Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Quick thoughts on polyamory

Evolutionary psychologist Geoffrey Miller wrote a piece for Quillette that sees polyamory becoming a mainstream part of modern society.

Assuming that he is right that openness to polyamory is growing, I suspect this is part of a larger trend toward greater cultural libertarianism: pursue your desires as long as you don't aggress against others. It's another step in the move away from institutions and roles and toward contracts. It's the view that there there is no proper way but your way (as long as you don't harm anyone).

I'm surprised that Miller doesn't see this trend as getting close to as a society that is purely a reflection of biology.  Many traditional institutions seem to be designed to check human nature. "I want all attractive women." "Sorry, you get one." "My old wife isn't sexy anymore. I want to trade in her in for a younger model." "Sorry, you get one, for good."

What does a cultural libertarian society look like?  What does nature look like? Miller should know. Women are picky and want a high-status partner who reliably gives his abundant resources to her. Those men are in short supply. Men want many partners but so do other men, and they find themselves in a competitive situation with limited resources. High mate value men tend to win by getting the most attractive women, and getting the most women. Low mate value men tend to get a partner by devoting resources only to her, but some of these men get no one.

Isn't this what we'll get if polyamory grows? There will be no institutional constraints on alphas. They will focus on being players, and many women will respond to their attention. Men of low mate value will have a harder time winning over a partner, and their offer of monogamy will be worth less in a society that does not value it. Like the alphas, they will long more strongly for multiple partners since there are no dominant institutions telling them monogamy is the right way, but many of them will get no women, forget about many. A large population of young men with no access to partners is not good for the stability of society.

Evolutionary biology teaches that humans tend to follow one of two strategies: high mating effort or high parenting effort. One tends to happen at the expense of the other. Under polyamory, interest will be shifted toward pursuing mates. Parental effort will suffer. That means fewer children--as if we don't already have a problem replacing ourselves--and the care given to children will be of lower quality.

It looks like such a system would select in evolutionary terms for dominant and slick men rather than solid, steady men. Society benefits from more steady men and fewer con artists.

More promiscuity leads to more jealousy which is a major cause of homicide. The US already has the highest rate of homicide among wealthy countries.

From what I can see, we need more monogamy, not less.

UPDATE: This pro-polyamory position taken by Miller seems to be another case of privileged people advocating lifestyles that can work for them but that wreak havoc on vulnerable populations. I suspect that people like Hugh Hefner bear some responsibility for present-day Black America.

Monday, October 28, 2019

Some facts about transgenderism

Archer's Father (@DoctorOcelot) from Twitter directed me to this recent analysis of transgenderism based on data from 90k Californians. Let's go over noteworthy findings.

The study finds that .35% of adults identify as transgender. While this rate is much higher than in the past, the only reason why so much public concern is devoted to such a small group of people is that liberals always need a fresh crusade. 

Demographically, transgenderism is largely a white thing. While the percentages of transgenders that are black or Asian are about what you'd expect from the racial composition of California, the white rate is much higher, and the rate for Hispanics is much lower. To be specific, whites are 4.8 times more likely to be transgender than Latinos. You tell me why the gap is so big.

Slightly more than half of transgenders start out as life as males. The plurality (46%) now say their gender identity is transgender. The next largest group (32%) identify as female, so this shows a tendency for male-to-females (MtF) to be the clearest about who they are.

Compared to cisgenders, transgenders have much higher numbers of gays and lesbians (20%) and bisexuals (45%), so in terms of sexual orientation, transgenders are a very messy group.

Other stats not specified here indicate that transgenders are more likely to be: poor, less educated, and psychologically and physically unhealthy. They suffer from high rates of emotional disturbance, depression, disability, and positive HIV status.

This reminds me of the recent study of homosexuals which showed genetic correlations with psychological difficulties and substance use.

The picture that emerges is of people who perhaps have a high number of mutations that disrupt the type of development that aligns one's anatomical sex with his gender identity and his sexual orientation--an alignment which makes an individual likely to be reproductively successful. In addition to this, other brain systems responsible for psychological health are also disrupted. 

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Are men funnier than women?

This new meta-analysis of 28 studies finds that men are funnier than women. The gap, however, is not large (Cohen's d = .32).  To get specific, 63% of males get more laughter than the average female. 

The authors explain the difference in evolutionary terms: Women are choosier than men when selecting mates, and humor serves as an indicator of mental fitness that is not easy to fake. You're funny or you're not. This pressure has supposedly selected for men who can make people laugh.

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Does sexual abuse of children lead them to identify as homosexual?

It is the position of this blogger that biology has a very strong impact on overall patterns of human behavior. That said, I don't dismiss the role of the environment. Add to that the fact that liberal scholars (redundant) bring all their bias into their research, so I instinctively want to check out what they are horrified to think might be true.

Case in point is the social influence on the development of homosexuality.  I have presented evidence previously on this blog that homosexuals are more likely than others to have been sexually abused as children. But it could be that in a cross-sectional study that adult homosexuals, trying to make sense of their orientation, will look back at their childhood and "discover" abuse. Or it might be that they are gender non-conforming as children and are thought to be homosexual, and are thus targeted by older people with same-sex attractions.

I found a study which responds to the issue of looking back and "finding" abuse by examining the relationship prospectively. Kids were identified as abused and followed over the years until they were around age 40. People who were sexually abused as kids were significantly more likely to report ever having had a same-sex partner.

Concerning the question of what comes first--orientation/nonconformity or abuse--this study of almost 36,000 people uses an instrumental variable technique to determine whether abuse is causing orientation or vice-versa. The authors conclude that abuse is causing (really, contributing to) orientation.

Males are usually the abusers, and it might be that abusers of boys are closer to them in age so it might be less aversive than with girls and might encourage boys to identify as gay while abuse of girls might be by older males (or perhaps more likely to be family members) and is more likely to be experienced as aversive which encourages a lesbian orientation. (The authors also mention a twin study in which approximately 65% of the variation in sexual orientation is due to unique environment.)

Friday, October 18, 2019

Is IQ just a measure of social class?

A common claim by IQ skeptics is that the test simply measures social class.  If an IQ score is simply a proxy of social status, then the two variables should be very highly correlated. The statisticians tell us that a good proxy should correlate with the original variable at no less than 0.8. 

An excellent example of a worthless proxy that is used all the time in social science research is opposition to racial preferences. It is used for whites as a proxy of racism.  The correlation between opposing preferences and feeling cool toward blacks is a whopping 0.1--a trivial relationship.

So what's the correlation between your class and IQ score?  I'll be generous to the skeptics and choose the measure of social class that correlates most strongly with intelligence; namely, father's educational level. Using the General Social Survey (GSS), I exclude immigrants since they are likely to have a disadvantage on the test (which is an English vocabulary quiz).  Here is a visual of the relationship (sample size = 20,533):

Sure, IQ rises with dad's highest degree earned, but the connection is not strong. To be specific, the correlation is only .27.

This is a typical problem for sociological explanations. In this instance, the privilege of one's class is supposed to determine one IQ's score. The mechanism should work in lockstep fashion with few exceptions, so the correlation should be almost perfect.  But in sociological research, most observed correlations are weak.  The world is much messier than the sociologist predicts.

The geneticist does not face this problem. Since each sibling is genetically unique (and there is also developmental noise), he expects lots of IQ diversity within a family. And that's exactly what we get: two randomly selected full siblings are expected to differ in IQ by 12 points. That's a lot. 

The sociologist predicts siblings (at least same-sex siblings) will have the same IQs. That's way off.  Since parents and offspring differ genetically, the geneticist predicts only a modest link between social class and IQ, and that is exactly what we get.

Again, biology trumps sociology.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Does IQ explain crime among blacks and Hispanics?

Criminological research usually finds that crime is most common among people with IQ's around 90.  Samples, however, are predominantly white.  Does the IQ finding hold for non-whites?

The General Social Survey (GSS) asks respondents (American adults) if they have ever been arrested, and it also gives a vocabulary quiz that can be used to measure IQ. 

Since the sample size for Hispanics was small (92) I created only three IQ levels: 1) less than 83 (low), 2) 83-97 (low-medium), and 3) over 97 (above average).  The graphs show the percent ever arrested by IQ level:

Whites (n = 3,100)

For whites, involvement in crime is highest among the low-medium group (16.9% arrested). This is what studies usually find.

Blacks (n = 699)
For blacks, roughly 17% of respondents at all IQ levels report having been arrested. (Keep in mind that blacks tend to under-report contact with police. I don't know if this tendency varies across IQ levels).

Hispanics (n = 92)

The low-medium IQ group has the lowest arrest rate among Hispanics.  Around 25% of the low and high groups report an arrest.

In sum, IQ helps explain crime among whites, but it does not predict crime like you'd expect among blacks and Latinos. Above-average individuals are at least as likely as the unintelligent to be involved in crime. 

Sunday, October 06, 2019

Which race is most likely to enslave workers and to make sex slaves out of children?

In the last post, I showed that whites have a much lower rate of sex trafficking compared to other racial groups.  Now let's look specifically at child sex and labor trafficking.

The numbers shown below compare the rates of child sex trafficking by non-whites to that of whites:

Times more likely to engage in child sex trafficking than whites

Blacks   14.6
Hispanics   5.3
Asians   3.1
Others   2.9

While the racial differences are not as large here as they were with all sex trafficking, they are still striking.  All groups, especially blacks, are much more likely to traffic children.

Here are the differences for labor trafficking:

Times more likely to enslave workers than whites

Blacks   2.0
Hispanics   5.7
Asians   40.0
Others   83.0

The Asian/white gap is enormous and shouldn't surprise anyone. It's ironic that blacks are now two times more likely to enslave workers than whites. And look at "Others"--American Indians, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians, other Pacific Islanders, and persons of two or more races--the gap is giant.

White folks are just awful, aren't they?

Saturday, October 05, 2019

Guess which race has the highest rate of sex trafficking

The traditional way of looking at prostitution is being changed.  Academics and criminal justice officials are moving to the concept of "sex trafficking" which stresses that the pimps (men) are the villains while the prostitutes (women) are the victims.  Grown women, as well as underage girls, are assumed to be exploited.  Criminal justice policy is also shifting toward greater punishment for Johns (men). The old pimp/prostitute understanding was insufficiently feminist.

Some police departments are devoting considerable resources to convict traffickers who could easily get 10 years behind bars for sex trafficking.

So who are the traffickers?  Is the stereotype of the black pimp based in reality?

This Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) report gives the breakdown:

Percent of all trafficker suspects by race

Blacks   43.7
Hispanics   29.2
Asians   13.2
Whites   12.8
Other    1.2

I'll assume many of the "others" are American Indians.  Of course, we need to adjust for group size.  Since whites have the lowest rate, we'll make them the comparison group.  The list below shows how many times a member of a given group is more likely to be a pimp than a white person:

Blacks   16.8
Hispanics   8.1
Asians   16.5
Others   6.0

Compared to whites, blacks are 16.8 times more likely to be pimps. That's a huge difference, but the difference is about as large for Asians. (I treated "Other" as Native Americans, but that is probably an inflated number since the category will include non-Natives).

Asians usually have the lowest crime rates (by far) but not here.  My guess is that white men are much less likely to be pimps because they are more decent to women generally.  In the next post, I'll look specifically at child and labor trafficking.

Are gun owners mentally ill?

  Some anti-gun people think owning a gun is a sign of some kind of mental abnormality. According to General Social Survey data, gun owners ...