Sunday, August 14, 2011

Dr. Efficient clarifies a point from his last column

The mention of rape in the last Dr. Efficient column drew enough attention and raised enough ire that when he asked if I thought he should comment on it, I said, yes. He did, and his comment is available in the Comments section of that entry. Because many readers have told me they often miss the comments, I am also making the text available here, as its own entry.

Now, I turn you over to Dr. Efficient.

The subject of rape could probably fill several columns on its own. I can't really do it justice here, but nothing I've written should be interpreted as excusing rape or Sudanese atrocities in the Nuba mountains.

David Buss writes in The Evolution of Desire, "it is a matter of controversy within evolutionary psychology today whether rape represents an evolved sexual strategy of men or is better understood as a horrifying side effect of men's general sexual strategy of seeking low-cost casual sex." However, "the age distribution of rape victims corresponds almost perfectly to the age distribution of women's reproductive value, in marked contrast to the age distribution of victims of other violent crimes. This evidence strongly suggests that rape is not independent of men's evolved sexual psychology."

Rape is also most often perpetrated by socially outcast young men who've lost the game of marital musical chairs because there aren't enough available women to go around. (A fact that bodes poorly for Asia and its 160 million missing girls. But that's another column.)

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