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December 28, 2012 / JayMan

It’s not the cads, it’s the tramps

There has been a lot of discussion in the blogosphere as of late as to whether the “cads”—i.e., low paternal investment, promiscuous (and often low-IQ) men were siring more children than “dads”—high paternal investment, monogamous, high-IQ men. While I and others have produced some evidence (primarily from the GSS) that tenuously indicates that this is not the case, it may be impossible to know for sure, due to the potential unreliability of self-report promiscuity and fecundity.

The finding that motivates these observations is the fact that the age of the onset of puberty seems to be decreasing. While the primary cause of the decrease is likely better nutrition (mirroring secular increases in height, BMI, and IQ), the change is not so dramatic that genotypic change, i.e., evolution, cannot account for a large share of it. Peter Frost and Heartiste have posited that this may be because cads now have a reproductive edge over higher investment men. They certainly appear to have a mating edge, but thanks to modern contraception, it’s unclear if that translates into an increased number of descendants.

However, I’ve realized that we’re looking at this the wrong way. If the “r-strategists” (low-IQ, low future time orientation, higher sex drive, earlier maturing individuals) are breeding more, it may have little to do with dads. It may be about the moms.

The Audacious Epigone and myself have discovered that when compared by IQ, for men, reproduction is pretty even. That is, men reproduce roughly equally at all levels of IQ. However, for women, this is not the case; low IQ women appear to be considerably more fecund than their high-IQ sisters:

Women on the low end of the IQ bell curve, where many of the r-strategist behaviors are to be found, pass on their traits to both their daughters and sons, which could explain the decreasing age of puberty (beyond whatever is explained by better nutrition).

Low-IQ women likely didn’t have a reproductive edge in the past. Back in the day, people—especially women—were far more variable in their reproductive success than they are today. Indeed, my own look into the GSS found that back at the beginning of the 20th century, a sizable portion of women (nearly 20%) failed to leave any offspring:

Women 1883-1969

As well, nearly another 30% percent had four or more offspring, 10% having 8 or more. One can imagine that this process was likely eugenic in several respects. As has been the case for Europeans since prehistoric times (on and off), women were dependent on breadwinner husbands to survive—or at least to successfully raise a family—thus the mating market for eligible bachelors was in men’s favor. One would imagine that such a situation allowed women to be somewhat selected for traits such as beauty, work ethic, faithfulness, and, quite likely, intelligence—in other words, K-selected traits.

Today, women are far more even in their reproductive success, with most women having between 1-3 children. Further, the existence of the social safety net and other developments, such as women gaining entry into the work place and welfare, have allowed women who leaned more towards the r-side of things to be more successful than they once were. This would translated into more r-selected traits—earlier puberty, increased promiscuity, and lower IQ—becoming more prevalent in the population, even if men of all walks were about as reproductively successful today as they were in the past.

Now I’m sure certain voices will use these data to advocate certain social agendas, particularly trying to roll back the modern age of the sexually liberated, working woman. Whatever merits this might have (and to be fair, there would be some), this is simply not going to happen in the foreseeable future. The best way to address the apparent issue of dysgenic breeding among women is to promote more and better family planning and to adopt conditional welfare measures.

I will add that the above GSS data that this post is based on may come with a caveat: it may be that it’s not that lower IQ men have the same number of children as their smarter counterparts, but that they are less able to keep track of the number of children they sire. After all, a woman always knows exactly how many children she’s had. This is not necessarily the case for men.

Edit, 12/29/12: Because of the issue mentioned above—that men may be under-reporting the number of children they’ve fathered—I checked the GSS data. I compared the CHILDS variable for men to that reported by women, by decade of birth, beginning in the 1880s. Since the average number of children born to women should approximately equal the average number of children born to men, if there is a disagreement, it would suggest misreporting. I found that except for a discrepancy in the 1930s cohorts, the average number children born to men and women agree across all decades. This indicates that men in the GSS aren’t largely under-reporting (either intentionally or via ignorance) the number of children they sire (or at least no more so than are the women). I checked both Whites only and with all races. The 1930s group seemed to have an excess of 0.4 children born to women, for reasons unknown.

Overall, this does indicate that dysgenic fertility is primarily occurring in the form of excess births to low-IQ women (and/or deficient births to high-IQ women, thanks primarily to lengthy educations). This may be the legacy of reduced competition between females for mates, as was the case in sub-Saharan Africa, producing similar evolutionary pressures.

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13 Comments

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  1. Kevin / Dec 31 2012 10:44 AM

    ” even if men of all walks were about as reproductively successful today as they were in the past”

    You are wrong. What percent of our ancestors were women? It’s not a trick question, and it’s not 50%. True, about half the people who ever lived were women, but that’s not the question. We’re asking about all the people who ever lived who have a descendant living today. Or, put another way, yes,every baby has both a mother and a father, but some of those parents had multiple children.

    Recent research using DNA analysis answered this question about two years ago. Today’s human population is descended from twice as many women as men. http://mbe.oxfordjournals.org/content/21/11/2047.long

    I think this difference is the single most underappreciated fact about gender. To get that kind of difference, you had to have something like, throughout the entire history of the human race, maybe 80% of women but only 40% of men reproduced.

    • JayMan / Dec 31 2012 10:53 AM

      ” even if men of all walks were about as reproductively successful today as they were in the past”

      You are wrong. What percent of our ancestors were women? It’s not a trick question, and it’s not 50%. True, about half the people who ever lived were women, but that’s not the question. We’re asking about all the people who ever lived who have a descendant living today.

      Hi Kevin. Yes, while what you’re saying is true, I’m talking about the recent past – the past one to two hundred years. There isn’t an enormous difference in male fecundity between now and then, apparently.

  2. Meliisa76t7 / Dec 31 2012 2:05 PM

    Sexually liberated modern working woman = High IQ Rich Big City SWPL White/European Liberal Woman

    Most working women and men are cashiers, bartenders, nurses, police officers, mechanics, waitresses, athletes, etc. NOT BIG LAW/BIG BUSINESS/BIG MEDICINE six figure/seven figure/eight figure per year income.

    Gee… exactly how many women does this represent? Perhaps 1-5% of all women in the USA and 2% of women on earth?

    How exactly is feminism for most women and men? It’s for the exceptions, not the rule.

    A system made for exceptions is going to lead to a lot of pain for the generals.

    Also JayMans you are showing your SWPL white liberal sensibilities. PLEASE include Hispanics, Asians and Blacks in this, not just “white trash”, rednecks or white proles.

    Include all of the four races please: Hispanic, White, Black and Asian. Seeing stupid people of every race is much better than just bad white person living with uncivilied minorities vs enlightened white liberal person who lives in an 80-98% white neighborhood yet voted for Barack Obama to show their bona fides.

    • JayMan / Dec 31 2012 6:59 PM

      Also JayMans you are showing your SWPL white liberal sensibilities.

      Really? SWLP White? Spend some time reading around my blog. I’ll wait.

      PLEASE include Hispanics, Asians and Blacks in this, not just “white trash”, rednecks or white proles.

      There are reasons that my analysis is confined to non-Hispanic Whites. One of them is to avoid racial confounding in the results.

      Sexually liberated modern working woman = High IQ Rich Big City SWPL White/European Liberal Woman

      Most working women and men are cashiers, bartenders, nurses, police officers, mechanics, waitresses, athletes, etc. NOT BIG LAW/BIG BUSINESS/BIG MEDICINE six figure/seven figure/eight figure per year income.

      Gee… exactly how many women does this represent? Perhaps 1-5% of all women in the USA and 2% of women on earth?

      The measures I’ve suggested are to serve eugenic purposes. The goal is to get high-IQ people to breed more since they are the ones that keep modern civilization afloat.

  3. szopeno / Jan 2 2013 5:10 AM

    I guess, JayMan, Meliisa suggests that your skin may be black, but your heart is white :)
    LoL.

  4. Anthony / Jan 2 2013 7:50 PM

    The further back you go, the more that child mortality affects reproductive success, and the numbers of children who died before reaching age 20 was staggering in the early history of the U.S. Is there any decent data on child mortality rates by income levels or by number of siblings or something which would give a reasonable proxy to calculate how actually reproductively successful differently situated people were?

    Does the GSS ask for number of grandchildren? Is there other data which would give that? It would be interesting to see the difference between (#grandchildren) and (#children)^2.

    My wife’s parents had 4 children. They won’t end up with 16 grandchildren.

    • szopeno / Jan 3 2013 3:06 AM

      Farewell to the Alms has the analysis for the England. I would venture a guess that something similar happened in most western pre-modern countries.

    • JayMan / Jan 3 2013 11:38 AM

      Is there any decent data on child mortality rates by income levels or by number of siblings or something which would give a reasonable proxy to calculate how actually reproductively successful differently situated people were?

      Does the GSS ask for number of grandchildren? Is there other data which would give that? It would be interesting to see the difference between (#grandchildren) and (#children)^2.

      I wish! The GSS does have the GRANDKIDS variable, but it asks the number of adult grandchildren the respondent has, which of course is largely useless for most respondents.

  5. brucecharlton / May 13 2013 10:18 AM

    Confirming your general point – see figures 1 and 2 – opposite direction trends for men and women, and a stronger trend in women.

    http://www.staff.ncl.ac.uk/daniel.nettle/amnat.pdf

    Even as early as Terman’s study of high IQ Californians (from the 1920s on) the highest IQ women had very low fertility – about 0.5 children each.

    It is nearly always wise in analyzing reproduction to focus on females – as (nearly always) the high-investing, the rate-limiting sex.

    I keep harping on it, but the exception to these subfertile, ‘dysgenic’ trends among modern-adapted (above average wealth, education, IQ – contraceptive using, educated) populations is the Mormons:

    http://mormonfertility.blogspot.co.uk/

    Religion is the answer (necessary but not sufficient) – and so far as I know the *only* answer.

    • JayMan / May 13 2013 10:47 AM

      Thanks for the info!

      Religion is the answer (necessary but not sufficient) – and so far as I know the *only* answer.

      Indeed, fertility among religious conservatives appears to be eugenic.

      But religion isn’t really a cause, but a shared symptom of the true cause. Modern environments are selecting for a certain mindset, one that manifests itself in a variety of ways. One is being low on the Big Five personality trait “openness to experience”. Another is being religious. See: Expectations and reality: a window into the liberal-conservative baby gap. Note particularly the links on the bottom. Hence trying to increase religiosity, as you seem to be suggesting, may not be a particularly effective target…

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