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Jun 15 2012

I get comments: There’s no patriarchy, just evolution

This comment gave me a good laugh, so I thought I’d share:

PZ’s reputation as a reasonable scientist is definitely tarnished by the way he sets aside reason in exchange for chivalry–i.e. the defense of women and femininity even when it’s clear that the other sex really deserves the defense. He likely rationalizes this with a conspiracy theory called “patriarchy” wherein women are infantilized and treated as robots with no free will.

It’s quite funny how someone can be so rational in some areas but completely credulous when it comes to patriarchy “theory”.
I really do think that men like him behave this way because of deep, evolutionary pressure to compete with other males for the favor of females. It’s not impossible, that’s for sure. It would be difficult to prove but, it makes perfect sense and is completely logical. I mean, those who didn’t behave in a sycophantic manner towards women would almost certainly not have reproduced in numbers as abundant as their competitors, right? I’m not evolutionary biologist, but the idea at least makes sense.

I don’t want to steal all the fun, so have a blast pointing out the 3864831 things that are wrong with those paragraphs in the comments.

52 comments

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  1. 1
    Emrysmyrddin

    I’ll start: #1: You can’t be both reasonable and a feminist. DING!

  2. 2
    Sethra

    The Fail is strong with this one…most particularly in that treating women as equals somehow means setting aside reason.

    I need more popcorn.

  3. 3
    Sethra

    Bah, not quick enough!

    *shares popcorn with Emrysmyrddin*

  4. 4
    Momo Elektra

    It’s like debating creationists. It’s so very much like debating creationists.
    Even the arguments are the same.

  5. 5
    CT Chimako.27

    I mean, those who didn’t behave in a sycophantic manner towards women would almost certainly not have reproduced in numbers as abundant as their competitors, right?

    does this person live under a rock?

  6. 6
    eric

    I’m not evolutionary biologist…

    Okay, make that 3,864,831 to 1.

  7. 7
    muti

    “deep, evolutionary pressure” Such fancy science yer talkin’!

  8. 8
    Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    Not this shit again.

  9. 9
    Jeremy Shaffer

    I really do think that men like him behave this way because of deep, evolutionary pressure to compete with other males for the favor of females. It’s not impossible, that’s for sure.

    As anyone with a healthy respect for reason that the commenter wishes to project should know, how possible an explaination being true is hardly as relevant as the probability of the explaination being true. It’s noticable how far the commenter stays away from that.

    It would be difficult to prove but, it makes perfect sense and is completely logical.

    While it might make “perfect sense and is completely logical”, to show that it is also true would require that the claim be examined empirically. It would seem that the commenter fails to recognize that the reason it “would be difficult to prove” despite its supposed relationship to sense and logic is that they have no real evidence for it and thus it fails on an empirical level. This applies equally to the rest of the comment.

    I’m not evolutionary biologist, but the idea at least makes sense.

    Well, so long as it makes sense to you I guess you can count me convinced. I always agree with the opinion someone with admittedly little to no training in a field pontificates.

  10. 10
    Tim

    I keep hoping that the MRA movement will turn out to be a highly elaborate hoax to serve as some sort of cynical social commentary.

    (Hey, sometimes we have to delude ourselves in order to stay sane.)

  11. 11
    STH

    Valuing equality, fairness, and justice is not “chivalry.” Chivalry is actually a tool of patriarchy because it emphasizes women’s supposed fragility and need to be protected.

    It really disturbs me that I keep running into this “Men’s Rights” crap on non-Men’s-Rights websites.

  12. 12
    Lars

    I would like to give a thoughtful comment on the nonsense he’s spouting, but the only thing I can think of regarding the title of this post is “There is no patriarchy, only ZUUL!”

  13. 13
    Wes

    “it’s not impossible”

    Got you there, skeptics! Zing!

  14. 14
    Wes

    He doesn’t even know history. The sad but true fact about human history is that most of the time in most of the world, women have been property, an arrangement that suited the evolutionary selection of misogynist pigs, not “sycophants.” Even today, as this hapless and over his head misogynist demonstrates, they are disproportionately represented in the population. This blog, though, is not a place where he is likely to successfully pass on his genes. Bleah!

  15. 15
    Emrysmyrddin

    Sethra: Only if it’s salted – no toffee nonsense around here, thanks ;)

  16. 16
    TerranRich

    Yeah, being “sycophantic” toward women is sure getting me a lot of hotties! I’m just rollin’ in women! Idiot.

  17. 17
    gworroll

    They really shoot themselves in the foot with crap like this.

    While MRAs are very, very wrong about the general idea that men are oppressed more than women, or even that the oppression is equal, there’s at least a chance that some of them could be right about specific issues. I can’t think of any off the top of my head, but it’s possible there’s a specific issue they are right on.

    But they go off on these misogynist rants, we all turn off, and miss anything intelligent they happen to say(probably accidental intelligence, but still, a good point is a good point). They actually sabotage their own goals.

    Of course, any such issues that MRAs happen to be right on, feminists will probably have the same position. But if MRAs notice the problem first, it would really help everyone if they could express that without all the misogyny attached to all their rants.

    As for this specific rant, I’ll just point out what he has right, it’s a lot less typing that way. PZ has a reputation as a scientist. I don’t follow his scientific work so I personally cannot say if it’s a good or a bad reputation, but he has one.

    That’s about all I can find that he got right. Reasonable spelling and grammar too, I suppose he gets points for that.

  18. 18
    Sercee

    … So, being nice to the ladies is the only way, according to our evolution, to get laid? So, he’s saying that the only reason he himself is ever nice to ladies is when he wants to get laid? And that PZ, despite being married, is totally just all about the getting laid? Why can’t the motivation just be to be friendly? As far as I can tell, PZ doesn’t exactly run around opening doors for women then slamming them shut on the men. Is there some rule that we’re not allowed to be nice to people around us without having ulterior motives?

  19. 19
    Paul

    Only 3864831?

  20. 20
    Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    So perhaps Men’s Property Rights Advocate would be more accurate than MRA?

  21. 21
    Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    They, on occasion, quite justly decry manifestations of sexism that happen to benefit women…

    …and then throw away any credit that might have earned them by blaming feminism for those.

  22. 22
    gworroll

    Yeah.

    I should revise one thing, “sabotage their own goals” should actually say “sabotage their stated goals”. There might be a few well meaning idiots in the MRA movement, but I’m very skeptical of the motivations of the movement as a whole.

  23. 23
    Sethra

    Not a chance! And real butter too, none of that fake junk! :)

  24. 24
    Sethra

    Er…”Not a chance!” with regards to toffee. Derp!

  25. 25
    Wes

    Over the long span of human history, I’d say so. I’m not sure how prevalent or overt that extreme view would be in today’s MRA (as I’m not involved with it) but certainly the MRA has roots in it.

  26. 26
    Noadi

    There are a few that come to mind but the thing is MRAs aren’t actually DOING anything about them. For example: prison rape is a very serious problem and affects a disturbingly large number of inmates but feminists are doing more about it than MRAs.

  27. 27
    Ryan

    As a gay man, let me just say I am very surprised that my feminism comes as a result of evolutionary pressure to compete with other males for the favor of females. And to think I thought I was an unnatural abomination!

  28. 28
    Blitzgal

    I like how the same group of bitter guys will simultaneously argue that women are shallow bitches who will only fuck “alphas” AND entitled princesses who will only fuck “manginas” who worship the ground they walk on. Which is it, MRAs? Do we only fuck the hypermasculine bullies or the weakling white knights?

  29. 29
    abeille

    Yeah, that has always confused me. Who, exactly, am I suppose to be fucking again?

    Does it depend on how hot I am on that 1-10 scale? Top of the scale only does super alphas and the mid level, who should be doing the regular alphas and betas, are instead doing manginas?

  30. 30
    mouthyb, Vagina McTits

    Oh! I got a few things wrong with this post:

    Over 60 years of social science theory dismissed as a conspiracy theory.

    People as helpless puppets of evolutionary pressure: sorry folks, my penis made me do it.

    It makes perfect sense that women cannot be friends of men, only sperm receptacles, and that all attempts to be friendly are insincere.

    It would be difficult to prove (or test) therefore it’s logical and makes perfect sense.

    The patriarchy, though it treats women like infants and delicate flowers, is a conspiracy theory which prevents everyone from seeing men are the gender which need to be more defended.

    There’s no point in communication with persons in your gender (because you’re in competition with them) or persons outside your gender (because you can’t communicate with them, only fuck them.)

    There’s only the two clearly-defined genders, and sex is only about reproduction.

    My uneducated opinion on biology totally trumps educated opinions.
    ____________________________________

    That fucker sounds like a winner to me. I can’t imagine why women aren’t beating down his door to get to know him.

  31. 31
    mouthyb, Vagina McTits

    No, no, we should all be doing to betas, but we cannot resist the alpha cock carousel. The only thing that matters is what the betas think, and we’re all behind our nookie quotas.

  32. 32
    gworroll

    That alpha male garbage pisses me off. Especially since the time I saw it used as the basis for an anti-gay marriage argument. Basically, if gay marriage was legal, only alpha males would be able to find mates, and that wasn’t fair to the beta males. This was the argument.

    The idea that the women “freed up” by banning gay marriage wouldn’t be marrying men anyways, or that this wouldn’t be nearly enough women to make a dent in the “problem”, hadn’t occurred to him. And the thought that they should be expected to- that’s just wrong. So morally fucked it couldn’t even find its way to Wrongville from the center of Wrongville.. To his discredit, he found an argument dumber and more reprehensible than the “it goes against nature” one the religious crowd loves.

    If not for a few concerns regarding mutual friends, he’d be defriended and blocked on FB(FB really shows how far politics intrudes into everyday life). At least he isn’t terribly active there.

  33. 33
    gworroll

    I don’t recall ever seeing MRAs even say something about that, much less take or propose action, though admittedly I can’t stomach their misgyny enough to dig very deep into what they are doing.

  34. 34
    abeille

    Screw this- I’m going to go light a scented candle.

  35. 35
    mouthyb, Vagina McTits

    Misandry! *evil pointing monkey from Family Guy*

  36. 36
    eNeMeE

    It has too many letters in it – I think I’ve pared it down to the relevant ones:

    …i…a…m…an…i…d…i…o…t

  37. 37
    mas528

    Hey! I love that artificial butter flavored grease!

  38. 38
  39. 39
    carpenterman

    Oh, Dog, it’s the Stupid. The Stupid is everywhere.

  40. 40
    Glodson

    Is it okay that I cannot point out the stupidity of this as it made my brain bleed as it attempted to escape my skull to detach itself from my optic nerves?

  41. 41
    Alyson Miers

    But…I thought evolutionary pressure was the reason why men were driven to disregard women’s boundaries. The argument was that women just had to accept and play along with sexual harassment because ZOMG! The species! Biological imperative!

    And now we’re supposed to believe that evolutionary pressure is actually “forcing” men to listen and take us seriously, which means their respect isn’t genuine?

    Let me know when they come up with an “evolution makes us do it!” story and stick with it, okay?

  42. 42
    David

    The author placed an extraneous comma in “deep, evolutionary pressure.” That’s 3864832.

  43. 43
    karmacat

    That comment made me laugh so hard the spit flew onto my desk…

  44. 44
    ender

    it’s actually one of the big things they like to whine about…

  45. 45
    gworroll

    Hmm. That acutally raises my opinion of them, maybe it’s worth paying a bit more attention.

  46. 46
    Robert B.

    Um. Okay, let’s take a look at this.

    First, assume that there is a gene for being nice (“sycophantic”) toward women. Optimistically, let’s in fact assume that there is only one, and that we didn’t have to co-evolve a group of related genes.

    Now, let’s assume that men who have this gene breed 10% more often, a fitness advantage of a magnitude usually reserved for things like “not dying of malaria.” Obviously this advantage can only exist when the woman’s opinion is relevant to whether reproduction occurs. Otherwise, the “sycophancy” strategy would obviously lose to other strategies such as “buy/kidnap as many women as possible, call them all ‘wives,’ and screw them until they die in childbirth.” We’ll say, again generously, that the woman’s consent has been a dominating factor ever since law was invented, ~4000 years ago.

    We’ll further assume that this gene either mutated into existence at the beginning of its window of opportunity, or was already present in very small numbers. (It’d have to be small, remember, because until we had laws, the “harem” strategy would have been much more fit.) We’ll start its frequency at one in ten million; the logarithm is -7. (World population was only 30 million or so at that time.)

    We’ll also assume that this gene doesn’t do anything unexpected when a woman has it. Here “anything unexpected” should be understood to mean “anything,” since the author writes as though he would be surprised to learn that women have DNA. Since the gene is only acting in men, it’s “wasted” (i.e. irrelevant to natural selection) whenever a woman gets it; the effective fitness becomes 1.05; the log of that is 0.021.

    By our assumptions, the “sycophancy” strategy has been more fit than the “harem” strategy for 4000 years, or about 200 generations. That would increase the frequency of the “sycophancy” gene, on a log scale, by 200 * 0.021 times, or 4.23. But it started out way down at -7, so it’s only up to -2.77.

    In other words, by our uniformly generous assumptions, only 0.17% of men will try get laid by being nice to women. This fascinating datum will come as a great surprise to the Hallmark corporation and the Society of American Florists. That’s not to mention the MRA’s themselves, who suddenly find themselves outnumbering their sycophantic rivals by almost 600 to 1. Their obvious next move is to call for a recount on the 19th Amendment, which only could have passed by some sort of clerical error.

  47. 47
    Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    …although only when they feel it’s necessary to repurpose a conversation that was originally about women’s concerns…

  48. 48
    chrislawson

    Why would that make you respect them? It’s not like they’re really interested in reducing the prevalence of prison rape. Nope. They’re using this problem to excoriate attempts to reduce the prevalence of rape against women in the wider community.

  49. 49
    chrislawson

    gworroll, I think there comes a point where you have to say that a movement is so toxic that there is no such thing as a well-meaning idiot within it. I think the MRA movement has well and truly met that measure.

  50. 50
    chrislawson

    Yes. Chivalry is a code of behaviour for warriors, and specifically for knights (that is, warriors of noble caste). While one of its central concerns is the protection of women, that is because women are seen in chivalric circles as defenceless and pure — there was a lot of veneration of the Virgin Mary mixed up in the chivalric code. Why would anyone espouse a warrior code from the 11th to the 15th centuries as some sort of principle of justice when they could espouse, I dunno, equal rights before the law instead?

  51. 51
    Forbidden Snowflake

    This is literally the first time that I see an anti-gay “argument” that focuses on lesbians and erases gay men, after 45456596 instances of the opposite. Doesn’t make it any better; just weirder.

  52. 52
    Shplane, Spess Alium

    Since when have evolutionary pressures selected for sexual activity that isn’t “Rape” or “Slave girl harem”? Taking women seriously would actually reduce the number of children you have (At least, prior to modern society), both because you aren’t forcing multiple women to bear them, and because anyone you would have an actual relationship with likely wouldn’t want to take the risk of squirting out forty kids.

    This guy is dumb.

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