Rape is a standard male reproductive strategy and likely has been one for millions of years.
Male humans, chimpanzees, and orangutans routinely rape females. Shouldn’t that inconvenient fact merit at least a footnote, if we’re going to claim this argument is “scientific”?
New York Times science journalist, Nicolas Wade, for example, assures readers that, “warfare between pre-state societies was incessant, merciless and conducted with the general purpose, often achieved, of annihilating the opponent.” Harvard’s Richard Wrangham and his co-author, Dale Peterson agree, memorably asserting that modern humans are, “the dazed survivors of a continuous, 5-million year habit of lethal aggression.”But take a close look and this blood-soaked vision of human prehistory—and, by extension, of human nature—is quickly revealed to be little more than a sustained outbreak of mass hysteria among a group of mostly white, middle-aged men fueled by fading testosterone, elitism, unacknowledged neo-colonial politics and sloppy thinking.
The neo-Hobbesians present three primary types of evidence to argue their case:1) Primatological data drawn mainly from chimpanzees, with whom we shared a common ancestor about five million years ago (hence, Wrangham and Peterson’s “5-million year habit of lethal aggression”)2) Anthropological information seeming to show that contemporary hunter/gatherer people reflect our ancestors’ brutality;3) Archaeological findings suggesting persistent warfare extending back many millennia.
— Mark Twain Barack Obama is certainly no imbecile, but like most of us, he has been badly misinformed about just how innately warlike our species really is.
For reasons having nothing to do with scientific accuracy, Hobbes’ dire sloganeering about the misery of pre-civilized human life echoes down the centuries.characterized life in a state of nature.” “Violence,” Pinker claims, “has declined over long stretches of time, and today we may be living in the most peaceable era in our species’ existence” (p. But the archeological evidence shows precisely the opposite of what Pinker argues.In fact, as Doug Fry writes in War, Peace, and Human Nature (2013), “The worldwide archaeological evidence shows that war was simply absent over the vast majority of human existence….There are plenty of reasons easily embarrassed journalists might want to avoid talking about bonobos (their penchant for mutual masturbation, their unapologetic homosexuality and occasional incest, as well as a general sense of hippie-like shamelessness pervading bonobo social life). Look for the missing bonobo any time a somber authority figure claims an ancient pedigree for human male violence of any sort.But the biggest inconvenience may be the utter absence of any Viking-like behavior ever observed among bonobos in the wild. Instead, they very likely inherited rape behavior from our ape ancestral lineage.Perhaps we find a clue in Raymond Dart’s vivid description of our species’ ancient appetites.Dart, who in 1924 discovered the first fossil of a human ancestor in Africa, added his colorful twist to the neo-Hobbesian narrative when he described early humans as “carnivorous creatures, that seized living quarries by violence, battered them to death …To save space, we will let Pinker slide on the question of how representative eight contemporary cases could be of the general hunter-gatherer experience 20,000 or more years ago.Let us also set aside the fact that he has once again mislabeled horticultural societies as hunter-gatherers as well as the absence of any methodological rigor in his selection of these particular examples.slaking their ravenous thirst with the hot blood of victims and greedily devouring livid writhing flesh.”Please pass the potatoes.When not gorging on the hot blood and writhing flesh of their prey, our ancestors were apparently after each other.