Domestic violence gets evolutionary explanation].
What can evolution tell us about domestic violence? Two researchers in the US suggest such violence has ancient origins and that establishing evolution's role could help to better identify those at risk. Others argue that the research makes simplistic assumptions, and warn that some people will interpret the research as an excuse for violence.Let's think about this for a minute.
Each year more than 500,000 women in the US alone report to the police violent attacks by current or former male partners. There is a reason why domestic violence is so widespread, says David Buss, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Texas in Austin: it carries a selective advantage, tied with reproductive success. In other words, men who are violent are trying to make sure that their partner has his child and not another man's.
In order for violence against women to have a selective advantage there has to be an important genetic component. Let's imagine a time back in hunter-gather days when there were two groups of men who differed in their violence-against-women alleles. One group was kind and considerate toward their female companions. They treated them with respect. The other group treated women as property and often beat them in order to prevent imagined infidelity. Somehow the violent group managed to mate more frequently and/or have more children than the kind group so the allele for kindness and respect was eliminated from the population.
Lots of things had to happen in order for this scenario to play out as the evolutionary psychologists imagine. For example, women had to prefer to have children with men who would beat them. (Or maybe they were forced to mate with the violent men.). Furthermore, there had to be no consequences for the men who beat their mates. The other members of the group had to tolerate that behavior even if they found it repulsive.
If the scenario is correct then most men—including you and I—have to carry the violence-against-women allele since it was selected in the past. This seems very strange since most men don't beat their wives.1 I guess we have learned to suppress the genetic urge. But why would we do that if it's a selective advantage to engage in domestic violence?
There's something seriously wrong with evolutionary psychology. And there's something seriously wrong with respectable science magazines who promote this crap.
There's also something seriously wrong with men who engage in domestic violence. They are assholes who deserve very little sympathy from the rest of society. I suspect they got no sympathy in ancient hunter-gather societies either. There is no gene that makes you act like an asshole. That's all due to nurture and it can be changed if we put our minds to it.
1. At least I think this is true. When was the last time you beat your wife or girlfriend?