From “Faithful Females Who Choose Good Providers Key To Evolutionary Shift To Modern Family, Study Finds” (Medical News Today, May 30, 2012), we learn,
The roots of the modern family — monogamous coupling — lie somewhere in our distant evolutionary past, but scientists disagree on how it first evolved.
A new study says we should thank two key players: weak males with inferior fighting chops and the females who opted to be faithful to them.
Like so many explanations based in Darwinism, this one offers no evidence whatever except how primate apes behave, by contrast:
The mating structure of humans is strikingly different than that of sexually promiscuous chimps, in which a few alpha males dominate other males in the group and, by dint of their superior fighting prowess, freely mate with the females. Lower-status males are largely shut out from mating opportunities.
In addition, male chimps don’t contribute to rearing their young — that is left to the female.
Some scientists believe that ancestors of humans had chimp-like patterns of mating and child-rearing.
“Some scientists” have no basis for this assumption. It’s just as likely that, for all the time we could be considered human, prudent women (and their fathers!) had the foresight to seek out men who would commit.
In part, it’s a generational thing. If dad’s still around by his own choice when his daughter is old enough to marry, he is probably the committed type himself, and doesn’t have much use for the other type. And if their children/grandchildren were more likely to grow up than those of imprudent women left on their own, it would be no surprise if their value system became general, whether or not it is in anyone’s genes.
There, I just told you a speculative, though non-Darwinian, story – in that it owes nothing to primate apes or genes but a considerable amount to what common sense reasoning suggests to most hard-pressed people. If chimps cannot reason thus, what they do is irrelevant.
The transition to pair-bonding was a key step for our big-brained species, because our children take years and much energy to raise to independence. It’s hard for a mother to go it alone.
We’ve noticed. Now here’s the kicker:
How did the transition take place? It’s not a simple question, Gavrilets said.
He worked out a computer model that he says might explain it, but that is about as meaningful as working out a model of astrology* that postdicts the last election.
We already know what happened. His explanation of how it happened is better than someone else’s only if you already accept his theories and believe that we have a lot to learn from chimps.
*Astrology? Yes, because if astrology could really predict future elections with accuracy, it would swiftly be regarded as a science again. It’s not at all a kooky idea that other bodies in the solar system influence events on earth. At a macro level, the gas giants do influence Earth, making it more favourable to life. At the micro-mini level of human affairs, however, it turned out that they don’t influence events. ID-friendly sociologist Steve Fuller thinks Darwinism is now in the same mess that flooredastrology – explanations that don’t explain anything, but merely support the system – and stories like this help us see why.
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