Sexual Selection of Cads

The 7-repeat variant of the DRD4 gene, traditionally linked with ADHD, is, according to a 2010 paper, also strongly associated with cheating and promiscuity. This finding indicates genetic roots in sociosexual orientation, and the possibility that environmental and cultural rewards may result in statistical genetic differences in population hardwiring:

These results are the first evidence (to our knowledge) of a significant association between a specific genetic locus and both promiscuous sexual behavior and infidelity. These findings show that genetic variation in the brain′s dopaminergic reward pathway appears to be an influential factor in individual differences in motivation to engage in sexual behavior of a risky and uncommitted nature. Further, this potentially suggests an evolutionary mechanisms contributing to the substantial global allelic variation of the DRD4 VNTR genotype. Individuals genotyped as 7R+ were significantly more likely to reported having ever engaged in promiscuous sex (i.e., a one-night stand). Of those reporting infidelity, 7R+ individuals were cheating on romantic partners more often, which under certain circumstances could result in higher genetic fitness via greater offspring diversity as well as increased total fecundity.

Because of this, an environment with strong monogamy will result in a population genetically oriented towards fidelity and “dad” characteristics. Conversely, an environment with free sex will result in the sexual selection of “cads”.

This suggests that in local environments where monogamy and sexual fidelity are advantageous, the 7R- genotype would be subject to positive selective pressure. In contrast, in environments where monogamy and fidelity are disadvantageous, the 7R+ genotype would be subject to positive selective pressure. This may be additionally elucidated from the perspective of r/K selection [45]. In r-selected environments (i.e., unpredictable and unstable environments, where the ability to mate more and produce more offspring is favored), 7R+ genotype would be expected to rise in frequency. That is, in environments where “cad” behavior is adaptive, selective pressure for 7R+ would be positive; but in environments where “dad” behavior is adaptive, selective pressure for 7R+ would be negative. This is consistent with the dramatic differences in DRD4 VNTR allele frequencies and behavioral patterns found globally such as in the generally polygamous and agonistic Yanomamö Indians of South America (high 7R+ frequencies) and the generally egalitarian !Kung of the Kalahari (low 7R+ frequencies)[26]. Evidence that DRD4 VNTR status is related to social and sexual behavioral strategies provides a plausible mechanism for varying selective pressure and observed racial, ethnic, and regional differences in allele frequencies.

Selection Mechanism

An earlier (2002) paper provides insights into the origins and positive sexual-selection of this 7R DRD4 variant. According to it, the 7R variant has existed for hundreds of thousands of years, but only became frequent in the last thousands or few tens of thousands of years:

A survey of world frequencies of DRD4 alleles has shown striking differences among populations (2), with population differences greater than those of most neutral markers. In this issue of PNAS Ding et al. (3) provide a detailed molecular portrait of world diversity at the DRD4 locus. They show that the allele associated with ADHD has increased a lot in frequency within the last few thousands to tens of thousands of years, although it has probably been present in our ancestors for hundreds of thousands or even millions of years.

Thus, a recent shift in selection pressures caused the preponderance of the 7R variant. This has implications for evolutionary psychology, which traditionally tries to link all behavior to the paleolithic:

Evidence of adaptive genetic variation affecting human psychology should be of interest to evolutionary psychologists, particularly because they have argued that it cannot exist. For example Tooby and Cosmides (7) claim that there are only two kinds of human nature, male and female, and that apparent variation in personality is either facultative response to environmental cues or nonadaptive. They argue that complex adaptations require the coordinated action of many genes, and that if individuals of a sexually reproducing species differed in the genes required to build these adaptations, sexual reproduction would disrupt the necessary gene complexes. They also argue that there has been insufficient time since the advent of modern humanity for the development of significant novel mental adaptations.

As has been pointed out by D. Wilson (8), their arguments are unconvincing. They imply that no sexual species should have heritable adaptive morphs, whereas in fact many examples are known, such as the male morphs of the side-blotched lizard Uta stansburiana that act out a scissors–paper–rock game, in which morph A beats morph B, morph B beats morph C, and morph C beats morph A (9). The “insufficient time” argument is probably just incorrect; considering the measured heritability of psychological traits and the expected response to mild selection over hundreds of generations, it is instead surprising that we seem to have changed little over historical time.

Even if 40 or 50 thousand years were too short a time for the evolutionary development of a truly new and highly complex mental adaptation, which is by no means certain, it is certainly long enough for some groups to lose such an adaptation, for some groups to develop a highly exaggerated version of an adaptation, or for changes in the triggers or timing of that adaptation to evolve. That is what we see in domesticated dogs, for example, who have entirely lost certain key behavioral adaptations of wolves such as paternal investment. Other wolf behaviors have been exaggerated or distorted. A border collie’s herding is recognizably derived from wolf behaviors, as is a terrier’s aggressiveness, but this hardly means that collies, wolves, and terriers are all the same. Paternal investment may be particularly fragile and easily lost in mammals, because parental investment via internal gestation and lactation is engineered into females but not males.

The authors point out the fact that the 7R and default 4R variants coexist suggests that one doesn’t have an absolute evolutionary advantage over the other; rather, the evolutionary advantage is dependent on the relative frequency of the two, and the two variants will reach an equilibrium distribution (with the exact equilibrium being determined by the physical and cultural environment).

What we see today looks much more likely to be the consequence of some kind of frequency-dependent selection, in which the frequency of the new allele increases up to a certain point and then stabilizes. These selective forces must not be the same in all populations, because the 7R allele is quite common in some populations (South American Indians), exists at intermediate frequencies in others (Europeans and Africans), and is rare to nonexistent in yet others (East Asia, !Kung Bushmen) (2).

The evolutionary payoff of an individual’s behavior in a complex society will depend strongly on the reaction of others to that behavior.

When the advantage of an allele is frequency-dependent, two or more different alleles can persist indefinitely at polymorphic frequencies. In evolutionary game theory, such a stable mix is known as an evolutionary stable strategy or ESS (10).

Thus, there has likely been a recent shift that gave a reproductive advantage to males (who exhibit the greatest effects of having the 7R gene). This shift was probably the rise of agriculture.

Because the prominent phenotypic effects of 7R are in males, we need to ask what is the niche in human societies for males who are energetic, impulsive (i.e., unpredictable), and noncompliant? Whereas tests of hypotheses ought to be careful and conservative, generation of hypotheses ought to be speculative and free-ranging. There is a tradition of caution approaching self-censorship in discussions of human biological diversity, but we will break that tradition in what follows.

There are at least two hypotheses to explain the world distribution of 7R. The first, due to Chen et al. (2), is that it is a dispersal morph. They argue that the allele increases the likelihood that its bearers migrate. As modern humans colonized the earth, bearers of 7R were more likely to be movers so that populations far away from their ancient places of origin have, in effect, concentrated 7R. The world high frequencies in South America reflect the great distance of South America from the original human homeland: similarly migrations from China led to the presence of the allele in southeast Asian and Pacific populations, whereas none remained in China. This hypothesis does not account for the apparent long persistence at low frequency of 7R in human ancestors before the population movements occurred that were responsible for population frequency differences.

The second hypothesis is that 7R bearers enjoy a reproductive advantage in male-competitive societies, either in competition for food as children or in face-to-face and local group male competition. Societies in which this advantage would be present were rare before the spread of agriculture, but common after it. This hypothesis requires a brief review of human ecological history. We acknowledge our abuse of detail and of ethnographic diversity in the summary that follows.

Modern humans were successful colonizers of much of the Old World by 40,000 years ago. They lived by hunting and gathering and, later, by agriculture. The archaeological evidence suggests that agriculture appears soon after the end of the Pleistocene, but the antiquity of occasional tropical gardening is not known. Where human densities were low, agriculture was most often extensive, involving shifting cultivation of gardens that were then left fallow for years. Increasing human densities led to agricultural intensification with ever higher inputs of labor to ever scarcer land, resulting in plow agriculture and organized irrigation.

I quote the authors’ description of cad and dad societies in full here, as a summary would not do it adequate justice. It is eery how modern American society matches the described cad society paradigm of thug and hipster cads, and single mothers. Contrast with the dad societies, which are allegedly filled not with real nice guys, but with nice guys ™, although the end result is the same – men are beta providers.

Among most hunting and gathering people both sexes work to provision offspring; in particular males allocate much of their reproductive effort to parental effort. These “dad” societies contrast with “cad” societies in which males allocate reproductive effort to mating effort, that is to competition with other males for access to females.

The general theory of the “war between the sexes” is described by Dawkins (11), whereas the human version of it is described in a landmark paper by Whiting and Whiting (12) and elaborated by others (1314). In general, in societies where males are dads, men and women live together with their offspring; they eat and sleep together; the males are not particularly gaudy; and they do not make fancy weapons and art. Pair bonds are durable, divorce rates are low; and nuclear families are the primary context for care of children.

In cad societies, the public relations between men and women are aloof; men and women often do not eat and sleep together; and males are involved in personal adornment, fancy and decorative weapons and art, and local raiding and warfare. In many such groups, for example, men eat and sleep in a men’s house rather than with families. Marriages are not durable, and children from an early age are likely to be left to the care of siblings and other children. The latter societies are called “peer-rearing” societies in the literature, whereas dad societies are more often “parent-rearing” societies.

Most foraging people are dad societies, the exceptions being cases where there are periodic rich resource streams like salmon runs on the North American northwest coast. There is some controversy in the literature about whether apparently parental males in dad societies are really parental or whether they are instead engaged in many subtle forms of male competition and mate guarding (15). At any rate the end result is that men work and provide food to children.

Contrary to claims that monogamy is a recent invention, relatively monogamous dad societies are the norm amongst primitive hunter-gatherers. It was only through agriculture that cads were able to thrive. In modern agriculture and industrial states, it is the presence of law enforcement and moral norm enforcement that put the cads at a disadvantage and allow dads to thrive.

Among low density gardeners, on the other hand, the typical pattern is that most of the gardening work is done by women, freeing men from subsistence responsibilities. Boserup (16) calls these “female farming systems,” a euphemism for societies where men live off women. Freed from domestic responsibility, men can occupy their time decorating themselves and planning the next raid. Widespread systems of such societies, as in highland New Guinea or lowland South America, seem to be stable as the chronic raiding and warfare suppress population growth. But powerful polities can break the stability, suppressing local male coalitional violence, leading to population growth, agricultural intensification, and ultimately to males again working at farming to provision their families. Thus there are drab males working at subsistence among foragers and, at the other end of the density continuum, among intensive agriculturalists and peasants. In between we see decorative competitive males engaged in local male coalitional violence. There is an unsettling parallel with the dad males of the working class in contemporary industrial societies and the cad males of the underclass (17).

It is interesting to note that China, perhaps the only place in the world that has had essentially continuous political civilization (no dark ages) for the past few thousand years, has an almost complete absence of the 7R allele.

Our hypothesis suggests that the absence of 7R in East Asia is recent, consequent to the establishment of powerful polities that allowed population growth and forced agricultural intensification. It is of interest in this context that 2R alleles in China are probably derived from 7R alleles by recombination, suggesting that the loss of 7R is indeed recent.

Conclusion

Counterintuitively, it is perhaps the “patriarchal” norms of monogamy, chastity, and fidelity that allow the existence of a dad society in which men and women work together to provide for and raise children in a relatively egalitarian way. By fighting for liberation from “oppressive” sexual norms, feminists are creating a cad society today – one in which the women have to do all the work and in which men must aggressively compete each other through violence and peacocking to successfully mate with women.

88 thoughts on “Sexual Selection of Cads

  1. 1
    Han Solo says:

    Outstanding and fascinating post!

  2. 2
    Han Solo says:

    I suppose care should be taken since it was only on 181 people. Are there any follow-up studies that look at larger samples?

  3. 3

    As Han pointed out, less than 200 sample size in the 2010 study is extremely problematic given the extent of the argument being made. Only 63 males participated. As usual, the participants were university students, which creates problems.

    And I’m not sure if this sample size is big enough to mitigate the problems with self-reported sexual history that we all know and love. Still, it’s something to think about.

    “Thus there are drab males working at subsistence among foragers and, at the other end of the density continuum, among intensive agriculturalists and peasants. In between we see decorative competitive males engaged in local male coalitional violence. There is an unsettling parallel with the dad males of the working class in contemporary industrial societies and the cad males of the underclass”

    So is the idea here that (1) among hunter-gatherer communities you have males and females creating food and living together in monogamous relationships, (2) then as people settle into agricultural communities the females make the food and the males make war and art and create things and have uncommitted sex, (3) and then as these agricultural communities get yet more complex and more dominated by an elite, the males are put back into the home and we have a return of monogamy? Am I reading that correctly?

  4. 4
    Sir Nemesis says:

    The effects measured are quite large and certainly statistically significant given the sample size (the results had p-value of around 0.01-0.02).

    I don’t think there have been any follow-up studies yet, but I did find an amusing paper that suggests an alternative to MMSL: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s13347-012-0081-8/fulltext.html

  5. 5
    Sir Nemesis says:

    @ IP

    So is the idea here that (1) among hunter-gatherer communities you have males and females creating food and living together in monogamous relationships, (2) then as people settle into agricultural communities the females make the food and the males make war and art and create things and have uncommitted sex, (3) and then as these agricultural communities get yet more complex and more dominated by an elite, the males are put back into the home and we have a return of monogamy? Am I reading that correctly?

    You’ve got (1) and (2) correct. However, regarding (3), it’s not so much about complexity and being dominated by an elite as it is about having strong sociopolitical organization. You have to have a society that is powerful enough to punish warmongers and sanction promiscuous women, and which can ensure that beta providers don’t get killed or have their crops harvested by someone else.

  6. 6

    Ok but that does imply a strong elite. I don’t think there’s any large complex society in the records that had a strong security apparatus (a standing army, police, etc) and a strong religious framework (to establish moral codes, including sexual morality) without a powerful warrior and priestly class. I was basically just taking the next logical step.

    But it seems to me the argument is not so much about promiscuous women, but rather promiscuous men, and their place in the civilizational hierarchy, is it not?

    What’s interesting is that the elite men tend to be on the promiscuous side, even in otherwise very monogamous societies. Take China for instance: according the study, extremely monogamous historically, devoid of that magic gene, and yet infamous for its emperors and their mistresses, courtesans, multiple wives, etc. Ghengis Khan was from East Asia of course. And you have King Solomon, King Henry VIII, and so on. Closer to home, in the buttoned-up monogamous mid-20th century America you have JFK and various Hollywood celebrities.

  7. 7
    Sir Nemesis says:

    @ IP

    Ok but that does imply a strong elite. I don’t think there’s any large complex society in the records that had a strong security apparatus (a standing army, police, etc) and a strong religious framework (to establish moral codes, including sexual morality) without a powerful warrior and priestly class. I was basically just taking the next logical step.

    Well if you consider the warrior and priestly classes to be elites, yes.

    But it seems to me the argument is not so much about promiscuous women, but rather promiscuous men, and their place in the civilizational hierarchy, is it not?

    Well we’re talking about the equilibrium frequency of cads, and this frequency concentration will be determined in large part by women’s sexual preferences (i.e. do women mate with cads or with dads).

    What’s interesting is that the elite men tend to be on the promiscuous side, even in otherwise very monogamous societies.

    Well, most of the men in the warrior and priestly classes are not that promiscuous. However, the men at the apex (who I would consider the real elite) tend to be promiscuous, even in monogamous societies.

    Take China for instance: according the study, extremely monogamous historically, devoid of that magic gene, and yet infamous for its emperors and their mistresses, courtesans, multiple wives, etc. Ghengis Khan was from East Asia of course. And you have King Solomon, King Henry VIII, and so on. Closer to home, in the buttoned-up monogamous mid-20th century America you have JFK and various Hollywood celebrities.

    This is true. What distinguishes such societies from cad societies is that the elites are the only ones who’re promiscuous, and non-elite cads cannot practice the same behavior.

    In China in particular, only a tiny minority of the population was polygamous. With the exception of Genghis Khan (whose not-so-consensual conquests numbered in the thousands or perhaps even tens of thousands rather than the tens or hundreds as with most emperors), the elite did not breed in sufficient numbers to significantly shape the population.

    However, the Genghis Khan thing was more of an instance of a cad society invading dad societies.

  8. 8
  9. 9

    No question the promiscuous men are a minority. But the size of that minority may vary significantly. Even going from 1% to 5% can make a big difference over the generations.

    Many instances of sex do not result in children, either today or historically. And once you introduce contraception into the mix, the rates plummet even further. Thus, bringing it back to our time, sex is not the issue, the issue is reproduction. Europeans for instance have just as much sex as Americans and yet have nowhere near the amount of pregnancy, because of contraception. This is a problem I have with these kinds of studies (although they are certainly very interesting and useful).They assume genes tell the whole story of people’s sexual behavior, or most of it. In reality it’s more likely to be a fraction of the story.

    If scientists from another planet were to run these methodologies on the offspring of American college kids, they would come to the conclusion that college students are very nonsexual people, who rarely have sex. And yet the reality is the opposite. They just use protection, so their sexual behavior doesn’t show up in the DNA.

    Speaking of the lower class in the US, the problem is not sex (there’s plenty of extramarital sex in the middle and upper classes), it’s unprotected sex.

  10. 10
    Shenpen says:

    Does this mean the standard manosphere theory about female hypergamy being excited by alpha cads is wrong, as in the evolutionary, hunter-gatherer environment the best male partner was a responsible, dad type “top beta” ? In both models women want high status men, but different high status men. Similarly in the standard manosphere model men are naturally promiscuous, in this model not so.

  11. 11
    Liz says:

    Really interesting writeup, Sir Nemesis.

    I’m still trying to sort it out. Regarding China (caution, painful subject ahead)…that’s one of the civilizations to partake in castration practices fairly en masse and routinely throughout the course of history. Perhaps that practice had some influence on the outcomes there?

    Per the rest…It certainly makes sense to me that agriculture would have an influence, since it influenced everything else. Like others, I’m curious about a large sample study there. Correlation/causation tend to merge, and behaviors are influenced by society which controls the costs/benefits. Few laws were necessary before agriculture brought on the need for property protection and with it the accumulation of money and lots of “stuff”. With the accumulation of private wealth came theft and laws, enforcement of laws, larger-scale wars to take over large chunks of territory/weath accumulated, and so forth. I’m sure it’s the same for taking women/mass caddism as well (which is, afterall, a form of theft…as those Brits learned in their dealings with the Danes centuries ago).

    Incentives are going to change in those environments. So of course religion is a means of curbing criminality when the state is too weak to do so, and we’ll see much more exercise of religious freedom in societies that have strong and functioning governments that can keep things from delving into mass violence/theft and so forth. Values/morals are a form of protection too. They increase the cost of criminality and decrease the reward. And small subsistence communities will have different calculations for that as well because they rely on community for survival, the reward for crime is low (little to steal) and the cost high (direct social network of reliance at stake). The equation shifts as conditions shift (the reason crime goes up with urbanization…increased incentives for criminality and corresponding decrease in disincentives with less reliance on the direct and entire community for survival).

    Human capital is a much different “animal” in the bare-subsistence world than a modern first world. Innovation differs (Edison’s much repeated 99 percent perspiration/1 percent inspiration bit). In “fat” conditions, innovation is laudable…if at first you don’t succeed and all that. Take this concept to a subsistence society and the “free thinker” tries a new agricultural technique in hopes of tripling his food output, but fails. Instead of tripling the output his family starves along with the village. There’s probably an equal but opposite anti-Edisonian proverb for a “fool who risks everything on an idea” in subsistence societies. Stream of conscious rambling I suppose, but it’s all connected.

  12. 12

    Great post, Sir Nem!

    I am certainly no expert, but my limited research background is in decision-making models used under stress and uncertainty. As such, these types of mutations are very interesting, as are their presence or lack thereof in certain “high-risk professions.”

    Think of key components of the human nervous system as a “Green Light” vs. “Red Light” mechanism for encouraging and discouraging various types of behavior. The formal name for this is the “Approach-Withdrawal” continuum. The nervous system has various tools to support and discourage, but for our purposes here the key players are dopamine, serotonin, testosterone, and cortisol. Dopamine is obviously the happy neurotransmitter associated with feelings of excitement and rapture, serotonin is the “Zen” neurotransmitter associated with calm and contentment, testosterone is associated with status and dominance, cortisol is associated with stress and apprehension.

    When I do seminars on this subject to tactical community guys, I usually reduce these to two clusters: dopamine and testosterone are the gas pedals, serotonin and cortisol are the brakes on the car (more complicated than that, but this model will do yeoman’s work in terms of Approach-Withdrawal behaviors).

    “Alpha” behavior really reflects the relationship between testosterone and cortisol that emerges from a given social encounter. If two or more men interact—particularly in a physically competitive situation which is usually fought over direct or indirect reproductive access, and which has a clear “winner” and “loser”—the winner will be rewarded with a measurable jolt of higher testosterone (strength, status, confidence) and lower cortisol (stress). This is essentially what an alpha male is—he’s the biochemical winner and recipient of favorable T/C awards when he engages in social interactions with the rest of the world.

    There is much literature on what happens when such an individuals experiences win and after win—larger bets, more risks, more confidence, etc. are normal. Such individuals may need artificial braking systems placed on them because their internal physiological and psychological states will not be acting as brakes. Nature has set guys up this way. Human females obviously have far, far lower free testosterone levels and thus this effect will be far less pronounced in women.

    Re: DRD4 variants. What you are getting here is an effect that deals with a part of the human emotional command system as described by a guy named Jaak Panksepp. The part we care about is a neural circuit called the “SEEKING System”, which is mediated by dopamine to encourage Approach vs. Withdrawal behaviors. It’s like an internal Pavlovian conditioner which releases a reward chemical as you approach things that are deemed beneficial, and avoid things that are deemed negative.

    Some people receive relatively higher rewards of dopamine for doing the same activities that other people do. These people would be less encouraged to take risks over all—sexual or otherwise. In the hunter-gatherer environments of the Pleistocene, where innovation rewards were quite low and people hung out in high-trust bands of 30-150 individuals, the dopamine rewards from individual risk-taking were probably quite limited. The most high T-low C alpha badass guy probably got the most attractive wife and some other social rewards, but the differences between his lifestyle and those of the other men was really quite modest. You just wouldn’t see wild extremes of inequality and reward—these were small, mobile, communitarian groups of people with few material possessions and very standardized lifestyles.

    When you create “civilization”, however, you also get social class systems and the possibility of individual achievements being recognized by big payoffs. Now you might see very different risk-reward calculations, and those “Green Light” people who have a predisposition towards risk-tolerance may have a chance to differentiate themselves. Ironically, Green Lighters will probably present both the biggest winners AND most spectacular failures (in corporate strategy, this has been termed “the Strategy Paradox”).

    Now imagine that you have someone who has risk-centric dopamine mediation via his limbic system combined with the Alpha Spread of higher T and lower C rewards from winning social competitions. This guy may never be really satisfied—certainly you would not expect him to be able to say “gee, I’ve banged enough hot chicks—I better stop now because I feel so greedy”. From a psycho-physiological perspective, he’s now an obligate carnivore, a sexual version of a cat. Quitting is just not what his neurotransmitter and hormonal cascades are pushing him to do. He will stop when his opportunities dry up or when he finally does overshoot his capabilities radius and starts “losing” more.

    Now imagine that this is a social dynamics-trained individual who has been more or less inoculated against taking rejection personally. Or a psychopath. Or, God help women in his vicinity, both. …And I’m not even talking about his physical appearance, wealth, etc. yet. Insofar as the contemporary SMP is set up to reward the successful risk-taker and dominant competitor with more and more tangible and intangible benefits, we should probably expect greater inequalities to reveal themselves in a large range of social metrics. We might also, perhaps more tragically, expect increasing numbers of psycho-physiologically-exhausted men to become ambivalent about the nature of the whole social game and to reconsider if they wish to play it.

    Sorry for the long ramble…hope it was semi-coherent. I can offer no practical solutions to it other than perhaps geographical relocation for some guys who are facing awful conditions. “Winner Take All” seems to be baked into the social fabric at this point.

  13. 13

    Bastiat..”f two or more men interact—particularly in a physically competitive situation which is usually fought over direct or indirect reproductive access, and which has a clear “winner” and “loser”—the winner will be rewarded with a measurable jolt of higher testosterone (strength, status, confidence) and lower cortisol (stress).”

    There’s an interesting book, The Hour Between Dog and Wolf, by John Coates, a trader turned neuroscience researcher. He is interested in the embodiment of mind: thought as mediated by aspects of the body beyond the brain per se, and discusses the effect of the testosterone positive feedback loop in the securities market and in political decision-making.

  14. 14
    jf12 says:

    Re: alternative. One funny aspect of love drugs, or rather libido drugs in the case of women, is that they do work. Similar to a woman forcing herself to have sex every day, or on any regular frequent schedule that she actually keeps, a wife taking libido enhancers will report better sex, better lovey dovey feelings, better relationship communication etc. Better all around. But as soon as the study or experiment or whatever is over, she will stop, even though it was working. Again, similarly, older women’s main sexual problem is not enough natural lubrication, and every time she forces herself to use artificial lubrication she will report better sex, better lovey dovey feeling, better relationship, etc. But she will stop anyway. Any older women’s gyno will tell you: older women tend to refuse to use lubricants, and it’s a real paradox for the doctors.

  15. 15
    Escoffier says:

    Regarding China, I had no idea about this gene issue; fascinating.

    However, I am not sure it matters all that much for the future. Even if Chinese men had the cad gene, their opportunities to indulge would be very limited by demographics. Because of the one child policy and a couple of decades of sex selection abortion, the ration of males to females is a stratospherically imbalanced 135:100. (The natural rate is 105:100.)

    Chinese women can afford to be as picky/flighty/bitchy as they want, and in the big eastern/coastal cities they are taking full advantage of their power. There are, or used to be, a handful of English language “dating” blogs about the scene in Shanghai, Canton (Guangzhou), Beijing, etc. that described a metro-SMP much more effed up than even our own. It’s going to get worse before it gets better.

  16. 16

    Coates is a primary source for analysis of this type of feedback. He’s the market leader. Excellent insight, David.

    One manifestation of this is that the “rogue traders” (Leeson, et al) who blow up their hedge fund and prop trading desks were usually very successful prior to the big blast.

    I am not a statistics-policeman and I tend to find such people tedious beyond a certain point, but the Extreme Value people are right to point out that there is a real problem with using Statistics 101 Gaussian tools to try to describe some of these social phenomena. A prof friend of mine who is essentially a pro-Gaussian feminist sociologist has argued that the behavior of 1-2% of the population is so constrained that it should have little effect and be stripped from the data set as anomalous. This might be true if we were talking about a physically constrained phenomena like, say, height. But in the social sciences we are typically talking about social phenomena, and many of these reflect non-Gaussian distributions. It’s like saying that market crashes only happen rarely, so we should all bet our retirement accounts by selling naked puts on the S&P. I’m normally a long-volatility “bubble and crisis hunter” for this reason.

    Some of the distributions that best categorize social phenomena are pathological—variance itself is difficult to measure, and the “average” may be a meaningless concept. An event that in a Gaussian world would be classificated as 10-, 15-, even 25-sigma—-“impossible in the history of the universe”—may occur every 5-10 years. Taleb argues that these black swans actually deserve a significant amount of our attention and may represent the signal rather than the noise.

  17. 17
    jf12 says:

    Re: China. The ratio of available men to available men is much worse, already well exceeding 150:100, and even if equal sex selection were mandated starting yesterday, within a couple of decades the ratio of available men to available women will exceed 200:100. That’s even before correcting for things like desirability, which drive it up to like 500:100.

  18. 18
    Liz says:

    Bastiat: “A prof friend of mine who is essentially a pro-Gaussian feminist sociologist has argued that the behavior of 1-2% of the population is so constrained that it should have little effect and be stripped from the data set as anomalous.”

    Has he ever heard of Steve Jobs? Outliers wield enormous influence. True of the economy, true of everything. I think an argument could be made that outliers are the main game-changers. The airline industry is completely different today because Herb Kelleher got a crazy idea a few decades ago.

  19. 19

    Liz, she views many social phenomena according to a kind of enclave or “gated community” logic. She’s a very nice woman and I think she is probably more intelligent than I am, but like many progressives she doesn’t traditionally see how changes in one part of the system have knock-on effects throughout the whole and create waves of unintended consequences. Thus in her mental models she will tend to “fix” one major social variable and then tweak another and disregard how twisting the dial on the the second one could have caused a compensatory, perhaps quite negative change on the first.

    In her defense, she would no doubt be able to articulate all kinds of errors and pitfalls in my approach and thinking.

    I have learned a lot about feminism from her, and she has directly experienced how force-fed, sex-neg 2nd Wave stuff has alienated so many young women that now, within the 3rd Wave, you have a “Radical Bimbo” movement that essentially celebrates the idea of becoming a hot, pornstar-looking sex toy for suitable men (the boyfriends are referred to as “Owners”). I suppose that it is the natural extension of increasingly high-stakes mating competition, Facebook narcissism, pornification, internet self-promotion, and, more controversially, dominance-starvation among young women—porn-glam and hypersexy now as a real way of life, and possibly combined in many cases with monogamy! (Google “Bimbo Tumblr” and read some of those blogs for a lot of entertaining and provocative reading; it’s sort of the female version of PUA).

  20. 20
    jf12 says:

    Re: standard theory. The model with explanatory power is that when men actually get to choose, the result is strict monogamy (to avoid males having to compete so much; it’s the gentleman’s agreement solution), but when females get to choose the result is effective polygamy and rampant promiscuity with many icels.

  21. 21
    CaptDMO says:

    Blah blah blah promiscuous men.
    Um, who are they being promiscuous WITH?
    Are there really only two, very busy, bedpost notchers, of OPP in the world?

  22. 22
    a definite beta guy says:

    Just tagging so i can follow. Still at work for the day. Blah…

  23. 23
    jf12 says:

    I don’t think any of this has anything to do with males’ neurobiology or males’ behavior other than female-decided promiscuity (male ADHD itself is notoriously correlated with lack of reproductive success with females). The prevalence of cads is explained by the “sexy sons” hypothesis: when females can reproduce with a cad, the reproductive success of her sons may be enough to offset the lack of resources from the cad. Almost the only thing that matters is the availability of resources. It has nothing to do with risk taking, or anything else.

  24. 24
    Sir Nemesis says:

    @ Shenpen

    Does this mean the standard manosphere theory about female hypergamy being excited by alpha cads is wrong, as in the evolutionary, hunter-gatherer environment the best male partner was a responsible, dad type “top beta” ? In both models women want high status men, but different high status men. Similarly in the standard manosphere model men are naturally promiscuous, in this model not so.

    Yup. It suggests that the preference for cads was more recent.

  25. 25
    Sir Nemesis says:

    @ IP # 9

    Historically, contraception was not widely practiced, so reproduction and sex were intimately linked.

    However, you’re correct that recent changes will change things. I expect the 7R DRD4 allele will get even more selected for, as unprotected sex is basically risk-taking behavior, which the 7R allele promotes.

  26. 26
    Sir Nemesis says:

    @ Bastiat # 12

    Now imagine that this is a social dynamics-trained individual who has been more or less inoculated against taking rejection personally. Or a psychopath. Or, God help women in his vicinity, both. …And I’m not even talking about his physical appearance, wealth, etc. yet. Insofar as the contemporary SMP is set up to reward the successful risk-taker and dominant competitor with more and more tangible and intangible benefits, we should probably expect greater inequalities to reveal themselves in a large range of social metrics. We might also, perhaps more tragically, expect increasing numbers of psycho-physiologically-exhausted men to become ambivalent about the nature of the whole social game and to reconsider if they wish to play it.

    Yup. The current SMP, with its emphasis on confidence and complaints about sexual harassment, is essentially a meta shit-test designed to weed out everyone but unrealistically confident men and psychopaths.

    Game is hated because it allows the wrong men (read: realistically confident, risk-averse, and non-psychopath) to sneak through the filter.

  27. 27
    gogreen says:

    “There is much literature on what happens when such an individuals experiences win and after win—larger bets, more risks, more confidence, etc. are normal”

    BB. There is a similar theme in Crabb’s “Men, Women, Enjoying the Difference”. In his case, the “wins” are instances of appreciation and trust from the wife. Makes him a bigger man in all senses, including sex. Should the wife be providing losses, he becomes a smaller man, pouting on the sofa thinking smelly perverted thoughts.

    The link with ADHD might be under the new definition, which is anything a first-grade teacher doesn’t like.

    The success of somebody who stops one thing and starts another, and impulsively chases a shiny trinket away from THAT, is different from that of somebody who takes a different road, impulsively, and completes it, succeed or fail. Different person, results perceived differently by others.
    Good point about marginal situations making innovation risky as hell.
    I say, again, that we don’t know what the hell our prehistoric compadres did, or how their societies were arranged. Much of this discussion and a bazillion like it presume a woman had a choice. If she did not, the whole thing fails. And we do not know.

  28. 28
    Sir Nemesis says:

    @ jf12

    I don’t think any of this has anything to do with males’ neurobiology or males’ behavior other than female-decided promiscuity (male ADHD itself is notoriously correlated with lack of reproductive success with females). The prevalence of cads is explained by the “sexy sons” hypothesis: when females can reproduce with a cad, the reproductive success of her sons may be enough to offset the lack of resources from the cad. Almost the only thing that matters is the availability of resources. It has nothing to do with risk taking, or anything else.

    Sexy sons only works if monogamy is not enforced (i.e. we have a cad society). In which case female-decided promiscuity will result in cads reproducing more which will affect the neurobiology of future males (who have cad genes).

    As for ADHD itself, there are two manifestations of it. One is the kind associated with the 7R allele, which really isn’t a mental disorder, just an evolutionary adaptation. The other kind is the one that manifests itself in anyone (regardless of 7R expression), and this comes with a whole host of maladaptive psychological problems, suggesting it is indeed a disorder.

    The ADHD due to lack of reproductive success with females is probably the latter kind.

    To quote the paper:

    . Another hint that 7R does not cause pathology in an evolutionary sense is the finding that children diagnosed with ADHD often show specific neurological deficits, whereas children bearing 7R and diagnosed with ADHD do not show such deficits (5).

  29. 29
    BuenaVista says:

    #19: On the feminist ‘gated community’ (il)logic of social phenomena: this would be mildly humorous if she weren’t, I infer, a tenured professor possessing of great institutional authority.

    One of the easiest (and therefore, most obligatory) ways to make money is to chase equity that rewards what a buddy and I call the ‘100x’rs.’ What is a ‘100x’r’? That is a man (well, one out of 1000 is a woman, but I diminish myself through obviousness) who is 100x more productive than your average striver.

    GE: does not reward the 100x’r. They prefer a team of rivals, some of whom are 20% better than the others. When GE encounters a 100x’r, they fire him.

    All successful small companies employ 100x’rs. They all find people who are 100x more useful than successful bureaucrats with fancy degrees in large companies.

    An anecdote (because that is what I do):

    In my last company, we developed IP and broke down numerical walls in the area of high-scale optimization. This is to say, you haven’t gotten a credit card in the last 15 years without being affected by the decision science of a 100 person company started by an English major.

    Well. No one really knows what optimization is. Most people think it’s “doing something something better.” Actually, “it’s doing something-something as well as it can possibly be done, numerically proven, shut up.”

    So we were always on the hunt for applied mathematicians who could understand a proprietary nonlinear solution to a high-scale (tens of billions of variables) optimization problem that had to be solved, 24/7, in less than a second using commodity computers.

    So we hired a knockout HR Girl, who now runs HR at one of the largest insurance companies in the world. So she was qualified.

    So HR Girl, and her staff, spent most of their time searching for qualified mathematicians who could converse in respect of experimental math that we had patented and implemented.

    So HR Girl finds an MIT PhD who’s working at a logistics optimization company with a $5B market cap, who wants to come work in a shithole steel building at the approach end of Dulles RWAY19 with an English major and a bunch of Russians. We fly him in from 1500 miles away.

    Whereupon he comes — and Sasha (not his real name) makes him cry in less than 10 minutes because he cannot solve a problem on the whiteboard. I see Sasha (not his real name), in the hall of our Butler building, and he smirks and shakes his head: “I can do nothing with him. He does not think. Maybe he did once.” So Candidate goes to Sergei, who’s CTO, who, with a plastic garbage bag of Marlboros on the floor, probed the candidate’s reasoning ability. This lasted five minutes. Less than one cancer stick.

    Candidate flees the building. Just runs away.

    HR Girl, who has (oops, had) a 27″ waist and a 35″ bust and don’t ask me why I know this, blasts into my office and lets loose a stream of FUCKING OBSCENITIES, AND SHE KNOWS OBSCENITIES, HER DAD WAS AN SOF COLONEL AND WON A SILVER STAR, while I sit there.

    “But Sasha and Sergei (not their real names! dammit) said he was stupid. We don’t hire stupid. Would you like me to talk to him?”

    “HE HAS A FUCKING PHD FROM MIT! HE WORKS FOR THE BIGGEST OPTIMIZATION TECHNOLOGY COMPANY IN THE WORLD. HE ALREADY RAN CRYING OUT OF THE BUILDING! SO NO I DON’T WANT YOU TO FUCKING TALK TO HIM YOU FUCKING FUCKING FUCK HE’S ALREADY WALKING BACK TO THE AIRPORT!”

    [I don’t remember if HR Girl and I violated protocol before, or after, that contretemps. I do recall the violation, but it exists out of time.]

    Moral of the story: being 20% better than someone, as Pro-Fem Prof considers the normal reign of things, doesn’t explain the world. It explains Verizon: “do something slightly better every day.”

    As Liz noted, intelligence and effectiveness carve a logarithmic curve — and the last one percent of the population reside on a curve that is nearly vertical. Always search for the 100Xr’s. They’re the ones who make money, love you long time — or take everything you have. This crap about needing to discard the top 1 or 2% is a totalitarian impulse, either by a very, very smart 1 percenter, or a mediocrity fearing competition. In every competition, someone is 100x more productive. Find that person.

  30. 30
    Sir Nemesis says:

    @ gogreen

    I say, again, that we don’t know what the hell our prehistoric compadres did, or how their societies were arranged. Much of this discussion and a bazillion like it presume a woman had a choice. If she did not, the whole thing fails. And we do not know.

    This research suggests we don’t need to. We only need to know what recent (near the end of prehistory) humans did, as sexual selection causes shifts at a much shorter scale.

    We certainly can observe that in modern or historical hunter gatherers, women have a strong choice.

  31. 31
    A Definite Beta Guy says:

    Optimization of a non straight forward problem with all those variables sounds terrifying. How exactly does one go about doing that and why exactly could the PhD from MIT not do it?
    Computer necessary?
    Then again, I hate learning math. One of the few things I never really learn because it seems I am always diving into something way too easy for me or far above my difficulty level. I took one of the fiancé’s math books (she was a math undergrad) and 10 pages in I was looking up Wikipedia for details. Haven’t gotten past that yet.
    Is that what you do, BV, or do you have a different role at the firm?

    Sitting here at my Fortune 50, it seems like any 100xrs would end up heading out the door before too long. Constant bureaucratic bullshit and petty rivalries and a total lack of cross-training and teamwork. Me and the other new guy just hired in the past year are almost one foot out the door already. Other guy was extremely pissed that a higher up took his work and presented it as her own and then got snippy during a big meeting: he is the kind of guy who runs up five figure gambling debts and takes on Division 1 basketball centers (seen both), so had that been in-person I would have probably seen some punches flying.
    In the past week, we’ve resolved, oh, 5 million dollars of outstanding issues, not bad given our accounts with nary a thank you, more just getting yelling at because the outdated dinosaur with 40 years “experience” is wasting his time researching things that do not need to be researched. Would help him, but it’s fun listening to his phone calls. He doesn’t want to get a new computer because he’s worried he has to back up all his files on floppy disk and that would just take forever.
    Sears is hiring in the area, though. They are damn near bankrupt if they haven’t gone bankrupt already, so they are going cheap with recent college grads.

    Other fun item? Trying to convince an insurance rep that, no, 50 of my pharmacies did not simultaneously reverse $35,000 worth of prescriptions a year after they were dispensed, at 9:32 PM on a Friday night. Nope. That did not happen. That was something the insurance company did. Can you please just escalate me to someone who is not a dumbass?
    50 minutes later…
    Oh, yeah, it says Medicare Audit here!

    Thank you, commander dumbass.

  32. 32
    Sir Nemesis says:

    @ ADBG

    Optimization of a non straight forward problem with all those variables sounds terrifying.

    In theory, it’s really straightforward. In practice, implementing an algorithm that converges rapidly and consistently can be difficult, especially given finite-precision limitations of computers.

    How exactly does one go about doing that and why exactly could the PhD from MIT not do it?

    After all, MIT grads have trouble writing lightbulbs… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aIhk9eKOLzQ

    Computer necessary?

    Absolutely.

  33. 33
    jf12 says:

    Re: sexy sons. Sexy sons works just fine if monogamy is enforced, but not too enforced.

    Re: ADHD. The whole reason people were investigating the 7R allele is because it was the best known genetic anomaly associated with ADHD. Thus it was a surprise to the researchers of the earlier paper that “The 7-present subgroup seemed to be free of some of the neuropsychological abnormalities thought to characterize ADHD.” In fact, the only identified freedom was that the 7R presence was assocated with normal, average, typical (“beta”) reaction time on some test tasks, instead of the oddball ADHD reaction time.

    It doesn’t make sense that taking a subgroup of a minor oddball group and making that subgroup to be slightly more like the average of the majority non-oddball population would make a big effect in population statistics. Just sayin.

  34. 34

    […] The 7-repeat variant of the DRD4 gene, traditionally linked with ADHD, is, according to a 2010 paper, also strongly associated with cheating and promiscuity. This finding indicates genetic roots in sociosexual orientation, and the possibility that…  […]

  35. 35

    Sir Nemesis,

    Issue is hard-wired propensities, which means environmental pressure or selection. For that to work, you have to have a situation in which the issue in question can be manifested, and simultaneously, not manifested, by individuals.
    Ex. Capillary response to cold is not free to work–or not work–among people in, say, Panama, or the Congo. Thus, there can be no selection for it, or against it. However, if it happens to be associated with some other issue which is unfavorable, it will be selected against without reference to its utility or lack.
    My point is that women’s choice is necessary to the evpsych and other related issues and that the existence of choice has not been demonstrated, even into the neolithic.
    I have mentioned, someplace or other, that even into the neolithic, certainly earlier, a shortage of adult female skeletons, which suggests something, possibly female infanticide to keep the population down,was causing a disproportion between men and women. Whatever the cause was, the disproportion seems to have existed. In addition, using the ring-finger ratio as a proxy for high-T tells us that there was a higher proportion of high-T guys in the old, old days. High-T is associated with violence, promiscuity, and aggressiveness/assertiveness.
    So we have a bunch of guys, most characterized by a higher propensity for violence than today, with the other characteristics, and a shortage of women.
    Now, if we want to picture the early neolithic village, say, as as swamp of non-choice, to be pleasant about it, we’d have to posit women still sneaking around looking for more congenial guys in the group–which is not very big–and doing so at such a rate that the more congenial guys–not meaning betas necessarily or whatever but guys they prefer–take the reproduction trophy.
    That means we have to figure out how come the women want those more congenial guys before the evolution of a desire for the more congenial guys has had time to appear.
    Now, by congenial, I don’t mean wimpy betas. I mean appearing desirable to women, congenial not in the Toastmasters’ definition.
    We don’t know when women’s choice became significant. Consider that, while it may have shown up here or there, the non-choice situation continued for eons longer, only dropping off slowly.
    There are still cultures with arranged marriages, and in India, a loving match can be broken up by the husband’s violende toward his wife if the dowry is not satisfactory, which calls into question the existence of choice, or the discernment of the woman. In any event, it does not reflect a long tradition, long in terms of sufficiency for evolutionary development, of choice.

  36. 36
    Liz says:

    Interesting analysis, Richard.
    I’m not sure the outcome is so dependent on female choice though.
    I think the outcome holds even if you consider females (and offspring) as a form of property (which, of course, they were for thousands of years). I don’t think there were dowries before agriculture…or money in much of any form, for that matter.

  37. 37
    BuenaVista says:

    #31, #32:

    Constraint-based optimization, of course, is sophomore year stuff, obviously. As SirNem notes, however, the conventional (linear programming-based) solution doesn’t scale well, much less present a viable approach in time-senstive contexts. So we can all formulate the high-scale optimization problem, but we can’t solve it using LP approaches. Or, the traveling salesman problem, or a portfolio balancing exercise, are trivial to address with LP tools that children have programmed.

    I would out myself if I went into more detail here, but it is in the transition from the compact to the very, very high scale that most forms of conventional analysis fail. This is true if one is solving a financial analytic problem, option-pricing a basket of insurance liabilities, scoring 50 million consumers for 200 different products across five channels, or cracking illicit network behavior on the darkside. Each requires sui generis mathematical expression. My snark about the MIT guy is based in part on experience, which taught me that most of what passes for ‘analysis’ is an approximation of a solution that someone previously installed in a textbook; it also is the snark of a career insurrectionist, who regards degree porn as just another appeal to authority (hence a logical fallacy).

  38. 38
    jf12 says:

    richardaubrey is correct. In addition, in a very real sense it is the best genes which survive eons of hard times and only during short times of great choice and plenteousness can bad genes manifest themselves.

  39. 39
    Liz says:

    #38: Wouldn’t “good” and/or “bad” depend on evironmental conditions though? Those change, and the switch to agricultural society, from the hunter gatherer one, was a huge change. Think I remember ADBG and Bastiat exchanging ideas about world leaders happening to be born at the right time in history for their abilities to have merit.

  40. 40
    Liz says:

    “good” and “bad” in the context of genes, I intended to say above.

  41. 41

    Liz,
    The dowry isn’t the issue. It could be anything. Point is, these women are, in this case, marrying guys who think it’s legitimate, possibly required, to beat up, disfigure with acid, or some other hideous punishment, their wives. For any reason.
    Which suggests either lack of choice, or less directly, lack of time and interaction to determine if the guy’s an asshole before deciding to marry. IOW, reduced choice. Or perhaps all the guys are assholes, which amounts to the same thing.
    What this implies is a long-standing culture with little or no choice, indications of which persist into the twenty-first century.
    IOW, no choice, thus no evolutionary reason for women’s choices to become manifest in either men’s behavior or women’s behavior.

  42. 42
    Liz says:

    #41: What if it isn’t about female choice but male choice? Certain environments empower different types of personalities/characters.

  43. 43

    Excellent post and exceptional commenting. I feel like my IQ has risen just by checking this site today. Thank you all.

  44. 44
    jf12 says:

    Good genes promote survival better than bad genes do. If it were truly due to effective selection pressure on men’s behavior and men’s choices, then men would have evolved to individually behave more monogamously during difficult resource times and more promiscuously during easy times during an individual life. That appears to me to be not the case. I think instead that during easy times, the times of exponential population growth, pair-bonded nuclear families expanded out to exploit easy resources. Nobody can seriously argue that the most efficient way to reproduce is to have lots of large families (especially grandchildren!).

  45. 45

    One issue with optimization is that sometimes, the set of assumptions given to the optimizers is precisely what needs to be challenged. In manufacturing, for example, a lot of industry and academic effort has focused on sequencing of production flows to optimize results when setup times are involved…for example, the time required to change the die on a stamping press…How many Widgets should we make in a batch before switching to Gizmos and then to Gerbilators, given that it will take X hours to swap the dies?

    Toyota, though, looked at the problem differently, and focused on greatly speeding up the changeover process. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Single-Minute_Exchange_of_Die

  46. 46
    jf12 says:

    Re: dowry. Keep in mind that the nearly universal dowry practice is for the father to pay the husband to take the daughter off the family dole. In contrast there have been almost zero bride price cultures, not for long anyway.

  47. 47
    jf12 says:

    Re: r/K selection. Clearly humans are among the most extreme examples of being K selected, and any environmental pressure moving that extreme K towards r selection would manifest itself as earlier and multipler births during difficult and uncertain times. But in fact I think that for humans early menarche and earlier and more births come during times of extended plenty.

  48. 48
    jf12 says:

    I’m trynta have some thoughts. Bear with the multiple postings. Promiscuity in men can be rapidly selected for IF the promiscuous guys get to have grandchildren. In contrast, as explained herein, I think promiscuity in women is vestigial. It can definitely be to a woman’s reproductive advantage to have promiscuous sons, but because, being a K selected organism, daughters have limited reproductive potential then there is no particular advantage for a woman to have promiscuous daughters: most women reproduce (historically) while most men do not. Or rather, men are more variable. A much stronger fact is that the more partners a woman has then her fertility drops, precipitously at high N, in accord with Malinowski’s hypothesis, as first noted in prostitutes. The actual biological mechanisms, whether some combination of the Bruce effect and antisperm antibodies, are irrelevant to the result: promiscuity in women per se is deselected.

    So far this week I’ve advanced the ideas that in women these male-like sexual behaviors are all vestigial:
    1) orgasm
    2) romantic love
    3) promiscuity

  49. 49
    jf12 says:

    @Liz Re: male choice. Most males don’t get to choose. Of those few males which do get a large choice of women, most of those men choose promiscuity i.e. “I’ll take all of ‘em.” So female behavior cannot be due to male choice, whether the male gets to choose or not.

  50. 50
    jack says:

    Heh. Perfect.

    Now when women try to shame me for not manning up and marrying those sluts, I’m going to tell them that I don’t want my kids to catch ADHD from their mother.

    “It’s for the children. Same reason you don’t marry guys with physical defects.”

  51. 51
    jack says:

    Also, is the ADHD the real reason why you need to multiply a woman’s stated N by 3?

    Maybe girlmath just works differently.

  52. 52

    gogreen #27..”In his case, the “wins” are instances of appreciation and trust from the wife. Makes him a bigger man in all senses, including sex.”

    I just finished reading Rose Wilder Lane’s novel The Young Pioneers, about a very young couple who set up housekeeping on the Great Plains during pioneer days. Not her finest work, but interesting. Molly and David are very optimistic about their great wheat crop, but it is destroyed by grasshoppers and they are impoverished and emotionally devastated. They are on the point of giving up the homestead and David taking a laborer’s job somewhere, but Molly realizes something:

    “He must not lose his pride; it was their most precious possession.”

  53. 53
    Liz says:

    Jf12: (combining quotes from different posts)

    “Good genes promote survival better than bad genes do. If it were truly due to effective selection pressure on men’s behavior and men’s choices, then men would have evolved to individually behave more monogamously during difficult resource times and more promiscuously during easy times during an individual life. That appears to me to be not the case. I think instead that during easy times, the times of exponential population growth, pair-bonded nuclear families expanded out to exploit easy resources.”

    You probably know far more about this than I (I have no background in genetics), but I don’t see why the first would be true. Behavior might evolve to fit the circumstances, which would not necessarily fit changing circumstances. Good genes do promote survival but the fossil record also indicates that history is filled with mass extinction events when circumstances change and those with “good genes” couldn’t adapt (IOW, they became bad for the times).

    “Nobody can seriously argue that the most efficient way to reproduce is to have lots of large families (especially grandchildren!).”
    It woulnd’t be very efficient in a hunter gatherer society, that’s for sure. But in an economy where human capital is human capital in the most literal sense, having large families would be beneficial. Progeny is the subsistence society’s equivalent to society safety net AND human workforce (children could be put to work at very early ages, for relatively unskilled labor).

    “@Liz Re: male choice. Most males don’t get to choose. Of those few males which do get a large choice of women, most of those men choose promiscuity i.e. “I’ll take all of ‘em.” So female behavior cannot be due to male choice, whether the male gets to choose or not.”
    Assume the above is true. I don’t see why that contradicts the premise. If those few males choose “all of ‘em” they’re going to have a lot of progeny to carry on their genes.

  54. 54

    Liz & jf.
    The issue of the dowry isn’t the issue. It’s the fact that women are marrying guys who think it’s dandy to hurt them…over what isn’t the point. So, as I suggest, this indicates a culture in which choice has been limited for women. Hence, whatever evolutionary benefits flow from women’s choices didn’t flow, or not very much.

    Men’s choices is a different matter, but whatever they are, they aren’t manifested in women, except as a secondary effect; what would cause the alpha-est stud to pick Me, over and over? Of course, not having knowledge of genes and heritable survival traits, the idea that she is in some instinctive sense trying to promote more survivable kids is pretty thin.

    David Foster, that was my point referring to part of “Men, Women, Enjoying the Difference”, a red pill book even if the author doesn’t say so or come near it.
    Terrific review of the book–author Crabb–on Amazon.
    Note that Molly knows the pride is “their” most precious possesion. In extreme cases, she lives or dies by it.

  55. 55
    jf12 says:

    @Liz Re: why behavior should fit. Life history theory basically posits that evolution OUGHT to produce a series of different behaviors throughout life.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Life_history_theory
    It includes the idea that individuals’ behaviors ought to change, not just statistically in a population.

    Re: human capital. Given enough resources, the reason a worker is capital is because there are resources to exploit. Any time that is true, historically nuclear families pumping out babies have produced the most human capital. Hence, out of the (perhaps) hundred billion human live birth events that ever happened, if you picked one at random you will probably pick a birth to a nuclear family during a time of resources.

    Re: why male choice doesn’t matter. Because the male does not get to choose whether he gets to choose. Period.

  56. 56
    Liz says:

    “Re: why male choice doesn’t matter. Because the male does not get to choose whether he gets to choose. Period.”

    If the conditions empower them to be successful, it seems intuitively evident that they are going to be in a position where they have far more choice (whether that choice is “all of them” or “that one” or whatnot) than if they are not successful.

  57. 57
    jf12 says:

    Re: dowry. I agree dowry is irrelevant, probably antithetical, to the concept of female as property. However bride price does seem to involve the concept of property, although its actual (not just ritual) practice was strictly limited to Big Man polygamous societies in which the one guy with all the resources helped himself to everything and everyone.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bride_price
    (referencing The Oxford Handbook of Evolutionary Psychology, Edited by Robin Dunbar and Louise Barret, Oxford University Press, 2007, Chapter 26 The evolutionary ecology of family size.)

    Dowry is by far the most common sort of such practice throughout both monogamous and monogamish peoples, and any culture that is resourcefull. Although a lot of little cultures have practiced ritual bride price, these tend to be poverty stricken peoples (historically). If neither guy is the Big Man, one dirt-poor would-be husband tells the dirt-poor father “I’ll give you a whole pile of yams for your Susie”, with both the husband and father (and everyone else in the village) knowing he has a grand total of a half pile of yams stored in his hut on the far side of the swamp. But the father, to save his daughter’s face ritually, will pretend to bargain “It’ll have to be two piles of yams, because She’s Worth It.” And they settle on one and a half piles, and the father secretly endows the husband with one pile as they go to get the husband’s half pile, and they all make a big feast together for everyone with the yams, and then everyone returns home, the bride to her husband’s now yamless hut.

  58. 58

    jf12.
    Dowry is an issue, but I guess I made an error mentioning it. I meant to make the point that Indian men think punishing their wives for an inadequate dowry means the men are assholes. Why would a woman marry an asshole? NO FREAKING CHOICE, is why. Either the marriage is forced, is in the case of many South Asian cultures and their exports, or the time and interaction necessary for her to discern the assholishness of the guy is limited which limits her choice, or they’re all assholes and choice is meaningless.
    Which indicates a lengthy culture of NO FREAKING CHOICE for the women, therefore invalidating any evolutionary issues stemming from women’s choice SINCE THEY DON’T HAVE ANY FREAKING CHOICE.
    Note I only used the word “dowry” once. I’m not talking about dowries. Or bride price or woman as property.
    I’m talking about survival into the twenty-first century of a culture of millions of people over thousands of years where there may not HAVE BEEN ANY FREAKING CHOICE.

  59. 59
    Sir Nemesis says:

    @ Liz

    I’m not sure the outcome is so dependent on female choice though.
    I think the outcome holds even if you consider females (and offspring) as a form of property (which, of course, they were for thousands of years). I don’t think there were dowries before agriculture…or money in much of any form, for that matter.

    Exactly. Choice by proxy (such as parents arranging the marriage) will affect the gene pool in much the same way (and will tend to favor dads over cads).

  60. 60
    Sir Nemesis says:

    @ RA

    Point is, these women are, in this case, marrying guys who think it’s legitimate, possibly required, to beat up, disfigure with acid, or some other hideous punishment, their wives. For any reason.

    There will always be violent men who sneak through the filter, even in a dad society (and India isn’t as much of a dad society as China).

  61. 61
    jf12 says:

    “If conditions empower them to be successful” then the conditions empower more males to be successful. That means, merely, that more males are then in the competition for the same group of females. In essence, the *females* then get more choice.

    Yes, some of the men might have gotten promoted from the have-nots to haves (have-no-woman to have-a-woman) through the improving of conditions, but strictly by the choice of females deciding those previously undesired men were not as bad as they previously thought.

    If you think otherwise or even want to think otherwise, you’re suffering from a bad case of apex fallacy.

  62. 62
    Sir Nemesis says:

    @ RA

    The issue of the dowry isn’t the issue. It’s the fact that women are marrying guys who think it’s dandy to hurt them…over what isn’t the point. So, as I suggest, this indicates a culture in which choice has been limited for women. Hence, whatever evolutionary benefits flow from women’s choices didn’t flow, or not very much.

    The conclusion, while true, does not follow from the premise. Yes, some women in India end up with men who think it’s dandy to hurt them. Yes, in an arranged marriage society, female choice (and male choice for that matter) is limited. Nevertheless, it’s a leap of logic to suggest that women ending up with men who hurt them implies lack of female choice.

    Would you contend, for example, that Russia is a country in which choice has been limited for women?

  63. 63
    Liz says:

    #61: Now I’m really lost.
    I thought you said Richard was correct (his post about female lack of choice). This must not have been what you agreed with.
    With choice, women tend to choose men who are successful or have traits they interpret as successful. Without choice, men who are most empowered to choose will make those choices. There was a Sultan with 5000 concubines, his progeny was in the thousands. The conditions (whatever they were, but obviously a great deal of wealth accumulation was involved) that empowered him passed a great portion of his genetic material on. By contrast, those 5000 concubines were watched by a lot of eunuchs who didn’t pass their genetic material on.

  64. 64
    jf12 says:

    I simply refuse to believe there have ever been large numbers of husbands punishing their wives for lousy dowries. But although I agree historically most women have not had much choice (besides Hobson’s choice, or Catherine of Siena’s choice, or maybe Noccalula’s choice), I contend even more men have had even less choice – if they were lucky then they took what they got.

  65. 65
    Sir Nemesis says:

    @ jf12

    I simply refuse to believe there have ever been large numbers of husbands punishing their wives for lousy dowries. But although I agree historically most women have not had much choice (besides Hobson’s choice, or Catherine of Siena’s choice, or maybe Noccalula’s choice), I contend even more men have had even less choice – if they were lucky then they took what they got.

    Correct on all counts.

  66. 66

    You can refuse to believe it if you wish. The existence of the issue means it exists. Some guys sneak through the filter…? Point is, the culture–not since English law got into the country but the culture–doesn’t see the problem. You can’t have a culture which doesn’t see the problem if they don’t think it’s a problem.
    It’s not that an occasional guy is a butthead. It’s what the culture thinks about it which means it’s been a general practice. And that wouldn’t have happened if women had had choices.
    The UK, among others, is dancing a difficult step, trying to keep Muslim girls from being schlepped off to Pakistan to marry some asshole they never met, while they’re trying not to be accused of Islamophobia. It appears they’re erring on the side of not being accused….
    The UK Muslim family doesn’t pony up the scratch for a plane ticket and force a daughter to go back to the Old Country to marry a first cousin once he gets pried loose from his favorite goat just on an impulse. It’s a cultural thing and it goes back a very, very long way.
    Some years ago, the London police said they were reopening the cases of about a hundred Muslim girls who were missing. They dropped their efforts in order to avoid offending the immigrant community. But they started up again and…found they’d offended the immigrant community. This is not a matter of the random butthead.
    And if that’s they way it is now, what with western influence and so forth, it can only have been worse in the not too distant past.
    No freaking choice.

  67. 67
    jf12 says:

    Fisher’s principle (especially Hamilton’s elucidation) of approximately 50:50 male/female sex ratios
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fisher%27s_principle
    holds for almost all conditions, even highly polygamous conditions in which almost all children are born in polygamy. We know that under extreme monogamy conditions, men who could be cads are forced to be reluctant dads instead. Is it true that in highly polygamous conditions that men who would prefer to be dads instead feel forced to be reluctant cads? If so, is the cad/dad ratio a lot more stable than you might think?

  68. 68
    jf12 says:

    Ooh ooh ooh. Thinking hurtz. Does a reluctant dad have better genes than a reluctant cad? I think women might think so, in the sense of more women who would like to be able to choose the cad forced into monogamy.

  69. 69

    jf12. What about the cad is attractive when he’s forced into a dad situation?

  70. 70
    Liz says:

    #64: I agree but I think that’s sort of the point in the premise of the write up (I’m on my iPhone now and having a bit of trouble typing and can’t retread it at present). Whomever is making the choices modern conditions are more empowering for rampant unchecked hypergamy and caddism. That’s why social mores, morals, laws and religion have existed with an honor code of sorts to keep societies running better and curb those tendencies and rampant predatorial practices. There is a need for those laws and mores. When society at large discards them it’s an invitation for those types of behaviors to prevail and then impact society and even the genetic pool. Thus having a sort of cascading snowball effect.

  71. 71
    jf12 says:

    Re: coercion. The fixation on abusive jerks doesn’t seem to be helping along the topic of cads i.e. a male impregnating multiple females. Although a party in coercion may be bad, that doesn’t make him a cad. (Cad, dad, bad)

    It’s interesting that the coerced marriages under discussion involve dowry and not brideprice (e.g. jahez in Pakistan). The father coerces his daughter to marry and coerces the husband to take the father’s money? Or is it higher order coercion (the girl’s father being coerced by others to give both the girl and the money)? Is it supposed to be generally applicable, or mostly to certain otherwise unmarriageables?

  72. 72

    jf12. Hardly matters. Point is, the woman doesn’t have a choice and thus any evolutionary results of her choice don’t exist. Since she had no choice.

  73. 73
    jf12 says:

    #70 Yes! Laws and mores are for the specific purpose of reducing choice for those who have “too much” choice already. The purpose of government (whether or not it fulfills that purpose) is to protect the weak from the strong. The unlawful and immoral seem to fall into the 80:20 type of situation, in which 80% of the women choose 20% of the men. This is what hypergamy ALWAYS means in practice: women tend to all agree on who they’d like to sex it up with, and it’s a very small fraction of the men and that fraction tends to have more cads experimentally. In contrast, men, including cads, tend to all agree on who they’d like to sex it up with, and it’s a very large fraction of the women. Cads get to be cads when allowed to. Women seem to choose cads when allowed to. Non-cads are not choosing to be non-cads.

  74. 74
    jf12 says:

    #63 explaining not lost. RA originally seemed to be saying that women’s choice was a modern development.

  75. 75
    jf12 says:

    My contention is that a cad has other qualities that multiple women choose over multiple non-cads, and it is those selected qualities which enable him to be caddish i.e. it is not his caddishness that causes those qualities. As a trivial example it is not the fact that he has multiple girlfriends that causes him to be handsome. I think that this women’s-choice hypothesis explains the paradox: that women would prefer a man who could be unfaithful, even though unfaithfulness is undesirable in and of itself.

    In addition, the idea that a non-cad dad could simply choose to be more caddish and thus impregnate many more females seems to be ludicrously Lamarckian at best, and under the shadow of the apex fallacy at worst (at Dalrock she-who-I’ve-been-ordered-not-to-name said basically all men are alphas). The non-cad dad can, however, work on selected qualities.

  76. 76

    jf12.
    My view is that women’s choice is sufficiently modern that it doesn’t provide enough time for evolution to be influenced by it.
    Hanging out in the hospital when my granddaughter was born, chatting with an OB nurse. Said there was an ethnic group whose births were vastly more likely to be handicapped in some fashion. Finding out the kid is not in good shape, they just go away. Leave them with the hospital. Wouldn’t tell me the group.
    However, and Spawny might be able to help here, I’ve heard that in the UK, Muslim kids are some horrific multiplier–eleven, perhaps–more likely to be born handicapped due to cousing marrying.
    If your choices are limited to cousins, you don’t have much choice. Even that which you do have is not hauling in fresh genes.

  77. 77
    jf12 says:

    Re: men’s choices. All relevant studies have found that a woman’s physical attractiveness is not positively correlated with a woman’s fertility rate. In fact, almost all studies find that for women the most attractive quintile, or decile, have fewer children than average (although the extremes of unattractive also have below average). In contrast, the more attractive the man the more children he has. For men the most attractive quintile, or decile, have more children than average. It’s simply not true that given equal opportunities to impregnant women that better looking men would impregnate more: the average man is quite fertile enough to get many women pregnant each month. The difference is in opportunity: physically attractive men are given many more opportunities by women, both more women and more opportunities per woman.

    Clearly there is no direct evolutionary pressure on average women to become more attractive, but (or because!) most are quite attractive enough. Similarly there is direct evolutionary pressure on men to become more attracitve, but (or because!) most simply are not attractive enough, bluntly. It seems obvious, trivial even, that this could only have resulted from enforced (but not too enforced) monogamy with assortative mating, with women getting to choose but many choosing not to.

  78. 78
    A Definite Beta Guy says:

    Sorry to distract from the conversation, but for the math-folk:
    So, the n-variable optimization problems are really no more difficult than the N<4 variable optimization I was doing back freshman year in "business" calc? If so, goddam, what a lame PhD indeed…

  79. 79
    jf12 says:

    @ADBG. Short answer from me, unqualified no. Longer answer, keep your grains of salt handy. Prior to Feigenbaum (1978!) it had been hoped that the advent of cheap computing would prove the utility of some of the arcane analytics developed during decades of Operations Research. But the resulting explosion of complex systems research immediately demonstrated that generic dynamics (with driving, dissipation, etc. i.e. anything realistic) is inherently chaotic, and everyone’s focus shifted to control/prediction of chaos (Kalman filters scale with N especially poorly). Of everyone-who-is-anyone, nobody did it better than Simons, who decided to make some money.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Harris_Simons
    Naturally, as all quants know and everyone else suspects, it’s really all about convincing investors (ahem). A powerpoint graph is worth a thousand variables.

    I think Wolfram’s answer, along the lines of A New Kind Of Science, might be a qualified yes. Combining his principles of computational irreducibility and computational equivalence, you can’t really accurately model any realistic system by making a more complicated model, so you might as well use a simpler model that does Kind Of the same stuff, whether simple patterns, randomness, or chaos, and tweak the mapping between the model and reality, rather than tweaking the model. Apologies for the handwaving, but there it is, maybe A New Kind Of Answer.

  80. 80

    JFT12—like the way you think. When I started out as a futures trader, we were optimistic about using the Kalman filter on commodity price time series. We actually found that even simple and exponential moving averages were usually killing the more sophisticated techniques when you went out-of-sample, although certainly at some parameter settings you could get basically the same performance.

    Agree 100% about marketing and pitch design. Much more effort should probably go into identifying, nudging, and controlling the social dynamics of the conference room than a lot of people spend on this stuff.

  81. 81

    Where was the comment on marketing & pitch design?…can’t find it..

  82. 82

    Hey David, I was just referring to the observation in #79 about convincing investors, showing an exciting program equity curve vs. the S&P and/or a hedge fund index, etc.

  83. 83
    jf12 says:

    @BB, I agree too. Problem is, being an old-dog more-decimals hard scientist myself, I’ve only just now begun to take social dynamics seriously. Being a beta, I had poohpoohed it as beneath me since it never benefitted me.

  84. 84

    […] we are actually a disproportionate part of the cultural creatives. Sir Nemesis of Just 4 Guys did a great long essay about the 7r allele and how it relates to socio-sexual predisposition among other things […]

  85. 85

    […] my earlier post on the sexual selection of cads, I presented a study which looked into the DRD4 gene and discussed the effect of environment on the […]

  86. 86
    Exfernal says:

    #53
    “Good genes do promote survival but the fossil record also indicates that history is filled with mass extinction events when circumstances change and those with “good genes” couldn’t adapt (IOW, they became bad for the times).”
    At the risk of stating the obvious, “flash” mass extinctions are the times when survival becomes more the matter of a dice toss than having better or worse genes in any sense. Nevertheless, it’s true that genes promoting more “generalist” adaptations tend to fare better than those about more “specialist” adaptations. For me, it’s rather about the comparative speed of filling resulting void than survival per se.

    It’s times of prolonged (and/or repetitive) hardship that, to me, constitute a more meaningful test of fitness. It’s during them that the species in question is being “redefined” at the fastest rate.

  87. 87
    Exfernal says:

    *when survival of the species becomes*

  88. 88
    Exfernal says:

    Pressure from parasites and disease-causing microbes, pressure from co-evolving predators or similar species competing for “necessities” like food or places of shelter, slow climate changes that force migrations, so on and so forth. Unidirectional selection, in general.

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