"Co-Alpha" society has never existed, and the "co-alpha" concept is self-contradictory.

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"Co-Alpha" society has never existed, and the "co-alpha" concept is self-contradictory.

zeke
"Alpha," as used to designate social rank, is an inherently relative term: "alpha male" means you're the first, best, most powerful male, which necessarily requires that you outrank other males.  If all males are part of some egalitarian alliance, nobody is alpha.  We've never had to worry about what term to use instead, because this condition has never existed -- except possibly among certain invertebrates.

Perhaps you simply envision a society where every man is equally dignified, macho and awesome because he has equal access to women.  If so, that's a silly fantasy (you'll never have equal access to women) premised on faulty logic (even if you did have equal access to women, you'd still be omegas).  
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Re: "Co-Alpha" society has never existed, and the "co-alpha" concept is self-contradictory.

Johannes
Did you read this and this?
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Re: "Co-Alpha" society has never existed, and the "co-alpha" concept is self-contradictory.

zeke
Johannes wrote
Did you read this and this?

I did.  The first link postulates that monogamy is somehow associated with male egalitarianism, which is stupid.  Most scientists will tell you monogamy developed as an adaptation to the demands of caring for offspring with large brains (i.e., to increase paternal investment) -- not as a way to make all the men feel like alphas.  Even in the archaic, strictly monogamous societies for which that post seems nostalgic, men were far from equal to one another, and it would have been easy to pick out alphas/betas/omegas.   Nor did all men have equal access to women.  If the king wanted your woman, he'd take her -- not much you could do about it.  If anything, liberalized models of marriage that took account of female choice actually made things more egalitarian for men, since wives weren't traded like bargaining chips for business and political puroses: if you could get a hot woman to fall in love with you, she'd marry you, regardless of whether you were rich enough or important enough to strike a bargain with her father.  

The second link basically describes "co-alphas" as a group of males who are much more intelligent, moral and cooperative than average but whom women avoid "like the plague."  To me, this sounds like a self-consoling rationalization from an omega.  If you're rich and powerful (i.e., an alpha), you'll have no trouble attracting dozens of mates.  Alphas still win, just like always.  
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Re: "Co-Alpha" society has never existed, and the "co-alpha" concept is self-contradictory.

fschmidt
Administrator
This post was updated on .
I'm retracting this post.  Even if I am universally treated rudely on other forums, there is no need for me to be uncivil here.
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Re: "Co-Alpha" society has never existed, and the "co-alpha" concept is self-contradictory.

zeke


 
fschmidt wrote
zeke, your posts indicate a need for new "Low IQ" subforum in which to place posts that display such a lack of understanding that no response seems worth the effort.  We certainly tolerate opposing views.  TByte has posted here and has been hostile and dishonest, but at least he shows some signs of intelligence which are worth responding to.  But zeke, your posts show a lack of knowledge of history, a misunderstanding of science, and no comprehension of the points made on this forum.  I really don't know how to respond to that.
Devastating rebuttal, there.

What historical and scientific facts have I misstated?  Which of your posts have I misconstrued, and how so?
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Re: "Co-Alpha" society has never existed, and the "co-alpha" concept is self-contradictory.

fschmidt
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zeke wrote
What historical and scientific facts have I misstated?  Which of your posts have I misconstrued, and how so?
Okay zeke, let's start with "If the king wanted your woman, he'd take her -- not much you could do about it."  The Roman Republic was actually formed over exactly this issue.  As Livy explains in "The Early History of Rome", Taruinius, king of Rome, raped Lucretia, wife of a patrician.  The result was such outrage that the King was thrown out of Rome and Rome became a republic.  It is specifically to prevent such alpha behavior that political power becomes shared and kings can no longer act this way.  The same has applied to all successful cultures, all of which were co-alpha.

The idea that monogamy developed for child-care makes no sense.  Polygamy does this just as well.  Polygamy is quite natural for humans, and for many primates.  But other large-brained primates like chimps are fairly promiscuous and this also works as long as males protect the group.  Monogamy only makes sense as a way of distributing females.  It also makes sense for those species that don't form groups and where intensive child care is needed, as with some birds.  But this doesn't apply to humans who live in groups.  And in this case, the monogamy only exists as long as needed to raise the young.

I assume from your post that you have read very few original sources in history and haven't read much about primate behavior.  At the very least, I suggest you read Jane Goodall before posting here again.
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Re: "Co-Alpha" society has never existed, and the "co-alpha" concept is self-contradictory.

zeke
fschmidt wrote
"If the king wanted your woman, he'd take her -- not much you could do about it."  The Roman Republic was actually formed over exactly this issue.  As Livy explains in "The Early History of Rome", Taruinius, king of Rome, raped Lucretia, wife of a patrician.  The result was such outrage that the King was thrown out of Rome and Rome became a republic.  It is specifically to prevent such alpha behavior that political power becomes shared and kings can no longer act this way.  The same has applied to all successful cultures, all of which were co-alpha.
Wait.  So it's your contention that the Roman Republic was "co-alpha"?  You realize, don't you, that Roman men owned other men as slaves?  Adultery, prostitution, concubinism and other forms of extramarital sex were also quite prevalent in Rome, so you're kidding yourself if you think males enjoyed egalitarian access to women.  I would call Rome a successful society, but would not call it "co-alpha."

fschmidt wrote
The idea that monogamy developed for child-care makes no sense.  Polygamy does this just as well.
 

Polygynous mating generally is favored when resources are so abundant (or offspring so easy to raise) that the mother can effectively parent on her own, or when resource disparities among males are so severe that some males can support multiple sets of offspring more effectively than other males can suport one.  Such has been the case for most of human history, which is why early human civilizations were polygynous and many societies today are heading in that direction as well (serial monogamy, the modern norm, is really more like polygyny than monogamy).  However.  There were periods in hominid evolution when offspring were more difficult raise and resource disparities among males were far less drastic, and these are the periods when monogamy is first speculated to have developed: either in the Miocene, when the climate cooled and food became more difficult to find, or with the increase in brain size (and, therefore, the labor-intensiveness of child-rearing) that marked the transition from Australopithecus to Homo Erectus.  After agriculture, we moved in the direction of polygyny again.  Greece and Rome were only nominally monogamous, and sincere attempts at monogamy did not flourish until Christianity.  And even at the height of Christian fervor in Europe, alphas (even the pope) usurped losers' mates.

fschmidt wrote
But other large-brained primates like chimps
ROFL.  Clearly, you are in no position to be throwing stones re: ignorance about primates.  Here is a graph comparing humans to other great apes and ancient hominids by brain size and body weight.  The problem with having a giant brain is that nutritional requirements increase and, simultaneously, infants are born smaller and more helpless: because the infant's cranium consumes basically the entire birth canal, the rest of the body needs to shrink to permit passage.  Chimps don't have this problem nearly to the extent humans do -- juveniles leave their mothers' nests to feed and fend for themselves by five years of age.  (If you've read Goodall as you claim, this is something you should know).

Anthropologists and historians who have entertained your view about socially-imposed monogamy being a concession to egalitarian politics have done so against the backdrop of a scientific consensus that paternal investment is a likelier explanation, and have generally only considered the SIM-as-egalitarianism theory to be viable in post-industrial society -- meaning it had nothing to do with "the transition path from chimps to humans." (Protip: If you're going to pretend to be interested in science, you should know that chimps did not evolve into humans).  Even where you do find SIM-as-egalitarianism, you also find elites subverting this premise and boning betas' mates to their hearts' content, even if not by rape.    
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Re: "Co-Alpha" society has never existed, and the "co-alpha" concept is self-contradictory.

fschmidt
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zeke wrote
Wait.  So it's your contention that the Roman Republic was "co-alpha"?  You realize, don't you, that Roman men owned other men as slaves?  Adultery, prostitution, concubinism and other forms of extramarital sex were also quite prevalent in Rome, so you're kidding yourself if you think males enjoyed egalitarian access to women.  I would call Rome a successful society, but would not call it "co-alpha."
 
I just finished Shabbat, so I am more relaxed, but please try to stay focused for my sake.  The Roman Republic was just one part of Roman history and was the only co-alpha part.  You combine adultery and prostitution as though they were somehow related when in fact they are opposites.  Prostitution is a critical part of any moral culture.  Adultery is the height of immorality.  Lack of prostitution is a cause of adultery.  So what I am asking you is to please rephrase your question/point in a coherent way where you specify what period you are discussing and what specific non-co-alpha examples you wish to raise.

Polygynous mating generally is favored when resources are so abundant (or offspring so easy to raise) that the mother can effectively parent on her own, or when resource disparities among males are so severe that some males can support multiple sets of offspring more effectively than other males can suport one.  Such has been the case for most of human history, which is why early human civilizations were polygynous and many societies today are heading in that direction as well (serial monogamy, the modern norm, is really more like polygyny than monogamy).  However.  There were periods in hominid evolution when offspring were more difficult raise and resource disparities among males were far less drastic, and these are the periods when monogamy is first speculated to have developed: either in the Miocene, when the climate cooled and food became more difficult to find, or with the increase in brain size (and, therefore, the labor-intensiveness of child-rearing) that marked the transition from Australopithecus to Homo Erectus.  After agriculture, we moved in the direction of polygyny again.  Greece and Rome were only nominally monogamous, and sincere attempts at monogamy did not flourish until Christianity.  And even at the height of Christian fervor in Europe, alphas (even the pope) usurped losers' mates.
This long quote boils down to that polygamy is natural for most of history, which I agree with, and that monogamy didn't really exist in civilized cultures, which I disagree with.  Let's define monogamy clearly.  Monogamy means each man gets one wife.  Extra women become prostitutes or possibly concubines.  Concubines should be rare and of low status in order to insure that women prefer to become wives given a choice.  This guarantees that all men can find a wife, which is the whole point of monogamy.  Did the Roman Republic and Athens have monogamy?  Absolutely.  So did Western culture until quite recently.  Since monogamy isn't natural, it requires cultural pressure to enforce.  And those cultures that succeed in enforcing monogamy become so successful and powerful that they conquer all of their neighbors.  This is how unnatural monogamy spreads.

ROFL.  Clearly, you are in no position to be throwing stones re: ignorance about primates.  Here is a graph comparing humans to other great apes and ancient hominids by brain size and body weight.  The problem with having a giant brain is that nutritional requirements increase and, simultaneously, infants are born smaller and more helpless: because the infant's cranium consumes basically the entire birth canal, the rest of the body needs to shrink to permit passage.  Chimps don't have this problem nearly to the extent humans do -- juveniles leave their mothers' nests to feed and fend for themselves by five years of age.  (If you've read Goodall as you claim, this is something you should know).
It's all relative, and even on the graph that you linked to, chimps are clearly second in brain size to body weight ratio.  Anyway, there are other mammals that have a relatively long childhood, elephants for example.  And elephants are basically promiscuous feminists, from what I know.  There are many systems that can provide for protection of the young as long as the adults form groups.  So this isn't enough to explain monogamy.

Anthropologists and historians who have entertained your view about socially-imposed monogamy being a concession to egalitarian politics have done so against the backdrop of a scientific consensus that paternal investment is a likelier explanation, and have generally only considered the SIM-as-egalitarianism theory to be viable in post-industrial society -- meaning it had nothing to do with "the transition path from chimps to humans." (Protip: If you're going to pretend to be interested in science, you should know that chimps did not evolve into humans).  Even where you do find SIM-as-egalitarianism, you also find elites subverting this premise and boning betas' mates to their hearts' content, even if not by rape.
The article you linked to doesn't even mention my theory, so I don't understand how it is relevant.  Yes "the transition path from chimps to humans" is over-simplified and should be "the transition path from our common ancestors with chimps to humans."  And your last sentence just repeats the assertion you keep making which is unsubstantiated and is clearly wrong to anyone familiar with history.
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Re: "Co-Alpha" society has never existed, and the "co-alpha" concept is self-contradictory.

fschmidt
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In reply to this post by zeke
On second thought, zeke, why don't you test your theory.  Please go to Saudi Arabia and try "boning other men's wives".  Then report back to us on how it went.
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Re: "Co-Alpha" society has never existed, and the "co-alpha" concept is self-contradictory.

zeke
Hahahahaha.  Now Saudi Arabia is your "co-alpha" ideal?  A repressive monarchy with institutionalized polygyny?  And yes, I were a Saudi prince or tycoon (i.e., a Saudi alpha), I'd indeed bone whomever I wanted.  If I were a pathetic omega like you and living in Saudi, though, I'd probably be deprived of any outlet whatsoever for sex.  Maybe I'd become a religious zealot or a terrorist, as befalls many shiftless young men from that part of the world.  
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Re: "Co-Alpha" society has never existed, and the "co-alpha" concept is self-contradictory.

zeke
In reply to this post by fschmidt
fschmidt wrote
I just finished Shabbat, so I am more relaxed, but please try to stay focused for my sake.  The Roman Republic was just one part of Roman history and was the only co-alpha part.  
Okay, but everything I said about Rome happens to have been true of Rome during its Republic: men, rather than being united in some egalitarian alliance, owned one another via the institution of slavery, and extramarital sex was a common occurrence.  

fschmidt wrote
Prostitution is a critical part of any moral culture.  
 
Well, if you don't have a problem with slavery, at least you're being consistent here.  

fschmidt wrote
 Let's define monogamy clearly.  Monogamy means each man gets one wife.  Extra women become prostitutes or possibly concubines.  
But monogamy must also mean that each man is faithful to his wife -- otherwise, you don't have an egalitarian distribution of women.  Some men get one wife apiece, some men get one wife plus numerous extra women, and some men get no women at all, or maybe are reduced to occasionally patronizing old, dried up prostitutes.  (After all, assuming birth rates are roughly equal and women are only sexually desirable when young and ideally virginal, there really aren't going to be too many "extra" women to go around.  One man's feast is another man's famine).  

fschmidt wrote
Did the Roman Republic and Athens have monogamy?  Absolutely.  So did Western culture until quite recently.  
No Western nation recognizes polygamy,  and most legally prohibit it. So, when you say we're not presently monogamous, you're presumably referring to the fact that sexual morals are somewhat lax and divorce and extramarital sex are common. Yet Rome, even during the Republic, permitted divorce on demand from either party and was rife with extramarital sex.  Monogamy was more strictly enforced in Europe during the Middle Ages than in ancient Rome, and even then you found alphas usurping their inferiors' mates (see the link I provided above, re: a Pope's notorious affair with a married woman).  

fschmidt wrote
And those cultures that succeed in enforcing monogamy become so successful and powerful that they conquer all of their neighbors.  This is how unnatural monogamy spreads.
Perhaps, but monogamy certainly isn't a necessary ingredient for imperial conquest.  The Ottomans/Turks, Persians, imperial Chinese, Moors, Aztecs and Incas (to name a few) were polygynous and did quite well.  Their empires eventually died out, but the same is true of all empires conquered by monogamous (or purportedly monogamous) cultures.  The primary vector for monogamy has been Christianity, but Islam has been an effective vector for polygyny as well.  


It's all relative, and even on the graph that you linked to, chimps are clearly second in brain size to body weight ratio.  
No, they aren't.  Homo erectus is #2, and chimps have one of the lowest ratios on the graph.  But regardless, the disparity demonstrated on that graph completely eviscerates your logic that if chimps are polygynous, brain size and monogamy must not correlate.  It's true that some animals without long childhoods engage in pair-bonding, just like it's true that some animals with long childhoods don't pair-bond. Neither of those logically contradicts the consensus formed by every scientist ever to weigh in on this topic, which is that the extended altricial phase resulting from drastically increased brain size is the likeliest contributor to the development of monogamy in hominids.  Need for bi-parental care due to a long childhood is not the only cause of monogamy and does not inevitably cause monogamy, but it can be a significant contributor and was likely the predominant contributor here.  

The article you linked to doesn't even mention my theory, so I don't understand how it is relevant.  
Well, it's a respectable scholarly work, so it obviously adopts different phrasing than your website.  But the theory it entertains is: [W]ealthy men had many wives until egalitarian movements forced them to share power, which resulted in socially (legally) imposed monogamy.  Is that really so different from your theory? Anyways, the paper concludes that this may have occurred in some industrial and post-industrial societies, but that it fails to explain monogamy as fully as the traditional paternal-investment thesis does.

 And your last sentence just repeats the assertion you keep making which is unsubstantiated and is clearly wrong to anyone familiar with history.
You mean this sentence?  

Even where you do find SIM-as-egalitarianism, you also find elites subverting this premise and boning betas' mates to their hearts' content, even if not by rape.

You should probably forbear from speaking on behalf of "anyone familiar with history," since you clearly aren't.  I already linked one example of this phenomenon above (Pope Alexander and Guilia Farnese), but another famous alpha that comes to mind is King Henry VIII, who slept with numerous married women and subsequently married a couple of them himself.  People differ on whether it's legend or history, but it's also difficult to forget Lancelot/Guinevere.  And then you have contemporary examples. 
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Re: "Co-Alpha" society has never existed, and the "co-alpha" concept is self-contradictory.

fschmidt
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In reply to this post by zeke
zeke wrote
Hahahahaha.  Now Saudi Arabia is your "co-alpha" ideal?  A repressive monarchy with institutionalized polygyny?  And yes, I were a Saudi prince or tycoon (i.e., a Saudi alpha), I'd indeed bone whomever I wanted.  If I were a pathetic omega like you and living in Saudi, though, I'd probably be deprived of any outlet whatsoever for sex.  Maybe I'd become a religious zealot or a terrorist, as befalls many shiftless young men from that part of the world.
No zeke, Saudi Arabia obviously isn't my co-alpha ideal.  It is polygamous, not monogamous.  I brought it up to disprove your idea that alphas can always screw other men's wives.  Since it is unlikely that you will become a Saudi prince, let's try somewhere where you can easily be alpha.  How about Somalia?  I think that you, from a rich country, would easily be alpha in Somalia.  So here is your chance to prove your theory.  Go to Somalia and try screwing other men's wives.  Then report back.
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Re: "Co-Alpha" society has never existed, and the "co-alpha" concept is self-contradictory.

fschmidt
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zeke wrote
Okay, but everything I said about Rome happens to have been true of Rome during its Republic: men, rather than being united in some egalitarian alliance, owned one another via the institution of slavery, and extramarital sex was a common occurrence.  
First you said adultery, then extramarital sex.  Which is it?  Please try to stay focused and consistent.

The initial co-alpha class were the patricians.  Over time, the plebians also gained rights and joined the co-alpha group.  The slaves were not part of this alliance.

fschmidt wrote
Prostitution is a critical part of any moral culture.  
Well, if you don't have a problem with slavery, at least you're being consistent here.
What are you talking about?  There is no connection between prostitution and slavery.

fschmidt wrote
 Let's define monogamy clearly.  Monogamy means each man gets one wife.  Extra women become prostitutes or possibly concubines.  
But monogamy must also mean that each man is faithful to his wife -- otherwise, you don't have an egalitarian distribution of women.  Some men get one wife apiece, some men get one wife plus numerous extra women, and some men get no women at all, or maybe are reduced to occasionally patronizing old, dried up prostitutes.  (After all, assuming birth rates are roughly equal and women are only sexually desirable when young and ideally virginal, there really aren't going to be too many "extra" women to go around.  One man's feast is another man's famine).
There is never perfect equality, but monogamy is very close.  Married men going to prostitutes has almost no effect on this, so is irrelevant.  In evolutionary terms, this has no practical impact.

No Western nation recognizes polygamy,  and most legally prohibit it. So, when you say we're not presently monogamous, you're presumably referring to the fact that sexual morals are somewhat lax and divorce and extramarital sex are common. Yet Rome, even during the Republic, permitted divorce on demand from either party and was rife with extramarital sex.  Monogamy was more strictly enforced in Europe during the Middle Ages than in ancient Rome, and even then you found alphas usurping their inferiors' mates (see the link I provided above, re: a Pope's notorious affair with a married woman).
Where do you get your misinformation?  Women could not divorce for most of Roman Republic, only at the very end were women given this right, with the inevitable consequence being the end of the Republic.  We can never know what the actual adultery rate was in history, but we do know the punishment.  And again, for most of the Roman Republic, a husband had the right to kill his wife if she was guilty of adultery.  I suspect this has some effect in lowering the adultery rate.  I don't know what the punishment was for the guilty man.


Perhaps, but monogamy certainly isn't a necessary ingredient for imperial conquest.  The Ottomans/Turks, Persians, imperial Chinese, Moors, Aztecs and Incas (to name a few) were polygynous and did quite well.  Their empires eventually died out, but the same is true of all empires conquered by monogamous (or purportedly monogamous) cultures.  The primary vector for monogamy has been Christianity, but Islam has been an effective vector for polygyny as well.  
Islam actually lowered the degree of polygamy since before Islam in that part of the world, alphas had many more wives than just 4.  Islam's only competition at the time it expanded were promiscuous cultures, so of course Islam was superior.  I don't know much about the Aztecs and Incas regarding this topic.  In general, monogamous cultures do best, mildly polygamous cultures can do okay, and promiscuous cultures are always dysfunctional.


It's all relative, and even on the graph that you linked to, chimps are clearly second in brain size to body weight ratio.  
No, they aren't.  Homo erectus is #2, and chimps have one of the lowest ratios on the graph.
Homo erectus is extinct.  Of the living species, chimps are second.  Look again.

But regardless, the disparity demonstrated on that graph completely eviscerates your logic that if chimps are polygynous, brain size and monogamy must not correlate.  It's true that some animals without long childhoods engage in pair-bonding, just like it's true that some animals with long childhoods don't pair-bond. Neither of those logically contradicts the consensus formed by every scientist ever to weigh in on this topic, which is that the extended altricial phase resulting from drastically increased brain size is the likeliest contributor to the development of monogamy in hominids.  Need for bi-parental care due to a long childhood is not the only cause of monogamy and does not inevitably cause monogamy, but it can be a significant contributor and was likely the predominant contributor here.
These pathetic academics don't deserve to be called "scientists".  Real science is based on experimentally proving theories.  These academics can't prove anything and just make shit up, and whatever is most politically correct becomes accepted.  In this case, as I explained, there is no justification for the theory you are advocating.

Well, it's a respectable scholarly work, so it obviously adopts different phrasing than your website.  But the theory it entertains is: [W]ealthy men had many wives until egalitarian movements forced them to share power, which resulted in socially (legally) imposed monogamy.  Is that really so different from your theory? Anyways, the paper concludes that this may have occurred in some industrial and post-industrial societies, but that it fails to explain monogamy as fully as the traditional paternal-investment thesis does.
I am not going to waste my time reading this paper.  It is so poorly written.  You are welcome to summarize it if you like.

One other thing I would add is that humans are unique in cooperative mate guarding.  In other words, in a civilized co-alpha society, men will tell each other about their cheating wives.  Adultery is punished by the cooperation of the whole society, not just by individual men competing with each other.  This cooperation can have no other explanation than the cooperative distribution of women.

You should probably forbear from speaking on behalf of "anyone familiar with history," since you clearly aren't.  I already linked one example of this phenomenon above (Pope Alexander and Guilia Farnese), but another famous alpha that comes to mind is King Henry VIII, who slept with numerous married women and subsequently married a couple of them himself.  People differ on whether it's legend or history, but it's also difficult to forget Lancelot/Guinevere.  And then you have contemporary examples.
And which of these examples come from periods that I have identified as co-alpha?  None do.
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Re: "Co-Alpha" society has never existed, and the "co-alpha" concept is self-contradictory.

zeke
 I brought it up to disprove your idea that alphas can always screw other men's wives.
But I never argued that alphas can always screw other mens' wives.  Maybe 1 out of 10 alphas can screw 1 out of 10 wives. Aggregating that over a large population, though, you still find a reocurring phenomenon of alphas screwing wives. And ironically, I only made this statement with regard to societies "where you find SIM-as-egalitarianism" -- so it's interesting that both of the counter-examples you raise are polygynous Muslim countries that do not even purport to be egalitarian.  Also, if you google "mail order bride Somalia," you'll discover that a Western male wouldn't even need to journey to the country to attract one of its women, because so many of them are desperate to marry rich, high-status males from other countries.  

What are you talking about?  There is no connection between prostitution and slavery.
You're kidding.  Right?  In ancient Rome, slaves were forced to prostitute themselves routinely and the two institutions were inextricably linked.  Sex trafficking is a problem today as well.  Prostitution should be legalized, but its connections to slavery (which are very real) should be severed.  

There is never perfect equality, but monogamy is very close.  Married men going to prostitutes has almost no effect on this, so is irrelevant.
Then perhaps you should answer one of several points you never addressed: where do all these "extra" women come from who become prostitutes and concubines and service wealthy married men?  Could it be that in ancient societies with stark class divides, the invisible losers in this system were the poor men?

 Women could not divorce for most of Roman Republic, only at the very end were women given this right, with the inevitable consequence being the end of the Republic.
The Republic ended because Augustus annointed himself Principate after a series of civil wars -- not because of any event remotely traceable to divorce.  And just so we're clear, since you admit divorce was easily available during the late Republic, Rome's only true "co-alpha" period was the early Republic.  Right?  

 And again, for most of the Roman Republic, a husband had the right to kill his wife if she was guilty of adultery.
Source?  Cato reported this, but my understanding (and Wikipedia's) is that scholars are skeptical.  And even if divorce was available on demand for men but not women, this would still create a serially monogamous situation wherein one alpha male could, in the manner of Henry VIII, cycle through numerous wives.  Monogamy doesn't translate to "one man, one woman" unless both parties are faithful.  If one man can have multiple women, then either far more female than male babies are being born or there are many men left out in the cold.  

 Of the living species, chimps are second
They are also arguably the second most intelligent.  Yet it would be lunacy to argue that since "other intelligent primates like chimps" have not invented antibiotics, intelligence and the ability to invent antibiotics are uncorrelated.  The magnitude of the brain size/body weight disparity matters, here.  It's immaterial whether chimps have the second-largest ratio of any living species. What matters is that the chimp ratio is so vastly different from the human ratio that citing "other large-brained primates like chimps," to evidence a lack of correlation between brain size and certain mating patterns, is not persuasive.  

These pathetic academics don't deserve to be called "scientists".  Real science is based on experimentally proving theories.
The articles I linked were all authored by respected biological anthropologists and paleoanthropologists, who are "scientists" to the same extent as biological anthropologist Jane Goodall. Do you think there is any "science" pertaining to hominid evolution?  It's not like we can replicate these events in laboratories.  When you accused me, above, of misunderstanding "science," to what science were you referring?  The Harvard article (the one you refuse to read) also considers a massive body of contemporaneously-recorded evidence from present-day cultures, and there is nothing "PC" about the regression analysis framework it uses.

 Adultery is punished by the cooperation of the whole society, not just by individual men competing with each other.  This cooperation can have no other explanation than the cooperative distribution of women.
But society has reasons to punish adultery that go beyond "distribution of women." Probably the most obvious reason is to prevent paternity fraud. Most civilizations also enforce other norms of sexual purity/chastity/fidelity that have nothing to do with guarding or allocating mates. (Tabboos against homosexuality, sodomy and incest, for example). Prohibitions on adultery could simply be yet another rule designed to keep society orderly and "pure."  

In general, monogamous cultures do best, mildly polygamous cultures can do okay, and promiscuous cultures are always dysfunctional
Which cultures in history do you think have done the best?  I imagine a popular answer to this question would be that "Western" culture, beginning with the Renaissance and Enlightenment and leading up to the Industrial Revolution or perhaps the 1950s, represents a relative peak of human flourishing. Yet you imply (as your rejoinder to my examples  re: Pope Alexander and Henry VIII) that Western Europe was not "co-alpha" during the Renaissance.  Has Western Europe ever been co-alpha?  Has the United States?  
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Re: "Co-Alpha" society has never existed, and the "co-alpha" concept is self-contradictory.

fschmidt
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zeke wrote
But I never argued that alphas can always screw other mens' wives.  Maybe 1 out of 10 alphas can screw 1 out of 10 wives. Aggregating that over a large population, though, you still find a reocurring phenomenon of alphas screwing wives. And ironically, I only made this statement with regard to societies "where you find SIM-as-egalitarianism" -- so it's interesting that both of the counter-examples you raise are polygynous Muslim countries that do not even purport to be egalitarian.  Also, if you google "mail order bride Somalia," you'll discover that a Western male wouldn't even need to journey to the country to attract one of its women, because so many of them are desperate to marry rich, high-status males from other countries.
zeke, you are backtracking with your "1 out of 10 alphas".  You made it sound like all alphas could.  I don't see how we can debate this anymore since, if I ask you to go to Somalia, now you can refuse saying you wouldn't be the 1 out of 10.  What is clear is that punishments for adultery vary dramatically, and it isn't unreasonable to assume that these punishments have some deterrent effect.

There is nothing ironic about my choosing polygamous countries because I am specifically arguing here one central point which is that some societies can effectively deter adultery.  

You're kidding.  Right?  In ancient Rome, slaves were forced to prostitute themselves routinely and the two institutions were inextricably linked.  Sex trafficking is a problem today as well.  Prostitution should be legalized, but its connections to slavery (which are very real) should be severed.
Slaves were also forced work at farming and many other jobs.  There is no special connection between prostitution and slavery.  Sex trafficking today is far overblown.  I can't believe that any significant percentage of prostitutes are slaves, even if the rare example is blown up by the media.

Then perhaps you should answer one of several points you never addressed: where do all these "extra" women come from who become prostitutes and concubines and service wealthy married men?  Could it be that in ancient societies with stark class divides, the invisible losers in this system were the poor men?
Let's do some math.  A prostitute can service 8 men per day, 5 days per week.  Let's guess that on average married men see a prostitute once per month.  Rounding to 4 weeks per month, we get 160 married men per prostitute.  So this is not a significant problem.  Add to this that that in ancient time, many men dies in war and so there was probably a significant excess of women.

The Republic ended because Augustus annointed himself Principate after a series of civil wars -- not because of any event remotely traceable to divorce.  And just so we're clear, since you admit divorce was easily available during the late Republic, Rome's only true "co-alpha" period was the early Republic.  Right?
No.  The Republic lasted about 400 years.  The transition to easy divorce happened over about the last 150 years.  It was gradual, just as in our culture.  So most of the Republic was co-alpha and this gradually faded towards the end.

 And again, for most of the Roman Republic, a husband had the right to kill his wife if she was guilty of adultery.
Source?  Cato reported this, but my understanding (and Wikipedia's) is that scholars are skeptical.  And even if divorce was available on demand for men but not women, this would still create a serially monogamous situation wherein one alpha male could, in the manner of Henry VIII, cycle through numerous wives.  Monogamy doesn't translate to "one man, one woman" unless both parties are faithful.  If one man can have multiple women, then either far more female than male babies are being born or there are many men left out in the cold.  
I saw that comment on Wikipedia too but it doesn't make sense because men had absolute control over the family as property and could do anything with his family.  He could also kill his children.  While divorce was legal for men, it wasn't socially acceptable to divorce for no reason and so wasn't so common.


The articles I linked were all authored by respected biological anthropologists and paleoanthropologists, who are "scientists" to the same extent as biological anthropologist Jane Goodall. Do you think there is any "science" pertaining to hominid evolution?  It's not like we can replicate these events in laboratories.  When you accused me, above, of misunderstanding "science," to what science were you referring?  The Harvard article (the one you refuse to read) also considers a massive body of contemporaneously-recorded evidence from present-day cultures, and there is nothing "PC" about the regression analysis framework it uses.
Jane Goodall had the good sense not to reach any general conclusions about her observations.  She just reported what she observed in an unbiased manner, and for this she deserves great praise.

Sciences like palaeontology that study the past can't do experiments.  I would consider these lessor sciences, but at least their theories can be falsified by new finds.  Explanations for social organization like monogamy are much harder to falsify and so don't seem to be real science.

I am not going to wade through the article you linked to, but you are quite welcome to translate it into clear English and then I would consider it.

But society has reasons to punish adultery that go beyond "distribution of women." Probably the most obvious reason is to prevent paternity fraud. Most civilizations also enforce other norms of sexual purity/chastity/fidelity that have nothing to do with guarding or allocating mates. (Tabboos against homosexuality, sodomy and incest, for example). Prohibitions on adultery could simply be yet another rule designed to keep society orderly and "pure."
All of these cooperatively enforced punishments by civilization are based on the distribution of women.  A man cannot be insented to cooperate in enforcing such rules unless he benefits with some mating rights.  This even applies to chimps where betas get some mating rights in exchange for supporting the alpha.  When the deal between men on the distribution of women breaks down, civilization disintegrates.  The strongest possible deal is monogamy.

Which cultures in history do you think have done the best?  I imagine a popular answer to this question would be that "Western" culture, beginning with the Renaissance and Enlightenment and leading up to the Industrial Revolution or perhaps the 1950s, represents a relative peak of human flourishing. Yet you imply (as your rejoinder to my examples  re: Pope Alexander and Henry VIII) that Western Europe was not "co-alpha" during the Renaissance.  Has Western Europe ever been co-alpha?  Has the United States?
The Renaissance happened in isolated city-states, not in Rome.  So Pope Alexander wasn't part of it.  In truth, I don't know enough about the Renaissance to know how co-alpha it really was.  Certainly culture was produced, but the Renaissance ended without producing any clear strong society.  Henry VIII was king of England just as England was starting to move a co-alpha direction.  England wasn't doing much at this time.
England certainly because co-alpha starting after Henry VIII and ending gradually in the 1800s.  America was part of this same culture and ended being co-alpha somewhat later than England.  I don't know enough about the history of other European countries to put dates on them.  We discussed the Roman Republic which was mostly co-alpha.  Ancient Athens was also co-alpha.  Judaism in Europe has been co-alpha for the last few centuries, excluding the Reform movement.

This discussion makes me want to work on the history wiki that I suggested.  A resource like this would provide answers for many of these questions.
Following the Old Testament, not evil modern culture
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Re: "Co-Alpha" society has never existed, and the "co-alpha" concept is self-contradictory.

zeke
zeke, you are backtracking with your "1 out of 10 alphas".  You made it sound like all alphas could.
Not backtracking at all.  The statement you attacked was:   Even where you do find SIM-as-egalitarianism, you also find elites subverting this premise and boning betas' mates to their hearts' content, even if not by rape..  That's very different from stating that in any place, at any time, in any society on earth, any alpha can have sex with any man's wife.  The latter is an absurd statement I'd never make.  What I do maintain, though, is that even in societies that purport to distribute women in a manner impervious to such alpha gamesmanship, alphas can, and have, and will continue to overcome those constraints and usurp women from their inferiors.  

Sex trafficking today is far overblown.  I can't believe that any significant percentage of prostitutes are slaves
Do you have any evidence to back this up?  I watched this debate with interest, because I don't think it's wrong to pay for sex.  But the woman in the glasses on the "pro" side, Melissa Farley, makes some very good points that end up swaying the audience.  Even if only a minority of prostitutes are, literally, slaves, most are not prostitutes by choice.  In the ancient world, where both slaves and prostitutes tended to be seized from conquered populations during war, the connection is hard to deny.  

Let's do some math.  A prostitute can service 8 men per day, 5 days per week.  Let's guess that on average married men see a prostitute once per month.  Rounding to 4 weeks per month, we get 160 married men per prostitute.  So this is not a significant problem.  Add to this that that in ancient time, many men dies in war and so there was probably a significant excess of women.
Eight men per day, five days a week, seems a bit much, but even putting that aside, this disregards the women who were private concubines for married men.  Also, while men had lower life expectancies than women, women generally were only considered marriageable if virginal, and weren't sexually desirable once they aged -- so in effect, they had low life expectancies, too.  In truth, I think the Athenian/Roman system of purported monogamy (but wherein married alphas could have dozens of women on the side) worked in part because of what you suggest: these empires kept large standing armies, so legions of poor men were either marching around distant provinces or dying in wars, leaving "excess" women behind.  I hardly think this system can be called "co-alpha", though, since it satisfied the alpha's thirst for sexual variety by removing lower-ranking males from circulation which effectively denied them wives.

I saw that comment on Wikipedia too but it doesn't make sense because men had absolute control over the family as property and could do anything with his family.
Even Cato himself did not kill his wife when he caught her in adultery with Caesar -- he simply divorced her and took a new wife.  This suggests Wikipedia is right.  

All of these cooperatively enforced punishments by civilization are based on the distribution of women.
You mean like the taboo on male-male sex?  How would outlawing this improve the distribution of women?  If two men pair up, that just leaves more women for everyone else.  A much likelier explanation is that all these taboos (homosexuality, incest, bestiality, etc.) stem from the psychology of disgust.  It's no coincidence that they can be found in Leviticus right alongside the prohibitions on eating shellfish.  All of these activities were considered unclean.  

No.  The Republic lasted about 400 years.  The transition to easy divorce happened over about the last 150 years.  It was gradual, just as in our culture.  So most of the Republic was co-alpha and this gradually faded towards the end.
Okay, so the Republic lasted 400 years, but was really only co-alpha for the first 250 (i.e., until maybe 100 BC?)

The Renaissance happened in isolated city-states, not in Rome.  So Pope Alexander wasn't part of it.
Rome was at the epicenter of the Renaissance, and Alexander VI, in particular, was a noted patron of great Renaissance artists and inventors.  He was also notorious for sexual debauchery, including with married women.  Accounts from contemporaries suggest that in actuality, Alexander's behaviors were "similar in nature to those of other Renaissance princes", drawing notoriety only because he was Pope.  For example, he's compared to Louis XIV, one of the most renowned rulers in European history.  Under Louis, France won several major wars and became Europe's leading military and political power.  Louis was a classic alpha and had numerous mistresses, at least one of whom was known to be married.  He installed her in the palace anyways.  

I mention the Renaissance because most people would consider it a period wherein "Western" society was "successful," achieving scientific, artistic and political advancements that hearkened back to the golden ages of Greece and Rome.  Yet Europe during this period was also rife with adultery, including adultery between married women and higher-ranking males.  So, okay -- Europe during the Renaissance (and the Enlightenment, another great moment in Western cultural history that happened simultaneously) was not "co-alpha."  Instead, our "co-alpha" cultures are:

* Ancient Athens;
* Rome between approx. 400 BC and 100 BC;
* England between 1547 (death of Henry VIII) and the 1800s;
* America, likewise up until the 1800s; and
* Non-reform Judaism in contemporary Europe.  

In my next post, I will explain why each of these societies diverges from your "co-alpha" model.  


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Re: "Co-Alpha" society has never existed, and the "co-alpha" concept is self-contradictory.

fschmidt
Administrator
zeke wrote
Not backtracking at all.  The statement you attacked was:   Even where you do find SIM-as-egalitarianism, you also find elites subverting this premise and boning betas' mates to their hearts' content, even if not by rape..  That's very different from stating that in any place, at any time, in any society on earth, any alpha can have sex with any man's wife.  The latter is an absurd statement I'd never make.  What I do maintain, though, is that even in societies that purport to distribute women in a manner impervious to such alpha gamesmanship, alphas can, and have, and will continue to overcome those constraints and usurp women from their inferiors.
It sound like backtracking to me because "to their hearts' content" sounds like they can get any woman they want, but now you say they must be content with just 1 out of 10 that they may want.

Arguing about adultery rates is pretty stupid because we just don't have any concrete data on this.  I believe co-alpha societies have lower adultery rates because I believe that harsh penalties for adultery, commonly found on co-alpha societies, acts as a deterrent.  The actual rates one can't know.  I would much rather define a co-alpha society based on things that on can know, like the harshness of punishment for adultery, laws against polygamy, restrictions on divorce, and the expectation of female premarital chastity.

Do you have any evidence to back this up?  I watched this debate with interest, because I don't think it's wrong to pay for sex.  But the woman in the glasses on the "pro" side, Melissa Farley, makes some very good points that end up swaying the audience.  Even if only a minority of prostitutes are, literally, slaves, most are not prostitutes by choice.  In the ancient world, where both slaves and prostitutes tended to be seized from conquered populations during war, the connection is hard to deny.
I am not going to watch this long video, but my evidence is the best kind, plenty of personal experience.  I went to many prostitutes before I was married and it was obvious that none were slaves, that it was just an easy way for them to make money.  Your connection between slavery and prostitution in the past is wrong for the reasons I explained in my previous post which you ignored.

Eight men per day, five days a week, seems a bit much, but even putting that aside, this disregards the women who were private concubines for married men.  Also, while men had lower life expectancies than women, women generally were only considered marriageable if virginal, and weren't sexually desirable once they aged -- so in effect, they had low life expectancies, too.  In truth, I think the Athenian/Roman system of purported monogamy (but wherein married alphas could have dozens of women on the side) worked in part because of what you suggest: these empires kept large standing armies, so legions of poor men were either marching around distant provinces or dying in wars, leaving "excess" women behind.  I hardly think this system can be called "co-alpha", though, since it satisfied the alpha's thirst for sexual variety by removing lower-ranking males from circulation which effectively denied them wives.
I agree that concubines are a problem and should be discouraged.  But I don't know where to find numbers on this, so I can't say what real effect this had.  Without polygamy and concubines, one can have a workable co-alpha system.  Ideally in modern times, male deaths in war should be replaced by aborting males, but at this point that is just a fantasy.  The past did work based on deaths in war, and in real co-alpha societies like Athens and early Rome, virtually all co-alpha men fought in wars, so the risk of death was shared.

Even Cato himself did not kill his wife when he caught her in adultery with Caesar -- he simply divorced her and took a new wife.  This suggests Wikipedia is right.
No, Cato lived when Rome was no longer co-alpha, and so his experience isn't relevant.  

You mean like the taboo on male-male sex?  How would outlawing this improve the distribution of women?  If two men pair up, that just leaves more women for everyone else.  A much likelier explanation is that all these taboos (homosexuality, incest, bestiality, etc.) stem from the psychology of disgust.  It's no coincidence that they can be found in Leviticus right alongside the prohibitions on eating shellfish.  All of these activities were considered unclean.
Yes some taboos are for health reasons.  But all cooperation among men (or male chimps) depends on the distribution of females.  It makes no evolutionary sense for a male cooperate with a group that doesn't provide him access to females.

Okay, so the Republic lasted 400 years, but was really only co-alpha for the first 250 (i.e., until maybe 100 BC?)
Yes.

Rome was at the epicenter of the Renaissance, and Alexander VI, in particular, was a noted patron of great Renaissance artists and inventors.
That depends on whether you consider the epicenter as where the work was done, or where the artists and inventors came from.  None of these people came from Rome.  A society as corrupt as Rome was cannot generate creative people.  So these people came from other, less corrupt city-states.

I don't know enough about Louis XIV to comment.

Instead, our "co-alpha" cultures are:

* Ancient Athens;
* Rome between approx. 400 BC and 100 BC;
* England between 1547 (death of Henry VIII) and the 1800s;
* America, likewise up until the 1800s; and
* Non-reform Judaism in contemporary Europe.  

In my next post, I will explain why each of these societies diverges from your "co-alpha" model.
I look forward to this.  Hopefully you will refer to verifiable facts and not isolated anecdotes.  As I listed above, some examples are the harshness of punishment for adultery, laws against polygamy, restrictions on divorce (particularly for women), and the expectation of female premarital chastity.  Also, that all co-alpha men should have some political power and that none, including the leaders, should be above the law.
Following the Old Testament, not evil modern culture