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Monogamy Unnatural in the Natural World

 
 
Chumly
 
Reply Sun 17 May, 2009 12:53 am
Quote:
by George Atkinson

Myths die hard.

And it's even harder to dispel a myth when it concerns sexuality. But in a new book called "The Myth of Monogamy," a husband-wife scientific team contends that monogamy among animals, and humans in particular, may be the exception rather than the rule.

David Barash, a University of Washington zoologist and professor of psychology, and Judith Lipton, a Seattle psychiatrist, said the book is intended to empower people, not to condone infidelity.

"A lot of people get upset if you talk about something like infidelity and say it is natural because then it seems good and proper," said Barash. "There are lots of things that can be natural and are truly awful, like earthquakes and AIDS. We are not saying monogamy is good or bad. But people are more empowered when they understand something. We are not sympathetic with people who philander and say, 'The devil made me do it,' or claim their behavior is genetic. People can do all kinds of natural nasty things - lie, cheat, steal and kill - but it doesn't mean those things are good."

"The Myth of Monogamy" grew out of the authors' experiences as a zoologist and a psychiatrist. Lipton said psychiatrists often get disaster calls from clients who have found that their partners have been cheating on them. Barash noted that animal behavior has been revolutionized in the past decade by DNA fingerprinting, which has revealed many species once viewed as paragons of virtue to be philanderers.

"The most frequent calls psychiatrists get in the middle of the night are from people who have discovered adultery," said Lipton. "Infidelity crises in marriage is very common, almost like a bad case of the marital flu. People who discover it are outraged, grief-stricken and angry. People who have been cheated on can sometimes be extremely violent and much of the violence in the United States can be attributed to infidelity.

"I try to tell people I deal with as a psychiatrist that adultery does not necessarily mean your spouse does not love you, that it is a character flaw or that they never cared for you. There are a lot of reasons for adultery and it takes a hell of a lot of diligence to stay monogamous."

Barash said numerous recent studies have shown that many animals and birds, such as eagles, geese, beavers and gibbons, previously believed to be faithfully monogamous aren't.

"A lot of hanky-panky is going on," he added. "There has been quite a revolution in scientific understanding of the lives of animals and we can learn a lot about ourselves by looking at other creatures."

Obtaining accurate data about human infidelity is difficult because people lie about it, according to Lipton. But she said various studies indicate it is quite common, with 50 percent of men confessing to at least one affair and 30 percent to 50 percent of women admitting that behavior.

"Being monogamous is rare. If people want to do it they have to work at it," Lipton said. "It's similar to wanting to play the violin. People can love good music and aspire to play the violin. But most find it difficult and won't practice. Monogamy, like the violin, takes practice and diligence because there are so many temptations."

The authors contend that the sexes engage in infidelity for different reasons and that evidence for monogamy in human history is sketchy. Males tend to be opportunistic and have sex out of marriage because it is available and pleasurable. For women it is a way of obtaining something better than their mate, someone who may be richer, more handsome or more powerful, they said.

While there is no historic record showing how prehistoric humans behaved - at least, not when it comes to their sex lives - Barash and Lipton point to numerous 20th Century anthropological and sociological studies of hunter-gatherer societies where monogamy is the overwhelming exception, not the rule. In the western world, they said, monogamy only ascended in the late Middle Ages and the Industrial Age. The rich and powerful gained the cooperation of the masses by trading some of their wealth to low class men, enabling them to have wives and a stake in society.

"Monogamy was a cover story for society," said Lipton. "Kings still had many wives and concubines. Powerful men did not practiced monogamy and women probably didn't either."

"What we are saying isn't different from the 10 Commandments," added Barash. "The commandments would not have said 'do not covet thy neighbor's wife,' if people didn't covet her.

"One thing we'd like to see is some of these new findings be included in a real sex-education curriculum," he said. "Right now, monogamous marriage is presented as the goal and end-point of courtship and love. That's fine, but just as it used to be taboo, to a certain extent, for people to talk about sex, it's now taboo to confront the fact that monogamy is terribly difficult. If anything, we are hoping to make monogamy easier by taking infidelity out of the closet."
http://www.altpenis.com/penis_news/20020022002148data_trunc_sys.shtml
 
solipsister
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 May, 2009 03:12 am
@Chumly,
well i'll be
0 Replies
 
Kenson
 
  -1  
Reply Sun 17 May, 2009 05:07 am
@Chumly,
>>>"What we are saying isn't different from the 10 Commandments," added Barash. "The commandments would not have said 'do not covet thy neighbor's wife,' if people didn't covet her.<<<<<

Philosophy of sex is the part of applied philosophy studying sex and love. It includes both ethics of phenomena such as prostitution, rape, sexual harassment, sexual identity, and homosexuality, and conceptual analysis of concepts such as "what is sex"? It also includes questions of sexuality and sexual identity and the ontological status of gender.

But, The commandments is Not related to the Philosophy of sex, but related only to the Philosophy of the weak faith.

.
Francis
 
  0  
Reply Sun 17 May, 2009 06:05 am
Kenson wrote:
But, The commandments is Not related to the Philosophy of sex, but related only to the Philosophy of the weak faith.


I've very weak faith in your "subject agreement with the verb"..

The commandment cited can be viewed for its social implications, leaving the faith aside..
Letty
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 May, 2009 06:37 am
@Chumly,
Chumly, Here I am the world's worse speller and Mr. Atkinson misspelled zoologist. Yikes! That is being picky, I guess.

Strange, my first American eskimo was monogamus. When her mate, Shadow, died, she had six puppies by a doberman. Every one of them died and they all looked like dobermans. (if I misspelled anything, just overlook it.)

My word, Francis, you are now a master of the English language. I had to smile at your having pointed out the error in subject verb agreement.
0 Replies
 
Kenson
 
  -1  
Reply Sun 17 May, 2009 07:21 am
@Francis,
Francis wrote:

Kenson wrote:
But, The commandments is Not related to the Philosophy of sex, but related only to the Philosophy of the weak faith.


I've very weak faith in your "subject agreement with the verb"..

The commandment cited can be viewed for its social implications, leaving the faith aside..


There is no relationship between grammar and 'Spiritual Philosophy', sometimes we don't care even the language also!
0 Replies
 
Chumly
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 May, 2009 08:18 am
I suppose George Atkinson should have run a spell check and grammar check.

The presumption of monogamy may well be a puritanical imposition of petty rules of behavior and not "normal" human behavior. Even a cursory reading of the Old Testament reveals multiple, acceptable patterns for marriage: polygamy, concubinage, Levirate, etc..........gotta love Christian hypocrisy.
ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 May, 2009 08:20 am
@Kenson,
The way you write... you almost make it seem like you think weak faith is a bad thing.
0 Replies
 
Kenson
 
  -1  
Reply Sun 17 May, 2009 09:10 am
@Chumly,
Chumly wrote:

I suppose George Atkinson should have run a spell check and grammar check.

The presumption of monogamy may well be a puritanical imposition of petty rules of behavior and not "normal" human behavior. Even a cursory reading of the Old Testament reveals multiple, acceptable patterns for marriage: polygamy, concubinage, Levirate, etc..........gotta love Christian hypocrisy.



Atheists are, for the most part, hypocrites.
Any "atheist" who is not should probably call themselves agnostic instead. The same people who constantly criticize Christians, or Mormons, or Muslims or Hindus or other religion for trying to force their beliefs down everyones' throats are essentially doing the same thing by telling them there is no god.
Admit it, whether you like it or not, you are still engaging in something like a form of theism by not believing in a higher power, and then being just as much of a jerk by telling those that do believe that they are wrong and you are right. I do not believe in that.

I think everyone should be free to practice any religion they choose, believe in any god(s) they want, even the Flying Spaghetti Monster, if they are so inclined, as long as they are not stepping on anyone else's toes in so doing. By engaging in the anti-religious practices that I see many so-called atheists doing these days, you are no better than the Jehovah's Witnesses that wake me up at the crack of dawn to talk about God.

Francis
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 May, 2009 10:28 am
@Kenson,
Can't you see how hypocrite is your statement?

Even in this thread, where people tried to discuss monogamy, you came up with your religious crap..

Did I opened lots of threads around about atheism or agnosticism?

Did I try to convince you that there is no god?

Did I criticize a Christian, or any other religion follower, for being what he is?

No, I didn't.

On the other hand, I did criticize those you proselytize like you.

I did criticize those who try to shove religion down the throat of other people, like you.

I did criticize those who lie for religion, like you.

I did criticize those who don't let other people live their way without doing harm to others, like you...


Chumly
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 May, 2009 10:56 am
@Kenson,
Given your usage of font size and color I must bow to your powers of argument.
0 Replies
 
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 May, 2009 11:31 am
Sexual hangups and belief in deities are part of the price we pay for being animals whose unique cognitive abilities are highly focused on "consequences".
Chumly
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 May, 2009 04:25 pm
@fresco,
My wife’s cognitive abilities are highly focused on mongamy.
dyslexia
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 May, 2009 04:44 pm
@Chumly,
my wife knows where the guns are but she has no clue as to the location of the bullets.
Kenson
 
  -1  
Reply Sun 17 May, 2009 08:02 pm
@Francis,
Are you sleeping or what?

I think, my previous reply was NOT for you! Confused
Chumly
 
  1  
Reply Mon 18 May, 2009 01:03 am
@dyslexia,
'apenis is a warm gun............yes it is.
0 Replies
 
Sglass
 
  4  
Reply Mon 18 May, 2009 01:20 am
I think the church made up monogamy. Sales pitch for weddings.
ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Mon 18 May, 2009 05:51 am
@Sglass,
That doesn't make sense. It seems to me that monogamy cuts down on the number of wedding.
sozobe
 
  2  
Reply Mon 18 May, 2009 06:30 am
@Chumly,
Humans are "unnatural" -- in the sense of "unusual" -- in many ways. Our babies are pathetically weak and defenseless and take an unusually long time to mature enough to fend for themselves, for one thing. (It's those big brains vs. the size of most womens' pelvises. The brains need to keep growing for a while after they've been born.) Having two adults committed to defending them and nurturing them ups their chances of passing on their genes. Just for example.
Francis
 
  1  
Reply Mon 18 May, 2009 06:39 am
@Kenson,
At the time you posted, I really was, it was 4:00 AM.

Drivel like yours doesn't prevent me from sleeping... Twisted Evil
0 Replies
 
 

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