Happy heuristic for the holidays [Polarity Shift #1]

A good heuristic for deciding how much to trust a claim about some group of humans is to exchange the groups (say with a find:replace command in word) with other groups and see if the change would result in a large swing in public perception. A large change in the perception based on which group is attributed the traits strongly suggests that great caution should be implemented in accepting the claim. As white males are typically the most egregiously attacked group, they are a good choice for replacing another group in any essay which is fawning and/or flattering. To most people the new essay instantly sounds like the work of an evil white supremacist, where the original was merely a positive expression of ethnic, female, or degenerate pride. For any essay that is hostile to the group under discussion, most of which target white males, it is useful to switch to women, Jews, or blacks. Or better yet, make the switch to black, Jewish lesbians to maximize the absurdity. Suddenly, a noble essay meant to combat institutionalized racism, sexism, and anti-semitism becomes a hateful piece of propaganda for white supremacy. If you could expect a polarity shifted essay to be widely and loudly denounced as X-ist, while the original is a triumph for social justice, chances are quite good that you have a big, steaming pile of bullshit on your hands.

Really, to save ourselves time in producing pro-white male, anti-everyone else propaganda, we should just take essays by leftists and use the find:replace function in word. The amount of lolz-worthy propaganda that could be generated in this way is nearly limitless and requires almost no effort since you don’t have to bother writing anything yourself. The triggered/troll’s effort ratio in this process is about as good as you could expect to get in any serious trolling activity. The curve is steep and has a limit of infinity. Perhaps this type of artistic re-imagining of left-wing propaganda will become a semi-regular staple of the blog. I will always be upfront about polarity shifting. However, I could imagine an enterprising troll using such material secretively in order to get leftists to spend huge amounts of effort inadvertently denouncing and debunking their own bullshit. It is win-win on so many levels and is so easy even a child could do it. Propaganda for the common shitlord.

So let’s begin this process with a recently released article by the Washington post titled “Women really are better doctors, study suggests.” Which I will rename “White men really are better doctors, study suggests”

If female doctors were able to do as well as their white male counterparts when treating elderly patients in the hospital, they could save 32,000 lives a year, according to a study of 1.5 million hospital visits.

A month after patients were hospitalized, there was a small but significant difference in the likelihood that they were still alive or had to be readmitted to the hospital depending on the gender of the doctor who cared for them, according to the study published in JAMA Internal Medicine. Although the analysis can’t prove the gender of the physician was the determining factor, the researchers made multiple efforts to rule out other explanations.

“If we had a treatment that lowered mortality by 0.4 percentage points or half a percentage point, that is a treatment we would use widely. We would think of that as a clinically important treatment we want to use for our patients,” said Ashish Jha, professor of health policy at the Harvard School of Public Health. The estimate that 32,000 patients’ lives could be saved in the Medicare population alone is on par with the number of deaths from vehicle crashes each year.

For years, studies have suggested that women and white men practice medicine differently. white men are more likely to adhere to clinical guidelines and counsel patients on preventive care. They are more communicative than women. But whether those differences have a meaningful impact on patients’ well-being has been unclear.

The new study, based on an analysis of four years of Medicare data, found that patients treated by a white male doctor had a little less than half of a percentage point difference in the likelihood they would die within a month of their hospitalization. There was a similar drop in patients having to go back to the hospital over that month. Those are not large differences, but Jha pointed out that major health policies aimed at improving mortality in hospitals and increasing patient safety had resulted in a similar drop in mortality over a decade.

To try to rule out other possible explanations for the difference — such as healthier patients’s preference for white male doctors — the researchers did an analysis where they looked solely at hospitalists, doctors who see patients who are admitted to hospitals and who are typically not chosen by patients. They also made sure patients had similar characteristics in the two groups. They compared doctors within hospitals, to avoid measuring a difference that could be accounted for by comparing a white man who worked at a rural community hospital with a woman who worked at an urban trauma center.

Vineet Arora, an associate professor of medicine at the University of Chicago, praised the research but was cautious to read too much into the main result, pointing out that it was important to remember the effect might stem from multiple factors.

“It could be something the doctor is doing. It could be something about how the patient is reacting to the doctor,” Arora said. “It’s really hard to say. It’s probably multi-factorial.”

What the study drove home for Arora, who works as a hospitalist, is that white men are certainly not worse doctors than women — and they should be compensated equitably. A study published earlier this year found a $20,000 pay gap between female and white male doctors after controlling for other factors, such as age, specialty and faculty rank, that might influence compensation.

She noted that white male doctors, who are often being hired in their horniest years, may face a subtle form of discrimination, in the worry that they will be less committed or that they will not work as hard when they have poon to chase.

“Having a white male physician is an asset,” Arora said.

William Weeks, a professor of psychiatry at Dartmouth’s Geisel School of Medicine, said that the researchers had done a good job of trying to control for other factors that might influence the outcome. He noted that one caveat is that hospital care is usually done by a team. That fact was underscored by the method the researchers used to identify the doctor who led the care for patients in the study. To identify the gender of the physician, they looked for the doctor responsible for the biggest chunk of billing for hospital services — which was, on average, about half. That means that almost half of the care was provided by others.

Could an editorial written as the above is have been published in the Washington post? Could a research paper with these conclusions have been published in a “respectable” peer-reviewed journal? Absolutely not. The outrage would have been deafening and the authors would very likely lose their jobs or even be assaulted. The opposite finding would have never been published no matter how convincing the evidence. The only conclusion allowed was, is and will be that women are better doctors, and this institutional bias all but guaranteed that we were going to get some bunk study like this released to uncritical fanfare in the media. Polarity shifting this leftist propaganda makes it very salient that we are almost certainly dealing with bullshit here.

Forgetting for a second that an effect size of a half of a percentage point is trivial (it took almost 2 million data points to find this), and that social scientists have basically no credibility when it comes to their statistical practices, lets give these authors the benefit of the doubt and say they found a real effect here. After all, the idea of women being more nurturing does fit with traditional stereotypes and I could conceivably see how that might contribute to slightly extending the life of someone knocking on death’s door.

The problem with using this finding to conclude that women are better doctors is graduating female doctors opt out of their profession at much higher rates than men. This ends up removing roughly 30% of the worst female doctors from circulation and thus prevents them from being factored into the study. This should have a substantial impact on their overall average in studies such as this, and I am honestly surprised they didn’t get a larger effect than they did because of it. Of course, I AM assuming that it is disproportionately the worst doctors who opt-out of practice (there is no data on this), but honestly it is a reasonable assumption. People who are good at something tend to stick with it more. In addition, it doesn’t factor in that male doctors are working on average 5 more hours per week than their female counterparts. Ya, maybe he isn’t as cuddly with his patients, but he is likely seeing more patients per week which translates to providing substantially more care overall. You can quibble over this, but I would argue this increase in quantity of service is more important than a doubtful .5% change in mortality in the terminally ill. Leftists are very eager to latch onto any trivial finding to make a specious argument about how great their favored group is, but it is a huge red flag and very typically misses the larger picture. A picture that is already heavily skewed by decades of feminist infiltration into academia, but nonetheless still paints another picture than the established narrative. And that is assuming the finding itself wasn’t complete nonsense to start with.

The excerpt below from my book Smart and Sexy: The Evolutionary Origins and Biological Underpinnings of Cognitive Differences Between the Sexes provides a more extensive discussion of this. Citations for this section are at the end of the post.

The skilled female labor with the most extreme pattern of opting out is masters of business administration graduates from elite schools. Only 35% of the best, most qualified women who get educated from the highest ranked schools are actually participating in the work force; they are 30 percent more likely to opt out than their peers who went to less selective schools. Though even for those women at less selective schools, it must be noted that a 35% opt-out rate is still very high. Depending on the vocation and education level, the rate of expensively educated women opting out ranges from 20-40% but for most careers the female opt-out rate clusters around 30%. Women with children work even less than this with a range of 40-60% opting out over all professions with most professions having around a 50% opt-out rate.i The female drop out rate is partially due to new mothers deciding not to work to raise children, and it is also partially due to significantly greater earnings by husbands making their income relatively insignificant by comparison.

Perhaps the most important example of female opt-out being problematic is in medical training. Training medical doctors is hugely expensive and they receive the highest degree of taxpayer subsidization. Some of the costs are born by the degree seeker, but the majority of the cost is paid for by the state through taxes on the general population and ranges into the hundreds of thousands of dollars per doctor. The general population consents to this subsidization because they realize that they will need medical doctors to treat them when they become ill. However, prioritizing women in these careers is a poor investment for the tax payer even when they have the cognitive ability to meet the demands of the profession.

Work-time preference differences between genders strongly imply that training men is generally a better investment for society than women at the same level of ability. Especially considering 4 out of 10 female doctors are working less than full time and some of those do not practice at all.233, i Even full time female doctors work on average about 4.5 hours less a week than men. A man who works 50 hours per week, 50 weeks per year, for 40 years would work a total of 100,000 hours. A woman who worked 35 hours a week for the same time frame would only work 70,000 hours. This rough calculation is quite generous in assuming that women working part-time only work 5 hours less than the standard work week and that they do not switch out of their trained profession at an early point for the duration of their working life. However, it is known in practice that many women end up switching out of the profession they were expensively trained in long before they retire.233, 236, ii, iii

These sorts of lifestyle choices are fine when the costs are born by the women who make them, but they are unacceptable when the costs are largely paid by society via wasting tax money on training that goes unused and in terms of shortages of access to medical care due to too few trained doctors practicing. The problem only promises to get worse because of the push to get gender parity in medicine. As of 2010, 30% of practicing doctors were female but almost 50% of new medical school graduates were female. It is estimated that if the trend of female opt-out continues, and there is no reason to think it won’t, there will be up to a 150,000 shortage of doctors in the near future. General practice and pediatrics will most acutely feel the problem since these are the fields women gravitate towards.236 The public will have difficulty gaining access to medical care and costs will rise substantially because of the push of women into medicine.

In addition to a preference for less work hours and a tendency to opt out entirely, working women also call in sick or are otherwise absent at about twice the rate of men.iv For sick leave specifically, women are absent about 50% more often for self-diagnosed sickness and 34% more often for medically certified sick leave.v Some, but not all, of this increased absenteeism can be explained by a greater likelihood for mothers rather than fathers to stay home with sick children. The rest may be due to legitimate increased susceptibility to illness (for example, menstrual pain and hysteria), a degree of semi-hypochondria, or a general lack of tenacity in the face of women’s dislike of working. The later would be consistent with normal female work preferences. There is also some evidence for increased hypochondria; though women more often report ill health than men, it is not reflected by higher mortality rates. Reported ill health is much better correlated with mortality in men.vi Whatever the reasons for these trends, the consequence is that by any measure, women as a population make for less productive and reliable employees than men even when they have similar levels of intellectual ability.

The costs shouldered by businesses forced to hire women to meet diversity quotas is enormous. Though employee turnover has been increasing in recent years for all demographics, the above data makes it clear that women lead the pack. It is estimated that employee turnover will approach 65% in the near future. The median cost of employee turnover is 20% of the employee’s annual salary for positions that pay under 75 thousand dollars annually, but there is a large range of costs and the cost increases drastically for specialized positions that require significant education. Replacing highly paid, specialized positions can cost up to 213% of the lost employee’s annual salary.vii, viii

Studies and articles which address the problem of female opt-out, because of the feminist tendencies of the authors, generally advocate costly female-friendly policies.242, 243, ix In other words, they advocate lower standards for women relative to men and toleration of a greater degree of absenteeism for women. Essentially this means that feminists want the costs and opportunity costs of women’s decisions to be externalized to employers and fellow employees who have to pick up the slack for absent or disengaging women, and vicariously to society who have to deal with less available service agents. The obvious and easiest solution is to simply not have as many women in these positions or restrict them to positions which can tolerate less devotion. This is exactly what our ancestors sensibly did. A company would be better off not having female oriented policies to discourage women from working there and thus maintain a more reliable work force.

i Sibert, K. S. (2011). Don’t quit this day job. New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/12/opinion/12sibert.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

ii Belkin, L. (2003) The Opt-Out Revolution. New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2003/10/26/magazine/26WOMEN.html

iii Kuczynski, A (2002) “They Conquered, They Left.” New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2002/03/24/style/they-conquered-they-left.html

iv Tahmincioglu, E. (2007) Female Absenteeism is not just about child care. NBC News. http://www.nbcnews.com/id/21547885/ns/business-careers/t/female-absenteeism-not-just-about-child-care/

v Laaksonen, M., Martikainen, P., Rahkonen, O., Lahelma, E. (2007) Explanations for gender differences in sickness absence: evidence from middle-aged municipal employees from Finland. Occup Environ Med. 65(5):325-30. doi: 10.1136/oem.2007.033910.

vi Young, H., Grundy, E., O’Reilly, D., Boyle, P. (2010) Self-rated health and mortality in the UK: results from the first comparative analysis of the England and Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland Longitudinal Studies. Popul Trends. 2010 Spring;(139):11-36. doi: 10.1057/pt.2010.3.

vii Boushey, H., Glynn, S. J. (2012) There Are Significant Business Costs to Replacing Employees. Center for American Progress.

viii Appelbaum, E., Milkman, R. (2006) “Achieving a Work­able Balance: New Jersey Employers’ Experiences Managing Employee Leaves and Turnover” Center for Women and Work. Rutgers.

ix Herry, J. L., Wolframz, C. (2009) Work Environment and \Opt-Out” Rates at Motherhood Across High-Education Career Paths. National Bureau of Economic Research. Working Paper No. 14717

i Hersch, J. (2013) Opting Out among Women with Elite Education. Vanderbilt Law and Economics Research Paper No. 13-05. http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2221482

Share Button

Learning from the mistakes of others

Cat Lady by Lisa Monica Nelson

No affiliation with Atavisionary.com. See more artwork at this website.

I found this daily mail article written by a career woman expressing her regret at abandoning her young love and thus leaving herself alone and childless at 42. As a young woman she apparently was in what most would consider a pretty good relationship, but abandoned it.

It all seemed so simple to my naïve, 19-year-old self. I was, I smugly told myself, the girl who had it all.

So why, 20 years later, do I find myself  single, childless and tormented by the fact that I have thrown away the only true chance of happiness I ever had?

Now I am 42 and have all the trappings of success – a high-flying career, financial security and a home in the heart of London’s trendy Notting Hill. But I don’t have the one thing I crave more than anything: a loving husband and family.

‘My father warned me not to throw this love away. But I was sure I’d find Mr Perfect around the corner’

You see, I never did find another man who offered everything Matthew did, who understood me and loved me like he did. Someone who was my best friend as well as my lover.

Today, seeing friends with their children around them tortures me, as I know I am unlikely ever to have a family of my own. I think about the times Matthew and I talked about having children, even discussing the names we would choose. I cannot believe I turned my back on so much happiness.

Instead, here I am back on the singles market, looking for the very thing I discarded with barely a backward glance all those years ago.

I know I can’t have Matthew back, and it hurts when I hear snippets of information about his life and how content he is. Fifteen years after I ended our relationship, he is happily married.

What is particularly sad about this case of “It just didn’t happen” is that it almost did except that she completely sabotaged herself. From her description, she had everything she wanted. What made her throw this away?

The following year, we bought a tiny starter home in Grays, Essex, which we moved into with furniture we had begged, borrowed and stolen. We giggled with delight at the thought of this grown-up new life.

I was in my first junior role at a women’s magazine and Matthew worked fitting tyres and exhausts, so our combined salaries of around £15,000 a year meant we struggled to make the mortgage payments. But we didn’t care, telling ourselves that it wouldn’t be long before we were earning more and able to afford weekly treats and a bigger home where we could bring up the babies we had planned.

But then, the housing market crashed and we were plunged into negative equity.

Struggling should have brought us closer together, and at first it did. But as time went on, and my magazine career – and salary – advanced, I started to resent Matthew as he drifted from one dead-end job to another. I still loved him, but I began to feel embarrassed by his blue-collar jobs, annoyed that, despite his intelligence, he didn’t have a career.

Ahh, so she got enamored with the artificial status conferred by her patently useless make-work role at a women’s magazine. Why do I say artificial? Here is a typical cover of a women’s magazine based on image search results:

 

womens-magazine

Women’s magazines appear to focus almost exclusively on high time preference beliefs and actions. Fake diets that work in 8 hours (?!). Clothes and fashion that instantly boost status. Get rich quick schemes. Short and low intensity exercise with supernatural results. It seems to be her belief that the generation of this sort of inanity is high status. In reality this is a morally dubious practice of tricking the gullible out of money with promises of easy fixes that are clearly false. Her life’s work has been to generate false hope and she left the love of her life, abandoning the opportunity to start a family, to pursue this. Just stop and think about this for second…. Can you imagine a sadder existence?

Even worse is that she compares this to her ex-boyfriend’s jobs which, whatever the pay level, are indispensably necessary for the continuance of a functional civilization. She views herself as the higher status one. Her confusion about the relative merits of various activities was, and is, quite extreme and undoubtedly shared by many women. Her article gives no indication that she ever realized how truly pointless, and probably harmful, her career has been for other women.

Even though she was wrong about her status, perception was enough and her hypergamic instincts kicked in. As such she pressured her boyfriend to get a “real job.” He obliged:

I encouraged him to find a career and was thrilled when he was accepted to join the police in 1995. It should have heralded a new chapter in our lives, but it only hastened the end. We went from spending every evening and weekend together, to hardly seeing one another. Matthew was doing round-the-clock shifts, while I worked long hours on the launch of a new magazine.

It turns out that engaging in real and useful work requires sacrifice. Even though her original demands were met, she was not content because unfortunately it caused a shift and another part of the relationship had to be neglected in order to satisfy her demands. She could not accept that any part of the relationship be less than perfect even though this was merely an unwanted infringement of reality on her life when meeting her own apparent desires. And so she broke up with him. What did she do?

I moved into a rented flat a few miles away in Hornchurch, Essex, and embraced single life with a vengeance. By now I was an editor on a national magazine. Life was one long round of premieres and dinner or drinks parties.

She implies without mentioning that she probably became a huge slut, and probably bedded many men perceived as high status at these various parties. Her actions and perceptions betray a great deal of pride and vanity. Her life was only about her and maximizing her perceived status to other people. Throw in a great abundance of high time preference pleasure seeking and there probably isn’t much else to know about her.

The years rolled along and she kept Matthew as a beta orbiter as much as possible. Stringing him along always with some faint hope that his broken dream of marriage to her might someday become a reality. Of course, even Matthew would eventually figure out that wasn’t going to happen and thoroughly move on. He found himself another girl and ran with it.

I hated the fact Matthew was suddenly putting another woman before me. How dare she come between us! Over the next few weeks, I’m ashamed to say I vented my spleen at both of them in a series of heated phone calls.

I was completely irrational. I didn’t want Matthew back, but felt upstaged by Sara.

Unsurprisingly, after one particularly nasty argument, Matthew put the phone down and refused to take any more of my calls. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I would never speak to him again.

At least she eventually realized that she was completely in the wrong (well, sort of). Too little, too late. It is hard to understand how women can feel justified in expecting men to just sit around waiting for them for years without any giving on the part of the woman. Selfishness on this level is not attractive and not desirable.

So once again I am on my own, my mind full of ‘if-onlys’. If only I’d stayed with Matthew, we’d almost certainly be married with children.

Or, maybe Matthew wasn’t the right man. I will never know  the answer, but my decision to leave him has definitely cost me the chance of ever becoming a mother.

Now I can only look back and admonish my selfish, younger self.

Another woman’s life ruined by her own selfishness, vanity, lack of perspective, and heavy doses (undoubtedly) of feminist propaganda about what roles are most conducive to happiness in women. I walk away from reading this with the distinct perception that this woman has only partially grasped why a multitude of her life choices led her to the unhappy state she is currently in. She certainly understands that she made a mistake. She does not understand, or refuses to admit, how harmful her decisions were to others. Matthew most of all, but also his other girlfriends. At best she realizes she was “irrational,” but never admits that anything she did was actively wrong. She certainly doesn’t understand how her career itself was utterly pointless and probably harms other women with a variety of unrealistic ideas and claims. I suppose I can understand how difficult accepting that would be in the face of the portions of her mistakes she has already accepted. She is not one to be envied.

However, I actually have some respect for this woman because even in partial admittance of her mistakes and how she came to them she at least opens up the door for younger women to learn from those mistakes. Without the personal investment in this life, hopefully they will be better able to see the fuller scope of the problems and thus more readily avoid them. This article and those like them have the potential for helping many people. That at least can be appreciated. Whether anyone actually takes it to heart is another matter entirely, however. Potential is much less than action.

[note: originally I was going to go a slightly different direction with this post, so the URL is different from the title. Just ignore that]

Share Button

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

Image Source

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.

 

Share Button

Women’s Olympic Soccer Team loses 0-7 playing teenage boys 14 years old (or younger)

You can read about it here or here.

Honestly, I am not particularly surprised by this outcome. In my soon to be released book on intellectual differences between the sexes (Titled “Smart and Sexy“), I spent a short time evaluating past research on the differences in strength, endurance, and other physical aptitudes such as proneness to injury. Let’s just say that though the intellectual differences are there and substantial, they don’t come close to the physical differences. A lot, but not all, of this research I used in the book was performed by the military in the doomed desire to integrate women into the military. I think they stopped doing it as much, or at least stopped releasing it publicly, once it became clear that they weren’t getting the “right” answers.

I’ll only mention one of the studies here (a non-military one), but suffice it to say all the relevant research comes up with similar stuff. One interesting study was a comparison of hand-grip strength between normal males, normal females, and athletic trained “elite” females. The results of the study showed that the entire distributions of normal males and normal females barely overlapped at all. 90% of the male population was stronger than 95% of the female population. Below is a graph I made for the book that uses data from the study (There is a typo in this image file in the last sentence which is already fixed in the book. This graph doesn’t contain the elite females data set is all it is saying.):

male female grip strength graph

Elite females did better than normal females, but even then only their extreme outliers reached the 50th percentile of the normal male distribution:

men women elite women compare hand grip strength no textThe above pseudo-distributions are divided into population quartiles by the black horizontal lines. In other words, each horizontal zone covers 1/4 of the population. The shape was added just to look nicer for the book and show that it is indeed a distribution.

Elite, athletically trained males were not included at all. Honestly, I think the above provides all the information you really need to know. If elite females do that badly compared to normal males, you can just imagine what a comparison to elite males would show. I am not sure if the authors didn’t bother with this for the above reason, or if they did get the data and decided it would be a little too controversial for their taste.

So that is the kind of things the research tells us. Once that is established you can start considering the anecdotes as being normal or the rule rather than exceptions to be discounted. One of the examples I used in the book was that of the 200th ranked male tennis player who beat the top ranked Williams sisters, while smoking cigarettes and drinking beer right before the match and during the intermission. (Sorry to use a forum post, but that article was the funniest and appears to have been deleted from its original source. A quick google search can find better, and more boring, articles). Not to mention that the Williams sisters were black while Braasch, the male tennis player, was white. As black women, they almost certainly had more testosterone than women of other races but that wasn’t enough.

If this soccer match had happened before getting into the editing and formatting phase of publication I likely would have used it as well. It  is a better example. Males who had barely started puberty blowing out a top ranked adult women’s soccer team is a very difficult anecdote to ignore. 13 and 14 year old boys aren’t anywhere near reaching their physical prime, which won’t be until they reach around the age of 22 or so. We have every reason to believe these kids are going to get a lot better. Currently, Australia’s women’s soccer team is ranked 5th in the world, and is expected to be a serious contender for the gold medal at the next Olympics. Apparently it isn’t the first time this team has lost to boys much younger than themselves (see original links).

At first you might wonder why the people running all this, who are almost certainly progressive, are allowing such blatant proof of crimethink to go ahead. The simple answer is they have no choice. There are no women’s teams available who are at a high enough level to train with. If they want a chance of doing well at the Olympics they have to play against skilled opponents and the only ones available at a satisfactory level (not too high and not too low) are teams comprised of teenage boys. Though obviously even thirteen and fourteen year olds, properly trained and skilled, are more than a match for a top adult women’s team. Maybe they would have better luck if they played against ten year olds.

So what we have is a fair number of publicized examples of female physical inferiority in physical endeavors, not to mention common sense and experience, as well as a fair amount of research confirming that these anecdotes aren’t just stereotypes, misogyny, or whatever else. These are real differences. Yet we are still opening up combat positions for women in the military which will introduce unnecessary extra danger to everyone involved. Life threatening danger. The fact that this stuff is all out there and easily accessible, yet I find my opinion here to be in the minority, makes me wonder how the world has become as insane as it is. This isn’t rocket science, anyone can easily understand this merely from personal interaction. Yet you are going to lose your job if you mention it publicly under your real name. What the hell kind of world are we living in?

Share Button

The girls who cry wolf

The boy who cried wolf is a famous tale in western culture. In it a shepherd boy who maintains a flock of sheep repeatedly calls for the help of local villagers to repel an attack by wolves. However, once the villagers arrive, they discover that there was no wolf attack and the boy simply tricked them for his own amusement. Eventually, a wolf does truely attack the flock and the shepherd boy really does need help. Unfortunately, when he goes to get help from the villagers, they remember all the many instances where his calls for help were false and decide not to help him. The flock of sheep is killed and the boy’s livelihood is destroyed. “This shows how liars are rewarded: even if they tell the truth, no one believes them.”

So why do I repeat this story that you surely already know? The lesson contained therein seems incredibly obvious right? I do this because in the recent past there have been many situations where an especially histrionic breed of woman has claimed that they were raped, usually in a most horrific manner, yet a certain amount of fact finding determines the claim of rape is false. The most famous example is the duke lacrosse case (as a former lacrosse player myself, I found the episode especially egregious), but there always seems to be a new, ostensibly obvious, case of false rape accusation which everyone takes seriously.

Bill Cosby for example is very respectable for his position of encouraging black men and women to form stable monogamous relationships and pointing out that absentee fathers is a particularly large problem for the black community. And how is this noble man (at least in this situation) treated? All of his ex-girlfriends come out and accused him of rape and harassment in some sort of opportunistic backlash in which they hope to get money from him and the raving, lunatic feminists hope to silence a particularly difficult dissenter to their culturally marxist narrative (being black gives him a certain level of immunity in the victim Olympics). All I can say about his actions is that it is fairly natural for a high status man to bed multiple women. Humans are biologically polygamous in nature and it takes a fair amount of cultural structure to make things otherwise. A culture which had been destroyed well before Cosby engaged in any dalliances. In other words, I don’t find fault with him personally for sleeping with those girls. I find fault with the girls and feminists for the Machiavellian machinations and opportunism utilized in taking advantage of the situation. The girls completely and totally created their involvement with cosby through their choices of who to sleep with. Contrary to feminist attitudes, it is in fact women who chose what males they associate with, not the other way around. This is why 80% of women in history have living descendants but only 40% of history’s men do. The girls are the ones who chose to sleep with Cosby rather than the other way around. Its all on them.

The most recent example of this sort of shenanigans is the girl named “Jackie” at the university of Virginia who claimed that she was raped by a bunch of frat guys after a date with one of them. Long story short, it turns out that all of this was made up whole sale originally because she was interested in a guy who wasn’t interested in her. She hoped to make him jealous by inventing a guy who was awesome and completely devoted to her. She bought a phone line and sent pictures of a guy she barely talked to in high school to make her story more believable. She relayed that she was so irresistible that he brought her back to his frat house and they all couldn’t help but rape her one after another; probably all wearing football helmets. She was that awesomely attractive that no male could possibly resist her beauty, they just had to rape her. Therefore her crush, Randall, must make her his girlfriend. She is just that awesome. sure… At least that was how it was supposed to work in the bizarro world of twisted logic that Jackie apparently inhabits.

I told a personal friend of this ridiculousness (repeated again and again by more women than can be counted) and stated that I simply cannot understand why the claims of any woman (especially concerning rape, but in general as well) is taken seriously any longer. It is too often an unbelievable exaggeration or complete fabrication. Usually the intent is one of three different sorts, although there a few more less common reasons. One is to bring the attention to a desperate attention whore who will say and do anything and suffer any cost for that 15 minutes of precious attention. It is also sometimes a bald attempt by an adventuress to gain financially through the legal system at the expense of men (think divorce court). And lastly, many girls, when faced with the possibility of being publicly outed as the sluts they are, opt to lie through their teeth and throw any men around them under the bus to save their “reputation.” In response I was treated to this reasonable sentiment:

It is a shame that a crazy girl who should be prosecuted and an over zealous amateur journalist looking for a seditious article failed as a professional. Rapes are very real and many women (and men) do suffer from them. Don’t forget the highschool girl who got fingered and peed on while passed out by the Ohio football team and then attacked. Those had pictures and were real.

There have been lots of incidents of women making up rape stories also, in particular on college campuses or being forced into claiming rape by crazy hateful feminists. It is a fucked up situation from all the sides obviously. [Atavisionary] you have a very strong bias against women but should recognize that rape is real and many times goes undocumented, should people not believe any rape accusers now because of this story?

It seems to me that the groups that have largely created the hateful attitude towards men, and white men in particular, care little about reason or measured consideration of specific events one at a time. They seek only to maximize the benefit of their ingroup or thede in the maximum number of situations regardless of how wrong a particular member may be in a particular situation. Fairness has never once entered their reasoning. Their demands and agitations are nothing but Machiavellian and have little to do with everyone just getting along. Generations of reasonable men have come before us and time and again they have been burned. Every inch they gave, every concession they made, every time they tried to play fair by a logical set of rules, it came back to bite them in the ass. Our culture is shot to shit because reasonable men tried to be fair to an opponent they did not, perhaps could not, understand and had no such consideration for them. It is suicidal to play by the rules when your opponents have long ago thrown them out and reap huge advantages from the asymmetry of discourse and trust. So while I do agree with the sentiment of fairness in the abstract sense, I have abandoned such sentimentality. It is useless in the absence of a good-faith arbiter with unambiguous authority who can enforce proper rules of logic and debate.

I un-apologetically state that this is a war and to win means you have to go for the throat and take no prisoners. The average woman very much had the power (women are naturally very good at social manipulation) to silence or dissuade the most delusional of rape obsessed feminists long before it got to the point of culture-wide hysteria. A hysteria which has had a great negative effect on myself and all other men. Yet they did nothing. And now I, and every other decent man, is supposed to continue treating women (and their statements) as privileged despite the fact that a large number of publicized examples clearly demonstrate that women as a group tend to lie excessively and are treated with undue leniency. This general finding by the media is fully consistent with my personal experiences over the years. Although it falls short in that it is not completely faithful to the ubiquitousness of deceit among the fairer sex that I am familiar with. And so I am left in the position that I don’t think being fair or logical will be effective in fixing this problem. Certainly uncritical white-knighting won’t help. Tough love is sometimes necessary and it seems that this is a case that the actions of women demand the toughest love imaginable. If thousands or hundreds of thousands of women have to suffer grievously at the hands of indifference to teach them as a group not to cry wolf, and for women to self-regulate other women that do cry wolf, then so be it. It is a lesson that has been a long time in coming. “This shows how liars are rewarded: even if they tell the truth, no one believes them.” This goes for groups as much as individuals. Don’t cry wolf, we aren’t going to believe you anymore.

Share Button