Monotamy is Unnatural or My Hominem Beats Your Hominem


ImageA friend on Facebook linked to this blog entry: Monogamy is unnatural. In it a blogger replies to an email he received from a professor claiming that monogamy is unnatural. I would like to address my concerns about the statements made by both the professor and the blogger named Matt.

Aside from the Professor’s disgraceful Ad Hominem attacks I will address some of his points here:

Professor: Your prose are rife with fallacies and Neanderthalic musings,

This itself is a fallacy and illogical. I’m surprised that a Professor would accuse someone of being “Neanderthalic.” It has been proven that Neanderthals were a very intelligence and skillful subspecies of humans. In fact most people of European descent have 5% Neanderthal DNA inside of them. Neanderthals even had larger brains the modern humans.

Professor: Sexual unions between humans are not meant to be permanent.

I disagree. Adults benefit from long term sexual unions. Children also benefit from a large community of committed adults. However the professor is right in that humans are not designed to be limited to one long term sexual companionship. We have been culturally programmed to believe that is the case, but both biology and psychology indicate that we are not.

Professor: You do not find it often in the animal kingdom, and where you do it is generally born of an evolutionary necessity. The necessity of monogamy among humankind has evaporated.

This is misleading. He is attempting to minimize the concept of monogamy in the natural world. From what I understand monogamy is fairly common in the natural world. Is is relatively uncommon in the primate world though. He is also incorrect that there was a necessity of monogamy among humankind that has since evaporated. This is not correct. There has never been a necessity of monogamy in human history except for that imposed by ancient and modern western culture(and the Chinese). And in these cases monogamy was instituted to control men and women.

Professor: It is your constant reinforcement of archaic relationship models that really does the profoundest of damage.

Actually polygamy is the most archaic(meaning oldest) and traditional form of marriage. Monogamy as the standard form of marriage is a relatively recent invention.

Professor: I am married. I’ve been married for 15 years and my wife and I both sleep with other people. We are honest about this, which makes our open relationship more healthy than “monogamous” relationships built on lies.

I agree that an open relationship is better than a monogamous marriage where the spouse cheats and lies(my interpretation of “built on lies”). However a polygamous marriage of committed people is much better than any “open marriage.” It provides safety and security for all people involved. It is much better than temporary sexual trysts with no commitment or cause for support. The professor’s noncommittal “Open Marriage” is very damaging because it treats humans as commodities. They are used for their sexuality. With a polygamous marriage all people involved are valued. They all support and benefit from each other.

Now on to Matt:

Matt: (After addressing the Professor with much sarcasm) No, my dear Professor, I am a humble man and I can only write in plain language, using words that, you know, exist.

This is an appeal to Pathos because he is appealing to the understanding of his audience. It builds Ethos in their eyes because they can relate to being the simple, humble people. He is trying to build authority to his audience will accept his later arguments because they are on the same team.

Matt: A married person who doesn’t believe in monogamy seems an awful lot like a Satanist in a church choir, or an existential nihilist performing lifesaving heart surgery.

False Analogy and Non Sequitur. Marriage does not automatically mean exclusivity. A married person who doesn’t believe in monogamy is simply a married person who does not believe in monogamy. I ask Matt to show proof that marriage is automatically exclusive. I don’t mean various traditions and cultural ceremonies. I mean marriage itself.

Matt: Monogamy is not natural. You’re right about that. It’s supernatural.

An appeal to emotion. It is not rational. Matt presents no evidence to show that monogamy is better than Polygamy. Instead he relies on the readers culturally engrained positive feelings about monogamy to prove his point.

You see Matt one of the things that the professor failed to mention in his attempt at minimizing monogamy in animals is that animals who are truly monogamous don’t have to struggle to be monogamist. They don’t have to “rise above the natural man.” True monogamist animals don’t have to change their thinking to not look at other women after they find a mate. They don’t have to find ways to keep spicing it up after things get monotonous. They don’t have to worry about cheating and high divorce rates. Because monogamist animals are really monogamous. The reason we have all of these “problems” is because our instincts tell us one thing but modern culture tells us another. Our culture tells us that these are “problems” and that we need to rise above them to be pure and holy monogamists.

But it’s time to face facts; our culture is wrong. We are not monogamist creatures and we are doing harm to current generations and will continue to harm future generations if we continue this farce. And yes I can list the ways monogamy is damaging our society if you really want me to.

Matt: If I wanted to be natural, I could live in a hole like a rodent, eat insects, and scamper from one mate to the next, until, after a life of nothingness, I die alone in the cold darkness, decomposing into the dirt without anyone ever noticing. That would be natural. It’s probably pretty realistic, too. So it is fortunate that I am a human being and I am given the chance to transcend the existence of a rat or a lizard. I have the opportunity to experience supernatural things like love, and sacrifice, and commitment.

False analogy. Even the most early humans had experiences transcending those of rats of lizards. This comment reeks of ethnocentricity and cultural evolutionism. Ancient humans living in communal multi-mate tribes experienced more love, sacrifice, and commitment than Matt will probably ever in his monogamous marriage.

You see, unlike the Hollywood images we are given of ancient cavemen who say “ug.” Humans who are more in tune with the natural environment are remarkably sophisticated. I would say that in many way they are more advanced that modern humans because they were in harmony with their surroundings. Can you say the same thing for our modern society of big cities, pollution, smog, and lacking intimacy?

Matt: Monogamy and loyalty are higher things.

Again no information is offered to back up this assertion. But it feels good to the audience because it reaffirms their engrained cultural biases. That statement is also ethnocentric. Granted it is rebutting an “open marriage” but the idea is that somebody who loves more than one person cannot be loyal to all of them. That monogamy is higher and more loyal than polygamy. That is ridiculous and can be easily dis proven. The idea of monogamy being “higher” doesn’t make any sense(Really what does that mean anyway?). How do you rate something as being “higher?” Higher in relationship to what standard of measure?

Matt: Why should it be hard for me to simply refrain from tossing such a gift into the garbage?

Polygamy does not toss people aside as garbage. Polygamous families are just as capable, if not more, at valuing all people in the family. It is you cultural training that tell you that if a man is married to multiple women(polygyny) each women only gets a portion of the man. Or that a man must leave one of his wives to be with the others(again using polygyny as an example). But that is all hogwash. You seem to value the idea of humans transcending something. So why not transcending the numbers game that anti-polygamists play? Love is not a limited commodity. The more love the better. Can you say there is such a thing as too much love?

Matt: Marriages, by definition, are supposed to be closed.

Upon further reflection I actually disagree. I would say that marriage by definition are supposed to be committed. But I say that carefully because there are many societies where the man and woman stay separate. The wife will stay with her family and her brothers will take on the father role of her children.

It is western culture that has placed the “closed” limitation on marriage. It does not have to be there and does not mean that once a person is married they are incapable of entering into other marriages.

Matt: If you aren’t strong enough to stay committed to one person, that’s your business.

I could say , “if you aren’t strong enough to stay committed to multiple people, that’s your business.” But it carries no weight other than to impress your audience by sounding “romantic” This idea is based on American cultural assumptions. It makes the reader feel good about their ideas rather than presenting any real data to back up the assertion.

I pity the man who has to fight so hard against his instincts to maintain a cultural ideal that has been created arbitrarily and handed down to him by tradition alone.

I suggest you get a copy of the book “Sex at Dawn.” It goes into great detail about how human mating is deigned to work. It gives examples of many modern tribes to show how our even more ancient ancestors lived. The proof is in the pudding as they say.

Now don’t be scared, it doesn’t read like a text book it is actually very fun and entertaining to read. So it is perfect for humble men who can only write in plain language.

I believe that God’s(or Nature’s; you can choose but I find the distinction meaningless) design for mankind will ultimately prevail and we will be able to throw of the false traditions of modern society. We will be able to return to a more harmonious way of living. And how do we teach our children to live harmoniously with others? Is it by teaching them to be selfish or to share?

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15 Responses to Monotamy is Unnatural or My Hominem Beats Your Hominem

  1. Amanda says:

    I don’t usually respond to blog posts, but I feel that this picking-apart of a man’s quite witty and appropriate response to a bombastic intellectual is unwarranted. Perhaps against my better judgment, I read through your unnecessarily lengthy comment on Matt Walsh’s post (and even a random reply to someone else!), and my curiosity led me here. I was sorry to see that you had actually formulated another response.

    You may be using the all-powerful methods of rhetoric and historical values in your critique, but there was no need to go to such lengths, and that is exactly what those values are. Historical. Humanity as a whole is meant to develop and progress. Values change. Not everyone will be of the same mindset at any given time, of course, but if they were there would be no point to our beautifully diverse world. The values of the Western World are different from those in the East. Does that make them any worse? Certainly not. Also note that the Eastern cultures hold to certain values which are extreme, yet they are traditional. The same traditional cultures (outside those that are modernized) that value polygamy also promote sex trafficking and patriarchy in the extreme, among other things. I do not feel the need to provide representative information, since I am responding to a blog post and not writing an academic research paper.

    Your last paragraph bothers me, particularly the last line. You want to nail Mr. Walsh for an appeal to an emotion? You’ve done exactly that in an effort to combat his beliefs. The majority of human beings actually use that appeal when it comes to blog posts. Because hey, we’re human, and we instinctively think on emotional terms. Again, no one is writing a staunch academic proposal. Another point is that you both have different definitions of marriage. One does not trump the other on the premise of either argument alone. The definition of institutions such as marriage differs from culture to culture. Matt Walsh is not trying to “impress” anyone, as most of his readers think along those lines. He also employs sarcasm, which is not a fault to his character nor his argument; he does it rather well. Oh, and that gem of a line “Is there such a thing as too much love?” No, of course not; but since you’ve used that beautiful sentiment I suggest you stop attacking this man’s beliefs concerning humanity. Both are transcendent things — abstract, intangible.

    I’m not sure whether or not you think you’re providing a balanced viewpoint — as I am not the type of person to assume anything — but you seem to side with the professor, just in a more tempered manner. It’s interesting that you seem to think “traditional” is far better for humanity than “modern”. It’s fascinating that early humans were more intelligent than we; but alas, they no longer live in our world, and we do not live in theirs. You are using a very partial view of history, and refusing to acknowledge the way humanity is now. It is very complex. It is very conflicted. It is very beautiful. And not many issues we are faced with can be divided into subcategories of “right” and “wrong”.

    In the end it does not matter what your opinion is, or that of the pretentious professor or even Matt Walsh. Blogged opinions rarely make a dent in collective thinking, unless they manage to go viral (and even then it’s a stretch). I wish you had left Matt Walsh’s post alone for what it is: a response to a heated, ignorant email.

  2. Ravenpaine says:

    I thought this was a positive and self-effacing way to dissect the all too common tactics used by bloggers to maintain a status quo without doing any real work to address or converse about the issues. Too many people go into a blog post and want to agree with it or disagree with it and far too few will actually read it and learn about it, to take it and make it part of the whole unit of knowledge that they would then possess about a subject.
    Though, in the end, the lack of general knowledge that most people have about the rules of rhetoric and argumentation make it difficult to address the populace in general because they cannot participate in the conversation on an ‘adult’ level. They will too often spout some convoluted belief that ‘this is not academia and academic writing is for the classroom’ without realizing that the very reason that academia uses such tactics is because that is how an argument is formed and presented. It is a specialized form of writing that exists as it does because to go into such contests with no rules is to spend a lot of time arguing about nothing and feeling like you have one afterwords. It is the Black Knight of Monty Python refusing to acknowledge the reality of the situation.
    So, thank you for taking the high road and giving a brief tutorial on how an argument can be addressed and formed and not bowing to the obvious pressures to get in your pithy shots and then run to the hills to be surrounded by your own group of yes-men that will congratulate you on any effort made, because hey, tribalism is such a great way to expand knowledge.

  3. moses says:

    zo-ma-rah I want to say, kudos to you sir. I feel that your comment on Matt’s post was appropriate and needed. My personal thought was that his post read like two intellectuals drumming their chests about who was more right and who was happier with their life and lifestyle.

    I like that you addressed flaws in both arguments and suggested reading a book to be a great direction. While it started to come off as angry by the end of the post I can’t say that I hesitate to say I would call it an attack.

    If anything I would say to offer light reading for both views and let the reader decided how ridiculous both claims are.

    And Amanda, how shall I put this … I think that picking-apart of a man’s quite appropriate response is unwarranted. :)

    • moses says:

      Some sloppy typing of the response, here is a revision:

      “While it started to come off as angry by the end of the post I hesitate to say it was attack.”

  4. cking4light says:

    Thank you for your objectivity. Monogamy actually contradicts Christ’s teachings: “love thy neighbor as thyself” Who is my neighbor?

  5. Robert C Kahlert says:

    Sex at Dawn is a fun read, but the science behind it is very questionable. I recommend also reading the rebuttal “Sex at Dusk” (http://www.amazon.com/Sex-Dusk-Lifting-Shiny-Wrapping-ebook/dp/B008RD7F8C/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1395218972&sr=8-1&keywords=sex+at+dusk), which comes to very different conclusions, often using the same sources.

  6. AV says:

    Oh the tangled web we weave when we don’t follow Christ’s simple & pure teachings. Christ taught that to receive ‘Eternal Life’ one must have ‘unconditional everlasting exclusive true love for their spouse, no matter what the spouse is like or even if they die, we are to still stay completely faithful to them and not date or remarry, for that is what they are doing in heaven for us too. Christ taught there is no such thing as divorce or remarriage under heaven, ever for any reason. He did say that for those who have an unfaithful spouse during the engagement period, fornication, that only they could divorce since the marriage was not consummated yet and thus they weren’t bound to their fiance, but once truly married and it was consummated, there was no way out, no matter what your spouse is like or if they abandoned you the day after you married, you’re still married for the rest of your life. Though that doesn’t mean he expected spouses to stay living with an abusive spouse, just that they can’t date or remarry someone else, but just wait til their spouse repents, in this life or the next. For all remarriage is unfaithfulness and adultery. It is man & Satan who invented divorce and remarriage and so everyone just goes along with it like it’s valid with God.

    If people ignore Christ’s teachings then it becomes a world of ‘anything goes’ and true love is impossible.

    Marriage was designed to protect women and children from men who would abandon them. Once there is an ‘out’ for either partner then it becomes the most foolish thing to marry and risk one’s heart and future children, for in most all marriages, 1 or both, eventually desire to leave cause they stopped keeping their vow to love and serve the other. God’s laws are the only thing that would keep them together and repenting and in love.

  7. sfort says:

    So you don’t call death an out? What if children are involved and lack the the type of nurturing only a woman can provide? What about the “brother law” of marrying the widow? Is there wresting the scriptures here? I ham trying to see the one eternal round in these personal opinion comments.

    • AV says:

      People have who true love for their spouse would not want to remarry, even after their spouse dies, for they know they are still married and that their spouse is faithfully waiting for them in heaven and would be hurt if they remarried. Plus remarriage only brings eventual pain and suffering for at least 3 or more people, the deceased, the living spouse and the new spouse and any children created by the 2nd marriage, for there is no polygamy in heaven and the new marriage would end anyway, thus leaving the children without getting to have their parents married for eternity.

      I believe mothers and fathers can be even better parents to their children if they remain unmarried, despite the help a new spouse may give. I believe fathers can learn how to nurture children well enough so they will be fine, though of course it’s not the ideal but I believe it’s more important and more security and comfort for children to see the father’s true love for their mother then have a 2nd mother come into the picture that may or may not work out well.

      Even Christ’s apostles taught that we should remain unmarried if our spouse dies. And Christ showed one of the reasons why when he appeared to his wife Mary after he died, and showed her he could be still visit her, talk with her, touch her, eat with her, etc. So if both spouses are righteous enough they can still be frequently together even after one of them dies. I have known of many widows who’s deceased husband’s visit them.

      And the ‘brother’s law’ is hardly true scripture, it goes completely contrary to the laws of Christ. It was a law that was given by Moses, not God, because the people were wicked and refused to live God’s laws and take care of the fatherless and widows. Wicked men might marry a widow but apparently they would not take care of them without perks.

      But God did not come up with that law, for God cannot command anything contrary to Christ’s laws (which came from God) or he would cease to be God. His laws are always the same, from Adam to today. And polygamy is contrary to Christ’s laws, that’s how you tell if something is really from God or not.

      Most stories and pages of the Old & New Testament are riddled with error, falsehoods and things contrary to God’s laws, so it is usually untrustworthy to be able to go by, unless what it says is in harmony with Christ’s teachings. The Bible is filled with stories and men saying that God commanded or condoned something, when we know God would never allow or command such things, for he is unchanging.

      But just like today, everyone, the righteous and the unrighteous, usually think God allowed or told them to do what they are doing, or that their revelation or warm fuzzies came from God, even if it’s completely contrary to what Christ & God has taught. Same happened back then, even with many prophets who fell from grace, for even prophets aren’t perfect and often fall for false revelation or for whoredoms and evil.

  8. norfolkfiona says:

    Interesting read. I wonder, are you selfish or are you willing to share? Are you just the first husband who happened to marry your wife, or do you want to be the only one? Are you really willing to want for your neighbour what you want for yourself? Or are you just a hypocrite?
    I can tell you from my own personal experience that men’s need to humble themselves, subject themselves and put others before themselves is SO much greater than women’s need to do the same, since our patriarchal society gives men so much less training in this respect in every day life! :) Polyandry is also much more beneficial for society since a single mother with plural breadwinners gives every child a much better life than the reverse. So – are you willing to put your money where your mouth is and follow the law of Sara – and Sam?

    • zo-ma-rah says:

      I think women having multiple husbands is historically sound(if you accept the Joseph Smith married other men’s wives), scripturally sound(if you accept Section 132), and scientifically valid. There is tons of research that show women are biologically designed to mate with multiple males. There are also some cultures where once a women gets pregnant the husband desires for her to mate with many other men. It is believed that the semen from each of these men contribute to the child and all of these men become the fathers of the child.

      So in short, Yes I do support polyandry. and I wouldn’t have a problem having a wife/wives who also had an/other husband/s.

  9. sfort says:

    Sorry AV. Your opinion is only personal, lacks no scriptural back up and this is called “wresting” by definition. Everyone is entitled to their own uniqique journey and the life after death does not carry these selfish feelings by reading NDE stories. .

    • AV says:

      Actually, I believe it is backed up by scripture, mostly Christ’s teachings. Even Joseph Smith backed me up by teaching that we should only believe in scripture or prophets who teach in harmony with Christ. Thus all polygamy & remarriage is out.

      And though I enjoy and put store in NDEs I do not believe people are shown or told much if they are going to be returning to earth, for that would forfit their or other’s test of faith and agency. People appear to be taught or shown things in NDEs according to their level of understanding or belief at the time.

      • sfort says:

        Av,

        Let’s look at Romans 7: 2-3

        2 For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband.

        3 So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man.

        Their is no doctrine containing instructions regarding death of a spouse in the latter days. When the temple links families they are sealed to God. There is no judgement with the death of a spouse and the living one remain to either raise children or temper lonliness. This is the telestial kingdom. The Celestial Kingdom, in your case is not revealed to you in what life is like. Remember 5 minutes of view would tell you more than all that is written..when my wife passed on, she appeared to my current wife and spoke to her in positive terms. Your dogmatic approach to life leaves sorrow and a void. Thanks for your journey.

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