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Why “science” can’t and doesn’t explain monogamy

  Here’s my MercatorNet article, “Scientists clash over the origin of monogamy”:

… whether a given culture favours promiscuity, polygamy, monogamy, same-sex unions, or celibacy depends largely on answers to the question, how should we live? Apes and monkeys no more ask such a question than dogs or cats do because what they are determines how they live.

Humans are fated to ask, which is the way? Then: Why are we following this path and not another? Whose path is it?

Followers of the Darwinian tradition of human nature do not like to admit of any distinction between humans and animals. As a result, they expend considerable trouble trying to explain how monogamy evolved (the “evolutionary puzzle” of monogamy). More.

– O’Leary for News

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3 Responses to Why “science” can’t and doesn’t explain monogamy

  1. Some animals are monogamous …. some bird species mate for life.

    Would the cause be instinctive behavior ?

  2. It’s probably a combo of factors, johnnyfarmer. Consider the Canada goose. The geese are generally monogamous for the life of the partner (and often miss a mating season, if the partner dies and the survivor does not find another partner in time). But the geese live and migrate together year round, so there is no benefit in bouts of mating competition within the flock. Geese are pretty much the same, so why bother?

    But consider the penguins, as in March of the Penguins. The males and females must separate after mating for survival reasons; the birds do not know if their mates have survived. So they change mates each season, thus the survivors mostly mate.

    Perhaps answers to such questions are best sought at the level of ecology – the life form in its native environment.

  3. Scientists might clash over its origin, but it’s pretty clear that monogamy does bring benefits:

    Newsweek of February 4, 1985, reported: “The United States is currently in the grip of an STD [sexually transmitted disease] outbreak of unprecedented proportions. The statistics are awesome: 1 in 4 Americans between the ages of 15 and 55 will acquire STD at some point in his or her life.” The article concludes: “The best protection against STD, it seems, just might be a return to that old-fashioned safeguard: monogamy.”

    When discussing the issue of AIDS in Africa, author Keith Edelston takes it one step further in his book Aids—Countdown to Doomsday: “In view of the risks . . . inherent in the use of condoms, it is quite clear that strict monogamy is the only way to be completely safe.”

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