Homosexuality is considered immoral by some (assholes), and as acceptable as heterosexuality to others (like me). But then, if we'll allow same-sex marriage (which we should), then who are we to say that three consenting adults should not be able to marry? Or more? One woman with four husbands, or one man with 80 wives? Why not? Does it feel wrong to you? Admittedly, it does to me. But then, can we ignore that same-sex marriage feels bad to other people? It's a problem, quite frankly.
But today I have seen the light, you could say. There are, apparently, and not entirely to my surprise, scientific reasons why polygamy is a really, really bad idea.
According to Joseph Henrich, professor of anthropology, polygamy is bad for society because it leads to crime:
- Polygamy pretty much always really means polygyny (one man with more than one wife).
- Polygyny results many men not being able to find a wife.
- Unmarried males commit more crimes than married men.
In India and China, where male-biased sex selection has resulted in more men than women, researchers found "bachelor bands that compete ferociously and engage in aggressive, violent and anti-social activities."
In India, the state of Kerala's murder rate is half that of Uttar Pradesh. The reason? Kerala's male-to-female ratio is 97:100; Uttar Pradesh's is 112:100.
Another social harm that Henrich says is consistent regardless of whether researchers use data from 19th-century Mormon communities or contemporary African societies is that children from polygynous families have considerably lower survival rates. It seems polygynous men, rather than investing in their offspring, use their money to add wives.Henrich also thinks that monogamy is at the root of even democracy and equality.
He argues that as the idea of monogamy spread through Europe during the 15th century, king and peasant alike had the same rules and the idea of equality gained a foothold -- at least among men.It's a great example of science informing us about morality. Of course, science can't tell us what is good and what is bad, but couple scientific understanding with our desires, then these two together can tell us if something is morally acceptable or not. Is it okay to catch fish with a hook? If it's not overly painful to the fish, then we might say it is okay. If science at one point informs us that every fish caught that way undergoes excruciating torment, then it will likely change a lot of people's minds about fishing, I'd like to think. We want a peaceful, crimeless society, and if polygamy leads to more crime, then that supports the feeling that it's morally wrong.
Never mind that the Canadian constitution might prohibit prohibiting polygamy, I say. When we have good reasons to do something that is unconstitutional, then we'll just have to change the constitution.