Tagged: single mothers

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

Reflexions XXVII Child Tax

A Discussion on Dr Robin Baker’s Child Tax System

In his book Sex in the Future (1999), evolutionary biologist Dr Robin Baker (University of Manchester, UK) advocates a ‘child tax system’ in which each male genitor, as determined by now available and satisfactorily reliable paternity tests, would be required on a systematic basis to provide financial support for each of his genetic children. Associated with the paternity test technology, which, if generalized, will in the future abolish paternity uncertainty for ever and allow every man to be certain that a child is his, such a tax system would put an end to the injustice incurred by single mothers abandoned by their mates. The system, in fact, is presented by Dr Baker as an improvement on the child support legislations currently in vigor in the US and United Kingdom, which have such fairness for single mothers as their aim.

Dr Baker presents his idea as follows: ‘The production of a fair formula will need a great deal of discussion and analysis. One principle, though, should be paramount: each of a person’s genetic children should be entitled to an equal share of that person’s income and resources. A proportion of the person’s income should be deducted for child support, then divided equally among his or her genetic children.’ As appears from this quote, Dr Baker is concerned about the finding of a fair formula. However, his system is hardly workable, due to its being fundamentally unfair.

At first sight, it seems reasonable and fair to ask a male genitor to contribute financially to the upbringing of his genetic children, whether they live under his roof or not, because it would release from an unfair burden abandoned mothers left to cope for themselves; but in fact it is not.

If, for instance, the child has been conceived during an orgy, in the course of which the female was inseminated by several men, is the biological father any more responsible for her pregnancy than any of the other male participants? I contend he is not, because his being the father, in this case, only results from his semen ‘beating’ the other participants’ semen inside the ovary tract, a result for which he cannot be held responsible, inasmuch as that depends on physiological mechanisms over which (we shall assume presently, before presenting a few qualifications) he has no control.

The reasoning can be extended to any situation in which a woman has multiple sex partners (though not at the same time) during any period that leads to a pregnancy.

As a consequence, in order to be fair, a child tax system should require that each and every male mate of that woman contribute to the child’s support, since each of them is, in the normal course of events, equally responsible for mating with the woman, and at the same time each of them is equally irresponsible as moral agents (leaving aside notions such as free agent and free will: we consider the man as an agent here when his behavior is concerned – although we agree that this behavior may be entirely determined by previous causes – as opposed to the behavior or performance of his semen inside the tract being concerned) with respect to the outcome, because as far as their moral and legal character is concerned what occurs inside the ovary tract between competing semen is out of their reach. None of them as agents can decide the result.

We will know qualify this statement. In fact, according to Dr Baker, a male has some control over what happens in the female’s ovary tract. This control usually amounts to making sure to have routine sex with his partner, so that he keeps ‘topping up’ the tract with his semen, making it more difficult for a potential lover’s sperm to fertilize an egg inside the tract. Some more technicalities, such as the position adopted during intercourse, would also make a difference, but none of them is seemingly efficacious enough to be likely to thwart natural endowment in that respect, i.e. testes’ size and functioning. Biological species in which promiscuity, and thus sperm competition, are common, such as chimpanzees and humans, develop bigger testes than species in which male dominance and harems are the norm, like gorillas, and than solitary species like orangutans. In the context of promiscuity, penis shape and size would also contribute to remove from the tract the semen already present, and thus weaken this semen’s chances to fertilize an egg, increasing one’s own chances (in case the present semen is that of a third person).

So it seems that all this would have to be taken into account with a view to designing a child tax system. Such a system, then, would have to inquire whether such or such has utilized some technique or other in order to increase the success of his sperm inside the tract and has in this manner slanted the physiological process in his favor, thus arranging for greater chances than his competitors to sire a child during intercourse. Furthermore, natural endowment should be considered as well, in order to determine whether one male did initiate intercourse with chances of fertilization that were objectively greater than his competitors, in which case also the tax burden should lie on him more heavily.

It gets even more complicated when one adds that the woman as well can slant the physiological events occurring inside her tract. Female orgasm is described by Dr Baker as a strategy used by the woman to favor the semen of one man, because it would function as a pump sucking up the semen deeper inside the tract, closer to the fertilization zone. A child tax system, in order to be fair, would have to take that into account and determine whose man, if any, was thus favored by the woman, altough I am not quite clear about whether this particular finding should induce the tax burden on that man to be increased or lessened. On the one hand, the woman’s orgasm or any other of her slanting operations increases the man’s probabilities to sire the child, and so to be consistent the burden should be made heavier, but on the other hand the man is not to pay for another agent’s behavior relating to him, and on the contrary as this behavior is to result in loading him with a burden he should be compensated and his burden lessened.

So, leaving the last point aside, it is of two scenarios one or the other. In the simple one, competing males are not responsible for what happens in the ovary tract, the genetic father no more than the other mates, and they are all due to pay the same amount of tax for the child. In the more complex one, each man’s financial burden should be determined according to the initial probabilities that each of them would sire the child (if child there must be), given either the techniques they used (position, timing, frequency, etc) or their natural endowments (men with greater endowments would pay more, in that scenario), and also given the slant of the woman’s intervention. It is important to note that the result itself, i.e. the identity of the biologial father, is not as important as these initial probabilities, because the former is contingent on the latter, and what provides for the rest – that is, what makes sometimes the greater probability and sometimes the lesser occur – here is beyond anyone’s knowledge and handling.

In none of these two scenarios, the father alone, excluding other mates, should pay the tax. A man should be required to pay the whole tax if he has been the only mate, or the tax system is unfair to that man. How the tax administration is to know the woman’s number of mates must be further investigated.

References: the following three books by Dr Robin Baker, Sperm Wars, Baby Wars, and Sex in the Future, plus Sperm Competition in Humans by Todd K. Shackelford and Nicholas Pound (ed.). As a rather original way of scientific vulgarization, Dr Baker’s books are interspersed with fictional stories aimed at illustrate the cases in point. These parts, however, are at the level of dime literature, or in the genre of tabloid narratives. As a last word, the reader should be warned that Dr Baker’s views are held to be factually wrong by a certain number of his fellow biologists.

November 2015