The Wit To

graduate advising, and colloquium-giving), but are discouraged from enjoying any sexual benefits from these displays, so are kept in a state of perpetual quasi-courtship until retirement.

These scientific traditions are ingenious ways of harnessing human courtship effort to produce cumulative progress towards world-models that are abstract, communicable, and true. It is surprising that science works so well, given the absence of referential content in the sexual signals of all other species, and our Scheherazade-style genius for fictional entertainment. Science is not asexual or passionless. But neither is it a result of some crudely sublimated sex drive. Rather, it is one of our most sophisticated arenas for human courtship, which is the most complex and conscious form of mating that has ever evolved on our planet.

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