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(London Times)   "Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are in the grip of evolutionary forces that made it almost inevitable that their child would be a girl"   ( divider line
    More: Unlikely  
•       •       •

11167 clicks; posted to Main » on 30 Jul 2006 at 2:44 AM (11 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»

110 Comments     (+0 »)

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2006-07-30 07:21:38 AM  

Well, as far as I'm concerned, you've completely demolished the premise of the article.

/no sarcasm intended


I didn't say the only mating strategy that ugly people adopt is to accumulate credentials. There are plenty of reasons to get a degree, many of which have nothing to do with attraction issues.

What I am saying is that there is a certain number of both males and females, who, finding themselves ugly in a competitive world full of other, more attractive people, attempt to increase their probabiilty of mating by making themselves more attractive in non-physical ways (one of which is getting a degree, another is in flaunting vocabulary that is way more complicated than any given situation calls for).

I say we do the following study: take 20,000 people, measure them for attractiveness- however you do that. Then, get all of them to free-talk on some issue for 20 minutes. Don't tell them the real reason is because you are measuring the frequency of words with 4 or more syllables. That's it.

Do you honestly think there will be no correlation between perceived attractiveness and vocabulary level?
2006-07-30 07:32:49 AM  
My first kid was a girl. My ex-wife and/or I must be considered attractive... isn't that nice, wrong, but nice.
2006-07-30 07:39:18 AM  
someone hand me a machete. STAT!
2006-07-30 07:42:03 AM  
"Females can only reproduce so many times in their lives whereas for men, theoretically, the limit is all of the females in the world times the number of reproductive opportunities (those females) have."

//Let's see that's X(all the women in the world)*Y(the number of reproductive opportunities those women have)= Yea me!
///Off to bag my limit...
2006-07-30 07:43:21 AM  
Pretty people have female children. No female child, then you're not pretty. This seems a little pseudosciency. You could just "confirm" this theory with "no real scotsman".

I have a theory, that old couples die really close together. This is due to the strong love bonds between said couples. If you live really long after your spouse died... you must not have really been in love.

When you have a fairly arbitary group it's fairly easy to make any stats about them you want.
2006-07-30 07:43:59 AM  

400 pounds? Check
Scary ass ugly? Check
Spouts verbose b/s in every sentence? Check

Hi! im at80eighty!
2006-07-30 07:56:33 AM  
Someone may have already said this, but I also like how "26% more likely" somehow got morphed into "almost inevitable" by the author of the article.

Funny how that works.

I'm gonna flip a coin. It's "almost inevitable" that it will be heads.

To me, "almost inevitable" is something more akin to 95 or 99%.
2006-07-30 08:05:29 AM  
Summon Bevets
2006-07-30 08:11:26 AM  
Good God, what would Bevets do in this post?

I guess this article brings new meaning to the old "and God will punish to the third or fourth generation the sins of the father."

Instead of "sins," insert "ugliness."

/gives new meaning to the expression "ugly as sin."
2006-07-30 08:21:35 AM  
I have only daughters....SURELY I must be HAWT! lol

Just kidding. I'm ugly. I have sons. =)
2006-07-30 08:23:40 AM

Is that so?
2006-07-30 08:30:08 AM  
Hmmm...Does Heidi's baby look more like an otter or a Seal.... I just can't decide.
2006-07-30 08:30:22 AM

/ugly babies?
2006-07-30 08:32:24 AM  
Yep, they're Fugly babies. hehe
2006-07-30 08:43:37 AM  
Whatever! If we are lead to assume that beatiful people are 26% more likely than the normal distributing of 50/50 (actually I think it is closer to 49/51) that gives us odds of what? 63% or 62% of having a girl as a first born for beautful people?
About 56%, actually. 56/44 is about 1.26, thus about 26% more likely to have a girl.

Next they fail to explain what a first born child is supposed to be. The first child of the couple togther? ....blah blah blah....
The journal article, or just the newspaper article? Did you read the journal article? I didn't anything in the newspaper article that suggests the scientists failed to explain that in the journal. It doesn't matter anyways; this was a study of sex versus beauty, not sex versus birth order. That they used only first-borns might simply be because they only had first-born data available.

However they chose to define first-borne they will naturally have to exclude a lot of groups from their statistic to make it work and they fail to consider that perhaps the gender imabalance is connected with one of the preselctions they have to make.
How do you know they didn't do that? Nothing in the newspaper article suggests they failed to account for that.

They fail to have any form of control group. Did they consider the possibility that firstborns in general are more likely to be female?
If every little bit of research required a vigorous control group, we would get a lot less done. There's room for less formal studies in science to explore and hypothesize. In any case, it's fairly well-accepted that birth order has almost no effect on the sex of the baby.

They don't give any attention to any children born after the firstborn. ....blah blah blah....
And it doesn't matter. This study is sex versus beauty, not sex versus birth order.

They say they judge beauty objectively according to height, weight and apparent age. That sounds more like health than beauty to me. ...blah blah blah...
Probably the two near universals in what people consider beautiful are health and youth. One doesn't need a perfect measure of beauty to show a correlation, but you do need a consistent and reasonable one, which they had.

They also say that they had 20,000 cases for their study, but they don't tell in how many categories they sorted them. ...blah blah blah...
They don't have to: there's a thing called regression analysis that lets you do this sort of analysis without creating categories. However, even if they did create pools, there is nothing in the newspaper article that suggests they didn't fully explain it in the journal article.

The worst part of the whole theory is of course that nobody can come up with a good idea of how this should work at all.
This is just wrong. You understanding of biology is very much out of date.

How do the reproductive organs know that a woman has given birth before?
Why does it matter? This isn't a study of sex versus birth order. You are attacking a strawman here.

It seems impossible that a man's body might know if he has been a father before,
Whether he had been a father before is irrelevant since this study is sex versus beauty, not sex versus birth order.

yet his sperms are the ones who will determin gender. ...blah blah blah...
But: a beautiful man could be predisposed to have female sperm that swim better. Or, a beautiful woman could be more likely to have an egg receptive to female sperm. This is pretty a pretty straightforward and plausible explanation.

There does not appear to be a known mechanism that would make this stupid theory actually work.
Are you done with your airchair biology? The mechanism may not be fully understood, but it is very plausible and likely that the mechanisms exist.

Idiots like this should go on to predict the stockmarket or try to see faces in clouds but leave the real science to people who can do math.
From what I've seen of you, I'd pick the scientists over you to do both. Your criticisms are completely meritless, and it's pretty asinine to go around labeling people as idiots when you haven't demonstrated much intelligence yourself. You didn't even seem to realize that birth order was not being considered as a factor.

Personally, I haven't read the journal article. It could be great, or it could be a bunch of donkey doo-doo. I don't know. Unlike certain unnamed parties, I don't judge scientists based on a crappy journalist recap.

If you want to judge this research, read the farking journal. Otherwise, STFU.
2006-07-30 08:59:07 AM  
Looks like Heidi gave birth to Charles Bronson.
2006-07-30 09:09:51 AM  
Charles Bronson. lolol
2006-07-30 09:27:26 AM  
In other news, reporting stupid pointless facts about celebrities is now world news.
2006-07-30 09:33:33 AM  
You are right aerojockey I am only an armchair bilogist and statistican and have no great expertise in either area. I did not read the actual paper but only the linked write-up. I am aware that it is common for journalists to distort or compress scientific ideas to make them fit.

My obssesion with the first born angle stems from the following line: Only first-born children were included in the analysis. In addition to not explaining what a fisrts born is they also did not give a reason why they would have done this if they were merly trying to link sex to beauty.

Data on second born children would persumably have been avaidable from the same sources. Excluding them from analysis for no descernible reason makes no sense to me unless they are either focusing on first born for some reason or trying to exclude data to make everything fit better.

The other major problem I had was their strange definition of beuaty. Sure health is a large part of it, but if they are just looking for a healthy weight/height ratio in youths they should call it that and not call it beauty. The combiantion of only including firstborn and using age of parents also might introduce concepts unrelated to beauty such as age at wich a person has their first child which is of course linked to cultural and economic factors. For all we know what they found was something like poor and uneduacted young mothers are more likely to have female children than well eductaed professional women who start having children later and not simply beuaty begets daughts.

The pharse: We have also shown that women on average are more attractive than men... had me especially stumped because I found it hard to make it fit into my normal worldview where I only compare beauty within a gender.

The inclusion of random anecdotal evidence about people who are only considered especially beuatiful by popular definitions of the term and are not really well known for having a very good weight/height ratio did not help to clear up confusion. I guess it was added after the fact by the reporter to make the article more interesting.

You are right when you call me on my ignorance on the whole bilogical part. I don't really know that much about it and there are lots of workable ways to get more female children if one isn't too hung up on the firstborne angle as I mistakenly was.

The statistics explantion on the other hand that you gave makes still no sense.

If you have number such as 56% (They meant not more liekly to get a duaghter than other parents but more likely to get female child than a male one. Now I get it!) than its stands to reason that they have a clearly defined group for which that statistic applies and where not just making a general comparison for beautiful against less beautiful. If they wanted an especially large number to make it sound more impressive they would have selected the group and its borders so that it would give them the biggest results. It is not impossible to get a probability of 56% under these conditions even if the distribution is really random.

The idiots was uncalled for. I was overeacting to being shown patterns in random statistics where I did not see or expect any to be.
2006-07-30 09:36:51 AM  
Why? Because both parents are female?

2006-07-30 09:37:48 AM  

From personal experience its straight girls that seem to express more attraction for Angelina than guys do. It's become socially acceptable for a girl to express same sex attraction for Angelina even if the girl claims to be 100% hetero.
/don't understand but can't complain

I've experienced that too. Men seem to think that Angelina is average, while women think she's the hottest person on the planet.
2006-07-30 09:45:19 AM  

I've experienced that too. Men seem to think that Angelina is average, while women think she's the hottest person on the planet.

It's a trap. As we all know when faced with a superior specimen women get psycho - they just agree with you to get you to say you look over the fence. Once you go there you're farked. It will become leverage and you will never hear the end of it.
2006-07-30 09:51:30 AM  
Possible reason for only focussing on first borns:

It could be that the sex of the second, third etc babies are dependent to some extent upon the sex of the first. E.g. If you have a boy first then there might a higher-than-50% chance of having a girl second (don't ask me for a biological explanation of this). Obviously if this were true this would bias the study, so only first-borns are included.

I have no idea if the above is correct but I am sure they had some good reason.

PS LSE is a very well respected university that doesn't just teach economics.
2006-07-30 09:55:47 AM  
I hope she grows up sweet as pie, learns from her mother how to do good in the world, has a somewhat rocky (for the lessons it teaches) dating life, positive sex life, and then settles into whatever kind of relationship she wants to have with total bliss, just so long as I can get one blowjob when she reaches age of consent.

Is that too much to ask for so many good wishes....?
2006-07-30 09:55:50 AM  

All right. I'll just speculate on why they did some of the strange things they did:

Why look at only the first child? They might have only wanted to look at one child per couple. If you different numbers of children for different couples, some couples could have more weight than others, which is generally a bad thing. Also, using one child per couple could save money.

Why the strange definition of beauty? Money. Sure, they could canvass men and women in a controlled environment to get some objective measure of "beauty", but that would cost a crapload of money. OTOH, they could use more easily collected data (height, BMI, etc.) that can be correlated to beauty. It's not perfect, but you don't need a perfect measure to demonstrate a relationship. No question that canvassing people would be the best way, but in a real world with budget constraints it's not always possible.
2006-07-30 10:07:06 AM  
Because aerojockey called me on judgeing scientists based on a crappy journalist recap. I have decided to seek out some better source in pennace.

Dr Kanazawa's webpage appears to contain a fair collection of his work, but I don't know how much if any of it I will be able to understand. There appesr to be nothing there directly refering to beuatyful people having more daughters, but I guess any paper connected with the generalized Trivers-Willard hypothesis (gTWH) will do for my purposes.

There are some intersting titles there relating to the (gTWH) in humans: "Violent Men Have More Sons: Further Evidence for the Generalized Trivers-Willard Hypothesis(gTWH).", "Big and Tall Parents Have More Sons: Further Generalizations of the Trivers-Willard Hypothesis." and "Engineers Have More Sons, Nurses Have More Daughters: An Evolutionary Psychological Extension of Baron-Cohen's Extreme Male Brain Theory of Autism and Its Empirical Implications."

Other not really related but nontheless interesting sounding works include: "First, Kill All the Economists...." I could get onboard with that, "Is "Discrimination" Necessary to Explain the Sex Gap in Earnings?" Apperantly the answer is: No women would make less money even without any discrimination because they don't want to make money as much as men do, "You Can Judge a Book by Its Cover: Evidence that Cheaters May Look Different from Cooperators." I always knew it! and "Why Productivity Fades with Age: The Crime-Genius Connection." apperanly men are less likely to commit scientifc breakthrough or criminal breakins after they have married a woman.

\ Starting to read now.
\\ I may be some time.
\\\ Unless I give up because I do not understand anything.
2006-07-30 10:21:12 AM

2006-07-30 10:45:37 AM  
Reminds me of the story (probably apocryphal) about Marilyn Monroe propositioning Albert Einstein with the comment "Imagine a child with my beauty and your brains," to which Einstein replied "But supposing she has my beauty and your brains?"

While I'm being reminded of stuff, there's the plot line in Larry Niven's "Ringworld" about how the Earth has become so incredibly overcrowded that you're not allowed to reproduce unless you have excellent genes. As a sop to the general populace, the government institutes a "Birth Lottery," the winners of which are allowed to reproduce despite a lack of other qualifications. In the story, the alien leading an expedition to Ringworld seeks out a crewmember several generations of whose ancestors were born as a result of winning the Lottery. In effect, the human race has inadvertently been breeding itself for luck! The crewmember is the only such person the alien has been able to locate and when the expedition meets disaster, he regretfully concludes that she is not as lucky as he'd hoped, and the others were unavailable because they were too lucky to end up on the ill-fated expedition.
2006-07-30 10:57:32 AM  
As a scientist, I must say that I am embarrassed by these morons. Not only are his claims outrageous, his method of "proving" his hypothesis is as follows:

Assertion: I can prove that all people on this world are female.
Proof: My mother is a female, my aunt is a female, my 3rd grade teacher is a female, my neighbor is female (continues ad infinitum)

And an assertion like that, to be robust, needs to be shown the other way as well (that ugly people are 26% more likely to have a son). And all of his controls are whack. He doesn't account for all sorts of background distributions that are almost surely to make his findings statistically insignificant. The list goes on and on.

There is obviously something critically wrong with the way he goes about his work. Sadly scientists often do publish garbage not worthy of wiping asses with. This is most definitely one of them.
2006-07-30 10:57:57 AM  
So, there's like, what, one generation until the Kwisatz Haderach?
2006-07-30 11:37:21 AM  
Shiloh Nouvel seems sorta cruel.
2006-07-30 12:37:15 PM  
Maybe they know that when the beauty fades they're just gonna be stuck with an annoying biatch.

I've always wondered how stunningly beautiful women would react when their beauty fades. They becomed ignored just like the rest of us average women.

/first child was a son
/so was second
/does that make me double ugly?
2006-07-30 12:41:17 PM  

(I should pay better attention to my typing.)
2006-07-30 01:06:20 PM  
Aside from the whole thing about beautiful people having beautiful babies (I could've told you that... Don't need to be a scientist to know that if you're attractive and so's your mate chances are your baby will be attractive), I love some of the things they said in this article such as, "Men prefer younger and physically more attractive women for their mates." or "It is an inexorable process that has resulted in women becoming increasingly more attractive than men."

With gems in journalism such as that shiat, it's no wonder Captain Obvious went into early retirement.
2006-07-30 01:15:39 PM  
Interesting, especially since Brad Pitts parents are really lookers themselves. Not ugly, but not what you think Brad Pitt would come from.

And, let's look at Jon Voight, Angelinas mom must have been amazing.
2006-07-30 01:22:32 PM  
well, I'm a guy...and I have 3 brothers, no sisters...

My parents must be pretty farking ugly...
2006-07-30 01:28:11 PM  
What does the women have to do with any of this?

Isn't the sex of the baby decided by the sperm?
2006-07-30 01:29:49 PM

60 years later...

Female my ass!
2006-07-30 01:59:35 PM  
Loki-L: Unless I give up because I do not understand anything.

DUDE! you have spent way too much of your time on this worthless thread and worthless theory. Your arguments are good, just not needed, no one really believes this crap.
Go have a beer.
2006-07-30 02:08:06 PM  
What strikes me about this article is that they treat social success and evolutinary success as the same thing. Simply, the article makes two contradictory claims. First, that attractive women end up in richer families, and second, that this produces an evolutionary bias for attractive females. However rich families do not have a greater number of children than poor families (and have not for at least several hundred years). In fact in this day and age, the poor families have more children, so if the poor families have more ugly women, there should be a bias for ugly.
2006-07-30 02:36:18 PM  
It's amazing how, according to this theory, my DNA somehow knows how much money I have.

And who names their child Shiloh? I know a cat with that name, and I'm sure it would be fine for other pets or barnyard animals, but a human being? Oh well, I guess it's still better than Pilot Inspecktor Lee.
2006-07-30 02:50:11 PM  
Impudent Domain

Loki-L: Unless I give up because I do not understand anything.

DUDE! you have spent way too much of your time on this worthless thread and worthless theory. Your arguments are good, just not needed, no one really believes this crap.
Go have a beer.

If I did not have too much time to waste on worthless crap I would not be browsing FARK in the first place, besides the guy who wrote this is sort of cool. Not cool as in right but cool as in full of cool shiat.

He's got papers like "Why Beautiful People Are More Intelligent." and "Bowling with Our Imaginary Friends.". The latter one is especially funny. In it he concludes that since men masturbate to porn it stands to reason that the primitive part of our brain that is stuck in the stoneage mistakes people on TV for real people. He then jumps to the cocnlusion that having so many imaginary friends on tv leads people to seek out fewer real friends in the real world. He then adds some data that correaltes people's TV viewing habits with their frindships to prove his ideas.

\Funny Stuff.
2006-07-30 02:56:51 PM  
Angelina's parents, back in the day:

Man, talk about hitting the lottery.
2006-07-30 03:12:03 PM  
This thread needs more pics of Angelina Jolie.
2006-07-30 03:26:42 PM  
I've seen beautiful parents have ugly kids and vise versa.
2006-07-30 05:27:40 PM  
I'd rather bang Angelina, but I'd settle for Brad.
2006-07-30 05:31:28 PM  
Wow, all this time I thought the whole idea that women are judged primarily by their physical attractiveness and men are judged by their wealth and power was just societal objectification of women and misogynistic paternalism. My bad.
2006-07-30 05:37:05 PM  
OMG. That pic made me realize Angelina looks more like her dad than her mom!! Where are the googles!!!! O_O
2006-07-30 06:15:09 PM  
Ummm, "beauty" is something dictated by culture and society.
Also, for blind people, "beauty" is not defined by visual factors. "Beauty" has no value in science. We're made up of cells, and all cells pretty much look alike.

Verdict: lame.
2006-07-30 06:54:30 PM  
It's also true that no matter who you are, a girl is supposed to be born first over a boy anyways. What I remember in school talking about genetics.
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