Correcting the headlines: Promiscuity is NOT in our genes


Photo sxc.hu Wedding participants arm in arm

The news media gleefully seized upon palaeontologists’ most recent discovery of an allegedly ‘prehistoric’ human skull in Kenya.1 (which we have already discussed—see Homo habilis hacked from the family tree.) The find reportedly provides evidence that early man engaged in multiple sexual liaisons in a harem-style social arrangement. Apparently, our frisky forebears were far more ‘liberated’ than scientists have previously surmised, with the males of each community pitting themselves against each other in fierce competition for the attentions of the females. According to this new find, successful males were considerably larger in stature than the other combatants, winning the affections of groups of female mates rather than just a single partner. All this speculation arose from a partial skull being interpreted as showing a difference in size between the sexes!

The claims attached to this study are clearly disastrous for the ideals of traditional family life, which holds to the Genesis portrait of the family—consisting of one woman and one man. While anthropologists generally tactfully shy away from making a direct connection between these promiscuous ape-men and modern males, the inference is clear—faithful, monogamous relationships are against our nature. The study2 further drives a wedge between males and females, implying that there are physical and genetic differences between us which effectively influence men in particular to naturally have a preference for multiple sexual partners.

As Christians defend monogamy, it may seem a contradiction to some critics to find that certain godly men in the Bible sometimes had more than one wife. However, the Bible makes it plain in Genesis and through Jesus’ teaching that the ideal model of male to female relationship is monogamous—Jesus used the real history of marriage in Genesis 1 and 2 to teach on marriage (Mark 10:2–9).

It is due to the effects of sin and man’s persistent departure from God’s commands that the taking of multiple wives became common in Old Testament times. And repeatedly, the Bible records that these family arrangements caused a lot of trouble and heartache.

In my experience, the mass media has been the single most influential factor in exposing us to relationship-destroying ideas, including the social acceptability of divorce, de facto relationships, sex outside of marriage, pornography, obsession with body image, and promiscuity. Now, ‘science’ is helping society determine right from wrong by encouraging the belief that previously-held conservative norms are against nature, thus promoting the gradual acceptance of these ideas into mainstream culture.

One media writer reporting the Kenya fossil find, Josephine Asher, noted that ‘palaeontologist and anatomist Fred Spoor … likened its probable behaviour to that of a gorilla.’ It is interesting to note the brazen use of conjecture in using this particular find to ‘interpret’ the history of early man. It seems to me that it is only in evolutionary studies that such shaky interpretations are considered an acceptable approach to science.

Aside from offering modern man a genetic excuse for promiscuity, the study also reinforces the dubious concept that the likely sexual behaviour of a creature can be deduced from the morphology of skull fragments. This shows the desperation of so many palaeontologists to push the secular agenda using even the flimsiest of evidence.

Published: 6 November 2007


  1. Asher, J., Our ancient ancestors’ sex habits revealed, <http://news.ninemsn.com.au/article.aspx?id=285389>, accessed 10 August 2007. Return to Text.
  2. Spoor, F. et al., Implications of new early Homo fossils from Ileret, east of Lake Turkana, Kenya, Nature 448:688-691, 9 August 2007. Return to Text.