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Sep. 5th, 2007 (UTC)

1. People assuming that if you say that something is an evolved trait, you must also be claiming it's a morally defensible trait. An example of this is when some scientists suggested that rape is an evolved behavior that has allowed men with little access to willing women to propagate their genes anyway. There was a huge feminist uproar about this--not attacking the actual science behind the suggestion, but attacking the idea that anyone would even dare voice this hypothesis. Evolution isn't morally based. Sometimes we evolve in ways that are politically incorrect. I don't think it's really fair that men are on average bigger and stronger than women, but I shouldn't attack scientists who study this and find it to be true. When a scientist tells us what *is,* they aren't telling us what *should* be. Nor are they telling us that we have no choice in the matter. Our genetic makeup isn't the only factor that governs our behavior.

In a society when one of the dominant discourses is "natural = acceptable" (think about how much investment has gone into finding a gay gene and the argument that gay people are born gay as a means to justify gay rights), what good can come from a study that argues that rape is an evolved behavior? Furthermore, a lot of evolutionary biology, when studying humans, often reflects the sexism of our society (for example, how common it is to assert that women want monogamy while men want nonmonogamy in evolutionary biology).




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