Why do we ban close relatives from marrying?

@ParaTed2k (22980)
Sheboygan, Wisconsin
May 24, 2007 8:20pm CST
The most common answer to this question is, "because of the high risk of birth defects in offsping from close relatives". That would seem like a logical answer, but we don't bar anyone else with a high risk of passing on birth defects from reproducing. So, other than "it's disgusting" (which I would tend to agree with), why?
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5 responses
@chluvcw (31)
• United States
25 May 07
It was forbidden by the Church, and the Church ruled central Europe all through the dark ages and so instilled the idea against incest that it still carries on today. Plus, from a scientific point of view, you want as large a gene pool as one can get, too much inbreeding, and the risk of weird birth defects rises dramatically.
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@ParaTed2k (22980)
• Sheboygan, Wisconsin
25 May 07
So why is it a taboo among cultures that weren't traditionally Catholic or Christian?
@emarie (5451)
• United States
25 May 07
so does it say in the bible you can't marry your reletive?? because in christian terms WE ARE ALL related....
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• United States
25 May 07
I think you underestimate the reach of the Church, but let's back up for a second. It isn't just a Christian taboo, it stems from Judaism. Christian tenets are based on Jewish tenets. Incest is forbidden in the Old Testament. Before Christianity spread, incest in Europe wasn't that much of a taboo. Emperor Caligula of Rome was said to have married his sister. The psychiatric terms Oedipus and Electra complexes are from incestuous relationships in Greek mythology. Oedipus killed his father to be with his mother, and Electra had a thing with her father. The Greco-Roman Gods were all related, brother, sister, husband, wife. Zeus and Hera, were both brother and sister AND husband and wife. During the age of exploration, the Church sent missionaries around the world to "spread the faith". These missionaries spread the taboo to some. Others just figured it out, and developed a tradition against it after seeing the malformed offspring from such unions. This is not to say that such union always produce children with birth defects, but the chances are much greater. Plus with a greater the gene pool, the less the chance of recessive genetic traits that lead to birth defects from becoming dominant. There was an "X-File" episode about this, and what happen after several generations of familiar inbreeding.
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@emarie (5451)
• United States
25 May 07
well, that was the reason for it becoming immoral back in the day which transends into the present. by keeping it in the family, it was harder for people to put out healthier children and if a gene exsisted in one family member then it would be the same with the next and that will pass on to the child an if that child marries someone within the family who has the same genetic defect it will increase generation by generation. by marrying someone outside, the likeliness of reproducing with someone with the same genetic defect as yourself is FAR less then someone in the family. now days it is more of a moral thing. it was something that was put into our heads that it isn't right. not much people really do want to marry a reletive....
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@ParaTed2k (22980)
• Sheboygan, Wisconsin
25 May 07
But we don't ban carriers of birth defects from marrying.
@emarie (5451)
• United States
25 May 07
like i said it became more of a moral issue then health wise. its taboo because thats the way we were taught. there are so many different type of birth defects nowdays that if we banned marriages from people with any type of birth defects then the human population will be drasticlly smaller (some people might want that) marrying within the family was done mostly by noble families who want to keep their title within the blood and for generations married and had children with close reletives. because that started to happen, the health of their children would decline making their rein over a throne or noble title shorter which is one of the reasons it became taboo.
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@ParaTed2k (22980)
• Sheboygan, Wisconsin
27 May 07
But moral norms vary among different cultures. Are there any cultures where incest is acceptable?
@bobmnu (8160)
• United States
25 May 07
If you allow marrying of close reletives you severly limit the gene pool and increase the number of resesive traits in the population.
@ParaTed2k (22980)
• Sheboygan, Wisconsin
25 May 07
They seem to be pretty prevelant in the gene pool as it is.
@gewcew23 (8010)
• United States
27 May 07
It is genetically marrying someone closer than a 4th cousin it causes genetic distrubances. Due to the DNA resembling each other the baby is going to have some birth defects. Now what that birth defect could be might be minor; it might just simply be looks. It wasn't too long ago in our history when marrying your first cousin was considered perfectly socially acceptabe especially in the south when you wanted to keep the family farm in the family; you would marry one of your cousins. Of course, this has made the south the pun of a lot of jokes. I would like to say this one thing, it is perfectly legal for you to marry your step sister as long as neither one shares a parent, but which one is wierder: marrying your step sister or marrying your cousin.
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@ParaTed2k (22980)
• Sheboygan, Wisconsin
27 May 07
Once again, birth defects is brought up. We don't ban ANY other high risk for bith defects in offspring, so why do we ban close relatives from marrying using that as the justification? You are right, steps can marry... even adopted siblings can marry.
@Spikee20 (71)
• Philippines
26 May 07
High risk of birth defect is one of the reason we don't marry our close relative, AND if we ban the carriers of birth defect from marrying, that would be AGAINST their rights. :-)
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@ParaTed2k (22980)
• Sheboygan, Wisconsin
27 May 07
So why isn't it agaisnt the rights of close relatives who fall in love to marry?