Covid has caused massive upheaval and disruption around the world, but something I had not given a lot of thought to was the idea that disease shapes our political leanings. The concept of parasite stress is one that has been studied by my guest Dr Randy Thornhill for decades – it’s the idea that the more infectious disease that is prevalent in a country, the more right wing and collectivist a population is. With a very strong correlation. With that in mind I was curious as to what sort of effect covid may have on our politics and having watched Dr Thornhill’s interview with Jordan Peterson I wanted to get him on the show to talk through these ideas with me.
Randy Thornhill is an American entomologist and evolutionary biologist. He is a professor of biology at the University of New Mexico, and was president of the Human Behavior and Evolution Society from 2011 to 2013. He is known for his evolutionary explanation of rape as well as his work on insect mating systems and the parasite-stress theory.
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