In “Zoologger: Sloths have slothful attitude to mating” (20 July 2012), Michael Marshall tells us a Darwin reason that explains why male sloths, notoriously slow and low-metabolism, don’t bother much to defend their females from other males:
The slow-moving nature of sloths may be largely responsible for the males’ casual attitude, but Peery points out another possible explanation. Males tend to set up their territories close to their birthplace, often within a kilometre, so neighbouring males were often closely related.
As a result, males can actually benefit their genetic legacy by allowing neighbours to sneak in the odd mating. By doing so, they are helping relatives to pass on their genes – many of which they will share.
This is an excellent example of Darwinism explaining only itself, to intrude itself into an otherwise useful conversation.
How about we go back to: Sloths are slow and stupid. If the female happens to find a mate, the show goes on. Probably largely thanks to her. And there is no selfish gene to pass on.
How did genetics become a superstition anyway?