Saturday, October 13, 2012

Now what?


Recent research, such as by historical economist Gregory Clark, suggests that differences in mental and behavioral traits cannot always be ascribed to different reproductive strategies, as Philippe Rushton suggested. There probably will never be a unified theory of human biodiversity … other than the theory of evolution by natural selection.


Last March, I was asked to review a paper for a special issue of Personality and Individual Differences about J. Philippe Rushton. I had no idea that he was gravely ill and would die the same year. Nor did I know that this special issue would come out after his death, as a tribute to his life and work.

That special issue having now been published, and the comments being of a general nature, I am free to post them. A few explanatory notes have been added.


----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 
J. Philippe Rushton has long been a voice crying in the wilderness. As such, he has suffered insults, harassment, and even assaults. At one point, the Ontario Provincial Police investigated him (under orders from the Premier of Ontario). His crime? Writing articles for peer-reviewed journals. His life story shows just how little we value academic dissent.

I, for one, value dissenters like Rushton, and it is as a friendly critic that I write the following comments. Like him, I believe that human populations differ statistically in a wide variety of mental capacities and behavioral predispositions. Such differences are even expectable. Around 10,000 years ago, human genetic evolution actually speeded up over a hundred-fold, and this was not a time when humans were entering new physical environments. It was a time when they were entering new cultural environments. Humans were no longer adapting to new types of climate, landscape, and vegetation. They were now adapting to new types of technology, social structure, and codified behavior (Hawks et al., 2007).

Like Rushton, I believe that these mental and behavioral differences must be viewed from the broader perspective of evolutionary theory. I likewise relate them to other human differences, notably in reproductive strategy and mating system.

Unlike Rushton, however, I have no wish to fit all of these differences into a single unifying theory, other than the theory of evolution by natural selection. There is evidence, for instance, that over the past thousand years Ashkenazi Jews have diverged in mean intelligence from Sephardic Jews (Cochran, Hardy & Harpending, 2006). Can this evolutionary change be attributed to a change in reproductive strategy? Isn’t it simply a response to the cognitive demands that come with specializing in trade and crafts?

Such gene-culture co-evolution has probably occurred in other groups, such as the Parsees in India. The high mean intelligence of East Asian societies (China, Korea, Japan) also seems of recent historical origin and may be related to the widespread use of exams as a means of social advancement, especially the imperial civil-service exam. [NOTE: East Asian societies also seem to have undergone the same sort of internal population replacement that Gregory Clark described in his study of English society, see Unz, 1980].

Then there is Gregory Clark’s finding that the English upper and middle classes had been steadily out-breeding the English lower classes until the 19th century. This internal population replacement acted as a strong selection pressure for middle-class values of thrift, self-restraint, and future time orientation (Clark, 2007).  

Thus, humans show a great deal of mental and behavioral variation that does not easily fit into the model of r vs. K. It is even debatable whether this model explains any variation. In other species, the relationship between reproductive strategy and climate zone is actually the reverse of what Rushton postulates. Tropical animals are typically K and non-tropical animals typically r. This is because the latter go through ‘boom and bust’ population cycles, due to a harsher and more unstable climate, and need an ‘r’ reproductive strategy to recover from the frequent downturns:

Thus, in the temperate zones selection often favors high fecundity and rapid development, whereas in the tropics lower fecundity and slower development could act to increase competitive ability. By putting more energy into each offspring and producing fewer total offspring, overall individual fitness is increased. The small clutch sizes characteristic of many tropical birds are consistent with Dobzhansky's hypothesis. (Pianka, 1970)

Rushton is half-right on one point. The human species does seem to have undergone selection for increased intelligence beyond the tropical zone, particularly during the hunting and gathering stage. This is seen in the correlation between latitude and complexity of tools and weapons, as noted by Hoffecker (2002, p. 135) when comparing modern humans and Neanderthals:

Both in terms of the number of types and component parts of individual implements, the complexity of Neanderthal tools and weapons is significantly lower than that of hunter-gatherers in northern latitudes (and more typical of modern groups in temperate or equatorial regions) […] Technological complexity in colder environments seems to reflect the need for greater foraging efficiency in settings where many resources are available only for limited periods of time.

Arctic humans coped with fluctuating resources and a mobile lifestyle by planning ahead, as seen in their use of untended devices (traps and snares) and means of food storage. In addition, these cognitive demands fell on both sexes, unlike the situation in the tropical zone—where women provided for their families year-round with less male assistance (Kelly, 1995, pp. 268-269; Martin, 1974, pp. 16-18). With men providing most of the food, women could enter a new range of tasks: food processing (butchery and carcass transport); shelter building; garment making; leather working; transport of material goods; etc. (Waguespack, 2005). This cognitive revolution would pave the way for later, more impressive developments—what we now call ‘civilization.’

But where do r and K fit into all of this? Arctic hunter-gatherers are, if anything, more ‘r’ than tropical hunter-gatherers, like Pygmies and Khoisans. A high ‘K’ reproductive strategy now prevails throughout sub-Saharan Africa, but this is a relatively recent development due to the expansion of agricultural peoples over the past seven thousand years.

One could make similar criticisms of Rushton’s theorizing on dark coloration and aggression, which is an extension of his r vs. K theory of human differences. [NOTE: Rushton found a cross-species correlation between darkness of coloration and aggressiveness, see Templer & Rushton, 2011]. First, birds are not light- or dark-colored as a function of latitude. Plumage coloration serves largely as a visual signal and not as a UV shield. There are other factors that make it difficult to extrapolate in this respect from humans to non-humans. In humans, the relationship between a tropical environment and male aggressiveness results from a cascade of evolutionary events:

1. Year-round tropical agriculture enables women to provide for themselves and their children with little male assistance.

2. This female reproductive autonomy lowers the cost of polygyny for men. More men can afford to have second wives.

3. More polygyny means more male-male rivalry for access to women. There is thus selection for men with higher testosterone levels, a more robust body build, and greater ability to fight off male rivals.

It is hard to see how this cascade of events applies to other species. Chickens, for instance, have not discovered farming. Nor is their coloration a climatic adaptation.

I am not disputing here the existence of a cross-species correlation between darker coloration and male aggressiveness. But there is an alternate explanation. Whatever the species, individuals are usually born with little or no pigment. Lighter coloration thus becomes associated with vulnerability and a need for parental care and protection. In contradistinction to this sign stimulus, adult males tend to evolve a darker coloration, especially in a context of intense male-male rivalry. This tendency was noted by Guthrie (1970):

Light skin seems to be more paedomorphic, since individuals of all races tend to darken with age. Even in the gorilla, the most heavily pigmented of the hominoids, the young are born with very little pigment. […] Thus, a lighter colored individual may present a less threatening, more juvenile image.

This point is further discussed in Frost (2011). In our own species, there seems to be a strong cross-cultural trend to associate darker skin with men and lighter skin with infants and women.

No theory is born perfect. Imperfections are to be expected and are normally ironed out through debate and discussion. But Rushton has been denied a normal academic environment. Criticism has almost inevitably been of the hostile sort, even to the point of being spiteful, incoherent, and self-contradictory. In this, the marketplace of ideas has suffered as much as he has. And we are all worse off.

References

Clark G. (2007). A Farewell to Alms. A Brief Economic History of the World. Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press

Cochran. G. M. , J. Hardy & H. Harpending. (2006). The natural history of Ashkenazi intelligence. Journal of Biosocial Science, 38, 659-693.

Frost. P. (2011). Hue and luminosity of human skin: a visual cue for gender recognition and other mental tasks, Human Ethology Bulletin, 26(2), 25-34.
http://media.anthro.univie.ac.at/ISHE/index.php/bulletin/bulletin-contents

Guthrie, R.D. (1970). Evolution of human threat display organs, Evolutionary Biology 4, 257-302.

Hawks J., E.T. Wang, G.M. Cochran, H. Harpending, & R.K. Moyzis. (2007). Recent acceleration of human adaptive evolution. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (USA), 104, 20753-20758.

Hoffecker, J.F. (2002). Desolate Landscapes. Ice-Age Settlement in Eastern Europe. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press.

Kelly, R.L.(1955). The Foraging Spectrum. Diversity in Hunter-Gatherer Lifeways. Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press.

Martin, M.K. (1974). The Foraging Adaptation — Uniformity or Diversity? Addison‑Wesley Module in Anthropology 56.

Pianka, E.R. (1970). On r- and K-Selection, The American Naturalist, 104, 592-597.

Templer, D. I., & Rushton, J. P. (2011). IQ, skin color, crime, HIV/AIDS, and income in 50 U.S. states. Intelligence, 39(20), 437-442.

Unz, R. (1980). Preliminary notes on the possible sociobiological implications of the rural Chinese political economy, unpublished paper.
http://www.ronunz.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/ChineseIntelligence.pdf

Waguespack, N.M. (2005). The organization of male and female labor in foraging societies: Implications for early Paleoindian archaeology. American Anthropologist, 107, 666-676.

45 comments:

Sean said...

"Such differences are even expectable"

In the 1968 book 'Man's Evolution' by Brace and Montagu, they opine that increases in intelligence had some advantage only up until brains stopped increasing in size. But then they posit differences would emerge with those in advanced cultures declining in intelligence. The book says:-

"One might even speculate that if any differences in intelligence are found in the future they will be in inverse proportion to the efficiency of the cultural adaptive mechanisms of the group concerned. In highly effective cultures even the dull witted can survive and reproduce".

So it turns out that there is no problem in positing a gene-culture co-evolution theory implying or stating the evolved genetic intellectual weakness of a human group, as long as people from advanced cultures are suggested to be inferior.

Here is a more recent quote from Dr Brace
"The adoption of the biologically indefensible American concept of "race" by an admiring world has to be the ultimate manifestation of political correctness."

How true.

Anonymous said...

"1. Year-round tropical agriculture enables women to provide for themselves and their children with little male assistance.

2. This female reproductive autonomy lowers the cost of polygyny for men. More men can afford to have second wives.

3. More polygyny means more male-male rivalry for access to women. There is thus selection for men with higher testosterone levels, a more robust body build, and greater ability to fight off male rivals."


One thing I would object to about this Peter, is that high relative female involvement in agriculture (female farming systems), seems more of a function of path dependence.

That is to say, the hunter-gatherer populations of West Africa (and Oceania - e.g. Papua New Guinea and Australia) seem like the females do relatively more of the work (and, e.g. Khoi-San (who are particularly non-violent compared to Aboriginal Australians) seem relaxed in selection for some traits of male robustness useful to male provisioning as a response - see their small and gracile builds and crania).

I'd guess this relaxed selection on male "provider" traits, which led to the female focused farming systems, which then led to the cascade you describe.

I say this particularly because the farming systems of India, South East Asia, Mexico seem to have no association with robust males or greater ability to fight off male rivals at all. But that's because, even though they were in the tropical zone, their ancestral males were much more selected for provisioning, preventing the establishment of any kind of female centered farming system.

Peter Fros_ said...

Sean,

Brace and Montagu are referring to a relatively recent phenomenon. If we take England, the middle class was out-reproducing the poor until the mid-1800s. It was the Industrial Revolution that changed everything. Mass-production created large numbers of simple, stable jobs that could support anyone with an ability for repetitive work. Big industry also laid the foundations for the future welfare state by providing subsidized housing and free medical care for employees. Meanwhile, the middle class no longer depended on their own children as a source of labor (as was the case with cottage industry). A successful entrepreneur simply hired more workers, instead of marrying earlier and having more children.

Anon,

I see your point. But if we look at the Amerindians of the Amazon basin, we do see a convergence on the "African" pattern, i.e., greater female involvement in horticulture, more polygyny, more male-male rivalry. This gene-culture co-evolution hasn't proceded as far there as it has in Africa because the time-depth is shallower.

I suspect the same thing could be said for India and South-East Asia. The indigenous inhabitants were displaced by intrusive populations from the north. If we go back three thousand years, South-East Asia and much of India were still inhabited by hunter-gatherers similar in appearance and lifestyle to those of Papua-New-Guinea.

Ben10 said...

In the last post, I asked why would the Prime Minister of Ontario feeled so involved into an academic work that was not his bussiness. The picture that transpires from wikipedia about the Premier, David Peterson, is the one of a rather typical politician, but offers no clues to answer this question.
However, 5 minutes of search on internet tell us that the Prime minister's father, the steel bussinessman Milton Harris, was a passionate of Primate Research.
So his son David was likely not completely ignorant of matters related to anthropology. Look there:
http://www.laurelsteel.com/news.html
Obviously, if you read the text, the most pertinent information, while not namely mentioned, transpired so obviously that there is no need to mention it here either. But here you go, 'this' is why a Prime Minister felt necessary to meddle into things that were, in appearance, not his bussiness. Same old, very old, news.

Sean said...

Peter, Brace well understood the mechanisms of gene-culture co-evolution over 40 years ago. He just wouldn't accept that they'd worked in a particular way, and he still doesn't.

Ben10, yes what's going to happen next is there will be more of the same. The Nazi regime used Darwinian ideas to justify a path Germany's relative power and circumstances mandated, and that Germany had already set out on (in WW1).

Darwinian science is toxic to the policies that policymakers in the West see as necessary, so the inconvenient science will be continue to be suppressed.

Mike Steinberg said...

***that policymakers in the West see as necessary, so the inconvenient science ***

Maybe, although that's going to become more difficult as China plows ahead regardless.

http://infoproc.blogspot.co.nz/2010/06/china-genomics-without-political.html

Tyrion Lannister said...

Before civilization added multiple layers of complexity, there were essentially two super-categories of humans:

Environmentally Selected Humans: These are populations which survived in low population deserts, rainforests, tundra, remote islands, and such. For them, the greatest obstacles to mating were freezing to death, dying of thirst, being eaten by a tiger, or whatever. They had relatively high testosterone levels, robust skeletal structures, etc.

Sexually Selected Humans: These are populations which survived in the fertile temperate habitats, especially the major river valleys and deltas. For them, the greatest obstacles to mating were other males, increasingly intelligent and vicious males hellbent on killing you and taking your wife, mom, sisters, and daughters for themselves.

The human brain isn't large enough to decipher differential calculus and program apps because that's environmentally adaptive. It's not. It's environmentally maladaptive…a massive calorie sink, a nightmare for child delivery, and a huge vulnerability in terms of instincts becoming secondary to whichever abstractions are dumped into it.

It's our anthropocentric vanity that lulls us into seeing environmental selection for intelligence as natural…despite common sense and the record clearly demonstrating otherwise. The only (and I do mean only ) reason human intelligence exists as it does is as an instrument of male territorial aggression. The human male brain is designed by and for war. And human females have massive brains for the same reason human males have nipples.


Male territorial aggression in the most fertile (and therefore populous) regions was ubiquitous before the transition to sedentary civilization, resulting in a chronic gender imbalance. While polygyny ensured that all fertile females would be mated with, neoteny and attractiveness determined whether a female would manage to mate with the most powerful (intelligent and therefore militarily successful) males.

The acute selection for neoteny and feminine attractiveness selects against testosterone and other “manliness factors”. It's one of those gender selection trade-offs,.


The final wrinkle with this is that Caucasians have rather recently stumbled across a series of adaptations which serve as misleading indicators of neoteny: white skin, blue eyes, and blonde hair. This changed the equation, easing the selective pressure on the “master switch” of testosterone which was evolution's only option for making Asian females more attractive. White females could retain the lantern jaws, broad shoulders, and other less feminine features because they had cheat codes which made them appear more feminized than they actually are.

Mac said...

Peter,
You said on the mortality north European steppe tundra hunters suffered 20,000 years ago, it also seems to accept your theory that sexual selection of women took place there as can be observed in the population of this area today, though the effects of sexual selection of women are most strikingly exemplified further north in Scandinavia which was under a kilometer of ice at that time of course.
How could sexual selection of women happen if it was as viable for women to support a family as to have a man supporting woman and children by hunting: it couldn't. Never mind this particular scenario, for any sexual selection of women many women must not successfully reproduce viable children, who go on to have ther own offspring and so on.
This hunting enviroment required covering vast distances on foot in minus 15 degrees and was a man killer, the death of so many men produced a unique situation; women needed to be special to get a mate. (incidently I now incline towards beliving that gracilization in N. European men is an adaptation to covering these huge distances on foot, less bodyweight to be moved less stress on the ankle for a broken ankle would be deadly ect.)

Yes maybe some men were successfuly impregnating lone or cheating women and some of these women who got by as you suggest -- by providing services-- but they were outbred by the "married" women who had a capable provider husband; being supported by a dedicated provider these married women's children died less often. Being in demand the men might decide to abandon their dependants which would be disastrous for them AS IN NO OTHER ENVIROMENT. The solution would be that the women with the most "caring and sharing inducing" looks would tend to survive. Therefor some characteristics of N. European women have an evolutionary rationale --"are there"-- to induce men to feel good about being a faithful provider to their wife as opposed to abandoning them. White skin is an obvious contender for such a characteristic. The totaly helpless human baby has light skin (as well as a special smell) which induces provisioning and care. Light skin can be said to be child like , what terminology to use I am not sure now, "caring and sharing inducing" characteristics will have to do. I defer to superior knowledge in the matter of face shape.

Erik said...

Ashley Montagu was a charlatan, not for believing in something but for behaving like ones. There is much to their behaviors, but the following should be enough.Montagu immigrated to the U.S. and managed to get a job teaching dental students anatomy after claiming that he had graduated from Cambridge and Oxford, had 15 anthropological publications and was highly recommended by Arthur Keith. But he was lying. He had no degrees from these institutions and only years later would he get a Ph.D. and that too in cultural anthropology. Montagu was desperate to get credentials as an anthropologist and then use an argument by authority and other foulness to attack physical anthropology. His methods were so vile that Rutgers university could only handle 6 years of him as professor and fired him, and no other university would hire him as professor. http://www.femininebeauty.info/f/marks.physical.cultural.anthropology.american.pdf


You can barely do worse trying to understand neoteny by reading Montagu. Neoteny refers to an adult retaining a feature characteristic of a child of an ancestral species.

It is your misreading that this site has gone into “evolutionary hierarchy” or “racial superiority.” Years ago I came up with the argument that it is not possible to objectively compare the attractiveness of different geographic populations, and I have not come across new studies that call for a revision. But this does not mean that trends in perception cannot be examined, and such examination should not be misinterpreted in terms of an implied hierarchy.

Jeremy said...

This is the kind of quantitative study that I really like. There is so much anecdotal talk and debate about whether people from this region/country/continent/class/religion etc. are more beautiful/attractive/intelligent/etc. but with the exception of IQ and personality traits, I have seen very little quantitative evidence for these assertions.
I have seen some research where an individual's correlated performance in multiple test items allows us to extract a common underlying intelligence factor.

Peter, do you think that correlated ratings of attractiveness across many observers could in principle allow us to extract an individuals BQ for each country or region(beauty quotient) in a controlled social science experiment?. There is a popular opinion that slav and scandinavian women are most beautiful girls.

Anonymous said...

It's our anthropocentric vanity that lulls us into seeing environmental selection for intelligence as natural…despite common sense and the record clearly demonstrating otherwise.

Didn't environmental selection significantly increase brain size and intelligence in humans before civilization?

Also, in addition to evidence of civilization increasing intelligence in some instances, isn't there evidence of civilization reducing cranial capacity and possibly intelligence as well?

And cetaceans have large brains and high intelligence which have been selected in a natural environment.

Sean said...

Mike Steinberg, there is a structural difference between the US attitude to politically charged science within the US, and the current policy toward China. International relations might change, because states can't control other states, but like it says here, domestic politics are not determined by anarchy, they're determined by hierarchy. That is as true in America as it is in China. The lid will remain on in the US.

Re Rushton "After all, social-science theories are gross simplifications of reality; even the most brilliant theories can be right, say, only 75 percent of the time. Critics unfailingly seize on any theory’s shortcomings, damaging reputations. So the truly ambitious tend to avoid constructing one."

Samuel Huntingdon said 'If you tell people the world is complicated, you’re not doing your job as a social scientist. They already know it’s complicated. Your job is to distill it, simplify it, and give them a sense of what is the single [cause], or what are the couple of powerful causes that explain this powerful phenomenon.'"

Anonymous said...

You can barely do worse trying to understand neoteny by reading Montagu. Neoteny refers to an adult retaining a feature characteristic of a child of an ancestral species.

Pure, or even strong, heterochrony in the evolution of the Homo genus is one of those blind alleys. For which Montagu and Gould's political leanings seem to have to shoulder some of the blame.

Humans are like juvenile apes in that the brain and head is large compared to the body and that the face is relatively small compared to the head. And humans also have absolutely small faces and large brains compared to adult and juvenile apes.

As a result of this, there are various allometric shape similarities to the shape of juvenile ape crania.

Once these relative and absolute size effects are accounted for, humans may even actually be more developed and peramorphic in facial shape than their ancestors (but this is not very certain).

It's really hard to see any other similarities to ape juveniles, that would suggest a general neoteny effect and that neoteny presents a good model -

- the intermembral index (distinguishing humans and apes) is equal between ape juveniles and ape adults and between human adults and children

- humans have large adult breasts and patterns of fat deposits not found in ape juveniles (and not found in ape juveniles in any greater quanitity than

- humans are less hairy than ape adults in general, as are ape juveniles, true, but humans have public, underarm hair, chest hair, beards, which apes do not really have in that pattern. and who would say an elephant is neotenous compared to a wooly mammoth anyway?

- the shape of the human ribcage, shoulders and pelvis are not neotenous characters (juvenile chimps still have the bell shaped ribcage, narrow shoulders and long, tall pelvis of adult chimps - not surprising since they share the same knuckle walking locomotion).

Obviously heterochrony is an interesting, fascinating topic, but I do think Montagu and Gould's presentation of the topic has been somewhat tainted by their obvious desire to thumb their nose at Eurocentric / Eurosupremacist anthropology (by concocting a theory that was disparaging to the Europeans via targeting their high facial shape development rates) AND promote their reputations by tapping into a sensationalist theory that exploited the modern Western distrust and dislike of age and growing up.

Erik said...

Obviously heterochrony is an interesting, fascinating topic, but I do think Montagu and Gould's presentation of the topic has been "somewhat tainted by their obvious desire to thumb their nose at Eurocentric / Eurosupremacist anthropology (by concocting a theory that was disparaging to the Europeans via targeting their high facial shape development rates) AND promote their reputations by tapping into a sensationalist theory that exploited the modern Western distrust and dislike of age and growing up"

Neoteny may have become enmeshed as part of a powerful selective cycle, going far beyond its original causes. A complex cycle of sexual selection that may have proved crucial in making human beings unique among animal specie. While certain neotenous traits seem to be shared equally among the sexes (e.g., curiosity and plasticity of behavior), human females certainly do appear more paedomorphic in outward physical appearance than males. Although they mature at an earlier age, women do not go on to acquire the toughened skin, coarse body hair, thyroid cartilage, bony eye ridges, or deepened voices which are the common inheritance of most adult hominoids and other primates. Jones and Hill (1993) have shown that this generalization remains valid across racial, ethnic and cultural boundaries. Difference in degree of paedomorphism is one of the few truly decisive human sexual-dichotomies, used by most of us in visually distinguishing women from men.

So where do human beings fit in this spectrum? Few comparative ethnologists call humanity a truly monogamous species, even by bird standards. Indeed, many men, in both behavior and avowed fantasies, lean toward the attitude of male gorillas, if not elephant seals! Our position on the male-female size ratio chart would appear to suggest that humans have a modest "natural harem size" -- between one point one and one point four -- yet some men spend their lives aiming to achieve the milestone of their bedded "hundred," or even "thousand."

Nevertheless, we also share traits with pair-bonding species. Many men and women are capable of forming tight, long-lasting and devoted associations. Moreover, our offspring are altricial, helpless, nearly impossible for a mother to rear successfully in the wild without at least some outside aid. For a very long time any woman who chose a loyal, dependable mate almost certainly had advantages over one who failed to do so.

It is reasonable to suggest a selected tendency in human females to prefer mating with males who offer effective, committed support, along with their sperm.

Given the nurturing demands to be placed on the male she chooses, one can expect female humans to prefer not to share their mates with many other women. Still, no one can reasonably dispute that female humans often do engage in zero-sum contention over an apparently limited supply of suitable alfa males.

But now let us return to the situation among humans. We have seen that Homo sapiens has a queer arrangement in which both sexes must compete for partners, and both, in turn, must choose. The stage is set for trait-runaway by sexual selection to take place in an unusual two-way mode -- acting not only on males, but on females as well.

Erik said...

Human runaway sexual selection? At first glance we would seem too sensible a species for anything like that. We don't appear to have been saddled with burdensome exaggerations like antlers or bright tails. Or have we? Consider the greatest exaggeration of them all... our powerful, out-sized brains. Not only do large infant craniums put human mothers in great stress while giving birth, the brains within strike some biologists as extremely perplexing. In their cups, philosophical anthropologists can sometimes be heard wondering why humans "overshot" the mental capacity we needed in order to become masters of the planet -- in other words, competent hunter-gatherers with stone tools and fire. That was enough to remove a lot of environmental stress, and should have led to a period of equilibrium. Instead, change only accelerated, until in short order we produced encephalization capable of conceiving mathematics, spacecraft design, and music more precise than any bird or whale could ever produce.

As stated earlier, humankind needed to become neotenous in order to retain into adulthood our child-like, flexible brains and personalities. This was especially crucial for the acquisition of language. With juvenilization already under way in some areas -- in neural wiring and behavior -- it is reasonable to suggest the trend might become the focus of sexual selection, taken in additional directions by one sex, under strong selection pressure from the other.

Neoteny is directly correlated with the very trait human females needed to attract in males. Consider the strange situation... human females were in competition with each other for mating, so they started developing external traits to attract males. But the problem was not simply to attract a male to desire copulation (which is trivial) but to attract the right type of male. In other words, the type of male given to protective or nurturing impulses.

But let's go back and consider a man's stage one. Health and youth, as prime triggers of initial male arousal, make Darwinian sense. For while sperm is cheap, it makes little sense to deposit anywhere it will do no good. On selfish-gene terms, a male will be attracted to copulate with a female young and healthy enough to be fecund.

Erik said...

But what of those pronounced secondary female sexual characteristics which make up the third trigger of male arousal? Here we see strong indications that women have been competing with each other for quite some time, and a degree of "runaway" has indeed taken hold to dramatically alter their form and destiny.

Anyway, the problem for human females was never to get males to copulate, but to get them to desire more than just one copulation... to willingly offer partnership lasting beyond the blush of youthful fecundity. Exaggerated breasts and hourglass figures do nothing to enhance this, at least not directly. Evolution was much more convoluted than that.

This trait is some degree of neoteny of physical appearance -- or paedomorphism. Consider the obvious. Failure to retain certain childlike body attributes can be extremely prejudicial to a woman's opportunity to breed. Give or take a shadow, here or there, we know that most human males simply will not be attracted to copulate with, or pair bond to, women possessing beards! Nor are bony eye ridges, thick necks, or basso voices considered feminine. In their presence, even monumental breasts or perfect hourglass figures will not compensate.

If any trait is a likely candidate to have "run away" with women, as they competed and were chosen by men, it is very likely to be outward physical neoteny. There are several reasons why this makes evolutionary sense.

We were already headed in that direction. As stated earlier, humankind needed to become neotenous in order to retain into adulthood our child-like, flexible brains and personalities. This was especially crucial for the acquisition of language. With juvenilization already under way in some areas -- in neural wiring and behavior -- it is reasonable to suggest the trend might become the focus of sexual selection, taken in additional directions by one sex, under strong selection pressure from the other.

Tyrion Lannister said...

"Didn't environmental selection significantly increase brain size and intelligence in humans before civilization?"

Thus we come to the question; why did we need to become so intelligent? The answers to this question are varied; firstly it was that accumulated knowledge played a crucial role in enabling humans to develop a rich, varied diet, which in turn required the capacity for language and for a large memory. And mainly It was it that a sexual preference for juvenile features drove us towards prolonged retention of such features (neoteny) which in turn allowed the development of a larger brain as a secondary effect of a longer period of growth.

How sexual selection is relevant to the human mind?. Three million years ago our ancestor the upright ape Australopithecus afarensis, also known as Lucy, had a brain size of about 400cc. Modern humans have a brain that is a remarkable 3½ times that size, at 1400cc. This inordinately large brain is very costly to run; the brain consumes 18% of our energy expenditure. From a Darwinian perspective this suggests that there must have been significant and immediate advantages to possessing a larger brain which outweighed the expense.

Anonymous said...

Three million years ago our ancestor the upright ape Australopithecus afarensis, also known as Lucy, had a brain size of about 400cc. Modern humans have a brain that is a remarkable 3½ times that size, at 1400cc. This inordinately large brain is very costly to run; the brain consumes 18% of our energy expenditure. From a Darwinian perspective this suggests that there must have been significant and immediate advantages to possessing a larger brain which outweighed the expense.

That was my point. Most of the increase in brain size and intelligence seems to have occurred in natural environments before civilization.

Anonymous said...

Although they mature at an earlier age, women do not go on to acquire the toughened skin, coarse body hair, thyroid cartilage, bony eye ridges, or deepened voices which are the common inheritance of most adult hominoids and other primates.

Hmm... Humans do not seem unusually dimorphic compared to apes in general.

Difference in the degree of similarity to juveniles, at least in cranial shape, seems less than in say, Orangutans.

E.g. in this paper, ftp://brainmap.stat.washington.edu/fred/papers/jhe04.pdf, the shape separation of the male and female adult centroids compared to the juvenile centroid seems quite comparable in Sapiens to Chimpanzees, and lesser than in Gorilla and Orangutan.

The differences in male and female "neoteny" at least in the above paper seem to be a function of male mate competition for females, driven by changes in males to become stronger, entailing longer development and a larger adult size and more developed adult shape (male female differences in neoteny as measured by the above shape analysis seem basically non-existant in Bonobo!). They don't seem to be driven by a change in females. The female-juvenile distance seems less flexible than the male-juvenile distance.

Re: deepened voices. Chimpanzee vocalisations sound ear splittingly high pitched to me. And differences in pitch between the human sexes are surely less than Gorilla and Orangutan (with their enlarged male vocal sacs). Is there really more of a difference in pitch been juvenile ape and adult female apes than between juvenile humans and adult female humans?

But the problem was not simply to attract a male to desire copulation (which is trivial) but to attract the right type of male. In other words, the type of male given to protective or nurturing impulses.

A prediction this should make is that males more attracted to female child morphed faces should also be likely to display more "nurturing" type hobbies and interests (rather than more typically masculine / violent / callous ones). Whereas more masculine / violent / aggressive men should be more attracted to less child morphed faces. Be interesting to see if anyone has tested this.

As stated earlier, humankind needed to become neotenous in order to retain into adulthood our child-like, flexible brains and personalities.

Psychological neoteny always seems like a difficult concept to me. With physiological neoteny we can separate into shape and size, and then if a descendent species has a more juvenile shape relative to time and size, we can say it is neotenous (through one of the various heterochronic process).

But psychological traits don't separate into shape and size (besides being tough to measure anyway). So how can we even start a conversation about psychological neoteny?

Anonymous said...

Three million years ago our ancestor the upright ape Australopithecus afarensis, also known as Lucy, had a brain size of about 400cc. Modern humans have a brain that is a remarkable 3½ times that size, at 1400cc. This inordinately large brain is very costly to run; the brain consumes 18% of our energy expenditure. From a Darwinian perspective this suggests that there must have been significant and immediate advantages to possessing a larger brain which outweighed the expense.

Didn't most of this increase in brain size and intelligence occur under environmental selection before civilization?

Jeremy said...

Erik,
Although we are on Peter Frost’s blog doesn’t meanI fully endorse all his ideas or all speculations/conjectures of Peter . The evidence for stronger sexual selection in Northern Europe is, partly, in the rapid rise of a high level of genetic diversity behind hair color variation. It is clear that this diversity was selected for, and the most plausible selective factor is sexual selection. Frost has documented this data, but what enabled stronger sexual selection is a different issue.

It appears, strongly, that the enabling mechanism has something to do with excess male deaths and reduced capability of men to support multiple wives, which Frost has proposed and with which I agree, but it is naïve to believe that sexual selection basically acted on women alone.

In all populations, sexual selection, acting on both men and women, is an ongoing process every generation, including populations where marriages are predominantly arranged between partners who are effectively strangers to each others. So the questions are not 1) sexual selection or not, or 2) sexual selection of which sex? The issues are stronger vs. weaker sexual selection with respect to both inter-population and inter-sex comparisons.

An imbalance between the proportions of men and women in the population creates an opportunity for stronger sexual selection. Sexual selection is expected to act more strongly on the surplus sex because there are fewer potential partners of the opposite sex for them. Again, I have no beef with Frost on these two expectations. However, there are other issues that you have not considered and I haven’t encountered them in Frost’s writings.

Whereas mate choice on the part of both men and women are important, which of these choices is more important? Clearly, mate choice on the part of women because they are the ones who give birth and because women have a much more limited child bearing capability than men. When you have an excess of women, two major sources of the suppression of women’s sexuality are largely eliminated. With an excess of women around, most men are not motivated to restrict women’s sexuality. To complement this, whereas women normally suppress each other’s sexuality to negotiate on better terms with men, if there are not many men out there, then they have to be loser with their sexuality to compete with other women for access to men. So, the situation in Northern Europe afforded higher sexual freedom to women compared to most other places, and women naturally being more circumspect with their choices, even if their choices are limited, will be sexually selecting men also, in the form of cheating on their partner in some cases, if necessary. This scenario over many generations would tend to make Northern Europeans diverge more from other human populations on several counts. Hair color diversity is one outcome. Eye color diversity is likely another outcome. And, you can be sure that there are many other such outcomes, not limited to physical appearance.

Jeremy said...

So, sexual selection still works in the scenarios that I give you, namely less attractive women being loser with their sexuality to get impregnated by men who would be willing to have sex with them but not take them as wives, or women offering their services as prostitutes or servants to feed their illegitimate children since the advantage is with the more attractive women. You seem to argue that sexual selection must require some drastic scenario, but given that sexual selection still occurs in Asian countries where most marriages being arranged, the scenarios I gave you afford much stronger sexual selection.

It is absurd to believe that gracilization in Northern European men is an adaptation to covering large distances on ground, something facilitated by less body weight. I have been talking about fine facial features. If you deposit less bone mass in the face how much weight do you save? And why are Northern Europeans then so tall and with more bone mass and muscularity than most populations?

The other issue you have brought up is “caring and sharing” looks in women or something along the lines of infantile looks (e.g., lighter skin, lighter hair) that supposedly bring out the nurturing element in men and facilitate their acting as better providers to their wife. In many species, the males often kill babies of other males. Humans males are a little better, but they generally don’t give a damn about babies not fathered by them. Human males are typically sexually interested in women who are not fathered by them or their close relatives. So why should one expect more infantile features in distantly-related women to win over men and bring out the nurturing element in them? In other words, selection for blonder hair or lighter skin doesn’t have to be because these are more infantile.

In many cases, the shifts, if caused by sexual selection, have simple explanations. If darkness-lightness is the issue, and you are going to deviate from very dark hair as the norm, then there is only one way to go: lighter hair. No need to invoke selection for infantile looks. Similarly, if nose thickness is the issue, there are two potential shifts: broader or narrower noses. If no natural selection pressures are affecting nose thickness, and if the ancestral species had broader noses, and if some individuals can be found who are more reminiscent of the ancestral species, then where will sexual selection be leading nose thickness to? I think you can answer this. Why does your thinking have to be so muddled?

Erik said...

Jeremy,

The other issue you have brought up is “caring and sharing” looks in women or something along the lines of infantile looks (e.g., lighter skin, lighter hair) that supposedly bring out the nurturing element in men and facilitate their acting as better providers to their wife. In many species, the males often kill babies of other males. Humans males are a little better, but they generally don’t give a damn about babies not fathered by them. Human males are typically sexually interested in women who are not fathered by them or their close relatives

Men are not langur monkeys. But even if infanticide played a role in our past behavior, there was also the countervailing tendency of tenderness to children. Studies by Robinson, Lockard and Adams (1979) showed that an infant's face -- especially smiling -- causes pleasure response at an involuntary level in many adult men, as well as large majorities of women. Countless tales of heroism by firemen and others who have risked their lives for the children of strangers show that this trait is well advanced, if not universally distributed among human males.

Jeremy said...

Erik,


As you have pointed out elsewhere, in many parts of the world women's sexuality and ability to pick a mate is restricted while arranged marrages are often the norm. Northern Europe is the notable exception; here we find women have been largely free to choose their preferred mate. Now why is it that northern men haven't restricted women's sexual freedom to the same extent. Most men do not have very superior courtship skills nor are they exceptionally attractive to women,in fact they derive little relative benefit from women having sexual freedom, they can't impregnate loads of women like those superstuds. If a woman is impregnated by another man it takes her off the market and makes her a far less attractive mate on returning. Some men have great difficulty attracting even one woman in the first place. Restricting womens choice is aimed at leveling down the sexual sucess of a minority of men and increasing access to virgin females by the majority.(It may lower the overall quality over time as you say)

Allow me to suggest, if I may, that the period of steppe tundra hunting did drastically alter the balance of the sexes, men did not have to be concerned with womens preference for a minority of sexually very successful men. A man had to be able to survive the rigours of hunting, as many did not.( and if NE men show any selection it must be for surviving the man killing trips acoss the tundra)

This relaxed selection for the mentality that restricts women's sexual freedom has resulted in an evolved disposition for lesser restriction of womens sexual freedom in north European men

Mac said...

Men's traits are better designed for contest competition than for other sexual selection mechanisms; size, muscularity, strength, aggression, and the manufacture and use of weapons probably helped ancestral males win contests directly, and deep voices and facial hair signal dominance more effectively than they increase attractiveness. However, male monopolization of females was
imperfect, and female mate choice, sperm competition, and sexual coercion also likely shaped men's traits. In contrast, male mate choice was probably central in women's mating competition because ancestral females could not constrain the choices of larger and more aggressive males through force, and attractive women could obtain greater male investment. Neotenous female features and body fat deposition on the breasts and hips appear to have been shaped by male mate choice.

Mac said...

The sexes differ more in human beings than in monogamous mammals, but much less than in extremely polygamous mammals. One proposed explanation is that human sexuality has developed more in common with its close relative the bonobo, who have similar sexual dimorphism and which are polygynandrous and use recreational sex to reinforce social bonds and reduce aggression. The humans would essentially serial polygamous and monogamous but optionally with a certain amount of extramarital mating opportunistic likeness of monogamous birds. But another possibility is a restricted serial polygynandry with multiple relationships between most females (80%) and alfa males (20%) as sexual partners presumably quoted combined with a marginal monogamy in the lowest social rank of females and beta males, and around that nucleus polygynandry dominant. Promiscuity tolerated around this nucleus and subsequent sperm competition may have created the conditions for building evolutionary large penises with plunger form in coexistence with small testicles, since the human would not involve the production of supernumerary sperm as chimpanzees.

Afa males are increasing their own potential number of offspring because male fitness is strongly influenced in this polygynous society. Before farmer society where was relatively well established monogamy, and there were strict rules against divorce and extramarital affairs. Significant selection has been taking place in very recent populations, and likely still occurs, so humans continue to be affected by both natural and sexual selection, advances have not challenged the fact that our species is still evolving, just like all the other species 'in the wild'. It is a common misunderstanding that evolution took place a long time ago, and that to understand ourselves we must look back to the hunter-gatherer days of humans

Sexual selection process is more important in men than in women in terms of passing down genes not only because mating with more partners increases the chance of reproductive success for a man and not for a women, but also because men tended to remarry younger women with better child-bearing potential. Traits that increase mating success of men, like attractiveness, are likely to evolve more rapidly than those that increase the mating success of women, according to a statement. Surprisingly, however, selection affected wealthy and poor people in the society to the same extent.

Michael said...

Genetic research has shown that before the modern era, 80% of women managed to reproduce, but only 40% of men did. The obvious conclusion from this is that a few top men had multiple wives, while the bottom 60% had no mating prospects at all. Women clearly did not mind sharing the top man with multiple other women, ultimately deciding that being one of four women sharing an 'alpha' was still more preferable than having the undivided attention of a 'beta'. Let us define the top 20% of men as measured by their attractiveness to women, as 'alpha' males while the middle 60% of men will be called 'beta' males. The bottom 20% are not meaningful in this context.

Research across gorillas, chimpanzees, and primitive human tribes shows that men are promiscuous and polygamous. This is no surprise to a modern reader, but the research further shows that women are not monogamous, as is popularly assumed, but hypergamous. In other words, a woman may be attracted to only one man at any given time, but as the status and fortune of various men fluctuates, a woman's attention may shift from a declining man to an ascendant man. There is significant turnover in the ranks of alpha males, which women are acutely aware of.

As a result, women are the first to want into a monogamous relationship, and the first to want out. This is neither right nor wrong, merely natural. What is wrong, however, is the cultural and societal pressure to shame men into committing to marriage under the pretense that they are 'afraid of commitment' due to some 'Peter Pan complex', while there is no longer the corresponding traditional shame that was reserved for women who destroyed the marriage, despite the fact that 90% of divorces are initiated by women. Furthermore, when women destroy the commitment, there is great harm to children, and the woman demands present and future payments from the man she is abandoning. A man who refuses to marry is neither harming innocent minors nor expecting years of payments from the woman. This absurd double standard has invisible but major costs to society.

To provide 'beta' men an incentive to produce far more economic output than needed just to support themselves while simultaneously controlling the hypergamy of women that would deprive children of interaction with their biological fathers, all major religions constructed an institution to force constructive conduct out of both genders while penalizing the natural primate tendencies of each. This institution was known as 'marriage'. Societies that enforced monogamous marriage made sure all beta men had wives, thus unlocking productive output out of these men who in pre-modern times would have had no incentive to be productive. Women, in turn, received a provider, a protector, and higher social status than unmarried women, who often were trapped in poverty. When applied over an entire population of humans, this system was known as 'civilization'.

All societies that achieved great advances and lasted for multiple centuries followed this formula with very little deviation, and it is quite remarkable how similar the nature of monogamous marriage was across seemingly diverse cultures. Societies that deviated from this were quickly replaced. This 'contract' between the sexes was advantageous to beta men, women over the age of 35, and children, but greatly curbed the activities of alpha men and women under 35 (together, a much smaller group than the former one). Conversely, the pre-civilized norm of alpha men monopolizing 3 or more young women each, replacing aging ones with new ones, while the masses of beta men fight over a tiny supply of surplus/aging women, was chaotic and unstable, leaving beta men violent and unproductive, and aging mothers discarded by their alpha mates now vulnerable to poverty. So what happens when the traditional controls of civilization are lifted from both men and women?

Michael said...

Four unrelated forces simultaneously combined to entirely distort the balance of civilization built on the biological realities of men and women. Others have presented versions of the Four Sirens concept in the past, but I am choosing a slightly different definition of the Four Sirens :

1) Easy contraception (condoms, pills, and abortions): In the past, extremely few women ever had more than one or two sexual partners in their lives, as being an unwed mother led to poverty and social ostracization. Contraception made it possible for females to conduct campaigns to act on their urges of hypergamy.

2) 'No fault' divorce, asset division, and alimony : In the past, a woman who wanted to leave her husband needed to prove misconduct on his part. Now, the law has changed to such a degree that a woman can leave her husband for no stated reason, yet is still entitled to payments from him for years to come. This incentivizes destruction because it enables women to transfer the costs of irresponsible behavior onto men and children.

3) Female economic freedom : Despite 'feminists' claiming that this is the fruit of their hard work, inventions like the vacuum cleaner, washing machine, and oven were the primary drivers behind liberating women from household chores and freeing them up to enter the workforce. These inventions compressed the chores that took a full day into just an hour or less. There was never any organized male opposition to women entering the workforce (in China, taxes were collected in a way that mandated female productivity), as more labor lowered labor costs while also creating new consumers. However, one of the main reasons that women married - financial support - was no longer a necessity.

Female entry into the workforce is generally a positive development for society, and I would be the first to praise this, if it were solely on the basis of merit (as old-school feminists had genuinely intended). Unfortunately, too much of this is now due to corrupt political lobbying to forcibly transfer resources from men to women.

4) Female-Centric social engineering : Above and beyond the pro-woman divorce laws, further state interventions include the subsidization of single motherhood, laws that criminalize violence against women (but offer no protection to men who are the victims of violence by women, which happens just as often), and 'sexual harassment' laws with definitions so nebulous that women have the power to accuse men of anything without the man having any rights of his own.

Michael said...

These four forces in tandem handed an unprecedented level of power to women. The technology gave them freedom to pursue careers and the freedom to be promiscuous. Feminist laws have done a remarkable job of shielding women from the consequences of their own actions. Women now have as close to a hypergamous utopia as has ever existed, where they can pursue alpha males while extracting subsidization from beta males without any reciprocal obligations to them. Despite all the new freedoms available to women that freed them from their traditional responsibilities, men were still expected to adhere to their traditional responsibilities.

Marriage 2.0 : From the West to the Middle East to Asia, marriage is considered a mandatory bedrock of any functioning society. If marriage is such a crucial ingredient of societal health, then the West is barreling ahead on a suicidal path.

We earlier discussed why marriage was created, but equally important were the factors that sustained the institution and kept it true to its objectives. The reasons that marriage 'worked' not too long ago were :

1) People married at the age of 20, and often died by the age of 50. People were virgins at marriage, and women spent their 20s tending to 3 or more children. The wife retained her beauty 15 years into the marriage, and the lack of processed junk food kept her slim even after that. This is an entirely different psychological foundation than the present urban feminist norm of a woman marrying at the age of 34 after having had 10 or more prior sexual relationships, who then promptly emerges from her svelte chrysalis in an event that can best be described as a fatocalypse.

2) It was entirely normal for 10-20% of young men to die or be crippled on the battlefield, or in occupational accidents. Hence, there were always significantly more women than able-bodied men in the 20-40 age group, ensuring that not all women could marry. Widows were common and visible, and vulnerable to poverty and crime. For these reasons, women who were married to able-bodied men knew how fortunate they were relative to other women who had to resort to tedious jobs just to survive, and treated their marriage with corresponding respect.

3) Prior to the invention of contraception, female promiscuity carried the huge risk of pregnancy, and the resultant poverty and low social status. It was virtually impossible for any women to have more than 2-3 sexual partners in her lifetime without being a prostitute, itself an occupation of the lowest social status.

4) Divorce carried both social stigma and financial losses for a woman. Her prospects for remarriage were slim. Religious institutions, extended clans, and broader societal forces were pressures to keep a woman committed to her marriage, and the notion of leaving simply out of boredom was out of the question.

Tyrion Lannister said...

Anonymous,

A prediction this should make is that males more attracted to female child morphed faces should also be likely to display more "nurturing" type hobbies and interests (rather than more typically masculine / violent / callous ones). Whereas more masculine / violent / aggressive men should be more attracted to less child morphed faces. Be interesting to see if anyone has tested this.

http://www.uni-regensburg.de/Fakultaeten/phil_Fak_II/Psychologie/Psy_II/beautycheck/english/kindchenschema/kindchenschema.htm - Dr. Martin Gruendl Institute for Psychology University of Regensburg-

you can see the results of this experiment show clearly that childlike characteristics (large, round eyes, a large curved forehead as well as small short nose and chin) can enhance female attractiveness. Only very few (9,5%) test subjects rated mature "original women" as being most attractive. Most of the preferred female faces contained childlike proportions of 10 - 50% (for details see report!). This means that even the most attractive women become even more beautiful, if facial proportions are made more childlike. And again: women who were rated as being most attractive do not exist in reality!

Ben10 said...

"...the present urban feminist norm of a woman marrying at the age of 34 after having had 10 or more prior sexual relationships, who then promptly emerges from her svelte chrysalis in an event that can best be described as a fatocalypse."

Yeah!!
But go ahead, keep going on our prospective future. Just don't forget massive immigration, mixity, massive unmeployment in the male workforce, gays and feminists, white trash beer culture promoted and so on.
A possible inference: the white man won't survive very long in these conditions.
But it would be interesting to put all the demographic data under these new behavioral probabilistic rules to run a simulation and see what happen. Well, that was already done, the simulation was called 'The Protocols'.

Anonymous said...

Conversely, the pre-civilized norm of alpha men monopolizing 3 or more young women each, replacing aging ones with new ones, while the masses of beta men fight over a tiny supply of surplus/aging women, was chaotic and unstable, leaving beta men violent and unproductive, and aging mothers discarded by their alpha mates now vulnerable to poverty.

I don't think that was generally the "pre-civilized norm" for Eurasia. It probably was for warmer, more tropical climes and older human environments in Africa.

Agriculture probably introduced to Eurasia the kind of energy surplus familiar to the more tropical, older human environments. It was a kind of throwback to older environments, and there was a risk that this throwback would trigger the kinds of older, primal instincts you characterize as "pre-civilized norms". As a result, "civilized norms" were developed to try to cope.

kevin said...

I think that the differences between marriage 1.0 and Marriage 2.0 are :

a) No fault asset division and alimony, where the abandoned spouse has to pay if he earns more, even if he did not want a divorce, and even if he is a victim of abuse, cuckolding, or adultery. There are rare instances of high-earning women getting caught in this trap as well.
b) Women marrying after having 5 or more sexual partners, compared to just 0-1 previously. This makes it harder for the woman to form a pair bond with her husband.
c) Women marrying at an age when very few years of their peak beauty are remaining, compared to a decade or more remaining under Marriage 1.0.
d) Child custody is almost never granted to the man, so he loses his children on a 'no fault' basis.

kevin said...

Women are far more interested in marriage than men. Simple logic of supply and demand tells us that the institution of monogamous marriage requires at least 80% male participation in order to be viable. When male participation drops below 80%, all women are in serious trouble, since there are now 100 women competing for every 80 men, compounded with the reality that women age out of fertility much quicker than men. This creates great stress among the single female population. In the past, the steady hand of a young woman's mother and grandmother knew that her beauty was temporary, and that the most seductive man was not the best husband, and they made sure that the girl was married off to a boy with long-term durability. Now that this guidance has been removed from the lives of young women, thanks to 'feminism', these women are proving to be poor pilots of their mating lives who pursue alpha males until the age of 34-36 when her desirability drops precipitously and not even beta males she used to reject are interested in her. This stunning plunge in her prospects with men is known as the Wile E. Coyote moment, and women of yesteryear had many safety nets that protected them from this fate. The 'feminist' media's attempt to normalize 'cougarhood' is evidence of gasping desperation to package failure as a desirable outcome, which will never become mainstream due to sheer biological realities. Women often protest that a high number of sexual partners should not be counted as a negative on them, as the same is not a negative for men, but this is merely a manifestation of solipism. A complex sexual past works against women even if the same works in favor of men, due to the natural sexual attraction triggers of each gender. A wise man once said, "A key that can open many locks is a valuable key, but a lock that can be opened by many keys is a useless lock."

The big irony is that 'feminism', rather than improving the lives of women, has stripped away the safety nets of mother/grandmother guidance that would have shielded her from ever having to face her Wile E. Coyote moment. 'Feminism' has thus put the average woman at risk in yet another area.

Frannagan said...

I'm intrigued by the notion that 40% of men have reproduced while 80% of women have done so. Well there are several factors here to disentangle. If the problem was just that some men never got any sex, well then yes women having more partners couldn’t hurt. And if the problem was instead inequality in male sex, and if women had affairs with random men, then that couldn’t hurt either. But if the problem is sexual inequality and if women are hypergamous, preferring the very best men, then we should expect it to be the same few

Now if you assume that women who want affairs, lesbian relations, or husband sharing would, if denied their favorite option, simply refuse to have sex with anyone, then allowing these things can’t reduce any guy’s sex. But allowing such things can make a difference when women would substitute other options.

So yes, banning polygamy could be part of a larger coherent strategy to reduce male sexual inequality, to resist natural female hypergamy. But banning polygamy and also polyandry and prostitution, while allowing lesbian relations and preventing natural punishment of wife affairs, well that looks nothing like a coherent strategy to reduce male sexual inequality. We should look elsewhere to explain our pattern of what we ban and what we allow.

Sean said...

Someone's playing games, copying and pasting under a variety of psuedo-names, but the following merits comment I think - "The stage is set for trait-runaway by sexual selection to take place in an unusual two-way mode -- acting not only on males, but on females as well."

No, sexual selection can only work on one sex at a time.

Constraints on the coevolution of contemporary human males and females.

Anonymous said...

you can see the results of this experiment show clearly that childlike characteristics (large, round eyes, a large curved forehead as well as small short nose and chin) can enhance female attractiveness.

Only very few (9,5%) test subjects rated mature "original women" as being most attractive.

Most of the preferred female faces contained childlike proportions of 10 - 50% (for details see report!). This means that even the most attractive women become even more beautiful, if facial proportions are made more childlike.

And again: women who were rated as being most attractive do not exist in reality!


Lannister: My comment was that, if neotenous characteristics in females were an adaptation to attract nurturant males, then more nurturant males should higher preferences for neotenous characteristics in women. If less nurturant males prefer more neotenised faces relative to more nurturant males, the idea is probably wrong.

As to that finding of neotenous faces being preferred in women over real faces, I would think that is because women cease development earlier than men, therefore morphing a face along a neotenous shape vector is similar to morphing it in a female direction along a female-male dimorphism vector.
I would bet that morphing a female face in a womanly direction along an adult woman-adult man direction would increase attractiveness and that morphing a female face in a little boy direction away from adult woman would not (for equal amounts of total shape change).

Child morphed female faces are very crudely more female-dimorphic than child unmorphed faces* (and more female-dimorphism is a crude proxy for more female attractiveness), until they become obviously more child than woman (and cease being attractive in short order).

*and to some extent may also be a crude proxy for health, since children have undergone less random developmental damage than adults.

Sean said...

The point at issue was Rushton claimed black African men and women were had more orientation towards reproducing that other people. But what's useful for reproduction in a man may be counterproductive to a woman, eg robustness. Take height for example.Intralocus sexual conflict over human height. "Selection pressures on body size often differ between the sexes across many species, including humans: among men individuals of average height enjoy the highest reproductive success, while shorter women have the highest reproductive success."

So if women were the focus (there can only be one) of sexually selection, the population would get smaller. Lo and behold the Magdelenian hunters were significantly smaller than their Cromagnon ancestors, and their faces and jaws got smaller too; the first impacted wisdom tooth occurred in 'Magdelenian Girl'.

Human intelligence is required because of humans use of language right? Women have higher verbal intelligence than men.

The long term trend in human evolution was for feminization: less robustness and more facility for language.

In Europe intense sexual selection of women feminized many characteristics, especially superficial ones, to produce white people.

Mac said...

I wonder if some expert can answer the following questions.

It's about sex inequality. I think the problem with current evolutionary theory is that if females select the 40% most attractive mates, the genes responsible for attractive features should spread quickly through a population, resulting in males becoming equally attractive, to the point where sexual selection could no longer take place. if 'good' genes spread through the population and men had got better looking over time, but most current human males have not a high level of attractiveness, (http://blog.okcupid.com/index.php/your-looks-and-online-dating/) 80% of men rated as unattractive-. However the definitive argument that in human the females have ended up looking better than the males, why?

This creates an imbalance, would not it be more logical to have a higher number of attractive and suitable men with a level correlated with the female population?

A-Why evolution leads to a situation where only 40% of one gender can reproduce?

B-What is the biological sense for existence of nonreproductive 60% of male individuals?

C-Would not it be more efficient to have reproductive correlation between the two genders?

We also have the demographic problem. The overall men surplus is leading to an alarming paucity of marriageable women. The future looks bleak for current and coming generations of young males.

P.s, Maybe broadly speaking monogamy skews toward K selection whereas hypergamy skews toward r selection.

Ben10 said...

"...But banning polygamy and also polyandry and prostitution, while allowing lesbian relations and preventing natural punishment of wife affairs, well that looks nothing like a coherent strategy to reduce male sexual inequality.."

Yes. The agenda is therefore NOT to reduce male inequality.

Peter Fros_ said...

Ben,

I remember the zeitgeist of Canada in the 1980s, and my impression was that David Peterson was being a very typical Canadian. The Rushton-Suzuki debate was unusual in the sense that this was not an issue that Canadians normally debated. The issue had already been decided.

Mike Steinberg,

In many ways, China is becoming a freer society than our own.

Tyrion Lannister,

Natural selection was a major force in all human societies until the mid-1800s. Since then, the West has partially emancipated itself from natural selection, but for how long will we be able to keep it up?

Mac and others,

I will be discussing sexual selection of early European women in my next post.

Erik,

A number of well controlled studies show that all humans have similar notions of sexual beauty. So, in that sense, beauty has an objective basis. Beauty exists not in the eye of the beholder but in the mental algorithms that interpret visual data. And such algorithms have an objective existence.

Kiwiguy said...

OT, I thought this might be of interest.

http://infoproc.blogspot.co.nz/2012/10/deleterious-variants-affecting-traits.html

Kiwiguy said...

Linda Gottfredson has a new paper on Rushton's work.

http://www.udel.edu/educ/gottfredson/reprints/2012RaceandRushton.pdf

Anonymous said...

"Conversely, the pre-civilized norm of alpha men monopolizing 3 or more young women each"

calories

Anonymous said...

Is the Erik in these comments Erik Holland of femininebeauty.info, also known as J. Richards of majorityrights.com?