Relgion Controls Women -the genetics

Genetic evidence, religion is used to control women. Like we needed more evidence. The study's conclusion:
"In short, Strassmann and colleagues maintain that the ideological and tactical similarities between these world religions and the Dogon religion have arisen in response to the same biological pressures. Religious patriarchy is directly analogous to the mate-guarding tactics used by animals to ensure paternity."
 I would correct this slightly. It is not biological pressure, it is religious pressure. I say that because  a wide range of cultures do not care who the father is, so it is not biological it is cultural, specifically religious culture, as I argue in Sex and God.
Genetic evidence

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Comment by Rich Goss on June 16, 2012 at 12:07pm

Daryl, Thanks for your expert commentary.  I should have been clearer in my statement about ants and bees.  The point I wanted to make was just as the insect order hymenoptera (mostly ants, bees and wasps) has wide specialization of labor, with only a minute percentage involved with reproduction, in humans only a small percentage of spermatozoa is capable of fertilization.  A typical bee hive has thousands of sterile female worker and soldier bees, but only one queen and a few drones. 


If most sperm cells are of the soldier variety, and “egg getters” rare, it appears that early hominids couldn’t have been strictly monogamous. 


By coincidence, your statement “We need to get out of our western Christian shell and see the wider world of sexuality and relationships” is precisely a major theme of Mirror Reversal.  I couldn’t agree more.  I know my scientific background is limited to high school biology teaching, but as a humanist writer I make a strong case that humans are breeding our species out of existence and a fundamental change in attitudes (zeitgeist) toward sex has to occur radically and fast.  Human population growth is growing multiplicatively, uncontrolled and recklessly without concern for the future quality of life.  


Nature will find a way to put an end to it if we don’t—that’s for sure.  It’s a mathematical certainly. 


Comment by Darrel Ray on June 16, 2012 at 10:52am

The issues is far more complex than either of you are looking at. We are not insects, we aren't even normal mammals. We are one of the four great apes. As I discuss at length there a large amount of evidence that we don't care who the father is as a species. Chimps don't care, bonobos don't care. Gorillas do have mate guarding, but the incidence of hanky panky among females is pretty high and they are polygamous. Sex in three of the great apes -humans, chimps and bonobos - has taken on new functions - social bonding. This is true of only a few species on the planet (including dolphins). Monogamy, is simply not a human trait. It is an agricultural trait. Looking a precontact societies from polynesia to the Amazon to China, there are myriad societies that show little concern for fatherhood. The Na culture do not even have a word for father or for marriage or husband or wife. 46 cultures into the Amazon believe in partible paternity - it takes many men to make a healthy baby. Many cultures have no word for marriage or define it in ways we would not even recognize - for example, the ability to marry a dead person in some Asian cultures. Then, of course, we have the shape of the penis, the types of sperm, etc. which clearly shows we are not monogamous. My contention in Sex and God is that we atheists are still infected with religious concepts of sexuality and relationships. We need to get out of our western Christian shell and see the wider world of sexuality and relationships.

Comment by Rich Goss on June 16, 2012 at 9:24am

I agree with Dawn’s point, “All sorts of mechanisms have developed”, to help safeguard the pair bond.  With the human baby so helpless, any genes that help keep a couple together are selected. 

An interesting “mechanism” is pointed out in the highly controversial book, Sperm Wars by Robin Baker.  Dubbed “sperm heteromorphism” male gametes developed specialized functions much like the members of a bee hive or ant colony.  Only about 1% of spermatozoa are capable of fertilization.  The vast majority are similar to soldier ants or termites, whose function is to block the cervical os or directly kill rival gametes with a poison secreted by the acrosome or sperm tip. 

I don’t quite get the religious connection, but “mate guarding” appears to be a genetic certainty with strong selective pressure. 

(Just an aside, that's my book just to the right of this post, as I write this.  Just below Daryl's.)



Comment by jay H on June 15, 2012 at 9:30pm
Damn I keep wanting to add more.

Lets look at this from an evolutionary perspective. It it were strictly culture or religion, we would not see this behavior in animals. But to the contrary we do. Not just in mammals but even down to reptiles, amphibians and insects. All sorts of mechanisms have developed (in creatures with not religion) for males to prevent insemination of females by other males.
Biologically it makes perfect sense. A fertile female is a scarce reproductive asset, and males that successfully blocked other males had a huge genetic advantage.
Religion just came along and made the behavior a bit more malicious.

As a side point, female jealousy is largely absent in most animals (including mammals). But it exists in humans, probably because of our reproductive strategy. The young are vulnerable for so long that resource input by males has become a component part of our reproductive pattern. An intrusion by another female significantly threatens diverting of that resource so human females have a basis for jealous protection just as males (of most mammal species) do.
Comment by jay H on June 15, 2012 at 9:20pm
A little bit further on this.
I find it interesting that people who generally accept evolution suddenly get a bit queasy when we behave like the mammals that we are, and those behaviors go against ideology. When this happens, our behavior is suddenly shoehorned to agree with the ideological preferences rather than the opposite. Some really intelligent people have fallen into this trap (S. J Gould, Richard Lowentin); but the truth is: we are mammals, we behave like mammals. Maybe we can improve that behavior somewhat but it's not going away.
Comment by jay H on June 15, 2012 at 9:09pm
Actually, you should replace 'a wide range of' by 'a few isolated' cultures. It's one thing to make a point, but an exception is not a rule.

This is not to disagree really with the point you are trying to make, but so often I see people search for a culture which supports (or appears to from our external view--see Margaret Mead) support a point which then gets touted as proving the point.



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