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What does evil look like?

Big fangs, horns, a hideous face, wielding brutal instruments of torture? Or maybe something sleek and military that can explode in a gout of flame? Sure, those are evil all right, but real evil can be distilled down to something as simple as a lawyer signing a piece of paper, a doctor averting their eyes, a citizen ignoring an act of inhumanity because the victim isn’t worthy…or an entire nation so soaked in godly lies that they will let a young woman die to protect their sanctimony.

I wrote about Beatriz’s case in El Salvador before. She’s 22, she’s very sick, and she’s pregnant with an anencephalic fetus. The fetus is doomed and can never live outside the womb, but the pregnancy is worsening Beatriz’s condition, and could kill her, too. The solution is simple: an abortion would give Beatriz a chance.

But no, El Salvador has an absolutist law on the books that completely outlaws all abortions, no exceptions, not even to save the life of the mother. It is a very Catholic country — yet again, religion poisons everything. This is a law very much like what the far right pecksniffs in the US would like to impose on us, and it’s operating effectively in El Salvador.

Beatriz’s only hope was that the El Salvador Supreme Court would see the light of reason and make a rational exception. They didn’t. They condemned her to die.

That’s what pure evil looks like. It’s a bureaucrat hearing the pleas of a dying woman and turning their back on her to worship the letter of the law. It’s a whole nation with their heads stuffed up their asses as an act of piety. It’s symbolized by this man, with his rituals and rites and his bullshit theology.

pope-francis

That’s the face of evil, neatly coiffed, smiling, seemingly benign. People are petitioning the Pope to save Beatriz’s life, and I find that offensive as well. By what goddamned right does this foolish old man have the power of life and death over anyone? Shouldn’t everyone have autonomy and a right to live?

That’s evil too, that we accept that some people have the power to inflict death and destruction, directly or indirectly, on others.

Comments

  1. Compuholic says

    Stuff like this makes my blood boil with rage.

    Like the first comment said: “Is it not possible to perform the abortion outside of her home country”. If they are trying to organize something like this and need donations: I’d like to know about it.

  2. unbound says

    I would go with richardelguru on this one as it seems the only reasonable path. To get her to a civilized country to save her life.

  3. Beatrice (looking for a happy thought) says

    I would like to know why no country has offered this woman asylum yet.

  4. John Kruger says

    Pecksniff: pretentious, unforgiving architect of double standards.

    How is it with all the time I have spent reading about religion and politics I have only come across this term now? I shall have to put it into more regular use.

  5. sarahbee says

    Delurking to add that the NYT had this to say about the question of Beatriz traveling abroad to get the care she needs:

    The health minister had said earlier that Beatriz could travel abroad for an abortion, although she does not have a visa to enter the United States and would have to obtain a special humanitarian one.

    But Mr. Mata said that the trip would pose risks to her health and that she should be treated in El Salvador. “There are many more cases like this,” he said. “There has to be an integrated solution.”

  6. kevinalexander says

    But, but, god made Beatriz to test our faith and now we can all stand around her and hold hands and sing Kumbayah as she dies a horrible death.
    Not to worry though, she’s going to be in heaven with her brainless baby and the equally brainless JESUS.

  7. embraceyourinnercrone says

    She may be too sick to travel very far. Advanced lupus can put a strain on the kidneys, which the pregnancy will have exacerbated (I have a family member who has lupus, she was advised not to have children because of this issue). Also I don’t know if she has a passport, and if even if she did, the authorities might try to stop her from leaving if they suspected she was leaving to try to obtain an abortion.

    If she and her family left(if they were able to leave and had a doctor willing to brave the press and perform the procedure) to obtain an abortion they might face felony charges if they tried to return.

  8. says

    I didn’t think of her state of health as a factor.

    That makes her position so much worse.

    I think we need to come up with a term way beyond evil to describe the vileness that religious certainty brings.

  9. dianne says

    So much for the claim that religion makes people more moral. This is an out and out murder. May the Supreme Court justices who made this decision spend the rest of their lives haunted by it.

  10. dianne says

    Also note that she is going to die without ever seeing her husband or 14 month old son again. Her child will grow up without his mother. Her husband will have to mourn her while taking care of a 14 month old who doesn’t understand what happened to his mother. I’ve always said hell would be too much punishment for anyone, but I’m starting to reconsider that decision. The men (and I’m pretty sure that they’re all men) who made this decision condemned 2 people to a distorted life with at least immediate misery, one to death for a fetus that is not and never can be a person. Actually, if her doctors are decent people they’re going to feel pretty miserable about things too. I’d hate to be in their situation either. How much misery can a group of people deliberately cause and still consider themselves “good”?

  11. Tyrant al-Kalām says

    How much misery can a group of people deliberately cause and still consider themselves “good”?

    Come on, it’s the catholics who deserve our compasison here – they must let her die because they are burdened with moral superiority, such a terrible test of their faith. Really, they are the victims here.

    /cynical

  12. says

    True evil is almost always well dressed and well spoken. True evil almost always speaks with a loving voice that says, “This hurts me terribly, but it really is for your own good.” All other evil can be traced back to such people.

  13. kevinalexander says

    May the Supreme Court justices who made this decision spend the rest of their lives haunted by it.

    Dianne, you don’t know Roman Catholicism. Those men are patting each other on the back and will spend the rest of their lives basking in the warm glow of Jesus’ grace.
    Like all religion, Catholicism comes from a deep well of savage feeling. I mean that literally as in the evolved animal part of the brain. Condemn a woman to death for having sex? Meerkats do the same thing and so do wolves. I’m sure it’s pretty common in the animal world and you don’t get much more animal than the RCC.

  14. evilDoug says

    There are some commenters at the CBS article that PZ linked to who really need some figurative serious chunks ripped out of them, if anyone has the stomach for it. The comments are along the predicable lines of God, she got pregnant knowing the risks, this is her burden, tough luck, need more info, need balance from this not “anti-life”.

  15. Maureen Brian says

    There’s a man called Peter Williams over on facebook – original post by Bernard Hurley on 4 May – claiming that

    “the last medical report by the El Salvadoran Instituto de Medicina Legal (IML), made it clear that “there is no clinical evidence of a renal insufficiency” and that ‘Beatriz’ “is clinically stable, which means that right now there is no imminent risk of danger of death”.

    which sounds like the same old, same old “not going to die this minute therefore no danger to anyone” excuse we’ve heard before.

    As well as trying to argue the facts with him I’ve already implied that he might be a raving nutter but if you’re there, Horde Medics, do you want to add an extra bit of welly? (Not in the Pharyngula secret society but quite a few familiar faces among his fb friends.)

  16. steve oberski says

    When I tell catholic acquaintances that every time they drop a dollar in the collection plate and don’t just walk away from and publicly repudiate this organization they are complicit in this evil, apparently I’m being strident, and don’t you know that being catholic is exactly the same as shopping at Target in face of the factory collapses in Bangladesh or participating beyond subsistence level by the use of cell phones or the Internet.

    The pope may be the face of evil but it’s the catholic laity that are the enablers.

  17. Pteryxx says

    I can’t stop thinking about this.

    The health minister had said earlier that Beatriz could travel abroad for an abortion, although she does not have a visa to enter the United States and would have to obtain a special humanitarian one.

    But Mr. Mata said that the trip would pose risks to her health and that she should be treated in El Salvador. “There are many more cases like this,” he said. “There has to be an integrated solution.”

    Beatriz is just the one who petitioned the Supreme Court and whose case and pseudonym is making international news. Beatriz is the one dying while we all watch. Including other women in El Salvador who know their country and their religion will throw their lives away, too.

    There are many more cases like this.
    There are many more cases like this.
    There are many more cases like this.

    Sure, she’s not guaranteed to die. I fail to see how that improves anything about the current situation. If she dies, she’ll just be doing what’s right and proper for a woman; if not, they’ll call it a miracle, proof of God’s mercy yadda yadda. There’s no room under God for a narrative where a simple medical procedure frees a woman back to her family and her ordinary, precious life. THAT would be a fucking blessing.

    The vengeful part of me wishes for a webcam, except that the religious murderers would just take it as torture porn.

  18. dianne says

    According to the NYT, the ruling did leave open the possibility of inducing labor early if there was immediate risk. I’d say next time her creatinine bumps or her coags start to rise they should just induce labor. They can then go ahead and “do everything possible” to “save” the baby without injustice. It’s going to die and it doesn’t have enough brain to suffer, so no harm there except resources wasted. And maybe this young woman could live a bit longer. (Not much longer if she doesn’t show up for her tubal ligation this time, but that’s a different issue.)

  19. A Hermit says

    It’s for women like Beatriz that Dr. Henry Morgentaler fought, was imprisoned, kept fighting and finally won abortion rights for Canadian women. He survived Auschwitz in his youth and prison in Quebec, death threats from anti-abortion activists, assassination plots, and crazed protesters armed with garden shears.

    He died yesterday, peacefully at the age of 90. A real humanist hero.

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/story/2013/05/29/obit-morgentaler.html

    El Salvador needs a Morgentaler.

  20. David Marjanović says

    I think we need to come up with a term way beyond evil to describe the vileness that religious certainty brings.

    “When people believe that they have absolute knowledge, with no test in reality, this is how they behave. This is what men do when they aspire to the knowledge of gods.”

    Condemn a woman to death for having sex? Meerkats do the same thing and so do wolves. I’m sure it’s pretty common in the animal world

    *blink* What?

    What are you talking about?

    she got pregnant knowing the risks, this is her burden, tough luck

    So… making a questionable decision, assuming it was a decision and not a malfunction of contraception or whatever, must be punished by death?

    Christ, what assholes.

  21. Chie Satonaka says

    Why did I read the comments at CBS.com?!?! I just KNEW that some fucking asshole would blame her for having sex in the first place, and of course two comments in, someone does just that. I just can’t. I think my head just exploded with rage.

  22. G Pierce (Was ~G~) says

    Does anyone know anything about international maritime law? Sounds silly, but any way she could go out to sea and come back? Would that be a shorter distance?

  23. steve oberski says

    @Maureen Brian

    I have no medical background so I can’t comment on the medical issues.

    However I think to argue this as anything other than a woman’s right to control her own body is, as Sam Harris put it*:

    It’s as though, before the debate even begins, our opponents draw the chalk-outline of a dead man on the sidewalk, and we just walk up and lie down in it.

    Of course I understand that a women who faces death as a result of not being able to exercise personal autonomy is more news worthy, but as sarahbee referenced above:

    “There are many more cases like this,” he said. “There has to be an integrated solution.”

    * He was referring to atheism as a cover all term to describe that group of people who don’t happen to believe in gods but I think it’s applicable whenever the religious try to insert their primitive morality into secular society.

  24. francesc says

    “How much misery can a group of people deliberately cause and still consider themselves “good”?”
    Sadly, an awful lot of misery. Humans are pretty good at rationalizing previous decisions. In this case, the “good” court judges are thinking: “hey, we couldn’t do anything, we only apply laws”, while the “worst” judges won’t remember Beatriz for very long.

    BTW, a party tried to pass a proposal in the spanish congress asking the spanish government to press El Salvador’s government, but the conservative -and catholic- party which is ruling upon us refused it some days ago.

  25. Sally Stearns says

    I think this is something the US Government should be able to take a stand on – prolife or prochoice, there’s a woman in grave danger in El Salvador and a fetus that will not make it to term – I’ve started a petition here that if we can get to 10,000 signatures at least we may get a response with the Obama administration. Maybe it will spark someone to act, it’s worth a shot at least:

    https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/grant-asylum-beatriz-el-salvador-whose-fetus-long-ago-died-being-forced-die-deliver-it/QJWL7350

  26. scottrobson says

    I have not read all the comments above, but can she not claim political asylum somewhere? Her human rights (her liberty to live and breathe) are being taken away. With a suitable fund and an accommodating country, this should just already have happened. I’d be happy to contribute to such a fund.

  27. anteprepro says

    And this is why “pro-life” is a punchline. Fucking monsters.

    I just KNEW that some fucking asshole would blame her for having sex in the first place, and of course two comments in, someone does just that.

    Blaming her for having sex when she is married, probably actually wanted the baby, but just wants (NEEDS) to have an abortion because of unforeseen medical complications. What the fuck is wrong with these people? They have scripts for brains.

  28. mikeyb says

    Let’s not forget, FAPP in many parts of the US, abortion is effectively illegal, since through demonization and death threats, no clinics perform abortions, so that women have to travel hundreds of miles to get an abortion. So effectively, many parts of the US are not too far from El Salvador now.

  29. hypatiasdaughter says

    Well, I truly respect an organization that stands firm on the principle of the Right to Life, which means no preemptive action may be taken that will kill one person to save some another person’s life.
    I fully expect that the Vatican will now come down as inflexibly and harshly on all the self-defense laws that permit you to kill someone who threatens your life. You cannot kill them in self-defense until they have actually stabbed, shot, bludgeoned or strangled you. (And that still is more liberal than Beatriz’s situation, because even as she is being killed by the pregnancy, she is not permitted to end it to save her life.)
    But, lets get real – if the RCC ever tried to push such an interpretation of the Right to Life, men would stampede out the doors. High moral principles are wonderful when they are applied to situations that you will NEVER experience; not so much for situations that may put your own life on the line some day.
    But this is NOT really about the Right to Life. The RCC knows that there are situations that it may be necessary to take another’s life, such as self-defense and “just” wars.
    This is about the Right to Baptism. The RCC holds that any one who has not been baptized by them is bound for hell (or limbo, for children). A born person has had the opportunity to become baptized, the unborn have not. The RCC’s stance on abortion is a purely theological. but they downplay this when working with non RCCs against abortion rights because the non-RCCs might take umbrage at the idea that the only church that can save souls is the RCC.
    This necessity for baptism is one of the biggest moral conundrums for the RCC. Why would god let so many people die unbaptized in utero, if baptism is necessary for salvation? And, yes, they really thought for centuries that the unborn or the new born but unbaptized went to hell. It only took them 2,000 years to decide, No, not hell but limbo.

  30. kevinalexander says

    David @22
    To use the example of meerkats. Resources are limited so the dominant female acts to limit reproduction to herself.
    She doesn’t know this and hasn’t got a big enough brain to think about it. She has simply evolved an instinct that causes her to physically attack any other female that smells pregnant. The smell of pregnancy triggers a flood of neurochemicals that produce the emotion of rage and or disgust. The other meerkat is driven out of the troop, (a likely death sentence for a social animal) or is so stressed that the pregnancy is compromised.
    Now consider another mammal with a much bigger brain. The instinct is exactly the same. Put the idea of woman and sex together and the emotions of anger and disgust erupt spontaneously. The giant brain just goes along with it and confabulates some bullshit rule about how it’s god’s will that you hate her.

  31. mythbri says

    Silly Pharyngulites.

    Don’t you know that there is nuance and that taking such an extreme stance for bodily autonomy makes you shrill and unreasonable? Come, sit beside me on the vaunted Middle Ground and we shall cluck our tongues at Both Sides.

    /sarcasm

  32. Amphiox says

    re #32;

    The specialized subset of social animals with hierarchy structures doesn’t necessarily justify the use of the word “common”.

  33. kevinalexander says

    @34
    Point taken but it does seem the most parsimonious explanation for what is a nearly universal aspect of human behaviour.

  34. graham says

    What gets me is that pope emeritus Ratzo has a fucking PACEMAKER. Apparently it’s OK for some old geezer to cheat death by doing ‘un-natural’ things but not for a woman. She has to let nature take its course (Or whatever their lame-brain excuse is for this travesty). Complete and utter bastards.

  35. David Marjanović says

    I’ve started a petition

    I just signed it, but what do you mean by “already dead”? Technically sort of braindead?

    They have scripts for brains.

    Bingo.

    And, yes, they really thought for centuries that the unborn or the new born but unbaptized went to hell. It only took them 2,000 years to decide, No, not hell but limbo.

    Not true on several levels.

    She doesn’t know this and hasn’t got a big enough brain to think about it. She has simply evolved an instinct that causes her to physically attack any other female that smells pregnant. The smell of pregnancy triggers a flood of neurochemicals that produce the emotion of rage and or disgust. The other meerkat is driven out of the troop, (a likely death sentence for a social animal) or is so stressed that the pregnancy is compromised.

    Ah, that. Yeah, this social structure is not actually common.

    Now consider another mammal with a much bigger brain. The instinct is exactly the same. Put the idea of woman and sex together and the emotions of anger and disgust erupt spontaneously. The giant brain just goes along with it and confabulates some bullshit rule about how it’s god’s will that you hate her.

    Except this is much less often something women impose on each other – it’s a very patriarchal thing among humans. It doesn’t fit the meerkat example at all.

    is a nearly universal aspect of human behaviour

    Show me.

  36. says

    More Catholic dumbfuckery around the issue of abortion:

    Eleven years ago, Pell told a group of World Youth Day delegates that “abortion is a worse moral scandal than priests sexually abusing young people” because abortion “is always a destruction of human life.”

    That’s Cardinal George Pell of Australia speaking.

    Original source: http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2002/07/28/1027818485171.html

    Salon story from Tuesday, May 28th:
    http://www.salon.com/2013/05/28/cardinal_abortion_is_worse_scandal_than_priest_abuse/

  37. Eristae says

    Come on now! We all know that the culture of life (as opposed to the pro-choice culture of death) requires that women die.

  38. dianne says

    We all know that the culture of life (as opposed to the pro-choice culture of death) requires that women die.

    Certainly the behavior of the, ah-hem, “pro-life” movement is more consistent with having as their primary motivation a desire to punish women than to preserve the lives of children or even fetuses. Universal assurance of prenatal care, greater spending for research into ways to prevent miscarriage (including research into pre-implantation pregnancy loss), maternity leave and freedom from risk of being fired for becoming pregnant, even compensation for fetal lives lost due to medical incompetence…none of this is on the “pro-life” agenda. Instead, you find increasingly overt methods of legalizing rape, slavery, and murder of women. This is one of the more overt murders of the “pro-life” movement this side of the bombers, but it’s by no means the only one.

  39. Sven says

    This Salvadorian Supreme Court decision was a win for the Catholic Church, and yet no Catholics are talking about it. The silence is deafening from the Vatican, the Cardinals, the Archbishops, and even the mouthpieces like Bill Donohue and the Catholic blogosphere.

    That’s because even they, the decision-makers and the cheerleaders and the enablers all recognize how outrageously hypocritical their position is: In accordance with the Catholic doctrine that all life is precious, this woman has been sentenced to die painfully.

  40. dianne says

    @43: Interesting point. You’d think that they’d be proud. Their philosophy prevailed and it did exactly what it was designed to do: kill a woman who dared have sex.

  41. PatrickG says

    New development:

    El Salvador’s health department OKs cesarean section to deliver baby of woman denied abortion:

    El Salvador’s government gave permission Thursday for doctors to perform a premature delivery for a seriously ill woman whose pregnancy attorneys say is putting her life at risk.

    Because the pregnancy is 26 weeks along, abortion laws are no longer at play, according to women’s groups who have supported her petition. Rather, the health ministry can determine what’s most medically sound for the mother versus the unborn baby.

    “She is in the hands of top-notch doctors,” Rodriguez said. “The medical team at the Maternity Hospital is ready to act immediately at the slightest sign of danger.”

    So they’re just going to call it a delivery, not an abortion, and basically just say fuck off to the court. Unless I’m missing something here?

  42. kevinalexander says

    is a nearly universal aspect of human behaviour

    Show me.

    Do you mean show me a society where women are attacked for sexual display? A much shorter answer would be to find one where that didn’t happen.
    I understand about the Patriarchy. I’ve heard endless religious arguments. I’ve heard any number of explanations for misogyny. I’m not saying that they are necessarily wrong, I’m just pointing out that they are unnecessarily complicated and that there is a very simple alternative.

  43. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    I’ve heard any number of explanations for misogyny. I’m not saying that they are necessarily wrong, I’m just pointing out that they are unnecessarily complicated and that there is a very simple alternative.

    Does the “simple alternative” explain the data for humans equally well? Can you make predictions from it that are then found to be borne out by the data, while others fail? You haven’t even attempted to demonstrate this.

  44. robster says

    Now that Disney has taken over the Star Wars universe, perhaps they’ll get the mob that designs the silly hats so loved by the catholics to update Darth Vader’s look. He could look like Pope frank, but in nifty black. He could indulge in a wee bit of catholic canibalism with the wine and cracker nonsense, what good person would not be horrified by canibalism? Oops, most people afflicted with catholicism it seems…

  45. kevinalexander says

    Can you make predictions from it that are then found to be borne out by the data, while others fail? You haven’t even attempted to demonstrate this.

    You are correct, I haven’t.
    A simple prediction. If human DNA makes a brain that exhibits an instinct that leads to physical attacks on women in sexual display such as an ovulation signal that other species have then that sustained behaviour, over time, becomes part of the environment that the species evolves in. Since physical form can follow environmental pressures I predict that a species in this situation would tend to reduce such outward displays until the signals of ovulation were hidden altogether.
    Does that sound like anyone you know?

  46. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    *facepalm* so much for simpler explanations.

    How about “violence against sexually active women will be perpetrated primarily by other women, especially pregnant ones.” That seems to follow from your meerkat example. Is it?

  47. hypatiasdaughter says

    #38 David Marjanovićofter
    The RCC’s position on hell, what it is like and who goes there has varied over the course of 2,000 years.They have no official doctrine on the fate of unbaptized infants, leaving it up to believers to decide – which is bizarre to me. They claim to know that people must believe and get baptized or got to hell – and yet, have no answers about the fate of a significant portion of humanity who are unable to do this.

    St Augustine believed that unbaptized infants go to hell (one of its nicer sections, but still hell). Limbo is supposed to be one of the four parts of hell. Some think it is a pleasant place; others that it is a mild punishment where one is deprived of the presence of god for all eternity. (Which is how many current RCC theologians define hell, anyway, pitchforks and lakes of fire being out of date.)
    From your linky:

    The fundamental importance, in Roman Catholic theology, of the sacrament of water baptism gives rise to the argument that, because original sin excludes from the beatific vision enjoyed by the souls in heaven, those who have not been freed from it either by the sacrament or by baptism of desire or baptism of blood are not eligible for entry into heaven.
    Saint Augustine of Hippo held that because of original sin, “such infants as quit the body without being baptized will be involved in the mildest condemnation of all. That person, therefore, greatly deceives both himself and others, who teaches that they [unbaptized infants] will not be involved in condemnation; whereas the apostle says: ‘Judgment from one offence to condemnation’ (Romans 5:16), and again a little after: ‘By the offence of one upon all persons to condemnation’ (Romans 5:18).”
    The Council of North African bishops, which included Augustine of Hippo, held at Carthage in 418 did not explicitly endorse all aspects of Augustine’s stern view about the destiny of infants who die without baptism, but the Latin Fathers of the 5th and 6th centuries did adopt his position, and it became a point of reference for Latin theologians in the Middle Ages.

  48. kevinalexander says

    You keep sidestepping what I’m saying. That tells me that you understand it but don’t have a coherent response.
    I’ve been having this argument for years. I can’t help getting the impression that I’m arguing with a brilliant architect who, for some incomprehensible reason, refuses to admit that a building has a foundation.
    Humans are animals.
    Animals actions are influenced (I didn’t say determined ) by evolved instinct.
    What is so scary about that idea?

  49. Paul K says

    kevinalaexander @ 52: Maybe the reason you’ve been having this argument for years is because you are wrong. Or at least unwilling to even acknowledge refutations to your argument, let alone answer them.

    You said meerkat females attack the smell of pregnancy when times are tough. This is in no way similar to anything I have ever heard of in humans. You have presented nothing but speculation based on poor analogies, not any actual arguments with evidence. Then you pulled out of the air more speculation about DNA. This is not good argument.

  50. consciousness razor says

    You said meerkat females attack the smell of pregnancy when times are tough. This is in no way similar to anything I have ever heard of in humans.

    And it’s dissimilar to misogyny, for which it’s supposed to be a “simpler” substitute.

  51. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    And it’s dissimilar to misogyny, for which it’s supposed to be a “simpler” substitute.

    Well, by treating competition between females as the root of gender violence, it’s actually pretty similar, but…

  52. Amphiox says

    I can’t help getting the impression that I’m arguing with a brilliant architect who, for some incomprehensible reason, refuses to admit that a building has a foundation.
    Humans are animals.

    Are you implying that the behaviors of animals like meerkats can then be surmised to be the “foundation” upon which human behaviors are built?

    On this one particular behavior though that argument simply does not hold water.

    Meerkats, and indeed, any of the other examples listed with the possible exception of great apes (not even the monkeys) simply cannot be considered to be “foundational” for the simple fact that the LCA between humans and those species was most likely NOT a social animal at all and would have no reason to have had such a form of sex-suppressive behavior. If there is any parallels at all in the behaviors between humans and these animals, those behaviors would have had to have arisen through convergent evolution, and thus neither can be considered a “foundation” for any of the others.

  53. Amphiox says

    If human DNA makes a brain that exhibits an instinct that leads to physical attacks on women in sexual display such as an ovulation signal that other species have then that sustained behaviour, over time, becomes part of the environment that the species evolves in. Since physical form can follow environmental pressures I predict that a species in this situation would tend to reduce such outward displays until the signals of ovulation were hidden altogether.

    I hope you realize that you’ve just produced a “just-so” story here that could have come straight out of the Aquatic Ape Hypothesis playbook.

    In fact, IIRC, Elaine Morgan’s version of the AAH includes something almost identical to this in it already.

  54. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    I hope you realize that you’ve just produced a “just-so” story here that could have come straight out of the Aquatic Ape Hypothesis playbook.

    I was thinking the same thing. >.>

  55. chigau (違う) says

    kevinalexander #56

    I give up, you win

    Well.
    That explains why you’ve been having the same argument for so many years.

  56. Azuma Hazuki says

    @51/Hypatia’s Daughter

    If there is one man i wish i could remove from history entirely it would be Augustine of Hippo. He couldn’t speak Greek worth a damn, as evidenced by his utter incompetence when dealing with the word aion and its derivatives, and his own psychosexual hangups and history with Manichaenism (heavily-dualistic survival of Zoroastrianism, basically) lead to all sorts of theological fuckups.

    And as blind, stupid fucking luck would have it, the Latin-speaking church center at Carthage, the only one of the original six that taught eternal torment among a cohort that was 2/3 Universalist, went on to become the dominant power in the world of Christianity!

    If Alexandria or Antioch had won, Christianity would be a very different and much better religion. I hate that so much human suffering can be predicated on one small turn of events. And I would have a very hard time not lighting the man on fire if he were alive today, or at least bludgeoning him over the head with a good koine Greek lexicon until he bled out the ears.

  57. Tyrant al-Kalām says

    Azuma Hazuki,

    I find what you say very intriguing, but after reading Dan Dennett, I wonder whether such a modified, more tame Christianity would have survived the evolutionary struggle to become the ubiquitous religion it is today. Islam would not exist and be replaced by a rather different religion, and maybe said religion would have “conquered” Europe and been somewhat more successful at it than Islam after Martel.

  58. says

    If humans were meerkats, when a woman announced her expectant state to her peers at work, they would proceed to pummel her and drive her out, instead of them cooing at her belly, giving her pregnancy stories, offering to lend/give her books on pregnancy health and infant care, offer her the number for their Lamaze coach, asking about due dates, baby names, etc, offering advice and baby care items, and starting to plan a shower.
    I don’t know where *you* live, but I have seen the latter but not the former.

    Also, while slut-shaming is a thing, so is bonding over sexuality. Women get their hair and nails done together, encourage each other to purchase fuck-me heels and other sexualized clothing, bond over shared crushes, and generally go to bars and nightclubs in groups. If women’s loathing of women’s sexuality was something instinctive rather than cultural, one would expect greater consistency.

    Furthermore, a species that limits the number of children born through limiting the number of childbearing females would have a tendency to grow in number slowly. If they were a large animal, it seems unlikely their numbers would be over 7 billion.

  59. kevinalexander says

    I said,’I give up, you win’
    It was late, I was tired and I succumbed to the impulse to sarcasm. I apologize for that, it has no place in a civil argument.
    I’m not being sarcastic when I say that I appreciate your counter arguments because they help me to refine mine. Most of your arguments I have heard before but the connection to Elaine Morgan I had not. Thank you.
    I want to mention the ‘Just so story’ argument. It’s a cheap shot. Any theory can be attacked this way.

  60. David Marjanović says

    El Salvador’s health department OKs cesarean section to deliver baby of woman denied abortion

    Phew.

    El Salvador’s government gave permission Thursday for doctors to perform a premature delivery for a seriously ill woman whose pregnancy attorneys say is putting her life at risk.

    I spent 10 seconds wondering what a pregnancy attorney was. Commas, people, commas.

    They have no official doctrine on the fate of unbaptized infants, leaving it up to believers to decide – which is bizarre to me. They claim to know that people must believe and get baptized or got to hell – and yet, have no answers about the fate of a significant portion of humanity who are unable to do this.

    Well. Saying they go to hell would be just too obviously evil. Saying they go to heaven would contradict extra ecclesia nulla salus. Saying they go to some third place that is not mentioned in the Bible is too easy for determined theologians to attack, as experience has shown. So they suddenly discovered agnosticism: “there is much that simply has not been revealed to us”.

    Islam would not exist

    That much is clear.

    and be replaced by a rather different religion, and maybe said religion would have “conquered” Europe and been somewhat more successful at it than Islam after Martel.

    What makes you think it’d have been replaced at all? And if so, why not by Ethiopian Orthodoxy for instance?

    If humans were meerkats, when a woman announced her expectant state to her [female] peers at work, they would proceed to pummel her and drive her out, instead of them cooing at her belly, giving her pregnancy stories, offering to lend/give her books on pregnancy health and infant care, offer her the number for their Lamaze coach, asking about due dates, baby names, etc, offering advice and baby care items, and starting to plan a shower.

    The men, on the other hand, wouldn’t care either way, would they?

    Furthermore, a species that limits the number of children born through limiting the number of childbearing females would have a tendency to grow in number slowly. If they were a large animal, it seems unlikely their numbers would be over 7 billion.

    Exactly. Humans are not K-selected. We’re r-selected. We exhibit lots of side effects of a K strategy, but crowding does not reduce our fertility.

  61. David Marjanović says

    Any theory can be attacked this way.

    Some just-so stories survive being tested. Yours is already falsified.

  62. Amphiox says

    Just so stories are a well known and common pitfall seen often in the history of evolutionary speculation. To label something a “just so story” is not a cheap shot but an accurate description of what you did, Kevin.

  63. Amphiox says

    And it isn’t a question of “any” hypothesis being attacked this way. ALL hypotheses ARE and indeed MUST be attacked in this way. It is one of the first hurdles, beyond base plausibility, that every new idea must pass. Often the test is applied in the mind of the originator of the hypothesis itself, who will not even communicate it to anyone else unless it passes.

  64. dianne says

    El Salvador’s government gave permission Thursday for doctors to perform a premature delivery for a seriously ill woman whose pregnancy attorneys say is putting her life at risk.

    So she’s going to get an unnecessary surgery which will put her at risk and the fetus will have just the same chance of survival as if an abortion were performed (0=0), but at least she won’t have had an “abortion”. Lovely. I hope she gives them permission to do a tubal ligation while they’re in there and that they do it.

    Of course, this is only the case we heard about. There are many other Salvadoran, Nicaraguan, Chilean, and Irish women (to name a few countries with similar laws) who are dying because of abortion restrictions. Without as much press. These laws are evil. The people advocating for them aren’t necessarily evil in themselves, but are supporting evil. Keep that fact in front of them and don’t let them claim that this is just an unusual “hard case.”

  65. kevinalexander says

    Amphiox @68
    You are right, that aspect momentarily slipped my mind.

    David @66

    Yours is already falsified.

    That’s maybe true but I still don’t get how. I’ll keep studying and someday I’ll get it right, if I haven’t already.

  66. chigau (違う) says

    kevinalexander

    Any theory can be attacked this way.

    What definition of the word “theory” are you using?

  67. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Any theory can be attacked this way.

    Wrong. Any unevidenced assertion can be dismissed without evidence. Your assertion doesn’t make theory status, which requires real supporting evidence. Meercats don’t support anything for humans…