Re: "Family"

Dwight W. Read (dread@ANTHRO.UCLA.EDU)
Fri, 19 Jul 1996 00:38:57 -0700

O'Dea replies:

>The point I am making is that there is no reason to assume that paternal
>parenting strategies could not have evolved in birds, mammals and perhaps

No problem with this as long as one also adds the caveat that (natural)
selection for male parenting will occur only when there is also "knowledge"
of paternity (which need not be 100% certainty).

O'Dea continuues:

>I think your last point is a good one. However one could equally argue
>that the lack of interest by these men in their children is a cultural
>overlay (resulting from the Government acting as a surrogate "father")
>which displaces the "natural" parenting behaviour. If one were a strict
>sociobiologist (which I'm not) one could argue that these men are behaving
>in a tactically clever way. If one can impregnate women and not have to
>put resources in, maybe moving onto further women, this is a "smart"
>strategy in a biological sense.

Next the strict sociobiologist would have to (a) establish that the
Government acting as a surrogate "father" in fact leads to greater fitness
than direct male parenting behavior and (b) then determine why males of one
ethnic dumb are "dumb" and directly invest in offspring (with less fitness
accruing than if one let the Government act as a surrogate "father") whereas
males of another ethnic group are "smart" (and gain more fitness by letting
the Government act as surrogate "father"). And in addition, why don't the
"smart" males become even "smarter" by, say, surreptitiously engaging in
male parenting (e.g., in the form of sending a monthly support payment) and
thereby gaining the alleged fitness benefit of government "parenting" plus
direct male parenting. . .

D. Read