Re: Intercourse /vs/ Offspring
9 Dec 1996 14:27:51 GMT

Hugh Hoskin wonders "When did man first recognize the correlation between
intercourse and the birth of babies three seasons later?"

Malinowski worked among the Trobrian Islanders in the 1930's and found
that they still had puzzled out the connection. They believed that
ancestor spirits resided in the fog and vapors surrounding their islands
and that these spirits would come ashore, invade women through their
heads, lodge in their bellies, and eventually be reborn as children.

Malinowski, no doubt feeling the white man's burden to educate the savages
(as he called them), tried to point out the relationship between sex and
childbirth. He asked if they had noticed that no virgins became
pregnant. The natives, not being imbued with the Judao-Christian ethic,
of course, responded that they didn't know any virgins. Finally, one of
the Chiefs settled the argument by declaring that he had recently returned
home from a two year stay on a neighboring island only to find his wife
was pregnant, thus proving that sex and childbirth are not correlated.