View Single Post
Old 09-24-2012, 03:02 AM
Derleth Derleth is offline
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Missoula, Montana, USA
Posts: 20,173
Originally Posted by njtt View Post
I believe all cultures where the matter has been studied regard parent-child sex to be incest, and icky, and nearly all agree about sibling sex. Incest taboos at this level are probably biologically innate in humans.
The Westermarck Effect is usually cited here, as is its slightly lesser-known inverse, genetic sexual attraction. In brief, the Westermarck Effect prevents people who were raised together, regardless of genetic similarity, from becoming attracted to each other, whereas genetic sexual attraction is the effect whereby two closely-related people who were not raised together have a higher chance of being attracted to each other assuming their genders and sexualities are compatible.

However, incest taboos that go much beyond this, like the recent USAian stigmatization of cousin marriage and sex, are cultural oddities (and to extend the taboo beyond first cousins seems to me to be based more on a failure to understand the concept of cousin than anything else). The genetic risks of cousins breeding (unlike sibling and parent-child breeding) are fairly negligible.
Indeed, and this deserves to be emphasized: Inbreeding doesn't magically cause genetic diseases to appear. It just makes what's there already more likely to manifest, with the likelihood being determined by precisely how close the parents are.

I have heard that the medieval Catholic Church officially disapproved of cousin marriages up to the level of (IIRC) 17th cousins, but this rule was probably honored more in the breach than the observance.
The medieval Catholic Church defined beavers to be fish, which, in this thread, sounds awesomely sexual but in reality was just about satisfying the urges of a bunch of cloistered monks.
"Ridicule is the only weapon that can be used against unintelligible propositions. Ideas must be distinct before reason can act upon them."
If you don't stop to analyze the snot spray, you are missing that which is best in life. - Miller
I'm not sure why this is, but I actually find this idea grosser than cannibalism. - Excalibre, after reading one of my surefire million-seller business plans.