My word, this is a surprise, isn’t it?

Children brought up by single parents and in step families are three times as likely to suffer from mental health problems, a major study has found.
Research on more than 10,000 children found that those brought up by both natural parents are far less likely to suffer severe emotional and behavioural problems.
The major study by University College London shows large differences in the well-being of children, depending on their upbringing.
Experts said the findings added to “a mountain of evidence” about the damage caused by family breakdown, with children left stressed by marital breakdowns, or falling into poverty which could increase their risk of psychiatric distress.

You mean a species which has evolved all sorts of things to keep a breeding couple together through the decades finds that breeding couples not staying together through the decades ain’t a good idea?

All those things, the female orgasm, concealed ovulation, tits, face to face sex, female survival past menopause, pair bonding itself: you mean all of these things do in fact lead to better raising of the resultant offspring? The very reasons they evolved in the first place, not “because”, but as those who did these things outbred those who didn’t and thus became the ancestors of us all?

My word, that is a surprise, isn’t it?

Not that science is going to be allowed to come in the way of a socially constructed narrative of course.

There is actually a reason why American fathers throw baseballs at pubescent sons. It’s just as much a part of the build a human being kit as some Masai showing a child which end of the spear you stick in a lion. And that’s why it just takes 20 odd years to produce a human ready to produce grandchildren, just because it does. For two people…..

61 thoughts on “My word, this is a surprise, isn’t it?”

  1. I’m not entirely sure that most of the human attributes on that list are actually anything to do with long term child raising relationships, much as they demand explanation.

    In fact I have a rather good explanatory theory for many human traits including those, but I can’t tell you, because it needs ye peer reviewed publicating and all sorts. But if correct, it throws tits and concealed ovulation right out of the “til death us do part” arena.

    Which isn’t to deny that humans do that. It’s just not what those things are for.

  2. Also regarding the 20 odd years, in general in primitive societies, those males who have managed to survive to their late 20s finally get to marry several girls who are just post-pubescent. They having spent the intervening years since adult status arrived (er, at about 13) in a male warrior brotherhood trying to avoid getting killed, and making do mostly with bumsex.

  3. So Much For Subtlety

    All those things, the female orgasm, concealed ovulation, tits, face to face sex, female survival past menopause, pair bonding itself: you mean all of these things do in fact lead to better raising of the resultant offspring?

    I am unconvinced that these things have evolved for that reason. I am unconvinced that what works in the modern world – the suburb two-parent family – has been what works in the past. To me it looks like we are forcing human beings into a very unnatural and uncomfortable arrangement for essentially irrational religious reasons. Which, as an added bonus, is necessary for modern society but which did not arise for that purpose.

    Female orgasm? Stephen Jay Gould argued that it was just a coincidence. Evolution is lazy. So the penis is necessary for reproduction, so it is cheap to have a clitoris as well. There is no need for it to work. Indeed highly successful societies are full of women for whom it does not work – there were surveys of Scottish Free-Wee women who had never heard of the concept.

    Concealed ovulation is about women cheating the men in their lives. Not pair bonding, but taking from one man under the delusion he is the father of your children, in order to have sex with some other man who actually is the father of your children. It is a convincing argument.

    Tits? Not sure how that works. As above probably.

    Face to face sex? God knows. The aquatic ape theory seems the only good one.

    Female survival past menopause? Necessary in societies where men do not hang around. Black American grand mothers do a great deal of child rearing. Suburban White grandmothers much less so.

    Pair bonding itself? A Western myth or a biological reality? Does it exist in the natural state? In all hunting and gathering societies successful men have a disproportionate share of women. It looks like a comforting myth for men forced to have only one.

    Our social arrangements, in my opinion, are unnatural and hence fragile. But necessary. So we should stop f**king with them.

  4. Part of the blame can be attached to Tax Credits which has made the procreation of children an alternative to work and rewards claimants who move in and out of “relationships ”

    Plus there is a bonus, if you bring children up badly then get them classed as “special needs ” you get paid far more

    I know of one person who has 12 out of 13 grandchildren classed this way

  5. Concealed ovulation is about women cheating the men in their lives.

    Nope.

    NB Everyone assumes there’s something odd about humans in this regard because chimpanzees have glowing rumps etc. Gorillas, our next native kin species, have hardly any ovulation signalling, it’s about as subtle as a human male trying to guess if a bird is in the mood. They have to use body language. The female gorilla slaps the ground repeatedly with her hand, and if that fails she gets together with the rest and they all dance around their handbags.

    Looks to me more like the chimpanzee signalling is the odd man, er, woman, out in this regard, and they (re-) evolved it after the split with the hominid lineage.

    So here’s a question; why would a species with no mating season and permanent female sexual receptivity need to signal ovulation anyway?

    Plus, if you’ve ever seen the state of a female chimp’s arse when she’s up for it, thank your lucky stars you’re human.

  6. Anyway, back to the point of the article; while this is the kind of research people like to latch onto, as a cynic regarding studies in this Neo-Progressive Era what we now live in, I wonder at what is being defined as an emotional or behavioural problem. There’s a pretty broad gamut of those these days.

  7. So Much For Subtlety

    Ian B – “Nope.”

    Well thank you for that extended contribution to the debate Ian. It is not my theory. It is a common one in the literature. In fact if you go over to Wikipedia and look at the suggestions for the reasons, they are:

    Evolutionary hypotheses

    1.1 Paternal investment hypothesis
    1.2 Reduced infanticide hypothesis
    1.3 Sex and reward hypothesis
    1.4 Social-bonding hypothesis
    1.5 Cuckoldry hypothesis

    The first is the theory that by hiding when they are fertile, women can trick men into hanging around and having sex with them constantly – and providing them with food.

    The second is that women can trick men into accepting other men’s children as their own and so not kill them.

    The third is a straight up sex-for-meat hypothesis although it seems based on the idea of pretending that you are fertile so the sex might produce offspring.

    The fourth is absurd but doesn’t involve cheating.

    The fifth is open and outright cheating.

    So of the five leading theories, three and a half involve women cheating the men in their lives. One does not.

    That suggests you need more than a one word response.

    Humans are odd. Most primates are semi-concealed. Chimpanzees are fully out there. Humans are fully hidden. Well not quite but more or less.

    “Plus, if you’ve ever seen the state of a female chimp’s arse when she’s up for it, thank your lucky stars you’re human.”

    Every species has its own triggers. They might say the same about breast implants. Colour works for humans too or women would not paint their lips and nails.

  8. I know all that SMFS. I’ve spent most of my life pondering human evolution on and off. I just think I’ve got a good reason to believe that they’ve got it wrong.

  9. Ovulation is concealed? I guess I have a remarkable nose for these things. Doesn’t even need to be someone I am intimate with.

    And I really am not sure about the numbers here. 7% of 11 year olds living with both natural parents have “severe mental health problems”? At the very least we need to check the meaning of “severe”. Likewise, if it’s having mummy and daddy around then why are those in step-families the worst off? How do those adopted by a hetero couple at birth do?

    And 20% of those in step families have “tantrums or fights”. Does anyone take seriously a survey that misses 80% of kids who have a tantrum or a fight?

    It looks to me like a mishmash of random effects based on pisspoor methodology, with possibly the odd signal making some data poke its head above the noise. In particular comparing boys and girls in the same narrow (1-year) age group is meaningless.

    Can I be arsed to read the original report and tear it to shreds properly? No, it’s Christmas, and I don’t want a busman’s holiday.

  10. I’m with Ian B on this.

    We get monogamy from the Romans. They had the technology to bring most of their young men back from war intact – and wanting pussy. The primitive system whereby the few survivors got multiple girls each (the alternative being extinction of the tribe within a couple of generations) was not going to work with the numbers of available horny young men, so a one-each rule was needed.

  11. So Much For Subtlety

    Bloke in Germany – “We get monogamy from the Romans. They had the technology to bring most of their young men back from war intact – and wanting pussy.”

    The tribes surrounding Rome had exactly the same level of technology. The Sabines seem to have regularly pushed their surplus young men out to fight. Presumably to seize women as well. Soldiers who come back from wars don’t always come back alone.

    So I don’t see how this is going to work. The Romans don’t want their young men to fight? They do want young women to be widows? They didn’t expect their young men to die in their wars? Because, you know, their young men did – in greater proportions in some cases than in modern battles.

  12. There’s also an argument (which is politically incorrect because it implies variation between human groups) that cold adapted peoples living on the edges of the ice sheets adapted to monogamy (or at least, less polygamy) because they did need to provision the females, and one man cannot provision many females in that environment.

    Part of the problem with the traditional provisioning model quoted by SMFS is that in African societies, there is negligible male provisioning of females and offspring. The women do the vast majority of provisioning of themselves and their children. Which an unkind person might suggest is a system which continues in the African diaspora, especially when there is welfare available.

    Anyway; humans do not live like chimpanzees or other primates, even primitive humans, noble savages, and the like. One factor I think in understanding us can be illustrated by the recent mass graves discovered in ISIS territory full of the women who weren’t young and fit enough to be of use when ISIS rolled into town.

    Chimps do have some inter-group conflict, but chimps are phenomenally thick and they are rubbish at it. They haven’t even figured out strangling yet, so their attempts at murder and war are woefully inefficient. Humans on the other hand are very effective at it.

    Which may partially explain why a female human would benefit not from “hiding ovulation”, but in having her sexual signalling jammed full on permanently, a state of being which causes endless misery to Feminists. Rapeable females get to live and pass on their genes. Everyone else gets slaughtered. Not nice to say, but that’s the (or at least one) bottom line. It’s no use hoping you’re ovulating when the tribe from the next valley raid your village.

  13. @SMFS, it’s an admittedly flippant point. But societies that lose 10% of their men to war have to be run along different lines to those that lose 70% of their men to war, whether they are called Romans, Sabines, or whatever doesn’t matter so much.

    And that’s really the point. Monogamy turns out to be a desirable state of affairs in an orderly civilised society. That orderly civilised society really hasn’t been around for long enough to do evolution stuff yet. What we consider good mental health is also largely a construct of what we want that orderly civilised society to be. What counts as mental illness today (willingness to fight, for example) might well have been useful survival toolkit 5000 years ago.

    So a survey coming up with the result that “the best way to bring up civilised kids is the way we spent the last 2000 years working out how to do it” is telling us nothing remotely surprising. That it has much to do with evolution, given the hugely artificial environment and society we now live in, seems unlikely.

  14. IanB and SMFS

    These seemingly endless speculations about the evolutionary ‘hypotheses’ for concealed ovulation etc are not in the main science because most are untestable. At best, they are mere speculation; at worst, Darwinian fairytales.

    SMFS: ‘added bonus’ belongs with ‘free gift’.

  15. As for the UCL research, the empirical method they use to show that the nuclear-with-2-natural parents family is optimal for rearing children is far superior to untestable evolutionary speculations that reach the same conclusion.

  16. Theo-

    Well indeed, and that would tie in with my earlier suggestion that nuclear families are associated with more marginal (colder) environments.

    The issue of Darwinian “Just So” stories is a valid one. But the issues around human uniqueness are fascinating and some speculations are at least potentially testable. Scientific theories ideally do not just suggest a reason, but offer predictions for instance, which may be testable in the fossil or DNA record.

  17. As for the UCL research, the empirical method they use to show that the nuclear-with-2-natural parents family is optimal for rearing children is far superior to untestable evolutionary speculations that reach the same conclusion.

    And yet most of the human race has practised various types of extended family clan polygamy for most of history. It’s unlikely that evolution would get it wrong and have to wait for scientific studies to correct everyone. Or at least most people South of here.

  18. So Much For Subtlety

    Theophrastus – “These seemingly endless speculations about the evolutionary ‘hypotheses’ for concealed ovulation etc are not in the main science because most are untestable. At best, they are mere speculation; at worst, Darwinian fairytales.”

    Well that would rule out much of astrophysics as well. And geology. Well you might have a point there. But let’s not get too fixated on Popper and his ideas of what is science. There is something going on here. It needs an explanation. We are stuck with Just So stories in the absence of anything better.

    Ian B – “And yet most of the human race has practised various types of extended family clan polygamy for most of history.”

    I was very surprised when I learned that the average family size in China, through out its history, according to official census records, was just over five people. So basically a nuclear family. Despite the massive pressures society and the state must have exerted to the contrary.

  19. So Much For Subtlety

    Ian B – “There’s also an argument (which is politically incorrect because it implies variation between human groups) that cold adapted peoples living on the edges of the ice sheets adapted to monogamy (or at least, less polygamy) because they did need to provision the females, and one man cannot provision many females in that environment.”

    You mean like the Chinese? The Kazakhs?

    “Which an unkind person might suggest is a system which continues in the African diaspora, especially when there is welfare available.”

    Why would that be unkind? It looks obvious. One of the interesting things is how African-origin males’ sexual preferences have survive all that White people can throw at them. If feminists think banning thin models would make White males less judgemental about the fatties among us, the evidence from Jamaica would suggest otherwise – Afro-Caribbean men still have a clear preference for fatter women. Despite living in a culture totally dominated by White tastes – ie not fat women. Just as their African cousins do.

    It might almost look genetic although I don’t see how that would work. However clearly things can be passed down and are quite hard to remove. Slavery would not have encouraged African-origin males to be better providers.

  20. IanB:

    Yes, your suggestion that nuclear families are associated with colder environments is testable in exactly the ways you suggest. But a lot of this type of speculation is untestable. The key is the predictive capacity of the hypothesis.

    And, SMFS, this is where you are going wrong on astrophysics and geology. Their theories may not be directly testable, but the theories make predictions that can be tested, as IanB rightly says can be done in evolutionary biology. Which is why I used the term ‘testable’ rather than Popper’s ‘falsifiable’.

  21. Afro-Caribbean men still have a clear preference for fatter women.

    I’d say they have a higher tolerance than a threshold in some cases. What is interesting is the top-tier black men – film stars, politicians, athletes – tend to go for either slim black women or, oddly enough, white women. It’s odd that, having the pick of their own race, these guys date white women.

  22. Assuming the results of this research stand up, what causes what?
    Is it that a failure to commit to a partner causes problems for the children?
    Or is it that parents who are unable to maintain a commitment give their children problems.
    If the former then incentives to stay committed, say tax breaks for committed parents (effectively married parents) would help.
    If the latter said incentives would not.

  23. Just as another Theophrastus-annoying speculation 🙂 regarding the popularity of plump women, one complication is that the same signal can mean different things to different people. For instance, socially; in England if you go to dinner, it’s rude not to finish what is on your plate because it implies you didn’t like it, whereas in China it’s rude to finish everything on your plate because it implies that the host didn’t give you enough to eat.

    So if we continue with the prior observation that in Africa, women tend to have to provision themselves, whereas outside Africa males did more provisioning, how does this affect the evolution of preferences? The fat African woman is showing she can provision herself and her offspring successfully. A fat European woman on the other hand is signalling that she’ll be more costly to the male.

    Just a thought.

  24. “In fact I have a rather good explanatory theory for many human traits including those, but I can’t tell you, because it needs ye peer reviewed publicating and all sorts.”

    Are you a researcher in this field, Ian B?

    All this stuff is very interesting but the more I learn the more I feel we’ll likely never know what “drives” us. The origin of most evolutionary traits will be lost in pre-pre-history.

    Given that we appear to have been mindful beasts for a very long time, it strikes me as possible that things like big cocks, female orgasms, titties, etc, were selected by conscious choice rather than some outside pressure. The “fuck, yeah!” scenario?

  25. But big cocks, for example, (says he who hasn’t got a large one) face diminishing returns. Otherwise they’d all be elephant size by now. Also, as I’ve been told, the cervix is not a noted sexual pleasure point, while the grind of pubis against clitoris can, or is, be.

    But, you know, maybe they’ve just been nice to me. My ego rather.

  26. SMFS is now at a loss to explain all the white women who have spurned him in favour of black guys with, in SMFS’s fantasies, big dicks.

    After all, it can’t have anything do to with personality.

  27. @IanB,

    The svelte European is not going to be too full to bring mutual pleasure to a postprandial erotic experience. The pudgy African will be happy to lie there in a hypoglycaemic stupor and take an oversized member.

    See where playing Spot-The-Darwin can take you?

  28. So Much For Subtlety

    Theophrastus – “Their theories may not be directly testable, but the theories make predictions that can be tested, as IanB rightly says can be done in evolutionary biology. Which is why I used the term ‘testable’ rather than Popper’s ‘falsifiable’.”

    Evolutionary biology can and does make predictions too. The Big Bang or Continental Drift is no more testable. You can only do these experiments once. At best they can say things that work in the lab probably work in the core of suns and this is the most likely explanation. A Just So story in the same way Evolutionary Biology does.

  29. PJF-

    No, just an interested amateur.

    My position on large penises is that they’re a primary part of the male “virility” (health ‘n’ fitness) package which females use to gauge male merit, particularly during sexual intercourse. So on that basis, yes, size matters. “Average” is a synonym for “disappointing”. The sweet spot for female satisfaction appears to be at least two inches longer (and correspondingly in other dimensions of course) than the quoted average.

    The cervix is not a pleasure point, but part of the female pleasure package is the extension of the vagina necessary to accomodate the penis. People often quote that it’s only 4 inches or so long, but that is in the rest state. During sex, the extension necessary is a pretty good straightforward length test. The ultimate limit on size is probably the extra blood supply requirement during erection to keep it hard.

    The elusive nature of female orgasm being part of the same testing system.

    So, this isn’t the Grand Secret Theory by the way. But anyway, maybe I’m wrong about all this. But it amazes me that most people thinking about sexual evolution seem to ignore the act itself; it’s all focussed on mate choice, and as a result female (particularly) sexual agency goes out the window. You get this, “women choose alpha males for social status” and then apparently just have sex on that basis, and you end up with them Lying Back And Thinking Of His Bank Account. And this despite the overwhelming fascination women have with the quality of sex and their resultant enthusiasm, or lack thereof. I suspect it’s Protestantism again.

    Talking of which, just because we’re all supposed to use The Missionary Position, it doesn’t mean there’s any reason to “explain” face to face copulation. It’s just one position available, and since the Missionaries recommended it, that sort of supports the idea that it’s not the most enjoyable one. We might as well ask for an evolutionary explanation for the Reverse Cowgirl.

  30. So Much For Subtlety

    Bloke in Germany – “SMFS is now at a loss to explain all the white women who have spurned him in favour of black guys with, in SMFS’s fantasies, big dicks. After all, it can’t have anything do to with personality.”

    When does obsession become mental illness I wonder? Again we see how much of BiG’s brain space I am taking up. He just can’t get me out of his head.

    Although the new obsession with the genitalia of Black men is new. Not a surprise I suppose. Still, as his fellow Germans once said, each to their own.

  31. So Much For Subtlety

    Ian B – “You get this, “women choose alpha males for social status” and then apparently just have sex on that basis, and you end up with them Lying Back And Thinking Of His Bank Account. And this despite the overwhelming fascination women have with the quality of sex and their resultant enthusiasm, or lack thereof. I suspect it’s Protestantism again.”

    Well yes. Because for women lying back and thinking of his bank account is likely to result in more satisfying sex than hearing about his meeting with his account manager.

    Women like alpha males. That is undeniable. They like the idea of alpha males. It gets them in the mood. So whatever the rest of the sexual encounter involves, a woman who is being held by a corporate raider – or a murderer for that matter – starts much further down the track. She is, so to speak, warmed up already.

    “Talking of which, just because we’re all supposed to use The Missionary Position, it doesn’t mean there’s any reason to “explain” face to face copulation. It’s just one position available, and since the Missionaries recommended it, that sort of supports the idea that it’s not the most enjoyable one. We might as well ask for an evolutionary explanation for the Reverse Cowgirl.”

    The evidence seems to be that it is over-whelmingly the most common and preferred position among human beings all over the planet. What marked the missionaries in the story out as odd is that they insisted on it exclusively. Given most people on the planet rely on it primarily, this was not such a leap – and actually you don’t find many people complaining about that. It is close enough to being exclusive that the missionary in the South Pacific story is probably made up.

  32. So Much For Subtlety

    Tim Newman – “I’d say they have a higher tolerance than a threshold in some cases. What is interesting is the top-tier black men – film stars, politicians, athletes – tend to go for either slim black women or, oddly enough, white women. It’s odd that, having the pick of their own race, these guys date white women.”

    Why is that odd? It is what you would expect given that Black men are living in an environment entirely dominated by White culture. The contribution of Africa to Afro-American culture is … the banjo and about three words. More or less.

    It is odd that White people are told to be colour-blind but, as you say, there is virtually no successful Black male who is not married to someone lighter in skin tone than he is.

    As for preference, well when he became famous Lenny Henry dumped whatshername but did he take up with a thinner girl? I seem to remember he did.

    Still I think the relationship holds. Black men will date much fatter men than White men will.

  33. SMFS-

    It still doesn’t require a specific explanation. It’s a fairly convenient position given our body form, and humans do a lot of face to face communication so gazing into each others eyes is romantic, etc.

    The problem with the other issue is defining alpha. For most of human existence, until the rise of civilisation, the social alpha male was also the physical alpha. There wasn’t a choice between a hunk who empties dustbins and a dweeb with loads of money. So going “alpha” got a good physical specimen.

    Then civilisation arose and your best social chance might be marrying the weed who is high in the King’s court, and women have been wrestling with the problem ever since. One answer being to marry the weed, and fuck your tennis instructor, etc.

    The primary thing in my view anyway is that it’s not really money, which is a proxy for a male as a good protector. A high status, low physical quality male will be able to provide other males as bodyguards, etc.

  34. So Much For Subtlety

    Ian B – “It still doesn’t require a specific explanation. It’s a fairly convenient position given our body form, and humans do a lot of face to face communication so gazing into each others eyes is romantic, etc.”

    I agree. It is more or less biologically pre-determined. Unlike our nearest relatives who seem to have been given a little more flexibility. Which suggests it is the most enjoyable position. At least it is the position that the over whelming majority of the human race prefer most of the time. I assume that there is a reason for that besides Victorian missionaries.

    “Then civilisation arose and your best social chance might be marrying the weed who is high in the King’s court, and women have been wrestling with the problem ever since.”

    I agree with that.

    “One answer being to marry the weed, and fuck your tennis instructor, etc.”

    Hence the concealed ovulation.

    “The primary thing in my view anyway is that it’s not really money, which is a proxy for a male as a good protector. A high status, low physical quality male will be able to provide other males as bodyguards, etc.”

    You can have a lot of money and still not be alpha. Look at Bill Gates. Or Mark Zuckerberg. The money is important as it always turns up. As other people on the internet have noted, if a woman’s romance novel has a hunky handy man, he will turn out to be a secret billionaire who is slumming it to work out whatever emotional trauma he is suffering from since his wife was murdered or whatever. What Bill Gates clearly needs to do is stab someone. That and his billions will get him a lot more street cred with the ladies.

    The book thread on Ace of Spades mentions this today:

    OK, so the “bad boy” thing I get and the “alpha male” thing I get, but what I don’t get is, why does it have to be a “billionaire”? Many of these modern “pr0n for women” romance novels feature mysterious and dangerous billionaires, so much so that it’s pretty much an entire sub-genre. And if you want to get an idea of the its extent, try doing a search on Amazon for ‘billionaire’ or ‘billionaire romance’, and you’ll see what I’m talking about. Obviously, this whole concept is resonating with an emotional chord that exists deep within women’s hearts.

    Referring to this collection now going cheap on Amazon:

    http://www.amazon.com/dp/B017Y41FB2/

    I like absolutely everything about this one:

    Bella Wild: Owned by The Billionaire Cowboy Complete Series

    I might buy them all just to see how bad that really is. A complete series.

  35. You can have a lot of money and still not be alpha. Look at Bill Gates. Or Mark Zuckerberg.

    Both extremely high social status males who are not physically alpha, so I’m not quite sure what point you’re making. Interestingly, neither has what one call a female alpha wife.

    Their wives have chosen a very high economic/social status male in preference to a superior physical specimen, as per the dilemma I mentioned. Ideally, a woman wants a billionaire who is a physical alpha too, but there aren’t many of them available, hence the fantasy fiction.

  36. So Much For Subtlety

    Ian B – “Both extremely high social status males who are not physically alpha, so I’m not quite sure what point you’re making. Interestingly, neither has what one call a female alpha wife.”

    That is my point. Although I have some time for Ms Zuckerberg. She seems a nice sensible girl and probably about the best choice he could make. At least part of the loathing Silicon Valley is getting is, I think, the result of this dilemma. Feminists loath geeks for not being remotely alpha. Loath with a passion and intensity. But they have billions. That is not fair! It conflicts with what they think is just – Christian Grey should have all that money. A collision of the product of civilisation – which tells women to go for the cash and prizes – with evolution – which tells them to go for the man who can kill a sabre tooth tiger with his bare hands.

    Women want and demand their romantic foils to have billions. But alphadom is the result of evolution, when people did not have money. So merely having the money does not help. If they had the money and were in the Royal Marines, or even played rugby professionally, woman would be all over them.

    I wonder if it works for Gay men. Do you think there is a Gay Bear Grylls fan club? Must be.

  37. So Much For Subtlety

    Bloke in Germany – “SMFS is now at a loss to explain all the white women who have spurned him in favour of black guys with, in SMFS’s fantasies, big dicks. After all, it can’t have anything do to with personality.”

    I have just realised what BiG has done. The first sighting of the mythical Black Penis is in a post by Tim Worstall. Not by me. It is just that BiG is so obsessed with me that when he thinks about Big Dicks, well, naturally I am the first thing that comes to his mind. So he assumed I wrote that comment.

    So, the question is would BiG like to comment on TW’s fantasies? On how many White women have spurned him? Does he have the intestinal fortitude to make a comment about our much put-upon genial host?

    I am betting not.

  38. SMFS: “Black men will date much fatter men than White men will.”

    You’re always at your best when talking from direct, personal experience.

  39. “Black men will date much fatter men than White men will.”

    Seems to be true from the humblebragging by that porky black gay bloke we discussed a week or two ago.

  40. So Much For Subtlety

    Bloke in Germany – “You’re always at your best when talking from direct, personal experience.”

    So am I to take it from your move to a typo made after your crass and inaccurate comment that 1. you accept you made a mistake due to your obsession with me (and, obviously, big dicks) and 2. you lack the courage to make a remotely similar comment about TW?

  41. “But big cocks, for example, (says he who hasn’t got a large one) face diminishing returns.”

    You (and me both) may not have a large one compared to Bigus Dickus, Tim, but you still have a whopper compared to our closest (but distant) primate cousins (so thank god for them).

    The best “evolving mindlessly due to environment” type notion that I’ve read is the semen displacement theory. This suggests that a long thick shaft with a big knob on the end is efficient at removing already present, and competing, sperm. This further suggests that sloppy seconds, if not fifteenths, played a significant part in our evolutionary development.

    http://blogs.ucl.ac.uk/researchers-in-museums/2012/09/17/does-size-matter-evolution-and-the-primate-penis/

    Despite all the thorough and repeatable dildo thrusting that went into this, it could all be “just so”. Maybe female preference is just an expression of time saving. “No point boys, Bigus over there is just going to scoop you all out.”

    Perhaps it’s just the Protestant in me, but for some reason I prefer to think that this stage of development occurred early on, like bipedal locomotion appears to have done. Hey, related? Visible junk wobble…?

  42. So Much For Subtlety

    PJF – “This further suggests that sloppy seconds, if not fifteenths, played a significant part in our evolutionary development.”

    Well for God’s sake don’t tell anyone. Imagine what will happen when the feminists find out we are all the product of generations of gang bangs? We already have enough problems with Rape Culture. We don’t want to have to deal with Rape Evolution, or even worse Rape Genes too.

  43. I admit to having mentined the spooge scoop hypothesis myself in the past, but I’m not really persuaded. Humans don’t seem to have much of a group sex track record, until the Ledbetters and Goods doing the car keys in the tumble drier craze in the 1970s.

  44. “Humans don’t seem to have much of a group sex track record, until the Ledbetters and Goods doing the car keys in the tumble drier craze in the 1970s.”

    Missed that one. Was it the Royal Command Performance episode?

    Seriously, we have no idea what our hominid ancestors got up to, and no idea at which stage our relatively large tackle came about.

    On the subject of gang bangs, evolution doesn’t care if reproduction occurs as a result of tribal orgies or gang rapes by conquering tribal males.

    As I said, it’s all fascinating but I prefer not to adopt any, er, firm positions.

  45. “The Big Bang or Continental Drift is no more testable.”

    The Big Bang is a study challenge that takes a lot of inference upon inference. But we can actually measure, in real time, the continental plates moving relative to each other. This, at the very least, puts limits on theories of continental non-drift.

  46. Eventually, sufficient analysis of DNA will at least give us a timescale for these various evolutionary adaptions, which will exclude some hypotheses.

  47. Ian B
    “My position on large penises is that they’re a primary part of the male “virility” (health ‘n’ fitness) package which females use to gauge male merit, particularly during sexual intercourse.”

    Females of species that use physical characteristics to indicate male fitness make the choice before copulation. A strategy of using sexual intercourse to assess suitability for sexual intercourse seems more Douglas Adams than Charles Darwin.

    But maybe that explains a lot.

  48. The probability of any single copulation producing a pregnancy is low. By that measure, it’s woefully inefficient. If on the other hand, you want to try before you (probably) buy, it’s very useful. Did anyone mention that human females copulate when not ovulating, by the way?

    You see this is my point about “hidden ovulation” as a term. It implies some kind of subterfuge. But female chimps (for instance) do not signal “ovulation” from a male chimp’s POV. They signal sexual receptivity.

    Human females do so all the time. It’s not that they never switch a signal on. They never switch it off.

    Also, of course, they can always call a halt to the sex if it isn’t any good, before any spooging has occurred. Basically, the sexual test is a further test after the initial mate selection, which is testing the actuality of their physical condition rather than just their previous advertising.

  49. Returning belatedly to the topic, I remember reading around the turn of the century about how abandoned children growing up on the streets had different brain structure compared to nice middle class children with two loving parents. We’re not talking about some sociologist’s opinion here, but something you can easily see with a mag res scanner.

    This opens up the fascinating possibility that it is in fact not “damage” but an evolved adaptation to a more hostile environment. It would be ironic if the wet dream of socialists, to destroy the nuclear family, actually produced children incapable of acting socially.

  50. Roue-

    Indeed. But the problem with all this is defining what is normal, or proper. “Emotional and behavioural problems” is the modern term for what was once called delinquency. It just means behaving in ways considered undesirable by the people doing the defining.

    If somebody is not conforming, is it they that has the problem, or the system of expectations they’re expected to conform to?

  51. @SMFS, you’ve spent years earning the occasional slightly unfair ribbing, so bend over and take it like a man. If you need an explanation for why people pick on you you are beyond hope.

    Further returning belatedly to the topic, I am getting an “oh aren’t women poor pathetic creatures” vibe; driven purely by evolution-honed instincts, to marry dweeby billionaires and fuck muscular tennis instructors. That most women manage to marry (and generally stay faithful to) their delta-minus suburban office worker husbands doesn’t fit with the programme.

    I also can’t share the surprise in romantic heroes in erotic fiction for women being billionaire tennis instructors. What is least surprising? Are the women in men’s erotic fantasy media average housewife mum-of-three dinner ladies from Stourbridge? Quite. (Not doubting there is a dinner lady niche out there…)

  52. @PJF,

    To indulge in further pop Darwinism: the darkies wander around the jungle in the nude with full tackle display, so that can be used as part of female mate choice. Civilised white people have covered up for thousands of years, and implemented rules that women can, effectively, only have sex with the first person they have sex with, whether they are good in bed or no, so penis size has evolved back towards where it clearly should be.

  53. Further returning belatedly to the topic, I am getting an “oh aren’t women poor pathetic creatures” vibe; driven purely by evolution-honed instincts,

    Not from me you aren’t. Indeed I’m trying to point out female sexual agency (in both gender role and reproductive terms). To identify evolutionary developments and instincts is a way of understanding why we all are the way we are.

  54. SMFS:

    Evolutionary biology can and does make predictions too.

    Yes, we agree on that. IanB’s example of smaller/nuclear family groups being better suited to colder climates is a good example. Though the confirming evidence would only ever be circumstantial.

    The Big Bang or Continental Drift is no more testable. You can only do these experiments once.

    Agreed, these events are not repeatable, but they are much more testable than many (if not most?) evolutionary hypotheses about cock size, position of the clitoris and the missionary position through to the evolutionary origins of art, language and morality. (Not to mention some of The Dawk’s more ridiculous claims — eg that we are robots controlled by our genes,which is completely untestable.) The Big Bang theory, for example, makes precise and quantifiable predictions, and the evidence confirming them is accordingly qualitatively superior to the circumstantial evidence from (say) burials and fossilised foot prints for IanB’s hypothesis.

    A Just So story in the same way Evolutionary Biology does.

    No, for the reasons above. Moreover, an evolutionary Just So story is a hypothetical explanation that cannot be tested or confirmed, however (im)plausible it might sound.

  55. Ian,
    That’s what I’m trying to say. It isn’t a question of normal vs. abnormal but mode A vs. mode B, both being equally valid developmental paths. And of course a mode B brain cannot latter be switched back to mode A. (Are there other modes one wonders? In any event a reasonable case could be made for civilized man being the “abnormal” as he’s probably the minority overall.)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *