Saturday, December 29, 2012

Pew induces puking

A little with this report, anyway. Pew Research is an admirable organization that has given me buckets of food for thought and more than my share of blogging material to make use of, all without asking anything of me in return. Countless hours of entertainment for free. What could the organization possibly owe me? If anything, I owe it. Still, while this report might not be the Worst. Report. Ever., omission and obfuscation abound.

Entitled "A Bipartisan Nation of Beneficiaries", it opens by showing that a full 59% of Obama voters and 53% of Romney voters received benefits from at least one of the six major entitlement programs considered. Wow, looks like "the 47%" thing was an understatement! Voters tend to be a notch above non-voters and yet majorities of both parties' electorates are welfare queens! This graphic, presented later in the report, sheds some light on why the recipient percentages are so high, however:

Virtually all seniors have been on the public dole because medicaid and especially social security--which is there for the taking for everyone, the only restriction being geriatric--are included in the analysis. With the 65+ age bracket breaking 56%-44% for Romney, the inclusion of these universal old age government-provided benefits stacks the deck to make it appear as though Obama voters were hardly any more likely to be feeding at the public trough than Romney voters were. That, of course, is technically accurate, and it sheds some light on how politically perilous the Ryan budget plan was. Excepting defense, cuts in the rate of growth in these programs are among the least offensive to the Democratic party. But in the public mind, social security is something everyone pays into and subsequently is entitled to take from, while things like TANF and food stamps are there for those who are incapable of providing for themselves.

If Pew spun the findings as noted above but disaggregated the data in the index of the report, I wouldn't be whining, but the organization doesn't. It would be nice to know, for instance, the electoral breakdown among medicaid, TANF, food stamps, and unemployment insurance recipients without the inclusion of social security (which has the greatest number of recipients among the six programs considered) and medicare recipients in the mix. As written, the report clearly indicates that Pew has the data broken out in such a manner but intentionally doesn't report it as such, as doing so would show that the takers are squarely in Obama's camp.

There is still something to be gleaned from the report as is that will be of interest to regular readers, however. It's well known in these parts that women are leading the way towards our progressive leftist future. If only men had voted in November, Romney would've won as convincingly as Obama actually did. Why do women--especially the unmarried ones--like the welfare state so much? Because men foot the bill for it while they enjoy the lion's share of the benefits it provides. The percentages, by sex, who use none, one, two, and three or more of the six entitlement programs:


TSB 2013, Cowboys/Patriots

Hopefully you're doing something more productive than this over the holiday season. The extra time I've found myself with, however, is being squandered on silliness of the sort below. Don't throw away your playful beginnings, I guess:

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Indonesia's Islamic spirit of tolerance

Writing at Secular Right, Andrew Stuttaford quotes Barack Obama on Indonesia:
Those things that I learned to love about Indonesia — that spirit of tolerance that is written into your constitution, symbolized in your mosques and churches and temples standing alongside each other; that spirit that is embodied in your people — that still lives on.
When evaluating flattering fluff like this, my instinct is to try and quantifiably evaluate how much truth, if any, it contains. When the subject is international in scope, the World Values Survey, imperfect and eccentric though it may be, is one of the best places to turn. In the most recent wave spanning the years 2005-2008, it asked respondents in several countries how much they trust people of a different religion than their own. There were four possible responses. I've assigned them scores of 3, 2, 1, and 0 for "trust completely", "trust a little", "trust not very much", and "not trust at all", respectively, to create a simple trust index that shows each country's mean score:

1. Sweden2.03
2. New Zealand2.01
3. France1.99
4. Norway1.90
5. Great Britain1.87
6. Mali*1.85
7. Finland1.85
8. United States1.81
9. Canada1.80
10. Australia1.74
11. Switzerland1.72
12. Andorra1.71
13. South Africa1.70
14. Rwanda1.67
15. Argentina1.63
16. Trinidad and Tobago1.60
17. Burkina Faso1.55
18. Uruguay1.52
19. Ghana1.50
20. Taiwan1.42
21. Serbia1.41
22. Poland1.40
23. Brazil1.40
24. Netherlands1.38
25. Spain1.37
26. India1.36
27. Ethiopia1.36
28. South Korea1.35
29. Bulgaria1.35
30. Indonesia1.32
31. Georgia1.31
32. Germany1.30
33. Ukraine1.27
34. Zambia1.26
35. Italy1.26
36. Malaysia1.23
37. Chile1.21
38. Egypt1.21
39. Thailand1.16
40. Colombia1.15
41. Russia1.15
42. Vietnam1.15
43. Slovenia1.11
44. Romania1.10
45. Jordan1.05
46. Mexico1.02
47. Turkey1.01
48. Cyprus1.00
49. Moldova0.98
50. Morocco0.91
51. Peru0.89
52. China0.89

Coming in at 30 of 52 countries, Indonesia is rather middling in terms of attitudinal religious tolerance. It does better than four (or possibly five) of the six other Muslim countries on the list--Morocco, Egypt, Jordan, and Turkey. *The data on Mali may have been transcribed backwards. If so, it should be placed in the company of Russia and Vietnam, which means Indonesia deserves its designation as a "moderate Muslim" country. The Mali data may be correct, on the other hand, as its responses are similar to those reported in Burkina Faso, a country that is 60% Muslim. When dealing with reliable data on Africa, a healthy dose of skepticism is always in order.

All religions are not created equal, however, and Indonesia comes in well below the Anglophone (read Christian and post-Christian) nations. By the standards Obama has grown up observing, Indonesian attitudes can hardly be said to foster a "spirit of tolerance".

Parenthetically, the Han Chinese are nationalistic, a substantial number of Germans agree with Thilo Sarrazin, Sweden is the most tolerant place in the universe, and some values do indeed stop at the Rio Grande.

WVS variables used: V129

Sunday, December 23, 2012

The gun gap

Writes Jack Hunter:
In the cause of preventing future tragedies, it would make FAR more sense to ban the media from ever mentioning the names of these evil murderers than to further restrict guns. Think they'll give up their 1st Amendment rights? For public safety?
Ever the proverbial fool, after seeing that pithy rhetorical ploy I knew I had to say something.

The Herostratus effect must be an order of magnitude larger than any further attempts to restrict the public's access to guns could hope to be. A decade their senior and having never toked up in my life--despite the multi-billion dollar, decades long drug war--there are several teenagers I know who I could go to if I wanted to have marijuana in front of me within the hour. Not only do far more people want guns than want weed, the sale only has to occur once for the potential 'problem' to persist in the case of firearms. With drugs it must happen over and over and over again. The idea that the government has the capacity to control gun access is beyond risible.

Then there are Pinterest-primed pieces of propaganda like this that, despite their cheap polemical attractiveness, carry with them a cautionary message worth contemplating:

But this might provide a clearer explanation for why gun control is a perennial objective of the leftist Establishment:

The inverse correlation between the percentage of a state's population that owns guns and Obama's share of the vote in 2012 is a vigorous .78 (p = 0). This is affordable family formation territory. Gun ownership rates thus 'explain' over 60% of how the states voted. Parenthetically, the most conspicuous outlier is Vermont, a deeply blue but also very rural state that has a fairly high number of firearms in it. Removing it from the analysis (not that there is necessarily any reason to do so) pushes the correlation up to .82.

Gun ownership rates tell a lot more about a state's political orientation than they do about its residents proclivity for violence. In fact, there is no meaningful relationship between gun ownership and homicide rates at the state level (r = .09, p = .52).

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Fatherhood is more than sperm donation

From a man contemplating whether or not it's possible to be both an alpha male and a genetic dead end comes a hypothetical thought experiment designed to show that procreation per se isn't the end all, be all of male fulfillment:
The two choices are guaranteed to fill the gene pool with five cherubic apples of your eye.

The choice which leaves you more satisfied, more personally fulfilled and brimming with positive feelings of high self-worth, is

a. creating a legacy through a sperm bank, or

b. creating a legacy through sex with your wives?


Remember, hypothetically both choices result in the same number and same quality of offspring issuing from your seeding shaft. If the old skoolers who claim that children are the crux and the crucible of alpha maleness are right, either choice should result in very strong feelings of self-regard and confidence, two undeniably intrinsic traits of the alpha male with which no one but a deranged feminist (but I repeat myself) would object.

And yet, I predict there are very few men who would consider choice (a) as ego-affirming and confidence-inspiring as choice (b). In fact, I bet a lot of donating men leave sperm banks feeling oddly morose. 
The reason for my prediction is that the anti-game trad-cons are incorrect in their assessment of what constitutes alpha maleness. It is not the children or the genetic legacy per se that swells men’s souls with alpha sweetness; it is the sex with feminine, willing women which does the trick. 
The sex is the prime directive and the origin source of alpha male nourishment.
For men, at least as far as self-assessment is concerned, happiness is substantially associated with youth, marriage, high social status, and religious piety, less so with educational attainment, political conservatism, and having children, and not at all with intelligence or number of sexual encounters.

But the quant angle isn't one I want to take in offering a suggestion to the king here. The manosphere has moved away from being a distinctly data free zone over the last couple of years, but statistical significance and empirical evaluation are still little more than supplements to be employed when useful and ignored when potentially problematic.

Instead, allow me to merely point out that Roissy's post entirely ignores the nurturing instinct and comes up lacking because of it. Though presumably stronger in beta males than in alpha males (and of course stronger in women than men), it characterizes nearly all heterosexual men to varying extents. Creating a legacy through a sperm bank is a path completely devoid of any nurturing. Even if instead of ejaculating into a cup, donors got to blow a load into a warm, supple sexbot, the latter option would probably still win out. Fatherhood isn't exclusively just a chore for chump. There is more than social convention and the force of law that compel most men to have some level of involvement in the upbringing of their progeny.

Monday, December 17, 2012

The Office fogies

I'm into the fifth season of The Office. As a cog in the machine, its lampooning of the corporate world hits home and the hot-cold mix of blatant-subtle presentation really does it for me. My onomastic obsession has been activated since the beginning, though. The show is set in contemporary Scranton, PA but if one considers the characters' names in a vacuum, he'd be excused for guessing it debuted in 1987. Using BabyNamingWizard, an approximate expected age for each of the show's major characters based on when their given names peaked in popularity:

Age 128
Age 33 (plausible)
Age 41 (plausible)
Age unknown (...)
Age 49
Age 53
Age 61
Age 42 (nailed it)
Age 52
Age 71
Age 40
Age 52
Age 29 (overcompensation!)
Age 49 (plausible)
Age 51
Age 78
Age 119
Age 30 (nailed it)
Age 101
Age 59
Age 43 (nailed it)

Prior to this, I haven't watched a sitcom since The Simpsons, so maybe the giving of established (that is, old ones that everyone is familiar with) names is standard practice because it makes them easier for viewers to remember?

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Where to be born vs. where people are being born

The Economist's "sister" company has made an earnest, contemporary attempt to determine which countries are the most and least propitious ones to be born into. Check out the list and notes on the methodology there.

The first thing that jumps out at me is that the best places to be born are doing the least birthing, while the worst places are doing more than their fair share of it. The correlation between a country's where-to-be-born index score and its total fertility rate is a statistically significant .49. A couple of tweaks could easily make that moderately robust relationship considerably stronger still.

Firstly, give sub-Saharan Africa more reasonable representation. Of the 80 countries included, only four--including the 'crown jewel', South Africa (#53)--make the cut. The other three--Angola, Kenya, and Nigeria--rank 76th, 79th, and 80th on the ranking of where it's best to be born, respectively. They rank 1st, 3rd, and 2nd when it comes to procreation, however.

Secondly, reduce Eastern Europe's and central Asia's representation. There are a lot of old Soviet countries included that tend to be, rather uniquely, both crappy places to be born and places where there isn't much birthing occurring. A lot of attention is given to the question of which countries will be the globe's prime movers in the 21st century, but a less frequently inquired about question (and one with a clearer set of answers) is which places will be bit players.

That said, as constructed an observable pattern still emerges:

At one remove, the list paints a dysgenic global picture. Of course, the right-thinking editors at the august magazine don't actually mention anything about fertility (the closest they come is a parenthetical "demography", devoid of any expounding), but Economist readers can surely read between the lines (with quantification to boot if they visit this our humble online outpost here!).

It has become unfashionable for the Establishment to push population reduction as a policy goal even with the ascent of green thinking because of the rather obvious implication that the hardest hit if such a goal was realized would be NAMs--especially immigrants--domestically and third-worlders internationally. Even when the subject is bandied about in the more politically incorrect parts of the media world, the racial and ethnic ramifications are often glossed over.

Recently, Randall Parker wondered how to best sell leftists on how to cut the demand for low-skilled labor and, by implication, thus reduce illegal immigration from south of the border. Similarly, how best to sell them on promoting eugenic birthing?

Egalitarianism seems like the most plausible avenue to pursue. A simple thought experiment demonstrates. In the real world scenario, Mr. and Mrs. Rich, worth $10 million, have one kid, while Ms. Poor, worth $10k, has five. Kid Richie gets $10 million passed on to him, while each of the Poories get $2k. He's worth 5,000 times more than they are. In the Ideal World, Mr. and Mrs. Rich have five kids while Ms. Poor has one. Each of the Richies get $2 million, while Poorie gets $10k. Now a Rich kid is only worth 200 times as much. Presto, a 25 fold reduction in the wealth gap!

Infield annihilation of PUAs?

Speaking of me, I have an idea to serve as a sort of dark complement to videos of PUAs in action. It came to me the other night at a Christmas party. My girlfriend showed me a text her ex-boyfriend sent her, the fourth or fifth she's showed me over the last month or so. Without going into too much detail, he's a good looking guy with an interest in and pretty natural grasp of game, but I know she's thoroughly committed, not least because of what hacking someone's facebook can tell you.

That they were unprovoked aside, the texts don't betray that. Up to this point, I'd scoffed and said something to the effect of "you actually had anything to do a joker that desperate, heh," whenever she got one. This time, though, I took her phone and responded:
This is AE. Your lame attempts are pathetic. She's moved WAY up. Stop wasting our time. Don't make me tell you again.
To which he wrote:
It doesn't look like she's moved WAY up from where I'm standing, haha. I'm in a great relationship now ... [lots of blah blah blah] ... I keep in touch with my exes. If she doesn't want me to, she can tell me.
Wrote my girlfriend:
Please stop texting me. I don't know why you keep doing it. I don't have anything to say to you.
She pleaded with me to just drop it, but I'm not one to turn down a little mano-a-mano. I shot back:
You're a janitor who lives with his mom in the ghetto. I could buy and sell your sorry ass ten times over. Or if you'd prefer I could just beat the living shit out of you. If you're ever unfortunate enough to see me in person, you'll wish you had never been born.
A bit of a calculated risk because I suppose he could have reported it to the police as a physical threat, but what the hell, life's short and when you have arms like I do, the only thing you have to worry about in throwing down the gauntlet is the long arm of the law. Or someone who's packing, or who spots you from the behind the wheel while you're walking down the street, or... okay, okay, enough. The point is that as long as the other guy doesn't cheat, I can say whatever I want to just about whoever I want to. Anyway, he's seen me via facebook so, unsurprisingly, he stopped at that point and hasn't said anything since.

This little incident served as the catalyst for the idea of making videos that have fun toying with alphas in action. The formula is simple--look for guys who are peacocking, shadow them from a distance until they go to work, and then disrupt them. Hell, it could be made beneficial for PUAs in the form of tutorials on how to deal with AMOG interlocutors while still--if the video maker is the less magnanimous type--allowing the bullies to have fun. That is, he engages the PUAs for pedagogical purposes, but knows that eventually victory is almost assuredly his because he has the potential nuclear option of escalating to physical confrontation, one in which he possesses nukes and the PUA being persecuted doesn't. There are prerequisites, of course, the primary one being the body and body language required to be able to start and finish stuff with unknown men.

Philosophically, it wouldn't be the most benign undertaking imaginable, but pickup artistry is hardly good for civilizational stability* and there are certainly worse outlets for some guys' sadistic proclivities. I could have some fun with this. Seed planted.

* It's important to separate the PUA subset from general game techniques, which are inherently neutral, contingent upon application. They're tools that can be employed for a whole host of purposes, some good, others evil.

The Good Life

With apologies to Aristotle specifically and my readership more generally, a quick glimpse into my world. If I haven't found it, it feels like I must be pretty close. I wake up at 8am to my girlfriend's gentle kisses. We make love out of my morning wood and then she makes me this while I do P90X yoga:

She leaves for work and I have the day to seek out wisdom through a flat screen portal in the comfort of my own home from the best minds of the age, wherever they may dwell.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Holocaust? Beaver never heard of it

Writes Steve in a recent Taki's column:
A more general discovery was the wide usefulness of Israel’s strategy in 1967: Go on the offensive. This military triumph infused American Jews with new confidence. Before the Six-Day War, the Holocaust was only occasionally mentioned. It was depressing and alarming to admit that your people had recently been the victims of the worst massacre ever. But after Israel’s show of force, the Holocaust became a staple in American media.
What to do when one of your intellectual heroes utters something oh so controversial, and about Jews of all groups? Prove he's correct, that's what:

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The left's anti-natalism

Commenter "Dan" wrote the following in a couple of places:
Here are 10 areas off the top of my head where ‘liberal’ theology is anti-natalist: 
1 – Pro-Life versus pro Choice (duh) 
2 – Worshiping the Cathedral (specifically higher education); the more time you are in higher ed, the less time you have to have children 
3 – Feminist careerism – can’t be in the kitchen cooking dinner for your kids if you are in the corporate boardroom, or most any demanding job 
4 – Antagonism toward religion – most religions are pro natalist to varying degrees 
5 – Feminist insistence in the sameness of men and women – makes women much less attractive to men 
6 – View of marriage as a patriarchal instrument of oppression – Children are much more likely to spring forth from married people 
7 – Upholding birth control as a fundamental human right (and forcing every institution to give it away for free) 
8 – The environmentalists view of humans basically as a scourge on the planet 
9 – Liberals’ attachment to urban living puts them in a setting not conducive to having children 
10 – Young liberals’ belief that they have a human right to pursue a field that is not economically viable means of course that they will not be able to, you know, support anybody.  
Oh, gosh and I forgot the most obvious ones of all! 
11 – Male homosexuality as the holiest and most righteous form of goodness that there is. 
12 – Lesbianism as the other holiest and most righteous form of goodness that there is.
Great list. How about a contrarian perspective? In what ways could it be argued that the contemporary left is pro-natalist (even if its adherents don't always put the putatively preferred behavior into practice)? Here's off the top of my head:
- More supportive of alternative fertility methods like IVF than many socially conservative organizations are 
- Minimal hostility for 'statutory' rape between consenting people (think the Roman Polanskis of the world) 
- Hostility towards Project Prevention and similar efforts 
- Supportive of the welfare state, which plays the provider role for absent fathers (and deadbeat parents in general) 
- Relatedly, exhibits lesser to non-existent condemnation of single motherhood and teenage pregnancy 
- In favor of more lenient sentencing for convicted criminals, meaning thugs are back out scouring the street sooner 
- Supportive of unrestricted immigration, with one consequence being lots of highly fertile settlers from south of the border making babies in the US
Additions/suggestions for both lists are solicited in the comments section, please.

Only the first item could be considered both pro-natalist and eugenic, or at least not blatantly dysgenic. That Dan's list of anti-natalism characteristics is primarily directed at the white middle and working classes, while the pro-natalist list is especially relevant to NAMs is not a coincidence. Don't misconstrue a little devil's advocate work on my part as indicative of support for the civilizational destructiveness cheered on by the left.

Saturday, December 08, 2012

Early voting key to Obama's reelection?

Jack Cashill, who is always putting forward interesting and controversial (in an accurate sense of the word) ideas, is one of my favorite writers, not least of all because he plugged me into the local political scene. His recent contention that early voting was a key to Obama's reelection victory is hardly an exception to that rule. He writes:
In the week before the election, I was invited to speak at my alma mater, Purdue University. As I drove around West Lafayette, what caught my eye was the absence of Obama signs. I did not see one, not even in the faculty neighborhoods. As Obama's unpopularity grew during the last four years, his team at some point decided to concede Indiana. From their perspective, Indiana lacked one tactical asset that Ohio had -- early voting. 
Early voting is a boon for the vote harvesters. The vote harvester's mission is to gather unthinking collectives of potential voters -- nursing home residents, college students, skid-row dwellers, recent immigrants -- and get them to vote. Harvesting does not necessarily mean fraud, but it clearly encourages the same. In James O'Keefe's Project Veritas videos, we saw how easy it was for even a congressman's son -- in this case, Pat Moran, son of Jim -- to cross the line from harvesting to cheating.
After reading this, I decided to try and quantify the alleged phenomenon, but immediately became skeptical (and bemused) upon finding out that Indiana did have early in-person voting. Ohio had five weeks of it to Indiana's four. Seems like a pretty marginal difference. Not potent enough to explain why Obama's share of the vote dropped over 6 points in Indiana yet less than one point in Ohio, anyway.

Still, I ran correlations at the state level on the change in Obama's share of the vote from 2008 to 2012 and the number of days before the general election that in-person early voting began. Team Obama didn't enjoy stronger performance in 2012 relative to 2008 in early voting states. To the contrary, the president performed relatively more poorly the earlier voting began, though the relationship is statistically insignificant (r = .16, p = .25).

Parenthetically, why no link to the phrase "change in Obama's share of the vote from 2008 to 2012"? So far as I can tell, it doesn't exist. Until now, that is! The following table shows the improvement (decline) in Obama's share of each state's popular vote in 2012 from 2008:

1. Alaska2.92
2. New Jersey1.07
3. Mississippi0.79
4. Louisiana0.65
5. Maryland0.05
6. Rhode Island(0.16)
7. Alabama(0.38)
8. New York(0.48)
9. Arizona(0.67)
10. California(0.77)
11. South Carolina(0.81)
12. Ohio(0.83)
13. Vermont(0.89)
14. Florida(1.02)
15. Oklahoma(1.12)
16. Massachusetts(1.15)
17. Hawaii(1.30)
18. North Carolina(1.35)
19. Minnesota(1.41)
20. Maine(1.44)
21. Virginia(1.47)
22. Washington(1.49)
23. Georgia(1.51)
24. District of Columbia(1.55)
25. Iowa(1.94)
26. Arkansas(1.98)
27. New Hampshire(2.15)
28. Colorado (2.17)
29. Texas(2.30)
30. Oregon(2.51)
31. Pennsylvania(2.52)
32. Connecticut(2.53)
33. Tennessee(2.76)
34. Nevada(2.79)
35. Michigan(3.22)
36. Delaware(3.33)
37. Kentucky (3.37)
38. Wisconsin(3.44)
39. Idaho(3.47)
40. Nebraska(3.51)
41. Kansas(3.66)
42. New Mexico(3.92)
43. Illinois(4.32)
44. Wyoming(4.72)
45. South Dakota(4.88)
46. Missouri(4.91)
47. Montana (5.55)
48. North Dakota(5.92)
49. Indiana(6.02)
50. West Virginia(7.04)
51. Utah(9.66)

Fittingly (and tangentially), Utah was the reddest state and Hawaii the bluest--excluding DC, that is, which, when one really thinks about it, is even more fittingly the Democrats' best than Hawaii is.

While Jack may not be on empirically solid footing in this instance, the GOP should still heed his general counsel of "tightening the electoral process", as returns out of Pennsylvania highlighted:
It's one thing for a Democratic presidential candidate to dominate a Democratic city like Philadelphia, but check out this head-spinning figure: In 59 voting divisions in the city, Mitt Romney received not one vote. Zero. Zilch.


Was there not one contrarian voter in those 59 divisions, where unofficial vote tallies have President Obama outscoring Romney by a combined 19,605 to 0?

The unanimous support for Obama in these Philadelphia neighborhoods - clustered in almost exclusively black sections of West and North Philadelphia - fertilizes fears of fraud, despite little hard evidence.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Providing procreation predictors, pronto

++Addition++See Jason Malloy's work in the comments.


"Have kids" wasn't exactly the right answer to the question of how one finds his way to happy happy village, though "don't have kids" doesn't get the peregrinator any closer, either. But happiness doesn't echo through time, it expires along with its bearer. A question of greater consequence is how we get people to have more (or fewer) children. Okay, it's obvious in a technical sense. But what about a behavioral one?

By way of ordinary least squares, here are the absolute multiple regression coefficients for eleven variables that may reasonably be assumed to have substantial predictive power in terms of realized fertility. For contemporary relevance and to avoid racial confounding, responses are from 2000 onward and only non-Hispanic whites are included. Asterisks indicate statistical significance at 95% confidence.

First, for men, with parenthetical indications of what is associated with greater fecundity:

Marital status -- .37* (marriage = procreation)
Age -- .33* (time = procreation)
Church attendance -- .10* (churchgoing = procreation)
Education -- .07* (less = procreation)
Number of female partners -- .04 (fewer = procreation)
Political orientation -- .03 (conservatism = procreation)
Social class -- .03 (lower = procreation)
IQ (wordsum) -- .01 (intelligence = procreation)
Income -- .01 (less = procreation)
Happiness -- .00 (no relationship)
Belief in God -- .00 (no relationship)

The older a person is, the more time he's had to have kids. Surely age is the strongest predictor of the number of children a man has sired, isn't it? False. Marital status is even more powerful than age is, at least for those with a y-chromosome. Despite rising illegitimacy and declining marriage rates, there is no better* way to get a man to spread his seed than to have him tie the knot. Churchgoing and school-avoiding also push a man towards fatherhood. Nothing else matters much--getting around hurts a smidgen, being conservative helps a bit, but these things only marginally so.

Tangentially, a note to those interested in this sort of stuff: Religious activity tends to be more important than stated religious belief is. Speaking in broad generalities, the man who believes in God but doesn't pray, worship, or otherwise do anything else meaningful as a consequence of that stated belief is behaviorally more similar to an atheist or an agnostic than to a pious person who can reliably be found in the pews on Sunday.

For women:

Age -- .32* (time = procreation)
Marital status -- .24* (marriage = procreation)
Education -- .18* (less = procreation)
Class -- .11* (lower = procreation)
Church attendance -- .07* (churchgoing = procreation)
Political orientation -- .06* (conservatism = procreation)
Belief in God -- .06 (belief = procreation)
IQ (wordsum) -- .04 (stupidity = procreation)
Income -- .02 (less = procreation)
Happiness -- .02 (unhappiness = procreation)
Number of male partners -- .01 (fewer = procreation)

The variables are a more even keel than they are among men, with the only three not mattering much being how much a woman gets around, how happy she is, and how much money she (or her partner) makes. Age is the biggest predictor, followed by marital status, education (a killer of kid creation in the Western world), and then social class, all of which are notably influential.

Affordable family formation (and expressive piety!) isn't just the route to a Republican resurgence, it's the pathway to procreation, too. Societally, of course, we're moving in the opposite direction, as marriage and religious attendance declines while years spent accumulating debt in school instead of creating value in the workforce is still the predominant advice proffered to American youth. Forty more years!


* With the obligatory qualification that correlation does not necessarily prove causation and is in this context best thought of as merely suggestive.

Monday, December 03, 2012

STEM beliefs

In the comments of a post showing sex ratios of various supernatural beliefs, someone suggested that the heavy male skew among atheists and agnostics might have to do with the fact that men are more likely to be in STEM fields than women are. The chicken-and-egg question aside, how do STEM majors compare with the general population when it comes to belief? Conventional wisdom says they're more spiritually skeptical than the rest of society is.

Using the GSS and ISCO88 occupational classifications, we get the following distributions, first for STEM people* (n = 451) and then for society as a whole:

And so they are. Raison d'etre, that tagline.

GSS variables used: GOD(1)(2)(3-5)(6), ISCO88(2111-2114, 2121, 2122, 2131, 2132, 2141-2146, 2211, 2212, 2221-2224)

* Physicists, astronomers, meteorologists, chemists, geologists, geophysicists, mathematicians, computer systems designers and analysts, computer programmers, civil engineers, electrical engineers, electronics and telecommunications engineers, mechanical engineers, chemical engineers, architects, biologists, botanists, zoologists, pharmacologists, pathologists, medical doctors, dentists, veterinarians, and pharmacists.

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Occupations by social class

Half Sigma's post describing teaching as the quintessential middle class occupation naturally made me wonder what, precisely, the most middling profession is. HS writes:
Teaching is not the highest class of profession, but I don’t really characterize it as blue-collar. I have always considered teaching to be the quintessential middle-class occupation. “Top” college graduates aspire to upper-middle-class occupations, so that’s why they aren’t interested in teaching.

Evidence of teaching being almost as low class as nursing is that a lot of teachers are married to cops (according to an online forum).
It's important to make a distinction between the phrase "middle class" and the middle of the class continuum. There are four major classifications of social class in the contemporary US--upper class, middle class, working class, and lower/under class. There are of course gradations within these four (upper middle class, middle upper class, lower middle class, etc), but these are the four the GSS uses, and they're the four I'm going to employ here. As the breakdown is basically 5%-45%-45%-5%, respectively, to be solidly middle class is to be of 'greater' social status than being somewhere between middle and working class is to be. It is the latter position that actually constitutes the middle of the social scale.

The following table lists occupations and occupational groupings by self-assessed social class on a 1-4 scale, the higher the number, the higher the class. The mean is 2.47 with a standard deviation of .64:

Doctors, veterinarians, dentists, and pharmacists3.15
College/university lecturers and professors2.90
Architects and engineers2.90
Authors, writers, and journalists2.87
Religious practitioners2.83
Sculptors, painters, actors, and other artists2.81
Computing professionals2.81
Government officials2.77
Sales and finance workers2.73
Operations department managers2.68
Sales representatives2.67
Human resources workers2.67
Real estate agents and appraisers2.63
Government workers2.63
Policemen and firefighters2.58
Retail/wholesale managers2.58
Office department managers2.58
Mail carriers and sorters2.55
Social workers2.50
Secretaries and other office clerks2.50
Military personnel2.49
Equipment technicians2.49
Retail salespeople2.49
Bank tellers2.47
Teaching assistants2.46
Life sciences workers2.40
Hairdressers and beauticians2.40
Certified nurse assistants2.36
Childcare workers2.36
Medical assistants2.33
Waitresses and bartenders2.29
Store stockers2.26
Machine operators2.26
Construction workers and carpenters2.25
Truck drivers2.24
Sewers and knitters2.23
Building maintenance workers2.21
Personal care workers2.20
Domestic help2.18

With doctors and lawyers at the top, it passes the smell test!

Indeed, teaching is more of a middle class occupation than nursing is (evincing the fact that while class and income tend to move in the same direction, the correlation is certainly imperfect), but both professions are in the top half of the distribution. That's hardly surprising since both require college degrees and consequently are closed to most of the population.

Bank tellers are the most middling. Other Joe and Jane Americans include those in the military, techs, retail salespeople, and teaching assistants. Those sorts of jobs may strike readers here as distinctly 'prole', but we don't tend to associate with a representative sample of the public on a regular basis. I recall Charles Murray once quipping about how academics and intellectuals errantly tend to think of truck drivers as the bottom of the (white) social spectrum when in reality it descends a lot lower than that.

GSS variables used: CLASS, ISCO88. If interested in the specific codes used for each of the occupational categories, I'll gladly send the excel file--it's too tedious to list out here, though.