Red Pill Logic: Basic Premises – Biology Part 1

I’m happy to concede that we can include many fields as areas of interest and as foundations for red pill theory, such as sociology, anthropology and psychology, but before we had the brains to form societies, a history and a psychology, we were animals in nature like other animals in nature. A preference of mine is to go as far back as possible to achieve a view from as early in a process as possible as this tends to offer a less watered-down view. In a somewhat flippant formulation one could argue that sociology is just the study of applied psychology in groups, and that psychology is merely the study of practical biology among individuals.

Thus the first field of study was biology. Cultures, societies and large parts of psychology can be influenced in very short periods of time, just look at the gargantuan changes we have seen in our societies, cultures and in our mindset since the early 1900s. In the time-span of evolution by natural selection however, we are merely a second on a history that is millions of years long. Biologists differ a bit on how old our specific branch on the tree of great apes is, but they estimate between 100.000 and 200.000 years. Our ancestors prior to this developed bipedal locomotion, larger brains, reduced sexual dimorphism, they got opposing thumbs and lost most of their body hair. Thus, the premise is that while our cultures, our societies, our families and out environment has changed substantially in the past 5000 – 10000 years, will not have changed much in that period.

The major barrier that I’ve found in people for understanding the concepts that I’m going to cover in this essay is time-perspective, to most humans 5 – 10 years is a long time, while for natural selection it’s a second. This is the same reason that people have issues with understanding compound interest and time or the same reason that they expect to put on 10 lbs of lean muscle mass after 2 workouts.

Survival of the Fittest

The term “survival of the fittest” has been misunderstood many times throughout history as “the strong survive”, but what it tends to break down into on a macro level is that the organisms or members of an organism that are best adapted to their environment survive and thus reproduce more [1]. This means they pass off their genetics to a higher volume of offspring, which over time distributes the beneficial genetics to large parts of the population. The modern understanding of “survival of the fittest” is not directly linked to survival per say, but to how many offspring an organism has, if an organism lives half as long as average but has 3 times as many offspring survive to adulthood, its genes become more common in the next generation.

For instance, one of Darwin’s observations from the Galapagos Islands was that he had collected what he believed to be 14 different species of bird, based on their physical appearance and beaks in particular. However when he analyzed his specimens he found that they were all 13 variations of finch, all collected on different islands. The birds that all came from the same ancestor species had developed into 14 distinct variants based largely on what food source they relied on. Those that ate nectar had long, thin beaks, those that instead relied on harder foods had shorter but much more sturdy beaks. Over a long period of time, the birds that started out the same had changed as a result of a selective pressure that caused certain birds with different genetics to out-compete the other birds in the same area of the same species. For instance, a male of this species may have had a mutation that lead to him having a 1% stronger beak than all other males, as a result he was able to access more nutrients, be more active and stronger, thus enabling him to mate with more females. As a result, in the next generation there are 20 children of the same bird, all with the same 1% mutation, if a female and a male of this lineage mate the mutation may become 2% and so on. [2]

Genetic Variation, Heritability, Fitness Differences and Mutations

Genetic variation means that biological systems (both individuals and populations) are different over space. Each gene pool contains various alleles of genes, and varies both within a population and between populations. Such variation can be observed by among others phenotypic variation in traits that vary continously and are coded for by many genes, or in traits that are coded for by one or few genes and fall into discrete categories. This is related to geographic variation, which means genetic differences in populations from different locations caused by genetic drift or natural selection (such as the example of the finches in part 1).

Such variation comes from random mutations, which tend to be rare, and most either offer no change in fitness, or a neutral effect on fitness. However some mutations can be favored by natural selection. For instance the human haplogroups are groups of hapolotypes that share a common ancestor with a single nucleotide polymorphism mutation. A prerequisite for natural selection to result in adaptive evolution, is that novel traits and specialization are heritable so that they can be passed on to subsequent generations, furthermore that they result in fitness differences. Variation is the result of mutuations, genetic recombinations, and alterations that might have an effect that is highly beneficial or highly detrimental, but large effects are rare.

When such effects result in increased fitness, they will slowly spread throughout the population and become more common, because they give an advantage in the free competition of nature.

Fitness, Selection Pressures and Competition

Darwinian fitness in biology is a quantitative representation of natural and sexual selection within evolutionary biology, and can be defined either based on a phenotype or a genotype in a given environment, but in both cases it describes individual reproductive success and is equal to the average contribution to the gene pool of the next generation. Thus, the higher the fitness of a genotype or phenotype the higher the contribution it will make to the gene pool of the next generation. [3]

Evolutionary pressure can be defined as any cause that reduces reproductive success in a portion of a population. If the pressure is high enough, traits that help mitigate the effects even if they would be negative in other circumstances can spread across most of the population. [4] For instance, if a species of animal that is universally a carnivore found itself in a situation where there was a very limited meat supply, the ability to metabolize other forms of food would be a positive trait, reduced body size may be a positive trait as it would mean that the animal require less nutrients, alternatively a larger body size may be a positive trait if it permits the animal to out-compete it’s peers. This is perhaps why some groups of humans have evolved the ability to metabolize dairy, while others have not.

Bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics stem from the fact that when antibiotics are used against a species of bacteria, the ones who cannot resist it, die off and do not reproduce. Those that remain pass on the resistance gene to the next generation, this results in increasing resistance over many generations, until a bacteria is completely resistant to the anti-biotic. [5] Selection pressures come in 3 rough groups, stabilization selection which acts to hold a trait at an optimal level within a population, directional selection which favors extreme values of a trait and disruptive selection which is uncommon but acts in a transitioning period where the current mode is sub-optimal but alters a trait in more than one direction, and can act as a precursor for specialization. [6]

Competition is an interaction between organisms where the fitness of one is lowered by the presence of another, often because of depending on the same limited resource. Competition is both intra-species and inter-species, direct and indirect. Those species that are less suited for such competition should in theory either adapt or die out. Competition is modeled on r/K selection theory, where selection pressures drive evolution in one of two stereotype direction. r/K selection theory relates to the selection of traits that trade-off quality of offspring (r) and quantity of offspring (K). In r-selection the volume of offspring is preferred with lower parental investment, whereas in K selection a lower volume of offspring with higher parent investment is preferred [7]. r/K selection theory largely fell out of favor for the “life history” analytical model [8] in the 90s and later on, which consists of 7 traits. Size at birth, growth pattern, age and size at maturity, number, size and sex-ratio of offspring, age and size specific reproductive investments, age and size specific mortality schedules and length of life.

Sexual Selection

This form of selection is the one that the red pill and PUA are largely focused on. Darwin noticed that certain non-survival adaptations such as a peacock’s tail could not be accounted for by natural selection. This is for the reason that a peacock in order to grow its impressive tail, makes itself less able to survive due to the impractical nature of the tail in addition to the resource expenditure to grow it [9].  An evolutionary biologist by the name of Ronald Fischer developed an idea called “The Sexy Son” hypothesis [10] and Fischer’s principle [11]. The latter is that if male births are rarer than female births, then a newborn male has better mating prospects than a female, thus parents genetically predisposed to producing males will have more grandchildren born to them, which results in the genes for producing males become ubiquitous in the population and male births become more common. As the ratio of male to female births approach the 1:1 ratio, the benefits of producing males disappears. The same goes for female benefits.

The sexy son hypothesis, in summary is an hypothesis that a female’s ideal mate choice between potential suitors is the one that will produce male offspring with the best chance of reproductive success.

“In a society where males compete with each other to be chosen as he-men by females, one of the best things a mother can do for her genes is to make a son who will turn out in his turn to be an attractive he-man. If she can ensure that her son is one of the fortunate few males who wins most of the copulations in the society when he grows up, she will have an enormous number of grandchildren. The result of this is that one of the most desirable qualities a male can have in the eyes of a female is, quite simply, sexual attractiveness itself.” Richard Dawkins, The Selfish Gene [12]

If females choose physically attractive males, their sons will inherent their father’s attractiveness, who are then chosen by females as mates, thus resulting in the initial female having many grandchildren. The theory functions as long as the trait(s) the female uses for selection are heritable, meaning that it differs among individuals in the population. Possessing the traits is what makes the man attractive not the qualities of the trait in itself. Once the preference has become established, females choosing males with the secondary sex characteristic will produce sons that carry the genes for it, and daughters who have the preference for it. This creates a self-reinforcing feedback mechanism that drives co-evolution of both trait and preference.

A related theory is the “Good genes” theory that proposes that females select males that are seen to have a genetic advantage that increases the quality of offspring, increased viability of offspring then provides a compensation for lower reproductive success that comes from being choosy about their mates [13]. Both theories assumes the existence of indirect genetic benefits that can compensate for any inferior direct reproduction success. The main difference between the two is that is that the sexy son hypotheses assumes an indirect effect due to the attractiveness of the sons, where the good genes focus on the viability of both sons and daughters. Attractiveness in this case can refer to any trait that increases the male’s probability of becoming polygynous. For instance, research shows that human females are more attracted to “sexy sons” and men with traits indicative of high testosterone exposure during key developmental periods. during their high fertile period. While they are more attracted to men with more feminine faces during the remainder of the cycle.

Sexual conflict refers to the conflicting goals of breeding males and females, and describes divergent interests of both in optimizing their fitness. For instance, the best outcome is that one mate takes care of the young, freeing up the other in order to mate more. In a polygynous mating system, sexual conflict is represented by the male optimizing reproductive success at the cost of the female, through leaving the female to invest in the offspring, while the male invests in mating with more females [14].

This offers a simple and straight-forward explanation for why men switch partners or engage in infidelity, and the mate switching hypothesis[15] explains why women do, in order to get out of a relationship that does not optimize her hypergamy fully and “trade up” to one that offers better optimization.

To be continued in Part 2

Sources:

[1] https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/natural%20selection

[2] http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/evolution/library/01/6/l_016_02.html

[3] http://www.biology-online.org/dictionary/Darwinian_fitness

[4] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolutionary_pressure

[5] https://www.rxlist.com/antibiotic_resistance-page4/drugs-condition.htm#why

[6] https://courses.lumenlearning.com/boundless-biology/chapter/adaptive-evolution/

[7] http://www.bio.miami.edu/tom/courses/bil160/bil160goods/16_rKselection.html

[8] http://www.unm.edu/~hkaplan/KaplanGangestad_2004_LHT+EP.pdf

[9] https://web.stanford.edu/group/stanfordbirds/text/essays/Sexual_Selection.html

[10] https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/slightly-blighty/201508/the-sexy-sons-theory-what-women-are-attracted-in-men

[11] http://www.genetics.org/content/148/2/719

[12] The Selfish Gene – Richard Dawkins

[13] https://www.britannica.com/science/good-genes-hypothesis

[14] http://www.oxfordbibliographies.com/view/document/obo-9780199941728/obo-9780199941728-0022.xml

[15] https://aeon.co/essays/does-the-mate-switching-hypothesis-explain-female-infidelity

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2 comments on “Red Pill Logic: Basic Premises – Biology Part 1

  1. TheYekke says:

    Although I am appreciative of the effort, the hugely counteracting weight of culture needs to come to the fore a lot earlier. Bad eyesight should be a life limiter yet these days having glasses means a boost to your perceived IQ. Conversely a 21 year old dweeb can overnight become a multi-billionaire if he hits the 777 in the IPO slot machine, and starts copulating with supermodels. Technology has also obliterated many parts of culture that once made us homogeneous- witness the open borders drive to access the best of the nerd castes (I count myself in).

    Culture mixed with technology can also amplify trends and accelerate them. Tinder on one end and penis-stealing witch accusations on buses in Africa on the other (the latter usually ends with a fairly brutal murder).

    In fact, I posit that once the technological challenges of safe water, sewage treatment, and food purity are solved, pharmaceutical science knocks the next rung of biological impediments off (STDs are mostly treatable – not in the past). A technological society, freed from the scourges of disease, famine, and infant/mother death is a fundamentally non-biological one, and we have no real way of modeling this by looking in the rear view mirror of deep history

    Liked by 1 person

  2. […] Part 1 of this series I outlined some of the major aspects of biology and evolutionary theory that impact […]

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