Friday, January 28, 2011

Ring Speciation

 It is clear to me that there is a ring speciation going on where educated rational people (ERSSG) are at one side of the ring and belief based generally undereducated people (UFSSG) are at the other. In between are the educated believers (EFSSG) who may do well in technical and even science that does not require critical and rational thinking. Other parts of the ring include educated secular (ESSSG) where the SSGs like spectator sports and even some business organizations. Thinking and analysis is discouraged in favor of fitting into the group ethos. Educational achievement is quite varied in this group, but is of less value than knowledge of the details and social values of the chosen SSG.

 The speciation is due to mating habits. ERSSG couples breed late and selection is on willingness of the male to share parenting among other things. The women will generally choose the second to last year of academia for the first child. Mid to late 20's for most. The third year of med school is known as the breeding year for female med students. Marriage optional although the man is generally securely pair bonded. The woman's choice to eliminate the contraceptive is the key to breaking into this species.

 The UFSSG part of the ring is the traditional male dominated, male choice paradigm, with marriage and then first child at the end of high school for the woman. The man is typically a few years older, and established in whatever job he is building a career in. The couple formed in high school or church, and the assumption is that the female will drop out of education and work at child raising at least for the early years for the first children, although this typically stretches out with volunteer and church related activities. Typically the main SSG is the church and the ethos is belief and conforming to the church community. Education is generally a low priority, and in many cases actively opposed where it might interfere with the faith. When this works it works well, and provides the basis for many successful religious communities. The downside is that statistics show that stability of the pair bond is weak, as the male domination and role separation encourage straying by the man and subsequent failure of the family unit typically while the children are still young.

 The EFSSG in the ring is a traditional corporate career path where education is encouraged and rewarded but loyalty and "belief" in the organization is expected. The ethos is still male dominated, with women in the supporting and child care role. Marriage is generally later with the women getting their Mrs. in college while the men prepare for their corporate careers. Education is generally practical and directed with little emphasis on the thought provoking subjects. Graduate work if any is similarly practical and directed with the aim of corporate style research although that may be in a university environment. But the concept of traditional family style with the woman as social support for the man and in charge of home economics, child care and socialization. Outside work for the woman will typically focus on volunteer activities, possibly church related but usually secular. Typically for the EFSSG the ethos is for a stable family.

 Another connector is the relatively undereducated non faith oriented USSSG. In this group ad hoc social groups are common frequently revolving around spectator events, and in the worst case TV and talk radio groupies. Breeding habits in this group are casual social encounters usually in bars, or popular music concerts, etc. Hook-ups for sex and/or pair bonding are the norm. The pair bonds may be lasting but generally are temporary. Children are the responsibility of the woman with or without the support of the fucker. There is little movement to the ERSSG, but there is some movement between the other SSGs.

 The ends of the ring are breeding couples only. Evolution doesn't "care" about non breeders. Some will opt out of the breeding cycle although not of sexuality depending on contraception to prevent undesired progeny. Certainly there is a lot of room in the middle of the ring for many variations on the theme. A common mix of education for the men and traditional role for women involves usually a major age difference with the male breeding at the completion of the educational phase and selecting younger women from the church as parent. The man will continue in the traditional role of provider for the family and the woman and church will do the parenting and socialization.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Responsible Sexuality with Contraceptives

- Beliefnet

I STILL just hafta note, however, that a Guy who keeps his Willie in his Pants ISN'T called "Daddy" and DOESN'T contract an STD

I don't normally include quotes on this blog but the above statement seems to be the dominant paradigm in the US today. Paternalistic as is all Christian based morality which seems to revel in sin and its consequences here and in the afterlife. As if any horny male teen particularly at a alcohol lubricated celebration of anything, is going to be able to do so. And if the available female isn't enthusiastic, rape will frequently be the option. This is the reality of post pubescent mammalian male behavior.

Virginity by college age is quite unnatural, in the sense of contrary to natural mammalian instincts. Teens by and large will have sex, and responsible sexuality means not being called daddy and not being a carrier of STDs whether or not the underwear stays in place. Even with the best of intentions it sometimes doesn't. This means at a minimum that the male considers a fresh condom a necessary component of a wallet. The female should have one in her purse and know how to put it on (with her teeth in the foreplay) whether the male wants it or not. A female contraceptive of choice should be as much a part of preparing for a date as makeup. Once these preparations are completed the guy can keep his willy in his pants and the gal can just say no and everyone including God is happy. If by chance an accident happens it won't as the old saying goes "cause people."

The program of abstinence until the first rape blessed by the Church results in broken lives, broken families, and STDs when people fail because of their natural instincts which Christians call sin. The problem here is that I do not buy into Paul's idea of sexual responsibility from 1 Corinthians 7:8-9. Paraphrasing a bit: Since I am an ugly misanthrope who isn't getting any, nobody else is going to get any either, and if they take the marriage route they better not enjoy that.

Many Catholic young women in my high school many years ago were sexually active and were desirable partners because the tinge of sinfulness added excitement. But the Florence Crittenton home down the street made them early believers in teaching their partners the no condom no sex rule. They made sure it was used properly. Florence Crittenton services were where sinners rejected by their church could hide out until the baby was born, and prepared for the nunnery, as they were "used goods" and unacceptable to any good Catholic man as a wife.

I am not anti-Catholic. In everything but sexuality I find the Catholic faith to be useful and beneficial to its parishioners. I do however blame the Pope and his whole sexually dysfunctional dogma that is the cause of all that is wrong with the RCC. But the Catholics that benefit from it by and large ignore the sexuality dogma. Not just the no condom part, the whole no sexuality part.

For me sexual responsibility involves radical respect for one's partner. That means no sex until both partners think it is a good idea. It means preventing pregnancy until both partners think they are ready for the responsibility of raising children financially, emotionally, and with the social support including medical that constitutes responsible parenting. Preventing the possible transmission of STD's is usually not an issue if both partners have the same ideas about responsible sexuality. But if one has had irresponsible sex in the past that may be a consideration until medical testing confirms freedom from STDs.

I was never indoctrinated that my sexual impulses were bad or 'dirty.' I was, however, strongly indoctrinated that if the Girl Scout was not similarly inclined or I was not prepared and ready to accept the consequences of my instinctual action, I had better cause her to cry and walk out the door, or cause myself to say 'Oh, shit. Oh well, there will be another who will be similarly inclined.'"

All of which have happened to me. As well as similar situations where we were both willing and eager, but not ready for the expected consequences. In one case purely psychological consequences. As a normal heterosexual male, in normal heterosexual social activities, I have had all the usual opportunities, and temptations, but in general according to my standards I behaved morally rather than instinctively. I have no regrets about missed opportunities, I think I chose wisely to miss them.

Having been around the horn (pun intended) several times in several relationships with and without the intent for progeny, the decision to try for a child by a loving couple inevitably changes a relationship by changing the focus from each other as people and partners to the planned family with all the extra responsibilities and commitment that a family entails. With all of the other pair bonding activities available to a couple that are mutually gratifying and intimate there seems to be a case to be made for reserving that ultimate bonding act intended by nature for the welfare of the continuation of the species for the time when the couple is ready, willing and able to do so. Certainly "taking off the rubber" changes things, but in my opinion and experience not really enough.

I understand the argument from pair bonded teens that are deferring parenting for many years that the sexuality is important to holding the bond together and in a sense permitting the deferral of parenting until they are ready financially, and educationally to take on that responsibility. Particularly when many of their peers are pair bonded, sexually active and parents. This normally results in monogamy long before the monogamy is blessed by some church, but if the bond fails, as occasionally happens in spite of sexual bonding, it will happen early and before children are involved. Then the result will be serial monogamy usually on the second try.

Contraceptive sexuality works a lot better than trying to deny the stiffie. It seems that not even priests can do that reliably. As my favorite T-shirt says: Got a stiffie wear a Jiffy (brand condom.) The stiffie will win every time particularly if she or in some cases he is interested. It is called being mammalian.

Will it work for everybody? Of course not, but it works a lot better than deferring sex until blessed by church or state in marriage. It might have made sense when pubescent females were sold off to the highest bidder. The pair bonding of sexuality was useful in keeping the family unit intact and keeping dad amused between procreation opportunities. And may still be useful in the societies where marriage and high school graduation are the norm at least for the women.

Personal responsibility may or may not include abstinence, monogamy, marriage, masturbation, porn, sex toys, prostitutes, homosexuality, and sundry other things the churches deplore for everybody but the preachers.

It does include radical respect for a partner, a partner capable of informed consent, and acceptance of responsibility for anything that is the result of the sex including STDs, psychological problems, and conception.

Pair bonded parents provide the most stable platform for child raising, particularly when both parents are committed to the child raising process. The dad provider, mom caregiver paradigm is a holdover from the patriarchal religious past, and provides an unbalanced role image for the children. Far better is two parents sharing the providing and the nurturing.

Adultery is a different issue. There are many workable forms of parenting. And to a greater extent marriage without the intent of children. Consensual open marriages. Open mistresses and concubines with the knowledge if not the blessing of the wife isn't even a biblical sin. About the only moral issue is the ability and willingness to provide proper support to the mother of any resulting children.

Adultery without spousal consent is certainly a moral issue, but with contraception and STD prevention it is probably one of the most common moral failings around. Religious or secular. And if you factor in serial monogamy as a moral failing, which I do especially with children involved, statistics are ugly for religious and secular alike, something like 30% for religious couples and 20% secular."

Monday, January 17, 2011

Conversation with a Theist.

The 'existence' of gods - Beliefnet

You might consider God as a way to rebel against the idea that we are just mindless organisms whose only thought is to build wealth and reproduce.

Since I never bought into this religious concept I have no need to rebel. Reproduction and wealth are results not goals of living. I inherited an active and intelligent mind to think with, and I was encouraged to use it effectively to improve the welfare of my chosen society, beginning with family of course, but extending in ever expanding circles to include all those with similar goals. Some of the things I did created wealth, or at least enough to provide for my family, and in the course of events I found another person with an active intelligent mind to share the adventure of trying to produce and care for a couple of more people with active, intelligent educated minds.

Frankly God would have been a distraction all along the way that I never found a need for.
How do we get to connect with whatever this "something" is? What makes us uniquely human? Secular responses might be developing a connection to community, seeing beyond ourselves to put others first, or expressions of our creativity in our art, music etc. Interestingly, this is exactly what belief in God facilitates... seeing beyond yourself, community, and creativity. Belief provides a construct -- a organizational framework and common language -- to examine and express this "something else" and reject the utilitarian version of reality.
Sorry, I am missing something here. I have no problems at all connecting to my chosen society, and putting that society as primary, I frankly do not see how God does anything but divide society into little belief pools, that frankly can't see beyond the doors of the church. And when they do get beyond those doors they seem to want to drag others behind those doors.

My society is limited to those who can think about what they are doing, why they are doing it, and who they are doing it for. There is nothing necessarily utilitarian about this society, and therefore nothing that I need the help of God to reject. In fact it is the rejecting part of God that gives me the biggest problems. Why do I need God to reject anything. If it is worth while and beneficial to the society it will be obvious to all reasonable members of the society, if not no one will pursue it.

But, if you've never come home at 3 AM after a long day and thought "what's the purpose of all of this?" then I think you've escaped something most people feel from time to time.
I would suggest if you have then your God has failed you. That is, not kept you out of something that perhaps you shouldn't have been in. I have pulled my share of late nights, some of which I will admit were lessons in what not to do. But the purpose was clear: Don't do this again, idiot!" And if somebody was hurt, I had to drag myself out of bed to do what I could to repair the damage. Sometimes the purpose of life is cleaning up the mess. I have yet to find a God that was much good at cleaning up messes.

I respect those Christians who can think and explain what they believe, what they are doing and why.

So do I. They fit very well into the thoughtful, purposeful society that I consider my own. In fact one of my favorite excuses for arriving home at 3am is having been arguing with a Jesuit, or a Jew about God. The purpose being that we all know more about God.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Educated, Rational Tribalism

 I like to think of my society as a tribe of educated, usually university educated, rational people an ERSSG. It is by nature diffuse and intimately mixed in with those that are not rational or whose education has been curtailed short of their capability. Education as the tribe views it includes training in critical and rational thought at all levels. The level of achievement is less important than the ability to make rational judgments about important life choices.

 It is my observation that this society does have many tribal characteristics that may separate it from the rest of the world as effectively as a stockade. In this post I will be exploring some of the characteristics of this tribe that clearly differentiate it from other tribes, particularly tribes based on religion, politics, and industry. Like any tribe it has well defined mores, values, and traditions. I will be exploring some of them in this post.

 It is important that absolute performance is not as important as reaching a level of competence available to the child. One of my favorite quotes is "We can't all be first violins in the orchestra, some of us got to push wind through the tuba." Apparently from E.E. "Doc" Smith. An early leader of the tribe. It is significant that one parental unit in the tribe never told a Downs Syndrome child that he was limited or different from the others in his school. They celebrated his mediocre grades and his athletic achievements and he ended up as a highly productive member of the tribe.

 Originally intelligent was part of the designation of the tribe, but since absolute levels are not as important to the tribe as good education to whatever level the person is capable of achieving, educated seems more apt. If a person is using the intelligence they have rationally and effectively to improve the welfare of the tribe all is good. The separation from the believers is not so much intelligence but how that intelligence is used.

 I was at Davies Symphony Hall last night sitting in the cheap seats next to a family obviously out of place in the setting. Chit-chat quickly revealed that the youngest daughter was in town for a master class with the musician on stage. The family was obviously uncomfortable with the fact that ":She really likes classical music:" but were determined to give her a chance to follow her muse. They were probably putting a fair dent in the family budget to do so to provide lessons with a world class musician in the rural city. Kudos to that world class musician who was "also an attorney" for carrying the rational educated tribal values to the hinterland.

 What got me thinking about ring speciation was a comment by several women medical students that the 3rd year of Medical School was the baby year. There was even pressure on a philosophical non-breeder I know of to get pregnant. Other female academic achievers generally plan on the first baby in their second to last year of their planned scholastic career. While advanced academics and atheism tend to go together, there are many men and women active in the campus churches, who fit into the late parenting end of the Ring.

 The ring is driven by the acceptance of women as productive contributors to the intellectual and economic segments of the society. They are no longer viewed as breeding stock and property of men. One of the reasons I identify the other end of the ring as religious, is that the Abrahamic traditions, tend to strongly reinforce the status of women in the society as the property of and subject to the men, their fathers prior to puberty and their husbands, defined as the man who took her virginity. Many of the Abrahamic traditions have involved sexual rules designed to insure the position of women as breeding stock.

  At the late breeding end of the ring, generally the women are the choosers. Sexual rituals are designed around building the parenting pair bond enabled by female control of contraception. Loss of virginity is largely incidental and no longer the equivalent of betrothal. Sexuality is just part of the dance of long term mate selection, although it seems that casual sex among the late breeding end of the ring is uncommon, as sex is viewed as a relationship building activity by both the men and the women. Biology still rules, but sexual partners are chosen by those aspiring to advanced education with longer term goals in mind than simply satisfying biological drives although those drives still encourage early mate selection although the breeding will be deferred by consent of both parties.

 The negotiation involved in removing the contraceptive is complex, involving child care issues, career support, and generally recognition of the fact that a male's career is generally more flexible than that of the female. I speak largely from experience here; three times I had to play the male MBA card to change careers to accommodate the inflexible career path of my co-parent. I am also seeing more males deferring career building for parenting either in the sense of limiting hours and travel at the cost of career advancement to outright deferral of employment for the child care role. Please note that dissertation completion, is quite compatible with primary parenting and is not viewed by the larger advanced educated society as a career interruption for either gender.

 As you look at the median age of first child for couples with advanced degrees, it is mid to late 20's for the women and much the same for the men. Compare this with the believers, defined in this context as people who adhere to the dogma of their church or mosque with little questioning who generally are parents in their late teens at the latest. Particularly the females have no interest in advanced education unless they didn't get their Mrs. in high school. The men may well go on to advanced education, with mom tagging along but as mom will be using the church as support, the man will be tied there as well. Even well into graduation and career.
The assumption is that the woman will be an economically productive part of the parenting pair and the man will be at least an equal partner in the parenting duties. Current realities in job mobility generally result in the man changing jobs and even careers in support of the woman even stopping out as necessary for parenting emergencies. This is all part of the negotiation that results in the female agreeing to remove the contraceptive.

 Neither the man nor the woman will necessarily be celibate prior to the choice to pair up for breeding, although typically the pairing will have occurred long before the breeding is planned. The pair bonding may well be reinforced by contraceptive sex, with or without the benefit of marriage according to the preferences of the pair. In general any teen dalliances will be carefully contraceptive and usually prophylactic. But generally these are rare as part of the preparation for pairing is intense educational and frequently arts and/or athletic achievement to the ability level of the partners generally precluding the intensive party scene. Intelligence is obviously a selection criterion, but effective utilization of available intelligence is respected as well. In rare cases even a challenged person can fit into the group.

 A fundamental value of the tribe is creating a rich learning environment for all children, with intense encouragement, OK, pushing, from the caregivers to make the most out of whatever talents the child demonstrates. One may argue about the "Tiger Mom" (or dad) approach, but the argument is tactical. The strategic goal of full realization of all capabilities of the child is unquestioned. Caregivers will be brutal to all instructors to insure the best possible learning environment is provided for all of the children of the tribe. Schools and instructors will be selected for their ability to provide that learning environment. Other than simply looking at school district real estate values, a quick visit to a PTA meeting will be useful in selecting a school. The caregivers will outnumber the teachers, and will insist on finding out what resources are needed and ways of providing them. An activity club will be evaluated on how fast children move through the levels as well as the skills demonstrated at the elite level.

 Child raising and socialization is a joint activity with heavy use of professional child care made possible by the dual incomes of the parents. It is taken for granted that prior to school age the professional aim of the parents will be career building rather than wealth building as child care costs are high. The investment in the children is a given in the ethos of the species as it is expected that children will be high achievers as the parents are.

 Some members of the ERSSG choose not to breed but support the overall welfare of the group in their contribution to the intellectual advancement and overall welfare of the ERSSG through their employment and social activities. Although a mid-life change of mind is common, with a partner from one of the adjacent groups frequently with children chosen to complete the pair. But the partner may have been a misfit in the adjacent group, explaining both the choice to leave the group and the aspiration for the ERSSG.

 But even with no kids, not common, the status of the pair bond will be of equals regardless of who is the breadwinner in the sense of more income.

 TV, games, and popular entertainment activities are generally ignored in favor of networking intensive dinner and a show with friends or associates. Ballroom dancing, renaissance fairs, and community theater and music are common investments of limited free time.