Patriarchy, Because of Evolution and Shit

Jen McCreight just got a fun comment on an old blog post that she reposted for our amusement. It is a wonderful little thing of insanity. I decided to play with it.

The comment by WanTan Silo is in blue.

PZ’s reputation as a reasonable scientist is definitely tarnished by the way he sets aside reason in exchange for chivalry.

‘PZ’ here is PZ Myers, a professor of biology and a skeptic and atheist blogger. He’s also a feminist. Jen was referring to a post by him about how stereotyping hurts women.

Let’s look up the word ‘chivalry’ for starters. According to Wikipedia:

The Knight’s Code of Chivalry was a moral system that stated all knights should protect others who can not protect themselves, such as widows, children, and elders.

In other words. PZ Myers is defending women because women cannot defend themselves. We are so helpless, right? Not like women took action and – you know – came up with feminism or anything. 1 misogyny point.

… –i.e. the defense of women and femininity even when it’s clear that the other sex really deserves the defense.

Instead he should defend the real under-privileged sex, the men. Reminds me of the MRA’s attempt to co-opt The Second Sex. 1 MRA point.

He likely rationalizes this with a conspiracy theory called “patriarchy” …

The patriarchy is no conspiracy theory. Again, we go to Wikipedia because it’s easy, and it’s 1:30 AM and I’m lazy:

Patriarchy is a social system in which the male acts as the primary authority figure central to social organization, and where fathers hold authority over women, children, and property.

This is the case in many parts of society, and in complete effect in a number of countries. It is not a conspiracy theory, because it is not even a conspiracy. It is done in the open and assumed as the right thing to do by many. Denial of this fact will award him with another 3 MRA points.

… wherein women are infantilized and treated as robots with no free will.

Women are neither treated like infants, nor without free will by the patriarchy. Women are treated as inferior and of less value. The so-called ‘conspiracy theory’ does not demand such claims, that is a strawman; an exaggeration to try to present the concept of the patriarchy in feminism as unreasonable. The patriarchy, as defined above, doesn’t actually depend on any of these views of women other than non-inclusion. 1 MRA point.

It’s quite funny how someone can be so rational in some areas but completely credulous when it comes to patriarchy “theory”.

To make that judgement one need to first have a clue what ‘patriarchy theory’ is. 1 ignorance point.

I really do think that men like him behave this way because of deep, evolutionary pressure to compete with other males for the favor of females.

PZ Myers is married. So even if that was true, it wouldn’t be relevant. In any case, suggesting people who care about human rights do so only to get sex, implying the men are simple minded and the women easily fooled, is both misandrist and misogynistic. 1 misogyny point, 1 misandry point.

It’s not impossible, that’s for sure. It would be difficult to prove but, it makes perfect sense and is completely logical. I mean, those who didn’t behave in a sycophantic manner towards women would almost certainly not have reproduced in numbers as abundant as their competitors, right?

This is cute. He suddenly gets a microscopic influx of critical thought and finds it necessary to actually consider that what he just said could be wrong. It doesn’t last …

I’m not evolutionary biologist, but the idea at least makes sense.

He acknowledges he doesn’t have the faintest clue what he’s talking about, but it makes sense to him, so it must be true. Nature is misogynistic, nature determines what’s right or wrong, human ethics is irrelevant. Is that it?

I’m no biologist either, but I’ve seen the sexual selection argument abused numerous times to justify sexism. Not as often as quantum mechanics is in woo-medicine, but that one is hard to beat anyway …

I can’t be arsed to sum up the points, but they can be exchanged for exactly 1 million dumb-arguments-on-the-internet points.

In any case, I need some sleep. Good night!

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  1. Rebecca says:

    “I really do think that men like him behave this way because of deep, evolutionary pressure to compete with other males for the favor of females.”

    Arghhhhh this attitude annoys me so much. Because it’s inconceivable that men might give a shit about these issues because, well, they give a shit? Maybe it’s not all about getting laid, but actually examining issues within society? I’m sick of these lazy evopsych explanations which reduce everything a man wants or does to their sexual needs. Eurgh. (Nice rebuttal, by the way!)

  2. WanTan Silo says:

    Wow, I decided to do a Google search for my fake name and found this. I wish I could say that this is a great article that offered some concrete rebuttals to my admittedly vague and over-general hypotheses–there are many legitimate criticisms to make–but it’s not and you made none of them. What’s more is that it is deliberately intellectually disingenuous to suggest I was trying to “justify sexism”.

    Looking back, my views/opinions have changed somewhat in order to adapt to new information. And I suspect this is a fundamental difference between you and I: I am not emotionally anchored to any specific conclusion on this matter and can therefore conform to positions of which I was previously ignorant. Can you say the same?

    I’m not saying I completely agree with you now but rather I have at least changed a little bit since then. Because I care about what’s real and true vs what needs to be true in order to defend and stand up for “social justice”.

    In fact, I’m profoundly disinterested in (anti)feminism now. But, if you have some questions to ask me directly I’m more than willing to answer; maybe we can find some common ground. I’ll check back here in a couple of weeks. Have a great day.

    1. Veronica says:


      Well, thanks for the comment. I cannot even remember what this was all about five years ago. It appears I had a quick late night rant in response to your comment back then. These are old posts from when I had this blog on Blogger, and they were mostly random halfhearted commentary. I’ve since morphed to a more essay style. I probably should have left all these old posts behind and not imported them.

      In any case, the topic of whether the patriarchy is an actual thing pops up now and then. I suppose it can be used as a scapegoat or go to argument, but it is also a word that describes very real structures in society. I grew up with evangelical Christianity, which is still today deeply patriarchal, to take a relatively clear example.

      What is and isn’t biological in how we organise our society is a complicated topic, but as far as biological arguments go, they have been used a lot throughout the times to defend hierarchies in society. Whether it is gender, race, or otherwise. I am deeply suspicious of such arguments, and the dubious scientific quality of evolutionary psychology doesn’t exactly give me much confidence in the evolutionary approach to the topic in general. I generally find that modern anthropology provides much better insights into these topics, but I do read a fair bit on the science of sex and gender difference. And I have certainly read a whole lot since I wrote that comment.

  3. WanTan Silo says:

    By the way, one of my majors was physics; I love to talk physics. Maybe that’s the common ground?

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