Fairest of them all?

Don’t Deny Girls the Evolutionary Wisdom of Fairy-Tales

Cinderella, for example, revolves around the perniciousness of what researchers call “female intrasexual competition”—the often-underhanded ways women compete with each other. While men evolved to be openly competitive, jockeying for position verbally or physically, female competition tends to be covert—indirect and sneaky—and often involves sabotaging another woman into being less appealing to men…

Psychologist Joyce Benenson, who researches sex differences, traces women’s evolved tendency to opt for indirectness—in both competition and communication—to a need to avoid physical altercation, either with men or other women. This strategy would have allowed ancestral women to protect their more fragile female reproductive machinery and to fulfill their roles as the primary caretaker for any children they might have.

This piece is well worth reading in full. The quote above struck me, since I’ve been writing lately about the UBC study saying millennial males place lower value on competitiveness and independence (for two things) than openness and empathy. Presumably, there is a cultural influence at work, and I suspect it is tied into the Feminist push to raise all children to see the world with female eyes.

But competitiveness and independence, and openness and empathy are not the exclusive property of one sex. That competitiveness is considered a ‘male’ trait is true for only the male competitiveness style (open). Female competitiveness is just as intense. It just takes a different, and one could argue, less healthy form.

I could hear Jordan Peterson’s voice in the discussion of the evolutionary biology involved in creating the Cinderella/Snow White archetypes. I was also reminded of his discussion of highly-competent women, in high-pressure professions, he’s helped with assertiveness training. Understanding why one might need assertiveness training would be beneficial, and flatly denying evolutionary lessons in favor of a political agenda would not.

Charlemagne or Casanova?

King Arthur or Jay Gatsby?
Don Quixote or Humbert Humbert?
Howard Roarke or Ellsworth Toohey?

In writing Magnanimous millennial males it occurred to me that some millennial males claim to value selflessness, openness, and empathy over physical strength, competitiveness, and independence because they think it improves their chances of getting laid. If so, they’re apparently going to be disappointed.

This is an interesting article, though it suffers from donning the straight-jacket of Feminist terminology: Feminists Think Sexist Men Are Sexier than “Woke” Men

Men frequently complain about being “friendzoned,” the idea being that men who are respectful toward their female interests get placed into the role of friend, rather than potential boyfriend…

These are complex, highly politicized dynamics that foster conflicts and finger pointing between the genders. Unfortunately, research suggests that women do in fact find sexist men attractive.

That quote benefits from a little parsing. First, are women more attracted to men they respect? I’d be interested in that answer.  Second, what exactly is meant by “respectful” here? At one time opening a door for a woman was considered respectful by both parties.

And why “unfortunately?” Wouldn’t that depend on the meaning of sexist and sexier (and respect)? Oh, I know “sexism” carries heavy, despised bags. This implication is so obviously true to the author he doesn’t even examine it. But he does recognize something called “benevolent sexism.”

Maybe chivalry is a better term. But, chivalry, of course, is sexist. A man might get an earful if he opens a door for certain women. One assumes certain women don’t respect men who would open a door for them, but who knows?  It’s a “highly politicized dynamic.”

One perhaps overly simple way to define sexism is, “treating women differently from men,” and it’s the definition Feminists use when they decry the non-existent “wage gap.” It doesn’t matter how dangerous the job, how many hours are worked, level of education, length of job experience, etc.: If women aren’t paid the same amount across the board, it’s because of sexism.

What definition is in use often depends on what point a Feminist is trying to make.

Since women are different from men, perhaps there’s a benefit to sexism. For both sexes.  As Tom Lehrer was wont to say, “When correctly viewed, everything is lewd.”

Limits to green growth?

By 2050 solar panels and wind turbines will require around 12 times as much indium as the entire world produces right now, the analysis predicts. Neodymium production will have to grow by more than seven times, and silver will have to grow by nearly three times. And this is just for renewable energy; all of these metals have other uses in other industries, meaning mining will have to ramp up very quickly.

And, will it be sustainable?

Magnanimous millennial males

I don’t recommend this link, so it’s deliberately broken. It’s included for completeness, and if you want to check it, copy the link and paste it into your browser, removing the ‘xxx’ at the beginning.
Millennial Men Prioritise Altruism and Good Health over Physical Strength
“They care more about openness and empathy than independence and competitiveness”

I clicked on that link because it smacked to me as abuse of the scientific method, and I wondered how such conclusions were reached by Men’s Health Research at the University of British Columbia’s Nursing School.

I could give you a dozen other links citing this study, but here’s just one:
The researchers surveyed 630 young men ages 15-29 in Western Canada and found that the most strongly endorsed masculine value is selflessness.

Really? For what definition of selflessness? How did they arrive at that conclusion? Do millennials actually behave that way?  Were these males asked if they felt they’d be social lepers if they didn’t espouse selflessness?

I tracked down the abstract. It doesn’t provide much help beyond describing the research methodology: Mixed Methods Research Designs.

Given that the study was done by a Canadian University, in Progressive BC, and necessarily required a slew of judgments to integrate the mixed method data, I anticipated there would be more focus on the evils of toxic masculinity than men’s actual health. Getting rid of your own toxicity can only be healthy, right?  Openness and empathy would be signs of that, right?

A skimming of the website contradicted my expectation. Mostly, they seem to be concerned about suicide, “gaming addiction,” PTSD among Canadian veterans, and prostate health. Overtly, at least, they seem seriously interested in helping men.

Why am I suspicious?  Well, poorly written internet references to this study are plentiful, and it is a long term contention of feminists that the maleness ‘problem’ needs to be ‘solved.’ Is the solution is coming to fruition in millennial males?  In extensive quoting below, I’ll try to show you why my suspicions persist. At least as to the click bait headlines.

The worst I can say about UBC’s Men’s Health Research is that they are silent on the effect of long-running reflexive attacks on men for being men. Though I think that’s saying quite a bit if you’re worried about male suicide rates (75% of Canadian suicides).

When analyzing male suicide, one might wonder about that; if one didn’t already accept the cause to be masculinity itself.  It does fit with the study contention that mens’ idea of what it means to be male is changing among millennials, for several reasons.  From one perspective it’s progress: Masculinity as inherently toxic is not a new Feminist meme.

Of course, millennial males say empathy and openness are more important than independence and competitiveness. That’s what they’ve been taught using participation trophies and ritalin: Competitiveness and risk taking are bad. So is acting too much (we’ll define that, thank you) like a boy. We’ll drug you if you do.  These ideas were promoted contemporaneously with millennials’ experience of the public education system.

When you conduct a multi-decadal War Against Boys, (RTWT) you might not be surprised if male suicide increases. Eighteen years ago, Christina Hoff Summers described a causus belli: The scientifically suspect theorizing of Carol Gilligan, Harvard University’s first professor of gender studies:

“Journalists routinely cite her [Gilligan’s] research on the distinctive moral psychology of women. She was Ms. magazine’s Woman of the Year in 1984, and Time put her on its short list of most-influential Americans in 1996. In 1997 she received the $250,000 Heinz Award for “transform[ing] the paradigm for what it means to be human.””…

Gilligan found that women tend to be more caring, less competitive, and less abstract than men; they speak “in a different voice.” Women approach moral questions by applying an “ethic of care.” In contrast, men approach moral issues by applying rules and abstract principles; theirs is an “ethic of justice.”..

[Gilligan’s thesis] is based on three studies Gilligan conducted: the “college student study,” the “abortion decision study,” and the “rights and responsibilities study.” Here is how Gilligan described the last.

This study involved a sample of males and females matched for age, intelligence, education, occupation, and social class at nine points across the life cycle: ages 6-9, 11, 15, 19, 22, 25-27, 35, 45, and 60. From a total sample of 144 (8 males and 8 females at each age), including a more intensively interviewed subsample of 36 (2 males and 2 females at each age), data were collected on conceptions of self and morality, experiences of moral conflicts and choice, and judgments of hypothetical moral dilemmas.

This description is all we ever learn about the mechanics of the study, which seems to have no proper name; it was never published, never peer-reviewed. It was, in any case, very small in scope and in number of subjects. And the data are tantalizingly inaccessible. In September of 1998 my research assistant, Elizabeth Bowen, called Gilligan’s office and asked where she could find copies of the three studies that were the basis for In a Different Voice. Gilligan’s assistant, Tatiana Bertsch, told her that they were unavailable, and not in the public domain; because of the sensitivity of the data (especially the abortion study), the information had been kept confidential…

He sent an e-mail message directly to Gilligan, but Bertsch sent back the reply.

None of the In a Different Voice studies have been published. We are in the process of donating the college student study to the Murray Research Center at Radcliffe, but that will not be completed for another year, probably. At this point Professor Gilligan has no immediate plans of donating the abortion or the rights and responsibilities studies. Sorry that none of what you are interested in is available.

Brendan Maher is a professor emeritus at Harvard University and a former chairman of the psychology department. I told him about the inaccessibility of Gilligan’s data and the explanation that their sensitive nature precluded public dissemination. He laughed and said, “It would be extraordinary to say [that one’s data] are too sensitive for others to see.” He pointed out that there are standard methods for handling confidential materials in research. Names are left out but raw scores are reported, “so others can see if they can replicate your study.” A researcher must also disclose how subjects were chosen, how interviews were recorded, and the method by which meaning was derived from the data…

In 1995 she [Gilligan] and her colleagues at the Harvard University School of Education inaugurated “The Harvard Project on Women’s Psychology, Boys’ Development and the Culture of Manhood.” Within a year Gilligan was announcing the existence of a crisis among boys that was as bad as or worse than the one afflicting girls. “Girls’ psychological development in patriarchy involves a process of eclipse that is even more total for boys,”she wrote in a 1996 article titled “The Centrality of Relationship in Human Development.

Gilligan claimed to have discovered “a startling pattern of developmental asymmetry”: girls undergo trauma as they enter adolescence, whereas for boys the period of crisis is early childhood. Boys aged three to seven are pressured to “take into themselves the structure or moral order of a patriarchal civilization: to internalize a patriarchal voice.” This masculinizing process is traumatic and damaging. “At this age,” Gilligan told The Boston Globe in 1996, “boys show a high incidence of depression, out-of-control behavior, learning disorders, even allergies and stuttering.”

One can welcome Gilligan’s acceptance of the fact that boys, too, have problems while remaining deeply skeptical of her ideas about their source. Gilligan’s theory about boys’ development includes three hypothetical claims: 1) Boys are being deformed and made sick by a traumatic, forced separation from their mothers. 2) Seemingly healthy boys are cut off from their own feelings and damaged in their capacity to develop healthy relationships. 3) The well-being of society may depend on freeing boys from “cultures that value or valorize heroism, honor, war, and competition—the culture of warriors, the economy of capitalism.”…

She [Gilligan] does not seem to feel that her assertions need empirical confirmation. She is confident that boys need to be protected from the culture—a culture in which manhood valorizes war and the economy of capitalism, a culture that desensitizes boys and, by submerging their humanity, is the root cause of “out-of-control and out-of-touch behavior” and is the ultimate source of war and other violence committed by men…

Oblivious of all the factual evidence that paternal separation causes aberrant behavior in boys, Carol Gilligan calls for a fundamental change in child rearing that would keep boys in a more sensitive relationship with their feminine side. We need to free young men from a destructive culture of manhood that “impedes their capacity to feel their own and other people’s hurt, to know their own and other’s sadness,” she writes. Since the pathology, as she has diagnosed it, is presumably universal, the cure must be radical. We must change the very nature of childhood: we must find ways to keep boys bonded to their mothers. We must undercut the system of socialization that is so “essential to the perpetuation of patriarchal societies.”…

On a less academic plane Gilligan’s proposed reformation seems to challenge common sense. It is obvious that a boy wants his father to help him become a young man, and belonging to the culture of manhood is important to almost every boy. To impugn his desire to become “one of the boys” is to deny that a boy’s biology determines much of what he prefers and is attracted to. Unfortunately, by denying the nature of boys, education theorists can cause them much misery.

Gilligan talks of radically reforming “the fundamental structure of authority” by making changes that will free boys from the stereotypes that bind them… In practice, getting boys to be more like girls means getting them to stop segregating themselves into all-male groups. That’s the darker, coercive side of the project to “free” boys from their masculine straitjackets…

Every society confronts the problem of civilizing its young males. The traditional approach is through character education: Develop the young man’s sense of honor. Help him become a considerate, conscientious human being. Turn him into a gentleman. This approach respects boys’ masculine nature; it is time-tested, and it works. Even today, despite several decades of moral confusion, most young men understand the term “gentleman”and approve of the ideals it connotes.  [The UBC study suggests this may be changing since Sommers wrote.]

What Gilligan and her followers are proposing is quite different: civilize boys by diminishing their masculinity. “Raise boys like we raise girls” is Gloria Steinem’s advice. This approach is deeply disrespectful of boys. It is meddlesome, abusive, and quite beyond what educators in a free society are mandated to do…

A boy today, through no fault of his own, [remember, this is being written in 2000] finds himself implicated in the social crime of shortchanging girls. Yet the allegedly silenced and neglected girl sitting next to him is likely to be the superior student. She is probably more articulate, more mature, more engaged, and more well-balanced. The boy may be aware that she is more likely to go on to college. He may believe that teachers prefer to be around girls and pay more attention to them. At the same time, he is uncomfortably aware that he is considered to be a member of the favored and dominant gender.

The widening gender gap in academic achievement is real. It threatens the future of millions of American boys. Boys do not need to be rescued from their masculinity. But they are not getting the help they need. In the climate of disapproval in which boys now exist, programs designed to aid them have a very low priority. This must change… That means we can no longer allow the partisans of girls to write the rules.

For Gilligan acceptable human values are womens’ values. Millennial males have learned that. If not much else: “Adulting” classes teach millennials basic skills like sewing, cooking and changing a tire

Coming soon, a class in how to be masculine: Already designed by the Wymyns Studies Department at your local university.

The UBC study that prompted this post apparently takes no position (I didn’t pay to download the entire thing) on the relative values of the various virtues described; and, face it, they are all virtues. But Feminism, as dogmatized, devalues physical strength and male independence – and along with that, risk taking, capitalism, and the “rules and abstract principles” of the scientific method. Those tend not to be emphasized as female virtues, while openness and empathy are. It can be argued there are evolutionary biological reasons for that, but that is another post.

As Camille Paglia says:

“Men have sacrificed and crippled themselves physically and emotionally to feed, house, and protect women and children. None of their pain or achievement is registered in feminist rhetoric, which portrays men as oppressive and callous exploiters.”…

“If civilization had been left in female hands we would still be living in grass huts.”

Without traditional masculinity civilization would be poorer, as would women.

Margaret Sanger would be disappointed

Progressive Creationism: A Review of ‘A Dangerous Idea’

[D]o they genuinely think that equal rights are contingent on environmental determinism? Not just politically, because it’s easier to persuade people to embrace equal rights if they believe humans are born as blank slates, but logically? Are they the stupid ones?

Whatever the explanation, the energy the Social Justice Left devotes to denying basic scientific truths puts the persecutors of Galileo to shame.

Read the whole thing.  And then read Steven Pinker’s The Blank Slate.

The beast is slouching toward hard science

When the SJWs come for scientists, it gets ugly fast

This was predictable based on what SJWs have done to History, Psychology, Anthropology, and Geography. Sociology, of course, surrendered at the first opportunity and all the “Studies” were founded on the idea of intersectional relativism. The pronoun wars were just the opening salvo on reality.

Math will be last, after Chemistry and Physics, but 2.00+2.00 = ‘a spectrum between 3 and 5’ is waiting in the wings.

Population Bomb, bomb

This is your good news and history lesson for the day.

The Simon Abundance Index: A New Way to Measure Availability of Resources
(Citations omitted below.)

Summary in a sentence: “As population increases, the time-price of most commodities will get cheaper for most people, most of the time. Unfortunately, most people will assume the opposite.

It occurred to me when reading this that the simple bet about the future price of a few commodities, between University of Maryland economist Julian Simon and Stanford University biology professor Paul R. Ehrlich, is unknown to most people today. After all, it was made in 1980 and settled in 1990.

I read Erhlich’s Population Bomb (1968) and The Club of Rome’s Limits to Growth (1972) when they were first published. Erhlich assured us that mass starvation was inevitable and imminent. The Club of Rome predicted a dire future caused by shortages of food, water, and all manner of commodities – because of human population growth.  By 1973 we were experiencing severe oil shortages, leading to President Carter’s “malaise” speech.  By 1976 Greenpeace was fundraising off the (allegedly staged) torture of baby seals in Newfoundland as a demonstration of human environmental rapaciousness.

All this gave me pause: Maybe predictions of economic and social collapse based on running out of “stuff” were plausible. Little could be done quickly, but it was critical to DO SOMETHING NOW. There is a pattern there we see today.

To mitigate, not prevent, mass starvation, Erhlich called on governments world-wide to implement draconian population control.

By 1979 the Chinese had done so, with their “one child” policy. One result was 338 million aborted Chinese babies, the majority of them female. While sex selective abortion was banned in China in 2005, there are still 17% more males born than females. This is triple the natural rate difference, so one might suspect the ban is not totally effective.  There’s another effect from the one child policy; “By 2030, projections suggest that more than 25 percent of Chinese men in their late 30s will never have married.” There are a host of societal woes that will result from that.

China tried Ehrlich’s experiment and it’s turned out badly for them.

So, the ‘the bet’ was important in many ways. It was a test of humanity’s future; and, on one side, a prescription to avoid disaster. That prescription is still proposed.

To it, CAGW promoters have added the idea that preventing destruction of all life on earth depends on massive and economically crippling world-wide government intervention. This would certainly curb population growth and reduce human well-being. Going for the absurd conclusion, radical environmentalists call for human extinction.  Erhlich’s ideas inform both groups.

Like climate modellers whose models don’t work, Professor Erhlich has not given up on his thesis. In 2013 he said:

[Human civilization] is threatened with collapse by an array of environmental problems… . The human predicament is driven by overpopulation, overconsumption of natural resources … and socio-economic-political arrangements to service Homo sapiens’ aggregate consumption.

…but if he is wrong – again – we would be well advised to ignore him.  We would find ourselves far less able to navigate existential threats due to restricted trade, fewer ideas, slower innovation, smaller productive capacity, and less wealth.

When you hear the term “sustainable growth,” that’s what is meant.

The whole Simon Abundance article is worth reading, and I hope to encourage you to do so, even though it’s long. There’s much more there than just the Erhlich/Simon bet. It is worth reflecting on the miracle of human ingenuity, stoked by capitalism: Half the world is now middle class or wealthier. I doubt this would be true if the entire world had adopted Erhlich’s advice in 1975.

Intro to the Simon Abundance article:

Humanity, the latest estimates suggest, is roughly 300,000 years old. For the first 99.9 percent of our time on Earth, Homo sapiens lived a short and difficult life that ended, all too often, in violent death. We roamed the world afraid, cold, hungry, and sick. Remedies to ease our suffering were few. In the past 250 years or so, however, human fortunes dramatically improved. An accumulation of incremental technological, scientific, and ideological advances led to the Industrial Revolution, which ushered in an age of abundance.

That is the trajectory Ehrlich told us was over in 1968.  Simon challenged the idea:

After intellectually sparring with one another in print for most of the 1970s, [University of Maryland economist Julian] Simon finally challenged [Stanford University biology professor Paul R.] Ehrlich to a wager on resource depletion. Ehrlich would choose a “basket” of raw materials that he expected would become less abundant in the coming years and choose a time period of more than a year, during which those raw materials would become more expensive. At the end of that period, the inflation-adjusted price of those materials would be calculated. If the “real” price of the basket was higher at the end of the period than at the beginning, that would indicate the materials had become more precious and Ehrlich would win the wager; if the price was lower, Simon would win. The stakes would be the ultimate price difference of the basket at the beginning and end of the time period.

The positions:
Ehrlich:

The battle to feed all of humanity is over. In the 1970s hundreds of millions of people will starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now. At this late date nothing can prevent a substantial increase in the world death rate.

Simon:

There is no physical or economic reason why human resourcefulness and enterprise cannot forever continue to respond to impending shortages and existing problems with new expedients that, after an adjustment period, leave us better off than before the problem arose… . Adding more people will cause [short-run] problems, but at the same time there will be more people to solve these problems and leave us with the bonus of lower costs and less scarcity in the long run… . The ultimate resource is people-skilled, spirited, and hopeful people who will exert their wills and imaginations for their own benefit, and so, inevitably, for the benefit of us all.

Ehrlich chose copper, chromium, nickel, tin, and tungsten. The bet was agreed to on September 29, 1980, with September 29, 1990, being the payoff date. In spite of a population increase of 873 million over those 10 years, Ehrlich lost the wager. All five commodities that he had selected declined in price by an average of 57.6 percent. Ehrlich mailed Simon a check for $576.07.

Since the conclusion of the bet, Ehrlich’s supporters have argued that Simon got lucky: had the bet taken place over a different decade, the outcome might have been different. The debate continues to this day. In 2016, Southern Methodist University economists Michael Cox and Richard Alm revisited the Simon-Ehrlich wager and found that Ehrlich’s metals were 22.4 percent cheaper in 2015 than they had been in 1980.

In an essay titled, “Onward and Upward! Bet on Capitalism-It Works,” Cox and Alm proposed a new methodology to evaluate Simon’s thesis. “The real price of everything,” as Adam Smith pointed out, “is the toil and trouble of acquiring it… . What is bought with money … is purchased by labour.” The cost of human labor, Cox and Alm note, tends to increase faster than inflation. From the perspective of average hourly wages in the United States, therefore, the real price of Ehrlich’s minerals fell by 41.8 percent between 1980 and 2015. According to Cox and Alm, in “work-hour terms, Simon wins The Bet [with Ehrlich] in every year from 1980 to 2015.”

When Jordan Peterson looks around a lecture venue and reminds us of the absolute miracle that the lights always work, the room is warm, and it is safe from wolves; he is speaking about the same thing. When he complains that rejecting the cultural underpinnings of this miracle is thoughtless ingratitude; he is correct.

If we can just keep the government hand on us light, we can continue to enjoy abundance.

Update: 1-Dec-18, 11:59
Prominent Environmentalist Finally Discovers His Religion’s Catch-22

Economic growth is a cancer, in this view. Its bad effects are permanent and cumulative, its blessings are evanescent and ultimately trivial.

Malthusianism is a religious conviction that desperately needs to think of itself as a science. From Thomas Malthus and his mathematical certainties to Paul Ehrlich with his famine timetables and the Club of Rome with its ‘scientific’ predictions of resource exhaustion, Malthusians have made confident predictions about the future and claimed scientific authority for statements that turned out to be contemptibly silly. That is the brutal fate that often awaits people who can’t keep the boundaries between science and religion straight.

The Catch 22 is that “sustainable” economic growth is code for economic decline (links omitted).

Homo Tarifficus

President Trump has tweeted his nickname for himself. “Tariff Man.”

I think it needs a little more punch, maybe “Diddle Tariff Man?” Diddle, after all, means “deprive of by deceit.”

Please.  The billions in tariffs are paid by Americans!  The “raid” on our wealth is the Trump Administration’s import taxes; raising consumer prices and destroying jobs.

Apologies to Elton John:

Tariff man, burning out his fuse up here alone
I don’t think it’s gonna be a long, long time
Till markets bring me round again to find
I’m not the man they think I am at home