Pestiferous males:
Sometimes I wonder what evolution was thinking.  All right.  I know evolution does not think.  But it frequently makes sense.  In fact it can do things that the rest of us cannot do, think as much as we may.  For instance it can make complex life.  (Of course it can’t make life.  Evolution can only occur when there is life.  I suppose you could use that as a definition of life.  Non-biological happenstance created conditions under which some chemical regime or other got to the point where evolution could happen, and from there one could call it biology.)  Well, yes.  Scientists have played write-your-own-genome and let’s-invent-our-own-biologically-functioning-amino-acid.  But I think it will be a long time before it is possible to make a dragon or a dragon fly without cribbing from nature’s accomplishments.

One mind boggler is that males hurt females.  I know it happens among humans, but humans are saddled with enormous emotional and social burdens, some of which are ill handled by some.  Youthful suicide, I think, you could call a Very Bad Idea from an evolutionary perspective.  People fight wars, for goodness sake.  I see no advantage from that in any perspective unless it is in self defense. 

Still ignoring humans (and my reference (Male Harassment can Doom Species NATURE vol. 474 no. 7352 June 23, 2011 page 423 reviewing work of a team led by Daniel Rankin, University of Switzerland, Zurich published in Am. Nat. 177,770-791 (2011)) does not specifically say this is not humans, but I’m sure it is not, males can even physically damage females during courtship and mating.  It’s fair game in the other direction.  If memory serves the female praying mantis gets her beau into the mood by eating his head.  That doesn’t leave him much use for anything else.  Or maybe he’s getting her into the mood by taking her out to dinner. 

The research describes a potential vicious cycle in which males competing so damage females that the number of females drops, resulting in more competition for those that remain, resulting in further loses.  Survival would depend on a female resistance evolving. 

If a man actually kills a woman during something related to courtship I trust any culture there is would dog him to the ends of the earth in order to put him out of the opportunity to offend again.  However, in a much more subtle way, it is quite true that a man can “damage” a woman where it counts to nature, in her reproductive powers.  All he has to do is to court a woman or women who are not his relatives – less kin than say seventh cousin – and he will have substantially reduced her own fertility as well as that of any offspring she might have.  (A. Helgason et al., Science 319 813 (2008))  He affects his own, reproductive chances of course, but in this late and promiscuous age it is quite possible that he goes on and entertains another mate at a later time. 

Don’t tell me evolution wouldn’t stand for it.  According to the article evolution permits to the point of extinction the more blatant destruction of violence. 

And far from society standing in with good judgment when the individual’s own judgment is lacking, anybody in this day and age who does not commit such offense against sense is positively weird. 

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