I'm fairly sure most (all) of us feel parent/child incest is wrong, and for fairly obvious reasons. 

However, if a brother and sister are very careful about pregnancy prevention or, better, one or both of them is unable to conceive, what would be wrong with it?

BTW, I'm NOT trying to decide whether to do it with my sister (LOL). This is just a question that came to mind while in a discussion with another person.

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I've read a lot of responses that touch on, or discuss the genetic mutations and other genetic problems inherent with a child produced from an incestuous relationship.  But we have only known about this for a couple of centuries.  The taboo started long before this.  There may be groups of peoples that are still unaware of the effect of genes intermixing, yet they will likely still have a taboo on incest.

So the interesting question is why the taboo, when you set it in the background of genetic ignorance?.

I think perhaps even then they recognized the toxicity of breaking such relationships off, which often occurs.

I don't think that explains the revulsion we might feel at an incestuous relationship.  If we were ignorant of the genetic implications, would it still be taboo?  If so, why?

Nobody feels revulsion at the thought of how complicated a potential break-up might be.  They probably should, but do we really think that would put someone off?

I think the taboo was based on the consequences of the entanglements you speak of becoming a problem. This is often how taboos start - an overgeneralization of an adverse advent without actual understanding its causes. Taboos are a form of traditionalized belief that has been strongly indoctrinated against. It's common for minor preadolescent siblings to sexually experiment with each other (or at least not rare!) according to past clinical studies. It's a learned aversion as are all other taboos. 

Oh, religion shares the same roots as taboos based on the above definitions and the fact that taboos and religions co-exist together is more understandable in this context. Look how many of those taboos relate to sex in general and have a religious backing. It's not an accident.

You're talking about the two people involved, who are driven by their passion. 

I'm talking about the society they're in. 

It's the unfortunate consequences of that passion that could be the cause of their societies folkways as I postulated above. In smaller, more insular cultures individuals are more likely to have a stronger influence in the pattern of such a societies development. In our current Western culture the number of people who have that degree of influence is more circumscribed - but you can see how those people have an effect (U.S. presidents for example). A culture is a dynamic, emergent property of its environment and popular composition. Attempting to compartmentalize the actions of individuals from the their society is often fallacious. 

I've heard claims that we are evo-psych "hard wired" to not want to have sex with people we grew up with.

Not sure I believe it.

There is no evidence to support such a conclusion that I have seen beyond anecdote from casual observation. The patterns of marriage practices I've learned about during my comparative anthropology studies would tend to discredit that.  

My anthropology courses have taught me the opposite conclusion. Citings to real studies would be cool (for both of us).

Whether specific behavior among animals is "natural" or not is also a meaningful baseline, even if we humans are supposedly superior in our ways because we have higher cognitive abilities. I say "meaningful" in the sense that animal baseline behavior can help explain where much of our ingrained, hard to intellectualize/discuss "I don't know why but I just feel it should be thus" prejudices. The power of reason and behavioral pre-thought are very, very recent outcomes of our evolution.

I was in an independent study course. Probably would create differences without the lecture. And my materials were from the 60s mostly I think. :(

Being a poor student sucked. But I do recall some animal studies where they found that several species avoid consanguinity - of course your average male dog will fuck anything that moves - or doesn't! And bonobos (sp?) are pretty promiscuous but I don't know what their limits are. 

So many species with different instincts. 

I think I weasel worded that well enough to indicate I wasn't sure I believed it either.

It's something I read in dead-tree format 20 years ago; I'd never be able to find it even if I hadn't probably thrown out the periodical it was in.

I don't think that explains the revulsion we might feel at an incestuous relationship. If we were ignorant of the genetic implications, would it still be taboo? If so, why?

I think it would be.

Selection pressure favors healthy reproductive behavior. Even without knowing about the genetics, incest (particularly between siblings) produces fewer offspring, and the offspring produced has a higher infant mortality rate, is less fertile, and more prone to genetic disorders (especially of the immune system). Over several generations a lack of genetic diversity makes a breeding population more vulnerable to disease, environmental change, and mutation. The Vadoma "ostrich people" of Zimbabwe are one modern-day example: it is strictly against custom to marry outside of the tribe.

Selection pressure also favors beneficial social behavior. Consider the social implications of incestuous relationships in a primitive society consisting of a hundred individuals organized into family units. The established hierarchy of mother, father, sister, and brother breaks down when you have a sister-mother, father-grandfather, uncle-brother-father, or you're an aunt to yourself.

Most feelings of revulsion are associated with biologically unhealthy behaviours. This is the reason we find the thought of eating maggoty rotten meat so disgusting. So too with the tendency to recoil at the thought of incest with a close family member.

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