LJ 2008-09-08 14:28:00

Sep 8th, 2008 | Filed under LiveJournal Import

I saw a thing the other day in which somebody asked if monogamy was natural, and it got me back to thinking about the Evolutionary Biology side of relationships..

Now in theory, monogamy is in a woman’s best interests, but not a man’s. The man’s best shot at long term genetic viability is to impregnate as many women as possible, thus there must logically exist some drive that compels a man to do just that. A successful man could, in theory, father a child every day of the year. Of course, the evolutionary environment in which man evolved didn’t include sufficient group sizes for that to be viable at a group selection level, so some moderation would obviously be required. Nevertheless, the man benefits from “sowing his wild oats”, so to speak.

And that argument is often used to justify why men do stupid things – it’s in their nature, and therefore those poor males can be excused all manner of indescretions. So let’s consider the woman for a second.

Human infants are demanding little animals, requiring a lot of care and attention from the mother. Therefore, in her own mate selection process, she would seek out a partner who could provide for the child. The optimal strategy there would be to find a monogamous man, since the resources that he would be able to gather could be spent exclusively on the mother’s offspring, as opposed to being spent on any other secondary family units.

In similar fashion, a male would look more favourably upon a female whose sole responsibility was for his own children. He would be disadvantaged if she already had other children to look after, since these would use resources, detract from the maternal attention his own children received, etc..

So, with all those things in place, I’ve come to the following conclusion:

If a man cheats on a woman, it is in her best interests to devour her existing young, and immediately locate a new male. She cannot risk her existing children receiving sub-standard support from their errant father, nor can she expect another male to take them on at the detriment of his own future offspring. The least wasteful solution is therefore to consume the children, and approach new men-folk as an available woman, with proven fertility, but no current responsibilities.

So, gentlemen, you ought to go about your business forewarned – should you stray from your women, do not be at all surprised to come home to find baby leftovers in tupperware containers in the fridge, and your (soon to be former-) wife attempting to conceive a substitute child with your replacement. And when you try to claim that your nature compelled you to behave in that way, bear in mind that your fully-fed wife will be able to claim likewise.

  1. Tiffany
    Sep 8th, 2008 at 14:23
    Reply | Quote | #1

    hahahahahahaha this made me lol

  2. ex_apricotic791
    Sep 8th, 2008 at 16:00
    Reply | Quote | #2

    Now in theory, monogamy is in a woman’s best interests


    • James
      Sep 8th, 2008 at 21:54
      Reply | Quote | #3

      You are, of course, entitled to your lay-opinion, but you are mistaken.

      Theoretically a woman might be able to benefit by keeping both a provider and a mate, the provider being the optimal partner to acquire resources for the offspring, and the mate having the optimal genes for that offspring. But that requires that the provider is, basically, stupid. In general, Paternity Uncertainty kicks in, and the provider is no longer willing to provide resources because he has reason to suspect the offspring is not his. So in general, the theoretical optimal strategy is monogamy.

      Or should I have just shouted “NO, YOU THE WRONG!!” back at you..?

      • ex_apricotic791
        Sep 8th, 2008 at 22:21
        Reply | Quote | #4

        You assume bigamy? Really?

        Or should I have just shouted “NO, YOU THE WRONG!!” back at you..? Wtf, man?

        • Jasna
          Sep 9th, 2008 at 13:54
          Reply | Quote | #5

          I believe he was referring to the fact that you said “WRONG” without providing support to your statement, so the implication was that he should have done the same.

          • ex_apricotic791
            Sep 9th, 2008 at 14:32
            Quote | #6

            His initial assertion that monogamy is in a woman’s best interest was also unsupported and simply given as a fact. I disagree with the assertion. I was brief in my expression of disagreement. The tone of his answer was what made me ask “wtf”, and that really was more of a rhetorical question than something demanding an explanation, especially from someone I wasn’t even addressing.

          • James
            Sep 9th, 2008 at 14:45
            Quote | #7

            Watch your tone

  3. Max
    Sep 8th, 2008 at 16:18
    Reply | Quote | #8

    Great entry. It’s like, “philosophy… psychology… interesting interesting… TRAIN WRECK!”

  4. girlspell
    Sep 8th, 2008 at 18:55
    Reply | Quote | #9

    Good stuff! I enjoyed that.

    Biology 101 could be taught that way.

  5. lapenn
    Sep 9th, 2008 at 00:22

    mmmm . . . nerdy. Love it!