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  • Orgies are human nature

    At least, until hunter-gatherers took up agriculture and invented property.

    http://edition.cnn.com/2010/OPINION/...id=vH_dOzm7COW

    Our bodies, minds and sexual habits all reflect a highly sexual primate. Research from primatology, anthropology, anatomy and psychology points to the same conclusion: A nonpossessive, gregarious sexuality was the human norm until the rise of agriculture and private property just 10,000 years ago, about 5 percent of anatomically modern humans' existence on Earth.

    The two primate species closest to us lend strong -- if blush-inducing -- support to this vision. Ovulating female chimps have intercourse dozens of times per day, with most or all of the willing males, and bonobos famously enjoy frequent group sex that leaves everyone relaxed and conflict-free.

    The human body tells the same story. Men's testicles are far larger than those of any monogamous or polygynous primate, hanging vulnerably outside the body where cooler temperatures help preserve standby sperm cells for multiple ejaculations. Men sport the longest, thickest primate penis, as well as an embarrassing tendency to reach orgasm when the woman is just getting warmed up. These are all strong indications of so-called sperm competition in our species' past.

    Women's pendulous breasts, impossible-to-ignore cries of sexual delight, or "female copulatory vocalization" to the clipboard-carrying crowd, and capacity for multiple orgasms also validate this story of prehistoric promiscuity.
    Dude, seriously, WHAT handkerchief?

    snooggums' density principal: "The more dense a population, the more dense a population."

    Iliana: "You're a great friend but if we're ever chased by zombies I'm tripping you."

  • #2
    Re: Orgies are human nature

    Is it sad that as I am posting this the only thing I can remember is the word "breasts". I guess I'm one of those statistics........... :/

    [unit][squadl][command2]

    KnyghtMare ~You could always tell the person holding the gun to your head you would like to play on a different server...

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    • #3
      Re: Orgies are human nature

      Evolutionarily speaking, eating bread is also unnatural. Same with using computers. Or wiping our butt with toilet paper. Moral to draw? Doesn't matter what is "natural" or "unnatural" evolutionarily speaking. Those concepts, even if they weren't completely vague and ambiguous, don't tell us what we ought to or ought not to be doing now. They don't tell us about the nature of humans today. They only tell us something about our distant ancestors.

      Likewise with comparing great ape behavior and superficial biology. This guy's just doing some amateur biology, anthropology, and philosophy of science in order to sell books.

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      • #4
        Re: Orgies are human nature

        Bread and Orgies !!!
        Evolution for the masses !
        You have to be trusted by the people that you lie to,
        So that when they turn their backs on you,
        You'll get the chance to put the knife in.Pink Floyd "Dogs"

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        • #5
          Re: Orgies are human nature

          Originally posted by sordavie View Post
          Evolutionarily speaking, eating bread is also unnatural. Same with using computers. Or wiping our butt with toilet paper. Moral to draw? Doesn't matter what is "natural" or "unnatural" evolutionarily speaking. Those concepts, even if they weren't completely vague and ambiguous, don't tell us what we ought to or ought not to be doing now. They don't tell us about the nature of humans today. They only tell us something about our distant ancestors.
          I agree it doesn't relate to morality, but the nature of humans 10000 years ago is surely relevant to the nature humans today. 10000 years isn't that "distant".

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          • #6
            Re: Orgies are human nature

            We are hugely different culturally than we were 10,000 years ago, and in this context culturally is probably more important than physiologically. And even physiologically we are way different than we were 100,000 or a million years ago, for purposes of comparing us to other primates.

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            • #7
              Re: Orgies are human nature

              What significant genetic changes occurred in the last 100,000 to 1 million years?

              We are definitely not a single culture. The differences between the US and the Taliban are pretty big, for example. The author of the article says that the big change was the idea of owning your mate and your offspring as extensions of owning the land you raise your crops and livestock on. He claims that the modern objections to "free love" arise from this pattern of ownership.

              I would extend that to speculate that the arrival of cheap transportation (in the form of the car and later trains and planes) moves us back into a hunter-gatherer mindset. We're a much more mobile society that doesn't lock down to lifelong "home" anymore. Combine that with modern attitudes about slavery and women's rights and you have a recipe for the "breakdown of traditional morality". People don't need to own each other anymore.
              Dude, seriously, WHAT handkerchief?

              snooggums' density principal: "The more dense a population, the more dense a population."

              Iliana: "You're a great friend but if we're ever chased by zombies I'm tripping you."

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Orgies are human nature

                That section of the url named "[...]/OPINION/[...]" is surprisingly apt in describing the content of the article.

                Men's testicles are far larger than those of any monogamous or polygynous primate, hanging vulnerably outside the body where cooler temperatures help preserve standby sperm cells for multiple ejaculations. Men sport the longest, thickest primate penis, as well as an embarrassing tendency to reach orgasm when the woman is just getting warmed up. These are all strong indications of so-called sperm competition in our species' past.
                Now wait a minute here, he has the first part wrong. Chimpanzees have testicles twice the size of humans at half the body size, making four times as large by ratio to body size (don't mind me, I watch a lot of Discovery Channel and this was a point of discussion they mentioned in their special on sex--as for why my brain chose to remember this fact...I don't want to know). Hell, the first link on my Google search provided confirmation to my memory, and it's a link to an article written by an MIT researcher. I'm pretty skeptical to any value his books have if he can't do even minute research before making claims. As for the second? Well, he has that right at least.

                As for the last, sounds like a personal problem to me.

                Snark aside, that link I'm referring to is here: http://www.spiritualityhealth.com/sp...eal-reason-sex. Yeah, she has a bit of a religious angle in her article but it's a pretty fairly open article that discusses religion rather than espousing it. It's actually worth a read.

                I seem to recall that the general description for human monogamy has always been that it's not really all that successful but not really for the reasons the original article states.

                ** I love the tags for this thread: breasts, evolution, primates, sex, and ... ... ... economics.

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                • #9
                  Re: Orgies are human nature

                  Originally posted by sordavie View Post
                  Evolutionarily speaking, eating bread is also unnatural. Same with using computers. Or wiping our butt with toilet paper. Moral to draw? Doesn't matter what is "natural" or "unnatural" evolutionarily speaking. Those concepts, even if they weren't completely vague and ambiguous, don't tell us what we ought to or ought not to be doing now. They don't tell us about the nature of humans today. They only tell us something about our distant ancestors.

                  Likewise with comparing great ape behavior and superficial biology. This guy's just doing some amateur biology, anthropology, and philosophy of science in order to sell books.
                  Wiping our butt is another form a grooming. Many animals groom.

                  Using a computer is tool usage. Many animals use tools.

                  Eating bread is natural. I feed bread to ducks. That is natural. (And really making bread is also natural. How can humans do anything unnatural?)

                  I agree that natural doesn't mean it should be accepted. But I always get a chuckle when somebody tries to say something is unnatural with regards to biology or evolution. Unnatural is a word that is completely concerned with human behavior within human defined norms.
                  Iím not racists, I have republican friends. Radio show host.
                  - "The essence of tyranny is the denial of complexity". -Jacob Burkhardt
                  - "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds" - Emerson
                  - "People should not be afraid of it's government, government should be afraid of it's People." - Line from V for Vendetta
                  - If software were as unreliable as economic theory, there wouldn't be a plane made of anything other than paper that could get off the ground. Jim Fawcette
                  - "Let me now state what seems to me the decisive objection to any conservatism which deserves to be called such. It is that by its very nature it cannot offer an alternative to the direction in which we are moving." -Friedrich Hayek
                  - "Don't waist your time on me your already the voice inside my head." Blink 182 to my wife

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                  • #10
                    Re: Orgies are human nature

                    You don't seem to understand the usage of scare quotes in my writing.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Orgies are human nature

                      If you repress all your natural sexual desires and stay true to your wife you'll get cancer.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Orgies are human nature

                        Originally posted by sordavie View Post
                        You don't seem to understand the usage of scare quotes in my writing.
                        Sorry about that. It wasn't really directed towards you. It was directed towards those that make those kinds of statements and actually mean it.

                        Though I must say that you didn't use those scare quotes in the first sentence so it isn't completely clear that you don't consider eating bread natural with regard to evolution.

                        Why is eating bread not natural when speaking about evolution?
                        Iím not racists, I have republican friends. Radio show host.
                        - "The essence of tyranny is the denial of complexity". -Jacob Burkhardt
                        - "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds" - Emerson
                        - "People should not be afraid of it's government, government should be afraid of it's People." - Line from V for Vendetta
                        - If software were as unreliable as economic theory, there wouldn't be a plane made of anything other than paper that could get off the ground. Jim Fawcette
                        - "Let me now state what seems to me the decisive objection to any conservatism which deserves to be called such. It is that by its very nature it cannot offer an alternative to the direction in which we are moving." -Friedrich Hayek
                        - "Don't waist your time on me your already the voice inside my head." Blink 182 to my wife

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Orgies are human nature

                          Because the way that these people use the term 'natural' in the context of human evolutionary history, they mean to be picking out certain evolutionary adaptations and considering their teleological implications. Where was no significant evolutionary adaption for eating bread for our species. Likewise, there's no evolutionary adaptation for using computers or toilet paper. We in fact do use these things and we in fact eat bread. These things have become large parts of human life. But they were not the teleological target for any evolutionary adaptation.

                          This is how they get to argue that monogamy is unnatural. If it turned out that using toilet paper and eating bread were natural in their sense of the natural/unnatural distinction, then monogamy turns out just as natural as either one of those. But in order for them to claim that monogamy is evolutionarily unnatural, they have to claim that evolutionary adaptations have a certain kind of teleology and that monogamy did not end up being evolutionarily targeted (even though it's in fact fairly widespread now). Likewise from this claim it's going to follow that eating bread and wiping your butt with toilet paper are equally unnatural.

                          I hope it's at least clear that I think their use of the natural/unnatural distinction is fairly shallow and unsubstantive. So this is an argument by reductio ad absurdum. Surely there's nothing wrong or unnatural with eating bread or wiping your butt with toilet paper, so the argument forwarded by these teleological evolutionists must have gone wrong.

                          When you use scare quotes you don't have to use it each time you mean to be mocking a word. The use of scare quotes can shift the context of interpretation in certain ways. I intended to be neutral with my use of the term in the first sentence - merely piggybacking their use of the word.

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                          • #14
                            Re: Orgies are human nature

                            I didn't take the article to mean that monogamy was "unnatural", but rather, like computer use, that it's "tool-using" (or a side effect of tool using). It's fallout from switching from a migratory lifestyle to a lifestyle tied to owning land. It seems like they're saying that property-based cultures will tend to favor monogamy, or at least a small number of partners in an ownership relationship.

                            To test that, we could look at recent nomadic cultures that minimize property ownership. Do such cultures exist? Are they polygamous?
                            Dude, seriously, WHAT handkerchief?

                            snooggums' density principal: "The more dense a population, the more dense a population."

                            Iliana: "You're a great friend but if we're ever chased by zombies I'm tripping you."

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Orgies are human nature

                              Hrm, you didn't read the article very carefully then, I suppose. It's clear this is the argument that the author wants to push. Book report/essay analysis time:

                              After presenting his readers some standard background discussion, he sets his thesis out in the 5th paragraph. His thesis is that "This is a problem because there is no reason to believe monogamy comes naturally to human being," and he spends the rest of the article defending that point. He gives a couple of arguments for his points (which I have pointed out are bad because of an easy to spot redutio ad absurdum), and then he considers an objection - that we're not merely our evolutionary ancestors and relatives - and attempts to refute it - he says "but we are." This is all standard procedure or form for a persuasive essay. He is trying to persuade you that there's nothing natural about monogamy.

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