XXXI Money & Size (The Science of Sex IV)
“Even in contemporary Western society high-income men have more biological children than low-income men, whereas among women the opposite is true (Hopcroft 2005; Nettle and Pollock 2008).” (Buunk, Pollet, Dijkstra & Massar, in Evolutionary Psychology in the Business Sciences, ed. G. Saad, 2011).
The rich man is free-riding on the poor. He is married to one woman (at a time), have one or two children with her, his legal children, who receive all their parent’s care and support as they grow up, but that man is also a cryptic impregnator of many other women, of whom the society recognizes no bond with him. The statement above, highlighting the difference between high-income men and women and the difference between low-income women and men, could not hold true otherwise.
It is talked time and again, in our contemporary Western society, about the plight of single mothers. Most of these women are low-income. One should be careful not to indict too quickly, for these women’s plight, men of their own status and treat these latter as callous and irresponsible individuals who do not accept to take responsibilities for their behavior. What came first, egg or hen? a poor man’s irresponsible behavior or a poor woman’s tendency to let herself impregnate by rich men? Let the facts be known, and who shall accuse a low-income man of irresponsibility if he doubts his paternity? He has got every right in the world to doubt it.
The plight of low-income single mothers is the rich man’s deed. It is the rich woman’s also, because, in some other societies, rich men marry several women, and all these women’s children are his legal children, to whom he is bound by law to provide support during their bringing up. In our society, the rich woman does not want resources to be scattered among so many children. She wants that only her children benefit from the man’s resources. At the same time, the man’s resources do not always benefit his own genetic children, but those desired by the woman from such and such men with whom she cuckolded her partner – which plight, again, is that of low-income and not high-income men. This is the situation under our laws.
A number of the rich man’s children, perhaps most of them, are thus raised in low-income homes or by low-income single mothers. When a single mother finds a partner who wants to live with her, the children she had before they met are more likely than other children to suffer abuse from the partner (see XXVIII). A child raised by a single-mother is also more likely to become a delinquent (see The Bell Curve, a book already dealt with in XXX). With the acuteness of deprivation rises the likelihood of abuse, molestation, rape, and murder of children by their “parents.” So, we have that rich man here, creeping in the dark, like a sneaky pest, in order to inseminate women because of a biological urge to multiply his offspring, and he cannot even insure that they receive proper care, whereas he is spoiling the few children of his one long-term partner with an overabundance of goods.
Meanwhile, the consequence of his unlawful inseminations is that the poor’s scarce resources are scattered among a greater number of children, and what could have been moderately comfortable homes and neighborhoods cannot escape been shanties and slums (women use contraceptives with their partners much more than with their lovers; see XXIX). The poor woman, poor because, if I understand the logic, in our meritocracies her merit is nought, and craving for the genes of success in the guise of a successful man ready to impregnate her, plunges herself and her family in ever direr straits.
Such a polity must over time become so unequal, merit so unevenly distributed among two sharply segregated social castes, wealth and power accumulating in an ever shrinking number of hands, it is a blessing that our school system so much impairs the success of intelligent children, by boring them to death. School-teachers, in their own hypocritical way, are laming the rich and avenging the poor as far as they can, which is, however, not very much, to say the truth.
Still, as free riders, the rich must be sanctioned. No better established moral norm has ever cropped up from the biology department that free riding is to be prevented and/or uprooted (read, for instance, philosophy professor Patricia Churchland). (Free markets themselves are supposed to be a contrivance to prevent free riding. Alas, as evolutionary psychology has demonstrated, there are no impersonal market forces: it’s either pal or pigeon!)
A free rider is a parasite. Biologist Richard Dawkins has talked about parasites in the animal world thus: “Animals might at times behave in ways that are not in their own best interests, manipulated by some other animal. Actually, in a sense they are acting in their own best interests (…) they theoretically could resist manipulation but it would be too costly to do so. Perhaps to resist manipulation by a cuckoo you need bigger eyes or a bigger brain, which would have overhead costs.” (The Selfish Gene, 1976). I wish to tell the poor that they ought to think on the matter in actuarial terms, and compute the gain of uprooting the rich having in mind the infinity of time in the future compared with the costs incurred via a revolution of a few days. There just cannot be too great a cost when it is about eliminating free riders. If you can convince yourselves there is the slightest good in your raising, by depleting your own scarce resources, the children of the rich, then, fine, away with the idea of a revolution.
Dr. Robin Baker, often quoted on this blog and a participant in it, said of late: “The question over the number of children (and grandchildren) produced by high and low status/income males is one that is desperately in need of real data, data that even now is impossible to obtain. But until we do, the discussion will continue and everybody can hold their different views.” (see Comment to XXX). He had written earlier: “Some men have a higher chance of being cuckolded than others, and it is those of low wealth and status that fare worst. … Moreover, the men most likely to cuckold the lower-status males are those of higher status.” (BW 44-5) (already quoted in XXVIII). He wrote this latter statement in 1998; the statement I have quoted at the beginning of the present essay is from 2011 and confirms his 1998 picture. Although I have no idea what the methodology used in the latter studies is, the consistency of both sets incites me to think the picture is accurate, and I shall not put too much weight on Dr Baker’s recent comments. As a concluding remark on this point, I must stress that Baker envisions the end of reproductive inequalities in the future as a result of laissez-faire.
From my earlier discussion of Baker’s works, it should be clear by now that women orgasm with large-penised men because they want to favor these men’s semen in sperm competition. Quoth (already in XXX) : “If penis size is an important factor in sperm competition, it would be surprising if males and females did not have some reaction to penis size. First, males should perceive males with a penis larger than themselves as more of a threat if they ever show a sexual interest in the same woman. Second, females should prefer to mate with males who will give them male descendants with a penis more efficient at removing a rival’s sperm.” (HSC, 174) To be precise, the passage states that women prefer to mate with large-penised men because they want large-penised boys, but the inference is clear, as on the other hand female copulatory orgasm is a way to favor one man’s semen over others’, that they orgasm with large-penised men – no matter how vehemently women usually deny that size matters. (Later I will tell why they deny it.)
Some are mocking White racists as in fact resenting Negroes for their large penises and their racism as sexual jealousy. How could it be otherwise, may I ask? (Data on penis size by race can be found in Baker & Bellis, Human Sperm Competition.) Small-penised men must thwart this preference of women by subduing large-penised men socially. They’ve got no choice, there must be something which they be preferred for. Today, in contemporary Western society, due to Negro emancipation, White working-class men can be preferred on no basis at all: they don’t have large penises compared to Negroes and they don’t get high incomes comparing with high-income men. As a matter of course, racism is rampant among them. Some will say the problem is that workers are too ignorant to be tolerant, but I rather think they know too well, and something must be done to make them forget what they know.
Because they could become embarrassing, as a patently doomed species, and we all know that we are going, I mean humanity, to leave room for another being better suited to explore the universe, and it is just a question of time, after White working-class men have vanished from the scene, that the rest of us take the same exit.
February 4, 2016
Please take cognizance of Dr Baker’s reply, sent on Feb 7, after I had asked his approval before publication of XXXI above..
By all means publish your words: they are of course yours to do with as you wish. As long as you do not misrepresent my meaning or intention (and as far as I have noticed you haven’t), I have no reason to disapprove or otherwise of how you use my words. I do prefer to distance myself from your more judgemental and ‘campaigning’ passages and to stick to the evolutionary biology of it all, but otherwise it is your blog and I assume you have your own agenda. Having said this I perhaps need to explain myself a bit better over the two evolutionary areas you have picked up on.
Like you, I haven’t read the papers on children produced by high and low status males and females that you reference. I like the conclusions (because they fit my expectations) but cannot comment on how convincing the data are on which they are based. But my comments which you highlight still stand. The advantage to high-status women of producing fewer offspring with high status males is that by making a higher investment with his help in those fewer children she eventually benefits through the succeeding generations (how many generations we cannot say) by eventually producing more descendants than high status women who initially produced and tried to raise more children. So my comment that the data do not exist to prove the matter one way or the other in evolutionary terms is still valid. To my knowledge, no one has yet been able to follow survival and reproduction through enough generations to make the necessary tests. It will need to be over more than one generation and the more the better. I cannot see how this can be done at present.
Regarding large and small penises (and testes) I simply refer back to my conclusion in Sperm Wars and Human Sperm Competition. The size distribution of both in the population is fixed by evolution at the stable situation where each gains the same advantage. In which case there is no need for anybody to be envious or gloat. The average and distribution of sizes will differ in different populations because the selective pressures are different, thus shifting the ESS in one or other direction accordingly. But each size distribution should be adaptive to the local conditions. Everybody is equal except during phases that the pressures change and evolution starts shifting the equilibrium point. Only during those phases is there an advantage in being larger or smaller.
And here is what I replied, on Feb 8:
“Dear Dr Baker,
You’re right: I am free to draw any conclusions from your works or any other person’s works, and you can’t be held responsible for the conclusions I draw.
I have just published the text under the title Money & Size (The Science of Sex IV).
The word “science” you may find inappropriate, now I’m threading a more “campaigning” path; however, I believe my conclusions are logical, given what you and others wrote. I was even wondering why you didn’t write yourself what I wrote (even if in a cooler style), because, as I had just written it, I felt it gave the final touch to your work.
I will publish your comments but later, because I would like to see if my text is deemed inflammatory and elicit some reactions, which your comments would prevent, as they cool down the argument.
Your first comment, here, may be off the mark. We only want to know if women sleep with rich men as a rule, a conduct that is both ackowledged and usually blamed by common sense (or popular wisdom). As they say in my country, “she dates the wallet not the man.”
Same with your second comment. We want to know if women prefer large-penised men. If I am envious of large penises, there’s nothing your tentatively reassuring exposé on how equilibrium is reached can do about it, partly because common sense cannot understand the mathematics behind it. As I quoted you saying, the view of a large penis must elicit some psychological response.
As to the reason why I delayed publishing Dr Baker’s reply, as stated above, my essay has elicited no reaction so far. Feel free, my reader, to ejaculate a mighty outcry and draw attention on my writings, because I have heard so many sycophants explaining that moralizing campaigns can have no other effect that I am now convinced there is no such thing as bad publicity.
Here is Dr Baker’s latest mail, sent on Feb 14:
Our interests clearly overlap a great deal otherwise our correspondence wouldn’t have lasted so long, but they also differ in fairly fundamental ways – which is why my writing didn’t extend in the way you thought it could have done. I think we can see how we differ in your two final points (about my two comments).
I would say that we already know that, all else being equal, women prefer richer men to poorer. My interest is in understanding why this is so in an evolutionary sense, yours is in trying to change or even to condemn the situation. It is there that our interests part company, so to speak.
I’m not so convinced, in that I haven’t seen any good data, that women actually do prefer men with a large penis. In this I don’t mean data just gained by women answering the question, but data on whether, all else being equal, they would choose to pair up or just have sex with a man with a larger penis. The fact that the range of penis sizes is as it is suggests to me that a clear behavioural preference doesn’t really exist. Whatever the truth, my interest ends at trying to understand the evolution of the situation. Again I can see you would like to extrapolate further.
And my reply to it, Feb 14:
“Dear Dr Baker,
Thank you for sharing your views. I think this exchange makes the series far more interesting. Thank you for saying I don’t misrepresent your meaning. I acknowledge your right to distance yourself from the direction my thinking is taking, but I am not so convinced of the impartiality of scholar work in general (even though its motto is, in general, interest in pure understanding). How do you explain interest in pure understanding in evolutionary terms? Does pure understanding pay? All humanity, present and future, is free-riding on the pure thinker, so he must be crazy to be what he is, and university is too well-established an institution to be a bedlam of some sort.
Dear Dr Baker,
I wish to add the following. From XXVIII to XXX I took rather great lengths to explain why I thought (what I held to be, after reading your books,) your view on the linkage between status and reproductive success was perhaps not accurate. Among other things, I quoted from various sources, namely L. Betzig, D. Barrett, Herrnstein & Murray, and eugenicists of the past collectively, that posit the inverse relationship.
Then I stated the relationship probably takes a different turn depending on our looking at women or at men, and I found both this view and a positive relationship between high status and reproductive success for men supported by the quote from Buunk et al. I used this quote to write XXXI, but I was not expecting that you would take its content to be my firmly grounded belief, given I had just tried to explain why I held the contrary to be true. (I did not attempt to correct that misunderstanding at first.)
XXXI is hypothetical by nature: If quote is true, then… It’s correct that it is lapsing from pure understanding, or pure understanding of evolutionary mechanisms; it was a speculation as to possible consequences of the facts been known some time. (I realize its speculative nature may be another characteristic unpleasant to you.)
I shall try, if I carry on with the series, to not expose myself again to your legitimate reproof.
This being said, it seems to me that by writing
“I would say that we already know that, all else being equal, women prefer richer men to poorer. My interest is in understanding why this is so in an evolutionary sense”
you somewhat misrepresented your true position. It appears, instead, that we are not so sure, even though the understanding is clear. We already understand what makes females prefer high-status males, in an evolutionary sense (and I quoted a chain of reasons, from differential parental investment on) and, I surmise, such preference has been observed in hierarchical primate groups. We are searching the same clear-cut evidence in our contemporary societies, but contrary to what holds true for more primitive human societies it looks like the evidence of a positive relationship between high status and reproductive success is not so clear in that case.
Some even deny it. Among these, some (Barrett) invoke contraception as an explanation, but I think you provided the evidence that this is not so. Some others (Betzig) invoke economic specialization, that is they may potentially deny Darwinism the character of a unified theory of human behavior, because a prediction based on it has failed so far (unless they can explain economic specialization in Darwinian terms, that is, not the kind of specialization found among sterile insects nor that division of labor observed among primate groups, but the very division of labor that would alter the relationship between status and reproduction).
Given the strong credits of Darwinism, I would find its failure as a unifying theory disappointing, and I have noticed your own attachment to a unified system of knowledge, as a regulative idea of reason.
Sent on Feb 19.
Dr Baker’s reply (see previous comments), sent on Feb 21:
Thank you for all your e-mails over the week. I only have time to pick up on one or two of your points, so apologies if you feel I’ve overlooked something that you consider important. In general, the more material that you (and others) give me to read during the week, the less time I have to write answers in my ‘e-mail answering’ slot which I now limit to Sundays. I aim always to clear my in-box to leave the week clear for research and writing, which I must give priority.
Originally, understanding helped people survive better in their environment. Does pure understanding pay? I guess that depends on your definition. If it pays is it no longer pure? I have made a career out of striving to understand and explain things – does that mean it’s not pure? Most scientists are more interested in promoting their career than the truth (a case I explored in FRAGILE SCIENCE). So maybe there is no such thing as pure understanding (depending on definition, as I say). As for universities, all in my experience have been pure bedlam!!
I am quite happy that we both know and understand the situation for men. I also like the explanation that high status women reduce their number of children and bias the sex-ratio towards males to give the fewer that they do have both higher survival and higher status to one day (=generation) reap the numerical benefits through high status male descendants. But I don’t yet see the evidence data to prove this is correct and until I do I will not be certain our understanding is clear.
Here are Dr A. S. Amin’s remarks on this essay, after I contacted him about his book “Conflicts of Fitness: Islam, America, and Evolutionary Psychology” (http://conflictsoffitness.com/), about which I intend to write an essay on this blog. Dr Robin Baker is a common influence. I am grateful to him for his remarks.
“Hi Florent, thanks for writing me, it is really exciting that people are reading the book and finding it beneficial.
Your blog is very interesting and original! That is great that Dr. Baker comments on your posts, his study with Bellis about how men modulate their sperm output according to how much they have been absent from their partners revolutionized my understanding of human nature and led me to focus on how paternity confidence plays a primary role in human societies.
“Such a polity must over time become so unequal, merit so unevenly distributed among two sharply segregated social castes, wealth and power accumulating in an ever shrinking number of hands, it is a blessing that our school system so much impairs the success of intelligent children, by boring them to death.”
This is the best sentence ever, hilarious and exceedingly insightful at the same time! 🙂
“Some are mocking White racists as in fact resenting Negroes for their large penises and their racism as sexual jealousy. How could it be otherwise, may I ask? (Data on penis size by race can be found in Baker & Bellis, Human Sperm Competition.) Small-penised men must thwart this preference of women by subduing large-penised men socially. They’ve got no choice, there must be something which they be preferred for. Today, in contemporary Western society, due to Negro emancipation, White working-class men can be preferred on no basis at all: they don’t have large penises compared to Negroes and they don’t get high incomes comparing with high-income men. As a matter of course, racism is rampant among them. Some will say the problem is that workers are too ignorant to be tolerant, but I rather think they know too well, and something must be done to make them forget what they know.”
I found this paragraph very insightful as well. I am not sure if you are familiar with the American South and Jim Crow, but the systemic racism of the old South was clearly influenced by the sexual threat low-status Whites felt from Black men. The ubiquitous epithet “boy” was used to publicly humiliate and emasculate Black men, and any attempts of a Black to attract a white woman was often met with ferocious violence, as typified by the Emmett Till incident. Leaving moral considerations aside, the past 50 years have shown that those Whites’ reproductive worries were quite justified!
Anyway, thanks again for reaching out, it truly made my day 🙂