to convince them that behavior, including sexual, evolved, just like our morphology and anatomy," he said. "The brain evolved along with the rest of the body."

Palmer said they aren't arguing that men who rape are "genetically predisposed to rape" or that there is a rape gene. Rather, they say that all males appear to be genetically capable of rape, and it is an act which can be triggered by environmental conditions or interactions in life.

The two scientists contend that current thinking about what causes rape is so bankrupt that it ignores the reality that by definition rape requires sexual arousal of the rapist.

Thornhill cites his own study of insects called scorpionflies, in which males are equipped with an appendage used solely to grab a female's forewing and prevent her escape during involuntary mating. The "rape clamp" is used when a male scorpionfly fails to attract a female through the alternative reproduction strategy of offering nuptial gifts, such as a dead insect.

Palmer said the argument actually might get greater acceptance among lay people than in some scientific quarters because people instinctively know that men and women are not just biologically different but think differently, have different sexual agendas or goals and "respond to certain behaviors in different ways."

"These differences are what lie at the basis of rape and what made it a possibility in our evolutionary history," he said.

The scientists say this broke a long tradition of professional journals' sidestepping the issue of rape's evolutionary underpinnings as being politically incorrect.

So they admit they are NOT talking about genetics, and yet they have the gall to use the term evolution in discussing their theory? The admit the MOST they are saying is that there is not a genetic break to stop people from raping? Oooooooooo.

They are making extremely strained arguments when they start with those admissions, then say that behvior must be evolved (which at this point hinges on genetics or symbiosis), and to support this claim analogize to an obvious genetic trait of the "rape clamp" in scorpionflies.

I like how they also admit what baloney their theory is by saying it will be more acceptable to lay people that scientists, because... ahem... lay people have some better understanding of human nature? Man, are these guys from the Discovery Institute?

But they make an obvious error by sayng that rape by definition requires sexual arousal of the rapist. In fact, some rapists have been impotent. Some may also never use their own genitals for sexual satisfaction and instead use objects to rape where humiliation is clearly the end goal.

They also seem ignorant of the fact that women also rape, and... as others have mentioned... that the targets of rape those who are patently incapable of reproducing.

This sounds like two guys trying to get some notoriety for themselves and perhaps introduce whatever "fix it" gimmick they have for rape, merely asserting that all others are bankrupt because they do not mention evolution.

Ironically what they don't admit is that they DO mention the very things they themselves say rape comes down to: it is an act which can be triggered by environmental conditions or interactions in life.

Can we say, duh?


holmes
"...what a fool believes he sees, no wise man has the power to reason away.."(D. Bros)

This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Parsimonious_Razor, posted 03-05-2004 4:02 AM Parsimonious_Razor has replied

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Parsimonious_Razor
Inactive Member


Message 7 of 33 (90578)
03-05-2004 3:13 PM
Reply to: Message 6 by Silent H
03-05-2004 2:47 PM


quote:
So they admit they are NOT talking about genetics, and yet they have the gall to use the term evolution in discussing their theory? The admit the MOST they are saying is that there is not a genetic break to stop people from raping? Oooooooooo.

Thornhill has a healthy respect for the idea that not everything in evolution is about DNA. While there may not be a specific rape DNA sequence there is a heritable mechanism that promotes rape under certain circumstances. Just because it’s not in the DNA doesn’t mean it cannot be subjected to natural selection.

The most that they are saying is that there was a reproductive advantage for raping under certain circumstances in the human EEA. This reproductive advantage was selected for and exist today. They say it is a functional adaptation (though they give some credence to the view that it could be a byproduct of indirect selection this view has produced nearly the evidence as a functional adaptation). A functional adaptation I don’t think can be described as simply a “brake” to prevent the opposite. The cause of the human hand is not a brake to stop the development of a flipper.

quote:
They are making extremely strained arguments when they start with those admissions, then say that behvior must be evolved (which at this point hinges on genetics or symbiosis), and to support this claim analogize to an obvious genetic trait of the "rape clamp" in scorpionflies.

Reproductive strategies that evolved convergently in multiple species provide a big hint that there is an advantage to the strategy. It points directions into trying to determine why it exists even if on the face it seems counter-productive. Cross-species comparisons are not used as proof. Sexual reproduction as a whole had a hard time be justified asexual seems superior in everyway. But the large number of species that exhibited it pointed to there being a REASON for it. That led to the current idea of host/parasite interactions as being the mechanism for sexual reproduction being selected for.

quote:
I like how they also admit what baloney their theory is by saying it will be more acceptable to lay people that scientists, because... ahem... lay people have some better understanding of human nature? Man, are these guys from the Discovery Institute?

What he said was SOME scientific circles not biological circles. I am pretty sure this is a reference to the political and sociological sciences on universities that don’t have the biological training. I have taken multiple classes from Thornhill and talked with him personally many times. He clearly seems to think people with strong evolutionary backgrounds will see this as a “duh” theory. It is obvious, but most of rape education, prevention and crisis management do not take it into account.

quote:
But they make an obvious error by sayng that rape by definition requires sexual arousal of the rapist. In fact, some rapists have been impotent. Some may also never use their own genitals for sexual satisfaction and instead use objects to rape where humiliation is clearly the end goal.

Case studies do not make or dismake a theory. There are always exceptions, but these exceptions are DROWNED under the weight examples that show just what is to be expected.

quote:
They also seem ignorant of the fact that women also rape, and... as others have mentioned... that the targets of rape those who are patently incapable of reproducing.

90-99% of all rapes are of men raping women, almost all of those rapes are of women of reproductive age. As above, there can be exceptions but these are drowned out by the shear number of cases that fit the expected pattern. Science is done through random sampling and statistical analysis because of the bias a few counter examples seem to hold in our psyche.

quote:
This sounds like two guys trying to get some notoriety for themselves and perhaps introduce whatever "fix it" gimmick they have for rape, merely asserting that all others are bankrupt because they do not mention evolution.

They are referring to people who advocate rape prevention and education on outmoded theories that are sometimes more harmful than good.

quote:
Ironically what they don't admit is that they DO mention the very things they themselves say rape comes down to: it is an act which can be triggered by environmental conditions or interactions in life.

But the environmental triggers are specifically defined. They are those triggers that lead to the greatest reproductive advantage that could be gained through rape. If there were no selective pressure on the rape adaptation why would only specific environmental triggers bring out rape? And why would these triggers be primarily triggers of REPRODUCTIVE opportunity.

quote:
Can we say, duh?

Actually they do say duh, what prompted the book was the fact that people ignored the evidence of an obvious theory.


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Silent H
Member (Idle past 5057 days)
Posts: 7405
From: satellite of love
Joined: 12-11-2002


Message 8 of 33 (90604)
03-05-2004 3:48 PM
Reply to: Message 4 by Parsimonious_Razor
03-05-2004 2:33 PM


quote:
Jon and Tiffany Gottschall did a study that found rape victims were twice as likely to become pregnant as women having a consensual one night stand.

Could this be because women having one night stands are able to control that sexual encounter's procreative results, rather than someone who is raped? I think a study comparing these two things are comparing apples and oranges.

If the point was sex or sexual reproduction, it seems that they should have been examining the results of rape versus a couple trying to get pregnant. I think a steady partner (or partners) over a course of time would result in more chances at reproduction, than hit and miss single encounters.

quote:
The reproductive advantage to rape is potentially about eliminating the commitment, time and energy involved in raising offspring as well just the sexual access.

What about survival advantages, and costs of the hunt advantages, in that NOT raping means less competitors out to capture/kill you, and all the time and energy involved with trying not to be caught after the fact?

quote:
Sexual behavior and sexual preferences are clearly evolutionarily defined and can be "passed" down through heritable mechanisms.

I'll check out your other thread, but I know in a thread on sexual orientation this idea has already been somewhat smashed. It is not CLEARLY evolutionarily anything.

quote:
1) The vast majority of rapes are of reproductive age females.
Another similar study found that the likelihood a woman or women are rapped after a robbery is HIGHLY correlated with whether the woman is of reproductive age. If they are post or pre the robber is likely to just rob the house, rarely to you get rape. Reproductive age females suffer significantly more in robbery/rape crime.

This just makes sense. A person goes to rob a house, he finds someone inside sexually attractive so he "takes" that as well. This also makes sense for those who commit rapes without regard to robbery... generally a person will go after someone he finds attractive. Is it unusual to suspect that most people find women between 13-50 most attractive? That happens to be a pretty huge chunk of most women's lives as well as the general range of people commiting rape.

I might add on the sheer statistics side. Outside of home invasion rapes, women pre and post sexual reproductive age are generally not out at times and in locations where rapes are likely to take place (due to advantages for a rapist).

quote:
2) 90-99% of all rapes victims are female.

This tends to suggest men are the ones most likely commiting rape, but hardly WHY they are doing so. It also does not deal with the other instances of rape (against men), and woman on woman rape.

quote:
3) Forced penile-vaginal intercourse is more likely in sexual assaults of reproductive age females. And these younger women are more likely to be subjected to multiple episodes.

This also makes practical sense. Rapists are more likely to use vaginal intercourse as there are no TEETH, vaginal penetration is considered more personal and so humiliating than oral penetration, and anal penetration may have unintended consequences many rapists may not be interested in having done to themselves.

I would point out that "multiple episodes" in a on hit and run encounter is not really going to enhance reproductive chances that much. This tends to indicate that some other interest is the driving force.

quote:
4) Rape has been found in every culture studied. For example the Yanamamo Indians essentially every female has been raped at least once.

This does not suggest anything other than rape is an option all humans have with regard to behavior... there are no barriers to it.

quote:
1) At the peak fertility of their cycle women are more likely to go out to and meet new people BUT they take MANY more precautions when not at peak fertility.

How is this an anti-rape strategy? Why is this not simply saying that women at the peak of their cycle are more aggressive, due to hormones, than at other times? They are certainly more likely to desire partners and seek them out.

quote:
2) When reading accounts of sexual coercion women at peak fertility have a double or triple increase in grip strength.

This one is particularly not conclusive. As I said, during the peak of their cycle women are more aggressive in general, the fact that their grip strength would increase is not surprising... and what that has to do with rape is beyond me.

quote:
3) And the big sub field here is the post-traumatic stress of the rape... Physical abuse, have been shown to independently correlate highly with the amount of post-traumatic stress. This fits in perfectly to the view that the dangers of rape are removal of reproductive choice (age, type of rape) and damage to existing relationships (marital status, signs of physical abuse). If rape were purely about power or humiliation I would imagine you would see the opposite pattern.

You will have to explain this one a little better, I do not see your conclusion coming from the evidence.

Just to be clear... I have no vested interest one way or the other on the issue of whether rape is a product of evolution. However, I have a vested interest in not doing sloppy science and the growing popularity of assigning all human behavior to a product of evolution is sloppy science.

There are many ranges of action open to humans. Just because something is possible for humans to do, does not mean it was programmed in, or passed down because of "advantages". That's what's wonderful of the evolution of the brain, it has freed us from hardwired action/reaction (like say insects have, and which Thornhill appears to make so many of his dubious analogies to human behavior).

We have to be careful of "reading into" behaviors to find advantages and then say that may be why. It is also dubious to then look at statistics using that projection. Yeah, I guess it could be true, but it is less likely than the more direct/simple reason a human chooses to do something.

[This message has been edited by holmes, 03-05-2004]


holmes
"...what a fool believes he sees, no wise man has the power to reason away.."(D. Bros)

This message is a reply to:
 Message 4 by Parsimonious_Razor, posted 03-05-2004 2:33 PM Parsimonious_Razor has replied

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Trixie
Member (Idle past 2943 days)
Posts: 1011
From: Edinburgh
Joined: 01-03-2004


Message 9 of 33 (90613)
03-05-2004 4:03 PM
Reply to: Message 8 by Silent H
03-05-2004 3:48 PM


Did anyone bother to ask.....
.....the rapists why they rape? That just might give a hint as to the motivation behind rape. I have to admit to NEVER having heard a rapist say that they raped to get someone pregnant without the liability of child support payments!!! Men can do that without raping and they do it every minute of every day (don't mean to sound anti-male, but it is a fact).

I'll need to try to dig out some info on this. I'm sure I've seen a study on serial rapists who, when asked why they did it, said it was all to do with power and humiliation of women. Some hated women, some were "getting their own back", none said that it was to father a child.

We should leave "date rape" out of this as this can be construed as a guy too keen, too thick or both, to understand that "No" means "No". A sort of crossing of wires.


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Parsimonious_Razor
Inactive Member


Message 10 of 33 (90620)
03-05-2004 4:21 PM
Reply to: Message 8 by Silent H
03-05-2004 3:48 PM


quote:
Could this be because women having one night stands are able to control that sexual encounter's procreative results, rather than someone who is raped? I think a study comparing these two things are comparing apples and oranges.

Actually the women in Gotschall study were not taking any precautions of birth control and had expressed interest in having a baby.

quote:
If the point was sex or sexual reproduction, it seems that they should have been examining the results of rape versus a couple trying to get pregnant. I think a steady partner (or partners) over a course of time would result in more chances at reproduction, than hit and miss single encounters.

Exactly why rape is not the preferred mechanism for reproductive strategy. There are better ones for most situations. But under the right situations there is significant advantage that can be gained. Its similar to the Hamiltonian inclusive fitness principle. If the benefits out way the cost than something can evolve. And a mechanism that controls behavior in regards to the relative cost of the situation can be seen everywhere.

quote:
What about survival advantages, and costs of the hunt advantages, in that NOT raping means less competitors out to capture/kill you, and all the time and energy involved with trying not to be caught after the fact?

Again rape is a circumstance dependent adaptation. It is most frequently found in raids and wars where these effects are least likely to be significant.

quote:
I'll check out your other thread, but I know in a thread on sexual orientation this idea has already been somewhat smashed. It is not CLEARLY evolutionarily anything.

Waist to hip ratio as a strong preference has been demonstrated cross-culturally with no exceptions. Facial symmetry, hormonal markers, handicapping, ect. Have all been found cross-culturally. These are mating preferences and mating behaviors that have been inherited. Even context dependent attractiveness priorities were demonstrated by the Buss study that found that parasite load predicted with great accuracy the relative importance applied to physical attractiveness in a mate.

quote:
This just makes sense. A person goes to rob a house, he finds someone inside sexually attractive so he "takes" that as well. This also makes sense for those who commit rapes without regard to robbery... generally a person will go after someone he finds attractive. Is it unusual to suspect that most people find women between 13-50 most attractive? That happens to be a pretty huge chunk of most women's lives as well as the general range of people commiting rape.

It an’t 13-50 where the rape concentrates at. The main concentration point is 18-30 with rapidly falling tails from there. And the point about attractiveness is exactly it. Men find women attractive who are most fertile. If rape was about power why would attractiveness matter that much?

quote:
This tends to suggest men are the ones most likely commiting rape, but hardly WHY they are doing so. It also does not deal with the other instances of rape (against men), and woman on woman rape.

It doesn’t suggest the why but certainly marginalizes the number of cases that are not potentially reproductive.

quote:
This also makes practical sense. Rapists are more likely to use vaginal intercourse as there are no TEETH, vaginal penetration is considered more personal and so humiliating than oral penetration, and anal penetration may have unintended consequences many rapists may not be interested in having done to themselves.

Why would a woman feel more humiliated with vaginal intercourse and not anal or oral? Women do suffer significantly more post-traumatic stress after vaginal rapes than other forms. This correlates with a large number of other factors that indicate that variables that increase the likely hood of conception are the major intensifiers of a rape.

quote:
This does not suggest anything other than rape is an option all humans have with regard to behavior... there are no barriers to it.

But if all of these societies have similar or even identical trigger events for when, how and to who the rape is committed it suggest a functional adaptation. The fact that most people have hands does not simply imply that there is a barrier to developing fins. There is some function in it.

quote:
How is this an anti-rape strategy? Why is this not simply saying that women at the peak of their cycle are more aggressive, due to hormones, than at other times? They are certainly more likely to desire partners and seek them out.

Well on a side point only certain partners (symmetrical to be precise this is another example of an evolved sexual preference). But aggression doesn’t explain the tendency for women to go to only safe, familiar places with friends. Even if they are usually much more bold when off the peak fertility cycle.

quote:
This one is particularly not conclusive. As I said, during the peak of their cycle women are more aggressive in general, the fact that their grip strength would increase is not surprising... and what that has to do with rape is beyond me.

The grip strength is only seen after reading scenarios or watching scenarios of sexual coercion. You don’t just have it all the time, or simply by watching a boxing match. If it were only aggression why would it be so specific?

quote:
You will have to explain this one a little better, I do not see your conclusion coming from the evidence.

The predictors for intensity of post-traumatic stress after a rape are those that fall into two categories: those that increased the likely hood of conception, and those that increased the potential harm to an existing relationship. Reproductive age women had more trauma than pre or post. Vaginal had more trauma than any other form of rape. Ejaculatory rapes had more trauma than non-ejaculatory. Married women had more trauma than single women. Women with obvious physical injury had LESS trauma than those with little to no signs of injury.

quote:
Just to be clear... I have no vested interest one way or the other on the issue of whether rape is a product of evolution. However, I have a vested interest in not doing sloppy science and the growing popularity of assigning all human behavior to a product of evolution is sloppy science.

Not all human behavior but there is certainly a LARGE component of what humans do that fall under evolutionary theory. Everything from language acquisition device to cross-cultural standards of beauty indicates there are many innate functions that were selected for in the human EEA.

quote:
That's what's wonderful of the evolution of the brain, it has freed us from hardwired action/reaction (like say insects have, and which Thornhill appears to make so many of his dubious analogies to human behavior).

But so much of what humans do is not “freed from hardwired action.” Mate selection, language, disgust reactions, reciprocal altruism, nepotism, status seeking, and many more all have been shown to be cross-cultural and cross-historical in there mechanisms. There is certainly a large body of functions that are innate into the human mind. This does not mean that we cannot escape these biases but they are certainly there. If evolution did not define these innate faculties I would like to know what did.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 8 by Silent H, posted 03-05-2004 3:48 PM Silent H has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 18 by Silent H, posted 03-05-2004 9:17 PM Parsimonious_Razor has replied

  
Parsimonious_Razor
Inactive Member


Message 11 of 33 (90625)
03-05-2004 4:27 PM
Reply to: Message 9 by Trixie
03-05-2004 4:03 PM


Re: Did anyone bother to ask.....
quote:
.....the rapists why they rape? That just might give a hint as to the motivation behind rape. I have to admit to NEVER having heard a rapist say that they raped to get someone pregnant without the liability of child support payments!!! Men can do that without raping and they do it every minute of every day (don't mean to sound anti-male, but it is a fact).
I'll need to try to dig out some info on this. I'm sure I've seen a study on serial rapists who, when asked why they did it, said it was all to do with power and humiliation of women. Some hated women, some were "getting their own back", none said that it was to father a child.

We should leave "date rape" out of this as this can be construed as a guy too keen, too thick or both, to understand that "No" means "No". A sort of crossing of wires.


Actually, humans don’t have to be conscious of why they do something, and they can often be wrong or fail to separate the difference between a proximate and ultimate causation.

For example: Attractiveness rankings of faces. Facial symmetry is the primary correlate for how attractive a face is going to be ranked. But people have NO idea why they are making the rankings they are making. Many times they will make of “just-so” stories to explain it.

Would you say that since people use birth control that means sex really isn’t about reproduction and never really was? You don’t have to know WHY a behavior is adaptive to have it as an adaptation.

Humans are very good at rationalizing there behaviors post-hoc and I don’t think it can be used as a mechanism for assigning ultimate causations to actions.

If we were good at explaining why we did behaviors psychology would never producing any surprising results.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 9 by Trixie, posted 03-05-2004 4:03 PM Trixie has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 12 by Trixie, posted 03-05-2004 4:40 PM Parsimonious_Razor has replied

  
Trixie
Member (Idle past 2943 days)
Posts: 1011
From: Edinburgh
Joined: 01-03-2004


Message 12 of 33 (90629)
03-05-2004 4:40 PM
Reply to: Message 11 by Parsimonious_Razor
03-05-2004 4:27 PM


Re: Did anyone bother to ask.....
True, but if you want to know why someone made the choice to go out and rape a woman, you might get closer to the truth if you ask them, rather than making assumptions based on a pet theory. With help, people are able to perceive their own hidden motivations, but in many cases a rapist makes a concious, active decision to commit his crime. For example, he may want to humiliate women and that's his driving force, but the reason behind this need to humiliate women may be obscure to him.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 11 by Parsimonious_Razor, posted 03-05-2004 4:27 PM Parsimonious_Razor has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 13 by Parsimonious_Razor, posted 03-05-2004 4:58 PM Trixie has replied

  
Parsimonious_Razor
Inactive Member


Message 13 of 33 (90637)
03-05-2004 4:58 PM
Reply to: Message 12 by Trixie
03-05-2004 4:40 PM


Re: Did anyone bother to ask.....
quote:
True, but if you want to know why someone made the choice to go out and rape a woman, you might get closer to the truth if you ask them, rather than making assumptions based on a pet theory. With help, people are able to perceive their own hidden motivations, but in many cases a rapist makes a concious, active decision to commit his crime. For example, he may want to humiliate women and that's his driving force, but the reason behind this need to humiliate women may be obscure to him.

How about asking him why he chose his victim? Was she young, exhibiting all the classic signs of a healthy fertile woman? Why did he choose to vaginally rape and not anally? This is different than questions like "What in your childhood upbringing lead you to believe you could dominate women?" This is ultimate/proximate causation mix ups and then just generally a bias. Humans are just not good at figuring out their motivations without some level of statistical, objective, replicable analysis. It’s why science is the preferred method rather than arguments by authority.

But lets say you find 100 serial rapist, they all talk about the same things. Are serial rapists really the most accurate portrayal of rape and sexual coercion? Do you get closer to the truth about why most people kill by asking serial killers? I would hazardous a guess that the answer is no.

The VAST VAST VAST majority of rapes worldwide are committed during raids and wars. This fits perfectly into the rape adaptation hypothesis, and perhaps other hypothesis as well. But other data suggest to me at least that power/humiliation hypotheses are not nearly as good at predicting rape factors as the adaptation hypothesis. Serial rapists in American jails are a tiny portion of those who commit acts of rape. I bet most solders in rape camps are probably there to have sex with hot girls. These "hot" girls are girls that exhibit strong signals of fertility.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 12 by Trixie, posted 03-05-2004 4:40 PM Trixie has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 14 by Trixie, posted 03-05-2004 5:29 PM Parsimonious_Razor has taken no action
 Message 17 by crashfrog, posted 03-05-2004 6:04 PM Parsimonious_Razor has replied

  
Trixie
Member (Idle past 2943 days)
Posts: 1011
From: Edinburgh
Joined: 01-03-2004


Message 14 of 33 (90649)
03-05-2004 5:29 PM
Reply to: Message 13 by Parsimonious_Razor
03-05-2004 4:58 PM


Re: Did anyone bother to ask.....
I'm far from convinced. I still think that asking someone why he decided to rape is valuable. You don't need him to be able to tell you his hidden motivations. If it was to humiliate or have power over women then that answers your question. It doesn't answer why he felt he wanted to humiliate or have power over women, but it would show that it had nothing to do with fertility of the female.

Serial rapists are those with a compulsion to rape and rape again, just like serial murderers. Thopse who commit the crimes as a one-off are less likely to be demonstrating the "normal" behaviour you assign. I thought the whole point of this was to answer the question "Why do some men feel the need/urge to commit rape?" That is really only valid for those who habitually rape ie serial rapists. Do you see what I mean?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 13 by Parsimonious_Razor, posted 03-05-2004 4:58 PM Parsimonious_Razor has taken no action

  
crashfrog
Member (Idle past 704 days)
Posts: 19762
From: Silver Spring, MD
Joined: 03-20-2003


Message 15 of 33 (90660)
03-05-2004 5:51 PM
Reply to: Message 4 by Parsimonious_Razor
03-05-2004 2:33 PM


I think power and social theories have to deal with some of these points:

1) The vast majority of rapes are of reproductive age females.

I don't think that there's anything to deal with. The social model is that rape is violence expressed through a "vocabulary" of sexual interaction. So naturally the sexual appetite of the rapist is going to come into play. Women of reproductive age - which is a pretty broad range - are more attractive to most men. And clearly that's an evolutionary result.

90-99% of all rapes victims are female.

Most rapists are men. Most men are straight. Not unexpected.

Forced penile-vaginal intercourse is more likely in sexual assaults of reproductive age females.

Getting back to the sexual appetite of the rapist - most men have a preference for coitus. Yes, that's probably evolutionary.

If rape were purely about power or humiliation I would imagine you would see the opposite pattern.

Can you explain the pattern a little more clearly? I didn't understand your paragraph. Which group has the higher trauma?

I'm not claiming that evolutionary adaptations don't play a factor in human sexual interaction. Clearly they do. But if rape were an adaptation you would expect rapists to be universally men who had failed to achieve sexual access in any other way. But that doesn't seem to be the case.

What I see as the cause of rape is simply antisocial violence being expressed through a "vocabulary" of sexual interaction, which itself is characterized through many traits that are obviously adaptive. But the root cause is still ultimately social.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 4 by Parsimonious_Razor, posted 03-05-2004 2:33 PM Parsimonious_Razor has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 19 by Parsimonious_Razor, posted 03-06-2004 2:49 AM crashfrog has replied

  
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