Culture Darwinism Intelligent Design Naturalism

Another take on what sex is for

Spread the love

From a philosophical doctor:

At first glance, sexual reproduction is a puzzle, since each member of an asexually reproducing species can produce its own genetically identical young at a lower biological cost. However, sexual reproduction allows a more rapid reshuffling of the genetic deck, increasing the probability that some individuals will be well adapted to environmental changes. Because human beings reproduce sexually, the foundation is laid for sexual selection, the competition for mates of which Darwin wrote in such detail…

The writer Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910) presents a more broadly humanistic understanding of the purpose of sex. In “Anna Karenina,” often ranked as the greatest of all novels, sex provides the foundation for the family. Characters who treat sex as an adventure with no regard to family come to bad ends, while those who devote themselves to family happiness fare well. In Tolstoy’s view, the seemingly mundane joys of family life, made possible by sex, constitute the truest joys accessible to human beings.

Richard Gunderman, “What is sex really for?” at The Conversation

Darwin’s sexual selection (seen as an alleged massive shaper of evolution) has given rise to any number of naturalist legends, including—local favourites—the Darwinbird of Pop Science and the Clever Abortion Mare.

It’s such easy pop science on a slow news day around Valentine’s Day…

More to the point, Tolstoy is likely right insofar as family shoves other human beings directly into our faces for a long time and how we treat them matters a great deal. But that may be a very politically incorrect observation in these times.*

In any event, that approach is only possible because of explicitly human cognition. It probably doesn’t explain sex in the animal world where a variety of interactions that are not moral choices can be viewed.

Note: Some people cannot discuss these topics without giggling but they are usually—in some sense—roughly thirteen years old.

See also: Can sex explain evolution?

*Have a look, for example, at the way members of a local church in Toronto, Canada, reacted to the idea that a feminist should be allowed to voice her opposition to transgender policies that, she says, work against born women’s interests.

Remember that Trinity-St. Pauls is actually a church in Toronto:

Clearly, many traditions encompass a much broader range of views than they used to.

4 Replies to “Another take on what sex is for

  1. 1
    vmahuna says:

    When the English first met the Aborigines in Australia, the Aborigines DID NOT KNOW that males had any role in producing babies. That is, sexual intercourse was FUN, and, entirely independent of that, from time to time and for no apparent reason the Earth Mother GAVE a woman a baby. The Earth Mother did the same for kangaroos, etc. The Earth Mother is a NICE lady.
    The same was obviously true in Europe, etc., because the ORIGINAL Gods were versions of the Earth Mother (for example, Epona amongst the Celts). But then SOMEBODY put 1 and 1 together and said, “Hey, wait a minute, the Earth Mother NEVER gives a baby to a woman unless the woman has had a roll in the hay with a MAN.” And thus there was an EXPLOSION of Sky Gods (Zeus, Odin, etc., etc.)
    So, for TENS OF THOUSANDS (HUNDREDS of thousands?) of years, humans only knew rolling in the hay with a member of the opposite sex (who MIGHT be your SISTER, since she was conceived back under the Earth Mother regime…) was fun. And so the Purpose of Sexual Intercourse (as opposed to the biological fact of “Sex: M/F”) had NOTHING to do with whether you wanted a son with blond hair. And since your current sex partner was NOT your spouse, there was some chance that the geeks and nerds could get a one night stand now and then.
    Oh, some years back now, I saw exactly ONE (1) “nature show” about the life cycle of wild deer, and the commentator was nice enough to mention that a buck typically keeps his harem together for about a WEEK, during which time he mates with each of them as many times as his stamina allows. By the end of the week, the does have begun to wander off, and the wandering does are then seduced/rounded up by ANOTHER buck who ALSO mates with them as often as HE can. Etc., etc. So there’s a good chance that EVERY buck in the territory gets to mate with SOMEBODY, as long as the doe is still in rut. And since the connection of intercourse with fertilization is NOT 1:1, the biggest baddest buck might NOT be the father of the most fawns.
    Along the same lines, and this is probably at least 10 years ago, field workers who were studying one or the other of migratory birds that “mated for life” discovered that although the male-female pair built their nest together and then “took turns” guarding the nest and searching for food, when the humans checked the DNA of the chicks, they discovered that MANY of the chicks didn’t share the DNA of their purported father. So whilst daddy was off “looking for food”, he was also mating with other moms-to-be. And apparently, the moms-to-be didn’t have any problem with that.
    Sexual intercourse is about the urge to MATE, with no expectation that offspring might show up someplace down the road. The expectation of carefully choosing mates as part of a strategy to build a Dynasty is VERY modern and ENTIRELY human.

  2. 2
    aarceng says:

    Dare I say that sex in humans is different to sex in animals? In humans sex helps to create an emotional attachment to support lifelong pair bonding as God intended. It is of course obvious that in sex as in so many areas of life that we don’t follow God’s plan.

  3. 3
    Ed George says:

    Aarceng

    Dare I say that sex in humans is different to sex in animals?

    I agree. As far as I know, we are the only animals that will do it purely for pleasure. Thank God I’m human.

  4. 4
    DarelRex says:

    Gunderman says, “sexual reproduction allows a more rapid reshuffling of the genetic deck, increasing the probability that some individuals will be well adapted to environmental changes.” Forgive me if this topic has been covered in the past, but I have to ask: If rapid shuffling of the genetic deck produces an individual who is unusually suited to the current environment, then wouldn’t that same rapid shuffling eliminate that suitability in one generation, just as quickly as it came? Natural selection (whatever its powers) can operate only on easily heritable traits, and the particular combination of traits, that makes you uniquely you, is not heritable.

Leave a Reply