Re: virus: Sexuality

Martin Traynor (
Wed, 11 Sep 1996 16:54:51 +0000

On 11 Sep 96 at 9:29, ken sartor wrote:

> Some churches are
> against it [sex] unless it can lead to procreation (Catholicism comes to
> mind). Many (most?) other churches are against "deviant" behaviors
> (say oral sex, anal sex, homosexuality, etc, etc) (even in marriage).

This is an infection strategy used in many religious meme-complexes.
Religions being as irrational as they are, the complex recognises that its
best chance of propogation is to infect a host *before* that host has
developed the tools of rationale i.e. a child (this has become
progressively truer and truer as rationality has spread through the
general population but was always the case to a certain extent).
The urge to reproduce is one of the strongest drives in humanity but
as you rightly point out we as a species have managed to separate
sexual activity and procreation.

However, by relinking the sex act to the procreative drive in its
hosts, the meme-complex ensures that;

1) the host cannot satisfy one of his strongest urges without a
reasonable chance of producing offspring and

2) that offspring is exposed to the meme from at least one (more
likely both) parent at an early age, satisfying the need for a
non-rational mind to infect and also a mind which is at a stage where
it is easily influenced anyway (these are related indirectly).

> So, if there is a war against monogamy it seems to me that it is
> only a response against centuries of anti-sex propaganda (lead, it
> seems to me, by the church).

I agree with this. I think we're witnessing a reaction to the
repression we have subjected ourselves and each other to. If past
history is anything to go by there would be an overreaction towards a
total renunciation of sexual 'morality' which would have been an
interesting phenomenon to observe, and could also have been quite
illuminating as to the nature of the human beast i.e. by observing
how far the pendulum swung we could approximate where the bottom of
the swing should be. This would give us some indication as to what
our genes consider to be natural behaviour.

Looking around, we can see evidence that the pendulum may
already be on the return swing; the 'return to family values' in
British politics, the resurgence of right-wing morality and
fundamentalism in numerous places. This might tempt us to conclude
that our nature would place us midway between the stifling attitudes
of victorian times and the liberal 'free-love' attitudes of the 60s
and 70s, and indeed that may be the case (but personally I doubt it).
Unfortunately, however, the experiment has been polluted. The advent
of AIDS in the 80s has put an artificial brake on the swing which
makes any results meaningless except to observe that if anything, our
natural behaviour would be more towards the free-love than the

<snipped a question which is highly relevant but for which I have no
answers :( >

Finally, an apology for bursting in on the conversation yesterday
without introducing myself. I had intended to lurk for a while and get
a feel for the list before contributing, but you were talking about
sex and religion; an irresistable combination ;)

As you'll see from the headers, my name is Martin Traynor (Martz) and
I work in IT at Imperial College London. My interest in memetics stems
from an upbringing in catholic Ireland. Being partially infected by
the catholic meme (thankfully tempered by exposure to my mothers
siblings who were teenagers infected by the hippy meme) and not
actually realising how much damage it had been doing until I finally
threw it off has left me with anti-religiousity tendencies. This
doesn't mean I persecute every catholic I find but where I see the
religious memes attempting to infect fresh hosts I do what I can to
offer alternatives.

Anyway, that's who I am and why I'm here. Here's to a fruitful

For my PGP key, email me with 'Send public key' as subject