Friday, July 06, 2007

It's all about sex...

... yes, we already knew that. Men are intelligent to impress women, and women are intelligent to find the best men. That's why you're sitting on your desk, chewing a pen, trying to quantize gravity.

Here's what Psychology tells us today (Source: Ten Politically Incorrect Truths About Human Nature, by Alan S. Miller and Satoshi Kanazawa):

"Women often say no to men. Men have had to conquer foreign lands, win battles and wars, compose symphonies, author books, write sonnets, paint cathedral ceilings, make scientific discoveries, play in rock bands, and write new computer software in order to impress women so that they will agree to have sex with them. Men have built (and destroyed) civilization in order to impress women, so that they might say yes."

Well, and once you've destroyed a civilization and sufficiently impressed every women that was 'fit' enough to survive, keep in mind that by your human nature you are actually polygamous because it's an evolutionary advantage:

"Relative to monogamy, polygyny creates greater fitness variance (the distance between the "winners" and the "losers" in the reproductive game) among males than among females because it allows a few males to monopolize all the females in the group. The greater fitness variance among males creates greater pressure for men to compete with each other for mates. Only big and tall males can win mating opportunities. Among pair-bonding species like humans, in which males and females stay together to raise their children, females also prefer to mate with big and tall males because they can provide better physical protection against predators and other males."

And I'm sure 6 feet 4 also come in handy for changing light-bulbs. On the other hand, there are certain natural selection mechanism in societies which tolerate polygamy. As you'll also learn from the above article, suicide terrorists are dominantly Muslim because a) polygamy increases competition among men and b) because they are promised 72 virgins in heaven. (If only things were that simple. I still think airline passengers should stroke pigs before boarding, definitly preferable to throwing away my Coke each time I go through security.)

Also, sorry to report, but having children is statistically seen a bad idea for men when it comes to the peak of the crime-and-creativity curve:

"These calculations have been performed by natural and sexual selection, so to speak, which then equips male brains with a psychological mechanism to incline them to be increasingly competitive immediately after puberty and make them less competitive right after the birth of their first child. Men simply do not feel like acting violently, stealing, or conducting additional scientific experiments, or they just want to settle down after the birth of their child but they do not know exactly why."

I especially like the part with 'they don't know why'. And finally, a Harvard professor solved the puzzle why men prefer D-cups:

"Until very recently, it was a mystery to evolutionary psychology why men prefer women with large breasts, since the size of a woman's breasts has no relationship to her ability to lactate. But Harvard anthropologist Frank Marlowe contends that larger, and hence heavier, breasts sag more conspicuously with age than do smaller breasts. Thus they make it easier for men to judge a woman's age (and her reproductive value) by sight—suggesting why men find women with large breasts more attractive."

Well, I think there's truth in it, as my age seems to be incredibly hard to judge. Related, you'll be interested to hear that a recent study shows Women Don't Talk More Than Guys:

"The researchers placed microphones on 396 college students for periods ranging from two to 10 days, sampled their conversations and calculated how many words they used in the course of a day. The score: Women, 16,215. Men, 15,669.The difference: 546 words: "Not statistically significant," say the researchers."

Have a nice weekend. Have fun. Reproduce. Go, discover a new country or write a sonnet.


  1. Dear Bee,

    So British women were being exceptionally picky during the period of the British Empire? :)
    Want your next technological revolution? Women, just say no to sex :)

    Anyway, all that stuff brings up a good point about the nature of science - all that stuff you quoted is not scientific; it is virtually all **after the fact** rationalization.

    Evolutionary psychology is probably one of those fields that legitimately causes a non-scientist to think that evolution is all nonsense. E.g., orangutans, chimpanzees, bonobos all have different sexual "cultures" - but evolutionary pyschologists pick the one that characterizes humans as being evolution-wise inevitable.

    If fitness in a particular environment can measured only by counting the relative reproductive success, then natural selection turns into a tautology.

    Sort of like computing the spectrum of sounds produced by Thor's Hammer - not scientific, though we can put up some impressive equations.


  2. Hi Bee,

    Although I have not checked myself, I am fairly sure that Islamic martyrs get 79 virgins in paradise & not 72. I have not figured out how the demographics work here, though, as presumably they are not virgins for very long & cannot be shared with others who have sacrificed themselves similarly to Allah. I suppose it just means that only a very small number of martyrs can be accepted into paradise. Either that, or there is a backlog, and they just have to wait until enough virgins arrive in paradise. Maybe they just have to make do with various old slappers in the meantime.

  3. (Chemists chew on pencils - we know we're fallable.)

    The universe is dominated by resolved chiral processes, Weak Interaction to life itself. This is fundamentally consistent with spacetime torsion not spacetime curvature.

    10^1000 vacua in string theory landscape collapse (tschüß BRST invariance!) to a handful of allowed vacua if disdained non-metric gravitation is demonstrated to be correct. Simplicity is good.

    Two days of chemical calorimetry could topple string theory. Somebody should look.

  4. PS: keep on breathing!

    Chris, why do you expect non-miraculous virgins in miraculous heaven? Isn't that a misapplication of rationality?

  5. Dear Arun:

    Want your next technological revolution? Women, just say no to sex :)

    You think that works for theoretical physics as well? ;-)

    Hi Chris:

    I too was wondering why 72. 79 is a prime number, maybe that's preferable. I never understood though what the point of having virgins waiting for you. One would think for a decent Harem virgins are the last thing you'd want?



  6. Hi Bee,

    79 virgins is what is in the Koran, I believe. I agree that breaking in these virgins is likely to be less enjoyable for the martyr than being serviced by experienced ladies - who, presumably, will understand better how to make a man happy - but I think that the "virgins" thing here is a matter of principle. A bit like caviare - you may not like the taste of it, but the knowledge that it is rare and expensive is what counts. It could also just be be that the founders of the new religion were willing to promise anything in order to get people to join their cause. In fact, that has given me an idea. I hereby promise 80 virgins to every man and $3,000 in Neiman Marcus vouchers to every woman with a PhD who bothers to read my papers on QFT. Redeemable in paradise.

  7. It may actually have been grapes, not celestial women :)

    Warning: not an easy read -


    "The sensual pleasures are graphically elaborated by Al-Suyuti (died 1505 AD), Quranic commentator and polymath. He wrote: "Each time we sleep with a houri we find her virgin. Besides, the penis of the Elected never softens. The erection is eternal; the sensation that you feel each time you make love is utterly delicious and out of this world and were you to experience it in this world you would faint. Each chosen one [ie Muslim] will marry seventy [sic] houris, besides the women he married on earth, and all will have appetising vaginas."


    which also points out correctly that the number of houris is not mentioned in the Quran but only in the Islamic traditions called the Hadith.

  8. Arun,

    My source was an Egyptian Coptic Christian who had studied the Koran. He was quite specific, but I will check.

  9. btw, if you read the article I linked to above you furthermore find the very interesting piece of information that sexual harassment too is about sex. who'd have thought?

  10. "I still think airline passengers should stroke pigs before boarding, definitly preferable to throwing away my Coke each time I go through security.)"

    lol Bee, even on El Al flights to Tel Aviv. Imagine they could just insist you have a bacon roll (pig bacon) before you board the plane - and you get to keep your can of coke.

    As for the 16,000 words spoken by american girls in a day - how many were different words - and how often did they repeat the same words.

    PS - Isn't all this quest to pass on the genes all a bit pointless, if there is never going to beawinner as such. Or will some alien race in the future look back at prehistory and say - oh, you know that little planet where humans lived, the last survivors were those who did not have any inherited or acquired diseases, but hell - on the last day they all became extinct all the same.

    Or do you think German ingenuity will provide an excape trajectory by enabling us to colonise other planets and who knows missions to other stars from Centauri Dreams

  11. LOL!

    "Have a nice weekend. Have fun. Reproduce. Go, discover a new country or write a sonnet."

    Waiting for the birth of my third child any day now, and waiting for a couple of my papers to finish peer review (too long - 3 & 4 months - WTF??!).

    "I hereby promise 80 virgins to every man and $3,000 in Neiman Marcus vouchers to every woman with a PhD who bothers to read my papers on QFT. Redeemable in paradise."

    And I promise 160 virgins and $6,000 if you read both my papers (redeemable in paradise, of course)



  12. :-)

    Well, and I promise you paradise if you just help me solve the problem that's right now on my notepad.

    (If you die and find there's no such thing as paradise, you can sue me.)


    B. (better than 80 virgins)

  13. Of course, it's all about sex, and modern techniques give us the tools to probe the details, too. Wouldn't Leonardo da Vinci be proud? ;-)

  14. "...passengers should stroke pigs before boarding ..."

    or sacrifice a camel ? (read last paragraph)

  15. "...passengers should stroke pigs before boarding ..."

    or sacrifice a camel ? (read last paragraph)

    Nope, sacrificing a camel is not obligatory, while not handling pigs is obligatory.

    Anyway, is it only the religious angle that would get employees fired for celebrating their airline's success?

  16. OT Bee: John Baez posted 2 papers Roger Penrose wrote in 1972---they are quite interesting, though I risk the ire of the String Gods by
    promoting them as they show Roger's early bias for discrete STimes.

  17. "and all will have appetising vaginas"

    I see. Cunnilingus in paradise. Well, you're still a virgin after oral sex, right? RIGHT?

    Meanwhile, about those 72 [or whatever] virgins: nowhere in the Hadith is it stated that the virgins are human. I have a picture in my mind of a suicide bomber in paradise being presented with a cardboard box containing 72 virgin mice.

  18. Pig Lard as terrorist repellant...
    Brings a whole new meaning to
    "Pigs in Space"



  19. lol Amara the pictures were better when they showed them on tv
    And it's all much more fun if participating in the hard research.

    Bee, after one's had the eighty virgins, is it paradise no more
    Or are the eighty virgins or their hymens continuously replaced by Saudi surgeons - going ten to a dozen

    At last! - a use for doctors, gynos and surgeons in paradise, since there's no sickness, no disease and no death - they had to come up with something to justify their existence (or entry)

  20. Bee said "very interesting piece of information that sexual harassment too is about sex. who'd have thought? "

    Well, actually, it is part of the standard feminist canon that harassment, molestation, and rape have nothing to do with sex. They are primarily devices for cementing the patriarchy. It's part of the left-wing fantasyland philosophy that rules in anglo-saxonia. Another example is that nobody is allowed to suggest that paedophiles are ever homosexual. Yes, it's all bullshit, but to answer your question: who'd have thought? Answer: everyone, but you are not allowed to say it.

  21. It could be that the "virgins" actually refer to bottles of Extra Virgin Olive Oil. So when you blow yourself up, you are met in paradise by one of the prophets, who tells you, "Iyad, that was a damn fool stupid thing to do - blowing yourself up and killing innocent people. Well, you can start making amends by making pizza for everyone here. Over there are 79 bottles of extra virgin olive oil, 79 sacks of flour, 40 kg or Mozzarella and 40kg of tomato paste. Get busy!"

  22. darn Chris, the poor pizza guy
    he thought there must be more to life than making pizza
    so sacrifices himself in some holy war against infidels
    only to discover that now he has to spend eternity making pizza

    a bit like the guy or gal, who is in so much pain that he/she seriously contemplates ending it all - but it seems there are no guarantees the pain will end on the other side - which is what prevents most people acting on suicidal thoughts, and the public in general acting on murderous thoughts. But alas US prisons are full of murderes, there are more murderes per capita in the US than in Iraq. That's Capitalism for you!

  23. The US has in its Dreamland arsenal a most formidable $250 billion anti-Muslim weapons system: SPAM (Smart Pig Air-launched Munitions) including laser- and GPS-guided cluster sows.

    An unforseen side effect of maize pimp Archer-Daniels-Midland's corn-for-fuel is domestic failure to maintain and reproduce the weapons' inventory, now outsourced to China as Operation Rice

    Muslim women have no souls. The only virgins in Allalalah's heaven are boys (and not for long).

  24. bee, they should give you a nobel prize in psychology.


  25. Bee,
    I would not be kidding too much about the 72 virgins after all. One of the casualties of a fire incident at a nuclear plant in Lyon a few years ago was a muslim, and an urban legent has it that he was found with multiple layers of underwear, allegedly to protect his family jewels before he got to use them on the virgins.
    Quite a smart ass...


  26. to 'hypnose' whose comment I just deleted: I don't tolerate anonymously made insults.

  27. Dear Bee,

    The one important thing you said on this thread - the problem on your notepad - did it go anywhere?

    How I see this is that you're in the smithy, holding a red hot piece of iron with tongs, and smashing it with a heavy hammer - this is your physics problem. Some sparks fly and some of them are your blog distractions. Sorry if I'm off the mark :)

  28. but you do tolerate insults made in public? who is chris oakley to comment on the number of virgins in heaven? he is an academic drop out. For records, i am not anonymous

    Go ahead in this line please. You may have a few things to learn from chris oakley because there are no faculty positions in your field, if this is news for you. He can teach you how to get a quant position in nomura perhaps...

  29. ali,

    I saw the insulting comments a few days ago. I did not approve but I also did not write anything in response.

    I see now that my silence was in error.

  30. Ali,

    Please identify yourself - the link leads nowhere.


    None of my comments were intended to be taken seriously. If you find them offensive, or likely to offend others, then please delete them. This comment, though, IS intended to be taken seriously: I find the idea of a martyr being "rewarded" in paradise by the opportunity of deflowering virgins to be utterly repulsive.

  31. Guys, it's fairly easy: This is my blog. You either play according to my rules, or you don't play. Rules are, as stated repeatedly

    Tolerance for anonymously made insults is strictly zero.

    Tolerance for insults in general depends on the day of the week, the most recent estimate for the Higgs mass, the weather conditions in Waterloo and on my mood - which is currently pretty bad.

    ID can be signature with a real name and/or link to existing website or blog with sensible content. That is to say, I too know how to create a dummy blog within 30 seconds. If you sign with somebody else's name, or link to blog/website which is not your own I will find out sooner or later, and your comments go into data nirvana.

    To 'ali' from above, despite you stating the contrary, you are anonymous. According to general US standard this blog probably doesn't qualify as politically correct, and I have no problem with making fun of 72 or 79 virgins in heaven. If that's a problem for you, go read somebody else's blog.

    are no faculty positions in your field, if this is news for you.

    My 'career' is none of your business.

    Hi Chris,

    None of my comments were intended to be taken seriously. If you find them offensive, or likely to offend others, then please delete them.

    I think some of the comments above, as well as my post, are likely to offend one or the other who actually believes in 79 virgins waiting for him. Can't say it bothers me much.



  32. Dear Arun,

    The one important thing you said on this thread - the problem on your notepad - did it go anywhere?

    Sadly enough, no, it didn't go anywhere, except with me to Starbucks and back to my desk. It's still the same problem as mentioned in an earlier post. I am looking for a constraint equation, can write down one that I think makes sense (i.e. at least it's the right number of constraints and generally covariant), but I can't find a Lagrangian to it. I could probably just assume it holds, or put it in via a Lagrange multiplier, but I don't like it. It seems to me it's too arbitrary, there should be a cleaner way to do it.

    The other problem is kind of stupid actually. If I take the Friedmann equation (the first I think), it reads something like (\dot a/a)^2 ~ G \rho. Now, this seems to tell me G > 0. But if I look at the field equations, these are completely ignorant about the value of G and its sign. Physically, I can't make sense out of the Friedmann equations only working with G > 0. I could add the k term, then I'd have a funny kind of bounce at small a, but not sure if that makes sense either. What I don't understand about it is if I think of gravity as a spin-two field, I know like charges attract. The total sign of these however, is completely irrelevant. They could either all be positive or all be negative. So then, how come the Friedmann equation doesn't work with either sign? I suspect is has something to do with the metric signature, but can't quite pin it down.



  33. Ali,
    If you want serious discussion, a thread like that here:

    will be more conducive. FYI, no one is going to be sympathetic to terrorists' version of paradise; but a lot of people are understanding of the political situation that leads to terrorism.


    Dear Bee,

    Once upon a time I could have answered your second question in a jiffy and participated in answering your first question. Let's see if the circle of time leads me back to that situation.


  34. Hi Arun:

    *lol* I think this was indeed the one and only link I'll read today - this is just great. I especially like the last paragraph

    Ahmadinejad claims Bush is threatening to "wipe Canada off the map," though this has long been revealed as an inaccurate translation. (Bush's actual words: "Where the heck is Canada? I can't find it on the map.")



  35. Guys, you can write me email from the link given to find out who I am. I do not want to write my email here explicitly since it would generate spam.

    Bee, what I meant is that the last thing you have to worry about at the moment is the number of virgins in heaven. If I were you, I would worry about how to avoid unemployment for the remaining part of your life. That is why I suggested that you should consider being a quant somewhere. Chris oakley can help you to network...

  36. Hi Ali,

    If you try clicking on your profile, the only message I get is

    The Blogger Profile you requested cannot be displayed. Many Blogger users have not yet elected to publicly share their Profile.

    There is no email address whatsoever. Believe me, I am worrying about being unemployed for the rest of my life, but taking advises from commenters on my blog is the last thing I'll do.



  37. Sabine,
    I just wrote email to you. Check your mailbox.

  38. Ali: Thanks for your email. However, the reason for me requiring ID is not (only) that I know who you are but that every reader knows it. - B.

  39. I'm really glad that my sex life is now totally separate from reproduction. ;-) I'm pretty sure that humans are the only creatures that have sex purely for the pleasure of it. That needs to be factored into those calculations somehow.

    And the thing about boobs isn't really supported by real life results, and what about fake boobs? Men should feel really cheated by them since they are a kind of "false advertising" of genetics. Well, except maybe for some really smart guys who have figured out that it's mostly less intelligent women who have fake boobs. ;-)


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