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are men programmed to cheat? August 19, 2006

Posted by Brad Richert in philosophy, reflections, science.
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I was going to post something today about the problems in our education system. I figured, however, that it would come off as somewhat passive-aggressive since I am really just bitter with some of my grades and sick of hearing about “females doing better than males” in schools when our grading system is completely useless and the education system itself is irrelevant.Then I was thinking about writing aobut Apple Computers ethical dilemma with their Chinese factories but figured I’ve already done enough corporation bashing this week. Finally, I also thought about a rant on the whole Israel-Lebanon issue as Israel initiated an operation against the Hezbollah during the United Nations’ attempted ceasefire. This, however, is nothing really new and I am sure there are a million blogs out there saying everything I want to say.

So where does that leave me today? A little bored. I watch my wife play with her pregnent belly. I read. And then I thought about a book I recently heard about, “Marriage and How To Avoid It” by Guy Blews. Blews argues that men are genetically “programmed” to have affairs while women are programmed to want to marry and make babies. Blews rejects evidence that stable families result in more academically successful and overall happier children. He says the theory is great, but men just are not programmed for that sort of reality. He believes that all marriages end up in deceptions and distorted compromises. Now, I find his argument interesting but I would never read his book, why? Because he speaks about genetic “programming” yet the limit to his education is an unfinished attempt in Philosophy. What this probably means is that he took a year or two in classical philosophy and dropped out. He then tried a film career. And now he is trying a writing career. The fact is, his only credentials are his life experiences. Now, does this matter if he is telling the truth? Well, it does when he is actually only giving an opinion.

The problem with this kind of book is that it is giving those men who have a weak will and tendency for polygamous or serial monogamous relationships to allow themselves an “excuse”. My crackpot theory is that humans are hardwired to crave new sensations and have ever-replacing desires. This effects both males and females, and often in different ways. The sexual and emotional realm are no different. Maybe Mr. Blews is looking for something in a relationship that forces him to believe that he cannot ever “settle-down” with one woman (or man). I’m just going out on a limb and going to say that his sole relationship-seeking device may be sexual. This makes sense if you believe my theory that I just laid out in one sentence. If your prime motivator in a relationship is a new sensation, you will never be satisfied since nothing is always “new” by definition. This is true for both sexes. The “cheating” problem that we may see more common in men is then a result of a different sex drive as men do not use as much of the brain as much as the female sex drive (please can some science-geek back me up on this?). If men make this sexual desire their prime motivater it only results in the need to continually “make it new”. The same would be for hyper-sexual females as well.

Mr. Blews is not a scientist (and neither am I), and is grounding his opinions on extremely generalized observations in which he starts with a outcome before looking at the evidence. Thus he can use the evidence to his outcome’s advantage. Maybe I am judging Mr. Blews prematurely, since I have not read his book. But like I said, I probably will not because I believe he is writing this for the money. If I want to find out more about the male sex drive or male psychology I prefer to read scientific journals. Philosophy dropouts are a dangerous bunch. How is that for a generalized statement? I would even say Philosophy majors are dangerous altogether. It is one thing to be taught how to think critically, but quite another to know how to know how we think in the biological and genetic sense. As a Philosophy major, I am only “allowed” to inquire into certain aspects of humankind. Mr. Blews, however, without finishing his degree, has really just settled for his “amateur Philosopher” status and in doing so has really just attained the label of “pseudo-scientist”.

Anyway, if anyone has actually read Mr. Blews’ book, please comment. Prove me wrong. If there are any scientists out there in this field, your comments would also be much appreciated.

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Comments»

1. Michael - August 27, 2006

I very much enjoyed reading your article and I certainly agree with your opinion on this. However, I find it a little sad to see you offering this much analysis and judgement, considering you haven’t read the piece. It would be nice if you could read it and back up your critique with references to the text as opposed to assumptions based on its title. With this article, you’re venturing in “amateur philosophy” under the disguise of academia, yourself. Looking forward to reading more of your blog, though.

2. brad richert - August 27, 2006

Thank you for the comment and I do agree with your criticisms. The only reason I went into the piece was because I found the article interesting. I personally do not believe that this sort of “amateur philosophy” is credible either way. I believe biological science and psychology is probably a much better areas of expertise for this sort of discussion. I did not mean to deceive anyone and come across as “academic” as my intentions were merely meant to be the musings of a recently married man.

3. beepbeepitsme - August 27, 2006

From a biological point of view, diversity is advantageous. The more seed a male can sow, potentially the more diversity.

This explains not only why males cheat, but also females. If a female finds a male who is a good provider, she may cuckold him but still manage to get him to provide for the progeny of another male or males.

(This is harder to get away with due to genetic testing, but I think it still happens quite often and is only a major problem if the “appearances” of the siblings are so vast as to arouse suspicion in the male.)

So women may be biologically predisposed to choose a “good provider” and then mate with whoever she wants as long as the good provider continues to be one.

And males may be biologically predisposed to choose “healthy, attractive women” who are capable of physically raising and socializing their children.

I can’t prove that either men or women are biologically predisposed to do these things, but similar things seem to occur in the rest of the animal kingdom.

4. Sam - February 1, 2007

Why do you worry about Mr. Blews credentials? They are nothing. The problem is with his argument. Your comments above reveal great insight, but you get stuck on his lack of credentials. I’m shocked that someone as smart as you cannot see that. A Ph.D used to be only awarded to someone with a commitment to life-long learning. C.S. Lewis never received its equivalent in the UK (to my knowledge). My friend, a well known Christian writer who teaches philosophy, has said privately that he wasn’t really able to think as he does now until 10 years after he received his Ph.D!!!

5. brad richert - February 1, 2007

Sam, I most definitely agree with you on the limitations and often meaninglessness of credentials. However, as I stated above I had not actually read Mr. Blews book and so I would have felt it imprudent to offer a full critique of his views without actually reading them. I felt that it was important to mention my personal view that this man is no more than a charlatan who is playing on stereotypes in order to sound scientific without any accountability. The reason it appears I was “stuck up” on credentials is because those credentials allow to get a certain type of job in which you are held accountable for the things you write. Had Mr. Blews had a PhD in Behavioural Psychology or something of the like, his book would have to answer to many peer reviews and most likely would have never been published.


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