> This is because syphilis was not the first deadly venereal disease in
> Europe; gonorrhea predates it.
This is accurate, but *because* gonorrhea had existed for a long time there was a natural resistance in the population. Syphilis was introduced into a population with no resistance and spread rapidly. During its earliest period, in many people, it caused a rapid progression to a condition where you made lepers look "good". That kind of a disease is bound to create a backlash in a population towards its causes (and the causes were well known, at least in Spain from the beginning).
If HIV were a more deadly disease, there would probably be more rapid progress towards a vaccination (rather than the waffling you see today). We would also tend to have a selection for that fraction of the population with the mutations that confer resistance.
> Celtic women had sex with whomever they felt like (often a military
> hero) and their offspring would be raised by their brothers.
This makes sense, women can adopt to open sexual practices so long as they are confident that the children will be cared for. It also makes sense in certain societies to try to breed better warriors.
> Re: taxes for child support...
> What's in it for me?
Well, universal care for children frees women to sleep with with someone for his desirability, unconcerned with regard to his resource base.
You could be poor but if you can come up with cute, funny, strong, a good "rating" by the independent panel (:-)) ... you would have more women after your buns.
> With the advent of birth control and legal abortion, sex is no longer
> particularly tied to reproduction, and hasn't been for decades. Women
> are still pickier than men.
Exactly, even though we have removed one of the primary reasons women had to be picky, we haven't removed the genetic programming for "pickyness"!
> Even if the government was giving me tons of money to have babies, I
> would still have to invest years of personal effort in raising those
In our society yes, but not in certain tribal societies or other countries. It always amazes me at the number of single mothers there were and to some degree still are in Russia. The communist system (for all its faults) in combination with extended families provided enough support that single motherhood was not really difficult.
> Giving out money to support children is a great way to get birth rates
> to outstrip resource growth rates. China is desperately trying to
> control birth rates coercively while financially supporting the children
> that are born.
This isn't true in every country. In France and some other European countries they *are* providing government subsidies for people to have children because they are near or below the replacement rate. In order to keep the economies growing, they have to allow immigration which creates "highly undesirable" (I presume) cultural pollution. So it is politically acceptable and even necessary to promote baby-making by the nationals.
> > - Should we legalize prostitution and provide government managed
> > brothels to create an outlet for that "horrible" male sex drive?
> > [This might be one way to reduce the tax burden...!]
> Why on earth should the taxpayer subsidize prostitution? If it were
> legal, it would become much more socially acceptable, and prices would
> start to drop. (In interviews I've read with prostitutes, they say the
> worst part of their job is the social stigma.)
I shouldn't have used the word "managed". And no, I didn't mean to imply that the government should subsidize it. Though I expect there would be an economic tradeoff between subsidizing prostitutes and paying for more police to keep you safe from the over-testosteronized males with no sexual outlet...
Readily available sex only works if it is "safe", it only will be "safe" if someone who doesn't have a stake in it is policing it. So, presumably you would have the government involved only to ensure that the people working in brothels are healthy (just as governments now ensure that your restaurant workers don't carry hepatitis).
> Well, if you're asking, "Would you have recreational sex with someone
> because a panel told you to?" of course not.
I'm trying to determine what it takes to get women into the male frame of mind where you look at an unfamiliar partner as "doable".
I'm assuming reproduction is not part of the equation, so that removes the classical "pickyness" of does he have a good job, good looks, etc. The thing that seems to remain is the unknown of "is this guy likely to be a good lover?". The independent panel gives you a way of that information being available to you and the Japanese broadcast computer gives you a way of determining your proximity.
> I don't think science has discovered everything there is to know about
> attraction yet. My instincts about people tend to be very accurate. If
> I wasn't attracted to someone at all, I would think that there might be
> a reason.
As pointed out by another reader, your immune system compatibility and/or your pheromones sensitivity have a lot do do with your "attraction". What isn't clear is the degree to which some of us have lost these senses. It isn't "essential" for individual mating per se, but desirable from the perspective of the survival of a group. [Nature wants to increase the immune system diversity of a species to prevent single diseases from wiping out a flock/herd/tribe/etc.]
I suspect that women have a very complex combination of both a biochemical compatibility computer and a social success computer that get integrated to determine what we consciously call attraction.
> If I was able to genetically engineer my child using the DNA from
> several sources, such a recommendation would bear more weight. But at
> that point, I would probably have far more knowledge about what the
> genes I was using really did, and I wouldn't have to take them
> all-or-nothing as we do today.
I would argue that complete (from the ground-up) engineering of
a human genome is 10-15 years out (assuming the luddites don't
get too loud). The problem is that genomes are so complex, that
it could take you years of education and work (even with a lot of
computer assistance) to go into each and every detail. Of course
you can select an "off-the-shelf" package (again prepared by
a panel of experts), but how much creativity is there in that?
If you could design a child from "scratch", how much time
(and/or money) would you devote to creating the "perfect child"?
If you could design a child from "scratch", how much time (and/or money) would you devote to creating the "perfect child"?
> Do you have an URL about this Japanese pda/bot?
Sorry, no. I might have read about it in perhaps slashdot.org (though I browse several news sources, so it could easily have been elsewhere). It was basically a gizmo, something like a beeper that you could program with your traits (ht/wt/etc.) and what you liked/wanted. It then did a short distance broadcast of this information and received other broadcasts, "buzzing" you when it found a nearby "match". Apparently very popular with the young people going out on the town for a night. A technological solution to the problem of "so many people, so little time"...