Personally, I'm in favor of marriage. The public declaration of fealty steers the focus of any marital problems onto resolution rather than dissolution. However, I don't think the question should be, "Should gay couples be allowed to marry?". It should be, "Why is the government involved, AT ALL, in how people wish to structure their households?".
We should be relying on government for assistance in enforcing contracts. But how these contracts are structured should be entirely up to the people involved. This, of course, includes people who wish to structure their households around participation by more than two individuals.
I guess there needs to be a set of default contracts (to protect children and establish ownership of chattels, etc.) which are deemed to be in effect when people share a household; but, other than that, the government should have no role.
I know that polygamy facilitates some injustices that never occur in "traditional" marriages <joke>, but is polygamy sufficiently evil by its nature to require the government to ban it?
"theistic patriarchal system"
Do you have an example of a non-theistic patriarchal system in which polygamy is normal? It is part of that very system and rightly considered deviance from the norm. It's not an uncommon social system among other primates, but that doesn't immediately need we need to take it up in ours.
As for historical bias you are absolutely correct. Is there any other way of judging its most likely impact than looking at what it has done to societies in the past?
Physical violence is anti-social behavior and most often committed by men. Usual markers include a vast number of things including social position, religion, upbringing, brain chemistry - and being single. Married men usually beat their wife, single men beat other men. There are more victims of the second category because they don't always beat the same guy twice. If 1 guy has 10 wifes, 9 other guys don't have a partner. If 1 in 10 is violent and each violent man beats on average 9 other men, then you have essentially created a system with more victims of violence. Count it however you like, but the only place the model breaks down if is no men are violent.
The vast number of families which are not counted among the poor will not expand outside their ability to provide. I only know the stats from my own country, but some trends which has stood out is that women who had 2 children in their late teens/early twenties, quite often had a third child in their forties an with another man. They essentially calculated that they could afford 2 children "back then" and suddenly after the children became financially independent, that they could afford another one. Resource access is a natural modifier of number of children. Time is one of them - most women don't have time for children until long after they probably should.
Today things are completely different, most women now get kids first in their mid- and late thirties. Avg. age for a first birth has actually crossed from around 20 to around 30 in a bit more than 30 years.
Polygamy affects more than the people directly involved, and this is therefore what must be the starting point for analysis. Not the rights of the polygamist.
"I agree with a number of your statements, but I don't think allowing polygamy would solve any of them. Moreover, solving issues between two parties is enough - adding a third, fourth, fifth etc just serve to complicate issues in non-functioning families exponentially. The religion link is especially worrying as most religions condone child abuse."
Polygamy isn't meant to solve any issues outside the desire to commit to more than one person at once, for whatever reasons, and to give those "extra" spouses legal rights and discourses should something go wrong.
I also don't see any religious link here, unless you're talking about religious practice of polygamy as with Mormon Fundies. I don't see how it would even matter. There are laws against abuse of people, especially children. Marriage and those laws are separate for a damn good reason. Religious peoples are not excused from these laws and many kids get removed from such abusive situations. Enforcement isn't 100%, but that's not the point here and not important to this discussion.
"Count it however you like, but the only place the model breaks down if is no men are violent."
Violence here is more based on poverty than anything else. The violence in other areas with weird sex-ratios also tend to be impoverished, which ups the level of violence considerably. They also tend to be uneducated and have little access to things like healthcare, basic food and clean water.
Correlation is NOT causation. Keep that in mind.
"Correlation is NOT causation."
That's just absurd. It would imply that the study of science is inherently incorrect. Correlation does not automatically prove causation, that's the point of the surrounding logic. I acknowledged clearly that I was not creating a perfect model and was focusing of a subset of a subset of a subset etc. The only possibility to claim I am dishonest is if there is absolutely no empirical evidence to support the assumptions.
I doubt any of us have the expertize to look at anything than small bits of a major issue. There are thousands of factors with varying degree of importance, I've tried to pick some which should be so immediately obvious to anyone that having to go through the hassle of sourcing everything shouldn't be required.
Scientists will tell you this. This is the first rule of study. One does not use things like poling as the primary source of evidence as they do not filter out informational bias. Correlation really doesn't equal causation. You can correlate all you want, but without additional evidence your findings will not pass muster within the scientific community.
This is fact. I love science, and I plan on cramming my life as full of it as I can. Spotting bad science is just as important as doing good science!
Scientists have actually taught me personally to use statistics to find correlation and logic to find causation. All statistical evidence is based on correlation, and all science is based on statistical evidence.
What you really want to comment upon is the perceived lack of R^2 or that I am not correcting the model for bias. The bias is based upon perception, but within the behavioral sciences perception is usually reality.
You've got to be kidding me.
Polygamy is gender-neutral. IF the system is actually gender-neutral, and not polygyny or polyandry, which is a mandated (traditionally by religious edict) gender-imbalance, then there IS NO SURPLUS OF MEN. If 1 guy has 10 wives, those 10 wives ALSO have 10 husbands, leaving no man "single" unless he's just an asshole who nobody wants to date. Sorry, but dictating 1 man + 1 woman doesn't automatically mean every guy gets a girl either if he's too big of a jerk to attract one.
You are also assuming 100% heterosexuality, which is not the case.
In a system where 1 guy has 10 wives, and he beats each of those wives, and each of those wives ALSO has 10 husbands of her own, that's 100 other guys who are going to beat the wife-beater's ass (assuming one of the wives doesn't get to him first - I'm certainly scarier than any of my male partners and my boyfriend's wife is scarier than me).
Within the poly community, THIS DOES NOT HAPPEN because of the interconnectivity of the community. This only happens in insulated, patriarchal societies that have built up a system to protect the abuser. But when the society is egalitarian, as the poly community is, each person has too much accountability to too many other people to get away with shit like that. This is not a function of polygamy. This is a function of abuse, of poverty, of patriarchy, and of authoritarian-based religion, and it is equally a problem in monogamy. What makes it *less* of a problem in monogamy is a society that is increasingly growing more egalitarian and less poverty-stricken.
As we like to say, when you develop a reputation for not playing well with others, eventually no one will play with you. Abusers, in our communities, quickly find themselves without anyone to abuse because there are too many other eyes looking out for each other.
"Polygamy is gender-neutral."
As a term: yes. As a concept: no.
The vast majority of polygamists, defined in the context of this debate as those who would like a legally and socially accepted standing for the act of polygamy, are men. In places it is legal it is a male dominated activity.
The good thing with starting off with an erroneous conclusion is that it makes the rest of your arguments inconsequential. :)
No, polyGYNY is a predominantly male activity, not polygamy. Polygamy is gender-neutral. You are also assuming that sex and partners are inherently "resources" and this is not true. Some societies view them as resources, but not all. Mostly, it's patriarchal societies that view sex and mating as resources. Egalitarian and matriarchal societies typically do not.
Historically, the optimal size for a family unit has never been two parents and kids. It has always been a multi-adult household because multiple adults have more access to resources than two adults, such as income, or farm labor, or hunting & gathering. The 2-parent family did not come into existence as a 'norm" until the Industrial Revolution, and kids who have more than 2 adults to care for them fare better.
The only difference is that a polygamous or polyamorous household would have more than 2 adults who have sex with each other, rather than 2 parents, 4 grandparents, and 13 aunts and uncles.
"Egalitarian and matriarchal societies typically do not."
And you believe a person who grew up in one of the most (objectively speaking) egalitarian and female value dominated societies in the world will not be of a differently informed opinion on the matter..? Btw, muslims are very matriarchal societies.
Some of my friends from the region get yelled at for hours on a daily basis by their mothers for every little mistake they do, and this on-going psychological abuse will continue until their mother is finally dead. Not a very good social trait.