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Posts Tagged ‘Procreation

Was Jesus Asexual, Heterosexual or Homosexual?

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Jesus’s sexuality is utterly ignored by Christians. Why are Christians—like those represented by the Christian Coalition International Canada Inc—so upset to think that their incarnated God, Jesus, might have been homosexual? Though the gospel image of Jesus is that of a tolerant pacifist, a large proportion of Christians do not recognize this as Jesus, certainly in the way they think and behave themselves. Of course, the gospel image of Jesus is most likely concocted by the early Christians, but literal biblicists are supposed to believe in the bible literally read, and the bible literally read is ambiguous about the sexuality of Jesus. Indeed, the impression given of Jesus is that he had no interest in sex at all, and if that were so then he must have been a god, because no normal man could possibly not be sexually inclined.

Of course, one can eschew sexual activity in practice, but one cannot suppress it completely, mentally. The obvious explanation of Jesus not being sexually active is that he was a member of the order of Essenes, one branch of which did not indulge in sexual activity because it was considered to be symptomatic of humanity and not the angels, who were not sexual creatures, being immortal. The Essenes aspired to be angels, and so gave up sex. Thus they believed they were purer, more perfect and more adjusted to the heavenly life.

Now, it is possible that even this concept of sexual purity did not prevent the Essene monks from indulging in homosexuality. The reason is that they could have justified homosexuality as being non-procreative, and the angels were asexual because they had no need of procreation. Humans needed sex to procreate the human race because immortality had been denied them by God as a consequence of primeval sin, probably seen as sexual activity anyway. Let the punishment fit the crime, was God’s principle in this reasoning. The human race were condemned to being sexual so that they could propagate themselves. A forbidden pleasure, stolen contrary to God’s wishes, had led to sex being a necessity with all the anguish it produced. Homosexuality was not a necessity however. It was not part of the punishment because it was not for procreation.

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Written by mikemagee

20 June, 2011 at 6:09 pm

Patriarchal Society and the Biological Battle of the Sexes

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Scientists (Proceedings of the Royal Society: Biological Sciences) can predict how masculine a woman likes her men based on her nation’s World Health Organization (WHO) statistics for mortality rates, life expectancy and the impact of communicable disease. In Face Lab tests, they can also ask people to choose from subtly altered images what type of looks they prefer in the opposite sex.

Women are the choosier sex because they take on most of the risk and burden of reproduction and child rearing. They seek a mate who is the best provider for her small production of children. While a man can sleep around with 100 women in a year’s time and have 100 kids, a woman who sleeps with 100 men in a year will only have one baby—barring multiple births. She has more at stake in each pregnancy. It is in her best interest to choose a high quality mate, and one of the hallmarks of a quality male is good health. She cannot have many children so has evolved to ensure they are well provided for by seeking an alpha male, a rich male in human terms, who ideally will have all the masculine features that signal male health, but might be much older than the woman.

Beautiful women want it all in a partner, masculine, physically fit, loving, educated, desirous of home and children, a few years older than themselves and with a high income potential. While exceptionally attractive or wealthy women may get this ideal male, most are forced by circumstance to settle for the best combination of traits. Some husband seekers trade off masculinity for companionship and good parenting. Others forfeit compassion in exchange for wealth. To have it all ends up, some women adopt a dual mating strategy—marrying a solid, faithful guy and having affairs with masculine men. Up to 10% of babies born to some groups of women have fathers who are presumed to be their biological dads but aren’t.

Both men and women have adopted hard values identifed with what is considered masculine. Our capitalist, patriarchal system overrates men, creating a prevalence of male values—preoccupation with money, status, and power, selfishness and self reliance, under the eye of a male divinity, God—while the social values of emotional awareness, empathy, compassion, nurturing, teaching, communication, care for others, relationships, are demeaned as feminine and are devalued. Empathy is common to all mammals, so is not only a female trait, and when empathy goes so does care and concern for others, and society dies. In fact, many men want equality of the sexes, want to be hands on with their children, and want to talk about their emotional life. They too are being suppressed by our false values. In our society, men are allowed to sublimate their aggression into running society like a bunch of Rambo Terminators, something they are utterly unsuited to do, as the financial collapse proves, and even women, like Margaret Thatcher in the UK, and Hillary Clinton in the US are forced to adopt masculine attitudes to suit the prevailing attitudes of capitalism and patriarchy.

Maleness and femaleness, other things being equal, is determined by the XX and XY genes that females and males have, respectively. But the foetus’s exposure to testosterone or oestrogen in the womb is a conditioning factor. The mother’s environment and lifestyle, including physical and emotional stress, can alter a woman’s hormones. The essentially male or female foetus can be subject to excess of the male or female hormone, testosterone or oestrogen, while in the womb. The outcome is more masculine women and less masculine men, a range of sexuality from superfeminine women to masculinized women, and effeminate men to supermasculine men, presumably offering more chance of one type surviving the stressful conditions. Equally, ingestion of oestrogen has been shown to increase lesbianism among the children of the mothers who took it, curiously seeming to masculinize females. Age also changes hormone production, so can cause differences in any children of older parents.

A biological war is continually fought between male and female genes in sexually reproductive species. Evolutionary adaptations that suit a male do not necessarily suit a female, and vice versa. For example, in mammals, some genes affect the placenta’s size, so a normal placenta is a balance between genes from the mother and father. The placenta grows from the cells of the fertilized egg, not from the mother’s womb, becoming over developed when male genes predominate, taxing the woman’s physical resources but giving much to the child. When female genes predominate, the placenta remains underdeveloped, starving and stunting the foetus. Of course, normally there is a balance. Male genes can be parasitic on the female to ensure a single healthy baby carrying the male genes, but unconcerned with the female’s future when she might be having other male’s babies. Female genes are the opposite, attempting to conserve her resources for future babies.

Equally, testicle size in primates correlates with female promiscuity. In chimpanzees, the females of which are not choosy, males have developed large testicles to try to ensure its sperm overwhelms any other male’s sperm simply by volume. In primates that mate for life, like gibbons, testicles are tiny. The sperm is not in competition, and volume of sperm is a waste of biological effort. Human males have intermediate sized testicles, suggesting that humans are only partially monogamous. Human females are generally faithful to their mates, but cannot be relied upon to be.

Human males have evolved to try to impregnate as many women as possible with the most feminine characteristics, which signal fitness as women, and therefore mothers, the youngest sexually mature women with hour glass figures, signalling they will produce healthy kids. Why else are women so keen to wear make up to enhance their beauty, buy breast implants, and generally seek beauty aids and surgical or chemical changes to their bodies. Less optional women have to go for less desirable men, less rich and powerful or less masculine. A woman who is physically attractive might be even more preferable to an alpha male when she is intelligent too, but it is rare that only intelligence is attractive without physical attraction. So, woman have to try to look good at all costs, while men try to be successful.

Testosterone, the hormone behind manly muscles, strong jaws, prominent eyebrow ridges, facial hair and deep voices is the connexion with masculinity. In countries where poor health is particularly a threat to survival, women leaned toward manlier men in the Face Lab tests. They preferred their males to have shorter, broader faces and stronger eyebrows, cheekbones and jaw lines. Testosterone is immunosuppressive, so a man must be healthy and in good condition to withstand its effects on his development. Testosterone is also linked to other traits related to strength, fitness, fertility and dominance. Masculinity, dominance and likelihood to father healthier kids are evolution’s way of signalling sound male genes. When disease is a real threat, heritable health is invaluable.

For women, masculinity can come at a high price. Women often think of high testosterone types as unco-operative, unsympathetic, philandering, aggressive and disinterested in parenting. In fact, masculine men do have more relationship problems than less masculine men. In a study of 2,100 Air Force veterans, men with testosterone levels one standard deviation above the mean were 43% more likely to get divorced than men with normal levels, 31% more likely to leave home because of marital problems, 38% more likely to cheat on their wives, and 13% more likely to admit that they hit or hurled things at them. Masculinity does not sound like a good deal for women in a permanent relationship.

James Roney, at the University of California, Santa Barbara, asked 29 women to look at photos of men and rate their masculinity and fondness for infants. The men had already been tested for child friendliness and testosterone levels. The men who were rated as the most masculine generally had higher testosterone levels, and the women were mostly good at assessing child friendliness. A woman might be attracted subconsciously to a high testosterone man because he will give her kids an edge in health, but if health comes at the expense of fidelity and good parenting, how much does masculinity really matter?

The apparent answer is not so much… if you are a woman living in a country with a decent health care system and few harmful pathogens. While a masculine father’s good genes may confer health advantages to children, so do good medical attention and a clean environment. In the Face Lab study, women with the weakest masculinity preferences tended to live in some of the healthiest countries, Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Austria. Women with the weakest masculinity preferences of all lived in Belgium, a country considered to have one of the best publicly funded health-care systems in Europe, alongside Denmark and the Netherlands in the health care index. Also low in masculinity preferences are Romania, Greece and New Zealand.

Women with the strongest masculinity preferences come from countries with higher disease and mortality rates, and some of the poorest scores on the health care index, Mexico, Brazil, Bulgaria and Argentina. Asian and African nations were not included in the study for comparative reasons. The US is fifth out of the 30 countries in the Face Lab masculinity ranking, one of the highest, but came twentieth of 30 countries in the health index ranking, one of the least healthy. The reason might be because perceptions of healthiness are different from actual healthiness. The US ought to have excellent health care being a rich country, although it does not. But maybe many Americans think health care in the US is good.

Another factor, though, is women’s financial freedom. Now, in the US, many families are economically dependent on one working parent—mother. Over 70% of mothers have jobs. No longer as reliant on men’s genes or jobs to ensure the health and wealth of their children, women value other qualities in a mate. It may become evolutionarily adaptive to prefer men who are co-operative, communicative, caring and better parents over traditional manly men.

Additional reporting from theWall Street journal: Why Women Don’t Like Macho Men

Written by mikemagee

1 April, 2010 at 8:34 pm