Tuesday, April 10, 2012
After reading a Straight Dope article, I can't resist the urge to use the above word pair, but with the philosophical meaning of the first term in mind. Cecil Adams fields a question that had never occurred to me, namely: When did human beings first conclude that there was a causal connection between sex and human reproduction, and, much more interesting, how might they have done so?
Why couldn't primitive humans deduce the secret of sex just from watching their own species? Well, they could have, of course, and there's a chance some did. But the difference between humans and animals is that women are always partial to sex, whereas females of other species are in heat only during certain seasons. If you're constantly hosing and the women are constantly pregnant, the connection between the two phenomena isn't all that obvious. With animals, though, sex is infrequent and the linkage of cause and effect (a tumble, an interval, a birth) is clearer.It can be an adventure to consider something that "everyone knows" and, assuming that that "something" really is knowledge, ponder how one might learn it without being told. Too bad for me that, in addition to never having considered the above question , I didn't try to come up with my own answer before reading the article: It might have been good practice for the barrage of questions I'll someday have to field from my daughter.
She seems to be applying her version of "daddy" ("hi-da-da", which sometimes comes out sounding more like, "Hey, Dad.") exclusively to me, lately. The clock is ticking...