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5 von 5 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Excellent reading
As a woman, a feminist, and a sociologist by training, I still find nothing offensive in this book. Thornhill and Palmer have tackled one of the most sensitive and inflammatory topics that exist and it is only natural that they will receive a lot of knee-jerk reactions to it. However, this book is well-written, well-researched and thought-provoking. Whether you...
Veröffentlicht am 13. März 2000 von Diane C. Boudreau

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1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen Worthy, but not great
OVERALL GRADE: B-
The main strength of this book is its very publication, I think. I suppose to get a more vigorous debate going on about all the causes of rape, someone had to write this book. Thornhill and Palmer did it, and hopefully it will spawn more research, either in support or in opposition. This book is written for a general audience but its main targets...
Veröffentlicht am 1. April 2000 von TMac Tom


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5 von 5 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Excellent reading, 13. März 2000
As a woman, a feminist, and a sociologist by training, I still find nothing offensive in this book. Thornhill and Palmer have tackled one of the most sensitive and inflammatory topics that exist and it is only natural that they will receive a lot of knee-jerk reactions to it. However, this book is well-written, well-researched and thought-provoking. Whether you ultimately believe their theory or not, T and P will make you seriously consider some of your assumptions about rape.
I'm not sure if some of the other reviewers have actually read this book, because nowhere in it do the authors assert that women are to blame for their rapes or that they provoke them through sexy clothing. They do suggest that sexy clothing might be one of many factors that lead men to rape and that women may CHOOSE to use this knowledge when deciding how to dress for certain situations. Why this particular issue is so offensive boggles me. I have had many people suggest that I take a women's self-defense class to help me avoid and/or survive an attack. But that suggestion in no way implies that if I *don't* take a self-defense class I am somehow responsible for causing my own rape. Similarly, women can arm themselves with the knowledge that how they dress may have an effect on how some men behave towards them, without being responsible for that behavior in any way.
I'd advise anyone interested in this topic to read the book carefully and thoroughly. Does the book prove that rape is an evolutionary adaptation? Of course not, but it certainly offers some compelling evidence and an interesting alternative to current theories on rape.
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3 von 3 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen A real breakthrough in our thinking about rape, 5. Februar 2000
Von Ein Kunde
A HISTORY OF RAPE by Randy Thornhill and Craig T. Palmer This book is probably a real breakthrough in the way rape is regarded by society. It is couched in very scientific terms in regard to the research which was cited, and the style of the writing. The final summery on pages 198-199 is the most important aspect to consider in that it deals with the fact that in order to learn how to prevent rape, we must consider the biological aspect, and not just regard all rapes as crimes of violence. I found the research incomplete, because it does not deal with the biological aspect of woman's estrus cycle, and the need for men to be aware that this is the main reason why women are sometimes unresponsive to the male's advances, and not because they are having sex with another man. Also, the authors do not deal with the idea that perhaps if rape is due to sexual desire what effect the practice of masturbation may have on relieving that build up of tension. D.N.
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3.0 von 5 Sternen Worthy, but not great, 1. April 2000
Von 
TMac Tom (Rising Fawn, GA United States) - Alle meine Rezensionen ansehen
OVERALL GRADE: B-
The main strength of this book is its very publication, I think. I suppose to get a more vigorous debate going on about all the causes of rape, someone had to write this book. Thornhill and Palmer did it, and hopefully it will spawn more research, either in support or in opposition. This book is written for a general audience but its main targets are within academia, namely the social sciences. I think T&P wrote it to a mass audience as a way of circumventing what they saw were roadblocks within the academic community to a serious discussion of these concepts. If so, then that's great.
T&P also do well in pointing out some of the (mostly) logical flaws of the current social theory behind rape. The main one for me was that, while social theory stresses that power, hate, and so forth motivate rape (which I'm sure they do), the social theory never really answers for me this question, "Why rape"? There are other ways that misogynist men could express themselves besides this one, which seems to be numero uno on the expression list, according to the prevailing theory. Sex has to be the underlying answer to this question. Men who rape are obviously sexually aroused, and the old mind/body duality a la Descartes doesn't cut it as an answer for this. There's room for both social and biological causes here, and both should be explored more fully.
That brings me to the book's main weakness. "A natural history" this isn't. T&P offer the basic theoretical idea behind rape being a specific adaptation of evolution. But its obvious that the research isn't there (yet) to support it. They overreach on their "pro" argument as a result, stating things as if they're already conclusively proven, when they can offer up only fragmentary evidence at best. Maybe its the ideological blockade that is making it hard to collect such evidence, and maybe this book will help overcome that. But, until more is found, for this neutral, general reader of science, I'm taking a wait-and-see attitude. There's not a consensus yet in the biological community about causes of rape, so Thornhill and Palmer shouldn't attempt to speak for that entire field, which it sometimes seems like they're trying to do.
Read it or not? Yeah, sure, read it. Anytime a book makes a splash you should at least be aware of its contents if nothing else. Just don't be misled into believing you're going to walk away from it with definitive answers, unless they're the ideological based answers (either way) that you walked in with in the first place. The jury's still out on this one
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1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen A trumpet call to better understand ourselves., 18. März 2000
Von 
Paul J. Watson (Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA) - Alle meine Rezensionen ansehen
(REAL NAME)   
This is the first book on rape to present an objective Darwinian view of a human behavior that is universally and rightly condemned as criminal. That rape is a violent, sexual, reproductive act reflects the all too human evolved capacity to contingently express tremendously selfish and loathsome as well as kind and caring behaviors. The observation that local cultural influences and personal developmental histories will influence the probability of an individual "choosing" any behavior (including callous criminal behaviors) in response to short and long term personal histories, evaluations of present circumstances, and expectations concerning how present behavior will impact their future prospects compared to alternative behaviors exhibited in the present, is central to modern evolutionary psychology. All behaviors are understood by biologists as necessarily being joint products of gene-environment interactions.
Understanding that rape is fundamentally "sexual" (that is, for a biologist, ultimately, albeit perhaps unconsciously, about gene propagation) helps to illuminate the circumstances under which virtually any man's probability of being sexually coercive increases. All creatures choose behaviors that, under current their social and environmental conditions, have expected fitness that exceed expected fitness costs as estimated from the perspective of the ancestral environment in which that animal's nervous system (i.e., it mind) evolved. This knowledge provides real insights into (1) the functioning of our own psyches (potentially enabling more personal self-control), and (2) how to tune laws, societal norms, and personal behaviors of both sexes in ways that are maximally effective in preventing and punishing rape, as well as helping its victims.
The largely bimodal reviews of this book here at Amazon should alert one that ideological forces are at work in many evaluations of this book, as well as a lack of understanding of the evolutionary perspective. It is not easy to understand the implications of evolutionary theory for human behavior, nor is it always pleasant. This book will help you understand it if you approach it intellectually, with a critical mind, putting your ideology to the side in your evaluation (which does not mean, of course, that you have to abandon your morals in actual practice).
By the way, do advocates of the traditional violence hypothesis of rape think that violence is not natural and not ultimately, often indirectly, about reproduction? Study nature honestly and you will change your mind about that. Gratuitous violence in nature is rare. All behavior, even highly PC and endearing forms such as play, have compelling Darwinian rationales.
Note that there is no reason to expect that natural selection will design a mind that reliably and consciously understands what it is ultimately up to, what the biological "end game" is about - gene propagation. It does not matter if you are talking about children at play or rapists raping. Ask yourself, if rape is not about sexaul reproduction, why does it typically involve an erection? Then ask, are men typically thinking primarily or at all about having babies when they are sexaully aroused. No, they are just sexually aroused, a state that clearly can be combined with many other emotional states. But it does not matter from the point of view of natural selection what a creature thinks, only that they act in a way which, in the ancestral environment, would have, on average, increased the individual's lifetime reproductive success.
Humans have the unique ability to desire the above-mentioned understanding. To obtain such knowledge it is necessary to check one's subjective personal experiences, biases, and imagination by observing human nature in others and in oneself under an objectifying influence, such as modern science. This book is a major step, not necessarily the final one with respect to rape, in this direction.
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1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen Pros and Cons of TP's Argument, 6. März 2000
Von 
Thornhill and Palmer (TP) review tons of evidence on the nature of rape. The plusses of the book are (1) they show that rape is a sexual act directed at obtaining pleasure rather than being an expression of male power; (2) they show that as predicted by evolutionary theory, males are evolutionarily adapted to rape, whereas females are not. These are terribly important facts, and they go against the accepted wisdom in contemporary sociology and some brands of feminism; but the accepted wisdom has no empirical basis whatever, in the authors opinion and mine as well. The minuses of the book will appear trivial to those who believe in the accepted wisdom and are shattered by its demise. But they are important nonetheless. Most important, TP view males as touting up the costs of raping (pleasure, possible reproduction) against the costs (getting caught and punished). If the benefits exceed the costs, the male rapes. This ignores all forms of interpersonal interaction except the brute physical. For instance, the 'cost' of causing harm to an innocent victim, the 'cost' of seeing a victim helpless and miserable because of your actions, the 'cost' of having the self-image as a sexual predator, and the like, are simply not part of their model of human motivation. Yet there is overwhelming evidence that people are self-interested in the way depicted by TP. Males who use TP's cost/benefit analysis are better described as psychopaths or sociopaths rather than normal humans. This is because in the course of our evolution, humans have picked up fundamental prosocial traits. When these are absent in a person, the person is an abnormal, pathological case. In short, an alternative to TP's characterization of rape is that rapists are males who have abnormal personalities (including but not limited to psychopathy) the allow them to act out on urges that all males have but in most are countermanded by basic human sympathies. TP do a disservice to evolutionary theory, which they use to portray humans as a sorry lot of selfish brutes. The fact is that evolution produces morality and beauty, sensitivity and love, just as much as rape, murder, and indifference.
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1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen A Breath of Fresh Air, 5. März 2000
This book is a breath of fresh air. For more than two decades we have been bullied by feminists abetted by social scientists to believe that rape is a political, not a sexual, crime. Yet everyone, both male and female, knows instinctively that rape is indeed a sexual crime. Does anyone truly believe that rapists risk their lives to intimidate females generally for the benefit of males generally? What altruists rapists would be! The only thing political about rape is the feminists' decision to put it at the core of their political agenda. `There is no question that rape is a fundamental threat to women, which is the reason why feminists put it so high on their agenda. But feminists, like most social scientists, cannot explain why it is such a threat. This book can. The cornerstone of social science is hedonism: the assumption that the aim of human life is to maximize one's pleasure and minimize one's pain. But rape is not a threat simply because it reduces pleasure and increases pain. It is a threat because it violates the most important choice a woman makes in her lifetime: the man who will father her child. This book represents a fundamental departure from hedonism. It assumes, following Darwin, that we are the result of ancestors all of whom have been successful in one activity: leaving descendants. Whatever we acquire from ancestors, therefore, is at least associated with, and has probably promoted, that success. Anything inheritable that helps individuals to leave descendants tends to increase in frequency; anything that does not, tends to die out. A female's choice of her mate has been powerfully selected for because it directly affects a female's chances of leaving descendants. In our ancestral past, the most surviving children a human female is likely to have would be no more than four or five. Each time she would mate, then, she would put at risk 20% of her lifetime reproduction, her potential for leaving descendants. Human females have been selected to be extremely choosy. For a century, females have been dazzled by social scientists arguing that the aim of life is simply to maximize their pleasure and avoid pain, and this includes sexual pleasure. This book will help females understand explicitly what they feel implicitly about the preciousness of their sexual choice. Although many critics of the book (including Professor Coyne of the University of Chicago) fail to note that the authors point out explicitly that rape may not be an adaptation. That is, rape may not have helped males in the past to leave more descendants than males who did not rape. Rape simply may be a by-product of a selection for males to be sexually opportunistic, to respond eagerly to any hint of a sexual possibility. That a rape will result in impregnation in only about one time in thirty suggests that the potential costs of rape, which in the past could include death and dismemberment by outraged relatives of the victim, may outweigh any reproductive advantage to the rapist. Seeing rape as simply a by-product also can help explain the high frequency of male non-reproductive sexual behavior in general: the vast amount of money spent on pornography and prostitution, and the disturbingly high incidence of child molestation in modern society. These activities are almost always paid for, or committed by males. This of course does not mean that males cannot be influenced to restrain themselves sexually, but an accurate understanding of the reasons for such behavior, as the authors point out, is more likely to help in promoting such restrain than ignorance. Rape is a sexual crime. Like crime generally, it is a selfish attempt to deprive others of something valuable to them against their will for the benefit of the criminal. As the book notes, many rapes occur during the commission of other crimes -- housebreaking, car theft, robbery - when the opportunity presents itself. And the more sexually attractive the female, the more likely she is to be raped. We humans, of course, are well aware that our statements about humans - true or otherwise - can influence humans. So we all have an eye on the possible effect our statements have on others. But the distinctive behavior of scientists is to make claims that are checkable, and hence potentially disprovable by evidence. If they don't, other scientists will ignore them. This activity has led to great increases in knowledge, including knowledge of human physiology. This has not often been the case with social scientists and others with political agendas, for they often show a lack of interest in the checkability and disprovability of their propositions. Nevertheless, they want to be considered scientists, and have their propositions accepted as if they were objectively true. This book may come to represent a turning point in the study of humans: that to be convincing, arguments must be based more on accuracy and data than on political ideology; more on objective reality than on passion. The use of natural and sexual selection, as discovered by Charles Darwin one hundred and fifty years ago, began to be applied to human behavior only about twenty years ago. Hopefully, the science of humans has begun.
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1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen no mysogyny here, 24. Februar 2000
Von Ein Kunde
Nature, and natural selection, are not PC. We and all livingcreatures exist because of this process. It is impossible that ourenduring behaviors have not been shaped in some way by natural selection. This does not mean that all human behavior does not occur within an environment, which is crucial. Genetic determinism does not exist. That said, I don't think that Thornhill and Palmer have shown that humans male have an actual adaptation to rape(may instead be a by-product of male sexuality). I think that this book should not have been written at this point. The evidence is not there, which is not to say that it will never be there (to be fair, the evidence for social scientist's theories is even more flawed). More research is needed, which the authors concede, but it is somewhat damaging that this book was written before having this sort of proof. If the hypothesis has not yet been supported, why write a book about it that attempts to be comprehensive? This book does a good job of explaining the position of evolutionary psychology/sociobiology and of illustrating the ways that is has been misrepresented to support a feminist/cultural anthropologist political agenda that seems to not be interested in basing itself in science. It is amazing to me that most people cannot comprehend the obvious- the mainstream refusal to understand the difference between ultimate and functional causality or the naturalistic fallacy is a formidable obstacle. Nature is amoral. Humans have a capacity for morality. If rape is shown to have some biological basis (which it must), this says nothing about excusing men for their behavior. We can all agree that rape is wrong and something that we must work to prevent. Studying ALL of the reasons that compel men to rape, is crucial, and finding the ultimate, biological reason is the best way of all we have to learn how to prevent human rape. END
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5.0 von 5 Sternen a well-supported thesis, 4. Februar 2000
Several of the reviewers below recite the tired platitude that "rape is not about sex." Any critical thinker who knows a rape victim or who has otherwise become acquainted with the topic knows that that is false. The fact that the effect of a rape is far more traumatic than the effect of, say, a punch to the nose belies such a claim. The fact that many rape victims experience problems with sexual intimacy etc. further demonstrates the fact that for post-menarchal, pre-menopausal women (see the Thornhills' prior work) rape is always (though not exclusively) about sex. There has never been any scientific controversy on this point.
The more interesting question -- elucidated here -- is the extent (if any) to which the rapist's actions are "about" sex. The authors make a convincing case that rape is "about" sex from the rapist's standpoint.
Contrary to the puzzling description of this book as "outdated" (made by two reviewers below), this book is on the cutting edge of scientific discovery in the wake of decades of obscurantist anti-science practiced by Boasian anthropologists et al.
Highly recommended. If you are interested in this topic, I would also recommend David Buss's "Evolution of Human Desire" for a more general exploration of human sexuality from an evolutionary standpoint.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Right understanding of human nature helps enable change., 12. Februar 2000
Von 
Paul J. Watson (Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA) - Alle meine Rezensionen ansehen
(REAL NAME)   
This is perhaps the first book on rape to present a mature, objective Darwinian view of a human behavior that is universally and rightly condemned as criminal. That rape is a more or less violent sexual act reflects the all too human evolved capacity to *contingently* express tremendously selfish and loathsome as well as kind and caring behaviors. Understanding that rape is fundamentally sexual (i.e., for a biologist, ultimately, albeit unconsciously, about gene propogation) powerfully illuminates the circumstances under which virtually any man's probability of being sexually coercive increases. This in turn provides sound insights into (1) the functioning of our own psyches (and so may enable more personal self-control), and (2) how to tune laws, societal norms, and personal behaviors of both sexes in ways that are maximally effective in preventing and punishing rape, as well as helping its victims.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Sociobiology and forensic psychology., 18. Mai 2000
I loved this book. Thornhill and Palmer explain rape in the same way as forensic psychologists using different methods. No one would accuse psychologists as 'justifying' rape and murder when they discuss a perpetrator's having been victimized by childabuse.
I once heard a forensic psycholgist being interview on National Public Radio suggest that women not park next to vans because this was serial killer's preferred method of abducting women. I haven't parked next to a van since. I don't care if this behavior is rooted in psychology, pharmachology, or biology. This is information I can use.
If dressing my daughter more concervatively or at least making her wear a concealing coat over her 'too hot to handle' outfits on the way to a club, lowers her risk of rape, then I think this is useful information, most of us already got that one figured out. Women have a right to wear what ever the hell they want, where ever they want. But will this 'right' will not innoculate us against rape, herpes, or AIDs. Nor will this 'right' raise the badly beaten body of my child from the dead.
Men also have the right to walk down the street without being shot at. But wearing the wrong colors in the wrong neighborhood is likely to get them killed. No doubt, gang behavior towards territorial intruders can be shown to have evolutionary roots. Because it can be explained in biological term does not infer that behaviors are fixed. Sociobiology explains patterns of behaviors and potential behaviors and what influences the frequency of their expression in a given population.
For those who persist in the biology as essentialism hysteria, please remember that the key to evolution is variation. Social groups can and do select for and against different behaviors through customs and laws.
Will understanding the biological undercurrents of rape better help men to control these impulses and women to prevent it. Hope so.
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