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The sexbots are everywhere!

After that short post yesterday pointing out the abuse of photoshop to distort women’s bodies, I was briefly harangued by a loon who announced that I obviously did not understand the concept of sexual selection.

women’s bodies today are changing due to sexual selection whether you like it or not. Humans use tools to sculpt their bodies into appealing forms, so it’s not just left to inherent biological changes. And, women are abiding our wishes whether you like it or not. As biologists say, evolution is merciless. So why all the whining?

Actually, I do understand sexual selection quite well. I fail to see how making images of bodies plastic with photoshop is an example, or how you leap from manipulating pixels to how we can “sculpt…bodies into appealing forms”. Perhaps he thinks it is a kind of sympathetic magic, that if you paint a picture of a woman with balloon breasts and a wasp waist, women will simply comply with your wishes?

I am also impressed with the obliviousness. Sexual selection works both ways — has he ever wondered why some men are obsessed with women’s body parts, wanting them to be a certain size and shape? Exactly who’s brain is being sculpted by nature here?

I should also introduce him to the concept of the supernormal stimulus, the idea that a species can evolve to respond to a triggering stimulus that can be inappropriately strengthened by an exaggerated stimulus. This isn’t necessarily a good thing; for instance, Lorenz found that birds would enthusiastically nurture large fake eggs at the expense of their normal-sized real eggs, which at least isn’t a serious concern in nature, usually (although cuckoos can take advantage of it). There’s also the serious concern about human diet: give a person the choice of a twinkie or a carrot, and guess which one will be most attractive?

Or we could talk about RealDolls, these “life-like” (more like corpse-like) full-sized rubbery plastic dolls with conveniently compliant orifices. Is that an example of “sexual selection”? I suppose you could make a case for it, although it’s not affecting women, but rather selecting out males who waste their time in futile coupling with an infertile assortment of artificial stimuli — futile in both the sense that reproduction will not occur, nor will any bonding with another human being.

Besides, apparently those RealDolls are over-engineered. Simpler models will do the job just fine.

According to a Murfreesboro Police Department report, an officer was dispatched to the bar, where a witness said that Hutton walked to the ATM and “pulled down his pants and underwear exposing his genitals.” Officer M. Rickard added, “Mr. Hutton then attempted to have sexual intercourse with the ATM.”

After his encounter with the ATM, Hutton “then began to walk ‘nude’ around the bar thrusting his hips in the air,” Rickard reported.

Behold the latest generation of sexbot!

atm

Is that an example of selection? Or just a case of drunken disinhibition exposing the simpler driving machinery of the male sexual urge?

Comments

  1. birgerjohansson says

    Also, the concept of Scrooge McDuck swimming in gold coins suddenly seems a bit dirty…

  2. marko says

    It was with some trepidation that I squinted in to read the notice on that machine.

  3. doublereed says

    So some idiot spouted some silliness about “sexual selection” so you chose to respond with “man attempts sex with ATM.” WHY DO YOU DO THIS? I DON’T NEED TO KNOW THESE THINGS!

  4. marko says

    Is this where sexual market value comes in? when sex is viewed as a “transaction”?

  5. birgerjohansson says

    Does it count if a naked man is in intimate proximity to architecture?

  6. Lofty says

    “We are sorry that your transaction has been rejected. Please hold while your deposit is returned.”

  7. doubter says

    A few years ago, my local newspaper had a story in the police blotter section about a man arrested for having intercourse with a knothole in a wooden fence. We don’t need no newfangled sexbots in these parts!

  8. hillaryrettig says

    not just biologically ignorant but historically ignorant. the guy doesn’t seem to realize that men have “abided” (or wtf locution he uses) bigger women at different times and places in history.

  9. yellowsubmarine says

    I think he has mistaken “sexual selection” for “selecting for better sex” and then forgotten that his opinion isn’t the only one that matters.

  10. drken says

    The ATM was obviously asking for it. Everybody knows men can’t control themselves in the face of such temptation. From now on, all ATMs should be covered in a sheet from head to toe.

  11. Pierce R. Butler says

    How does a person walking (more or less) upright “thrust… his hips in the air”?

  12. leftwingfox says

    Not to devolve into a discussion about political tactics and framing…

    …but when I said “Fuck the banks”, It wasn’t meant to be taken literally.

  13. Victorious Parasol says

    I’d make a joke about a penalty for early withdrawal, but Stephen Colbert beat me to it.

  14. says

    doubt

    A few years ago, my local newspaper had a story in the police blotter section about a man arrested for having intercourse with a knothole in a wooden fence. We don’t need no newfangled sexbots in these parts!

    You’re discriminating against Elves!*

    *Sorry, RPG joke

  15. spamamander, internet amphibian says

    The same man when taken outside attempted sex with a picnic table. He apparently has a poor concept of what “getting wood” is supposed to entail.

  16. says

    If we use ‘evolution’ in its broadest sense: something changing over time, then yes, changing fashions wrt body shape constitutes evolution. (Though sexual selection seems a bit of an unlikely mechanism – I’d lean more towards altering cultural pressures.)

    But how on Earth does one leap to the willfully stupid conclusion that this makes it a thing good? By this logic, everything that ever happens is necessarily good.

    There’s a piano about to land on your head? Gravity operates whether you like it or not, so why all the whining?

  17. doubter says

    @Giliell:
    You’re discriminating against Elves!

    I believe they limit themselves to hugging the trees.

  18. jaytheostrich says

    Obviously he was confusing the ‘Insert Card’ message with another 4-letter C word…

  19. says

    “We are sorry that your transaction has been rejected. Please hold while your deposit is returned.”

    What?! My seed is liquid gold! Do you not realize the value?! [/MRA]

    I feel dirty, now.

    I find the point about sex dolls and cuckoo eggs fodder for an entertaining, if grossly inaccurate and oversimplified daydream: MRAs get sexdolls and Marylin Monroebots and slowly die out because they’re less likely to pass on their MRA genes to the next generation. The MRAs who realize it are increasingly unable to attract real women as women’s preferences push sexual selection in favor of considerate men. Society becomes more egalitarian.

    But, of course, it’s not that simple. Culture gets most of the blame for producing MRAs, not genes. We have to do the hard work of influencing the marketplace of ideas instead of the gene pool.

  20. Thomathy, Gay Where it Counts says

    aggressivePerfector @ #23

    If we use ‘evolution’ in its broadest [and most useless] sense:

    I guess that’s what the quotes are for. Still, it’s entirely wrong.

  21. says

    Humans use tools to sculpt their bodies into appealing forms, so it’s not just left to inherent biological changes.

    Is he saying that he expects future generations to inherit the changes some women make to their bodies through plastic surgery to conform to the current ‘ideal’ proportions? Really? Lysenkoism lives!

  22. witlesschum says

    I don’t think this mutation of a penis shaped like an ATM card is going to prove to be adaptive, but I’ve been wrong before.

  23. mcbender says

    I suspect this puts paid to the MRA theory that women are the ones attracted to ATMs? Clearly, the MRAs are engaging in projection once again.

  24. raven says

    Sexual selection works both ways — has he ever wondered why some …

    Have these guys ever wondered why women run away screaming from them and occasionally call the police? Or why they spend a lot of time alone?

    Frank Zappa said it long ago. “What is the ugliest part of your body. Some same knees, some say toes, but I think it is your mind.”

    Ugly minds don’t work for most of us.

  25. taiki says

    I think the ATM fucker is just a closeted robosexual.

    More seriously, I think that the more and more I live the more and more I realize that marketing has wormed its way into our social consciousness. The amount of horrible memes that marketing common wisdom upholds alone is disgusting.

    (Never mind disgusting concepts like ‘core audience’ or ‘BRAAAAAAAAAAAAND’.)

  26. throwaway says

    Well, that was fast!

    There was so much potential there for comedy I’m a bit let down. The insinuation of perversion was rather drab though. Goodbye, jacksmith, we hardly squeaked you.

  27. What a Maroon, el papa ateo says

    yob@ 15,

    I do not avoid ATMs, PZ…but I do deny them my essence.

    Please accept this shiny new internet, with compliments from Brigadier General Jack D. Ripper.

  28. taiki says

    Oh Professor Myers — you really DO put the “A” in Associate Professor. Let me explain …

    I wasn’t talking about Photoshop as a tool that humans use, obviously. The point of the BuzzFeed piece was to criticize how women’s bodies have become progressively more unnatural and if only they looked “normal” like the did when random Renaissance painters depicted them. The clearly obvious point about sexual selection is that for humans it doesn’t just include random mutations that are appealing, it includes the results of tools we use to make ourselves more appealing. Those tools include exercise equipment, plastsic surgery, mammary enhancements, and so on. THOSE are the tools we use, not Photoshop.

    What a bizarre reading of my comment you made. Even more bizarre is your discussion of plastic dolls? I mean — are you feeling ok?

    You clearly either don’t understand sexual selection (which of course, you do), or you need to take some of your own evolutionary biologist medicine — namely, that evolution is a merciless process. If you think women (and men) are extreme in their appearance today, driven by the need to be sexually appealing, you haven’t seen anything yet. If you live another 30 or so years it will make today’s bodies look like those Renaissance paintings. That’s evolution, whether you like it or not.

    You’re committing several errors here in that you believe that

    A) this is what a majority of women look like now, which is wrong.
    B) This is what a majority of adult women WANT to look like. Which is, again, wrong. Or at least, a wide plurality.
    C) This is what a majority of straight(Well, straight spectrum; bi/pan/etc) men are going to want in 30 years. Which I think is probably going to bear to be wrong again, and I think might be wrong now.

    I think that as of right now, a majority of men don’t want models who appear on Cosmo or Vogue, straight men aren’t reading those magazines, women are. Enough women are reading it that it’s past a critical mass where there’s a pressure to conform to that standard of beauty. However, I’m willing to bet that a health plurality of women really don’t want to look like JLaw or Miley. However, also hearing about thigh gaps and other nonsense from idiots in the press and maybe out in the wild puts pressure to conform to a particular standard of beauty.

    So there’s pressure to conform to something they don’t want to, and it’s stupid. Just give it up. No one wants it except people looking to cash in on moving trends forward.

    (Although lately the fashion industry has been pushing the pixie cut lately, which is a style that’s due for a come back.)

  29. leftwingfox says

    However, also hearing about thigh gaps and other nonsense from idiots in the press and maybe out in the wild puts pressure to conform to a particular standard of beauty.

    Advertising has been trying to push nearly impossible ideals on us since the dawn of media. Making those standards completely impossible is just the next step.

    Fortunately, I’m starting to see signs of a wider pushback now.

  30. blf says

    One of the things BigDumbieCorp makes — and indeed, the area I am involved in — are chips and systems software used in “financial terminals”, which includes ATMs. I’m not aware of any of our chips or software or reference designs having a “sex doll” feature (albeit some of the chips do deliberately “blow up” when attacked), although sometimes designers / developers do feel said chips, software, reference designs, or the documentation for same should have a “sledgehammer target bullseye” feature for stress relief.

    I wonder if they could be combined? Some kook tries to mate with an ATM, in a spot that happens to be the bullseye…

  31. lumen says

    Degas, Gauguin, and Modigliani are not “random Renaissance painters”. None of the painters are “random” but several of them are far more recent than “Renaissance”.

    The Modigliani was painted in 1917 btw. That’s awfully recent for an argument from evolution…

    Of course you would have needed to click through the buzz feed article to the actual project to notice the range of artworks presented. Why ever would you do that before rejecting the premise I wonder? Could it be your mind was already made up before you even looked at the visuals?

  32. Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened says

    Where exactly did Mr. Hutton try to put his… oh, never mind.

  33. HolyPinkUnicorn says

    @Pierce R. Butler #17:

    How does a person walking (more or less) upright “thrust… his hips in the air”?

    Not sure, sounds more like the result of a gallop, which I guess means the ATM completed the withdrawal.

    And no offense to RealDoll designers, but aren’t ATMs the more complex machines, if far less creepier?

  34. says

    Hey, now, this could be the up-and-coming (no pun intended) thing! Imagine the commercials!

    [Slinky music, man steps into a shadowy, dimly-lit room.]

    Voiceover: Have you ever felt… needs… which simply couldn’t be satisfied at home?

    [Man begins to remove clothing.]

    Voiceover: When you want a sexual transaction, do singles bars fail you?

    [Man finishes disrobing; camera angle changes to show that he is standing in front of an ATM. He begins to make out with it.]

    Voiceover: With over 14 million locations in your town alone, Chase National Bank provides you with the services you truly desire.

    [Cut to exterior shot of bank. The windows are blacked out, and there is a line of men at the door, stretching down the block.]

    Voiceover: [Standard disclaimers for bank commercials]

  35. unclefrogy says

    I have had conversations with people who have that level of understanding of evolution about how evolution is working to in essence to favor them or their ideals. I am usually stunned I do not know where to start nor do I have the time to “give a full lecture” (even if I could) to dispel all the misconceptions in their understanding.
    While there are some basic criteria operating in selection they mostly involve health and indicators of health.
    What he is confusing is biological change with cultural preference and fashion.
    I doubt we have changed very much in the last 10000 years and he thinks we will change in his life time? Fashion changes rapidly and constantly and if anything it has increased in the frequency in the modern world

    I wonder if in the case of the ATM rapist if he was besides being drunk he might have been suffering from the over use of little blue pills which can be easily obtained even without a prescription.

    uncle frogy

  36. says

    Wasn’t there some research that plump women were having more children?
    I remember reading something like this a while ago, but I can’t remember where or what the quality of the research was, but maybe somebody else here remembers it…

  37. lumen says

    @unclefrogy A million times /agree.
    It’s so painfully clear if you look at all of the cultural information left behind by prior generations that beauty ideals change constantly. I’m perpetually baffled by these types that want to ignore all of this evidence in favor of poorly supported arguments about evolution.

    The works in the project span over 450 years and the most recent is from 1917. All of them are meant to be idealized images of the female form, not realistic documentations. These WERE the photoshop of their time. Several were famous in their own era and the writings we have about them make it clear that they were accepted as “beautiful” in their respective cultures.

    The one that does not fit this mold is in fact the Odalisque which was heavily criticized precisely because Ingres took too much liberty with her proportions and elongated her spine to a point that many viewers were upset. The mode of the time was about realistic anatomical proportions and Ingres was deliberately changing them to something he considered more “beautiful”. Even here it might be argued that Ingres was still showing a “photoshopped” abstracted version of his era’s version of “beauty” (long sinuous curves), but the art critics of the time valued anatomical precision very highly and were having none of it. What I think is worth mulling over is at the time Ingres painted that piece it was immediately apparent to his audience that the proportions were not realistic. Yet the photoshop artists of today do very similar unrealistic elongations to legs and necks in photos that are then presented as “real”. And the majority of the population not only doesn’t notice, but believes it to be attainable.

    It’s clear evidence that the standard of beauty changes often, which directly calls into question this notion that these ideals are directly related to natural selection. Our willingness to exert vast amounts of energy into attaining those ideals might be biologically driven, however the ideals themselves are clearly cultural.

  38. frankb says

    Several generations ago there were many women in China with tiny feet due to foot binding. They were considered beautiful. Today there are no tiny feet (among adult women) in China. I guess the tiny feet gene didn’t take hold in the Chinese population. This is Taiki’s (#39) level of understanding of genetics.

  39. tfkreference says

    I’m reminded of a female comic, Amy Schuner, I think, talking about an old boyfriend wondering why she wants to turn off the lights during sex, when whe has a nice body. She replies, “what makes you think I don’t want YOU to see MY body.”

  40. mykroft says

    @Giliell:30
    Was the sapling a son of a beech, or a son of a birch? Either way, I’m sure the mom as a nice piece of ash.

  41. says

    I was listening to a fundie describe everything a woman should be. Skinny and straight, but with firm breasts. Innocent, virginal, pure. Uneducated beyond some basics and how to make a sandwich. Dependent. Obedient. Desirous of guidance.

    And it occurs to me….

    They aren’t describing adults.

    They are describing ten year olds with the misfortune to have filled out their bra a little young.

    No wonder pedophilia is such a major problem in the church.

  42. twas brillig (stevem) says

    I think the ATM humper was so drunk that he mistook the movie Her as a story about a real software persona inhabiting ATMs. And he found Her so sexy he felt justified to rape said persona at the nearest ATM. Then, out of frustration, that it didn’t work out just right, he paraded around thrusting his “junk” upward to show everybody his masculinity, that it was Her fault for not accommodating him. [ /scene]

    really, this incident seems similar to the movie Her, premise that I freely associated.

  43. throwaway says

    This is Taiki’s (#39) level of understanding of genetics.

    It was Taiki quoting a gutted post. So it was actually jacksmith’s (#34) level of understanding. Taiki was spot on with the criticism.

  44. throwaway says

    And to avoid any further confusion, the above quote came from frankb @ 52.

  45. What a Maroon, el papa ateo says

    WithinThisMind, 56,

    I was listening to a fundie describe everything a woman should be. Skinny and straight, but with firm breasts. Innocent, virginal, pure. Uneducated beyond some basics and how to make a sandwich. Dependent. Obedient. Desirous of guidance.

    And it occurs to me….

    They aren’t describing adults.

    They are describing ten year olds with the misfortune to have filled out their bra a little young.

    That doesn’t sound much like my daughter when she was 10. Or much like any other 10-year-olds I’ve known.

  46. says

    @61

    Your ten year old wasn’t dependent on you to make the important decisions, provide food, shelter, and other necessities, and to teach and instruct? She wasn’t still innocent of many of the more horrific parts of the world? She already had a fully developed brain and college level education?

    Really? Interesting.

    Or are you just quibbling because in your memory she was a little headstrong and didn’t immediately leap to obey every time you said something? Or because you were one of those ‘parents’ who didn’t do a whole lot of parenting?

  47. What a Maroon, el papa ateo says

    Actually, because she didn’t know how to make a sandwich.

  48. jimbales says

    “Mr. Hutton then attempted to have sexual intercourse with the ATM.”

    Clearly, Mr. Hutton was in a confused state. One suspects he was simply confused at to *which* ATM machine he was at.

    I mean, like so many of us, Mr. Hutton has multiple accounts bank accounts at multiple banks. When the cops nabbed him, thought he was making a deposit in his *sperm* bank.

    Best
    Jim Bales

  49. latsot says

    Lorenz found that birds would enthusiastically nurture large fake eggs at the expense of their normal-sized real eggs

    When I was a kid we kept geese and Bantam chickens. Bantams are an especially tiny variety of chicken but exceptionally good at rearing young. Geese are always and forever bigger than you expect and can occasionally be indifferent or out-and-out bad parents.

    You can see where this is going. We hatched goose eggs under bantams. Bantam hens – and hens of many other varieties – will sit on eggs that look nothing like their own eggs. They recognise some quality of eggness and it causes them to cause them to hatch. The sight of a tiny hen perching on a goose egg is mildly disturbing but not so much as the sight of the hen trying to educate the goose. Chickens seem to learn – to some extent – by imitation. Our hens would patiently demonstrate, for example, how to dig up food with their feet and beaks and the goslings would look at them forlornly and just eat some grass. Goslings, thankfully, don’t learn entirely by imitation. The hens seemed to maintain some kind of bond with the geese even after they had grown to many times the hens’ size. Presumably, the geese did the same. They often chose to roost together.

    This seems like an interesting example of supernormal stimulus. The chickens hatched the comically vast eggs and then raised – to the extent they could – the goslings and seemed to consider the resulting geese – but not geese they didn’t hatch and raise – as being like themselves, even though their behaviours were very different. Interesting.

    I often wondered whether the hens would prefer goose eggs to their own but we didn’t try that experiment. We needed the birds.

  50. =8)-DX says

    I liked the honest tags on the article:

    Tennessee, Naked Guy, Fetish, Public Intoxication, Intercourse, Penis

    Yes, there are quite a few articles out there that should be correctly tagged “penis”.
    On the OP:

    but rather selecting out males who waste their time in futile coupling with an infertile assortment of artificial stimuli — futile in both the sense that reproduction will not occur, nor will any bonding with another human being.

    Sounds like a hint of masturbation-shaming to me. Relieving sexual tension is just as important as bonding with other humans sexually – sex dolls are a net benefit to society if their use means less frustrated assholes harassing other people. And surely sexual selection would only be an issue if lifetime masturbatory history had any association with lower fertility-rates in general. It’s quite possibly the opposite, in my experience being a healthily and regularly masturbating man confers a benefit to dating – it reduces a lot of the annoying hormonal nonsense around dates – one can concentrate on just getting to know people instead of worrying about when the next opportunity to have sex is going to be.

  51. says

    =8)-DX
    While I agree with your assessment that masturbation is a wonderful thing with whatever toys on fancies I’m not sure if this:

    sex dolls are a net benefit to society if their use means less frustrated assholes harassing other people

    is true.
    Actually, one thing that bothers me about those sex toys for men is that they are marketed as women.
    If I compare the descriptions in the catalogues then those marketed at women, including those that resemble actual male anatomy are decribed as toys, as things you can use. Those marketed at men are described as women, often with a name who are always willing and totally into whatever you want to do and want to be penetrated wherever you want to penetrate them. Without any actual data it seems equally plausible that this might increase the amount of frustrated men who harass women because they think that actual women should behave like sex bots.

  52. darthchimay says

    Am I missing something here? I thought the point of changing the original pieces was to show how our concept of beauty (for better or for worse) has changed and, reading implicitly from the artists’ comments, grown incredibly unrealistic.

    Yet, reading the initial article, Dr. Myers paints the intent of the artist as trying to “rescue” the paintings to make them more in line with our current concept of beauty (as though that were somehow better), instead of showing the difference of the concept of beauty between then and now. I initially thought he understood that the artist who made these changes was creating a commentary on our modern vision of beauty (due to the quotes around ‘rescue’), but now I’m not so sure.

    The comments of “the loon” and Dr. Myers’ response are kind of irrelevant to what the artist was doing. They’re interesting, to be sure, but I guess I wanted to make sure that people “got the point” of the original post. If you haven’t ready the original article, do yourself a favor and check it out here: http://www.takepart.com/feature/2014/05/15/famous-paintings-photoshopped-to-look-like-fashion-models

    Of course, maybe there’s a layer of sarcasm here that I’m missing. Always possible with the written word.

  53. Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened says

    darthchimay, I think you may be on the wrong thread, my friend. You want the one about photoshopped paintings.

  54. Anri says

    Bronze Dog @ 26:

    I find the point about sex dolls and cuckoo eggs fodder for an entertaining, if grossly inaccurate and oversimplified daydream: MRAs get sexdolls and Marylin Monroebots and slowly die out because they’re less likely to pass on their MRA genes to the next generation. The MRAs who realize it are increasingly unable to attract real women as women’s preferences push sexual selection in favor of considerate men. Society becomes more egalitarian.

    Plot of The Gate to Women’s Country, more or less. Lower tech, but otherwise…

  55. Singe Drac says

    I don’t eat nearly as healthy as I should, but I’d take the carrot over a Twinkie any day of the week.

    Eww. Just eww.

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