Monday, November 14, 2011

The Lab Specimen known as “Dr Justice”: a Darwinian dissection

To a slight extent in these pages, and more earnestly in private conversation, I have championed the Sacramental Conception of Marriage, as revealed by the Holy Mother Church.
However (science oblige)  I am quite willing to submit -- pithed-frog-fashion, splayed on a lab-bench -- to a Darwinian deconstruction:  laying bare -- let us not say the motives, since the very existence of such shadowy spiritualities are denied by the reductionists, but the:  tropisms, that motivate this belief (excuse me: this  behavior).

First, some necessary background.
There are four basic evolutionary/game-theoretic strategies for the nurture of offspring. 
(1) Both parents abandon the offspring so soon as the eggs are laid, if not before. (Insects.)
(2) Male abandons, female nurtures (up to a point). (Many mammals.)
(3) Female abandons, male nurtures.  (This one’s surprising -- sticklebacks, and seahorse, if memory serves -- anyhow look it up in Dawkins Selfish Gene, where it is all very well laid-out.)
(4) Both nurture.  (Ozzie & Harriet;  Leave it to Beaver.)

My own tropism is for (4)  -- and indeed, tropism it is, far antedating my own baptism, owing perhaps to imprinting by my own two loving parents, God bless them both.  (In this, I am much like a duck, and am happy to be so:  I love ducks.)

However! (the alert reader will surely object).   Of late, at least, Homo sapiens falls only very dubiously under (4).  In certain well-known but nameless subcultures in America  in particular, the portrait is rather (2),  and in some cases (crack moms) (1).
(Edward Wilson goes even further.  The pattern of human population growth over the past several decades  has, he says, been "more bacterial than primate".)
So let us tighten up our categories.  (4) is best exemplified, not by fallen Man, but by -- the Penguins;  in particular the emperor penguins (Aptenodytes forsteri),  of whose tender magnificence  you may read more here.

And now, my fervent adherence to (4), is nakedly revealed for what it is:  Sheer  biological  determinism.   For I am -- I confess, now and before the world -- that I am, myself, taxonomically,  a penguin.

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