Evolution of (anti-)social behavior by penitentiaries?

This is actually a comment made to this blog entry slightly extended and embellished by pictures and links to the quoted websites. Further, this blog entry refers to a book which offer an interesting discussion at amazon. Probably I will tackle some points made in this discussion later. Probably, I will not buy this book though—you simply cannot buy all interesting books.

Now about the argument and the fallacies involved. The blog article claims that because violent people go into jail where is less opportunity to reproduce, “we are still selecting against antisocial behaviour very strongly in our societies”.

  1. Humans are endowed with natural reflexes not to harm other members of the same species. By the way all mammals are. People who train martial art have to make great efforts to overrule those reflexes, so there is no need to biologically evolve that trait.
  2. The most serious crimes in history have been committed by men in behalf of the society they were a member of. [There are only few examples, and those of course exist, where men or women killed or tortured other people for sheer pleasure. Those instances are so rare that we safely may call them pathologic and not normal human behavior.]

Suicide bombers have no personal benefit from destroying the lives of other, obviously, but the social fauceir that created them obviously has. Suicide bomber are weapons in the fight between societies.
Picture from http://www.waronline.org/en/terror/suicide.htm

Conclusively, cultural and not genetic inheritance is responsible for crime. What isolation of criminals into a penitentiary contributes to cultural evolution is an entirely different question I’m not going to cover here. Some aspects have been discussed already. But now and here other questions concern me.

To solve the question why people commit crimes despite their inborn reflexes, you have to apply fauceir theory: As biological beings humans are slave fauceirs to societies they live with, and those societies in early human history acquired (evolved) the capability to overrun the inborn human reflexes. Social fauceirs evolved that trait because it was beneficial, a selectional advantage. If a primeval group was able to kill members of an other group, their chances to survive on limited resources increased. Later on, societies evolved ideologies to mobilize ever more people to kill ever more other people. The holocaust and WW2 that killed millions of people were initiated in behalf of social interests justified by a specific ideology. But even less serious crimes have had their origin in societies, gangs or murderous families, that taught their members to pursue group interests and not to be too merciful against others.

Now what about the the genetic selection against anti-social behavior. That exists of course since the advent of human societies, so I cannot agree more. That tendency is a typical evolutionary one (the fauceir rule of increasing enslavement), but I disagree that this means reduced crime rates. Josef Mengele for instance, exhibited perfect social behavior in his society, Nazi Germany, whereas an other person from the same period, Claus von Stauffenberg, showed typical anti-social behavior, which would have saved many human lives but regrettably failed.

Creative Commons License

This work by Paul Netman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

Fauceir theory is developed and © by Mato Nagel and available at www.fauceir.org.


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