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Which "Virtue" triggers "Limit Break" when it comes to sexual assault? (Heavy Issue)

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  • Which "Virtue" triggers "Limit Break" when it comes to sexual assault? (Heavy Issue)

    After watching Liam Neeson's "Taken", "Fist of The North Star", "Sword Art Online" and "LA Confidential" (Starring Russel Crowe) back to back of late for gaming-scenario inspiration, a thought hit me.

    A common "Berserk Button" present in ALL four of the above works is watching (or knowing the possibility of) a helpless woman/girl being sexually assaulted.


    Bryan Mills of "Taken" (played by the marvelous Liam Neeson) is almost disturbingly *calm* about witnessing a criminal nest full of drugged up sex-slaves, in spite of clearly *hating* rapists. Yet in "Exalted" terms he CLEARLY had a "Limit Break" moment when he electrocuted Marco From Tropoya to get information about where his kidnapped daughter is until the latter's heart exploded like a balloon in his chest.

    But, when it comes to the unstoppable RAGE of Kirito (From "Sword Art Online") Bud White (LA Confidential's Russel Crowe) and *especially* Kenshiro (of "Fist of The North Star") when it comes to women getting disgraced... it is EXPLOSIVE, and you'd be LUCKY to have a marginally complete corpse afterwards (though even Kirito is surprisingly calm about turning his Wife's attempted-rapist into Confetti until the FINAL blow)

    So, the discussions being.

    1) In Exalted Game Terms: Which Virtues would trigger a 'Limit Break" when it comes to witnessing War-Crimes (sexual in particular) against Women and Children?
    1A) Surely not Temperance and/or Conviction, as those two are the embodiment of "I'm too cool, calm and cynical to care about the harsh realities of life"
    2) Even though "Red Rage of Compassion" or "Berserk Anger" seems to be the most appropriate (such as Bud White of LA Confidential *ripping an oak chair in half" at the mere MENTION of a little girl held as a sex-slave).....
    2A) ... how is the *dispassionate and calm* Rage of Bryan Mills (rescuing his own-Daughter) and Kirito (rescuing his Wife and the Mother of their Daughter) even POSSIBLE when faced with a crime as sickening as (attempted) rape and sexual slavery? Because their reactions do NOT resemble "Red Rage of Compassion" or "Berserk Anger" so much as "Deliberate Cruelty", even when the RAGE of witnessing sex-crimes runs in direct contradiction to the Calm and Logical "Temperance" and "Conviction"
    3) The "Tragic Flaws" inspired by "Greek/Roman/Ancient Chinese" heroes REALLY is much more complex than one would think at first glance.

    Curioser and Curioser.
    Last edited by Lin Liren; 12-10-2018, 02:42 AM.

  • Solar
    replied
    Limit Break is kind of character specific. Does your character have an Intimacy that would object to such? Does your character hold any kind of moral framework? Then witnessing such things will result in Limit and hitting Limit Break will do what it does. In Ex3 it's really very character specific.

    Incidentally I tend to include on characters a kind of Intimacy: cultural mores of their homeland, because that's a nice way of modelling that most people have at least some sort of culturally ingrained ethics and morality that they care about to a greater or lesser extent.

    The Signature Zenith doesn't need an Intimacy to cover every moral and ethical consideration she has, but might definitely have an Intimacy based on general social mores from her homeland. If you're a relatively moral individual from most places in Creation you'll probably object to seeing that, or at least react poorly. Not everywhere mind, and not everyone.

    Leave a comment:


  • LadyLens
    replied
    Let's get back to the original topic. What sort of Virtue and Limit Break would suit the media trope "Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil?" Well, it varies a lot. To take examples from my characters, I'll use a Zenith priestess, an Eclipse spirit-talker, and a Changing Moon infiltrator/seductress. In order: Deliberately Cruelty going off Conviction would suit the Zenith because she sees rape as a particularly severe violation of the Heavenly Order, using what should be a source of pleasure and communion and healing as an implement of pain and violation and suffering. For the Twilight, Berserk Anger from either Conviction or Compassion would fit well, because if the assailant is of the tribe that's an intolerable violation of trust. Strangely to us, her tribe's mores teach that if a man of another tribe rapes a woman of her tribe, including her, that's just what men do with women of other tribes. It would anger her, but not the point of gaining Limit. The Changing Moon would likely suffer the Red Rage of Compassion, since she used to be a sex slave, trained especially to be a pleasing partner in games of rape and torture, and the sight of others being being put through what she learned to enjoy would absolutely infuriate her. Yes, I know her views on the subject are "problematic," but they're not unrealistic.

    Leave a comment:


  • Dex Davican
    replied
    I tend to forget that even though my posts on these topics rarely get much traction with the person they were intended to address, others still learn something. Thanks.

    Leave a comment:


  • Gigaton-Falcon-Emu
    replied
    Originally posted by Dex Davican View Post
    The full lecture? Man, I think you'll be disappointed. I don't spend much of my time combing through research, and what I've seen of your posts are very focused on the research. I get regular continuing education courses, and I go out of my way to learn more about sex and gender issues because they tend to be poorly understood by layfolk (which includes almost all my patients). I'm dead certain that in the time it took me to find a bunch of sources that could counter yours, I would not have looked through a third or even a fifth of what you've looked through in the last year, because that's not how many professionals actually approach things.

    Instead of the specific research, I can talk about a) the consensus, and b) my experience reading about and discussing this topic online.

    The consensus is that the line between culturally- and biologically-based behavior is far, far too blurry to make definitive statements like you've been making. For one thing, people have been using evolutionary psychology to justify all sorts of interpretations of scientific studies for actual centuries, and their interpretations are largely self-serving post facto justifications for why society is built the way it is (justifications that are discarded whenever society undergoes more changes). This is partially because evolution is much more random than people tend to realize--consider that sometimes a gene survives because it's just a genomic neighbor to a gene that actually is useful--but it's also because it's effectively impossible to separate societal causes from biological causes even to the extent you tried to do above. Culture has been part of human evolution since human inception, and while there are some differences we can confidently say are probably fundamental (e.g. the effects of testosterone vs. estrogen on behavior and bodily development), "wants to protect members of the other sex" is way too specific and inseparable from other stuff. What observable difference is there between "has an instinct to protect members of the other sex" and "is bigger, stronger, more aggressive thanks to hormones, and is part of a culture that states that members of the other sex are meant to be protected"? Conversely, when we know that expectation-based priming has a measurable effect on human behavior, how could we reasonably claim that a woman being risk-averse in her career choices is acting based more on an innate drive rather than a lifetime of learned experiences? It just... doesn't work like that. Not on a level big enough to prove anything of note.

    As for my experience, as mentioned this is a favorite research-trawling topic of mine, and while plenty of studies promise some difference between the sexes, their results are generally "the brain is shaped a little differently in this regard... what behavioral differences does that explain? needs more research." Because we understand the system of the brain far, far better than we understand how any of its individual parts translate to personality. Research-trawling is highly-susceptible to the Dunning-Kruger effect, though, and the risks thereof are made worse by the fact that most people I've discussed this stuff with on the internet clearly got their sources from a central hub with its own culture (and by necessity, its own values and agenda). Add on that the hubs trying to oppose the scientific consensus use this to propagate faulty studies and/or faulty interpretations of decent studies, in order to make it appear that a) the scientific consensus matches their view or b) the scientific community is manufacturing a false consensus to cover up the truth, and, well, there's a reason I often despair to discuss this stuff online. Of course, source contamination is to some extent unavoidable, but being steeped in the research process enough to, say, get a degree in the topic allows one to better understand what claims can't reasonably be made by the science in the field and what claims are probably science-themed hit-pieces funded by conservative think tanks.

    Psychology and neuroscience have a lot to say about how people work, but they have very little substantial to say about innate differences between different sexes, races, and genders, and the few differences we spot tend to be something like "1/5 of males in X population have roughly this brain-shape, 1/4 of females in X population have roughly this other brain-shape, and everyone else is kind of ehhh"--trends so broad and gradual as to be useless except for people trying to make societally-inspired arguments from evolution. In a few years this may change, but I kind of doubt it, because the human genome is millions of years' worth of thrown spaghetti and no biological or psychological category is as well-defined as people would like.

    (Humans like categorization. It's a survival trait that allows us to think quickly, but requires us to think lazily.)
    Dont have a horse in this race but I wanted to say that this is a very interesting piece and thank you for posting it! I love it when I can learn a bit more real information through forums and hobbies.

    Ty for the effort!

    For what it is worth from a relative layman, it is not hard to see that there is an ever-present desire to warp science to suit one narrative or other. Data does not tend towards 'huzzah, reality has provided me with a super-specific answer to my culture's current issues' and in my own experience it is a human habit to try to find it.

    Also, the web can induce despair but posts like yours help us all learn a bit more! Again, thanks for effort!
    Last edited by Gigaton-Falcon-Emu; 12-25-2018, 12:47 AM.

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  • Dex Davican
    replied
    Originally posted by Synapse View Post
    I apologize for the tone. It wasn't meant to be derisive.

    I'd ask that, since you pulled the authority card, to hear the full lecture, since the affirmation does seem to go against research I have studied.
    The full lecture? Man, I think you'll be disappointed. I don't spend much of my time combing through research, and what I've seen of your posts are very focused on the research. I get regular continuing education courses, and I go out of my way to learn more about sex and gender issues because they tend to be poorly understood by layfolk (which includes almost all my patients). I'm dead certain that in the time it took me to find a bunch of sources that could counter yours, I would not have looked through a third or even a fifth of what you've looked through in the last year, because that's not how many professionals actually approach things.

    Instead of the specific research, I can talk about a) the consensus, and b) my experience reading about and discussing this topic online.

    The consensus is that the line between culturally- and biologically-based behavior is far, far too blurry to make definitive statements like you've been making. For one thing, people have been using evolutionary psychology to justify all sorts of interpretations of scientific studies for actual centuries, and their interpretations are largely self-serving post facto justifications for why society is built the way it is (justifications that are discarded whenever society undergoes more changes). This is partially because evolution is much more random than people tend to realize--consider that sometimes a gene survives because it's just a genomic neighbor to a gene that actually is useful--but it's also because it's effectively impossible to separate societal causes from biological causes even to the extent you tried to do above. Culture has been part of human evolution since human inception, and while there are some differences we can confidently say are probably fundamental (e.g. the effects of testosterone vs. estrogen on behavior and bodily development), "wants to protect members of the other sex" is way too specific and inseparable from other stuff. What observable difference is there between "has an instinct to protect members of the other sex" and "is bigger, stronger, more aggressive thanks to hormones, and is part of a culture that states that members of the other sex are meant to be protected"? Conversely, when we know that expectation-based priming has a measurable effect on human behavior, how could we reasonably claim that a woman being risk-averse in her career choices is acting based more on an innate drive rather than a lifetime of learned experiences? It just... doesn't work like that. Not on a level big enough to prove anything of note.

    As for my experience, as mentioned this is a favorite research-trawling topic of mine, and while plenty of studies promise some difference between the sexes, their results are generally "the brain is shaped a little differently in this regard... what behavioral differences does that explain? needs more research." Because we understand the system of the brain far, far better than we understand how any of its individual parts translate to personality. Research-trawling is highly-susceptible to the Dunning-Kruger effect, though, and the risks thereof are made worse by the fact that most people I've discussed this stuff with on the internet clearly got their sources from a central hub with its own culture (and by necessity, its own values and agenda). Add on that the hubs trying to oppose the scientific consensus use this to propagate faulty studies and/or faulty interpretations of decent studies, in order to make it appear that a) the scientific consensus matches their view or b) the scientific community is manufacturing a false consensus to cover up the truth, and, well, there's a reason I often despair to discuss this stuff online. Of course, source contamination is to some extent unavoidable, but being steeped in the research process enough to, say, get a degree in the topic allows one to better understand what claims can't reasonably be made by the science in the field and what claims are probably science-themed hit-pieces funded by conservative think tanks.

    Psychology and neuroscience have a lot to say about how people work, but they have very little substantial to say about innate differences between different sexes, races, and genders, and the few differences we spot tend to be something like "1/5 of males in X population have roughly this brain-shape, 1/4 of females in X population have roughly this other brain-shape, and everyone else is kind of ehhh"--trends so broad and gradual as to be useless except for people trying to make societally-inspired arguments from evolution. In a few years this may change, but I kind of doubt it, because the human genome is millions of years' worth of thrown spaghetti and no biological or psychological category is as well-defined as people would like.

    (Humans like categorization. It's a survival trait that allows us to think quickly, but requires us to think lazily.)

    Leave a comment:


  • Synapse
    replied
    I apologize for the tone. It wasn't meant to be derisive.

    I'd ask that, since you pulled the authority card, to hear the full lecture, since the affirmation does seem to go against research I have studied.
    Last edited by Synapse; 12-24-2018, 10:22 PM.

    Leave a comment:


  • Dex Davican
    replied
    Originally posted by Synapse View Post
    Well, you can always analyse why there's a male proclivity to protect females in the first place, making such event an easy way to rile men up. Most of it is evolutionary, though I doubt people really want to talk about that.
    Speaking as someone with degrees in Human Genetics, Psychology, and Mental Health Counseling: it's not that I don't want to talk about that topic. I enjoy talking about evolution, sex and sexuality, and gender. It's that most people who really want to talk about it aren't interested in hearing that there's no scientific basis for what you just said, or any of the followup posts that I bothered to read. And, conversely, I don't particularly enjoy hearing that "this is a thing, people don't want to admit it" tone because it generally shows that someone's not interested in being better informed.

    Leave a comment:


  • Synapse
    replied
    You really went out of your way to dismiss what I said by conflating it with what I DIDN'T say.

    Damn, man. That takes effort. Kudos to you.

    Leave a comment:


  • Heavy Arms
    replied
    Originally posted by Ghosthead View Post
    while I wouldn't agree uncritically with the ideas that we *know* male bias to engage in fighting and warfare is evolved in a sense of being somehow hardwired, I would think we have to account for the fact that this is essentially a human universal, which would imply the same incentives play out again and again shaping a plastic background.
    Yeah, I probably should have spent time on the rebuttal to this before I hit send but it was late.

    A problem here is treating all aggression as equal. It isn't. Protective and defensive aggression aren't the same as dominance and offensive aggression.

    Humane males are absolutely biologically more prone to offensive aggression. That's a simple evolutionary pressure: in primates males are more expendable, so pump of their relative testosterone to prep them to accept their role as using aggression internally and externally for the fitness of the group.

    That's actually the thing with the narrative in question in this thread. It's trying to justify male offensive aggression with defensive motivations, because it lets males in civilization have an idealized fantasy of how to get out those impulses in a way that doesn't buck civilization's additional programming. But that's why it gets weird, it's not about the biological drive to protect (there is no evidence that this is sex based in humans), but the biological drive to attack others physically (which is). Women being the props in theses narratives is cultural (again, there's not universality to that, not ever culture accepts the male violent revenge because of harm to a woman narrative), is from civilization based gender roles reducing women to property that men protect and avenge. It's just an excuse to have power fantasies about exerting physical dominance in a culturally approved way.

    Humans have a multi-male breeding system and an unusual gender division of labour.
    But that unusual gender division of labor is (1) not universal and (2) always post civilization. We're also not unusual for multi-male breeding among primates, we're unusual in our little branch of primates because we use strategies more closely associated with different primate branches. We're panda bears... a weird one in a bunch using a strategy that's more commonly associated with other groups (even if there's more closely related primates that use similar strategies to us, than their are strict herbivores to bears).

    There aren't, I don't think, really general primate patterns of male and female involvement in group conflicts and violence and coalition building predicted by skeletal / muscular sex dimorphism and group size, but rather species specific fitness advantages and incentives generally to form coalitions that are not very connected with these.
    Are you going to all primates or not? Because you're only going to our closest relatives,not the rest of the group.

    (Male coalition behaviour is very different in for'ex two different species of Pan with very little difference in body size, group size or dimorphism in the grand scheme of things. Gorillas and Orangs are pretty dimorphic, but their mating system doesn't really support male coalition building or group violence at all, and so on.).
    Chimpanzees and bonobos are significantly more dimorphic than humans are, especially on an skeletal/muscular level. They just don't look at as obviously because their visual differences aren't as extreme. Male chimpanzees especially are significantly stronger and larger than female chimpanzees relative to the differences in humans.

    Advantages in conflicts are also more complex than simply being the case that the group that mobilises more individuals into a conflict, in a single pitched battle, including women and children has the advantage, and that therefore the incentives are to an "egalitarian" total mobilisation.
    Yes, it was a simplified example. But the point is on tool-use as an equalizer.

    Even if it were tactically advantageous to totally mobilise, consider it's rarely the case that two neighbouring groups are going to fight to extinction.
    Of course, but see above point on offensive aggression and dominance behaviors being different from defensive/protective aggression behaviors; and the thread is about defense/revenge against attacks on members of the group, not about dominance posturing over disputed territory.

    Remember you've got individuals engaging in combat because of their individual interests and weighing this up against the individual threat they face; we're not talking about eusocial ant people who'll throw themselves into conflicts for the greater good of their band.
    Actually... evolution in primates is kind of in line there. Chimpanzees routinely using non-breeding males as their primary combatants in serious conflicts. They go along with this in a fashion that can't be attributed to individual interests. It's not ants, no, but it's not individual interests either; it's basic biological altruistic math.

    There's nothing to support individualism is the primary factor here. Primates are generally extremely social animals with high degrees of group bonding that creates huge biological pressures for individuals to sacrifices for the group when necessary.

    parenthetically, consider: Why would Wonder Woman want to want to fight the Trojan War?
    Because it's a post-civilization conflict and there's more than just evolution going on. Her values and power would clearly make her want fight to stop the Trojan war precisely because it was a giant dick-waving contest that got lots of people needlessly killed because rich powerful men were being stupid.

    Originally posted by Synapse View Post
    Just to make sure we're on the same ground here. I'm saying there's a gender bias in the sense that men are more inclined to feel the need to protect women than other men. I say some of it is biological because, well, we exist as living creatures. Sexual selection is a thing.
    And I'm saying that there's no evidence that this is the case. Humans are relatively egalitarian in our drive to protect members of our group. We're sex-biased when it comes to offense.

    Hypothesis: Given sexual dimorphism is behavioral as much as it is morphological, and it can be observed in just about every animal, it stands to reason to affirm that the same is valid for humans.
    Invalid hypothesis on it's face. Dimorphism is by definition morphological, not behavioral. Dimorphism only refers to physical differences between sexes, not the level of sex-based behavioral differences. Birds, for example,are frequently highly dimorphic but many species have minimal behavioral differences; both individuals in a mated pair will hunt, gather nesting material, feed chicks, defend their territory, and so on. Whales tend to have fairly low dimorphism (the pressures of being pelagic mammals overrides), but very divergent sex based behaviors as females tend to raise their young alone leading to massively different patterns to account for that effort.

    There's a complication with the "can be observed in just about every animal," which is a nascent hypothesis within a hypothesis that needs to be addressed rather than asserted as a given.

    And it isn't falsifiable because "it stands to reason that the same is valid for humans," isn't a falsifiable statement. "Stands to reason" shouldn't ever being in a formal hypothesis, and "same is valid for humans," isn't something you can test without a much more explicit definition of what you mean.

    I must be able to devise a test that proves that human behavior can show sex-based differences even before you account for culture.
    That doesn't actually address the hypothesis as stated. It's simple to test, it's been done, it exists. But that doesn't impact dimorphism or validity in comparison to other animals.

    Alas, that one already failed. We found out a while ago that men and women's brains activate their regions differently to the same stimuli. This is one of the ways you can recognize transgender people even. A man whose brain lights up like a woman's is highly likely to actually be a woman's brain. Some of these "wiring" differences are present long before the brain is fully formed, as early as around the first days of life. So we know men and women have different brains.
    And this is bad science. The evidence is that the concept of "male brains" and "female brains" is actually untrue, but that human brains have variety not determined by sex alone, even if some patterns are more common in one sex than the other. A human male with a brain that is more common is human females? Has a male brain, not a female brain, because it's a male subject.

    We can only detect gender dysphoria, because mainstream cultural gender roles are based in bio-essentialism. We define "man" by having average male biological features, so a female sexed human with a male associated brain pattern bucks our attempts to biologically define gender, and this creates psychological stress resolved by allowing that individual to express a gender that conforms better to their interaction of personal biology and culture (either as a trans man, or gender fluid, or etc. No scans can tell you where someone will actually be happiest in the gender spectrum, just that they'll be likely to be unhappy with a gender defined by their phenotype sex).

    In early traditional Buginese society, a female sexed individual with a male associated brain would most likely be steered towards the calalai gender role and be "cis calalai" rather than a trans man, because there is a traditional gender concept for that configuration that they can occupy directly.

    For the latter we have ample data showing overall women tend to select careers that focus on organizational work and caretaking work, while men tend to pick creation-focused work.
    We do not have culturally unbiased data around this.

    Test: If these differences are exclusively cultural, these tendencies should differ significantly in cultures that have different expectations to where men and women should work.
    None of the cultures listed have significantly different expectations to where men and women work... and you listed countries, not cultures.

    It might sound unsatisfying to base an affirmation on "I think this is the case and I keep trying to disprove it but I couldn't", but this is literally how science works.
    On the behalf of science teachers everywhere:

    Please stop talking about science like this. You might be a fine scientist, but those of us that actually care about communicating science and scientific principles to other people can do without this sort of condescending dribble. If someone isn't as into science as you, you come off as talking down to them instead of making them more interesting in science, if someone is already as interested in science as you, you sound more like you're engaging in social one-upping than serious debate.

    When I make a mistake, feel free to correct me. If I persist, feel free to challenge my understanding of scientific concepts.

    Until then, don't assume you know more about this than me. Also, you'd have flunked one of my quizzes with this post (it's OK, most science oriented students do IME).

    This is how over a couple centuries our leading killer diseases shifted from "stuff that kills you before adulthood" to "stuff that kills you when you're old".
    Century really. The increase in ability to fight virulent disease, decrease maternal mortality, and most important get health care to the masses, is all more recent than not.

    Well, I'm not saying "revenge" is a discrete emotion caused by this event. I said this proclivity to protect women make it easy to rile men up via harming the woman.
    Were is any evidence than women don't react with anger or disgust to a woman being harmed, and thus count as being just as riled up even if they react differently in action (which is a culturally mediated response)?

    Human's sexual selection is dictated by women, while most of the apes close to us it's the opposite. This is largely because humans don't have discrete and noticeable fertile periods across the year.
    This really isn't something that's so simple in reality. Estrus cycles don't dictate who's in charge of sex selection. And females dictate sex selection in all those species (at least until you get into concepts like if you can classify certain behaviors as rape in non-human animals). Male gorillas don't just get to walk up and pick their females. The females have to accept a male's suitability or a stable troupe doesn't form, the same is true in chimpanzees, and even more so in bonobos and orangutans (esp. orangutans since they're solitary apes and the females can just rebuff a suitor they don't like).

    Can you tell me that this dimorphism does not exist?
    I mean, what you're calling dimorphism isn't dimorphism in the first place, so if it exists or not needs to be analyzed using a proper term.

    But unexistent?
    It's considered to be true for some primates if that's what your asking. A number of lemurs are considered monomorphic.

    I am merely saying that this exists, and thus it being integrated in our culture is an obvious consequence.
    Sure, but what you're claiming to exist isn't really what exists so your analysis of how it is integrated into culture is exceedingly off base for it, even if something else similar to what you're asserting exists that fills in that role.

    Falseability doesn't work off practical complications like that.
    I wasn't making a formal hypothesis, and you should know better than to judge such an assertion as if it was one.

    A test may be impossible because you don't know how to do it, that's a different thing from a test being impossible because the affirmation doesn't allow for testing.
    Which has what to do with what I said again?

    And, again, please stop with the lecturing. It feels far more like you want to falsely establish authority to use to assert in argumentation over actually making an appropriate point.

    I find these discussions bracing
    Great, at the moment, I find it tedious and annoying because I feel like I'm talking to someone that is so happy that got an A+ in high school biology class that they can then operate on a graduate level... I would hope I've clearly established why so we can continue in a productive fashion.

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  • Synapse
    replied
    Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
    OK, coming at this from a different direction.

    Where's your evidence that this is biological?
    Just to make sure we're on the same ground here. I'm saying there's a gender bias in the sense that men are more inclined to feel the need to protect women than other men. I say some of it is biological because, well, we exist as living creatures. Sexual selection is a thing.

    So, if you really want to go all the way with this, you have to formulate the hypothesis well. Hypothesis: Given sexual dimorphism is behavioral as much as it is morphological, and it can be observed in just about every animal, it stands to reason to affirm that the same is valid for humans.
    Falseability is the first principle of how you formulate these things. So my affirmation must be made such that I can try to prove it wrong. This one might be tricky, but just in the sense that the practicality of making these tests might be hard. I must be able to devise a test that proves that human behavior can show sex-based differences even before you account for culture.
    One possible way to prove that wrong is checking brains. We already know that the brain is what regulates a given animal's behavior, and that different bits of it have different functions, and that they can change. If you look at a large amount of brains and compare them to each other, and on average they're the same regardless of its owner's gender, then that's evidence against behavioral sexual dimorphism.

    Alas, that one already failed. We found out a while ago that men and women's brains activate their regions differently to the same stimuli. This is one of the ways you can recognize transgender people even. A man whose brain lights up like a woman's is highly likely to actually be a woman's brain. Some of these "wiring" differences are present long before the brain is fully formed, as early as around the first days of life. So we know men and women have different brains.

    Another test can be to simply remove cultural differences to the best of your ability. Select one particular behavioral trend you observe in society. There are many you can use. Risk aversion, for example shows great dimorphism. "types" of career choices shows it too. For the latter we have ample data showing overall women tend to select careers that focus on organizational work and caretaking work, while men tend to pick creation-focused work.
    Test: If these differences are exclusively cultural, these tendencies should differ significantly in cultures that have different expectations to where men and women should work.
    Alas, that one too failed as far as we can tell. These differences don't show much difference comparing, for example, Denmark to US to Japan. Or Chile to Botswana to Poland. Or Brazil to Pakistan to Ethiopia to Iran (the latter has a very small sampling because of their ridiculous laws, so you can count it out). If anything, the biggest factor to affecting career choices by gender was money. Poorer people showed less variation in career choices. Poor people have more reasons to seek a job exclusively because it pays well instead of, say, work satisfaction. On richer countries these differences become more pronounced.

    Another way to remove cultural differences is to look at people that can't belong to a culture in the first place. Newborns. And with those...you can also notice behavioral differences. Even things as simple as "how long does this newborn spends looking at different things" has been measured and shown dimorphism.

    It might sound unsatisfying to base an affirmation on "I think this is the case and I keep trying to disprove it but I couldn't", but this is literally how science works. This precise way to formulate and test hypotheses is why you are right now reading this on a piece of glass or plastic, two things that did not exist until we invented it, where we dictate the path of trillions of electrons (which also was impossible to control this precisely until we invented it) to regulate a couple million aglomerates of material to be shiny in particular ways. Some 60 times per second. For hours or days nonstop. For what probably won't cost two hours of your entire year to keep running. This is how your opinion on flying is "it just can't be cheap and comfortable" where just over a hundred years ago (less than 0,000003% of the time humanity existed) your ancestor's opinion was "can't fly, sorry fam that's a bird thing". This is how over a couple centuries our leading killer diseases shifted from "stuff that kills you before adulthood" to "stuff that kills you when you're old".

    Of course, you can go against all this and formulate that culture is the exclusive dictator of human behavioral dimorphism. You can disprove that by looking at cultures that stand to promote different dimorphisms and still see similar trends.
    I gave a couple examples that already break that hypothesis.
    Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
    If one is to make observations of primates and evolution regarding the behaviors we're discussing... hominids should be less prone to sex based bias.

    Besides the fact that the whole 'revenge' aspect of this has no real basis in evolution at all ('revenge' only exists in other primates when there's territorial competition, if you harm/kidnap/etc. a silver back gorilla's female troupe mate, and then get away, he's not going to hunt you down, he will only be violent while you're within his territory), the level of expectations of physical aggression being sex biased has some major biological indicators.
    Well, I'm not saying "revenge" is a discrete emotion caused by this event. I said this proclivity to protect women make it easy to rile men up via harming the woman. Anger and disgust are baser emotions that you can use, the stories tend to channel those revolting emotions into revenge plots.
    Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post

    In primates with low sexual dimorphism (if any beyond genitalia), defensive aggression is not sex-linked, and there's an observable trend towards more sex-linked aggressive behaviors the more sexual dimorphism. On the spectrum of sexual dimorpshim among primates? Hominids trend towards low dimorphism, indicating less sex-linked aggressive behaviors in our evolution.

    Another major factor is troupe/clan/etc size. The larger a species averages in base social unit size, the less you see these sex-linked behaviors. In a troupe of a dozen, there's an evolutionary pressure towards these behaviors, since losing a male is less dangerous to longer term survival than losing a female. In a clan of 200, the sex of a lost member isn't a major impact on survival of the group. Humans are something of a rarity in our section of primates because we form very large social units... but that again is indicative of less evolutionary pressure to sex-select defensive aggression.

    Tool use is hard to just slot in there, but is also an important wild-card pressure. Tool-use behaviors trend against sex-linked pressure because the advantage of tools tends to outweigh dimorphism. If two early human groups were in a territorial dispute, and one group only had males with the slight advantage in generating force train in throwing rocks, while the other group just had everyone be good at throwing rocks, the second group wins. The mechanical advantage of throwing rocks, and the numerical advantage of using more members, vastly overwhelms the scant extra bit of force on average a purely male selected group would have.

    So... nothing on a baseline look at trends in primates says humans had an evolutionary pressure towards biological sex-based bias as you're claiming. If anything our evolution would point in the opposite direction. Early humans had far more pressure to not sex-select on these behaviors.

    When we look at archeology and the anthropology of uncontacted peoples, that's what we tend to see: more egalitarian gender roles because all facets of early human day-to-day survival are group activities, not sex-selected activities.

    Civilization is a fairly clear source of increased gender role disparity and enforcement in humans.
    Less? Different, for sure, but are you exhausting the possibilities there? For example, there's one particular sex-based behavior that is easy to display: Human's sexual selection is dictated by women, while most of the apes close to us it's the opposite. This is largely because humans don't have discrete and noticeable fertile periods across the year.
    Scratch that thought. Can you tell me that this dimorphism does not exist? Because you are showing me with these that it's different. I absolutely agree with you that it's different. And that it's overall probably less pronounced than in other primates. But unexistent? I am merely saying that this exists, and thus it being integrated in our culture is an obvious consequence.
    Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
    ----------

    A separate aside:

    The supply and demand of cultural narratives here cannot be used as an indicator because there hasn't been a fair market to show that other narratives have demand that isn't being supplied despite it existing.

    Again though, evidence seems to lean towards there being unfulfilled demand due to cultural bias rather than some innate factor skewing the results. Father and son narratives, mother and child narratives, etc. when executed to the same quality tend to preform just fine. So the appetite is clearly there among the audience.
    Falseability doesn't work off practical complications like that. A test may be impossible because you don't know how to do it, that's a different thing from a test being impossible because the affirmation doesn't allow for testing.
    The affirmation "human culture is (or is not) the single factor to dictate how we behave" can be tested, even if you don't know how, because as soon as we learn a way to identify and isolate variables and test them separately we can do that.
    The affirmation "God does (or does not) exist" on the other hand is not falseable. God (in the abrahamic sense we westerners are used to) transcends our world and thus its presence can't be measured, and its absence can't be tested. Attempts to do that are, at best, just finding new minutiae of how the world works instead of uncovering a transcendent will.


    Thank you for bringing all this up, by the way. I find these discussions bracing

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  • SamuraiMujuru
    replied
    Originally posted by Ghosthead View Post
    The "Hit-Girl" scenario is also kinda messed up in its own way tbh.
    Not saying it's necessarily better, but there are plenty of instances in marital arts cinema of the mother being the unstoppable spirit of vengeance/instructor of self-defense badassery. (Fong-Sai Yuk comes to mind)

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  • Ghosthead
    replied
    Heavy Arms, while I wouldn't agree uncritically with the ideas that we *know* male bias to engage in fighting and warfare is evolved in a sense of being somehow hardwired, I would think we have to account for the fact that this is essentially a human universal, which would imply the same incentives play out again and again shaping a plastic background.

    Particularly I think you really do have to consider the human ethnographic evidence, which I get the impression shows warfare as showing a distinct and very heavy male bias to engagement across all kind of societies and economies from the very simplest societies we know of on up.

    On some of your specific points, as far as I know (within the limitations of my knowledge):

    Linking back to my earlier point, it's quite hazardous to generalize from primate strategies and physiology to expectations of human strategies, and needs some care. Humans have a multi-male breeding system and an unusual gender division of labour. There aren't, I don't think, really general primate patterns of male and female involvement in group conflicts and violence and coalition building predicted by skeletal / muscular sex dimorphism and group size, but rather species specific fitness advantages and incentives generally to form coalitions that are not very connected with these. (Male coalition behaviour is very different in for'ex two different species of Pan with very little difference in body size, group size or dimorphism in the grand scheme of things. Gorillas and Orangs are pretty dimorphic, but their mating system doesn't really support male coalition building or group violence at all, and so on.).

    Advantages in conflicts are also more complex than simply being the case that the group that mobilises more individuals into a conflict, in a single pitched battle, including women and children has the advantage, and that therefore the incentives are to an "egalitarian" total mobilisation.

    Even if it were tactically advantageous to totally mobilise, consider it's rarely the case that two neighbouring groups are going to fight to extinction. Disputes often seem to be about relative prestige and sex specific competition, and in sex specific prestige disputes it is not gonna be easy necessarily to get opposite sex people on your side to indulge. Remember you've got individuals engaging in combat because of their individual interests and weighing this up against the individual threat they face; we're not talking about eusocial ant people who'll throw themselves into conflicts for the greater good of their band. (It's the same thing talking about why larger groups should have less of an "expendability" gap between males and females.
    That may be true, but there's no group mind deciding that males are expendable here, again, they're not ants. Even if you argue that a group mind isn't needed due to cultural evolution forces, individual incentives rule).

    Situations of total war where everyone has to fight are going to be rare across human species history. I'm sure that when women had to stand their ground and fight in wars, they did and acquitted themselves much better than men might expect. But it's rarely going to be the case that the only option is to fight rather than run or try to defuse a conflict or join the winners, especially if you have no stake in a male specific prestige based conflict and where your opponents have equally no stake in fighting you (parenthetically, consider: Why would Wonder Woman want to want to fight the Trojan War?).

    (I feel like I'm probably posting too much / too fast in this thread at this point - too much going on that touches on interesting wider anthropological questions to avoid I guess!)

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  • Ghosthead
    replied
    Originally posted by The Wizard of Oz View Post
    Where are all the films about a badass mum with a certain set of skills who does whatever it takes to rescue her daughter?
    Ellen Ripley and Sarah Connor were kind of big deal in that direction back in the day (James Cameron trademark Angry Motherhood was kind of a thing).

    I think there are some more recent general things in that directly every now and then, so the internet informs me (https://themuse.jezebel.com/jennifer...the-1826480785 / http://collider.com/breaking-in-trai...brielle-union/), but for whatever reason perhaps less of a cultural touchstone ("The Long Kiss Goodnight" was also not a successful movie, for another example).

    Could be something deep in how people echoing down from our species history (with varying degrees of "Not written in but likely" to "Written in to our psychology", depending on your stance on plasticity and evolution of general vs specific capabilities). Could be nothing much to do with that at all and just some execution thing, who knows.

    Originally posted by The Wizard of Oz View Post
    A fantasy for men about protecting your female loved ones could be, say, where a Dad teaches his daughter kung-fu and then she beats the crap out of attempted-rapists.
    The "Hit-Girl" scenario is also kinda messed up in its own way tbh.

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  • Ghosthead
    replied
    Originally posted by The Wizard of Oz View Post

    Essentially, I think the point of the Great Curse is to mechanically enforce the idiom of these stories. So it doesn't need to be something different.
    Hmmm.... I have to agree with Blackwell here; the Great Curse is there to create epic tragedy, not to act as an awesome Berserkergang* that kills all your enemies.

    You're like Kim Soo-hyun in I Saw The Devil, where your wrath and revenge becomes out of your depth to handle and damages people you care about, for example, not John Wick where it basically leads to saving the day (for a nihilistic value of saving the day). Bryan Mills is not going to wreck his life and be his undoing and that of his people when he goes forth to rescue his daughter, and thus the Great Curse does not really fit.
    .
    The idiom the Great Curse is intended to enforce is specifically epic tragedy, not extreme heroic personalities. Those are meant to be enforced by, well, in the original edition, virtues themselves, and in this edition, other mechanisms.

    *Or iterate for various other extreme virtue advantages

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