Darwin-L Message Log 8:66 (April 1994)

Academic Discussion on the History and Theory of the Historical Sciences

This is one message from the Archives of Darwin-L (1993–1997), a professional discussion group on the history and theory of the historical sciences.

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<8:66>From azlerner@midway.uchicago.edu  Mon Apr 18 12:50:27 1994

Date: Mon, 18 Apr 94 12:50:24 CDT
From: "Asia "I work in mysterious ways" Lerner" <azlerner@midway.uchicago.edu>
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Subject: Re: mating

John H. Langdon wrote:

  > This prediction, of course, rests on the supposition that "fertility" or
  > "reproductive value" are the single overwhelming criteria for the human
  > male, which seems rather doubious. Anyhow, did anybody in fact observe
  > that "males looking for a one night stand" prefer older females than those
  > who are "looking for wives?"

  Very dubious.


  What other factors would consistently skew this prediction
  concerning age and maturity?

Personal tastes? In any case, I simply see no reason to believe that mate
selection is as finely psychologically tuned to the dynamics of "maximum
fertilization efficiency" as is sociobiologically supposed. In addition, I
would think that it would be quite difficult to imagine the existance of
two complitly disparate "attractiveness" mechanisms in humans, one of which
kicks in only in "one night" situations, while the other is effective for
long-term strategies. With the exception, of course, of the obvious relaxation
of selection criteria whatever they might be in case of short engagements,
and the fact that the perceptaion of easy availability becomes in itself
attractive. But appart from that, I would greatly doubt that if X is fond
of mature looking members of the opposite sex in long term relationships,
that he would not use the same criteria, but on an attenuated leveel, for
short-term selection.

  I can think of several, including males who are not
  certain (or not honest about) which strategy they are playing.

If you talking about a possibility of designing an experiment, than it does
not have to depend on self-report.

  Then there are
  males who are not playing a reproductive strategy at all-- just out for

????? This is a mix up in levels - everybody is out for pleasure, of one
kind or another, the question is whether the pleasure-reward mechanism is
orchestrated, presumably by NS, in a way that it evokes a "maximum reproductive
efficiency" behaviour.

  I personally think this explains far more sexual activity than
  reproductive strategy does; but since it is not evolved, adaptationists are
  blind to it.

See above.

  > Chimps, however, exibit harem behaviour, not "one night stand" behaviour.

  Your statement contradicts received wisdom.

Hmmm. Let me check my sources again on this point.


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