Sunday, May 31, 2009

NAMs and the Flynn effect: In the last post on the Flynn effect, I used GSS data to show that the mean Wordsum scores of people born in the United States of Mexican and Puerto Rican descent have risen over the past two decades. I list below the mean scores for a larger number of ethnic groups over the past four decades.

Mean Wordsum scores

Seventies 4.17
Eighties 4.04
Nineties 5.11
This decade 5.53*

Seventies 4.82
Eighties 4.91
Nineties 5.10
This decade 5.38*

1972-1989 3.68
1990-2008 4.47

Seventies 6.70
Eighties 6.74
Nineties 7.00
This decade 6.95

Seventies 6.14
Eighties 6.22
Nineties 6.28
This decade 6.40

Seventies 6.47
Eighties 6.30
Nineties 6.49
This decade 6.59

Seventies 6.11
Eighties 6.08
Nineties 6.43
This decade 6.47

Seventies 6.28
Eighties 6.43
Nineties 6.47
This decade 6.23

Seventies 7.08
Eighties 6.54
Nineties 6.77
This decade 7.03

Seventies 7.42
Eighties 7.58
Nineties 7.32
This decade 7.47

* Significant change between first and last period, .05 level, two-tail test.

The American Indian sample size is very low after you remove blacks and whites who say their main ethnicity is Native American, so I had to limit the comparison to two periods. The difference between the two would very likely be statistically significant if the sample were larger.

There is a clear pattern here: none of the white groups have seen significant improvements since the early 1970s when the vocabulary test was first given, but all of the non-white groups have improved. I suggested before that fewer NAMs have good English language models, but the increased hours of television viewing might have helped compensate in the last couple of decades. Kids watch several hours of TV each day, and they often watch peers that they want to imitate. Characters on television usually speak well. (Of course, it doesn't help if they are speaking another language well). White kids often have good models anyway, so people on television with good vocabularies are redundant.

Anyway, that is one explanation, but others ideas to account for the pattern are appreciated.

(TV can't be THAT powerful, or generations wouldn't continue to have strong accents.)

Friday, May 29, 2009

Puerto Ricans: they earn like Mexicans, and vote like Jews... or Mexicans: According to GSS data, fewer than 20% of Mexican Americans voted for Reagan in 1980 when he carried 44 states. And this was long before the rise of strident close-the-border types. The high watermark for Republicans was Bush in 2000 when he got over 40% of the Hispanic vote. So we're told to pander so we can do badly instead of terribly. Right, Reagan fared so poorly because everyone knew he was a Mexican hater.

Americans with their eyes open realize that the Democratic Party is the natural home of Mex-Ams--just like it is for blacks. That doesn't mean we shouldn't court them or do outreach, but it makes no sense to pander with suicidal strategies like open borders.

When analyzing Hispanics, I usually focus on Mexican Americans because a great deal of illegal and legal immigration comes from Mexico. We choose the number that enter our country each year, and that choice deserves careful debate.

But let's broaden the discussion and get past the hype about other Hispanic groups as well. (In fact, I'm thinking we would do well not to use the terms "Hispanic" or "Latino." This a recent social and political construction that only hurts conservatives. Why do we want Mexican Americans to get offended when a Republican calls a Puerto Rican Supreme Court nominee a racist? It's an artifical category. Let's treat it as such.)

So--how do Puerto Ricans in the United States vote? They're Catholic and family-oriented, right? Natural conservatives, don't you think? GSS data:

Percent of Puerto Ricans voting Republican for President

2004 36.4
2000 28.6
1996 4.7
1992 25.7

The sample sizes get too small to go back any further, but you get the point. A whopping 5% of Puerto Ricans voted for Bob Dole. He did spent his whole campaign going on about how Captain Morgan is a homo. Yeah, I'm convinced if Rush would just shut the hell up, Puerto Ricans will forget about all the social programs that the Democrats are pushing. They just want people to talk pretty.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Flynn effect among Hispanics: I showed in a prior post that scores on the General Social Survey's vocabulary test (WORDSUM) have increased since the 70s among Mexican Americans. The nomination of Sotomayor to the Supreme Court made me wonder if Puerto Ricans have had a similar increase.

Mean Wordsum score

Mexican Americans, N = 393
Seventies 4.17
Eighties 4.04
Nineties 5.11
This decade 5.53

Puerto Ricans, N = 102
Eighties 4.57
Nineties 5.28
This decade 5.12

I limited the sample to those born in the United States. The improvement for Mex-Ams in the past two decades over the seventies and eighties is significant at the .05 level. There were too few Puerto Ricans in the 70s to calculate a mean, but we also see an increase for them in the past two decades (not significant).

I'm not sure why the numbers have risen. I doubt that the schools are doing a better job. My guess would be more hours of watching TV. People always knock TV, but the children of uneducated parents will hear the best English from teachers and TV, and who listens to teachers? My daughter soaks up television and DVDs like a sponge. Many of her phrases are from kids' shows. This might also explain why blacks have higher Wordsum scores than Hispanics.

Anyway, this is some good news for people who worry about Hispanic assimilation.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Gay germ theory and city size at age 16: A reader in the comments section of my post on the residential distribution of adult homosexuals raised the claim by Gregory Cochran that a same-sex orientation is caused by some pathogen. In support of the idea, Cochran cited research finding that gay men raised in or near a city outnumber gay men raised in less populated by a margin three to one, or something like that.

Most people in the comments, including myself, assumed that the greater concentration of homosexuals in cities is due to migration, but let's look at where homosexuals are at age 16 (H/T to TGGP who reminded me of the variable).

Percent of the total sex-specific population at age 16, N = 18,012

Male homosexuals
Farm 2.3
Country/non-farm 2.8
Town (lt 50,000) 2.9
City (50,000-250,000) 3.5
Big city--suburb 3.3
City (gt 250,000) 3.8

Country/non-farm 1.5
Town (lt 50,000) 1.6
City (50,000-250,000) 1.9
Big city--suburb 2.0
City (gt 250,000) 2.3

Here we see that as a place is more populated, prevalance rates for both gay male adolescents and lesbian teenagers increase. Why we see this pattern here, but not for adult lesbians, as shown in the last post, I'm not sure. This is a larger and thus more precise sample. That might be the answer.

So, we see more gays and lesbians in cities even before they are old enough to migrate to them. How do we explain the pattern? Perhaps families with a tendency to have homosexual offspring are drawn to cities. Perhaps homosexuals from smaller towns are less willing to admit their orientation (although they are asked the question, not when they are 16, but later when they are adults). Or perhaps Cochran is right. Comments?

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Has anyone else noticed this? This is just personal experience, but Hispanics seem more likely than members of other groups to be generous to the customer at the expense of the business. I can remember a number of times when Hispanic waiters would break the rules and give me free food or drinks--I thought it was just a clever way to try to get a bigger tip. But I've seen the same thing when there was no apparent benefit to the employee.

Just the other day I tried to buy a couple of items at 7-Eleven with a debit gift card. There wasn't enough money left on it, so the Hispanic girl just told me to take the food free. I pulled cash out of my wallet and gave it to her, which puzzled her a bit since she had just said I could take the stuff. Then today, I'm at the supermarket and order a pound of pasta salad. The guy weighs it, sticks the price label on the container, and then adds another scoop and says, "Here's a little extra." It's not a situation where I'm going to give him a tip or something; in fact, he's taking the risk of getting caught by the manager. It seems like there's a certain pleasure in siding with the customer against the employer.
What is the distribution of homosexuals across city size? Using GSS data, here is what I found:

Percent of the total sex-specific population

Gay men
Rural/small town 2.1
Town 1.9
Small city 2.4
Medium-size city 3.0
Large city 4.3
Very large city 6.0

Rural/small town 1.4
Town 2.5
Small city 2.9
Medium-size city 2.5
Large city 3.1
Very large city 2.0

The larger the place of residence, the higher the percent of men who are gay. But for lesbians, there doesn't seem to be a pattern (except for a lower share in small towns). Of course, the numbers bounce around since we are making estimates for a small group of people.

So, assuming we are observing a real pattern here, why are there so many more gay men in large cities, but not lesbians? Are gay men more drawn to the cultural advantages of the big city? More job opportunities for the kinds of work they excel in? Do they experience more unfriendly treatment in small towns than lesbians, or are they less willing to admit their orientation in an interview if they live somewhere that is less populated? Is it harder to find partners in smaller towns, but lesbians don't care as much? Something else?

Friday, May 22, 2009

You gotta purdy mouth: I just watched Deliverance at Netflix. If you haven't seen it, you've got to. What a treat. I enjoyed it so much, I didn't even mind that they demonize hillbillies. Now, I need to read the book by 1966-68 Poet Laureate to the Library of Congress, James Dickey. (He plays the sheriff). I am usually bored by action movies, but not if they're intelligent like this one. And it's quite beautiful as well (except for the hillbillies, of course).
Good news: Using GSS data, I looked at the number of children for white women ages 40-49 averaged over the nineties, and then in this decade:

IQ Group/Mean kids this decade/Change over the past decade

High IQ--(1.82) up .23
Medium IQ--(2.07) up .08
Low IQ--(2.00) down .17

The high-IQ group (those scoring 8, 9, or 10 out of ten on a vocabulary test) averaged 1.82 kids this decade which is up .23 over the 1990s. The medium-IQ group (5 through 7 on the test) have had 2.07 kids, .08 higher than last decade. The low-IQ group (0 through 4 on the test) came down from 2.17 in the 1990s to 2.00 in this decade.

In other words, things have improved a lot in only 10 years. I know, I know that mean white IQ is not going up as a result, but I still like it.
Race differences in IQ: For those of you who don't have the time to read Rushton and Jensen's 50 page review of Nisbitt's Intelligence and How to Get It, I outline the points I found interesting below. It's funny how the research literature is this rich and advanced (compared to, say, educational research work in the area) but the typical mainstream position is that IQ research is way too crude and undeveloped to inform policy. One frickin' doll study helped decide Brown v. Board of Education, but a century of research by psychometricians shouldn't even give us pause.

1. World IQ is 90: East Asian cluster is 105, Europeans are 100, Inuit-Eskimos 91, SE Asians 87, Native Americans 87, Pacific Islanders 85, South Asians and North Africans 84, sub-Saharan Africans 67, Australian aborigines 62, and Kalahari Bushmen and Congo Pygmies 54.

2. Flynn effect: IQ has increased in the developed world in the last 50 years, and the black-white gap has narrowed a bit. The gain is not on g which is in large part genetic.

3. Research was cited suggesting that the IQ gap is larger than 15 points because a disproportionate number of low IQ blacks do not make it into samples.

4. Research shows that the Flynn effect is qualitatively different from black-white differences in regards to the g factor.

5. A test's g loading is the best predictor of biological measures of heritability coefficients determined from twin studies, inbreeding depression scores calculated in children of cousin-marriages, brain evoked potentials, brain pH levels, brain glucose metabolism, as well as nerve conduction velocity and reaction time measures. The correlations argue strongly for the biological, as opposed to the mere statistical reality of g.

6. Across 149 psychometric tests, the correlation between g-loading score and black-white difference is .62. This contradicts the culture-only theory.

7. Research indicates that there is no factor lowering IQs that is specific to blacks.

8. The correlation between several measures of reaction times and IQ is .6. Asians are faster than whites, and whites are faster than blacks. The differences are not due to motivation: while Asians and whites react faster, blacks move faster.

9. Heritability is lowest early in life and rises to 60-80% by adulthood. Shared environment falls to 0% by adulthood. Adoption can raise the IQ of a child quite a bit, but g remains like that of the biological parents.

10. The model that best fits data from a sample of black and white twins is 50/50 genes and environment.

11. Non-hereditarians like Robert Sternberg get results like those reported by Lynn when they administer IQ tests to sub-Saharan Africans. Even after training kids how to solve problems like those on the test, means were under 80. Teaching to the test denudes the test of its g loading. Studies of Africans who have won math and science competitions put mean IQ at 100. African IQs predict academic and job performance as well as for non-Africans. With a white mean set at a mental age of 16, an African mean of 70 implies a mental age of 11. Eleven year olds are not retarded. (I babysat and had a paper route at age 10 and started driving and hunting when I was 13.)

12. In a MRI study, Posthuma et al. found heritabilities of 82 percent for whole-brain gray matter volume, 87 percent for whole-brain white matter volume, and 86 percent for IQ.

13. Smaller black brain sizes do not appear to be due to prenatal or perinatal conditions. In a study of fetuses, Schultz found that from the 9th week of intrauterine life, 165 Black fetuses averaged a smaller brain case than did 455 White fetuses. The difference became more prominent over the course of fetal development.

14. In meta-analyses of general population samples on the Progressive Matrices, Lynn and Irwing found no sex difference in IQ among children aged 6- to 14-years but a male advantage from 15-years through old age, with the male advantage by adulthood being equivalent to about 4.6 IQ points.

15. Winick et al. studied 141 Korean children malnourished-in-infancy and then adopted as infants by American families. They found that by 10 years of age the children exceeded the national average in IQ and achievement scores: A severely-malnourished group obtained a mean IQ of 102; a moderately-nourished group obtained a mean IQ of 106; and an adequately-nourished group obtained a mean IQ of 112.

16. Regression to the mean effects support hereditarian theory. The IQs of the siblings of blacks with 120 IQs is 100; for their white counterparts it is 110. It is the same on the low end: when blacks and whites are matched at an IQ of 70, black siblings average a 78; the white siblings, an 85. This helps to explain why Black children born to well-educated, affluent, parents have test scores 2 to 4 points lower than do White children born to poorly-educated, impoverished parents.
Conservative, religious young women: Reader Whiskey claims that young, religious, and conservative women are as rare as hen's teeth. Using GSS data (N = 660), I looked at women ages 20-29 for the years 2000-2008. I found that 11% are both conservative (extremely, regular, and slightly) and attend church at least once a month. If we look at either/or, 37.9% of young women go to church at least monthly, and 24.9% of them are conservative.

Over the past 4 or 5 years, I've attended three different parishes. Each of them had the same situation: a sex ratio among people in their twenties of about 2-3 girls for each guy. The women would often talk about how it was hard to find a good, religious guy. One friendly, attractive girl I knew became a nun in her late twenties. I'm guessing that a decade of bad luck made her decide against marriage.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Lionel Ritchie: I'm watching Lionel Ritchie on the Tonight Show. I probably haven't seen him for twenty years, and he doesn't look a day older. Do black folks ever age? Liz Lemon was right on 30 Rock when she said that whites cannot tell the age of black people. Strange how many older blacks look so good, but have a low life expectancy.
Gay marriage and gender socialization: (From the comments of this post): As gay marriage becomes widely accepted, people will feel the need to stop believing that a child benefits from by being raised by a mom or a dad. For there to be no disadvantage with a child being raised by two moms, being raised by a dad cannot be considered important. For there to be no disadvantage with a child being raised by two dads, being raised by a mother cannot be considered important.

Even gay families worry about their child lacking a parent of one sex (e.g., lesbians wanting to find a father figure for the boy). In terms of gender socialization, being raised in a homosexual home is the same as being raised in a single-parent home. There's all sort of research documenting the problems that stem from growing up without a mother or a father; problems that are not simply the result of not having two adults present. Kids still fare poorly if they are raised by mom and grandma--two adults.

And mom and grandma at least have the advantage of a biological relationship to the child. Gay families have at least one non-biological parent. Research shows that non-biological parents are not as good as related parents.

The fact that stepfamilies are just about as bad for kids as single-parent families shows that "two grown-ups in the house" is not enough. A child seems to need his biological dad and his biological mom.
What kind of a woman should you marry? To continue the debate on marriage, let's look at the characteristics of married women who are least likely to get divorced. I focused on women ages 30 to 39 over the years 2000 to 2008. Using logistic regression analysis, I found that the following measures significantly reduce the risk of divorce:

Predictors (logistic regression coefficients)

White -.877
Years of education -.111
Frequency of church attendance -.112
Conservatism -.135

N = 799

All of these predictors are inversely related to divorce at the .05 alpha level. Speaking to the men, O my brothers, if you want to miminize the probability of a breakup, marry a woman who is white, educated, religious, and politically conservative. Mmmm, my kinda woman.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Audacious uses GSS data to show that the sex life of the average young woman is a far cry from Sex and the City. (Check out the comments too. Jason Malloy reports means and medians by sex, city size, and education.)
The social costs of gay marriage in MA (Maggie Gallagher) :

Five years after same-sex couples first began to enter legal marriages --recognized by court order -- in Massachusetts, what do voters in the Bay State think about gay marriage?

A new poll commissioned by my organization, the National Organization for Marriage, and the Massachusetts Family Institute indicates that voters remain sharply and surprisingly divided about gay marriage.

When asked, "Do you personally favor or oppose same-sex marriage generally?" 43 percent of Massachusetts voters favor same-sex marriage and 44 percent oppose it, with the remainder saying they don't know or choosing not to respond.

The telephone survey of 306 people taken March 30 to March 31, 2009, is representative of voters in Massachusetts and carries a margin of error of plus or minus 5.7 percent...

I have argued that over time gay marriage will weaken support for the idea that marriage really matters because children need a mom and dad.

Massachusetts voters were also asked whether they agreed or disagreed with the statement, "All things being equal, it is better for children to be raised by their married mother and father." Seventy-six percent of voters agreed (66 percent strongly) while 21 percent disagreed (13 percent strongly).

A similar question was asked in a 2004 poll of Massachusetts residents. In 2004, 84 percent of Massachusetts residents agreed (33 percent strongly) and 16 percent disagreed (2 percent strongly). Thus, in the five years since gay marriage became a reality in Massachusetts, support for the idea that the ideal is a married mother and father dropped from 84 percent to 76 percent. The proportion who disagreed strongly increased nearly sevenfold, from 2 percent in 2004 to 13 percent in 2009.

The NOM/MFI poll is also the first poll in the nation to attempt to measure the extent to which ordinary citizens feel free to oppose gay marriage in a state where gay marriage has been declared a constitutional right and is the law of the land. I know from personal conversations that at least some folks in Massachusetts are afraid to speak up for their views. But how widespread are these fears?

A surprisingly substantial minority of voters in this poll expressed fears that open opposition to gay marriage might result in retaliation or harassment of some kind.

For example, 36 percent of all Massachusetts voters agreed with the statement, "Some people I know personally would be reluctant to admit they oppose gay marriage because they would worry about the consequences for them or their children." (Twenty-four percent agreed strongly.)

A further 36 percent of voters who oppose gay marriage agreed with the statement, "If you speak out against gay marriage in Massachusetts you really have to watch your back because some people may try to hurt you." (Twenty-six percent agreed strongly.) Fifteen percent of voters who oppose gay marriage say they personally know someone who experienced harassment or intimidation because of their belief that marriage involves a man and a woman.

The NOM/MFI Massachusetts Marriage Poll thus documents a fairly significant level of apprehension among voters who oppose gay marriage about the consequences of speaking openly or acting on their belief that marriage means a husband and wife.

What difference has gay marriage made five years later? Support for the idea that children need a mom and dad has dropped, and a substantial minority of people believe it is risky to oppose gay marriage openly.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Summer! Teachers this time of year have a way of disappearing, so if I don't post for a few days, I'm probably at the beach.

This and that

I got a chance to take a closer look at the research article Jason Malloy linked to to support the claim that the majority of cases of wife-initiated divorce are not due to husbands behaving badly. (Thanks to him for digging it up).

The problem is that people are asked what was caused the divorce, but they are not asked to whom they are referring. For example, a woman says that infidelity was the cause, but we don't know if she or her husband was the guilty party. Some of them seem more mutual, like "grew apart", but others are simply unclear. You can see all spontaneously mentioned causes in the table. (Notice how there isn't a single case of, "He turned into a wuss." Maybe it was put in "other.")

The authors do report the following correlations--wife respondent/infidelity .11, wife respondent/alcohol and drugs .13, husband repondent/communication .12, wife respondent/abuse .19, and husband respondent/don't know .24--but all this tells us is that one gender is slightly more likely than the other to report that specific cause. But once again, who did the bad thing is not specified, so we can't draw conclusions about about what percent of women-initiated divorces are caused by the husband's behavior. (You might also say that we can't decide this because women are not divided into initiators and non-initiators, but the other study used in this context shows that answers given by both groups of women generally do not differ significantly).

This leaves the 60% figure a shaky one, but let's see where it takes us. Current estimates put the lifetime probability of a marriage breaking up at just under 50%. According to the study I just mentioned, 69.5% of divorce cases are woman-initiated or the couple have made the decision mutually. If we mulitply .60 by .50 by .695, we get .209. So if you get married, there is a 21% chance that you're wife will leave you or the two of you will decide together to split up when you didn't do anything obviously wrong. Some readers are terrified by the prospect. The Spartans at Thermopylae had nothing on these guys. But I've got something from the study though that helps.

The researchers found that family-oriented people as well as those who place a lower value on self-realization are significantly less likely to initiate a divorce. The authors characterize these folks as "traditional." The take home message here is, lower the risk of divorce by marrying a traditional woman and by being a traditional man--just like several commenters and I have written.

Family trends and happiness

Our country's shift toward expressive individualism and away from role orientation may have led to the decline of the American family and society, but that is offset by the fact that people are much happier these days, right?

Um, no. The graph shows reported happiness between the years 1972 and 2008. There hasn't been any change. The same is true for women as well as for men. We've taken a wrecking ball to the family, and what have we gotten for it? Zilch.
Abortion: With Obama speaking at Notre Dame's graduation today, a word on abortion is apropos. A typical Democratic talking point is that nobody is pro-abortion. Liberals want fewer abortions, too.

But that raises a question. If an embryo/fetus is not a human being, and abortion is just a simple surgery, why shouldn't we encourage it? An abortion by definition was a pregnancy that was not wanted. A unwanted child is an undesirable situation and likely to impose a cost on society. Shouldn't we do everything we can to help a women get an abortion? In addition to maximizing access and moral support, shouldn't we pay for it, and perhaps even pay her a stipend so as to reduce the cost to taxpayers in the long run? How about a campaign of public announcements showing women that abortions are good? Shouldn't we convince a pregnant woman who doesn't desire a child but who also doesn't want an abortion because of moral reservations that she is wrong? Shouldn't we punish mom for the cost she is inflicting on the taxpayer? Perhaps she should pay a fine if she has the child.
Infidelity: Readers critical of marriage have focused on women being at fault for divorce. Let's take a second and look at infidelity, a common reason for divorce. I looked GSS data for the years 2000-2008 in order to get a large enough sample size (N = 10,871). The question is whether you have ever cheated on a spouse. For women, it's 11.1%, and it 16.6% for men. So men are 1.5 times more likely to have cheated. The helpless men among my readers will no doubt claim that guys can't be blamed because they are programmed to spread their seed around.

Worried that if you get married, she'll eventually leave you? The answer is simple: don't be a dick.

Trends in marital status

Readers criticized my 2008 GSS data analysis showing that only 8.7% of men ages 55 and over have never married because it doesn't show how much things have changed for young people. I chose 55 because there are guys still getting married for the first time at that age. The higher the cutoff you pick, the lower the percentage of guys never married. Of course, the problem is that the older the group you are looking at in 2008, the earlier the cohort they are. My readers are so demanding, they not only want to see the data, they want to see the future data.

The best we can do is make a projection based on recent trends. The graph shows the marital status of white men ages 40 to 50. Some men will marry after this age range, but not many (but the again, we don't know the future). The years go from 1972 to 2008 (There isn't enough room for the years to appear below the bars).

The critics of marriage are certainly correct in saying that the institution ain't what is used to be. In 1972, almost every 40-50 year old man was married. The percent married, separated, or never married has steadily grown for more than 35 years. In 2008, the never-marrieds are about 20% of the total. As I wrote before, the number would be a bit lower if homosexuals were omitted. Based on the long-term trend, guys currently in their twenties could be as much as 30% never-married in their forties.

We have been in a transition away from marriage uniformity to diversity for almost 50 years. Back then, people were role-oriented. Marriage was see as something you just do. And they were the smart ones, by the way. Now, it's a choice which some take, some fail at, and some avoid altogether.

The vast majority of women are going to have children, even under the new family regime, so the only question is, are they raising them alone or with someone else? Research shows that society is better off if the kids are raised in a two-parent biological home. The more we tilt the mix in that direction, the more we thrive. So which side of the battle are you on?

I anticipate that some readers will cry: "We're just pawns. Women are running the show. It's all their fault." Like I said before, one statistic at a time.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

More: Here's another thought on the marriage question. Whenever you have non-relationship sex with a woman, it's like renting a car. If she's beautiful, it's a luxury rental car; if not, maybe a compact. (If you tricked the woman into it, it's really like when kids steal a car for a joyride--no pun intended). If you've rented a lot of cars, you can brag to your friends how I rented a Mercedes once, or how I've rented 40 different cars. And guys will say, wow you've spent time in a lot of different cars.

I like the feeling I have much better. I'm one lucky bastard because I married a woman who is beautiful, sexy, highly educated, and just about saintly. (Can you believe educated and not an emasculating bitch?!). I'm going to wake up one of these days to learn the whole thing isn't real. Anyway--here's the good part--I own this car. She is mine. And it is a Mercedes. When we're walking around at the mall or some such (I know--it sounds beta) I am proud as a peacock. When my Dad met her, he said, "Son, I'd be sticking out my chest too." Even when we're old, people are going to say, I bet she was smoking when you met her.

And even it she wasn't beautiful, I'd still tell my buddies that I am one lucky bastard because she wouldn't marry any of you guys in a million years. She gave up her freedom and her chance for a more worthy man for this insignificant hombre. And even if the day ever came that she left me--and it won't--I'd still be wearing a smile and would ask everybody, do you know-so-and-so? I would then say in a bragging tone, "I was married to her for X years. She finally got smart and moved on, but those were the best years of my life. And I don't see our kids as much as I'd like and have to pay too damn much child support, but they're my kids, and they're beautiful and smart and good just like she is."

This is the psychology of a beta at work, but I am a beta, and I am directing this at betas. (I'm pretty sure only betas read about marriage). Don't buy the hype unless you want to spend the rest of your life reading idiotic blogs ... alone.
The marriage trap: All this current talk about not getting married and having kids reminds me of those old movies with guys like Frank Sinatra who go on constantly about the "marriage trap" and how marriage is the last thing in the world any man would want to do, but they inevitably marry the girl at the end anyway. You know, lots of talk and swagger, but ultimately bullshit.

The General Social Survey categorizes men in terms of marital status. For 2008 data, I looked to see what percent of men 55 and over had never been married (N = 311). A whopping 8.7%. Once we remove the gay guys and those who couldn't get a wife even by mail order, we have 2 or 3 guys left. Even George Clooney has been there.
Another reason to have a family: It's a smart crowd that visits Inductivist, so I'm sure you guys have thought about this before, but I have to make the case anyway.

Many readers are atheists, and I, myself, have to make the case to you for having children? A Christian like myself hopes for existence beyond the grave. If I have no kids, so what, I will never end.

Many of you respect evolution and genes as well. Nature says if you don't have kids, you basically missed the point. You are a big, fat loser. You crossed the finish line last. In my view, it's not completely inaccurate to say you are your genes. (My pro-life position probably has something to do with this view). An endless chain of ancestors got you here, and you're okay being the loser who brings that awesome success to a pathetic end?

I've got a bunch of little Rons running around (God help us). They might not be able to continue the ancient chain, but they have a better chance than your non-existent kids. It's the closest you're going to get to immortality, unless you're Isaac Newton or George Washington. And sad as it is, most of us ain't Newton or Washington.

Now, some of you might not care in the least about your ancestors or immortaility. Understood. But let me make one more pitch, even though it will probably fail to move your type as well. You are capable, talented folks. Your community, your country needs the kinds of kids you would raise. In these selfish times where duty means little, this argument will sound pathetic, but I'm making it anyway. Who's going to run America in the future: your kids or those of your high-school dropout neighbor?

And for those of you who do believe in life after death, I'm probably preaching to the choir about having a family, but you simply do not know you will exist beyond death. Any thoughtful person recognizes they could be wrong on this. So hedge your bet, and if it turns out that you're nothing more than lunch for worms, well, the family goes on.

Also--encourage your relatives to have kids. You should be making my arguments to them. Even if I was childless, I have twelve nieces and nephews and dozens of cousins. Think of yourself as one element of the clan, and how the clan might go on indefinitely. It might not work for you, but I like the thought.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Reasons for divorce: Some readers have implied that in a typical situation, a marriage comes to an end because the woman wants to trade up. Never mind that a couple of children is not a good plan if you want to attract another man. Here is the expert opinion of David Popenoe, a family researcher I trust at Rutgers:

[T]he higher rate of women initiators is probably due to the fact that men are more likely to be "badly behaved." Husbands, for example, are more likely than wives to have problems with drinking, drug abuse, and infidelity.

Copyright 2002 by David Popenoe, the National Marriage Project at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, N.J.

He neglected to mention domestic violence--another common reason for divorce.

Happy Birthday to me!

All you liberals and moderate Republicnas who keep saying that abortion is a fringe, loser issue and Republicans need to drop it--in your face!

How common is it for a married man to stay with his kids?

As a follow-up to my post on family structure, this table is more specific since it indicates what percent of families are biological, step, cohabiting, or single-mother. It varies a bit by whether you interview a teen or a parent because of ambiguity of definitions (2009. Demography 46:85-101). The specific question I want to answer is, what percent of two-parent families have kids with their biological father.

We calculate that by dividing the percent in biological families by the percent in all two-parent families. Eighty-two percent of two-parent families have Dad with his biological kids. (And this is an underestimate since a small percent of stepfamilies are biological father-children families.) You can see it is more of a problem among Hispanics and especially blacks. Some commenters seem to think the biological family is quite rare, and men shouldn't get married and have kids because they will generally lose them.

Mexican Americans and social conservatism: Let me follow-up the last analysis by linking to a recent post by Razib. Using General Social Survey data, he shows that, while blacks are less in favor of gay marriage than whites, Mexican Americans are not.

Social conservatives who think we can win future battles by importing loads of Mexican immigrants are wrong. (I'll concede that it's not an argument I see many social conservatives making). Mexicans who come to this country tend to absorb liberal social values. I showed in a previous analysis that Mexican immigrants are a somewhat less in favor of abortion than whites, but the gap basically disappears within a generation. As Steve Sailer has written, behaviorally they assimilate more toward the black mean than the white one, and the white mean ain't so hot. Anyone who claims that this group is giving America a traditionalist shot in the arm is ignorant of the facts. Unless he means treating one's wife like crap.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

To win over Hispanics, we need to open the doors, right? Let me quickly summarize my analysis of GSS data that I did in the comments over at Secular Right.

Percent of Mexican Americans who voted for candidate

Reagan (1980) 25
Reagan (1984) 39
Bush I (1988) 35
Bush I (1992) 19
Dole (1996) 18
Bush II (2000) 45
Bush II (2004) 36

The open borders talking point you hear all the time is that Hispanics vote for Democrats only because right-wingers are so mean. Well, if that were true, Republican candidates should have done well before we started making so much noise about illegal immigration. Look over the numbers. Do you see that? Reagan beat Carter in a landslide in 1980. He carried 44 states. There was no strident talk about illegal immigration. What percent voted for the Gipper? TWENTY-FIVE percent!

End of the nuclear family?

As I wrote earlier, I'm addressing the claim that the nuclear family is outdated and something men should avoid one statistic at a time. The graph above, from, shows that almost 70 percent of kids are currently in a household with two married parents. While it's true that a minority of those families are stepfamilies, a stepfamily is a nuclear family, and as a reader wrote earlier, they've always been around. That's about 3 times the number of kids in mother-only families.

My initial impression is that there is a lot of Internet exaggeration about these negative family trends. It sounds like a rationalization to me. It's convenient to say that I can't be admirable like my grandfather because that world is gone. It hasn't gone anywhere, and it is what you make it.
Married people live longer: I found this University of Pennsylvania life expectancy calculator. It asks a long list of questions, most of them about health. You might not expect marriage to make any difference among all the other factors like smoking and family history of disease. But it does. I answered all the questions and varied whether I spent most of my life married or not. I gained two years of life being married. It might be more or less of a difference for you. Try it out.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Marriage and intercourse frequency: It looks like I'm going to have to go over the statistics to counter this idea that marriage and fatherhood are simply not worth it. I don't have a lot of time right now, so I'll just do this a piece at a time. I know from previous study that married people have sex more frequently than singles.

The first study I found right now in a Google search was of 10,000 Norwegians. Mean number of times per month was 4.3 for single people and 7.0 for married. The study does not appear to adjust for age: older people are more likely to be married, and their sexual activity is lower.

It would also be nice if single were divided into those with a boyfriend/girlfriend and those without. If the rate for the former were double the latter, someone without a regular partner would have sex an average of 2.9 times a month. I'm speculating now, but what you probably have here is a lot of celibate or near-celebate guys balanced out with a handful of players with high numbers.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Elite assholes

Elites disgust me. The major news networks might laugh at the yokels, but not right-wing Fox, right? I just watched Shepard Smith (clown name) mock the fact that Miss California believes that her being asked about gay marriage might have been a temptation. Laughable rubes. The Gallup graph above shows that 70% of Americans--an impressive majority--believe in the devil--up from 55% in 1990.

Shepard, hehe. They do sheep, right? Tabloid journalist. He's a liberal. Sneering at religious people. Why should I be surprised? Like we're supposed to take a college dropout seriously.

Alphas v. Herbs: Via Audacious, I learned about Roissy's parody of modern fathers. "Herbs" they're called. Pretty damn funny, even though I'm guilty as sin.

I was tempted, myself, to write a little parody of Bad Boys--too easy, really (and I see myself heading in a direction that would be labelled racist)--but instead I'll be direct and say that in my experience there is no comparison between the two, at least for someone with my personality.

When I was single, I never had any trouble finding attractive girls to hang out with. During the years I was an atheist, being a playboy seemed pretty appealing, but I really couldn't pull it off most of the time because I have a conscience. Maybe I'm too beta to attract girls who just want to have sex, but for me to have casual sex, I would have had to deceive the girls into thinking I was interested in something more. Girls wanted to have sex because they saw it going somewhere. If a woman wants nothing more, fine, but guys who steal a copulation through fraud, to my mind, are not much better than those who get it by force. They're basically sociopaths.

Now, the experience of raising a child is gold compared to that mess. I'm not even going to attempt to describe it. You'll have to do it to see what I mean. But you know the intense love that moms feel for their kids? Sure, there are biological differences between the sexes, but much of the affection comes through interaction. Dads and kids are often not close because Dad is annoyed by kids or is interested in other things. For guys with that kind of temperament, fine, but for the other type, you have missed a great deal if you go childless, or aren't involved with your kids. And I don't mean to romanticize it, because it is hard, but it makes me feel like a man like chasing tail could never do.

Let me put it another way. Those in favor of gay marriage have neglected a strong argument for guys like me. Most would agree that kids ideally should be raised by married parents. All the rights talk doesn't grab me, but this does: "Mr. Guhname, just like you, I want to have the chance to have a son and raise him to be a man. You know how rewarding and meaningful that is. Let me do the same."

Sentimental, I know, but there it is.

Monday, May 11, 2009

My faith in common sense is restored: From Rasmussen:

Eighty-percent (80%) of Americans believe that individuals learn more practical skills through life experience and work rather than through college. The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey found that 9% disagree and say more is learned in college.

Democrats are more likely than Republicans to say college teaches more. Those not affiliated with either major party are more likely to say that life experience matters more.

This college professor says amen, and once again we see more common sense coming from Republicans.
Nerds: Have I mentioned before that Steve Sailer rocks? He writes today at VDARE that he started to study social statistics when he was 12 or 13 and had a letter to the editor concerning individual differences published in National Review when he was 14!

I RARELY encounter college students who love data. Oh yes, they all want to help people and save the world, but a passion for facts is rare indeed. When I find this kind of student, I want to kiss them. Not infrequently, I asked them to help me with research projects. Sure, many of them are nerdy, but I raise my glass to all the geeks of the world. Others laugh at you. Girls reject you. But you are my heroes. Without you, we'd still be living in grass huts.
Who is more likely to be a socialist: a Jew or an atheist? The General Social Survey asks people where they fall on a political scale from extremely conservative to extremely liberal. Maybe I'm stretching it, but extreme liberals could be characterized as socialist in a loose sense. Here are the percentages who are "socialist" by religion:

Percent socialist (N = 11,511)

Atheists 14.3
Hindus 9.1
Jews 8.9
Buddhists 8.0

All Americans 3.5

Catholics 2.5
Protestants 2.5
Muslims 0.0

No question--atheists are easily in first place. I'm not surprised by the Hindu and Buddhist numbers. Just yesterday, I watched the Dalai Lama say on Zakaria's program that he is a socialist. The Dalai Lama! A socialist! (This shows why you shouldn't choose your leader when he's four years old--you can't tell if he's stupid). And look at how Muslims are on the bottom of the list.

These numbers suggest to a conservative that immigration from countries with high numbers of atheists, Hindus, Buddhists, and Jews should be discouraged. These tend to be wealthy groups, and the last thing we need are more influential socialists screwing up the country.

I looked to see if there are any immigrants who are disproportionately conservative. Protestants are the only group.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Church attendance and infidelity

Whites N = 13,431

Blacks, N = 1,627

GSS respondents who have ever been married were asked if they ever cheated on their spouse. The graphs shows that both blacks and whites who often attend religious services are less likely to be unfaithful. The rate of infidelity for never-goers is about double that of those who go all the time among whites and about 1.5 times higher among blacks. This, in spite the fact that one frequently runs into hot chickies at church.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

The bankruptcy of moral libertarianism: In the post on world attitudes toward homosexuality, the argument emerged that there is nothing wrong with family members having sex if they're adults and it's consensual. So if Daddy and Daughter want to go at it, who can complain?

Of course, such bankrupt thinking comes from moral libertarianism: as long as other people are not victimized by your actions, anything you want to do is fine. Let's see how many acts I can think of in 30 seconds that are defined as good by this standard:

1. Using tin snips to cut off all your fingers one knuckle at a time.
2. Being a drug addict.
3. Killing someone because they wanted you to because they thought it would be fun for you.
4. Setting up a guillotine and cutting off your own head.
5. Eating your friend's feces for breakfast every morning.
6. Branding yourself with the words, "I am retard who likes to brand myself."
7. Deciding sex with Mom wasn't enough, so you talk Grandma into it. Then Grandpa.
8. Being in charge of the Kool-Aid at the cult party.

Oops, my 30 seconds is up. Just think Chuck Palahniuk, and you'll get the idea.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Promiscuity and getting a lower-earning husband: Few women seem to read this blog, so I might be talking to myself, but if you want to marry a man who earns more than you, then don't be a slut. Here is the mean number of lifetime sexual partners since age 18 by who has a higher income:

Mean lifetime sexual partners (GSS women, N = 327)

They have the same income 3.24
Spouse has no income 3.65
Husband has a higher income 3.75
Husband has a much higher income 3.80

All wives 4.17

Wife has a much higher income 6.38
Wife has a higher income 7.33

With the exception of the unusual situation of having a husband with no income, women with fewer partners end up with wealthier men. Women who end up with low-earning men were almost twice as promiscuous. More masculine women might explain the correlation, but men are still old-fashioned enough to not want to marry the town whore.

(It might also be the case that women who wait longer to get married because they are building careers may pick up more sex partners along the way, but I still like my interpretation.)

Thursday, May 07, 2009

World opinion on homosexuality: The World Values Survey asked more than 60,000 people in 50 countries if homosexuality is ever justifiable. Respondents could answer "never" on one extreme, "always" on the other, and 2 through 9 in the middle. Close to half (48.3%) of the world said it is never justified, and only 11.2% said always.

Elites have managed to convince almost half of Americans (48.5%, GSS 2008) that homosexual sex is never wrong (and we see state courts following suit with gay marriage decisions) but only 1 in 9 people around the world feel the same way (only 1 in 10 men). Liberals are only concerned about world opinion when the world--or the right part of it--is on their side.

I can imagine the jokes being written all around the world (if they haven't been written already): "America: where men are men, and the men are nervous." "Lonely? Go to America, the women are dying for someone to notice them." "Ameri-cun? No, no, no. Ameri-c*nt."

IQ humor!

Special Boy With Freakishly Large Brain Wins Spelling Bee

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Race, IQ, and culture: Steve Sailer has fascinating posts up, quoting William Saletan and John McWhorter discussing race, IQ, and Sailer himself. I'm interested in the claim made by McWhorter that blacks underperform because they lack a tradition of reading. The General Social Survey asked 781 Americans in 2006 how often they read the newspaper. Answers ranged from "every day" (1) to "never" (5). Since many younger people get their news from the Internet, and perhaps more whites than blacks, let's limit the analysis to those over 50. Here are the means by race:

Mean newspaper reading frequency (N = 314)

White 2.08
Blacks 2.48

Keep in mind that high averages mean low reading. These numbers indicate that whites read more often than blacks, and the difference is about three-tenths of a standard deviation.

So whites read more, but is this due to a culture of reading? If there is some general force influencing a population's behavior, that force should reduce the variance of the behavior; in other words, whites should be more similar than blacks in their reading habits. If blacks have no reading culture or a more anemic reading culture, you should see blacks more often following their individual preferences: some will read, some won't. We shouldn't compare standard deviations because they are influenced by sample size, and whites are much more numerous than blacks. The coefficient of variation is used to adjust for differences in group size:

Reading coefficient of variation

Whites 0.65
Blacks 0.60

Once again, if whites have a reading culture and blacks don't, you would expect whites to be more similar in terms of their reading than blacks. These numbers show they are not. Whites are slightly more diverse. Based on the GSS, McWhorter seems to be wrong.

Small cups: I was ordering a sandwich and soup at Subway today and decided to get a combo meal that entitles me to a drink. The worker asked me what size I wanted, so I said I'll take a small. He said there were no small cups--only regular, large and extra large. I began to fantasize that I was in the scene as Larry David:

Worker: There are no small cups--only regular, large, and extra large.

LD: No smalls? How can you have large cups, but no small cups?

Worker: Excuse me?

LD: How can you have large cups, but no small cups? A large cup is only large because it's bigger than the small cup.

Worker: Sir, I didn't decide the sizes. I just work here.

LD: Let's be honest. What you call a regular cup is really a small cup. And the large cup is really a regular-size cup. And the extra large cup is actually just a large cup.

Worker: Sir, please, you're holding up the line.

LD: No, no. I can see on your face that you agree with me a little bit. I think maybe you'd agree that, just like Subway doesn't pay you enough for the hard work that you're doing here, Subway is trying to get me to pay the regular price for what is actually a small cup. Am I right, am I right?

Worker: Sir, please.

LD (turning to the line): I'm right people, right? They're making us pay the regular price for a small cup of soda.

The crowd: Shut up. Who cares? Can you believe this guy?

LD (to worker): Okay, okay. I'll move along, but first, first I want you to admit that you're selling small cups at regular cup prices. That's all I'm asking for.

Worker: Sir, am I going to have to call security?

LD: I'm waiting.

Of course, I'm not Larry David and just paid my money and ate, but it did make me think that Americans are so concerned about not being below average that they don't even call their cups small. Just like the No Child Left Behind goal of making all children above average, our cups are at least regular size and most are large, extra large, jumbo, Big Gulps, or Double Gulps. It's so embarassing to be seen with a puny little cup, they don't even offer them.

Do blacks rate themselves as athletic? In a previous post, I showed that blacks give themselves higher ratings on intelligence than whites or Asians do. Could this be due to reference group comparisons? People compare themselves to others they know in order to assess themselves. Perhaps the typical black person does not know someone nearly as smart as the average Asian person, so the black sees himself as being comparatively intelligent.

But it doesn't work in a context where blacks are arguably superior. The General Social Survey asked 2,373 Americans how athletic they were. The researchers are not too bright and gave the highest score to the least athletic (5) and the lowest score to the most athletic (1), so what you see is the mean unathletic score:

Mean unathletic score

Blacks 2.97
Whites 3.14
Others 3.13

Blacks think they are more athletic (although the difference is not huge). If my theory were correct, an average black person would probably know a better athlete than the typical white guy and would thus rate himself as being less athletic. But blacks are not doing this. They give themselves high intelligence ratings, and they give themselves high athletic ratings. Regardless of objective realities, their self-assessments are generous. For some reason, blacks are more positive about themselves than other groups. As I often show on this blog, the facts simply do not support the idea that blacks live in a country where they are systematically mistreated, run down, belittled, or made to feel inferior.

Wasn't self-esteem such a neat theory? On paper, it seemed to work perfectly. Blacks have always been treated as inferiors; they underperform; it's because they internalize the inferior label and act accordingly. Pretty neat. As is often the case with liberal creativity, the idea falls apart as soon as you look at the facts. "What's wrong with those blacks? Why do they feel so good about themselves? Damn, another theory down the drain."

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Trends in attitudes toward premarital sex

All ages

Ages 18-29

Ages 30-44

Ages 45-59

Ages 60 plus

From studies I've read, the consensus that premarital sex is wrong had collapsed by 1970 in America, but I wonder how attitudes have trended since then among different age groups. The top graph includes all ages, and it shows that the percent saying it's wrong was flat and roughly about 50% through the 80s and 90s, but the attitude grew quite a bit in the 70s and then again in this decade.

Among young adults (second graph) Americans thinking it's not wrong have been more constant, but those thinking it is sometimes wrong has shrunk, while those saying it's always or almost always wrong has actually grown. This shows that young people are more likely to have extreme views one way or the other.

The group ages 30-44 moved in a more accepting direction in the 70s, while the next age group (45-59) gradually became more accepting over the four decades. The oldest group has changed the most since 2000.

The percent of 60 and older who think premarital sex is always fine had been a small share of the total for 30 years. I assume it has been changing in the past few years as Boomers are entering the age range. It looks like this attitude has gone from the minority to majority position because of changes in the 70s, and more recently the dwindling of the greatest generation. This leads to the prediction that acceptance will continue to grow.

It looks like it's been old and religious people versus everyone else. You can't bring back the dead, so I guess folks like me need to work for greater religiosity. Tall order.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Which common occupation is most conservative? I looked at the GSS's occupation question cross-tabulated against who the respondents voted for in 2004 for president (N = 4,017). I had to limit the analysis to very common jobs so that cell sizes are large enough. Results? Seventy percent of security guard supervisors voted for Bush. By contrast, 77 percent of health aides voted for Kerry. Makes sense.
Faith, Reason, and Revolution: I'm surprised to say it, but I thought this NYT piece by Stanley Fish, reviewing the book Faith, Reason, and Revolution by British literary theorist Terry Eagleton, was interesting.
Religion, belief in God, and income: As a follow-up to the last post, I looked at mean annual income by religion for GSS respondents:

Mean income by religion (N = 7,559)

Other Eastern 18.38
Jewish 18.25
Hindus 17.65
Orthodox Christian 16.82
Buddhist 15.09

All Americans 14.34

Catholic 14.16
Protestant 14.15
None 14.12
Muslim 14.12
Christian 13.50
Inter-denominational 12.97
Native American 12.18

And for belief in God:

No way to find out 15.20
Doesn't believe 14.46
Believes but doubts 14.25
Believes sometimes 14.11
Some higher power 13.79
Knows God exists 13.69

Sunday, May 03, 2009

A reader asks:

The popular press constantly excoriates rich "WASPs" (or European-American Protestants) as the prime movers in this exploitation of people of color. Yet when you measure actual income and education levels, you find out that Jews are the most prosperous ethnic group, followed by Japanese and Chinese Americans. European-American Protestants rank below European-Americans of Italian, Polish and Irish descent, and are only marginally above African-Americans.

Is this correct, 'Ron'?

The General Social Survey does not do a particularly good job of measuring income, but we can use the best question which asks about annual respondent income, the top category being $110,000 or more. Means range from 12 to over 18. 12 is the code for $17,500-$19,999 and 18 is for $40,000 to $49,999. (These are 1998 dollars). Don't forget that these are all Americans:

Mean annual income (N = 5,884)

Jews 18.25
Asian Indian 16.82
Finnish 16.62
Japanese 16.55
Non-Jewish Hungarian 16.11
West Indian 15.92
Czech 15.80
Chinese 15.66
Greek 15.46
Italian 15.32
English/Welsh 15.26
Swedish 15.21
Scottish 15.05
Austrian 14.88
Norwegian 14.76
Non-Jewish Russian 14.60
Irish 14.56
Danish 14.53
German 14.47
Non-Jewish Polish 14.45

All Americans 14.41

Arabic 14.25
Filipino 13.87
Puerto Ricans 13.65
French 13.37
Black 13.36
Dutch 13.13
Amerindian 12.94
Mexican 12.82

Americans (like myself) of English or Welsh descent are 11th on this list. Polish and Irish Americans are not high on the list as the quote suggests. Three of the groups above English Americans are non-white. I thought elites kept brown people down. Four of the groups are non-Christian (or are not generally Christian). I thought Jesus lovers kept pagans in their place. West Indians are 6th on the list. I thought racist America doomed a man with black skin to the ghetto.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Some beautiful neo-realism: I was in the mood for classic film this past week, so I watched Umberto D and The Bicycle Thief by director Vittorio De Sica. The latter is now available online at Netflix. I'm no movie critic, but if you like simple stories of ordinary people shot in beautiful places like Rome in black and white; if you have a soft spot for kids and dogs, and if you don't mind a slow pace, I bet you'll like these. Don't get me wrong--they have a lot of emotional power, but the director is in no hurry to get you there. These films, however, are not long. They run about 90 minutes each. In my opinion, you cannot make a movie too short.
Mean lifetime sexual partners for gay men: Over at Secular Right, Soul Searcher made this comment:

Notice that the prolific Jason Malloy of GNXP has already made clear to Ron Gunhame of the Inductivist blog some of the heartening empirical statistics on gay promiscuity and its relation to gay marriage, to which he has not yet responded.

In particular, Jason finds in his analysis of the GSS data:“I have no idea if there is a faulty assumption somewhere in here, but at face value, this data shows the sexual behavior of homosexual males is actually nearly identical to straight white male sexual behavior. Most shockingly: gay males are just as likely to have one lifetime sexual partner as straight males!

Soul Searcher was refering to a post showing that homosexuals are less likely to think that marital infidelity is wrong. I never did replicate Jason Malloy's analysis, but let's do it now. I'm not sure if I'm doing it precisely the same way he did, but let me lay out the details.

I limited the analysis to men ages 45 and over since the number of different sexual partners has slowed down by that age. Homosexuals are defined as those only having exclusively male partners in the past year (SEXSEX). Unfortunately, we don't have a better measure available.

For straight men, it's only having female partners over the same period. I looked at how many male partners gay men reported having since age 18 (NUMMEN) and how many female partners straight men have had since age 18 (NUMWOMEN). By the way, these questions were asked 12 different years (1989, 1990, 1991, 1993, 1994, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008).

Heterosexual men (N = 2,993)
Mean lifetime partners 17.71
Percent with only one lifetime partner 20.2

Gay men (N = 80)
Mean lifetime partners 46.05
Percent with only one lifetime partner 15.0

I don't know why Jason Malloy's numbers are different from mine. He wouldn't have had 2008 data, but that should make little difference.

According to my analysis, the gay lifetime mean is 2.6 times higher than the straight mean. Both means are inflated by a few men who have hundreds of partners. I don't see where I can get a median calculated.

By contrast, you can see that the percent having only one lifetime partner is not unusual for either group, but it is a little higher for heterosexuals.

Keep in mind that the questions were asked of men from 45 to those into their nineties, so some were young men in the 1920s. I wouldn't expect gay men to have been as promiscuous then as they are now.

Friday, May 01, 2009

All the pundits are saying that Obama will replace Souter with a Hispanic woman because it's in the interests of those two constituencies. Well, I look to my leaders for moral example, so I've decided to hope for a white man or at least a white woman for the choice.
Real reason to oppose gay marriage: People speculate why someone like me opposes gay marriage. I've been told it's religious bigotry, some irrational hatred of homosexuals, or I might even add Bradlaugh's comment over at Secular Right that we have an instinct against it.

In my case, all three are incorrect. I do have a natural yuck-reaction to gay sex, but myself, I wouldn't be against people getting married because they do gross stuff. As for hate, that is just silly. I don't instinctively have feelings about groups, but if I think about it, I have a mildly positive feeling about homosexuals.

Yes, my religion teaches that homosexual sex is wrong, and gay marriage is a slap in the face of every traditionally religious person in the country, but my orientation to social policy really is secular.

So, what's my real problem with it? It's one part of a much larger problem. In my view, the country made a huge mistake in the 1960s when it began to dismantle the traditional moral regime. You folks can tell me where I'm wrong, but America has functioned optimally when there was a consensus that: premarital sex is bad; promiscuity is bad; loose womanhood is bad; playboys are bad; pornography is bad; masturbation is bad; out-of-wedlock births are bad; single-parent families are bad; abortion is bad; divorce is bad; prostitution is bad--you get the point--and, finally, homosexual sex is bad.

Much of the country has rejected many of those values, and the division has been dismantling and discrediting the old system. Even if a kid is raised the old way, he can always say, but my buddies' parents don't believe that. What once was authoritative is now just one viewpoint, one lifestyle.

The reigning morality has become, choose for yourself the moral way. All too often, that means choose the selfish, short-sighted way. In my view, the result has been: more out-of-wedlock births; more divorce; more mother-only famlies; more men not civilized by marriage and fatherhood; more disappearing fathers; less child support; more welfare dependency; more poor kids; more crime; more STDs; more abortion; more girls who are pumped and dumped a hundred different times.

To the mention of girls who have many sex partners, let me add: more pornography; more strip clubs; more girls gone wild. Now, you might respond that freer female sexuality is not a problem. I simply cannot imagine a greater tragedy in my life--and I am not exaggerating here--than to, say, read about some girl at a party who had sex with a bunch of guys in front of everyone, and to learn that the girl was my daughter. It's painful to even contemplate it. I'd be tempted to find the guys responsible and go all Taxi Driver on their asses.

So, what does this have to do with gay marriage? Gay marriage is the further discrediting of a moral system that I argue is a constructive and rational system. The old way seems to be correlated with a thriving society, and to my mind social policy should aim to optimize societal success. Not only should we throw out gay marriage, we should work for a moral revival across the board.
Follow-up: Some readers don't think hunting is a good measure of masculinity. Let's use whether or not a person owns a handgun since it is less rural than hunting.

Logistics regression coefficients (N = 3,833)

Male -.542
Owns a handgun -.395
Belief in God -.363
Conservative politics -.448

All are significant at the .01 level. Possession of a handgun predicts opposing gay marriage, independent of these other factors.

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