Re: anti-inbreeding laws

Gil Hardwick (
Sun, 28 May 1995 07:02:33 GMT

In article <>, Gerold Firl ( writes:
>Humans have developed all kinds of cultural rules about incest, but
>analogous prohibitions occur in species which have no culture, and some
>which don't even have a brain.

Mere ANALOGY, Gerold! You said it right here; no more than "analogous
prohibitions" based on your extremely limited understanding of human
kinship systems indeed.

Now, where is your basic field research on these other species? Which
don't even have a brain? What is a "brain" to start with, for christ
sakes, when we are referring in fact to WHOLE ORGANISMS?

For your argument to hold you MUST be able to demonstrate reliably
and independently replicably that these other species know that in
generations to follow SOME of their offspring MAY be deformed. How
would they be able to calculate the risk?

Please do explain their calculus, even remotely analogous to the
statistics deployed by humans in accessing such risks, assuming such
knowledge to be inherited to start with.

And PLEASE NOT rephrased in your own confused version of the language
of anthropology!

Let's just take a different tack for the moment, eh?

If their knowledge is not biologically inherited, then it MUST BE
TAUGHT, yes?

Since it is taught, as we all know very well indeed that animals teach
their offspring, then it must be a cultural artifact of theirs.

The same order of cultural artifact we humans enjoy, YES?

Now, if these other species have no white mice in laboratories on
which to experiment, and no statistics with which to calculate the
risk of deformity by inbreeding, how would they know to avoid sex
with siblings for that reason?

If on the other hand they do know VERY WELL INDEED what conflict can
arise within their group from incest, and seek to avoid conflict as
much as possible as WASTING PRECIOUS TIME AND ENERGY when they have
other things to be getting on with in their lives, just like us, AS
SCIENCE IN THE GRAND TRADITION, surely you will concede that they too
avoid incest so as to avoid conflict within the family.