Re: how many bastards are there, anyway?

Matt Beckwith (
29 Aug 1996 00:11:22 GMT (sgf) wrote:

>>...reproductive success is simply
>>reproducing. The genes of those men who impregnate survive, the genes >>of
>>those men who don't, don't. The genes of those women who are >>impregnated
>>survive, the genes of those women who aren't, don't.

>Nonono! The genes of those who impregnate/are impregnated, *and* who
>successfully raise those children to reproductive age (or have the kids
>raised for them) are the ones who survive.

Nonono backatcha. I started out by saying that we no longer have to
worry about survival of our offspring. The state makes sure everyone
survives, these days. Sure, a few don't make it, but they are quite
rare. In the U.S., single-parent children are nearly as likely to
survive as double-parent children, and poor children are nearly as likely
to survive as rich ones. These liberal methods indirectly promote
promiscuity--that's one of the points I was making.

>Child care is a very important human strategy...

Not so much any more.

>>One interesting thing about this thread (aside from the fact that it's
>>gotten off-topic) is that, in spite of the fact that with modern >>medicine
>>we have somewhat usurped the process of natural selection, where sexual
>>activity is concerned natural selection is alive and well. After all,
>>the genes of anyone who does not reproduce are being de-selected.

>Honestly, how many people do you think use those methods?

What methods? To do what? What are you talking about?

>Just a few
>poeple (compared to six billion) in just a few modern countries. >Somehow
>I don't think we're going to be overrun by a horde of
>not-quite-fit-enough-due-to-modern-child-producing-methods babies. And
>*most* of those procedures don't work either, we only hear in the media
>about the successful ones.

What in the world are you talking about?

>Not to mention the cost -- those kid who *do*
>get born due to these methods are usually at an economic advatage to
>start with, but only a select few (again, compared to six billion) can
>eve afford the procedure to start with.

I don't know what you thought I said, but I'm pretty sure it's not what I

>>So what qualities in a man determine whether he will impregnate a >>woman?
>> Attractiveness, success (which is attractive to women), lack of
>>discrimination in his sexual partners, unfaithfulness (since then he >>will
>>impregnate more women), and sexual skill (after all, if he's a dud, >>he'll
>>have less sex).

>And how many of those qualities ensure his kid will be raised?

Doesn't matter these days.

>sticking around makes sure the woman doesn't
>abandond the kid somewhere or "forget" to feed it (women do a *lot* of
>active selection in this sort of thing. We don't all raise whatever kid
>happens to pop out, you know.

Really? I disagree. Women despicable enough to kill their children are
pretty rare in the U.S.

[smiley deleted due to crosspost to a.f.u])

You mean it's true, AFU has banned smileys from their posts? How
pusillanimous. :) :) :) :)

>>Qualities in a woman include attractiveness, submissiveness (attractive
>>to men's fragile egos), lack of discrimination in sexual partners,
>>unfaithfulness, and sexual skill. (Unfaithfulness used to be >>de-selected
>>because a woman's offspring were less likely to survive without a >>father;
>>but these days the state takes responsibility for fatherless children.)

>The female strategy seems to be finding a partner with the resources to
>help her raise the child. Doesn't matter how attractive or how little
>discrimination she has if the kid starves to death because she can't
>gather enough food.

This doesn't happen much any more in the U.S.A.

>And as for unfaithfulness? The sheer amount of physical and cultural
>stuff we've developed to ensure that marital infidelity does not cause
>conception (see elsewhere in thread) would argue that unfaithfulness is
>*both* partners is a major force to be reckoned with. Women (I'm
>thinking of specifically Nisa from ?Marjorie Shostak?'s book, who
>explains *exactly* why she has a lover in every camp she visits, like
>most of her fellow !Kung women) sneak around just as much as men - and
>except for the few men who rape their partners, for every man being
>unfaithful with a married woman, there is a willing woman being
>unfaithful to her husband.

You seem to be making the point that unfaithfulness is common. Okay, so
what? Or that women are as unfaithful as men. So what again.

>Women play active roles in passing genes on to the next generation -- we
>don't just sit around and wait to be impregnated, then passively raise
>the kid hoping someone will stick around long enough to help us. Women
>choose who they will be impregnated by (unless raped, but if the orgasm
>theory is true, there is a small amount of control there too -- not
>feeling sexy and avoiding partner sex and masturbation will lessen the
>chance of the rapist's sperm reaching the egg), they actively choose
>which kids will survive to adulthood (hunter/gatherer women deliberately
>space their kids using long-term nursing and infanticide to ensure they
>can give enough resources to the kids they choose to keep), and they
>actively seek out partners they like.

Did I say women were impotent?

>The name of the game is *not* just to impregnate or be impregnated, and
>there are a *lot* of factors that go into it. Human sexuality and
>reproductive behavior is one of the most complicated systems existing in
>animals, and is impossible to reduce very far.

Well, you haven't convinced me.

The genes of those who don't impregnate or get impregnated are being
de-selected. The vast majority of full-term pregnancies in the U.S.
result in children who live to reproductive age. So the qualities being
selected for are those which maximize the probability of impregnating or
getting impregnated. These qualities include promiscuity, low standards
of attractiveness, a strong sex drive, attractiveness, gregariousness,
and many others. Thus, we can expect a gradual increase, over the years,
in these qualities.

As a matter of fact, I have noticed during my lifetime that there has
been an increase in promiscuity, and an increase in the attractiveness of
women (probably men too, just haven't noticed it). I haven't noticed
people having lower standards of attractiveness (unless it's the teenage
women of today, who find men with underwear hanging out of their pants
attractive). I haven't noticed people having stronger sex drives
(although I wouldn't necessarily notice this one).


Matt Beckwith