Are incest laws hypocritical?
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28-09-2010, 05:51 PM
Are incest laws hypocritical?
Ok well this was something that got me thinking when I was part of an anti-incest debate. The main argument for the atheistic anti-incest group was that the offspring of incest generally come out pretty messed up. Lots of mental, emotional and physical issues due to some genetic property that I don't actually understand.

Thing is, one of the incestuous people people pointed out that people with hereditary disabilities are still allowed to reproduce and that sort of hit me as a good point.
Incest is illegal for, if logic is used, to prevent more disabled children being born, though the disabled are still allowed to reproduce by law.

I remain anti-incest, though I am interested in other's opinions on this.

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28-09-2010, 07:37 PM
RE: Are incest laws hypocritical?
Many disabilities are caused by recessive genes. For a resessive gene to manifest, both parents must contribute the gene. If only one parent does, the child is a carrier for the gene, but the disability won't manifest. The chances that family members carry the same gene for a disability is obviously very high, thus greatly increasing the chances of both parent contibuting the defective gene, resulting in the manifestation of the disability. Often, albinism in reptiles is used to give a simple explaination of this:

Example one: parent A is a carrier of the albino gene, but not albino. They carry one albino gene and one normal gene. We'll call this A/N (Albino/Normal).This is referred to as heterozygous for albinism. Parent B is a normal animal, who does not carry the gene for albinism. We'll call this N/N. Each parent will contibute one of their genes to their offspring. That means that there is a 50% chance that the offspring from this pairing will carry the albino gene, and no chance of it displaying albinism.

Example two: Parent A is an albino. It carrys both genes for albinism of the nescessary allele. (A/A). Parent B is heterozygous for albinism (A/N). After each parent contributes one of their genes, 50% of the offspring will be albino, and 50% will be heterozygous for albinism.

Heres the one to worry about.
Example three: Both parents are heterozygous for albinism. (A/N) remember tha albinism does not manifest in heterozygous animals, so we may not even know they are het for albino. (We will only know if we are aware of their parents genetics). When paired, 25% of the offspring will be normal (N/N), 50% will be heterozygous for albinism (A/N), and 25% will be albino (A/A). So the parents that don't display the trait can still pass it on to their offspring by carrying one of the two genes required for that allele. Siblings from a gene carrying animal are more likely to have offspring who are albino because they both may appear normal but have a chance of carrying the albino gene.

I hope I explained that in a way that's understandable. Sometimes I'm not very good at explainations.

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29-09-2010, 02:06 AM
 
RE: Are incest laws hypocritical?
Incest laws are almost certainly a result of the process described by Stark Raving: the expression of recessive genes brought about by the incest. Sexual reproduction with diverse members of the gene pool (outside of immediate family members) brings about what is referred to as "hybrid vigor" - new variations are possible. Incest eventually leads to a large percentage within that incestuous population of what amount to genetic defects that are not good for survival of those individuals, and the group is threatened by that process, as well.

Diversity is good for a gene pool as a hedge against changing environments - at least some of a diverse gene pool can survive an extinction threat. Incest limits diversity while allowing bad recessive genes to be expressed within the pool. Morals regarding incest are another example of a survival strategy, and may eventually be codified into a law.
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29-09-2010, 08:08 AM
RE: Are incest laws hypocritical?
Just to throw in another related topic, what about homosexual incest? There is no danger of deformed offspring(or any offspring), so using the previous line of logic, there would be no reason for the relationship to be illegal.

Random side note, I only asked this question once before. The only reply I got is, along the lines of, gays are more likely to beat their children, so it should be illegal anyway. I'm sure I'll get better responses here.

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29-09-2010, 03:26 PM
RE: Are incest laws hypocritical?
Thanks Stark, that clears up the reason why incest breeds deformed offspring.

Still leaves the "is it hypocrisy?" question though, with the badly disabled still legally breeding.


@Ashley: I know a set of female identical twins who's sex life is limited to each other, but I'm not sure if there are many examples of non-twincest sibling homosexual couples. Still I would guess that the law is the law because they only accept double standards for religious groups.

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30-09-2010, 06:21 AM
 
RE: Are incest laws hypocritical?
OK here's my position (you asked) yes incest laws are indeed hypocritical. However I am also opposed in general to legislating morality. In isolated cases of incest the risk to birth defects is barely a tick higher than a normal pregnancy, and as you mentioned in many "high risk" non-incest situations the chance is much higher. Now a incestuous community is another story because generation incest will basically amount to inbreeding of genetic defect, also genetic advantages too though. All this aside I'm sure you have learned through asking this question elsewhere that there is a high moral standing in the US against incest so why legislate it? The few instances where it will occur are of little consequence, and Father/daughter forced incest is illegal anyway period so that doesn't change. People seem to be very accepting of govermental oversteps when they are in general agreement with that particular overstep, but I say its still wrong. We are a hypocritical people though.
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01-10-2010, 12:02 AM
 
RE: Are incest laws hypocritical?
I tend to think that the legal system should stay out of sexuality period unless the situation involves a non-consenting partner.
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02-10-2010, 03:15 PM
RE: Are incest laws hypocritical?
Ok, first, let me say .... Yick! I have a sister and .... just ....yick!!!

Now, with out of the way .... I'm pretty certain that incest laws have little to do with recessive genes as most of these laws predate knowledge of recessive genes. If I had to guess, I'd almost guess that there was a religious reason for this, but I'm not sure. It could also just be the "yick" factor.

Should it be illegal? I'm inclined to say "yes" but I can't give a good reason other than "yick!".

Quote:Random side note, I only asked this question once before. The only reply I got is, along the lines of, gays are more likely to beat their children, so it should be illegal anyway. I'm sure I'll get better responses here.

I'd be curious what authority was quoted to support that statement. Whomever said that to you is either, at best, woefully uninformed, or, more likely, a moe-ron. Gay parents are statistically far less likely to be abusive. Now, that could very well be because of factors that have nothing to do with a proclivity to beat a child. Currently, for a gay person to be a parent takes a lot more work then for a hetero person, and in the case of gay adoption there is a lot of screening of the parents (as with straight parents) before they get a kid. So, you're dealing with a group of people who are less likely to have a kid if they are inclined to abuse them. Ultimately it may be true that gay people are no more or less likely to abuse their children then straight people - there is just not enough data to know either way. However, based on the limited data pool we have, a statement like the one you quoted above has no logical basis.

Quote:@Ashley: I know a set of female identical twins who's sex life is limited to each other, but I'm not sure if there are many examples of non-twincest sibling homosexual couples.

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02-10-2010, 03:57 PM
RE: Are incest laws hypocritical?
Before knowledge of genetics, people who were involved in insest for a few generations would have been mentally and physically affected in ways that would be easily observable to outsiders. These characterists of in-breeding would have scared the 'normal people' and caused them to reject people who displayed these characterists. The in-breeding characteristics would then be seen as punishment from god.

I do think that there needs to be laws against insest, not to stop an occasional couple from engaging in it, but to restrict it to the smallest numbers possible so it's effects are minimized and affect as few people as possible.
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03-10-2010, 01:57 AM
RE: Are incest laws hypocritical?
Quote:I'd almost guess that there was a religious reason for this, but I'm not sure.
In the third book of Moses, God says that the punishment for incest is death. And if you mock your parents thou shalt die. Blaspheme and thou shalt be stoneth to death, for I am thy God, a jealous and angry God.

Aboot incest? I have no opinion on this one, I've never even thought about it. All I can say is ''yick''.

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