THE JOYFUL REDUCTION OF UNCERTAINTY

Book Review: Evolutionary Psychopathology

I.

Evolutionary psychology is famous for having lots of stories that make sense but are hard to test. Psychiatry is famous for having mountains of experimental data but no idea what’s going on. Maybe if you added them together, they might make one healthy scientific field? Enter Evolutionary Psychopathology: A Unified Approach by psychology professor Marco del Giudice. It starts by presenting the theory of “life history strategies”. Then it uses the theory – along with a toolbox of evolutionary and genetic ideas – to shed new light on psychiatric conditions.

Some organisms have lots of low-effort offspring. Others have a few high-effort offspring. This was the basis of the old r/k selection theory. Although the details of that theory have come under challenge, the basic insight remains. A fish will lay 10,000 eggs, then go off and do something else. 9,990 will get eaten by sharks, but that still leaves enough for there to be plenty of fish in the sea. But an elephant will spend two years pregnant, three years nursing, and ten years doing at least some level of parenting, all to produce a single big, well-socialized, and high-prospect-of-life-success calf. These are two different ways of doing reproduction. In keeping with the usual evolutionary practice, del Giudice calls the fish strategy “fast” and the elephant strategy “slow”.

To oversimplify: fast strategies (think “live fast, die young”) are well-adapted for unpredictable dangerous environments. Each organism has a pretty good chance of randomly dying in some unavoidable way before adulthood; the species survives by sheer numbers. Fast organisms should grow up as quickly as possible in order to maximize the chance of reaching reproductive age before they unpredictably die. They should mate with anybody around, to maximize the chance of mating before they unpredictably die. They should ignore their offspring, since they expect most offspring to unpredictably die, and since they have too many to take care of anyway. They should be willing to take risks, since the downside (death without reproducing) is already their default expectation, and the upside (becoming one of the few individuals to give birth to the 10,000 offspring of the next generation) is high.

Slow strategies are well-adapted for safer environments, or predictable complex environments whose intricacies can be mastered with enough time and effort. Slow strategy animals may take a long time to grow up, since they need to achieve mastery before leaving their parents. They might be very picky maters, since they have all the time in the world to choose, will only have a few children each, and need to make sure each of those children has the best genes possible. They should work hard to raise their offspring, since each individual child represents a substantial part of the prospects of their genetic line. They should avoid risks, since the downside (death without reproducing) would be catastrophically worse than default, and the upside (giving birth to a few offspring of the next generation) is what they should expect anyway.

Del Giudice asks: what if life history strategies differ not just across species, but across individuals of the same species? What if this theory applied within the human population?

In line with animal research on pace-of-life syndromes, human research has shown that impulsivity, risk-taking, and sensation seeking, are systematically associated with fast life history traits such as early intercourse, early childbearing in females, unrestricted sociosexuality, larger numbers of sexual partners, reduced long-term mating orientation, and increased mortality. Future discounting and heightened mating competition reduce the benefits of reciprocal long-term relationships; in motivational terms, affiliation and reciprocity are downregulated, whereas status seeking and aggression are upregulated. The resulting behavioral pattern is marked by exploitative and socially antagonistic tendencies; these tendencies may be expressed in different forms in males and females, for example through physical versus relational aggression (Belsky et al 1991; Borowsky et al 2009; Brezina et al 2009; Chen & Vazsonyi 2011; Copping et al 2013a, 2013b, 2014a; Curry et al 2008; Dunkel & Decker 2010 […]

And:

Disgust sensitivity is another dimension of individual differences with links to the fast-slow continuum. To begin, high disgust sensitivity is broadly associated with measures of risk aversion. Moral and sexual disgust correlate with higher agreeableness, conscientiousness, and honesty-humility; and sexual disgust specifically predicts restricted sociosexuality (Al-Shawaf et al 2015; Sparks et al 2018; Tybur et al 2009, 2015; Tybur & de Vries 2013). These findings suggest that the disgust system is implicated in the regulation of life-history-related behaviors. In particular, sexual and moral disgust show the most consistent pattern of correlations with other indicators of slow strategies.

Romantic attachment styles have wide ranging influences on sexuality, mating, and couple stability, but their relations with life history strategies are somewhat complex. Secure attachment styles are consistently associated with slow life history traits (eg Chisholm 1999b; Chisholm et al 2005; Del Giudice 2990a). Avoidance predicts unrestricted sociosexuality, reduced long-term orientation, and low commitment to partners (Brennan & Shaver 1995; Jackson & Kirkpatrick 2007; Templehof & Allen 2008). Given the central role of pair bonding in long-term parental investment, avoidant attachment – which, on average, is higher in men – can be generally interpreted as a mediator of reduced parenting effort. However, some inconsistent findings indicate that avoidance may capture multiple functional mechanisms. High levels of romantic avoidance are found both in people with very early sexual debut and in those who delay intercourse (Gentzler & Kearns, 2004); this suggests that, at least for some people, avoidant attachment may actually reflect a partial downregulation of the mating system, consistent with slower life history strategies.

And:

At a higher level of abstraction, the behavioral correlates of life history strategies can be framed within the five-factor model of personality. Among the Big Five, agreeableness and conscientiousness show the most consistent pattern of associations with slow traits such as restricted sociosexuality, long-term mating orientation, couple stability, secure attachment to parents in infancy and romantic partners in adulthood, reduced sex drive, low impulsivity, and risk aversion across domains (eg Baams et al 2004; Banai & Pavela 2015; Bourage et al 2007; DeYoung 2001; Holtzman & Strube 2013; Jonasen et al 2013 […] Some researchers working in a life history perspective have argued that the general factor of personality should be regarded as the core personality correlate of slow strategies.

Del Giudice suggests that these traits, and predisposition to fast vs. slow life history in general, are caused by a gene * environment interaction. The genetic predisposition is straightforward enough. The environmental aspect is more interesting.

There has been some research on the thrify phenotype hypothesis: if you’re undernourished while in the womb, you’ll be at higher risk of obesity later on. Some mumble “epigenetic” mumble “mechanism” looks around, says “We seem to be in a low-food environment, better design the brain and body to gorge on food when it’s available and store lots of it as fat”, then somehow modulates the relevant genes to make it happen.

Del Giudice seems to imply that a similar epigenetic mechanism “looks around” at the world during the first few years of life to try to figure out if you’re living in the sort of unpredictable dangerous environment that needs a fast strategy, or the sort of safe, masterable environment that needs a slow strategy. Depending on your genetic predisposition and the observable features of the environment, this mechanism “makes a decision” to “lock” you into a faster or slower strategy, setting your personality traits more toward one side or the other.

He further subdivides fast vs. slow life history into four different “life history strategies”.

The antagonistic/exploitative strategy is a fast strategy that focuses on getting ahead by defecting against other people. Because it expects a short and noisy life without the kind of predictable iterated games that build reciprocity, it throws all this away and focuses on getting ahead quick. A person who has been optimized for an antagonistic/exploitative strategy will be charming, good at some superficial social tasks, and have no sense of ethics – ie the perfect con man. Antagonistic/exploitative people will have opportunities to reproduce through outright rape, through promising partners commitment and then not providing it, through status in criminal communities, or through things in the general category of hiring prostitutes when both parties are too drunk to use birth control. These people do not have to be criminals; they can also be the most cutthroat businessmen, lawyers, and politicians. Jumping ahead to the psychiatry connection, the extreme version of this strategy is probably antisocial personality disorder.

The creative/seductive strategy is a fast strategy that focuses on getting ahead through sexual selection, ie optimizing for being really sexy. Because it expects a short and noisy life, it focuses on raw sex appeal (which peaks in the late teens and early twenties) as opposed to things like social status or ability to care for children (which peak later in maturity). A person who has been optimized for a creative/seductive strategy will be attractive, artistic, flirtatious, and popular – eg the typical rock star or starlet. They will also have traits that support these skills, which for complicated reasons include being very emotional. Creative/seductive people will have opportunities to reproduce through making other people infatuated with them; if they are lucky, they can seduce a high-status high-resource person who can help take care of the children. The most extreme version of this strategy is probably borderline personality disorder.

The prosocial/caregiving strategy is a slow strategy that focuses on being a responsible pillar of the community who everybody likes. Because it expects a slow and stable life, it focuses on lasting relationships and cultivating a good reputation that will serve it well in iterated games. A person who has been optimized for a prosocial/caregiving strategy will be dependable, friendly, honest, and conformist – eg the typical model citizen. Prosocial/caregiving people will have opportunities to reproduce by marrying their high school sweetheart, living in a suburban tract house, and having 2.4 children who go to state college. The most extreme version of this strategy is probably being a normie.

The skilled/provisioning strategy is a slow strategy that focuses on being good at specific useful tasks. Because it expects a slow and stable life, it focuses on gaining abilities that may take years to bear any fruit. A person who is optimized for a skilled/provisioning strategy will be intelligent, good at learning, and a little bit obsessive. They may not invest as much in friendliness or seductiveness; once they succeed at their chosen path, they will get social status through being indispensible for the continued functioning of the community, and they will have opportunities to reproduce because of their high status and obvious ability to provide for the children. The most extreme version of this strategy is probably high-functioning autism.

This division into life strategies is a seductive idea. I mean, literally, it’s a seductive idea, ie in terms of memetic evolution, we may worry it is optimized for a seductive/creative strategy for reproduction, rather than the boring autistic “is actually true” strategy. The following is not a figure from Del Giudice’s book, but maybe it should be:

There’s a lot of debate these days about how we should treat research that fits our existing beliefs too closely. I remember Richard Dawkins (or maybe some other atheist) once argued we should be suspicious of religion because it was too normal. When you really look at the world, you get all kinds of crazy stuff like quantum physics and time dilation, but when you just pretend to look at the world, you get things like a loving Father, good vs. evil, and ritual purification – very human things, things a schoolchild could understand. Atheists and believers have since had many debates over whether religion is too ordinary or sufficiently strange, but I haven’t heard either side deny the fundamental insight that science should do something other than flatter our existing categories for making sense of the world.

On the other hand, the first thermometer no doubt recorded that it was colder in winter than in summer. And if someone had criticized physicists, saying “You claim to have a new ‘objective’ way of looking at temperature, but really all you’re doing is justifying your old prejudices that the year is divided into nice clear human-observable parts, and summer is hot and winter is cold” – then that person would be a moron.

This kind of thing keeps coming up, from Klein vs. Harris on the science of race to Jussim on stereotype accuracy. I certainly can’t resolve it here, so I want to just acknowledge the difficulty and move on. If it helps, I don’t think Del Giudice wants to argue these are objectively the only four possible life strategies and that they are perfect Platonic categories, just that these are a good way to think of some of the different ways that organisms (including humans) can pursue their goal of reproduction.

II.

Psychiatry is hard to analyze from an evolutionary perspective. From an evolutionary perspective, it shouldn’t even exist. Most psychiatric disorders are at least somewhat genetic, and most psychiatric disorders decrease reproductive fitness. Biologists have equations that can calculate how likely it is that maladaptive genes can stay in the population for certain amounts of time, and these equations say, all else being equal, that psychiatric disorders should not be possible. Apparently all else isn’t equal, but people have had a lot of trouble figuring out exactly what that means. A good example of this kind of thing is Greg Cochran’s theory that homosexuality must be caused by some kind of infection; he does not see another way it could remain a human behavior without being selected into oblivion.

Del Giudice does the best he can within this framework. He tries to sort psychiatric conditions into a few categories based on possible evolutionary mechanisms.

First, there are conditions that are plausibly good evolutionary strategies, and people just don’t like them. For example, nymphomania is unfortunate from a personal and societal perspective, but one can imagine the evolutionary logic checks out.

Second, there are conditions which might be adaptive in some situations, but don’t work now. For example, antisocial traits might be well-suited to environments with minimal law enforcement and poor reputational mechanisms for keeping people in check; now they will just land you in jail.

Third, there are conditions which are extreme levels of traits which it’s good to have a little of. For example, a little anxiety is certainly useful to prevent people from poking lions with sticks just to see what will happen. Imagine (as a really silly toy model) that two genes A and B determine anxiety, and the optimal anxiety level is 10. Alice has gene A = 8 and gene B = 2. Bob has gene A = 2 and gene B = 8. Both of them are happy well-adjusted individuals who engage in the locally optimal level of lion-poking. But if they reproduce, their child may inherit gene A = 8 and gene B = 8 for a total of 16, much more anxious than is optimal. This child might get diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, but it’s just a natural consequence of having genes for various levels of anxiety floating around in the population.

Fourth, there are conditions which are the failure modes of traits which it’s good to have a little of. For example, psychiatrists have long categorized certain common traits into “schizotypy”, a cluster of characteristics more common in the relatives of schizophrenics and in people at risk of developing schizophrenia themselves. These traits are not psychotic in and of themselves and do not decrease fitness, nor is schizophrenia necessarily just the far end of this distribution. But schizotypal traits are one necessary ingredient of getting schizophrenia; schizophrenia is some kind of failure mode only possible with enough schizotypy. If schizotypal traits do some other good thing, they can stick around in the population, and this will look a lot like “schizophrenia is genetic”.

How can we determine which of these categories any given psychiatric disorder falls into?

One way is through what is called taxometrics – the study of to what degree mental disorders are just the far end of a normal distribution of traits. Some disorders are clearly this way; for example, if you quantify and graph everybody’s anxiety levels, they will form a bell curve, and the people diagnosed with anxiety disorders will just be the ones on the far right tail. Are any disorders not this way? This is a hard question, though schizophrenia is a promising candidate.

Another way is through measuring the correlation of disorders with mutational load. Some people end up with more mutations (and so a generically less functional genome) than others. The most common cause of this is being the child of an older father, since that gives mutations more time to accumulate in sperm cells. Other people seem to have higher mutational load for other, unclear reasons, which can be measured through facial asymmetry and the presence of minor physical abnormalities (like weirdly-shaped ears). If a particular psychiatric disorder is more common in people with increased mutational load, that suggests it isn’t just a functional adaptation but some kind of failure mode of something or other. Schizophrenia and low-functioning autism are both linked to higher mutational load.

Another way is by trying to figure out what aspect of evolutionary strategy matches the occurrence of the disorder. Developmental psychologists talk about various life stages, each of which brings new challenges. For example, adrenache (age 6-8) marks “the transition from early to middle childhood”, when “behavioral plasticity and heightened social learning go hand in hand with the expression of new genetic influences on psychological traits such as agression, prosocial behavior, and cognitive skills” and children receive social feedback “about their attractiveness and competitive ability”. More obviously, puberty marks the expression of still other genetic influences and the time at which young people start seriously thinking about sex. So if various evolutionary adaptations to deal with mating suddenly become active around puberty, and some mental disorder always starts at puberty, that provides some evidence that the mental disorder might be related to an evolutionary adaptation for dealing with mating. Or, since a staple of evo psych is that men and women pursue different reproductive strategies, if some psychiatric disease is twice as common in women (eg depression) or five times as common in men (eg autism), then that suggests it’s correlated with some strategy or trait that one sex uses more than the other.

This is where Del Giudice ties in the life history framework. If some psychiatric disease is more common in people who otherwise seem to be pursuing some life strategy, then maybe it’s related to that strategy. Either it’s another name for that strategy, or it’s another name for an extreme version of that strategy, or it’s a failure mode of that strategy, or it’s associated with some trait or adaptation which that strategy uses more than others do. By determining the association of disorders with certain life strategies, we can figure out what adaptive trait they’re piggybacking on, and from there we can reverse engineer them and try to figure out what went wrong.

This is a much more well-thought-out and orderly way of thinking about psychiatric disease than anything I’ve ever seen anyone else try. How does it work?

Unclear. Psychiatric disorders really resist being put into this framework. For example, some psychiatric disorders have a u-shaped curve regarding childhood quality – they are more common both in people with unusually deprived childhoods and people with unusually good childhoods. Many anorexics are remarkably high-functioning, so much so that even the average clinical psychiatrist takes note, but others are kind of a mess. Autism is classically associated with very low IQ and with bodily asymmetries that indicate high mutational load, but a lot of autistics have higher-than-normal IQ and minimal bodily asymmetry. Schizophrenia often starts in a very specific window between ages 18 and 25, which sounds promising for a developmental link, but a few cases will start at age 5, or age 50, or pretty much whenever. Everything is like this. What is a rational, order-loving evolutionary psychologist supposed to do?

Del Giudice bites the bullet and says that most of our diagnostic categories conflate different conditions. The unusually high-functioning anorexics have a different disease than the unusually low-functioning ones. Low IQ autism with bodily asymmetries has a different evolutionary explanation than high IQ autism without. In some cases, he is able to marshal a lot of evidence for distinct clinical entities. For example, most cases of OCD start in adulthood, but one-third begin in early childhood instead. These early OCD cases are much more likely to be male, more likely to have high conscientiousness, more likely to co-occur with autistic traits, and have a different set of obsessions focusing on symmetry, order, and religion (my own OCD started in very early childhood and I feel called out by this description). Del Giudice says these are two different conditions, one of which is associated with pathogen defense and one of which is associated with a slow life strategy.

Deep down, psychiatrists know that we have not really subdivided the space of mental disorders very well. Every year a new study comes out purporting to have discovered the three types of depression, or the four types of depression, or the five types of depression, or some other number of types of depression that some scientist thinks she has discovered. Often these are given explanatory power, like “number three is the one that doesn’t respond to SSRIs”, or “1 and 2 are biological; 3, 4, and 5 are caused by life events”. All of these seem equally plausible, so given that they all say different things I tend to ignore all of them. So when del Giudice puts depression under his spotlight and finds it subdivides into many different subdisorders, this is entirely fair. Maybe we should be concerned if he didn’t find that.

But part of me is still concerned. If evo psych correctly predicted the characteristics of the psychiatric disorders we observe, then we would count that as theoretical confirmation. Instead, it only works after you replace the psychiatric disorders we observe with another, more subtle set right on the threshold of observation. The more you’re allowed to diverge from our usual understanding, the more chance you have to fudge your results; the more different disorders you can divide things into, the more options you have for overfitting. Del Giudice’s new schema may well be accurate; it just makes it hard to check his accuracy.

On the other hand, reality has a surprising amount of detail. Every previous attempt to make sense of psychopathology has failed. But psychopathology has to make sense. So it must make sense in some complicated way. If you see what looks like a totally random squiggle on a piece of paper, then probably the equation that describes it really is going to have a lot of variables, and you shouldn’t criticize a many-variable equation as “overfitting”. There is a part of me that thinks this book is a beautiful example of what solving a complicated field would look like. You take all the complications, and you explain by layering of a bunch of different simple and reasonable things on top of one another. The psychiatry parts of Evolutionary Psychopathology: A Unified Approach do this. I don’t know if it’s all just epicycles, but it’s a heck of a good try.

I would encourage anyone with an interest in mental health and a tolerance for dense journal-style writing to read the psychiatry parts of this book. Whether or not the hypotheses are right, in the process of defending them it calls in such a wide array of evidence, from so many weird studies that nobody else would have any reason to think about, that it serves as a fantastic survey of the field from an unusual perspective. If you’ve ever wanted to know how many depressed people are reproducing (surprisingly many! about 90 – 100% as many as non-depressed people!) or what the IQ of ADHD people is (0.6 standard deviations below average; the people most of you see are probably from a high-functioning subtype) or how schizophrenia varies with latitude (triples as you move from the equator to the poles, but after adjusting for this darker-skinned people seem to have more, suggesting a possible connection with Vitamin D), this is the book for you.

III.

I want to discuss some political and social implications of this work. These are my speculations only; del Giudice is not to blame.

We believe that an abusive or deprived childhood can negatively affect people’s life chances. So far, we’ve cached this out entirely in terms of brain damage. Children’s developing brains “can’t deal with the trauma” and so become “broken” in ways that make them a less functional adult. Life history theory offers a different explanation. Nothing is “broken”. Deprived children have just looked around, seen what the world is like, and rewired themselves accordingly on some deep epigenetic level.

I was reading this at the same time as the studies on preschool, and I couldn’t help noticing how well they fit together. The preschool studies were surprising because we expected them to improve children’s intelligence. Instead, they improved everything else. Why? This would make sense if the safe environment of preschool wasn’t “fixing” their “broken” brains, but pushing them to follow a slower life strategy. Stay in school. Don’t commit crimes. Don’t have kids while you’re still a teenager. This is exactly what we expect a push towards slow life strategies to do.

Life strategies even predict the “fade-out/fade-in” nature of the effects; the theory specifies that although aspects of life strategy may be set early on, they only “activate” at the appropriate developmental period. From page 93: “The social feedback that children receive in this phase [middle childhood]…may feed into the regulation of puberty timing and shape behavioral strategies in adolescence.”

Society has done a lot to try to help disadvantaged children. A lot of research has been gloomy about the downstream effects; none of it raised anybody’s IQ, there are still lots of poor people around, income inequality continues to increase. But maybe we’re just looking in the wrong place.

On a related note: a lot of intelligent, responsible, basically decent young men complain of romantic failure. Although the media has tried hard to make this look like some kind of horrifying desire to rape everybody because they believe are entitled to whatever and whoever they want, the basic complaint is more prosaic: “I try to be a nice guy who contributes to society and respects others; how come I’m a miserable 25-year-old virgin, whereas every bully and jerk and frat bro I know is able to get a semi-infinite supply of sex partners whom they seduce, abuse, and dump?” This complaint isn’t imaginary; studies have shown that criminals are more likely to have lost their virginity earlier, that boys with more aggressive and dishonest behaviors have earlier age of first sexual intercourse, and that women find men with dark triad traits more attractive. I used to work in a psychiatric hospital that served primarily adolescents with a history of violence or legal issues; most of them had had multiple sexual encounters by age fifteen; only half of MIT students in their late teens and early 20s have had sex at all.

Del Giudice’s work offers a framework by which to understand these statistics. Most MIT students are probably pursuing slow life strategies; most violent adolescents in psych hospitals are probably pursuing fast ones. Fast strategies activate a suite of traits designed for having sex earlier; slow life strategies activate a suite of traits designed for preventing early sex. There’s a certain logical leap here where you have to explain how, if an individual is trying very hard to have teenage sex, his mumble epigenetic mumble mechanism can somehow prevent this. But millions of very vocal people’s lived experiences argue that it can. The good news for these people is that they are adapted for a life strategy which in the past has consistently resulted in reproduction at some point. Maybe when they graduate with a prestigious MIT degree, they will get enough money and status to attract a high-quality slow-strategy mate, who can bear high-quality slow-strategy kids who produce many surviving grandchildren. I don’t know. This hasn’t happened to me yet. Maybe I should have gone to MIT.

Finally, the people who like to say that various things “serve as a justification for oppression” are going to have a field day with this one. Although del Giudice is too scientific to assign any moral weight to his life history strategies, it’s not that hard to import it.

(source)

Life strategies run the risk of reifying some of our negative judgments. If criminals are pursuing a hard-coded antagonistic-exploitative strategy, that doesn’t look good for rehabilitation. Likewise, if some people are pursuing creative-seductive strategies, that provides new force to the warning to avoid promiscuous floozies and stick to your own social class. In the extreme version of this, you could imagine a populism that claims to be fighting for the decent middle-class slow-strategy segment of the population against an antagonistic/exploitative underclass. The creative/seductive people are on thin ice – maybe they should start producing art that looks like something.

(it doesn’t help that this theory is distantly related to an earlier theory proposed by Canadian psychologist John Rushton, who added that black people are racially predisposed to fast strategies and Asians to slow strategies, with white people somewhere in the middle. Del Giudice mentions Rushton just enough that nobody can accuse him of deliberately covering up his existence, then hastily moves on.)

But aside from the psychological compellingness, this doesn’t make a lot of sense. We already know that antagonistic and exploitative people exist in the world. All that life history theory does is exactly what progressives want to do: provide an explanation that links these qualities to childhood deprivation, or to dangerous environments where they may be the only rational choice. Sure, you would have to handwave away the genetic aspect, but you’re going to have be handwaving away some genetics to make this kind of thing work no matter what, and life history theory makes this easier rather than harder. It also provides some testable hypotheses about what aspects of childhood deprivation we might want to target, and what kind of effects we might expect such interventions to have.

Apart from all this, I find life history strategy theory sort of reassuring. Until now, atheists have been denied the comfort of knowing God has a plan for them. Sure, they could know that evolution had a plan for them, but that plan was just “watch dispassionately to see whether they live or die, then adjust gene frequencies in the next generation accordingly”. In life history strategy theory, evolution – or at least your mumble epigenetic mumble mechanism – actually has a plan for you. Now we can be evangelical atheists who have a personal relationship with evolution. It’s pretty neat.

And I come at this from the perspective of someone who has failed at many things despite trying very hard, and also succeeded at others without even trying. This has been a pretty formative experience for me, and it’s seductive to be able to think of all of it as part of a plan. Literally seductive, in the sense of memetic evolution. Like that Hogwarts chart.

Read this book at your own risk; its theories will start creeping into everything you think.

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403 Responses to Book Review: Evolutionary Psychopathology

  1. Scott Alexander says:

    Did people who are signed up to get email notifications get an email notification for this post?

  2. tailcalled says:

    Can evolutionary psychopathology explain paraphilias? Biastophilia could probably be explained this way, but other paraphilias seem harder.

    • albertborrow says:

      I don’t think we really need an evolutionary psychopathological explanation for the weirder paraphilias. They seem to fit fairly comfortably into the “formative experiences” + “positive reinforcement” + “superstimuli” camp. The first time you see something weird, maybe you’re too young to have absorbed the taboo that makes it uncomfortable for adults, and then twenty years later you’re knee-deep in yiff wondering where it all went wrong. This explains why the strangest paraphilias are all correlated with porn use. (I remember reading that this intuition isn’t iron-clad, but it works for the extreme cases. Nobody without a porn-addiction is going to have that one fetish where people turn into inanimate objects or whatever.)

      You might be right about biastophilia, but I think there are paraphilias more obviously connected with evolution, like ones for unrealistic proportions.

      • Inty says:

        “Nobody without a porn-addiction is going to have that one fetish where people turn into inanimate objects or whatever.”

        You rang? I’ve had this one since before I ever saw porn, and I still wouldn’t describe myself as addicted.

      • tailcalled says:

        I don’t think I agree. The difference between furries and men who don’t use yiff isn’t that the latter considers it taboo while the former does not. Clearly furries aren’t going to be a superstimulus for sexual attraction to humans, and there’s plenty of entirely normal non-fetishistic porn that does function as a superstimulus for that.

        With furries, there’s plausibly some sexual imprinting thing going on towards anthropomorphic animals in the media or something, but it doesn’t seem like this can explain all paraphilias, and it doesn’t seem like everyone is equally vulnerable to imprinting errors.

        • gattsuru says:

          Clearly furries aren’t going to be a superstimulus for sexual attraction to humans…

          I’d caution that while this might seem the intuitive answer, there’s some evidence against it. A lot of furries do specifically like that they can have hyperstylized characters that can be caricatures of attractiveness or sexual performance. This is most obvious in that all drawn porn tends to favor realistic sizes and amounts of fluids, but it goes a lot further. Fur (or scales) bypass the question of body hair, freckles, or blemishes. Animalistic characters can take poses that wouldn’t be comfortable for humans without looking Liefeldian; size differences can be far greater than present in the real world while keeping proportions within the most common ranges.

          Sometimes this can go to ridiculous levels, a la Gideon’s pringle cans.

          I don’t think it explains why people get into the fandom — imprinting, including nonsexual! seems more accurate — but it’s worth keeping in mind.

      • Skivverus says:

        That seems to me like it reverses cause and effect, or at least neglects a possible feedback loop: nobody with that one fetish where people turn into inanimate objects or whatever is going to be able to find a partner in real life who can satisfy it, so they turn to porn instead.

        Edit: LadyJane apparently has a similar insight on a different subject, below. Feedback loops can show up anywhere.

    • Kestrellius says:

      I initially read that as “blastophilia”.

  3. deluks917 says:

    That meme is brutal. I love ‘minimal advantage in general intelligence’. You know how to hit your SLS readers where it hurts.

    Great post overall.

    • Simon_Jester says:

      I mean, you can tell just by glancing at the weird cartoony way the ‘jock’ character on the right is drawn. It’s sort of a recursively self-parodic, recursively ironic illustration of how the incel community tends to naturally descend into a Cult of Self-Loathing.

      I think the ContraPoints take on incels is well worth looking at for this, because having watched that video, I intuitively ‘get’ that meme, in the sense of “wow, I can totally see how there are people who unironically look at the world like this, and just how hard you have to be whipping yourself to think that way on a day to day basis.”

  4. Randy M says:

    “and that women find men with dark triad traits more attractive”

    This makes me wonder if life strategies are also reflected in mate choices, not just mate attraction strategies. It seems obvious that they will, but that makes statements like the above highly situational.

    In other words, is the hufflepuff caregiver/prosocial looking for other c/p’s to mate with, or looking to use their c/p strategy to mate with anyone who seems receptive to it?

    Actually it probably varies on a case by case basis. Fast strategies will mate with anyone, but slow strategies will prefer slow strategies. Game theory has a lot to say about this, I’d wager (pardon the pun).

    And it gets meta, of course; meta in the same sense that a competitive strategy game has a meta. “Oh, seductive strategy is really popular among women right now. Optimal strategy is to switch to an antagonistic/exploitative strategy to counter that.”

    • Conrad Honcho says:

      In other words, is the hufflepuff caregiver/prosocial looking for other c/p’s to mate with, or looking to use their c/p strategy to mate with anyone who seems receptive to it?

      N=1, but my wife sorts into Hufflepuff and I sort into Ravenclaw and it seems to work out pretty well. I do the providing thing, she does the caring thing.

      • albatross11 says:

        One possibility is that the generally optimal male strategy is a little more shifted toward the dark triad than the generally optimal female strategy, and so it’s a marker for maleness. And then, sort-of like being extra tall, people with more of it seem more manly.

        • Watchman says:

          Isn’t this the case for just about all the mammals at least though? Males are more aggressive and more likely to seek multiple mates. Humans are unlikely not to refer back to this evolutionary history in their behavioural patterns since its not as if we’ve had anything to breed these traits out in our history.

    • gbdub says:

      I think there’s an important distinction between “women are attracted to men with dark triad traits” and “women find dark triad traits attractive”.

      I don’t think women are generally turned on by the things that make the dark triad “dark”. But men with dark triad traits are better at presenting themselves as sexy. They also, of course, have fewer hangups about misrepresenting themselves to make women think they have positive traits they don’t.

      There may be a bit of a kernel of truth in that women (and men for that matter) do tend to judge behavior in a relative sense; somebody who is a jerk to everyone but is occasionally nice to his girl is judged sexier (by his girl at least) than a guy who is kind to everyone. Odd that you can make someone feel more special by generally lowering their expectations for your behavior, but it seems to work.

      • Aapje says:

        You can also argue that many women actually exhibit strong dark triad traits themselves, but that they tend to exhibit this differently than men.

        For example, I would argue that society financially rewards (moderately) unethical behavior on average. We call it dark triad when people (mainly men) directly take advantage of this reality.

        When women take advantage of this reality, by dating these men, so they get part of these resources, I would argue that they are themselves acting similarly unethically by rewarding unethical behavior. That there is an intermediate step doesn’t change the fundamental dark triadness (just like a male worker who does business with another company that employs slave labor is not excused in my eyes, for this added ‘plausible deniability’).

        • Simon_Jester says:

          I mean.

          You can’t evolutionarily select for a strategy of pursuing the benefits of crimes you don’t know are happening.

          The dark triad consists of narcissism, Machiavellianism, and psychopathy. Some percentage of ambitious women may well elect to attach to men who use these traits to profit by acting unethically, which would be the kind of thing you describe.

          On the other hand, a lot of women who are not themselves narcissists, Machiavellian, or psychopathic end up dating men in these categories for other reasons. Say, because they grew up sheltered and don’t really grasp why you never let the crazy stick it into you. Or because of the opposite- they grew up emotionally or physically abused, and have trouble relating in a relationship where they *aren’t* being abused. Or because men with “dark triad” traits are, practically by definition, pretty good at misrepresenting themselves to prospective mates, at least for a while.

          [Following example numbers are pulled out of a metaphorical hat to illustrate the concept; I didn’t calculate them]

          So for every ONE man who pursues a stable(-ish) antagonistic/exploitative strategy in society, there is, like, 0.3 women who are mated to that such a man out of antagonistic/exploitative tendencies of their own. Insofar as the other 70% or so of a/e men have mates, it’s because they’ve carried out one of the strategies above.

          I suspect the mirror image of this is also true: for every ONE woman who pursues antagonistic/exploitative strategies of her own, there are about 0.7 non-a/e men who are in a (probably unhappy) relationship with such women. Note that there are PLENTY of ways for antagonistic and exploitative behaviors to work with or without the increased violent tendencies we normally associate with testosterone. The “a/e lifestyle” should not be visualized as “big thug;” this is only one of many ways to pursue such a lifestyle, and arguably far from the most efficient one.

      • MH says:

        Most of the dark-triad descriptions I’ve seen include something that looks an awful lot like it includes “goes to great (morally questionable) lengths to make themselves more attractive to other people,” so it would be kind of odd if it never actually worked. Or if not odd it should probably be described less as “Machiavellian” and more as “clownish.”

        I also have to admit I’m pretty skeptical when the claim is that women are more attracted to men with dark triad traits, as opposed to ‘people are more attracted to other people with dark triad traits’. There’s something awfully dubious about the idea that this is a gendered phenomenon, or at least that’s a claim that would require a lot more evidence than I’ve seen.

        • Aapje says:

          @MH

          We know from studies as well as from basic observation that women tend to select mates more for their ability to provide/high income and that men select more for looks.

          It seems to me that dark triad behavior is more likely to improve wealth than looks.

  5. Dave Orr says:

    Here’s another thing this might neatly explain: the famed marshmallow test.

    To recap, the marshmallow test looked at how well kids traded off future rewards (an extra marshmallow) versus present temptation (eat the one in front of me), and found that kids who delayed gratification did better later in life in various ways. The interpretation at the time was that we should teach kids willpower and the ability to delay gratification (obviously couched in more impressive terminology).

    But suppose that the cause was actually the mumble epigenetics that are causing some kids to prefer fast/exploitative strategies where you should take the treat in front of you rather than plan for a longer timeframe that may never come? (And in fact note that the adults in the test were being deceptive; the second treat never came. So maybe the kids who “failed” actually ended up ahead.) Kids that would eventually take slow strategies were equipped to resist temptation for longer.

    An alternate explanation is that kids with reliable adults around them can trust that they would get another marshmallow, and maybe those kids have a better environment that leads to better outcomes — but this could ground out in the same place, which is that kids that come from reliable environments end up taking slow strategies, and kids with unreliable adults around them take fast strategies.

    Fascinating topic. Maybe I should go read the book.

    • bullseye says:

      Somebody redid the marshmallow test, and found that income explained the results; poor kids don’t trust promises of future food, and also have worse outcomes later in life.

      https://www.theatlantic.com/family/archive/2018/06/marshmallow-test/561779/

      • Dave Orr says:

        Right but this could be a more fundamental explanation of the mechanism by which poor kids do worse.

      • Watchman says:

        Replication is a questionable word here, since from The Atlantic article I see the original study had a longitudinal duration of c. 20 years and so was assessing outcomes on college and employment history, whilst the ‘replication’ used standardised testing and parental reporting so presumably has a longitudinal duration of 8 years or so at the most.

        Since testing will have changed since the mid-70s, probably towards a more equitable system in terms of outcomes (less so in terms of reflecting real learning) and since parental reporting will have no neutral baseline, instead depending on parental perception of normal and acceptable, thus likely minimising the reporting of disruptive behaviours in families with a history of auch behaviour, there’s a fairly obvious case of the methodology averaging out differences here. Hopefully the study accounted for this, but it does look a bit like a situation where someone’s Priors conflicted with the existing marshmallow study so they set about ‘replicating’ it with an end in mind.

    • JohnNV says:

      Wait, the researchers never gave the kids who waited the 2 marshmallows? What a crock. Somebody tell the IRB.

    • Lanrian says:

      And in fact note that the adults in the test were being deceptive; the second treat never came

      Source? There has been multiple studies, but adults seems to have kept their promise in the ones explained on wikipedia

  6. Salem says:

    Life strategies run the risk of reifying some of our negative judgments.

    What a tragedy that would be.

    I’m not winking, I just had something in my eye.

  7. Michael Watts says:

    I’m liberally omitting original text from this still-very-long quote block.

    The creative/seductive strategy is a fast strategy that focuses on getting ahead through sexual selection, ie optimizing for being really sexy. […] A person who has been optimized for a creative/seductive strategy will be attractive, artistic, flirtatious, and popular – eg the typical rock star or starlet. […] Creative/seductive people will have opportunities to reproduce through making other people infatuated with them; if they are lucky, they can seduce a high-status high-resource person who can help take care of the children. […]

    The prosocial/caregiving strategy is a slow strategy that focuses on being a responsible pillar of the community who everybody likes. […] Prosocial/caregiving people will have opportunities to reproduce by marrying their high school sweetheart, living in a suburban tract house, and having 2.4 children who go to state college. […]

    The skilled/provisioning strategy is a slow strategy that focuses on being good at specific useful tasks. Because it expects a slow and stable life, it focuses on gaining abilities that may take years to bear any fruit. A person who is optimized for a skilled/provisioning strategy will be intelligent, good at learning, and a little bit obsessive. They may not invest as much in friendliness or seductiveness; once they succeed at their chosen path, they will get social status through being indispensible for the continued functioning of the community, and they will have opportunities to reproduce because of their high status and obvious ability to provide for the children. The most extreme version of this strategy is probably high-functioning autism.

    I’ve had a lot of Chinese people ask me why I seem to have such an attraction to China, and what I’ve got against my native land (the US) that would make me hate it so much.

    I’ve always perceived, embedded deeply within American culture, the twin ideas that the only valid reason to marry someone is because you’re infatuated, and in particular that it is a grave mistake, a modern-day cardinal sin, to marry someone for money (“their obvious ability to provide for the children”). It’s hard not to take this as an egregious personal attack on the only strategy I’d hope to have any chance of success with. Engineers want to marry too. Do we really need to train women out of being willing to do it?

    My mother once told me about a patient of hers who had felt herself aging out of the marriage market and married a long-term friend. The patient said this man was a loving husband and father, earning well and taking good care of the children. But… he wasn’t “exciting”. She wanted to leave him. (And note! She wanted to leave the father of multiple children for not being “exciting”.)

    In contrast, I taught in an English-immersion school in Shanghai for a year, and every American teacher noticed that the boy earning top grades in each grade was dating the girl doing the same.

    A Chinese college student told me that her favorite color was green. I asked why green, and she responded that a boy she’d liked in elementary school had liked green. I asked what it had been about that boy, and her response?

    “He was such a good student.”

    Meanwhile, back in America, you get preemptively demonized for trying to attract women with the promise of being able to have a comfortable life.

    • LadyJane says:

      I think you’re mixing up cause and effect, or at least misdiagnosing the initial cause of a feedback cycle. It’s not that women stopped marrying for money because the cultural norms changed; the cultural norms changed because women stopped marrying for money, which happened because women started entering the workforce in greater numbers and being able to provide for themselves so they wouldn’t need to marry for money anymore. And that, in turn, happened because modern technology created a lot of new jobs that didn’t require much in the way of physical labor, which meant that they were a lot more accessible for women – in conjunction with the economic pressures of capitalism demanding ever more workers and ever more consumers. In other words, the same factors that allow you to make a comfortable living as an engineer.

      Of course, now that cultural norms have already changed, culture probably plays a role in further discouraging women from marrying for money. But there’s a deeper underlying cause: Most people would prefer to marry someone for more personal reasons (physical attraction, chemistry, shared interests, romantic infatuation), women just typically didn’t have that option until fairly recently. There are some people out there who still care a lot about money and status when seeking partners, but they’re typically antagonistic/exploitative types who are either seeking similarly assertive partners to ally with (the archetype of the “power couple”), or seeking slow-lifestyle partners to exploit (the archetype of the “lady killer” or “man eater”).

      That doesn’t mean it’s hopeless for skilled/provisioning types. It just means that the traditional strategy of “have a good career, make good money, save up for the future,” while still a very solid plan for living a secure and comfortable life, isn’t sufficient on its own to get someone a long-term partner anymore. A better strategy would be to specifically look for other skilled/provisioning types and form relationships based on common interests. Seemed to work out pretty well for Hoopyfreud, going by his comment below.

      • Aging Loser says:

        LJ, you’re probably right about women’s ability to earn their own income resulting in their seeking relationships with thrilling rather than skilled/provisioning men. I don’t know about your advice at the end, though.

        I guess it’s true that a woman who’s had some thrilling relationships would be likely as she nears her late thirties to seek a skilled/provisioning man to have a child with, but that means that he has to wait until he’s at least that age too.

        As for younger women, I’m inclined to think that those who seek skilled/provisioning types with whom they might “form relationships based on common interests” and aren’t merely “settling” because they feel physically unattractive are fairly rare. And these women are likely to be found physically unattractive by the skilled/provisioning men to whom they are available.

        The problem now is that these men aren’t going to want to have much sex with those women, and the women will understandably resent this, and the relationship will be unhappy.

        • Hoopyfreud says:

          I’m inclined to think that those who seek skilled/provisioning types with whom they might “form relationships based on common interests” and aren’t merely “settling” because they feel physically unattractive are fairly rare. And these women are likely to be found physically unattractive by the skilled/provisioning men to whom they are available.

          All of this sounds like a you problem TBH. I spent a long time single because you’re right that that sort of lady is pretty rare. However, I’m lucky in that that’s the sort of lady I’m attracted to. She’s not a supermodel by any stretch, but neither am I. Neither of us have serious gross wellness problems, but we do have unattractive features. But I find her beautiful. I think and fantasize about her a lot. I probably wouldn’t if we weren’t in a relationship, but that doesn’t mean I desire anyone more than her now.

          Look, straight-up, do you think that dependency is a desirable trait in a partner? Because it gives me the screaming willies. But you might, so I feel I should warn you: in the modem dating world, the only women who are pursuing a dependency strategy are the ones who enjoy it and are good at it. Put yourself in that kind of person’s shoes for a second and tell me if you’re skeeved out; if not, why are you not already on a sugar baby forum? There are plenty of people out there you can buy love from, but prices have risen, because most women don’t appear to be wired that way.

          Maybe there are more men out there who are wired for a dependency relationship – after all, prices don’t rise unless demand outstrips supply – so you have sincere condolences if you are, but find yourself priced out. The impression that I get from most men, however, isn’t that they want a dependency relationship. I don’t know what they want, though, honestly. What do they want to be loved and cherished for? What are their actual criteria for a relationship? I know what mine are, and they’re shaped at least in part around attraction to the things I am capable of providing. My standards start with, “capable of being sincerely independently happy with Hoopy without major behavioral changes on his part” because my romantic fantasy includes having a happy partner. They continue with, “looking for a long (indefinite) term commitment.” These are highly restrictive criteria, the single most important ones I have, and my other criteria are balanced around them. I highly recommend this approach; it has a low rate of return, but (with a vastly smaller sample size) a high rate of success.

          • Michael Watts says:

            the only women who are pursuing a dependency strategy are the ones who enjoy it and are good at it. Put yourself in that kind of person’s shoes for a second and tell me if you’re skeeved out; if not, why are you not already on a sugar baby forum?

            I see the same idea as a method of arguing that if “creeps” want to have sex, they should do the decent thing and hire a prostitute rather than inconveniencing women by trying to pursue them.

            Have you tried getting a sugar baby to have children?

          • Hoopyfreud says:

            @Michael Watts

            I think they call the ones that do “gold diggers” instead. The price seems higher.

            As far as “creeps” – I am not saying anywhere that men should not pursue relationships on any particular basis. I’m saying that men who want to pursue a relationship based on them offering women financial or material support (what some men see as a provider role) will find that the women who are looking for this sort of relationship have a marketplace already set up for them, and that the number of women on it is fairly low. Women seem to tend to enjoy autonomy, and the ones that don’t seem to be seeking something beyond baseline “providers” – whether that be sexiness, emotional support, meaningful companionship, or status.

            Overall, this is really a response to

            it is a grave mistake, a modern-day cardinal sin, to marry someone for money (“their obvious ability to provide for the children”). It’s hard not to take this as an egregious personal attack on the only strategy I’d hope to have any chance of success with

            If your ONLY chance of romantic success is to hold out a wad of dollar bills, don’t be surprised if the women you catch are the ones who can sniff out money. Almost everyone else is capable of surviving on their own, which means you need to offer something else too. Otherwise you’ll be the one left behind for an “exciting” fling.

            Find yourself someone who is attracted to the things you’re good at. Probably someone smart and maybe also an engineer or other professional (which is a mug’s game, but hey – all the male engineers I know in relationships with lady engineers are happy, including me). That’s a good basis for a reciprocal relationship. Money should be a way to make the person on the other side of your relationship feel safe, not what makes them feel attracted to you. Easier said than done, yes, but just remind yourself that you’d end up hating anyone who loved you for your money anyway.

            Want to talk about responding to incentives in attraction? Specialists are being highly incentivized to respond to reciprocality in relationships right now. That means you. Remember that the smart Chinese boy is chasing the girl at the top of the class at least as much as she’s chasing him. Do that. Build a safe and secure future together with someone. It’ll almost certainly be better for you than waving a billfold and promising someone an income.

            It is completely possible that this is already your plan, but I feel compelled to point it out like this because it hasn’t been the slow strategy historically. Look at Aging Loser above, implying that people who build relationships around mutual interest and peer respect are unattractive. Maybe they are to him, but not so much to me; competence and intelligence turn me way on, and people who are turned on by competence and intelligence also turn me on. My girl was at the top of her class, and so was I. And the attraction I feel for her with respect to that isn’t in knowing I’ll always have something to eat, but in being excited to watch what she’ll be able to do over the coming years with all that brilliance. That’s the new specialist strategy, I think, and while it does narrow the dating pool significantly, I think it also stands to make us (as a demographic) much happier. Because our only alternative is to reach for our wallets, and that sounds miserable.

          • If your ONLY chance of romantic success is to hold out a wad of dollar bills

            I don’t think that is a fair response to:

            it is a grave mistake, a modern-day cardinal sin, to marry someone for money (“their obvious ability to provide for the children”). It’s hard not to take this as an egregious personal attack on the only strategy I’d hope to have any chance of success with

            Providing for children isn’t what “hold out a wad of dollar bills” implies.

            Consider a woman who wants to produce and rear children and cannot find a man to whom she has a strong romantic attraction willing to support her while doing so. She instead finds a man she gets along with tolerably well who is. I wouldn’t describe her as a gold digger, nor expect to find her on a sugar baby forum. She is simply someone who has made a reasonable compromise between what she wants and what she can get.

          • LadyJane says:

            @DavidFriedman: Even in your example, the man is offering something other than just financial stability. He’s someone the woman feels she can get along reasonably well with. That in itself requires at least some bare minimum of social aptitude and affability. She might be willing to settle for someone who wasn’t attractive and charismatic, but that doesn’t mean she’d be willing to settle for someone who was ugly, socially inept, and had a generally unpleasant demeanor. And if she was seeking long-term financial stability, simply having a high-paying job or a large amount of money in the bank wouldn’t be enough to guarantee that, so she’d look for signs that he’d be reliable, honest, not likely to lose his job or squander his savings, and so forth.

            Keep in mind, in this day and age it might actually be easier to raise a child alone than to be saddled with a particularly awful partner. At the absolute minimum, she’d be looking for someone who met the standard of “won’t be such a psychological and emotional burden that it offsets any financial advantages he provides.” That’s admittedly a fairly low bar, but I have no doubt that there are men out there who nonetheless fail to reach it; when I look at the incel/blackpill crowd, it seems like most of them have such caustic personalities and deranged views and warped expectations that dating them simply wouldn’t be worth the trade-off, even if they were rich. So if someone literally has nothing to offer but money, and can’t or won’t develop the basic social skills and personality traits that would make them at least be a tolerable partner, then I’d agree that they should just find a prostitute.

            There’s also one more trait that a man needs to have, in order to make your proposed arrangement work: a willingness to settle for someone who probably doesn’t fully meet his standards in terms of personality or physical attractiveness. After all, a woman who was extremely charismatic or physically attractiveness or both probably wouldn’t need to settle. Generally I’ve noticed that the kinds of men who have $100,000/year tech jobs but can’t get a girlfriend are often unwilling to settle for someone who’s simply mediocre, and feel like they’re entitled to the hot girl of their dreams just by virtue of the fact that they’re making a comfortable salary.

          • Hoopyfreud says:

            +1 @LadyJane

            David, the thing is that almost nobody currently has “provider who will allow me to raise children” as a #1 relationship priority – at least in part, I believe, because the tradeoff between the risk and difficulty of relationships can be traded off against the risk and difficulty of single parenthood nowadays. I don’t think that’s a bad thing. So the rest of what you’re talking about – being pleasant and dependable – is the actually important bit, and is only important insofar as she intrinsically values these things (as opposed to instrumentally valuing them for the sake of children).

      • vV_Vv says:

        It’s not that women stopped marrying for money because the cultural norms changed; the cultural norms changed because women stopped marrying for money, which happened because women started entering the workforce in greater numbers and being able to provide for themselves so they wouldn’t need to marry for money anymore.

        And those who don’t enter the workforce can always live on child support and welfare checks.

        If the future holds high unemployment and UBI, the situation will be even more extreme: marriage will be rare, and only the top ~10-20% most attractive men will father children,
        the other men will be pressured to become de facto asexual or even be castrated (did anybody say puberty blockers?). Looks similar to how we breed livestock.

        • Hoopyfreud says:

          This assumes that 10% of men are capable of meeting the emotional, physical, and romantic preferences of 100% of women (and simultaneously, at that!). This strikes me as extremely untrue; are you aware that promiscuous people mostly have sex with each other? What percentage of women do you think will be satisfied being someone’s tenth girl? How would you feel about being someone’s tenth man?

          • christopher hodge says:

            In my vision of vV_Vv’s vision, the emotional, physical, and romantic preferences of a lot of women are going unmet by men, because the tyrannical state (yeah, the same one that’s castrating most of its male underclass) is either ‘meeting’ them with some unspeakable horror or other, or otherwise causing them to be impossible to meet. But I can’t tell how dystopic he really thinks this future is…

          • vV_Vv says:

            This assumes that 10% of men are capable of meeting the emotional, physical, and romantic preferences of 100% of women (and simultaneously, at that!).

            Not necessarily. These guys will have high bargaining power due to their scarcity, thus they will get away with not being very good partners, as long as they are still better than the alternatives. And even if they are worse than the alternatives, it seems that financially secure, well educated women prefer to be alone rather than to date lower status men.

            This strikes me as extremely untrue; are you aware that promiscuous people mostly have sex with each other?

            Promiscuous people have most sex with both promiscuous and non-promiscuous people.

            What percentage of women do you think will be satisfied being someone’s tenth girl? How would you feel about being someone’s tenth man?

            Apples and bananas comparison: a man can get 10 women pregnant at the same time, a woman can’t get pregnant from 10 men at the same time.

          • Hoopyfreud says:

            Not necessarily. These guys will have high bargaining power due to their scarcity, thus they will get away with not being very good partners, as long as they are still better than the alternatives. And even if they are worse than the alternative, it seems that financially secure, well educated women prefer to be alone rather than to date lower status man.

            I just… I don’t get it. Women are people. Many of them feel lonely. Many of them want to be loved. Many of them prefer to be in a relationship than be alone. Many of them cannot feel loved in a non-monogamous relationship. But the comparison is apples to bananas? That’s the most “Men Are From Mars” shit I’ve heard in the last year.

            Hypergamy isn’t universal. Attraction isn’t universal. There is no “top 10% of men,” because 10% of men will never capture 100% of women who want relationships. Jesus Christ.

          • vV_Vv says:

            I just… I don’t get it. Women are people. Many of them feel lonely. Many of them want to be loved. Many of them prefer to be in a relationship than be alone. Many of them cannot feel loved in a non-monogamous relationship.

            Take Japan as the model example of a wealthy, low-conflict, stable society and look at revealed preferences: lots of men and women are sexually inactive and romantically unattached. Otakus celebrating “weddings” to their anime girl holograms and women celebrating “solo weddings” are just the tip of the iceberg of this particular form of degeneracy, herbivore men and women who just live their lives without sex and romance are quite common.

            The educated upper-middle class of Western societies is starting to show similar patterns, with Nice Guys™ complaining on reddit about not getting laid and women writing “where have all the good men gone?” articles. Give it another 10 years and people will stop complaining and just accept loneliness as a fact of life.

            Why do you think these single men and women don’t date each other?

          • Hoopyfreud says:

            @vV_Vv

            Quite possibly because they cannot find anyone to be in a relationship with. But the idea that this scales that far needs substantiating. The relationship floor has risen in the past 50 years; now if you beat or rape your partner, they’re much more likely to leave you. The base likelihood of a relationship is also lower. People are more discriminating and less likely to make sacrifices in order to make a relationship work – and while some of that is probably healthy, some of it is undoubtedly not.

            But you can’t jump from there to a dystopian future where hypergamy is the only -gamy, everyone but Chad is lonely, and the median male gets treated like Alan Turing in 1953. You especially can’t claim that women’s attraction to high-status males is the factor responsible for this coming chadpocalypse.

          • Aapje says:

            I think that one issue is that there are a lot of superstimuli that allow people to meet their emotional, physical, and romantic desires to such an extent that they stop looking to a partners for meeting that need.

            For example, many women seem to use Tinder for validation, never actually going on dates. Once, such validation could be had by dressing up and going clubbing. Tinder is far safer, both due to the lack of groping, but also because it’s far less likely that one will get a strong attraction and end up going home with a guy. It’s also very time-efficient and you can use it when you feel like it.

            Another example is that faux friends/partners seem quite common. The basic variant* is vloggers. You have people who play games all day and stream it, which seems to replace playing games together with a friend. Again: very time-efficient and you can turn it off easily when you are done. However, you do miss out on the major benefit of human bonding: when you need help, the vlogger is not going to be there for you, because the bonding actually only happened in one direction.

            *The more advanced variant is the cammer, who gives a personalized interaction for money.

            Of course, we could argue that people merely follow their true preferences, this is the best outcome for them or they would make other choices, etc.

            However, we often don’t actually seem to favor what is truly good for us, but a simplified heuristic that traditionally did match up with good outcomes, before technology allowed us to provide stimuli that provide the temporary good feeling of satisfying the heuristic, without giving the long term benefits.

            Traditionally, bonding with people required face-to-face contact, so they would automatically bond with you, while you bonded with them. So the heuristic of getting someone to talk with you, would bond them to you, as you would bond to them. Today we can satisfy that same heuristic with a video or one-directional stream, which means that other the person isn’t near you, doesn’t get to know you and otherwise remains a stranger, while you yourself fill up one of your ‘friend bonding spots’ with this fake friend.

            Aren’t we just transitioning into a sort of drug addicts, meeting our short-term needs with superstimuli, while we never meet our deeper, long-term needs? So we end up wireheaded, living in a virtual reality, with PewDiePie as our ‘friend,’ miss IShoveThingsInThereForMoney as our sex partner, Grumpy Cat as our pet, etc…

            PS. Evidence for this is that Japanese married people are also having less sex, while porn consumption is large, suggesting that they even replacing sex with superstimuli when a sex partner is available (in theory, he or she is probably busy with their phone when you are horny, so it’s easier to just take care of yourself).

          • Hoopyfreud says:

            @Aapje

            I mean, it depends, right?

            Insofar as superstimuli are actually good at satisfying people, I don’t see a real problem. The problem is people not actually having friends or lovers, like you say. And people do perceive that lack. The most recent is a very lonely generation. We just need to figure out what we’re going to actually do about it. It’s certainly going to involve the evolution of new norms and social dynamics. But I see no reason to suppose that this recognized need will continue to go unmet in perpetuity.

          • Forge the Sky says:

            I’m always torn on this issue. On the one hand, things don’t seem too bad yet, and society has tended to figure out ways to smooth over changes brought by technology in the past. On the other, what if things are actually different this time?

            Virtual reality is still mostly an enthusiast’s showcase at this point, but it’s already almost addictively good. What when it becomes commonplace? I already have ‘the simulations are becoming too real!’ moments. You can already wake up, get off to VR porn, then have a gamified adventure in VR without leaving the house. Have groceries delivered to your door without talking to a soul.

            I’m single, but close with my immediate family. It kind of terrifies me to think about what things might be like if I a) didn’t enjoy outdoor activites; and b) didn’t have family around, or a socially-oriented job.

            vV_Vv’s comments kind of remind me of a good deal of Red Pill writing; it talks about a pattern in society that, when you actually go out and interact with people, seems an exaggeration or over-focus on a few aspects of interpersonal interaction, illustrated with a few edge cases. And yet…yet….it’s hard to deny that the patterns do exist if you squint a bit and are, if anything, growing worse.

            It’s hard to know what to do with that. Maybe we can make some institutions that can get (especially) younger people interacting with each other more; Pokémon Go seemed to do this a bit for example, though it was a very basic game and so had a very short timeframe of effectiveness. Maybe we can use technology better to get people ‘out’ rather than ‘in.’ Heck, maybe we’ll discover pharmacological or other ways to tweak the way motivation works a bit. A bit dystopian, but less so than wireheading. I think a bit more of a bias to action and slightly lower anxiety would, on average, make humans a bit more adapted to a nearly post-scarcity environment.

            On a more practical level, I think that parenting with a mind towards providing children with lots of fun, active, real-world experiences and skills is going to be vital going forward. An unfortunate product of the modern job market is that you usually can’t have your kids around you learning the trade and interacting with you as you work. That needs to be mitigated as well.

            But to the point – I’m single, and I can tell you that there is a very….trepidatious tone to the whole dating thing these days. No-one seems to quite know how they should be initiating things or what to do once they get started. Frankly, if you can be pleasant and fun to be around, and just have the balls to ask a person out and lead a bit at first (and not take it too hard if they say no), then you can find that a lot of girls actually really still like boys and tend to be nice to them even if they have to say no. It’s not totallyfucked just yet.

          • Hoopyfreud says:

            I can tell you that there is a very….trepidatious tone to the whole dating thing these days. No-one seems to quite know how they should be initiating things or what to do once they get started.

            +1 on this. Norms are shifting really hard, but it doesn’t seem to me like the underlying desires are dissolving with them. People are confused and frightened, but they have to deal with those things if they want to be not-lonely in the long term, and a good number of people appear to be working it out OK – and not just the pickup artists either.

            The transient effects really suck, and so does the discourse around it, but I see these as problems that are almost certain to be solved in the next generation or two with the establishment of new norms. Men are getting especially shafted right now, but honestly women get lonely too, and I see younger women as understanding the nature of the tradeoff they’re demanding from men and being more willing to send clear signals, as they (don’t) get fucked otherwise.

            YMMV on this, obviously, and it may be local to certain subcultures, but the way I looked at it while I was single was, “if she’s not willing to show me she’s into me, why would I waste my time?” It worked out fairly well in my case, though it took a while (5ish years). I think if men start to act according to this standard (which I do see happening, at least in part due to fear of harassment claims), women will start feeling the crunch too, and adapt to the necessity.

          • Aapje says:

            The problem extends beyond dating though. People (and especially men) increasingly have difficulty figuring out what is and thus how to become attractive to the other sex. Incels are the far end of this, where these men have concluded that they just cannot ever become attractive*.

            Part of this is changes in desire, so some behaviors that traditionally increased attractiveness a lot now work less well. However, a substantial part is also that people are being lied to and are presented a progressive image of attractiveness that is largely false.

            So many people lack a clear and actually effective goal to work to, that results in a good outcome. Of these people, some end up with mates because they are just naturally attractive, some mature into attractiveness, some just try a lot of random things and find something that works, some settle for a relatively poor choice, etc. So it’s not completely hopeless, but it functions very poorly.

            * A major gender difference is of course that men can have difficulty getting a foot in at all, due to the differences in desire for casual sex and due to men being expected to initiate. Women rarely end up with no options at all and generally have the problem that they attract the wrong kind of partner or of lesser quality than they could & want, while men are way more likely to be completely shut out.

          • Hoopyfreud says:

            @Aapje

            a substantial part is also that people are being lied to and are presented a progressive image of attractiveness that is largely false.

            You talk about this like attractiveness is immutable; I’d argue that a big part of the problem is that women are not currently settled on what attractiveness entails. They have a good idea about the extremes – (some combination of) fit, classically handsome, successful, emotionally fulfilling, mature men on one side and incels on the other – but what actually goes in the middle and how it’s valued is not really well-agreed-on or well-defined. And relying on the extremes is untenable because people don’t like prioritizing their partners more than their partners prioritize them.

            I don’t see this as a problem – turns out that when you subtract the influence of strong incentives, people have widely varying preferences. The problem seems rather to be people coordinating those preferences and learning how to articulate and pursue them. But the model of “just increase your objective personal attractiveness index enough and beautiful women will be responsive to you” seems to me to be eroding in the face of a lack of strong external incentives to score men against such an index. It’s still a successful strategy for the men who can reach the top of the index, because they get their pick of the women who are looking at the index, but I honestly believe that everyone else is better served by abandoning the idea of climbing the attractiveness ladder.

          • Aapje says:

            @Hoopyfreud

            You talk about this like attractiveness is immutable

            I don’t see how this follows from what I’ve said. That attractiveness is mutable over time doesn’t change the fact that currently a specific set of things is most attractive.

            If you smoke and find that it lowers your attractiveness to the average person of the other sex, it doesn’t matter that smoking was very attractive in the 70’s. You live in the now, not back then. People are not suddenly going to consider smoking attractive if you insist they should.

            I don’t see this as a problem – turns out that when you subtract the influence of strong incentives, people have widely varying preferences.

            Your claim aligns with the ‘just be yourself’ and ‘there is someone for everyone’ lies that ignore that certain preferences are way more common than others. This matters greatly.

            The problem seems rather to be people coordinating those preferences and learning how to articulate and pursue them.

            That is a major problem as well. We seem quite incapable of improving dating. Somehow, ‘advances’ like online dating just seem to make things worse.

            It’s still a successful strategy for the men who can reach the top of the index, because they get their pick of the women who are looking at the index, but I honestly believe that everyone else is better served by abandoning the idea of climbing the attractiveness ladder.

            This seems foolish, especially since the evidence suggests that women who are more secure in their earnings act more like men, by favoring looks and such more & by increasing their standards overall (preferring singlehood over a mediocre partner). So it’s then even more important to be attractive on rather conventional scales.

          • Hoopyfreud says:

            @Aapje

            Your claim aligns with the ‘just be yourself’ and ‘there is someone for everyone’ lies that ignore that certain preferences are way more common than others. This matters greatly.

            I mean, for every person there is either someone, a fraction of someone, or no one. That’s just math (except, of course, for Chinese men, who are completely screwed). There are lots of people for whom people would rather be alone than be in a relationship with right now, but insofar as this is due to women being hyperselective and choosing to remain single in the face of reasonable alternatives, I think the appropriate adjustment is to figure out what their standards will evolve into rather than to pine over it. Women, like I said, get lonely. The standards will change. Men can optimize for a relationship now, when women are in a hyperselective mode, or they can try to read the trends and try to figure out what the sort of woman they’re interested in will become attracted to once their preferences get sorted out. Note that this isn’t the same as “someone for everyone;” there will still be men who nobody wants to be with. But it does mean that I think you can work with a strategy that is not currently optimal and still come out ahead in the long run.

            Something that lends credence to this idea, at least for me: I’ve seen men’s standards for attractiveness diversify enormously over the past years. Some of it I really don’t get (self-flagellating progressives going after the worst sort of feminist, people who self-describe as being attracted to bimbos, people who pursue specific races and call them “exotic”). Some of it I do (“sapiosexuality,” despite how much I hate the word, a rise in men wanting women who want committed relationships, increased fetishization of thighs). At any rate, men seem to have accepted a divergence from monolithic attractiveness norms, and I have no reason not to expect women to do the same in time.

        • arlie says:

          Why are you equating “not fathering children” with “not getting laid”? Assuming a guy is cute, but a bad risk long term, he can probably find a woman willing to take him on as a “boy toy”, at least while he’s young ;-( Or at least try him out for a night or two.

          This is less true in a culture prone to irate males killing their exes, or permeated with memes about “love”, such as the one we’re in, but it’s an obvious adaptation to the changes you suggest.

          There are also other men, and plenty of guys are willing to “settle” for another guy, even if that’s not their preference, in environments where women simply aren’t available.

          Of course if you’ve got the face of an old boot, a bad temper, and a drug habit, you’ve got about as much chance of getting laid as a woman with similar traits currently has of finding a supportive husband. But that’s not 90% of men, any more than it’s 90% of women.

          • vV_Vv says:

            Why are you equating “not fathering children” with “not getting laid”? Assuming a guy is cute, but a bad risk long term, he can probably find a woman willing to take him on as a “boy toy”, at least while he’s young ;-( Or at least try him out for a night or two.

            This is how single mother children are made.

            There are also other men, and plenty of guys are willing to “settle” for another guy, even if that’s not their preference, in environments where women simply aren’t available.

            Not a chance. In environments where women aren’t available and violent men are stuck with each other, that is, prisons, men don’t “settle” for other men, they rape each other, probably more to assert dominance rather than to fulfill sexual urges. This behavior pattern clearly can’t generalize to the general population of a low-conflict slow-strategy society.

            Of course if you’ve got the face of an old boot, a bad temper, and a drug habit, you’ve got about as much chance of getting laid as a woman with similar traits currently has of finding a supportive husband.

            From the OP:
            “I used to work in a psychiatric hospital that served primarily adolescents with a history of violence or legal issues; most of them had had multiple sexual encounters by age fifteen; only half of MIT students in their late teens and early 20s have had sex at all.”

            I don’t know how the faces of these adolescents looked like (it’s rumored but un-PC to say that criminals tend to look ugly), but certainly they bad tempers and probably drug habits too, and this didn’t stop them from getting laid.

          • arlie says:

            @vV_Vv I admit, I’m assuming competent use of contraception on the part of the woman, and absolutely not relying on an otherwise unreliable male to protect them from either pregnancy or for that matter veneral diseases.

            Of course I came of age before AIDS was well known, and before antibiotic resistant bugs (venereal or otherwise) became at all common. Perhaps celibacy is the best policy these days, unless actively trying to produce a child.

            But that would go both ways. Frankly, VD seems like the harder-to-avoid risk, rather than pregnancy.

          • Aapje says:

            @arlie

            Celibacy certainly seems to be the safest option for men, because the system is currently set up in a way where he may be forced to provide lots of resources for a child and mother, without getting a steady sex partner in return.

            That’s a high potential price to pay for even just a single sexual encounter.

          • Nancy Lebovitz says:

            There’s more to life than having a sex partner. People take care of each other sometimes when they’re sick or injured.

            I’ve heard but not checked that women are more likely to take care of men than the other way around. I’ve never heard of any research on whether a good sex life increases the odds of getting taken care of.

          • Aapje says:

            @Nancy Lebovitz

            People seem way more likely to get divorced when the man ends up unemployed, while serious illness far more often leads to divorce if the woman is ill, rather than the man.

            So the lesson seems to be: make sure your circumstances match the gender roles to keep married. 🙁

        • LadyJane says:

          @vV_Vv: Why stop there? If we’re going all-out dystopian fantasy here, you may as well just go all the way and have the government make everyone sterile/infertile, grow new humans in artificial wombs, and raise children in state indoctrination centers. Your scenario may be a bit more likely, but only a bit.

        • Watchman says:

          I think on an all else being equal assumption this is demonstrably unsustainable as an argument. It seems to equate economic inactivity with unattractiveness and suggest that unattractive people don’t breed. I can disprove both assertions just by reference to some distant relatives by marriage who are on benefits, not (conventionally or necessarily personally) attractive and have 7 children between three people. Indeed, considering the direction of your argument above, it’s significant that of all my friends and extended family the man involved, apparently the lowest status of them, is one of only two to father children on more than one woman (I’m in my 40s so my generation is well-established in the child-bearing stakes). I doubt this anecdote is an exception considering the issue of multiple women having children with the same man is ‘underclass’ not ruling class in nature.

          Your implication of state-mandated (or maybe some other mechanism) celibacy does suggest your vision is not all else being equal though. I think you need to explain your assumptions here as otherwise people are likely to construct strawmen like mine above and avoid engaging with what you see as the issues.

          • vV_Vv says:

            I think on an all else being equal assumption this is demonstrably unsustainable as an argument. It seems to equate economic inactivity with unattractiveness and suggest that unattractive people don’t breed.

            No, some economically inactive men will be attractive due to good looks or dominant personalities, but my point is that due to female selectivity only the top of them will be attractive enough to father children, or at least they will be disproportionately more likely to father children.

            Indeed, considering the direction of your argument above, it’s significant that of all my friends and extended family the man involved, apparently the lowest status of them, is one of only two to father children on more than one woman

            And would you say this guy is unattractive?

            Your implication of state-mandated (or maybe some other mechanism) celibacy

            I don’t mean state-mandated, at least not in an explicit sense. I mean there will be a general cultural norm that men who aren’t very attractive are not supposed to have sex and reproduce. You can see it already a trend of demonization of the sexuality of low attractive men: losers, entitled nice guys, “cat person“, etc. I’m extrapolating this trend to a society where almost every man is a “loser” who lives on UBI.

      • arlie says:

        There was also a huge meme, during the transition, of the most successful men abandoning their wives of long standing, and marrying some hyper attractive and much younger woman. This meme showed up in songs popular on the radio, self help books addressed to women, etc. etc. I noticed it as a child, and drew conclusions that affected the whole course of my life.

        Note by the way that it doesn’t matter how common the behaviour was – though the divorce rate was soaring – people (especially young women) were aware of it, possibly hyper-aware compared to reality.

        It stands to reason – and matches my personal experience – that young people made life choices based in part on their awareness of this possibility. It appeared that being a good loyal wife was likely to be a bad investment, leaving you abandoned to start a career in your forties, with young children still at home, or in your fifties, already significantly affected by age.

        FWIW, the advice being given was things like “don’t send him off with your hair up in curlers; there are girls at the office you know” (from a song popular at the time) not “get your own career; you can’t trust Mr. Right to stay with you, particularly if he’s very successful financially“. But mutiple conclusions will have been drawn, and “can’t trust Mr. Right” was certainly one I personally drew.

        • Lloyd Cohen wrote an article on the logic of the situation. The sensible response of a woman to the risk of being dumped is to specialize less in being a wife and to spread out producing and rearing children, thus reducing the risk that the husband will renege on his part of the long term contract after she has performed her part.

      • Erusian says:

        This argument tries to posit feminism (or perhaps gender equity more broadly) is responsible for this change. However, China (as a Communist country) has generally been highly supportive of women professionals. At least for the past century. So positing female liberation as the reason for a cultural attitude seems dubious when both countries are relatively advanced in it and the one showing the slow strategy outperforms the one exhibiting the fast strategy in several ways. China has more female legislators (admittedly relatively powerless, though for non-gender reasons) and more female athletes, for example. Chinese women are also in a very, very favorable position when it comes to the dating market due to scarcity.

        You can argue that Japan, a country with relatively non-feminist social norms, also shows the same effect of women selecting slow-strategy. And likewise, Korea manifests this effect less than the other countries despite being somewhere in between on the women’s liberation scale. That would appear to imply the effect is entirely independent of women’s liberation.

        Honestly, I see the idea that deprivation is forcing this strategy as a kind of cultural chauvinism. Of course they’d choose to do it our way, if only they were free from their constraints! The idea they have a genuinely different preference is thus elided. (It also, conveniently, dovetails with a just-so story about how feminism ruined American women for the provider types.)

      • And that, in turn, happened because modern technology created a lot of new jobs that didn’t require much in the way of physical labor

        That may be part of it, but I think a large part of the cause was that the reduction in child mortality and the shift of household production out of the household due to technological improvement (washing machines, for instance) meant that being a wife and mother was no longer a full time job.

    • fossilizedtreeresin says:

      I think the problem is not just changing social norms/women having money of their own so marrying for money is not necessary like ladyjane said, I think the problem is that you’re not actually offering what you think you’re offering.

      You’re a SSC reader and you play up your reliability, so I’m assuming you want to marry someone who is smart and reliable. Those are actually the characteristics that make someone into a good worker, so a lot of the smart and reliable women will already have enough money of their own. Maybe you’re hoping for an English major that works at an office, or something like that. She likes her job and is good at it, but will never make as much money as an engineer. To that woman you can offer a higher standard of living, a more secure life. Why are there no takers?

      If you never wanted children I can see the appeal. But if you do have children? She’ll probably end up being the primary care taker. And unless you make so much money that it will have no effect on her career (enough for a day care, enough for a nanny after school, enough for a cleaning service because kids make a mess and she doesn’t have time to clean because she have a big project at work), she will probably end up making less money then if she had no kids, or she had a husband that was the primary care taker or put in the same hours at child rearing as she does.

      But even if she makes less money it doesn’t matter, because you make plenty, right? That’s your entire sales pitch, you can provide a secure life! But how secure is secure in a world with divorce? There was a post on the reddit sub a while ago about life long marriage. If I remember correctly the divorce rate for college educated couples who marry for the first time is something like 20-30%. So she have that chance, plus a lot of other nasty situations that will throw a wrench in that secure life: You becoming an addict, you becoming an abuser, you losing your job and not finding another one, you becoming sick. It’s hard to calculate the chance of “actually not so secure life” because I’m sure it’s partly embodied in the divorce rate, but I don’t think that every single woman with an addict husband or whatever divorces him. So let’s say she have a 25% chance that you would actually not be such a great provider, either because you guys are divorced or because you lost your ability to make as much money. But maybe the financial hit only happens after she put in effort into raising kids, worked less hours, and didn’t advance as much as she could at her career. If she had a partner that put in more time at child raising that risk would be mitigated. But if you define yourself as someone who’s a “good provider”, the average woman doesn’t hear “I’ll work less hours so I can be with the kids and your career doesn’t take too much of a hit”.

      You think you are offering reliability and a high standard of living, but in a culture where divorce is acceptable you can always divorce her, or stop earning so much money, or do something so disagreeable to her that she would be better off taking the financial hit and divorcing you. In a culture where divorce is not an option and you as a woman are the de facto care taker (and correct me if I’m wrong, but I think china is that kind of culture) it makes more sense to value stability because you are not supposed to get divorce, and the woman is not supposed to earn as much as the man anyway. Chinese women play by different rules then western women, so of course they chose a different strategy. It’s not that western women are being culturally conditioned out of behavior that is beneficial to them, it’s that western women are rejecting a behavior (financially relaying on a man) that carries a significant risk for them, and culture follows them.

      I wrote and discarded a pretty long paragraph about my divorced parents because I’m not sure how relevant it is, but the short version is this: my father was the main earner in our house, but really doesn’t understand what kids need unless he have a wife directing him. My mom did almost all of the child rearing after the divorce, and it had a price, both mental and financial. I had a knee surgery two weeks ago and needed a lot of help around the clock, plus someone to drive me to my appointments five times a week. My dad lives about five minutes away from us, you think he was any help? No way. The only reason my mom is not taking a huge financial hit right now is because she doesn’t have to work because she inherited property and money. Lack of availability by the father have not only an emotional price for the kid, but a financial price for the mother. And I can’t help but wonder how many middle class women grow up with a Disney dad and realized the price their mom paid as adults, who are now completely against the idea of being reliant on a man. I know that if I had to roll the dice with marriage and divorce I would bet on a man that is really emotionally intelligent, and loves kids and want to be a really involved dad. Is not a feminism thing, it’s that I think that this kind of man will make my life so much easier, whether we divorce or stay married.

      • Randy M says:

        What’s a Disney dad?

      • John Schilling says:

        I think the problem is that you’re not actually offering what you think you’re offering. […] You think you are offering reliability and a high standard of living, but in a culture where divorce is acceptable you can always divorce her, or stop earning so much money, or do something so disagreeable to her that she would be better off taking the financial hit and divorcing you.

        Quite possibly, he is offering exactly what he thinks he is offering, but that offer can only be credibly be made in a divorce-intolerant culture like China, which is why he likes China and dislikes America.

        • fossilizedtreeresin says:

          But he knows that he lives in the US, and not in china. If his offer can’t be credibly made in the culture he is living in, then it’s not a real offer. He should either offer something else that can be credibly promised in the US, or he should move to china.

          Edited to clarify: in a culture with divorce, you are not offering a lifelong security, you are offering a 75% chance for a lifelong security. Not bad numbers, but a smart lady can do better by also selecting for specific emotional traits, and she might end up having a more enjoyable relationship. And since the people that are most attracted by stability are cautious, she will probably want better odds anyway.

          • Aapje says:

            I think that you interpret “real offer” in an idiosyncratic way.

            If he intends to make good on his offer, actually being as unlikely to pack up and leave as a Chinese man, then it is a real offer. That people won’t see the offer as credible is orthogonal to this.

          • fossilizedtreeresin says:

            @ Aapje

            Michal knows that divorce happens in western culture, and he can deduce that a cautious woman would take that into account. If his strategy doesn’t also include showing that he is less likely to divorce her/cause divorce then either he is insincere, or he doesn’t have enough insight into women’s life that a promise from him is worth less, because you can’t trust a promise from someone that don’t have enough information. In that sense I consider the offer not real, because he doesn’t demonstrate behaviors that can mitigate the risk for women, when he knows such a risk exist.

            (I am kind of trying to deduce what does in real life and might be off the mark. Maybe he do take actions that show he’s an emotionally reliable guy, like volunteering with kids or something. But since he doesn’t mention doing something like that and only talks about money and security as what he brings to the table, I got the impression that he doesn’t understand how important emotional security is.)

            I can still understand why you don’t agree with my definition of “real offer”, so let me rephrase it: it’s an inherently undesirable offer to his market. The people that value security are cautious people. A cautious middle class woman can get more security by giving more weight to emotional traits then to how much money he makes. So his offer is inherently unappealing to the very people he is trying to appeal to.

          • Aapje says:

            @fossilizedtreeresin

            You keep conflating perception of the offer with what the offer actually is, by using a single term for both. It seems much more useful to use a different term for the perception of the offer, like ‘credible’ or ‘perceived’

            Then the real offer is what he actually offers and the perceived offer is what women tend to think he offers.

            By distinguishing between these more clearly, it’s easier to argue about things like:
            – whether his offer is actually real (is he actually as reluctant to divorce as a Chinese man)
            – to what extent his offer is credible and how he can signal credibility
            – whether our culture allows certain real offers to be perceived as credible
            – etc

      • Jaskologist says:

        Let’s keep in mind here that women are overwhelmingly the ones who initiate divorce.

    • Conrad Honcho says:

      You can talk about “the culture” or whatever, but you can also instruct your kids whatever way you see fit. My parents told me “love isn’t enough.” Yeah, yeah, love somebody, but don’t marry somebody just because you love them. Find someone good first, then fall in love with them.

      The best advice I heard was from my friend Charlie’s mom. Charlie’s mom said when she was in college, she wanted to marry a doctor and her girlfriend wanted to marry a lawyer. So she did her homework in the medical library and her friend did her homework at the law library. Charlie’s dad was a doctor. His mom’s friend married a lawyer.

      • INH5 says:

        The best advice I heard was from my friend Charlie’s mom. Charlie’s mom said when she was in college, she wanted to marry a doctor and her girlfriend wanted to marry a lawyer. So she did her homework in the medical library and her friend did her homework at the law library. Charlie’s dad was a doctor. His mom’s friend married a lawyer.

        I expect that that advice would be a lot less useful nowadays, what with the internet and all.

        • Conrad Honcho says:

          I don’t know. From what I understand, internet dating is a hellscape. People are spending lots of time there and getting very few returns (unless you’re a girl looking for casual sex or a very attractive male). When everyone else is wasting time zigging, perhaps zag instead.

          • INH5 says:

            Oh, I completely agree that internet dating doesn’t seem to be helping. What I meant was that thanks to the internet people don’t do a lot of studying in libraries anymore, so I wouldn’t expect them to be very good places to find a date.

          • Aapje says:

            @INH5

            In my country, a lot of students still study in libraries. The internet may actually be a reason why. In a library people presumably perceive social pressure to actually study, rather than watch cat videos.

        • Jaskologist says:

          I hear there’s a sex recession.

          I’m pretty sure “be in a place where you’ll run into a lot of eligibles in your target demographic” is sound advice in any era. It may be that that’s a virtual place sometimes.

    • Worley says:

      Though there can be various complexities. In some cultures, she wouldn’t divorce the boring father of her children, but it would be unofficially OK for her to have a series of affairs with exciting but completely “unsuitable” men, especially if she avoided getting pregnant by them.

  8. idontknow131647093 says:

    I have seen the r/k things before within humans. Long story short, any indication that it has to do with epigenetic differences has basically zero credible evidence. Genetic differences, you can suss out some differences (IQ and Big 5 mostly), cultural you could also probably manipulate the data to get something reliable.

    And that just tracks with all social science these days. The most popular ideas always have the worst evidence.

    • Ketil says:

      This is how I feel about evo psych:

      http://bahfest.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/bahcomic.jpg?fbclid=IwAR2YjP1c8j5xW4dYnxKuC_nS5Zbqw6RTx28tfI0bJw5aSgclVWhSCcJx0nE

      But with this theory it should at least be possible to make some testable predictions, no? To me it looks like just about every (male) rock star has slept with four-digit numbers of women. Surely, not all of them were brought up in dangerous and unpredictable conditions? Other men of high status are more moderate, but scandals abound, and I think if they could get away with recklessness to the degree rock stars can, they would. But perhaps I’m wrong, and there is a strong correlation between safe and quiet upbringing and fidelity, which is not explained by cultural expectations and fear of castigation?

      Similarly, many women dream lust for a night with some famous dude. (I was at a talk the other day where the audience could send in questions via a website, three of the questions was whether the guy was on Tinder). How is this lust distributed in the population and correlated with childhood environment?

      • Cerastes says:

        Easy: testosterone levels and immune function.

        I see a fair bit of “pace-of-life” stuff every year at the main scientific conference I go to (never on humans), and those two variables crop up a LOT, for related reasons – testosterone is linked to male reproductive behavior, but is also an immune suppressor, and the immune systems as a whole is basically a giant investment in not dying soon. Species with fast life history upregulate T (in males) and sacrifice the immune system (in both sexes) in order to mate more and direct calories to offspring (directly or indirectly).

        Deaths/illnesses would be a poor proxy, given modern human medicine; better to do a simple measure of WBC in a CBC blood test.

    • Lanrian says:

      I have seen the r/k things before within humans. Long story short, any indication that it has to do with epigenetic differences has basically zero credible evidence.

      Do you mean actual epigenetics, concerning heritable non-genetic changes, or ‘epigenetics’ like Scott uses it in this post, which seems to just denote some gene-environment interaction?

      (Scott, why would you use the word ‘epigenetics’ in this post, when you never mention it being heritable? It’s very confusing, and looks bad since actual cases of heritable non-genetic differences are so rare.)

      • arlie says:

        Hmm, last time I read introductory material on epigenetics, it had a lot to say about mechanisms of fine tuning gene activity that applied within a single lifetime as well as those that were succesfully passed to offspring. Lots about methylation and such. It got way beyond my rather basic understanding of organic chemistry/biochemistry, and I gave up trying to learn the detail. But to those authors at least, it was about gene regulation by attaching things to DNA that persist (are replicated) when the cell divides. This might have been a MOOC, or possibly a text intended for undergraduates; it was a couple of years ago. But I came away with the idea that while the inheritable Dutch hunger winter effects had caused people to look hard at cells and find this, the term applied equally well to non-inheritable changes using (in part) the same mechanisms.

      • Andkat says:

        ‘Epigenetics’ is a descriptor that applies generally to any modulation of phenotype beyond mutagenesis of the genetic code itself that can persist beyond a cellular replication, not necessarily hat of the entire organisms. In the most tangible senses, it encompasses the mechanisms fundamental to most of cellular differentiation ( modifications to genotype typify e.g. the immune system as well as, if some recent work is to be believed, neuronal development and response) as well as a slew of higher-order regulatory features across the tree of life- it is most often used as a shorthand for mechanism related to the direct modulation of the physical context of the genome (i.e. self-nucleating chromosomal packing, modification of the DNA outside of the watson-crick architecture, etc.) but technically any form of extragenomic feature that can persist and amplify back to the original level counts (I believe stress granule intergenerational maintenance has been observed in yeast and even bacteria, and). In consequence, it could include essentially any change to the expressional profile of e.g. a cell line (although the cells in question may be quiescent) in response to an environment or a developmental program, as core cellular expressional regulation is mediated significantly by mechanisms that are reflected in epigenetic encodings.

        Gametogenesis and fertilization reset most DNA modification encoding for epigenetic variations that arise from developmental programming and feedback to life events, but with some very low frequency you see escape therefrom in mammals- and at much more appreciable frequency in plants and some other such organisms more exciting than silly things like mammals. It’s a rather peripheral curiosity to the primary study of epigenetics in such in association with the mechanisms describing cellular differentiation (itself a series of programmatic context adaptations) and of the involvement of such mechanisms in cellular-level environmental responses. I don’t really think you could plausibly discuss the biological/molecular mediation of ‘Nurture’ (whether reversible or not- and especially for something expected to stick…) without resorting to such, for which ‘epigenetics’ is an expedient shorthand (and explicitly relevant for anything happening in tissues replicatively active during the relevant time window functionally relevant to the adaptation of interest).

  9. Nornagest says:

    The image attached to the Amazon link at bottom is broken for me.

  10. greghb says:

    Did anyone else see the link to “r/k selection theory” — with the underlined link-style blue hypertext making it look like r/k_selection_theory — and momentarily think, “what an odd subreddit”?

  11. Sniffnoy says:

    My comments:

    1. You know what else this kind of matches up with? My silly “Nerds, Hypocrites, and Sociopaths” trichotomy (which in turn matches up with David Chapman’s “Geeks, MOPs, and Sociopaths”), with skilled/provisioning being the Nerds, prosocial/caregiving the Hypocrites, and antagonistic/exploitative being the Sociopaths. 😛 (And creative/seductive falling somewhere between those last two.) It leaves out the fourth type I mentioned, but hey, I said that’s something people have to learn to be, didn’t I? 😛

    (…please don’t take any of this seriously)

    …on that note, I’m not sure you’ve split things up with Virgin/Chad. While I’m not really from that area of the internet, the impression I got was that Chad was supposed to include the normies, i.e. in this framework it’s not slow vs fast but rather skilled/provisioning vs everyone else.

    2. Regarding this:

    We believe that an abusive or deprived childhood can negatively affect people’s life chances. So far, we’ve cached this out entirely in terms of brain damage. Children’s developing brains “can’t deal with the trauma” and so become “broken” in ways that make them a less functional adult. Life history theory offers a different explanation. Nothing is “broken”. Deprived children have just looked around, seen what the world is like, and rewired themselves accordingly on some deep epigenetic level.

    Did anyone really believe the “damage” explanation? (Don’t answer that. I know in reality the answer is yes.) It just kind of obviously makes no sense, is pretty clearly based on bad analogies. Perceiving bad things happening hurts (in one sense), and physical damage hurts (in another sense), and physical damage reduces functioning, so (by bad analogy we conclude) that perceiving bad things happening results in damage. What?? Think about the brain as an information system. There is no reason that perceiving unwanted stimuli would reduce one’s functioning. Nothing about that makes sense.

    3. There’s one more thing I wanted to note about the point in the previous paragraph, which is– well, let’s examine this excerpt:

    But aside from the psychological compellingness, this doesn’t make a lot of sense. We already know that antagonistic and exploitative people exist in the world. All that life history theory does is exactly what progressives want to do: provide an explanation that links these qualities to childhood deprivation, or to dangerous environments where they may be the only rational choice.

    The thing is, there’s a big difference between on the other hand making rational choices, and on the other hand taking it as given that one has to follow one of several particular strategies and then rationally selecting in advance which one to take. That is to say, if you grow up in a violent environment (for example), it may be rational in the latter sense to become a violent person (again for example)… but if you’re taken out of that violent environment and continue your own violence, that’s not rational decision-making. Yes, if we assume that you have to have a fixed character then a violent one may have been a good choice, but that’s only if we make that assumption. In short, there’s a big difference between “Well violence was a rational choice in the situation” vs “Well violence was a rational choice in their childhood which trained them to be a violent person”. Both can be used, to varying extents, to excuse violence (or other bad behavior — violence was just an example), but the latter is substantially weaker, and I’ve seen people basically attempt to strengthen it by conflating it with the former. (Again, not necessarily regarding violence.)

    • Scott Alexander says:

      “Did anyone really believe the “damage” explanation? (Don’t answer that. I know in reality the answer is yes.) It just kind of obviously makes no sense.”

      Wow, that wasn’t my impression at all. I still find it kind of plausible. Aside from obvious things like malnutrition, and subtle things like minor vitamin deficiencies, and the sum total of all the weird things like breastfeeding and lead exposure and so on, we know that being really stressed all the time seems to hurt the immune system (ie you’re more likely to get an infection if you’re working yourself ragged) and I could plausibly believe it interferes with brain development too.

      • Sniffnoy says:

        Aside from obvious things like malnutrition, and subtle things like minor vitamin deficiencies, and the sum total of all the weird things like breastfeeding and lead exposure and so on,

        Those are actual physical changes; that has nothing to do with one’s mind being “unable to deal with the trauma” (of a negative event).

        we know that being really stressed all the time seems to hurt the immune system (ie you’re more likely to get an infection if you’re working yourself ragged) and I could plausibly believe it interferes with brain development too.

        This, on the other hand, is an actual explanation of how negative events could damage the brain. But notice how it’s still partly a “hardware”-based explanation! It doesn’t take place entirely inside the brain’s “software”. It can’t be fairly glossed as, their brain couldn’t handle the trauma. That idea still make no sense.

        • gbdub says:

          Wait, “traumatic experiences could damage the brain’s software“ is the part you find completely implausible?

          • Sniffnoy says:

            Well, OK, let’s break this down.

            The main thing I want to point out is nonsense is not the simple statement “traumatic experiences cause damage” but rather the broader cluster of ideas surrounding it. As I said above, the reasoning behind this idea seems to be basically, well, that things that physically hurt damage you physically, so things that mentally hurt damage you mentally. But once you strip away the overloaded language and think about what it actually means, it’s clear that this is nonsense! And without this support, there’s no particular reason to believe in the “damage” idea; as I said, it’s not that it’s impossible, but it’s a problem of privileging the hypothesis.

            But, as to your question, well — just look at Scott’s cortisol example. It’s an actual explanation, with moving parts. And one could postulate other explanations of the same sort, which would also be plausible, because, hey, the brain controls the body that is also its environment, so extreme values could translate to extreme physical values which could screw things up. It’s not a type of explanation I would have thought of, I’ll admit! If someone had just said to me that traumatic experiences could damage the brain’s hardware, with no further explanation, then yeah, my probably would probably have been, that that’s even dumber than the hypothesis that it damages the brain’s software. But add a mechanism and it makes sense!

            Meanwhile, the original damage hypothesis remains without any such explanation or any moving parts. So it remains without any reason to believe it.

          • gbdub says:

            Consider PTSD. Clearly possible to get it from non-physical harm/trauma. Severely impacts your ability to function. Pretty clearly not evolutionarily useful – at best, you could say PTSD is an overreaction of a useful adaptation/response system. So maybe it’s more like an allergy than a broken bone. But would it really be “clearly nonsense” to say that someone with a severe allergy has a “damaged” or “broken” immune system?

            And then similarly you’ve got all the mental illnesses that appear to be at least partially “triggerable” by trauma or negative experiences. Or the freeze-up / blackout response some people have to traumatic scenarios. “Emotional scars” are, sure, a bit of florid metaphor, but also obviously describing a real thing where people can react irrationally negatively to situations that pattern match to past trauma.

            I get what you’re saying that Scott is asserting an alternative to the “damage” theory. But I don’t think the dichotomy is as distinct as you’re making it out to be. At the end of the day, the fundamental mechanism of both theories is the same – negative early-life experiences permanently alter brain function in a way that is detrimental to later life. Whether or not we call that “damage” or a “maladaptation” comes down entirely to whether we can come up with a reason for why that altered brain function may have actually been useful in certain scenarios.

            Consider a fever – prior to knowledge about the immune system / germ theory that looks like something broken. Your body heats up, you don’t feel good. Now we suspect it has value in helping the immune system fight infection. But the observable impact didn’t change. And we know for sure too much fever can hurt you.

            And I think all of these exist on something of a continuum. Lots of mental conditions / processes might be adaptive to an extent, and harmful outside that extent. Where you draw the line between “over- or mal-adapted” and “damaged” is largely a matter of semantics and whether you’ve come up with the needed just-so story.

            As long as we’re attacking bad analogies, the whole idea of the human organism dividing neatly into “software” and “hardware” is a pretty questionable one. We already know mental and physical states have a lot of intimate connections, and heck, even memory and learning seem to be implemented by physical changes in the brain.

          • Sniffnoy says:

            So maybe it’s more like an allergy than a broken bone. But would it really be “clearly nonsense” to say that someone with a severe allergy has a “damaged” or “broken” immune system?

            Stripping away the context, no, but it would be very much incorrect to say that such a thing fits into the immune system analogue of the damage hypothesis. I.e., you don’t get an allergy by hitting the immune system really hard.

            I guess I want to somewhat retract and revise my statements above. What is nonsense is what we might call the folk damage hypothesis, where the information systems of the brain are thought of as a physical body and negative experience as injury to that body (possibly resulting, as you say, in “scars”). When someone says something like “Children’s developing brains ‘can’t deal with the trauma’ and so become ‘broken’ in ways that make them a less functional adult.”, as Scott does above, that is what I take them as referring to.

            So sure — you could describe maladaptation or all sorts of things as “damage”. But such things, with potential actual explanations behind them, are fundamentally from the folk damage explanation, and don’t really bear on it.

            So yeah, sure, maybe you could describe that as “damage” in some sense… but it’s not damage in the sense of the folk damage hypothesis; as soon as you start adding real explanations you don’t really have that anymore.

            I mean, maybe one might call it a “steelman”. Someone like Scott, who is maybe a bit too far on the charitable side, maybe saw people talking about children’s developing being unable to deal with the trauma and so becoming broken, and looked for a sensible explanation of what they might mean. Well, I’m basically here to say, I think the uncharitable explanation is correct, and the steelman bears no resemblance to the original; the people Scott heard talking about this had the nonsense folk damage explanation in mind, is my bet. Either that, or they made the same mistake, attempting to steelman a nonsense theory.

            In any case, I’m not sure how much we really disagree here. It seems like we both agree that the folk damage theory is nonsense. The only reamaining disagreement here seems to be whether the bit that I quoted was intended (by its original speaker, if not by Scott) to invoke that, rather than the broad, possibly-explained notion of “damage” that you’re using. And that doesn’t really seem like something worth arguing over. Does that seem right to you?

        • Nootropic cormorant says:

          From a Bayesian Brain standpoint it makes a lot of sense, the brain is ‘damaged’ by learning from unrepresentative data during fundamental stages of development, and is thus maladapted to experiences it meets later in life.

          • Sniffnoy says:

            That’s not damage, that’s the thing that Scott presented as an explicit alternative to damage.

          • Nootropic cormorant says:

            Fair enough. But it’s unclear to me how would we define “mental damge” in the first place. Of course there is no breakdown of neural tissue occurring as a response to negative experiences, but it seems likely that some experiences could push you away from the usual developmental pathways and void your evolutional warranty.

          • Mr. Doolittle says:

            That reminds me of the term “mental illness” as used by my mom. She thinks that anyone who acts in an evil manner must be “mentally ill” because people with “normal” brains wouldn’t do evil. She doesn’t have to contend with the causes of evil, because those people are just [some kind of] crazy.

            If we define “damage” to mean “acting in a way contrary to good adaptation” then we’ve deviated from the conventional understanding of “damage.” Now, the fact that someone likes to play the lottery is “brain damaged” because playing the lottery is bad adaptation.

          • Nootropic cormorant says:

            I guess the important claim I want to make is that our behavioral adaptation processes are imperfect and that there are environments that we have not adapted (phylogenically) to adapt (ontogenically) to, and that humans in those environments will have lower fitness, perhaps even in those very environments. I would have no problem with calling this “damage”.

          • Mr. Doolittle says:

            @ Noortropic

            I would have no problem with calling this “damage”.

            I wouldn’t either, if that term didn’t already have a very well-defined and specific definition. It’s a medical term that refers to physical damage to the brain. Stretching the definition to encompass non-adaptive behaviors distorts it to the point that it no longer aids in meaning. Using very strong terms to talk about potentially weak effects is also a personal pet peeve of mine.

          • Nootropic cormorant says:

            I am not convinced that the definition of damage is unequivocal as you claim, from the Farlex medical dictionary:

            dam·age (dam’ij),
            Harm, diminution, or destruction of an organ, body part, system, or function.
            [M.E., fr. O.Fr., fr. L. damnum, loss, harm]

            Wikipedia gives the definition of damage as “changes introduced into a system that adversely affect its current or future performance”

            The fact that we have a collocation such as “physical damage” also indicates that there are other sorts, such as the one mentioned here.

          • Mr. Doolittle says:

            Fair reply. I would say that my understanding of the word “damage” may be less in tune with the formal definition than I would think. I still believe that the connotations of the word are stronger than we intend for simple maladapted behaviors, and I think it would be dangerous to go too far down that road.

            With that definition you provided, we could call all behaviors that result in less-than-optimal results a form of damage, and be technically correct. I’m not sure how helpful that approach would be in practice.

          • Nootropic cormorant says:

            I think there’s a difference to be made between a something lowering fitness incidentally and by disturbing an existant structure or a developmental pathway, although I know I’m getting dangerously close to teleology here.

        • Alan Crowe says:

          Computers that people make in wafer fabs with silicon transistors do indeed have a distinction between hardware and software. The software cannot damage the hardware.

          The danger of this metaphor is the risk of eliding the technical skill of the circuit designer, who has taken care to make it so. For example, designers always add extra gates to fully decode tri-state buses. I’ll try to explain this example.

          Consider having three boards plugged into a backplane driving a tri-state bus. Board ZERO is at 00 and we use NOR of BIT0 and BIT1 to turn on the driver. Board ONE is at 01 and Board TWO is at 10. We use BIT0 to enable the drivers for Board ONE and BIT1 to enable the drivers for Board TWO. So long as the software is correct and addresses are restricted to the range {00,01,10} this works.

          One day the software crashes and the CPU attempts to access address 11. This turns on two sets of drivers at the same time. If they drive conflicting data the circuits will be overloaded and destroyed. (Check your data sheets; some drivers have extra transistors and reduced drive capability so that they can survive this kind of short circuit).

          You cannot have software errors destroying the hardware. We need to change the design. Instead of using BIT0 as the enable for Board ONE, we use a logic gate to compute BIT0 AND NOT BIT1. Similarly for Board TWO. Now when the CPU accesses address 11, none of the boards respond, the tri-state bus floats and the hardware isn’t damaged.

          Crucially this design change is prospective. The bad design never makes it past design review and no computer at risk of being destroyed by software is ever built.

          Contrast this with human brains which are designed by a process of mindless tinkering and weeding out the bad designs with cruelty, suffering, and differential reproductive success. We are the heirs and beneficiaries of this weeding process. The hardware of our own brains is at little risk of harm from software problems. Nevertheless, we should expect to see rare cases where bad software does damage the hardware. That is the consequence of not having a design review process to prevent defective designs making it into production.

          • Sniffnoy says:

            You don’t seem to be disagreeing with me? Scott’s example was exactly an example of what you’re talking about.

    • bullseye says:

      The “Chad” stereotype is the Blue Tribe’s perception of Red Tribe frat boys. His core personality trait is being a jerk. I’d expect a lot of normie prosocial/caregiving people would be conservative, but not the same type of conservative that Chad is.

      • acymetric says:

        I’m not sure the “Chad” stereotype falls along blue tribe/red tribe lines, for what its worth. You can have nerds that align “red tribe” (see the SSC comments section for evidence of this) and “Chads” in the blue tribe. I’m not sure I associate “Chad” with a political ideology at all, it is a social stereotype.

        Also, apologies to all the perfectly fine guys named Chad out there, I’m sure you’re great people that don’t fit the stereotype at all.

      • Steve Sailer says:

        The MeToo scandal has been interesting for documenting lots of Blue Tribe chads like Harvey Weinstein.

        In general, as we’ve seen from MeToo patterns, being a chad in a blue state industry like media that has a lot of young women workers offers a more target rich environment than being in a red state industry like oil and gas, with its largely male workforces.

        My impression is that women tend to get treated better in careers where women are fairly rare, like engineering, than in careers like Hollywood where beautiful women are in abundance.

        • acymetric says:

          Now we’ve gone even further off the rails. I don’t think anyone associates Weinstein or the oil and gas industry with frat boys. It seems like you are bothered by this frat-boy concept even though I’m fairly certain it wouldn’t be applied to you, any reason why?

          I remain perplexed that somehow the frat-boy archetype has been politicized by tribe. If someone is bothered by it, fair enough, but as I mentioned upthread this is a purely social construct without political implications.

          • Steve Sailer says:

            Read Sabrina Rubin Erdely’s “Rape on Campus” masterpiece in Rolling Stone carefully. It’s clear that she sees blond lifeguard frat boy gang rape on broken glass organizer Haven Monahan as representative of Republican gentile Southern males in general: glass-breakingly evil, but also pretty damn sexy.

            Of course, Haven Monahan hadn’t quite gone through the formality of existing, but that didn’t stop Sabrina from painting a picture that electrified the prestige media for about 10 days, until a few people started asking questions.

          • AnnaR says:

            In reality plenty of bros have rather lefty views. However, he image of bro culture, boy’s clubs at work making business deals at strip clubs (all the aorst excesses of Mad Men come alive!) conflates with other things blue drivers don’t like (or like less): masculine aggression and assertiveness; violence, guns, the military; being out to make lots of money, belief in self-reliance and “I built that”, not liking taxes, etc.

            As an example, I recall a left-wingy documentary that came put after Enron which dissected not only their actual nefarious dealings, but also their equally nefarious macho activities like retreats rising ATVs ans stuff. (To show how antisocial thoae guys were? I don’t know.)

        • knockknock says:

          Harvey Weinsteins are not true examples of Chad-ness. True Chads get what they want without such overbearing tactics.

      • cactus head says:

        I view the virgin/chad thing as ~10% of guys on one end of the population being the virgin character, ~10% of guys on the other end being the chad, and normies are all those in the middle who wish they were a chad, probably wish it even harder than the virgin.

    • baconbits9 says:

      Think about the brain as an information system. There is no reason that perceiving unwanted stimuli would reduce one’s functioning.

      The brain is an interpret and respond system, and its not “the brain” its the nervous system with some reactions bypassing the brain all together. The brain doesn’t just learn and then figure out the right output, it has to figure out which part of the brain to even send the message to for processing. You don’t want to spend to much time figuring out if that thing you saw in the corner of your eye is a snake or not, but you also don’t want to react to much to every little thing that isn’t in perfect resolution in your field of vision. You cannot program this in before hand or you won’t be able to adjust to any change in your environment, so you have to adjust the “software” of your brain early and potentially often. There is no reason it can’t be programmed “badly”.

      • Sniffnoy says:

        I don’t think you’re contradicting me? None of what you said supports the “couldn’t handle the trauma” theory.

        And yeah, the brain could be programmed badly in such a way that it is somehow true, but, well, it’s a locating-the-hypothesis problem. Sure, the brain could be badly programmed in such a way as to make the hypothesis true, but why would one have any reason to believe that?

        • Doctor Mist says:

          the brain could be badly programmed in such a way as to make the hypothesis true, but why would one have any reason to believe that?

          Well, the point of the post was to describe such a reason, right? If it is evolutionarily advantageous for an individual in a high-risk setting to adopt an r-strategy and an individual in a low-risk setting to adopt a K-strategy, then that’s the way to bet. It’s preferable to any notion you and I might have about the desirability of an information-processing system that works with optimum rationality.

          If evolution had been able to come up with a mind that worked at optimum rationality and had reproduction as its terminal goal, it would be a different story; in that case optimum rationality is a very useful enabling property.

          And if a child born to r-strategy parents was pretty much guaranteed to find itself in an r-strategy setting, the economical thing for evolution to do would be just to build the strategy into the genes, and we would have speciated long ago. But that correlation is not that reliable, so it’s entirely reasonable to suggest that evolution could have come up with something that tries to assess the setting soon enough to activate the right strategy. It sounds kind of similar to the language processing that has a free variable for whether subject or object comes first, which it fills in very early in life.

          I’m not saying I’m 100% convinced, but to me it certainly doesn’t seem as patently absurd as you seem to find it.

          • ADifferentAnonymous says:

            The distinction here is between the mainstream trauma theory, which says childhood abuse causes bugs, and the life history theory, which says childhood abuse activates certain features.

            Those features may be maladaptive today, but the response is there because it was previously selected for.

            (Whereas e.g. concussions as a response to cranial impact were never selected for)

          • Doctor Mist says:

            Sure. I freely concede that I have no idea which is true, if either.

            I took Sniffnoy to be saying that the latter was obviously nonsense because it required evolution to select for an imperfectly rational mind. But perhaps I was misunderstanding.

          • Sniffnoy says:

            ADifferentAnonymous has the right of it — what you’re describing isn’t damage, it’s the thing that Scott explicitly presented as an alternative to damage.

            Let me be clearer about what I think is nonsense. What I think is nonsense isn’t that evolution has not selected for a perfectly rational mind; of course that’s the case. What I think is nonsense is the informal reasoning that I think leads people to the “damage” hypothesis (yes, this is basically a bit of Bulverism, sorry), which I outlined above: Things that physically hurt damage you physically, so things that mentally hurt damage you mentally — except that reasoning makes absolutely no sense once you strip away the overloaded language and think about what it actually means. But I bet you that’s why most people believe this!

            As I stated above, the “damage” hypothesis is not impossible, but there’s no particular reason to believe it. See above about locating the hypothesis.

          • Nancy Lebovitz says:

            I don’t know whether this will help, but the brain is physical, and high stress can cause physical changes in the brain which appear to be emotional (mental) disorders.

          • Doctor Mist says:

            Sniffnoy-

            Then I did absolutely misunderstand you. My apologies.

        • baconbits9 says:

          I don’t think you’re contradicting me? None of what you said supports the “couldn’t handle the trauma” theory.

          If you take a person who has been physically abused they will often flinch when someone raises their hand, even when there is no other indication that they are about to be struck. Flinching is a lower brain reaction, and the over-reaction can be seen as routing the information to the wrong part of the nervous system and taking that response. The abuse has altered the system in a way that prevents the appropriate response to the situation, which prohibits ‘proper’ functioning.

          *I’m kind of expecting this to devolve into an argument about the definition of “damage”, if it does go that way I’m probably just going to bail for a variety of reasons.

          • Sniffnoy says:

            Right, to be clear, I am excluding that from damage — that’s basically the thing that Scott is presenting as an alternative to damage. I mean, the exact nature of the adaptation differs, but it still falls under “adaptation to the wrong enviroment”, which is fundamentally what he’s contrasting with damage.

    • ADifferentAnonymous says:

      I get what you’re saying with point 2, but you’re putting it a little too strongly. It’s not completely implausible that inputs outside the expected range could damage the brain’s developing software.

      A central prediction of the ‘software damage’ theory would be that such damage would be more likely in response to things that were less likely in the ancestral environment (or rather, things you were less likely to live through). I suspect this isn’t true, but I don’t know for sure.

    • carvenvisage says:

      “Software overload” is something that happens to adults (shellshock etc), and of course information patterns can be damaged: a computer program with a few characters out of place won’t run, and an architectural blueprint which was altered to recommend the wrong materials would be a poorer guide for construction.

      _

      I try to assume people aren’t malicious just because their position is an exact inversion of the truth, so I’ll follow that up with advice to be sceptical in future when you are taking a marxist-esque stance of bravely cold materialism against common sense, rather than with a personal denouncement. -That’s certainly a fun stance to take from time to time, but this sort of larping is better suited to dostoevsky-style bar debates than sober public statements of fact.

      • Sniffnoy says:

        I think you’re missing the key point here: While it’s certainly possible for information patterns to become damaged, it doesn’t make sense to postulate that sufficiently negative experiences would cause this. That, as best I can tell, has no basis other than bad metaphor.

        Edit: Or really I should say — and thanks to the other commenters for helpingme refine this point — even if it is a correct as a very high-level gloss, once should certainly not make the mistake of thinking that “couldn’t handle the trauma” is an explanation in and of itself.

        Basically — yeah, there are some data points that seem to line up with this bad folk theory, but that doesn’t mean one should use a bad folk theory. Yes, the correct explanation will have some overlap, but one should still discard bad folk theories before starting.

  12. Izaak says:

    if you quantify and graph everybody’s anxiety levels, they will form a bell curve, and the people diagnosed with anxiety disorders will just be the ones on the far right tail. Are any disorders not this way?

    I’m not sure, but I don’t think depression is this way, in the most minor and useless way possible. HOWEVER, there’s a distinction to be made between “This isn’t a bell curve” and “This is multimodal in a way that distinguishes people who have this disorder vs people who don’t in an intuitive way”.

    I’m having trouble finding the source I’ve seen before, but if I remember correctly, depressionness is distributed exponentially, and people with depression are just on the far right tail.

    Here’s a random paper I found after ~5 minutes of googling. Note figure 2.

    • RalMirrorAd says:

      If you’re measuring depression based on how depressed a person is where the smallest you can be on the scale is, say, a zero, then a normal distribution for depression would be unusual.

      In the case of anxiety we can imagine extremes of people who are daredevils/thrillseekers and those who are incredibly anxious. So the question would be does depression have an equivalent counterpart.

      • anonymousskimmer says:

        Depression seems more of a reactive mood state, anxiety an anticipatory state. The former seems far less prone to a normal distribution than the later.

    • albatross11 says:

      I think for IQ you get an approximate bell curve plus some outliers on the left due to various genetic or environmental mishaps that screwed up the operations of their brains. It would kinda make sense if there were something similar happening with other mental traits.

      OTOH, I kind of wonder if anxiety, depression, etc., are more like temperature. If you measure lots of people at different points in the day, you’ll see some variation in temperature due to differences in metabolism and situation (right after running up the stairs in a coat vs right after getting out of bed in a chilly room). But there will also be some people who have an active infection and are running fevers. There are non-pathological reasons why your temperature might be a little high right now, sort of like someone who’s extremely anxious because he’s taking the SAT tomorrow. But there are also pathological things that cause a high anxiety level when there’s not an obvious reason.

  13. bullseye says:

    In Dungeons and Dragons, the evil races can all reasonably be described as aggressive/exploitative, and all of them grow and age more quickly than humans. The good races can reasonably be described as caregiving/prosocial and/or skilled/provisioning, and they all grow and age more slowly than humans. So maybe the theory is correct and the authors of D&D intuitively grasped it? Or maybe it’s just that selfishness and short lifespans both seem bestial to us because we live longer and are more prosocial than most animals.

    • anonymousskimmer says:

      Drow is the exception to your rule.

      • Joseph Greenwood says:

        Drizzt Do’urden is the exception to your drow.

        But I think there’s a distinction to be drawn between goblins, orcs, gnolls, etc. on the one hand, and drow, illithid, yuanti, etc. on the other. The former are bad in the sense of being bestial and angry–the latter are bad in the sense of being diabolical and clever. It’s 9fast) “angry exploitative” on the one hand and (slow) “cold-blooded psychopaths” on the other. So I think the D&D division of races lines up fairly well with the paradigm outlined above.

        This seems to be the same phenomenon that Scott was gesturing at with his table of elements, houses, archangels, and so forth. (As an aside–I was sad not to see the four humors on that table)

    • Null42 says:

      Which strategy do you think plays D&D? 😉

    • Vorkon says:

      I was actually just about to make a comment vaguely relating to this! Not in the lifespan sense, like you’re talking about here, but more in the sense of the reproductive strategy that Scott started this post off by talking about.

      In my brother’s campaign, he established that the main difference between chromatic and metallic dragons was that the chromatic dragons laid dozens of eggs at a time and then mostly left them to their own devices, while the metallic dragons laid one egg at a time, and needed to care for it. At the time, I thought this was not only a great way to circumvent the troublesome “why are some intelligent races with free will intrinsically evil” problem that occurs at some point to anyone who ever thinks about D&D too deeply, and also had the side effect of providing the campaign with a convenient excuse to have tons of evil hatchling dragons running around for the players to fight.

      • Creutzer says:

        a great way to circumvent the troublesome “why are some intelligent races with free will intrinsically evil” problem that occurs at some point to anyone who ever thinks about D&D too deeply

        To be honest, I see neither the original problem, nor how a difference in reproductive strategy could have appeared to you as a solution if the problem existed.

        • Vorkon says:

          Do you mean to tell me you’ve never thought of the D&D alignment system as nonsensical? I thought that basically everyone who ever played D&D thought that, but just went with it because it made it easier to justify murderhoboing.

          Anyway, the difference in reproductive strategy would have explained the problem (at least among dragons, though a similar paradigm could be in place in regard to goblins, etc. as described above) via the exact same mechanism Scott describes in this post: The chromatic dragons, who need to immediately fight to survive upon being born, often among their own siblings, naturally lean toward a competitive, every-dragon-for-themselves life strategy, while the metallic dragons, who are raised by a parent, lean toward a life strategy that favors cooperation and compassion.

    • LadyJane says:

      I think it’s that humans tend to perceive extremes as bad, and fantasy writers in particular are inclined toward portraying humans as the “balanced” race, so you have villainous races like Orcs and Klingons that clearly display irrationality, impulsiveness, aggression, psychopathy, and other extreme fast-life traits, and then you have other villainous races like Dark Elves and Romulans who are the polar opposite, displaying cold rationality, ruthless efficiency, amoral sociopathy, and other extreme slow-life traits. It’s unsurprising that the more hot-blooded villain races tend to have shorter natural lifespans than humans, while the more calculating villain races tend to have longer natural lifespans than humans; it just makes intuitive sense.

    • 1soru1 says:

      The really iconic D&D races are orcs, humans, elves and dwarves, which map reasonably well to the 4 strategies.

      At least in Tolkien, humans must be ultra-seductive, because they keep persuading elves to give up immortality for a chance of human nookie.

      • Nancy Lebovitz says:

        I think there were only three examples of human-elf pairings, though having even that many is remarkable.

        • LHN says:

          @Nancy Three pairings with the Eldar, but the princes of Dol Amroth are descended from a Silvan Elf woman. (And the way Legolas recognizes it in his face suggests to me that that sort of thing is uncommon but not vanishingly rare like Edain-Eldar pairings.)

          There’s also a rumor that one of the Tooks had a “fairy wife”, though it’s not taken very seriously.

          (One consistent feature in Tolkien is that it’s always the woman who’s the “higher” kindred, whether it’s Men and Elves or Thingol and Melian. No Elf lords marrying mortal maids or Maiar fathering heroes on the daughters of Illuvatar.)

      • bullseye says:

        Humans must be ultra-seductive in D&D too. Just about anything that’s mixed race is half human, even half-dragons.

        • LHN says:

          Likewise in Star Trek, where for almost every half-anything the other half is human.

          (With the exception of Saavik in the novelization, but one could argue that she’s not cross-species, just mixed nationality.)

  14. Rushton offers as evidence of what you are calling a fast strategy children walking early. Are there data that could be used to match age of first walking with the outcome variables you are discussing?

    • Scott Alexander says:

      Good question – maybe I should ask it on the survey!

      • Mark V Anderson says:

        Do people know this? I have no idea how old I was when I started walking. I think the only ones who know would be those on the extremes. You could ask on the survey how old one’s kids started to walk.

        • Nancy Lebovitz says:

          Some people could find out from their parents.

          • Aapje says:

            I think that this would be very sensitive to retroactive memory alteration. I would expect parents to be biased to assume that a currently more successful child was a quick learner, while a currently less successful child was a slow learner, regardless of actual fact.

          • cuke says:

            Speaking as a parent of two near-adults, it’s hard for me to imagine not remembering when our children first walked and talked. Milestones like this are also often in pediatric medical records. My mom was 40 when she had me and I was the tail end of four kids over fifteen years, and she remembered things like birth weight and milestones very well between us. But I don’t mean to assume our experience is universal.

            I think there may be too many confounding factors in terms of reading any significance into age of walking. Our son was way at the late end of the bell curve in terms of walking age and our daughter at the early end of the bell curve, but our son is also way off the charts in terms of height and was slower at fine and gross motor control development generally. I’ve always told myself this was due to having to coordinate body parts that were growing much longer and faster that other kids’, but I don’t know. There seems to be no significant difference in IQ or other cognitive function between our two kids. So I’m not sure what late-to-walk would signal in this instance.

    • Steve Sailer says:

      Rushton was a pretty fast liver for an academic.

    • Steve Sailer says:

      Paradoxically, I suspect a lot of fashion models are slow life history females.

      Fashion models need to be tall. I believe there’s a correlation between height in adult females and later puberty because girls tend to stop growing taller at puberty. A lot of models claim they were tomboys as children. I suspect they are mostly remembering a year or so in which other girls in their class had reached puberty while they were still prepubescent.

      • Ketil says:

        A lot of models claim they were tomboys as children

        A lot of women claim they were tomboys, my impression is that having being one of the guys has higher status than having played with dolls or makeup. Or maybe it is just that success in life (we mostly hear from successful women) is correlated with certain masculine traits in childhood?

        • brmic says:

          Maybe that, maybe it’s just that model having been feminine as a child is a dog bites man story, model having been a tomboy is man bites dog and the model is more likely to share because it’s interesting and media are more likely to repeat. Also, consider that childhood is long, and models get to pick and chose which ages they talk about/focus on. They’re less likely to say ‘I was a tomboy at five, but then ages 10 onward I always was the most beautiful girl in my social circle.’ and even if they did, journalists are likely to edit out the latter half.

        • bullseye says:

          Height itself is a masculine trait, and supermodels typically have narrow hips and small breasts. I think if you looked at pretty women in other fields, e.g. Hollywood, you’d find fewer tomboys.

          • Steve Sailer says:

            There are a lot of female child actresses who grew up to be female adult actresses. Off hand, I think they mostly tended to grow up to be what they portended to be as a child: e.g., Jodie Foster was a tomboy girl and is a tomboy adult. Jessica Alba was, I think, a feminine 13 years old girl and is now a feminine woman.

            Elizabeth Taylor and Judy Garland were pretty similar as adults to what they were like as children, although both fall in that category of heterosexual women who are very appealing to gay men, which seems a little orthogonal to the main Jody Foster to Jessica Alba dimension of tomboy to girly girl.

            But somebody could look into this correlation more methodically:

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_American_former_child_actors

  15. Ozy Frantz says:

    Because I am self-centered, my primary response to this post is being confused about how I can have borderline personality disorder and high-functioning autism at the same time. My epigenetics think I’m going to have a short life and a long one at the same time? Mixed strategy?

    • Null42 says:

      Or you picked up two separate sets of mutations, one optimizing for fast and one for slow strategy, and got the worst of both worlds. 🙁

      The human mind’s complex, it makes sense there wouldn’t be one neat theory that can explain it all.

    • LadyJane says:

      For what it’s worth, I can’t figure out which category I would fit in either. I have a lot of traits from both the skilled/provisioning and the creative/seductive categories, and a few from the antagonistic/exploitative category. The prosocial/normie category is the only one that doesn’t fit me at all.

      Maybe there’s some kind of medium-speed/generalist strategy? Maybe some people are more fluid and subconsciously switch between strategies depending on the circumstances (for instance, taking a more high-risk approach when there are lots of other people around and a more low-risk approach when there are only a few other people around)? Maybe some people are inclined to one strategy by nature, but taught to pursue another strategy by environmental factors (e.g. someone who grew up with a lot of high-risk friends might develop high-risk traits themselves, against their own natural inclinations)? Or maybe some people are just anomalous.

      I’m also not even sure that these models would apply to queer people. If homosexuality is a social adaptation, as modern evolutionary biologists speculate, then people other than cis-heterosexuals could be expected to have different life strategies that wouldn’t be so focused on reproduction.

      • bullseye says:

        I’ve found that the better you know a person the harder it is to fit them into categories, and you know yourself better than anyone.

      • anonymousskimmer says:

        I think Scott and Del Giudice are reinventing the wheel a bit, and in the process conflating some things.

        I’m curious how people such as yourself who identify with the “creative/seductive category” identify with the instinctual variants, as my initial guess is that “creative/seductive” is descriptively similar to having the “sexual” instinct as the primary instinct (as well as Enneagram types 4 and 7).

        And the problem with that descriptive similarity is that people of all 9 Enneagram types (including the more skill-oriented types) and degrees of psychological health, can have a sexual-first instinct. The instinct expresses differently through the various Enneagram types, and I think Scott’s description may be greatly biased here.

        Skilled/provisioning description seems to indicate those who are not self-preservational last, as well as Enneagram types 1/3/5 (and maybe 7).

        Prosocial obviously those who have a primary social instinct, and likely Enneagram types 2/6/9 (and maybe 1).

        And antagonistic/exploitative the bad traits of Enneagram types 3/7/8.

        Descriptions of the instinctual variants:
        https://www.eclecticenergies.com/enneagram/variants
        https://www.enneagraminstitute.com/how-the-enneagram-system-works (you have to scroll down a bit)
        http://www.enneagram.net/subtypeschart.html

        • LadyJane says:

          I fit Types 4 and 5 pretty well (which are types you associated with creative/seductive and skilled/provisioning strategies, appropriately enough). I’m not sure which of those fits me better, but I’m fairly sure it’s one of those two. And I’d say my primary instinct would be self-preservational.

          Edit: Sure enough, the test gave me Type 5 with Type 4 wing, self-preservation variant.

    • Aging Loser says:

      “Interesting Freak” (interesting to ME because they’re hyper-interested in Topics and Weird Things) is one of the two basic social categories that I recognize, the other being “Not Interesting Freak”. And of course men of this type are neither attractive to women nor skilled provisioners. And the women who seem to belong to this category probably aren’t going to attract men of this category unless they’d also attract the rock stars and gangsters (and, as menopause approaches, the skilled provisioners) whom they’d find much more attractive than the men of this category — men being men and women being women. It’s a sad world.

      • bullseye says:

        A lot of people I went to college with are interesting freaks and also rich engineers, and are married to each other.

        • veronicastraszh says:

          Same here. I see plenty of “interesting freaks” in relationships.

          I haven’t done some widespread survey, but anecdotally, I work at a tech company. I’m surrounded by weird nerds. Everyone who sits in my corner of the cube farm — six engineers — are all married.

  16. Joe says:

    I was wondering if anyone was familiar with David Ausubel’s theory of Ego Development and Psychopathology. Could this be an alternative to evolutionary psychology?
    link text

  17. andavargas says:

    Two things:

    1. This book is obviously relevant to the nature/nurture discussion. What I think it brings to the table is that nurture can have qualitative effects that aren’t just more of this behavior or less of that one, but can instead trigger complicated patterns that amount to comprehensive “life strategies” in highly nonlinear ways. Nature may provide a panoply of options that anticipate possible nurtures and enact themselves accordingly. I am reminded of the Lamarckian view that tan skin provided evidence against Darwinism, only for us to discover that the very ability of an organism to tan its skin has Darwinian roots.

    2. Across deep evolutionary time (i.e. the evolution of vertebrates), it’s evident that animals have become more and more plastic over their own developmental time. This review makes me consider how plasticity is related to the numeric population of a species and the diversity of the environments it inhabits. On the one hand, a species can speciate into daughter species that are adapted to different niches, but on the other hand, it can instead incorporate plasticity so that it can occupy both at once. Insects almost always choose the former (c.f. sympatric speciation), but vertebrates and especially mammals and perhaps even more especially humans may be the crown jewel of the latter.

    • Alkatyn says:

      re 2, there’s a difference I think between having multiple genetically ‘inbuilt’ strategies for different environments (e.g. an animal that changes its metabolism based on temperature) and having a single trait that allows for exploitation of multiple different environments, but isn’t specific to any of them, (intelligence seems to be an example of this).

    • Cerastes says:

      2 is completely wrong. Insects have been evolving exactly as long as mammals. You’re falling into the discredited old “scala naturae” view of life. A beetle is every bit as “evolved” as a monkey. The only way your statement could be true is if you showed that fossil species had more restricted morphospace than modern taxa.

      • anonymousskimmer says:

        Genome size would be a correlate, as would general omics variability (alternate splicing, etc…).

        Parasitical species tend to have smaller genomes than non-parasites, and also lack the ability to exploit more niches.

        Humans have lost vitamin C, and various other nutrient synthesis abilities.

        • Cerastes says:

          Do you have any evidence that genome size is related to phenotypic plasticity?

          Xenopus would be the obvious place to look, since within that genus there are diploids, tetraploids, octoploids, and dodecaploids.

          Also, genome size does not correlate in any way to how “advanced” a species is. IIRC, the largest known genome is in a fern.

  18. entognatha says:

    > Maybe when they graduate with a prestigious MIT degree, they will get enough money and status to attract a high-quality slow-strategy mate, who can bear high-quality slow-strategy kids who produce many surviving grandchildren. I don’t know. This hasn’t happened to me yet.

    You’re poly. I’m not sure what strategy that is, but it’s more similar to the fast life history methodology in terms of reproduction. If you want a high quality slow-strategy mate that tends to suggest monogamy. Not saying it can’t happen for you but it certainly makes it more difficult because you’re pursuing mixed strategy women – they totally exist, but if this paradigm is the case, are probably of lower frequency overall.

    When I selected my slow-strategy mate I selected one that was basically monogamous despite being poly-oriented myself and chose to be monogamous. Children can be raised in a poly lifestyle, but it’s less stable, and I decided I didn’t want to have children outside of an (at least) two parent household. If it weren’t for having kids I’d have stayed poly.

    • Nicholas Weininger says:

      I know plenty of slow-strategy poly people. It seems such a cliche, such a tiresome thing to have to repeat, to say that there is a very wide spectrum of poly relationship styles, and that for many poly people the impulsive thrill of promiscuity, which monogamous people so often imagine must be the whole point, is actually not the point at all; but it is true.

      Also, [citation needed] on your “but it’s less stable” assertion. Again, this is something that may be more intuitively plausible to someone who doesn’t know a bunch of very stable poly couples raising kids in very boringly conventional home environments.

    • Aging Loser says:

      Everyone would like to cuddle with lots of cute girls. Don’t we all see six or seven girls per day we’d like put our arms around and kiss? What’s especially “poly” about this?

      • Hoopyfreud says:

        Everyone would like to cuddle with lots of cute girls. Don’t we all see six or seven girls per day we’d like put our arms around and kiss? What’s especially “poly” about this?

        Are you familiar with the subreddit /r/egg_irl? Because that’s the vibe I’m getting. No, not everybody is like this, no matter how much “sense” it makes to you.

        • Aging Loser says:

          “Memes about trans people in denial”? If I responded in kind, without your sneering evasiveness, I’d get banned. You owe me an apology. I will remember this.

          • Skivverus says:

            I think that may have been intended as an analogy for “poly people in denial”. More specifically, that there are definitely people who don’t see “six or seven girls per day [they]’d like to put [their] arms around and kiss”, not just because they don’t live in cities, and that such people are the norm rather than the exception.
            (I might disagree with Hoopyfreud on whether such people are the norm, but I see no reason to doubt they exist)

          • Hoopyfreud says:

            The fuck?

            Skivverus has the right of it, but also I see nothing in what I said to prompt that reaction, and I won’t apologize for it.

            @Scott, ban me if you want, I guess. I’m reporting my own post in case it’s warranted. Feel free to disregard any affirmative-action policies in place here – I want to know whether this would be considered a violation of the comment policy.

            Edit: To elaborate, “egg” memes commonly involve a person fantasizing about being another gender regularly and believing that everybody does so. The implication was that Aging Loser has poly tendencies that are stronger than the average bear’s, and that he is either in denial about or unaware of this.

          • Aging Loser says:

            Okay H — I don’t do reddits so I googled the thing and on the list of hits saw “memes about trans people in denial” so figured you were telling me I’m a trans person in denial. Forget it.

  19. ilkarnal says:

    I feel that Gryffindor and Ravenclaw should be swapped in the chart. Gryffindor is a better fit for the Puritans than Ravenclaw. Ravenclaw is creative, Gryffindor provisioning.

    I found Greg Cochran’s podcasts and writing on the subject of different evolutionary strategies and whether mental illnesses count as such very useful. You have him on your sidebar – are there any takes of his on the subject that you feel the need to take an axe to? My impression is that he would say that the things Marco del Giudice calls different strategies are overwhelmingly just mistakes, the result of sand in the gears of our workings.

    • James Miller says:

      You are almost certainly right about what Greg would say. I’ve done multiple podcast interviews of Greg.

    • albatross11 says:

      Well, it seems clear that there are different strategies that make sense for different environments. For that matter, every gene not on the Y chromosome manifests in both women and men, and there are pretty clearly different default strategies there. Probably also different strategies corresponding to age.

      I’m not sure this model cuts reality at a joint, but I do suspect that there are a bunch of different strategies that make sense in different circumstances, and a lot of them are probably pushed to some extent by a mix of genes, upbringing, culture, and current situation.

      • Randy M says:

        For that matter, every gene not on the Y chromosome manifests in both women and men

        Is this true?
        Obviously both sexes have every other gene, but I could imagine that some are only activated by proteins encoded on the Y. Not sure that’s a very efficient arrangement, but nature does funny things sometimes.

    • The Nybbler says:

      Gryffindor’s key attribute is bravery. It would need to be paired with a fast strategy, not slow. The chart pairs Antagonistic/exploitive and creative/seductive, but I think if you wanted to do the Hogwarts houses you’d get closer to Slytherin as “exploitive/seductive” and Gryffindor as “creative/antagonistic”. Of course the idea that every group of four things has a 1:1 equivalence to every other group of four things is possibly fallacious, but where’s the fun in that?

  20. Hoopyfreud says:

    Strikes me as dangerously self-serving.

    Those who know me know that I don’t like making reference to status games; I find it unsatisfying and prefer to treat people as sincere in their endorsed beliefs. That said…

    There is a tendency that I’ve seen to cast the “fast” as the type to flame out, particularly among the intelligencia. To comfort ourselves with the idea that the Chads will die facedown in a ditch with coke in their veins. I see the basic assumption of “bad long-term choice” being made here and I have to ask if the root of it really is self-justification. Not because this isn’t more likely to happen to the fast (it is) but because we want to believe that it will in order to feel better about ourselves.

    I’m in a happy relationship with an incredibly smart woman. We both fit the “specialist” mold here. We’re both thinking long-term. Neither of us has accumulated the status or wealth required by the strategy, and aren’t together for the sake of the eventuality. I think we might just like each other. I spent a long time single before I met her, and I never really “got” the frustration of the people who were mostly like me, but who wanted a relationship – any relationship, with anyone at all. I saw them bitter and angry at the “Chads,” whereas I just had a little self-hatred and a lot of confusion; I didn’t (and still don’t, really) understand sexual frustration. I get not feeling loved – god knows I’ve spent most of my life desperately lonely – but I don’t really get sexual frustration at all. I say this because I think it’s relevant to my point:

    I see lots of “slow” people glorifying their own choices in the form of long-term payouts and discounting the dividends of early investment in the realm of relationships. You can move fast and stay together. You can build a long-term relationship on being charming and seductive, because that’s what you need to sweep a partner off their feet for decades. You can be a psychopathic power couple. You can build a specialist hookup culture (see: pro sports and [controversially] the poly arm of the rationalist community). You can even be a backstabbing cheating normie couple whose 20-year relationship falls apart at the ripe age of 34.

    While the trends here are, I believe, generally true, they strike me as suffering the same weakness as most EvoPsych: lacking sufficient universalizability to substantiate the claimed links in behavioral traits while feeding into the biases of the audience in order to mask that fact.

    • Null42 says:

      I agree 100%, everyone picks the theories that make them feel good. As you point out, the ‘fast’ strategies don’t necessarily end badly for the people who play them. Indeed, a ‘slow’ strategy may only pay off at all in a middle class or higher home (as would be predicted from the evolutionary origins of them). You can work for years in a Wal-Mart, make employee of the month over and over, and not get promoted to management.

      • Hoopyfreud says:

        Indeed, a ‘slow’ strategy may only pay off at all in a middle class or higher home (as would be predicted from the evolutionary origins of them).

        No, see, this is what I’m talking about too.

        Here’s the other story you can tell:

        Psychopath strategies only work in a middle class or higher environment, where you can be insulated from interpersonal backlash by your wealth. Dependability is more important in lower-class environments where you depend on your community for long-term survival, which is why they place more stock in the institution of marriage

        Which strategy do you identify more with? Do you think that has an inordinate impact on the narrative you chose? Because I very strongly suspect it does. I’m not saying that there aren’t insights to be made here, to be clear, but I AM saying that EvoPsych seems massively vulnerable to astrology syndrome, where things that look significant seem that way because of how you’re looking at them.

    • Alkatyn says:

      I will be more sympathetic to one of these theories if I ever see one which sorts the author (and by extension audience) into one of the “bad” groups.

      • Aging Loser says:

        Weren’t those thoughtful-pick-up-artist sites such as Chateau Heartiste presented as hosted by Bads for the benefit of Goods?

        • Hoopyfreud says:

          Only insofar as players are bads; I’d argue that the real bads are women in this paradigm, seeing as how they’re the ones rejecting the men. Being a romantically successful and manipulative man is a lot less bad than being a narcissistic and codependent woman, which is the type PUAs seem to be going for.

          • christopher hodge says:

            From what I’ve seen of PUA types I don’t get this impression whatsoever; they seem quite dispassionate in their explanation of gendered human sexual instincts (usually in terms of evolutionary fitness and so on), and equally scientific in their dissection of those of women, with an eye to better navigating them. Navigating them for the purpose of getting pussy, sure; but there are many other people who will sell you other ‘insider tips’ on psychology for all sorts of other purposes too: better negotiating, more confidence, overcoming addiction…

            The way I see it, these are all uniformly amoral paradigms where people are just animals, only with a rational mind knocking about that can be put to use in service of the animal, to get what it wants, not really touching on the deeper journey (well known to the typical rationalist SSC reader) of using the rational mind to decide what to want in the first place; and the fact that PUAing is disgusting or immoral to you is a statement about you, not them.

            Or, if you want to get esoteric about it, maybe women are bad after all because it was Eve who was tempted to eat the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, which was the first step in the chain of causality which led people to be able to examine their own instincts and alter their behaviour accordingly in the first place.

          • Hoopyfreud says:

            @christopher

            https://heartiste.wordpress.com/the-sixteen-commandments-of-poon/

            Note that this is the first thing that came up on Google from the blog mentioned above, which I have never heard of before.

            The model of the woman that’s being described here is, I would say, definitely narcissistic and codependent.

            She thrives when she has to imagine what you’re thinking about her, and withers when she knows exactly how you feel.

            Refraining from reciprocating everything she does for you in equal measure instills in her the proper attitude of belief in your higher status. In her deepest loins it is what she truly wants.

            Women will never admit this but jealousy excites them.

            Women want to feel like they have to overcome obstacles to win a man’s heart. They crave the challenge of capturing the interest of a man who has other women competing for his attention, and eventually prevailing over his grudging reluctance to award his committed exclusivity.

            women… in fact want to subordinate themselves to a worthy man’s life purpose, to help him achieve that purpose with their feminine support, and to follow the path he lays out.

            The strongest woman and the most strident feminist wants to be led by, and to submit to, a more powerful man.

            This isn’t about PUA being disgusting or immoral to me – I’ll freely grant that it seems to work. But there are rampant selection effects at play here that make it unlikely to work as a general female psychology – most of the women I know (and like) have no patience for this sort of thing.

            Insofar as the target audience is men who default to a reciprocal relationship, the message is clear: women don’t like being treated reciprocally, as you treat other people that you value, and they will hate you if you treat them “well.” I would say that makes them the bad ones.

          • veronicastraszh says:

            I can see no physical reason you cannot treat people as things, but at the same time lead a fulfilling emotional life. That said, I don’t think it really works. Our minds are not merely cognitive. Our emotions work on an unconscious level, and a lot of hidden things seem to happen as we form connections with other people. I suppose you can “hack” the process, but it’s a mistake to imagine your autistic super-brain is going to crack the relationship code.

            Does PUA/redpill/etc. stuff work? Sure, I suppose, for some people, sometimes. On the other hand, a lot of folks who played in PUA space later leave the space and talk about how emotionally stunting it was. Likewise, a lot of women are fed up with it. Honestly, once you sense the manipulation, it’s creepy as fuck. Do not want.

            I try to steer people away from the hyper-analytical approaches to courtship and relationships. It get it. It’s tempting. I too am a beepy-boopy nerd.

            And yet…

            It’s possible to not be manipulative. Sometimes I think people don’t get this, which I suppose is a “typical minds” thing. Sure, some of you can produce [elaborate argument] about how, no, actually, all interpersonal relationships are “manipulation,” and in turn stupidly conclude that all manipulation is the same.

            Fine. You can win that argument, I suppose. Then you’ll follow up with [lengthy grievances] about how you cannot find love.

            Did you really win anything?

          • christopher hodge says:

            Hoopy you have amply explained why you think PUA types are Bad (in addition to them being wrong in the scope of some of their little claims), but what I was reacting against was the idea that they themselves see themselves as Good, and that they see women as Bad. This to me is more of an Eliot Rodger damaged incel trope, and they are oceans apart. Der Ewige Incel hates PUAs, for the same reason that if you couldn’t walk, you might come to hate someone who took to skipping hopping and moonwalking in front of your wheelchair, if you catch the meaning of my regrettably base analogy. PUAs meanwhile are little goal oriented shark sociopaths going about getting what they want by hacking the human mind, and are too brutally pragmatic in outlook to dwell on lofty concepts like Good and Bad. They only know Works and Doesn’t Work. That’s all I meant to say.

            Veronica, please don’t mistake me for a proponent of pickup artistry. Nobody is more morally outraged or viscerally disgusted by it all than I am.

          • Hoopyfreud says:

            @christopher

            I was putting this in the context of Aging Loser’s comment that “thoughtful-pick-up-artist sites” could be seen as framing the ingroup (PUAs) as Bad. I think that the dynamic Alkatyn describes does, in fact, exist on these sites, but that they frame it as existing between men and women rather than the alpha and beta men, and that the EvoPsych they employ reflects this dynamic – the PUAs might be self-deprecating, but they still frame themselves as better (smarter, more important, more successful, less vulnerable, less irrational) than the women who they’re writing about. The judgments they make may be amoral and sociopathic, but they’re still value judgments – maybe “powerful” and “weak” would be better than “good” and “bad,” given what you say. And they definitely see themselves as the Powerful.

          • Aapje says:

            @Hoopyfreud

            I think that many people (including women) have a model of men that portrays them as narcissistic and codependent in a slightly different way.

            If we gender-flip parts of your quote, then it’s basically what I’ve heard said about men, like:

            Men want to feel like they have to overcome obstacles to win a woman’s heart. They crave the challenge of capturing the interest of a woman who has other men competing for her attention, and eventually prevailing over his grudging reluctance to award his committed exclusivity.

            Just yesterday a feminist blog linked to an article on how women can earn money with camming, where it was described that the best way to earn money is to treat them as described in the italic text above.

            Have you considered the possibility that most people are actually fairly narcissistic and codependent?

            I think that the data strongly suggests that society is largely in denial about the actual levels of narcissism and codependence that people have, especially when people judge themselves, but also particularly for women.

            Insofar as the target audience is men who default to a reciprocal relationship, the message is clear: women don’t like being treated reciprocally, as you treat other people that you value, and they will hate you if you treat them “well.” I would say that makes them the bad ones.

            The question here is what ‘well’ and ‘recripocal’ actually means.

            The naive answer is to treat people as you want to be treated yourself, but when people actually have different needs, that doesn’t work.

            If men and women actually tend to have different needs & desires (note that these don’t have to be biological, but can be encultured), then treating them well can mean treating them how you yourself would not want to be treated.

            Similarly, reciprocity doesn’t have to mean equality. One person can cook for both and the other can mow the lawn for both. Then there is reciprocity, but not equality.

          • Aapje says:

            @veronicastraszh

            An issue here is that words like ‘manipulative’ have a negative connotation, so people tend to only apply it to behaviors they disapprove of, but not to similar behaviors that they like.

            You yourself seem to be wavering on the edge of accepting this, as you both reject manipulation, yet also seem to recognize that good forms of manipulation exist.

            There is a lot of pro-social manipulation that people do that is beneficial.

            For example, a typical sale involves both people saying ‘thanks’ after receiving the money or the item respectively. This creates the positive feelings associated with gift-giving, even though the transaction is actually a quid-pro-quo. The buyer manipulates the seller and the seller manipulates the buyer, causing them both to feel good.

            People who don’t engage in pro-social manipulation are generally considered unpleasant to be around (except for small children, whom we tend to excuse).

            It’s possible to not be manipulative.

            No, it’s generally not. People are rarely rational and generally cannot deal with hard truths or the coldness of the quid-pro-quo’s that we engage in.

            Of course, that doesn’t mean that PUA-style manipulations are inevitable. That is merely one set of manipulations that can be used.

          • Hoopyfreud says:

            @Aapje

            reciprocity doesn’t have to mean equality. One person can cook for both and the other can mow the lawn for both. Then there is reciprocity, but not equality.

            This is, in fact, why I used the term “reciprocity.” The blog quotes explicitly suggest giving to one’s partner at a lower rate than the reciprocal, extending beyond exchanges-in-kind, in order to cultivate desperation in the other.

            Have you considered the possibility that most people are actually fairly narcissistic and codependent?

            Maybe they are, but happily, I don’t feel a need to be in a relationship with that sort of person (at least, with the sort of person who is those things moreso than I am), and I can’t imagine why anyone would choose to be. I especially don’t feel the need to be in a relationship with someone who models me as narcissistic and codependent. I’d much rather raise a child alone, if children were a priority for me. And I prefer to be lonely than to be despised or pitied.

            Men want to feel like they have to overcome obstacles to win a woman’s heart. They crave the challenge of capturing the interest of a woman who has other men competing for her attention, and eventually prevailing over his grudging reluctance to award his committed exclusivity.

            Is this true for you? Because this sounds completely insane to me. I cannot imagine occupying this frame of mind, or that any of my male friends do. That said, I also can’t understand why an apparently large minority of men have a fetish for cuckoldry so… possibly related? Regardless, I can’t believe that this is an accurate universal male psychology either. It might work to understand the motivations of people who are already going to give money to camgirls or make it rain in strip clubs, but that doesn’t make it generally representative.

          • Gobbobobble says:

            Is this true for you? Because this sounds completely insane to me. I cannot imagine occupying this frame of mind, or that any of my male friends do.

            It is completely insane, at least to some of us, but is also an extremely common trope promoted by the likes of Hollywood and Cosmo. “Playing hard to get” being a thing didn’t come from nowhere.

          • baconbits9 says:

            Is this true for you? Because this sounds completely insane to me. I cannot imagine occupying this frame of mind, or that any of my male friends do. That said, I also can’t understand why an apparently large minority of men have a fetish for cuckoldry so… possibly related? Regardless, I can’t believe that this is an accurate universal male psychology either.

            It isn’t particularly true for me, but it isn’t insane. A woman that requires a lot of effort to get is one that is unlikely to jump ship for another guy easily, and will also more genuinely like you for who you are having had it demonstrated repeatedly over a long period.

  21. baconbits9 says:

    My general fear with these theories is that they simplify to a degree that makes their conclusions unlikely to be correct. To start with the fast/slow r/k selection theories exist across multiple equilibria. First there are three general population equilibria that you can exist in, expanding, static and contracting populations and each of these will have different selective pressures on them. A few dozen rabbits get dumped in Australia where there are no predators, selection still exists and you would probably see bold rabbits who don’t startle at everything and are willing to explore new territory do better than average. On the other hand aggressive rabbits might do worse, there is little to be gained from fighting as mates and places to live should be plentiful. However you can easily construct scenarios where bold and aggressive traits go well together.

    A few generations down the line and the continent has hit its carrying capacity now the bold but not aggressive rabbits are doing poorly, but a few generations after that someone intentionally introduces myxomatosis and 99% of the population is killed and who is doing well now?

    All species go through periods of expanding, static and contracting populations and each should call for a different optimal strategy, which will be based on your fixed attributes as well. Reducing highly complex situations to a pair of axis like r/k or high risk/low risk or fast/slow will get you shallow answers that sound informative but are unlikely to guide you in a search for a deeper understanding. There are too many dimensions that effect the outcome and you are at best getting a rough approximation.

    • Steve Sailer says:

      Okay, but is there much evidence that rabbits have adjusted their r/K balance much in response to the opening or closing of environmental opportunities, such as expanding into Australia in the 19th Century? I wouldn’t be surprised if they have adjusted somewhat to these big swings in environment, but in general rabbits seem pretty pegged to the r pole of the r/K distribution.

      • baconbits9 says:

        The point I was hoping to make is that you cannot bin a species into an “environment” and predict the correct strategy, there are numerous pressures and any of them can be used to explain the traits that you see. Rabbits in Australia would have been in a low risk environment but would (if anything) have been pushed toward an r strategy in that (extreme) situation.

        but in general rabbits seem pretty pegged to the r pole of the r/K distribution.

        They are? Compared to what? Compared to elephants they are very r, but compared to insects they are pretty K.

        • Steve Sailer says:

          One question is whether species can be expected to have evolved to take advantage of situations like Australia in the 19th Century, which was fairly unique: a whole continent with few sophisticated predators. Or do these kind of once in ten thousand years situations happen so rarely that species that have evolved under more normal Malthusian conditions of a full, highly crowded ecology just have to make do with what they’ve got?

          • baconbits9 says:

            Its actually fairly close to the norm for lots of animals. Every spring in temperate areas the landscape will go from not being able to support any insects to being able to support billions. Populations will go from a relative few at first to increasing by tens, hundreds or thousands of times every few weeks.

    • Cerastes says:

      Just because there are lots of dimensions doesn’t mean they’re all equally important, or the importance level is permanent. I’d even go so far as to state that, for any such dimension, there will be at least one biological system where it is indeed the primary, defining dimension.

      It’s important not to over-simplify, but it’s also important to recognize that explaining even *some* of the variability in a system is progress and insight rather than just throwing our hands up and declaring it “too complex”

      • baconbits9 says:

        The complaint isn’t “to complex, give up” its “explanation that sounds good under your assumed conditions doesn’t sound so good under condition X which occurs regularly”. Its not enough to have a strategy that works in one equilibrium, nor one that works in several, but it also has to work across the the shifts as well.

        If you don’t do this then applying your explanation will lead to bad conclusions, r strategies might work when there is more risk but they also work when there is less risk. That is the point of the rabbit example in Australia above, r strats dominate K strats when risk is very low like that which is counter to the explanation and would lead you to incorrect conclusions.

  22. Steve Sailer says:

    “On the other hand, the first thermometer no doubt recorded that it was colder in winter than in summer.”

    Weren’t there a lot of early objections to thermometers as oversimplifying: e.g., that a warm, humid, still day was more uncomfortable than a hot, dry, breezy day?

  23. Steve Sailer says:

    Harpending and Draper proposed a cad vs. dad dichotomy in 1982:

    http://the10000yearexplosion.com/human-cultural-diversity/

    Their original idea was that if her father stuck around, a girl would be inclined toward a slow life strategy, but if her father disappeared she’d be inclined toward a fast life strategy. I don’t know if this nurture theory has held up in the 36 years since.

  24. skybrian says:

    Considering how hard it was to figure out temperature, maybe we shouldn’t be too surprised at not really understanding evolutionary psychology yet:

    People were aware of variations in temperature long before there were any objective measurements of temperature. Judgments of temperature are imperfectly correlated among different persons, or even the same person at different times, depending on the humidity, the person’s activity level and age, surrounding air currents, and so on. The idea that anything as subtle and complex as all the manifestations of changes in temperature could be measured and quantified on a single numerical scale was scoffed at as impossible, even by the leading philosophers of the sixteenth century.

    The first thermometer invented by Galileo in 1592 did not go far in dispelling the notion that temperature was inherently unmeasurable, because the earliest thermometers, for about their first hundred years, were so imperfect as to make it possible for those who wished to do so to argue that no one could ever succeed in measuring temperature. Temperature was then confounded with all the subtleties of subjective judgment, which easily seem incompatible with a single numerical scale of measurement. How could the height of a column of mercury in a glass tube possibly reflect the rich varieties of temperature—damp cold, dank cold, frosty cold, crisp cold, humid heat, searing heat, scalding heat, dry heat, feverish heat, prickly heat, and so on?

    The early thermometers were inconsistent, both with themselves and with each other. Because they consisted of open-ended glass tubes, they were sensitive to changes in barometric pressure as well as to temperature. And there were problems of calibration, such as where to locate the zero point and how to divide the column of mercury into units. It was believed, incorrectly, that all caves had the same temperature, so thermometers were calibrated in caves. The freezing and boiling points of water were also used in calibration, but, as these vary with impurities in the water and the barometric pressure, the calibration of different thermometers at different times and places resulted in thermometers that failed to correlate perfectly with one another in any given instance. They lacked reliability, as we now would say.

    All the while, no one knew what temperature is in a theoretical or scientific sense. There was no theory of thermodynamics that could explain temperature phenomena and provide a complete scientific rationale for the construction and calibration of thermometers. Yet quite adequate and accurate thermometers, hardly differing from those we use today, were eventually developed by the middle of the eighteenth century. Thus the objective measurement of temperature considerably preceded the development of an adequate theory of temperature and heat, and necessarily so, as the science of thermodynamics could not possibly have developed without first having been able to quantify or measure the temperatures of liquids, gasses, and other substances independently of their other properties. Measurement and theory develop hand in hand; it is a continuing process of improvements in the one making possible advances in the other.

    From: Bias in Mental Testing by Arthur R. Jensen

    http://emilkirkegaard.dk/en/wp-content/uploads/Bias-in-Mental-Testing-Arthur-R.-Jensen.pdf

  25. Steve Sailer says:

    It seems as if life history is slowing down in the U.S. lately versus, say, 1973.

    A lot of the changes, such as a greater emphasis on safety, are purely cultural, but some of them could be biochemical as well: e.g., kids these days grow up with fewer car crashes without seatbelts, fewer fistfights, fewer bad falls off backyard trampolines, fewer bike crashes without helmets, and so forth.

    Perhaps the decline in the number of physically traumatic incidents among middle class American kids over the last couple of generations encourages a slower life strategy?

    • Aging Loser says:

      Cellphone-computers with games and “social media” access — that’s all it is. The guys who would have been starting fights and trying to pick up women everywhere are looking into their little screens. And everyone wears headphones all the time.

    • psmith says:

      Blood lead levels.

    • vV_Vv says:

      There are several generational trends in developed countries that are consistent with a slower life strategy: the Flynn effect and the increase of height fit the hypothesis.

      However, other generational trends are unclear or contrary to the hypothesis: testosterone decrease in men might fit the slow strategy hypothesis as it presumably implies reduced anti-sociality, but decreased sperm count might share a cause with it and it doesn’t seem to produce any benefits, in women earlier sexual maturity fits a faster life strategy (reproduce earlier at an increased risk of gestation problems), as does increased BMI in both sexes (survive a famine in the short term at an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases and cancer later in life).

      The sex-specific trends and possibly the BMI also fit the hypothesis of pervasive environmental xenoestrogen contamination (the “gay frogs” effect). I’m not sure if xenoestrogens could cause the Flynn effect or the height increase, there seems no obvious pathway to it.

      • Aapje says:

        A man who stays with the same woman for a long time presumably needs fewer sperm than a man who has sex more casually and who thus has to make his ‘shot’ count.

    • jhertzlinger says:

      There was a decline in the age of puberty during much of the 20th century. Has there been a recent rise?

      • bullseye says:

        I think age of puberty is a separate thing from life strategy, at least when comparing humans to humans. Even really fast people wait a few years after puberty to reproduce.

        I read that the decline in age of puberty is from chemicals in our food, and then years later I read that no, it’s actually because kids are getting fatter and body fat produces some of the puberty hormones.

  26. Pingback: Rational Feed – deluks917

  27. RKN says:

    Psychiatry is hard to analyze from an evolutionary perspective. From an evolutionary perspective, it shouldn’t even exist. Most psychiatric disorders are at least somewhat genetic, and most psychiatric disorders decrease reproductive fitness. Biologists have equations that can calculate how likely it is that maladaptive genes can stay in the population for certain amounts of time, and these equations say, all else being equal, that psychiatric disorders should not be possible. Apparently all else isn’t equal, but people have had a lot of trouble figuring out exactly what that means. A good example of this kind of thing is Greg Cochran’s theory that homosexuality must be caused by some kind of infection; he does not see another way it could remain a human behavior without being selected into oblivion.

    Excellent points. From an evolutionary perspective there are many phenotypes, presumed to be genetically determined, which are ostensibly inconsistent with human reproductive success.

    I can think of no better example than homosexuality. And yet the underlying genotype persists (unless Cochran’s correct that the cause is viral). This notwithstanding the just-so compatibilist contortions by stubborn Neo-Darwinists unwilling to admit to any contradictory evidence whatsoever to the New Synthesis.

    • christopher hodge says:

      Surely homosexuality isn’t the best example we can come up with? What about trisomy 21? There is no Kinsey Scale for trisomy, making it less ambiguous in its presence (counterpoint mosaicism I guess, however common that might be); there is a clear evidence in the DNA of trisomy, so no need to “presume” a genetic component/cause; and trisomy 21, like homosexuality, is not simply directly inherited. When I see people (rationalists and other leftists) trying to construct elaborate arguments for why the presence of homosexuals in society improves it, and therefore why it continues to exist in the face of evolution, I am reminded of all the other things which can apparently go wrong with machinery of a human being during its instantiation, apparently spontaneously, which obviously do not benefit anyone, and for which nobody is trying to construct apologia. What am I missing here? Is polysomy / translocation / partial deletion somehow the wrong kind of genetic? If homosexuality had been found to be caused by, say, a partial deletion from the short arm of chromosome 4, would you then stop looking for the reasons why that partial deletion happened in the first place? I think there’s something I’m not understanding and I want to get to the bottom of it.

      • edmundgennings says:

        Trisomy 21 is quite rare. Mutations happen and then get selected out of the population. This is normal for lots of traits. What is odd about homosexuality from a evolutionary perspective is how common it is for how bad it is for evolutionary fitness. Sexual attraction is a fairly narrow target so only a small number of mutations should change it. The one in a million people who get a new mutation causing them to be attracted exclusively to people of the same sex have far fewer children and so equilibrium should be two in a million are attracted exclusively to people of the same sex. This is not the case.

      • RKN says:

        Typically half the gametes of trisomics are viable, so these individuals are considered only semi-fertile. Their reduced reproductive success is thus partly genetic, but I suspect mostly due to other unfortunate features of the phenotype which limit their opportunities for engaging sexual relationships. By contrast, a lifelong desire by a male to have sex only with other males, similarly female-female sex, results in zero-fertility in these pairings. In that sense the homosexual phenotype is diametrically opposed to reproductive success (although there’s no reason to believe a homosexual’s gametes are not otherwise viable).

    • Cerastes says:

      Um, have you genuinely never heard of heterozygote advantage? Or the more generalized issue in which intermediate values of a trait are advantageous? This is Bio 101 stuff.

      • edmundgennings says:

        But what would be heterozygote advantage with homosexuality? It can not be something increasing libido as that would already be set to approximate optimum. Modern evolutionarily ideal libido is probably higher than historic levels but it is unlikely to be worth the massive evolutionary cost. Such an account would also have trouble fitting with the historic timeline of homosexuality.
        It could be related to something else but the magnitude of the advantage needed to justify the cost means the heterozygote advantage would need to something around malarial resistance in pre modern malarial environments.
        Homosexuality does not seem to be the extreme version of variation in some trait but rather a distinct thing. One could give an account where this is the case but again one runs into difficulty with justifying the magnitude of the cost.

        • Nootropic cormorant says:

          How many exclusive homosexuals were there in historical societies? I have a strong suspicion that complete abstinence from heterosexual sex is more of a (sub)cultural trait or personal preference rather than a common hardwired biological variable.

          • edmundgennings says:

            Probably fewer than today but my not terribly researched sense is a good decent number. There is evidence of some homosexuals marrying and having children but it did as one would expect suppress fertility.
            But today when we can interview people among same-sex attracted people who think same-sex acts are wrong and wire to sire offspring there is a deep hesitance to get heterosexually married.Some amount of that is due to modern emphasis on romance but a lot seems due to inherent factors.

        • Cerastes says:

          Well, it’s all speculative, since we don’t know the genetics underlying homosexuality, but one possibility I’ve heard is that individuals with the approximation of a “heterozygous” state (because it’s unlikely to be just one allele, or we’d’ve found it by now) is that such individuals may have been more attractive, thus reproduced more. Remember, male fitness is always more variable than female fitness, with a much higher ceiling, so even modest increases in mating odds could yield huge advantages. This would also lead females to select them, due to the “sexy sons” effect.

          Besides, the original poster, RKN, seemed to be making some sort of poorly veiled and poorly supported swipe at some aspect of modern evolutionary understanding, but without the courage to simply state their claim outright.

          • RKN says:

            What human phenotype could be more contrary to the goal of reproductive success than one where the individual does not engage natural sexual reproduction? Such individuals are evolutionary dead ends. On the traditional view of how natural selection works, whatever alleles supposedly cause this phenotype should have been de-selected long ago. That not being the case, something else must be going on.

            My criticism is of those who seem to insist there must be some reproductive advantage to homosexuality (e.g., the nurturing gay uncle theory) else how could the phenotype possibly persist. Like Cochran (and others) I see that as unscientific arm-waiving.

    • vV_Vv says:

      I can think of no better example than homosexuality. And yet the underlying genotype persists (unless Cochran’s correct that the cause is viral).

      Homosexuality has low heritability, hence it’s presumably non-genetic (apart for some small degree of genetic predisposition).

      I don’t know if Cochran’s parasite hypothesis is correct, the obvious counterpoint is that it should predict epidemiological patterns such as outbreaks but these patterns either don’t exist or nobody has noticed them yet. But even if it’s not correct, the cause of homosexuality has to be environmental, even if it’s just random errors in the brain development.

  28. Baeraad says:

    Apart from all this, I find life history strategy theory sort of reassuring. Until now, atheists have been denied the comfort of knowing God has a plan for them. Sure, they could know that evolution had a plan for them, but that plan was just “watch dispassionately to see whether they live or die, then adjust gene frequencies in the next generation accordingly”. In life history strategy theory, evolution – or at least your mumble epigenetic mumble mechanism – actually has a plan for you. Now we can be evangelical atheists who have a personal relationship with evolution. It’s pretty neat.

    True. That’s a comforting thought.

    Though I must admit that I’m not sure my Mumble Mechanism knows what the hell it’s doing. As far as I can tell, it’s got a plan that assumes that the world is more painstakingly ordered and organised than has ever been the case at any point in history. If life consisted of being locked in a room and slowly and carefully pushing a number of buttons in a listed sequence, I’d be the one person thriving while everyone else went stir crazy. However, as long as the world as it is requires even trace elements of icky things like “initiative” and “improvisation,” I’m always going to be floundering.

    Though I guess it could be worse. I at least get some schadenfreude from watching the bastards with too much initiative throw themselves off cliffs just to spite the “Please Do Not Throw Yourself Off This Cliff” sign.

  29. mdc says:

    First time, long time!

    Firstly, on my concept/ idea below – I do think certain large traits or characteristics do enhance fitness for most environments. However, my thoughts below may play out in smaller traits – or perhaps better explain the ‘success’ of traits that would appear to offer no additional fitness value to a population.

    I’ve started to think about evolution or ‘fitness’ in a different way of late. Taleb, in Skin In The Game, comments on the fact Jewish dietary edicts seem “irrational” when viewed from outside. He suggests, as they’ve lead to survival of those who follow them, they’re anything but irrational. Irrational in thought or logic perhaps, but not in results.

    I read that example to suggest that the dietary edicts may not specifically help those who follow them, but they probably don’t hinder that much – or enough to be a negative on a social survival level.

    I’m starting to view evolution in a similar way. Not everything we see in an environment is selected for that environment. Perhaps many traits simply aren’t a negative in that environment over many generations. It may be some traits exist, or randomly mutated, or whatever, but they don’t cause enough harm to lead to removal from the gene pool by those who carry them.

    I don’t know enough about genetics and the nature of evolution through mutations etc. but it could be 1000 combinations of traits exist in an environment, yet only 5 are suitably ‘negative’ enough to lead to removal. It’s not that the other 995 are ‘fit’ for that environment necessarily – they just haven’t been punished yet. When the environment changes, other combinations may find they will depart the gene pool as they’ve come across a dynamic environment that punishes their ‘effects’, for want of a better term.

    Hope that makes sense. A working thought in my head.

  30. Slicer says:

    I really like how people try to use conventional evo psych to explain human behavior in a world with a dramatically declining birthrate, nearly universal birth control up to and including abortion (including back-alley abortions if they can’t afford real ones), and nothing to do with the ancestral environment. The modern welfare state has existed for what, three generations? Online dating for maybe one?

    It’s not that evo psych isn’t valid. It’s just that Giudice is attempting to explain people’s relationship to the modern world through a lens of “our genes and epigenetic mechanisms have prepared us for this”. No, they really, really haven’t.

    • Aging Loser says:

      And cellphone-computers/portable-infinite-entertainment-systems for only one generation. I think that the difference between now and 1980 is as huge as the difference between 1980 and 1780.

      • I think that the difference between now and 1980 is as huge as the difference between 1980 and 1780.

        Having been an adult in 1980, I disagree. Life is somewhat more convenient now than then, but a lot more convenient in 1980 than in 1780.

        • bean says:

          And while you weren’t an adult in 1780, you’ve tried your best to be an adult in 780 a lot.

        • Aging Loser says:

          I was 14 in 1980. I remember 1980 quite well.

          We can do 1990 if you’d prefer. The difference between now and 1990 is as huge as the difference between 1990 and 1790. People weren’t carrying cellphones around in 1990.

          Convenience is trivial. What matters is what people care about and pay attention to.

          • baconbits9 says:

            People weren’t carrying around their dead children in 1990.

          • LadyJane says:

            Even by that weirdly narrow standard, the difference between television and computer/smartphone screens is vastly smaller than the difference between electronic media existing and not existing.

    • Cerastes says:

      Is it really that different, particularly with regards to this hypothesis? Predictable vs unpredictable can apply to any environment from a city to the bottom of a lake, and the game-theory outcomes aren’t contingent upon details, only relative payoff probability for delayed rewards.

      r/k and “pace-of-life” applies to species with “built in birth control” (many species will only ovulate when conditions are ripe, sometimes storing sperm for years) as well as with truly different life histories like eusocial insects (where “reproduction” would be new queens/colonies). Why should one slightly unusual ape be any different?

  31. ManyCookies says:

    Are any disorders not this way? This is a hard question, though schizophrenia is a promising candidate.

    Bipolar, unless you’re measuring something hacky like “cyclical mood variability” or whatnot.

    @ADHD IQ, seems like focus through an IQ test would be an issue there! Has that been studied?

  32. LadyJane says:

    I wonder if these correlate with political affiliation. A lot of leftists and libertines seem to fall into the creative/seductive category, while moderate conservatives and establishment liberals would probably fall into the prosocial category. Hardline conservatives might fall into the antagonistic/exploitative category, though that might be a stretch; political conservatism has been strongly correlated with valuing the moral foundations of purity, group loyalty, and respect for traditional authority, and those moral foundations have been loosely correlated with antisocial traits, so there could be a connection there.

    • LadyJane says:

      Of course, there’s a very likely possibility that these are all false frameworks anyway, in which case this whole model is basically nonsense with no real correspondence to any objects or patterns that actually exist in the world. The entire field of evolutionary psychology seems highly prone to “just so” stories, since it offers a lot of explanations that sound right but aren’t really verifiable and could easily be nothing more than idle speculation. Granted, the categories do make sense to me on an intuitive level, but that doesn’t count for much. At best, I’d expect this model to be about as accurate as the Myers-Briggs classification system; if you really zoom out, it seems to be describing some kind of very broad trend, but it doesn’t quite draw the lines right to make sense of what’s actually there, and just leaves you with vague and sweeping generalizations that only have limited usefulness.

    • Baeraad says:

      I don’t know, regardless of how people behave individually, collectively they seem more inclined to cluster together and institute rigid codes of conduct the more fraught and uncertain life seems. It may be that different rules apply to societies, which are subject to their own kind of evolution.

      In fact, a few decades ago it seemed that the Left and the Right had identified the world they lived in as safe and dangerous, respectively, but against the predictions of this post chosen a fast and a slow strategy, respectively. These days, the Right seems to fit the dangerous world/fast strategy model a lot better, while the Left seems to have switched to seeing the world as dangerous and to a strategy of, uhm… I don’t know, is “curl up and whimper” a fast or slow strategy? :p But regardless, it seems like in politics any strategy can result from any estimation of reality.

      • LadyJane says:

        Statistically, liberals are much more optimistic and much less likely to see the world as a dangerous place than conservatives. And, contrary to what some people might expect, progressives are even more optimistic and less likely to view the world as dangerous than normal liberals. So the paradigm of conservatives seeing a harsh world and liberals seeing a safe world still holds up.

        Granted, I’d imagine that once you start getting into hardcore far-left revolutionary territory, people’s worldviews get a lot less cheery (though I’m not sure, since those people comprise less than a percent of the population and there aren’t a lot of reliable statistics on them). For instance, the 2018 SSC survey showed that Marxists (like hardline conservatives and alt-rightists) were more likely to view the world in terms of Conflict Theory, whereas moderate liberals and even progressives were more likely to view the world in terms of Mistake Theory. But that’s part of why I said that far-leftists are more likely to fall into the fast-life creative/seductive category.

        Also, for as much as conservatives talk about preserving traditions or turning back the clock, the hardline right-wingers tend to push for sudden and radical change. It’s the centrist liberals in the middle who are more about actually maintaining the status quo.

        • Baeraad says:

          Okay, that cannot be true unless those happy-go-lucky liberals are either oddly quiet or else have a very strange definition of “safe” wherein it is still possible to LIVE IN FEEEEAAAAAR!!!! while still being perfectly safe.

          Look, are you sure those statistics are up to date? Because, you know, twenty years ago I’d have said that liberals were exactly that sort of “I spit in the face of danger! (and laugh derisively at those losers who won’t do the same)” devil-may-care types. If that poll was from back then, or if it happened to have been asked to a bunch of middle-aged old-guard liberals who hadn’t been informed that they were required to hate everything these days, then I could see it.

          Your point about conservatives being a lot more willing to slash and burn than they like to advertise is, on the other hand, well made.

          • Hoopyfreud says:

            if it happened to have been asked to a bunch of middle-aged old-guard liberals who hadn’t been informed that they were required to hate everything these days, then I could see it.

            Baeraad, usually I just let you rant and worry about it quietly, but really now. You have, right in front of your eyes, something that tells you that while leftists might be led by loud, unpleasant people, they don’t really think like that, but you refuse to believe it because of your priors. Most people really are just quiet, and don’t clog up your consumption channels.

          • LadyJane says:

            @Baeraad: I’m going by the Hidden Tribes study, which was released two months ago. It found that traditional liberals were slightly over twice as likely as devoted conservatives to view the world as a safe place and to believe that people could be trusted, and progressive activists (the young leftists who you seem to believe “hate everything”) were slightly over twice as likely to take those stances as the traditional liberals.

            The study didn’t include a category for the kinds of hardcore Marxists and revolutionaries who I predicted would have a more conflict-oriented view of the world. The progressive activists only comprise about 6% of the population, and I’d imagine the really cynical and radical far-leftists (the communists, the anarchists, the really die-hard devotees of identity politics) only comprise a fairly small percentage of that 6%, to the point where it wouldn’t make sense to include them. You’re not that likely to find actual Marxists outside of SSC and similarly intellectual and/or politically-charged spaces!

          • Nancy Lebovitz says:

            Maybe there needs to be a more complex discussion about who feels safe and who doesn’t.

            As far as I can tell, people on the left are more likely to believe in climate disaster and people on the right are more likely to believe in immigration disaster.

          • Aapje says:

            I think that the main difference between the left and right is how optimistic they are about the potential for the future* (hence, many progressives rejecting biological differences, because it implies that equality of outcome is impossible), not so much their opinion about the past or the current.

            Note that an important issue when talking about how people view the past or the future, is that some groups/people actually are worse off now than in the past or vice versa.

            * Note that this not the same as optimism about what will actually happen.

        • Aging Loser says:

          It’s true that centrist liberals in the middle seem to be about maintaining the status quo, except that the status quo is imagined as a gently-forward-moving current and maybe that’s what it really is.

          Baeraad, I don’t think that they’re really scared; they’re just pretending.

          It seems to me that women, who are more “liberal” than men, feel safer than men do, and I think that they really are safer. Men frequently want to punch other men; hardly any of them ever want to punch women.

          • NoRandomWalk says:

            My personal experience is that the women in my life spend a lot more energy than I do avoiding danger, regardless of how much, statistically, danger we would think of them as being in; even when no one is looking.

            I think a lot of the ‘I am offended’ is pretend-play. I think a lot of the ‘I am scared’ is not.

            Even if I think violence is a possibility in the short-term future, I am a lot less likely to respond with the fear emotion (rather than alertness) compared to most women I know.

        • Nancy Lebovitz says:

          My impression (to judge by relative numbers of scandals) is that politicians on the left tend to be more conscientious than politicians on the right. This is a mere impression, I don’t have numbers.

        • Statistically, liberals are much more optimistic and much less likely to see the world as a dangerous place than conservatives.

          Climate issues look like the opposite, with people on the left viewing AGW as threatening catastrophe in the fairly near future, people on the right mostly either not believing in it or not seeing it as catastrophic.

          • LadyJane says:

            For clarification, the study I was referencing used survey questions about people’s fear of physical and social dangers on an individual level (for instance, “do you think other people are trustworthy?”), so it makes sense that climate issues wouldn’t apply there.

            I also wonder if most of the people who say things like “humanity will be extinct in 50-100 years if we don’t take major action right now!” are really being genuine. I don’t think they’re lying, but I do get an impression that they know it’s an exaggeration or an extremely unlikely worst-case scenario, and still bring it up in order to emphasize their point and encourage immediate and direct action. Certainly, they generally don’t seem to display the emotional response you’d expect from someone who earnestly believed that there was a >50% chance that an extinction-level event was just over the horizon.

          • Ozy Frantz says:

            In my experience, people who earnestly believe in >50% chance of human extinction in our lifetimes are really fucking freaked out about it. They tend not to have panic attacks in public because… why would you do that, that sounds really unpleasant… but that doesn’t mean they don’t have panic attacks in private.

          • Mark V Anderson says:

            I’m going by the Hidden Tribes study, which was released two months ago.

            I’d like to see a cite of this. I looked at their web site, but I don’t see it.

            Surveys in general often measure something different than they claim to. You yourself indicate that safety is more of a personal thing in the survey than I interpreted your comment in the first place. All the more to let us all see the survey to understand what they are getting at.

          • veronicastraszh says:

            I think we’re facing a looming climate disaster. I have no idea what it will look like, precisely because it’s too hard to predict all the second order effects. However, I assign very real plausibility to civilization collapse, and a “worrisome” plausibility to extinction.

            Am I afraid?

            Not really. Instead, it makes me sad. So much that could have been will be lost.

            I hope we survive, somehow negotiate the lightspeed barrier, and go on to colonize deep space. The alternate possibility, that we fizzle out from our own collective stupidity is tragic. So it goes.

          • Bugmaster says:

            FWIW, I’m not sure if I count as a “liberal”, but I am definitely not a conservative. I’m pretty much convinced that global warming is a very real issue; but I’m also convinced that it’s not a civilization-ending event by any means. Yes, we are going to lose a bunch of island nations and coastal areas; the world’s economy (especially food production) is going to take a hit; and global poverty and unrest are going to increase, as will hurricanes and flash fires (in those areas that are prone to them already). Obviously we’ll lose some coral reefs. But none of those issues are existential risks. Most people would barely notice the effects.

            My guess is that we will never decrease our carbon emissions (well, “never” is a long time, but you know what I mean), so the issue will continue to get worse; but, most likely, the economy will simply adjust.

            As for AI risk, though… yeah, that’s a total non-starter with me. I don’t think it is worth paying much attention to right now, or in the next 200 years (well, beyound the mundane attention we already pay to malicious human actors with dangerous tools).

          • LadyJane says:

            @Bugmaster: That’s pretty much exactly how I feel. I’m not one of those “lukewarmists” who thinks that climate change is real but won’t be a big deal at all. I think the possibilities range from bad (increased rate and severity of natural disasters, more uncomfortable and unpredictable weather, difficulty growing crops in some traditionally fertile areas, habitat loss and extinctions caused by a combination of climate change and other factors) to extremely bad (total submersion of entire coastlines and islands, desertification of some areas to the point where they become almost uninhabitable, massive natural disasters on a semi-frequent basis, global famines due to crop shortages, mass extinctions of plants and animals due to total habitat destruction).

            I just haven’t seen any evidence that even the worst feasible outcomes will lead to the end of human civilization, or the extinction of the human species, or Earth becoming uninhabitable. I’d say there’s a less than 0.01% chance of any of those outcomes happening. The odds of humanity dying out because of an asteroid impact or a gamma ray burst, while very very very low, are still massively higher. The theory of “runaway climate change” that environmental activists love to bring up has been repeatedly discredited, and even the scientist who originally came up with it has since renounced the idea; it’s as much of a crazy fringe idea as outright denialism. (Of course, unless we colonize space, industrial civilization will eventually end just because we run out of the resources to keep everything running, but that could take hundreds or thousands of years, and that’s assuming we don’t develop energy technology any further than it is now.)

            And yes, I think the risk of omnicidal AIs or rogue nanomachines killing everyone is infinitesimally low too. The only viable way I see humanity going extinct for anthropocenic reasons is if we have a nuclear war, and even then, I’m 99% sure that the species will survive and probably even be able to rebuild civilization within a century.

          • Bugmaster says:

            @LadyJane:
            To be fair, I am also pretty pessimistic regarding space colonization. For example, I don’t expect a live human to set foot on Mars anytime soon; certainly not in the next 100 years. I wouldn’t be too surprised if a human (most likely of the Chinese national variety) set foot on the Moon again, but any kind of a permanent presence is extremely unlikely. I expect the total number of humans who reside long-term in orbit to shrink, most likely to zero — though some sort of short-term space tourism seems likely. In general, I expect us humans to be stuck here on Earth for the foreseeable future.

          • Yes, we are going to lose a bunch of island nations and coastal areas; the world’s economy (especially food production) is going to take a hit; and global poverty and unrest are going to increase, as will hurricanes and flash fires (in those areas that are prone to them already).

            I think this is supposed to be a CW free thread, so I will just note that I do not believe that any of those are things one can predict with confidence.

            To see how much coastal area we can be expected to lose with a given amount of SLR, see the Flood Maps Page.

          • Bugmaster says:

            @DavidFriedman:
            Well, some of those predictions already came true; for example, the Maldives are really feeling the sea level rise right now, insurance premiums in coastal areas are rising along with the water, etc. Global economic trends are, of course, harder to predict — but there are precedents, e.g. the Dust Bowl in the US.

          • LadyJane says:

            @David Friedman: Where would you fall on the following scale?

            0: The denialist position: No effect
            1: The “lukewarmist” position: Only mild effects, zero or minimal economic and ecological impacts
            2: The “bad” scenario: Moderate effects, major economic and ecological impacts
            3: The “really bad” scenario: Major effects, catastrophic economic and ecological impacts
            4: The dark age scenario: Extreme effects, economic and ecological impacts sufficient to end industrial civilization, possibly forever
            5: The apocalyptic scenario: Super-extreme effects, ecological impacts sufficient to kill off >99% of humanity or render humans extinct altogether
            6: The cataclysmic scenario: Terraformation-level effects, ecological impacts sufficient to wipe out all multi-cellular life on Earth

            For what it’s worth, I’m torn between 2 and 3, and Bugmaster seems to be a solid 3. A lot of people on the right seem to fall under 0-1, but I find those optimistic predictions unlikely. A fair number of people on the left seem to fall in the 4-6 range, but I think the chances of 4 happening are extremely unlikely, the chances of 5 happening are infinitesimally small, and 6 (the most extreme variant of the “runaway climate change” theory) is a literal physical impossibility.

            From what I can tell, the majority of climate scientists fall under 2-3, with significant minorities promoting 1 or 4, and virtually no one credible promoting 0 or 5-6.

          • Bugmaster says:

            @LadyJane:
            It’s hard to tell the difference between “bad” and “catastrophic”, but I think that your option (3) is harsher than what I’d predict. As I said, many — and likely most — people wouldn’t feel much impact from global warming and sea level rises. Yes, the Maldives might vanish, but be honest — who cares about the Maldives, anyway ? Yes, coastal areas will likewise shrink, but not that many people live on the coast. A Dust Bowl-style environmental/economical disruption will definitely be painful; but we we survived the previous Dust Bowl, and we will likely survive the next one, too. The geopolitical balance of power might change as the result, but it’s changing anyway; at this point, climate change can only accelerate China’s rise to supreme global superpower. Scientific and technological development will definitely slow down all over the world, but by no means permanently.

          • Lady Jane:

            1 is the closest to my position. I think climate change will have both good and bad effects, the magnitude of both is quite uncertain, with the result that the net effect could be very bad or very good but is probably in the range from moderately good to moderately bad.

            I’m trying not to offer arguments here, because it’s a culture war subject and this is, I think, a CW free thread. Anyone interested can find most of what I have to say on the subject on my blog.

            If people like, we can return to the subject in the next hidden thread, since I gather that’s where CW is now supposed to go.

          • Bugmaster says:

            @DavidFriedman:
            You might be right about the CW; but if so, it’s a shame. The extent to which the Earth is warming (if at all), as well as its projected economic effects, are exactly the kind of factual claims that rational people should be able to discuss. None of us are advocating any kind of political action or social pressure; we’re just debating whose climate/economic models are closest to the truth.

            I think this is a good example of the kind of chilling effect that restrictions of speech can produce, even when they are implemented with the best of intentions… but… I fear that’s a CW topic in and of itself.

          • Randy M says:

            Unless I missed some policy change, topical threads are not culture war prohibited but comments should be clearly related to the article and not try to shoehorn in anyone’s hobbyhorse. It might be appropriate to transplant the discussion of climate change to the current open thread.

          • The extent to which the Earth is warming (if at all), as well as its projected economic effects, are exactly the kind of factual claims that rational people should be able to discuss.

            I’m happy to discuss it and have spent quite a lot of time and energy, here, on my blog, and elsewhere online doing so. But Scott has managed to produce an extraordinarily successful environment for online conversation, which is an argument for trying to follow his rules.

            As I think I already said, I would be happy to continue the discussion in the CW permitted open thread.

          • sharper13 says:

            @Bugmaster,
            I don’t want to start a debate in this non-CW thread, so no need to respond, but I thought you might be interested in additional info related to this statement:

            some of those predictions already came true; for example, the Maldives are really feeling the sea level rise right now

            First, a related prediction from 30 years ago (first reference I could find, but I wasn’t exhaustive, you might have in mind a different set of Maldives predictions).

            Meanwhile, coral atolls (including the Maldives) seem to be actually net growing, not shrinking. I don’t want to overstate the certainty, as the shorelines naturally change over time anyway, but the net change over the last 30+ years seems to have been positive. The best study has been done on nearby Tuvalu. The government of the Maldives seems to have switched from an evacuation strategy to one of buffering islands with sand berms constructed over a matter of weeks, so while they are happy to take any climate change related funding anyone wants to give them, it appears they’re less worried now than they were 30 years ago.

      • edmundgennings says:

        Differences between left and right are going to be dwarfed by differences in different camps within left and right.

    • tristram says:

      I’m too tired to uphold my multi-year long tradition of not posting here, and I can’t believe I’m breaking it with this, but it’s funny and somewhat relevant: https://i.imgur.com/m8YkYfo.jpg

      • veronicastraszh says:

        Those are some of my favorite vices. (Except “using slurs” of course. I normally avoid slurs.)

        • Bugmaster says:

          To be fair, they only said that these habits are “vices”, not that you shouldn’t engage in them. Personally, I am very much pro-vice. The revolution may not be televised, but if I have my way, it will be pornhubbed.

          • Randy M says:

            How would you define a vice? To me the term falls under the “Don’t do this” category, though not necessarily for first-order moral reasons.

  33. Akhorahil says:

    ‘C’mon, you can’t call it “pathological”
    Nah, that’s illogical; you can try to understand it
    But you can’t stop it though, not unless you address
    The root causes, the conscious and unconscious
    Decisions to discount future prospects
    C’mon, it’s obvious – the beat keeps bouncing
    The homicide rate keeps mounting, which leads
    To steep discounting, and a lot of violence
    But it’s not a virus; it’s a rational response
    To high risk environments and short time horizons
    With high stakes and highly visible prizes
    And you wonder why we’re criminal-minded
    Hey, you can’t say we’ll get satisfaction if we’re patient
    With self-control and delayed gratification
    When the only job that pays is casket-makin’
    And death is the ultimate plan cancellation
    So check the facts and recent data releasin’
    You’ll see a pattern of increasin’ competition
    A bunch of young guys all stugglin’ and status seekin’
    And causin’ the crimes that make the social fabric weaken
    And life expectancy also predicts teen pregnancy
    The need to leave a legacy genetically
    Will never be completely controlled contraceptively
    Yeah, that’s transparent – imagine if your kids
    Would never meet their grandparents, unless you followed
    The Bristol Palin plan for parenthood
    And then they say, “Ooh, these young girls are so damn careless
    Getting’ pregnant before marriage; it’s such a tragedy”
    Apparently it’s also a reproductive strategy
    Especially when you can see them adjusting actively
    When their circumstances change; in both the cases
    Of the young ladies with babies and the male risk-takers
    You see people adapting to their situations
    And it’s the same in different places and with different races
    This is not about ethical justifications
    It’s evolutionary psych, and it’s just the basics
    And still people call this behaviour “maladaptive”
    Because of our reaction when violence happens
    But if we really want to change the outcome
    Then maybe we should just start questioning how it’s adaptive’
    —Baba Brinkman, ‘Rapper’s Guide to Evolution’

  34. Alkatyn says:

    The model becomes problematic when you look at different traits separately, rather than together as a general factor of fastness and slowness.

    To take the obvious sex example, over the past hundred years there’s been a social shift to significantly more liberal attitudes to sex, resulting in people, particularly young people, having significantly more partners, which would seem to fit the “fast” life strategies set. But simultaneously people are spending more time in education, marrying later, reproducing later and so on, which is archetypal slow strategy.

    You could resolve this in part by seperating out “reproductive sex” and “non-reproductive sex”. But it strains credulity even more to believe the mumble mumble epigenetics system is complex enough to not only observe external social dynamics in detail, but incorporate a knowledge of modern contraceptive methods.

    Another example is the category of “prosocial traits”. Which fails to seperate people who are extremely loyal and rule-abiding in some contexts but not in others. E.g. the Mafia members who ignore the law and the wellbeing of strangers, but are obsessively loyal to The Family (same with tribal societies and outgroups). Or the stock broker who is a ruthless exploiter and defector at work, but a loving family man and pillar of the community the rest of the time. Again we could explain this by a more complex strategy of slow and fast in different areas, but at some point, the mechanism becomes so complex it loses any explanatory usefulness

  35. Alkatyn says:

    Why do we need the mumble mumble epigenetics explanation to explain the behaviour? Surely its equally explanatory that people form models of what is the most rational behaviour for their environment when they are young (high/low trust, etc) then carry those on even when they cease to be the best strategy? What does “epigenetic lock in” provide that normal psychological mechanisms don’t?

    • idontknow131647093 says:

      Epigenetics has rarely (never?) provided anything to the discussion aside from handwaving and bad science. I think its most hyped study is about girls and their fathers leaving or dying early resulting in promiscuity. Now lets just think about this, why do men usually die early or leave relationships early?

      1) They died because they engage in risky behaviors (and even in military operations that involve random drafts, you can easily manipulate the system if you are more risk averse to be more likely to live).

      2) They left a relationship because they are spontaneous and entered into one with a person who they were incompatible with, their spouse is spontaneous in that same way, or both.

      HMM, seems like no real explanation is needed now.

      • nameless1 says:

        1) does not explain my father got cancer earlier than my mother despite smoking less (while drinking a bit more) and this very same thing kept repeating all over my family and social circle, my uncle was not even smoking and was survived by his smoker wife etc. there seems to be an even weirder gender difference in cardiovascular deaths (I am talking anecdotally), obese guys as young as 45 just keel over and die in a heart attack which seems to happen far less to 45 years old obese women, despite I definitely see more 45 years old obese women than men.

      • Cerastes says:

        In all fairness, epigenetics has provided a lot of solid science and cool insights, just not yet about humans, because humans are hard to do invasive experiments or genetic modification on and don’t respond well to planned breeding systems. Species where you can more easily control extraneous factors show much clearer and more useful results.

    • nameless1 says:

      Because human behaviour is far from being rational, and identical twins raised apart in different environments have a weird way of having the same exact behaviour in a lot of things. So it is hard to tell if it is the person who is doing a rational optimization, or just executing habits arising from genetic optimization by evolution.

  36. Axiomatic Doubts says:

    So I infer that the reason I find intellectual pursuits so fun is basically that some parts of my brain are masculine and erroneously think that gathering enough knowledge and getting good at specific tasks will lead me to have babies.

    I guess that’s within the huge and ever-increasing set of facts that are true but not nice to think about

    • nameless1 says:

      I think evolution does not work that simple. One thing I keep having to point out to redpiller men that you cannot have smart sons without marrying smart women. It is entirely possible that the function of some traits is to just to pass it on i.e. in your case to a son. It is entirely possible that a man carries a wide hip gene that does him nothing but helps his daughter not die in childbirth. I admit I don’t know how exactly this works – what determines how some traits are passed on, how comes the child gets the average of the parents intelligence, but not the average number of the parents breasts.

      But even more, evolution can be far far more indirectly relevant to things like number of babies.

    • Skivverus says:

      I might be misinterpreting, but I thought the dichotomy here was between “fast-but-fragile” and “slow-and-steady” strategies, not masculine or feminine ones. Pursuit of knowledge (that one would presumably be passing on to one’s children) would probably be towards the slow side of things.

      • Axiomatic Doubts says:

        Yeah, the fast-to-slow continuum seems to be somewhat orthogonal to gender. But Scott’s description of the “skilled/provisioning strategy” certainly describes traits usually associated with men, and it concurrently describes me puzzlingly well.

        Assortative mating based on intelligence is definitely present in humans, people are more likely to date those whose intelligence is close to their own — but it seems to me that signaling intelligence and interestingness is much more of a male strategy than a female one.

        • That raises an interesting puzzle. If people want mates of their own intelligence, and if the spread of the IQ distribution is wider for men than for women, that should give intelligent women an advantage on the mating market, in which case one would think that it would be in the interest of women to signal intelligence and against the interest of men to! That’s looking at signaling only as a way of increasing your draw. It would be in the interest of both to signal accurately in order to improve the chance of a suitable match.

          • Mr. Doolittle says:

            If women tend to be closer to mean than men, then the increased variance in men would make the signalling more important for men and less for women. Nobody really cares if a woman is 97 instead of 103, but 90 instead of 110, or a more extreme divergence, would require more signaling. In other words, the greater variation among men is of greater importance to signal than the lesser variance among women. In that case, we would expect the men to be the primary signaler, and the couple to match more based on that. Highly intelligent women would be more likely to strongly mismatch to the man than highly intelligent men to strongly mismatch to the woman.

          • baconbits9 says:

            That raises an interesting puzzle. If people want mates of their own intelligence, and if the spread of the IQ distribution is wider for men than for women, that should give intelligent women an advantage on the mating market, in which case one would think that it would be in the interest of women to signal intelligence and against the interest of men to!

            It sounds like you are differentiating group and individual incentives here. High intelligence men would be tripping over themselves to signal their intelligence to high intelligence women as they would never land a high intelligence woman if they were the one of the few high intelligence guys not signalling. Women would like signalling, but they would like men signalling, they only would need a low wattage signal to attract several potential mates as there would always be either more single high intelligence men than women or a good number of high intelligence men who had settled for lower intelligence women.

          • Aapje says:

            @DavidFriedman

            Studies as well as actual behavior suggests that being pretty is more important to attract men than intelligence or what it might be a proxy for, ability to provide.

        • ADifferentAnonymous says:

          Maybe we’ve got a political-compass situation?

          Slow
          ^
          Caregiving/prosocial | Skilled/provisioning
          FeminineMasculine
          Creative/seductive | Antagonistic/exploitative
          v
          Fast

          (my basis here is stereotype)

        • arlie says:

          In my youth, girls and women were advised to conceal their intelligence so as to make themselves more attractive.

        • Axiomatic Doubts says:

          Autistic female life strategy:
          Use the skilled/provisioning strategy she was naturally endowed with to gather knowledge on what life history strategy she actually *should* be following instead, and then emulate it. This is possible because the skilled/provisioning strategy is unique in that it involves the skills and resources that are the most fungible (intelligence and the acquisition of knowledge); you can use intelligence to make yourself prettier but you can’t go the other way around.

  37. nameless1 says:

    There is the same problem with this theory as with a generic concept of time preference, time discounting: why do the very same people go slow in one thing and fast in another thing? Low time preference in one thing, high in another? I have always been very conscientuous about studying and working, never ever went to an exam unprepared or passed a deadline at work, and I am also very good at saving money. On the other hand I drink and smoke like an 1900’s sailor and idea if harming my health or living a short life does not scare me at all. I don’t know why. My guesstimate is that I am really afraid of shame low, low status, but I am not too afraid of death. That I am stronger motivated to live not in shame, like a failed student or homeless beggar, than to live at all. But it is just guess I really don’t know.

    If you would see me chugging booze with a cigarette in my mouth, would you think I often miss work or often get in debt? Or brawls? Or have sex without protection? Nothing would be true about them.

    • AC Harper says:

      I was just pondering the granularity of the fast-living/slow-living strategies. Assuming that genetics plays the major factor in personality traits, and the environment affects behaviour most during early adulthood, what happens if you have a ‘slow living brain’ co-resident with a ‘fast living body’ in a society that promotes one speed of living or another? What happens if you have a ‘slow living biome’ in a genetically fast living body/brain?

      That’s a problem with personalty types (or psychopathologies?). You assign people to one of a number of categories but the fit is only so-so, so you elaborate the number of categories, but there are still exceptions. So whatever case you make for 4 or 5 or 16 personality types or clusters you should always include a ‘Bastard God’ faction (see The Curse of Chalion by Lois McMaster Bujold) for the people that don’t fit reasonably well. I expect Pareto would posthumously approve of ‘The Big 5 plus 1’ or the ‘MBTI plus 1’, or the ‘Hogwarts Houses plus 1’.

  38. Jacob says:

    > If you see what looks like a totally random squiggle on a piece of paper, then probably the equation that describes it really is going to have a lot of variables, and you shouldn’t criticize a many-variable equation as “overfitting”

    The analogy here would be saying there are millions of types of depression, one for each patient. And billions of strategies, one for each person (living or dead). This might be “true” in some sense (probably more true for mental illness than other physical ailments) but it is not useful for any practical purpose. For clinical purposes I’d define there are as many types as there are therapeutic regimens (be they drugs, talk therapy or whatever, including combinations used in practice). Researchers will naturally have a different taxonomy.

    More formally, see Bayesian information criterion or Akaike information criterion when judging a squiggly line fit.

  39. Jacob says:

    >There’s a lot of debate these days about how we should treat research that fits our existing beliefs too closely.

    In physics, the answer is we should basically ignore any research that doesn’t fit this criteria. That should hold for other hard sciences too. Both quantum mechanics and general relativity reduce to Newtonian physics in the relevant limits (v << c, distances and masses much larger than atomic scale). They had/have to, or else nobody would believe them because they would be wrong. The reason is that we have piles of experimental evidence showing than Newtonian physics is empirically "correct". So to the extent that our existing beliefs fit existing data, and the existing data is reliable and believable, future beliefs should fit with existing beliefs.

    The obvious rejoinder is that in many situations we form our beliefs based on other things besides a sober look at data, perhaps because the data is non-existent and/or difficult to interpret, or because mumble politics mumble. But that problem is orthogonal to incorporating new data against old beliefs; if we can't properly interpret data then it doesn't much matter if it's old data or new data.

    • Cerastes says:

      I think the issue in your second paragraph, about beliefs formed irrationally, is the core issue, actually. Most people don’t have deeply held, irrational beliefs about the equations for an inelastic collision between two balls, but the same is definitely not true for “human nature” and anything relating to it.

  40. Mr Mind says:

    I try to be a nice guy who contributes to society and respects others; how come I’m a miserable 25-year-old virgin, whereas every bully and jerk and frat bro I know is able to get a semi-infinite supply of sex partners whom they seduce, abuse, and dump?

    Is this true also when swapping gender? Because nothing in the life strategies seems tied to gender, and if the quote isn’t valid when applied to girls, then it means that the explanation IS self-serving.

    • Ozy Frantz says:

      That is a complaint women sometimes make, hence self-help books such as Why Men Love Bitches.

    • vV_Vv says:

      The complaint that women tend to make is not that they can’t find sexual partners, it’s that their sexual partners don’t commit to them. This is consistent with men being the gatekeepers of commitment and women being the gatekeepers of sex.

      Because nothing in the life strategies seems tied to gender

      Women are more k-selected than men.

      • veronicastraszh says:

        It’s not merely that random-guy-on-dating-site won’t commit. It’s also that one-shot sex with random men tends to be very bad sex, with dudes who learned all they know from watching porn.

        • idontknow131647093 says:

          The more conservative POV of this is that it is bad because of lack of familiarity and emotional bonds.

          • Ozy Frantz says:

            Nah, there are definitely men who are good at casual sex, it’s just that casual sex is a lemon market.

          • cuke says:

            I second this. It’s unusual in my experience for (heterosexual) men to be good at casual sex, but the ones I’ve known who were, were having quite a good time and it was enjoyable to cross paths with them, so to speak. And in my limited experience, they were not especially good-looking, conventionally-defined, but more average-ly nice-looking. Some of the very best sex I’ve ever had was casual sex — I don’t see emotional depth/intimacy and physical enjoyment to be on the same axis at all.

            I used to do a lot of ballroom dance to get through graduate school and it seemed to me that being good at casual sex is like being a good dance partner — I know the analogy is over-used, but maybe true nonetheless. Being a good dance partner takes intention, learning, effort, care, and a certain level of body self-awareness. It’s not something we just grow up knowing how to do. Nearly the same holds true for being a good conversationalist I’d say.

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  42. INH5 says:

    I used to work in a psychiatric hospital that served primarily adolescents with a history of violence or legal issues; most of them had had multiple sexual encounters by age fifteen; only half of MIT students in their late teens and early 20s have had sex at all.

    Is this really something that cries out for an explanation? Teenagers who end up in MIT are known to spend a lot of time studying and doing homework. Teenagers who end up in juvie are known to spend a lot of time hanging out with other “bad kids” to party, drink alcohol, do drugs, and generally get into trouble. One of these sets of activities is intrinsically far more likely to lead to meeting potential romantic/sexual partners than the other, because it’s far more likely to lead to meeting people in general.

  43. captbackslap says:

    This interacts in an interesting way with David Chapman’s view of the abortion issue as a conflict between the typically “red” early marriage/large family strategy and the typically “blue” late marriage/small family strategy.

    And, separately, with a political compass that looks like this:

    BORDERLINE | ANTISOCIAL PD
    ——————————————
    SCHIZOID PD | PARANOID PD

    • jhertzlinger says:

      This disagrees with the common assumption in some quarters that the right wing is associated with K strategies and the left wing with r strategies.

      • idontknow131647093 says:

        Well its a bit of a mixed bad no? Single motherhood is associated with which wing? Early marriage and large families with the other.

      • captbackslap says:

        Chapman describes a third mating strategy, basically summed up as “YOLO,” used primarily by people who don’t have a lot of voice in policy discussions. Left-wing elites mostly have small families.

  44. sandoratthezoo says:

    @Scott Alexander:

    Typo:

    So far, we’ve cached this out entirely in terms of brain damage.

    Should be “cashed” out, yes?

  45. zinjanthropus says:

    In the extreme version of this, you could imagine a populism that claims to be fighting for the decent middle-class slow-strategy segment of the population against an antagonistic/exploitative underclass.

    That was basically the Nixon campaign in 1968, viz. the appeal to law and order and the “Silent Majority.”

    http://chnm.gmu.edu/hardhats/silent.html

  46. Rm says:

    As Mr. Mad-Eye would say, not fishy enough.

    Are there psychpathologies in apes? Primates? Where do they start to appear? What about Pavlov’s experiments on dogs (the ones where he made them distinguish between circles and ellipses, gradually making ellipses shorter and shorter until the dogs got “neurosis”)? Do dogs who exhibit behaviors notably different from the general population get to be called “crazy” or “having idiosyncrasies”, and if it is possible for non-human animals to have idiosyncrasies, can this be explained from the evolutionary point of view?

    If he roots this whole thing in evolution, where is the discussion on the occurrence of genetical sequencies “related to” psychopathologies in mammalians? (Or did you omit it as something not exactly relevant?)

    In short – making psychiatry about evolution should be about evolution.

    • Nornagest says:

      I’m not sure how well it maps to the fast/slow life orientation theory, but dogs and cats definitely have personality variations analogous to what we see in humans, and some of them correspond pretty well to the stability of their upbringing. Adopt a dog that was born behind a 7-11 and received no training or socialization in its first couple years of life, and it’ll probably end up being a pretty messed-up dog.

      • Rm says:

        Dogs are symbionts, so I guess it’s harder to say if a less manageable dog is normal or messed-up.

        Or take a bear raised in circus, a cripple to the end of its life; some of the habits they acquire (begging for food, not being much afraid of humans or “human environment” etc.) can be called just that – habits. And yet people who rehabilitate them say their personalities do change when they have space, food and fun. Bears are complex, but this isn’t linked to domestication. I almost think that bear rehabilitation centers are insane asylums.

    • moscanarius says:

      Dogs do have different personalities, and there are some who have behaviours which would be considered pathological if their equivalent were to happen in humans.

      I know of a dog who got depressive – he stopped eating, interactingg, and leaving his house – because his owner denied it a piece of orange he had begged. He was only cured three days later, after he was fed orange.

      Another one was obsessed with airplanes. Not afraid, obssessed: he would hear a plane coming, and climb on the roof to silently stare at it until it went away.

  47. ADifferentAnonymous says:

    If the results here are true, is there any reason to believe the mechanism is epigenetic?

    Also, is there a reason none of this shows up any time anyone measures shared environment effects on life outcomes?

  48. Emma_B says:

    Fascinating! But from a genetics point of view I find the evolutionary psychopathology idea not very convincing. I guess there are at least three points that I have trouble with:

    * Usually psychiatric disorders are quite heritable but markedly decrease the number of children, which should not be possible. Thus psychiatric disorders must have hidden advantages, ie be adaptive. This was a common assumption in population genetics until we learned, recently, that mutation rates are awfully high (several dozens of new mutations per newborn) and that a very large number of genes are expressed in the brain (“The Human Brain is a Large Mutational Target”). It is thus quite possible that some relatively rare heritable brain traits are not adaptive but instead linked to frequent defavorable mutations.

    * Psychiatric disorders/traits are part of a fast/slow syndrome. For this to be true, you would need all or most of the traits associated with fast strategies to be correlated and vice versa. I do not think that is the case. Regarding personality, there is indeed a (quite low) positive correlation between being agreable and conscientious, both associated with slow strategies, but there is the same kind of low positive correlation with extraversion, associated with fast strategies.

    *Predictability of environment is assessed during childhood and fast/slow strategy is selected accordingly. If true, I think this would entail a strong effect of shared environment on personnality traits, but the effect are very small and often non detectable.

    On the more positive side, I think that there are a few genetic things that go in the direction of the hypothesis: for example potentially severe traits like autism do seem genetically heterogenous, with for example both very rare de novo mutations causing severe autism and common mutations, usually transmitted by the parents, causing mild autistic traits.

  49. Anna says:

    Your chart for the 4 types made me laugh, because as you described the 4 fast/slow strategies, I’d been mentally dividing them up into Myers’ Briggs types. (Antisocial = SP, Creative = NF, Cargiving = SJ, and the Skilled = NTs.)

    • LadyJane says:

      That’s funny, because I think I’m somewhere between a skilled/provisioning type and a creative/seductive type, and I’m literally right on the border of INFP and INTP. Whenever I take a Myers-Briggs test, I’ll always get one of those two, and my score on the Feeling/Thinking axis will always be within a few points of the 50% mark.

      • Anna says:

        I’ve had crappy online MB quizzes that put me all over the map, but generally I’m like you, being very near 50% on the T-F axis, although I think “lean very slightly to the T side” is more accurate for me. The J and P axis is maybe a little iffy for me, too; most MB tests are looking for how much you like lists and planning (which I like a lot), so they tend to classify me as a J. But the overall description of an INTP fits me better, and especially if you look at the “cognitive stack” stuff, INTP is a better fit than INTJ.

        • LadyJane says:

          I’m always really far on the Intuiting side of the Intuiting/Sensing scale, and usually around three-quarters of the way up on the Introversion/Extroversion and Perceiving/Judging scales. I used to be all the way towards the far end on Introversion, but I guess I’ve become moderately more extroverted over the years. But on all the tests I’ve taken, I’ve never gotten any results other than INXP.

          • Nootropic cormorant says:

            Myer-Briggs’ types is a good mental shorthand, but theory behind it is bunk, it only makes sense when you consider its correlations with Big Five traits.
            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myers%E2%80%93Briggs_Type_Indicator#Big_Five

          • Anna says:

            Nootropic cormorant, what do you think the theory behind MB is?

            Most of the MB material I’ve read has really only presented descriptions of the different types, not associated any theory with it. The exception is Ruth Johnston’s book “Remodeling the Mind”, which connects the Myer’s-Briggs types to Jung, but also brings in bits of modern neuroscience here and there.

            Also, does the Big Five have actual theory behind it? If so, can you present a synopsis?

  50. Atlas says:

    The “virgin v. Chad” meme was spot-on, but I want to make a minor note/possible correction: In these memes, “virgin” and “Chad” are typically used as adjectives, not nouns. (I.e. it would more commonly be the virgin slow life history vs. the Chad fast life history.)

    Also, JP Rushton’s articulation of r/K selection theory has pretty much become holy writ among the a*t-right; for example, it’s a very frequent theme of Stefan Molyneux’s videos.

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  52. switchnode says:

    Similar theoretical structures making different predictions which I’m surprised no one has yet mentioned:

    First, thrive/survive (as LadyJane almost mentions above, but the thread doesn’t really get there). Similar ideas about evaluating the environment for riskiness—see, in fact, the paragraphs from “This theory also satisfies Point 3” though “It seems broadly plausible”, which might well be a prequel to this post—but opposite predictions: does an unstable environment encourage moral rigidity and social hierarchy, or jail time and promiscuity? Is this perhaps a false dichotomy, or should we be distinguishing PvE and PvP?

    Second, The Psychopath Code (disclaimer: author’s personal observations, engaging but not well founded). Thesis: “psychopaths are social predators of other humans”. Their description of psychopaths (author’s chosen term) tallies precisely with the antagonistic/exploitative (and seductive, though maybe not creative) strategies discussed here, but the implied cause is different: is the antagonistic strategy a defensive response to a chaotic environment, or an exploitative adaptation which actually grows more lucrative the stabler and higher-trust the society? It could be both.

    (Bonus questions: how might you model the evolutionary population dynamics of these strategies in games like the prisoner’s dilemma or stag hunt? How much does it matter that they share a behavioral-genetic basis? Can you treat them as separate social ‘species’, and are there mixed ecological equilibria? I haven’t thought any of these through to my satisfaction.)

    • LadyJane says:

      I do think you’re making a false dichotomy, in the sense that an extreme us-versus-them mentality would exemplify the antagonistic/exploitative approach more than the prosocial/caring approach. Once you take that into account, this paradigm actually matches the predictions of survive/thrive quite well. The strict rules and rigid hierarchies are necessary to keep a bunch of self-interested fast-life actors working together with each other against the rest of the world (as you noted, player vs. enemy instead of player vs. player). The classic archetype would be the unified horde of warriors, raping and pillaging the countryside as they please with no regard for outsiders whatsoever, but with a strict code of conduct governing how they interact with each other.

      In terms of the five moral foundations, antisocial personality disorder is only proven to have strong negative correlations with caring and fairness; one study showed that it had no strong correlations with authority, group loyalty, or purity (https://philarchive.org/archive/GLEAAT-4), and another study showed that it had strong positive correlations with authority and group loyalty (https://www.researchgate.net/publication/304452250_Can_there_be_an_immoral_morality_Dark_personality_traits_as_predictors_of_Moral_foundations).

  53. konshtok says:

    you got the cavaliers and the borderers crossed

    • Scott Alexander says:

      I thought about that one for a while, but I think the current mapping is correct. Search the original post for “Virginian recreation”.

      Also, I like the Borderer / borderline personality connection.

  54. thoramboinensis says:

    I was thinking these four life history strategies sound an awful lot like horoscopes for people who a more (pseudo-)sciencey explanation that stars and planets, then you busted out the table with Harry Potter houses.

    In a well-mixed population, mean phenotypes for quantitative traits are going to average out to the center of gravity of your adaptive landscape. Stable polymorphisms typically require some sort of binary mechanism: categories controlled by a single gene (e.g. sickle cell) or chromosomal differences (e.g. sexual dimorphism). The only case I can think of with four-category stable polymorphism is with ruffs, when both sex and a single genetic locus are involved (side story: I once went to a talk about ‘ruff sex’ and couldn’t stop giggling). Otherwise, if you want to claim different phenotypic categories, the only other choice is deep adaptive troughs between fitness peaks, but that will usually lead to selection for speciation (‘reinforcement’) or disappearance of the inferior competitor. You can’t just invoke epigenetics as a Sorting Hat.

    This isn’t to say the ‘fast/slow’ dichotomy isn’t really useful for thinking about intraspecific variation in life history strategies. I’d just suggest thinking about it as a massively polygenic spectrum, maybe with a simple epigenetic switch that can push you toward ‘fast’ (e.g. methylating something that inhibits testosterone production). I’m also guessing it’s more useful to think of it as principal component 1 of a PCA of all life history traits. There’s a whole slew of traits going into fast/slow life histories, and they are only somewhat linked. For each trait you can probably find a lot of variation that is entirely orthogonal to an overall fast/slow axis, both across species, and within humans.

    Also, I think we should actually be looking at pygmies not chads as extreme fast life history humans.

    • Emma_B says:

      It is quite easy to maintain stable polymorphism through frequency dependant selection : if it is advantageous to have a rare strategy, which seems reasonably likely for personality traits, then this will maintain polymorphism.

      • thoramboinensis says:

        They are only easy to maintain if they have a simple genetic basis. When traits are massively polygenic, your population starts turning into a normal distribution (barring assortative mating that’s so strong it’s functionally a prezygotic mechanism of speciation). I doubt these personality traits have a simple genetic basis (in terms of numbers of genes underlying the traits), but if they did, it would be really easy to pinpoint them through genomic mapping.

  55. Null42 says:

    So who here thinks if Del Giudice were Chinese instead of a Westerner, he’d have come up with five strategies?

  56. Mark Dominus says:

    I’m pretty sure the canonical correspondence between Hogwarts and the four elements is (Gryffindor – fire) (Ravenclaw – air) (Slytherin – water) (Hufflepuff – earth). Observe for example that the Gryffindor color is red and their common room is dominated by a hearth, that the Ravenclaw dormitories are in a high tower and their symbolic animal is a bird, that the Slytherin dormitories are in an underwater dungeon, and that the animal that represents the down-to-earth Hufflepuffs is the burrowing badger.

    It also seems pretty clear that (Paul – Gryffindor) (John – Slytherin) (George – Ravenclaw) (Ringo – Hufflepuff).

    • Le Maistre Chat says:

      Observe for example that the Gryffindor color is red and their common room is dominated by a hearth, that the Ravenclaw dormitories are in a high tower and their symbolic animal is a bird, that the Slytherin dormitories are in an underwater dungeon,

      No wonder those kids are so messed up: to enter and leave their dorm, they have to put on the iron boots, take off the iron boots, put on the iron boots, take off the iron boots…

  57. eigenmoon says:

    There seems to be an underlying assumption that a kid is imprinted with a strategy and sticks to it for life.

    But this doesn’t make evolutionary sense. A pack of humans would sometimes migrate to new places that may be hazardous or not, nobody knows before they get there. It would be more evolutionary fit if adults would just switch their strategy to whatever’s optimal under the new conditions, rather than wait a generation.

    Also, we can observe many developing countries transitioning to low fertility, and some are doing it in just 10 years or so. That suggests that adults can indeed do a r/k switch if really needed.

    Maybe we should be able to see massive changes in psychiatric profiles in countries that shift to low fertility? But has anyone heard of anything like that?

    • Mr. Doolittle says:

      As with anything related to Sociology, the correlations are almost always far less than 100%, and are often less than 50% even for “solid” findings. It would be incredibly odd if this finding did approach even a strong majority of people, or if people were in very rigid categories even if so.

      I recall a point in my life where I had a choice available between pursuing an Antagonistic/exploitative approach or a Skilled/Provisioning approach, and made a conscious choice to go with Skilled/Provisioning. I weighed the options with pros and cons and decided that exploitative approaches were too short term for me. When reading this post, I categorized myself as Caregiving/prosocial. I have no idea where that came from or when I switched, but I’m pretty sure that’s the correct grouping for me, now.

      I’m perfectly content to put this kind of finding in the same general bucket of other Sociology findings, where it does demonstrate a real tendency but doesn’t provide much certainty, especially at the individual level.

  58. Alex M says:

    If this is true, think about the implications that it would have for the migrant crisis. You realize that simply by posting this review and taking the conclusions seriously, you’ve become a heretic to the Blue Tribe?

    I’m curious, Scott – at what point will you realize that the Grey Tribe can’t remain neutral in the current iteration of the culture war? You can’t maintain neutrality around people who want to tell you what you’re allowed to say, what science you’re allowed to research, and what opinions you are allowed to hold. What the Blue Tribe wants is to enslave science. At a certain point, you have to make a decision either to allow yourself to become a slave, or side with the people fighting against slavery. At some point, you will need to make a decision – either renounce your interest in all science that leads to conclusions that might not fit the dominant narrative, or commit to fighting for your right to research whatever you want and follow the evidence no matter where it may lead you. There is absolutely no advantage to wishy-washy neutrality when your freedom is at stake.

    • Nootropic cormorant says:

      If it is true.

    • Null42 says:

      He’s already a heretic to the Blue Tribe, as I suspect are most of his readers. That’s why he’s anonymous.

      You expect him to join the Red Tribe, which doesn’t believe in climate change or (in many cases) evolution? Some Red Tribe people have a problem with his ancestry. There isn’t really a good choice if you just want to believe what you think is true, and truth is neither right nor left. You can make a conscious decision to throw in with one side or the other and ignore your side’s lies as less dangerous, but I don’t think either side really appeals to him that much. Which is probably a big part of why he’s so popular among heretics from both tribes.

    • LadyJane says:

      The problem is that the ideology of the Red Tribe is largely just stupid and evil, simply for the sake of being stupid and evil. That’s not to say that all Red Tribers are stupid and evil – to paraphrase Trump, I’m sure most of them are fine people – but their shared ideals are awful. And as Null pointed out, they’re not exactly big on free speech or science either. So I’d much rather support the side in the Culture War that at least has good intentions, celebrates intellectualism in spite of their sins against Pure Objectivity, and doesn’t have a problem with me simply for existing.

      Given a choice between the proletarian rebels who somehow think they’re capitalists, and the bourgeois establishmentarians who somehow think they’re socialists, I’ll gladly take the latter.

      • John Schilling says:

        The problem is that the ideology of the Red Tribe is largely just stupid and evil, simply for the sake of being stupid and evil.

        HeelBearCub, you want to take this one?

  59. Jaskologist says:

    I think this post misunderstands the relationship between fast/slow strategies and the environment. r and K species coexist within the same broad environment. What the slow strategy aims to do is build an environment within that which is safe and predictable. Fish that guard their eggs have a higher infant survival rate than egg-scatterers because their actions have produced a safer environment, and the inverse is true as well.

    Fast breeding is the one that much better adapted to a safe environment; ie: one where your actions have a very low chance of killing your kids. Fast strategies can overwhelm slow ones much more quickly than in a dangerous environment, where the effort put in by the Slow-Lifers pays off in higher survival rates and balances out the two strategies. Think: in the West, how many the offspring at the low socioeconomic end are in danger of not growing up?

    The concern is that it’s the Slow-Lifers who have created the safe environment that the Fast-Lifers are enjoying/exploiting, and if we don’t work to shore up that load-bearing structure the whole thing could come crashing down.

    • Le Maistre Chat says:

      This. The environment where these reproductive strategies make sense is something organisms build themselves.
      If we don’t stop the fast free riders, they’ll change the whole environment.

    • Nootropic cormorant says:

      Can environments really be more or less dangerous? Dangerous to whom? An organism well-adapted to an environment is more likely to survive than one that isn’t, but this adaption (slow-selection) has a tradeoff that it probably wouldn’t be able to survive in a different environment, it is overspecialized. So the real difference would be how stable the environment is.

      We can also look at the Austalian rabbit example above, when entering a new environment, fast-life strategies are optimal until carrying capacity is reached and the organism starts adapting through slow-life strategies to the enviornment with diminishing returns. If the environment was to suddenly change with an increased mortality rate, I guess (caveat: not a biologist) we would see a shedding of acquired slow-life traits and a reversion to faster strategies and later development of different fast-life characteristics.

    • LadyJane says:

      The idea is that fast-life strategies are better suited to high-risk environments, because if anyone could die at any time, then you may as well produce as many offspring as soon as possible to ensure that at least some of them survive to pass on your genes. Slow-life strategies are better suited to low-risk environments, because in a stable environment, it’s better to thrive than to be content with merely surviving. Keep in mind that the r-selection/K-selection theory was originally designed to be applied to entire species in the wild, not to a single species living in a civilized society, so it’s not going to fit perfectly when applied to modern humans.

      You may have a point in the sense that exploitative strategies can perform better when almost everyone is pursuing an altruistic strategy, but as soon as there are too many exploiters in the population, their strategy will become less successful, both because they’ll come into conflict with other exploiters and because non-exploiters will more easily be able to see through their tactics. That equilibrium might explain why sociopathy is consistently present within 1-3% of the population, but no more than that.

  60. Eponymous says:

    What’s the mechanism here? I don’t find “mumble mumble epigenetics” very convincing. Why not just go with the strong prior that r/k differences are genetic? Particularly given ~0 effect of shared environment on personality traits (like conscientiousness), which seems to directly contradict his theory.

    On a related note, what’s the proposed physiological mechanism for implementing different life strategies? I would think that, for the theory to work, there needs to be a fairly simple mechanism that can be triggered, like adjusting the level of one particular hormone or something. Does del Giudice discuss possibilities?

  61. JohnBuridan says:

    This was a blast to read. I laughed for thirty seconds at the Temperaments/Albion’s Seed/Houses Chart. What fun!

    As soon as I started reading evolutionary game theory my brain was permanently hacked. I will have to read this book very soon.

    You set up that link to the Atlantic article so perfectly, that I started thinking about that article from the very beginning of that three paragraph sequence that ended with the link!

    Is right to say that Neuroticism is an extreme form of OCD? What kind of strategy is Neuroticism? With high effort, you can do what needs to be done. Everything depends on you. Everything matters. Follow the rules scrupulously or you will burn in everlasting fire? Apocalyptic preaching on the narrow road to salvation which requires tracing woodgrains and solving complex cryptograms in the daily paper for your secret Soviet overlords who control ALL THE SERAPHIM?

    Perhaps, in an environment which demands more than you are capable and not following the rules gets you hurt frequently links strongly to neuroticism. Of course, how could we even measure such an environment?

    I have been thinking about how to falsify arguments about available evolutionary strategies. One of the problems, I believe, is that when we apply evolutionary strategy when thinking about real world problems and categories we are applying a heuristic rather than an abstraction. For example, only politically viable strategy for nobles in Medieval France and Spain is to jockey for position. Outright war is too costly per evolutionary reason A. Not jockeying results in a fitness decrease of x, which over y number of generation results in absorption, and so jockeying is built into the legal and cultural environment. Is this falsifiable or testable?

    If we could find an example of a Most Ancient and Noble House which did not try to grow their fiefdoms or expands their vassals over several generations that might falsify our account of political evolution in medieval France, or we might bracket off that counterexample with an addendum to our theory, employ another concept from EGT, and be none the wiser… As you said Scott, sounds like epicycles. Yet, this is a new field. Maybe we have to start with epicycles and build our epicycle theory as far as it will go – to “sow like Tycho Brahe that a greater man may reap.”

  62. Lanrian says:

    This theory would explain the expansion of the moral circle in wealthy nations, since morality is linked to the slow strategy.

    It would also explain citizens of wealthy nations having fewer kids. Modern civilisation is kind of a superstimuli of stableness, for the well off, which makes us invest in the degenerate slow strategy of having less than 2 kids per couple.

    That’s pretty neat.

  63. KarenE says:

    OMG I love this stuff so much. I teach psych in college, and have a psychotherapy practice. I’ve been teaching and telling patients for years about how most of what we call ‘psychopathology’ is probably just normal human variation, and adaptive in many situations. My favourite example is ADHD. If mom is stressed or underfed while pregnant, kid is more likely to be ADHD. If kid is over-stressed while growing up, ditto. And likely what looks like ‘genetic inheritance’, ADHD parents having ADHD kids is likely both a) it’s stressful growing up w/an ADHD parent, and b) when these traits come out, it might be worthwhile keeping them around for a few generations even if life has calmed down. ‘Cause if it was that risky one generation ago, the chances it’s going to get that way again soonish are high. Similar to how it takes about 3 generations well fed for natural height potentials to show up fully.

    So ADHD traits, that are super adaptive in high-risk environments, like ‘act now, think later’, boldness, risk taking, getting bored easily (so going to look for new opportunities), and being easily distracted (hey, is that a bear?), make perfect sense. They just don’t work in our calmer, slower, sit and think and focus on details environment.

    And if you add in, it’s evolutionarily adaptive to promote the survival of your small group, even if you don’t survive yourself (the high proportion of shared genes will be passed along, even if yours aren’t), then the NEED for some anxious people (oh, but what if this happens? what if that happens?), some negative thinkers (that’ll never work! Look, I found a flaw!), some bold (we shall sally forth to explore! most of us will die, but if somebody survives, they can come back to tell you about the better hunting grounds we found!), some cautious (you guys go ahead, I’ll just stay here where I’m already OK) etc becomes obvious.

    Don’t forget, evolution doesn’t care if you’re happy! Only if your genes are passed on.

  64. Frederic Mari says:

    To me, it’s hard to discuss fastlife strategies without mentioning lead poisoning.

    Surely crumbling middle class employment opportunities should trigger fast life strategies? All that pain that Trump was able to tap?

    Yet crime is down, teenage sex/pregnancies is down etc.

    So, from an objective point of view, the environment is getting more hostile and less predictable. Going to university is hardly the sesame to the good life it used to be.

    Yet, instead of more and more kids switching to fast life strategies, we see them getting kicked in the ass and slow life strategies dominating. Why?

  65. alexherder says:

    Millenials and Gen Z are much more likely to have been placed in daycare as infants, which would probably give a slightly more chaotic impression than being raised by a stay-at-home mom or grandmother. Could that explain the sudden rise in popularity of polyamory as these generations encounter serious relationships and find that they don’t match their life history preference?

  66. brewingsense says:

    Now we can be evangelical atheists who have a personal relationship with evolution. It’s pretty neat.

    This quote and the whole paragraph strike a chord in me, especially since I have been lately thinking how evolution actually provides a certain narrative structure for who we are, how we got here and what is our place in the universe, which are questions that were usually answerable only in religious terms. It also lends credence to the idea of human nature, and on top of that developmental theories are somewhat teleological, so we’re circling another concept beloved by catholic philosophers.

    I’m not sure what I am trying to say, maybe except “I want to join a church of evolution”.

  67. Rm says:

    Actually, it’s very easy not to assign a moral here. You just have two “subpopulations” (the word doesn’t do much work here, but we have to call them something), and both try to outcompete the other with – literally – all they have.

    This is the same thing as when you explain to some depressed person’s mother that they just have a chemical imbalance. Somehow, you don’t have to assign any moral there, but you assign one now? Be consistent.

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  70. MuncleUscles says:

    I don’t know if the book goes into it, but if anyone is interested in the actual genetic and biological mechanisms behind this (or at least what the cutting edge science suggests they might be), you can find an amazing series of lectures by Robert Sapolsky titled “Introduction to Human Behavioral Biology” on Stanford Youtube channel. The first half of the 24 lectures is designed to bring everyone up to speed with everything from genetics to neurobiology, and the second half ties it all together for various behaviors and psychopathologies.

    Not only is the subject matter fascinating, but Dr. Sapolsky is an entertaining lecturer and goes on tangents to explain the weird and imaginative experiments behind the facts, as well as fully digging into how we might be completely wrong about all of it.

    It’s one of those things that made me appreciate all again how incredibly lucky I am to live in the internet age when I can just randomly stumble upon this kind of content freely available on Youtube.

  71. enkiv2 says:

    Is it just me, or are his four strategies just a reskinned version of Wilson’s typologies based on the first two circuits of Leary’s 8-circuit model — down to imprint vulnerability periods (now coded as epigenetic)? I’m not sure if the similarity points to the model being more or less valuable.

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