Anglican Samizdat

February 14, 2009

Valentine’s Day: testing the saliva

Filed under: evolution — David Jenkins @ 1:50 pm

There are a number of different ways to look at Valentine’s Day. This one, for example:

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Look out and see the pretty birds
How each doth chuse his mate,
To kiss and coo, and Jove pursue,
Their kind to propagate

And for the Dawkins dogmatists, this one:

She said men like “sloppier kisses” because they are testing the saliva to see how fertile a woman is.

“The hypothesis is they’re trying to get small traces of oestrogen to see where the woman is in her menstrual cycle to indicate the state of her fertility,” she said.

She said women used smell as they are kissing to deduce some things about the man’s immune system.

This gives us a perfect illustration of the contrast between meaning and mechanism.

The latter is undoubtedly an accurate description of how Dawkins and his wife met – a combination of sniffing and saliva analysis – but for normal people, believing that love is little more than an attraction to a superior immune system would be the recipe for a one way trip to the funny farm.

Personally, I avoid Valentine’s day altogether.


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