Sex as obsolete and "hormone-driven"

Steve Witham (
Wed, 6 Nov 1996 23:32:01 -0400

The idea that sex has only one evolutionary function is too simple.
Very little in our makeup has "one function," and the longer something
stays around, the more functions it gets involved in. Sex has been
around a long time.

It's another case where people are imagining an evolved system minus this
or that integral part. Doesn't generally work that way, folks. Evolution
keeps things. The longer they've been around, the less likely they are
to be dispensable.

Sex has a function in culture, the meme pool. So even non-biological
evolution will need to hold on to it. Something similar probably goes
for human-like sexual differentiation and the gender memes that are
allied with it, for instance, although gender as we know it is a more
recent invention.

Besides, any sort of code-swapping between replicator sets *is* sex.
Recombo is the *main* reason for sex, so we might expect analogs to
the paraphenalia of sex to evolve alongside any meme-poolery.

The epithet "hormone driven" also strikes me as way uninformed
for a discussion among extropians. Hormones are communication signals
between parts in complex systems. Don't kill the system because of
its...messenger. It's like saying that a certain part of a computer is
"green-wire-driven" because it happens to have a green wire in it.
So what? And where is the part of your brain that is *not* hormone-
driven?? We're talking neurotransmitters, folks! Axon to dentryte,
axon to dentryte, helLO-o!

The main thing I see in these simplistic notions is an attatchment
to old-fashioned prudery. There's a better thing to evolve out of.


"See, you think you're on a cruise ship but someone's moving the ocean."
--Patricia S. Sullivan