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Ten Politically Incorrect So-Called Truths About Human Nature: 6 – 10

See 1 – 5 here.

6. Beautiful people have more daughters

And are thus more likely to divorce? And thus less likely to have fewer kids than the ugly people who remain under the conjugal sheets? Remember in point #5 we learned that those pumping out daughters are more likely to divorce. Ah, who needs consistency. We didn’t need it with polygyny, we don’t need it with mating. The important thing is that we offer an explanation, any explanation. Forget Wittgensteinian silence. Scientists abhor an intellectual vacuum.

One of the most celebrated principles in evolutionary biology, the Trivers-Willard hypothesis, states that wealthy parents of high status have more sons, while poor parents of low status have more daughters. This is because children generally inherit the wealth and social status of their parents. Throughout history, sons from wealthy families who would themselves become wealthy could expect to have a large number of wives, mistresses and concubines, and produce dozens or hundreds of children, whereas their equally wealthy sisters can have only so many children. So natural selection designs parents to have biased sex ratio at birth depending upon their economic circumstances—more boys if they are wealthy, more girls if they are poor. (The biological mechanism by which this occurs is not yet understood.)

Other readings of history suggests the Trivers-Willard hypothesis is false. Galton, perhaps the first evolutionary psychologist, in Hereditary Genius, showed conclusively that those of the highest wealth and status failed to breed at even a fraction of the rate of the poor and low status. It’s true those of high status bred fewer sons, i.e. more daughters, but they bred fewer of each when compared to those of low status. So the hypothesis is false twice over.

And who said that it’s only the beautiful who make up the wealthiest and most powerful? We do know that the highest status, of all humans alive, breed at the slowest rates. The best fed among us have the fewest kids. Too, those females of high status (and beauty) are most likely to kill their fetuses, either altogether (“lifestyle choices”) or in attempt to have sons. Why, O why!, cannot people just listen to their genes and breed like their supposed to!

7. What Bill Gates and Paul McCartney have in common with criminals

Besides that these two, like most crooks, are men? Well, this:

In every society at all historical times, the tendency to commit crimes and other risk-taking behavior rapidly increases in early adolescence, peaks in late adolescence and early adulthood, rapidly decreases throughout the 20s and 30s, and levels off in middle age.

You won’t see many octogenarians robbing banks or engaging in marathon coding sessions or penning painful, lowest-denominator music. On the other hand, you often see this kind of activity among the vigorous, healthy, and hungry (for status, money, food), i.e. the young. Who would have guessed evolution had something to do with this?

Why is this a “politically incorrect” truth?

8. The midlife crisis is a myth—sort of

From the evolutionary psychological perspective, a man’s midlife crisis is precipitated by his wife’s imminent menopause and end of her reproductive career, and thus his renewed need to attract younger women.

I suppose the obvious explanation that it takes time to discover that the career to which you have devoted yourself was a poor choice and that if you start now there will still be time to excel at something new won’t do.

Notice Kanazawa says it’s not his wife’s menopause that causes a man’s mid-life crisis, but her “imminent menopause”, which isn’t the same thing. I’ve read elsewhere that the evolutionary advantage of grandparents—folks who have progressed beyond the ability of passing on their genes, and are thus nothing but a drain on resources and who, by strict Darwinian reasoning, should be turned into Soylent Green—is that grandparents help to raise their grandchildren, thus saving resources of the daughter/daughter-in-law so that she could concentrate on reproducing.

But if the grandpa is bolting the family via his wife’s “imminent menopause”, then he is not taking care of his own family gene line. He is instead trying to co-opt a young female who would have been better off, breeding wise, with a younger man. There are plenty of cultural reasons why the woman might decide against her biology, but all evolutionary psychology theories I’ve seen are a stretch.

9. It’s natural for politicians to risk everything for an affair (but only if they’re male)

[P]owerful men throughout Western history have married monogamously (only one legal wife at a time), they have always mated polygynously (they had lovers, concubines, and female slaves)…Reproductive access to women is the goal, political office but one means.

Is there something in the genes that only activates when the politician is from the West? The qualification should ring like a klaxon. What is he claiming? Churchill, a leader from the West, was no swordsman. I can’t recall how often Richelieu dipped himself into the holy water, but it was infrequent or never. Then we read of Cixi, the Dowager Empress, married not at all, but who not only mated freely but had strange relations with a bevy of eunuchs.

The list of exceptions could go on. And should. No sane person will deny that some powerful men dally. We know these things because history tells us so. We also know that these dalliances often do not lead to issue, especially nowadays (also see #6 above), thus defeating their purpose, genetically speaking. And we are less certain about the sexual behavior of Hans the cobbler, Wu the fisherman, and on and on. History is mostly silent of those far from the top. Can we prove that the philandering of the poor is less productive of genetic copies?

These points are salient because it is clear that “truth” #9, if is a truth at all, is a statistical truth. If a man gene’s “force” him to “risk everything” it is clear this is only an inclination and not a compulsion. How much of an inclination is murky.

So here is the real truth: even if this inclination can be tied to genes, and thus in some sense philandering is “natural” (in the sense of partially compelled behavior), it does not follow that it is right or moral. Kanawaza’s implication that adultery is moral because it’s genetical is pure, unadulterated scientism. To say that we should shrug off Bill “Stained Dressed” Clinton’s cigar-wielding behavior because “this is what powerful men do” does not imply that this what powerful men should do. We cannot learn morals from science.

10. Men sexually harass women because they are not sexist

Studies demonstrate unequivocally that men are far more interested in short-term casual sex than women…

Stop here. This is more scientism. We did not need “studies” to tell us what everybody has always known. It has been clear since forever that it is more probable a man would want causal sex than a woman. The only use for a “study” is to identify the precise difference in rates for a fixed (in time and place) population—if that sort of thing is interesting to you.

Many women legitimately complain that they have been subjected to abusive, intimidating, and degrading treatment by their male coworkers. [Psychologist Kingsley R.] Browne points out that long before women entered the labor force, men subjected each other to such abusive, intimidating, and degrading treatment.

Well, this is true, as it is true that harassment more often originates in men. We did not need academics to tell us what we already knew. Anyway, this is the only one of the 10 “truths” offered by Kanazawa that risks being really true. If it weren’t for tacking on the word “sexist”, there would be no arguments. If being “sexist” means some variant of “to engage in sexual harassment,” then #10 is false, else it is true.

6 thoughts on “Ten Politically Incorrect So-Called Truths About Human Nature: 6 – 10 Leave a comment

  1. It’s natural for politicians to risk everything for an affair (but only if they’re male).

    Or … female politicians are more discreet than male politicians.

  2. In #10, I believe Browne’s point was that women aren’t singled out when it comes to abusive, intimidating and degrading treatment. Men also undergo it. It would seem from the complaints women are indeed singled out when they are in fact being treated equally. One of the points made during our Sexual Awareness seminars was “harassment” is whatever the subject of said harassment wishes it to be. It would appear that those claiming harassment want special treatment when it comes to be treated equally.

    Speed,

    There’s are typos in your post. Surely, you meant to say: “It’s natural for some politicians…(but only if they’re male). Or … some but not necessarily all female politicians …”.

    More diligence, my friend.

  3. I have engaged in causal sex four times and have been delighted with the outcome every time. Better yet, those four have given me four grandchildren, a bonus.

    A truly quotable quote from Mr Kanawaza, “The biological mechanism by which this occurs is not yet understood”. He should have used it much, much more often.

  4. Regarding #9,

    To get ahead requires some combination of ambition, good luck, risk taking, and quite possibly some moral ambiguity. However, these traits are by no means a guarantee of success. Sometimes the risk taker gets incredibly lucky, wins the battle, or launches the a great commercial empire, sometimes he fails, and is never heard from again. I would speculate that these aggressive personality traits may be those that are shared with a philanderer.

    The argument here is that all men are philanderers, and powerful men have the opportunity to exploit their power to get women. In fact, the argument here is that the goal of all power is to get women.

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