Father’s Day – anachronism, atavism, or reason to celebrate?

Father's Day

The Last Father’s Day?

There are two theories about fathers. One represented by Women After All by Melvin Konner believes that at best fathers are unnecessary, but at worst they are a threat to civilization and humanity. The alternate theory represented by Do Fathers Matter? by Paul Raeburn expounds that fathers are important and salvation for the futures

A brief digression. The fable of regret, dread, and fantasy.


Long ago there lived a very happy snake. Each day the snake awoke afresh with no memory of any day before. The snake was happy.

One day the snake met a wizard who granted the snake three wishes. With each day new, the snake had never wanted anything.

But on this day it looked around at man, “Like man I wish to remember the past.” As the snake recalled its past life, it experienced regret for the first time, for mistakes, errors, and missed opportunities.

It had so much regret, it wished to be able to think of the future and plan. With its second wish, the snake experienced dread and fear.

With this broad purview, the snake made its final wish, “I wish to be able to fantasize and escape my miserable life.”

Thus the snake had learned the secret of true misery: Collect regrets from the past, use them to fill the future with dread, and, most of all, ignore the present.


Do Fathers Matter? by Paul Raeburn is like the snake before the three wishes. Raeburn reviews evolutionary biology and history of fatherhood with a snakelike focus on a father’s contribution during each phase of reproduction: pre-conception, conception, during pregnancy, and during the various post-natal stages. At each point he shows the importance of the father’s participation. Like the snake, each day is unique and wonderful.

As reported by Raeburn, parthenogenesis is impossible. Current science shows that both males and females contribute unique and vital genetic material, so a new life is not possible with contributions from both sexes.

Each day is Happy Father’s Day.

Women After All by Melvin Konner personifies the miserable snake after the three wishes.

Konner reaches back to the evolution of sex noting that life started with only females. With regret he reports the evolution of a second sex (males), but with a more cheerful note, he reports that there are some examples of species reverting to the single sex (female) mode.

He shows that primate females (including humans) were usually in charge or equal, with the exception of the last few thousand years. These recent millennia were marked by brutal female subjugation, violence, and rape. For several sickening chapters, Konner shows that sex trafficking, slavery, and rape is universally practiced.

Konner mixes this regretful past with the assurance that future science will solve all the problems with parthenogenesis, and in a few decades male humans will be superfluous. Bottom line: Men should dread the future where they will be unnecessary.

The message seems to be that fathers need to straighten out or be consigned to a life of regret and dread as they are phased out.

Today is Happy Father’s Day, enjoy it while you can.

Be careful what you wish for.

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