Human Exceptionalism

More “Evolved Monogamy” Nonsense

Every human behavior is not dictated by direct evolution. Much of how we act is chosen. In other words, we have surmounted evolution–at least in some regards–to the point that we intelligently design our own behavioral paths.

Monogamy seems one such choice. It is hardly built in to the biology. People have to work at it through moral discipline, refusing to go where their hormones, desires, and circumstantial sexual opportunities might otherwise take them.

But don’t tell that to the hard core evolutionists. We previously learned that–supposedly–monogamy evolved as a way of preventing infanticide. A concurrent study says no, it evolved from females spreading out territorially. And now, we are told that regardless of how it evolved, we evolved big brains because of the evolved monogamy. Good grief. From the New York Times story:

In our own lineage, however, fathers went further. They had evolved the ability to hunt and scavenge meat, and they were supplying some of that food to their children. “They may have gone beyond what is normal for monogamous primates,” said Dr. Opie.

The extra supply of protein and calories that human children started to receive is widely considered a watershed moment in our evolution. It could explain why we have brains far bigger than other mammals. “Brains are hungry organs, demanding 20 times more calories than a similar piece of muscle. Only with a steady supply of energy-rich meat, Dr. Okie suggests, were we able to evolve big brains — and all the mental capacities that come with it.

Because of monogamy, Dr. Opie said, “This could be how humans were able to push through a ceiling in terms of brain size.”

But animal rights activists say we evolved as vegetarians and only eat meat because we are addicted. Ow! My head hurts.

Actually,we are natural omnivores. Vegetarianism/veganism is a moral choice–to which adherents are capable because of our exceptional natures.

But back to “evolved monogamy:” It seems to me that one need not be a scientist to see how that idea makes no common sense. If only 17% of human cultures are strictly monogamous–which the story asserts–how can it be an evolved behavior? Or did some of us–but not others–evolve back out of monogamy? The whole notion is ridiculous.

Humans are exceptional, in part, because we are not strictly subject to evolutionary forces. We exert the force upon ourselves and our environment. Unlike geese or chimps, we decide how to behave in matters sexual and moral–not to mention, dietary. 

Monogamy is not a hard-wired biological directive humans must follow. Only humans can create cultures that are or are not monogamous. Only humans can make the often difficult decision to stick to a single sexual partner. And that is one reason why we are exceptional.


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