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Today the Lion of the Blogosphere blogged about how women supposedly hate men who work in STEM occupations (science, technology, engineering, math).  In my opinion, there’s a simple explanation for this.  Biologists recognize two major ways organisms pass on their genes: r and K.  At the r end of the scale, you have primitive organisms like fish, snakes and dandelions.  These organisms provide very little parental care and thus their offspring have very high death rates, but they make up for it by reproducing so prolifically. At the K end of the scale, you have advanced organisms like humans.  We have very low reproduction rates (many of us choose never to have children at all), but that’s negated by the high survival rates of the children we do have.

So even though humans as a species are incredibly K selected, some believe that some humans are more K selected than others.  In other words, while some men have numerous sexual partners and father lots of illegitimate babies with different mothers, other men are more nerdy, and father very few children with only one woman, but they make sure those children are well parented and provided for.

When men first evolved in the warm hospitable tropics some 200,000 years ago, survival was relatively easy, so instead of natural selection (survival of the fittest), genetic fitness was determined by who could get the most women (sexual selection).  As a result, men with the biggest muscles, highest testosterone, best social skills, most charisma and sexual abilities, were the most successful at passing on their genes.  But as the ice age emerged and humans moved North, passing on genes became more about natural selection and less about sexual selection.  What good is it to be a great pick up artist if you can’t survive the winter long enough to mate?

As a result, the technological skills needed to survive cold winters became more important than the people skills needed to attract women.  Big brains became more important than big muscles and big genitals.  Men became better at acquiring resources than at acquiring status.  Put simply, in the last 200,000 years, humans have been evolving from dumb artistic jocks to smart scientific nerds.  Nerds, almost by definition, are better at adapting to technology than adapting to people, so it’s no surprise that they suck at attracting women.

Because nerds evolved through natural selection to acquire resources, they are over-represented among the richest men in America (i.e. Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, the founders of Yahoo and Google)..  By contrast, the highest status people tend to be U.S. presidents, celebrities, professional athletes, religious leaders, and rock stars.  

 

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