From Matthew Hutson at Nautilus:
The second strategic model of suicidality is the bargaining model, which relies on the notion of “costly signaling.”6 A colorful example of costly signaling is the peacock. Managing a big, eye-catching tail is costly, in that it wastes energy and draws predators. But the fitter a peacock, the less costly a big tail, and so big tails have evolved to signal genetic fitness to peahens. They are attractive not despite their costliness but because of it. In addition to communicating fitness, costly signals can also communicate need. Consider baby birds. They don’t need to chirp for food if their mother is right there, and chirping attracts predators, making it costly. But the more hungry or sickly a chick is, the less it has to lose by being eaten, and the more it has to gain by being fed. So chirping louder is an honest signal of greater need for food, and the mother responds. (Anthropologists and psychiatrists have long framed suicide attempts as cries for help, but considered them pathological forms of pleading rather than the results of context-sensitive and evolved cost-benefit analyses.) Whereas the goal of suicidality in the inclusive fitness model is death, the goal in the bargaining model is help. Crucially, the vast majority of suicide attempts are not fatal. More.
What a rubbish dump. Self-evidently, one would need human consciousness in order to intend suicide because one must first know about death. Evolution before that has nothing to teach us. And when, exactly, did that happen?
The reason most suicide attempts are not fatal is so often that the attempter does not actually know how to kill himself or that ER staff will stay up all night trying to keep him alive.
If suicide advances “evolution,” should they bother? Is that not a violation of the right of the involuntary patient to be an “evolved” corpse?
Caution! When we tread on Darwin’s sacred ground, we tread on carefully treasured nonsense, and we must be careful. And tomorrow is Darwin’s Sabbath.
See also: Darwin’s wastebasket: “Evolutionary” explanation for female genital mutilation
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