Monday, July 18, 2011

Positive Coverage of Cousin Parents

From the Netherlands comes friendly words from Ashley Hoben in regards to relationships between cousins.

Marriages between cousins may, in the past, have offered effective protection against diseases such as malaria and leprosy, research by social psychologist Ashley Hoben shows.

And what are they protecting against now? We won't know everything until later.

In the West the dangers of such marriages are overstated, Hoben argues in the doctoral thesis she defended this week at the University of Groningen.

Yes, there sure are.

Charles Darwin, Albert Einstein, Edgar Allan Poe and Queen Victoria were all married to cousins. Yet a majority of Westerners reject marriages between cousins as incestuous. Women in particular see them as a threat to a healthy offspring.

There are definitely myths common in public perception.

Marriages between cousins may have been a response to adverse or tough living conditions, Hoben believes. “It may have been an adaptive choice: passing on good genes mighty have boosted immunity against specific diseases. But now that societies have become less isolated, the descendents of such marriages have become more susceptible to infections.

In some cases, genetic diversity is helpful. In other cases, you are diluting intelligence, abilities, immunities, etc.

In the United States, marriages between cousins are illegal.

In some states. Some states still ban cousin marriages, but none should.

In the Middle East, however, the prevailing view is far less negative. In Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Iraq they are even the standard option. Marriages between cousins, Hoben says, are valued differently in different countries and in different times.

It is time to let each adult marry the consenting adult(s) he or she wants to marry, without these arbitrary restrictions.

The West tends to overestimate the risks, according to Hoben. “A mother who drinks or uses drugs during her pregnancy poses a much bigger threat to her baby’s health. That, however, draws far less attention.” There are, Hoben admits, dangers but these differ in each family. The best way to counter the taboo against marriages between cousins may be to offer sound information about the real risks, which differ in each case.

Yes, this blog has been over all of this before. Concerns about birth defects are not justification to deny this freedom to marry.
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