Polygamy

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Whimsical Eloquence
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Re: Polygamy

Postby Whimsical Eloquence » Fri Aug 12, 2011 2:56 pm UTC

gavin wrote:Ok, so we require the new contracts to acknowledge previous contracts. What about the previous contract which may not acknowledge anyone else? Do they then have to get remarried under a new contract to officially recognize the new entry?

This would essentially mean that each member of the group is married to each other member of the group. This is different from polygyny and polyandry. As for members related to eachother, I view that as a very different thing. There are real disadvantages to it and it allows a much easier violation of fuduciary responsibilities of what should be supporting family members. Not to mention the possibility of it being a brother and sister in the marriage with some third party as the primary.


Hardly. I'll continue the use of "<>" to denote "has entered marriage contract with. "A"can contract multiple individuals individually: A><B, A><C, A><D.
In this instance, B,C and D's relationship between each other is completely unchanged by A's individual marriage to each of them. Each contract is distinct undertaking with A and so doesn't modify any earlier ones.

Now consider a separate situation, in this A, B and C have all entered a contract together: {A,B,C}. This situation is distinct with the first, the marriage is entirely
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Re: Polygamy

Postby gavin » Fri Aug 12, 2011 3:01 pm UTC

Whimsical Eloquence wrote:
gavin wrote:Ok, so we require the new contracts to acknowledge previous contracts. What about the previous contract which may not acknowledge anyone else? Do they then have to get remarried under a new contract to officially recognize the new entry?

This would essentially mean that each member of the group is married to each other member of the group. This is different from polygyny and polyandry. As for members related to eachother, I view that as a very different thing. There are real disadvantages to it and it allows a much easier violation of fuduciary responsibilities of what should be supporting family members. Not to mention the possibility of it being a brother and sister in the marriage with some third party as the primary.


Hardly. I'll continue the use of "<>" to denote "has entered marriage contract with. "A"can contract multiple individuals individually: A><B, A><C, A><D.
In this instance, B,C and D's relationship between each other is completely unchanged by A's individual marriage to each of them. Each contract is distinct undertaking with A and so doesn't modify any earlier ones.

Now consider a separate situation, in this A, B and C have all entered a contract together: {A,B,C}. This situation is distinct with the first, the marriage is entirely
But in the event of a divorce, say A><C is severed. How can wealth be equitably distributed when all four individuals had been contributing to the household but B and D have nothing to do with that contract? If neither A nor C are bread winners or if only C is a breadwinner, then the exchange is unequitable for any member who only has a contract (stakehold) with one member in the household.

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Re: Polygamy

Postby PAstrychef » Fri Aug 12, 2011 3:12 pm UTC

As it is, the legal obligations of marriage are not well spelled out. You get some rights, and in certain instances shared financial duties, but that's it. In IL, you are required to financially support the children of the marriage, and support a spouse upon divorce. The internal financial arrangements are left to the marriage partners. Why shouldn't the same be done for multiple-partner marriages? Why should there be one framework? Some marriages have elaborate pre nuptial agreements, some have a drunken evening at the Elvis Chapel Of Love. The odds of either lasting are about the same. Some divorces require a moving van and a case of beer, some use a phalanx of lawyers and take years of acrimony.
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Re: Polygamy

Postby gavin » Fri Aug 12, 2011 3:23 pm UTC

PAstrychef wrote:As it is, the legal obligations of marriage are not well spelled out. You get some rights, and in certain instances shared financial duties, but that's it. In IL, you are required to financially support the children of the marriage, and support a spouse upon divorce. The internal financial arrangements are left to the marriage partners. Why shouldn't the same be done for multiple-partner marriages? Why should there be one framework? Some marriages have elaborate pre nuptial agreements, some have a drunken evening at the Elvis Chapel Of Love. The odds of either lasting are about the same. Some divorces require a moving van and a case of beer, some use a phalanx of lawyers and take years of acrimony.
Yes, I agree fully with the condition of our marriage system right now. Our current system already allows individuals to be significantly disenfranchized (the man usually getting the shaft and getting less than half custody or sometimes the woman being left penniless and without children). I could only expect a polygamous marriage to exacerbate the problem when they aren't necessarily tied ot any bread winner.

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Re: Polygamy

Postby Aaeriele » Fri Aug 12, 2011 3:59 pm UTC

gavin wrote:Ok, so we require the new contracts to acknowledge previous contracts. What about the previous contract which may not acknowledge anyone else? Do they then have to get remarried under a new contract to officially recognize the new entry?

No. The fact that the new entry is allowed to exist at all indicates that the existing relationships acknowledged it.

If A<>B<>C has C<>D added, B has to approve it; A does not. B<>C's contract might need to be reworked, but A<>B's contract does not need to be reworked.


gavin, as stated in my earlier post:

Aaeriele wrote:If A<>B<>C (where <> means "married to"), but not A<>C, then B would maintain separate finances for the A<>B relationship and the A<>C relationship, and the marriage contracts would stipulate what portion of B's resources are devoted to each.


Separate finances would make the issue of divorce in a set of pairwise marriages not a problem. You're assuming that if A<>B, B<>C, and A<>B, that that would imply everyone pooling their resources in a single bank account. That doesn't have to be the case.
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Re: Polygamy

Postby Enuja » Fri Aug 12, 2011 4:26 pm UTC

gavin wrote:Our current system already allows individuals to be significantly disenfranchized (the man usually getting the shaft and getting less than half custody or sometimes the woman being left penniless and without children). I could only expect a polygamous marriage to exacerbate the problem when they aren't necessarily tied ot any bread winner.
One of the big advantages of modern, egalitarian polygamy is solving these problems. If you don't assume that all relationships will be isolated, pair-wise, inter-dependent systems, each individual develops the skills to be independent, to be cooperative, and to specialize and delegate when useful. If you're planning your living situation with the expectation that you or your partner might get a new partner, and that sometimes people will leave, it's much harder to fall into that common trap of monogamous marriage of developing a system that won't work if anything changes. Things change, and the larger and more cooperative the social network you've got (family, friends, lovers, and yes, spouses), the better you can deal with change. This is true with both a collection pair-wise relationships, and with closed or open group marriage. If you've got more adults, it's a lot easier to support someone staying home to take care of the kids, easier to cope when someone looses a job, and easier to cope when a relationship breaks up or a person leaves.

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Re: Polygamy

Postby DSenette » Fri Aug 12, 2011 4:33 pm UTC

Enuja wrote:
gavin wrote:Our current system already allows individuals to be significantly disenfranchized (the man usually getting the shaft and getting less than half custody or sometimes the woman being left penniless and without children). I could only expect a polygamous marriage to exacerbate the problem when they aren't necessarily tied ot any bread winner.
One of the big advantages of modern, egalitarian polygamy is solving these problems. If you don't assume that all relationships will be isolated, pair-wise, inter-dependent systems, each individual develops the skills to be independent, to be cooperative, and to specialize and delegate when useful. If you're planning your living situation with the expectation that you or your partner might get a new partner, and that sometimes people will leave, it's much harder to fall into that common trap of monogamous marriage of developing a system that won't work if anything changes. Things change, and the larger and more cooperative the social network you've got (family, friends, lovers, and yes, spouses), the better you can deal with change. This is true with both a collection pair-wise relationships, and with closed or open group marriage. If you've got more adults, it's a lot easier to support someone staying home to take care of the kids, easier to cope when someone looses a job, and easier to cope when a relationship breaks up or a person leaves.

yeah, it's like a company that has 100's of employees, but they've got one guy in the building that is so important that if he leaves, the whole place is fucked.

whoever set that company up did a poor job of planning for the future and when the company fails because of that one guy, well...
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Re: Polygamy

Postby gavin » Fri Aug 12, 2011 5:52 pm UTC

Enuja wrote:
gavin wrote:Our current system already allows individuals to be significantly disenfranchized (the man usually getting the shaft and getting less than half custody or sometimes the woman being left penniless and without children). I could only expect a polygamous marriage to exacerbate the problem when they aren't necessarily tied ot any bread winner.
One of the big advantages of modern, egalitarian polygamy is solving these problems. If you don't assume that all relationships will be isolated, pair-wise, inter-dependent systems, each individual develops the skills to be independent, to be cooperative, and to specialize and delegate when useful. If you're planning your living situation with the expectation that you or your partner might get a new partner, and that sometimes people will leave, it's much harder to fall into that common trap of monogamous marriage of developing a system that won't work if anything changes. Things change, and the larger and more cooperative the social network you've got (family, friends, lovers, and yes, spouses), the better you can deal with change. This is true with both a collection pair-wise relationships, and with closed or open group marriage. If you've got more adults, it's a lot easier to support someone staying home to take care of the kids, easier to cope when someone looses a job, and easier to cope when a relationship breaks up or a person leaves.
So any individual would be automatically placed into binding contract with the new entries? That doesn't seem legal.

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Re: Polygamy

Postby Aaeriele » Fri Aug 12, 2011 5:55 pm UTC

gavin wrote:So any individual would be automatically placed into binding contract with the new entries? That doesn't seem legal.


Where did Enuja say that at all? You're pulling random crap out of thin air.

All Enuja said was that if you don't assume monogamous relationships, you tend to be more responsible about making sure you can care for yourself regardless of what happens in a relationship.
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Re: Polygamy

Postby Enuja » Fri Aug 12, 2011 6:02 pm UTC

gavin wrote:So any individual would be automatically placed into binding contract with the new entries? That doesn't seem legal.
I'm trying not to limit my discussion to only one type of modern polygamy. I assume your question is about closed group marriage. In a closed group marriage, where all of the members of the group are married to each other, and don't have outside sex, all the existing members of the marriage are involved when a new person joins the group. In most cases, I suspect that one or more members of the group would be attracted to a prospective new member, who'd hang out with the whole group, and when everyone was agreed, the new member would be a trial member, not a part of the contract of the marriage but acting like it, and if that worked out, everyone would sign the appropriate contract and add the new member. But there are literally hundreds of ways to do modern polygamy, and I can't tell you the exact details of every single system. Personally, I am only interested in open relationships (no closed relationships of any kind), but that doesn't mean one couldn't create a sensible legal framework for closed group marriage.


Thank you for summarizing me, Aaeriele, that's exactly what I was talking about. Succinct is often better. I tend to get a bit wordy, sorry about that.

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Re: Polygamy

Postby Zamfir » Fri Aug 12, 2011 6:17 pm UTC

Enuja, it seems to me you are describing two developments, one of a less reliance on closed, permanent relationships to build households and childraising around , and another one where aspects of those are distributed over larger, more voluntary groups.

But I really see only the first, made possible because both larger shares of general householding and childraising move to third parties, on a non-socializing basis. Communal forms like extended families, extended households or tight neighbourhoods are become less relevant, and I on't see much sign that other forms are replacing them.

The general trend is to move kids to schools and day care centers, not to share the chilhdraising with other parents. Cooking methods that benefit from large scale are now done in restaurants and prefab, not by groups of friends or neighbours taking turns. In amorous relationships it is now far more common that partners keep their own house than even a few decades ago, and open relationships in that form are reasonably common. While multi-partner households are rare and socially not really accepted.

As far as I can tell, that whole trend is more to the point where amorous relationships are becoming uncoupled from all the other spouse-like aspects, more than that people are moving towards multiple spouses.

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Re: Polygamy

Postby Enuja » Fri Aug 12, 2011 6:40 pm UTC

Yes, Zamfir, agree with you about those trends. However, gavin appears to be interested in the legal possibilities of relationship types, no matter how common they are. My sister is trying out an egalitarian commune started next week, and one of the posters here (although not in the post in this thread) is apparently in a communal-living polyamorous relationship raising children, I have local friends in a urban residential commune, and my San Francisco friends live in roommate situations where cooking and other tasks are shared, so I personally see some people trying communal living. I agree that there is no current trend in American living situations towards communal living, but I want there to be one, and I think it's a relevant and interesting thing to talk about when talking about polygamy.

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Re: Polygamy

Postby gavin » Fri Aug 12, 2011 6:49 pm UTC

Aaeriele wrote:
gavin wrote:So any individual would be automatically placed into binding contract with the new entries? That doesn't seem legal.


Where did Enuja say that at all? You're pulling random crap out of thin air.

All Enuja said was that if you don't assume monogamous relationships, you tend to be more responsible about making sure you can care for yourself regardless of what happens in a relationship.
Actually, my response was intended for you. I did not intend to quote Enuja on it (my apologies to you, Enuja).

Enuja, your quote seems valid in theory at least. In practice this may just mean individuals can be unfairly disenfranchized from proper compensation for their time.

Aaeriele wrote:No. The fact that the new entry is allowed to exist at all indicates that the existing relationships acknowledged it.

If A<>B<>C has C<>D added, B has to approve it; A does not. B<>C's contract might need to be reworked, but A<>B's contract does not need to be reworked.

The way typical contracts work in today's society is that either member of the relationship may enter a contract that ties up the couple's finances and possibly endangers the couple's financial future. But this, this is tying individuals finances with other finances (disregarding a complex nuptial agreement). If B's finances, which are fundamentally linked with A, are suddenly now shared with D then A's finances are too. Without knowledge or consent. If D then divorces C (and B by proxy), then D would have financial claim to financial support/sharing from B which is combined with A.

Besides, the way we typically see polyamy today does not follow a chain pattern as you express. It is as follows:

A<>B
A<>C
A<>D

Since all relationships are involved financially because they are all linked to one common individual, they should all have a say which should require the reworking of contractual relationships. Essentially a redefinement of marriage eachtime with perhaps an entirely new set of nuptials. But a chain pattern as you express would only compound the legal issues involved.

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Re: Polygamy

Postby DaBigCheez » Fri Aug 12, 2011 7:28 pm UTC

And in that case, if you added A<>E, then B+C+D would all have to give informed consent and possibly rework marriage contracts, as they're one jump away.

Look at it this way. Take the simple case of A<>B<>C, and assume even division of finances for simplicity.

A<>B gets 100% of A's finances, and 50% of B's.
B<>C gets 100% of C's finances, and 50% of B's.

These are entirely separate accounts - for example, if each individual pair has a joint bank account.

So, what happens if you add C<>D? Then you have:

C<>D gets 100% of D's finances, and 50% of C's.
B<>C has to be reworked. It now gets 50% of C's finances, and 50% of B's.
A<>B still gets 100% of A's finances, and 50% of B's; nothing whatsoever has changed there.

Now, it's possible that for whatever reason, the B<>C marriage may not work with only 100% income as opposed to 150%. In that case, B could:
-Talk to A and redo the division of finances on that side, with consent from A and B
-Talk to C and redo the division of finances on that side, which would necessitate renegotiation between C and D
-Refuse to consent to the C<>D marriage, which they would have a right to as C's marriage partner



As for your "chain pattern as you express" - that's a *type* of polyamorous marriage which could occur, and it doesn't present any real additional problems. If you add A<>E, you remain in the case of "all other partners married to A have to consent/renegotiate" (in this case, all of them, and so they *do* all have a say). If you add D<>E, then A<>D's finances change, but no other parties' need to.

If D then divorces A, the A<>D account is split, no others are affected.
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Re: Polygamy

Postby Aaeriele » Fri Aug 12, 2011 7:31 pm UTC

gavin wrote:The way typical contracts work in today's society is that either member of the relationship may enter a contract that ties up the couple's finances and possibly endangers the couple's financial future.

Because "today's society" assumes monogamy.

gavin wrote:But this, this is tying individuals finances with other finances (disregarding a complex nuptial agreement). If B's finances, which are fundamentally linked with A, are suddenly now shared with D then A's finances are too.

No, they aren't. Read what I said. "If A<>B and B<>C but not A<>C, then B needs to maintain separate sets of finances for each." Thus B has a certain set of finances/resources which are devoted to A, and a certain set which are devoted to C. Adding C<>D does not inherently need to do anything to the finances for A<>B because they're still devoted to A. C doesn't have any claim to them, and thus neither does D.

gavin wrote: Without knowledge or consent. If D then divorces C (and B by proxy), then D would have financial claim to financial support/sharing from B which is combined with A.

No, D would have a financial claim to whatever was worked out between B, C, and D - but the resources which were always devoted from B to A, D has zero claim over, as they have always been separate.

gavin wrote:Besides, the way we typically see polyamy today does not follow a chain pattern as you express. It is as follows:

A<>B
A<>C
A<>D

No, the way you imagine polyamory to be (since we don't have legal polygamy here) is that. May I point you to the spoiler in this post as an example of how there are plenty of other options.

gavin wrote:Since all relationships are involved financially because they are all linked to one common individual, they should all have a say which should require the reworking of contractual relationships.

...yes? Which is what I already said: those who are directly married to either of the parties getting married, have a say and consent in the resulting contracts.

gavin wrote:Essentially a redefinement of marriage eachtime with perhaps an entirely new set of nuptials.

Yes?

gavin wrote:But a chain pattern as you express would only compound the legal issues involved.

No, it wouldn't, and that's exactly what I'm pointing out to you. Chain patterns are actually simpler because with properly set up finances, only those directly married to potential new partners would need to concern themselves. In other words, if you have A<>B<>C<>D<>E<>F<>G, and E wants to get married to H, then the only people who need to care about that are D and F.
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Re: Polygamy

Postby CorruptUser » Fri Aug 12, 2011 7:33 pm UTC

Multi-chain patterns are simpler than chains with 2 links?

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Re: Polygamy

Postby Aaeriele » Fri Aug 12, 2011 7:35 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:Multi-chain patterns are simpler than chains with 2 links?


Aaeriele wrote:Chain patterns are actually simpler because with properly set up finances, only those directly married to potential new partners would need to concern themselves. In other words, if you have A<>B<>C<>D<>E<>F<>G, and E wants to get married to H, then the only people who need to care about that are D and F.
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Re: Polygamy

Postby CorruptUser » Fri Aug 12, 2011 7:39 pm UTC

Yeah except A<>B is still simpler than A<>B<>C, at least for B (though not necessarily A).

I will admit the system we have now is by no means simple, and could do with massive overhauls.

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Re: Polygamy

Postby DaBigCheez » Fri Aug 12, 2011 7:42 pm UTC

The chain pattern was being compared to a "hub" system. A<>B<>C<>D as opposed to A<>B, A<>C, A<>D. In this case, yes, the chain pattern is simpler.
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Re: Polygamy

Postby Aaeriele » Fri Aug 12, 2011 7:49 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:Yeah except A<>B is still simpler than A<>B<>C, at least for B (though not necessarily A).

I will admit the system we have now is by no means simple, and could do with massive overhauls.


I don't think anyone here was comparing A<>B<>C to A<>B in the recent set of posts.
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Re: Polygamy

Postby gavin » Fri Aug 12, 2011 8:20 pm UTC

A<>B<>C<>D isn't the form of polygamy we have typically seen. It is most commonly expressed as one individual married to several others.

You mention that I am correct about the setup of contract law by "Today's" standards which are based on monogamous relationships. Yes. That was the point. We're talking about legal ramifications and what institutions would have to be revisited. The entire fundamental system of contractual liabilities will have to be reconsidered unless all members of the relationship are contractually linked and each new member requires a new contract. Even then, typical divorce laws will have to be reconsidered.

I think in a roundabout way we are kinda in agreement. This is doable but it requires a significant reworking of the system. Your current position seems to differ greatly though from your initial position that polygamy requires no special attention than monogamy requires. I don't know when you crossed over on that position, but at that point we began to agree more than disagree.

DaBigCheez: You referred to setting up actual secondary accounts with each member. This fails to address non-liquid assets. Imagine a situation where one individual is awarded the home while four individuals are kicked out or a situation where the one individual that paid more for a house is kicked out to make room for the three remaining members. But this can be figured out, I think.

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Re: Polygamy

Postby DaBigCheez » Fri Aug 12, 2011 8:25 pm UTC

gavin: It's more that monogamy is a special case of polygamy, in much the same way that calculus with one independent and one dependent variable is a special case of multivariable calculus. It may be easier to work with, but a comprehensive system should be able to handle both.

And yes, the "division of non-liquid assets" is a problem that needs addressing, but it's a problem that needs addressing in monogamous relationships too - if a monogamous couple has a divorce, and one is awarded the home while the other is kicked out, the same problem arises. The issue is far from unique to polygamous asset-separation issues, and the greater emphasis on thinking of how to divide finances beforehand could potentially help to circumvent that, if the contracts are written properly in the first place. (Termination clauses, etc.)
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Re: Polygamy

Postby Aaeriele » Fri Aug 12, 2011 8:27 pm UTC

gavin wrote:I think in a roundabout way we are kinda in agreement. This is doable but it requires a significant reworking of the system. Your current position seems to differ greatly though from your initial position that polygamy requires no special attention than monogamy requires.

My initial position was that it needn't be any harder - if we were to start from scratch and create laws, it wouldn't be any harder to create laws for a poly society than it would be to create them from a mono society.

That is different from saying nothing would have to change if we already have a giant set of laws that assume monogamy.

gavin wrote:DaBigCheez: You referred to setting up actual secondary accounts with each member. This fails to address non-liquid assets. Imagine a situation where one individual is awarded the home while four individuals are kicked out or a situation where the one individual that paid more for a house is kicked out to make room for the three remaining members. But this can be figured out, I think.

If X people are all living together in a house, they should probably have a contract that decides how that house is to be shared. In other words, each person would have an equal share of the house, so no divorce court would "award the house to one person" just because two people broke up with one another.
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Re: Polygamy

Postby distractedSofty » Fri Aug 12, 2011 11:04 pm UTC

Aaeriele wrote:If X people are all living together in a house, they should probably have a contract that decides how that house is to be shared. In other words, each person would have an equal share of the house, so no divorce court would "award the house to one person" just because two people broke up with one another.

Another way of coming at it is that modern divorce is like liquidating a corporation. If you have A<>B<>C<>D all owning a house together, and community property still applies, then what you really have is a shared piece of property between 3 entities (it just so happens that the entities have overlapping "investors"). The B><C divorce would only concern itself with the portion that B and C owned together, and not with the portions that C owns jointly with D, or that B owns jointly with A. It would be exactly the same as you could have today, if a married couple and a friend owned a house jointly.

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Re: Polygamy

Postby DaBigCheez » Fri Aug 12, 2011 11:30 pm UTC

distractedSofty wrote:Another way of coming at it is that modern divorce is like liquidating a corporation. If you have A<>B<>C<>D all owning a house together, and community property still applies, then what you really have is a shared piece of property between 3 entities (it just so happens that the entities have overlapping "investors"). The B><C divorce would only concern itself with the portion that B and C owned together, and not with the portions that C owns jointly with D, or that B owns jointly with A. It would be exactly the same as you could have today, if a married couple and a friend owned a house jointly.


Yes, I think that's an appropriate way of looking at it, and is the mental model I've been using (considering the marriage/married couple as a corporation, a separate entity from the people of which it is comprised). It's ultimately the same thing - multiple people joining together and pooling assets - even if the motivation for forming it may be different. That's one reason I think drawing up explicit formal contracts with termination clauses etc. would be both helpful and appropriate.
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Re: Polygamy

Postby Vash » Sat Aug 13, 2011 11:22 pm UTC

Enuja wrote:Vash, please use and describe the studies you citied, instead of just listing them. Explain how they are relevant to your point and your intellectual development, what their methodologies and conclusions were. Un-annotated lists of citations are not convincing, and do not make it likely that I will actually read the citations, because I don't know if you've read the articles you are citing, and I don't know if they address the parts of your argument that I think need data and sources. You don't need more sources, Vash, you need to actually use the many sources you've already cited. For example, which study has 40+ culture cross-cultural data, and what questions were asked and answered in that study?


I refuse to channel that much effort into a forum post. I already made effective summaries of what the studies said. If you're asking me to read them for you and write a paper, I won't. Read an evolutionary psychology textbook if you want a summary of at least part of the research I am looking that. I haven't suggested that until now, because frankly, I'm trying to avoid making an evolutionary argument. I'm just trying to look at data. If I write a paper, it won't be on here. You aren't telling me anything new. You aren't motivating me to do anything, either. Papers exist to be read. I don't need to write something that is already there.

I while ago, I read Promiscuity: An Evolutionary History of Sperm Competition by Tim Birkhead, 2002. I'm not suggesting that anyone read it, because while it's a fun book, it's not hugely relevant to this thread, but it is relevant to my intellectual history on this subject. One of the main points of Promiscuity was how much biologists have blinded themselves to the actual sexual systems of the organisms they study, because they were using mental analogies and expectations of marriage, and often ignoring the sexual behavior of females. Instead of the animal kingdom being a universe of polygyny, monogamy, and a little bit of polyandry, there is a lot of promiscuity. Mating systems that have been described as polygyny often include very active participation by the females in copulation with males other than their apparent "mate."


I can tell you that David Buss' evolutionary psychology does not ignore the sexual behavior of females. That doesn't mean it posits it to be identical to that of men.

Carrying with me that background from the perspective of biology, I got into the history of sex, gender, and sexuality. And I've learned that, in Western society, people used to think that female orgasm was necessary for fertility, that women were "naturally" more sexual and interested in sex than men, that women's sexuality had to be controlled because it was a destructive, primitive force. Later, however, scientists thought that women didn't even have orgasms, that women were "naturally" more moral, less sexual, that having sex with their husbands was a duty women had to fulfill for the sake of their husbands. Prostitutes and "low women" had been polluted and destroyed by the regrettable but natural sexual inclinations of men, and needed to be brought back to the proper and natural sexual position of women: pure and disinterested. (Citations provided upon request, but this is a summary of a historic transition I've read about in a very wide variety of sources.) Although scientists have accepted the reality of human female orgasm, I am not at all convinced that societies' biases have moved on: I think that societal assumptions about women's purity, men's sexuality, and the universality of a marriage model still heavily bias both our society and scientific study.


I know of all of those phenomena. I am more concerned with the actual content of the research, including whether these biases are manifest in it. Clearly, it is still manifest in society. You also assume that no one is trying to be objective, and that the research I am looking at is part of the field or trend you likely have a valid generalization of.

I think our society is in the middle of an enormous transition in how we view gender and sex. I am quite aware that, here and now in our society, gay men are more sexually promiscuous than lesbian women, but both gay men and lesbian women come from our society that thinks that men are "naturally" more sexual than women, and I think that this social bias is important in determining behavior. I think that homosexuality, the sex positive movement, the feminist movement against sexual harassment and abuse, and social expectations of gender equality in general are currently giving women both more sexual power and more sexual interest.


Schmitt, D.P. (2005). Sociosexuality from Argentina to Zimbabwe: A 48-nation study of sex, culture, and strategies of human mating. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 28, 247-311.

Copy-paste abstract:
"The Sociosexual Orientation Inventory (SOI; Simpson & Gangestad 1991) is a self-report measure of individual differences
in human mating strategies. Low SOI scores signify that a person is sociosexually restricted, or follows a more monogamous mating strategy.
High SOI scores indicate that an individual is unrestricted, or has a more promiscuous mating strategy. As part of the International
Sexuality Description Project (ISDP), the SOI was translated from English into 25 additional languages and administered to a total sample
of 14,059 people across 48 nations. Responses to the SOI were used to address four main issues. First, the psychometric properties
of the SOI were examined in cross-cultural perspective. The SOI possessed adequate reliability and validity both within and across a diverse
range of modern cultures. Second, theories concerning the systematic distribution of sociosexuality across cultures were evaluated.
Both operational sex ratios and reproductively demanding environments related in evolutionary-predicted ways to national levels of sociosexuality.
Third, sex differences in sociosexuality were generally large and demonstrated cross-cultural universality across the 48 nations
of the ISDP, confirming several evolutionary theories of human mating. Fourth, sex differences in sociosexuality were significantly
larger when reproductive environments were demanding but were reduced to more moderate levels in cultures with more political and
economic gender equality. Implications for evolutionary and social role theories of human sexuality are discussed."

I may have cited the wrong study, though, actually. The most relevant one to what I said was:
Schmitt, D. P. and 118 members of the International Sexuality Description Project. (2003). Universal sex differences in the desire for sexual variety: Tests from 52 nations, 6 continents, and 13 islands. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 86, 560-584.
Copy-paste abstract:
"Evolutionary psychologists have hypothesized that men and women possess both long-term and short-term mating strategies, with men's short-term strategy differentially rooted in the desire for sexual variety. In this article, findings from a cross-cultural survey of 16,288 people across 10 major world regions (including North America, South America, Western Europe, Eastern Europe, Southern Europe, Middle East, Africa, Oceania, South/Southeast Asia, and East Asia) demonstrate that sex differences in the desire for sexual variety are culturally universal throughout these world regions. Sex differences were evident regardless of whether mean, median, distributional, or categorical indexes of sexual differentiation were evaluated. Sex differences were evident regardless of the measures used to evaluate them. Among contemporary theories of human mating, pluralistic approaches that hypothesize sex differences in the evolved design of short-term mating provide the most compelling account of these robust empirical findings."

Men desire more sexual partners than women. I don't think this is very questionable. You could argue that this is transmitted culture from an original human culture or set of cultures, but that's the only alternative possibility. Where that seems to break down is in the failure of social engineering, but I haven't seen a case where the people are really willing to be miserable for a couple of generations. Also, if it was transmitted culture, wouldn't it just change after a certain point? (I say this because frankly, I think people would just start killing themselves, leaving, or giving up rather than being THAT miserable).

I know at least Vash and Iceman, and probably a lot of other posters, disagree with the above paragraph. But, even if women are "naturally" less interested in sex and in having multiple partners than men are,


Women in general are not less interested in sex. They are less interested in multiple partners. I would appreciate it if you could pay more attention to the fact that I am also very careful to qualify statements like that with "in general" or "the trend is." I am not making such a unilateral argument, and you have no need to argue against that. There are some women less interested in multiple partners than the general, and some much more. It's a distribution. I forget who said it before, but you should also remember your place in the distribution and that you do not necessarily summarize all women. I do get that sense from at least one poster here, especially since the point has not been acknowledged. If you want to argue that some people regulate down their own sex drive or restrict their own sexual choices, that's fine, but provide a reasonable justification for why they shouldn't. Oppression in cultures where there is no oppression of sex drive (and indeed, where women may have more casual sex) is not sufficient. The difference remains.

that doesn't mean that most or all modern women want to be life-long accessory partners in highly unequal polygynous relationships.


Something that I acknowledged, but you're about to get to the meat of your point so I'll just ignore that.

Wanting resources, and getting some of them from a spouse or partner, doesn't mean that most women will embrace polygyny. For one thing, there is always the option of being in an apparent polygynous relationship while having sex with other people. There are trade-offs with the actual resources you get in resource-based polygyny, depending on the number of partners and the number of resources your partner has.


I've always thought polygamy in general to be tricky because of jealousy. I am sure, also, that it works for some people. However, there may be a case in which a man cannot shelve his jealousy or his desire for multiple women. Women who could manage their own jealousy and do not need that much attention could easily marry that man. People can also make sacrifices and compromises. Presumably, one has to in almost any relationship. The facts alone that women desire resources and that rich men can provide more resources than 2 poor men (you should know about the distribution of wealth) indicate a bias toward polygyny. No research seems to indicate that attention even factors in, though I am not sure it has been examined. Social groups can also replace the time that would be spent with a single man (in a monogamous relationship) or multiple men. That is not to say that a woman dating a rich man would never want to have another relationship, but it's not necessarily inequality if it is otherwise. I have to clarify that statement, though. That's only if that woman is unwilling to compromise and is going ahead with it anyway.

As soon as there are extra guys, some women will get more resources by partnering with unpartnered guys.


Poor men who have nothing to offer?

You don't need most women to want lots of male partners to equal things out: you just need a few women who want lots of male partners, and most women not wanting to be completely ignored in their relationships (which provides a limit on the number of female partners a man can get). A future society isn't going to have multiple marriage without divorce: if young women choose older men with lots of resources and lots of wives, those women can later change their minds, when they've got resources of their own, and not be trapped in unequal polygyny for their entire lives.


Actually, the research seems to indicate that women with resources prefer men with even more resources. It's because the desire is an instinct, not a power structure. That's more preliminary research, though (not cross-cultural across 50 countries).

If most women in college have an older, resource-rich sugar-daddy paying for their education in exchange for exclusive sex, but, after getting their own resources chose more equal relationships, I wouldn't call the resultant society universally polygynous. If young women often had children with older, resource-rich men who provided resources and care for the resultant children while the women moved on to more equal relationships when they got older, I wouldn't call the resultant society universally polygynous.


The premise is potentially irrelevant via my previous argument. Also, if it is proportionally, then it is. It doesn't help the case that younger women are more desirable for marriage because they can have more children in the future. That is not a huge factor in monogamy, but it is in polygamy.

Maybe older men will have polygynous relationships with younger women while older women have polyandrous relationships with younger men. Maybe most women will live in polygynous households, but use some of those increased resources to have a boy toy or two on the side, in a completely socially acceptable way. And, hey, maybe almost everyone will be in huge multiple marriages with lots of people of many genders. But that's not the only non-monogamous possibility to avoid misogynistic polygyny. There are tons of different ways relationships could change over time or benefit women (even if women are less interested in sex and in multiple partners than men are) without near-universal monogamous marriage. Some men having multiple partners, or using resources to get sex, doesn't necessarily mean that the women involved aren't getting exactly what they want, or that other men will have no opportunities to have sex with women.


Polyandry seems to be with brothers, again. Otherwise, most men will want exclusive sexual access; though, with paternity tests, maybe no one gives a fuck since they can know if a kid is theirs? I would imagine most women would take that as an insult, though. I also don't think that it will overcome jealously anyway.

I understand the logical possibilities of all possible social relationships. I am concerned with the theoretical possibilities of human relationships without genetic engineering.

No, you have to acknowledge the reality that because of jealousy, things aren't going to work as you say. Some people will be excluded, and it will be by default men who are worse off.


The solution to this whole issue is simple, but unequal. Outlaw polygyny, legalize all other forms of polygamy. I so far haven't been able to come up with anything better, though I'm not exactly trying to come up with a brilliant solution. That also leaves greater inequity in women, potentially.

Azrael wrote:You're glossing over her point regarding behavior in historical conditions vs inherent human behavior. Studies of how the world currently works are all molded by how the world has been working for the vast majority of the studied culture's history. Even the most egalitarian modern society has only been as egalitarian as they are (which still isn't "very" when discussing gender) for ... 3 or 4 generations? And much of the world you'd have to sample for a 40-country survey aren't egalitarian at all.

Cultural pressure about what's acceptable/correct/right/moral do not dissolve that quickly or easily. Our behaviors now are certainly still shaped by our behaviors then. Especially in places where the cultural gender-roles haven't changed as significantly as they have in the developed world.

No one has disputed that history has been more polygynous. What is being disputed is whether that behavioral pattern is an indicator of an inherent human trait, or a learned behavior from hundreds of years of cultural dominance by a single gender. Claiming papers as citations, without addressing the actual point of contention isn't demonstrating (or adding to) an understanding of the discussion. So, to follow up on Enuja's request: Which of those studies strove to understand and illuminate the difference between history and inherent behavior? How did they control their experiment accordingly?


No. Just no. If it doesn't exist, it doesn't exist. Stop playing word games and cite actual behavior. You are not the first to raise your concerns, and it has been studied to some extent at least. If it's not in English, ask a foreign academic for their knowledge on a country.

Yes. Even an analysis of current society (never mind a historical vantage point) can easily validate the assumption that some portion of women in a patriarchal society have supported or still do support that patriarchy. In short, this is why "feminist" is a distinct descriptor and yet not all women label themselves as such. To a convenient historical example, not all women supported suffrage in the US in the 1920's. The supporting portion can be shown to have be higher as societies were/are more patriarchal by way of an inverse reduction in dissent or activism.


(response to the "yes") What the US research indicates is that in a more egalitarian society than a rule by despot polygyny still exists. What it doesn't demonstrate is that it cannot be eliminated. Also, all human societies so far are patriarchies. The only way to create a matriarchy or equal rule society is to acknowledge human nature, and if possible create a set of conditions that counterbalance it. You aren't helping by closing yourself to ideas of humanity that aren't gender feminist.

(response to the rest) I agree.


Edit: Just to add something, there is a correlation between promiscuity and masculine features (broad shoulders, thick jaw/chin) in women. Post hoc ergo propter hoc, but it could manifest because of promiscuity, be a characteristic of a person, or both to some degree. Possible vector: testosterone ingestion through semen? I have no idea if that can have an effect. Excuse my ignorance. From what I understand, there can be some positive health effects.

Aaeriele wrote:Natural selection works over time frames larger than most societies remain in existence for. Since you still don't appear to get the hint, I'm going to try one more time:

We don't really care about your evo psych. What we care about is the actual moral and legal aspects of the matter.


Yes, let's discuss morality and law with no reference to empirical reality.

God hates adulterers, whores, and in the New New Testament, man-hos and iguana owners. God declares animal rights, the human right to be an animal with no freedom. The animal right to be a human with freedom. Don't forget the American way and Jesus' country sky band rocking across the sky galaxy where the clouds rain down because Jesus is a clown and sad because there is too much sin.

You're just following a different religion than mine. Kill! Kill! Kill all the sinners! Kill all the blasphemers! They cannot violate the absolute law.
Last edited by Vash on Sat Aug 13, 2011 11:34 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Polygamy

Postby Enuja » Sun Aug 14, 2011 1:22 am UTC

Vash, I will admit that I didn't understand everything you wrote, but I did understand enough that I've got a lot to reply to. If you strongly want replies to sentences I haven't quoted and ideas I haven't addressed, please quote yourself to present the question again, and I'll either answer it or ask you to clarify.
Enuja wrote:Carrying with me that background from the perspective of biology, I got into the history of sex, gender, and sexuality. And I've learned that, in Western society, people used to think that female orgasm was necessary for fertility, that women were "naturally" more sexual and interested in sex than men, that women's sexuality had to be controlled because it was a destructive, primitive force. Later, however, scientists thought that women didn't even have orgasms, that women were "naturally" more moral, less sexual, that having sex with their husbands was a duty women had to fulfill for the sake of their husbands. Prostitutes and "low women" had been polluted and destroyed by the regrettable but natural sexual inclinations of men, and needed to be brought back to the proper and natural sexual position of women: pure and disinterested. (Citations provided upon request, but this is a summary of a historic transition I've read about in a very wide variety of sources.) Although scientists have accepted the reality of human female orgasm, I am not at all convinced that societies' biases have moved on: I think that societal assumptions about women's purity, men's sexuality, and the universality of a marriage model still heavily bias both our society and scientific study.
Vash wrote:I know of all of those phenomena. I am more concerned with the actual content of the research, including whether these biases are manifest in it. Clearly, it is still manifest in society. You also assume that no one is trying to be objective, and that the research I am looking at is part of the field or trend you likely have a valid generalization of.
Almost all research tries to be objective and all research is biased. We describe our methodologies so other people can find our biases and see if they change the results, or the interpretation of the results, but science is done by human beings and so is inherently and un-alterably biased. The iterative, competitive, and open nature of science is a strength that can work to counteract our biases, but it doesn't erase them.

Enuja wrote:I think our society is in the middle of an enormous transition in how we view gender and sex. I am quite aware that, here and now in our society, gay men are more sexually promiscuous than lesbian women, but both gay men and lesbian women come from our society that thinks that men are "naturally" more sexual than women, and I think that this social bias is important in determining behavior. I think that homosexuality, the sex positive movement, the feminist movement against sexual harassment and abuse, and social expectations of gender equality in general are currently giving women both more sexual power and more sexual interest.
Vash wrote:The most relevant one to what I said was:
Schmitt, D. P. and 118 members of the International Sexuality Description Project. (2003). Universal sex differences in the desire for sexual variety: Tests from 52 nations, 6 continents, and 13 islands. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 86, 560-584.
Copy-paste abstract:
"Evolutionary psychologists have hypothesized that men and women possess both long-term and short-term mating strategies, with men's short-term strategy differentially rooted in the desire for sexual variety. In this article, findings from a cross-cultural survey of 16,288 people across 10 major world regions (including North America, South America, Western Europe, Eastern Europe, Southern Europe, Middle East, Africa, Oceania, South/Southeast Asia, and East Asia) demonstrate that sex differences in the desire for sexual variety are culturally universal throughout these world regions. Sex differences were evident regardless of whether mean, median, distributional, or categorical indexes of sexual differentiation were evaluated. Sex differences were evident regardless of the measures used to evaluate them. Among contemporary theories of human mating, pluralistic approaches that hypothesize sex differences in the evolved design of short-term mating provide the most compelling account of these robust empirical findings."

Men desire more sexual partners than women. I don't think this is very questionable. You could argue that this is transmitted culture from an original human culture or set of cultures, but that's the only alternative possibility. Where that seems to break down is in the failure of social engineering, but I haven't seen a case where the people are really willing to be miserable for a couple of generations. Also, if it was transmitted culture, wouldn't it just change after a certain point? (I say this because frankly, I think people would just start killing themselves, leaving, or giving up rather than being THAT miserable).
In this thread, I have argued that the phenomena that men desire more sexual partners than women is a cultural artifact from agricultural and other resource storage societies. I have recommended as Sex at Dawn an accessible, interesting, well written book that has a lot to say about this subject. We still live in a resource storage society, and the gender equality that I think will remove this current widespread cultural phenomena of men being expected to desire more sex partners is culturally brand spanking new, and it would be absurd to expect that this new cultural innovation would already have greatly changed large numbers of global cultures.

Vash wrote:Women in general are not less interested in sex. They are less interested in multiple partners.
I was not aware that you, personally, made this distinction, and I was not aware that you were arguing about women desiring fewer partners instead of desiring less sex. These two sentences make your arguments much more clear, thank you for including them.

Vash wrote:There are some women less interested in multiple partners than the general, and some much more. It's a distribution. I forget who said it before, but you should also remember your place in the distribution and that you do not necessarily summarize all women.
Vash wrote:I understand the logical possibilities of all possible social relationships. I am concerned with the theoretical possibilities of human relationships without genetic engineering.
If you're interested in the theoretical possibilities of human relationships without genetic engineering, why are you dismissing my experience? I've not had genetic engineering, and I am not just a theoretical possibility but also reality. Yes, I am currently an outlier, but my relationships are vehemently possible human relationships.

Vash wrote:The solution to this whole issue is simple, but unequal. Outlaw polygyny, legalize all other forms of polygamy.
I can't imagine why you think this is a good idea. For one thing, outlawing polygyny did not make monogamous marriages egalitarian and fair. For another thing, societies with polygyny have often been good for both men and women. I don't have to talk about theoretical possibilities: I can look at actual historical societies. I'm not worried about most marriages being polygynous in societies that allow polygyny, because of the huge number of societies that valued polygyny, but only had enough polygyny to reward a few very powerful men and to absorb women who didn't have partners because men had higher death rates. Yes, there are currently some really awful small cults that kick out boys, concentrate the resources on the remaining men, and marry the girls extremely early into horrendously unequal relationships. But those awful cults involve a tiny number of people, the marrying and having sex with very young girls can be (and is) punished and somewhat prevented by statutory rape convictions. Polygyny is current illegal, but that law is quite powerless against these cults because they make the marriage "spiritual" instead of legal. I see no advantages to making polygyny illegal, and all kinds of equality and practical problems with making it illegal.

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Re: Polygamy

Postby Cheezwhiz Jenkins » Sun Aug 14, 2011 2:23 am UTC

vash wrote:Edit: Just to add something, there is a correlation between promiscuity and masculine features (broad shoulders, thick jaw/chin) in women. Post hoc ergo propter hoc, but it could manifest because of promiscuity, be a characteristic of a person, or both to some degree. Possible vector: testosterone ingestion through semen? I have no idea if that can have an effect. Excuse my ignorance. From what I understand, there can be some positive health effects.


I'd just beg you to tell me that you aren't arguing that promiscuous women are butch, and that's because they swallow, but you undeniably are, so I won't. (Though it does beg the question - if they're promiscuous and butch because of all the testosterone in man juice, how did they get promiscuous without being promiscuous? One partner? That sounds like...so much work...) This is way way worse than evo psych. At least evolutionary psychology _pretends_ to be arguing from a scientific POV.
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Re: Polygamy

Postby Vash » Sun Aug 14, 2011 2:50 am UTC

Enuja wrote:Almost all research tries to be objective and all research is biased. We describe our methodologies so other people can find our biases and see if they change the results, or the interpretation of the results, but science is done by human beings and so is inherently and un-alterably biased. The iterative, competitive, and open nature of science is a strength that can work to counteract our biases, but it doesn't erase them.


That's similar to the idea I was expressing. The point I was making is that the bias of this research should be evaluated.

In this thread, I have argued that the phenomena that men desire more sexual partners than women is a cultural artifact from agricultural and other resource storage societies. I have recommended as Sex at Dawn an accessible, interesting, well written book that has a lot to say about this subject. We still live in a resource storage society, and the gender equality that I think will remove this current widespread cultural phenomena of men being expected to desire more sex partners is culturally brand spanking new, and it would be absurd to expect that this new cultural innovation would already have greatly changed large numbers of global cultures.


If that's true even in societies where there has never been any agriculture.

Well, apparently it has in 6 continents in areas of varying ways of living and scale, in hunter-gatherer cultures, and generally anywhere it has been studied without exception.

The evolutionary theory is simply that men would want more partners because men who did reproduced more often, whereas the identical benefit was smaller for women. It's a just-so story, though. I don't recall a reason for why humans would not be monogamous, either. Gibbons are monogamous.

If you're interested in the theoretical possibilities of human relationships without genetic engineering, why are you dismissing my experience? I've not had genetic engineering, and I am not just a theoretical possibility but also reality. Yes, I am currently an outlier, but my relationships are vehemently possible human relationships.


I'm not dismissing your experience, but for me this is a discussion of what is proportionally the greatest. I have no problem with legalizing polygamy in theory, but in practice I think it's just an invitation for greater inequality in society. Monogamy is actually a great innovation, so far as I can tell.

I can't imagine why you think this is a good idea. For one thing, outlawing polygyny did not make monogamous marriages egalitarian and fair. For another thing, societies with polygyny have often been good for both men and women. I don't have to talk about theoretical possibilities: I can look at actual historical societies. I'm not worried about most marriages being polygynous in societies that allow polygyny, because of the huge number of societies that valued polygyny, but only had enough polygyny to reward a few very powerful men and to absorb women who didn't have partners because men had higher death rates. Yes, there are currently some really awful small cults that kick out boys, concentrate the resources on the remaining men, and marry the girls extremely early into horrendously unequal relationships. But those awful cults involve a tiny number of people, the marrying and having sex with very young girls can be (and is) punished and somewhat prevented by statutory rape convictions. Polygyny is current illegal, but that law is quite powerless against these cults because they make the marriage "spiritual" instead of legal. I see no advantages to making polygyny illegal, and all kinds of equality and practical problems with making it illegal.


Now that you've read my argument you can better imagine why I do.

"men had higher death rates" because of war which was essentially in part an outlet to reduce men because there were not enough women. The murder rate and war losses are just not that high in the US, for example. In modern hunter-gatherer societies, that function is preserved, and the functions of obtaining more women and more resources are also in play (BTW, in most of the ones studied that I've seen at least 33% and in one 60% of the men died to human-on-human violence, compared to a miniscule amount in the US and Europe in the 20th century, even counting WWI and WWII). It also was not historically a very few powerful men, but the entire upper class and even the middle class, with a gradation based on wealth and power. Emperors were generally at the top. Even if 5% of the men are involved in polygyny, it still creates a good deal of inequality (more than 10% of the women will be wedded to that 5%, which leaves 45% of the men with 40% or less of the women), and the historical indications are that it is not necessarily just 5%.

Yes, and why do statutory rape laws exist? Because they can. In most societies with polygyny, those laws go away (though, I'd have to say this is a weaker claim than my other ones). The demand for more wives is too great. Polygyny is tolerated vaguely in an extreme minority in the US because there is a deal of freedom. The main problems with making polygyny illegal are practical. The only equality problem is in not allowing the practice for people who may want to engage in it.

You forget that sex is competitive. People go for who they like best. It means the least desirable people get left out, and that is magnified when someone is never really "taken." Let's say someone is involved in an accident and gets brain damage. That person is then much less likely to find anyone who is interested in them. No one has to exclude anyone by law. People get left out without any intervention.

The main problems with illegalizing polygyny are practical. The only equality problem is in the restriction of polygyny.

Cheezwhiz Jenkins wrote:I'd just beg you to tell me that you aren't arguing that promiscuous women are butch, and that's because they swallow, but you undeniably are, so I won't. (Though it does beg the question - if they're promiscuous and butch because of all the testosterone in man juice, how did they get promiscuous without being promiscuous? One partner? That sounds like...so much work...) This is way way worse than evo psych. At least evolutionary psychology _pretends_ to be arguing from a scientific POV.


You don't seem to know the background of what I am saying, so I'll explain my viewpoint a little more:
1. Dress or hairstyle has little to do with how masculine someone looks in terms of their physical features.
2. Low WHR is also correlated with promiscuity. I chose the point on masculine features because I thought it had relevance to the discussion.
3. I was just coming up with a possible explanation that is not "they turn manly from having lots of sex" or "they were always had masculine features," the latter because it is a correlation.
4. Correlation does not mean that all women who are promiscuous have more masculine features. Again, it's a distribution. All I was saying, ultimately, was that masculine features were more pronounced (not really a good way to say it) in the population of promiscuous women then they were in the general population.

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Re: Polygamy

Postby Enuja » Sun Aug 14, 2011 3:41 am UTC

I tried to read "Universal sex differences in the desire for sexual variety: Tests from 52 nations, 6 continents, and 13 islands," but it was extremely frustrating, slow going because of all of the horrendous, unsupported assumptions throughout. One big problem is the assumption that the only evolutionary driver of sex partner number desire is offspring, not social benefits to the parent. But I'm not going to list all of my problems with the study, or even carefully read the whole paper, because it's just completely unconvincing. It's arguing a point based on so many unfounded assumptions that I just gave up. It's like reading a paper about the evidence of how many angels there are in heaven. Before I'd be interested in that hypothetical paper you've got to convince me that there are angels in heaven, and before I'd be interested in this actual paper, you've got to convince me that these results aren't a result of social norms and expectations. And the authors even talk about how some of their results are probably due to current social and health effects completely unrelated to reproduction! To clarify, although I have problems with the survey questions and participant choice methodology, the data are interesting. It's the interpretation about evolutionary strategies that is completely unconvincing.

Vash wrote:If that's true even in societies where there has never been any agriculture.

Well, apparently it has in 6 continents in areas of varying ways of living and scale, in hunter-gatherer cultures, and generally anywhere it has been studied without exception.
I'm quite confused by what you meant by this. If you mean that men desire more partners than women do in a large number of immediate return hunter-gatherer cultures that haven't been exposed to the Western cultural and expectations about sex, I'd really love to see that data (which would almost have to be historic data). The "Universal sex differences" study doesn't appear to include any samples from hunter-gatherer cultures, and is made up of mostly college students in the globally connected culture.

In this thread I've mentioned the fact that when the mainstream Mormon church promoted polygyny, Mormon culture was more egalitarian and better for women to live in than many other societies on this continent. The polygynous approach of early Islam gave many more rights and responsibilities to women than other contemporary cultures. What I know about human cultures is contrary to what you're saying in this thread. If you want to convince me, please provide some evidence that high male death rates were result of a excess males instead of polygyny being a result of high male death rates.

Vash wrote:Edit: Just to add something, there is a correlation between promiscuity and masculine features (broad shoulders, thick jaw/chin) in women. Post hoc ergo propter hoc, but it could manifest because of promiscuity, be a characteristic of a person, or both to some degree. Possible vector: testosterone ingestion through semen? I have no idea if that can have an effect. Excuse my ignorance. From what I understand, there can be some positive health effects.
Cheezwhiz Jenkins wrote:I'd just beg you to tell me that you aren't arguing that promiscuous women are butch, and that's because they swallow, but you undeniably are, so I won't. (Though it does beg the question - if they're promiscuous and butch because of all the testosterone in man juice, how did they get promiscuous without being promiscuous? One partner? That sounds like...so much work...) This is way way worse than evo psych. At least evolutionary psychology _pretends_ to be arguing from a scientific POV.
Vash wrote:Why should I address an argument that doesn't even try to be relevant to what I said? At least tell a joke or be entertaining if you aren't going to take this seriously. Out of charity, I'll explain it anyway:
1. Dress or hairstyle has little to do with how masculine someone looks in terms of their physical features.
2. HWR is also correlated with promiscuity, and is related to femininity.
3. I was just coming up with a possible explanation that is not "they turn manly from having lots of sex" or "they were always manly," the latter because it is a correlation.
Vash, I have absolutely no idea what you meant, either in the original statement or in your reply. Cheezwhiz Jenkins provided a believable translation, and I strongly suspect that that's what Cheezwhiz Jenkins thought you meant. I suggest you drop this, because no-one seems to have any idea what you're talking about.
Last edited by Enuja on Sun Aug 14, 2011 3:56 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Polygamy

Postby Cheezwhiz Jenkins » Sun Aug 14, 2011 3:49 am UTC

Enuja wrote:
Vash wrote:Edit: Just to add something, there is a correlation between promiscuity and masculine features (broad shoulders, thick jaw/chin) in women. Post hoc ergo propter hoc, but it could manifest because of promiscuity, be a characteristic of a person, or both to some degree. Possible vector: testosterone ingestion through semen? I have no idea if that can have an effect. Excuse my ignorance. From what I understand, there can be some positive health effects.
Cheezwhiz Jenkins wrote:I'd just beg you to tell me that you aren't arguing that promiscuous women are butch, and that's because they swallow, but you undeniably are, so I won't. (Though it does beg the question - if they're promiscuous and butch because of all the testosterone in man juice, how did they get promiscuous without being promiscuous? One partner? That sounds like...so much work...) This is way way worse than evo psych. At least evolutionary psychology _pretends_ to be arguing from a scientific POV.
Vash wrote:Why should I address an argument that doesn't even try to be relevant to what I said? At least tell a joke or be entertaining if you aren't going to take this seriously. Out of charity, I'll explain it anyway:
1. Dress or hairstyle has little to do with how masculine someone looks in terms of their physical features.
2. HWR is also correlated with promiscuity, and is related to femininity.
3. I was just coming up with a possible explanation that is not "they turn manly from having lots of sex" or "they were always manly," the latter because it is a correlation.
Vash, I have absolutely no idea what you meant, either in the original statement or in your reply. Cheezwhiz Jenkins provided a believable translation, and I strongly suspect that that's what Cheezwhiz Jenkins thought you meant. I suggest you drop this, because no-one seems to have any idea what you're talking about.


Enuja is correct; that is absolutely the way I read this, and I cannot see any other way to read it. I was neither making a joke nor attempting to be entertaining. I was (and remain) seriously appalled.
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Re: Polygamy

Postby Vash » Sun Aug 14, 2011 4:21 am UTC

Enuja wrote:I tried to read "Universal sex differences in the desire for sexual variety: Tests from 52 nations, 6 continents, and 13 islands," but it was extremely frustrating, slow going because of all of the horrendous, unsupported assumptions throughout. One big problem is the assumption that the only evolutionary driver of sex partner number desire is offspring, not social benefits to the parent. But I'm not going to list all of my problems with the study, or even carefully read the whole paper, because it's just completely unconvincing. It's arguing a point based on so many unfounded assumptions that I just gave up. It's like reading a paper about the evidence of how many angels there are in heaven. Before I'd be interested in that hypothetical paper you've got to convince me that there are angels in heaven, and before I'd be interested in this actual paper, you've got to convince me that these results aren't a result of social norms and expectations. And the authors even talk about how some of their results are probably due to current social and health effects completely unrelated to reproduction! To clarify, although I have problems with the survey, the data are interesting. It's the interpretation about evolutionary strategies that is completely unconvincing.


I agree about the theories. The reason it is that way is because evolutionary psychologists focus only on inclusive fitness. Basically, it is the theory how much prevalence of one's own genes are increased by one's actions. So, raising a child has benefits because it increases the likelihood that one's offspring will reproduce and pass on their genes, but ultimately, benefitting one's own reproduction has the greatest benefits (because a child shares 50% of your genes, and you have 100% of your genes). What you should know is that how one's actions benefit only oneself (social standing, comfort, etc.) is also examined, just not in that paper. There is also a newer theory called multilevel selection theory, which emphasizes benefits to the group as well as to inclusive fitness (originally, traits within a group were thought to be the unit of selection. It is referred to as group selection). I could summarize more arguments on why inclusive fitness is favored. One is just the example of a bee colony, where some of the members actually can't reproduce and can only contribute to the reproduction of another. I personally think it's a bit absurd to say bees are the only ones given the genetic similarity within a species. Though, I think I see the appeal, when trying to explain families, for example.

When something is present in every culture, it ceases to be a social norm. It is an instinct. That is even more true when attempts to change it from birth result in deviation toward the original behavior. There is a great example with pigs. I'll try to find it for you. Instincts are the single hardest thing to support as theory, though. There are constant challenges to the validity of theories regarding instinct.

In this thread I've mentioned the fact that when the mainstream Mormon church promoted polygyny, Mormon culture was more egalitarian and better for women to live in than many other societies on this continent. The polygynous approach of early Islam gave many more rights and responsibilities to women than other contemporary cultures. What I know about human cultures is contrary to what you're saying in this thread. If you want to convince me, please provide some evidence that high male death rates were result of a excess males instead of polygyny being a result of high male death rates.


Men don't inherently have a higher death rate, though. At least not before old age. It is murder and war that increase the death rate.

It's hard to disentangle because there always has been war. There is evidence that unwed men are more willing to take risks, for one. Men who are lower in social status (via resource acquisition, for example) also might be more likely to use violence, because it is a way to attain dominance and social status, and consequently, women who are interested in them (the statistical link among gang members in the United States is exactly thus). There is a very high link between the proportion of men between adolescence and the mid-twenties and violence (cross-culturally). There is also a start of evidence that a large proportion (~70%) of men perpetrating violence are unmarried and commit violence against other unmarried men (~70%), but it's in a very limited sample (Detroit). In addition to that, there is a similar but equally limited start of evidence that a disproportionate number of men who commit violence are unemployed (same study).

More egalitarian than Norway? Is the egalitarian nature of what you speak of potentially unrelated to the polygyny? (I do have some doubts that it is unrelated) Also, I would say if a huge proportion of the men are dying in war (in particular, the poor and undesirable men, as many social critics have observed of war), that is hardly egalitarian. People also tend to idealize some historical cultures, but I wouldn't entirely discount your account of it just based on that. I would still have to do more research, or read citations (if you have any for this particular point).

Vash, I have absolutely no idea what you meant, either in the original statement or in your reply. Cheezwhiz Jenkins provided a believable translation, and I strongly suspect that that's what Cheezwhiz Jenkins thought you meant. I suggest you drop this, because no-one seems to have any idea what you're talking about.


I'm not dropping it just because you don't know what I mean. If you have never taken statistics, maybe that explains it? I did go a little far initially, though, and I changed it for that reason. It's a believable translation for Cheezwhiz and for you, but not at all for me. That's why I changed what I said. I hope you'll excuse my original, somewhat more angry impulse.

Cheezwhiz Jenkins wrote:Enuja is correct; that is absolutely the way I read this, and I cannot see any other way to read it. I was neither making a joke nor attempting to be entertaining. I was (and remain) seriously appalled.


Sorry. I realized this, so I actually had changed what I said (but too late). I'm not sure I can explain it to you if you don't know statistics, though I can try. Frankly, I get tired of putting up with everything everyone does at my own expense sometimes, though. That was not the case here. I made a mistake. But I hope that can explain to you a bit why I would at least have a tendency to judge some situations worthy of aggression (especially if I am responding in kind).

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Re: Polygamy

Postby Cheezwhiz Jenkins » Sun Aug 14, 2011 4:38 am UTC

Vash wrote:I'm not dropping it just because you don't know what I mean. If you have never taken statistics, maybe that explains it? I did go a little far initially, though, and I changed it for that reason. It's a believable translation for Cheezwhiz and for you, but not at all for me. That's why I changed what I said. I hope you'll excuse my original, somewhat more angry impulse.

Sorry. I realized this, so I actually had changed what I said (but too late). I'm not sure I can explain it to you if you don't know statistics, though I can try. Frankly, I get tired of putting up with everything everyone does at my own expense sometimes, though. That was not the case here. I made a mistake. But I hope that can explain to you a bit why I would at least have a tendency to judge some situations worthy of aggression (especially if I am responding in kind).


The problem here is not that I don't know statistics.
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Re: Polygamy

Postby podbaydoor » Sun Aug 14, 2011 2:09 pm UTC

Also, your constant blaming of everyone around you for your communication failures is getting tiresome. Construe that as a hostile attack if you like, but everyone in this thread is getting frustrated that you keep hauling out tone argument and making condescending pronouncements about our intellects and education every time you're misunderstood or criticized. If this is happening with multiple people, or the whole thread, if you will, then the common problem here is you.
tenet |ˈtenit|
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a principle or belief, esp. one of the main principles of a religion or philosophy : the tenets of classical liberalism.
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Re: Polygamy

Postby Azrael » Sun Aug 14, 2011 9:02 pm UTC

Vash wrote:
Azrael wrote:You're glossing over her point regarding behavior in historical conditions vs inherent human behavior. Studies of how the world currently works are all molded by how the world has been working for the vast majority of the studied culture's history ... What is being disputed is whether that behavioral pattern is an indicator of an inherent human trait, or a learned behavior from hundreds of years of cultural dominance by a single gender.
No. Just no. If it doesn't exist, it doesn't exist. Stop playing word games and cite actual behavior.
The difference between an inherent and a learned trait is not a word game. For example, there are plenty of examples in animals of behaviors that a species instinctively knows vs those it is taught by it's elders, or even by it's domesticating owners.

And because you seem to be hung up on it, no one is claiming that polygnous marriage is the historically dominant behavior. Nor that societies are mostly patriarchal. Citing otherwise isn't the issue. The question is why.

So far your answers have been "because it it".

Also, all human societies so far are patriarchies.
... that's just an incredibly careless error.

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Re: Polygamy

Postby Vash » Mon Aug 15, 2011 12:26 am UTC

Azrael wrote:The difference between an inherent and a learned trait is not a word game. For example, there are plenty of examples in animals of behaviors that a species instinctively knows vs those it is taught by it's elders, or even by it's domesticating owners.

And because you seem to be hung up on it, no one is claiming that polygnous marriage is the historically dominant behavior. Nor that societies are mostly patriarchal. Citing otherwise isn't the issue. The question is why.

So far your answers have been "because it it".

Also, all human societies so far are patriarchies.
... that's just an incredibly careless error.


Alright, it wasn't a word game. You were on a different tangent of thought, but it didn't fit my definition of empirically focused. Evolutionary Psych has some wack ass theories, and not every culture has been studied. Certainly, on a few points, not many have been studied.

Let's do this the real way, though.

Matriarchy is definitely demonstrated in the Iroquois League. It's a recent historical account, and there's no reason to think that it is inaccurate. Myths of matriarchy can only be assumed by historical guess to be representative of actual societies. The most reasonable conclusion is still that they were real. Most myths have some basis, but there may not be approximate basis for this type of society. Then again, there may be female-led groups of animals. There may be evidence to narrow it down. Tribes observed to be matrilineal may not be matriarchies, and potentially dissenting anthropological accounts need to be observed (for some of the tribes noted, there are conflicting accounts of male dominance and war). Evolutionary theories are largely flawed. Large cross-cultural data cannot be ignored, but also do not examine all cultures. Not every culture has been examined. Possible exceptions (especially in history) may exist or have existed and have not been examined. Universality in non-industrial nations is questionable. It is also possible that every generation of men observes that they can have more children by having sex with more women, and that it is entirely mutable.

Ultimately, unless a serious, life-consuming research project is done, this thread is a joke no matter how seriously it is taken.

The most reasonable guess to be made? You can't say much. The most important thing is to push for cultural change, and watch to see if it works. If polygamy were to be legalized on this day in the United States in an emergency late-night Sunday during-vacation legislative meeting, people would initially not give a crap (aside from the current polygynous and polyamorous). Over time, more people would consider non-monogamous marriage, and given the proclivities of the United States (if the culture does not change enough, which is hard to predict) polygyny would become prominent. Polyamory is some slow-growing, liberal movement that is probably at the fringes of society (but who knows?). Then again, how fringe is liberal, really?

Were I to make a bet with my obviously fine-tuned betting sense, I would bet that polygyny would become a problem. So, I stand by my original conclusion.

OT:
Spoiler:
Cheezwhiz Jenkins wrote:The problem here is not that I don't know statistics.


Shall I put even more kindling on these flames? Add a few logs, perhaps? I abstain.

podbaydoor wrote:Also, your constant blaming of everyone around you for your communication failures is getting tiresome. Construe that as a hostile attack if you like, but everyone in this thread is getting frustrated that you keep hauling out tone argument and making condescending pronouncements about our intellects and education every time you're misunderstood or criticized. If this is happening with multiple people, or the whole thread, if you will, then the common problem here is you.


You're forcing me to say something actually wise. Fuck you. I should be more patient with other people's impatience, and in general. Other people should be more patient with my impatience, and in general. Done. The amount of effort to deal with this conflict is now exceeding the amount of effort reduced by being impatient.

I'm not going to claim that someone can insult me and that that is acceptable, btw. I think that's an unreasonable request of me.

The time to end this conflict has arrived, though.


Also, I'll clarify everything, maybe. However, I have to get off for now. I'm not sure I'll want to when I get back.

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Re: Polygamy

Postby Cheezwhiz Jenkins » Mon Aug 15, 2011 12:39 am UTC

Vash wrote:OT:
Cheezwhiz Jenkins wrote:The problem here is not that I don't know statistics.


Shall I put even more kindling on these flames? Add a few logs, perhaps? I abstain.

podbaydoor wrote:Also, your constant blaming of everyone around you for your communication failures is getting tiresome. Construe that as a hostile attack if you like, but everyone in this thread is getting frustrated that you keep hauling out tone argument and making condescending pronouncements about our intellects and education every time you're misunderstood or criticized. If this is happening with multiple people, or the whole thread, if you will, then the common problem here is you.


You're forcing me to say something actually wise. Fuck you. I should be more patient with other people's impatience, and in general. Other people should be more patient with my impatience, and in general. Done. The amount of effort to deal with this conflict is now exceeding the amount of effort reduced by being impatient.

I'm not going to claim that someone can insult me and that that is acceptable, btw. I think that's an unreasonable request of me.

The time to end this conflict has arrived, though.


Although you certainly could interpret my statement humorously as "I don't know statistics," that isn't what I mean; I know statistics. My knowledge is not the problem; your attitude on this thread is. You literally make no sense sometimes. ("You're forcing me to say something actually wise. Fuck you."? What does that mean? You're mad you feel you've been "forced" to be "wise"? And where did statistics fit in with your [censored]-swallowing theory, anyway?)

You angrily call people names, insult their intelligence, hurl abuse at them, and when people call you on it you develop a persecution complex. It's getting ridiculous.
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Re: Polygamy

Postby Vash » Mon Aug 15, 2011 12:51 am UTC

"You're forcing me to say something actually wise. Fuck you."? What does that mean? You're mad you feel you've been "forced" to be "wise"?


I was stating that in a joking manner. I considered excluding it, but I thought if I laid down arms and admitted my fault podbaydoor wouldn't necessarily interpret it as aggressive. I guess it got in the way in terms of your interpretation.

It makes the most sense to just drop this. I'm seriously trying to end this conflict. I'm not sure how I can convince you that I have been.

All I haven't done is be completely self-effacing, which I won't do because it causes resentment and further conflict.

And where did statistics fit in with your [censored]-swallowing theory, anyway?)


Nowhere, but I wasn't claiming that.

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Re: Polygamy

Postby Azrael » Mon Aug 15, 2011 2:48 am UTC

Things seem to have taken a turn in here. How about a little breather for everyone?

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Re: Polygamy

Postby mojacardave » Mon Aug 15, 2011 11:20 am UTC

As far as polyamory, I'm all for it. It's not illegal, it's not morally objectionable. So long as all parties are aware of what's going on, and willing, it doesn't hurt anybody. I'm not strictly polyamorous, I save my love for one man, but I do have an open relationship, and I can see how polyamory could work in theory. Not to complicate the issue too much with unrelated matters, but I'm involved in the BDSM community, so I have defined 'dom/sub relationships' with other people outside my main loving relationship. They aren't about love, but they are affectionate in nature, so I have a limited insight into some of this.

When it comes to actual polygamy, things get far more complicated. It's all very well saying that 'not all relationships revolve around procreation', but the truth of the matter is that some VERY good points (a lot of them) were raised earlier up the thread:

Spoiler:
omgryebread wrote:Since no one else is, I'll offer a half-hearted defense of enforced monogamy. (From a legal standpoint anyway. I have absolutely no problems with people arranging their sex and social lives however they wish.)


Marriage, in the legal sense is a contract that covers several sets of rights and obligations, nothing sacred. It is far easier than arranging these things separately, and does grant certain benefits (some people may find it better to file taxes as a couple) that you cannot get otherwise. In other areas, such as healthcare, marriage provides blanket rights (spouses tend to be above everyone, unless the patient specifically designated someone.)

That's no reason you can't extend said contracts and rights to more than two people. The problem is that this is far more complex than it would seem. How does it even work? It is a big group marriage, or can one person marry multiple people?If a guy has 2 wives, do they have any legal relationship? If the guy and one wife were in a car accident, and are now in a coma, the other wife could presumably decide his medical course, but would she have say over the other wife's? What if only the guy were in a car accident, and the wives disagreed over the course? Assuming he left no instructions, who has the say here? If he dies, who gets the stuff? What if, in addition to being married to him, the wives were married to each other. One wife and the husband have serious arguments and decide to divorce. How does a judge even begin to work through the property settlements?

And the children! I'm not saying that they'd be somehow harmed or anything by being raised by a group of people, of course. But a woman has multiple husbands, and she doesn't know who fathered what kid. She dies, and the various husbands disagree about something relating to the child. Who has custody? The biological father? That seems a silly way to decide. If the husbands decide to go their own ways, does each take their own biological children? Do they have to come to some sort of agreement, maybe involving the courts if they can't? Back up, with a still living mother. She and her husbands are all living together, and the husbands are married to each other. One daughter wants a tattoo, and she asks her coolest dad. Does he have the legal right to sign the release? What if it's known that he isn't the biological father? What if the biological father and the mother both don't want to allow her? Back up again, forget the tattoo. The cool dad divorces out of all the marriages, and the daughter (again, not his biologically) likes him the best. Does he have any claim to custody over her? What if he's clearly more fit than the other remaining fathers and the mother?

Inheritance! I think I can just leave it at that, but you'd need some pretty airtight wills to cover all the situations here.

Those are all problems, maybe they could be worked out. What are the benefits? It's useful that someone have rights that a spouse does. Is it so useful that another person does? Is it so useful that the state should sanction it, even given all the other complications above that it would cause the state?

Yes, many, if not all, of those complications could be worked out by very good marriage contracts. That still involves rewriting a ton of law, and would still involve a ton of lawyers and judges. And let's be honest. There's going to be groups of people who don't go in with good marriage contracts.

Basically, I don't think polygamy is bad per se, but I don't think it's worth the large increase in the complexity of the law, the thousands of court cases it would take to establish the case law, and the inevitable hassles, even after the law has been worked out, of people who couldn't be bothered to do things right. So it's kind of a half-argument.

I'll just note that I have absolutely no problem with any situation people live in. I think it's perfectly possible for children to be raised lovingly and conflict free in environments with more than two parents, and I trust that plenty of people could, and do, live peacefully and happily in polyamorous situations.



If multiple marriage becomes legal, sometimes children will be involved. None of those points have really been addressed. Admittedly, conflicts of opinion are possible at the moment between father and mother, but that's nothing compared to the potential conflicts between biological fathers/secondary fathers (or mothers), especially when the biological parent can be shown to be the less suitable parent. If you're going for full legal status of poly-marriages, actual solutions to all of the hassles need to be found.

At the moment, I'm almost of the opinion that polygamy as an institution is a risky strategy. I don't have any moral objections in theory, but I'm not convinced it could ever be adequately managed.

Further, I'd suggest that maybe dealing with the inequalities in the current marriage system would be more sensible than trying to expand the definition of marriage to include more people, for the time being. One step at a time...


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