Re: exogamy, kinship, and heterozygosity

Gerold Firl (
4 Oct 1996 21:16:40 GMT

In article <5324sq$>, (Robert Snower) writes:

|> (Gerold Firl) wrote:

|> >Does that mean that cultures *promoted* incest, against the prevailing
|> >wind of instinct? I'm trying to think of examples, but drawing a blank;
|> >can you give examples? How would such a thing be done? It seems like
|> >most cultures teach children that incest is dangerous.
|> >Are you saying that primordial cultures promoted incest, but later
|> >turned against it? That seems like a difficult proposition to
|> >substantiate; what evidence supports such a view?

|> More Shapiro:
|> In the ordinary and adaptive course of events, the infant's devotion
|> to mother, brothers, sisters, cousins is diverted, in adulthood, to
|> mate and progeny. His, and his mate's, coefficients of relatedness to
|> his progeny are far higher than his coefficients of relatedness to his
|> siblings', and cousins', progeny. Thus his selfish genes make the
|> development of a cohesive, deep, sociality impossible: he will
|> compete, not cooperate, with his siblings and their progeny. The
|> adaptive value of sociality requires a remedy. The social
|> construction which solves the problem, and is therefore selected for,
|> is the incest temptation, so well recorded in myth and literature (and
|> psychoanalysis), always prohibited of fulfillment; i.e., a fictive
|> incest, generating a real, socially directed, devotion, and a real
|> exogamy, generating a fictive (phantasized), socially directed,
|> devotion.

If I understand correctly, shapiro is saying that unmodified kin
selection would result in a parent being devoted to her children, but
only half as devoted to neices and nephews, and even less devoted to
cousins and their children, and hardly caring at all about total
strangers. The myth of forbidden incest would then function to
artificially boost the strength of outlying kinship ties - that doesn't
seem necessary. The pattern of progressively decreasing loyalty to more
remote relatives, friends, and neighbors seems exactly like the pattern
of sociality found among humans; why the need for any hypothetical
incest temptation?

Disclaimer claims dat de claims claimed in dis are de claims of meself,
me, and me alone, so sue us god. I won't tell Bill & Dave if you won't.
=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=---- Gerold Firl @ ..hplabs!hp-sdd!geroldf