Saturday, June 30, 2012

U.S. Males Dump Marriage

It looks as if Pew saw something other social research has failed to see (check out the below image). Using sentiment trackers and analysis, so far U.S. males (n=1000+) seem to be hostile toward the idea of marriage (contributing to the low marriage rate?). This study, of course, is ongoing, and the findings seem similar to the Pew findings - though, unlike Pew, this study does not evaluate what is considered the "most important thing in life," but what is the general sentiment toward marriage of men and women. To a certain degree, I think the Pew study creates a weakness by asking a dumb question, instead of trying to capture the overall sentiment (which would be more accurate). Nonetheless, a post explaining more details about this study (which is much larger) will be forthcoming.

While my study does not calculate age (unlike the Pew study), this seems to reconcile with my findings where Millennial males didn't seem interested in the prospect of marriage. As it turns out, male Echo Boomers may be wise for abstaining from marriage. While this bodes well for men, it creates a dilemma for culture (from Male Echo Boomers Dump Marriage):

- - - - - - - - - -

Related, there's been an increase in young women who say that having a successful marriage is one of the most important things. A recent study might even show why they would think this since parenthood ranks of high importance to young women as well:

A new study discovers that while mothers have a unique social and emotional bond with each child, a father’s love contributes as much — and sometimes more — to a child’s development.

...

The results from more than 500 studies suggest that while children and adults often experience more or less the same level of acceptance or rejection from each parent, the influence of one parent’s rejection — oftentimes the father’s — can be much greater than the other’s.

In other words, Kay Hymowitz is both right and wrong about family formation: while a marriage - including a man and woman - cultivates the best environment for child-rearing, the Millennial generation will probably have a low marriage rate, affecting its other social value, parenthood.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Suzanne Venker: The Effects of Feminism on Millennial Women

The responses to the interview questions may not represent the views of The Echo Boom Bomb's author. These interviews are provided to inform readers of information from experts and provide these experts with a medium where they can answer questions without any content changes. You can also read other interviews at this link. All media in articles, unless otherwise stated, was added by Tim Smith.

One more-than-fair criticism I've received is that I have interviewed and portrayed many sociocultural issues from a pro-feminist point of view. For instance, neither Stephanie Coontz nor Kay Hymowitz criticized feminism, and while one seemed to think this new change would be good for everyone (Stephanie Coontz), the other seemed to almost point the finger at men (Kay Hymowitz - her book is Manning Up after all). Meanwhile, Susan Walsh seems to be the most conservative voice I've offered as of yet, regarding social issues. Of course, finding someone to point the finger at feminism is more than difficult. Nonetheless, I caught up with Suzanne Venker, who wrote a critique on feminism, titled The Flipside of Feminism.

A former middle school teacher-turned-social critic, Suzanne Venker is, first and foremost, a wife and mother of two children, ages 9 and 12. She is also the author of three books, 7 Myths of Working Mothers, The Flipside of Feminism, and (upcoming) How To Choose A Husband. She has appeared throughout media as a conservative view. You can read more about her at her bio page on her website, Suzanne Venker.

1. After interviewing Kay Hymowitz (on family formation), Stephanie Coontz and Susan Walsh (about hooking up) concerning the challenges young women and modern families face, what do you see as the major challenges for young women and modern families?

Young women have thoroughly absorbed feminist doctrine and now live in a culture that elevates women to such a degree that men have been dragged out of the equation. Many people don’t realize that equality these days means sameness -- not worthiness. The feminist goal is interchangeability between the sexes. Feminists deny biology, or the unique natures of women and men.

The other problem facing young women is the hook-up culture. Thanks to feminists, young women believe they can have sex and not face emotional attachment post-sex. This, in essence, plays into the male libido but can mean dire consequences for young women. I point out in my upcoming book, How To Choose A Husband (to be released in February 2013) that according to a recent Pew study, young men have lost interest in marriage, while young women have increased their interest in marriage during the same time period. This clearly shows the genders moving in opposite directions as far as life goals are concerned.

2. For young women, how do you think these issues should be addressed?

First, the modern generation needs to be educated about gender differences in a scientifically accurate manner. They need to recognize that men and women are fundamentally different – biologically, personally, and neurologically. These differences do not exist due to social constructs; they are inherent in male and female nature. And as we speak, we are learning more information from brain research on how the male and female brains differ. These differences should be taught to young people so they can live fulfilling lives by understanding who they really are.

Second, since women are the arbiters of sexual relationships, they need to stop sleeping around -- and instead make men commit before having sex with them. If we promote a culture in which men can have sex with whomever they want, they’ll see no need to marry. And, ultimately, women are the ones who want to get married. So if women want men to commit, women need to set their sexual-behavioral standards high (and adjust their expectations for what they want in a partner to a more realistic standard).

3. One criticism of anyone attacking feminism is that these individuals want to send us back to when "men dominated women" and patriarchy ruled. How do you respond to critics who might argue that this is what you're trying to promote?

[Editor's Note: Relative to the time frame, this assertion, which you will hear through educational institutions, may or may not be inaccurate. Certain work - such as farm work, for instance - does not allow for gender ideology. Likewise, being a male carries significant risk (according to history), as males are typically expected to sacrifice their lives in the event of a major disaster.]

First, I would ask them what time frame they’re talking about. If they asserted the 1950s era, as they usually do, I would argue that their assumptions about the male/female relationship is a caricature they’ve absorbed from media and feminists (who are usually one and the same). These sources created a drama about life in that era -- so when we read a portrayal of Leave It To Beaver or Father Knows Best, for instance, we get the feminist version of the truth and make assumptions accordingly.

We should also consider that many of the technologies that have been invented have helped women, such as birth control, were invented by men. In other words, it is men who helped liberate women through the technology they created. This has done far more for women than feminists ever did.

Finally, I would point out that many women were making their own choices long before feminism came along. Women may have had fewer choices in earlier eras, but that’s not because they lived in a patriarchy. Women became housewives because that was the ‘thing to do’ then, and society supported that lifestyle wholeheartedly.

My mother, for instance, chose to be stockbroker until she married my father at the age of 34. While that was unpopular for women in that era, no one stopped her from doing this. She even opened her own bank account with no problem! So many assumptions have been made about the way things were as a result of feminist influence.

4. When we discuss women and feminism, the discussion typically leaves out men. So – let’s be fair here – how have men been affected by feminism?

Feminism benefits men in that it appeals to the male sex drive. Female empowerment has, ironically, changed the culture to revolve around male DNA. Men are not prone to settling down or committing. They need to be inspired by women’s desire to do so.

Today men can have their cake and eat it, too. They can choose to settle down and have kids later -- or never settle down at all. They can have all the sex they want. It is women who don’t get what they’re looking for: marriage and commitment. I’ve stumbled across a huge subculture of young men (almost unexplored by media) who have chosen to avoid marriage because they don’t see any incentive to marry.

A man’s incentive for marriage is to provide and protect for his family. If he feels he’s not needed, he’s less likely to commit. American women have unintentionally driven men away. As a result, they feel lonely and unloved.

But women have the power to change everything that’s going on in modern relationships. All they have to do is reject the advice their feminist mothers and mentors gave them. My new book, How to Choose a Husband, helps them do this by offering women a feminist detox, or “12-step program” for changing their lives. Any woman who undergoes this “program” will find the love she craves.

The future of marriage is in women’s hands.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Dan Eisenberg Discusses Telomere Length and Age

The responses to the interview questions may not represent the views of The Echo Boom Bomb's author. These interviews are provided to inform readers of information from experts and provide these experts with a medium where they can answer questions without any content changes. You can also read other interviews at this link. All media in articles, unless otherwise stated, was added by Tim Smith.

Does a birth from a late father potentially affect the longevity of the offspring? Does it have any impact on telomere length? Dan Eisenberg has studied this and discussed this in a recent finding. I recently interviewed him on his study so that he could explain it. You can find the study here. Dan Eisenberg is a Ph.D. candidate at Northwestern University and has been published with many other authors in peer-reviewed journals (which you can read at the link above this). Along with being a Ph.D. candidate, he's received numerous awards and honors, as well as helped with several humanitarian efforts.

1. What were the findings on your recent study related to older fathers and their children in terms of telomere length?

Telomeres are pieces of DNA found at the ends of our chromosomes that cap and protect the chromosome (like the plastic tips at the end of shoelaces). Each time one of our cells replicates telomeres tend to get a little shorter. So as we get older telomeres get shorter (in tissues in our body which replicate). When telomeres get too short, the cell can no longer replicate and sometimes dies off. Thus, shorter telomeres seem to contribute to deteriorating health with age.

However, previous studies have shown that children of older fathers have longer telomeres (probably because as a man ages, telomeres in his sperm get longer). Our study shows for the first time that this happens across at least two generations: older fathers not only have offspring with longer telomeres, but their sons also have offspring with longer telomeres. That is, having an older grandfather on your dad’s side at the birth of your father predicts that you will have longer telomeres.

This implies that having a father and/or grandfather who reproduced at later ages might cause you to live longer because you were born with longer telomeres. This might be an evolutionary mechanism which allows the offspring to receive a signal of what the environment was like in recent generations. If your father and grandfather were able to live to reproduce at a later age it might be more beneficial for you to invest in having a healthier longer life.

You can read the original study here.

2. How do telomeres relate to health and longevity?

Telomere length is shortened by cell division and replication and shortened telomeres limit the ability of cells to replicate. As such, in general telomeres probably influence cells and parts of our bodies in which cells divide and replicate more. Such cells include our immune system, skin and gut lining. Consistent with this, shorter telomere lengths are associated with increased mortality from infectious diseases and cardiovascular diseases.

However, I also want to note that, as in most science, we need to be careful not to assume correlation is causation. Shorter telomeres in blood are also associated with (and probably caused by) increased stress, infection, poor diet and lack of exercise. Because of this, it can be difficult to definitively discern whether and how much associations between shorter telomeres and poorer later health imply that telomeres are causing this or whether telomeres are more of a marker of past damages. Still there are some good reasons to think that shorter telomeres do actually cause poorer health.

3. I know many people are already asking this question at this point, so I'll go ahead and ask it: outside of aging (for men here), any other ways for people to lengthen their telomeres?

The best bet remains the usual suspects: don't eat too much, eat healthy food and exercise. Meat consumption, particularly processed meat has been associated with shorter telomeres (see here and here also). I'd recommend avoiding any supplement/medication which claims to extend your telomeres.

If you are asking about how men might extend the telomere lengths of their sperm, this is an intriguing question. The only thing I know of that influences sperm telomere length is age. However, my evolutionary theory about father's and grandfather's age influencing telomere length of children as a sort of adaptive signaling mechanism, raises the question of whether other things in men's environments also influence the telomere length of his sperm.

4. Up to this point in your research, what's been your most suprising finding?

To some extent, I was not very surprised by the results. I predicted that the paternal age effect on telomere length would persist across multiple generations in a publication last year in the American Journal of Human Biology (see here). I predicted this because factors like being a first born child or a last born child of a man in the same environment would result in different telomere lengths. But if the effect of paternal age averages across generations than a baby receives not just the signal of what the environment was like for dad, but dad's dad and dad's dad's dad. This could mean that the telomere length a baby inherits conveys a more accurate message about what the recent past environment was like--and what it is likely to be like for that baby growing up.

On the other hand, we only show this association from paternal grandfather's (father's father's age) not maternal grandfathers (mother's father's age at mother's birth). This is peculiar, was unexpected and calls for more research about why there is such a difference in how telomeres are passed on from mothers than from fathers.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Will the Education Bubble Be Worse Than the Housing Bubble?

More on the education bubble:

And:

The simple fact of the matter should be obvious by now: Government created this mess, in both instances, by forcing the market to provide loans it would not have granted otherwise. As is its custom, government did by force what no private lender would have ever done by choice. This is the breeding ground for bubbles, and this one will burst just as they all do. As with the last bubble, politicians will blame the “greed” of the marketplace. How many more bubbles must we endure before we realize that the problem isn't greed and it isn't markets? The problem is government interference.

Male Echo Boomers Dump Marriage

Who was it that predicted the Millennial generation will have a low marriage rate (see Cohabitation vs. Marriage for more information)? Who says math and numbers can't tell good stories?

On the other hand, the share of young men ages 18 to 34 who say that having a successful marriage is one of the most important things has dropped from 35% in 1997 to 29% now. Today a significantly smaller share of young men (29%) than young women (37%) list marriage as one of their highest priorities; this represents a change from 1997, when men and women were statistically equal on this measure.

[HT goes to Suzanne Venker, who pointed me to this study in our interview yesterday which will be published on this blog at a later date.]

Related, there's been an increase in young women who say that having a successful marriage is one of the most important things. A recent study might even show why they would think this since parenthood ranks of high importance to young women as well:
A new study discovers that while mothers have a unique social and emotional bond with each child, a father’s love contributes as much — and sometimes more — to a child’s development.

...

The results from more than 500 studies suggest that while children and adults often experience more or less the same level of acceptance or rejection from each parent, the influence of one parent’s rejection — oftentimes the father’s — can be much greater than the other’s.

In other words, Kay Hymowitz is both right and wrong about family formation: while a marriage - including a man and woman - cultivates the best environment for child-rearing, the Millennial generation will probably have a low marriage rate, affecting its other social value, parenthood.

On a related note, anyone investing in psychiatric medication is about to make some serious dough over the next few decades.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Obama Regains Probability Lead Against Romney

Front and center to the 2012 election will economic issues:

None of this, of course, should surprise anyone as other issues dragging on the economy, like the education bubble and housing market trouble along with high oil prices have hampered many Americans' wallets. Also consider another troubling sign for the economy. In other words, each candidate should focus their efforts on the economic issues because the economy is only issue that has the weight to carry the winner.

Obama re-took the lead from Romney (as far as the probability of winning the election), partially due to a sentiment increase in popularity. Obama is not only popular among Echo Boomers and minorities, but also single women, as this article explains (Obama is actually popular among women, in general). Considering the low marriage rate in the United States (51%), this carries a lot of weight. In order to stay in a lock with Obama, Romney must focus his campaign on these groups he lacks strength, while increasing his popularity among Republicans.