Problem Set 8 - From Animals to Industrial Societies -...

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Problem Set 8 - From Animals to Industrial Societies 1. Do humans in modern industrial societies, as individuals and on average, behave in ways that attempt to maximize their reproductive success, i.e. both direct and indirect fitness? Give two examples to support your view and one that opposes it. Clearly articulate the reasoning behind your argument. There are many examples of behaviors in industrialized society which contradict the maximization of direct and indirect fitness (celibacy, dying for unrelated individuals, etc). It is important to remember that individuals have the intellectual capacity to behave in any way their will dictates. It is also important, however, to recognize that individuals within the population as a whole tend to behave in ways predicted by evolutionary theory since we are designed to pursue behaviors which have long been correlated with maximizing reproductive success (sex → babies). Other examples include: 1) Females are the choosier sex by all measurements, as one would predict from the greater female parental investment necessitated by mammal physiology (menstruation, gestation, lactation, etc). 2) Industrial society is fixated on sex, the proximate means by which ultimate reproductive success is achieved, as can be seen by watching any television commerical, such as the ones trying to sell you soup by showing revealing pictures of men and women in the shower. 3) The majority of murders (as well as sexual assaults) in the US are committed by relatives, a fact which would tend to contradict evolutionary theory. The great majority of these relatives, however, are affines (related

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