Something that's really bothered me about Christian religions is their complete acceptance of the idea that we are - all of us - products of incestuous relationships.

In their view, it all started with Adam and Eve.  Fast forward a little over 1,000 years and hit the reset button with Noah, his three sons, and the wives of each.

I just can't get past how sick and twisted that is, and how none of them seem to have a problem with it.  

Am I the only one?

Tags: Adam, Ark, Eve, Incest, Noah

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This is a good example of the problems of Christianity and Bible literalism. People really DON'T want to think too deeply about the matter. Anybody that does can't find a satisfying answer, so they don't give one. Either they run up against a brick wall or they smash that wall to pieces.
This is true, I also wanted to bring it up myself.

However, our biology is still anti-incest, if not so much so as our culture. Many studies have found then we choose our mates based on how different their MHC's are from our own (essential components of the body's immune response), which we detect through their pheromones. We each inherit six genes for these, three from each of our parents, that are expressed co-dominantly throughout our lifetime. Mating outside our family tree ensures our offspring gets a unique set of their own, which conveys the greatest protective advantage against disease.
(I think you probably know this actually, I remember you mentioning something about you + science..)
There is a counter-argument and evidence against this, however, which suggests our biology is as much the product of our genetics as our upbringing. Generally people will not find siblings attractive, even if they are not blood related. Being raised together generally instills enough of a psychological deterrent to mating.

The risks of recessive/deleterious/negative gene products is far smaller than the average person assumes. I think there's this crazy idea that if someone mates with their cousin or sibling, they will have deformed or mentally challenged children. While the risk of a child developing a genetic disorder is increased in incest, it's not to the degree people imagine. I don't think incest could be objectively considered high-risk health behavior until it occurs for multiple generations within the same family. One cousin marrying another is generally not going to throw anyone's DNA out of whack, but if a girl marries her brother and their child then marries it's dad well, there will probably be some issues. Furthermore, much of the risk rests on what genetic diseases are within that family's germline to begin with: if you're not carrying for cystic fibrosis or cancer, your kid can't get it, even if you do it with your sister.

I don't want to be an advocate of the Genesis story, but it is absolutely scientifically plausible that two members of a species could give rise to large, genetically-rich population. It actually happens all the time. You can throw a single bacterial species in a test tube and let it replicate, and within a matter of days have distinct progeny that can define as many as twenty different SPECIES -- even though they all share the same single parent (where is Carl Linnaeus when you need him?).
Our sexual reproduction cycle is the greatest hindrance to optimum success in matching that (it just flat out takes way too long to have a human child) but essentially, I don't think we can use this argument against Christians. Science will be on their side -- WE are on their side as evolutionists. All life came from a single cell, and our development as humans was a very slow, gradual process that rested on a very, very small population -- possibly even only 2!

I don't think mocking or challenging the religiously devout for the incest argument is fair or even logically sound. It might even be hypocritical, depending on how you want to define the boundaries of relation.
+10 for incorporating ketchup in the conversation!

I think I understand how there is no genetic defect automatically associated with an incestuous pairing; the defect has to already be present in the parents--regardless of their relation--for the offspring to be "defected" somehow. But you also mentioned regarding Charles Darwin marrying his cousin:

[I]n that case the parents both came from wealthy families where inbreeding was more common than most of us can imagine these days and so it was even more likely that some of the children would have some genetic defects.

If a population is originated by a single breeding pair, wouldn't the subsequent generations necessarily continue inbreeding? If so, wouldn't the inevitable result be multiple generations continually practicing incest and arriving at that increased chance for genetic defects? Why is there an increased chance? Is it just more likely that closely related people will carry the same autosomal recessive disorders?

(I'm sure you know that I'm just being curious and not snarky, but I figured that I would throw in this disclaimer anyways. Oh, and I don't care about my mental block, GREEN KETCHUP IS JUST WRONG!)
Thanks for the explication!

But after only a couple generations the population could easily begin more genetically distanced matings and any defects are likely to be selected against in later generations.

I think that this is the point that I was missing before; I did not fully think through the exponential expansion of a population, assuming that at least three or more offspring survive from each breeding pair (which is probably a fair assumption to make, I would think).

Another misconception that I had regarding incest was that it results in increased chromosomal abnormalities, causing an increased chance of Downs' syndrome and the like. Is there anything to this, or is it just another pop culture myth? (Did I really just label something regarding incest as "pop culture?" I must be a very disturbed person, lol.)

Someday, we'll all eat green ketchup together and look back to these days as our time of unknowing... :)

I may be convinced to indulge in the purple variety, but I will never partake in the blasphemous condiment that is green ketchup!
It doesn't result in any increased chromosomal abnormalities.. I've never heard of that and can't see (from a scientific position) it being possible.

The zygote doesn't know it contains the DNA from two closely related parents, it just divides and goes about its day normally lol =p
The zygote doesn't know it contains the DNA from two closely related parents, it just divides and goes about its day normally lol =p

That makes sense. I really can't remember where I got the idea that incest increased the chance for Downs' Syndrome. I think a lot of my misconceptions about the supposed genetic pitfalls of incest were fostered by an episode of the X-Files called "Home" which was about "a clan of inbred, genetic mutants."

(Yeah, I was a dork in high school and totally obsessed with the X-Files to the point that I spent my Friday nights waiting for it to air on TV, lol. But it actually makes me sad now, because my interest in the show means that I must have been scientifically curious but instead got hooked on the lure of conspiratorial, sensationalized pseudoscience. I mean, the tagline of the X-Files was "I want to believe" rather than "I want to understand;" a main theme of the show was to denigrate Scully's rational, scientific methodology and glorify Mulder's insistence upon some supernatural or conspiratorial explanation.)

have you guys seen the sparkle ketchup?

I always thought that was weird because it was so obviously plastic in your food!
What?! Seriously?! I used to do sparkles in nail polish and art projects as a kid, but to actually consume the sparkles? Ew, that's totally like eating plastic.

Green ketchup may not be the superlative evil which I once held it to be; I am afraid--or perhaps relieved--that it has been dethroned by sparkle ketchup.
lol sparkle ketchup is the weirdest by far.

Surprised you can't go for green -- what about green salsa? That's one of my favorites! And if there's green salsa, green ketchup can't be too bizarre
Actually, B., I do like salsa verde. One good thing about Texas is plethora of really good Mexican restaurants, most of which have unbelievable homemade salsas. There is this local place that has a habanero salsa verde that is to die for.

So I'm not sure what my hang-up with green ketchup is! Maybe I'm stuck on tomatoes being red. Although I have always wanted to try fried green tomatoes...
Well, at least we can agree on one ketchup travesty! :D Call the kethcup army!


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