Sunday School

Sunday School January 19th 2020

This topic contains 23 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by  _Robert_ 2 months, 1 week ago.

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    I am not familiar with Dutton’s written work but had this video of his in an old Sunday School.

    That’s such an awesome video, I’m sorry I missed it before.

    A topic started by @unseen comes to mind, Is beauty real?

    There’s another aspect of sexual selection that wasn’t explicitly mentioned that I think is worth consideration, and that is how it must often involve competitive sexual selection. Physical beauty/signalling isn’t always just about attracting mates from afar, but it’s also about which pairs among the species successfully mate first and at the best time.

    I like Dutton’s specific examples of what shapes and human behaviors seem to be perceived by us as “beautiful”, as long as they’re taken with grains of salt. I tried to envision what might attract me to the following example drawn by his presentation artist:

    drawing of a very large sculptured stone that looks like it could be the head of an axe

    It didn’t come to mind right away, but the old noggin eventually saw it as a depiction of a part of female anatomy, body front-side down. I’m aware that’s a stretch, so to speak. I’d like to ask Dutton if he considered this. But he infers that females are also attracted by this shape (or craftsmanship?). I suppose one could perceive a guy’s part looking like this while looking at said part while standing on one’s head while elevated on a table or stairs while the guy is facing away from said observer? PM me if you don’t get my drift.

    I could postulate so much more, but should stop here. (Jeebus, while proofreading this, the old noggin misread postulate as prostulate. Well, we didn’t evolve to become perfect readers, much less perfect writers.)


    …we didn’t evolve to become perfect readers, much less perfect writers...

    A few days ago I got a text from a work colleague. The pre-emptive text had changed his incorrect spelling of “electrician” to read:

    The elephant patrician will be onsite tomorrow.

    I knew the ancient Romans had elephants but did not know they regarded them so highly !!


    I think all sexual selection is competitive. Even beauty itself becomes competitive.

    A TV talk show host once asked a magicians wife – so what first attracted you to the millionaire Paul Daniels? 🙂


    Simon Paynton

    Frans de Waal says:

    The biological explanation for sexual rivalry between males is as follows.  A female can only be fertilized by one male.  By keeping other males away from her a male increases the certainty that he will be the father of her child.  …

    Whereas the males fight for the right to fertilize as many females as possible, the situation for the female is completely different.  Whether she copulates with one or one hundred males, it will not alter the number of children she will give birth to.

    Jealousy among females is therefore less marked. Female competition occurs almost exclusively in pair-bonded species, such as many birds and a few mammals. In those cases, females try to gain or defend a long-term tie with a male. Our own species is a good example: research by David Buss has demonstrated that whereas men get most upset at the thought of their wife or girlfriend having sex with another man, women dislike most the thought that their husband or boyfriend actually loves another woman, regardless of whether or not sex occurred. Because women look at things from the perspective of relationships, they are more concerned with a possible emotional tie between their mate and another woman.



    Yeah Reg. He doesn’t really touch on exactly what we are talking about in the Naked Ape or the Human Animal but yeah, I’d say, how many decades later now? They are still extremely worth the read and very relevant to today. It’s amazing how little of it has yet disseminated into public consciousness. He does go into early humans in “The human zoo” which is my favourite book by him but I’ll have to look up the book where he goes more deep in to relatively minor gender roles in early humans. I also reread “Black Swan” by Nicolas Taleb this xmas. Did you ever have a chance to read it Reg?




    I really don’t think we disagree much on the issue. All I do is urge caution on not taking the “alpha male spreading the seed”  and “female cowering for protection” to the extent that many do in the popularization of human sexuality. Yeah many species of canines and felines do and some primates but most mammals are actually quite solitary and rapey behaviour quite extraordinary. Even within us primates we have huge variation in gender roles (very vauge ones), sexual practices (ranging from rapey to the female pitting males against one another to death-matches before letting anyone near her), hierarchies (very lose to somewhat strict). Modern humans, if anything, are unique in the way they put immense control and pressure to ensure quite strict genderroles, including punishment for doing things outside those roles, sanctioning fairly rapey (or marital rape) behaviour. Obviously this has a huge effect on sexual selection and mate “attraction”. We should also be careful not to conflate sexual practices (which may be dominant and submisive) with gender roles (which may or may not involve dominant partners). The very early development of human culture could have had extreme staying power. It’s extremely difficult to say humans are inherently one way or another when this behavior is not seen universally (consider matriarchal cultures, cultures were men are oppressed, cultures that insist on strong elective love bonds, cultures where females hunt, fight etc. So it doesn’t really make that much sense to talk about mamalian instinct. Or even generalize about repressive sexual or social behaviour as a norm amongst animals or pre-“culturalized” humans. We simply do not have the data to say one way or another.


    I also reread “Black Swan” by Nicolas Taleb this xmas. Did you ever have a chance to read it Reg?

    No, that one slipped past me. I will get a copy. I remember hearing it mentioned when discussing something Dawkins wrote about people who argue that “all swans are white” and deny there could be black swans because they have never seen one.



    Simon Paynton

    “Why Evolutionary Psychology (Probably) Isn’t Possible” by Subrena E Smith –

    don’t read too much into the evolutionary psychology behind it

    Professor Smith says:

    Evolutionary psychologists believe that many of our behaviors in the present are caused by psychological mechanisms that operate today as they did in the past.

    Is this really true though?  Is that what evolutionary psychology tells us?

    Is Prof. Smith really saying that our psychology is not evolved?  If it’s evolved, then selection pressures made it evolve.  As far as I’m aware, evolutionary psychology specifies two things: 1) the ancient selection pressures; 2) the resulting modern psychology.  This seems perfectly reasonable to me.



    I have known a few men called Hunter but never have I met a gal called Gatherer.

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