Sexual promiscuity and double standard

March 21, 2007 at 2:24 pm (ethics, feminism, sex)

It’s quite common for society to view women who sleep around less favourably than men who sleep around. It might even be taken to the extreme where the promiscuous woman is frowned upon and the promiscuous man is cheered.

Even as I write this, I feel compelled to say that I am not promiscuous. So even I do not wish to be judged this way.

I recently read The Double Standard by Donald Symons in which he discusses why this is the case:

The male desire for sexual variety may also pay off reproductively if it results in obtaining additional wives, especially young wives, and the strength of the sexual desire for young women may vary with male age. It seems likely that throughout human history in early middle age married men often became able to obtain and to support an additional wife or wives, and hence the sexual desire for young women would be especially adaptive at this age.

As a man never can be certain of paternity, a cuckold risks investing in the offspring of, and having his wife’s reproductive efforts tied up by, a reproductive competitor; as a woman always is certain of maternity, and as her husband’s adultery does not diminish his capacity to inseminate her, a wife may risk little if her husband engages in extramarital sex.

From an evolutionary perspective, however, a wife’s most important sexual attribute by far is fidelity, and this male tendency is less paradoxical

What does everyone else think?

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72 Comments

  1. BDS said,

    Like other reductionist explanations for complicated cultural phenomena, the evolutionary “explanation” for the double standard seems more enlightening than it is. In other words, there is considerable diversity in the extent to which different cultures have a double standard. Is this diversity to be explained by simple, evolutionary theories?

    Certainly some anthropologists (and sociobiologists) have tried to show how cultural “memes” have evolutionary principles of their own. But would the double standard exist if men didn’t have the preponderance of political and economic power? Is the double standard weakening, now that women have gained some economic equality? Or is it all about improved birth control?

    Until evolutionary theories can suggest answers to these questions, they are mildly interesting, but not particularly enlightening.

  2. rachel said,

    He has tried to cover different cultures. He writes:

    In cross-cultural perspective there is no doubt that husbands typically are more concerned about their wives’ fidelity than wives are about their husbands’ fidelity.

    At first I was a little sceptical about this, but his reference is a Yale university study (although it’s dated 1945).

  3. BDS said,

    I believe it. But what does that prove? I”m sure men are economically and politically more powerful than women in most societies, too. Is that because of the “cuckold” factor as well?

    The problem with evolutionary explanations for cultural phemena is that they are simplistic and circular. If a custom exists (a double standard, for example), the evolutionary theorists assume it MUST have adaptive value. However, we know that humans have tail bones, and that tail bones have no value to us.

    So the argument is: because it makes genetic, Darwinian sense that men should be more jealous than women, the “cuckold” factor “explains” the fact that men ARE more jealous than women. But that’s ridiculous. The explanation is complicated and diverse. Some men are jealous, some women are jealous. Some cultures promote a double standard, other cultures promote greater equality. The problem with simplistic, reductionist explanations is that some think they need look no further. But the “explanation” for the double standard is surely found not in biological imperatives alone, but also in myth, cultural convention, literature, community mores, etc.

  4. olya d said,

    I’m sorry to say that something inside of me leans in favour of this stereotype…I know logically it makes no sense. If we equate men and women, which is what society was driven towards for a long time now it seems, it should be that there are similar “consequences” of opinions surrounding promiscuous men and promiscuous women.

    I mean, why would you even justify sleeping around? What’s wrong w/ it , if both involved want it? What’s there to justify?

    I think it is more that we think that sleeping around in general is wrong, and women who are supposed to be discreet and unassuming, and only show interest when they’re asked…if they are initiating this sort of behaviour , it’s looked upon as outrageous. Meanwhile “boys will be boys” – this is one of the rules they’re somewhat allowed to break.

  5. commfy said,

    Rachel wrote:
    It’s quite common for society to view women who sleep around less favourably than men who sleep around. It might even be taken to the extreme where the promiscuous woman is frowned upon and the promiscuous man is cheered.

    I’ve seen that before, certainly. But it seems to be the promiscuous men cheering each other on. A sick sight, really. 😦

  6. rabeldin said,

    I recall a situation in which a gay young man complained that he was not able to participate in the monday morning sessions where conquests are bragged about. I had a hard time sympathizing with him since bragging about heterosexual conquests seems too puerile for anyone to envy.

  7. ambiyala said,

    Rachel, I do see the double standard and it has been going on for many years . I have a question for you and maybe others can help as well. What is it with this “hooking-up” thing? And what does it really mean? I am hearing that high school and college age girls are doing it and that they are the ones making the moves on the guys. Are they afraid of double standard judgments by their peers or is this a trend that is acceptable among youth today? Again, I am not sure what it means so any help in explaining it to this old-timer would be greatly appreciated.

  8. jaoman said,

    The double standard, upon consideration, yields itself far from as simple or one sided as may be hoped by the many who seek either to abolish or understand its presence. Also, never is it near to being universal, which is a relevant factor to keep in mind when deliberating its origins. People have been citing the evolutionary explanation for the duration of this thread; however, it strikes me, that’s but a sidestepping of the issue. It is not the roots, deep in the soil of history and untouchable, that we’re trying to see, but what has sprouted: the world to day.

    What causes would the modern world have to frown on promiscuity, and what groups do they consequently belong to?
    1. Sexual diseases.
    2. Marital insecurity.
    3. Custom.

    The first of these is by far the simplest. In this arena, everyone tends to frown on the act to some level. However, this is also the most lethal area of the issue, thence the most repressed. No one wants to see death on their front door. Is it any wonder the famous insecurity about graveyards – housing wraiths, demons, and all kinds of nastiness in common folk lore. It’s rather illogical. Were I the demon, I’d go somewhere else to find live victims. For the most part, that cause is canceled out by the very seriousness of the issue. People try their utmost not to think on it. Certainly, people of the medical profession make a stir, as well as those who’ve fallen to the beast, yet even they remain only as a distant hollering. And, just as well, this is the attitude among the promiscuous. We want to make believe our safety: that we do.

    The second factor, doubtlessly, is the most potent source of insecurity, and it is here that the crucial division of the issue makes its appearance. What is matrimony, once we extract it from the robes of custom, but a joint agreement to raise a child or children? Just so, the noose of responsibility for this enterprise hangs far more around the woman, than ever a man. The fact of the matter is, to the man, his obvious role is completed come pregnancy. But, this estimation disagrees with the woman. This is as much an evolutionary factor as a practical one: the woman needs a provider while weighed down, quite literally, with the child. Layered upon this, consider another factor: the word “slut” is far more an insult among womenfolk, than ever with men. Males are just as likely, if not eager, to smile wistfully as the title, because, to a man, it signals a partner with his own expectations; while, to a woman, the conception is far more a matter of treachery, and a much superior threat to her well being.

    In this sense, the double standard is not a matter of social inequality among the sexes. And it isn’t promoted by the “dominating” party of the issue. Rather, the case is a physical one. It is a standard imposed by women as a deterrent of this behavior, which has chance and precedent of damaging the collective.

    Of course, the above explanation does not cover all. It is a generalization. Which is a good point to make in regards to cause number three: custom. This is a word I’m using quite globally – merely signifying a bond, be it marriage, or family, or just a relationship. Many males, in fact, have urge for the stability and satisfaction of these circumstance. They want a partner and to settle down with. This male, when betrayed, will experience wrath for both offenders. However, because of the female?s greater dependency, this happens rarer, and, due to the female?s far more involved role in the maturity of the child, the male has less opportunity to spread his heartache. It’s likely to extinguish, by necessity or the old sexual instinct realizing its new found freedom, or die with the male. Therefore, again, the stigma has a greater force from the side of the woman.

    There may be something to be said for whether the miasma would be more effective if applied to the male side the coinage. However, for reasons mentioned above, I’d imagine it more difficult to catch, and less effective for the effort. Both custom and opportunity play the roles of preventatives, if an effort is made to switch the bases.

  9. rachel said,

    Yes, I do agree that the threat of an unwanted pregnancy plays a role in the double standard. Parents perhaps instill one set of sexual principles in the minds of their daughters for this reason.

  10. gramm said,

    I’d like to rebalance the ledger if I may Rachel.

    I can only cite from personal experience the pain of having been accused (via rumour, gossip and inuendo) that I was a womaniser.

    All because I prefer the company of women and don’t hang out in bars and sporting clubs with nothing but drunken or aggro males for company.

    All the more sadder for me, when I have found out that the worst rumour mongers were women that I knew…

    I can’t tell you how the stigma of such baseless accusations, sticks to ones person for an extra-ordinary period of time and makes one wish to withdraw from the company of women.

    So yes the word “womaniser” is a label that I find pretty offensive and hurtful and one that counterbalances the “double standard”.

    Gramm

  11. gramm said,

    Ps,

    I would also add, that I find that people that hold such opinions in regards to women being ‘easy or men being ‘womanisers’, both incredibly hypocritical in the extreme.

  12. rachel said,

    Yes, the awful labels go both ways. I don’t know you very well but I’d never classify you as a womaniser. Strange.

    I wasn’t really trying to discuss, in starting this thread, whether the double standards are unfair. I was just trying to find a reason for them. They exist regardless of whether we think they’re fair or not.

  13. 180proof said,

    Rachel wrote:
    I wasn’t really trying to discuss, in starting this thread, whether the double standards are unfair. I was just trying to find a reason for them. They exist regardless of whether we think they’re fair or not.

    i don’t think there’s a “double standard”, rachel. males & females are not identical, as you know (even though in most secular societies they’re nearly equal before the law); and not being identical vis-a-vis the biological risks involved in promiscuity allows for — and maybe requires that there be — different ‘rules’ for men & women. biology clearly is not destiny but it is opportunity: men, always ready willing & able, impregnate & move on to impregnate again, never impeded by being pregnant themselves (or by anything more compelling than, perhaps, their own consciences). generally speaking, males have every opportunity to evade responsibility, but females do not. even with contraception and abortion readily available, women bear the burden of pregnancy, and the ultimate responsibility for its course. men & women play, but only women really pay. thus, the so-called “double standard” is just a normative disapproval due to the likelihood that promiscuity more adversely effects the woman (and her child if she has one …) than it does the man.

    of course, in the case of women who can’t have children either for medical or elective reasons, the “double standard” has no basis except as another irritable reminder that life is not fair. it’s for this reason that i worship promiscuous women; for without the sacrifice of their honor there would absolutely be no point to civilization! 😉

  14. gramm said,

    Rachel wrote:
    Yes, the awful labels go both ways. I don’t know you very well but I’d never classify you as a womaniser.

    Thanks Rachel.
    Mind you, I shake my head sometimes thinking about how moronic Australian “culchar” can be.

    Work this out…

    If I were to join a bunch of guys standing on a corner ogling, salivating and making rude remarks when a woman passes by, they’d think I’m a cool knockabout aussie ‘bloke’. And what is worse is that the women smirk and think it ‘nice’ to be noticed like that…

    If on the the otherhand, (as has actually happened to me), I walk down the street with a pretty woman friend on each arm, the guys ( hanging out the pub doors) think I must be a ‘poof’ while at the same time other women think your a womaniser… and also probably think the ladies walking with me are slags or whores etc etc etc…
    So each becomes a double victim of such labelling.
    So you can see what sort of moronic behaviour I am lamenting…
    Really pathetic… 🙂

    Gramm

  15. BDS said,

    Gramm says that he has been accused of being a “womanizer” because he “prefer(s) the company of women.” Here in the U.S., the terminology would be different. Gramm would be accused of being a “ladies man”.

    But why shouldn’t we men accuse Gramm of something shameful? If someone “preferred the company of white people” he would be a “racist”. Why shouldn’t there be a term with negative conotations for him if he prefers the company of women? The term “sexist” doesn’t work, because it implies a man who thinks men superior to women.

    NO doubt those men who prefer the company of other men are generally not castigated by jockocratic society. After all, it’s not insulting to men if one prefers their company to that of women. But for members of that society to be insulted when someone thinks their company less enjoyable than the company of others is only natural. Gramm can hardly be surpised by it, any more than he would be surprised if a black person objected to someone who “prefers the company of whites”.

  16. isaiah said,

    Perhaps one root in that double standard stuff can be seen in relations of power and possession. In a way that when a woman is raped it was meant to hurt the husband (his honour) while her pain is secondary. She is also seen as a guarantee for the good name of a family, we can see that on some islamic cultures and I think that in the western world the double standard is a mild form of that.
    Women also had had (or perhaps still have) to accept unfaithful hisbands because of economical dependency.

  17. mike galah said,

    In this discussion perhaps a distinction should be made between how some societies or groups view promiscuity differently between men and women, and how they may actually be differently disposed towards promiscuity.

    As I’ve argued a while back, I don’t believe there is a difference in sex drive between the sexes. There might however be a difference in the drive to vary one’s sexual partners. But in this matter I only know that most guys I know sincerely believe in being faithful, while I also know it isn’t very hard to find an attractive woman who’s prepared to cheat on her partner. So anecdotally I’d say we’re pretty similar in that respect as well.

    So our drives seems pretty similar. What differs is how they are viewed by people around us. Personally, I suspect that the greater shame in female promiscuity stems from mens’ fear of not being in control of their offspring. As others have stated, men have no guarantees on paternity – so they strive for a system of control to mitigate their risk.

    I think the extreme oppression of women under fundamentalist Islam stems from this same phenomenon, it’s the offspring control system taken to it’s almost ultimate extreme. (E.g. women are not allowed to show any possibly attractive attributes whatsoever to male strangers.)

  18. gramm said,

    BDS wrote:
    …why shouldn’t we men accuse Gramm of something shameful? If someone “preferred the company of white people” he would be a “racist”. Why shouldn’t there be a term with negative conotations for him if he prefers the company of women? The term “sexist” doesn’t work, because it implies a man who thinks men superior to women.

    NO doubt those men who prefer the company of other men are generally not castigated by jockocratic society. After all, it’s not insulting to men if one prefers their company to that of women. But for members of that society to be insulted when someone thinks their company less enjoyable than the company of others is only natural. Gramm can hardly be surpised by it, any more than he would be surprised if a black person objected to someone who “prefers the company of whites”.

    Using your criteria, I could easily argue that men who largely prefer the company of other males must all be homosexual or in some way sexually deviant or intellectually or emotionally inadequate.

    The truth is of course different.

    My reasons for enjoying womens company are as myriad as the individuals themselves. What is more, there are a good deal of women that I don’t like, anymore than I like certain types of men.

    To be precise, my preferences in regards to company of either gender, centers around behaviour which is hardly a social crime.

    Am I suprised at negative connatations? no

    Am I dissapointed and saddened?…yes.. very much so.

    It seems a shame that most people allow their baser and more lascivious opinions to “pre-judge” individuals such as myself.

    I leave you with this thought, Christ broke with a sacrosanct rule that men of his time were not to break.. that was to keep the company of women.

    For as much as Paulian theologists, have done their darn’dest to eliminate the evidence, it is pretty clear that Christ respected and treated women as equals to men.

    I wonder what your so called “jockocratic” society would think of him ?

    Gramm

  19. BDS said,

    Hey, Gramm, inasmuch as “womanizer” means “promiscuous seducer”, I agree that your critics are leaping to unwarrented conclusions. That’s why I suggested that the term would be “ladies’ man” here in the U.S., which is more ambiguous. Although the term is sometimes used to suggest a lothario, it often means no more than someone who “prefers the company of women”, which is how you characterized yourself.

    I still think that such a self-categorization smacks of sexism. How could it not? There may be reasons “as myriad as the individuals themselves” why someone would say, “I prefer the company of white folk”. Does that mean that we can draw no conclusions from the statement about its racist implications?

    Treating women as equals (as Christ did) hardly implies sexism. Treating them as superiors (as you did) does.

    Of course I have no idea whether you are actually sexist, or whether you simply described a statistical anomally (i.e, you meant, “I happen, by merest chance, to be friends with more women than men.”). But you certainly can’t deny that your statement SUGGESTS a sexist bias. Therefore, although your critics (not me, but the people you talk about in your posts) may be wrong to characterize you as a “womanizer”, they may well be right to characterize you as a “ladies’ man”, and they may be right to disaprove of “ladies’ men”– just as a black person would be right to disapprove of someone who said, “I prefer the company of white folk.”

  20. gramm said,

    Try as you might, BDS, you cannot compare ‘preference’ with ‘prejudice’.

    I am talking about peoples’ gutter-mind presumptions.

    What I was endeavouring to point out is that such ‘labelling’ is a clear example of social guilt by association.

    In my reckoning this has little or nothing to do with prejudice, but very much to do with social “pre-judgment”.

    It is a fine but important distinction.

    As for suggesting that I find the company of women superior to that of men. I never stated that. I described my loathing of certain types of male behaviour as well as the more dispicable behaviours of rumour-mongering women that also contribute to the ongoing trouble of “double standards”.

    Read carefully what I said.

  21. BDS said,

    Gramm wrote:
    I can only cite from personal experience the pain of having been accused (via rumour, gossip and inuendo) that I was a womaniser.

    All because I prefer the company of women and don’t hang out in bars and sporting clubs with nothing but drunken or aggro males for company.

    Gramm

    Well, this is what you said. But there’s no use beating a dead horse, and it’s a minor issue in any event. If you prefer walking down the street with a beautiful woman on either arm to getting drunk with the blokes, who am I to say you are wrong (or even to hint that you are merely boasting)? To suggest that you “prefer the company of women” is to suggest what preference, precisely? Is it a preference for conversations about interior decorating, cheap romance novels, hair styles, breast feeding and Princess Di? (OK, I admit it, now I’m the one being prejudiced.)

    Also, are you sure you don’t secretly enjoy the whispers about your “womanizing”?

  22. gramm said,

    BDS wrote:
    If you prefer walking down the street with a beautiful woman on either arm to getting drunk with the blokes, who am I to say you are wrong (or even to hint that you are merely boasting)?

    Sigh…I wish I had reason to boast. hehe. In reality the lady on my left arm was my partner, the lady on my right arm was my sister.

    To suggest that you “prefer the company of women” is to suggest what preference, precisely? Is it a preference for conversations about interior decorating, cheap romance novels, hair styles, breast feeding and Princess Di? (OK, I admit it, now I’m the one being prejudiced.

    Thats quite funny BDS..considering I have a huge collection baseball videos and a on going passion bordering on mania for all things aviation as well as being a writer and painter. As for Princess Di, she was beautiful and flawed, but in any case, I had my own beautiful princess to love and hold.
    Also, are you sure you don’t secretly enjoy the whispers about your “womanizing”?

    Not really. I genuinely find it demeaning and unfair, like giving a dog a bad name…

    Gramm.

    Who doesn’t know how his hair stylist puts up with him.

  23. rachel said,

    Gramm wrote:
    Who doesn’t know how his hair stylist puts up with him.

    You have enough hair for a hair stylist?

  24. BDS said,

    As for me, I was such a Charles supporter in his battles with Di that I once actually came out in support of the proliferation of land mines.

  25. gramm said,

    Alright Rachel, don’t rub it in.

    I am allowed to be nostalgic…

    Gramm whose hair parted like Moses and the dead sea.

  26. piramni said,

    I like nude noggin’s. So touchable, and you don’t have to worry about messing up their hair when you are wrestling with them.

    It’s attractive to me.

    As for the double standard. Yes, it exists. It will continue to exist until the very last man who sees a woman as property is eliminated. It will continue to exist until religion is not judgemental, and does not dictate how we see others. It will exist until, we are androgenous and all the same colour, and likeness.

    Human beings are not fair. We are judgemental creatures and I am not sure that anything will ever change that. Ideally we would like it to.

  27. gramm said,

    Piramni wrote:
    I
    As for the double standard. Yes, it exists. It will continue to exist until the very last man who sees a woman as property is eliminated.

    Now how should such men be “eliminated” ?

    “With extreme predjudice” ?

    says Gramm…quoting from the movie

    “Apocalypse now”

  28. benkei said,

    Piramni wrote:
    I like nude noggin’s. So touchable, and you don’t have to worry about messing up their hair when you are wrestling with them.

    It’s attractive to me.

    As for the double standard. Yes, it exists. It will continue to exist until the very last man who sees a woman as property is eliminated. It will continue to exist until religion is not judgemental, and does not dictate how we see others. It will exist until, we are androgenous and all the same colour, and likeness.

    Human beings are not fair. We are judgemental creatures and I am not sure that anything will ever change that. Ideally we would like it to.

    Crap. Now I feel really bad, I’m an ENTJ and judging is my most prominent quality.

  29. piramni said,

    I meant that judging people negatively on such arbitrary things as sex, race, and disability along with any other physical factor is what we do need to change.

    Good judges of people themselves is useful and important.

  30. soniarott said,

    Rachel wrote:
    It’s quite common for society to view women who sleep around less favourably than men who sleep around. It might even be taken to the extreme where the promiscuous woman is frowned upon and the promiscuous man is cheered.

    Even as I write this, I feel compelled to say that I am not promiscuous. So even I do not wish to be judged this way.

    I recently read The Double Standard by Donald Symons in which he discusses why this is the case:

    The male desire for sexual variety may also pay off reproductively if it results in obtaining additional wives, especially young wives, and the strength of the sexual desire for young women may vary with male age. It seems likely that throughout human history in early middle age married men often became able to obtain and to support an additional wife or wives, and hence the sexual desire for young women would be especially adaptive at this age.

    As a man never can be certain of paternity, a cuckold risks investing in the offspring of, and having his wife’s reproductive efforts tied up by, a reproductive competitor; as a woman always is certain of maternity, and as her husband’s adultery does not diminish his capacity to inseminate her, a wife may risk little if her husband engages in extramarital sex.

    From an evolutionary perspective, however, a wife’s most important sexual attribute by far is fidelity, and this male tendency is less paradoxical

    What does everyone else think?

    I agree with what your research suggests. The desire to guarantee paternity, and the fear of being cuckolded, is the over-riding desire among men in a relationship. This is what drives the social stigma against female promiscuity. Even the majority of women view this behavior as distasteful, men, on the other hand, get a free ride in the promiscuity department but are looked down on for not fulfilling parental responsibility. Even women generally view male sexual promiscuity different that female promiscuity. Generally, women are less concerned with the physical act of male infidelity than they are emotional attachment to another women. The physical act in and of it’s self does not create a huge problem for women. Investment of time and resources and emotional attachment, however, creates a huge threat of the loss of resources for a woman and her off-spring.

    Of course there are natural cuckolds, weaker men who’s lack of strong drives result in them serving the role of natural provider for a female and her off-spring in exchange for some sexual favors.

    Of course, this whole topic opens up a whole new can of worms worth discussing. For example, given this inherent double standard, and the lack of consequences of males getting caught engaging in infidelity, and of the large amount of consequences for a female caught in infidelity (violence, loss of resources for self and off-spring) does this mean that women are naturally better at covering up infidelities. If so, does this mean that female infidelity is very much under-reported? Interesting.

  31. soniarott said,

    BDS wrote:
    Like other reductionist explanations for complicated cultural phemena, the evolutionary “explanation” for the double standard seems more enlightening than it is. In other words, there is considerable diversity in the extent to which different cultures have a double standard. Is this diversity to be explained by simple, evolutionary theories?

    Certainly some anthropologists (and sociobiologists) have tried to show how cultural “memes” have evolutionary principles of their own. But would the double standard exist if men didn’t have the preponderance of political and economic power? Is the double standard weakening, now that women have gained some economic equality? Or is it all about improved birth control?

    Until evolutionary theories can suggest answers to these questions, they are mildly interesting, but not particularly enlightening.

    Evolutionary psychology has already answered many of those questions. Would men have the preponderance of political and economic power without the influences of evolutionary processes? I think not. The dismissal of the shear weight of genetic causes for human behavior is more based on vanity than scientific support. It is the interaction of evolutionary genetic behavior and social phenomenon that create human behavior, but to dismiss evolutionary behavior is like swearing the earth is flat.

    This is not to say that social phenomenon does to greater influence human behavior, but this behavior is always colored by hard-wired genetic responses. We can alter human behavior, but it’s very difficult to alter the range of human behavior.

  32. BDS said,

    Evolutionary psychology (like other reductionist, evolutionary explanations for behavior) tends to be circular and simplistic. Common errors include these assumptions:

    1) If a trait is widespread, it must be because it has Darwinian value (helps in descendent leaving success.) This is obviously incorrect, as the existance of human tailbones proves.

    2) If logic suggests that a particular behavior will increase descendent leaving success, that behavior will be widespread (this is the reasoning used here to “explain” the double standard). But the error here is that there are an infinite number of potential behaviors which may increase descendent leaving success. Not all of these behaviors are common practice. To suggest that the double standard is widespread because it increases male DLS fails to explain why men do NOT kill their step children, like lions do. There are plenty of behaviors that MIGHT improve DLS, but have not become common. How does “evolutionary psychology” explain that?

    3) Effects are confused with causes. If the effect of the double standard is to improve male DLS, that does not mean the double standard was CAUSED by this improvement.

    There’s more, if anyo0ne is interested.

  33. shekinah said,

    I remember reading a biology book that discusses the difference in promiscuity from a evolutionary viewpoint:

    The argument was that since females of a species would have to exert much more physical resource in having the offspring, and generally would also spend more time on raising their offsprings. It makes sense for the females to be more selective in choosing the male partners. Males, on the other hand, generally do not have to use as much physical resource and generally spend less time in raising the youth. Therefore, they tend to be more promiscucous as it tends to increase the likelihood of passing their genes to the future generation.

    For the case of humans, obviously it is more complicated but the logic of the argument still holds.

  34. soniarott said,

    BDS wrote:
    Evolutionary psychology (like other reductionist, evolutionary explanations for behavior) tends to be circular and simplistic. Common errors include these assumptions:

    1) If a trait is widespread, it must be because it has Darwinian value (helps in descendent leaving success.) This is obviously incorrect, as the existance of human tailbones proves.

    2) If logic suggests that a particular behavior will increase descendent leaving success, that behavior will be widespread (this is the reasoning used here to “explain” the double standard). But the error here is that there are an infinite number of potential behaviors which may increase descendent leaving success. Not all of these behaviors are common practice. To suggest that the double standard is widespread because it increases male DLS fails to explain why men do NOT kill their step children, like lions do. There are plenty of behaviors that MIGHT improve DLS, but have not become common. How does “evolutionary psychology” explain that?

    3) Effects are confused with causes. If the effect of the double standard is to improve male DLS, that does not mean the double standard was CAUSED by this improvement.

    There’s more, if anyo0ne is interested.

    LMFAO, the existence of human tailbones is an evolutionary holdover, it by no means disproves evolution. I think you may have a basic misunderstanding of what evolutionary psychology is. It does not claim that all behavior has a current adaptive role, but that much of it once had an adaptive role, much as the human tailbone. The ancestors of human beings adapted tails, much as they adapted traits having to do with sexual behavior.

    Also, i’m glad you mentioned step-children. There is a significant increase in the mortality rates of step-children at the hands of step-fathers, this is a well established phenomenon.

    The fact remains, many people disagree with evolutionary psychology because it contradicts or outright disposes of a prior belief system. Such as the fact that human behavior can simply be changed by altering education and child rearing. What those who have engaged in such attempts at social engineering have discovered, however, is that much human behavior is much more tenacious than just “altering the way we nurture.”

    There are many who prefer to believe human behavior is a mystery, or harbor idealistic notions of human behavior. Reality doesn’t favor that view.

  35. 180proof said,

    soniarott wrote:
    LMFAO … What those who have engaged in such attempts at social engineering have discovered, however, is that much human behavior is much more tenacious than just “altering the way we nurture.” There are many who prefer to believe human behavior is a mystery, or harbor idealistic notions of human behavior. Reality doesn’t favor that view.

    😉

  36. BDS said,

    You are doubtless correct that I misunderstand “evolutionary psychology”, since this the first I’ve ever heard of such a field. However, I’ve heard this theory and similar theories many times.

    How is an “effect” of a behavior its “cause”? That’s the essence of this kind of theorizing. But what do we mean by “cause”? We know, of course, that genes that promote Descendent Leaving Success will tend to spread, and those that inhibit it will tend to die out. However, there are an infinite number of conditions OTHER than the one we are studying that are ALSO necessary for the genes to multiply. So to suggest that DLS “caused” ANY genetic trait to become widspread is an oversimplification. The spread was equally “caused” by mutation, random chance, environment, and any number of other factors.

    What do we mean by “cause”? 1) A cause is the free and intentional act of a conscious and responsible agent. (i.e. if you shoot some one, you cause his death). 2) It is the handle we manipulate to create an effect. (i.e. if x+existing conditions = y, and x can be manipulated, we say x causes y) By this definition, if a car skids going around a curve, the “cause” may be the speed of the car (to the driver), the lack of banking on the turn (to the road engineer), or the lack of traction in the tires (to the tire maker). This definition can also be used by experimental scientists. 3) In theoretical science, a cause is something which is sufficient and necessary in both existence and operation to the thing it is causing. So the lengths of two sides of a right triangle “cause” the length of the other side.

    When we suggest that the sexual double standard is “caused” by Darwinian imperatives, which of these definitions are we referring to? It’s not number 1. It can’t be number two. And the reasoning for number three is ex post facto. In other words, there might be any number of OTHER customary behaviors that would fullfill the biological imperatives as well as the double standard does. So the behavior is neither necessary nor sufficient as an explanation.

    I assure you, sgt, that I don’t harbor any idealistic notions about human behavior (although I do think it is often a mystery). The problem with the Darwinian explanation for the double standard is that it doesn’t really explain anything. Of course it all makes sense. No doubt there are genetic advantages for male promiscuity. No doubt obtaining fathers for her children appears to be a human female reproductive strategy, aided by such biological facts as continuous sexual receptivity (different from most mammals). We also see that polygamy as the norm in some human and many mammalian societies. Nobody doubts any of this.

    But where does it get us? We can’t claim that such behavior is “caused” by these Darwinian imperatives, for the reasons listed above. Besides, such general, reductionist explanations can’t explain cultural variation. If the double standard is “caused” by genetic imperatives, why does it vary so much from culture to culture?

    These kinds of explanations give us a false and unsophisticated sense of “understanding”. They are sophomoric, in the sense that there is a nubbin of truth to them, and they appear enlightening, but the enlightenment they provide is superficial. The pscho-evolutionary explanation of the double standard doesn’t get us anywhere in terms of changing the behaviors, nor does it get us anywhere in terms of understanding them in their full complexity. It’s the Cliff Notes version of an explanation. (Cliff Notes, by the way, are not wrong, they are just incomplete.)

  37. rhodus said,

    Good post, BDS. Glad to have you around.

  38. shekinah said,

    Genetic Factors Influence Female Infidelity -Study

  39. soniarott said,

    BDS the reason it doesn’t explain everything is because it isn’t the ONLY variable, that isn’t the same as saying it isn’t a large factor in the variable. Behavioral genetics is increasingly gaining over the traditional “social constructionists” view in explaining human behavior. The reason for this is social constructionisms failure to explain the range of human behavior and it’s lack of ability alter it. With the mapping of the human genome and the study of human behavior from a behavioral genetics perspective, we have been able to not only explain behavior, but understand the limits of mans pliability. For decades the social constructionists view dominated the discussion, and many of it’s adherents find it difficult to deal with the idea of a world where socialization and learned behavior aren’t the primary component in human behavior.
    For most of human history, people believed that there was such a thing as “human nature”. Modern philosophy has looked unfavorably on that view until very recently, when genetic science has forced the social constructionists to face reality.
    Mankind is a cultural animal, that is true, which means man can learn from experience and pass on learning by non-genetic means. That is why human nature is not narrowly determinative. Cultural evoluation has a profound impact on human behavior. However, this has lead to the belief that human behavior is infinitely pliable and can be shapped to fit any ideological goal. What the social constructionists are slowly realizing is that it is not possible to alter the range of human behavior simply by modifying the conditions.
    What evolutionary psychology does is to look at human behavior the same way we look at the human tailbone. It has no current purpose, perhaps, but it once did.

  40. soniarott said,

    BDS wrote:
    You are doubtless correct that I misunderstand “evolutionary psychology”, since this the first I’ve ever heard of such a field. However, I’ve heard this theory and similar theories many times.

    How is an “effect” of a behavior its “cause”? That’s the essence of this kind of theorizing. But what do we mean by “cause”? We know, of course, that genes that promote Descendent Leaving Success will tend to spread, and those that inhibit it will tend to die out. However, there are an infinite number of conditions OTHER than the one we are studying that are ALSO necessary for the genes to multiply. So to suggest that DLS “caused” ANY genetic trait to become widspread is an oversimplification. The spread was equally “caused” by mutation, random chance, environment, and any number of other factors.

    What do we mean by “cause”? 1) A cause is the free and intentional act of a conscious and responsible agent. (i.e. if you shoot some one, you cause his death). 2) It is the handle we manipulate to create an effect. (i.e. if x+existing conditions = y, and x can be manipulated, we say x causes y) By this definition, if a car skids going around a curve, the “cause” may be the speed of the car (to the driver), the lack of banking on the turn (to the road engineer), or the lack of traction in the tires (to the tire maker). This definition can also be used by experimental scientists. 3) In theoretical science, a cause is something which is sufficient and necessary in both existence and operation to the thing it is causing. So the lengths of two sides of a right triangle “cause” the length of the other side.

    When we suggest that the sexual double standard is “caused” by Darwinian imperatives, which of these definitions are we referring to? It’s not number 1. It can’t be number two. And the reasoning for number three is ex post facto. In other words, there might be any number of OTHER customary behaviors that would fullfill the biological imperatives as well as the double standard does. So the behavior is neither necessary nor sufficient as an explanation.

    I assure you, sgt, that I don’t harbor any idealistic notions about human behavior (although I do think it is often a mystery). The problem with the Darwinian explanation for the double standard is that it doesn’t really explain anything. Of course it all makes sense. No doubt there are genetic advantages for male promiscuity. No doubt obtaining fathers for her children appears to be a human female reproductive strategy, aided by such biological facts as continuous sexual receptivity (different from most mammals). We also see that polygamy as the norm in some human and many mammalian societies. Nobody doubts any of this.

    But where does it get us? We can’t claim that such behavior is “caused” by these Darwinian imperatives, for the reasons listed above. Besides, such general, reductionist explanations can’t explain cultural variation. If the double standard is “caused” by genetic imperatives, why does it vary so much from culture to culture?

    These kinds of explanations give us a false and unsophisticated sense of “understanding”. They are sophomoric, in the sense that there is a nubbin of truth to them, and they appear enlightening, but the enlightenment they provide is superficial. The pscho-evolutionary explanation of the double standard doesn’t get us anywhere in terms of changing the behaviors, nor does it get us anywhere in terms of understanding them in their full complexity. It’s the Cliff Notes version of an explanation. (Cliff Notes, by the way, are not wrong, they are just incomplete.)

    That’s where you are greatly mistaken, and this is where I see that your error comes from. In that sentence “it doesn’t get us anywhere in terms of changing behavior”, you show the flaw in the logic. Evolutionary psychology gives us the understanding that certain behavior is hard-wired, and that you can’t simply change it through social constructionist means. Understanding how tenacious certain human behaviors are would seem to be beneficial to me. Others who desire to live under the illusion that we will simply find the right social constructionist combination to make human beings “act right” may disagree, I guess. The fact is that it is social constructionism that has failed to explain AND alter behavior, that is why a rethinking of it’s rather simplistic and “sophomoric” as well as extremely incomplete theories seems to be in order.

    As I noted in my last post, I don’t dispute there is a large degree of social influence on human behavior, but it is the idea that this represents the larger part of the source of human behavior that I find fault with. It is clear that it is not the larger influence in some human behavior. The more complex the behavior is, the less influence specific genes have on it. Sexual behavior, however much we like to think otherwise, is fairly simplistic and primitive and is, as such, more controlled and influenced by genetic causes. These genetic causes are the result of millions of years of natural selection and evolutionary processes. Adaptive traits exist, and some are fairly stable over cultures. Some more complex human behaviors RELATED to sex are less stable, but sexual behavior itself, jealousy and infidelity being two, are fairly stable.
    What you are pointing out as being over-simplistic on my part is a misunderstanding of what i’m saying. What accounts for the degree fidelity modern man has is the influence of centuries of social influence on genetic behavior. Social institutions developed to control genetic behavior have had an influence on the genetic level. Strong cultural mores have resulted in certain behavior, formerly adaptive and extremely beneficial to certain individuals, have become a liability. We segregate many of our most biological qualitative members, who exhibit behavior that is VERY biologically advantageous; strength, sexual prowess, physical aggression, away from society and out of the gene pool in prisons. It becomes very difficult to reproduce when segregated from the opposite sex.

    The result of this type of influence upon heredity is that certain traits are eventually bred out, because they have become maladaptive.

    That is ONE influence social institutions have on hereditary functions. The complexity of the situation doesn’t diminish the fact that evolutionary psychology play a valuable role in helping to explain human behavior, one social constructionism has failed to do.

  41. Jay said,

    That’s an interesting statment and I for one would like to know your foundation. Furthermore, how do you access the complexity of behavior? How do you then characterize it as being more socially influenced as opposed to genetically, and vice versa? Finally, how can you make such a wide and generalizing claim concerning sexual behavior when there is such a diversity accross cultures and individuals?

  42. soniarott said,

    Jay wrote:
    That’s an interesting statment and I for one would like to know your foundation. Furthermore, how do you access the complexity of behavior? How do you then characterize it as being more socially influenced as opposed to genetically, and vice versa? Finally, how can you make such a wide and generalizing claim concerning sexual behavior when there is such a diversity accross cultures and individuals?

    Well, to address the issue of foundation, we know that sex itself is determined by hormones in the womb. We know that altering those hormones can alter whether a child is male of female. This is rather common knowledge. Research also suggests that sexual preference is related to this process as well, and that heterosexuality and homosexuality are both inborn traits, and not the product of learned behavior. In just explaining those two things, i’ve shown you the foundation of saying that the majority of sexual behavior is genetically influenced. It seems rather clear for all but the most purposely obtuse. This isn’t my “opinion”, this is the conclusion of modern science.

    Also, Last time I checked there weren’t that many ways to engage in sex. It might surprise you to learn that people have sex the same way in Angentina the same as they do in Mongola.Unless you know of a few new ones of course. If you know of some variations that I don’t, please share them with the forum. Otherwise, you just answered your own question. For the most part it’s still the same old fashioned “Tab A/Slot B” bread and butter sex that all mammals do. What you are mistaking for sex, is the intricate pair bonding rituals humans engage in, which is still nothing but an adaptation of a highly social animal like man. Show me some specific variations of diversity as an example, and we’ll discuss.

  43. Jay said,

    soniarott wrote:
    In just explaining those two things, i’ve shown you the foundation of saying that the majority of sexual behavior is genetically influenced. It seems rather clear for all but the most purposely obtuse. This isn’t my “opinion”, this is the conclusion of modern science.

    Well it seems to me atleast you are confusing the desire for sex, and the behavior of engaging in the act of sex. Granted our desire is genetically influenced, but the patterns and method we engage in finding a mate, the rituals involved in preperation for the behavior is drastically different throughout cultures. Furthermore, as you pointed out, our social influences can affect and override those genetic influences. If I am raised in a society which frowns upon sexual behavior outside of marriage, and this includes masturbation, I might be inclined to deny my genetic inclinations. I may not engage in the behavior at all. Hence, to equate the genes as the cause of the behavior seems to be far too simple, and innacurate at best. Hence, your reductionist account of the behavior seems to be making negligent generalizations. I would hardly be lead to believe that genes are controlling the behavior more than the social influences are. But maybe I am missing something here.

  44. soniarott said,

    Jay wrote:
    Well it seems to me atleast you are confusing the desire for sex, and the behavior of engaging in the act of sex. Granted our desire is genetically influenced, but the patterns and method we engage in finding a mate, the rituals involved in preperation for the behavior is drastically different throughout cultures. Furthermore, as you pointed out, our social influences can affect and override those genetic influences. If I am raised in a society which frowns upon sexual behavior outside of marriage, and this includes masturbation, I might be inclined to deny my genetic inclinations. I may not engage in the behavior at all. Hence, to equate the genes as the cause of the behavior seems to be far too simple, and innacurate at best. Hence, your reductionist account of the behavior seems to be making negligent generalizations. I would hardly be lead to believe that genes are controlling the behavior more than the social influences are. But maybe I am missing something here.

    I’ve proven both are rather determined by genetic causes. Sexual preference itself is pretty much determined by genetic and hormonal causes. You are attempt to confuse the issue aside, it really isn’t really founded in fact. A large percentage of sexual attitudes and preferences remain stable over vast cultural differences such as, for instance, a Waist to Hip ratio of 70 percent being the optimal preference for men. This remains true across vast ranges of cultures. If you had paid attention, you would realize that I did not claim that genetic behavior was the sole cause of sexual behavior. I did say that is the primary component driving sexual behavior. If you want to contradict this, bring more evidence than just trying to call me simplistic.
    Really, you believe that cultures that condemn masterbation don’t have large groups of it’s population engaging in that activity?

    Further, as to the fact that people can deny their genetic impulses based on social pressures, that has been found in many cases to have negligable success rates. Many catholic priets enter the priesthood in the belief that the religious and social structure of the priesthood would help alleviate sexual desires that they believe, based on their religious faith, to be sinful. This repression of their sexual desires doesn’t seem to have worked out extremely well as has been seen in a number of church scandals. Further evidence, during the 1950’s considerable pressure existed to avoid sex outside of marriage. Despite that, large numbers of girls became pregnant outside of marriage. Why, if social roles and teachings are able to trump biological ones so easily, did both these circumstances occur? Simple, because the social controls are the primary mechanism of control here, the biological ones are.

    In fact, the purpose of sex is entirely genetic. There is no other purpose for people to engage in sexual contact EXCEPT as reproduction. The fact that man has developed vast rituals surrounding sexuality is not evidence of social influences on sexuality, but the influence of biological sexual on social man. This shows, in it’s self, the impact biological facts have on social man. Show me in man or in nature how sexuality has a function other than genetic that isn’t something man has simply incorperated in their social behavior BECAUSE the genetic drives toward sexuality are so insistant and strong?

    You need to actually present evidence, as I have, of these instances you vaguely refer to as showing “vast cultural differences”. Alluding to them is not the same as presenting evidence. I have given you not only numerous examples, but have addressed all of your questions and comments. What you are missing is evidence to back up your assertion. I have given evidence to support mine. Please respond with something other than simply referring to me as “reductionist” as way of evidence.

  45. Jay said,

    soniarott wrote:
    I’ve proven both are rather determined by genetic causes. Sexual preference itself is pretty much determined by genetic and hormonal causes. You are attempt to confuse the issue aside, it really isn’t really founded in fact. A large percentage of sexual attitudes and preferences remain stable over vast cultural differences such as, for instance, a Waist to Hip ratio of 70 percent being the optimal preference for men. This remains true across vast ranges of cultures.

    You are confussing what is at issue. But before I point that out, let me just stress this. Some things remain the same as you suggest, others do not. Some cultures like slim skinny women, others do not. Take a look at the idealized women in 20th century, 19th century, 18th century and so forth, you will quickly realize the deviation involved in preferences. Now, you claim a large percentage stays stable, which is perhaps true, but two questions need to be asked here: First, is this because of genetics or potentially just similar social structures? I’d hate to think you merely presume it is genetically based. Secondly, is there also a large percentage of attitudes caused by social influence which are widespread as well? You complain I don’t state any facts, but the ones you present are so broad and generalized that they do not mean anything.

    If you had paid attention, you would realize that I did not claim that genetic behavior was the sole cause of sexual behavior. I did say that is the primary component driving sexual behavior. If you want to contradict this, bring more evidence than just trying to call me simplistic.

    Had you read carefully, you would have acknowledged the fact that I didn’t say you claimed genetics was the sole cause of sexual behavior. What I contest is your claim that it is the primary component. I do not need to bring evidence since I am attempting to debunk your evidence. You made the statement that it is the primary component. I contest it based on plausible explanations. Unfortunately, the onis is in your end to prove your statement accurate. I contradicted it by giving you an example where your theory does not hold up. How many of these do you need? Don’t grand sweeping generalizations have to be universally applicable?

    Really, you believe that cultures that condemn masterbation don’t have large groups of it’s population engaging in that activity?

    Is that relevant? I was giving you an example of how your theory would fall appart. I can easily think of other ones if you like, and as you will see in this post, I do provide other examples.

    Further, as to the fact that people can deny their genetic impulses based on social pressures, that has been found in many cases to have negligable success rates. Many catholic priets enter the priesthood in the belief that the religious and social structure of the priesthood would help alleviate sexual desires that they believe, based on their religious faith, to be sinful. This repression of their sexual desires doesn’t seem to have worked out extremely well as has been seen in a number of church scandals.

    That’s an interesting claim. You start by saying that it is a primary factor and that it seems to have negligable success rates. Your support is the few catholic priests who have failed. I would like to know what is the percentage of the priests which were unable to contain themselves throughout history as opposed to the ones who have been capable of doing so. Without such evidence to substantiate your claim, you would be blowing hot air, but I am sure you are not doing that, so I’ll be glad to see the statistics. How many nun scandals have you heard of? Are women less influenced by their genes? Interesting…

    Further evidence, during the 1950’s considerable pressure existed to avoid sex outside of marriage. Despite that, large numbers of girls became pregnant outside of marriage. Why, if social roles and teachings are able to trump biological ones so easily, did both these circumstances occur? Simple, because the social controls are the primary mechanism of control here, the biological ones are.

    Well that just strikes us as a nice investigation of the society at large now doesn’t it? You claim that there was considerable pressure to avoid sex outside of marriage, but are you here suggesting that there was not also considerable pressure to have sex outside of marriage? Do you honestly think the 60’s came out of nowhere? Things are hardly as simple as you seem to make them out to be. I am merely suggesting that you proceed a little more cautiously before making grand statements.

    In fact, the purpose of sex is entirely genetic.

    The purpose is irrelevant. As I said before you need to distinguish between the motivation to act, and the action itself. Although I may be motivated to kill my neighbor because he annoys the crap out of me, I do not do so because of the social influences imposed upon me. I may be intrinsically motivated to have sex, but whether I do so or not, will depend on a whole load of pre-established sexual norms that I must conform to, otherwise, all the females will reject me.

    There is no other purpose for people to engage in sexual contact EXCEPT as reproduction. The fact that man has developed vast rituals surrounding sexuality is not evidence of social influences on sexuality, but the influence of biological sexual on social man. This shows, in it’s self, the impact biological facts have on social man.

    Look, analyzing the conditions under which the behaviors are conducted will readily establish evidence of the influence of society. Why is it that women generally begin their hormone process rather early and yet only engage in genetically influenced behavior much later? What is the age of full sexual development in woman and men. At what age do you begin to see a majority of the people engaging in sexual activity? How do you explain the gap?

    Show me in man or in nature how sexuality has a function other than genetic that isn’t something man has simply incorperated in their social behavior BECAUSE the genetic drives toward sexuality are so insistant and strong?

    I don’t have to because the social influence can overide the genetic influence. Every living virgin is proof of this, even more so the ones who do not masturbate. But whether or not the motivation is there does not explain the behavior itself. That is what you are trying to do. Your talking about genetic influence of behavior, not on motivation to behave. I don’t know what more to tell you since you are clearly confusing the difference between the two events.

    You need to actually present evidence, as I have, of these instances you vaguely refer to as showing “vast cultural differences”.

    Your evidence is sketchy, as I have shown. Furthermore, when I speak of vast cultural differences, I am talking about the social influence and rituals that each culture exhibits. Why is it that the Greeks were in a large part bisexuals and that most modern societies, after Christianity which had strong marriage rituals, are no longer bisexual? Is it because frowned upon by that religion or rather because the genes have assumed a passive role? Can social influence re-active these genes? And if so, what would that say concerning social influence upon sexual behavior?

  46. soniarott said,

    Very silly argument. You claim there is a difference between the motivation to act and the act itself? Ok, very simply put, the motivation to have sex is biological. The action itself is biological. The burden is on you to support your assertion that it is otherwise. Again, all you’ve done is made wild generalizations without structural support. You “claim” vast cultural differences, but you haven’t specified any. You’ve wasted several pages presenting your opinions as facts, while I have lended research based evidence.

    Lets break this argument down to it’s core. You have attempted through disingenuous means to disprove my assertion that social influences are a greater motivator in sexual behavior than genetics. I have given evidential support that suggests otherwise. You have only given as evidence of your side, that you don’t have to prove your assertions, they are self-evident, and that is not the case. There is no basis for this. Give specific research supporting your conclusion, modern evidence, and we’ll discuss it. Modern research increasingly supports a genetics based intepretation of behavior. Your conclusions are nothing more than the prejudices created by the social learning theories of the mid-20th century which are increasingly being relegated to minor roles in the modern studies of behavior. This is because of their inability to fully explain, predict and control behavior. Freudianism, behaviorism, and other social learning models failed in their stated goals. It wasn’t until modern science began viewing psychological behavior from a genetic and biological standpoint that we were able to have a fuller understanding of behaviour.

  47. Jay said,

    soniarott wrote:
    Very silly argument. You claim there is a difference between the motivation to act and the act itself? Ok, very simply put, the motivation to have sex is biological. The action itself is biological. The burden is on you to support your assertion that it is otherwise.

    Perhaps you should familiarize yourself with the concept of the burden of proof. There is a good thread in the logic section. I advise you to look at it. You are being highly dogmatic. I’ll just give you a nice little analogy which will reveal this. “Ok, very simply put, god exists. The burden is on you to support your assertion that it is otherwise”.

    Again, all you’ve done is made wild generalizations without structural support.

    That or I questioned your wild generalizations and showed why I think your support is inacurate. How do you respond to those challanges?

    You “claim” vast cultural differences, but you haven’t specified any.

    I guess you didn’t read my posts.

    You’ve wasted several pages presenting your opinions as facts, while I have lended research based evidence.

    Oh the irony.

    Lets break this argument down to it’s core.

    Good idea.

    You have attempted through disingenuous means to disprove my assertion that social influences are a greater motivator in sexual behavior than genetics.
    d

    Glad to see you don’t even know what your talking about anymore. Your assertion is the opposite of the above.

    I have given evidential support that suggests otherwise.

    Yes, biased evidence which doesn’t hold up. Evidence like “some priest were incapable of controlling themselves, therefore the majority cannot control themselves”. Apparently in that argument, which is “researched” and is a “fact” the word some is equivalent to the word majority.

    You have only given as evidence of your side, that you don’t have to prove your assertions, they are self-evident, and that is not the case.

    I have merely questioned your assertions and suggested that perhaps things are more complicated than you seem to be advocating. What you fail to realize is I am not making any grand claims. I do admit I suggesting there are considerable differences between cultures, insofar as the concept of sex is involved. This conceptual differences explains to a large extent, I think, the different attitudes these cultures exhibit. Consider highly religious societies’ sexual behaviors and than contrast them with the laissez-faire attitudes of the Parisians in France. However, I have not claimed that any of my suggestions are self-evident. I have told you that the onis is on your end. And unfortunately this is true as you will see if you read the burden of proof thread in the logic section.

    There is no basis for this. Give specific research supporting your conclusion, modern evidence, and we’ll discuss it.

    You want me to reference you to work which describes the societies of France and highly orthodox religiously excluded communities like for example Mormons in the 21 century?

    Modern research increasingly supports a genetics based intepretation of behavior.

    Well for someone who complains that there is no research to support his claims, how about you show us your research? Furthermore, do you think modern science is infallible? Which modern studies establish these claims?

    Your conclusions are nothing more than the prejudices created by the social learning theories of the mid-20th century which are increasingly being relegated to minor roles in t he modern studies of behavior.

    Yes indeed. As someone who enjoys philosophy I have a prejudice to question all claims and investigate their premises to see if they hold up. And in this case, they do not appear to do so, and yet, rather than face the challenge, you do what exactly?

    This is because of their inability to fully explain, predict and control behavior.

    Interesting that you think genetics fares better.

    Freudianism, behaviorism, and other social learning models failed in their stated goals. It wasn’t until modern science began viewing psychological behavior from a genetic and biological standpoint that we were able to have a fuller understanding of behavior.

    I don’t deny genes play a role in behavior. What I question is the significance of the role you are suggesting they play. Oh, and would you be so kind to point out where I have displayed “disingenuous means” so that I may prevent it in the future? Or do you consider anything that questions the validity of your claims disingenuous?

  48. amateur philosopher said,

    Being male and in my mid 20’s I can give a limited yet pointed perspective to what I believe women value. All my thoughts are own cognition through my pursuit of the one woman who satisfies me in every way throughout the past 12 years or so.

    My athletic build, looks and height gains quick attention of the vast majority if not all women so most of the time I have my pick of the litter. The older I get the quicker I identify my “type” of woman in a crowd and waste less mental efforts on women who I now know would not hold my own interest long. As I have matured I have leaned away from desiring just eyes, legs, tits and ass, although I still value them dearly. Not being totally ignorant I have come to know that women are into more than looks and money. I have come to believe that women value commitment first and foremost, everything else is secondary. (or at least the women who are discerning in their taste of men)

    IMO Women value commitment foremost, at the detriment of excitement, attractiveness, and other such myths of attractiveness. Looks just get you in the door , but they don’t alone keep a woman. As wild and unpredictable as the biker, ex-con, criminal type of lover seems, he is not.

    So, yes women will give preference to a man of less aesthetic value in order to have a long term relationship which they control to fit their needs. (although they also like to be controlled, it is like a father figure influence )

    I believe that in general the money issue is a myth, especially for younger women. Younger women view money as a novelty. The whole money monger myth mostly applies to women in their late 20’s and 30’s who have allotted less importance to attractiveness and want peace of mind and stability more so. (at least for women of noble intention)

    To address the notion that men are more jealous than women, and that men compete to lay claim to having the “hottest babe”. Well that varies… but in general that is true. I see men in a big competition to own the number one female. I believe the ladder theory applies to men but less so to women. A man will leave a satisfying relationship if a more enticing prospect materializes. Women value stability more and are less self confident, even totally gorgeous women, so they take less risks even though they can easily afford to take such risks.

    I dont personally know the guys who have dated the number one females in my area but I can assure you I relish their relationship defeats when they occur. I am convinced this detest of my competition is not personal, since I do not know them, It is merely a result of defeat and having to develop even more humility at their young “inferior” hands.

    I realize the narrow-mindedness of this mind set, but regardless of how my level of knowledge and wisdom progresses, I believe I will always carry this mind set. It is hard wired. At least as long as I am in the physical form to be a legitimate contender.

    Analyzing others relationships, of guys who “got my girl”, helps me stay positive as I rationalize that other relationships will not last long, that the female is just biding her time with that guy, and that just because my desired women is in a relationship with someone other than I that does not necessarily equate her (nor other women) as being more attracted to that man than she is to me.

    Just being honest, these are my true (if somewhat incomplete) opinions.
    I hope my post has sparked some thought. (other than my being a “typical male pig”)

  49. BDS said,

    soniarott wrote:
    . Behavioral genetics is increasingly gaining over the traditional “social constructionists” view in explaining human behavior. The reason for this is social constructionisms failure to explain the range of human behavior and it’s lack of ability alter it.
    .

    I’m back after the long weekend. Your criticism of “social constructionism” is precisely MY criticism of behavioral genetics. If “cause” refers to “a handle we can manipulate” (per my earlier post), how does behavioral genetics explain causes? Where is the variable that we can manipulate (whether experimentally or theoretically)? And if there is no variable that we can manipulate, how is explaining the double standard as “genetically determined” any different from saying, “We have a double standard because we have a double standard.”?

    I understand your point, which is that some behaviors may be more difficult to change because they are “genetically hard wired”. But how are we to determine which behaviors are hard wired? Is it just a matter of whether we can tell some reasonable story about how such behaviors might create Darwinian advantages?

    Also, how can genetic explanations explain cultural diversity with regard to the double standard? Is there a different genetic predisposition in certain sub-populations? (This seems to me preposterous, but maybe there is.)

    Any scientific theory is like a story. We look at facts (most societies around the world have a double standard), and tell a story “explaining” those facts. The standards of science suggest that the story should be persuasive, enlightening, and falsifiable. The genetic predisopostion theory of the double standard is persuasive (i.e. it sounds reasonable), but is it enlightening? Is it falsifiable? Sgtmac’s suggestion that those behaviors that are genetically hard wired are not easily changed is fair, as far as it goes. But is he right? What evidence would falsify his genetic behaviorist theory? If we could find a society that practices polandry (there aren’t very many, but there are a couple), would that falsify it? If we can discover considerable cultural variation in the double standard, would that falsify it? If not, where exactly does the “genetic hard wiring” theory get us? My suggestion is, “Not very far.”

  50. amateur philosopher said,

    IMO cultural influence, upbringing, and society can all vary the general amount of promiscuity from one society to another. but all those factors being the same I still believe promiscuity is hard wired into a young mind and monogamy may also hard wired into the same mind when it ages. for obvious reasons as proliferation and upbringing/rearing , respectively. this change of desire, which is dynamic throughout ones life, is likely also hard-wired into ones genetics, as it is beneficial to propogation of the race. So monogamy in older age is more likely to not be circumstancial as monogamy is not necessary in todays society for successful upbringing of children nor for happiness.

    ones loss of physical attractiveness and thus self-esteem can serve a noble and effective purpose in society. whether, monogamy is a hard-wired behavior or a consequence of aging I do not know, but the result is the same.

  51. tobias said,

    Amateur, you are treating sex as an activity like any other. The problem is that it isn’t an activity like any other, it is fundamentally different. It is even shunned in our ordinary world of work. I would like to have a quick fondle with that cute stagiaire I am working with. What harm would it do? Fifteen minutes we get each other of and back to work.

    It doesn’t work like that. Sex is surrounded with taboos and prohibitions and I would commit an unpardonable infringement upon the relationship I have with my wife, violate the rules of relation of power between a young stagiaire and me and likely upset my colleagues too.

    The double standard in sexual morals fits those precepts and prohibitions. Sex in our society is a crime when not committed in the right place at the right time with the right person. Boys are often socially urged to experiment and break the rules a little. (you should stand up for yourself, be rich, wealker people must learn that the world is hard and so on) This is known as the ‘subterranean values’ of society. for girls no such subterranean norms are applicable, they are urged to be good, be home and make hubby comfortable.

    The double standard is I think rooted in a fear of sex because sex tends to upset the flow of the ordinary world of production. Women were seen as the main underminers of that world so they were kept under lock and key and at the same time demonised as sex craving succubi. (Insatiabilis vulva, was a fear among middle ages schoolmen and church fathers.

    The reason the undermining of morals was blamed on women is I think because men were the law givers, the class in power will regulate in its favour.

  52. soniarott said,

    BDS wrote:
    I’m back after the long weekend. Your criticism of “social constructionism” is precisely MY criticism of behavioral genetics. If “cause” refers to “a handle we can manipulate” (per my earlier post), how does behavioral genetics explain causes? Where is the variable that we can manipulate (whether experimentally or theoretically)? And if there is no variable that we can manipulate, how is explaining the double standard as “genetically determined” any different from saying, “We have a double standard because we have a double standard.”?

    I understand your point, which is that some behaviors may be more difficult to change because they are “genetically hard wired”. But how are we to determine which behaviors are hard wired? Is it just a matter of whether we can tell some reasonable story about how such behaviors might create Darwinian advantages?

    Also, how can genetic explanations explain cultural diversity with regard to the double standard? Is there a different genetic predisposition in certain sub-populations? (This seems to me preposterous, but maybe there is.)

    Any scientific theory is like a story. We look at facts (most societies around the world have a double standard), and tell a story “explaining” those facts. The standards of science suggest that the story should be persuasive, enlightening, and falsifiable. The genetic predisopostion theory of the double standard is persuasive (i.e. it sounds reasonable), but is it enlightening? Is it falsifiable? Sgtmac’s suggestion that those behaviors that are genetically hard wired are not easily changed is fair, as far as it goes. But is he right? What evidence would falsify his genetic behaviorist theory? If we could find a society that practices polandry (there aren’t very many, but there are a couple), would that falsify it? If we can discover considerable cultural variation in the double standard, would that falsify it? If not, where exactly does the “genetic hard wiring” theory get us? My suggestion is, “Not very far.”

    I understand your perspective, however it isn’t that we just decide which behaviors are hardwired by simply being able to tell a story. I think that the mapping of the human genome and the research that has followed it is telling us a great deal about what behaviors are genetic. Also, as far an manipulating behavior by altering genetic data, we will see that in the next few years as well. There are some that have a difficult time believing that animal data automatically transfers to humans, but even that research supports a strong genetic foundation for behavior. We know that in many controlled studies, animal data suggest that many aspects of behavior are hereditary. Now, I will be the first to say that human behavior is a complex area, and that genetic causes aren’t the sole source of human behavior (genetic causes to not exist in a vaccum) but I truely believe that the failure to understand the genetic source of many aspects of behavior is what explains the failure of the social learning theorists to effectively understand, control and predict behavior. A holistic approach to the issue will be far more effective in the future. Understanding the dual cause of behavior and behavior can lead to a greater understanding of what it means to be human.

  53. BDS said,

    soniarott wrote:
    Now, I will be the first to say that human behavior is a complex area, and that genetic causes aren’t the sole source of human behavior (genetic causes to not exist in a vaccum) but I truely believe that the failure to understand the genetic source of many aspects of behavior is what explains the failure of the social learning theorists to effectively understand, control and predict behavior. A holistic approach to the issue will be far more effective in the future. Understanding the dual cause of behavior and behavior can lead to a greater understanding of what it means to be human.

    If you change the word “cause” to “influence” I’ll agree with you. Genes don’t “cause” behavior, if we use any of the three definitions of “cause” I reported earlier. Obviously, genes do influence behavior. It’s a fine distinction, but an important one.

  54. soniarott said,

    If you will give me a good example of what “causes” behaviour, I will consider your recommendation.

  55. Jay said,

    Why does behaviour have to be caused by something other than itself?

  56. BDS said,

    soniarott wrote:
    If you will give me a good example of what “causes” behavior, I will consider your recommendation.

    If you go back to the definition of “cause” that I made earlier, you can find your own examples.

    Definition 1: the intentional act of a conscious agent. “Drawing a pair of aces in the hole caused Texas Slim to go all in.” In this case, the “cause” is an event that affected (or even determined) Slim’s intentions.

    Definition 2: That handle we can manipulate. “The poison sgtmac drank caused him to go into convulsions.” Of course, this would have to be proven. We could give you posion hundreds of times, and see if you went into convulsions each time. We could give you placebos, and tell you they were poison, and see what happened. Although the proof would never be complete (it could always be falsified at a later date), it would be sufficient to make use of the word “cause” reasonable.

    Definition 3: Something which is sufficient and necessary in both existence and operation to the thing it is causing. This one is tougher when it comes to behavior. However, in the case of the double standard, biological imperatives cannot have been “sufficient and necessary” because of cultural variation.

  57. soniarott said,

    The problem you run in to is that behaviour does not exist in a vacuum. We are not blank slates, as behaviourists had formerly claimed. We, in fact, have preset limits on the variation of our behaviour. We filter all social input through a purely biological mechanism. Social patterns do not just exist as independent variables in the human brain. The human brain itself is a biological entity, purely biological, purely driven by biological presets, and it makes a determination of what social behaviour is. It’s very much akin to asking the question “Does a computer cause a windows program?” If all you’re looking at is software, then you may come to the erroneous conclusion that it does. However, once you examine the hardware, you realize that a computer only has a limited number of functions and ways to function. That is where the problem arises, many people are still stuck thinking in the mid-20th century social learning mode, and have not adapted to the idea that the machine itself is responsible for behaviour, not the other way around.

    Finally, you did not give me a real answer to my question “what is the primary cause of behaviour” if not a genetic source?

  58. soniarott said,

    Jay wrote:
    Why does behavior have to be caused by something other than itself?

    So behaviour simply “Happens”? There is no source, no cause, it is a random set of events, driven by nothing, for the purpose of nothing, from nothing, to nothing? Behaviour has to be “caused” by something because causality is a key fact of this universe. An action requires an entity. It presupposes an entity. Without an entity, action is meaningless. There are no “floating” actions that aren’t actions of an entity. Every effect must have a cause.

  59. Jay said,

    soniarott wrote:
    So behavior simply “Happens”? There is no source, no cause, it is a random set of events, driven by nothing, for the purpose of nothing, from nothing, to nothing? Behavior has to be “caused” by something because causality is a key fact of this universe. An action requires an entity. It presupposes an entity. Without an entity, action is meaningless. There are no “floating” actions that aren’t actions of an entity. Every effect must have a cause.

    No doubt but what I was insinuating was that the cause may not be purely biological as you seem to suggest. You seems to believe the computer analogy where everything is a function of the hardware, however, many philosphers of mind have contested that reductionist account and it has pretty much been submitted to the same fate as behaviorism, severely lacking in explanatory power. Is it so absurd to believe that perhaps our behavior causes genetic changes to occur? After all, our larynxes were not nearly this developped in our early stages. However, our behavior forces long term evolution of it so that it allows the wide diversity of sound that we now display. Had all our voices been limitted to the intrinsic capabilities of the larynx, how would you exlpain the evolution that occured? If you believe in a darwinian account of evolution, you’d be forced to say evolution only occurs in matters of survival, however, expanding our vocal array doesn’t seem to offer any additional survival skills. All it does is refine our speech and method of communication. Perhaps it is a result of pure hazzard? Or perhaps, our own social influence trangressed these hardwired limittations. Is that not exactly what being human is? Transgressing our limits? But what is the cause of that ability to trangress? Social or biological factors?

  60. soniarott said,

    Jay wrote:
    No doubt but what I was insinuating was that the cause may not be purely biological as you seem to suggest. You seems to believe the computer analogy where everything is a function of the hardware, however, many philosphers of mind have contested that reductionist account and it has pretty much been submitted to the same fate as behaviorism, severely lacking in explanatory power. Is it so absurd to believe that perhaps our behavior causes genetic changes to occur? After all, our larynxes were not nearly this developped in our early stages. However, our behavior forces long term evolution of it so that it allows the wide diversity of sound that we now display. Had all our voices been limitted to the intrinsic capabilities of the larynx, how would you exlpain the evolution that occured? If you believe in a darwinian account of evolution, you’d be forced to say evolution only occurs in matters of survival, however, expanding our vocal array doesn’t seem to offer any additional survival skills. All it does is refine our speech and method of communication. Perhaps it is a result of pure hazzard? Or perhaps, our own social influence trangressed these hardwired limittations. Is that not exactly what being human is? Transgressing our limits? But what is the cause of that ability to trangress? Social or biological factors?

    Ok, it certainly isn’t reductionist, and my assertion is that not all behaviour is genetically based, that’s as absurd as the idea that it’s based on social learning. You seem to be attempting to defend the social learning argument without wanting to support. Simply by stating that biology isn’t “entirely” the cause of behaviour, does not prove it isn’t the predominant cause of many behaviours, further your question that “Is it so absurd to believe that perhaps our behaviour causes genetic changes to occur?” supports my assertion, not yours, as I stated that many behaviours are more genetically based than social learning based. In effect what you asked was, “Doesn’t some behaviour cause genetic causes (natural selection)” that results in genetic changes that are passed down and inherited in the form of hardwired responses.

    In all actuality, I take a holistic view of human behaviour, as being the interaction of social experience and learning being filtered through genetic hard-wiring (with the result being that social influences can influence behaviour but it can’t alter the RANGE of human behaviour preset by genetics).

    What my main issue is, however, the tenacity at which the social learning theorists still have a strangle hold on rational thought about human behaviour, despite having nearly every theory they have fostered to support “the blank slate human” being debunked for the last 50 years. I still back my original assertion, that sexual response is primarily genetically driven, as are many of the “lowering functioning” behaviours such as the fight or flight, fear response and our sympathetic nervous system response to anger. What you mistake for “diversity” of sexual behaviour, is nothing more than the rituals that have sprung up around sex. Further, even these don’t show very extreme diversity across human cultures, and i’m still waiting for examples that prove there IS wide ranging diversity in sexuality.

  61. Jay said,

    soniarott wrote:
    Ok, it certainly isn’t reductionist, and my assertion is that all behavior is genetic based, that’s as absurd as the idea that it’s based on social learning. You seem to be attempting to defend the social learning argument without wanting to support. Simply by stating that biology isn’t “entirely” the cause of behavior, does not prove it isn’t the predominent cause of behavior further your assertion that “Is it so absurd to believe that perhaps our behavior causes genetic changes to occur?” supports my assertion, not yours, as I stated that many behaviors are more genetically based than social learning. In effect what you asked was, “Doesn’t some behavior cause genetic causes (natural selection)” that results in genetic changes that are passed down and inherited in the form of hardwired responses. In all actuallity, I take a hollistic view of human behavior, as being the interaction of social interaction and learning being filtered through genetic hard-wiring. What my main issue is, however, is the tenacity at which the social learning theorists still have a strangle hold on rational thought about human behavior, despite having nearly every theory they have fostered to support “the blank slate human” being debunked for the last 50 years. I still back my original assertion, that sexual response is primarily genetically driven, as are many of the “lowering functioning” behaviors such as the fight or flight, fear response and our sympathetic nervous system response to anger.

    Granted the social theorists seem to have problematic issues insofar as they neglect the genetic influence. However, what I am suggesting is not that social behavior is the sole cause. I am merely suggesting that our social behavior, as with my example of speech, can cause changes within our genetic composition. I have furthermore suggested that the natural selection theory is inadequate. Granted it isn’t incorrect and does explain a large part of our development, however, it cannot explain everything as my example showed. Or if you want another, think of the loss of hair upon our bodies. There would be no reason for us to become less hairy since it has no survival advantage. Nontheless it occured, and according to natural selection, evolution only occurs under advantageous circumstances, there seems to be something not quite right here. So, coming back to my point, I have already suggested, and I don’t think you denied it, that social behavior can alter our genetic composition. Now if this is accurate, or even possible, it automatically discards the argument that genetics play the primordial part since they are being transgressed. Granted they do play a part, and perhaps a very important part, but what I fail to understand is how they can be the major cause of an event under circumstances where they are being transgressed. And our sexual urges are often transgressed suggestion that the genetics are far from the major cause of our sexual behavior, at least from this end. It just strikes me as nonsensical to claim otherwise. Perhaps you can explain it to me though since I fail to see how you are supporting your claim.
    What you mistake for “diversity” of sexual behavior, is nothing more than the rituals that have sprung up around sex. Further, even these don’t show very extreme diversity across human cultures, and i’m still waiting for examples that prove there IS wide ranging diversity in sexuality.

    Monogomy and polygamy for one. Homosexuality and heterosexuality for another. But regardless, I think the debate steps from something else, as stated above. But just to elaborate on the homo/hetero question. Genetics stimulate the female organs to become fertile, how she stimulates her organs seems irrevelant to genetic influence. Likewise for the male, the only genetic cause is the desire to ejaculate. How and with whom he chooses also for that matter seems oblivious to the genetic influences.

  62. tobias said,

    There might be genetical limits and causes for such and such behaviour and acts at certain moments. How these acts are understood however is not a genetic issue, but an issue of interpretation. The question is why is male sexual promiscuity interpreted as good and female promiscuity interpreted as bad. Sure there are biological differences between men and women, but that does not necessarily leads to some interpretation rather than another. Furthermpore these interpretations can be reinterpreted.

  63. BDS said,

    soniarott wrote:
    .
    Finally, you did not give me a real answer to my question “what is the primary cause of behavior” if not a genetic source?

    I gave you three defintions of “cause”. You just don’t like them, for some reason. It’s obvious that the afore mentioned Texas Slim wouldn’t go “all in” if he were a tree, instead of a human. He wouldn’t go “all in” if he had never learned to play poker. He wouldn’t go “all in” if he were playing Go Fish. Any behavior is influenced by an infinite number of conditions. The reason we talk about only SOME those conditions as being “causal” is because of how we define the word “cause”, which I went into in detail above, and need not repeat.

    Of course genetics influences behavior, otherwise we would see squirrels piloting 747 jetliners. But to suggest that someone became an airline pilot BECAUSE he is a human being would be meaningless and silly.

  64. soniarott said,

    BDS wrote:
    I gave you three defintions of “cause”. You just don’t like them, for some reason. It’s obvious that the afore mentioned Texas Slim wouldn’t go “all in” if he were a tree, instead of a human. He wouldn’t go “all in” if he had never learned to play poker. He wouldn’t go “all in” if he were playing Go Fish. Any behavior is influenced by an infinite number of conditions. The reason we talk about only SOME those conditions as being “causal” is because of how we define the word “cause”, which I went into in detail above, and need not repeat.

    Of course genetics influences behavior, otherwise we would see squirrels piloting 747 jetliners. But to suggest that someone became an airline pilot BECAUSE he is a human being would be meaningless and silly.

    To suggest someone became an airline pilot simply because he was raised to be one is equally meaningless and silly. Unless he is born with the genetic ability to be an airline pilot, it’s doubtful he will become one. Likewise, it’s silly and meaningless to claim that someone can simply be raised to be a nobel prize winning physicists or a world class athlete, or a world renown artist. The genetic foundation has to be laid before any behavior can occur. Genetics came first, not social learning. That is not a chicken and egg argument, genetics lays the foundation. You can say “Some of it does, some of it doesn’t” but you can’t point to one single behavior that isn’t rooted first in genetic causes that allow such behavior. Noam Chomsky, among others, pioneered the idea that there is a genetic based preset language ability in small children that allows them to learn massives amount of language skills during their first two or three years, and there is an inborn ability toward langauge, thereby damaging another social learning myth. Without those preset genetic abilities, humans couldn’t speak. Again, modern science is completely turning against you.

  65. soniarott said,

    Tobias wrote:
    There might be genetical limits and causes for such and such behaviour and acts at certain moments. How these acts are understood however is not a genetic issue, but an issue of interpretation. The question is why is male sexual promiscuity interpreted as good and female promiscuity interpreted as bad. Sure there are biological differences between men and women, but that does not necessarily leads to some interpretation rather than another. Furthermpore these interpretations can be reinterpreted.

    Ok, that’s not an answer. All you said was “Those interpretations can be interpreted, and reinterpreted”. What does that mean? If biological differences account for the differences in behavior it certainly DOES explain why it is considered good and bad. You can’t seperate the two. That’s my point, you cannot seperate biological and social factors, they are intertwined in a way that defies the true reductionists ability to look at from a strictly social learning perspective. It doesn’t work.

  66. soniarott said,

    Jay wrote:
    Granted the social theorists seem to have problematic issues insofar as they neglect the genetic influence. However, what I am suggesting is not that social behavior is the sole cause. I am merely suggesting that our social behavior, as with my example of speech, can cause changes within our genetic composition. I have furthermore suggested that the natural selection theory is inadequate. Granted it isn’t incorrect and does explain a large part of our development, however, it cannot explain everything as my example showed. Or if you want another, think of the loss of hair upon our bodies. There would be no reason for us to become less hairy since it has no survival advantage. Nontheless it occured, and according to natural selection, evolution only occurs under advantageous circumstances, there seems to be something not quite right here. So, coming back to my point, I have already suggested, and I don’t think you denied it, that social behavior can alter our genetic composition. Now if this is accurate, or even possible, it automatically discards the argument that genetics play the primordial part since they are being transgressed. Granted they do play a part, and perhaps a very important part, but what I fail to understand is how they can be the major cause of an event under circumstances where they are being transgressed. And our sexual urges are often transgressed suggestion that the genetics are far from the major cause of our sexual behavior, at least from this end. It just strikes me as nonsensical to claim otherwise. Perhaps you can explain it to me though since I fail to see how you are supporting your claim.

    Monogomy and polygamy for one. Homosexuality and heterosexuality for another. But regardless, I think the debate steps from something else, as stated above. But just to elaborate on the homo/hetero question. Genetics stimulate the female organs to become fertile, how she stimulates her organs seems irrevelant to genetic influence. Likewise for the male, the only genetic cause is the desire to ejaculate. How and with whom he chooses also for that matter seems oblivious to the genetic influences.

    It’s a ficitious argument. You are now claiming that behavior has an effect on genetics. That is irrelavent in the discussion about where behavior comes from. I’ve already stated that all social learning is filtered through our genetic makeup. We can only behave within certain preset limits. You can no sooner learn how to go outside those limits, than you can learn to flap your arms and fly away. Behavior is limited by genetics. Pure and simple. Is there a range of behavior within the genetics that is alterable by social learning. There certainly is. Just like with intelligence, you can optimise what you are born with, but you cannot increase your intelligence beyond the limits imposed by your genes. Every aspect of your life is controlled by these genetic factors. You cannot escape. Further, your example about hair loss, for example, is not some evidence of the lack of the role genetics plays, but merely ignorance of another factor in evolutionary processes, mutation. Further, your theory about hetersexuality and homosexuality as being a choice flies in the face of modern research. Increasingly, modern research is showing that sexual preference is determined in the womb, not by some choice made afterwards. Again, modern science tends to debunk many of your examples.

  67. BDS said,

    soniarott wrote:
    To suggest someone became an airline pilot simply because he was raised to be one is equally meaningless and silly. Unless he is born with the genetic ability to be an airline pilot, it’s doubtful he will become one. Likewise, it’s silly and meaningless to claim that someone can simply be raised to be a nobel prize winning physicists or a world class athlete, or a world renown artist. The genetic foundation has to be laid before any behavior can occur. Genetics came first, not social learning. That is not a chicken and egg argument, genetics lays the foundation. You can say “Some of it does, some of it doesn’t” but you can’t point to one single behavior that isn’t rooted first in genetic causes that allow such behavior. Noam Chomsky, among others, pioneered the idea that there is a genetic based preset language ability in small children that allows them to learn massives amount of language skills during their first two or three years, and there is an inborn ability toward langauge, thereby damaging another social learning myth. Without those preset genetic abilities, humans couldn’t speak. Again, modern science is completely turning against you.

    Modern science has not turned against me at all, because I would make none of the outlandish claims that you ascribe to me. When did I ever suggest that a specific child rearing regime would “cause” someone to be a “world class physicist”? If I had done so, your objection woul be legitimate.

    Instead, I specifically defined what we mean by the “cause” of behaviors. Based on this definition, genetics doesn’t qualify as a “cause”, for a variety of reasons which I thoroughly explained. You are arguing not against me, but against some interlocutor of your imagination.

    As I pointed out in my last post, genetics is NECESSARY for most human behavior, but it is not SUFFICIENT to explain that behavior. The linguistic ability of children is necessary for them to become fluent English speakers, but it is not sufficient. They might grow up speaking French, or Chinese.

    This is all simple, and logical, and reasonable. The deep grammar of cultural conventions may be suggested by our genetic “hard wiring”, but the actual conventions (such as the doulbe standard) vary between cultures. Thus while the hard wiring (per Chomsky) is influencial in determining the form of the cultural convention, it does not “cause” the convention, because it is not the intentional act of a conscious agent; it is not a handle that we are manipulating; and it is not necessary and sufficient in existence and operation to deternmine the nature of the convention.

    This is all so obvious, I’m getting tired of explaining it over and over again.

  68. soniarott said,

    BDS wrote:
    Modern science has not turned against me at all, because I would make none of the outlandish claims that you ascribe to me. When did I ever suggest that a specific child rearing regime would “cause” someone to be a “world class physicist”? If I had done so, your objection woul be legitimate.

    Instead, I specifically defined what we mean by the “cause” of behaviors. Based on this definition, genetics doesn’t qualify as a “cause”, for a variety of reasons which I thoroughly explained. You are arguing not against me, but against some interlocutor of your imagination.

    As I pointed out in my last post, genetics is NECESSARY for most human behavior, but it is not SUFFICIENT to explain that behavior. The linguistic ability of children is necessary for them to become fluent English speakers, but it is not sufficient. They might grow up speaking French, or Chinese.

    This is all simple, and logical, and reasonable. The deep grammar of cultural conventions may be suggested by our genetic “hard wiring”, but the actual conventions (such as the doulbe standard) vary between cultures. Thus while the hard wiring (per Chomsky) is influencial in determining the form of the cultural convention, it does not “cause” the convention, because it is not the intentional act of a conscious agent; it is not a handle that we are manipulating; and it is not necessary and sufficient in existence and operation to deternmine the nature of the convention.

    This is all so obvious, I’m getting tired of explaining it over and over again.

    You’ve made some very inconsistent claims, many of which aren’t founded in fact. The problem you are running in to the is the basis of the claim that Genetics isn’t sufficient alone to create behavior. I never made that claim, what I did make was the claim that it is the key variable through which all behavior is filtered and, without which, there is no behavior. I have establsihed that. You have yet to refute that genetics is the key variable to all behavior. The only way you can do this is to establish that behavior can exist outside of a genetic root. What you’ve attempted to do is side step this argument, because you know it’s a losing one. Again, at no point did I say that all behavior happened only as a result of genetic behavior. However, we can establish many cases how social causes only modify pre-existing behavior, they don’t create it. So you’ve failed to establish a “cause” of behavior at all. Simply making the claim that behavior is not caused by genetics, and then giving a few general and faulty examples, is not the same thing. I’ll simplify the argument. Between social and genetic causes of behavior, genetics is by far the most important, since no behavior can occur by social means, but with the same genetics, and different social variables, behavior will still occurr. What Chomsky stated was that the source of language ability is genetically based, and that the form that ability takes is only altered by our social learning, not created by it. A human can speak because it is genetically human, and has the genetic ability to speak. Therefore, speaking is primarily a function of genetically being human, and is secondarily altered and modified by social interaction (filtered through that inborn ability). If you can teach a pig to speak that lacks the genetic ability to do so, you will have made your point. Otherwise, t

  69. soniarott said,

    Otherwise, that’s the end of it

  70. BDS said,

    You’re right, sonia. I have failed to establish a simplistic “cause” for the variety of sexual double standards that exist around the world. That’s because the ’causes’ are detailed, cultural, and historical.

    You have also failed to establish a cause for the different double standards. Instead, you point to some general Darwinian advantage to male promiscuity. Unfortunately, this utterly fails to explain actual cultural mores, which differ dramatically despite the fact that we are all humans.

    No doubt we can learn language because we are humans, and not hamsters. So what? Do we learn anything interesting about language by recognizing this unremarkable fact? We learn language not BECAUSE we are humans, but BECAUSE other humans teach us language. That is, if we were isolated from birth, we would not learn language. Therefore, the TEACHING is 1) a handle we can manipulate, 2) an intentional act of a conscious agent. That’s why it is a “cause”.

  71. BDS said,

    One more thing: there’s no point in talking to each other, sonia. If you want to insist that genetics “causes” the double standard, show how it does so using my definition of “cause”, which was clear and concise. Let’s make sure we are defining our terms the same way, or there’s no point continuing.

  72. soniarott said,

    indeed,there’s no point in continuing. bye bye!

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