Older Men, Reproduction, and Resentment

Sunday, April 5, 2009

It’s a beautiful day in New York so I’m not going to write a long (or, many will argue, well thought-out) post for this issue, but I will just say I am consistently amazed at the resentment among privileged, educated women at men generally, and, I’m guessing, at their husbands specifically.

Reading the New York Times Magazine and a piece within by Lisa Belkin, essentially calling for men to be riven by the same age and time pressure as women when in comes to reproduction. She cites several studies that promote the idea that older men have children with more problems – lower IQs, autism, etc. Assuming that the studies rigorously controlled for other factors (which is always a legitimate concern in studies of this kind) like environment and mothers’ age, correlation doesn’t imply causation.

It seems more likely to me that older dads are simply too tired to supply the extra stimulation to boost their childrens’ IQs by two or three points.

In any case, Belkin goes off on an embittered riff about men having “sell by” dates and hoping that women will now begin to judge them in the same way women are judged.

Good luck, sister.

And while you’re at it, quit complaining. The choices of the modern woman are what women have been fighting for for decades, right? Furthermore, she isn’t really at war with men or the culture, she’s at war with biology, but doesn’t seem to realize it.

Reproduction is the purpose of life. If you don’t want to have kids, don’t have them. But if you do, quit complaining. The world has had enough of these latter-day feminists whining about the burdens of motherhood. She writes of the stereotype of “women eager to settle down and men as reluctant” as though their were no truth in it; as though women are not the primary drivers of our reproductive dyad. It’s just silly.

Lisa, women – you want babies and are anatomically constructed to grow and nurture them. Get used to it already. In fact, revel in it. It’s the point of your existence – not, and this is true of men as well, whatever pathetic career you pursue until you die and everyone forgets you ever existed.

Even if it turns out to be true that sperm loses some potency as men age, it does not change the sexual dynamic. Men can reproduce well beyond the age when women can. Fecundity is sexually attractive. Ipso facto, men are attractive to the opposite sex for longer than women are. That’s why women go for the “silver-haired sex symbols,” and why old ladies can’t get a date.

What can you do? Life sucks.

One can only imagine what its like to live with a woman like this. Carefully charting up chores and duties to make sure they’re split 50/50 and resenting it the whole way; seething about breastfeeding and having the primary role as the caregiver because she is “mommy.”

Eeesh. I pity her poor husband.


Charles Murray: College is a Waste of Time

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

I’m a big fan of Charles Murray. Murray, a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, gained famed several years ago for his book with Richard J. Herrnstein, The Bell Curve.

At the time, the book was, in part, interpreted as racist because it pointed out that blacks, on average, score lower than whites on IQ tests; Murray and Herrnstein noted that the cause of this discrepancy is uncertain, but also suggested that both genetic and environmental factors might be involved. Murray (Herrnstein died just before the book was released) is defending the book to this day, and since then there has been a ton of research and commentary on the validity of IQ and what, if any, conclusions can be drawn from the measurement.

Though I disagree with any suggestion of a genetic underpinning (recent evidence has demonstrated an all but certain correlation to environmental factors), the book still made some valid points, most notably this one: intelligence (however measured) has vast and important implications for success. In an America that is increasingly under pressure from the Republi-Conservative idiocracy, this obvious statement needs to be emphasized as early and as often as possible. That is to say: Intelligence is not fixed at birth. Every American must strive to develop their intellectual capacities. Wealth, happiness, and success depend upon it.

At any rate, Murray has penned a piece in today’s Wall Street Journal suggesting that college is a waste of time for most people and that certification tests would do more than the current system to equalize the unfair distribution of the wealth in this country.

I agree. Read the piece and let me know what you think.

Evolution: A Scientific American Reader

Friday, May 30, 2008

I bought this book while browsing the book section of the gift shop at the Museum of Natural History in New York. My interest in biology, genetics, and evolution is paramount in my intellectual life right now, and has been for a while. I was hoping that the book would give me new information and inspire my thinking on the subject. I wasn’t disappointed.

The book is a compilation of articles from Scientific American magazine related to evolution. It starts with a section on the evolution of the universe, continues with cellular evolution, dinosaurs and pre-hominid life, and then finishes with human evolution. Each section contains several articles worth reading, with the standouts being:

  • The entire section on the evolution of the universe.
  • The articles about primitive cellular evolution and immunology (this is a fascinating subject).
  • Stephen Jay Gould on Punctuated Equilibrium.
  • The articles about early hominid evolution and population dispersal.
  • There are a few misses in there as well, but because the book is loosely organized by discrete topics, without much continuity between them, you can simply skip the articles that don’t interest you. For a primer on evolution, and in particular to learn about the evolution of the universe, the formation of stars, and utterly amazing biology of cells, Evolution: A Scientific American Reader is a great book. I recommend it.

    Prehistoric Tribe in the Amazon

    Friday, May 30, 2008

    This fascinating photo is published as part of a series by a group called Survival International to support the claim that there are uncontacted tribes living in the Amazon rainforest. If accurate, you’re looking at mankind 10,000 years ago. Apparently, they have had no direct contact with the modern world. Truly astounding. They’re shooting their bow and arrows at the airplane!

    Men Will Be Boys

    Saturday, May 10, 2008

    This piece from Kay Hymowitz in City Journal is about the extended adolescence of young men in our time. It’s heavy on pop cultural references and more than a little anecdotal, but it makes its point. Men are failing at becoming adults.

    I’ve got my own theories about why this is happening, related to the visual impact and diffuse distribution of mass media along with the changed sexual mores of the last few decades. In any case, the piece is worth reading. The answer to the question, why don’t boys grow up, might just be because they don’t have to.