Criminal Justice Issues In School Discussion Chapter

Excerpt from Discussion Chapter :

Murder and rape are both legal terms that are used in contemporary society to describe the social construct of crime. Murder is a homicidal act resulting in death that is not permitted by the laws within society. Therefore, shooting a man to death as a lawful soldier engaged in a warranted military conflict with another country's group of soldiers is not considered murder. The same action between country members when there is no martial conflict, however, is considered murder. Rape consists of unpermitted sexual acts that have not been condoned by one of the parties. In most instances men rape women and other men, although women have been known to rape men as well.

Evolutionary theory accounts for murder by positing it as a conflict of interests between two parties that is resolved violently (Dal and Wilson, 1997, p. 53). Moreover, this theory considers the fact that most crimes are committed over a conflict of interest regarding the attainment of resources, which is frequently the case when criminals murder one another over territory in drug wars. Another example is "violence motivated by sexual rivalry" (Daly and Wilson, 1997, p. 54). However, Darwin's theory of adaptation is ultimately at the center of the reason that evolutionary theorists can use this notion to explain murder. Adaptation propounds the viewpoint that species develop different mechanisms (literally, physically, cognitively and emotionally) to enable them to survive. There is a plethora of evidence that evolutionary theorists utilize to prove the notion that murder is simply a part of man's adaptive process. In this framework, then, adaptation is used to help individuals compete for the same resources. It is crucial to note, however that "evolutionary psychologists see no distinction in kind between psychological and biological phenomena" (Daly and Wilson, 1997, p. 56). Such psychologists also see little distinction between animals and aids to achieve the elimination of rivals for resources. The chief form of elimination, of course, is murder.

In terms of rape, evolutionary theory explains this particular crime as a need for men to propagate their existence sexually. One of the central principles of Darwin's theory of evolution is survival of the fittest. By committing rape, men are merely acting on evolutionary influences to perpetuate their genes through having sex (which implies have babies). Evolutionary theorists explain this crime as an effect of psychological and physical process in that "circulating blood levels of the male gonadal hormone testosterone…have a variety of subtle effects on information processing and behavior" (Daly and Wilson, 1997, p. 57). Additionally, when one factors in various elements of aggression and anger that evolutionary theorists believe were mechanisms of adaptability to increase survival, rape becomes a product of such an adaptation as well.

I believe that evolutionary theory definitely accounts for criminal behavior, especially that which involves murder. Committing murder is aligned with the basic concept of evolution, survival of the fittest. This fact becomes especially clear when one considers that murder is frequently committed to eliminate rivals to resources. One of the chief tenets that supports this viewpoint is the fact that "people and other animals possess complex psychophysiological machinery that is clearly designed for the production and regulation of violence" (Daly and Wilson, 1997, p. 57).


Daly, M. & Wilson, M. (1997). Crime and conflict: Homicide in evolutionary psychological perspective. Crime & Justice, 22, 51 -- 100. Retrieved from

Wood, M.E. (No date). "Criminality is a product of genes and environment."…

Sources Used in Documents:


Daly, M. & Wilson, M. (1997). Crime and conflict: Homicide in evolutionary psychological perspective. Crime & Justice, 22, 51 -- 100. Retrieved from

Wood, M.E. (No date). "Criminality is a product of genes and environment." Retrieved from

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