It’s Evolution! You Can’t Argue with Science

Over at Common Gunsense, Joan Peterson has been breeding a special batch of extremist ramblings lately. Like a train wreck, you can’t help but look. In this episode, she takes a position against teaching kids gun safety. She notes:

Little boys in particular seem to love shooting noises and pretend shooting at an imaginary animal or toy. It must be something in the DNA of male children ( or testosterone?). But real guns are not toys.

It’s evolution, and who can argue against evolution? It’s science! You’re not a science denier, are you Joan? I thought that was for the kinds of people who support the corporate gun lobby.

See, without weapons, humans make pretty tasty cat food, and our early ancestors and cousins were regularly preyed upon by big cats, birds and other predators until hominids evolved large enough brains to fashion weapons. Like most other species, our young instinctively engage in play that aids in honing critical survival skills, just like you notice in kittens. Even typical youth past times like baseball have an evolutionary angle revolving around weapon employment. If our species’ most sophisticated weapon was still the spear, young boys would still be picking up sticks and engaging in play that involved throwing them, probably at each other. It’s instinctive behavior, because humans whose children engaged in this behavior survived better than those whose didn’t, and that’s evidenced by the fact that our species, the weapon making species, is the only hominid species to survive.

The first step in bringing those aggressive instincts under control is to first acknowledge that they exist, and then teaching the young the discipline and responsibility necessary to control them, and use them in a socially responsible manner. For many boys and girls, the discipline required by shooting is a healthful outlet for what they are naturally are drawn to. Denying them the opportunity to explore that part of themselves under proper supervision would be a grave disservice, especially to appease a paranoid and fearful prohibitionist movement, that would rather pretend such things just aren’t true.

24 thoughts on “It’s Evolution! You Can’t Argue with Science”

  1. So can we assume she is a vocal proponent of abstinence only sexual education programs for kids as well?

    1. No, we can’t assume that. She’s against the Eddie the Eagle program which teaches abstinence. No, the best thing from her point of view is to completely ignore whatever the problem is.

      1. What’s the connection between Eddie Eagle and abstinence? I think Eddie Eagle promotes safe fun, not zero fun.

        1. No, Eddie Eagle IS the gun equivalent of abstinence-only sex-ed.

          Don’t touch!
          Tell an adult!

          Eddie Eagle does not teach ANYTHING about guns except, “avoid them”. (Note, it doesn;t say, “Be afraid of them.”)

          1. Keep in mind that the program you are discussing is targeted at pre-K to third grade, and it is intended as a starting point.

            It isn’t about abstinence-only, it’s about what is age-appropriate. The goal is to teach children not to play with guns unsupervised, not to teach them that guns are evil.

            1. Doesn’t change the fact that the program is an abstinence one.

              Abstinence only sex ed doesn’t teach that sex is evil or is something that is never appropriate. The goal of abstinence-only sex ed is to teach children that sex is best reserved for a committed monogamous (generally married) relationship.

              What’s the difference in how it functions? Both use the same methodology to achieve the same end state.

              Ever viewed the Eddie Eagle materials? I have — in fact I have them.

  2. “Even typical youth past times like baseball have an evolutionary angle revolving around weapon employment.”

    I once read that American males are much better at throwing things accurately than Europeans, who are better at fast footwork exercises. The correlation was assumed to be, Americans play baseball while Europeans play soccer.

    The advantage went to Americans, with hand grenades, which they allegedly used more effectively than European troops. Maybe the Europeans did better in minefields — provided they knew where the mines were.

      1. A low blow, madam/sir, at our Revolutionary allies, to say nothing of the nation that gave to us the great statue of Liberty! For shame! :D

    1. As much as I would love to witness that, Erin, I’m sure there would be nothing more than a puff of dust.

  3. Isn’t it a tenet of generic progressive psychological beliefs (if not of all branches of actual psychology) that “repressing something makes it more powerful”?

    If they repress allegedly “violent” impulses, they will thus be strengthening them.

    Actually, that explains both

    A) Why actual competitive shooters are so non-violent


    B) Why anti-gun activists are disproportionately – and ironically – violent.

  4. Just a minor nitpick:

    and that’s evidenced by the fact that our species, the weapon making species, is the only hominid species to survive.

    Pretty much all hominid species could fashion weapons, and it was a trait that evolved long before homo sapiens sapiens came along; even some chimpanzees will create spears to hunt with. We outlived them because we did it better, and were more adaptable.

    1. Rob:

      There is some difference between tool use, and tool making. True that chimps, otters, some birds, etc. use tools on occasion, bona fide tool making is a characteristic of australopithicine primates (not even all hominids).

      At any rate … I’ve always thought of guns as tools, even if they are somewhat more sophisticated than hurled stones or pointy sticks.

      1. Just curious, did you watch the video? The chimps take a stick and fashion it into a spear with their teeth. That’s a bit beyond using a convenient twig to get to termites or a rock to bash open a nut. That is tool making, however crude.

          1. Also on point — the fossil indicators we have for early hominid tool creation includes the fact that Australopithecus/Paranthropus boisei (depending on your place in the splitter/lumper camps) had hands already well adapted for stone tool making.

            That implies tool making likely first occurred significantly earlier.

        1. Yeah, chimps are definately tool makers. Wooden tools count. They aren’t very durable, which is why we have no 6-10 million year old

          The higher primates (hominins – Homo and Australopithecus, also Paranthropus if you are a “splitter” who seperates “robest” and “gracile” australopithicines into seperate genuses; note this used to be what hominid was defined as — it’s rather rectenly that hominid was extended to mean the other great apes, and not all paleoanthropologists have stopped using hominid in it’s original and more restricted meaning) made and make durable tools out of stone.

  5. Well, no one really knows for certain why we’re the last hominids standing. Others made tools and weapons, though not to the level of sophistication of Homo sapiens sapiens, and certainly none at nearly the rate of innovation.

    What’s indisputable is our use of tools, including weapons, is fundamental to our strategy to survival. As mentioned in the post, weapons often made the difference between living to have offspring or ending up in the wrong part of the food chain. Other tools, along with cooperation from the larger group, meant avoiding dying from exposure.

    The modern world is amazing, but we shouldn’t forget what it really is: layers and layers of tools piled one on top of the other. It’s good for all of us to know how some of the simpler ones work, even the ones which conceptually date back to our origins.

  6. She would shit herself if she saw the juniors competition at Camp Perry this week.

    We were up there and it was neat to see kids wandering around, shooting, carrying, and cleaning AR-15s. They were extremely safe and responsible. More than a few families got a 4-bed hut for their tweens & teens to sleep in, so you’d have four kids all with ARs at essentially a competition-focused summer camp with minimal adult supervision between events. Just as one mental image that shows how we are winning, I walked past two tween/teen girls cleaning ARs and talking about whatever it is tween/teen girls gossip about these days… It wasn’t unusual in the slightest for them to be hanging out while handling ***OMG GASP ASSAULT WEAPONS***, and I imagine they both shoot better than I do.

    And we’ve been doing these competitions for 110 years with no problems, apparently.

  7. Pile on:

    Expert rifle (or pistol) marksmanship is like expertise in any other field. Many of the best musicians, for example, started when they were very young.

    I met folks from the Army Marksmanship Unit who started shooting as young kids, competing as tweens/young teens, and who are now top-tier athletes in their 20s-30s. After all, they’ve been practicing for 2+ decades by the time they are 30. If we as a collective society want top-tier marksman for international competition, to feed our military training pipeline, or for other purposes then kids need to shoot.

    Because these skills form a pyramid where only a few will make it to the peak of achievement, with some having more natural talent and willingness to learn & work, you need a broad base of the pyramid to get a few champions. You don’t get a Yo-Yo Ma unless tons of kids start playing stringed instruments.

    The jurisdictions which are destroying their shooting culture, especially their youth culture, make it very difficult to generate top-tier athletes, competitors, soldiers, and instructors. You can’t just take a newly enlisted soldier at the age of 18 who has never touched a rifle before and easily make them a 600 yard squad designated marksman in a single enlistment.

  8. “If our species’ most sophisticated weapon was still the spear, young boys would still be picking up sticks and engaging in play that involved throwing them, probably at each other.”

    You didn’t do that? I guess its because Tarzan was still on…. we would throw “spears” and rocks, anything for combat fun!

    Then we discovered fireworks! Bottle rocket battles!

  9. “It must be something in the DNA of male children ( or testosterone?).”

    That reeks of the old “testosterone poisoning” theory where at the root of all “negative” male traits is the presence of testosterone.

    It doesn’t surprise me that Joan subscribes to such hogwash.

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