Since the same sex marriage debate has been front and center in the past few years, christians have been beating us up with the "biblical definition of marriage" which we all know is pretty varied and not completely nailed down there. Pointing to Adam clinging to Eve and becoming one flesh is contradicted in many places where near-eastern polygamy reared it's non-condemned head.

Again, while in a groggy state this morning, this story came across the NPR airwaves about a recent study (two actually) that might give new insight into just why some mammal species evolved to be monogamous. No bible needed, no Yahweh needed, just survival, brains...and maybe love? Have a listen...

For Some Mammals It's One Love, But Reasons Still Unclear : NPR

Fewer than 10 percent of all mammal species are monogamous. In fact, biologists have long disagreed over why monogamy exists at all. That's the subject of two studies published this week — and they come to different conclusions.

(X/P: Chop Shop)

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Comment by Dr. Bob on July 30, 2013 at 5:25pm

I saw both of these studies this week.  From a quick skim, the one proposing infanticide appears the weaker of the two.  Their application of Bayesian statistical modeling is quite interesting, but is open to a number of potential challenges.

Comment by matt.clerke on July 30, 2013 at 7:07pm

Humans are frequently non-manogamous... How often do we hear about the grass being greener on the other side of the marriage fence? In my opinon, these social issues should be such non-issues, the only question we should ask (as legislators) is "why not?"

Comment by H3xx on July 30, 2013 at 8:39pm

My only problem with poly-amorous or polygamous relationships is the marriage system here in the US. The budget is a problem when it comes to relationships of more than two people. If the budget problem here were fixed, then I say knock yourself out, just be on time for work in the morning.

Comment by Unseen on July 31, 2013 at 4:29pm

Didn't Adam and Eve have sex out of wedlock?

Comment by Simon Paynton on August 1, 2013 at 9:14am

I think that males wanting to control the reproductive rights of females is seen throughout the mammalian kingdom, and it's pretty transparent that humans behave this way.  It would appear to be one of the central pillars of morality as it is actually practised.  Of course - the males all want THEIR genes passed on, and not the other guy's. 

Comment by Unseen on August 1, 2013 at 10:00am

the males all want THEIR genes passed on, and not the other guy's. 

I laugh when I hear talk about human males or the males of other species wanting their genes passed along. Speaking for myself, when working up to or having sex, my genes are the last thing on my mind, so what about that male salmon swimming upstream? Can we imagine a little cartoon balloon over his head showing him thinking something like "If I don't get back to the stream where I was born, I won't be able to pass my genes along."

I know that isn't what biologists mean, I just think it's a very funny and untrue way of talking.

Let's face it, human males just want to get laid!

Comment by Simon Paynton on August 1, 2013 at 2:59pm

"human males just want to get laid!"  - thirded. 

"males want to protect their offspring once they are born."  - seconded. 

We can also look at "honour killings", the gender double-standard, - it springs up everywhere.  Like any basic drive, it's buried deep and isn't something we go around saying to each other explicitly.  The human male assumes that he has a say in how human females reproduce - in general. 

Comment by Unseen on August 1, 2013 at 4:44pm

We can also look at "honour killings", the gender double-standard, - it springs up everywhere.  

Not here in the US, unless it's a Muslim family. Where do you live, Simon? I assumed it was England, but maybe it's Saudi Arabia(?).

Comment by Simon Paynton on August 1, 2013 at 5:08pm

I live in the UK, we have quite a few honour killings here.  There are a lot of people from India, Pakistan and other South Asian countries as well as Moslems. 

Comment by Unseen on August 1, 2013 at 5:25pm

Well, then, let's at least allow that it's pretty rare in the Christian world, not excusing its other faults.


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