Smart and SeXy links

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Smart and sexy is the definitive book on sex differences in intelligence. With over 300 citations of peer reviewed scientific articles, it describes the latest science on cognitive differences in the sexes without being hampered by political correctness or feminism. Reviews and excerpts are included below.

Original Announcement.

Availability:

Paperback and E-book

Interview:

My podcast interview with Red Ice Radio

Reviews:

Counter Currents: Why most high achievers are men [Deutsche Fassung]

Amerika [Also take a look at my interview with Brett Stevens.]

Excerpts:

Pseudo-science and bias in the academic establishment

Autism and the extreme male brain

Related Blog posts[Similar to book content, but not as detailed]:

Career women are dysgenic and How standardized testing undervalues men

Please also stop by reddit and subscribe to /r/darkenlightenment and /r/thedailymoldbug. Follow me on twitter and Gab. You can email me at Atavisionary AT gmail DOT com

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Calvin Cycle 2.0

An article recently came out about a a team which used a series of enzymes in a test tube to do something similar to what plants do in carbon fixation. However, the process is not entirely the same in that it uses different enzymes from a variety of sources, including animals and bacteria, to complete the reaction chain. This chimera test tube of enzymes is apparently 25% more efficient than its natural competitor, RuBisCo. Engineering a system more efficient than this shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise because it is actually one of the least efficient enzymes in nature, as I have written previously (see also):

It is indisputable that CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere are increasing, and the burning of fossil fuels causes some or most of it.  However, CO2 is a natural part of the life cycle. Plants fixate CO2 from the atmosphere in order to grow. RuBisCo is the enzyme which fixes gaseous carbon into simple sugars in plants. This is arguably the single most important enzyme in existence. In addition to plants themselves, all animals and fungi, and most bacteria, are dependent on this enzyme working. It creates the food for those organisms. It also happens to be one of the least efficient enzymes. That is, it doesn’t work very well at doing its job, surprisingly. For one thing, it is very slow. RuBisCo is also capable of catalyzing oxygenation of its substrate rather than fixing a carbon dioxide molecule and it does so at fairly high rates. When oxygenation occurs, the energy is completely wasted because the byproduct isn’t useful for the plant. Moreover, energy has to be expended to reverse the process to make the substrate available for carbon fixation again. Some plants have even evolved special CO2 concentrating mechanisms to try to combat this problem. Increasing the carbon dioxide concentration of the air via burning fossil fuels should make plants better able to use this enzyme because increased concentration of the CO2 substrate increases the enzyme’s efficiency. For example, by increasing the likelihood that CO2 will be fixed rather than oxygen molecules. In other words, the expected result of increased carbon concentrations should be bigger plants, faster growing plants, and/or larger numbers of plants. Both agricultural and wild plants could be expected to benefit from this.

Intelligently designing a better system than RuBisCo, then, is seemingly one of the lowest bars in advanced genetics to cross. Not that that makes it easy in an absolute sense, only that it is easier than, say, designing human geniuses. Getting all these enzymes lined up physically and working well together in a chloroplast is no small barrier.

The obvious purpose of this work and research is to combat climate change. Personally, I am very skeptical that climate change as caused by released CO2 is actually something to worry about. I am inclined to think CO2 hysteria is more an expression of crypto-theology. So, the motivations for this work are suspect. That said, I could still see it being useful. Imagine the kinds of crops we could get if we made them 25% more efficient? What if we could use it to generate a very cheap source of organic fuels and/or starting chemical reagents. Even ignoring overblown warnings about an apocalypse, there is still potential use in this technology. I see no reason not to switch from fossil fuels to better sources if they are in fact better and cheaper.

However, there are other environmental considerations than climate change to at least think about. The first thing that comes to mind is what would be the consequences of introducing vastly more efficient plants into the wild, whether deliberate or inadvertent? Such a plant would presumably be at least a little more evolutionarily fit than its wild counterparts and potentially vastly more fit. If so, it could potentially disrupt entire ecosystems on a massive scale in a relatively short time. Out-competed plants would die out and all the life dependent on those plants would follow shortly thereafter, if they couldn’t adapt to the new composition of their environment. The quest to stop climate change could have unintended consequences far outstripping the largely imagined climate apocalypse. However, even in this case I have little doubt life as a whole would adapt and move on even if the disruption is quite severe. I am reminded of this rather charming documentary (called Cane toads: the conquest if the link goes bad) about the introduction of Cane Toads to Australia and all the havoc that caused. Unintended consequences are real, friends, and leftists are masters at generating them.

All this of course is assuming that this new system would actually work as well as they hope it might (and that the plants it was introduced in were otherwise capable of fierce ecological competition in addition to the new fixation system). This is possible. Evolution is subject to path dependence. Once the initial system of carbon fixation evolved, it would be stuck with the basic mechanism and could only adapt from that in minute steps. It would be very difficult to transfer to a completely different system naturally via small steps. In other words, it might be possible to tweak RuBisCo towards more efficiency, but nearly impossible to substitute a whole different enzyme which was much better overall. A newly evolved system, even if potentially better after additional evolution, would likely start off as less efficient as the already long extent and well adapted one and thus would have a hard time sticking around long enough to become a proper better alternative. Therefore, it is quite possible that better systems than RuBisCo are possible yet still unevolved. Some things are quite difficult to evolve.

On the other hand, it is also quite possible that there are good biological reasons for this inefficiency that we don’t know about. If so, other considerations may prevent the newly developed system from working well and/or resulting in a net loss in fitness due to side effects. In which case it won’t work and there is nothing to worry about. Either way, great care should be taken before committing to the introduction of a vastly different system of doing things, and that applies to biology as much as to government.

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Race Hustlers on Reddit are spreading misinformation on /r/”science” again

/r/science on reddit is having a race hustler thread where cathedral academics are telling everyone the same tired nonsense that differences in outcomes between groups are caused by SES and discrimination by white men. I decided it would be valuable to post an excerpt from my book which discusses the left wing bias in academia because there is a lot of it and I don’t think these people should get a free pass on spreading misinformation like this. If you have a reddit account, I think it would be a good idea to go in and counter these false claims. There is plenty of evidence that IQ differences have genetic causes, and that thread should be littered with links to it.

Since the probability that my comments will be removed is high, I decided to make a copy of them here [edit: I checked and as expected the comments are already removed. Check out this site which saves all the removed comments. Notice a pattern? Edit2: Apparently this thread was made because high level progressives in science journals or media demanded it in order for the sub to have advance access to new announcements of interesting research. In other words, spread our ideology and we will give you insider access and other perks.]:

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IQ is the single best studied and understood psychological trait. It has been studied for over 100 years and has consistently found that the black/white IQ gap on average is about 15 points. It has also found that the male distribution is significantly more variable than the female curve. What this means is that among the smartest people, those most likely to do well in science, the population is about 2 males for every 1 female. Intelligence level has been shown to be mostly determined by genetics. You can see a large compilation of studies and findings which demonstrate how strongly genetic intelligence and other traits are here. These innate IQ differences explain the differences in outcomes of different populations of humans without needing to resort to unfalsifiable and unscientific concepts like “white privilege” or bias.

I gave you enough links above to start on this. Instead of repeating this easily findable information, I am going to talk about the progressive/far left wing bias that exists in academia. This bias seriously undermines the credibility of race and gender hustlers who try to use credentialism to support untrue opinions about white/male privilege. For an independent opinion, see the website of liberal social psychologist Jonathon Haidt where he and others admit to and discuss the problems caused by this progressive bias.

I wrote a book on gender differences in intelligence called smart and sexy, and it cites hundreds of studies which together confirm and explain why gender differences in outcomes exist and that they are mostly biological in origin. You can find a wealth of data in there for biological mechanisms. However, I also took the time to analyze the current state of academia and what I found was extremely troubling. Below is an excerpt of a section of that book. Remember that the focus of the book is on gender, but this left-wing bias also applies to claims about race.  Citations for all my claims will be at the end.

Saying that the academic community has a large progressive bias is a very strong claim and such an extraordinary claim requires extraordinary evidence. So what is known about the “scientists” who publish “research” in politically charged areas? Diederick Stapel was previously a highly regarded and influential Dutch social psychologist who did a lot of work on stereotype threat until it came to light that he “routinely falsified data and made up entire experiments.” Another example of his politically biased work was a “scientific” article which sanctimoniously claimed to find that meat eaters were more selfish and less agreeable than vegans. Unfortunately, it is impossible to be surprised by outspoken priggishness from vegans and their sympathizers.

Thanks to this media attention, Stapel is now the most notorious charlatan in the field of social psychology, which is saying a lot for what appears to be a regularly fraudulent and pseudo-scientific discipline. Social Psychologists as a group do not make the data they collect available for outside review 2/3rds of the time. This stinginess with data is actually against the ethical rules established by social psychologists themselves and suggests that there are likely many more Stapels out there who simply haven’t been caught. A survey by the Harvard business school found that 70% of social psychologists admitted to cutting corners in reporting data, 30% reporting unexpected findings as if they were expected from the start, and 1% admitted to falsifying data.

Another meta-analysis of papers published in high-tier psychology journals found that 50% of papers surveyed contained at least one statistical error and 15% contained an error so severe that the conclusion drawn would have had to have been reversed.i, ii A meta-analysis which looked at whether or not positive results from stereotype threat studies could be replicated found that almost half could not, and that a further 25% were confounded by methodological issues.iii Methodological issues, especially in determining statistical validity, have even been used by one Social Psychologist to publish in a major, respected journal that he had proven the existence of psychic ability. His finding used standard statistical practices in psychology and resulted in heavy criticism by professional statisticians of both the specific paper and the psychology community generally.iv

This high publicity criticism led to a fair degree of soul searching among the psychological community and led some researchers to undertake the task of evaluating how widespread these problems are. One analysis reviewed articles from the last 100 years in the top 100 journals based on the impact factor; a measure of the level of influence a paper or journal has on the field. It found that in that time, for the highest impact journals, only 1% of all research findings in psychology had ever been replicated. Of that 1%, only 14% were in fact direct replications. The rest tested similar hypotheses under different conditions. However, successful replications themselves have to be received critically. Half of the 1% of replications had authors from the original study; this is troubling because the presence of the previous author greatly impacts the chance of positive replication and implies bias might be playing a role. 92% of replication studies with an author from the original paper confirm the original result, while only 65% of replications by independent researchers confirm the original finding.v

Problematic methodology isn’t the only issue in psychology. Ideological bias is rampant in the humanities generally, but especially in social psychology; both among individual researchers and among the journals publishing papers. Beyond the lack of objective critical evaluation of papers, the field itself is essentially an ideological and political echo-chamber that is considerably more left-wing politically than the general population. 80% of social psychologists identify as liberal, while only 3 out of 1000 identify as conservative. Contrast this with the general population which is 40% conservative and only 20% liberal; the remainder being moderate or apolitical. Looking through all social sciences, the ratio of liberals to conservatives varies from 8:1 to 30:1.vi Were these sorts of numbers occurring with an ideologically designated protected class, these same social psychologists would be the first to use it as incontrovertible proof of discrimination.vii, viii

Considering what is now known about the biological origins of cognition and intelligence (discussed in more detail in future sections), it is generally difficult to take claims of discrimination seriously when underrepresented groups also display relatively lower intelligence profiles. However, in this case there is no reason to think that conservatives as a group have an intellectual profile below the general population. Social conservatives tend to be a little lower in intelligence relative to liberals, but free-market conservatives (libertarians) tend to be smarter than liberals. Being very partisan, either liberal or conservative, tends to be associated with high IQ as well.ix Increased income levels, which are a proxy for IQ, also moves people right ideologically.x In other words, there is nothing that biologically determined intelligence can do to explain the lack of conservatives, and even moderates, in the humanities.xi

In a survey of social psychologists, it was found that conservative respondents feared negative consequences from revealing their political affiliation and that they were right to do so as liberal respondents expressed willingness to discriminate against conservatives in approving papers, grant proposals, and hiring decisions.xii The more liberal a social psychologist is or the more consequential the decision would be for the conservative, the more willing liberal social psychologists are to discriminate.

The temptation . . . to advance a political agenda is too often indulged in sociology, especially by activist faculty in certain fields, like marriage, family, sex, and gender . . . Research programs that advance narrow agendas compatible with particular ideologies are privileged . . . the influence of progressive orthodoxy in sociology is evident in decisions made by graduate students, junior faculty, and even senior faculty about what, why, and how to research, publish, and teach . . . The result is predictable: Play it politically safe, avoid controversial questions, publish the right conclusions…

[Compared to conservative sociologists] Politically-correct sociologists enjoy certain privileges in a very politically conscious and liberal discipline. They can, for example, “paint caricature-like pictures based on the most extreme and irrational beliefs of those who differ from them ideologically without feeling any penalty for doing so,” and “can systematically misinterpret, misrepresent, or ignore research in such a manner as to sustain [their] political views and be confident that such misinterpretations . . . are unlikely to be recognized by [their] colleagues” [Social science researchers believe] “that social science should be an instrument for social change and thus should promote the ‘correct’ values and ideological positions”vi

With this sort of cultural climate, exploring gender differences, or even just acknowledging that such differences exist is extremely difficult for professional scientists to do today. The pattern of ideologically driven academics significantly undermines the ability of an objective outsider to trust the conclusions coming out of certain fields, especially when it is related to such a politically charged subject as gender (and race) differences in test scores. It is quite clear that the overwhelming majority of researchers working on this topic possess a politically desired outcome of these studies. The great potential for this systemic Lysenkoism to motivate the production of inaccurate results and interpretations contrary to reality can’t be overestimated. The objectivity of the field in concluding stereotype threat is a real and large effect phenomenon in particular is highly questionable.

Calling cynical skepticism of the social sciences “anti-intellectual,” a common criticism directed towards conservative thinkers, is only so in the sense that these “scientists” have misdefined the word “intellectual” to describe their political ideology and therefore themselves. It is quite conceivable that the modern attitudes described as “anti-science” attributed to conservatives are fundamentally merely a non-inevitable reaction to what can only be described as pseudo-science being published by leftist activists in academia; and stereotype threat is just one example of peer-reviewed pseudo-science.xi

Certainly in some cases there are conservatives that legitimately hold anti-scientific views, such as in the case of evolution generally. But when it comes to evolution of the human species specifically, many liberals are just as anti-scientific as the most hardcore creationist. The main difference is that the left, being dominant in state institutions and having ample government funding, has the power to enforce idealism contrary to reality while most conservatives do not have symmetric influence. This asymmetry in power makes leftist anti-reality beliefs of far greater concern and consequence than the equivalent conservative anti-reality beliefs.

For the average person, it isn’t so hard to notice some of the more egregious examples of leftist pseudo-science. Since most people do not have the time or energy to independently evaluate every pronouncement from every field coming out of the scientific community, it is more efficient (and natural) to use a quick short-hand, or stereotype, to extrapolate from a more narrow range of data for which they do have time and interest to look into. If their interest happens to be in an area replete with pseudo-science, and that’s likely because politically controversial areas are both the most likely to be interesting and to contain pseudo-science, then they have found themselves an extraordinary indicator of dishonesty which they then extrapolate from.

As a consequence of general distrust, society is more likely to develop unreasonable movements like that against vaccinations. It is not reasonable for the scientific community to expect the average person to evaluate every single scientific finding themselves. They have real lives that do not, and should not, have to deal with academic politics. Therefore, scientists need to do a better job rooting out bias, and especially liberal bias, in their fields so the public can actually trust what they say. If academics want to be trusted, they first must be trustworthy because trust, for institutions as much as individuals, must be earned.

I don’t mean to be misinterpreted when I point out these biases in scientific research. To their credit, the main people who have identified and raised alarm about the bias against non-liberals in academic papers have themselves been liberal social psychologists such as Jonathon Haidt. In fields that are outside of the social sciences or on the periphery, real bravery is often demonstrated in their defiance of orthodoxy. Perhaps my favorite treatment of Cultural Marxism came from a paper which starts by stating “putting aside political correctness” and then continues on to discuss multiple heretical topics and never references it again. Political correctness is mentioned only long enough to dismiss it as the irrational and fallacious sentiment that it is. This is a hopeful sign, but it must be noted that no serious efforts to actively alleviate the problem within the social sciences beyond talking about it have so far been undertaken.

I have a great respect for science generally and see it as the best method so far developed by humans to separate truth from fiction, at least when the core principles of scientific philosophy are actually followed. But the scientific establishment is still a human institution and therefore fallible. The community at times moves unacceptably far away from its core principles and this usually happens when research topics might have strong implications for an over-arching political ideology. The Lysenkoist effect of an overwhelmingly liberal character is just one problem. Another is that senior research scientists often spend as much or more time begging for money than they do actually trying to discover truth. Whether or not they actually get money is often dependent on how much they publish which creates an incentive to publish even if the research isn’t very good. Conforming to the political biases of other researchers thus constitutes a quick way to look better with lower quality research.

From the state of academia, it can be taken that the discrimination hypothesis has a great deal of influence on our current culture and the determination of public policy through the publication of questionable research. If the discrimination hypothesis is only partially true or largely wrong in the present, then social policies based on it are likely to be largely ineffectual and possibly harmful. Intelligence researcher Dr. Wendy Johnson has stated the importance of this possibility with reference to X linked intelligence succinctly,

Values create the emotionally charged climates pervading discussions of sex differences, making it difficult to evaluate scientific data objectively. Values are extremely important and appropriately form the basis of many actions and social contracts. But the laws of nature are not responsible to us or to our values and may not conform to them. It is important to understand the laws of nature as completely as possible within our circumstances in order to actualize our values as we intend. We can only develop coherent and realistic actions and social policies that will actualize our values if we understand the laws of nature as they exist.ii

Wicherts, J. Bakker, M. (2011) The (mis)reporting of statistical results in psychology journals. Behav Res Methods. 43(3): 666–678.

Franklin, K. (2011) Psychology rife with inaccurate research findings. Psychology today. http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/witness/201111/psychology-rife-inaccurate-research-findings

Stoet, G., Geary, D. (2012) Can stereotype threat explain the gender gap in mathematics performance and achievement? Review of general psychology. Vol 16(1), 93-102

Wagenmakers, E., Wetzels, R., Borsboon, D., Van der Mass, H. (2011) Why psychologists must change the way they analyze their data: the case of psi: Comment on Bem. Journal of Personallity and Social Psychology. Vol 100(3). 426-432.

Makel, M., Plucker, J., Hegarty, B. (2012) Replications in psychology research: How often do they really occur? Perspectives on psychological science.Vol 7(6). 537-542.

Redding. R. (2013) Politicized Science. Society. Vol 50(5), 439-446

Haidt, J., Post-Partisan Social Psychology. http://people.stern.nyu.edu/jhaidt/postpartisan.html

Tierny, J. (2011) Social Scientist Sees Bias Within. New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/08/science/08tier.html?_r=5&ref=science&

Kemmelmeier, M. (2008) Is there a relationship between political orientation and cognitive ability? A test of three hypotheses in two studies. Personality and Individual Differences.Vol 45(8), 767–772

Morton, R., Tyran, J., Wengström, E. (2011) Income and Ideology: How Personality Traits, Cognitive Abilities, and Education Shape Political Attitudes. Univ. of Copenhagen Dept. of Economics Discussion Paper No. 11-08. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1768822 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1768822

Duarte, J., Crawford, J., Stern, C., Haidt, J., Jussim, L., Tetlock, P. (2014) Political Diversity will Improve Social Psychology. Behav Brain Sci. Vol 18. 1-54

Inbar, Y. & Lammers, J. (2012).  Political diversity in social and personality psychology.  Perspectives on Psychological Science, 7, 496-503.

Abramowitz, S. I., Gomes, B., Abramowitz, C. V. (1975), Publish or Politic: Referee Bias in Manuscript Review. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 5: 187–200. doi: 10.1111/j.1559-1816.1975.tb00675.x

Ceci, S. J., Peters, D., Plotkin, J. K., Alan E., (1992). Human subjects review, personal values, and the regulation of social science research. Methodological issues & strategies in clinical research., American Psychological Association, 687-704

Crawford, J. T, Jussim, L., Cain, T. R., Cohen, F.  (2013).  Right-wing authoritarianism and social dominance orientation differentially predict biased evaluations of media reports.  Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 43, 163-174.

Munro, G. D., Lasane, T. P. and Leary, S. P. (2010), Political Partisan Prejudice: Selective Distortion and Weighting of Evaluative Categories in College Admissions Applications. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 40: 2434–2462. doi: 10.1111/j.1559-1816.2010.00665.x

Rothman, S., Lichter, S. R., Nevitte, N. (2005) Politics and Professional Advancement Among College Faculty. The Forum. Vol 3(1). Article 2.

Harvard sex row and science. BBC News. Jan 18, 2005. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/education/4183495.stm

Lallensack, R. (2014) UW to host first feminist biology post-doc program in the nation. The Badger Herald. http://badgerherald.com/news/2014/04/21/madison-host-first-feminist-biology-post-doc-program-nation-rl/#.VO5GIS6GN8H

Pinker, S. (2009  Letter from Steven Pinker to Aarhus University in defence of Prof. Nyborg, December 9, 2009. http://www.helmuthnyborg.dk/Letters-Of-Support/PinkerLetter.pdf

Nyborg, H. (2013) Danish Government Tries to Censor Science it Doesn’t Like. American Renaissance, November 14, 2013 http://www.amren.com/news/2013/11/danish-government-tries-to-censor-science-it-doesnt-like/

Thompsom, J., (2013) Helmuth Nyborg gets Watson’d. Psychological Comments. http://drjamesthompson.blogspot.com/2013/11/helmuth-nyborg-gets-watsond.html

Nyborg, H. (2003) “The Sociology of Psychometric and Bio-behavioral Sciences: A Case Study of Destructive Social Reductionism and Collective Fraud in 20th Century Academia.” The Scientific Study of General Intelligence: Tribute to Arthur R. Jensen.

Nyborg, H., The Greatest Collective Scientific Fraud of the 20th Century: The Demolition of Differential Psychology and Eugenics. The Mankind Quarterly. University of Aarhus (Retired, 2007)

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Smart and SeXy Kindle edition is now available for USD 6.95. Kindle Unlimited subscribers can download for free

Arktos has prepared and made available the kindle version of Smart and Sexy. Obviously this is available at a much cheaper price than the softcover version. However, the softcover version is also at a discounted price of USD 18.48 for the time being. I personally prefer having real paper to look at when I am reading, but it is hard to beat more than a 50% discount at USD 6.95. For those of you who wanted to take a look at Smart and SeXy, but thought it was too expensive, hopefully this option will be more amenable to you.

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A particularly heinous crime, and how you can avoid a similar fate

Being a good Samaritan only makes sense in high trust societies. And the only societies capable of supporting that high level of trust are those composed primarily of ethnic Europeans. Asians may have this to some degree as well, although I don’t think they reach a level anywhere close to Europeans with the Japanese being a probable exception. What happens when a high-trust individual comes into contact with people who just shouldn’t be trusted?

There was a recent news report about two “teens” in North Carolina who got their vehicle stuck in ditch. A good Samaritan stopped to help them get it out. After the vehicle was extricated from the ditch, the “teens” proceeded to murder and rob him. This level of disgusting behavior is difficult to comprehend for the average European. It seems so… foreign to harm someone who went out of their way to help you.

As you have probably guessed, the “teens” were black males. Black males are notoriously prone to violent crime. 6-7% of the population in the US is composed of black males, yet they make up 50% or more of the perpetrators of violent crime, depending on the crime. In 85% of inter-racial violence between whites and blacks, the black is the aggressor. You can see a lot more details in the previous link. I also recommend this interview/discussion between Colin Flaherty (see also) and Stephen Molyneux.

Not every black person is a violent criminal and I am not trying to claim that. However, a much larger percentage of the black population is composed of violent criminals than any other racial group. So how should a rational person respond to this undeniable fact? I plan to have a more in depth post about stereotypes and statistical reasoning later, and will include a relevant excerpt from my book on stereotypes, but for now it will suffice to say that using stereotypes about blacks to avoid dangerous situations is justifiable. If you avoid a black stranger who happens to be decent and nice, there are no negative consequences of significance. If you give a black stranger the benefit of the doubt and are wrong you could be looking at a beating, a raping, a mugging or even death. Even if only 5-10% of blacks would do something like this, it really makes no sense to take the risk. Why chance it when there is no or very little benefit?

M&M

Avoiding even small risks is perfectly rational when there is no possible pay off. Avoiding relatively big risks like that of black crime is thus a no-brainer. Perhaps the best and most concise elaboration of this sentiment was in John Derbyshire’s The talk: the non-black version. In fact, Derbyshire even specifically advises against being the good Samaritan for blacks with vehicle issues on the side of the highway. Had the victim read and followed Derbyshire’s sensible advice, he would still be alive today:

(10h) Do not act the Good Samaritan to blacks in apparent distress, e.g., on the highway.

In order to have nice things like good Samaritans a normative commons must be created and maintained:

In a normative commons, each person who forgoes the opportunity of breaking the norm, then pays the cost of maintaining the norms. So, when one lives in a White area, common areas such as shops (markets) will likely be open for browsing, because the norm of behavior is to not steal. Each time a White goes into a store and does not steal, he pays the opportunity cost, equal to the value of the items not stolen. By paying this cost, the norm of keeping shopping areas open to browsing is maintained. Areas with large numbers of Blacks experience increased incidence of crime. In these areas, the risk to shop owners or other providers to allow Blacks free access exceeds the benefits of open browsing (with a main benefit being increased economic velocity). Thus you see convenience stores with no common area, that only sell what can be passed through a bullet-proof teller window. The commons has been destroyed.

Or perhaps someone will follow Blacks through a store to make sure they do not steal, while allowing Whites to browse freely, in this case the normative commons is extended to White co-ethnics, but not to Black co-ethnics. The Whites are the beneficiaries of this normative commons, because they (as a group) pay the opportunity cost of maintaining it…

Privilege is said to be unearned (though I doubt any form of privilege is really unearned). White privilege is not unearned. It is bought and paid for through the cost of maintaining the normative commons. To insist that the privileges accorded to Whites (who maintain the normative commons), be accorded to ethic groups who do not pay the cost of maintaining the commons is futile: market forces will ensure that the privilege is only accorded to those who pay for it. Call it racist if you want. It is simply the market at work.

If you want your society to have people willing to stop and help complete strangers, you have to forego killing them after they help you. I can’t believe this actually has to be explained, but real life events indicate that it does. At least for blacks and some other minorities. Actually, it is probably more the result of a biological tendency and no amount of explaining is likely to ever work. Only segregation or very intense, no-nonsense policing of problematic minorities could address this. The only long-term solution for a tendency for violent crime is regular executions for violent or otherwise egregious crime; although sterilizations could be considered equivalent. Over several generations this eugenic pressure could greatly reduce the frequency of genes leading to violent crime in any given population.

Ironically, avoiding blacks because of their tendency for violence is not just a sane policy for whites (and Asians, mestizos, Indians or anyone else), it is also a prudent policy for blacks themselves when dealing with other blacks they do not personally know and trust. You see, the good Samaritan in the above case was HIMSELF black. This was no instance of racial animus. It was purely the natural behavior of barely-human animals against one of their own co-ethnics. 90% of black murder victims are killed by other blacks. It turns outs the claim that the “The talk”  is not for blacks is actually quite the misnomer. No group could get more day to day use out of that advice than blacks themselves.

Garrett Chadwick

Garrett Chadwick

It also explains why blacks and (some) other minorities are always in such a rush to settle in majority white areas: justified fear of their own co-ethnics (that and taking advantage of white created social norms). Never mind that whites don’t want and shouldn’t have to deal with the dysfunction of other groups. Never mind that the normative commons whites created are quickly destroyed as an area stops being overwhelmingly white because other groups refuse to pay the opportunity costs necessary to maintain them. The immigration mindset is essentially a slash and burn technique: Move to a white area with high trust, strong co-operation and take advantage of the situation. Individual acts of defection can provide real rewards and largely go unnoticed while the population of defectors is small. Unfortunately, every member of the out-group wants a piece of the action and quickly overwhelm the culture. The commons are destroyed, whites try to literally or at least de facto escape parasites on their cultural institutions, then the process begins all over again with a new white area being invaded. This will continue until it is forcefully stopped, or there is nothing left to destroy.

Blacks may implicitly already understand that their co-ethnics aren’t as trustworthy as whites:

It is common knowledge that Black cab drivers will often drive past Blacks and pick up White passengers instead. This White privilege is accrued to the White ethnic group because the members of the group tend to forgo the opportunity to rob the Black cabbie. Black cabbies understand this and accord the privilege to the White ethnics who will maintain the normative commons. Blacks could earn this privilege by paying for it through maintaining the normative commons. Unfortunately for them, enough of them create the tragedy of the commons for their own co-ethnics by abusing their privilege and not forgoing the opportunity cost.

Now I have read the statistics, I have seen the many news reports (the last two years have been especially enlightening), and I have read or heard lots of anecdotes by other people. However, I have also experienced issues with aggressive and volatile blacks personally, and those experiences are easily the most memorable and substantial in my forming of opinions on this topic. There is nothing like a real risk of being the victim of a group attack by blacks to make a person see things more clearly. Years of progressive propaganda can be washed away in mere seconds, or for 10s of minutes if you are unlucky. Assuming you survive that is. The following are three personal examples copied from a comment I have made previously:

1) In the first instance, I was at University after graduation. I had three friends over celebrating the end of classes for the semester. It was a large party school and I was in a college apartment complex known for throwing parties. Though of course, there were only four of us and I wasn’t throwing a party. We had some music playing and my neighbors thought it was too loud. Hypocritically, they were always making huge amounts of noise themselves the entire year. They first started stomping on the floor, I turned down the music a little, but that wasn’t enough. 5 big black guys then came down and started beating on my door with a baseball bat. We had to call the police who I think ended up arresting one for an outstanding warrant. This sort of behavior was amazing to me. This is a college apartment complex in a party town. Some noise is to be expected at times. With only the 4 of us, we couldn’t have been making that much noise. They had never shown any consideration towards their neighbors about their noise level for the entire year they lived above me. One night on which I had an important test the next day, their washing machine broke and they scrapped the floor with a wet vac from 1-3am. I was super pissed, but I didn’t beat their door with a baseball bat.

2) In another instance I was with my roommate and we were going to the grocery store in his truck. He pulled into a parking spot and all of a sudden a black guy who was around a corner pulls behind us. Being around a corner before this, he was clearly not in a position to own the spot when my roommate pulled in. He got out and attempted to instigate a fight (first with my roommate who was a quiet guy, then me when I stepped in and told him he was out of line). He eventually left after I threatened to call the police.

3) I used to ride my bike and take the train to work. On the train, there is a slot for bikes on some of the cars. However, there is a seat under the rack which makes it unusable when someone is sitting in it. On previous occasions, I was told by police officers (at least twice) that I needed to use the bike rack and not use the aisle. If someone is sitting there I need to ask them to move to a different seat if any are available (there were plenty of other seats on this occasion, the train was maybe 50% occupied). Well, it happened to be this black girl and her girlfriend. I politely asked her to move and she did move to a seat about 2 feet distant (literally, it was hardly a move) but with a great deal of attitude. I explained that the police told me I have to do that. Undeterred, she started yelling/chimping out and wouldn’t stop for about 20 minutes. At first (2 minutes) I tried to engage reason, but when that failed (of course) I just ignored her. Most people would eventually give up when their “opponent” stopped participating. Not her. She kept yelling and yelling and talking shit. She wanted to instigate a fight (probably hoping that her “cousins” on the train would gang attack me if something actually happened). The conductor eventually called the police and they took us off at the next stop (thank god). I explained my story and they let me go. I don’t know what happened to the girl. I noped right out of there, but they were detained at least somewhat longer than I was. I am sure she is using that as an example of “white privilege” while conveniently ignoring her completely unjustified and egregiously obnoxious behavior.

And just to add to that, an acquaintance was recently assaulted by a black man while pumping gas for his vehicle. His great offense was mistakenly thinking the yelling and belligerent black was trying to talk to him, and thus asking him what he wanted. Fortunately, the black guy, who was probably on some drug, was pulled away by his friend before he landed more than one punch.  There is a reason race relations are deteriorating rapidly and it isn’t being caused by whitey.

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Differences in complex social behaviors can have purely genetic causes even within the same species

An article came out about cooperation between an African tribe and a type of bird called the honeyguide. The bird spots bee hives and guides the human to it, the human knocks it down, breaks it open and shares it with the bird. The tribesman and birds communicate via a series of chirps and calls. For example, there is one special call a tribesman can use to signal to a bird that he would like to look for honey. There is another special call the honeyguide can use to get the attention of a tribesmen when they have a hive they would like cracked open. Now, in the case of the tribesman, it is possible to culturally transmit the details of the various calls down the generations. The honeyguides, however, are very much like the cuckoo which lays its eggs in the nests of other birds. This means it isn’t possible for direct cultural transmission of the calls and likely indicates that in the case of the birds, the transmission of call knowledge is purely genetic. To quote the popular mechanics article:

There’s still some mystery as to how exactly young honeyguides learn to recognize the Yao tribesmen’s calls. Like the European cuckoo, honeyguides are nest parasites. Adults will surreptitiously lay their eggs in other bird’s nests and those birds raise the young honeyguides. This pattern rules out the possibility that the honeyguides are learning how to interact with humans through parental training.

Bolding was mine. While I will agree that exactly how this is done is unknown, mystery is a bit too strong of a word. There are really only two possible explanations. Either they are learning it from other honeyguides a few years older, or it is being genetically transmitted. Even if certain aspects of the behavior, like what specific type of call, is being learned from peers, the overall behavior has to have a strong genetic component. Otherwise why aren’t the other birds in the area copying the honeyguides? It would be a very easy source of food.

This isn’t the first time that a complex behavior was observed which really could have no other explanation than genetic. Most notably in Darwin’s origin of species. In it he described the tumbler pigeon which had the following complex behavior:

The short-faced tumbler has a beak in outline almost like that of a finch; and the common tumbler has the singular inherited habit of flying at a great height in a compact flock, and tumbling in the air head over heels.

No other pigeon showed this behavior (i.e., it was singular). And pigeon breeders kept different varieties close together so if it could be learned it probably would have. There is really no other choice but to conclude that the tumbling behavior was and is genetic. The tumbler pigeon was undoubtedly the same species as the other domesticated species. It could breed with and produce viable offspring with those other varieties, yet small and particular genetic differences were more than enough to generate wildly unique behavior. If this genetic determination of complex behavior via only a very small fraction of the genome is possible in pigeons, it is also possible in humans. The outrageously greater violent criminal activity in Blacks, for example.

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Power, Sex, Suicide: Or why do genders exist in the first place?

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There has been a lot of crap happening the last few weeks, so I thought a not particularly political post might be a nice respite for some. Please bear with the large digressions in this post. It may not seem like it, but it is all related in a meandering sort of way. I promise. I will get to the point eventually and hopefully you will learn some interesting things along the way. Anyway, I wanted to expand on the evolutionary origins of two sexes (as opposed to none or more than 2). I did not cover it in Smart and Sexy because it wasn’t directly relevant enough to be included. The focus in the book was the intellectual differences between human genders, not why gender exists in the first place. It would have been too much of a digression to include that. I think it is an interesting question nonetheless and wanted to address it at some point. Especially since a growing group of lunatics keep wanting to expand the number of genders to the limit of infinity.

On to the first “non sequitur,” or so it deceptively seems. There was recently an askreddit thread which asked about atmospheric oxygen concentrations during the carboniferous period and reminded me of the topic of this post. Specifically, the oxygen concentration was an astounding 35% compared to today’s 21% and the person wanted to know why it was so high and why it dropped so much afterward. If we went back in time to that era, we would suffer from oxygen poisoning. I imagine that wildfires then must have been quite a hellish sight. Literally. This high oxygen concentration probably also explains why insects grew to be so large during this time, such as seagull sized dragon flies. Most insects depend upon passive diffusion to get oxygen to their cells and that is more effective at higher partial pressures of oxygen. Our lower concentration of oxygen today probably isn’t enough to enable such large insects, which is why they evolved to be smaller. Anyway, I had actually read some books which tried to answer this question and I relayed that info in the following comment:

Like most of the other ideas here this is a hypothesis. Life has made various evolutionary innovations over history and one idea is that woody bark/stems first evolved some time immediately proceeding the carboniferous. Woody stems are stronger and more resilient because there are protein cross links between cellulose strands. Cellulose being a long strand of linked sugars. Woody stems are very difficult to digest, which is why pretty much nothing eats it. When it first evolved, literally nothing ate it because it was so new and no organism had the tools to break it down. So, during the carboniferous trees and plants with woody stems proliferated because they had few or no natural predators, and probably also because they could grow taller than their competitors thanks to the strong stems and thus had better access to sunlight.  They did still die of old age however, and that woody material would just sit there without decaying. Eventually it would be buried and millions of years later we would dig it out of the ground as coal or oil. Most of the coal and oil deposits date from this period which is why it is called the carboniferous period.

Well, the process plants use to grow is that they take CO2 out of the atmosphere to build cellulose and other structural molecules and release oxygen. So what was happening in the carboniferous was that this was a very one way process. The carbon was being fixated and nothing was breaking down the large organic molecules to re-release it.

That all changed when fungi, think mushrooms and molds, eventually evolved the enzymatic equipment to break down woody stems. Some time at the end of the carboniferous presumably. With this second innovation, the woody part of plants didn’t just sit around waiting to be buried, it was broken down and the fixated CO2 was released back into the atmosphere. Obviously this added a new variable to the equation and the oxygen level in the atmosphere struck a new and lower balance.

I suggest “Oxygen: The molecule that made the world (Oxford Landmark Science)” and “Power, Sex, Suicide: Mitochondria and the Meaning of Life” by Nick Lane if you are really interested in this subject.

Some of the other comments did touch on this same idea but some people argued that the carbon dioxide concentration wasn’t high enough to account for all the oxygen. That honestly doesn’t make sense to me. The only process I know of which can oxygenate an atmosphere is photosynthesis, and photosynthesis absolutely requires carbon dioxide molecules to run to completion and release oxygen. One carbon atom is fixated for every one molecule of oxygen released (elemental oxygen is a diatomic molecule [except ozone which is triatomic oxygen but that doesn’t matter for this discussion]). Yes, CO2 was much lower in concentration than oxygen but that was because it was being used up. Venus and Mars both have much more carbon dioxide, for example, and presumably so would Earth if there were no photosynthesis.  Wildfires and volcanism were probably the main things getting CO2 back into the atmosphere which explains why it was never completely used up. In fact, carbon dioxide concentrations at the time were three times higher than pre-industrial levels, and double today’s level, but that was still only about 1-1.2% of the atmosphere. My guess is that Earth’s core was hotter, and that there was far more volcanism then than today. That would have made for a very high rate of carbon dioxide release which fueled the one way carbon fixation trip going on in the plant world. The point is, the idea that “there wasn’t enough carbon dioxide” is a red herring. oxygen release simply can’t happen without carbon dioxide, period, and the reason it was so low and not 96% of the atmosphere like on Mars is because of the stupid high rates of fixation.

As a side note, life seemed to get along just fine with atmospheric carbon dioxide levels double that of today during the carboniferous… Plants grew so abundantly in fact that this time period produced great deal of our oil reserves; perhaps even most of it. We also had monster sized insects. I don’t know why climate skeptics never mention this. It goes a long way in demonstrating a bit higher carbon dioxide concentration isn’t going to end the world.

At the end of my comment I mention two of my favorite lay-person science books. Both by Nick Lane, the first is Oxygen and the second is Power, Sex, Suicide. (You can consider the majority of this post to be an indirect summary of these books). The first one I read was the later, which also came out after Oxygen. Both books are great, but I have to note that there is a great deal of overlap between the two. For those of you familiar with mitochondria you can probably guess why. If not, the short answer is that mitochondria take oxygen and use it to to break down organic molecules into water and carbon dioxide. The energy released via this reaction is captured and used to fuel life itself. So, a book on the history of oxygen is by necessity going to overlap a lot with a book on mitochondria. My impression overall is that the material in Oxygen was reworked, improved, and added to new material to create Power, Sex, Suicide. Thus, if you read the later you will have most of the information you could have gotten in the former (though not all). If you had to pick only one to read, Power, Sex, Suicide is the best choice.

The title of the book was absolutely inspired. If you read the title your first thought is that it is about some game of thrones-esque political intrigue. Chimps throwing shit at each other is of course one of the most attention grabbing topics for humans available so anytime you see it on amazon, your gaze is instantly drawn there. The provocative title is what made me take a closer look. However, what makes it even better is that it is in no way deceitful. It is a book about mitochondria which are the power stations of the eukaryotic cell. All large multi-cellular life depends on this power generation. This is the most widely known fact about mitochondria and I will leave it to the reader to learn more about it.

Skipping sex for a second to briefly mention suicide, it turns out that mitochondria are important for signaling apoptosis, or programmed cell death. I.E., suicide. Two of the main reasons for this to happen is for fine tuning body structure and reducing the risk of cancer. In the first case, an example would be when hands grow in the embryo they are initially webbed then cells between the fingers intentionally die off so the fingers are separate. In the later, when a cell becomes damaged and malfunctioning (and thus more likely to eventually become cancerous) this can usually be detected and trigger the cell to commit suicide before developing into full-blown cancer. Obviously this doesn’t always work, but it definitely helps to cull damaged cells. Aging may be tied to this phenomenon because over the course of a lifetime the population of stem cells slowly depletes as they become damaged and are culled to prevent cancerous growths. Stem cells are the most likely to turn cancerous because they are the only cells which continue to rapidly divide, which means bad mutations are more likely to occur and regular or rapid cell division doesn’t need to be turned on via new mutations before the cell line becomes cancerous. Of course, having a lower population of stem cells reduces your body’s ability to keep all your tissues in a youthful state. Thus it is possible that aging, at least in part, is a result of evolved mechanisms for reducing the risk of cancer. Those suicidal mechanisms require mitochondria.

And now on to Sex. What does mitochondria have to do with Sex? Well, as it turns out, they have everything to do with sex. But to understand that, you first need to know the history of how mitochondria came to be. When life first came to exist on Earth, the planet did not have an atmosphere with much oxygen. There were plenty of reduced molecules floating around the oceans and being released via volcanic vents which could be oxidized for energy. (The term “oxidized” was originally coined when scientists thought only oxygen participated in this type of reaction, which was a long time ago. The definition has since been expanded to include reactions which don’t involve molecular oxygen but the name stuck. Path dependence. Obviously the first life wasn’t using molecular oxygen to derive energy when there wasn’t any molecular oxygen available.)

Eventually photosynthesis evolved in the ancestors of modern day cyanobacteria and chloroplasts. Light was a readily available source of energy which did not require any preexisting source of reduced molecules. Carbon dioxide at the time was probably at Venus or Mars percentages so that was absurdly abundant too. The cyanobacteria thus did extremely well, spread everywhere including places with no other source of energy, and proceeded to oxygenate the atmosphere at a massive scale. At first, however, preexisting reduced molecules present in the oceans would have quickly reacted with the released oxygen and thus the build up of the gas would have been delayed. Perhaps for millions of years. Evidence for this comes in the form of banded iron formations. Reduced iron is far more soluble in water than oxidized iron, so oxygen would be released, it would react with the iron, then the new molecule (rust basically) would sink to the bottom of the sea floor forming these bands.

Eventually, however, these reduced reactants would have ran out and oxygen would have started building up in the atmosphere. Believe it or not, oxygen is actually a very poisonous gas. And yes, that includes to you as well. We can live in it only because of evolved mechanisms that deal, incompletely, with its extreme reactivity. (This is not an endorsement for antioxidant products, personally I think that stuff is useless. Or worse than useless if it keeps cells functional long enough to avoid triggering apoptosis and thus allowing them to become cancerous). All of this poisonous oxygen in the atmosphere created a selection pressure for mechanisms that could mitigate the problem. In short, eventually this led to not only the ability to mitigate the presence of oxygen free radicals, but to actively harness oxygen as an electron acceptor in the production of usable energy. Some bacteria, including the ancestors of mitochondria, developed this ability. Though it isn’t entirely clear how it happened, one of these oxygen loving bacteria was engulfed by an archaeal cell (site with more detail). Probably with the intention of using it as food. Either that or the oxygen loving bacteria became parasitic on archaeal hosts. At some point this predatory or parasitic relationship goofed up and both cells started working symbiotically. The larger cell could provide shelter and sources of food, while the newly formed mitochondria could use oxygen to efficiently convert that food into energy and possibly transfer oxygen defense mechanisms to the host cell if it started out oxygen intolerant. This was the origin of all subsequent multicellular eukaryotic life, including you. A descendant of this lineage similarly engulfed a cyanobacteria and that become the universal ancestor of plants.

Some time later, the early eukaryotes developed sexual reproduction where genetic material is shared between two individual members of the species in order to reproduce as opposed to earlier binary fission. Reasons why are debated, but my preferred explanation is that sexual reproduction increases the probability of novel genetic combinations which may have increased evolutionary fitness especially with respect to, but not limited to, evading predators and parasites (including infections). Keep in mind that the origin of sexual reproduction is not the origin of the sexes. You don’t necessarily have to have two genders to sexually reproduce. (This is a general biological fact and should in no way be misconstrued as an endorsement of any sort of mental illness related to gender in humans. It doesn’t matter how worms do it, we are human and we only have two genders).

The advent of sexual reproduction, however, created a problem not dissimilar in type to the penis fencing worms in the previous link. That is, evolutionary self interest creating bad incentives for competition during reproduction. In the case of worms they are trying to reproduce without incurring the metabolic costs of growing eggs. Between mitochondria competition needs a bit more explanation, though. Mitochondria within eukaryotic cells have never completely lost their genome even today. Each eukaryotic cell thus has two methods of transmitting genetic information to descendants. One is through the mitochondria and one is through the nucleus. Even though mitochondria only increase in number via binary fission, random mutations can occur during that process thus allowing separate mitochondrial lines to evolve independently of one another. Since mitochondria have their own genome, reproduce, and are variable they are subject to natural selection. If in sexual reproduction two mitochondrial lines are placed together within the same cell, you create a situation of direct competition between both lineages for the domination of that cell and thus the opportunity to be passed on down the line. Competing mitochondria could and would evolve ways of eliminating rivals. Ways which would only have minimum concern for the overall well being of the host cell. What does it matter how the host cell does if that other mitochondria wipes you out?  Even at the cellular level, diversity + proximity = war. An evolutionary war between mitochondrial lineages going on within the cell is obviously not a desirable situation for the organism as a whole. Eliminating the potential for mitochondrial war would be a great advantage to any eukaryotic organism which managed to accomplish it. Basically, the nuclear genome would need to step in and tell everyone to play nice… Na, its much easier to build a big wall.

Which, 2500 or so words in, FINALLY gets us back to the title of this post. I do apologize, but I feel the explanation is incomplete without the requisite background information. Having two sexes is a direct response to this issue of battling mitochondrial lineages and is what gives us our most universal definition of two sexes. Having distinctive male and females genders is “the wall” so to speak keeping different mitochondrial lineages from directly competing with each other. Specifically, the female sex is that which donates mitochondria to offspring and the male is that which does not donate mitochondria to offspring. That’s it. This is the commonality, the only commonality, between all males and all females in all species which have distinct genders. It also explains why more than two genders is in no way necessary. Two individuals is enough to gain the benefits of sexual reproduction and two sexes is enough of a wall to prevent intracellular competition via natural selection in mitochondria.

As I have already pointed out, there are examples of sexually reproducing species which do not utilize two different genders. In the case of fungi, I am not sure how they deal with the issue of mitochondrial war (or if anyone else does) but I am sure they have some mechanism for it even if unknown. Maybe creating billions of spores renders it a moot issue because there is more than enough opportunity for both lineages. In the case of the penis fencing worms, you can see the problem of not distinguishing genders quite saliently. Two individuals attempt to forcefully inject (rape?) each other with sperm while not getting injected themselves. You have got to love the sadistic creativity of nature for creating a species in which each individual acts as both the rapist and the rape victim at the same time. You’ve got to rape before you get raped. This method of reproduction can and does cause injury to the rape “victim” which could lead to infection and other issues. Not exactly ideal from a fitness perspective.

And this is why sexually reproducing organisms have evolved a binary gender dynamic many, many times independently. Evolving a male and female sex is one of the best examples of convergent evolution because it has happened so many different times.  Most people are already familiar with sex determination in mammals which is determined via an XY system. Two X chromosomes gear the human form to passing on mitochondria (i.e., female) as well as other things, while an X and a Y chromosome gears the human form to not pass on mitochondria (i.e., male) again among other things. But the mammalian XY system isn’t the only way this mitochondrial division of labor can be accomplished. Fruit flies, for example, have an independently evolved and completely unrelated XY sex determination system. Hymenoptera insects (ants, bees, and wasps) have a haplodiploidy sex determination system in which the male only has one set of chromosomes (haploid) while the female has two sets of chromosomes (diploidy). A number of lizards and other reptiles use a temperature determination system. Some fish determine sex via social hierarchy. (Again this is not an endorsement of mental illness in humans, despite wikipedia believing it is.) Even plants can’t wait to give up hermaphrodism and divide into two sexes and that has happened independently a ton of different times. Last in my list, though I won’t claim it is exhaustive, is the ZW sex determination system present in some birds, turtles, crustaceans and so on. Mirroring the XY system, ZZ is male and ZW is female. Like with mammals and fruit flies, when these species are not closely related chances are these systems are also independently evolved. It has recently been called into question that the bird ZW is actually independent of the mammalian XY because of discoveries with the playtpus sex determination system. I tangentially discussed this in an April fools article I wrote on hybridization theory a while ago and I will let you read it to come up with your own conclusions. Keep in mind, a joke works better if you mix in some facts to make it more believable…

Regardless, you can see that using two and only two sexes has evolved again and again and again and again and again in completely unrelated species with incredible levels of divergence. Even in the sex changing fish they opted to have two sexes rather than just stay hermaphroditic. The fish are never both male and female at the same time. Having two and only two sexes, regardless of how that is accomplished, seems to be some sort of evolutionary equivalent of an energy minimum. Dealing with mitochondrial war doesn’t strictly require two sexes and other arrangements can work (in species that aren’t human), but clearly the two sex binary is one of the easiest and most effective ways for nuclear genomes to prevent intracellular war between mitochondrial lineages. Judging by the widespread level of convergence, cellular civil war must be a very common and extremely grave problem for biology to deal with. The existential urgency of preventing the internal war probably accounts for why an astoundingly large and diverse list of species have all converged on the two and only two sex binary. They keep falling back to that arrangement via remarkably different yet equally effective systems. And so that is why we have two sexes and not zero or a million. And it is why we will always have two and only two sexes.

 

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