Yaba Yaba

what? another blog? you must be joking.

Occam’s razor (or how scientists ignore the obvious)

with 2 comments

New scientist reports on a study which finds that men in polygamous societies live %12 longer on average. The distinguished scientists go to great length to propose sophisticated explanations, ignoring the most immediate hypothesis: sex is good for you. The more you have, for more years, the longer you live.

(digg story)


Written by yishaym

August 19, 2008 at 6:24 pm

Posted in health, LOL, sex

Tagged with , , ,

2 Responses

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  1. They’re not “overlooking” that hypothesis. They are aware that it has been disproven in hundreds of studies, thousands of societies, and thousands of years. To the extent that there is a correlation (not much at all, once you remove economic factors), it goes in the other direction.

    A more likely hypothesis would be that a society isn’t polygamous, against the desires of a substantial portion of their members, if some subgroup (powerful men, say) have enough more power than other members of society to direct more of the societies resources towards themselves and away from other members of society.

    Is it NECESSARY to point out that polygamy is not in the interest of most women, or most men, (i.e. there aren’t egalitarian polygamous societies, except in utopian fiction – the benefits all go to a small, wealthy minority), or do Western men so identify with the rockstar ideal that they can’t see the effects on any other part of their society?

    The same hypothesis, without the sex, has already explained differential life expectancy around the world throughout history. Not to mention its glaring obviousness – why WOULDN’T a man with the power to take multiple wives also use his power to take better food, better medicine, better housing, better employment, etc?


    September 19, 2008 at 7:43 pm

  2. thanks, KFW. regarding the first paragraph, I would say [citation needed]. But I do take your main point. In fact, I now see there’s a fundamental mathematical flaw with my argument (not to mention ethical): a polygamous society (as opposed to a polyamorous one), as you point out, usually means that a minority have more access to a society’s resources, and that marriage / sex is considered a commodity. So while some (typically) men are getting more action, the most are getting less. And as you say, the same men are getting more of everything. However, its more in relative terms. A well-off man in Yeman probably has access to lesser quality medical services that you or I do.


    September 24, 2008 at 4:34 am

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