Wednesday, October 28, 2009

More evidence men more interested than women in non-biological science

Upon finding out that two of the three winners of this year's Nobel prize in physiology or medicine are women, Steve Sailer points out what he sees as encouraging sex trends in accomplishment:
This announcement reflects an on-going trend in which the top female scientific talent is concentrating in the life sciences and leaving the lifeless sciences, physics and chemistry, to the boys. ...

This strikes me as healthy: women specializing in what they (and I, as a beneficiary of medical science) find most important. Of course, in the wake of the 2005 Larry Summers brouhaha, vast amounts of money are being spent to lure women scientists away from the life sciences and into the inanimate sciences in the name of diversity. Will all that money spent make humanity better off?
Results from an interactive quiz from the Pew Research Center show that this trend doesn't just exist in the upper echelons of the scientific research establishment. It is evident at far more modest levels of involvement. Pew's 12-question quiz (which you must take before being able to view overall performance) assesses test-takers' basic scientific knowledge. None of the questions are difficult enough that only someone in a scientific field should be expected to know the correct answers to them. Consequently, they serve as good indicators of levels of personal interest--lay people motivated enough to acquire a basic understanding of modern science will answer the questions correctly without any specialized education or formal training.

The following nine questions were more frequently answered correctly by men than they were by women:

- According to most astronomers, which of the following is no longer considered a planet?
- Which of the following may cause a tsunami?
- The global positioning system, or GPS, relies on which of these to work?
- What gas do most scientists believe causes temperatures in the atmosphere to rise?
- What have scientists recently discovered on Mars?
- The continents on which we live have been moving their location for millions of years and will continue to move in the future. (T/F)
- Lasers work by focusing sound waves. (T/F)
- Electrons are smaller than atoms. (T/F)
- All radioactivity is man-made. (T/F)

In contrast, women did better than men did on the following three questions:

- Which OTC drug do doctors recommend that people take to help prevent heart attacks?
- How are stem cells different from other cells?
- Antibiotics kill viruses as well as bacteria. (T/F)

Although the public faces of outrage over sex differences in scientific accomplishment are those of feminist academics, I suspect most women are indifferent or even a bit annoyed by the push for them to pursue avenues of study they are largely uninterested in, just as I'd be irked at encouragement to become skilled in the fields of interior decorating or primary education.

Parenthetically, Agnostic has shown similar evidence for a relative lack of interest in non-biological science among women using GSS data.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Feelings towards members of various demographic groups, by race

Lately Inductivist has been investigating how whites feel towards blacks and other whites, the feelings Jews have for various racial groups, and to what extent these groups return the favor. Having seen group perceptions looked at in these ways from fairly contemporary (2002) data, bringing it all together in a single graphical representation is irresistible.

The following shows how members of various groups feel about members of other groups*. In a previous post depicting group differences in perceptions of intelligence, the method of visual representation employed was unnecessarily confusing. By following Al Fin's advice, there should be less obfuscation this time.

Groups for which perceptions are measured are listed along the x-axis. The feelings each of these groups has for whites, blacks, Hispanics, Asians, and Jews are respectively illustrated by the five consecutive colored bars springing up along the y-axis above them. The white bar shows each group's feelings towards whites, the black bar towards blacks, the brown bar towards Hispanics, the yellow bar towards Asians, and the baby blue bar towards Jews. So farthest to the left, we see that whites feel about as equally warmly towards whites and Jews, while they are cooler towards Hispanics, blacks, and Asians. The iciest vibes are emitted by Native Americans towards Asians, while the steamiest stuff comes from Jewish feelings towards other Jews.


The first thing that jumps out is how members of each group reserve the warmest feelings for other members of their group. Jews are the most clannish**, followed by blacks, then Hispanics, whites, and finally Asians (who, represented by people of Korean, Japanese, Chinese, Filipino, and Indian descent, among others, probably don't have a lot of enthusiasm for being identified by as amorphous and unmeaningful a term as "Asian").

Jews are notable for the generally positive feelings they have for all groups, while Native Americans are similarly remarkable for the relatively negative feelings they hold across the board (at n = 10, the Native American sample on Jews is prohibitively small--please see below for more on the technical aspects of the data).

Though leftist Jews (is that a redundancy?) act as though the inherently racist white majority must be monitored lest its truculent bigotry lead to the rapid formation of pitchfork-wielding angry mobs out for minority--especially Jewish!--blood, whites tend to hold Jews in higher regard than non-whites do.

Despite waging a perpetual battle with Jews over who is the world's most oppressed and including a large segment of Muslims living in the US, blacks indicate slightly warmer feelings towards Jews than other non-white minority groups do.

Asian's coolness towards Jews surprises me a little. As the previously referenced post shows, they also perceive Jews to be less intelligent than other groups do. Anyone have an explanation for this?

Hispanic hostility for Jews is hardly novel. As ADL director Abe Foxman pointed out in a report on putative anti-Semitism in the US:

It is not surprising yet very distressing that one of the fastest growing segments in America holds strongly anti-Semitic views," said Mr. Foxman. "There is no doubt that this is a reflection of what is being learned about Jews in the schools, churches and communities of Hispanic nations, which is anti-Semitism at its most basic. We need to re-focus our efforts on reaching out to these groups in addition to the larger American public."

Excluding Jews for a moment, the three largest non-white minorities all hold whites in higher regard than they do members of other minority groups they are not part of. That is, blacks have warmer feelings for whites than they do for Hispanics or Asians, Hispanics have warmer feelings for whites than they do for blacks or Asians, and Asians have warmer feelings for whites than they do for blacks or Hispanics. As much as they might like receiving special treatment at whitey's expense, and as much as their extortionist, self-appointed racial representatives may encourage disdain for him, by and large non-white minorities don't hate their pale neighbors. This is encouraging.

GSS variables used: RACECEN1(1)(2)(3)(4-10), HISPANIC(2-99), JEW, FEELWHTS, FEELBLKS, FEELHSPS, FEELASNS, JEWTEMP

* Sample sizes for perceptions of whites, blacks, Hispanics, and Asians are as follows: Whites = 2,177; blacks = 358; Hispanics = 222; Asians = 74; Native Americans = 35; and Jews = 38. The questions are posed thus: "In general, how warm or cool do you feel towards [group]?". To make the graphical representation more intuitive, I've inverted responses from the GSS so that higher scores reveal warmer feelings and lower scores depict cooler feelings.

The question regarding Jews is pulled from a different module, one that concerns perceptions of members of various religions rather than of various races. The questions on feelings towards whites, blacks, Hispanics, and Asians are on a 1-9 scale, while the item on Jews is on a 0-100 scale. For ease of viewing, I converted perceptions of Jews by group from the 0-100 scale to a 1-9 scale using the standard deviation and mean perception of whites as an anchor, thus presuming that in aggregate, feelings towards whites are identical to feelings towards Jews. This is almost certainly not precisely the case, but I had to come up with an arbitrary scale somehow. Further, because of the disparate range of the sacles, it's not a perfect apples-to-apples comparison. Consequently, intragroup differences in feelings towards Jews are what is important.

Sample sizes for perceptions of Jews are smaller (except among Jews, as this question has been asked in four different years, all of which contain Jewish responses but only one of which--2004--contains responses for the other racial groups) and are as follows: Whites = 642; blacks = 81; Hispanics = 83; Asians = 47; Native Americans = 10; and Jews = 51. How the question is posed: "I'll read the name of a group [Jews in this case] and I'd like you to rate that group using the feeling thermometer. Ratings between 50 degrees and 100 degrees mean that you feel favorable and warm toward the group. Ratings between 0 degrees and 50 degrees mean that you don't feel favorable toward the group and that you don't care too much for that group."

** Because the mean levels of warm feelings are nearer the maximum for whites than for Jews, converting Jewish sentiments for other Jews to the racial scale yields a value of 9.12 that is slightly above the ceiling of 9. I've shown it at exactly 9.0 to make the graph in its entirety more comprehendible. Again, keep in mind that the baby blue bars are only reliable in comparison to one another, not to the other bars of different colors.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Exit polling underrepresents Asians as well as whites?

Steve Sailer has repeatedly pointed out that election-time exit polling consistently overstates the Hispanic share of the vote. Just as consistently, this tendency putatively provides evidence of the rapidly increasing importance of courting Hispanic voters. Inevitably, the more thorough and reliable Census phone survey of some 50,000 people released months later downwardly adjusts Hispanic representation among the electorate. In consequence, while the media fire of election night coverage is blazing, whites are short shrifted. Only later, long after the embers have cooled, is the record set straight.

Because pollsters must physically be present at polling places, the organizations conducting the polls are only able to cover a small fraction of total voting locations. Among large demographic groups like whites or women, there is no concern that too few members will be interviewed. But among smaller groups like Asians and Hispanics, it's a concern. And since these groups are growing in size (proportionally as well as absolutely), overrepresenting them doesn't carry the risk of embarrassment (ie, "Only 1% of voters were Asian? Obviously your methodology is poor.") that underrepresenting them does.

At least that was how I conceptualized it. However, the Census surveys show that exit polling underrepresents Asians as well as whites. Using state level exit polling data from the 2004 and 2008 Presidential elections to get precise numbers*, I calculated electoral representation by race as reported by Edison Media Research and used by all the major media sources during and directly after each election cycle. Steve has provided a handy table containing data for the same groups from the Census surveys from these years. The following table compares them and shows to what extent exit polling reported on by media sources during the election cycle inflated the size of the non-white vote at the expense of white voters:

Race04 exit poll04 CensusIn(de)flation08 exit poll08 CensusIn(de)flation
Whites77.6%79.2%(1.6)75.0%76.3%(1.3)
Blacks11.1%11.0%0.112.8%12.1%0.7
Hispanics7.6%6.0%1.68.0%7.4%0.6
Asians1.7%2.3%(0.6)2.0%2.5%(0.5)
Others2.0%1.5%1.52.2%1.7%0.5

The table shows changes in terms of absolute representation among the total electorate. Among Asians, who comprise something approximating 1 in 50 voters, the relative variance between the two methods is substantial. The Census surveys suggest that exit polling underrepresents Asians by more than 20% (and overrepresents "others" by a similar factor). For whites, by comparison, although white underrepresentation in exit polling appears to exist, it amounts to a 3% or so reduction in participation.

The methodology behind the Census surveys is explained in this pdf (see chapter 7, 56 pages in) and it appears that addresses are confirmed before phone interviewing begins. Thus the lack of an old landline phone does not lead to those only possessing a cell phone (like myself) being overlooked.

It is not surprising that whites are short-shrifted, but I am at a loss to explain the Asian variance among exit polling and Census surveys. Any ideas? State-level exit polling data from Presidential elections are apparently only available for the two most recent elections, so the presumed underrepresentation of Asians and overrepresentation of NAMs in exit polling might just be a fluke. Whatever the explanation, it's worth being aware of this when considering exit polling data.

* The exit polls at both the national and state levels report figures in whole percentages. At the state level, a 7.54% reported as 8% here should presumably be balanced out by a 12.46% reported as 12% there while still allowing percentages to be broken out into tenths of a percent when amalgamated to constitute national totals. Further, participation in state-level polls totals around 50,000 people, compared to 17,000 participants at the national level. Keep in mind, too, that national-level polling is even less accurate than state-level polling is when it comes to accurately determining the demographic characteristics of the electorate.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Movement to squelch Medical Hypotheses afoot

Medical Hypotheses, the ideologically iconoclastic medical journal edited by academic and Steveosphere giant Bruce G. Charlton, is under siege for entertaining the ideas of 'AIDS-denialist' Peter Duesberg. Dennis Mangan takes an in-depth look at what has transpired. Rather than try to rehash what he has written, I'll urge you to go there to get the story.

If there is anything Bruce believes sympathetic readers will be able to do in his aid, I'll be sure to make it known.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Fidelity and fecundity

At Futurepundit, Randall Parker wonders:
The most surprising thing I've read lately related to impulsiveness is that men who have had fewer sexual partners have more babies. I take that to mean that at least monogamy is being selected for. Possibly lower impulsiveness is also getting selected for. I'd like to see an impulsiveness study on middle aged men and women where they are questioned about their offspring. Do less impulsive people have more babies? That'd be good news if so.
Inductivist recently showed that lifelong monogamy continues to be selected for at the expense of lifelong polygamy, although not as overwhelmingly as it had been in previous decades. The GSS does not address impulsivity directly, but RP's train of thought spurs me into approaching the question of whether or not monogamy is being selected for from another angle--whether or not contemporary procreation patterns are favoring serial monogamy.

To gauge this, I turned to the GSS question asked of those who have been married during some point in their lives whether or not they have ever cheated on their spouses and cross referenced it with fecundity. Only those aged 40-65 from the turn of the millenium on are considered for contemporary relevance and to avoid the problem of incomplete baby making. The following table shows the mean number of children among those who have been married at some point during their lives:

Cheat?Kids
Yes (n = 838)2.30
No (n = 3,538)2.27

It appears to be a wash at first blush. But gender matters. Again, this time broken down by sex:

Kids
Cheat?MenWomen
Yes2.462.09
No2.232.30

Men who cheat procreate more than those who remain faithful do. Among women, the opposite tends to be true.

Perhaps this should not come as a surprise but an indication that human sexual selection continues to influence reproductive patterns. Men with greater attraction and higher perceived reproductive value tend to be more successful with women than men who lack the necessary traits. For men, previous success is an asset to be leveraged in realizing greater success in the future. For women, however, accumulating a large number of partners lowers perceived attraction and mating value. Selective women are more desirable and have higher reproductive value.

It does not necessarily follow that those who are more attractive are also more fecund, but it's obviously plausible. Assuming this trend continues, I'd expect male instincts to do anything with all the appendages and orifices in the right places and female instincts to secure a desirable male and maintain exclusive sexual access with him to both increase. Sexual selection putatively should, after all, increase differentiation between the sexes, not hem them in.

This may initially appear to contradict the finding that the more partners men have, the fewer children they produce, but it doesn't. Among married men within the preceding parameters, the median number of partners is five, compared to ten among never-married men (ignoring virgins and homosexuals), and married men outdo their never-married counterparts by a factor five, 2.41 kids to just .51. So while philandering married men are the kings of genetic transmission, the married men of fidelity, who outnumber the philanderers 3 to 1, are aristocracy in their own right when it comes to passing on their genes. The men who never settle down, in contrast, hit double digits as often as they do not, but the majority of them do not reproduce at all.

Parenthetically, I recall seeing a bumper sticker that read "Your dollar is your vote" when I was in middle school. The message isn't especially profound, but it has stuck with me for over a decade, reliably informing my purchasing decisions the entire time. In a similar vein, your offspring are your contributions to the future. If you have an aversion to prevailing social mores (or dysgenic birthing patterns, demographic trends, the inversion of the age pyramid, etc), by far the most influential thing for the vast majority of people--including you, unless you're especially influential--to do in response is to pop out a glut of kids of your own to combat the status quo.

Tangential to the parentheses, I had dinner the other night with my first lover and real girlfriend. I broke up with her over the summer before my first year of college in part because she had become overly dependent and needy, and also to be with another girl. Until this week, I'd only seen her on two other occasions since then, and kept up with her only indirectly through the contact she maintained with my family. I was stunned by her beauty. Despite being 25, she is nearly as hot now as she was then and she really has her stuff together. Both of these things surprised me to the point that my enthusiasm in interacting with her almost felt forced (I'm generally very high-energy all the time, irrespective of who I' around). It did not surprise me, however, to find out that she is now happily married (without going into detail, suffice it to say that our meeting up is not an indicator of her potential willingness to run around on her husband).

For the last few days, I've not been able to shake the hollow feeling that I squandered a golden opportunity to achieve what I want to achieve in this world--namely, physical health (check), financial abundancy (check), occupational success (check), and the construction of a nuclear family as happy and functional as the one I grew up in (no check, the pen nowhere near the paper--I'm not willing to make the lifestyle changes to get me there, and I'm not getting any younger, either).

GSS variables used: YEAR(2000-2008), AGE(40-65), MARITAL(1)(5), SEX, NUMWOMEN(1-500), EVSTRAY

Monday, October 19, 2009

Heeeeee's back!

Illka, that is. In fact, he's been back for a few months now. Where have I been? Never mind where I've been, The Fourth Checkraise is where I am now!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Economic, social, and foreign policy congressional conservatism by state, 2008

++Addition++Blogger Sully compares stimulus jobs created to congressional conservatism and finds that conservative states appear to be faring better than liberal states are. I find it exceedingly difficult to have any faith in our political leaders.

---

Razib's post at Secular Right looking at the relationship between economic and social liberalism made me wonder how the states rank in terms of the legislative activity of the Congressional delegations they send. Each year, National Journal rates each representative based on his voting behavior over the course of preceding congressional legislative sessions throughout the previous year. Votes are separated into three major categories (economic, social, and foreign policy) and representatives are assigned (nearly, but not entirely, inverse) liberal and conservative scores based on the totality of their voting behavior in each category.

The following tables rank states by conservatism, calculated by taking each representative's conservative score (on a 0-100 scale, with higher values indicating stronger conservatism) and subtracting from it his liberal score (displayed in the same way), and then averaging these scores among all members from a state to arrive at the state's index*.

Underestimating the importance of partisanship, I originally hoped to do more with the data than I've ended up doing. All the same, here they are, perhaps to be utilized by someone more perspicacious than I am. Economic conservatism, by state:

StateEconomic con
1. Wyoming88.0
2. Idaho67.0
3. Nebraska57.3
3. Utah57.3
5. Oklahoma51.6
6. Montana42.0
7. Texas34.5
8. Louisiana34.3
9. Alabama32.6
10. New Mexico28.7
11. Kentucky26.0
12. Colorado25.9
13. Alaska22.0
14. South Carolina21.7
15. Virginia19.7
16. Georgia19.5
17. Arizona17.6
18. Kansas17.3
19. Tennessee16.2
20. Indiana14.0
21. Iowa13.0
22. Ohio12.3
23. Florida11.2
24. Missouri10.3
25. Delaware10.0
26. Arkansas8.0
27. Nevada7.0
28. South Dakota5.0
29. North Carolina1.5
30. Michigan(7.3)
31. Washington(7.7)
32. Pennsylvania(9.7)
33. Minnesota(10.3)
34. New Jersey(10.5)
35. Wisconsin(11.8)
36. California(12.4)
37. West Virginia(15.0)
38. Illinois(16.0)
38. North Dakota(16.0)
40. Mississippi(22.0)
41. Oregon(30.0)
42. Maine(35.5)
42. New Hampshire(35.5)
44. New York(42.0)
45. Connecticut(43.4)
46. Maryland(45.1)
47. Vermont(52.0)
48. Rhode Island(62.0)
49. Massachusetts(76.1)
50. Hawaii(85.0)

Social conservatism, by state:

StateSocial con
1. Wyoming68.0
2. Idaho61.5
3. Utah55.3
4. Nebraska43.3
5. Alabama39.3
6. Oklahoma34.6
7. Kentucky31.8
8. Georgia31.8
9. South Carolina31.5
10. Montana31.0
11. Virginia30.6
12. New Mexico25.0
13. Texas23.8
14. Alaska20.0
15. Tennessee18.0
16. Arizona17.0
17. Florida16.0
18. Louisiana15.6
19. Indiana13.9
20. Ohio12.4
21. North Carolina12.0
22. Colorado11.9
23. Delaware9.0
24. Nevada3.0
25. Michigan2.9
26. Missouri0.8
27. Kansas(0.3)
28. Iowa(4.6)
29. Pennsylvania(5.6)
30. Wisconsin(7.3)
31. New Jersey(9.4)
32. Mississippi(10.5)
33. Minnesota(11.0)
34. South Dakota(12.0)
35. West Virginia(12.7)
36. Arkansas(12.8)
37. New Hampshire(13.0)
38. Illinois(13.3)
39. California(13.8)
40. Maine(21.0)
40. Vermont(21.0)
42. Washington(25.0)
43. North Dakota(28.0)
44. New York(31.1)
45. Oregon(36.8)
46. Maryland(42.4)
47. Connecticut(56.2)
48. Hawaii(64.0)
49. Rhode Island(69.5)
50. Massachusetts(71.1)

Conservatism in foreign policy (phrasing it this way seems Orwellian, since 'conservative' foreign policy in the US tends toward assertiveness and interventionism, while 'liberal' foreign policy trends in the opposite direction):

StateFP con
1. Wyoming76.0
2. Idaho66.5
3. Oklahoma60.4
4. Utah58.7
5. Nebraska46.0
6. Alaska38.0
7. Alabama34.9
8. Texas34.8
9. Georgia31.4
10. Montana31.0
11. Nevada30.0
12. Kentucky29.7
13. Louisiana29.3
14. Virginia25.7
15. New Mexico24.7
16. South Carolina24.2
17. Florida19.4
18. Colorado16.9
19. Ohio16.8
20. Kansas16.5
21. Arizona14.9
22. Indiana13.6
23. Tennessee11.6
24. Delaware9.0
25. Missouri7.8
26. Michigan2.7
27. Mississippi1.3
28. Arkansas0.3
29. Pennsylvania(0.7)
30. North Carolina(1.5)
31. South Dakota(2.0)
32. Washington(6.8)
33. Illinois(10.1)
34. Minnesota(15.3)
35. California(17.4)
36. New Jersey(24.2)
37. West Virginia(26.3)
38. Wisconsin(26.5)
39. North Dakota(27.0)
40. Rhode Island(30.5)
41. Iowa(32.0)
42. Connecticut(38.4)
43. New York(38.7)
44. Maryland(40.8)
45. New Hampshire(53.0)
46. Oregon(53.6)
47. Hawaii(61.0)
48. Maine(62.5)
49. Massachusetts(76.7)
50. Vermont(77.0)

To keep the above from becoming frustratingly disparate, the following table orders states by overall congressional conservatism, arrived at by averaging the three categories while also showing each state's respective rankings by category:

StateOverallEcon rankSocial rankFP rank
1. Wyoming77.3111
2. Idaho64.8222
3. Utah57.0334
4. Oklahoma48.9563
4. Nebraska48.9345
6. Alabama35.6957
7. Montana34.761010
8. Texas31.07138
9. Kentucky29.211712
10. Georgia27.61689
11. Alaska26.713146
12. Louisiana26.481813
13. New Mexico26.1101215
14. South Carolina25.814916
15. Virginia25.3151114
16. Colorado18.2122218
17. Arizona16.5171621
18. Florida15.5231717
19. Tennessee15.3191523
20. Indiana13.8201922
20. Ohio13.8222019
22. Nevada13.3272411
23. Kansas11.2182720
24. Delaware9.3252324
25. Missouri6.3242625
26. North Carolina4.0292130
27. Michigan(0.6)302526
28. Arkansas(1.5)263628
29. South Dakota(3.0)283431
30. Pennsylvania(5.3)322929
31. Iowa(7.9)212841
32. Mississippi(10.4)403227
33. Minnesota(12.2)333334
34. Illinois(13.1)383833
35. Washington(13.2)314232
36. California(14.5)363935
37. New Jersey(14.7)343136
38. Wisconsin(15.2)353038
39. West Virginia(18.0)373537
40. North Dakota(23.7)384339
41. New Hampshire(33.8)423745
42. New York(37.3)444443
43. Maine(39.7)424048
44. Oregon(40.1)414546
45. Maryland(42.8)464644
46. Connecticut(46.0)454742
47. Vermont(50.0)474050
48. Rhode Island(54.0)484940
49. Hawaii(70.0)504847
50. Massachusetts(74.6)495049

About what you'd expect, with a few exceptions. New Mexico's delegation is quite conservative, while Mississippi's is pretty leftist, as is North Dakota's Earl Pomeroy, relative to his state's uninterrupted support for Republican presidential candidates extending all the way back to Richard Nixon's election in 1968.

It is important to realize that the enormous inherent advantages of incumbency can make representation appear to be arbitrary from this nationwide vantage point. Why was Wyoming's representative, the now-retired Barbara Cubin, so stridently conservative, while North Dakota's Earl Pomeroy is a moderate Democrat? Wyoming did replace Utah as the reddest state in '08, but the Presidential and political gaps--exit polls indicate 39% of Wyoming voters consider themselves conservative and 14% liberal to North Dakota's 36% and 16%, respectively--are not nearly as wide as the chasm between the their respective Congressional representatives are. The same sort of contrast is apparent on the left end by looking at Delaware's Michael Castle, a centrist Republican, and Rhode Island's Patrick Kennedy and James Langevin, both of whom are reliably leftist Democrats.

The question is meant to be rhetorical. I don't have an answer, other than point out that Wyoming's Cubin had been in office since the Republican revolution of '94, the same year Ted Kennedy's son Patrick took office in Rhode Island, Pomeroy and Castle were first elected to Congress in '92, and Langevin, at age 45, has been in his spot for five consecutive terms. Especially when a representative is opposite the center of his constituency, the longer he stays, the easier it becomes to keep staying. There are a combination of reasons for this, including voter appreciation of pork brought in from the federal level to the district feeding trough, name recognition and its conseqeunt media advantages, and financial backing from the party's national committee.

As the House putatively exists to enact legislation at the federal level, the charge that North Dakotans are being poorly served relative to Wyomingites ignores the fact that it is the nationwide aggregate that is ultimately important from the political perspective of voters. State and local governments matter more than Congressional representatives do in the way residents go about their daily lives. Their congressional representatives mostly matter to the extent they are able to win stuff through the spoils system. With the odd exception of a Ron Paul, the vast majority of congress critters are making concerted efforts to bring home the federal bacon, whether they be on the left or the right.

Despite apparent randomness in some solidly red (blue) states fielding conservative (liberal) congressional delegations while others send center-left (-right) groups, for the most part voters get what they want. The correlations between McCain's support and economic, social, and foreign policy congressional conservatism are .80, .75, and .77, respectively. These are hardly distinguishable from the correlations between the percentage of a state's voters who consider themselves liberal subtracted from the percentage who self-describe as conservative, and congressional conservatism, which are .77, .73, and .89, respectively.

Bruce Charlton recently published an editorial in Medical Hypotheses examining the personality attributes accompanying high IQ, "including the trait of ‘Openness to experience’, ‘enlightened’ or progressive left-wing political values, and atheism." Does this hold at the state level in the US? IQ estimates derived from NAEP testing and National Journal data referenced above suggests it does. The correlations between a state's average IQ and economic, social, and foreign policy conservatism are -.09, -.14, and -.28, respectively. The relationship with foreign policy is the only one to reach significance at the 95% confidence level, giving the ordering face validity. Knowing nothing else about them, if one guy tells you he is fiscally conservative but opposes nation-building, you're likely to assume he is more intelligent than the other guy who tells you he supports strong military action overseas but thinks the federal government needs to do more to help people at home. This pattern emerges at the state level as well.

* Eight representatives were present for fewer than half of roll calls in at least one of the three categories during 2008. Their behavior is estimated by averaging the votes of the rest of the representatives in their state who share their party affiliation. Stephanie Tubbs-Jones of Ohio's 11th district died last August and was not replaced until November by Marcia Fudge. Consequently, only Tubbs-Jones votes are used to determine Ohio's political composition.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Mexicans say amnesty encourages them to come to US illegally; enforcement discourages them from doing so

A new Zogby poll exposes what amnesty proponents are aiming for. Among the key findings:
• A clear majority of people in Mexico, 56 percent, thought giving legal status to illegal immigrants in the United States would make it more likely that people they know would go to the United States illegally. Just 17 percent thought it would make Mexicans less likely to go illegally. The rest were unsure or thought it would make no difference.

• Of Mexicans with a member of their immediate household in the United States, 65 percent said a legalization program would make people they know more likely to go to America illegally.

...

• A new Pew Research Center poll also found that about one-third of Mexicans would go to the United States if they could.

• An overwhelming majority (69 percent) of people in Mexico thought that the primary loyalty of Mexican-Americans (Mexico- and U.S.-born) should be to Mexico. Just 20 percent said it should be to the United States. The rest were unsure.

• Also, 69 percent of people in Mexico felt that the Mexican government should represent the interests of Mexican-Americans (Mexico- and U.S.-born) in the United States.

...

•Both the bad economy and increased immigration enforcement were cited as reasons fewer people were going to America as illegal immigrants and more were coming back to Mexico.

Granting legalization to those currently illegally residing in the US will encourage more Mexicans to come stateside illegally. Tougher internal and border enforcement of existing immigration laws, in contrast, will discourage potential illegal immigrants from coming to the US. Make life easier for illegal immigrants and more of them will show up. Make life more difficult for illegal immigrants and more of them will go home. Simple stuff.

By more than 3 to 1, Mexicans say a McCain-Kennedy redux will lead to an increase in those leaving Mexico to settle in the US illegally.

By 7 to 2, Mexicans believe the loyalty of their compatriots living in the US should primarily be to Mexico. Mexicans currently living in the US were these people until they headed north, so this strongly suggests that an overwhelming majority of Mexicans residing in the US right now feel closer to Mexico than they do to America.

Among the plurality of Mexicans who think the number of Mexicans in the US has decreased in recent years, one-third cite tougher immigration enforcement as the primary reason. A couple of high-profile raids and hollow lip service about being a nation of laws is a formidable deterrent. Imagine the effects that serious enforcement and restrictionist measures would have!

More than one-third of Mexicans living south of the border profess that they would head to the US if they had the "means and opportunity" to do so. That's 41 million aspiring settlers from a country where the purchasing power parity is less then one-third what it is in the US. There is no better way to increase poverty in the US than to import it on such a massive scale.

Sex frequency by age and marital status

In response to a married commenter with a thoroughly middling sex life, Roissy wrote the following in faux astonishment:
Once a week? What are you guys, 90? Once a week is a sexual starvation diet for
me.
Having just been presented with evidence showing that once a week is the average amount of action married men and unmarried men who are hungry and successful enough with women to hit double-digits, it's obvious that you're atypical, superman. Does being tracked down by women as you're drearily hacking and trying to keep the mucus from running out of your pores while playing lonely wallflower not give you some indication that you have an enormously helpful built-in advantage?

The response did get me thinking of another way of gauging at what age men and women are most fertile. Previously, I've looked at the number of sexual partners unmarried people have had. The results have plenty of face validity, but there are potential shortfalls in looking at total number of partners instead of the total quantity of sexual activity, most notably the inability to decipher whether or not the respondent is in a committed relationship. Further, there are pious types who actively work at being monogamous so long as the hedonistic consolation prize of plenty of in-house access is on the table. Removing married folks from the equation might cause some unwanted skew as well.

The graph below depicts frequency of sexual activity* by age range for men and women, married and unmarried.



It comes as no surprise to see that married people get more action at every age than their unmarried counterparts do. Men in their early twenties who marry women in their late teens really rock the house. Among unmarried men and women, the peak of sexual activity comes in the mid-twenties. After hitting menopause, female sexual desire drops to almost nothing, as illustrated by index scores under 2--less than once a month, on average--from the late-forties on. Married women probably continue to put out mostly for the sake of their husbands once they reach that point. Men mellow gently as time goes on, but don't really lose their lust until they reach their sixties.

Regarding Roissy's comment, an index score of 4 indicates weekly sex, something the average unmarried man never attains, let alone one who is 90 years old! Past the age of 70, once a quarter is nothing to be ashamed of (although I'm ashamed to have just thought about it occurring).

GSS variables used: SEXFREQ, MARITAL(1)(2-5), AGE, SEX(1)(2)

* Responses range from 0 to 6; 0 indicates no sex in the year; 1 indicates once or twice a year; 2 indicates once a month; 3 indicates 2-3x a month; 4 indicates weekly; 5 indicates 2-3x a week; 6 indicates 4+ times per week.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Away for a bit

For any readers in the Cincinnati area, I'll be there through the weekend if anyone has interest in getting together. Let me know via email.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Support for private property rights by ethnicity

Last month blogger TGGP wondered why the myth that Native Americans had no concept of private property is so remains so reticent today:

He claims that native americans were baffled by the concept of private property, believing all land was holy and belonged to nature. That was a myth made up to justify seizing their land, then later adopted by environmentalists sympathetic to their plight. A few pages later he writes “the local Buryats seemed able to make as
many distinctions between one kind of dung an another as Eskimos could with snow”. The Eskimo-words-for-snow meme is also mythical. What is it about native americans that results in this stuff being so widely believed?
The image of North America's indigenous population has been transformed over the last century from the stoic warrior (which is why their variations have been such popular sports team mascots) to the pacifist proto-hippie, partially in the service of environmentalists, for which myths like those surrounding Chief Seattle are used to portray real estate development sacrilege.

What about contemporary views on private property? In 2000, the GSS asked if, in a free society, it is right if a few people accumulate a lot of wealth and property while many others live in poverty. For ease of presentation, I've inverted the responses so that, on a 5 point scale, 5 indicates strong agreement and 1 indicates strong disagreement. Thus, the higher the index value, the more supportive a group is of private property rights. The following table shows average scores for various ethnic groups:

EthnicityIndexN
English3.46169
Scandanavian3.2748
German3.04184
Eastern European3.0368
Irish3.01130
French2.9826
Italian2.9764
Asian2.8839
Hispanic2.74108
Native American2.6654
African (Black)2.42118

English also includes Welsh and Scotish; Scandanavian includes Norwegians, Danes, Swedes, and Finns; German also includes Austrians; Eastern European includes Russian, Poles, Hungarians, Czechs, Lithuanians, and those from the former Yugoslavia; Asian includes Chinese, Japanese, Filipinos, Indians, and "other Asians"; Hispanics, of course, can be of any race but are primarily Mexican.

Descending from Locke and Harrington, Anglos show the most support for private property, followed by Scandanavians. The rest of Europe is bunched together with moderately lower levels of enthusiasm. The Asian sample is prohibitively small, but the sub-European value is not surprising given higher self-reported levels of 'collectivism' in Asia. Native Americans fall in with their mostly Amerindian Hispanic cousins. In the spirit of MLK, blacks show the greatest opposition to unequal levels of affluence as a consequence of private property. One standard deviation is 1.22 points on the index, placing the black average one SD 'below' the English average.

Crudely put, the lighter you are, the more supportive of property rights you tend to be (and likely of individualism more generally). As the percentage of Americans of European descent shrinks, private property rights will come up against increasing political and legal pressures for increased redistribution of private resources.

Parenthetically, the male average is 3.07; the female average is 2.78.

GSS variables used: WLTHPOV, ETHNIC, HISPANIC(2-99)

Monday, October 05, 2009

Missing Mangan sucks

Following is my response to Dennis Mangan's post on a previous comment of mine to another post of his (tracking?) where I raised objections to the putatively transformative power of game. Unfortunately, I'm more than a fortnight too late and the thread is dead, but as many readers were involved in it at Mangan's, it's worth reproducing here. Also, it helps clarify my line of reasoning. Brackets are additions I made after proofing.

---

Man, I have to get back to following the RSS feeder, but as of late I've gotten so far behind that I devote an open evening to catching up on a month's worth of output from my favorite bloggers. Being several weeks late to the discussion is the frustrating consequence.

Whiskey,

TGGP's response does not require further iteration, but it might be clarifying nonetheless.

Unless the purpose of an analysis is to find out the behavior of 54 year old married men in 1998, that a sample only contains eight married men aged 54 in 1998 is immaterial. If it were otherwise, Gallup and Rasmussen would have to obtain sample sizes at every age (and where to draw the line? By year? By month? By week?) sufficiently large enough to reach a margin of error +/- 3% for each specific age category. But when Gallup reports on President Obama's approval rating, it is presenting the sentiments of a much broader swath of the population (adults 18 and over, likely voters, etc). [Your line of criticism is only relevant if Gallup is claiming that approval for Obama has dropped significantly since his inauguration among those aged 26 years and four months.]

To someone immersed in the quantitative side of the Steveosphere, this is intuitively obvious. I do not mean to be condescending, but you really should stop trying to float such a silly argument against the validity of the GSS.

Dennis,

The pattern is the same for men. The fewer the number of sexual partners he has had, the more fecund he tends to be, so long, of course, as he has at least one (in Roissy's terminology, alphas aren't in the evolutionary septic tank, omegas are. But betas are faring best of all).

Re: humans being progressively selected for monogamy, Thursday nails it:

The 80% of women reproduce while only 40% of men do stat is only accurate over the entire history of humans. It's not what is happening today or what has happened over the past few centuries.

The majority of males who have historically not procreated have also had very little, if any, sex. Polygyny was something our ancestors saw first hand much more than we do today. We might be sliding backwards--hell, we seem to be on so many other fronts, after all--but it is the general hysteria surrounding such putatively seismic shifts that I find tiresome. [According to data from the GSS, currently among those aged 50 and over--essentially having written the final chapter in their procreative stories--89% of women and 86% of men have at least one child. The vast majority of men are passing their genes on to offspring, something many paleolithic men were not fortunate enough to experience.]

The shift toward greater levels of monogamy--and more egalitarian sexual access for men--presumably started to kick into high gear with settled agriculture. The resulting selection pressures probably shouldn't be separated from the larger 10,000 Year Explosion phenomenon. [As female choice has increasingly come to dominate human sexual relations--again something far removed from chimps, where the lowliest male socially outranks the highest-status female--so has more inclusive monogamy (serial, not necessarily lifelong) increasingly come to gain ground at the expense of winner-take-all polygamy.]

Also, I do not argue that Roissy or the game narrative are fundamentally incorrect, just overblown. And it's not Roissy's fault. His expectations for the benefits greater self-assuredness bring strike me as accurate based on my own personal experience--on the 1-10 scale, it'll allow most guys to reach about a point higher than they were previously able to, depending on where they're starting from.

Generally, n/a is not "on my side". When he does drop by, it's to kick my ass for some wrongly held working presumption I'm holding at the time. He's worth paying attention to.

[GSS variables used: CHILDS, YEAR(2000-2008), AGE(50-89), SEX(1)(2)]

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Who is fighting for egalitarian sexual fulfillment?

The Dave Matthews Band has been running through my head since their show in Kansas City last week. From the song Spaceman:
All the freaks are on parade
I wanna fill my belly, so I gotta get paid
Doesn't everybody deserve to have the good life?
But it don't always work out
Cry cry baby, if we must
Just remember, remember
I love the way you love me,
And I love the way you move
Matthews' politics are leftist boilerplate. The band played at Bill Clinton's 1997 inauguration, partnered up with Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream to raise awareness about global warming, strongly supported the Kerry and Obama campaigns, and their eponymous leader even took himself to Jimmy Carter's level by charging that opposition to President Obama's policies is largely the result of white racism. DMB is a strong candidate for being the most SWPL musical act in existence.

So he illustrates as well as anyone a curious feature of egalitarianism in popular Western leftism. When it comes to actual material inequality or perceived cultural inequality, leftists reliably criticize and lament the unfairness. Racism and exploitation are everywhere. But as the lyrics to Spaceman illustrate, personal sexual success is seen as existing outside of the world of equality concerns. The world's so unfair, but at least I have you, lover(s).

It's hard to imagine someone like Matthews speaking out about the aphrodiasical injustice that drove George Sodini over the edge. It is effectively inconceivable that a well-off, healthy guy with a moderately prestigious occupation whose agoraphobia (or whatever was responsible for his social awkwardness) could be more deserving of pity than a chronically unemployed, uneducated cad who's been in and out of jail. Instead, Sodini is more likely to be portrayed in the same light as Comic Book Guy (starts 18:50):
Inspired by the most logical race in the galaxy, the Vulcans, breeding will be permitted once every seven years. For many of you, this will be much less breeding. For me, much, much more.
To protest sexual inequality is tantamount to admitting one has low mating attractiveness. Policies to reduce it are not seen as legitimate ideological positions. CBG's announcement to the Springfield citizenry is booed and precipitates the ousting of the Mensa leadership in favor of the return of the corrupt Quimby machine. This is in stark contrast to protesting economic inequality, often a method of displaying one's affluence and high earning capacity, and a broadly lauded goal across most of the socio-political spectrum.

Some cover is provided for the dereliction with the presumption that The One is out there for everyone to find, that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and that consequently there are not, objectively, some people who are smokin and others who are fugly. But that politically correct myth commands about as much credulity as the Greek pantheon does today.