This site is not maintained. Click here for the new website of Richard Dawkins.


← The Dissent Of Darwin - The World Of Richard Dawkins

Cartomancer's Avatar Jump to comment 5 by Cartomancer

What's up with guys and their obsession with their, uh, testicles? ;)
Funny that should come up. By sheerest coincidence I did a little informal survey on the subject with my friends the other day, inspired by a conversation about the castration of Peter Abelard. The results surprised me. Basically I asked them all whether they would, if forced to choose one or the other, rather lose their primary writing arm or their testicles. Funnily enough all the rest of them plumped for losing the arm - I was the only exception here. Repeating the question with eyes or testicles got similar results, although the split was 3-5 in favour of the dangly bits this time rather than 1-7. Hearing took it back to 1-7, both arms got it to 2-7, continence to 2-7 and one or both legs back to 1-7.

This really did surprise me. I would have thought that manipulative limbs, sense perception, bipedal locomotion and freedom from soiling oneself every five minutes were far more useful in modern life than pendulous hormone-producing organs that remain stashed in one's trousers and are never on display. I began to think that maybe natural selection had influenced the mindsets of my friends rather more than I would previously have given it credit for - the "protect the testicles" instinct certainly seemed to override cohereht thinking, despite the rational arguments I made for their lack of value in the grand scheme of things. I certainly would have expected fellow DPhil students to give greater shrift to the pragmatic arguments rather than resorting to such a cliched position. Is there a cultural thing I'm missing here perhaps? Or maybe it's because they were all drinking alcohol at the time and I do not. Could that sway it?

I'm wittering again aren't I?

Wed, 14 May 2008 19:53:00 UTC | #171241