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Quickies: Monkey balls, a vomiting comet, and controversy

  • The louder the monkey, the smaller its balls, study finds – “And yet, the study still conjures up visions of dudes who ride incomprehensibly loud motorcycles, or who catcall women on the street. Far from coming off as masculine, this kind of thing reeks of overcompensation in other, more sensitive areas. As the saying goes: the empty vessel makes the loudest sound, and it seems that may be especially true when the vessel in question is balls.”
  • Let’s all raise a glass to this comet that spews alcohol and sugar – “All aboard the vomit comet!”
  • The controversy over Homo naledi is actually a good thing – “…that debate is possible in the first place only because Berger published his work much more quickly than is normal, in an open access journal, and made digital scans of his specimens immediately available for download or 3D printing.” From Criticaldragon1177.
  • My atheism does not make me superior to believers – “If we truly want to free ourselves from the racist, sexist, classist, homophobic tendencies of society, we need to go beyond religion. Yes, religion does need to be examined and debated regularly and fervently. But we also need to examine our school systems, our medical systems, our economic systems, our environmental policies.”
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  1. So I love to make fun of people with big loud trucks as much as the next person, but if we’re not going to fat shame/etc. I think we can also stop telling men how conscious they should be of the size and shape of their genitals.

    • I’d like to second this. If we want to promote positive masculinity we need to focus on the actions of men, not their physical characteristics. Besides, it’s *very* poor science and skepticism to extrapolate from monkeys to humans.

      The phenomenon described in the article is actually not that unexpected, either. Male gorillas, who exclusive breeding rights to females by physically fighting off other males have smaller testicles than expected for their body mass. Male bonobos, on the other hand, don’t maintain harems and have to compete at the sperm-level with other males. Unsurprisingly, they have larger testicles than expected for their size.

      All the researchers found is that both of these sexual strategies are pursued by howler monkeys (which is interesting, just not for the reasons stated in the article).

      Given that differences in human sexual strategies are driven more by culture than anything, it’s a pretty big leap to think this research has any direct bearing on us.

      • “Well, to be fair, men don’t care about the size of testicles”

        Are you kidding me? It may not be as often as penis size, but men are still made to feel shame about the size (and number) of their testicles. There’s a reason someone who is brave or brazen is often said to have “big balls” (implying that those of cowards are small).

    • Yeah, I was pretty irritated by the ways that research was interpreted and circulated. Body shaming is not okay for anyone for any reason. Period.

      There is significant potential for splash damage here. While some people like 1tm24 are only interested in “taking victories over shrill men,” this kind of thing also damages men who aren’t shrill. It says that small genitals is an inherently bad thing. But look, as was pointed out, you cannot go from monkeys to humans in this way, and I have no doubt there are shrill men who have average or large genitals. This study does not shame them. The “victory” here is not actually concerned with the shitty behaviors of some men, but at the bodies of some men who may or may not behave in shitty ways.

    • You’re absolutely right. I apologize for highlighting that part of the article.

      As stagamancer points out below, the science itself (different mating strategies used by a single species) is interesting and shouldn’t be misused for mean-spirited commentary.

  2. Also although I agree that being an atheist doesn’t make you superior, the arguments I find it hard to agree with a lot of the article below the title.
    Equivocating the leap of faith required to believe in Christianity with not being convinced by the evidence for Christianity seems really disingenuous for reasons every atheist on the planet has probably already explained in articles and comments everywhere.
    The whole article just stinks of the “everything is faith when you get down to it” argument.

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