Antagonistic Selection and Invading Armies

We don't naturally look like this
We don’t naturally look like this

Evolution is a fabulous principle, but it can only do so much. It has yet to give us titanium bones or x-ray vision, nor has it solved the problem of death. It even gives us creatures like praying mantises, who eat their mates.

Genetically speaking, men and women are actually quite similar, at least compared to, say, trees. There’s a great deal of overlap between male and female instincts–we both get hungry, we both fall in love, we both think the Ghostbusters remake was an abomination.

While evolution would like* to code for perfect men and perfect women, since we are the same species and ever male has a mom and every female has a dad, genetics ultimately can’t code for perfect men and perfect women. *yes I am anthropomorphizing

Remember, there are only two chromosomes which code for sexual development, the so called XX (female) and XY (male). Both men and women have at least one X, but no women have a Y.

It doesn’t work out that men are, like, expressing half female genes and half male genes, since the Y chromosome blocks the expression of some of the female genes. However, men still have those genes.

Sexual antagonism or “sexual conflict” occurs when a genetic trait that makes one sex better at reproducing makes the opposite sex worse at reproducing:

Interlocus sexual conflict is the interaction of a set of antagonistic alleles at one or more loci in males and females.[6] An example is conflict over mating rates. Males frequently have a higher optimal mating rate than females because in most animal species, they invest fewer resources in offspring than their female counterparts. Therefore, males have numerous adaptations to induce females to mate with them. Another well-documented example of inter-locus sexual conflict is the seminal fluid of Drosophila melanogaster, which up-regulates females’ egg-laying rate and reduces her desire to re-mate with another male (serving the male’s interests), but also shortens the female’s lifespan reducing her fitness.

From, A recent bottleneck of Y chromosome diversity coincides with a global change in culture
From: A recent bottleneck of Y chromosome diversity coincides with a global change in culture

In humans, for example, women benefit from being thin and short, while men benefit from being tall and bulky. But a short, thin woman is more likely to have a short, thin, son, which is not beneficial, and a tall, bulky man is likely to have a tall, bulky daughter–also not beneficial.

Whatever instincts we see in one gender, we likely see–in some form–in at least some members of the opposite gender. So If there is–as some folks around these parts allege–an instinct which makes women submissive to invading armies, then it likely affects some men, too.

For the few men who do survive an invasion, not protesting as your wife is gang raped might keep you alive to later reproduce, too

Hence the recent rise of cuckoldry fetishes.

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10 thoughts on “Antagonistic Selection and Invading Armies

  1. I struggle with this sort of specificity. Submissiveness in general would seem to be difficult to select for (aren’t men more likely to turn into eunuchs this way?), thanks to sexual dimorphism. Stockholm syndrome makes much more sense (or at least, genes that code for this), but wouldn’t preemptive submission be extremely unlikely to be selected for? In my observation, particularly submissive people tend to be particularly religious people.

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    • *Religious in the Moldbug sense more than religious in the “goes to church every Sunday” sense, although there’s some overlap.

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      • I did not intend for my comment to be harsh; it was merely an attempt to point out what seems the primary weakness of the HBDsphere.

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      • I guess that last one comes off harsh as well. Humans seem to zero in on specifics where a rule is more general (not sure what selects for that trait), and this is exactly where I get cranky with some of the other hbd bloggers. Your post was miles ahead of all the prattle about “pathological altruism,” for example.

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  2. Why would evolution be interested in “solving” the (so-called) “problem” of death? It isn’t a problem at all. It helps society by getting unproductive people out of the way.

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