Nutritional Anthropology

The Bond Effect
The science and art of living the way nature intended

Geoff hires.JPG (267058 bytes)


Geoff Bond's  

Home Page

The most recent Newsletters are available by private subscription

Info and Order


Deadly Harvest Cover.jpg (293631 bytes)

Nutritional Anthropology's Bible:



Geoff Bond

Healthy-Harvest-Front-Small.jpg (300923 bytes)


Healthy Harvest Information Page

Lessons from our ancient past - and why it is right to be more wary.

When a lion takes over a lioness and her cubs, the first thing he does is kill the cubs. Some other lion fathered them and they do not contain his genes. Wolves do the same thing.

Humans, of course, are civilized. Males do not routinely kill the offspring of the woman they move in with. Nevertheless, humans are programmed with similar reflexes. A male who altruistically brings up some other male’s genes is not perpetuating his genes for altruism in the gene-pool. It is an unfortunate logical paradox.

We can predict that step-fathers or live-in partners, rather than biological fathers, are more likely to kill their partner’s children. Indeed this is so. Professors Martin Daly and Margo Wilson specialize in the evolutionary psychology of conflict. They find that so-called “intimate partners” or stepfathers kill small children in their care at a much greater rate than biological fathers. Children in the 0 to 2 year age-group are 70 to 100 times more likely to die at the hands of a stepfather rather than a biological father. Put this way, the situation sounds dire. However, we must put the figures in perspective. Most step-fathers do NOT harm their step-children. In figures for Canada, just 67 children were killed by stepfathers in a 17 year period.

Death of course is final, but there will be many step-children who, if not murdered, will receive less parental care than a biological child. We now have an immense body of studies indicating that step-children receive less parental investment in general and from step-fathers in particular. This goes right back to hunter-gatherer societies.

The Hadza of Tanzania is such a tribe studied by Professor Frank Marlowe. Typical of such tribes, men frequently take on new wives and so find themselves being responsible for children by other husbands. Marlowe found that on a wide range of criteria, step-children received less contact time, less talk time, less playing time, less nurturing and less food provisioning. These Hadza stepfathers were not deliberately favoring their own offspring -- they claim that there is no difference between fathers and stepfathers. However as Marlowe says: “…and yet the data shows there is. It seems that deception is involved in promoting the ethic that stepfathers should be good fathers.”  

In the words of cognitive scientist, Steven Pinker: “Many step-parents, nonetheless ARE kind and generous to a spouse’s children, in part out of love for the spouse. Still, there is a difference between the instinctive love that parents automatically lavish on their own children and the deliberate kindness and generosity that wise stepparents extend to their stepchildren.”  

Why am I laboring this point? Those who follow the British news will have been gutted by the recent story of “Baby P”, the 14 month-old baby who died in the most grisly circumstances at the hands of a stepfather and complicit mother. Naïve social workers, who visited the child over 60 times, were too trusting. They wanted to believe in the ultimate goodness of human beings. They wanted to believe that a stepfather was just as safe as a biological father.  

Moreover, the social workers were taken in by the lies and deception. They could not admit to themselves that a small percentage of ANY human population is genetically programmed to be glib, plausible, charming, clever, yet heartless, cruel, unemotional, ruthless, cunning, manipulative and deceitful. Researchers estimate that some 4% of the male population demonstrates this personality, commonly called “psychopathic”.

None of this is surprising. Ever since the social sciences adopted a philosophy known as “cultural Marxism” – which holds that there is no such thing as human nature – the poor social workers are, by definition, not competent to deal with questions of human nature!

Meanwhile, evolutionary psychologists are rolling back the politically-correct nonsense that stupefies, paralyzes and addles the social sciences. And they are also answering the question why psychopathic genes thrive in a human population. But that’s a story for a later article!


Home Page