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Human evolution: An illustration of why Darwinism is like astrology

/Laszlo Bencze

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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"So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. 22 And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made[h] into a woman and brought her to the man. 23 Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” 24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh."
Mahuna, it really isn't as hard as you make it. Monogamy was the original design and it was distorted along the way. We were designed for monogamy. Marriage itself was designed and created by the Creator for the benefit of His creatures. Most of the problems with marriage come because we reject the design for marriage that God gave us in the name of freedom and happiness. Somehow, I don't think it has brought us happiness. Freedom? Yes, but not true happiness. If marriage is a man made convention, then there are no rules that we cannot break. It can be redesigned, tweaked, changed to meet our selfish desires, but if marriage was designed and ordained by God, then we should not expect to find happiness when we deliberately reject God's good design. tjguy
Agreed that it is a sociology, not biology, topic. Can't help the fact that biologists will meddle where they shouldn't, and drag chimps in. Comment: More technically advanced societies tend to distribute responsibility more widely because that increases the chance that someone will do something for the kid. As opposed to dumping the load on someone who can't easily escape (mom?). Also, technical advance means that we can't fail to know what really happened if we flee responsibility. So guilt sets in. News
You're guessing. Read anything on the social organization of "primitive" societies. There was/is a wide variety of arrangements for "shacking up". Modern, city-dwelling humans have found formal husband-wife arrangements to be the most stable and profitable. This isn't a Biology topic; it's a Sociology topic. But again, the basic topic is pair bonds in pre-humans. There is absolutely no evidence to support this. For a scientist to propose any specific gene manipulation was behind the pairing seen in modern humans does not even qualify as a theory. It's just an excuse to get more grant money. I would also note in passing that the longheld belief in lifelong pair bonds in some birds has proven to have some holes in it. The paired mates build nests together every year, but examination of the DNA of the eggs laid in the nest show that the female half of the pair is mating with several partners each season. And this should mean that the male half is mating with other nesting females. So, if you look too hard for something (e.g., pair bonds), you will surely find them. mahuna
You know, Mahuna, monogamy was probably far more common than you seem to think, and certainly far older. The fact that a society permits polygamy does not mean that most men can be polygamous, any more than the fact that a society permits a man to own a Maserati means that most men can afford one. Also, infanticide (where legal) differentially targets females, meaning that in peacetime, resulting imbalances force unwilling bachelorhood on many men. Meanwhile, no situation that leaves women to raise children all alone is likely to be favoured by women. (Modern social welfare states are a historical anomaly.) Couples may or may not live together but, absent a welfare state, it is very much in a woman's interests to make certain that someone or some group in addition to her is on the hook. Most societies that had figured out where babies come from have supposed that it should be the child's father or someone he provides. News
There is a fair bit of collapsing human history here. When Europeans first made contact with Australian aborigines, the aborigines had not yet connected sexual intercourse with pregnancy. That is, males and females within the extended family band "did it" with each other whenever they felt like it. There was no husband-father concept. Powerful males may have attempted, with varying degrees of success, to prevent other males from playing with the more desirable females, but this could not have been entirely effective. It is well documented, including in the Bible, that groups of humans organized themselves into a variety of male-female arrangements that did not include male-female monogamous lifelong pair bonds. The Bible at one point describes one of the common arrangements where the mother continues to live with her relatives and the father continues to live with his. The children look upon their uncle (the mother's brother) as their "father". There are/were any number of societies in the Amazon and the Pacific Islands where the women (and immature males) lived in 1 house and the men (and adolescent males) lived in another. When one of the men desired sex, he moved into the women's house for a few days. The resulting children were raised by the women. Monogamous lifelong human couples are VERY modern. There is absolutely no reason to suggest that Australopithecus or Neanderthal or even Cro Magnon habitually dwelt as monogamous pairs. That is entirely a "social evolution" thing and has nothing to do with genes or ancestors. mahuna

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