Following is my response to Dennis Mangan’s post on a previous comment of mine to another post of his (tracking?) where I raised objections to the putatively transformative power of game. Unfortunately, I’m more than a fortnight too late and the thread is dead, but as many readers were involved in it at Mangan’s, it’s worth reproducing here. Also, it helps clarify my line of reasoning. Brackets are additions I made after proofing.
Man, I have to get back to following the RSS feeder, but as of late I’ve gotten so far behind that I devote an open evening to catching up on a month’s worth of output from my favorite bloggers. Being several weeks late to the discussion is the frustrating consequence.
TGGP’s response does not require further iteration, but it might be clarifying nonetheless.
Unless the purpose of an analysis is to find out the behavior of 54 year old married men in 1998, that a sample only contains eight married men aged 54 in 1998 is immaterial. If it were otherwise, Gallup and Rasmussen would have to obtain sample sizes at every age (and where to draw the line? By year? By month? By week?) sufficiently large enough to reach a margin of error +/- 3% for each specific age category. But when Gallup reports on President Obama’s approval rating, it is presenting the sentiments of a much broader swath of the population (adults 18 and over, likely voters, etc). [Your line of criticism is only relevant if Gallup is claiming that approval for Obama has dropped significantly since his inauguration among those aged 26 years and four months.]
To someone immersed in the quantitative side of the Steveosphere, this is intuitively obvious. I do not mean to be condescending, but you really should stop trying to float such a silly argument against the validity of the GSS.
The pattern is the same for men. The fewer the number of sexual partners he has had, the more fecund he tends to be, so long, of course, as he has at least one (in Roissy’s terminology, alphas aren’t in the evolutionary septic tank, omegas are. But betas are faring best of all).
Re: humans being progressively selected for monogamy, Thursday nails it:
The 80% of women reproduce while only 40% of men do stat is only accurate over the entire history of humans. It’s not what is happening today or what has happened over the past few centuries.
The majority of males who have historically not procreated have also had very little, if any, sex. Polygyny was something our ancestors saw first hand much more than we do today. We might be sliding backwards–hell, we seem to be on so many other fronts, after all–but it is the general hysteria surrounding such putatively seismic shifts that I find tiresome. [According to data from the GSS, currently among those aged 50 and over–essentially having written the final chapter in their procreative stories–89% of women and 86% of men have at least one child. The vast majority of men are passing their genes on to offspring, something many paleolithic men were not fortunate enough to experience.]
The shift toward greater levels of monogamy–and more egalitarian sexual access for men–presumably started to kick into high gear with settled agriculture. The resulting selection pressures probably shouldn’t be separated from the larger 10,000 Year Explosion phenomenon. [As female choice has increasingly come to dominate human sexual relations–again something far removed from chimps, where the lowliest male socially outranks the highest-status female–so has more inclusive monogamy (serial, not necessarily lifelong) increasingly come to gain ground at the expense of winner-take-all polygamy.]
Also, I do not argue that Roissy or the game narrative are fundamentally incorrect, just overblown. And it’s not Roissy’s fault. His expectations for the benefits greater self-assuredness bring strike me as accurate based on my own personal experience–on the 1-10 scale, it’ll allow most guys to reach about a point higher than they were previously able to, depending on where they’re starting from.
[GSS variables used: CHILDS, YEAR(2000-2008), AGE(50-89), SEX(1)(2)]