RE: Parody of Science

Gatherer, D. (
Fri, 30 Jul 1999 09:24:00 +0200

Date: Fri, 30 Jul 1999 09:24:00 +0200
From: "Gatherer, D. (Derek)" <>
Subject: RE: Parody of Science
To: "''" <>

The 1st topic:
Why do men talk more about/prefer women's breasts than posteriors? "Indeed,
young males may feel inhibited from discussing female posteriors because it
reminds them of anal sex and homosexuality ..." (p. 86)


Desmond Morris, back in the 70s, popularised the view, originating I think
with Tiger, Fox and the early sociobiologists, that men like breasts
_because_ they like posteriors. Elaine Morgan makes a similar point in 'The
Ascent of Woman' (also early 70s), that when humans made the transition to
face-to-face mating (possibly as a consequence of bipedalism), the previous
focus of attention was on the wrong side, so to speak. Sexual selection (a
genetic phenomenon, not a memetic one) favoured a compensatory enlargement.

Actually I wonder about this argument, it is possibly a little Eurocentric
in that standerd 'Western' tastes are assumed to be the global norm, a
frequent problem with early sociobiology. For a more recent perspective,
referring to guppies unfortunately rather than humans, but which has some
relevant detail, see Brooks (1998)

The 2nd topic:
Why is masturbation "prime material for commercial use"? Masturbation is a
"prime material for commercial use" because it can make "... people pay
attention long enough to hear a commercial, and then improve recall of the
commercial by "downloading" it to an aroused audience." (p. 91)


This I don't understand at all. I've never seen masturbation in a

The 3rd topic:
Why do women want to have children? "As the girl grows up, she learns that
she is too old to play with dolls anymore. But the desire for comfort and
attachment remains, and translates into a desire for a real baby". This is
what lies behind the phenomenon of "baby lust". (p. 57)


Now here there is something to get our teeth into. This is one of the most
flourishing areas in evolutionary theory. The consensus of opinion at the
moment seems to be that we have no idea what is going on. See Borgerhoff
Mulder (1998)

For more examples see

Borgerhoff Mulder M (1998) The demographic transition: are we any closer to
an evolutionary explanation? Trends in Ecology and Evolution 13, 266-270.

Brooks R (1998) The importance of mate copying and cultural inheritance of
mating preferences. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 13, 45-46.

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