Friday, 24 January 2014

Modern women and fertility: Mis-match - ancient psychology, modern conditions


Insofar as human nature has been shaped by our evolutionary history, we are adapted with instincts that function to increase our reproductive success on average in the conditions of past societies.

But insofar as modern life differs from the average conditions of the past, so we will lose these adaptations - and may well discover that our 'stone age' instincts lead us to behave in ways that damage our reproductive success.

This is mis-match.

'Culture' can compensate for mis-match - or it can make matters worse.


In terms of sexual behaviour in the developed world, it is very obvious that instincts are leading towards extinction, because people (specifically women) are not having enough children to replace themselves; despite that the society is so prosperous that an average woman could raise ten, fifteen, maybe even twenty children.

In fact, personal wealth is irrelevant since every child that is born in the developed world will, one way or another, be materially supported by 'the state' to survive childhood and reach sexual maturity.

Children will not be allowed to starve or die of exposure. Thus, at the individual (marginal) level there is zero limit of resources - only the limitation of biological capacity. For the past century plus, the more children that are born, the more resources that will be appropriated by the state to raise them.


So there has never been a better time or place in the history of the world for a random average woman to maximize her reproductive success - and this is a task for which she has been shaped by hundreds, thousands, of generations of natural selection)

YET on average the modern woman in a developed country will choose to have about ONE child.

And that is what anciently-evolved instincts have produced in the context of modern conditions.



Is mainstream modern culture helping?

No - it is making the mis-match worse - chosen fertility is still declining among the women of The West.


Could culture be a remedy - could culture fix the mismatch?

Sure. It could be and it does among the minority of women who are traditionally religious (among the major monotheisms, particularly)


What does this mean?

That the atomistic individual woman, the self-gratifying isolated atomistic woman, operating in psychological detachment from human community; suffers an extreme and reproductively-fatal mis-match between evolved psychology and modern conditions.

So if 'modern woman' follows her spontaneous instincts in the 'modern world', she will (on average, under modern conditions) be led into reproductive death.

For women living in psychological isolation, anciently-evolved psychology plus modern environment equals reproductive death.


But, a woman who lives in the context of a traditionally religious monotheistic community is able to trust her instincts; and under such circumstances she will (on average) achieve reproductive success - not extinction.


NOTE: As a further example, women are not 'designed' (i.e. by natural selection) to choose who to marry (and thus who to allow the right of sexual access) purely as individuals; since in all known historical societies (but especially in agricultural societies) such decisions are made in a context of primarily parental arrangements - Take female sexual decision-making out of this evolutionary context, and the mis-match between instincts and environment yields maladaptive decision-making - as can be seen in all societies of the modern, developed world.   


Thursday said...

Are you sure this is it? Modernity changes our psychology in it's phenotype. We have been shaped to be different than our ancestors. Isn't the mismatch between an ancient genotype and modern conditions?

Nicholas Fulford said...

The pill changed the game. It gave women reproductive choice in a way that they did not have previously.

To convince women to give up that freedom, to once again become focused on child rearing as their prime social role is not something that is liable to take hold in a Western society, (with the exception of a few isolated communities such as the Mennonite and Amish.)

The result as you have shown quite correctly is much lower rates of reproduction, and as you have also shown in other entries, the higher the intelligence of the woman, the fewer children she has on average.

Given this state of affairs, and given that few women want to give up the freedom that they have today with respect to reproductive choice: How do you propose to convince more women to stay at home and have larger families?

Don said...

I am wondering if it is just a way for people to live for themselves rather than follow God's plan.

Most modern people are told children and families are a burden. We stopped after two of our own due to health concerns. I wish we could have had more.


George said...

I waited longer than I should have to start.

Mainstream media is constantly full of anti-children and anti-family propaganda. It is hard for even us "independent thinkers" to not get sucked into the dominate weltanschung.

It is why a healthy conservative religious upbringing is absolutely necessary.