Sunday, September 05, 2010

The Autodidact In Me

So I just heard about this book. It offers the interesting but, to me at any rate non-controversial thesis, that monogamy in human sexual relationships is not "natural" in the way, say pair-bonding in many species that mate for life seems to be. By comparing human sexual behavior with that of one of the two most closely related primate species - the bonobo - the authors offer the notion that, in fact, having multiple partners over the course of a lifetime is far more in keeping with what is "natural" about us than is sexual monogamy.

In a column at, one of the coauthors of the study takes on "critic" Megan McArdle, who has written a "scathing" (and largely uninformed) review.

I have to admit I am intrigued by the thesis, and look forward to reading this book. Precisely because, at the current moment I am reading Helmut Thielicke's Evangelical Faith, and am dealing with the whole issue, as he puts it, of "address", the issue of the meaning of words, most especially "nature" and "natural", are forefront in my mind. How we understand these words, how we live them, is important for the sake of clearly understanding the question of address.

Furthermore, I am always open to the discoveries of new research. Even if I am not always in agreement with them, it seems to me that we Christians have a duty to have some kind of even rudimentary understanding of the way our understanding of our world has changed and continues to change.

So, kudos to Ryan and co-author Cacilda Jethá for their work.

Virtual Tin Cup

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