sam on April 30, 2011, 01:43:45 pm
See, you have missed the point. How does a woman tell which genes are more likely to exist several generations later?

The woman does not.  Natural selection does, and selects women that prefer characteristics, that in the ancestral environment, were indicative of genes that are more likely to exist several generations later.

These characteristics are usually indicators of physical health, and/or anti social behavior, the latter because display of anti social behavior is an indicator of capacity to successfully get away with anti social behavior.

Consider the song "He is a rebel", the admiring description of Lord Byron.  "Mad, bad, and dangerous to know", and most Errol Flynn and Marlon Brando movies.

Consider also the Britney Spear song "Criminal"  http://www.directlyrics.com/britney-spears-criminal-lyrics.html

Women, notoriously, have a perception of male status that is unsophisticated compared to male perceptions, and resembles that of children.  I conjecture that males are under stronger selection to correctly judge male status, since a single incorrect male judgment could be fatal, and in the ancestral environment, probably frequently was fatal, whereas female judgments only need to be mostly correct.


J Thomas on April 30, 2011, 02:04:54 pm
See, you have missed the point. How does a woman tell which genes are more likely to exist several generations later?

The woman does not.  Natural selection does, and selects women that prefer characteristics, that in the ancestral environment, were indicative of genes that are more likely to exist several generations later.

Worse and worse. Now you want genes to be selected based on how they judge other genes. I have studied this question and it is possible to do it in a very large population, with many changeover cycles, provided the judging genes are closely linked to the genes they choose. (And of course provided that we actually evolve judging genes in the first place.) That is, it works for bacteria and maybe yeast over evolutionary time. It would take many thousands of generations for a human population of size 4 billion. In a smaller population, or in a large population divided into many small populations it could possibly spread faster but quite hit-or-miss, less likely to develop at all.

In short, this does not work unless somebody is doing genetic engineering to make it work.

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These characteristics are usually indicators of physical health, and/or anti social behavior, the latter because display of anti social behavior is an indicator of capacity to successfully get away with anti social behavior.

I could make my own estimate of how plausible your ideas are, but I want to point out that you are entirely making this up. There is no particular evidence. It's entirely hypothetical, based mostly on folktales.

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Consider the song "He is a rebel", the admiring description of Lord Byron.  "Mad, bad, and dangerous to know", and most Errol Flynn and Marlon Brando movies.

Exactly. Popular songs and movies as evidence about the genetics that hypothetically determine womens' hypothetical choices.

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Women, notoriously, have a perception of male status that is unsophisticated compared to male perceptions, and resembles that of children.

Brugle implies that when I respond to you with arguments he doesn't like, it makes him lose his judgement and agree with you, so I think I'll just pass on this one.
« Last Edit: April 30, 2011, 02:16:40 pm by J Thomas »

sam on April 30, 2011, 05:20:35 pm
See, you have missed the point. How does a woman tell which genes are more likely to exist several generations later?

The woman does not.  Natural selection does, and selects women that prefer characteristics, that in the ancestral environment, were indicative of genes that are more likely to exist several generations later.

Worse and worse. Now you want genes to be selected based on how they judge other genes.

As the politically correct always do, you have wound arguing against evolution itself, wound up arguing that the mind cannot be a product of evolution, cannot reflect evolutionary forces, wound up arguing the PC equivalent of creationism.

Popular songs and movies as evidence about the genetics that hypothetically determine womens' hypothetical choices.

Also, observations of women's actual choices.  Also observation of actual primitive societies:  Yanomamo live in a fair approximation to the ancestral environment, and direct measurement shows that Yanomamo killers do have greater reproductive success, so women who mate with killers and therefore produce killer sons should have greater reproductive success.

Evolutionary theory predicts women should choose badly behaved males. Popular songs and movies reveal that women lust for badly behaved males.  Everyday casual observation shows that women do choose badly behaved males.

quadibloc on April 30, 2011, 05:40:56 pm
Evolutionary theory predicts women should choose badly behaved males. Popular songs and movies reveal that women lust for badly behaved males.  Everyday casual observation shows that women do choose badly behaved males.
This is going to be hard to accept for some.

It is easy enough to attempt a point-by-point refutation of what you've said, on the order of:

You claim that this is what evolutionary theory predicts, but the people who should know don't say things that aren't PC.
Anecdotal evidence!
Anecdotal evidence!

I think, though, that we can all agree that this particular "refutation" is dishonest. (The problem is that while it is valid in saying "this isn't quite proof", it isn't sufficient to be a disproof in its own right of common sense. Then there's the favorite, "oh, you asserted something, so that makes it false unless you can prove it".) So I think the problem lies elsewhere. Such as in the definition of "badly behaved males".

Think "The Log-Driver's Waltz" instead of "Leader of the Pack".

The claim is not that women want men who will abuse them and cheat on them. (Shall I cite "These Boots Were Made for Walking" and "Half as Much"?)

The claim is rather that they want a man who is rugged and masculine, rather than weak and effeminate - because they want a man who is capable of defending them. The thing is, though, to get that kind of man, they have to take the bad along with the good. Or, at least, it has generally been believed, at least up until recently, that they would have to; avatars of the New Manhood such as Alan Alda have only come along rather recently.

Also, another problem is that "typical female behavior" is being used as shorthand for "typical female behavior, unmediated by an excess of cultural conditioning; that is, female behavior in the lower social classes". In the upper social classes, of course nonsense about marrying some football player or musician not of substance and pedigree is of course not countenanced in one's daughters.

J Thomas on April 30, 2011, 05:59:03 pm
See, you have missed the point. How does a woman tell which genes are more likely to exist several generations later?

The woman does not.  Natural selection does, and selects women that prefer characteristics, that in the ancestral environment, were indicative of genes that are more likely to exist several generations later.

Worse and worse. Now you want genes to be selected based on how they judge other genes.

As the politically correct always do, you have wound arguing against evolution itself, wound up arguing that the mind cannot be a product of evolution, cannot reflect evolutionary forces, wound up arguing the PC equivalent of creationism.

No. First you hypothesize genes that cause particular behaviors. This is a big leap for humans, though there is no compelling evidence that it can never happen.

Then you argue that those behaviors cause the genes to become assorted with other genes which are then selected. This is not in evidence, but it could be true, except to actually work it requires genetic mechanisms which are not yet known. Say a gene on chromosome 4 causes women to mate with men who have a particular gene on chromosome 6. So 1/4 of the time, the two genes will wind up together in a child and the good effects from this chromosome 6 will carry over to this chromosome 4. The child itself has more children, and half the children carry the right allele of chromosome 4 and half carry the right allele from chromosome 6. And the female grandchildren that get the right version of chromosome 4 will then prefer men with the right version of chromosome 6.

Can you imagine that this sort of rube goldberg evolution will take a long long time to actually work? And in the meantime, conditions are likely to change and that version of chromosome 6 stops being selected and something else is selected in its place....

When I do the numbers on that, it doesn't work out very well. Extremely slow evolution. However, it might work given some unknown molecular mechanism. For example, if some unknown mechanism moves the gene on chromosome 4 onto chromosome 6 near the gene it affects, or vice versa moves the other gene to chromosome 4, then all bets are off.

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Popular songs and movies as evidence about the genetics that hypothetically determine womens' hypothetical choices.

Also, observations of women's actual choices.

Occasional startling anecdotal evidence. It happens sometimes and gets a lot of attention.

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Also observation of actual primitive societies:  Yanomamo live in a fair approximation to the ancestral environment, and direct measurement shows that Yanomamo killers do have greater reproductive success, so women who mate with killers and therefore produce killer sons should have greater reproductive success.

Yanomamo gets a whole lot of attention partly because they fit people's stereotypes and partly because they are so different from most other cultures. They're exciting and different, which does not make them the norm to go by.

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Evolutionary theory predicts women should choose badly behaved males.

Your theory of sociobiology. Not evolutionary theory in general, which is waiting for behavioral genetics to give them data to work with.

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Popular songs and movies reveal that women lust for badly behaved males.  Everyday casual observation shows that women do choose badly behaved males.

It happens sometimes. It is by no means universal. I averaged less than 1 in 5. It gets a whole lot of attention because somehow people assume it should never happen. It gets into a lot of movie scripts because it's so much less boring than people who do what they're supposed to. You're drawing sweeping conclusions from anecdotal evidence. That doesn't prove you're wrong. I'm only pointing out that you are talking through your hat, you're making sweeping claims on the basis of essentially zero evidence.

If you made this level of claim for global warming the deniers would rightly point out that you had nothing.

They might then wrongly claim that because you have zero evidence for your claims, therefore you must be wrong. You could be right in spite of yourself. Just because you have no evidence whatsoever for something which we have no faintest concept of the biology for, and the population genetics does not work, does not mean you are wrong. You could have accidentally stumbled onto something which is true. Just because you have no faintest shred of proof for it, is not evidence against it. Only actual evidence that it does not happen would be evidence against it. And I don't have that evidence.

All I have is proof that your reasoning is flawed, and the genetic methods you postulate have as far as I know never been observed, and your social evidence comes from biased personal observation and pop culture. You have given no reason to believe you are right. But still, you could be right anyway.

sam on April 30, 2011, 08:45:04 pm
Evolutionary theory predicts women should choose badly behaved males. Popular songs and movies reveal that women lust for badly behaved males.  Everyday casual observation shows that women do choose badly behaved males.
This is going to be hard to accept for some.

It is easy enough to attempt a point-by-point refutation of what you've said, on the order of:

You claim that this is what evolutionary theory predicts, but the people who should know don't say things that aren't PC.
Anecdotal evidence!
Anecdotal evidence!

Actually they say things that violently politically incorrect in difficult to read scientific language

"Eppur si muove"

But precede and follow the political incorrectness by saying things that are politically correct in easy to read unscientific language, indeed, deliberately anti scientific, religious sounding language, language that has intentionally has the sound of a religious catechism.   

Similarly, similarly, Jay Zwally, having found that Greenland ice is increasing in thickness and continues to cover the same area as always, has been forced ever since to wander the earth crying "Repent, repent, the end is near, the ice is melting.  Melting, melting, melting, I tell you.", while continuing to publish scientific papers that if you read them very carefully, still say the Greenland ice is getting thicker, though now he phrases it much more obscurely.

And similarly similarly, Nei and Takezaki, of the Institute of Molecular Evolutionary Genetics were so careless as to publish in plain English that some human races were more evolved than others, and that the genetic difference between human races was large and comparable to the genetic difference between species, then publicly recanted and repented, and ever since have loudly and frequently proclaimed in plain English that there is no genetic difference between races, all differences between races (presumably including skin color) are purely cultural and environmental, that races are merely social and cultural convention, while continuing to publish papers that if you read them very carefully, and understand the obscure and cryptic scientific jargon deployed, actually say

In the twenty first century, genuine science has gone underground to hide from the inquisition, and speaks in difficult to decipher code.

I think, though, that we can all agree that this particular "refutation" is dishonest. (The problem is that while it is valid in saying "this isn't quite proof", it isn't sufficient to be a disproof in its own right of common sense. Then there's the favorite, "oh, you asserted something, so that makes it false unless you can prove it".) So I think the problem lies elsewhere. Such as in the definition of "badly behaved males".

Think "The Log-Driver's Waltz" instead of "Leader of the Pack".

The claim is not that women want men who will abuse them and cheat on them. (Shall I cite "These Boots Were Made for Walking" and "Half as Much"?)

The claim is rather that they want a man who is rugged and masculine, rather than weak and effeminate - because they want a man who is capable of defending them.

Possibly, but my impression is that females are not merely unimpressed by rugged and protective masculinity, but incapable of recognizing it when they see it.

Your theory presupposes they are patrolling for a mate, rather than a fling.  They primarily go with the bad boys for a fling.

They don't want a man who abuses them and cheats on them, but it looks to me that they do want a man who abuses and cheats on other women.  Observe that a wedding ring is no impediment, and possibly a considerable advantage, in picking up women, and a wing girl an enormous advantage.

The relative diversity of mitochondria as against Y chromosomes indicates the number of males among our ancestors was about half the number of females among our ancestors.

Also, another problem is that "typical female behavior" is being used as shorthand for "typical female behavior, unmediated by an excess of cultural conditioning; that is, female behavior in the lower social classes".

My observation is that educated women are no better behaved than working class women in terms of the males they get with.  The only large difference is that they are more apt to have abortions and less apt to bring random thug spawn to term.  Female lawyers are notorious.

In a marriage where housework is divided equally, or in a reasonably fair fashion, rather than being divided into man's work (taking out the garbage, unplugging the drains, mowing the lawn, and barbecuing meat) and woman's work (almost everything else)  the wife will stop sleeping with the husband, and very likely once in a week or so the wife's lover drops in to bang her on the main bed, rough her up a bit, take her money, and leave a mess for the husband to clean up.

The only marriages that survive are marriages that are substantially patriarchal, and for a marriage to be substantially patriarchal, the husband has to be able to shrug off extreme pressure and dire threats by his wife.

Now you might think that all those women going after death row killers are just a tiny minority of sexual weirdos - but you will not find one marriage where housework is strictly shared and rotated, except the husband sleeps on the couch, and the wife is banging a bad boy who would never share the housework.  Women who will not have sex with a man who truly treats them as equals are *not* a small minority of sexual deviants, but the overwhelming majority.

The politically correct do not in fact act as if they have internalized political correctness.  The average liberated woman would bang King Robert the Weasel as if she was a barn door in a high wind, without asking him to remove his blood covered boots first.

SandySandfort on April 30, 2011, 09:49:29 pm
And there were some provocative studies that seemed to indicate women statistically found the smell of men's sweat more pleasant when it was from someone whose HLA genes were different from theirs. But under other circumstances (while pregnant? I forget) they found the smell of their relatives' sweat more pleasant.

Actually, pheromones have no odor, though the effect of the pheromones may be interpreted as odor by test subjects. With regard to "testing the whole package is concerned," the t-shirt test is almost conclusive by itself. For all intent and purposes, every woman picked the the t-shirt belonging to the man whose HLA was most different from her own. Testing is ongoing, but so far, nothing has contradicted the basis thesis that HLA opposites attract.

The pregnancy thing is very interesting and I have come up with a speculation about it. The attraction that a women has to similar HLAs (i.e., family) not only was exhibited while a woman when she was pregnant, but also when she was experiencing fake pregnancy (i.e., was on the birth control pill). This interesting reversal is thought to exist, because it would move a pregnant woman more deeply into the protective environment of family. That is just speculation at this point, but it certainly makes sense.

I was thinking about going into a pheromone-related business, so I researched and thought about all aspects of this phenomenon a lot. A thought occurred to be, I did some research and came up with a striking correlation between the dramatic increase in the use of the birth control pill beginning in the'60s and the dramatic increase in the number of marriages that ended in divorce.

Of course, there are many factors associated with the increase in divorce, but a big factor could be the selection of a mate while using the pill. When a couple decided to have children, the wife would stop taking the pill and then realize, to her horror, that she had, from an HLA perspective, married her brother. Hello divorce court. The discovery of this correlation is apparently unique to me. I haven't seen it in the literature.


SandySandfort on April 30, 2011, 09:58:07 pm
In 1895, age of consent in Delaware was seven.  In 1901, age of consent in the US was generally around ten.  In Australia, in 1970, fourteen for girls of good character, twelve for girls of poor character. 

Your post suggested that living members of this Forum could have had sex with a 14-year old. Now, I am old, but not that old.

More to the point, though. I do not believe your numbers. Citations please, specifically for 1895 Delaware and 1901 United States ages of consent.

sam on April 30, 2011, 10:14:25 pm
As the politically correct always do, you have wound arguing against evolution itself, wound up arguing that the mind cannot be a product of evolution, cannot reflect evolutionary forces, wound up arguing the PC equivalent of creationism.

No. First you hypothesize genes that cause particular behaviors.

If you don't believe that behavior is largely genetically determined, you don't believe in evolution by natural selection.

As evidence that behavior is for the most part genetically determined, and thus evidence that evolution is capable of producing the human mind and human nature, recollect the striking similarities between identical twins raised apart.

Everyone sees, and only the politically correct purport to doubt, that the apple rarely falls far from the tree.

sam on April 30, 2011, 11:18:14 pm
Popular songs and movies reveal that women lust for badly behaved males.  Everyday casual observation shows that women do choose badly behaved males.

It happens sometimes. It is by no means universal.

First, consider the extremes.  The guy in jail for on death row for killing and eating some women gets marriage proposals in the mail from hot chicks.  The guy who lands the accounting contract for Intel does not.

Now consider the mainstream respectably married woman.  The marriage where the husband keeps the upper hand, lets his wife do the woman's work, restrains his wife's misbehavior, and checks on any of his wive's nights out and prohibits those that seem to give opportunity for misconduct, survives.  The equal and liberated marriage does not - to the best of my knowledge, none of them do - at least none survive where the housework is fairly and equally shared, none survive where there is no such thing as women's work and men's work.

Now consider the in between case:  picking up chicks.  If a man wears a wedding ring, it does him no harm and arguably does him some good.  If he has a wingwoman, it does him a great deal of good.

Put these facts together, it looks like the female preference for bad boys is as universal as the male preference for curvy females, or not far from it.

Since this preference is notoriously self destructive, and is damaging to family and society, needs explanation.  Evolutionary biology has a plausible explanation.  It is, you may well complain, a just-so story - but then, that is what creationists also complain.

Aardvark on May 01, 2011, 12:39:06 am
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sam: Put these facts together, it looks like the female preference for bad boys is as universal as the male preference for curvy females, or not far from it.

I'm with you, sam. William the Conquerer's other nickname was William the Bastard, and it was a compliment. In those days having an affair was risky, especially for the man who had to sneak in and ravish the lady. Being a bastard was scandalous, but it also romantic, and it meant that one's parents were virile, strong and bold.

Rome's finest women were attracted to gladiators, well-built men who risked their lives in the arena. They threw money and themselves at them, and, no doubt, produced many a child from the union. Yet the gladiators (the vast majority) were slaves. In those days, it wasn't adultery for a free-born women to have sex with slaves and sex wasn't the big deal it is today, but still....

Men have always desired a shapely, healthy body, the kind the kind that can produce children. Women have always sought strong, virile, healthy men who could protect them. Women marry up, regardless of how much money they make. Men don't care about a woman's wealth as much as they care about her body and ability to be a wife. When a woman has a lot of money,it's actually a net minus: unless she inherited it, it's a likely indicator that the woman will be more interested in her career than her guy, and it's also a red flag, not because wealth in itself is intimidating, but because it generally means that somewhere down the road, it will be used to establish her dominance in the relationship, and the vast majority of men don't like to be dominated by women.

A patriarchy is simply a male-dominated society. As far as I know, there never has been a true matriarchy. Even when women are put on pedestals and worshipped, men have always, from what I've read, taken the preferred positions in society for themselves.

As far as one sex being braver than the other, it's been noted that a mother will go crazy when she sees her children being hurt, but so will a father. Without any evidence to the contrary, I'll call it even. However, there is a fight or flight reflex, and men, who are more aggressive, tend to stand and fight, while women tend to flee, almost certainly a survival instinct.

Tucci78 on May 01, 2011, 04:23:49 am
We've got a thread here started on the putative "pedophilia" of Commissar Rhonda's U.W. plan to extort a simulacrum of Belter aggression by way of the kidnapping and threatened gang rape of a 12 year old Ceres female (which, as I've observed, distorts the concept of "pedophilia" all to hellangone), and now we're witnessing a bunch of speculation on sociobiology.

Go figure.

I don't think that it can be honestly contended that there aren't genetic factors involved in the human mating dance, however elaborate and inefficient and embarrassingly stupid it is.  The process of evolution results from a selection bias which favors the propogation and survival of traits (physical and mental/behavioral) which are conducive to getting offspring and ensuring their growth to reproductive maturity and their creation of the next generation, and so on. 

Didn't Larry Niven go into this big-time when he thought up the Pak (see Protector, 1973)?

The individual human being's sexual behavior, however, doesn't seem to be focused even at second or third remove on baking babies and raising them to adulthood, but rather upon erotic pleasure, and we've got some considerable fund of knowledge regarding paraphilias, which I've tended to consider libidinal fixations which divert a person's erotic efforts from orthosexual copulation, whether somebody considers it "atypical and extreme" or not.   

In vitro fertilization aside, if it results in ejaculation outside the vaginal fornix of a female with ovaries capable of putting viable eggs into the Fallopian tubes, it's being done entirely for pleasure, and procreation has nothing to do with it.  Noise about how the mother of dependent children uses her yoni as a honey trap to keep her kids' breadwinner from decamping is a contention that discounts to damn' near worthlessness. 

Rather than emphasis on the hardware - the genes which encode for traits physical and instinctual - it's more sensible to focus our attention on the software, the ways we human beings "program" our conduct in order to overcome adversity and exploit opportunity. 

This explains our courtship rituals and "arrangements for living" a whole bunch more effectively than do pheromones and "bad boy" posturing and the scent of Old Spice.  I don't deny the limbic system's role, but the telencephalon has to be given it's due.  We're a sapient - not just sentient - species. 

Insofar as the begetting and raising of children is concerned, if it's a desideratum among human beings, it's a process undertaken for reasons way beyond the blind urge to increase the prevalence of one's genetic complement.  The cost of child-rearing is high.  In polities where levels of technological sophistication are much above that of subsistence agriculture, it's definitely a negative-sum game for parents and other caregivers, so why do we do it?

There are sociobiological factors operating, certainly, but they're not the most of the motive, else human beings wouldn't invest so much thought and effort and material resource in the activity.  And there wouldn't be that much reliable tendency for people to make that investment in children who don't carry their genes, which a whole bunch of us have done since before the beginning of recorded history, not only through adoption but by way of charitable and educational and recreational activities undertaken in support of other, unrelated, people's kids.
"I is a great believer in peaceful settlements," Jik-jik assured him. "Ain't nobody as peaceful as a dead trouble-maker."
-- Keith Laumer, Retief's War (1966)

J Thomas on May 01, 2011, 06:13:19 am
And there were some provocative studies that seemed to indicate women statistically found the smell of men's sweat more pleasant when it was from someone whose HLA genes were different from theirs. But under other circumstances (while pregnant? I forget) they found the smell of their relatives' sweat more pleasant.

Actually, pheromones have no odor, though the effect of the pheromones may be interpreted as odor by test subjects. With regard to "testing the whole package is concerned," the t-shirt test is almost conclusive by itself. For all intent and purposes, every woman picked the the t-shirt belonging to the man whose HLA was most different from her own. Testing is ongoing, but so far, nothing has contradicted the basis thesis that HLA opposites attract.

The pregnancy thing is very interesting and I have come up with a speculation about it. The attraction that a women has to similar HLAs (i.e., family) not only was exhibited while a woman when she was pregnant, but also when she was experiencing fake pregnancy (i.e., was on the birth control pill). This interesting reversal is thought to exist, because it would move a pregnant woman more deeply into the protective environment of family. That is just speculation at this point, but it certainly makes sense.

I was thinking about going into a pheromone-related business, so I researched and thought about all aspects of this phenomenon a lot. A thought occurred to be, I did some research and came up with a striking correlation between the dramatic increase in the use of the birth control pill beginning in the'60s and the dramatic increase in the number of marriages that ended in divorce.

Of course, there are many factors associated with the increase in divorce, but a big factor could be the selection of a mate while using the pill. When a couple decided to have children, the wife would stop taking the pill and then realize, to her horror, that she had, from an HLA perspective, married her brother. Hello divorce court. The discovery of this correlation is apparently unique to me. I haven't seen it in the literature.

That's a fascinating idea! Thank you!

Aardvark on May 01, 2011, 09:03:06 am
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Tucci78: Insofar as the begetting and raising of children is concerned, if it's a desideratum among human beings, it's a process undertaken for reasons way beyond the blind urge to increase the prevalence of one's genetic complement.  The cost of child-rearing is high.  In polities where levels of technological sophistication are much above that of subsistence agriculture, it's definitely a negative-sum game for parents and other caregivers, so why do we do it?

Instinct. It's not a calculation. The desire to reproduce is powerful. Look at a woman looking at a cute baby. Unless she has a burr up her butt, her face softens. She might say something like, "Aww, he/she's so cute." Women come from a very long, unbroken line of mothers, most of whom wanted kids. When guys settle down, most of them want to make their wives mothers.   

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There are sociobiological factors operating, certainly, but they're not the most of the motive, else human beings wouldn't invest so much thought and effort and material resource in the activity.  And there wouldn't be that much reliable tendency for people to make that investment in children who don't carry their genes, which a whole bunch of us have done since before the beginning of recorded history, not only through adoption but by way of charitable and educational and recreational activities undertaken in support of other, unrelated, people's kids.

I think that it's obvious that the vast majority of human beings want to pass their own genes along to the next generation. Few wives are stupid enough to tell their husbands that the child he's supporting came from the guy down the street. People adopt, but it's by choice. In an adoption, the original parents (if they are alive) give up their rights to the child. It's a contract, a legal transfer of parental rights.

However, there are social factors that determine if a mother or father want children, more important than the simple calculus of how much money one is willing to spend to rear a child. Certain poor societies have a lot of children. Other, richer societies aren't having enough children to replace those who are dying of old age.

Why is this? Part of it is due to birth control. Without birth control, a woman has children, usually lots of them, and with those children, her destiny is mainly that of housewife and mother. In those societies, she grows up with that knowledge and generally embraces her fate. With birth control, a woman has more control over her life. She may decide that one or three children are enough, and stop. A career becomes an option, and gradually, the society stabilizes or wanes.

The ancient Romans also had birth control. Emperors issued edicts reminding Roman women to do their duty and have children to replenish the state. Roman society was interesting enough, apparently, even without many careers for women, and Roman women generally chose not to have more than three, the number required for a Roman woman to fulfill her duty, or four. Plus, having children was dangerous back then. Roman men used to complain about the dearth of marriageable women. There were other factors, too, such as not wanting to have too many heirs for an estate, but other societies that had the same problem had more children than the Romans did.

But there are yet other factors, that, I think are at least as important as birth control: the strength of a society and how one feels about it.

Fairly recently, a British newspaper, or perhaps it was the BBC, polled those men and women who went through the WWII era, and asked them if they were glad to see today's Britain. The majority were angry and bitter about what happened to their country. They felt betrayed by the post-war government. It isn't just them. When a parent has lost hope and is disgusted with their own culture -- when they find that they don't share its values -- it's less likely that he or she will desire children, and that is reflected in the below replacement birth figures of the majority of the EU. However, immigrant populations, notably the Muslims, who see themselves as an expanding culture, are having far more children. In something like fifty years, if the birth rates and immigration rates remain the same, England could have a Muslim majority.

Relating this to Ceres, I think that even absent a very long life span, people would be more willing to have children. They seem to be a happy, optimistic group, proud of their culture and seeing a boundless future of opportunity.

quadibloc on May 01, 2011, 09:12:08 am
One aggregation of available U.S. information (see http://tinyurl.com/2ylwsl, published 2005) states that the then-prevailing median age at first intercourse was 16.9 years for males and 17.4 years for females

It does not seem at all plausible that age of first intercourse was older for females than males.

Claimed age of first intercourse might be older, given that actual age was usually illegal.
It's certainly true that, given current cultural norms, a woman would be less likely to admit to early sexual experience than a male.

However, it does not follow that this necessarily accounts for the discrepancy seen here.

Problem:

In a study, 40 typical males, and 40 typical females, from the same population group, are interviewed.

These interviews revealed the following statistics:

1) The average age of first intercourse for the males was 15.

2) The average age of first intercourse for the females was 17.

3) When a male had his first sexual experience, he did so with a female who was, on the average, 1 year younger than he was.

Suggest a scenario, involving another 40 males and 40 females whose ages would have been appropriate to their being reproductively isolated, but whose characteristics are the same as those interviewed, which could yield these results.

Solution:

One scenario which is consistent with all three statistics is as follows:

All 40 males had their first intercourse at age 15.

Of the 40 females, 10 of them had their first intercourse at age 14, and the other 30 had their first intercourse at age 18.

At 14, those 10 tramps had all the 40 males to themselves. QED