Sections

Services

Information

UK United Kingdom

Don’t sleep with mean people

That’s the message uber-cerebral Canadian rapper Baba Brinkman wants to spread. He’s crowdfunding a music video and short documentary in support of what he calls the new Golden Rule of Sex.

Video for Baba Brinkman’s “Don’t Sleep with Mean People” Crowdfunding campaign

How cool can an artist be who debuted rapping the Canterbury Tales, moved on to evolution and human nature and is now rapping about the biology of cancer (see Revenge of the Somatic)?

Plenty, if you ask me. And his ability to condense complex theories and evidence into pithy, whip-smart performances win him admiration from scientists and science-lovers wherever he takes his shows. Those shows have thrived off-Broadway and at Edinburgh fringe. And he incorporates peer review by scientists*.

The placard says it all. johndrogers on Flickr

The hippies taught us that “Bombing for Peace is Like Fucking for Virginity”, but the generation of free love never really answered to my satisfaction whether it is possible to fuck for peace. Can we transform a society by some form of erotic collective action? And isn’t it worth a try anyway?

Brinkman’s art provides a never-ending supply of teachable moments. His broader point is that every time a still-fertile heterosexual chooses a mate, every time one decides whether to get naked with somebody, they contribute to the process of sexual selection. Prefer people who can express themselves coherently and in full sentences? You’re selecting for smarts. And your kids may have a chance of passing the dreaded Selective High Schools test. Geoffrey Miller made a compelling case in The Mating Mind that our prodigious human intelligence arose as a result of sexual selection operating this way over many millennia.

There’s a question of timescale here. Obviously no deliberate campaign, crowdfunded or not, is going to effect mass changes in gene frequencies anytime soon. Concerted campaigns of directed sexual activity are more likely to work by shifting incentives for good behaviour: “Behave badly and you aren’t getting any.”

Brinkman himself draws inspiration from the efforts of Lysistrata and her band of war-weary Athenian women in Aristophanes' 411 BC play. By withholding sex from all Athenian men, they effected the end of the Peloponnesian War. Yet for most of us, collectively or individually training our mates, like Sea World dolphins, just isn’t practical.

Come over to the Dark Triad

In general, people don’t set out to mate with mean people. But, unfortunately, some of the meaner traits in the human repertoire seem to elevate mating success. Work by Peter K. Jonason (now at the University of Western Sydney), Norman P. Li and collaborators reveals that people expressing the “Dark Triad” traits - narcissism, Machiavellianism and psychopathy - are more successful at initiating new sexual relationships, especially when poaching or being poached by somebody in an existing relationship. When it comes to long-term relationships, those in whom the Dark Triad is strong don’t fare so well.

It might seem a little obvious; psychopaths, narcissists and Machiavellian types, uninhibited by the pain and inconvenience they might cause others, get more matings but can’t sustain exclusive monogamy as well as other people. But the key here is that any genes underpinning Dark Triad traits get passed on whenever one of those short-term matings succeeds. And without the encumbrance of empathy or a commitment to monogamy, that can mean a lot of successful matings - especially for men.

So don’t sleep with narcissists, manipulators or psychopaths. Great advice we wish our mother had given us when we were young. Actually, she probably did when she warned us against that bad girl or boy. And yet there is no denying the lust-inducing appeal of the right level of badness.

Bombing for virginity

2013’s most bewildering bad boy is accused of genuine, world-shaking badness. He is Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, accused of carrying out April’s devastating bombing of the Boston marathon with the help of his now-dead brother. And he controversially graces the cover of August 3’s issue of Rolling Stone.

The controversial cover of Rolling Stone’s August edition, featuring Dzhokhar Tsarnaev under the headline “The Bomber”. EPA/Rolling Stone

You won’t count me among those boycotting the issue. In fact I’ve already been to the newsagent, only to find it hasn’t reached our shores yet. And in the 60 seconds I was in the shop, another person asked for it. I’m predicting this issue will sell more copies than any other since the start of the GFC.

Andy Ruddock has already done a marvellous job dissecting the cover and discerning why Rolling Stone did what they did. I look forward to reading the story because home-grown fundamentalist terrorism is too important an issue to be filed under “evil” and hysterically dismissed in the way that Fox News and its charge-of-the-apoplectic clones would like.

Both fundamentalism and the actions that a small number of fundamentalists take need a more complete understanding. Which is why I’m with the Sydney Morning Herald’s Mark Joseph Stern who reckons “Rolling Stone’s cover of suspected Boston bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is brilliant - deal with it”. Rolling Stone has a long history of serious and edgy journalism, including formative work by Hunter S. Thompson, P.J. O'Rourke and Tom Wolfe. What contemporary subject could be more ripe for genuine journalistic exposition than the making of good-boy-turned-bomber Tsarnaev?

In putting The Bomber on its cover, Rolling Stone draws a disturbing yet obvious parallel between Tsarnaev and rock ‘n’ roll’s bad boys. The connection is obvious because of the legion of followers devoted to Dzhokhar and convinced of his innocence. Like Jim Morrison in 1969, they reckon he’s persecuted and misunderstood. They can be found with the #FreeJahar hashtag on Twitter and in manifold dark corners of the internet. Word from that parallel universe has it that the girls are cranky because the picture wasn’t “dreamy enough”.

Linda Peach wrote an intriguing introduction to the mostly young, mostly female FreeJahar crowd a few weeks ago. I was not convinced by her favoured explanation which relied on social role theory and ambivalent sexism theory via a weak Prince Charming trope. But that is an argument for another day. As she well explains, the denialist netherworld of FreeJahar throbs with teenage female lust.

My point is that the bad boy mystique of Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix and Keith Richards imbued them with sexual magnetism of the most potent kind. This was a dark force, domesticated and sometimes manufactured by later rockers and their publicists. But it made the stars, Rolling Stone and even rock itself what it is.

The crimes that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has been accused of are so much less commonplace and more dramatic than the darkness at the heart of rock-god sexual magnetism. And I put it that way neither to diminish the far-reaching heinousness of what he and his brother are alleged to have done nor to trivialise the misogyny and abuse that accompanied so much of sex, drugs and rock. But I’m willing to bet that Tsarnaev’s sexual magnetism is not an entirely different species from 1963’s hysteria for the ‘Stones.

If reproductive success could be allocated by virtue by following Baba’s Golden Rule of sex, I’m pretty sure humans would domesticate quite nicely in a few hundred years. And it’s certainly worth a try. But the FreeJahar groundswell convinces me that the odds stack mightily against any chance of long-term success.


  • Disclosure: Baba provided a cover blurb for my book, Sex, Genes & Rock ‘n’ Roll, and, in turn, based some of his show Ingenious Nature on elements of the book. I was delighted to peer-review the full script for the show. I only wish I had been able to see it in New York.

Join the conversation

77 Comments sorted by

  1. David Thompson

    Marketing Research

    I think the free-love movement got an answer that shut them up for good: AIDS.

    report
    1. Alice Kelly
      Alice Kelly is a Friend of The Conversation.

      sole parent

      In reply to David Thompson

      David , the author has suggested that having sex with a narcissist psychopath or machiavellian type will not sustain a worthwhile relationship. "Don't sleep with mean people". The "Free Love" movement probably benefitted these types, and had nothing to do with aids, it was a hippie thing. He is discussing heterosexual sexual behaviour and the way to have a productive sustaining relationship. While it's true that there are a lot of heterosexual married men who frequent "beats", he is not discussing this behaviour, or homosexual promiscuity.

      report
    2. Dale Bloom

      Analyst

      In reply to Alice Kelly

      Free love was advocated by two main groups in recent times.

      Bohemian types and the 1970’s feminist movement.

      The feminist movement ran into 3 problems, unwanted pregnancy, STD’s and who pays for the children.

      They tried to overcome the problem of unwanted pregnancy by advocating abortion, which is still a central part of feminism.

      They tried to overcome the STD problem by saying “wear a condom”, which is only Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and PPE is the least likely method to reduce risk.

      They tried to overcome the problem of who pays for the children by saying the father should pay through Child Support, resulting in wide scale destruction of families, wide scale child poverty, wide scale inequality and wide scale social dislocation and social problems.

      Feminism failed miserably on all fronts.

      report
    3. David Collett
      David Collett is a Friend of The Conversation.

      IT Application Developer at Web Generation

      In reply to Alice Kelly

      "The "Free Love" movement probably benefitted these types"

      I've never thought of it this way, but now that you've written it, I sort of agree.

      What stops me agreeing completely is that I suspect these "type of people" are very adaptive, and would be adept at working the cultural norms to their advantage - what ever they happened to be. Even in sexually repressive eras, they could still weave their dark web to others - maybe by using sexual repression and guilt to their advantage (?).

      I also suspect that for "these types" the reasons they do what they do is not primarily about obtaining sex. They may be after power, or driven by inner dysfunction - so lowering the barriers to obtaining sex may have only opened another way for them to interact with others.

      But I do see that sex is related to power, and that's why I think as you do that these times probably benefited these people.

      report
    4. Alice Kelly
      Alice Kelly is a Friend of The Conversation.

      sole parent

      In reply to David Collett

      Thanks David, I had to generalise because I do remember some pretty piggish alternative men applying guilt at the time, at an emotive level I knew they were manipulative (70's), but it was so devastating for them when (she) did like-wise. A couple of dykes I used to know used to pontificate a lot of ubber-political crap to their advantage. Some-one always got hurt. The thing that makes the authors narcissism/psychopathy comments relevant to me is that I do remember these types relying on a "wife", the caring understanding saintly sort, who is the natural foil for them. Till they work it out. Any way there are degrees of narcissism which progress through to psychopathy, and they are both adaptive, as you say.

      report
    5. Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      Writer (ex telecommunications engineer)

      In reply to Dale Bloom

      What an illumination to get the views of the right on this - lets distort reality to justify their ideology and in doing so miss the key element.

      As any informed person would know, the key thing that bought about the free love movement was The Pill, and Dale doesn't mention this.

      report
    6. Dale Bloom

      Analyst

      In reply to Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)

      “The history of free love is entwined with the history of feminism.”

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_love

      The Pill was barely in existence (and earlier versions of the Pill were not that reliable or had side effects) when 1970’s feminists began advocating free love as an alternative to marriage.

      Huge numbers of children have been plunged into poverty because of that philosophy, but an interesting piece of complete feminist hypocrisy is when Gloria Steinem got married in 2000, after previously advocating the abolition of marriage.

      report
    7. Judith Olney

      Ms

      In reply to Alice Kelly

      The "free love" movement was about sex, not love. The two are often very different things.

      report
    8. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Judith Olney

      Really? Who woulda guessed Ms O? Different you say.

      I'm not sure Rob Brooks would be entirely comfortable with that assertion left as is.

      I'd have a sneaking hunch - one of my less attractive features - that the likes of your evolutionary ecologisty sorts of dudes would see this love lurk as some sort of complex psychological state - transactional rather than ordained - in which we delude ourselves, throw self-interest and caution to the winds and hook up.

      Like albatrosses but they do it with better dancing and without a Family Law Act. What's to argue about I guess - fish?

      Thus delerium, hormones, lust, infatuation, dark clothes and too much attention to sonnetry leads us to world wars, the collapse of empires and the like.

      Sex on the other hand just leads us all to personal ruin.

      report
    9. Judith Olney

      Ms

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Lol, thank you Peter, I have loved, and had sex, and neither has led to war or ruin, so there is hope however small :)

      report
    10. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Judith Olney

      Gee there's a surprise Ms Pollyanna.

      Sonnets - humbug! All that dothing and ev'ning to clip the nosehairs of an unruly chunk of meter... clumping along with a gait like a reeling drunk ...waffling on about roses and summer breezes. ... obsessed with form and obsession itself ... the same story told and retold in comforting patterns like nursery rhymes ... the roots of Mills and Boon... Ms O - and we know where that all leads... Yes WW1!

      Speaking of which, there is a delightful old lady near…

      Read more
    11. Judith Olney

      Ms

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Nope, not convinced Peter, sitting as I am on my patio, at twilight, watching the enormous full moon rise over the vege patch, what could be more romantic!

      I'd leave Gwen to her Mills and Boons, although not my cup of tea, badly written for the most part, and a little to turgid for me.

      I prefer John Lennon, "you might say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one, I hope some day you'll join us, and the world can be as one".

      I'm told by one dear to me, that I'm way to cerebral, and not nearly biological enough :)

      report
    12. Judith Olney

      Ms

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      mmmmmm, never thought of it like that. Romance is only dangerous if you expect something to come of it, expect nothing and there is no melancholy or unending disappointment.

      Sometimes a sonnet is just a lovely poem.

      report
    13. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Judith Olney

      Yes - they're clever like that yer sonnets ... insinuating themselves via their sinister "loveliness" ... don't you believe a word of it Ms O ... all the product of some neural set-up connected with OCD and stalking.

      Tinkers with the endorphins that sort of flight-of-whimsy and rapture stuff Ms O ... obviously designed to dejigger the synapses of the susceptible and leave the neurotransmitters confused and neglected... lots of swooning, hair twirling and gazing off into the distance. Think catonia, Ms O.

      I and many other recovering romantics are hoping to see the whole issue addressed more clinically in DSM VI but in the meantime I'd recommend a more fibrous literary diet than these sugary sonnets dripping with their transfats and artificial flavours.

      report
    14. Judith Olney

      Ms

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      I'm hopelessly addicted, and no doubt will come to a sticky end. I do so love your own witty, (if perhaps a tad purple), prose, Peter.

      "Good night, good night, parting is such sweet sorrow, that I shall say goodnight, till it be morrow"

      report
    15. Dale Bloom

      Analyst

      In reply to Judith Olney

      I think a famous feminist once said “Ask not what love can do for you, but what you can do for love”.

      Perhaps you and that nice young man Peter Ormonde could discuss this in greater detail, but somewhere more private of course.

      report
    16. Rob Brooks
      Rob Brooks is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Professor of Evolutionary Ecology; Director, Evolution & Ecology Research Centre at UNSW Australia

      In reply to Dale Bloom

      Good to see you back here, adding a dimension of colour and humanity to this column, Peter (or should that be Petruchio?) and Judith. Even Dale is transfixed enough to tear himself from his feminist reconstruction to wish you well.

      report
    17. Judith Olney

      Ms

      In reply to Dale Bloom

      Thanks for the 'deepity' Dale. Thank goodness we are past the days where sex, love, sonnets, and romance, could only be discussed in private.

      report
    18. Judith Olney

      Ms

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      I was thinking Peter...., perhaps we have romance and the idea of love, as a positive adaptive trait. What a dull life it would be without imagination, creativity and fantasy. Natural selection is not random.

      You can only be betrayed by romanticism if you fail to realise that it is not real, its about imagination. I can be transported by the beauty of a sonnet, become immersed in the story in a book or movie, but know that it is not real.

      Perhaps we should have an age restriction, no romance, sonnets, or stories, or even dreams, until you can show you know they are not real :)

      report
    19. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Judith Olney

      I'm sure it is some sort of adaptive trait Ms O ... but as the good Doc Brooks will attest - not all adaptive traits are positive. Some things just hang around well after their use-by-date.

      May well have been that in the days of yore there was some interest in finding The One ... even if you were married to the Other One at the time through circumstances beyond one's control... like property and titles. But sadly in these days of pre-nuptuals, lawyers, rohypnol and other romance enhancements, I'd be suggesting that it's high time to be burning sonnets myself.

      report
    20. Judith Olney

      Ms

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Gosh Peter, I look at it in exactly the opposite way, I think in our world of power and greed, to escape into unreality for a while is very positive, necessary for some of us even.

      It is where the line between reality, (with sex as a means of reproduction, power and control), and fantasy, (the idea of love, romance, dreams, etc), becomes blurred.

      I'd rather dream than settle for the purely biological, and I'm glad as an animal with a large brain, capable of imagination, that I don't have to settle for the purely biological.

      I think on some level everybody knows that romance is not real, and that reality is the just biological urges that require us to try and satisfy, but where is the fun in that.

      report
    21. Judith Olney

      Ms

      In reply to Rob Brooks

      Thanks Rob, colour and humanity? I see it more as a little sweetener, and a good dollop of moisturiser, to what is sometimes a bitter, (Dale), and dry argument.

      I always enjoy your articles, and this one is no exception :)

      report
    22. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Judith Olney

      Apparently Ms O quite a lot of animals - admittedly those of smaller brains - seem to keep up their enthusiasm for having at it despite the lack of romance, roses, sonnets, vows, Family Courts, AVOs, counselling and all the trappings of modern romance we've developed to help us cope with this dubious inheritance.

      Perhaps it is the lack of a small brain that is the central issue Ms O ... that we are compelled by surplus idle neurons spinning about without intent - to fabricate, embellish, gild…

      Read more
    23. Judith Olney

      Ms

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Good on those smaller brained fellow travellers on the planet. I see sonnets, gifts etc, (what some may call the trappings of romance), as ways of expressing emotion, these little joys have been around for a very long time, long before the family court or AVO's, (although the problems that these things have sprung from also existed for a very long time).

      I suspect we've done a lot of other things, not the least bit romantic, with our large brains, not all of them good by any means. Romance is…

      Read more
    24. Dale Bloom

      Analyst

      In reply to Judith Olney

      I can only wish you both the best.

      But remember, there can be problems within any relationship, and I’m sure you’ll have plenty of those in a feminist relationship.

      (P.S. Still guessing which one is going to be bad.)

      report
    25. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Judith Olney

      Practical brain indeed Ms O? Having spent the last five minutes justifying and in fact paying tribute to an admittedly distorted and perhaps demented view of reality, the prismatic lens of romance - you then split hairs about Hair?

      Here in Woolibuddha we're knee-deep in an outbreak of boddice-ripping apparently - according to intel obtained on my weekly shopping adventure. Scandal of a most Shakespearean kind runs the streets.

      So do not eternally eschew the boddice in despair Ms O - see, even here in the sticks things can unexpectedly come over all Errol Flynn by all accounts. At least a cardie of hope.

      report
    26. Judith Olney

      Ms

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Distorted and demented view of reality? Perhaps, but not one that is dangerous or harmful IMHO.

      Woolibuddha knee deep in a bodice ripping outbreak, now theres a mental vision for ya! and Shakespearean scandal as well, its enough to make we want to move there if I could just find it on the map, goodness my eyes must be tired from all that hair splitting, (takes acute eyesight to achieve a good hair split).

      There's a bit of coming over all Errol Flynn in my little town as well, but it has taken a decidedly vampirian bent, not even a cardie of hope with the undead though.

      report
    27. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Judith Olney

      Nay Ms O take heart... our locally sordid tale shows that True Love knows no bounds - even shattering the ramparts of the most mercenary amongst us.

      The trophy wife of the local real estate agent - she a "gold-digging tramp", he, the scion of a worthy landed dynasty... yet she has after only two years married bliss, run off with the young auctioneer of her trusting husband's enterprise, some dozen years her junior. Woolibuddha is aghast.

      Not sure whose boddice was being ripped but it's sort of comforting to see such scandalous passions cut loose even amongst the few folks in town that wear suits and ties and "do lunch".

      Perhaps this is why we have evolved love - to bring down the mighty amongst us... to make them human, if only slightly.

      We have strayed well off topic by now - much to Dale's outrage I'd imagine... you know what a stickler he is for form and propriety. All things decent really.

      report
    28. Judith Olney

      Ms

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Now Peter, not so far off topic, perhaps the young auctioneer was a psychopathic narcissist, a bad boy, and therefore attractive to the much scandalised wife of that fine upstanding real estate agent. mmmmm you just never know.

      To love is to take a mighty risk, for a possibly mighty gain, what's that saying, "better to have loved and lost, then never to have loved at all".

      Who says living in the bush was boring?

      report
  2. Dale Bloom

    Analyst

    There was some discussion about this elsewhere.

    It could be that women in general don’t want to do most tasks. For example, tasks involving anything mechanical or electrical or involves building something.

    They also seem to want to work few hours and retire early.

    This considerably narrows women’s ability to earn much money, which means women have to get money from men who are more willing to do the tasks women don’t want to do.

    However, a man is not going to give money to a woman who goes off with another man, unless he was some type of femboy.

    Nor would he want to give money to a woman who wants to take his children and live with another man, unless he was some type of femboy.

    So free love is not going to do much for women.

    report
  3. Murray Webster

    Forestry-Ecology Consultant/Contractor

    Men telling women who they can and cannot have sex should initiate some responses with extremely interesting combinations of adjectives...
    I read that Genghis Khan has genes in a significant proportion of Chinese, and of course Gene Simmons (the dude with the tongue in the unashamedly constructed/commercial Rock Band KISS) claims to have had sex with 4000 women. Then there are professional footballers, eg NRL who now have lessons in how to handle all the sexual attention they are going to get, and…

    Read more
  4. Pat Moore

    gardener

    Jumbled countercontextual crosscurrents! Could someone translate & summarize Brinkman's 'Revenge of the Somatic'? Is that cancer speaking explaining its inbuilt evolutionary dogging of the human cell? But that is a separate thesis presumably to the reasons not to 'sleep with mean people' who are passing on these anti-social human traits.

    Having a problem seeing the connection between this 'Dark Triad' of predatory human traits and references to Tsarnaev's image on the cover of the attention-grabbing…

    Read more
    1. Dale Bloom

      Analyst

      In reply to Pat Moore

      Sex strikes or gender based strikes could work.

      The man says to the woman “I will give you nothing more until you show some appreciation for all that has been given to you".

      report
  5. Rob Kennedy

    Co-Editor & Writer at Guys Read Gals

    I sleep with mean people, because I sleep by myself. But no idea, words or proposal could make me feel anything other than sadness for such a young man who thinks killing people will get him anywhere. This applies to any government, cause or group, it's proven that killing people for your cause does not work.

    Killing people, removes you from the face of humanity; you become sub-human, exactly the opposite of all you are trying to achieve. Killing people makes you less human.

    report
    1. Pat Moore

      gardener

      In reply to Rob Kennedy

      Well Rob K if 'killing people' gets you nowhere how come the US empire has lasted so long? And empires before that? The 'collateral damage' in terms of human lives at the hands of the empire is immense, innumerable....killing seems to have worked fine for its 'cause' and it still seems to be numbered amongst the 'face of humanity'? This young man would not comprehend your underestimation of patronising pity. It's going to be a long war. Instead of writing & editing 'Guys Read Gals' perhaps you could try some realpolitik.

      report
  6. Peter Ormonde
    Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

    Farmer

    What's the odds on Tsarnaev turning up on Big Brother in the next year or two?

    Now Dr Rob last time I looked neither Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison - not even Keith Richards - rose to prominence by maiming folks. OK the jury's still out on Keith.

    But it says something very strange about our modern information-laden culture that an insane and amateurish effort at mass murder can lead to a career in the twittersphere. As the bard put it... there's only one thing worse than being talked about - not being talked about at all.

    While I agree that the Rolling Stone cover was a brilliant and disturbing statement of this culture of celebrity - I think it could be improved with a full lift out supplement photospread and revealing Cleo style centrefold of said terrorist in something like Dolly or Girlfriend.

    Let's keep it real. Maybe a line of backpacks and baseball caps.

    report
  7. Julie Roccisano

    logged in via email @hotmail.com

    Great article again Rob :)

    This reminds me of the thoughts I had when watching a recent documentary on ABC or SBS about bears. They filmed a female bear digging up roots, eating berries, just minding her own business. There were about three male bears all nearby fighting with each other for the privledge of mating with her. She didn't seem to bother with making her own decision about their suitability as a mate (the way a female bower bird does for example), she just let them sort it out with violence.
    This does have the advantage of not wasting her precious eating time in choosing a mate and yet she still gets to mate with the toughest/strongest etc which bears have obviously bred for. Though potentially female bears have also learnt to be passive as it is safer than objecting to the advances of males who have just defeated every other contender.
    I then started to wonder how many human females are a bit similar...an uncomfortable thought.

    report
    1. Dale Bloom

      Analyst

      In reply to Julie Roccisano

      Much of evolutionary biology would be based on logic similar to yours.

      If one species of animal does something, then all species must do the same.

      I would agree though that men shouldn’t be fighting over women.

      report
    2. Rob Brooks
      Rob Brooks is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Professor of Evolutionary Ecology; Director, Evolution & Ecology Research Centre at UNSW Australia

      In reply to Julie Roccisano

      Straight answer, Julie, is that she mightn't be able to afford to care. She can't really wade in, point to her favoured suitor and say "I choose you". Only by seeing the others off can he give a reasonable assurance that she won't be troubled by them throughout her pregnancy and the cubs' early life. So better to wait until all that argy-bargy gets settled.

      Despite Dale's compulsion to see all animals as equivalent, different ways of making a living throw up different challenges in arriving at…

      Read more
    3. Dale Bloom

      Analyst

      In reply to Rob Brooks

      I think you have misinterpreted things.

      One of the main reasons evolutionary biology should be placed in the junk science basket, is the habit of believers of evolutionary biology of stating that human males are the same as some other species of animals.

      In this instance, human males were regarded as being the same as bears.

      That was too subjective to be science, but would be passable within evolutionary biology.

      report
    4. Julie Roccisano

      logged in via email @hotmail.com

      In reply to Dale Bloom

      Dale, please observe my deliberate use of the term "how many" in my last sentence. It was chosen as I do not think that human males are the same as bears but occasionally wonder how often or how many of us behave in some similar ways.

      report
    5. Julie Roccisano

      logged in via email @hotmail.com

      In reply to Rob Brooks

      Thanks for commenting on my comment Rob :)

      Good observation regarding the choices that animals (including us) can and can't make.

      It seems to me that the great diversity of human abilities etc is a reflection of our ability to choose. The ability to choose usually leads to diversity and diversity encourages choice.

      report
    6. Dale Bloom

      Analyst

      In reply to Julie Roccisano

      Similar ways?

      I just spent my day surrounded by men, and I would have worked with many 1,000’s of men over the years.

      I have actually seen very few fights, and I have never seen men fight over a woman.

      I think you are imagining things.

      report
    7. Murray Webster

      Forestry-Ecology Consultant/Contractor

      In reply to Julie Roccisano

      Does the female bear exercise any choice?
      I have also read that when a new male lion vanquishes (kills, maims, etc...) the former leader of the pride, then eats/kills the existing cubs, the female lions come quickly into oestrus and mate with the new male.
      I really wonder how much insight we can derive from observations of the non-human world.

      report
    8. Murray Webster

      Forestry-Ecology Consultant/Contractor

      In reply to Julie Roccisano

      Well I don't know, but I doubt that the female bear has "learnt to be passive as it is safer than objecting to the advances of males". More likely that genes controlling behaviour of both the males, which makes the offspring more likely to survive. If the behaviour resulted in offspring that were subsequently not successful at reproduction, the behaviour would die out/

      report
    9. Murray Webster

      Forestry-Ecology Consultant/Contractor

      In reply to Murray Webster

      Please let me edit my posts Oh Conversation!

      I meant:

      Well I don't know, but I doubt that the female bear has "learnt to be passive as it is safer than objecting to the advances of males". More likely it is genes (or inheritance) controlling behaviour of both the males and the females. If the behaviour makes the offspring more likely to survive then it will be passed on. If not, the behaviour would die out.

      report
    10. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Murray Webster

      A few years back I had the deep misfortune to camp in a still paperbark forest by a mirror lake - beaut spot - set ourselves up for a week - even camping chairs!

      And every night just after dusk the peaceful air was filled with the howling grunting snorting and cavorting of koalas... not bears I know but with all the romance of a mongol horde nonetheless.

      How is it that such violence is "considered" advantageous in an evolutionary sense? Or is it cheaper - more efficient - to turn from dominating other males to dominating the females?

      But enthused koalas do not know the meaning of the word "no" apparently. Nasty brutal business and incomprehensible. And bloody deafening.

      report
    11. Dale Bloom

      Analyst

      In reply to Murray Webster

      Packs of wild dogs are often lead by a female dog.

      If the female leader has puppies at the same time as another dog, the female leader will kill the other puppies, so that her puppies get the most food and have a better chance for survival.

      It is completely unlikely this will ever be mentioned by an evolutionary biologists or a feminist, because it doesn’t denigrate the male gender.

      report
    12. Judith Olney

      Ms

      In reply to Dale Bloom

      Meerkats have a similar system Dale, where only the dominant female and male can breed, and the other females and males are not supposed to, although there are some that do and are punished for doing so by exile from the group.

      I thought you didn't agree with comparing human and animal behaviour? Or does that only apply to the males? You are a hypocrite Dale.

      You have a very strange idea of what evolutionary biologists actually do Dale, and an even stranger idea of what feminism is actually about. I wonder why people that promote equal opportunity for .others, regardless of their gender, threaten you so much?

      report
    13. Julie Roccisano

      logged in via email @hotmail.com

      In reply to Murray Webster

      Yes, editing our posts would be great! :)

      Good pick up Murray, yes me saying "learnt" is pretty inaccurate and not what I meant now that I think it through. I meant what you said about behaviour being passed through the generations due to its usefulness (if I've understood you correctly).

      On your other point about how much insight we can gain from looking at animals - I do think we can learn things even if it is by observing the ways that we are different. Sometimes reflecting on differences can provide a useful alternative perspective. However, the diversity of behaviour among animals precludes the over simplification of similarities between animals and humans. There are similarities in some behaviours with some species, but huge differences too.

      report
    14. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Julie Roccisano

      There are some serious social theories based on notions derived from observing animals - allegedly... ants nests, bee hives as metaphors for human societies - or rather inhuman societies. And of course let's not forget those "social darwinists", those who have dragged survival of the fittest into service as an economic slogan, or the selfish geners who sense a possible rationale for self-interest - as if one was necessary. So when I say serious social theories I really mean disgusting.

      More…

      Read more
    15. Julie Roccisano

      logged in via email @hotmail.com

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Absolutely Peter! Though perhaps it isn't helpful to dismiss the method just because there are some twisted conclusions?

      report
    16. Dale Bloom

      Analyst

      In reply to Judith Olney

      I don’t compare humans to other animals, as humans live in a totally different niche.

      It is objectionable if so-called scientists subjectively select an animal that has some trait that might be considered repulsive or abhorrent, and then say that human men are similar to that animal.

      I wouldn’t use feminism as any guide to establishing a relationship.

      Who would be a feminist role model?

      Gloria Steinman, who based a career around denigrating men, and said that “A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle”, and then she married a man.

      The adorable Andrea Dworkin, who claimed she was raped by her heterosexual husband, so she married a homosexual man.

      Or perhaps our own Germaine Greer, who was once married for 3 weeks, and during that time she claimed she had sex with several different men.

      Not a lot to be inspired by.

      report
    17. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Dale Bloom

      Steinem that'd be Mr Dale. Unless you mean someone I've never heard of which is possible.

      But it gets worse, Mr Dale... this Steinem of whom I (though not necessarily you) speak, is no less than a deep plant CIA agent hell-bent on playing her part in implementing The Plan... Oh yes it's true ... must be.. I read it on the innerweb... http://rense.com/general21/hw.htm

      Absolute madness... I'm really hoping you agree Dale...

      report
    18. Dale Bloom

      Analyst

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      No!

      Gloria Steinem, the feminist and male denigrator.

      “If women are supposed to be less rational and more emotional at the beginning of our menstrual cycle when the female hormone is at its lowest level, then why isn't it logical to say that, in those few days, women behave the most like the way men behave all month long?”

      The feminist that spat out that piece of male denigration, and much more of the same.

      report
    19. Dale Bloom

      Analyst

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Yes, that’s the one. The feminist who denigrated men and marriage, and then got married.

      The feminist who also endorses “Morning after Mints”

      “OMG! What happened last night? Where am I? And who is this guy in bed with me? …

      Just take one or two, quietly get dressed, slip out of the room, and pretend the whole thing never happened”

      http://store.feminist.org/empowermints-1.aspx

      How romantic and endearing.

      report
    20. Judith Olney

      Ms

      In reply to Dale Bloom

      What about your waffle about wild dog packs Dale, or were you just trying to denigrate evolutionary biologists? You get upset about what you perceive as moral issues, but the only animals on this earth to even have what would constitute moral values, are humans. It is humans that attach moral value to a biological behaviour.

      What does any of this have to do with feminists?

      There are many millions of feminists in this world, and as individuals we have our own values and morals. You seem to want to judge all feminists be the behaviour of a very few? Bit like judging all animals on the behaviour of a few. You constantly denigrate women Dale, and then have a hissy fit when you think that men are not being given a fair go by a few feminists.

      You are a hypocrite Dale, and every post you make confirms this.

      report
    21. Judith Olney

      Ms

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Interesting article Peter, there were certainly some interesting cultural changes happening back in the 60s. The sad thing is, that despite all that happened, not much has changed for those on the lowest rungs of society.

      report
    22. Judith Olney

      Ms

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Well said Peter, we as humans seem to want to set ourselves above other animals with our moral and ethical codes of behaviour, but fall back on our animal traits when we wish to justify and excuse behaviour that fails our moral and ethical standards.

      report
    23. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Judith Olney

      Yes I must admit some of the US feminist thinking regarding personal liberation and the like I found to be a rather self-indulgent wank. Too much me me me in it, not enough about wages and discrimination and race. Seemed to become obsessed with nuance and extrapolated insinuations. Fighting curious battles - glass ceilings, images, the rights and virtues of sex work and the like.

      But then don't forget that "moral issues" - by which I mean anything to do with sex more accurately, rather than…

      Read more
    24. Pat Moore

      gardener

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Geez PO, that Makow/Rense rabbit hole you referred us to is a weird dark trip/trap for brain dead bunnies...conspiracies at ten paces? or my conspiracy theory is darker than yours? These guys seem to be the founding fathers & honorary members of the "Dark Triad" itself? My theory is that because the original and factual conspiracy of corrupted US 'democracy' has been so professionally denied, smoked & mirrored for so long, these myriad of mad faux conspiracy theories grow & fester like black mould…

      Read more
    25. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Pat Moore

      Yes ...deeply unhinged stuff about in the darker recesses of the interweb isn't there? Some of the US patriotic freedom fighters' stuff on 9/11 is quite certifiable - and unstoppable... everywhere they see omens and symptoms that re-affirm and deepen their initial conspiratorial viewpoint... coincidence is everywhere - but nowhere - yes a rabbit-hole.

      And they have guns. And they vote. And they let them go out by themselves unsupervised. I just hope Obamacare works.

      report
    26. Dale Bloom

      Analyst

      In reply to Judith Olney

      Feminist brainwashing machines such “Ms Feminist” have shown it entirely possible to combine free love, feminism and devaluing men into a profitable business.

      As long as the product being sold is chocolate coated.

      report
    27. Judith Olney

      Ms

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Absolutely Peter, mind you, I think it is entirely ethical and moral to desire equality for all people, regardless of their gender, how you go about promoting this idea is another thing altogether.

      Dale seems to be confused with the desire for equal opportunity, (which is what feminism is about for me and a great many other women and men) and a dislike of the male gender.

      Consumerism has co-opted feminism in a most bizarre way.

      report
    28. Judith Olney

      Ms

      In reply to Dale Bloom

      In the words of Cold Chisel, Dale, "you don't tell me anything, you just go on and on, and you don't make no sense".

      report
    29. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Judith Olney

      Can't agree with you re Dale Ms O ... It's not that he confuses a desire for equal opportunity with a dislike of the male gender.

      It's that he confuses a his personal isolation and bitterness with a generalised circumstance of "all men".

      Dale is a victim - as are all us blokes if only we realised it. It's not him. Not his fault. It was them.... you lot. They did it.

      All a bit schoolyardy really.

      So embrace your victimhood dudes! Find someone to blame. Don't change. Don't do anything dad and grandpa didn't do. Keep smoking! Cling on fellow limpets!

      report
    30. Dale Bloom

      Analyst

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      A lot of abuse there Peter Ormonde.

      Perhaps you need a cup of tea, some feminist “Morning after mints”, and a good lie down.

      There isn’t the slightest evidence of equality in feminism.

      report
  8. Murray Webster

    Forestry-Ecology Consultant/Contractor

    Actually Rob, in all seriousness: I wonder if "The Dark Triad" and the success it apparently renders in casual sex, influences the opinion (some) women have of men generally (and vice-versa). Its not what you'd call a random or representative sample is it?

    report
  9. James Hill

    Industrial Designer

    Perhaps "Free Love" actually did mean "Free Sex" as opposed to Paid Sex as in prostitution, or in marriage which some cynically equate with prostitution.
    As in some lyrics of the time, "if I were a carpenter and you were a lady, would you marry me anyway, would you have my baby"
    And didn't Thomas Carlyle come up with "for love or money" in his eminently readable historical novel "The French Revolution".
    If the transaction is conditional upon money the it is not love , buy sex as Judith Olney pointed…

    Read more