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sexy shorts vs…short morals

In bblonde, sexy shorts vs.short morals on 08/24/2006 at 1:44 am

“hey, sexy shorts.”
“um.. thanks. He really hates to wear them. But he has to.”
I looked at her, puzzled “..has to?”
Carla smiled “Yes, you know, we um… are trying so hard to conceive. And David has low sperm count, so hot weather like this he has to wear shorts so his.. you know, doesn’t overheat.”
Carla and David are my friends, married three years and desperately trying to have a baby. I debated whether to tell her in fact that best way to triple his sperm count would be to convince David that she was having an affair. A dangerous tactic, to be sure but from a evolutionary psychological point of view, entirely justified and effective way to tactically counteract the low sperm count. From the male’s point of view, evolutionarily speaking, it is not how long since they have had sex, but how many opportunities his mate has had to consort with other males that affects the sperm count. In essence the more he believes she is unfaithful, more elevated his sperm spm(variance 20-160 million sperm per milliliter) . This makes sense if we see that over generations of evolutionary progress, his sperm may have had to compete with sperm of other males inside her womb, so to speak.

Carla stared slack jawed. “you’re kidding me.”
“nope.”

Faithful readers of this blog are well aware by now of our bias towards evolutionary psychology when it comes to observing the behavior of our gentle species. Although it may be fairly obvious and more accurate to say that our preference is more in line with the ‘field’ of evolutionary neurology, particularly given our name:) If we accept the basic premise of evolutionary psychology that the human mind, like every other organ in our body, was designed for the purpose of facilitating gene transmission from one generation to the next, and that the feelings and thoughts created in our minds are at best a kind of by-product of this non-organic ‘pipeline’, then it’s fairly clear we should understand that our hunger pangs, as much as the existence of our stomach, are here only because it helps our species propagate. Our libido, no less than our sex organs, are also present for same reasons. “hmm..”, you say, “but all that sounds familiar…”

But let’s see if we can push this theoretical ‘envelope’. Neurologically speaking, we may have been designed with an entirely different focus in mind. In effect, our brains are geared to nurture ruthless genetic self-interest in that we focus primarily not on searching for that ideal mate, but rather first depriving our closest competitors (ie friends, companions) of that possibility. In doing so we are naturally oblivious to our own ‘ruthlessness’. It is genetic, after all…
The danger here is that people will take easiest path; react by surrendering to “natural” impulses, as if what is “in our genes” are beyond reach of self-control. We may even conveniently and incorrectly assume that what is “natural” is good.
This idea may still be common and perhaps widely held. Natural selection for the evolutionary good of the species is a powerful thought, who could argue against constantly “improving” our species for the greater good? How often do we still hear the same refrain from a cheating boyfriend “uh..but honey you know us guys have to ya know spread our seed to ensure survival of human species, it’s in our genes..we are built that way!” But evolutionary psychology rests on a quite different world perspective; clear recognition that natural selection does not work toward overall social welfare, in fact much of what passes for ‘innate’ human nature is thinly disguised ruthless genetic self-interest. Morality does not come built into our species, contrary and with all due respect to Charles Darwin, who believed that men stood apart from every other mammalian species because humans were ‘engineered’ with a concept of morality. Understanding moral issues and being able to attain moral ideals are too often worlds apart.

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