Here I commented on the reality of human crowds, as I have experienced them: Largely passive waves, moving along, but intelligently anxious to hurt no one. The harmlessly mentally ill are simply tolerated. Occasional boors (and couples who insist on airing private business in public) suffer social reproach. Given the multicultural diversity of the setting with which I am familiar, I suspect that this is the normal approach of humans under some territorial stress, but not under any other kind of stress. The Toronto (Canada), subway crowd is not a lynch mob or a riot, just tens of thousands of people heading in the same geographical direction all at once, but all to different eventual destinations.
In response, here, commenter Zephyr adverts to the work of a serious researcher of crowds, work that certainly illuminates my own decades-long experience (in an admittedly peaceful part of the world). Some perceptions of crowds may be coloured by too much emphasis on the behaviour of lynch mobs. Anyone on the Toronto subway last Friday night was using it only to get somewhere else. Comparisons to herds are perverse. We’re not a herd. Everyone has an individual destination, but when crammed together, we must act as a passive crowd.
Given the low human population of Stone Age man, I am sure that the “evolutionary psychology” explanation of the individual selective genetic advantage enjoyed by enormous, compacted passive crowds will be “interesting.”
All this said, a commenter here, responding to this at Salvo, writes,
I imagine though to a religious person, and Christians especially, these line of questioning could be seem rather threatening, and maybe that’s the real reason for such animosity to EP from Ms O’Leary.
The commenter is correct in thinking that I consider “evolutionary psychology” the greatest thing since sliced balloons.
But how could it threaten Christianity? Christianity is not the publicly suspected father of that idiot child. Evolutionary biology is.
The idiot child’s widely worshipped mother, St. Trend of Popular Culture, keeps signifying that evolutionary biology is the father, but many of us still hope that some freak of nature is the correct explanation. After all, evolutionary biology has the makings of a science.
The commenter further writes,
I guess if you accept paradigms such as sin (original or otherwise) and then there is evidence to suggest what we consider to be “sin” has more ordinary and natural explanations, that could be disconcerting.
Actually, as it happens, there is no more ordinary or natural explanation than sin. People choose to do what they know they shouldn’t.