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If a woman has an affair, it’s ultimately because evolution has biologically programmed her for infidelity. So claims a recent research paper, in which U.S. researchers propose that evolution has predisposed women to seek out additional partners as a “mate insurance” policy—someone to fall back on if their current mate loses value to them.
Not all experts are buying it. Richard Weikart, a history professor at California State University, said the new research is just another convenient way of excusing sinful behavior, relieving people of moral responsibility with a “my genes made me do it” mentality.
The general concept that infidelity is biologically programmed is not new, and evolutionists have applied it to men as well. For women, the leading evolutionary theory regarding infidelity has been the “good genes” or “dual mating strategy” hypothesis. It claims evolution predisposes women to sometimes seek out good genes from an affair partner while they keep their main partner around for security.
In the new paper, published in the July 2016 issue of the journal Personality and Individual Differences, researchers instead say evolution has programmed women to engage in affairs primarily as a way of maintaining a backup partner, or as a means of upgrading if a better opportunity presents itself. According to this so-called “mate switching hypothesis,” fidelity has no moral value: Committing adultery is like investing in the stock market, and it may even be the wisest choice. The authors write, “Mating market fluctuations, like stock market fluctuations, sometimes make trading a beneficial strategy.”
But Weikart says there’s no scientific evidence for such an assertion. In a recent critique on the Evolution News and Views blog, Weikart called the “mate switching hypothesis” simply a “fancy story” spun by researchers who assume evolution is responsible for human behaviors.
Darwinism dehumanizes all of us by reducing us to animals that exist merely by random chance mutations, Weikart told me. At a conference, he once heard the presenter claim the only reason humans don’t eat their mates after they breed, like black widow spiders, is a matter of a flip of the coin. If humans had evolved the same way as black widows, our sexual morality and religious systems would revolve around the ceremony of eating our mates after reproduction, the presenter claimed.
According to Darwinists, all behaviors—including sexual deviance, abortion, infanticide, and warfare—are part of “the reproductive advantage that is accrued through the Darwinian struggle for existence,” Weikart said. The “mate switching hypothesis” is an exercise in imagination.
Oregon State University researchers may have discovered a sixth taste—“starchy”—that could explain our love of foods rich in complex carbohydrates. The currently recognized tastes are salty, sweet, sour, bitter, and umami, a pleasant, savory taste.
Until now scientists believed humans couldn’t taste carbohydrates, since carbs break down quickly into sugar molecules. Taste buds aren’t fast enough to capture the carbohydrate taste and so only detect the sweetness left behind, scientists have thought.
But the Oregon researchers, publishing in Chemical Senses in August, believe they have proved otherwise: They asked 22 subjects to rate the taste of a variety of solutions containing different levels of carbohydrates. Next they gave the participants a compound that blocked tongue receptors that detect sweet flavors. The subjects still tasted the starchy flavor, indicating they were tasting the carbohydrates themselves.
“I believe that’s why people prefer complex carbs,” Juyun Lim, the lead researcher, told New Scientist. —J.B.