Monogamy discussion on the 1585 episode

triften
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Monogamy discussion on the 1585 episode

Okay, so I may be incredibly behind here but I just listened to the show because it got posted online recently...

I think the discussion of monogamy was a tad shallow and was prematurely pegged on religion. Here's my take on the deal: Biologically speaking, it is in a male's best interest to spread his seed far and wide, while a female (human in this case) has a lot more of an energy investment in the deal, so it may be in her best interest to be rather picky about her mate... the first time. Priority one is getting with the best mate, priority two would be in getting pregnant, right? So, first mate would be the local uber-man, then Mr. Great, then Mr. Pretty-Good, and so on, down the line.

Human offspring tend to require a lot of care and feeding, so it becomes in a male's interest to watch out for his mate (while she's pregnant) and do his best to make sure his offspring gets to a certain age. This ups the amount of energy investment required of the male. So, because of this, he wants to make sure that kid is his. The female knows it is her kid for obvious reasons, while the only way the male can is by keeping her from other mates. So religion doesn't have to come into the equation at all.

I'm not taking a stance here on whether monogamy is good or bad, I just wanted to continue the discussion on where it stems from. (And no, I haven't performed any studies on this...)

-Triften

 


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If we lived in a world

If we lived in a world where DNA tests were instituted for the benefit of the father every time a child was born, would that change your equation?

 I don't remember that conversation, and I don't really find much to contend with what you said.  If my position in the show would have been a point of contention with your current piece please keep in mind, that I'm merely a man, and anything I said more than 7 days ago is null and void. Eye-wink

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triften
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Sapient wrote: If we lived

Sapient wrote:

If we lived in a world where DNA tests were instituted for the benefit of the father every time a child was born, would that change your equation?

Of course, though people would initially have the same drives, I think. I was more looking at it from a hunter-gatherer perspective. (I find much of human behavior makes more sense if you imagine how the behavior fits in with hunter-gatherer life.)

Sapient wrote:

I don't remember that conversation, and I don't really find much to contend with what you said. If my position in the show would have been a point of contention with your current piece please keep in mind, that I'm merely a man, and anything I said more than 7 days ago is null and void. Eye-wink

Smiling So what you're saying is "don't expect any shows less than 7 days old to be available for download"?

-Triften

 


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Sapeint = the RRS resident

Sapeint = the RRS resident goldfish. Smiling

lol 


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There is a professor at

There is a professor at Rutgers by the name of Dr. Fisher who wrote a book called "The Four Year Itch".  It is an anthropological look at relationships.  If I remember correctly she states that humans participate in serial monogamy and that after four years, people have a tendency to get a little ansty and look for a new partner.  I don't remember exactly what she said but I do remember it was interesting.

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I remember a similar study

I remember a similar study except it was after 7 years. Apparently, after 7 years a child is wise enough to survive on its own with the help of the mother only.

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Hambydammit
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Evolutionary Psychology has

Evolutionary Psychology has a lot to say about humans' mating habits. From a scientific standpoint, it doesn't really address whether human's natural tendencies are good or bad. They just are.\

To get down to it, it's a bit more complicated than just monogamy or polygamy. We know from human anatomy that for virtually all our existence, we have been slightly polygamous. The way in which we're slightly polygamous varies according to where the individuals are in the social hierarchy.

Powerful males tend to have multiple female partners at the same time. The rationale for the female is that one third of a very powerful man is better than all of a very weak man. (Substitute rich and poor for modern man.) In other words, King Solomon had enough money to support hundreds of children, and though each woman had only limited access to the king, the children had a virtual guarantee of a prosperous upbringing.

This leads to a deficiency at the bottom. Since the most powerful men are taking more than their "fair share" of the women, there are less women to go around for the weak men. At the bottom, it is in the man's best interest to keep the woman he has because there is no guarantee that he can get another one. Unfortunately, the weak men have the same desires as the powerful men, so they tend to take opportunities to be polygamous anyway.   Of course, this view of things is not taking any confounding variables into account.  Because of the wide variety of societal structures we've invented, there are many different practices.  The Evo Psych explanation is merely a template from which to start thinking about human sexuality.

History has a lot to say about monagamy, too.  One of the traps in talking about long term monagamy is the fact that we have only recently encountered the dilemma of real long term commitment. When the average lifespan was 35 years, a couple had just enough time to get their kids married off before their health started failing. Furthermore, death was a common side effect of giving birth until the advent of modern medicine. Humans, for most of our history, have simply not had the option of serial monogamy the way we have it now.

In discussing the history of marriage, it is also important to remember that the world's oldest profession has grown proportionately with society's insistence on marital monogamy. In other words, the more conservative a society's views on long term monogamy, the more prevalent prostitution has been. In still more words, men have always had multiple sex partners. As an interesting side note, many early Christian theologians discouraged prostitution not because it was sinful to have sex with multiple women, but because prostitution was so common that an older man might unwittingly have sex with his own daughter!

There is also a danger of assuming that the sexual and parental norms of today have always been the same. Most people just don't realize that this is definitively false. Among the Cheyenne Indians, girls had cold relationships with their mothers, and the aunts were expected to take on the role we associate with mothers today. The Zinacantecos of southern Mexico don't even have a word differentiating parents from children. There is only the "house," which is an encompassing term for all the children and adults in a childrearing situation. In some West African societies, fostering children out was considered a better way to raise a child than having the parents do it. When some particularly stodgy missionaries in Colonial America were attempting to curtail the "deviant" practice of women having sex with many men in the tribe, they tried to use parentage as a convincing argument. If you don't know who the women are having sex with, you don't know if you're raising your own child, they explained. The Indians, quite perplexed, responded that the Europeans obviously didn't know anything about raising children -- all children were the tribe's children. The tribe was the father, not an individual man!

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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