The Null Device

Sows dig jerks, it seems. Scientists in Australia and England have found that female pigs are most aroused by the nastiest boar in the pen, preferring aggressive, noisy, vicious and otherwise boorish male pigs to their more docile counterparts. The scientists have suggested parallels to human nature, where some women appear to be irresistibly drawn to "bad men".
"I suppose it's not that different from what you might see going on between men and woman housed in a hostel at a university. It's the same sort of thing," observed Mr. Thornton, who is from Bristol, England.

Perhaps it's a universal truth that, whatever one's species, those who make pigs of themselves are likely to to have good reasons to get away with it? (Or at least, would have had such reasons in the ancestral environment.)

There are 6 comments on "":

Posted by: mrsmalkav Mon Mar 11 03:03:03 2002

it kinda makes sense though. if a pig/male is more aggressive, it's more prone to fight and beat out the lesser aggressive pigs/males. and what are you looking for? a mate that will succeed and have a bloodline that succeeds, right?

Posted by: Jimbob Mon Mar 11 06:20:11 2002

Exactly, what's the sow gonna do? Mate with the boar who brings her roses and reads her poetry?

Posted by: acb Mon Mar 11 12:54:07 2002

Yes, the thing about sows preferring bad-ass boars is rather obvious. The interesting thing is the author's assertion that this generalises to human behaviour. (Which, IMHO, is probably true for those people who follow their instincts without thinking about it too much.)

Posted by: mrsmalkav Tue Mar 12 07:08:00 2002

regardless of whether it translates directly over to human interaction, if you believe at all in evolutionary psychology, the step from 'if pigs do it, why shouldn't humans?' isn't too big.

i do believe that humans are definitely different than animals, but what if we are actually influenced on some level by those pig-like impulses?

Posted by: acb Tue Mar 12 12:35:41 2002

"is" does not mean "should". A lot of people make that mistake, and assume that belief in evolutionary psychology as a theory is an endorsement of it as an ethical system. Which is why you get neo-Marxist sociologist types denouncing evolutionary psychology because they don't like it, and selectively misquoting, Creationist-style, to back up their argument; heavens forfend if they fail and it's accepted as true, humanity is not a blank slate and all greed and violence aren't unnatural products of capitalist indoctrination.

Richard Dawkins, who's both a hard-headed evolutionary psychologist and a somewhat left-leaning humanist, has written about this quite a bit. I advise you to read him.

Posted by: mrsmalkav Sat Mar 16 04:41:32 2002

you were right about the "is vs should". i misspoke. i did, in fact, mean "if pigs do it, do humans?" rather than a "if pigs do it, should humans?". i will stay more alert to my usage of the word 'should' in the future.

the only evolutionary psychology book i've read is one by richard moore called "moral animal". thanks for the reference!