Skepchick Quickies, 10.15


Jen is a writer and web designer/developer in Columbus, Ohio. She spends too much time on Twitter at @antiheroine.

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  1. Ah but as the Wired article states, ” predation… is not the same as aggression, and eating another species is very different from eating your own, as chimpanzees are wont to do.”

  2. The headline “Female-Dominated Societies Are Violent, Say Anthropologists” is sensationalist and irresponsible extrapolation of one scientific team’s speculation.
    Having said that, there are plenty of female dominated species that carry out violent warfare with competing “tribes” or are vicious meat-eating predators, and there are others that don’t fight or eat meat. The reason anthropologists focus on chimps and bonobos is obviously because they are our closest relatives, about 4.5 million years of genetic separation. The problem is that in extrapolating the results of these primate studies to us, we ignore the effect of culture on human societies.

  3. Female dominated anything where there is competition among themselves tends to get downright nasty & violent.

    The “Fairer Sex” hardly is ever.

  4. > Human testicles yield stem cells: “Scientists have derived potentially therapeutic stem cells from adult, human testicles—a development that may eventually make new medical treatments possible while avoiding moral dilemmas.”

    But every sperm is sacred! Every sperm is great!

    Ergo, testicles = temples.

  5. @Ajita: Scientists using sensationalist and irresponsible extrapolation based on a theory supported by limited evidence!! Say it isn’t so !!!!

    I’ll coin the phrase.., “Bonobo Science”.

  6. Ok, I’m all for tattoos and all for science, but a Hawking tattoo? OMFSM.

    At least it’s better than the Batman symbol.

  7. @James Fox:
    My criticism was of the headline. Scientists did not write that headline. The scientists are doing their job by proposing theories. The way this is supposed to work is the theory must become accepted by peer review before journalists and bloggers pass it on as scientific fact.

  8. @Ajita:
    My bad for reading your post to fast. I still like “Bonobo Science”. Or perhaps I just like saying the word bonobo, bonobo, bonobo… .

  9. Trying to fit the alcohol article into the framework is even trickier, since there have been plenty of studies correlating moderate alcohol consumption to delayed onset of dementia:

    Solfrizzi, Vencenzo et al. Alcohol consumption, mild cognitive impairment, and progression to dementia. Neurology, 2007, 68(2)

    Stampfer, M.J., et al. Effects of moderate alcohol consumption on cognitive function in women. New England Journal of Medicine, 2005, 352, 245-253;

    Maybe the cells getting offed are the ones conspiring to give you Alzheimer’s? ;-)

  10. I thought there were female-dominated societies among humans? I don’t remember the specifics off the top of my head, but I heard of this one African tribe where women did all the hunting and men just stuck around to put on complex plays. Have I been bamboozled?

  11. I’ve got to say, I don’t have a lot of sympathy for a fashion marketer who can’t get a job. I’m ashamed to say it but these last few months I seem to be experiencing schadenfreude with alarming frequency.

    I would be interested to see if there is a difference between the levels of violence in female dominated bonobo societies versus (what I am assuming are male dominated) regular chimp societies. Does anyone else get the feeling that it might be more useful to consider people as having masculine or feminine qualities, or some combination of the 2, based on their individual personalties and behaviour rather than their genitalia?

  12. @Lox: It’s more useful, but it’s also more subjective, and it takes a lot longer to gather that information than to just put people in mental boxes based on their genitals.

    Becoming familiar with each individual’s “personality” is tedious and time consuming. In contrast, a quick punch in the junk can establish which stereotypical behavior to anticipate.

    Plus, which nickname is cooler? “Guy Who Knows Personalities” or “Serial Junk-Puncher?”

  13. I’ve been a college skeptic for many years. I was a little disappointed that the article pretty much ended with a “yes.”

    I think a more important question is whether college will benefit “you.” I knew all along I wasn’t going to end up a doctor or lawyer, or business manager. I never had much ambition, so college was only going to get me in debt.

    I’m better off than most of my college graduate friends, even at almost-30, they’re all still in debt, and I’m debt-free. Of course, they all feel entitled, since they spent those years in college, so they still need their new cars and iPods. Oh well, I guess I’m the failure. :P

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