Ignorance of physiological paternity  

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"I have pointed out ad nauseam that the aborigines are aware of the fact that intercourse is a necessary factor in the production of childbirth, but that they do not consider it to be of any great importance in the production of such a condition."--Sex, Man, and Society (1969) by Ashley Montagu

"To the Australians an exact knowledge of physical paternity is not relevant. Concern about fatherhood as a physical reality depends, as far as I can see, on the standardized sentiments of sexual jealousy and, in close relation with this, on the emotionally determined value of direct lineage in the male line. The so-called primitive ignorance of paternity is nothing else but a very imperfect knowledge that intercourse is a necessary though not sufficient condition of the woman being “ opened up ” as my Trobriand friends put it. This is always combined with some form of animistic superstructure, which in fact we find even in the Christian doctrine of the new soul being created concurrently with the body. The problem therefore is really one of emphasis and value." --Foreword by Bronisław Malinowski to Coming Into Being Among The Australian Aborigines (1936) by Ashley Montagu

"The controversy fuelled by the publication of Edmund Leach's paper 'Virgin birth' (1967) and fanned in the pages of Man between 1967-75 revolved around the question of 'whether certain primitive peoples . . . were or were not ignorant of the facts of physiological paternity' (Leach 1967: 39)."--"The Meaning of Paternity and the Virgin Birth Debate" (‎1986) by C Delaney

"Since the dogma of the Virgin Birth disavows physical paternity, Leach thinks it is comparable with the beliefs of the Trobrianders which also disavow such a connexion. At the same time, Leach points out that 'the myth of the Virgin Birth does not imply ignorance of physiological paternity. On the contrary, it serves to reinforce the dogma that the Virgin's child is the Son of God' (1967: 42)."--"The Meaning of Paternity and the Virgin Birth Debate" (‎1986) by C Delaney

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Knowledge or ignorance of paternity is a contested concept in 20th century anthropology.

See also

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