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June 20, 2008

Comments

Tim J.

"People use the religious community's mating market to find a life partner who will provide a large family but won't cheat, finds a study"

Amazing how much this brief line reveals about the one who wrote it... they must be accustomed to thinking about people with terms like "use" and "market".

My wife and I were both "backsliders" (in Southern Baptist parlance) when we met, neither especially interested in church. Soon after we married, though, we began to feel that something was missing, didn't feel right, and we started to look around at different churches.

Long and short, we ended up Catholics and have been very happily married for 26 years. Too bad we didn't get to "use" the church "mating market" (sounds like "meat market").

There is a correlation between church attendance and fidelity, but, boy, did the implications blow right over this guy's head.

Brian Walden

There's something wierd about New Scientist magazine - wierd like it doesn't seem to be purely a science magazine. Yesterday the Closed Cafeteria blog posted an article about some scientist who observed evolution in a lab experiment with bacteria. The article reads how you expect it to describing the experiment and results and conclusions drawn from it. Then at then end - out of nowhere (ex nihilo you might say) - comes a paragraph about how this disprove Creationism.

I was floored. So I browsed around their site and all their evolution articles seem to be about proving Evolutionism and disproving Creationism. Of course there's no other alternative theories to those two - it's either God made everything 6000 years ago or the entire universe evolved from nothing all by itself. It almost seems as if New Scientist is dedicated to science as religion.

LCB

In an odd way, contraception could prove a great 'blessing' for religious individuals.

Those that engage in sexually immoral behavior seem more likely to use contraception, thus not reproducing.

Those that are moral and married are more likely to have large healthy families.

Seems only a matter of time before our traits dominate due to evolutionary success.

Bwahaha.

Ernie

Like James flipping Bond is more "successful" with women than I am. Puh-lease... Nearly all of us are happily married to our first and only wives

James Bond has also been happily married "til death do us part" to his first and only wife.

Those that engage in sexually immoral behavior seem more likely to use contraception, thus not reproducing.

I heard there's a school in Gloucester working on a solution to that.

SDG

James Bond has also been happily married "til death do us part" to his first and only wife.

I was aware of that, of course, and see no particular need to add to, take away from or otherwise revise my comments to date in light of this observation.

I heard there's a school in Gloucester working on a solution to that.

Whatever atrocities such efforts may visit on the human race seem unlikely to fundamentally alter the basic calculus of LCB's observations.

Mark Scott Abeln

From what I am told, the 'bad boys' in romance literature are both bad but also tender and monogamous. Courage, outgoingness, and being attentive to women, I think, can be properly classified as virtues.

It is funny that evolutionists tend to overlook the intensely anti-reproductive consequences of the public policies they tend to promote! But some of the most outlandish 'transhumanists' claim that we need to take control of evolution itself via reproductive technology. But by definition, that isn't evolution, but Intelligent Design. Ironic, isn't it?

Ernie

I was aware of that, of course, and see no particular need to add to, take away from or otherwise revise my comments to date in light of this observation.

Likewise, I see no particular need to add to, take away from or otherwise revise my comments to date in light of this observation. Does saying this add to, take away from or otherwise revise anything?

Whatever atrocities such efforts may visit on the human race seem unlikely to fundamentally alter the basic calculus of LCB's observations.

If all the couples in the world who faithfully never use contraception were to disappear tommorow, children would continue to be born and the world would continue to be populated. Contraceptive use is not equivalent to "not reproducing," as many families use contraception to limit, not totally eliminate, children.

Seems only a matter of time before our traits dominate due to evolutionary success.

Did Adam and Eve use contraception? Or was it their children who did. That's evolution.

David B.

many families use contraception to limit, not totally eliminate, children

Yet some contraception does eliminate children.


Did Adam and Eve use contraception? Or was it their children who did. That's evolution.

Uh huh. As far as I know, our first parents and their children didn't have contraception, let alone use it.

Ernie

Yet some contraception does eliminate children.

If by "eliminate," you mean kill, then maybe it's not truly contraceptive (prevents conception) but rather has an abortifacient aspect instead or in addition to.

As far as I know, our first parents and their children didn't have contraception, let alone use it.

Just like you call your ancestors "parents," one of the meanings of "child" is descendent, including those born many generations later. If Adam and Eve didn't use it, then somewhere along the line, contraception began to be used by children whose parents didn't use it. Likewise, there are children who do not use it though their parents may have used it perhaps even "religiously" (as even when used religiously, not all forms of contraception are always 100% effective).

SDG

Does saying this add to, take away from or otherwise revise anything?

Some would say that depends on the antecedent to "this." I would say readers are free to draw their own conclusions.

If all the couples in the world who faithfully never use contraception were to disappear tommorow, children would continue to be born and the world would continue to be populated.

If all the couples in the world who faithfully never use contraception were to disappear tomorrow, it seems hard to predict the effect of such an event on the psychology of those who would remain. Some would say reasonable suppositions might include both suicides and conversions to worldviews that include faithfully never using contraception.

If by "eliminate," you mean kill

By "eliminate" did you mean "kill" when you said "many families use contraception to limit, not totally eliminate, children"? By explicitly excluding total elimination, did you not mean to tacitly acknowledge partial elimination? Do you have some reason for assuming a fundamental shift in meaning from your usage to David B's?

Did Adam and Eve use contraception? Or was it their children who did. That's evolution.

But not necessarily evolutionary success. For example, Onan was struck dead. And population trends vis-a-vis self-contracepting Westerners in relation to other populations might be compared to the comparative fates of light-colored peppered moths vs. dark-colored ones on post-industrial soot-blackened trees.

Mary

many families use contraception to limit, not totally eliminate, children

In the long run, if you have two kids and someone else has ten, you have to have an enormous advantage in traits not to get wiped out.

Ernie

If all the couples in the world who faithfully never use contraception were to disappear tomorrow, it seems hard to predict the effect of such an event on the psychology of those who would remain.

I intended it simply as a shift in reality rather than as an observed cause of anything that people would react to.

By "eliminate" did you mean "kill" when you said "many families use contraception to limit, not totally eliminate, children"?

No. By "totally eliminate children," I meant totally remove them from the family picture, not kill them.

Do you have some reason for assuming a fundamental shift in meaning from your usage to David B's?

I didn't assume a shift. I speculated on the possibility of a shift between my usage and David’s, as expressed by my words, “If by ‘eliminate,’ you mean...”.

But not necessarily evolutionary success.

What constitutes evolutionary "success"? And who would be the judge of it?

Ernie

In the long run, if you have two kids and someone else has ten, you have to have an enormous advantage in traits not to get wiped out.

When "you" are ten couples having two kids per couple and "someone else" is one couple with 10 kids, "you" have twice as many kids as "someone else", and 10 times as many people to look after them as well as many other advantages.

And when "someone else" practices NFP, she may have as few kids as "you" who uses contraception.

SDG

I intended it simply as a shift in reality rather than as an observed cause of anything that people would react to.

It can be very hard to pull one thread from the fabric of reality and speculate about what would happen as a result. A world wholly untouched by Catholic obedience yet dominated by a Western contraceptive mentality is hard to imagine. I would not necessarily be at all sanguine about the long-term prospects of such a culture, barring some infusion of grace and conversion.

What constitutes evolutionary "success"? And who would be the judge of it?

Some would say evolutionary success is contributing to the perpetuation of your genes and species against the forces of natural selection. Why does there have to be a judge? The outcome is what it is.

When "you" are ten couples having two kids per couple and "someone else" is one couple with 10 kids, "you" have twice as many kids as "someone else", and 10 times as many people to look after them as well as many other advantages.

However, if "your" twenty kids go on to produce another generation of twenty more kids, while "someone else's" ten kids go on to raise families of ten kids apiece, the "advantage" shifts very quickly.

And when "someone else" practices NFP, she may have as few kids as "you" who uses contraception.

In individual cases that may be true, but as populations the group practicing NFP chooses to welcome more children per couple than the group practicing contraception.

David B.

Ernie,

If by "eliminate," you mean kill, then maybe it's not truly contraceptive (prevents conception) but rather has an abortifacient aspect instead or in addition to.

The fact is that what our culture calls 'birth control' is very often an the means of 'removing' a conceived child. The same contraceptive may be used by two different women with two different results. Therefore, a contraceptive that is used 'too late' by a women becomes an abortifacient and destroys her child. For this reason I don't think the semantics of it all is really important.

Randolph Carter

I thought it was about "more success with women."

Well, it did say more success with women, in the plural. Seeing as how we all consider promiscuity bad, and would thus expect "bad boys" to be more promiscuous, it makes sense that they'd be more successful with women, now doesn't it? ;)

SDG

Well, it did say more success with women, in the plural. Seeing as how we all consider promiscuity bad, and would thus expect "bad boys" to be more promiscuous, it makes sense that they'd be more successful with women, now doesn't it? ;)

Ah, but I accounted for that by discussing the men in the plural also! :‑) Collectively speaking, my circle of male friends in NJ are all (or almost all) very successful with women, i.e., except for the few singles, each of us is very successful with one woman.

The Masked Chicken

So, what sort of success would a bad boy nerd have with women? Excellent plus awful averages out to average, or does one trait dominate over the other - is it Mathew Broderick in War Games, getting Ally Sheedy or Revenge of the Nerds, where pretty much there are no women? Apparently, nerd-dom is successful with women sort of like penicillin is successful with bacteria?

The Chicken

Ernie

A world wholly untouched by Catholic obedience yet dominated by a Western contraceptive mentality is hard to imagine.

Perhaps because your imagination is busy imagining that it's hard to imagine? Perhaps with a shift in reality, it wouldn't need to be imagined?

Why does there have to be a judge? The outcome is what it is.

Who says there has to be a judge? Who says there's an outcome?

Some would say evolutionary success is contributing to the perpetuation of your genes and species against the forces of natural selection.

And some would say that neither perpetuation nor non-perpetuation of genes and species is "against" the forces of natural selection but always in keeping with.

However, if "your" twenty kids go on to produce another generation of twenty more kids, while "someone else's" ten kids go on to raise families of ten kids apiece, the "advantage" shifts very quickly.

You're welcome to make up any scenario you want, but barring incest, the subsequent generation would consist of children produced from a coupling of "your" family and "someone else's." 'Studies suggest' these now mixed families would not have 10 kids each nor 2 kids each, but rather the family size would likely be somewhere in between, probably closer to the 2 kids per family "norm" of the overall population.

In addition, some would say it can be a "dis"advantage to the population if one set of genes were to dominate the pool.

as populations the group practicing NFP chooses to welcome more children per couple than the group practicing contraception

As populations, the group practicing NFP is very small while the group practicing contraception is quite large. Which group is more "welcoming" of children in light of that fact is subjective. What's more, persons in the NFP group may at some time also be members of the contraception group. Across time, they are overlapping groups of people.

The fact is that what our culture calls 'birth control' is very often an the means of 'removing' a conceived child.

David B, what you call "the fact" is but one of many facts. Other facts include the fact that I said "contraception" not "birth control," and the fact that what "our culture" calls "birth control" also very often does NOT mean "removing" a conceived child.

Mary

However, if "your" twenty kids go on to produce another generation of twenty more kids, while "someone else's" ten kids go on to raise families of ten kids apiece, the "advantage" shifts very quickly.

You're welcome to make up any scenario you want, but barring incest, the subsequent generation would consist of children produced from a coupling of "your" family and "someone else's." 'Studies suggest' these now mixed families would not have 10 kids each nor 2 kids each, but rather the family size would likely be somewhere in between, probably closer to the 2 kids per family "norm" of the overall population.

If all of humanity consists of twenty-two people, you are going to have incest very soon.

In reality, your own scenario would act out as :

When "you" are ten thousand couples having two kids per couple and "someone else" is one thousand couple with 10 kids, "you" have twice as many kids as "someone else", and 10 times as many people to look after them as well as many other advantages.

Mere culture would probably have the ten/two kid family children marrying each other rather those of the other family. Furthermore, a mixed marriage would increase the reproductive success of the two-kid child but decrease that of the ten-kid, and so merely being attracted to it would be a Bad Idea.

And the ten-kid families would have the other children to help by the time there were ten children.

David B.

David B, what you call "the fact" is but one of many facts.

I thought that was obvious.

Other facts include the fact that I said "contraception" not "birth control," and the fact that what "our culture" calls "birth control" also very often does NOT mean "removing" a conceived child.

FWIW, the second definition of contraception is birth control. Secondly, the def. of 'Often' is "many times." Contraception usually acts to prevent nature's course and a pregnancy, but saying that it often does prevent a conceived embryo from implantation in its mother's womb is not a denial of the usual.

I have to say that, while this discussion is not a battle, the tone of your posts give the impression that you view in a bellicose way.

Ernie

If all of humanity consists of twenty-two people, you are going to have incest very soon.

The numbers were presented small for simplicity rather than to provide for incest, which is why I chose to bar incest from the discussion scenario. We might do likewise with polygamy, divorce, annulment, etc. You can attach whatever multiples (thousands, tens of thounsands, millions, etc.) you enjoy behind the numbers.

Mere culture would probably have the ten/two kid family children marrying each other rather those of the other family.

You described 11,000 families in your scenario. Now you speak of "the ten/two kid family" and "the other family." Which ones are those?

There are 20,000 kids from two-kid families and 10,000 kids from ten-kid families. You can attach "mere culture", Christian love or whatever to any of the pairings, but bassed on the sheer difference in numbers, a supermajority of the 30,000 total kids would marry a partner from a two-kid family.

the ten-kid families would have the other children to help by the time there were ten children.

And if the two-kid families space their kids, they can help too. Kids can help out in so many ways. Some even help make trouble.

The Masked Chicken

I just read a part of the second article cited in the post (at least as much as I could stomach). What referee let this research get published? For one thing the man's premise is so biased, its pathetic. If the article is a fair summary (I have not read the original paper), then this assertion:

Why do people go to church? According to Jason Weeden at Arizona State University, Tempe, it is to go forth and multiply.

After analysing questionnaire responses from more than 22,000 mainly Christian Americans, Weeden and his colleagues found that factors related to sex showed the strongest links to churchgoing. These include marital status, number of children, preferred family size, and moral views on topics like cheating and contraception. Other variables that have often been linked to religiosity such as age, gender or conscientiousness failed to explain church attendance, after controlling for differences in sexual and family values (Evolution and Human Behavior, DOI: 10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2008.03.004).

Good grief, does the man mention God in his research, even once? What person decides to conduct a study of why people attend church (and specifically Christian ones) without thinking that people might be attending to actually...worship?

Arrgh...

As for the matter of ten parent families vs. two parent families, the situation in population biology is too complicated for an easy analysis, here. These sorts of population trends can be nonlinear, which means that easy predictions are almost impossible.

The Chicken

Ernie

David B,

the second definition of contraception is birth control

By the definition that contraception (only) prevents conception, contraception is but a form of birth control and as such not fully equivalent with birth control.

Contraception usually acts to prevent nature's course and a pregnancy... but saying that it often does prevent a conceived embryo from implantation in its mother's womb is not a denial of the usual.

The words "usual" and "often" are not found in the definition of contraception which only involves preventing conception. By that, if something additionally is abortifacient, then it's not just contraceptive.

the tone of your posts give the impression that you view in a bellicose way.

Some people report hearing a tone when they hit their head. Some see stars. Some laugh. YMMV.

Mary

And if the two-kid families space their kids, they can help too. Kids can help out in so many ways. Some even help make trouble.

What they can't help is produce more kids.

You have a scenario in which less than ten percent of one generation is producing a third of the second generation, and you can't see why the ninety percent producing two-thirds is going to get swamped?

Ernie

you can't see why the two-thirds is going to get swamped [by the one third]?

In an ultra-simplistic followup, half the 2/3 would mate with the 1/3, and the other half of the 2/3 would pair up with themselves and remain pure.

The result would be no children in that subsequent generation who don't have genes from the original 2/3 and some children who have no genes from the 1/3 (the pure kids). Now who is swamped? The 1/3 are swamped.

What happens after that is anyone's guess. Maybe the pure kids decide to leave the swamps to move away on their own, and the swamps are drained and die off. Now there's no one left with genes from the 1/3. They are extinct.

Catholic Mama

Excellent post, SDG!! Bravo!

SDG

Some people report hearing a tone when they hit their head. Some see stars. Some laugh.

Excellent analogy for the effect of your posts, Ernie.

Mary

In an ultra-simplistic followup, half the 2/3 would mate with the 1/3, and the other half of the 2/3 would pair up with themselves and remain pure.

That's past ultra simplistic. That's wishful thinking.

Anyway, your "some children who have no genes from the 1/3 (the pure kids)." -- is in fact -- some children have no genes from less than 10% of the population

And even in your scenario, if the 2/3 average out to six kids apiece, and the 1/3 still have two -- let's take ten families of the first group, for 60 children, and therefore five of the second for 10 children.

In the third generation, less than 20% of the population lacks genes from a group that constituted less than 10% of the population in the first generation. The 1/3rds swamped the 2/3rds.

Ernie

in your scenario... The 1/3rds swamped the 2/3rds.

No, in my scenario, the 1/3 line had been fully swamped and the pure kids from the 2/3 line moved away and had many more pure kids to help out. They had found the fruit of impurity to be undesirable and never again had contact with the impure people.

David B.

The words "usual" and "often" are not found in the definition of contraception which only involves preventing conception.

Wrong. Artificial contraception does not always "only" involve preventing conception. While it is usually intended to keep a women from becoming pregnant, no rational person can deny that Contraceptives can and sometimes have caused the abortion of newly conceived child.

A person who uses artificial contraception is separating marital relations from at least one of its two ends, namely procreation of children. It's telling God "we don't need you. We don't trust you. We've got it all planned out, so just chill and let us run things." If the contraception that a person uses kills a child, that person is responsible before God for that death. Call it whatever you want, artificial contraception attacks the natural order and sometimes new life.

Ernie

Artificial contraception does not always "only" involve preventing conception.

When defined as only preventing conception, contraception (whether artificial or not) always and only involves preventing conception. Some people always and only define it in that way. You may, of course, define it as peanut butter sandwiches if you want, and were they then to ask you for contraception, you could ask them if they want jelly.

David B.

When defined as only preventing conception, contraception (whether artificial or not) always and only involves preventing conception. Some people always and only define it in that way. and were they then to ask you for contraception, you could ask them if they want jelly.

Ernie,

Something cannot both be and not be. That some things which are/are called contraceptives prevent conception and implantation, is. a. fact. Do you believe that there is a common physical world where things that are one thing are one thing to us all?

I was talking about the fact that contraceptives sometimes have an abortifacient effect when a child is already conceived. The drug companies call it a contraceptive, and it is a contraceptive which can be employed as an abortifacient. The two titles are often relative to each other.

You seem to be maintaining that the definition of "contraceptive" is different for each person, and you say "You may, of course, define it as peanut butter sandwiches if you want".

May I define death as life, or life as death? No, because they have real, meaningful definitions. Do you not see that?


Debating semantics is not much fun, but debating the silly idea of re-defining a word which describes something is impossible.
Candidly, I thought you might be a person who maybe uses artificial contraceptives and felt bad about it, and so I was trying to point out the truth about it. What do you believe contraceptives are? Why are you debating the meaning of the word, when you seem to be unwilling to acknowledge that words mean something, and that those 'somethings' are actual? What can be gained from that, for either of us? Have you just been wasting my time and yours for fun? For a rude joke? A Candid answer, and not more debating about the word "contraceptive" would be welcome. Thank you.


SDG

What do you believe contraceptives are?

David B, bear in mind that Ernie (B'Ernie, B'Art, Bert, Laura, Glinda, etc., etc.) is our resident gnostic troll (the same person you recently warned me I was wasting my time corresponding with, which of course I knew). He's a gadfly here to make a nuisance of himself, nothing more. Play his game if you want to -- I do sometimes, as you know -- but don't make the mistake of thinking you're actually going to interact with the actual views of a real human being. You aren't. As he himself has said, long ago, it's all just a game.

The Masked Chicken

David B,

Ernie, clearly, has lost the debate with respect to the commonly accepted use of the term, contraceptive, which refers to those methods currently in use (there are about four common methods). He may say that if a contraceptive is also an abortifacient then it is not a "pure" contraceptive and he would be right, but until there is a commonly decided definition, the argument is pointless.

Of course, a person who understands the theological basis for marriage would say that even "pure" contraception is not the same thing as simply not having marital relations during a fertile period. This is not, in the purest possible use of the term, contraception, even as Ernie describes it, because in order to be "contra" there has to be the possibility of "conception". There are, actually, several levels of specificity with regards to marital interaction in which the possibility of life being created is removed: mixed contraception (contraceptive plus abortifacient), "pure" contraception, abstinence with prudence (as in the case of natural family planning or a medical problem that prevents marital relations, such as illness), abstinence with prejudice (as in the case of a woman who separates from an abusive husband), and infertility.

The original exchange between you and Ernie referred to bad boys being less likely to reproduce because more of them use contraceptives. This seems plausible, in hypothesis, but not provable without running a statistical study. Many bad boys are poor and cannot afford contraceptives, thus, the sky-rocketing unwed pregnancy rate among some segments of the population (this is somewhat simplified, because others, such as many teens from middle-class families do not use contraception because their sex tends to be spontaneous).

A word about the 10 children vs. 2 children discussion here: all parties are, as I mentioned, earlier, simplifying a fairly complex problem. I know a little about the mathematics of population biology and there are many assumptions that have to be built into any model. Here are just a sample that would have to be included in this case:

1. Do people from 10 children families tend to marry, on average children from other 10 children families (because of a shared religious view, say)? If so, what is the percent?

2. Are the socio-economic status the same? If not, what percent will marry across the socio-economic line?

3. Do both clases tend to stay in the same area? Does one migrate more than the other?

4. Are the 10 children likelier to be male or female? The 2 children?

5. Do the 10 children reproduce at a faster rate, so as to offset the larger number of 2 children families?

You get the point. Each one of these variables has an effect on the model and the effect may be unpredictable. No variables have been stated by any of the posters, so I have no idea what each of the scenarios would lead to. The simplest way to do this research is demographically - see what actually happens. We can look at real examples, such as in India and China, but even there, the adoption of child limiting laws can lead to unforeseen consequences: in China, most of the population is being skewed male, because it is a largely agrarian society that favors males over females for work; in India, the situation is more complicated.

Sorry for my long post, but, as I said, earlier, this paper is bizzare in that the author did not even consider the most reasonable hypothesis (worship) as the primary reason for Church attendance. This is not a case of even correlation vs. causation. This is a case of not testing for counterexamples. This is not good science, in my opinion, if the summary is correct (if it is not, I will retract my arguments until I can see what the paper really says).

The Chicken

The Masked Chicken

Here is the abstract to the original article (slightly edited for format):

Religious attendance as reproductive support

Jason Weeden, Adam B. Cohena, and Douglas T. Kenricka,

Department of Psychology, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85287, USA

Received 2 October 2007;
accepted 30 March 2008.
Available online 10 June 2008.


Abstract

We argue that a central function of religious attendance in the contemporary United States is to support a high-fertility, monogamous mating strategy. Although religious attendance is correlated with many demographic, personality, moral, and behavioral variables, we propose that sexual and family variables are at the core of many of these relationships. Numerous researchers have assumed that religious socialization causes people to feel moral reactions and engage in behaviors promoted by religious groups. On our view, mating preferences are centrally involved in individual differences in attraction to religious groups. In a sample of 21,131 individuals who participated in the US General Social Survey, sexual behaviors were the relatively strongest predictors of religious attendance, even after controlling for age and gender. Effects of age and gender on religious attendance were weaker and substantially reduced when controlling for sexual and family patterns. A sample of 902 college students provided more detailed information on religious, moral, and sexual variables. Results suggest that (1) moral views about sexual behavior are more strongly linked to religious attendance than other moral issues, and (2) mating strategy is more powerful than standard personality variables in predicting religious attendance. These findings suggest that reproductive strategies are at the heart of variations in religious attendance.

Keywords: Religiosity; Religious attendance; Reproductive strategies; Sociosexuality


It does appear that they have committed the fallacy of affirming the consequence. The reasonable cause and effect should be: if one is religious, then one is monogamous. They tested: if one is monogamous, then one is religious. Obviously, not the same. By this logic, all people who are afraid of sex (there is probably some phobia like this) should be religious, as well.

The Chicken

Barbara

"The hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world"

Luckily, those who are open to new life from God by using NFP, are usually conservative. That means that those who contracept, are hopefully going to make themselves extinct.

Barbara

As far as "bad boys", you show me a woman who prefers these bad boys, and I'll show you a woman with a negative self-image.

bill912

Or: You show me a woman who prefers these bad boys and I'll show you a girl, not a woman.

David B.

Play his game if you want to -- I do sometimes, as you know -- but don't make the mistake of thinking you're actually going to interact with the actual views of a real human being. You aren't. As he himself has said, long ago, it's all just a game.

Well, that being the case, I am going to sue Ernie for wasting my time. ;-(
It's really sad that the troll isn't being honest, and is causing honest people to expend energy on debate with him. I wonder what happened in his past that drives him to be so inconsiderate of the truth and of other people.

c matt

When "you" are ten couples having two kids per couple and "someone else" is one couple with 10 kids, "you" have twice as many kids as "someone else", and 10 times as many people to look after them as well as many other advantages.

"You" still only have two kids, not ten times as many people to look out after you. You are assuming that the 2 kids would be willing to look after someone else's parents in addition to their own. Not likely - hard enough to look after your own.

CourageMan

It does appear that they have committed the fallacy of affirming the consequence. The reasonable cause and effect should be: if one is religious, then one is monogamous. They tested: if one is monogamous, then one is religious.

That's exactly the case. Like Barack Obama and his "cling" remark, social science professors nearly always see religion as an effect that need be explained, rather than a cause that explains. To use Marxist lingo, religion is always and necessarily epiphenomenal.

Not to get overly personal ... but I think (imperfect) celibates like myself present about as clear a case as can exist of a man whose religion causes his sexual behavior and sexual consciousness, rather than vice versa. I mean ... what theory of psychology or personal motivation would cause me to shop for a Church that demands of me lifelong continence??? Especially in THIS worldly environment when living the gay lifestyle, while not cost-free, is basically no big deal socially.

Ernie

You are assuming that the 2 kids would be willing to look after someone else's parents in addition to their own. Not likely - hard enough to look after your own.

No, I addressed only parents looking after children, not children looking after parents. If couple A has 5 times as many kids as couple B, then couple A potentially has 5 times as many kids to help take care of couple A. How that potential actually plays out, is as you suggest, hard to say. In reality, it's not always a couple's own children who act as primary caretakers. Often, friends and hired persons play a significant role. Even when children play that role, it's often just one or two who do.

The reasonable cause and effect should be: if one is religious, then one is monogamous. They tested: if one is monogamous, then one is religious. Obviously, not the same.

The researchers did not actually test cause and effect in the sense of putting people in church to see if it makes them monogamous or making people monogamous to see if they become religious. They examined church attendance and correlates with behavior and attitudes. As such, it is possible that religious people are more likely to be monogamous as well as monogamous people more likely to be religious. People who aren't monogamous may be less likely to regularly attend church, because, for example, such attendance might tend to make them feel uncomfortable about what they do. People do not tend to do or continue doing what makes them feel uncomfortable. If a person is monogamous, he may enjoy repeatedly hearing how his behavior is good. If a person is not monogamous, he may not wish to hear it so often. Church attendance (religiousness) can steer behavior/views, and behavior/views can steer church attendance (religiousness).

By this logic, all people who are afraid of sex (there is probably some phobia like this) should be religious, as well.

The Church teaches monogamy, not fear of sex. If the Church promoted fear of sex, those who are afraid of sex may well enjoy sitting in the pews to hear how wonderful it is and they are.

Mary

I know a little about the mathematics of population biology and there are many assumptions that have to be built into any model. Here are just a sample that would have to be included in this case:

1. Do people from 10 children families tend to marry, on average children from other 10 children families (because of a shared religious view, say)? If so, what is the percent?

2. Are the socio-economic status the same? If not, what percent will marry across the socio-economic line?

3. Do both clases tend to stay in the same area? Does one migrate more than the other?

4. Are the 10 children likelier to be male or female? The 2 children?

5. Do the 10 children reproduce at a faster rate, so as to offset the larger number of 2 children families?

You get the point. Each one of these variables has an effect on the model and the effect may be unpredictable.

These affect the model insofar as they affect differential fertility.

If you start with the differential fertility, you don't need to consider the factors that would produce it.

Less effective at real-world modeling, easier to get back of the envelope calculations -- life is full of trade-offs.

maiki

This genetic argument would be interesting if contraception was actually a genetic trait. Turns out, it is not, and religious raised people go out to use contraception and children of contraceptive parents become providential or learn nfp. So it makes no sense to argue how many children each will have or how to breed out the contraceptive "trait". There is no contraceptive trait.

CourageMan

So it makes no sense to argue how many children each will have or how to breed out the contraceptive "trait". There is no contraceptive trait.

If your point is that one cannot mechanistically apply Darwinian "logic" to humans ... correct. And obviously contraceptive use is not a trait (though if it were, it would by definition be dysgenic).

But religiosity IS a trait. And it does, however imperfectly, tend to be "inherited" (socially, rather than genetically ... but still).

The Masked Chicken

Dear Mary,

You wrote:

These affect the model insofar as they affect differential fertility.

If you start with the differential fertility, you don't need to consider the factors that would produce it.

There are really two separate parts to the problem: 1) how does the initial population (the initial conditions) arise and 2)what happens from that point on.

One may assume differential fertility as the initial condition and then proceed. One could, however, assume other ways of getting to the starting conditions, such as assuming selective retention of males over females, as in China leading to a condition where there is heavy bias within the initial population towards one sex or the other. The questions I asked relate to the model once it's started up. How people interact is crucial in determining how the system evolves over time (mathematically and genetically).

The article attempts to get at the initial conditions question: what factors provide differential fertility or rather differential conception attempts. Their principle point, however seems to be that monogamous people are religious and this affects the number of conceptions attempted without really proving that it is the other way around. They seem to think that the phrase, "being fruitful and multiply," leads to a belief in God, rather than the other way around.

Ernie,

The idea that people go to Church to have their personal lifestyle reinforced belies the idea that, ideally, the Church must also point out sin. In fact, your argument goes not to the point that monogamous people like to be told its okay to be monogamous, but rather to the fact that those who contracept and remain in the Church are not being made to feel uncomfortable. The article assumed that monogamous also means chaste (contraception is, inherently unchaste, using the term in the proper sense of virtue), but they have assumed this without proof. Within a Christian context, this automatically weakens their argument, because any Church that does not clearly state its position provides a fuzzy notion of religion to its members (and, sad to day, that is true of many local parish Catholic churchs, today). If that is the case, then the term religious has a vague meaning in their study and they can do almost anything in finding correlations if the data points have sufficiently wide uncertainties.

The Chicken

Leo

A word of comfort for anyone who might feel tempted by the alleged success of 'bad boys' and 'bad girls'.

To be happy in a relationship you don't need to be 'successful' with lots of women. You need to find only one woman and try to make her happy. That can be challenging enough without the added burden of trying to be 'world-class'.

Similarly for women. To be happy in a relationship, you don't have to be available to all men or have a 'world-class' supermodel figure, you 'only' have to try to make one man happy.

It's potentially futile to believe there is only one 'Mr Right' or only one 'Miss Right' in all the world. There are probably a large number of compatible people who can bring you happiness and vice-versa.

If you both have the right attitudes/values you can be and become Mr and Mrs Right for each other.

Tim J.

As I have said elsewhere, Leo, the three most important words in a marriage aren't "I love you". but "Please" and "Thank You".

It all starts with ordinary, human respect.

Ernie

Chicken,

your argument goes not to the point that monogamous people like to be told its okay to be monogamous, but rather to the fact that those who contracept and remain in the Church are not being made to feel uncomfortable.

What I wrote addresses many points. People may not attend because in part it's uncomfortable, and this can include people who stop attending as well as people who've never attended at all. And people may attend because in part they enjoy feeling affirmed and/or comfortable, and there are many things that people may look to for affirmation or comfort, including hearing a message that agrees with them.

As to your "fact", there are many people who do contracept who do go to church who are made uncomfortable by the teaching against it. They may attend less often, or choose a different Catholic church up the road or switch from Catholic to Protestant, or attend for numerous other reasons, including that they may feel affirmed on other issues. Yes, there are people who contracept who go to church who are not being made to feel uncomfortable about it, but that is both beside the point as well as to the point with respect to the study, because who's in the pews is not just a result of who doesn't leave but also who does leave, who enjoys staying, and who never attends to begin with, etc. Any and all of those are important; none is independent of the others.

The article assumed that monogamous also means chaste (contraception is, inherently unchaste, using the term in the proper sense of virtue), but they have assumed this without proof.

Why do you assume the article (in New Scientist) assumes that? The word "monogamous" appears only once in the article, in the phrase "monogamous, high-fertility mating strategy," and once in the abstract, in "high-fertility, monogamous mating strategy." In each appearance, "monogamous" is separated from "high-fertility," suggesting perhaps that in the researcher's view, there may also be monogamous, low-fertility (contraceptive) mating strategies.

Whatever the writer means by the word "monogamous" is open to question by those who read the article, but there is nothing in the article which says that word ever appeared in any question in the questionnaires upon which the study was based. The General Social Survey included questions like, "The last time you had sex, was a condom used?" and "How many sex partners have you had in the last 12 months?" People can answer those questions without knowing what the word "monogamous" means.

any Church that does not clearly state its position provides a fuzzy notion of religion to its members... If that is the case, then the term religious has a vague meaning in their study.

The GSS questionnaire asks, "How often do you attend religious services?" Do people's ability to answer that question with such answers as "never," "once a year," "every week," "more than once a week," etc. depend upon their understanding of the Church's position on contraception, chastity and monogamy? Do you have to understand contraception to attend religious service? Some would say no, some would say yes, etc.

ASimpleSinner

SDG,

If you are in need of examples of women opting for no-account, useless men who embrace their fallen state with vigor and abandon, email me. Among the women I work with, drug-dealers, SSD-frauds who work under the table, and a host of other men who have neglected their own children are considered to be real "prizes".

One woman I work with - let's call her "Brenda" is unbothered by her dreamy beau's sale of pot, abandonment of his former wife, and disinterest in his children. In his defense, he DOES take her out to dinner at the Olive Garden once a week and throws some cash her way...

What a winner!

I don't blame it on the women... women (sorry feminists - hate me if you want, just get in line!) gravitate towards "winners". It is a biological imperative. In sad point of fact, these dejected losers are winners in modern eyes all too often. Think "Tony Soprano from the Trailor Park" and you have a good idea.

Oh how far we have come!

Godlover

"I don't blame it on the women... women (sorry feminists - hate me if you want, just get in line!) gravitate towards "winners". It is a biological imperative." - ASimpleSinner

What makes you such an expert on women? Just about every woman I know ( including myself) prefer the stable gentlemanly type much more than the "winners". And if you must lable that type, you need to call them losers, because any guy who has disinterest in his children, sells drugs, and has left his wife, or all of the above is a loser in my eyes, and he would certainly not "win" me. I can think of ONLY ONE of my friends who prefers the "bad boy" type, and her preferred guy is the type who has had trouble in the past, but has repented before God.

A word of caution to other women out there. NEVER EVER date a guy with any of the problems above, because he could easily drag you down, I don't know the exact reference, but there is a verse in the Bible that says to not be unequally yoked, in other words don't get caught up in a guy like that, because what he did to his wife and kids he could just as easily do to you.

my relationship advice for the day.

Seagull

I don't know anyone who "likes bad boys" as the myth goes.
Women are individuals and most want someone they can work with. Some people, regardless of their sex, can't communicate with a person who doesn't acknowledge that the workplace is frustrating and that it would be good to take a break and have some fun. Ergo, most women as well as most men want to live with someone who likes to "take risks" like taking some time off work and learning a sport or even hitting a casino sometime to see what it's like.
The movie "The Sure Thing" back in the mid-80's showed a ludicrously simplistic view of the problem.
A woman is stranded on the way to her fiance's super-efficient dark ultramodern tiny apartment on the West Coast, where every second of the rest of their lives is planned out and will be expected to stick to its schedule, down to what kind of herbal tea they will drink at every moment of their work-machine lives.
She must hitchhike with a man who is about 19 going on about two at best. He is loud, gross, selfish, socially oblivious and tasteless, and he is taking a cross-country trip to meet a young lady who has never said No in her life. This is his only chance to have sex.
To survive, the man must become considerate and think about something other than sex and alcohol for a second of his "life". To survive, the woman must eat and drink her sustenance when it is there, not according to schedule, and learn to function without overscheduling, and she begins to comprehend leisure. He begins to comprehend acting like a human being.
Because it is a movie, this causes them to fall in love and not be able to live without each other. In reality, these steps are merely the bare minimum it takes for almost anyone to get along with almost anyone.
Men have the false dichotomy that they must be either like the man in the verscheduled literal-minded tiny dark steel apartment putting the tea in the microwave thirty-one seconds before she is expected at the door, short-cicruiting if she opens a beer, or like the gross infantile guy raving down the highway singing showtunes and willing to cross a continent to get a chance with a woman who never says No. They get all tied up over "what women want' when we spend half our time telling them what we want: a human being.

Rebecca22

Some guys are constantly under the false impression that to impress a girl they have to buy a motorcycle, quit their job and go on a spntaneous cross country road trip, and heywhile they're at t might as well get a piercing or two. I'm not trying to rip into guys and hey, who can blame them wanting to get out of the office, but pretending to be something you're not is the absolute worst possible way to get a girl.

Guys-just be yourself. If a girl says you're not her type, but is shallow enough to like you if you change your entire being, she's to shallow for you. The saying that girls use to bolster their confidence when they get dumped "there are many fish in the sea" is true if guys are the fish, then you'll suffocate with a shallow girl.

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