Saturday, December 8, 2012

Post-Genetics and Marriage

This blog post is now a part of my book The Apple of Knowledge. Take a look below, then check out my book for other juicy ideas.

Post-Genetics and Marriage
by Russell Hasan

There is a theory which I call “post-genetics.” I don’t know whether I fully believe in it, but it is an interesting theory, and it explains a lot about human behavior. The theory states that most human behavior can be understood as an expression of the urge of living organisms to cause their genetic material to continue to exist. In my Liberty Magazine essay “Playing the Race Card” (http://www.libertyunbound.com/node/698) I presented how this theory explains racism. The members of each race tend to share more genetic material with each other than with members of other races (from interbreeding due to the isolation of the various races from each other in ancient times), and therefore the members of a race are urged by their genetics to promote that race over rival races. That is the genetics theory. The post-genetics theory represents my idea that human beings have evolved minds which now demand different behavior from mindless DNA, and the evolution of minds shifts the dynamics of human civilization away from a pure drive to perpetuate genetic material and towards a paradigm of individual ethical achievements. For example, racism is wrong because what matters is people’s individual identities and personal choices and not what race they are a member of, so defining people by their racial DNA ignores what really matters: individual minds and choices.

In this essay I want to elaborate my theory of post-genetics and show how it can be used to interpret various phenomena of human civilization, including marriage and the abortion debate. First I will present a general overview of genetics theory. The genetics theory holds that each individual exists only to procreate and ensure the survival of the species, each human exists only to compete with others in order to spread their genetic material so that the best genes disseminate and the species is made stronger. Human beings realize their purpose only through the survival of the species.

Genetics is a cynical but scientific explanation for several human behaviors. Why do parents love their children? So that the young of the species will be protected until they reach sexual maturity and can reproduce. Why are children cute? So that they will be protected. Why do people watch sports? Because it encourages physical fitness, which increases the health of the species. Why have women historically been politically and socially dominated by men? Because the female of the species is designed to produce and nurture the offspring, in the womb and through the production of breast milk, which requires that the male protect the female during the gestation in the womb and during the rearing of the young children, and this puts the male in a position to patronize the female. Why do men and women marry? Because it is the most efficient way to create and nurture offspring. Why are people obsessed with having sex? Because more sex produces more offspring, increasing our chances of survival. Why is sex pleasurable? To motivate people to procreate. Why do the most attractive and successful people find lovers more easily? Because mating with the members of the species with the most desirable traits encourages those traits to be more widely expressed among future generations. Why do men like women with large breasts, and why do women like athletic men? Because they want those qualities for their offspring, and breasts produce breast milk, and men use their strength to provide the food while the woman bears the child and lactates.

One of the main principles of genetics theory is that the purpose of sex is procreation for the survival of the species to produce as many young as possible, and young with the best DNA possible, and love and dating and marriage are merely social institutions designed to promote this genetic purpose. First, the behavior of teenagers, listening to “cool” music and dressing in “cool” clothes etc., is behavior designed to attract a mate, like a bird preening its feathers and chirping a love song.

Now let’s consider homosexuality. Why are gays hated and persecuted? It must be because gay sex does not produce children, which results in fewer human young, which decreases the species’ chances of survival from an evolutionary perspective. Therefore genetics urges the species to destroy homosexuality. This can be confirmed by looking at the social institutions of marriage and contraception. The Christian church, which denies the truth of biological evolution, is, ironically, the main enforcer of genetics and its mandates. If the purpose of sex is merely procreation and the production of children, then condoms violate this purpose and should be outlawed. Then there is marriage, which the church dictates must be between a man and a woman. Why? Obviously so that marriage will produce children. Marriage evolved so that a woman could only have sex with one man so that the man could know for certain that the woman’s babies came from the husband’s DNA, so that protecting his children would promote his DNA. In ancient times, say from 20,000 BC to 5000 BC, the woman needed a man to protect her while she was burdened by a fetus in the womb, so the males evolved to be stronger than the females, and this is the origin of the social custom of male domination of women. Later, somewhere around 5000 BC (the precise years are inexact, and best left to historians to debate), marriage became a way to tie families together, when family and clan were the central organization of society. Why was the joining together of two family clans by marriage such a big deal? Because the marriage of a son of one family and a daughter of another family united their DNA in the children of the marriage, so their DNA was tied together and therefore the purpose of the two families was united in their purpose of promoting their DNA.

If this is genetics, then what is post-genetics? Post-genetics says that, while the purpose of sex from an evolutionary perspective was the creation of babies for the survival of the species, the purpose of sex for minds is not the same thing as the purpose of sex for genetics. Therefore the evolution of the mind, which is probably the frontal lobe of the human brain and which has evolved relatively recently, has drastically transformed human behavior. The purpose of sex for minds is firstly for pleasure and enjoyment, and secondly as an expression of love and affection. This represents a huge change in human evolutionary purpose, and a lot of the “culture war” between social liberals and social conservatives is explained by the war between humans as minds fighting for sex as pleasure on the one side, and humans as DNA fighting for sex as procreation on the other side. If the purpose of sex is pleasure, then condoms to prevent fertilization make perfect sense, and homosexuality also makes sense, and premarital sex makes sense, and a lot that is socially liberal makes sense. And if those things are okay, and the perpetuation of DNA is no longer paramount, then gay marriage also makes a lot more sense, since the married couple would not have an imperative to procreate their DNA.

Marriage for love is a modern invention. History had marriage for family connections, not for love. We are still coping with this evolution. Generally, religion is almost always the genetics view because religion is the embodiment of tradition, and tradition dates back to the era when only genetics existed and post-genetics did not exist because the conscious mind had not yet evolved. So genetics vs. post-genetics is tradition vs. evolution, entirely as a result of the structure of the history of human evolution.

Let me then briefly apply this interpretation to the pro-choice vs. pro-life debate. Obviously the people who are pro-life are not advocates of their position for any of the reasons that they say. If killing all life were evil then Christians would not eat meat which comes from killed animals. Also, there is the classic Rothbard argument that even though a parasite depends on the host for life nobody says it is evil to kill parasitic animals, and a baby which is forced upon a mother against her will has no right to exploit the mother’s body even if the fetus really is a human life. In other words, if a fetus has all the rights of adult human beings, but no more, then abortion would be okay, because an adult human cannot enslave the body of another human being. So we must look to genetics to understand the motives of pro-lifers. And the motive is obvious. Genetics views the role of women as to produce children, so anything that frees the female womb from the production of children is an enemy. Abortion enables women to shrug off their purpose of birthing children, which then frees their minds up for mental pursuits, like pursuing a career. So genetics wants women to be merely wombs for childbirth, and post-genetics views the female purpose as individual personal achievement, such as by pursuing a career. This explains the pro-choice vs. pro-life fight, and the participants in the battle are where the theory expects them to be, with social liberals fighting for post-genetics, and social conservatives fighting for genetics.

The post-genetics theory explains a lot about human existence. But the theory has flaws, and I am not sure whether I completely believe in my own theory. Post-genetics has great explanative power, but it feels a bit cynical as an explanation for people’s choices. Does the theory of post-genetics make you feel like you understand things better? Please leave a comment with your thoughts!