Darwinism May Explain Clinton's Trysts: Biologists Say It's Basic Human Survival

By Witham, Larry | The Washington Times (Washington, DC), August 24, 1998 | Go to article overview

Darwinism May Explain Clinton's Trysts: Biologists Say It's Basic Human Survival


Witham, Larry, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)


Biologists suggest President Clinton has followed the genetic program handed down by human evolution: have as much sex with as many females as possible in the Darwinian quest for hereditary survival.

Despite this brute biology that is inherited by males, however, there are other ways to survive, and these now include monogamy, other evolutionists say.

"What Darwin says is that the most dominant male gets the first crack at the women," said Michael Ruse, a historian of biology at Guelph University in Ontario.

"In that sense, I find [Mr. Clinton's] behavior absolutely normal, not normal in the sense that I approve of it, though," he said.

Darwinism has argued that survival is the main goal of organisms, and part of that quest is to produce as many offspring as possible.

To explain human morals, biologists have argued that Homo sapiens are the only species to invent culture, and in culture they agreed on ways to curtail selfishness and have concern for others.

"Genetic survival is not the prism through which to view all modern behavior," said Robert Wright, author of "The Moral Animal," which presents the case for evolutionary psychology.

Still, he agrees with biologists that when humans in the past changed their behaviors to survive better, the surviving genes passed those moral inclinations to future generations.

Monogamy, Mr. Wright argues, arose when ordinary males - who sought to survive by having offspring - challenged the "elite males" who controlled all the women in tribal settings.

"The survival view of monogamy is associated with its egalitarian ethic," Mr. Wright said. Dominant men, in other words, were forced to divide up sexual resources more equally.

Mr. Ruse said that a "rule of reciprocation" between men and women also had to develop in the laws of the jungle. Men promised fidelity to a woman in exchange for a similar commitment. …

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