Role models for the modern man

Guys — you’ve been told that Nature wants you to be like lobsters, or fiddler crabs, or bighorn sheep. Those suggestions are all superseded by the True Message of Mother Nature — you’ve been doing everything wrong. You are ambulatory bags of sperm, and your one goal should be to fling yourself at a female, who will extract the entirety of your purpose to propagate offspring. Like the deep sea anglerfish. Isn’t she beautiful? Wouldn’t you love to become…attached?

Or behold the Brown Widow Spider. The older the female, the more likely she is to cannibalize her suitors…but at the same time, the more alluring she is to the males, and the more likely they are to discard all discretion and throw themselves at her gonopore, and subsequently, to stagger from their dalliance into her chelicerae.

Just letting you know that you should fear the naturalistic fallacy, if you didn’t already.


  1. monad says

    Instead of such awful binaries, can’t we just copy clownfish? Have old women in charge of everything, but still leave young men the opportunity to someday become old women themselves?

  2. deep6 says

    I see more and more of this lately: the evolutionary *biology* of non-primate species used to justify specious claims about the evolutionary *psychology* of humans. And dating advice blogs are the worst offenders.

    That anglerfish vid was pretty awesome.

  3. hemidactylus says

    If we are looking to nature for sexual norm justification I say females eating males is superfluous. Parthenogenesis is the summum bonum. Eliminate males altogether. But OTOH they might provide a useful gene mixer and a tasty treat. Otherwise they are boorish bores.

  4. Onamission5 says

    Gee I wonder how come these guys never gank their naturalistic fallacies from the social behavior of mammals like the hyena, or lemurs, or meerkat, or naked mole rat, or…

  5. unclefrogy says

    I find the naturalistic fallacy and similar arguments very exasperating. They are always made from such an ignorance of the true scope of the natural world. they seem to be using nature as a metaphor while claiming some kind of truth.
    uncle frogy

  6. nobonobo says

    #4 Mikkel Nif Rasmussen

    *Sigh* Can’t we all just be like Bonobo chimpanzees?

    Not me, hard as I tried!

  7. hemidactylus says

    @6- unclefrogy

    I could say “If you can’t beat ‘em join ‘em”, but so much confusion ensues when people talk about Moore’s naturalistic fallacy. It’s more or less taking the Sacred Good and profaning it by reducing analytically to a mundane definition such as pleasure or well being. Moore’s Good is an irreducible Platonic eidos thus useless. It overlaps with Judaic and Islamic injunctions against idolatry. By defining the Good you are making a graven image or using its name in vain.

    Through experience one might achieve through cumulative induction a synthetic appreciation (and wisdom) for what are good things or what is a good life lived. That doesn’t entail lobsters as model behavioral organisms.

    Using lobsters, apes, parthenogenic lizards as exemplars for human norms doesn’t quite seem to be a naturalistic fallacy to me. More along the lines of saying the paleo diet is what we should do because it represents our original state of nature. Or the offset of the adjectives “natural” and “organic” against the evils of processing and genetic modification as the artificial state.

    It is hard to say what our various hard scrabbled ancestors ate before the evils of farming and agriculture. Even if we could get a definite set of foods, this would be a set of facts of what our ancestors ate. Would that set of facts justify us eating the same way? I hazard our ancestors scavenged a bunch. Do we therefore scrape dead roadkill off the roadways? That’s a pretty blunt way of putting Hume’s is-ought guillotine, which is far more useful than Moore’s lofty irreducible Good, which has been bastardized in the popular mind to be the same thing.

    So if lobsters act as territorial dominating pricks to each other should we do the same?