We’ve been talking about marriage (here, here, and here). We’ve established that marriage has a history, it has variability, and that it is hard to pin down a narrowly defined set of functions for it. However, I also suggested that when we strip away a lot of variants that have special explanations (even if those variants are MOST of the variants of marriage) there is a thing we can call marriage that has a limited and understandable set of functions, or at least, there is a thing we can understand in a very basic evolutionary and social way. And we’ll get to that. But first, I want to take a short detour to cover two important concepts that almost always get in the way of understanding human behavior from a biological perspective: The naturalistic fallacy (in this post), and the fallacy of the pristine primitive (in the next post). You’ve heard of the former and we’ve discussed it here before. I’ve made indirect references to the latter but have not addressed it intensively, and when I do as part of this discussion of marriage I only want to talk about part of that concept, so I’m shortening the name to reflect that narrow approach to the “Primitive Fallacy” or the “Fallacy of the Primitive.” It may be the most annoying of all of the anthropologically related fallacies, it is one of the most common, and it is spoken about the least, possibly because it is so annoying.