This is fun

It took 45 seconds for Josephine to push the unfertilised eggs across to Tom’s empty brood pouch (6). As they entered his reproductive system he fertilised them. The sequence allowed Tom to be certain that each and every baby he would carry would be his own. This certainty of paternity is extremely rare in the animal kingdom, and explains why male seahorses put so much effort into raising their offspring.

Cool.

Now, think through this logically. Why is that women – in humans – do most of the child care? Because they are certain, in a manner that the men aren’t, about the genetic question, obviously.

Cool, so, now we’ve solved that gender care and thus gender pay gap. We’re done, right?

17 thoughts on “This is fun”

  1. So Much For Subtlety

    I am disinclined to agree with that. Even if men were 100% certain they would still have less incentive to look after their offspring.

    The basic problem is that women invest more. Eggs are larger and more expensive in terms of resources. Pregnancy takes up nine months. The male contribution is a tea spoon full of sperm and two and a half minutes including the cigarette afterwards.

    Logically men should be out and about looking for another female to impregnate. It better for a man to impregnate two women even if he knows with 100% certainty that they are both his than just one. Even if one of them has a 90% chance of dying because he is not around.

    Thus women will always be inclined to focus on quality men to produce the best offspring, a male who can provide resources (not necessarily the same one), and a lot of time looking after their children. Men will be inclined to shag anything that moves.

  2. Not so simple. Alpha males with harems can’t be 100% sure but pretty close. So you’d expect walruses, deer, lions, gorillas and such like to be pretty good parents.
    But they aren’t.
    OTOH sparrows are extremely unsure. If he’s lucky, 25% of the brood is related to the male care-giver.

  3. So Much For Subtlety

    Where a lack of paternal certainty will have an impact is that women will be raised to reassure men. Much of what women do in traditional societies is to reassure men that their wives will not cheat on them.

    I assume that is why women take their husband’s surnames.

  4. Philip,
    I think you’re anthropomorphising. For the animals you mention, being a good father means fighting off the other males so the females can raise the young in peace. We all know what happens to the cubs if a male lion falls in battle.

  5. I like the SMFS theory. The economics of spermatozoa and ovum.

    Why is that women – in humans – do most of the child care?

    Women are biologically specialised for child care in ways men aren’t. Not just the obvious bearing and weaning, but in their temperament, stamina and the emotional connection to small children.

    Men are biologically specialised to cooperate with other men to obtain resources and protect the tribe.

  6. So Much For Subtlety

    Steve November 19, 2020 at 10:53 am – “I like the SMFS theory. The economics of spermatozoa and ovum.”

    I would love to claim credit for that but I cannot. Actually I probably could but I won’t. It comes from Donald Symons’ excellent book The Evolution of Human Sexuality. All you want to know about why scientists would pleasure a sheep.

    “Women are biologically specialised for child care in ways men aren’t. Not just the obvious bearing and weaning, but in their temperament, stamina and the emotional connection to small children.”

    Preach it brother. My experience of the social sciences is that in the end all women end up talking about children and gossiping while men get around to war and politics in the end.

    Gamecock November 19, 2020 at 11:02 am – “Or it’s just instinct.”

    Either that is created or it is a product of evolution. If the latter it is a bit redundant. Why do male seahorses (seastallions anyone?) put in so much effort? Because it helps them pass on their genes and so evolution pushed them in that direction or because evolution pushed them towards that instinct.

  7. You do seem to be remarkably able to miss the point.

    The left does not care why women are paid less than men. Women being paid less than men is sexism – not “is evidence of underlying sexism” or “is caused by sexism”, but “is definitionally sexism”.

    You may not agree with the position that women should earn the same as men regardless of the amount or quality of their work product, but you can’t argue against a position unless you know what the position is.

  8. If you look at the quoted scenario as Josephine fertilising Tom’s sperm with her eggs, the behaviour of the animals looks fairly similar to other viviparous livebearing fish. The fascinating question is how this extra “role reversal” layer might have come about.

  9. “Or it’s just instinct.”
    Instinct is also programming, and is also selected by evolution. Depending on the reproductive mechanics (or society!), it’s either more productive for a male to look after his own children or to go off and look for another female instead. In the example given, it’s best to look after the children, and those with that instinct do best under that system, and so that instinct is passed on.

  10. Why is that women – in humans – do most of the child care? Because they are certain, in a manner that the men aren’t, about the genetic question, obviously.

    So mandatory DNA testing at birth to confirm paternity then? Excellent idea. I wonder why we’ve not being doing it thus far? 🙂

  11. I’m with SMFS.

    Also worth adding to his list is that men have a longer fertility period. Very desirable men can put off marriage for longer as they’re still attractive to young, fertile women. George Clooney and Warren Beatty had children in their mid-50s.

  12. George Clooney and Warren Beatty had children in their mid-50s.

    By which, of course that their wives (and mistresses) claimed that their children were fathered by said multimillionaire celebrities. Whether they were in fact the father is a matter known only to the women.

  13. I can’t see where the breeding habits of an extremely specialised species of fish whose chosen environment is a direct predator of their young/eggs ( yes, the coral they live in would treat their offspring as Lunch…) can possibly be compared to the breeding habits of a terrestrial generalist with a completely different evolutionary history.

    To an actual biologist the article is about as reflux-inducing as a BBC Nature documentary featuring David Attenborough.

  14. Oh, and: “The sequence allowed Tom to be certain that each and every baby he would carry would be his own.”

    Seahorses are naturally monogamous…. Once matched, etc… So that narrative has its wings clipped before it can take flight….

  15. “This certainty of paternity is extremely rare in the animal kingdom, ”

    Ummm… Bullshit? It’s actually the reverse in most cases. 90% of evolved behaviour revolves about securing parentage. That’s what the whole mating song-and-dance is for..

  16. “but you can’t argue against a position unless you know what the position is”

    The position is Western Civilization is bad. Has nothing to do with women’s pay. Or even women.

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