What is Big Think?  

We are Big Idea Hunters…

We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

Big Think Features:

12,000+ Expert Videos

1

Browse videos featuring experts across a wide range of disciplines, from personal health to business leadership to neuroscience.

Watch videos

World Renowned Bloggers

2

Big Think’s contributors offer expert analysis of the big ideas behind the news.

Go to blogs

Big Think Edge

3

Big Think’s Edge learning platform for career mentorship and professional development provides engaging and actionable courses delivered by the people who are shaping our future.

Find out more
Close
With rendition switcher

Transcript

Question: Why are religions so concerned with sex?

Lionel Tiger: I don’t know about you, but sex is always potentially extremely troubling.  It can cause all sorts of ruckus in all sorts of lives on an endless basis, just look at the latest politician or golfer and the fact is that because of its power, which Darwin understood when he saw that sexual selection was the engine of natural selection, which is what creates species you have to have some sort of rules about it, otherwise it is simply too massive.  For one thing men and women have different reproductive strategies as we call them in my trade because the costs of sex, unprotected sex for females are infinitely different than for males and so there always has to be in any community the basic mammalian contract, which is somebody has to take care of the mother child bond and so if you look at kinship systems basically what they do is try to insure that the mother and child are cared for by the community.  This is after all, the story of Christmas basically.  It’s the great mammalian fable or story and it works.  It is perhaps the most popular holiday in the world because it gets right to the bedrock of what religion is about, which is you’ve got to take care of the mother and the child.  [00:13:00.07]

Question: Is it counter-intuitive, evolutionarily, for religions to require chastity in their leaders?

Lionel Tiger: Chastity has a purpose if you’re setting up a church in which you don’t want to interfere… you don’t want sex to interfere with church activity, so for example, if you’re a cardinal you don’t want to have a bunch of mistresses around or if you’re a chief nun you don’t want to have a bunch of guys who are your lovers because that interferes with your work.  It’s very simple.  Now chastity is usually respected only to the point of marriage and so with marriage suddenly it all changes.  You’re supposed to be chased and then at marriage suddenly you have sexual obligations, so a woman has sexual obligations to their husband and a husband has sexual obligations to his wife and so the system is very aware of the relationship between sexuality license and responsibility.

More from the Big Idea for Thursday, May 27 2010

 

Sex is "Simply too Massive"...

Newsletter: Share: