Saturday, May 15, 2010

Genetic determinism in the news

I don't expect the NY Times to promote genetic determinism, but it has recent articles on how genes determine desirability of human eggs, happy marriages, and crime. Then there is the news that non-Africans have Neanderthal genes, whatever that means.

This study also got a lot of press:
"The greater the age difference, the lower the wife's life expectancy," Sven Drefahl of the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research in Germany, said. "The best choice for a woman is to marry a man of exactly the same age."

Drefahl believed that having a relationship with a younger man may mean more stress for women because they are "violating social norms and thus suffer from social sanctions," which could result in a more stressful life, he said.

A "sugar daddy" with a wife seven to nine years his junior is seven percent less likely to die early — probably because she's more likely to nurse him in old age.
The explanations are ridiculous and unsupported. A woman who marries an older man has probably sized him up as being particularly healthy, and that is why he lives longer.

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