David Attenborough, SJW version

Here’s a video sent by an anonymous reader. Yes, of course it’s a parody, but it has a sting in its tail.

The only comment I’d add is Faux-Attenborough’s wondering why a genderfluid lion would have an evolutionary advantage from mating with a hyena? Well, it wouldn’t of course, but lots of sexual behavior in our species has no evolutionary explanation, including homosexuality. Just because something doesn’t have an evolutionary advantage doesn’t mean it doesn’t occur, or that pointing it out is some kind of faux pas.

But what about the video’s claim that “there is no gender binary.” What about a strong bimodality with intermediates, which is what it seems like to me.

Do you think the video is in poor taste?


  1. alexandra Moffat
    Posted December 15, 2016 at 10:31 am | Permalink

    poor taste? not in the least

  2. Kevin
    Posted December 15, 2016 at 10:35 am | Permalink

    Our species may benefit in many ways from a relatively fixed percentage of our population with homosexual behaviors. They may not get to pass their genes on, but the qualities can help give our species an evolutionary advantage.

    Community dynamics, art, music, and ethics are a few examples of how homosexuals can collectively make one community potentially have stronger survival probability than one without such qualities.

    • Posted December 15, 2016 at 11:02 am | Permalink

      Unless there’s group selection going on, with groups proliferating if they have more gays, then you can’t explain the presence of homosexuals as a product of natural selection.

      • Pete T
        Posted December 15, 2016 at 11:20 am | Permalink

        Ah, PCC(E), you beat me to it.

      • eric
        Posted December 15, 2016 at 11:42 am | Permalink

        I may gain a personal selective advantage if I have an adaptation that allows my nieces and nephews a better survival chance.

        Second, many adaptations (like this one) can exist on a spectrum; rather than being binary, you can have more of it than I do. Mutation and genetic mixing could contribute to the breadth of the spectrum, meaning in any generation humans will range from those with *a lot* of this adaptation to those with *very little* of it. It may be entirely possible, in fact, that in some people the adaptation overwhelms their own instinct to have kids.

        Now, how do we get from “adaptation that allows greater niece survival” to “wants to have sex with same sex partners”? Well, I think that’s actually pretty easy; evolution latches on to anything that works. After all, “sex feels good” doesn’t really have much to do with the quality or survivability of your offspring, its just a way evolution figure out to make you have more sex. Likewise, being attracted to the same sex may just be an evolutionary way to get you to pay more attention to your family.

        I offer this not as a solid case, but simply one example of how it might occur. But the summary version of it is: IMO there are plausible evolutionary mechanisms that may link individual advantage to same sex attraction. Even if only in the “sickle cell” sense of seeing homosexuality as an extreme version of some trait that is adaptationally positive in lesser amounts.

        • Posted December 15, 2016 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

          As for your kin selection explanation, yes, it’s plausible in principle, but you have to show that gays pass on more of their genes by helping their relatives than by reproducing themselves (I’m talking about exclusive gays who don’t leave biological offspring). For every child of your own you forego, you have to contribute to at least TWO offspring of your sibling. Now that data could exist, but I don’t know of it; until then it’s just a story. (Every human behavior can be explained by a nontestable evolutionary story.) Now you could look for this kind of data now, but if you don’t find it you could save your hypothesis by claiming that gay genes had this effect in our distant ancestors, but don’t know.

          At any rate, I don’t think that explains the presence of homosexuality, and its genetic component is still murky anyway.

          • eric
            Posted December 15, 2016 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

            but you have to show that gays pass on more of their genes by helping their relatives than by reproducing themselves (I’m talking about exclusive gays who don’t leave biological offspring)

            Only if homosexuality is considered in the ‘optimal range’ of the adaptation’s expression. If its merely one extreme of expression of a trait that is good in lower amounts, then no, you would not need to show that gays pass on more of their genes than similarly situated non-gays (because of some kin benefit they provide that non-gays don’t).

            People are not always born with an adaptationally optimal amount of some characteristic or trait. Yet because of variation and mutation, a ‘spread’ beyond optimal is seen in generation after generation. To make up an example, let’s say there is a range of ‘optimal eyesight’ in humans. If you’re eyesight’s not good enough, you don’t see well and have less kids. If you’re eyesight’s too good, your body is wasting calories maintaining a system it can’t use for benefit, and statistically that group would average less kids too. But even though this is the case, there are going to be humans in every generation born with eyesight that’s outside the optimal range. Because of natural sources of variation in eyesight. Well, gays may simply be part of the natural variation in human behavior. They may have too much same sex attraction; not within the optimal range that provides the best balance of passing on genes directly and indirectly, but still part of the natural variation amongst humans.

            • Gregory Kusnick
              Posted December 15, 2016 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

              There’s also the possibility that having a small proportion of homosexual children might enhance the mother’s fitness in some indirect way.

              In that case we wouldn’t necessarily find a “gay gene” that induces homosexuality in its carriers, but we might find a gene for intrauterine chemistry that that tends to promote the development of gay brains.

              I don’t claim that this is the case, only that it’s not something we can rule out based on kin-selection calculus from the POV of gay offspring, who for this purpose can perhaps be regarded as part of the mother’s extended phenotype.

          • Cole
            Posted December 15, 2016 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

            Sorry for the over-simple “gene-for-everything” talk, but what if a gene combo increased the likelihood of gay orientation in males but made females far more fertile? Natural selection would be effectively selecting the “gay genes.”

            • aljones909
              Posted December 16, 2016 at 4:50 am | Permalink

              That line seems the most plausible. A trait which increases biological fitness “optimises”. A linked, disadvantageous trait increases – but the trade-off is worth it. Was there a period when it became more advantageous for males to become less macho (see below)? This shift towards femininity increases the probability of some males shifting too far. http://tinyurl.com/hpzzfrf

      • Linn
        Posted December 16, 2016 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

        Warning: I’m interested in the subject so long post will follow.

        I’ll probably come off as a little ignorant about biology now, but I don’t get the assumption that homosexuals can’t be caused at least partly by natural selection (although I think sexuality is too complex overall which I’ll mention later).
        After all, throughout history, most homosexuals have had children, they’re not infertile.

        Many cultures have encouraged homosexual relations, but still enforced heterosexual marriage and childbearing. I guess the reason could be group selection (like mentioned) with homosexuality encouraging supportive behaviour from other memebers in the group and releasing tension. This would therefore help directly with the survival of the individual as well as the group.

        But disregarding all this, in my experience, human sexuality is far too complex to jot down to some simple clear-cut explanation.
        I know my own sexuality is full of strange conflicting or vague desires. I have some dislike for vaginas, but other than that, it’s difficult for me to say excactly what I like or want and certainly impossible to describe it purely by evolutionary mechanisms. And it seems to be the same for everyone else I talk to, gay or straight.

        It’s also worth remembering that heterosexuals also sometimes choose not to have children. Many go their whole lives without wanting a child or choose to only have one child instead of many. That would be equally as “disadvantegous” as homosexuality, yet there are strangely enough, no one yelling to ban marriage among childless heterosexuals or calls to enforce heterosexuals to have children (excluding the abortion debate that is).
        Some religions instead have enforced celibacy among its priests, yet they still call out homosexuals for going against biology and evolution,as if that even matters in an overpopulated world. Sigh. I don’t get humanity sometimes.

        By the way, I can’t watch the video, but I’m assuming they mention that homosexuality occurs among a wide variety of species?
        I’m a little sick and tired of people that think homosexuality is some form of human artifical invention so I’m hoping the creators of this video aren’t as ignorant. It’s as much a part of nature and evolution as anything else.
        (I’m thinking of conservatives and natural law libertarians in that last statement, not anyone here of course).

        And transsexuality is a completely separate topic, but seems less a part of a spectrum than sexual preference. If we’re talking about the people rejecting the sex of their bodies that is, not the ones that simply dress and act like the opposite sex (because gender roles/clothing and behaviour seems clearly NOT binary to me when I look at all the different cultures in the world).

        I would say being born in the wrong body is not part of any gender spectrum because the vast majority of both feminine and masculine, hetero- or homosexuals feel comfortable with their genitalia. Some of the most feminine guys in the world would be horrified if you tried to take away their penis, so discomfort with your own body is something more than simply acting differently than the norm for your gender. Which is why it’s important to help with surgery for those that want it.

        Cudos to whomever bothered to read all this. 😉

    • Pete T
      Posted December 15, 2016 at 11:19 am | Permalink

      Are you positing a group selection explanation for the occurrence of homosexuality in human populations? I hope you have considered more common evolutionary explanations before so resorting. Kin selection also seems a poor choice of explanation however; how much help can having gay-leaning gene-copies in a relative be such that it outweighs the disadvantage to the gay genes of being in a non-reproductive body? Perhaps more likely is that being gay is a necessary and unfortunate (purely from an evolutionary stand-point I hasten to add) side-effect of some other genetic feature which has been strongly selected for, analogous to the famous sickle-cell genetics.
      I do however love the idea that having a few gay musicians in a hominid group back in the day made that group out-perform other, less musically inclined, groups to such an extent that it overrode normal natural selection.

      • Kevin
        Posted December 15, 2016 at 11:41 am | Permalink

        I was thinking along the lines of side-effect-selection, if there is such a thing. No one wants sickle cell, but it’s benefit to a species may be a utilitarian protection against malaria (cf. Sapolsky).

    • mikeyc
      Posted December 15, 2016 at 11:24 am | Permalink

      Yeah this doesn’t make sense except in the context of group selection, as Dr Ceiling Cat points out. You would need some pretty compelling evidence for group selection to even be functioning in humans.

      It think it is a mistake to conflate cultural benefits with survival benefits (in the evolutionary sense the term) even though in some cases the two dovetail. For example, one could (and some have) make the case that it is to the benefit of both our various cultures and our reproductive success, for example, that we are cooperative in nature. This is not necessarily the case with homosexuality, though.

      I should think it would be very hard to demonstrate if it exists at all as a selectable trait. Better to think of it as benefiting some human cultures but not necessarily our species survival.

    • Nobody Special
      Posted December 15, 2016 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

      Jeez, what a fabulous way to stereotype homosexuals, Kevin.

  3. GBJames
    Posted December 15, 2016 at 10:56 am | Permalink


  4. Posted December 15, 2016 at 11:06 am | Permalink

    I found the part about consent somewhat tasteless. Is too much consent really a problem?

    • Davide Spinello
      Posted December 15, 2016 at 11:17 am | Permalink

      Here is the way to deal with consent:

    • Posted December 15, 2016 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

      The consent part was truly beyond the pale, but I found the entire thing in poor taste.

  5. Curt Nelson
    Posted December 15, 2016 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    No, the video is not in poor taste. It’s excellent satire.

    A strong bimodality with intermediates seems right to me, too – for gender and sexual orientation.*

    *I have no data to support this. It is only my sense on it.

  6. Hans van den Bos
    Posted December 15, 2016 at 11:23 am | Permalink

    Zum kotzen ….He is trying to earn money by using the name of somebody famous.

  7. rickflick
    Posted December 15, 2016 at 11:23 am | Permalink

    SJW often address real issues, but it becomes ridiculous when taken too far as they often seem to do. Yes, we want to raise awareness of rape. That’s important. But, I think if you can’t find humor in the most serious issues…well, that’s what comedy is. Are we afraid this film might encourage someone to revert to barbaric behavior? I hope not.

    • HaggisForBrains
      Posted December 16, 2016 at 5:19 am | Permalink


  8. Alpha Neil
    Posted December 15, 2016 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    I liked how the narrator said “those who’ve been indoctrinated by Marxist gender studies courses and use Tumbler” just as the rhino starts to defecate. I love a good poop joke. Especially one that isn’t immediately obvious. Well done.

    • Newish Gnu
      Posted December 15, 2016 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

      Oddly, your comment was the one thing I was going to say. Scatological minds think alike!

  9. Posted December 15, 2016 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    “Bimodality with intermediates” seems obvious, but people in the gender progressive camp often interpret any degree of indeterminism as evidence for tabula rasa and social construction, which they in turn reject when it comes to sexual orientation and expression. It’s like a perpetual motion machine that runs on motivated reasoning.

  10. eric
    Posted December 15, 2016 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    I frankly wouldn’t put too much effort or thought into trying to apply the “gender” concept to animals. Its fine for humans because we’re sentient, but I think with animals its probably just more reasonable to say that (1) the act of sex may take on more roles than just procreation, creating a use for it that does not follow m/f line, and (2) the idea of ‘social role’ loses meaning when applied to non-social or minimally social animals, and even in other social animals, it probably isn’t delineated along the same lines as in humans. IOW, the concept may make no sense for them.

    • eric
      Posted December 15, 2016 at 11:49 am | Permalink

      Ah, I should’ve said, other animals… 🙂

    • chris moffatt
      Posted December 15, 2016 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

      I spent part of an afternoon years ago at the great ape house at the National Zoo. It made me think of nothing so much as “quiet days in clichy”. Those pongos were definitely in it for the fun of it. And I think they were/are quite sentient – as is Summer-the-stripey-cat(and all cats IMNSHO). Also check out a few studies of rat behaviour……

  11. Randall Schenck
    Posted December 15, 2016 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    I believe it would be good in sex education classes in high school. What do you think are the chances? Nice conversation starter.

  12. Dominic
    Posted December 15, 2016 at 11:55 am | Permalink

    “With whom they cannot reproduce with”? One ‘with’ too many!

    • Nobody Special
      Posted December 15, 2016 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

      Grammar Nazi. The fake Attenborough is clearly withfluid or bi-with or non-with conformative.

    • rickflick
      Posted December 15, 2016 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

      That made me smile.

  13. Pliny the in Between
    Posted December 15, 2016 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    I think, “a strong bimodality with intermediates” is an excellent summary of what is most likely a highly complex set of primary and secondary gene expressions that result in gender assignment for a given individual. No doubt a more liberal culture allows for freer experimentation and a break down in taboos but the current trend toward thinking that gender is completely arbitrary seems to be about equal to our old notions of freedom of will being independent of our biology.

  14. Petu W.
    Posted December 15, 2016 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

    The fundamental difference between the sexes is the size difference between the gametes. We have a plausible explanation for the evolution of anisogamy; in other words we understand why there really are no “intermediates”. There are women and men and then there are people whose sexual identity is somehow vague. But they are not the 3rd sex at the fundamental level.

  15. Billy Bl.
    Posted December 15, 2016 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

    It didn’t offend me in the least. Satire is satire. As an ex-geneticist, I’ve always found either/or expectations misguided. Nature throws out all sorts of variation, some good, some bad, some neutral. No individual of any species has to reproduce to survive and potentially contribute something to something else, if only a meal.

  16. chris moffatt
    Posted December 15, 2016 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

    Good parody and funny. I love his quasi-breathless delivery so like the model. May we hope that someone will do the same for that most irritating, and ignorant, of hypocritical lefties
    David Suzuki?

  17. Nobody Special
    Posted December 15, 2016 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

    “Human beings evolved from a common ancestor……….over 150,000 years ago”.
    Hah! Genuine belly-laugh.

  18. jd016
    Posted December 15, 2016 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

    “a strong bimodality with intermediates”

    As opposed to the activists view, where they emphasize that either/both sex & gender come on a spectrum. From what I recall, less than one percent of the population identify as non male or female*. Does that really constitute a “spectrum?” I’d like to hear from statistics people.

    *Massively disproportionate media attention, though.

  19. Posted December 15, 2016 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

    I thought it was funny.

  20. Beau Quilter
    Posted December 15, 2016 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

    I think the video shows that the producer doesn’t know the meaning of the word gender,and seems to have the odd notion that that “gender” means “genitalia assignment”. He should try actually looking up the word he is trying to parody:

    Definition of gender
    a : a subclass within a grammatical class (as noun, pronoun, adjective, or verb) of a language that is partly arbitrary but also partly based on distinguishable characteristics (as shape, social rank, manner of existence, or sex) and that determines agreement with and selection of other words or grammatical forms
    b : membership of a word or a grammatical form in such a subclass
    c : an inflectional form showing membership in such a subclass
    a : sex
    b : the behavioral, cultural, or psychological traits typically associated with one sex

    • Nobody Special
      Posted December 15, 2016 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

      Doesn’t you number 1 defeat your own argument where it says that gender is partly based on sex?
      Also, if genitalia and gender are seperate then how can ‘prick’ be a gender-based insult?

    • Cindy
      Posted December 16, 2016 at 7:16 am | Permalink

      Actually, according to SJWs, both gender and bio sex are *assigned* at birth, arbitrarily.

      Biological sex is a social construct.

      • Nobody Special
        Posted December 16, 2016 at 11:58 am | Permalink

        If biological sex is a social construct, where does that leave biological wash powder?
        Damn, now doing the laundry is a social justice issue!

  21. Posted December 15, 2016 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

    My answer* is, in short, yes.

    *purposely noted here before reading other comments. On to that now.

  22. gravelinspector-Aidan
    Posted December 15, 2016 at 9:00 pm | Permalink

    Do you think the video is in poor taste?

    In the same sense as cheese bing rotten milk, one man’s – sorry, “person’s” – bad taste is another’s cutting sarcasm.

  23. Posted December 15, 2016 at 10:14 pm | Permalink

    Poor taste, no. Just not funny.

  24. Ken Kukec
    Posted December 15, 2016 at 10:34 pm | Permalink

    I don’t think it’s in poor taste; I just don’t think it’s funny, as parodies go. It lacks subtlety and wit.

    • chris moffatt
      Posted December 16, 2016 at 7:46 am | Permalink

      maybe if it had more subtlety some of the humour-challenged on here wouldn’t have got it at all. It’s a joke folks – no analysis required.

      • Posted December 16, 2016 at 8:57 am | Permalink

        If ZFrank had tackled this, it would have been hysterically funny.

  25. VRandom
    Posted December 16, 2016 at 6:25 am | Permalink

    This is a typical misogynistic and ignorant video which is not only not funny but also quite ignorant of various scientific facts. It is really a big shame that Jerry chose to plug this here. What is the point? And the creator of the video has not realized that humans are not lions and every observable human trait or behavior does not need to have an analogous behavior among the animal kingdom (if you disagree, please point out another species who has managed to visit the moon, thank you).

    • GBJames
      Posted December 16, 2016 at 7:37 am | Permalink

      I do love it when the humorless rant.

      • Posted December 16, 2016 at 8:08 am | Permalink

        “I do love it when the humorless rant.”

        I don’t agree with much of the rant, but I’ve heard fart jokes that are funnier with this video.

        • Posted December 16, 2016 at 8:10 am | Permalink

          *than this video

        • GBJames
          Posted December 16, 2016 at 8:25 am | Permalink

          It is one thing to not appreciate a joke. It is another to rant about misogyny and ignorance of scientific facts. That you appreciate fart jokes more says more about your sense of humor than about the video itself. (Which I find rather clever. So that clearly makes me a homophobe!)

          • Posted December 16, 2016 at 8:41 am | Permalink

            “That you appreciate fart jokes more says more about your sense of humor than about the video itself. (Which I find rather clever. So that clearly makes me a homophobe!)”

            I don’t like fart jokes at all. And I won’t speculate as to what finding this video clever makes you, because of the roolz.

            • GBJames
              Posted December 16, 2016 at 8:54 am | Permalink

              Just as long as I don’t end up in the “humorless” pile.

              (You did say that you’ve heard funnier fart jokes. I didn’t make that up.)

              • Posted December 16, 2016 at 9:14 am | Permalink

                “You did say that you’ve heard funnier fart jokes. I didn’t make that up.”

                You said I “appreciate fart jokes”, so yes you made that up.

              • GBJames
                Posted December 16, 2016 at 9:21 am | Permalink

                OK, you win. You don’t appreciate jokes at all.

              • Posted December 16, 2016 at 9:32 am | Permalink

                “OK, you win. You don’t appreciate jokes at all.”

                Are you really this dense, or are you just trolling now?

              • GBJames
                Posted December 16, 2016 at 9:36 am | Permalink

                Just having fun with the humorless.

              • rickflick
                Posted December 16, 2016 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

                I’m a fartophobe too.

              • Linn
                Posted December 17, 2016 at 2:49 am | Permalink

                I have to agree with Mike Paps here. And wouldn’t someone that doesn’t like fart jokes, also be humourless in your view, just as much as people that don’t like this video?

                I’m in general (not your fault, I know) getting quite tired of the whole “you don’t have a sense of humour” being thrown around whenever someone says they don’t like every poop, rape or holocaust joke in existence. I’ve seen people being called humourless for not enjoying Trump’s comments about women for one.

              • GBJames
                Posted December 17, 2016 at 9:11 am | Permalink

                Well, there’s no accounting for taste, is there?

                Sorry, but when someone responds to obvious satire like this with a rant about misogyny and ignorance of scientific facts, on a website overflowing with understanding of scientific fact and theory, to people who consistently argue on the side of women’s rights, then that person simply is exhibiting a level of humorlessness that is sad.

                Of course, maybe I just missed that memo telling us all that jokes at the expense of modern gender studies theory are no longer allowed. Lock me up.

    • chris moffatt
      Posted December 16, 2016 at 7:47 am | Permalink

      I rest my case.

    • Alpha Neil
      Posted December 16, 2016 at 10:11 am | Permalink

      Lions don’t have a space program therefore this video is misogynistic and ignorant. That’s funnier than the video.

    • Posted December 16, 2016 at 10:48 am | Permalink

      Hint: It’s satire.

  26. chris moffatt
    Posted December 16, 2016 at 7:48 am | Permalink

    …..or is this extra subtlety? brilliant if so.

  27. Cindy
    Posted December 16, 2016 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    Genderfluid lioness:


    She is biologically female yet *mimics* a male with the mane etc.

    It seems to me that SJWs confuse gender identity with gender expression and then end up arguing that gender expression is what determines biological sex. So if you identify as non-binary ie dress unisex, then your sex is also non binary, which is why SJWs complain about the “violence” of being “assigned” a biological sex at birth.

    And just Google “biological sex is a social construct” and you will find plenty of daft articles supporting this viewpoint.

    Of course the problem with conflating gender identity with gender exprssion “I like to wear flannel, ergo I do not have a biological sex” is that gender stereotypes regarding gender expression have varied across cultures and history. In some cultures men wear skirts -this doesnt mean that they identify as women, or are women.

    In my experience it seems that SJWs have a very very superficial understanding of history and of biology.

  28. Mike
    Posted December 16, 2016 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    I thought it was funny, especially the dig at Student Unions.

  29. Lauren
    Posted December 17, 2016 at 6:22 am | Permalink

    The link below is an article that pushes the gender fluidity movement to absurd, yet actually occurring, extremes. My reaction to the article was this gender stuff is ridiculous and has gone too far, and then I jumped to “no wonder Trump won.”

    Thinking about it a bit, I believe this is what the video in the OP and this article are designed to invoke: distaste for extreme liberalism. Creating a caricature of an issue important to a minority.

    Time to sit back and judge my reaction to items designed specifically to evoke strong reactions. So now my question is, what’s the agenda of those trying to provoke these reactions?


    • GBJames
      Posted December 17, 2016 at 9:44 am | Permalink

      That’s actually a pretty interesting article. Thanks for posting it.

  30. Merilee
    Posted December 17, 2016 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    Late to da party

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