I get email…again


It’s been a remarkable day for email from idiots.

Prof. Myers, I have 3 questions about the evolution of humans that I have not been able to find the answers to. Could you offer your opinions?

1. If men prefer women who are less intelligent than they are does this mean there could have selection for lower intelligence in women?

2. Why haven’t women evolved to spontaneously shit themselves to deter rapists?

3. Why are women so annoying? Could they have actually evolved to provoke men into giving them a slapping?

Thanks,
Gary.

Happy to help, Gary!

  1. Go fuck yourself. You’re an idiot.

    In case you hadn’t noticed, women are members of the same species as men. You had a mother (she’s probably embarrased by you), and you inherited rougly half your chromosomes from her. It would require a remarkable degree of dimorphism to configure genes responsible for intelligence to be differentially expressed.

    Also, speak for yourself. Men don’t necessarily prefer less intelligent women. I happen to prefer a partner who is my equal. I don’t think it would have been advantageous in our evolutionary history to have half the population deficient in a trait that is responsible for our evolutionary success.

  2. Go fuck yourself. You’re an idiot.

    Why haven’t men evolved to find violent abuse of their partners repugnant? I suspect it’s more of a matter of random variation within the population producing some proportion of individuals who are more stupid and more violent than the mean. That’s you, Gary. You are noise. You are the unpleasant nasty detritus of chance variation.

  3. Go fuck yourself. You’re an idiot.

    As you so well demonstrate, some men are even more annoying.

Sadly, I cannot continue this enlightening conversation with Gary — I’ve blocked his email. If any of you would like to explain things more gently to Gary, you can write him at gary99@rocketship.com. I’m sure he’d appreciate it.

Comments

  1. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Yeah, Gary sounds like an MRA. Why bother to even listen without third party evidence from Gary….

  2. Jessie Harban says

    What is it with creationist-esque emailers and shit?

    First, א ב emails to ask about feces evolving into supermodels and now Gary demands to know why women don’t have spontaneous defecation as a rape prevention mechanism?

  3. slatham says

    Re #1, as Gary would no doubt complain, women also can exert some choice in their mating partners. Enlightened people would prefer that they could exert their choices more freely in general.

  4. says

    Gary is almost certainly a troll, who addressed you (a vocal feminist and biologist) only to get the kind of response you just gave. That you published it openly will most likely only make the troll laugh harder. To beat them is to ignore them.

    As an aside, there is a ton of repulsive, objectifiying and sexist ads on FTB (mostly under “sponsored from around the web”). I understand this is perhaps not under the control of individual bloggers, but you may want to ask you webmaster to have a look.

  5. says

    “Ignore the trolls” has been one of the most frequently given bits of advice for the last couple of decades. As someone who no doubt values evidence and empiricism, I ask you…has it worked?

  6. vaiyt says

    The Nazi corner of the internet thrive on spreading their bullshit unchallenged. And I do include MRAs in that group, there’s a lot of overlap and I no longer care about mincing words. Hang out with swine, I’ll call you dirty.

  7. says

    Good question, I don’t know of any data that could help answer that question. It would certainly be interesting to see.

    What I find it reasonable to at least assume, however, is that feeding the trolls is the worst possible way to counter them. They do what they do expressly to provoke and garner angry feedback. Denying them the fruit of their labors goes a long way.

    That’s the trolls though. I agree that people who genuinely believe and propagate their various forms of stupidity need to be countered in the public. Of course, sometimes telling them apart from the trolls is near impossible all on its own unfortunately.

  8. remyporter says

    Frankly, I’m offended… at how polite you were to that piece of whale semen, camel vomit and donkey dung glued together into a homunculus of awfulness. Then again, what wouldn’t be too polite?

  9. handsomemrtoad says

    Suggestion for response to Gary:

    Goooooood luck finding a woman less intelligent than you are. Somewhere in the world, there may be one.

  10. Anri says

    How exactly do we differentiate between someone ignoring a troll and someone being perfectly fine with what the troll is saying?
    And how does someone else differentiate it when looking at us?

  11. wzrd1 says

    I’ve found that denying the troll satisfaction in a response does discourage them greatly.
    Although, I’ve also found that a mail bomb from my non-attribution e-mail addresses, via a nice script also tends to discourage them at the 10k received mail point. Usually, the troll has no clue how to filter their mail or how to contact abuse@whateverdomain.whatever. :)

    So, most of the time, I ignore them. Occasionally, when I’m exceptionally inflamed, I let automation handle my return of irritation.

    Still, if Gary is lurking about, which is somewhat likely, if for no other reason than to see if he successfully irritated anyone, I’ll give him answers.

    Gary:
    1: This speaks to your preferences and selection bias, you really should have higher standards than the assisted living facility for those suffering from microcephaly. Besides, they really shouldn’t be exposed to irritating creatures like you.

    2: That actually is a response, which explains your existence, you little shit.

    3: Perhaps, they’re simply being annoying to be rid of you. I’ve actually never experienced such a phenomenon in my half century and half decade of life and that counts a 35 year marriage and raising two daughters to adulthood.
    Oh, by the way, rosy palms isn’t a girl, they’re your hands and most people don’t find their hands annoying. No human female would ever find you interesting.

    Oh, a bit of career advice, Gary. The local euthanasia lobbyist group is looking for a new poster child, you’d fill the bill perfectly.
    Seriously, people like you tend to rehabilitate eugenics and honestly, that isn’t a good thing.*

    *I’m toning it down, what I’d say in person would have much more profanity, detail the missteps in brain development present in the deficient example of humanity and overall describe precisely which animals each parent engaged in bestiality with to result in that deficient, genetically deficient monster before me.
    To date, such a personal encounter resulted in two grown men bursting into tears.
    A third took a swing at me and learned that a cane, with my hand bracing the impact point, is a very hard thing and that what will most likely break of one continues is one’s own knuckles.

  12. A. Noyd says

    Christopher Svanefalk (#7)

    What I find it reasonable to at least assume […]

    And who the fuck are you again?

  13. Athywren - not the moon you're looking for says

    What is it with people being perfectly happy to advertise that they prefer to pursue relationships with people whose opinions, interests and comments they hold in disdain (because, unless he’s specifically looking for someone with a lower IQ score, as if that were meaningful, that’s pretty much the only “measure”) but then being confused that they find them irritating? Is something weird going on with them that makes them confuse disinterest with a passionate desire to be near someone?
    I don’t know, Gary. Maybe try looking for someone you find interesting? Except don’t, because, like everyone else in the world, they deserve better than you.

  14. Matt Cramp says

    There’s kind of an unfortunate conflation of ‘jerk’ and ‘troll’ that muddies the waters a little bit. There are absolutely people who enjoy corrupting the intent of an online community, and ignoring them basically gives them license to continue until they’ve destroyed it. Then there are jerks who are looking to get a rise out of someone. “Don’t feed the trolls” only works for one of these groups. The other, you have to come down on like a ton of bricks.

  15. gezza says

    Luv ya reply, PZ. The first sentence of your reply is succinct: states an opinion and a fact. Way to go.

  16. says

    Athywren

    What is it with people being perfectly happy to advertise that they prefer to pursue relationships with people whose opinions, interests and comments they hold in disdain (because, unless he’s specifically looking for someone with a lower IQ score, as if that were meaningful, that’s pretty much the only “measure”) but then being confused that they find them irritating? Is something weird going on with them that makes them confuse disinterest with a passionate desire to be near someone?

    I think that’s simply called “misogyny”.
    First of all, I don’t think those people would be able to detect “intelligence” (however you define it) in a woman. They are already convinced that they are smarter.
    Second, they’ve classified everything currently labelled “female” or “feminine” inherently inferior. If knitting an Aran sweater is women’s work then it can’t be too difficult, right? You wouldn’t need to be smart and skilled for that.
    Third, anything a woman says is irritating because it means it’s time when he’s not talking, telling her about his very interesting and definitely very intelligent areas of interest or explaining some basic tasks of her domain to him (see point one: cooking must be easy ’cause she’s doing it, but he’d be indefinitely better if he ever tried).

    +++
    I mean yeah, how in a world where the provider/housewife model is still predominant and men derive their value from having a woman beneath them and women are judged by how good a catch they make could it happen that women tend to marry “up” and men tend to marry “down”*.

    *Not to mention that in a lot of cases they start out as equal but then somehow when one career needs to be put on the backburner for a while it just happens to be hers…

  17. A. Noyd says

    Giliell (#18)

    If knitting an Aran sweater is women’s work then it can’t be too difficult, right? You wouldn’t need to be smart and skilled for that.

    Like these. I mean, a 92-year-old grandmother can make them!

  18. Blattafrax says

    #17 Gezza

    Which first sentence do you refer to? I don’t see any that you describe.

    But I agree with your analysis (even assuming you’re attempting sarcasm) it _was_ a good response. Laughing at the trolls with a good dose of abuse is my preferred option too.

    Don’t feed the trolls; don’t ignore them; respond and ridicule.

  19. Derek Vandivere says

    #14 / A Noyd: Geez, who pissed in your cornflakes this morning?

    #20 / Blattafrax: The first sentence of his reponse: go f*ck yourself

    I did find myself thinking while reading the article ‘Oh, another one of these,’ and wondering what the point is. Probably it’s just that there were two ridiculously silly questions more or less in a row.

  20. Holms says

    #5
    But most trolling is done where it is visible, e.g. a comment thread or online forum. Ignoring trolling that is already visible doesn’t work, because trolling thrives when it is visible. The troll spouts their shit unopposed and spoils a productive venue of discussion. So yes, visible trolling deserves, or even needs opposition; the venue is shaped by the level of mendacity / hostility / etc. permitted. Ignoring trolling when it has visibility pretty much cedes that space to the trolls and so is a bad policy there.

    However, this trolling episode was completely invisible. It now has a platform which it would not have had if it had been left to languish. A platform has been given to trolling that would not otherwise have had one.

    So I’ll agree that ‘ignore the trolls’ is bad as a blanket policy, but only because that phrasing makes no disctinction between different venues and methods. Ignoring trolls doesn’t work when they already have the oxygen of visibility. It can work when the shithead in question has none but craves it. And they all crave it! This is why they often end their insulting, ignorant comments with some variation of ‘you probably won’t air this comment anyway, you’re too afraid of what I say!’: they hope to goad the moderator into permitting the comment. Failing that, the best they can do is screenshot it and take it to their cronies who will all agree that the comment was indeed super awesome as a consolation for their continued obscurity on every platform of any relevance. See: every slymer ever.

  21. A. Noyd says

    @Derek Vandivere (#21)
    Just cutting to the chase. I don’t care to humor concern trolls, especially when they appear out of nowhere and pompously confuse personal credulity with an argument.

  22. Blattafrax says

    #24 Derek Vandivere.

    Ffs indeed.

    “Go fuck yourself” is neither an opinion or a fact in any language. But thanks for confirming my opinion of trolls’ reading comprehension skills.

  23. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    Feeding trolls is not the first response to them, it is continual responses. A single reply to address them and dismiss them is not feeding their trollness, it’s conversing with them.
    Is my opinion of trolls

  24. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    To clarify : conversing with trolls is feeding trolls, replying to dismiss them is not

  25. snuffcurry says

    @Christopher Svanefalk, 4

    To beat them is to ignore them.

    Hard to do that when yours is the foot being stepped on; easier to ‘splain when your foot’s doing just fine.

    @Derek Vandivere, 21

    I did find myself thinking while reading the article ‘Oh, another one of these,’ and wondering what the point is. Probably it’s just that there were two ridiculously silly questions more or less in a row.

    The apathetic shrug of someone unaccustomed to constant on-line harassment combined with the banality of the inexperienced who assumes everyone else is just too thin-skinned.

    @Holms, 22

    However, this trolling episode was completely invisible

    “Women and feminists on the receiving end don’t count as be-visioned and should just be more quiet”

    This thread is lousy with people who find misogyny boring rather than frightening, depressing, and threatening. How curious. I wonder why that might be (query mark intentionally absent).

  26. snuffcurry says

    If men prefer women who are less intelligent than they are does this mean there could have selection for lower intelligence in women?

    “If women prefer nice guys why is my boner not being serviced?” is basically what this boils down to. “Women are stupid [evidence: they are not fucking me enough] because I made them that way, hark at this logic, QED, etc.”

    Also, a goodish cackle in the direction of “male” intelligence being a benchmark women have to live up to.

  27. snuffcurry says

    Why haven’t women evolved to spontaneously shit themselves to deter rapists?

    “Why haven’t humans evolved to immortality because death is shit and nobody likes it? They haven’t, so disease must be good and people secretly like being murdered. Checkmate morans.”

  28. chigau (ever-elliptical) says

    The original was an email sent to PZ. That’s not trolling.
    If gary99 commented here, that would be trolling.

  29. says

    Why haven’t women evolved to spontaneously shit themselves to deter rapists?

    Golly. I’d ask “Why haven’t men evolved enough to stop raping?”

  30. =8)-DX says

    @Christopher Svanefalk #7

    What I find it reasonable to at least assume, however, is that feeding the trolls is the worst possible way to counter them.

    That is one of the most stupid assumptions then, and warrantless, especially with your broad definition of “feeding the trolls”. Is publicly exposing, shaming and getting other people to laugh at a troll “feeding” them? No, what feeds trolls (the malicious kind) is if they succeed in their goal. Since various trolls have various goals (signalling to an in-group, causing stress and anxeity, harassment, silencing unwanted opinions/all dissent, gaining personal information, flooding a website with hate, sometimes a troll is also just a well-intentioned but ignorant/inexperienced person reacting to something you said attempting to “inform”/display knowledge), you’re only going to be “feeding” a particular troll if you know what their goal and MO is, and so I’d only really make any assumptions about broad and general types of troll “feeding” on a website:

    Things that feed trolls in general:
    – No block/moderation function on the communications route (or never using it)
    – Getting personally emotionally invested in your conversation with a troll
    – Revealing personal information
    – Self-censoring to avoid trolls (sometimes however a must)

    Things that generally don’t feed trolls:
    – Making fun of them in public
    – Calling them on their bullshit
    – “Playing” or outsmarting a troll (basically trolling them)
    – Individually contacting them and explaining why their behaviour is wrong
    – Contacting their social group (parents/friends, trolling with consequences is no longer trolling)

  31. says

    Athywren @15

    What is it with people being perfectly happy to advertise that they prefer to pursue relationships with people whose opinions, interests and comments they hold in disdain…

    If there’s one thing HGTV has succeeded at, it’s giving me a visceral hatred of the term “man cave”. So many couples looking for a home with a room the husband can use to withdraw from his wife (and children if they have any). And when I say the couples are looking for such a house, it’s pretty much always the man who brings it up. Because I can see nothing more satisfying than marrying someone whose company you can barely tolerate for more than an hour or so.

  32. DanDare says

    My wife has her ownoffice or study. She spends a fair whack of time in there. My daughter and I have to time share the downstairs den.
    Cave time is NOT a gender specific need.

  33. Ichthyic says

    I don’t know of any data that could help answer that question.

    followed by:

    Denying them the fruit of their labors goes a long way.

    assumptive bias. how does it work?

  34. Trickster Goddess says

    Giliell: “Do women get such a room as well…?

    In the circles I grew up in, yes they did. They called it their “sewing room”. I don’t know about locking the door, but it was a place where the man of the house normally wouldn’t deign to enter.

  35. blf says

    I have this extremely vague recollection of a study some four-ish years ago on trolls’s motivations, which leads naturally into countermeasures. Unfortunately, that is all that I can recall, and I’m not-too-sure about its accuracy. Ring any bells?

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