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On Wednesday, Caitlyn Jenner received the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the ESPYs, seizing the opportunity to deliver an impassioned, inspiring speech about the importance of trans acceptance.

Jenner has done a consistently admirable job using her celebrity to draw more attention the plight of underprivileged trans people. Her ESPYs speech was no exception, as Jenner detailed the tragic suicide of several trans teenagers. But perhaps the most affecting moment arrived when she spoke of the love and support she received from her family, who looked on in the audience. Explaining how lucky sheis, Jenner quickly put the spotlight on the broader trans community. “It’s not just about me,” she explained:

(Emphasis mine.)

It’s safe to say that Rachel Dolezal never thought much about the endgame. You can see it on her face in the local-TV news video—the one so potently viral it transformed her from regional curiosity to global punch line in the span of 48 hours in mid-June. It is precisely the look of a white woman who tanned for a darker hue, who showcased a constant rotation of elaborately designed African American hairstyles, and who otherwise lived her life as a black woman, being asked if she is indeed African American.

It is the look of a cover blown.

There have been women over the years who’ve spent thousands upon thousands of dollars for butt injections, lip fillers, and self-tanners for a more “exotic” look. But attempting to pass for black? This was a new type of white woman: bold and brazen enough to claim ownership over a painful and complicated history she wasn’t born into.

After her estranged parents set her downfall into motion by telling a local newspaper, in no uncertain terms, that their 37-year-old daughter had been born Caucasian, Dolezal was relieved of her paid and unpaid positions in Spokane. She resigned from her position with the N.A.A.C.P. (though odds are she would have been ousted if she hadn’t)

As she figures out where she’ll land next, Dolezal says she is surviving on one of the skills she perfected as she attempted to build a black identity. At Eastern Washington University, she lectured on the politics and history of black hair, and she says she developed a passion for taking care of and styling black hair while in college in Mississippi. That passion is now what brings in income in the home she shares with Franklin. She says she has appointments for braids and weaves about three times a week.


Rachel Dolezal still identifies as a black woman despite, you know, being white.

In a new interview with Vanity Fair (can you believe this lady made it into Vanity Fair?), she says that while she knows she isn’t biologically African-American, her assumed blackness isn’t anything she can stop.

(Emphasis mine.)

I’m just sayin’

Previously: 200 Blog Posts – Everything You Need to Know (To Start): Essential human categories: race and sex (and the Bruce Jenner/Rachel Dolezal controversies)

(Republished from JayMan's Blog by permission of author or representative)
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648_60287335914_4089_nUnlike many commenters in this space, I don’t particularly lament the secular rise of “universalism” that has occurred in Northwestern European societies (and their derivatives). Indeed, as a Black man, this is especially important to me. Without universalism, slavery may never have ended in the West. Without universalism, my family may never have been able to come to the United States from Jamaica, and I would likely not exist. Without universalism, laws banning interracial marriage might still be on the books, and my marriage to my wife would not be recognized throughout much of the country, and quite possibly my son would not exist.

“Universalism” is, broadly, the belief that all humans deserve the rights and recognition that historically people would only reserve for their own clan, own tribe, or at best, own countrymen. The idea of “universal human rights” is a very foreign concept to most of the world (even if many pay lip service to the idea today). As we saw in my previous post (200 Blog Posts – Everything You Need to Know (To Start): section Intraracial group variation and HBD Chick’s theory), this is the purview of Northwestern Europeans, a group of people who are distinct from all others in the world.

Many Northwestern Europeans unfamiliar with this fact assume that values found in WEIRDO societies are found across the globe. This has led some like Steven Pinker to conclude that all humanity is imbued with an “expanding moral circle.” That is, we posses an adjustable circle of morality, that can be expanded when we gain familiarity with those outside. If one confines oneself to NW European societies, it sure does look that way: we no longer keep people as slaves; we feel all have a right to participate in democracy; we don’t allow child labor; we feel that the disabled and the mentally ill deserve to live with dignity; Jim Crow has ended. We have enshrined a Universal Declaration of Human Rights as adopted by the United Nations (a NW European invention). We even extend some of these ideas beyond the human species with certain segments pushing for animal rights.

The idea of a universal “expanding moral circle” was mocked by Staffan in his post The Myth of the Expanding Circle or You Can’t Learn How to Be an English Vegetarian:

if width of empathy is so large in most people, does it really matter if it’s a behavioral trait or not? Doesn’t growing awareness and the empathic inclusion that follows amount to the same thing as an expansion of our circle of empathy? Yes, you might say this is all semantics, weren’t it for one important thing: width of empathy is only large in Northwest Europeans and their descendants. People sometimes referred to as WEIRD (Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, Democratic). This trait is intimately (inversely) linked to ingroup loyalty which is weaker among the WEIRD populations as well as among liberal/progressive people, as Haidt’s research has shown.

The rest of the world is not very impressed by Enlightenment ideals and it never was. To this day most of the world is not very into human rights. It’s something you do to make rich Western friends. And now with the rise of China many are abandoning this pretense altogether.

In fact, present day China makes an excellent example of how awareness and reason (this is a highly intelligent people) in no way has expanded the circle of empathy. The internet is full of videos from China illustrating cruelty and lack of concern for both humans and animals. This is a glaring contradiction that Pinker and Goldstein fail to address. Another friend of the expanding circle (who even wrote a book with that name), Australian philosopher Peter Singer has made an attempt to resolve this problem in his own TED talk. In it he shows very disturbing film clip (so click at your own peril) in which a 2-year-old Chinese girl is run over by a car and then left lying in the street. Other people look at her but walk by without helping in any way. He then goes on to compare this behavior with Westerners who can prevent child mortality by supporting UNICEF but fail to do so, at least sufficiently to eradicate the problem

Indeed, China is rife with awful tales, such animals being routinely skinned alive (WARNING: extremely graphic video – click here to view). Pakistan is known for “bear baiting” (where a declawed and detoothed bear is tied up left to be attacked by dogs), as well as the recent case of a married couple who were burned alive for blasphemy. Face-disfiguring acid attacks against women are common occurrences across South Asia. Human rights abuses abound in much of the non-Western world; the idea of a universal morality is clearly untenable.

Peter Frost discussed a trait that plays a significant role in universalism: affective empathy. From his post Feeling the Other’s Pain:

We like to think that all people feel empathy to the same degree. In reality, it varies a lot from one person to the next, like most mental traits. We are half-aware of this when we distinguish between “normal people” and “psychopaths,” the latter having an abnormally low capacity for empathy. The distinction is arbitrary, like the one between “tall” and “short.” As with stature, empathy varies continuously among the individuals of a population, with psychopaths being the ones we find beyond an arbitrary cut-off point and who probably have many other things wrong with them. By focusing on the normal/abnormal dichotomy, we lose sight of the variation that occurs among so-called normal individuals. We probably meet people every day who have a low capacity for empathy and who nonetheless look and act normal. Because they seem normal, we assume they are as empathetic as we are. They aren’t.

Like most mental traits, empathy is heritable, its heritability being estimated at 68% (Chakrabarti and Baron-Cohen, 2013). It has two distinct components: cognitive empathy and affective empathy. Some researchers identify a third component, pro-social behavior, but its relationship to the other two seems tangential.

Cognitive empathy appears to be the evolutionarily older component of the two. It is the capacity to understand how another person is feeling and then predict how different actions will affect that person’s emotional state. But this capacity can be used for selfish purposes. Examples are legion: the con artist; many telemarketers; the rapist who knows how to charm his victims …

(Republished from JayMan's Blog by permission of author or representative)
🔊 Listen RSS An enduring mystery (among many mysteries) is the existence of women exhibiting sexual attraction to other women. Unlike male homosexuality, where a likely explanation has been put forth (see Greg Cochran’s “Gay Germ” Hypothesis – An Exercise in the Power of Germs), female same-sex attraction remains the realm of speculation. My previous foray into the matter, The Evolution of Female Bisexuality, contains much of that speculation. I’ve learned quite a bit since then, so the time has come to revisit the matter. This time I will make use of one of the most powerful exploratory methods in social science, behavioral genetics.

The first thing to look at is the heritability. An analysis of large twin registry studies pegs the heritability of female same-sex attraction (SSA) as 33% (Whitehead, 2011). This is in contrast to the very low heritability of male SSA, 22%, as reported in the same study. However, these heritabilities were not significantly different.

Unfortunately, a key weakness here (as with virtually all sex research) is that this relies entirely on self-report – worse, with no form of corroboration from any other measurement. Hence, measurement error can be expected to be large.

Looking at the various studies examined by Whitehead, heritabilities were quite variable. A lot of this stems from the relative rarity of SSA, making samples of SSA individuals small even in large studies. (Another problem with that non-response was generally high in these studies, which may have biased heritabitlity estimates.) Only the largest population-based studies with good compliance can firmly pin down the heritability of SSA.

The low heritability and evolutionary contradiction of male homosexuality necessitates the pathogenic explanation. But, assuming the 0.33 heritability of female SSA is reliable, is an evolutionary explanation workable? It is quite possibly is.

A big component is the fitness impact of female SSA. It appears to be much more common than male non-heterosexuality (again, assuming self-reports are to be believed). A British survey (Mercer et al, 2013) finds that among the youngest cohorts of women (ages 16-34), as much as 19% claim to have sexual contact with another woman (the fraction maxes out at around 9-10% for men).

Female Same Sex However, the racial composition of the sample changes considerably across age, going from 92% to only 82% White from the oldest to the youngest cohort. Hence it’s unclear how much demographic changes are driving this apparent generational change (more on that shortly).

Nonetheless, female SSA is quite common. Its historic fitness impact then would appear to be – at worst – not as deleterious male same sex attraction. According to the Add Health data (a nationally representative U.S. teen/young adult sample), the predominant (de facto) orientation of non-heterosexual women is some sort of bisexual, indeed “mostly heterosexual” (from Udry & Chantala, 2006):

Homo-Bi Fraction Add Health

(My own personal suspicion is that most of the men claiming to be “mostly heterosexual” are in fact gay.)

As a check, I looked at the General Social Survey (GSS) to see what the reported overall behavior of non-hetero woman was. I looked at women (all races) who reported 1 or more female sex partners. This is the number of male sex partners these women claim to have had:

Bisex nummenHow Lesbian Are You

As we can see, non-hetero women are apparently quite promiscuous; such women with no or only a few male sex partners are very much the exception. Indeed, a third or more have had more than eight male partners; ~15% or more claim to have had more than 20 male partners!

The second chart is the number of female sex partners women who report one or more female sex partners claim to have had (all races). As we see, the most common value is just the one. All these indicate that such women are indeed primarily attracted to men.

If this is representative of past potential inclination (not necessarily realized behavior]), then the fitness impact of female SSA couldn’t have been too negative, at worst. An interest in other women likely did not preclude marrying and having children for women historically, especially if they were primarily attracted to men.

Lesbian Percent White Also, for the record, I checked the GSS to see if the apparently highish frequency of women reporting SSA was driven by racial differences in SSA. As we see, even when we look at Whites only, we see a noticeable generational rise in the fraction of women who report sexual experiences with other women. I also looked at racial differences, and the values are similar for other races, except for Hispanics, who have consistently reported a 10-13% female-female sex rate for all of these cohorts. Whites and Blacks have merely converged with the Hispanic rate as of late.

Could the fitness impact of female SSA have been positive? That is, was it specifically selected for? I suspect not. While it is common, its nonetheless minority status would entail some sort of balancing selection to remain at its low level. The most plausible type, frequency-dependent selection, implies that female SSA is beneficial when it is rare. I can’t see how this would be the case (especially since it would be tough for such a girl who can’t find other women who are interested in her).

No, I don’t think female SSA is an adaptation at all. Rather, if it is actually genetic in nature, then the most likely explanation appears to be that it is some sort of side effect of something else. I suspect that it may be due to sexual antagonistic selection. That is, its existence may be driven by selection on alleles that have positive effects in men.

Key to this idea is the apparently near neutral past fitness impact of female SSA (its present impact is decidedly deleterious, as per the GSS). It was not rapidly selected out, unlike any alleles which would cause male homosexuality.

(Republished from JayMan's Blog by permission of author or representative)
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“Misdreavus” was having a field day on Twitter yesterday. Here are some the products of that:

For the record, “misdreavus” is non-White, like me.

He is also gay.

And the coup de grâce:

How about that? These are basically the running themes on my blog, and other places in the HBD-space. As we’ve seen with “misdreavus’s” commentary previously featured here, he, in short order, lays bare myths that persist within the HBD-sphere and without. He’s an anti-bullshit crusader much like myself.

This rundown was like an enhanced (and far more accurate) version of Bill Maher’s “New Rules”:

(Republished from JayMan's Blog by permission of author or representative)
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Updated, 10/17/15. See below!

In this post, I will review Gregory Cochran’s “gay germ” hypothesis. I wanted to make an index of Cochran’s posts from his and Henry Harpending’s blog West Hunter that discuss it. These posts don’t seem to all show up under the “Homosexuality” category there, and I wanted links to them to be all in one place. So here are the key posts, with a brief synopsis of each post’s major points. In reviewing this hypothesis, I cite an earlier paper co-authored by Cochran on the matter, one which discusses the role pathogens may play in all manner of human diseases and behaviors.

The “gay germ” hypothesis is very much Cochran’s, not mine (I haven’t contributed anything to it, except, perhaps, the name). I just believe that it is very likely correct, and promote it. Here is the list:

Depths of Madness – The first post in the series. Here Cochran lays out the basic case, and notes key facts that point to the pathogen (e.g., high rate of discordance between identical twins, the evolutionary maladaptiveness of obligate male homosexuality and the paradox of how it could have become so common, how pathogens can affect brain function)

Paternal Age and Homosexuality – Explains why genetic load (burden of accumulated deleterious mutation) can’t explain the existence of male homosexuality, especially at its relatively high prevalence. Notes that unlike afflictions that likely are caused by genetic load, there doesn’t seem to be increased incidence of homosexuality in the children of older fathers.

Group Selection (and homosexuality) – Why group selection (multi-level selection) of the type proposed by E.O. Wilson doesn’t work in general and why it certainly can’t explain male homosexuality. Debunks the “gay uncle” hypothesis.

Homosexuality, epigenetics, and zebras – Why developmental noise, including in-utero epigenetic modifications, cannot explain male homosexuality (in short, natural selection has a strong incentive to prevent low-fitness phenotypes from manifesting, so such congenital defects are all rare)

Heads exploding – The introspective post. Appropriately titled, Cochran invites discussion on the social and scientific consequences of nailing down the biological cause of homosexuality – any cause, regardless if that turned out to be the pathogen as he suspects. (As we’ve seen, public discussion of any biological determinant of homosexuality will have consequences, and as I’ve discussed, not necessarily good ones.)

Math is Hard – Rips on E.O. Wilson, and innumerate social scientists in general, who are largely unable to quantitatively evaluate their variously kooky hypotheses (as I’ve said elsewhere, “everything, and I mean everything, can be quantified”). Dishes on Wilson’s “gay uncle” hypothesis as example of these, one of many other nonsensical notions in social science.

Hamilton Rules OK! – Reviews the mathematics of kin altruism (Hamilton’s rule), and again notes why “gay uncle” type altruism doesn’t work.

Not Final! – Key post where Cochran reviews the case for the gay germ, demonstrating the unworkability of all the alternatives. Shows how processes of elimination (essentially, the reductio ad absurdum) can sometime be a useful method of getting at the truth. Excludes ideas such heterozygote advantage (requires very strong selective pressure for advantage – but nonetheless ruled out by GWAS), sexual antagonistic selection (i.e., benefit to females but costly to males – also ruled out by GWAS), group selection (impossible, and no evidence anyway). Explains the how immune complexes generated by molecular mimicry can cause damage to specific tissues not infected by the pathogen. Notes the ubiquitous impact of genes, but the often highly indirect nature of this impact, which may explain the low but non-zero heritability of homosexuality. And notes that pathogens are often responsible for common fitness-reducing syndromes.

Biological Determinism – Cochran references yours truly as he talks about the pervasiveness of heredity in all things (i.e., All Human Behavioral Traits are Heritable), with illustrative anecdotes about twins. Notes the role that genes play in infectious diseases, illustrating that they are often a necessary but not sufficient component of the outcome in question – i.e., you must invoke pathogens to explain something like tuberculosis. Such is the case with male homosexuality.

Evolution of Virulence – An in-depth discussion of the evolutionary pressures that lead to the insidiousness of pathogenic organisms. In particularly, notes that since pathogenic organisms’ populations are immensely large and their generation times are so short, they evolve far faster than their hosts could ever hope to. Discusses Trojan Horse pathogens, those that try to hide from their hosts’ defenses by mimicking host molecules, and why these selection on these types of infectious agents tend to favor late-appearing illnesses.

Edit, 10/17/15: [Not Even Yong - Starts off clearly stating that the latest tiny twin study claiming epigenetics was behind homosexuality is bunk. Goes into ways that would be informative in finding the cause of homosexuality. Particularly, looking at the brains of discordant identical twins, not the genomes. Notes that such a study is impossible in current political climate. ***End Edit***]

The case for the gay germ is somewhat indirect, but very strong. Critics often level the charge that there is “no evidence” for Cochran’s hypothesis – i.e., that the offending pathogen has yet to be identified. But the claim that there is “no evidence” isn’t really true; there is in fact plenty of evidence. The facts are certainly consistent with a pathogenic explanation, even if we don’t have the pathogen itself nailed down. But, the most compelling evidence comes in the form of ruling out potential alternative explanations. This itself is a form of evidence. The Sherlock Holmes quote, “when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth,” is an excellent guiding principle, and is certainly valid here. As I’ve said before, there is something to be said for explanations, that, while maybe not conclusively proven, have the virtue in that they lack meaningful competition. This perhaps one of the clearest examples.

(Republished from JayMan's Blog by permission of author or representative)
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shutterstock_29040811625x415 A new study (recently discussed by Steve Sailer) has found that the children of gay and lesbian parents have a lower high school graduation rate than those of straight parents.

The finding of this study seems straightforward – indeed, I was able to say it in a sentence. However, the conclusions we are able to draw from these finding are anything but.

The study looked at sample of 20% of the individuals in the 2006 Canadian census. Unlike previous studies, it has the strength of being able to examine a large, truly random sample.

Previous studies into the matter have claimed to find no significant differences between the children of gay and parents vs. those of straight parents. However, those studies apparently suffered from serious methodological weaknesses. The author of the current study explains:

Generally speaking the literature is characterized by several different types of data bias and small samples that lack any power … Although a proper probability sample is a necessary condition for making any claim about an unknown population, within the same-sex parenting literature researchers have studied only those community members who are convenient to study … Of the fifty-three studies reviewed here, only seven used probability samples. All of the other studies arrived at their samples through means that introduced various levels of bias. Some studies recruited individuals from sperm bank data sources or other types of reproduction technology providers. Other studies used Internet surveys where the respondents were recruited by various methods: parent forums, gay and lesbian web-sites, and online advocacy organizations. Many studies recruited through LGBT events, bookstore and newspaper advertisements, word of mouth, networking, and youth groups. A common method of recruitment was to use a combination of the above methods to form a sample base, and then recruit friends of the base. Still other studies failed to even mention how their samples were arrived at. Each different procedure has a different and unknown source of bias.

Aside from the problem of non-random samples, most of the existing parenting studies contain tiny sample sizes. Of the fifty-three studies examined here, only two had sample sizes larger than 500. Much more common were sample sizes between 30-60. The problem with such small sample sizes is that the data cannot generate any power for statistical testing, and low power means there is a small chance of rejecting a false null hypothesis. Hence, the very small sample sizes found in many of these studies creates a bias towards accepting a null hypothesis of ‘‘no effect’’ in child outcomes between same-and opposite-sex households.

OK, so this study “corrects” for these shortcomings by relying on a large, random sample. Still, the rarity of same-sex couples meant that there were few in the sample. Indeed, there are apparently only 423 gay and 969 lesbian families in the entire nation of Canada. Nonetheless, its sample is larger than most such studies.

The study found that children with lesbian “parents” were only 60% as likely to graduate from high school (sons 76%, daughters 45%), while children with gay male “parents” were only 69% as likely (daughters 15%, sons 161%). The disparity remained significant even when certain controls were introduced (such as parental education).

So case closed, right? We can now safely conclude that two opposite-sex parents are important for children’s development, yes? Of course not, not even close.

First of all, despite this study’s improvements over its antecedents, it suffers from a fundamental weakness. It is in essence a classic family study, one that looked at associations within families and then emboldens others to draw conclusions (as illustrated by the title “A Married Mom and Dad Really Do Matter: New Evidence from Canada”) about “family constellation variables.” Yup, there’s your problem: classic confusion of correlation with causation.

You can’t make causal determinations from standard family studies. Even with heterosexual parents, finding associations between parents and their biological children tells you nothing about whether anything about the parents’ rearing of the children had anything to do with what you find, not for the least reason being heredity. Just as finding that substance abusing parents have children that go on to do the same, heredity confounds you at every turn. This is because, as readers should know by now, all human behavioral traits are heritable.

Hence, a key problem is that comparing gay/lesbian parents to straight parents – even when you put in your “controls” – is essentially comparing apples to oranges. I don’t have to tell you that gays and lesbians – particularly the ones that try to live in married/civil union couples are systematically different from straight individuals. A passage from the study illustrates this point:

in the context of gay parenting … avenues through which these households are formed are many and complicated. As noted by Stacey and Biblarz … these families often have experienced a prior divorce, previous heterosexual marriages, intentional pregnancies, co-parenting, donor insemination, adoption, and surragacy.

The biological children of gay and lesbians can hardly considered to be genetically comparable to those of straight individuals, even discounting the sexual orientation itself.

That’s if they’re even their biological children. Here’s another finding of the study:

There are a higher number of visible minority children for gay households (28 % compared to 13 % for common law couples), and a higher number of disabled children (13 % compared to 6 % for opposite sex married parents). This may imply a high number of adopted children in gay households, but interestingly there are no cases of inter-racial same-sex families within the 20 % sample.

I don’t even need to touch the higher fraction of “visible minority” and disabled children in the same-sex parent sample. That’s just icing on the cake at this point.

Having same-sex parents, in and of itself, likely has no impact on children’s development. It would be really strange that if it did, since parenting in general (across the broad range that constitutes “normal” parenting) has no impact on how children turn out. That was the revelation in my first blog post, and it’s a fact that remains underappreciated to this day. This study of gay parents doesn’t change our understanding.

The failure to recognize the broad null effect of nurture (“The Nurture Assumption) is pervasive even in the HBD community, the people who should of all know better.

(Republished from JayMan's Blog by permission of author or representative)
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d69da0026549755167de3d6e2ae13e32Roosh V, a pick-up artist, and one of the foremost voices in the “manosphere” – especially its reactionary wing, has been getting some attention lately. This past evening, ABC’s 20/20 featured an exposé into the “manosphere”, the world of men who make an effort to improve their romantic/sexual success with women and discuss their frustrations with such.

The “manosphere”/”Game” world overlaps to a degree with the HBD-sphere. Many of its adherents and key voices are individuals with reactionary/paleoconservative ideology (one which I – as a fairly unique Left-leaning HBD’er – do not share), as is the case with the overarching community that includes HBD. And like the HBD-sphere, it has its own conventional wisdom that may not necessarily adhere to facts. RooshV recently posted a list of “Community beliefs”, encapsulating some of this community wisdom in one place. In this post I will do a quick analysis of these beliefs to see how well they hold up to the facts.

Here are the stated “Community Beliefs.” Let’s break them down one by one:

1. Men and women are genetically different, both physically and mentally. Sex roles evolved in all animals. Humans are not exempt.

True. Indeed, that men and women are genetically different is in fact tautological: it is this genetic difference (XY vs. XX chromosomes) that defines male vs. female. But, in the sense that this genetic difference entails biological mental differences, this is correct (see my page HBD Fundamentals: On biological sex differences).

2. Women are sluts if they sleep around, but men are not. This fact is due to the biological differences in gender.

True with caveats. As Eliot Spitzer, Anthony Weiner, John Edwards, and Arnold Schwarzenegger could tell you, it’s not like our society gives a pass to philandering men. That said, promiscuous women are looked down upon more than promiscuous men for one simple reason: paternal uncertainty. Unlike women, men have no way (prior to DNA testing, anyway) to guarantee that a child they have putatively fathered is in fact theirs. Human males invest in their children, but any investment in a non-biological child is wasted, evolutionarily. As such, female fidelity became a valued trait, since it increases the chances that any children born to a woman’s mate are in fact biologically his.

3. Men will opt out of monogamy and reproduction if there are no incentives to engage in them.

Muddled. In the absolute sense (all men), it’s clearly nonsense. In the particular sense (some men), it’s unclear. For one, which men? How big a fraction of all men are we talking about? In which societies (“different peoples is different”)? But the most confused bit the claim “no incentives.” What would it mean for men to have “no incentives” to engage in monogamy or reproduction? Are biological drives not incentives? Men are continuing to marry and have children. Indeed, the most monogamous men may be having the most children.

Blondinen-Parade in Riga

Latvian women. My wife is (partly) one.

If taken in the weaker sense, that some men will forgo monogamous mating if given the option, this may be partially true. We do have some evidence that effective sex ratios impact male/female mating behavior. Particularly, when there is an excess of single females relative to single men, men become less likely to commit and exhibit greater preference for short-term mating. Females may adjust their behaviors accordingly, as perhaps Latvian women have.

4. Past traditions and rituals that evolved alongside humanity served a net benefit to the family unit.

Muddled. Whose traditions and whose family units are we talking about?

Even if we restrict ourselves to Europe and the Near East, a whole slew of “family units” and accompanying traditions evolved:

Todd's family system map by Medynski, English translation

As documented by Emmanuel Todd (discussed further by HBD Chick and by Craig Willy), even in fairly recent history, humans have invented all sorts of family arrangements. Each may have been a response to the circumstances each group faced in their various environs, or they may be a reflection of the underlying traits of these peoples, or both. As we can see, what constitutes the “family unit” has varied greatly across various human societies.

5. Testosterone is [one of] the biological cause[s] for masculinity. Environmental changes that reduce the hormone’s concentration in men will cause them to be weaker and more feminine.

True, as corrected. While testosterone is the most well-known and arguably primary androgen, it’s not the only one nor is it the only one which is important. The other androgens, which “are of equal importance in male development,” include:

Testosterone, or even the other androgens, aren’t quite the “things” that makes males male. Testosterone is found in women, for example. Further, while testosterone levels do indeed fluctuate in men in response to the environment, and while testosterone supplementation does alter male behavior, male-typical behavior cannot be simply reduced to the presence of testosterone. Giving a woman testosterone or other androgens will affect her behavior, but it won’t be enough to turn her into a man (see belief #1).

(Republished from JayMan's Blog by permission of author or representative)
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Every once and awhile we’re hit with a piece in the campaign against the very concept of beauty and the human desire and appreciation of attractive people (especially attractive women). Most silly among these are those that talk about what “real” women look like:

They feature “real” women – as if the models, singers, and actresses we see splashed across the media aren’t also real women (Photoshop, make-up, and plastic surgery notwithstanding). In general, the implication is that women obsess about their appearance – often about the most trivial aspects of such – because “Western” society has brainwashed us with unrealistic standards of beauty that women strive to emulate. Our concern over beauty is because of what we’ve been driven to by the media. Without this “brainwashing”, we’d naturally accept people for their “inner” beauty (or some nonsense like that – a point Dustin Hoffman recently professed) and the race to be the most beautiful would evaporate.


Sure, the media likely does compound the beauty arms race (as with many things), but if you believe that that is solely responsible for the human desire for beauty, and hence, women’s obsession over their own appearance – let me show you a few things:


Male (the peacock):


Female (the peahen):2224912782_9b1960ff12


(Female left, male right)




lion-wallpapers-hd-1920x1080 Female:

Lioness and cub







Female left, male right:




Sense a pattern?

Throughout the animal kingdom, whenever there is a great difference in appearance of the sexes, it is almost always the male who is more ornate and decorated. That is, males pick up the majority of conspicuous secondary sex characteristics.

Humans are a distinct exception to this. While human males do have some secondary sex characteristics, such as wider shoulders and facial/body hair, women are the more ornate sex, complete with breasts, longer hair, and for Europeans, brightly colored hair and eyes (both of which are more common in women).

The reason for this boils down to a zoologically uncommon behavioral feature of humans: paternal investment. Men invest in their children. In other animal species, where there is parental investment at all, it is usually only maternal (especially for mammals). In many such species, males need to evolve elaborate displays to attract mates (to show off their fitness). Females, on the other hand, are under much less such selective pressure (i.e., sexual selection), and basically just need to be “there” in order to procure a mate.

Humans, however, are “dadly.” Because human males invest in their offspring, a man has to be more choosy about his mates than males of other species are. And since the supply of mates is finite, women are forced to compete with each other for mates. Flashiness, of the form that is usually found in males across the animal kingdom, appeared in human females. Breasts are one key example; long hair (in non-Africans) is another. As Peter Frost notes, across human races, where average paternal investment deviates from the species’ average to a large degree, there is a corresponding variation in average female attractiveness. This is most pronounced for horticultural Africans (on one end) and Northern (Indo-) Europeans (on the other). In sub-Saharan Africa, women were much more self-sufficient, hence paternal investment was low. Sexual selection more heavily acted on men – hence, the lower average attractiveness of Black women. By contrast, in Northern/Eastern Europe, the adverse conditions encountered by hunter-gatherers there made paternal investment paramount. Polygyny, as the kind found in Africa, was difficult. Hence, sexual selection acted more heavily on women. All sorts of beautifying features appeared, such as bright hair and eye colors, in the effort to attract mates. This intense sexual selection on women rendered Northern (Indo-) European women the most attractive of all, on average.

Women all around the world are concerned with their appearance. What women go through to attract a mate is not much different from what the peacock must go through when he courts the peahen:

(Republished from JayMan's Blog by permission of author or representative)
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Interestingly, none of the commenters to my previous post (Gay Germ Fallout?), with the exception of Luke Lea, seems to be talking about the main point of the post: the consequences should people discover that there is a gay germ. The discussion is focusing on whether or not the pathogen exists, which it almost certainly does.

Is no one concerned about what would happen should this become widespread knowledge?

(Republished from JayMan's Blog by permission of author or representative)
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Readers here will recall my recital of Greg Cochran’s hypothesis that obligate male homosexuality is caused by a pathogenic agent, likely a virus (please see 100 Blog Posts – A Reflection on HBD Blogging And What Lies Ahead: Homosexuality (the “gay germ” hypothesis)). This is by far the most likely explanation for male homosexuality (see my post above and links therein for an explanation of why this is so). OK good, but if that’s so, what happens if people find out about this? As with knowledge of HBD, the existence of a “gay germ” is likely to be an explosive subject, with real ramifications for society and how people treat gay men. Cochran touched on this issue in a post (Heads exploding), in which he sought opinions on how knowledge of the true cause of homosexuality (be it a pathogen or not) would affect society. I offered my thoughts there:

Assuming the culprit is a virus, I suspect that once infected, homosexuality is irreversible. Our best bet for now then would be a vaccine that prevents new infections. My fiancée is rather adamant about one concern should it be discovered that homosexuality is an infection: gays will be treated as pariahs. Imagine the idea going around that gays carry a disease that makes your children gay? She would not be surprised if there were calls to quarantine gays for the “good of society.”

I have to say I can’t put it past people. A lot depends on the mode of transmission.

Think of the treatment gays receive. Much of it, at times, has been awful. But, truth be told, the situation for gays is much better today than it was in the past. And in America, treatment of gays is much better in some regions as opposed to others (as one can see by comparing these two maps):


Legalized same-sex marriage in the U.S. Blue = legal, Red = illegal


As well, treatments of gays varies significantly by race. In my earlier post, A Gay Germ? Is Homophobia a Clue?, I suggested that homophobia may be an evolved response to the presence of the gay pathogen, as a way of shielding sensitive people (young boys) from infection. Homophobia exhibits substantial heritability, being about 50% heritable (as opposed to the <11% for homosexuality itself). As well, the people who are the least homophobic tend to be White liberals – primarily those of Northwestern European ancestry. That is, the people that went down the “special evolutionary path” as described by HBD Chick. As far as I know, data on the heritability of homophobia comes from NW European-derived peoples. Perhaps then these unique people have shed their “natural” aversion to homosexuality as they evolved higher levels of social tolerance in general (largely captured by the trait openness to experience, which may lead to Western liberals’ downfall – also here). This may explain the heritability we see.

This implies that if there is some intolerance of gays in the West, there is even more intolerance elsewhere. See my next comment over at Cochran’s:

I will add that should the world find out that homosexuality is caused by a virus, the backlash in the West will be one thing, but it’ll probably be nothing compared to what happens in the rest of world. There are a lot of groups that I can’t see losing much sleep over “doing what they have to do” to protect people from the gay germ…

This is borne out by events in Russia. See a new piece from The Atlantic:

russiagay-bannerWhy Is Russia So Homophobic?

The Russian Duma unanimously approved a law on Tuesday that prohibits the distribution of homosexual “propaganda” to minors. Holding gay pride events, speaking in defense of gay rights, or equating gay and heterosexual relationships can now result in fines of up to $31,000.

The argument that a young person can be “propagandized” into turning gay may seem outdated (not to mention an overestimation of the power of propaganda), but it’s actually not out of place in modern Russia.

“Children maimed by pedophiles jump out of windows, they take their own lives. Pedophilia is an attempt on a child’s life!” cried one St. Petersburg lawmaker when a similar ban in that city passed last year, seemingly confusing homosexuality and child molestation. Madonna was recently sued for speaking in favor of gay rights during a St. Petersburg concert. When a 23-year-old man in Volgograd revealed he was gay to some drinking companions last month, they beat him, shoved beer bottles in his anus, and crushed his head with a stone.

In the Soviet Union, homosexuality was a crime punishable by prison and hard labor, and Stalinist anti-gay policies persisted throughout the 60s and 70s. Gays were considered “outsiders,” and homosexuality was thought to be the domain of pedophiles and fascists.

Measures like the propaganda ban show that many Russians still haven’t shed that view, even decades after the fall of the regime that kept homophobia in place.

“When the Stalin anti-homosexual law was repealed in 1993, there was no amnesty for those still sitting in prison for sodomy,” wrote history professor Dan Healey, an expert on homosexuality in Russia, on Facebook.

(Republished from JayMan's Blog by permission of author or representative)
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