Re: Genius -- the evidence

Eliezer Yudkowsky (
Sat, 25 Jan 1997 21:05:57 -0600

My original statement:
>My response is, as always, "Insufficient Data". I acknowledge that
>there are major, evolved, emotional differences between the sexes,
>although not necessarily ones that could not be overcome by upbringing.
>In fact, I seem to recall running through several case histories of
>feminized boys and androgenized women, some of which were (as far as
>known) upbringing-induced and not a testosterone imbanance.

[Kathryn Aegis opens fire:]
> Your above statement is one of the most unlearned, unsubstantiated, out-moded
> bits of tripe I've read in a long time, and I would thank you in the
> future to actually cite these studies you claim to have read.

I'm not quite sure what you objected to... but anyway, here's my source:

Comprehensive Textbook of Psychiatry, Fourth Edition:
Section 23.1: "Gender Identity Disorders in Children and Adults"

"Experts speculate that this degree of feminine behavior [on the part of
a male
child] must be the result of genetic, hormonal, central nervous system
factors; however, no evidence to support this speculation has been
in humans. In fact, no complete reversal of sex-related behavior is
even in anatomically intact animals, except in the laboratory. [?] The
biological contribution that is presently known is the boys' beauty and
and very few beautiful boys become transsexuals."

If Kathryn Aegis was objecting to my statement of "evolved emotional
differences" [though, as stated, far from irrevocable ones], I again
simply note that women in Western cultures are more choosy when it comes
to mates. So is the female of just about every known species except for
some variety of fish in which the males raise the children. In this
species, the females display and the males choose. The greater the
parental investment, the choosier the parent. This is simply the
default emotion; what a given sentient female chooses to do about it is
her business. Emotions can be overridden by culture, sentient whim or
even random chance.

I ran across this particular example in either "Man: The Moral Animal",
"The Red Queen's Race", or "Sociobiology", in order of probability.
Having none of these books in front of me, I can't provide page
numbers. I agree with these books that the evolutionary logic of
[default] male promiscuity and [DEFAULT!] female selectiveness seems
logically airtight, historically accurate, emotionally plausible, and
supported by primate studies.

--       Eliezer S. Yudkowsky

Disclaimer:  Unless otherwise specified, I'm not telling you
everything I think I know.