Showing posts from January, 2017

R/K Selection Theory is Bogus

In this essay, I will debunk R/K selection theory. First, I encourage you to read the Wikipedia article on it, even if you know what it is. The article mentions that the theory is no longer generally accepted as valid in biology. I am not appealing to authority — I will debunk it myself — but I thought I should point that out. The R and K come from the Verhulst model of population dynamics: G = R × N × (1 − N/K) G is the growth rate of a population. R is the maximal fertility per individual. N is the size of the population. K is the carrying capacity of the environment. This equation expresses the intuition that increased population density makes life harder. As N approaches K, G approaches 0. If N exceeds K, then G is negative. When N is much smaller than K, G approaches R. Other than expressing an obvious intuition that density impedes growth, the equation isn’t very useful. There is no way to observe K that is independent of N. The only way to estimate K is to o

What is Feminism?

Feminists like to define feminism as “a movement for the political, social, and economic equality of the sexes”. That definition is very misleading. It does not describe what feminists believe or what they do. Feminism is much more complex than that definition suggests. In this essay, I will describe feminism in terms of its form and function. I will describe the ideology of feminism and show that it is dishonest and impractical. I will also explain the function of feminism: what it does and why. Although feminism can be thought of as a political movement or as an ideology, it is more useful to think of it as a disease. Feminism is a memetic disease that propagates from host to host. It uses infected hosts to spread itself. This way of thinking involves a role reversal. We normally think of ideas as serving our purposes, not vice versa. We think of ideas as tools that we use to understand reality and act effectively in the world. We don’t normally think of ourselves as being

Demography and Destiny

In this essay, I will make the case that demographic transition theory is wrong. Demographic transition theory (DTT) proposes that people go through a transition from high fertility to low fertility as their societies modernize. Supposedly this will lead to a stable or declining world population at some point in the future. This assumption is built into UN population projections. This theory fits the evidence of recent history. Over the last 100 years, fertility rates have fallen dramatically as modern civilization spread around the world. Today, most parts of the world have low or declining fertility. What caused this change in human behavior? The generally accepted view is that wealth causes lower fertility, either because poor people have extra children to make up for those that they expect to die young, or because people want children to work on the farm and to care for them in old age. According to this view, people will choose to have fewer children if childhood mortality goes