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  1. Jim Thomerson Jim Thomerson

    Not so, there is still inclusive fitness to be considered.

  2. John Wilkins host of the “Eating, Fucking, Fighting Thoughts” Blog ?

  3. Jeb Jeb

    “A eunuch would likely be a servant or a slave who, because of their function, had been castrated, usually in order to make them safer servants”

    I think I will just stick with evolution rather than the alternatives on offer, they all seem somewhat unappealing.

  4. Jim Thomerson Jim Thomerson

    As I understand it, some eunuchs were what we ranch folks call “cut proud”, castrated after becoming sexually mature. Some of them were capable of intercourse, but, of course, could not impregnate. Not having one or more of your wives impregnated by someone else was important to eunuch keepers. On the other hand, if you are going to have eunuchs, it is good for them to be happy.

    • Mitchell Coffey Mitchell Coffey

      My understanding is that, for reasons to be extrapolated from Jim Thomerson’s post, operatic castrati found themselves favored by women much like modern rock stars, in a manner and volume inaccessible to other classes of mere artisans, however popular, prior to the wide-spread availability of condoms.

      In the pre-modern world eunuch were frequently employed in sensitive political, economic and administrative positions because of the fact that, however much responsibility was given them, they could not assume titular power or ownership. A similar sociological function was also performed in the Mediterranean world by freedmen, Jews and Greeks, and in South Asia, Indonesia, etc., by ethnic Chinese. Eunuchs had the advantage over these other sociological out-groups of not compounding perennially tiresome issues of inheritance.

  5. Vend Vend

    Speaking of Darwin (sorry for the OT), does somebody know what happened to
    I read that DIG had surgery, I hope he is ok.

    • While DIG (the moderator admin, for others) was in hospital (he’s OK, just heavily medicated right now), the computer that runs the moderator software was accidentally unplugged and moved. It has been replugged and set running, but it needs to be told to start running the moderator script again, which DIG will do when he is compos mentis again.

      • Vend Vend


  6. Jeb Jeb

    What I would take from Jim’s post is the difference between the historical practice of castration and it’s symbolic use which is still very much alive today unlike the actual practice.

    With baroque castrati it was the testicles that were removed in most cases, the penis was only sometimes amputated as well. Yet it is the phallus as a symbol for male power rather than the testicles that would appear to give it symbolic resonance in the contemporary mind, this was also the case in the enlightenment as well.

    Castrati were the subject of male ridicule and humor. I think Voltaire’s use in Candide is an example. ” I was born in Naples,” he said, “where they castrate two or three thousand children a year; several die of the operation; some acquire voices far beyond the most tuneful of you’re ladies; and others are sent to govern states and empires.”

    The enlighten Voltaire thought the practice barbaric yet Ive always read it as also a satirical remark on the often perceived impotency of political leaders.

    Its a symbol better suited to Voltaire’s age which was still exclusively a man’s world than our own I suspect.

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