RE: Watches & Necklaces

From: Keith Henson (
Date: Thu 29 May 2003 - 00:48:52 GMT

  • Next message: Richard Brodie: "RE: back to basics"

    At 04:55 PM 28/05/03 -0700, you wrote:
    >Scott wrote:
    ><<Are you implying that education tends to correlate with reduction in the
    >number of offspring?>>

    And to back that up:

    "Educated women tend to have fewer children than nonliterate women. There is a strong statistical correlation between education and number of children. Worldwide in developing countries, the average woman with no education gives birth to about eight children. The average for countries where there is no female illiteracy is three children. Each additional 20 percent of illiteracy correlates with another child. In countries where population growth is seen as a serious problem, female literacy and education is seen as a pressing priority."

    ><<What about the quality of investment in those
    >offspring? Some of lesser education might have more offspring, but how well
    >are these offsring provided for versus the relatively educated person with a
    >better job and more money to provide for needs of fewer offspring?>>
    >I don't know. I would guess they in turn would be worse educated and have
    >more children. Do you have any reason to think otherwise?

    Hardly. Education and intelligence both tend to run down the number of children. But widespread education is a new condition in the world, something our genes did not equip us to deal with. It is one of the few hopes we have since rapidly rising populations will outrun increases in wealth--resulting in a Hutu/Tutsi situation or worse.

    ><<The r-strategy is cheap, spewing gametes out in the hopes that some will
    >take root and survive. The K-strategy is more expensive, investing in the
    >future of fewer offspring, including college education giving them a better
    >So you think the tendency to send kids to college is genetic?
    ><<You might think of education as a parasite because it reduces gametic
    >output, but this is looking at things through the lense of biological
    >evolution and fitness as measured by reproductive output, without
    >consideration of quality of life for offspring being improved by education
    >and ensuring their relative chances of success and that of their offspring
    >down the generations. If person A is uneducated and has 10 uneducated kids,
    >how do the chances for survival and reproduction of these kids compare to
    >person B who is educated and has 2 educated kids? Would all 10 children of
    >person A survive and subsequently produce children of their own in the same
    >societal superstructure as that of person B with their offspring when
    >looking at their respective lineages down the generations?>>
    >Quality of life has nothing to do with genetic fitness.
    >I see no reason to think that 10 uneducated kids would produce fewer
    >offspring than 2 educated kids, particularly with the reverse bias. It might
    >make a great research project though!

    That's true right now, where the society does not let people, particularly children, stave.

    Number of children correlates about as well with wealth, though very wealthy people, particularly men sometimes have quite a few.

    Still there seems to be a lot of bias for people to bust their butts to try to become very wealthy. This is a holdover from the past where those who overdid it were the most likely to get through the winter or the next crop failure. If smallpox were to be spread all over the world, who would get vaccinated first? Being rich in times of scarcity makes a big difference in how well you and your children survive.

    Keith Henson

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