Letter to the Editor of
The Weekend Australian
VINEETO: The following article in The Weekend Australian commented on the book ‘A Natural History of Rape’ from Randy Thornhill and Craig Palmer about the sexual behaviour of scorpion flies. The empirical scientist observed the sexual instinctual behaviour in these insects and suggested that some of this instinctual behaviour can also be found in human beings.
The article was written by a woman journalist who writes regular columns in The Weekend Australian. Her knee-jerk reaction is a good example how people generally react when confronted with facts that indicate that human beings are instilled with instinctual animal passions.
My reply to this article was never published.
Fly in the Ointment of Rape Theory
Emma Tom, The Weekend Australian, March 4-5, 2000. page 2
The big countdown is on, ladies and gentlemen. Not to Royal Visit 2000. Not to the Olympics. Not even to the sensational debut of Apollo and Midnighter – the world’s first homosexual superheroes.
Begs a front-row seat and try not to become incontinent with anticipation. There are only two ail-biting months to go until the release of the silliest book this century, aka ‘A Natural History of Rape’, aka If men Have So Much In Common With Scorpion flies, Who Do So Few Of Them Possess A Down-turned Beak And Upturned Genital Capsule?
In this rollicking little text, Randy Thornhill and Craig Palmer (who are rumoured to have come up with their chip-on-the-shoulder ‘rape is only natural’ theory after making unsuccessful passes at a provocatively dressed praying mantis) base the bulk of their research on the mating habits of male scorpion flies.
The American evolutionary biologist and anthropologist also suggest with completely straight faces that:
‘Young women need a new kind of education’, Randy and Palmo write. ‘For example, in today’s rape prevention handbooks, women are often told that sexual attractiveness does not influence rapists. That is emphatically not true.’
Presumably, this is one area where the pair cease using scorpion flies as a reference point. Even under nightclub lighting, the female of this species is a distinctly unattractive specimen with very little, if any, similarity to the centrefolds in Tits A Poppin’ magazine.
Then again, maybe the secondary sexual characteristics of lower life forms do it for our American friends. Randy: Christ, Palmo, check out the elongate tubular ovipositor on that. Palmo: Phwoar. I’m gonna take her out the back and give her a dose of social Darwinism she’ll never forget.
A Natural History of Rape will be release in Australia in May. <snip>
Randy and Palmo argue that all men are potential rapists and that rape occurs when male reproductive urges are thwarted. (‘Darwin made me do it, Your Honour ...’) This neatly fails to explain homosexual rape (92,700 men are raped each year in the US alone), the rape of women over and under childbearing age (22 per cent of US rapes involve girls und 12) and the motivation of rapists with partners or rapists who use condoms. But it has guaranteed the pair celebrity status, an inside lane in the talk-show circuit and a shot at the front cover of Time.
Evolutionary psychology, however, has serious PR problems. Its frequent appearance as a defence witness for racism and sexism reeks of self-interest. So men are biologically wired to be promiscuous predators while women are faithful, egg-laying types who are genetically imprinted with nappy-folding techniques and the recipe for bangers and mash? What a terribly convenient theory if you have a penchant for nicking out to ogle strippers instead of doing the washing-up.
In my opinion, comparison with Stone Age citizens should be taken with a cellar of sodium chloride. In case anyone hasn’t noticed, there’s a distinct lack of Neanderthals willing to appear on Oprah to discuss their dating habits. Life has also changed a bit over the past few million years. Whack the average Homo Erectus into 21st-century surrounding and I reckon he’d spend less time forcibly inseminating young ladies and more time lying in the foetal position screaming for his Nan.
This lack of prehistoric interviewees could explain why deep thinkers such as Randy and Palmo have turned their attention to the animal kingdom. But how well does their Natural Born Rapist theory stand up to serious analysis?
As a lay scientist who once combined sulphur, a can of baked beans and raging immaturity in a beaker to form fart gas, I have thoroughly investigated the scorpion fly in search of further parallels with humanity. And, shockingly enough, it seems Randy and Palmo have overlooked a number of vital differences.
Unlike the majority of lads, scorpion flies possess beak-like heads, long fili-form antennae, three pairs of thoracic legs, a direct ancestral link with the flea, and reduced, bristle-like wings for gripping their girlfriends during shagging (pictures of this procedure can be found on porny insect sites on the Internet).
In fact, as far as I can tell, the only real similarity between man and Mecopterans is that both possess biting mouthparts. Unlike Randy and Palmo, however, I suspect the average scorpion fly knows when to keep its silly yap shut.
Now, if you will excuse me, I’m off to masticate my testicles in public. I once saw a canis familiaris do it, so it must be okay.
VINEETO: To the editor of ‘Weekend Australian’
Emma Tom’s comments on Randy Thornhill and Craig Palmer’s book ‘A Natural History of Rape’ seems to be an emotional knee-jerk reaction and not a reasoned and sensible evaluation of scientific research.
I consider Thornhill and Palmer’s book a brave start and a valuable contribution to investigating what has been cautiously avoided by most people – the genetically encoded instinctual behaviour patterns instilled in human beings. Why not acknowledge the fact that human beings have instinctual and emotional patterns similar to animals – fear, aggression, nurture and desire. And that those patterns include predatory sexual behaviour – both in males and females.
This is not to justify these behaviour patterns as ‘right’ – rape is still violence in action. But surely investigating the instinctual source of human actions is a much better foundation for initiating actual change rather than merely postulating how people should be and then cry ‘foul’ when they fail to obey all the religious, moral and legal rules that attempt to instil ‘right’ behaviour.
As a woman, I am genetically programmed to act according to the female sexual instinct and, as such, to consciously or unconsciously endeavour to attract a male. Every woman wants to be attractive, look beautiful or sexy – and most are prepared to spend a lot of time and effort to succeed. To know the human instinctual pattern can help me to decide when I want to attract and when I want to be ‘invisible’ in order to not be hassled or raped.
Denying the facts in an ostrich, head-in-the-sand, fashion can never lead to a sensible solution. Understanding and acknowledging the facts of human behaviour and then being able to apply awareness, intelligence and common sense is a capacity unique to human beings and the distinct advantage that makes us superior to our genetic cousins. To know about one’s own and the other gender’s instinctual sexual drive is valuable knowledge and a vital factor in becoming a happy and harmless citizen – i.e. being neither a victim nor an aggressor.
Vineeto’s & Richard’s Text ©The Actual Freedom Trust: 1997-. All Rights Reserved.