March 8, 2010

Well, I'll Be A Wealthy Monkey's Uncle!

I think I have just discovered why it is that Republicans tend to prefer religious beliefs over evolution (or science in general for that matter - unless it involves killing or destroying). It would have to do with the fact that Republicans are not evolved themselves. Let's examine the data.

I had this flash of insight while reading about a study of bonobos and sharing published in Current Biology. Researchers discovered that bonobos will voluntarily share food -even surmounting difficulties to do so- rather than eat alone.

This was considered a human trait until someone noticed that when Republicans invite people to dinner, it's so that the guest can pay for it. The guest is usually quite willing to do so (if already wealthy), for then the Republican will return the favor in the form of some very generous government contract.

There is some evidence that Democrats share this trait as well, but maybe in smaller numbers due to it being a recessive gene. For instance, California Senator Dianne Feinstein was a reliable liberal vote up until her husband was awarded a Pentagon contract worth as much as $3.1 billion of YOUR MONEY even if the resulting heat caused her to resign her committee seat. There are other and far more lucrative allegations of mutual grooming-style economic corruption, but I'm already far afield from my simian premise.

Despite the evidence of voluntary sharing in bonobos, this trait of currying future favor might also be shared by them if a research question regarding the motive for sharing is borne out by further study. Male chimpanzees are known through study to give "gifts" of food to female chimps in trade for precedence when the female goes fertile (they would also throw in a movie after dinner if they cared about such things!). So if the suspicion about bonobos' motivations for sharing are determined to be a valid assessment, it would mean that bonobos -our nearest great ape relative after the chimpanzee- are no more evolved than are Republicans. This would not be a good sign, inferring that maybe humanity is not as evolved as we like to believe we are.

It would explain a lot!

1 comment:

  1. Didn't know where to post this but here it goes: