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CaliforniaPeggy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-12-08 01:44 PM
Original message
Want a man, or a worm? In today's Los Angeles Times...
Among mammals, expecting monogamy tends to run against the grain of nature.

By David P. Barash
March 12, 2008
As an evolutionary biologist, I look at New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer's now-public sexual indiscretions and feel justified in saying, "I told you so."

One of the most startling discoveries of the last 15 years has been the extent of sexual infidelity (scientists call it "extra-pair copulations" or EPCs) among animals long thought to be monogamous. It's clear that social monogamy -- physical association and child rearing between a male and a female -- and sexual monogamy are very different things. The former is common; the latter is rare.

At one point in the movie "Heartburn," Nora Ephron's barely fictionalized account of her marriage to reporter Carl Bernstein, the heroine tearfully tells her father about her husband's infidelities, only to be advised, "You want monogamy? Marry a swan." Yet thanks to DNA evidence, we know now that even those famously loyal swans aren't sexually monogamous.

One species that is, and, significantly, perhaps the only one that could be reliably designated as such, is Diplozon paradoxum, a parasitic worm that inhabits the intestines of fish. Among these animals, male and female pair up while adolescents; their bodies literally fuse together, whereupon they remain sexually faithful until death does not them part.

More at link:
http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/la-oe-barash12mar12,0,4401296.story
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Warpy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-12-08 01:52 PM
Response to Original message
1. Fused bodies?
No thanks. I'd rather he hire a whore when he needs a little extra of his favorite activity.

Well, just as long as I'd get an equivalent amount of cash to blow on mine.
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hvn_nbr_2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-12-08 08:48 PM
Response to Reply #1
29. Fused bodies? Maybe that's what that woman in Kansas was trying to do...
but she wasn't quite clear on the concept. The fish parasites do it in the host's intestines, so she thought the next best thing was in the host's bathroom. But but but..., you say? Why, to think that, she'd have to be so stupid that... that... that she'd sit on a toilet for 2 years. Do I even want to hit "Post message"?
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Me. Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-12-08 01:53 PM
Response to Original message
2. Interesting
K & R
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selador Donating Member (706 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-12-08 02:00 PM
Response to Original message
3. nobody (with a brain)
denies that evolutionary biology resulted in us evolving into creatures that seek sex.

for men, the evidence is clear that we disproportionately (compared to women) seek multiple sequential partners because that allows us to spread more seed, impregnate more women, and pass on our genetic code.

all well and good.

LOTS of stuff we do in society, to include reigning in our impulses to take whatever we want, kill, assault, etc. are 'against the grain of nature'

so, that's not really the point

what seperates us from the beasts is we can CHOOSE to go against our base, venal, selfish, horny nature and choose monogamy, choose (nor not choose) to lay off sex until marriage, choose not to punch anybody that offends us, etc.

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siligut Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-12-08 02:07 PM
Response to Reply #3
5. Right, we have a cerebral cortex.
Humans associate sex with love. To follow a model of instinct is a step backward. That being said, all the fuss about sex is just irritating and I damn the puritans.
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DarkTirade Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-12-08 02:15 PM
Response to Reply #3
6. Why Mr. Anderson? Why do you persist?
Edited on Wed Mar-12-08 02:16 PM by DarkTirade


Is it that you think you are fighting for something? What is it? Do you even know? Is it Freedom, or independence, or is it for love? Lies Mr. Anderson all lies created by a race searching for meaning or purpose, all as false as the matrix itself. Although only a human mind could create something as insipid as love! Why Mr Anderson? WHY DO YOU PERSIST?


Because... I choose to.



... and that's all I have to say about that. :P
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siligut Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-12-08 02:27 PM
Response to Reply #6
7. Pretty close to perfect.
Even Revolutions couldnt unravel the elated profundity of the Matrix.
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Ellen Forradalom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-12-08 04:48 PM
Response to Reply #3
14. My goodness, what a negative characterization
"we can CHOOSE to go against our base, venal, selfish, horny nature"

How about our joyful, loving natures?

And to equate laying off sex until marriage with not punching someone in the face?


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siligut Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-12-08 04:58 PM
Response to Reply #14
15. It did sound a little harsh.
The way I read it the equating was between base desires, sex and aggression, not between sex and aggression.
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Ellen Forradalom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-12-08 05:04 PM
Response to Reply #15
16. It's true we have the power to make choices
regarding our desires, but our desires tell us something important about ourselves. We have desires, we have a lot of desires, and they push us towards fulfillment. The chocolate gets eaten, we buy that new dress..and sometimes we have sex outside the bounds of acceptability. It happens.


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selador Donating Member (706 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-12-08 05:35 PM
Response to Reply #16
23. yes
and if you ignored all society's rules, all taboos, laws, structures etc. and solely did what you want, the classical egoistical hedonist, you would be a monster - men especially, who have 10 times the exogenous testosterone of women, are more aggressive. contrary to many social 'scientists' (who ignore science in favor of ideology usually see: tabula rasa gender theories) claims, we evolved somewhat differently, for somewht differnt tasks. but SOCIETY says we have the same rules. men can't say "i'm a man, i'm not responsible for rape". that's the point. we can CHOOSE.

society's rules may seem arbitrary at times, and often need tweaking, but we have evolved beyond the jungle... although 20 minutes on the floor of the chicago commodities exchange and you might doubt that statement :)

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Ellen Forradalom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-12-08 06:38 PM
Response to Reply #23
25. Most of the time, most of us
are spectacularly successful at making good choices and following rules. Lapses happen though. Folks sometimes do something they never quite set out to do. That's all I'm sayin'.
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selador Donating Member (706 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-12-08 07:26 PM
Response to Reply #25
26. absolutely
note: typo in my last post . should have read ENDOGENOUS not EXogenous.

heck, the law even allows for diminished capacity defense for when people's lapses are beyond their control.

twinkies and all...

:)

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selador Donating Member (706 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-12-08 05:32 PM
Response to Reply #15
22. right
sex and aggression are both natural.

men especially want to have sex with as many as possible, and women especially can be violent when protecting offspring (true of ANY species).

the point is that society is part of our evolved nature. it's a construct that has evolved in concert with US to help us choose right or wrong, punish those who choose wrong, and protect us from those who choose to prey on the weak and those that can't defend themselves.

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quip Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-12-08 05:30 PM
Response to Reply #14
19. And we pay the price. There are ALWAYS consequences for EVERY action
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selador Donating Member (706 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-12-08 05:30 PM
Response to Reply #14
20. it's not an equation
it recognizes that we have instinctual (many species'ists think man is above instincts, but that's another story)

drives, desires, wants

food, sex, etc.

when we get angry we naturally want to strike out.

we are evolved apes, but we still have similar drives.

it's called being pragmatic.

i'm not saying we don't have something special - call it a divine spark if yer a theist, or evolved nature if you aint. but regardless we have it

we have a conscience, we can learn about right and wrong and we can CHOOSE right or wrong.

frankly, i find that very elevating. we can choose our path, make our chaoice.

do we also have a loving joyful nature? yes

but spend some time in nature, and you'll see plenty else.

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quip Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-12-08 05:31 PM
Response to Reply #3
21. Correct!
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lumberjack_jeff Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-12-08 05:44 PM
Response to Reply #3
24. It isn't only men who are influenced by biology. n/t
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selador Donating Member (706 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-12-08 07:31 PM
Response to Reply #24
27. of course
my point is that they are to some extent DIFFERENTLY influenced since, on average, they have different biology.

men, in general, are more aggressive than women. that's only on average. it doesn't mean man X is more aggressive than woman Y. individuals vary.

my point was just that our biology, which has evolved over eons, results in many predilictions, drives, impulses, etc.

those differ, to some extent , between the genders - and that the gender theorists (social scientists mostly) who for decades claimed the differences were solely SOCIALLY CONSTRUCTED were/are ignorant of science. they are one of the examples of leftists unfortunately ignoring facts and science, just as stupid as creationists who do so.

there are many hormones that influence behavior - estrogen, testosterone, adrenaline, oxytocin, etc.

they are not the sole reason for our drives (or the differences in behavior between men and women), but they contribute.

and regardless - we still have free will.

most 18 yr old boys have a drive to schtup everything with a pulse. doesn't excuse, for example, date rape.

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ben_meyers Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-12-08 02:03 PM
Response to Original message
4. It's a good thing we have a scientist
to explain something that most of us already knew. What would we do without them?
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siligut Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-12-08 04:02 PM
Response to Reply #4
8. Where are you coming from?
Did you aim this at the OP or more in the vein of science: "it doesn't take a federal grant to figure that out"?
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ben_meyers Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-12-08 04:30 PM
Response to Reply #8
11. Yes. n/t
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Solon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-12-08 04:26 PM
Response to Original message
9. Some Angler fish species also qualify as monogamous...
Edited on Wed Mar-12-08 04:31 PM by Solon
The males are about a thousandth the size of the female, yes, every single picture and movie you've ever seen of Angler fish, with their huge mouths and glow in the dark probes are female. The males then attach themselves to the female, living off of her, and become sperm factories. This happens for life as well.

Black widows would qualify also though only because the males almost never survive their first mating.

ON EDIT: Here's a picture:

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CaliforniaPeggy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-12-08 04:30 PM
Response to Reply #9
10. My dear Solon...
Edited on Wed Mar-12-08 04:32 PM by CaliforniaPeggy
What a cool fact that is!

Hmmm...maybe my next life, I'll return as one of them!

On edit: What a great pic! Thanks for posting it...
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Solon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-12-08 04:37 PM
Response to Reply #10
12. The only problem is that the males are literally bloodsuckers in the case of Anglers...
oh well, I guess on balance it would work out. ;)

Added a picture of my example.

To be honest, there is no accepted theory on this, studies of sexual dimorphism(differences between males and females), seems to suggest that the greater it is, the more polygamy is displayed, with some exceptions, like the example of the fish I provided. The reason is not just mating, but rearing the young, the less differences between males and females, the more likely it is that the male of the species will have a function beyond mating, and help rear the young. This also trends to lead to monogamous relationships.
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siligut Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-12-08 04:43 PM
Response to Reply #9
13. That is cool.
Very interesting fact. Some people still want to apply Anthropomorphism to other species, must come from over association cartoon animals in childhood, weirdest theory I can come up with right now.
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agent46 Donating Member (424 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-12-08 05:22 PM
Response to Original message
17. And then there's sequential hermaphroditism
which nicely highlights aspects of the ambiguity of sex in Nature - for those who don't insist on simple binary patterns for their sex and love...
The colorful Clownfish lives symbiotically within the poisonous sea anemone and is actually capable of morphing its own sex when the community requires it. The sexual arrangement, apparently, is a group thing. :-)

"Clownfish live in small groups inhabiting a single anemone each. Most always a breeding pair, consisting of a single mating female and one mating male, cohabit with a few non-mating smaller male fish. When the dominant female dies, the dominant male changes sex and becomes the female. They exhibit a sexual life style known as sequential hermaphroditism, and specifically the protandrous form where they begin as males and can later in life switch to using functioning female gonads."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clown_fish

I wonder what the human emotional analog would be here?

Ah love!

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Marr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-12-08 05:24 PM
Response to Original message
18. Isn't that the point of society?
We engage in lots of behavior that goes against our basic instincts, in the interests of social harmony. My body tells me to sleep until the sun comes up, for instance-- but that won't do if I want to pay rent.

I don't understand this equating of impulse with action. How you deal with your impulses largely defines you. I think less of a person who cheats on their spouse.
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pink-o Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-12-08 07:44 PM
Response to Reply #18
28. Y'know, to me it's the deception that's so heinous...
Edited on Wed Mar-12-08 07:45 PM by pink-o
If you're in a committed relationship and you cheat and don't tell your SO, you're just a big yellow-bellied coward. And lazy on top of it.

Listen, every relationship has its tensions. So why can't we show our SO's a bit of respect, and talk to them if we're thinking of straying? Or if it happens spontaneously, go home and fucking confess it all!! If you love somebody, you need to be HONEST, not perfect! Respect means you keep your loved one informed, you don't let them find out about your infidelities from another source.

But that's too hard, you don't wanna make your loved one cry, or maybe even leaver you. So you hide and deceive, and you get to have your cake and eat it too. The ultimate cowardice--be honest and take the consequences like a real man/woman!
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