No problem, I appreciate hearing from you on this. From my perspective, which is based in sociology and social psychology, we currently live in a culture that is based in a pyramid shaped dominance hierarchy. This is essentially what patriarchy is, and it leads to stratification of all kinds (racism, homophobia, etc) — not just power differentials between men and women. And from my point of view, this is what causes men to try to exert dominance over women and other weaker men — not biology. Here’s more that I’ve written about that already.

Also, pervasive violence and warfare are relatively recent parts of human history, showing up only in about the past 12,000 years or so. Twentieth-century hunter-gatherer societies are still peaceful, egalitarian, and cooperative. Science shows that humans are hardwired for connection and social interaction. But what about testosterone? Everyone knows that testosterone is linked to aggression and there are some indications that very high levels of testosterone can be linked to violence and criminality.

Like most things in life, testosterone levels vary in men (and women). Our average testosterone level is inherited from our parents, but physical and social conditions produce changes around this average level.” Higher levels of testosterone may be linked with a propensity for violence but having typical levels of male testosterone does not make you someone who is inherently violent.

Prior to 10K years ago humans lived in fairly egalitarian tribes and communities where this kind of aggressive behavior that we currently have was not tolerated. Although access to mates/women is one of the biggest causes of violence in current hunter-gatherer societies in modern times, many of them have an active reverse hierarchy that keeps disruptive people/men in check.

One highly unusual expression of this flexibility occurs in egalitarian societies (Boehm 1993). There individuals who otherwise would be subordinated are clever enough to form a large and united political coalition, and they do so for the express purpose of keeping the strong from dominating the weak. Because the united subordinates are constantly putting down the more assertive alpha types in their midst, egalitarianism is in effect a bizarre type of political hierarchy: the weak combine forces to actively dominate the strong. My thesis is that they must continue such domination if they are to remain autonomous and equal, and prehistorically we shall see that they appear to have done so very predictably as long as hunting bands remained mobile.

Boehm, Christopher (1999–11–30T22:58:59). Hierarchy in the Forest: The Evolution of Egalitarian Behavior . Harvard University Press. Kindle Edition.

Boehm is the current head of the Jane Goodall Research Center and has compared our behavior to our primate cousins quite a bit.

Based on our largely peaceful and egalitarian past up until 10K years ago, and what we know about the importance of social connection in all mammals, not just humans, I see current male predatory behavior as being primarily sociological in nature. But, then we all look with the eyes that come from our perspectives and points of interest, don’t we?

I’ve written a ton about how the dominance hierarchy we call patriarchy impacts all kinds of areas. If you get interested, it’s right here.

Oh, there’s also this as well. There are 6 matrilineal societies in the modern world that to my mind, also disrupt the notion that this is biological.

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Dispelling cultural myths with research-driven stories. My favorite word is “specious.” Not fragile like a flower; fragile like a bomb! Twitter @ElleBeau

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