Saturday, August 07, 2010

Biology, Darwin and Homophobia

OK, here's another foray into the controversial. Let's see if I can do it in the form of a series of neutral observations instead of a polemic. No moral or theological implications are intended.

Human biology dictates that two sexes are required for the production of a baby. Babies are necessary for the continuation of the species.

Darwin and others have pointed out that to a great extent, animals seek to extend their genetic material into the future through reproduction. Much of what animals do is a competition to see that their DNA makes it to the next round at the expense of others'.

Some primate males practice infanticide against other males' babies so that they may mate earlier and produce more offspring.
Milne-Edwards' sifaka groups are small, only three to nine members, and females only breed every two years on average. If a group has only one breeding male and two breeding-age females—a common scenario—and an incoming male like Yellow Silver kills any unweaned infants, the next year the resident male may mate with one female and the immigrant male with the other. (Wright has genetic evidence that confirms this paternity outcome in two cases, she says.) Thus, both males sire offspring that next year, which is a year faster for both males than it would be if the unweaned babies had lived.
In humans, child abuse is 10 times as likely in families where the biological parents are unmarried. This could indicate a link to behavior in other primates where one will protect one's own offspring at the expense of others'.

If you reasoned strictly from science, specifically biology, would you classify different kinds of human sexual relationships differently or would you lump them all together?


Kelly the little black dog said...

Human biology dictates that two sexes are required for the production of a baby. Babies are necessary for the continuation of the species.

Wrong - this is too simplistic a statement. The survival of off spring is what is necessary for the continuation of the species. That is why some species dump eggs and run while others nurture their children until they become adults. Each strategy has been optimized for a particular critter by natural selection. This is quite possibly why women have on average slightly longer life spans. It is surmised that Aunts and Mothers helping to raise family members that were not directly their own children, helped increase the survival of children sharing their genes. Their altruism, helped the family line. When we adopt, we go an additional level further in abstraction by helping to perpetuate the family name.Humans are unique in that we perpetuate culture as well as genetics.

Now, as to your main point. This adaptation is not static. If the environment changes, different strategies might provide an evolutionary advantage. So unless some members of the cohort practice deviations from normal child rearing new, possibly more successful strategies will never be realized. This is how it works in the natural world, but how about in modern societies where stability is maximized and change is resisted. Under this situation, it is quite possible that none of the alternative child rearing practices are any better than what already exists. Note that doesn't mean they can't be neutral, it just means that none of the new strategies will become more successful and dominate. I'd argue that western society has been functioning this way for at least a thousand years. If you look back at medieval and later England, all the social problems we have today are present there. Very little has changed.

As for your assertion that "child abuse is 10 times as likely in families where the biological parents are unmarried," I'd argue that this has less to do with marriage, and more to do with commitment. Child abuse in married families was extremely prevalent at the beginning of the last century. It is plausible that these people would have never got married if they lived today, and getting married back then didn't reduce the abuse. The issue isn't marriage, the issue is that these parents didn't want to be parents.

amy said...

How did you make this template? I got a blog as well and my template looks kinda bad
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K T Cat said...

Ha, Kelly! Argue with all the logic you choose, it will do no good! My templates are superior!

Well, that's what amy says, at least.

K T Cat said...

Kelly, your point about babies lost me. Are they or are they not the future generation of the species? Where do they come from?