Why do we still have Nerds?

29 Aug

The other day I was reading an article about autism, creativity and evolution. (I cannot find the link now and that pisses me off.) Well that was the general gist of it.

Certain axioms were presented, not explicitly stated as such but as common knowledge as if this was self-evident to everybody.

The first of these axioms was that highly functioning/intelligent autism, or Asperser’s syndrome males comprehend and grasp technology far better than the normal neurological types. This unique skill is hypothesized to be a major innovator of technological progress from early mankind onward. (As a side issue and may be not in the same article, normal neurological types demonstrate a remarkable ability to form cooperative units to achieve a given task that an individual would find impossible or great difficulty performing, such as moving a large fallen tree off the road.

The second axiom is that these guys are total nerds and have a terrible time interacting with the opposite sex and therefore there must be some mechanism to preserver their genetic information otherwise they would die off. The hypothesis being that they increased the survival rate of their relatives who shared part of their genetic information, but they, themselves were unsuccessful in reproducing.

Well are these axioms valid?  I have my doubts but argument sake I will work from this premise because I think the conclusions from the second axiom is false.

I will accept the total nerd premise and problems with social interactions, but does this lead to less reproductive success?  The problem here is the assumption that our current Western liberal situation where the sexes compete for mates and they have the choice in determining who they will partner with is false.  From Arab friends who are first generation Americans, they have far more leeway than their cousins back home but still the family is heavily involved.  For an example, this ethnically Arab cardiology fellow who physically resembled Gabriel Iglesias and was a quite shy man had a gorgeous wife. In my usual subtle self I ask him something along the lines of  “Oh my god you wife is gorgeous. How did YOU ever meet her?” He promptly replied that his mother arranged the marriage. <startled pause>

He has seen his future bride years ago at a cousin’s wedding. He commented to his mother that her would like to meet her.  So his mother found out who she was from the cousin and went to her mother and made the proposition. They met several times and talked, and then the fathers met. Once they had they had determined that the others would make a good spouse for their child, the presented the situation to them. Then they started courting.

So this got me thinking, when I was younger, I always was a much bigger hit with the parents, particularly the mothers then I ever was with the daughters.  I can easily imagine that the social situation was such that the parental influence was as great as it is in Arab society I would not have had so many lonely weekends.

So what is more the norm in human history, where the suitor had to seduce his mate or one where he had to impress the parents? My hypothesis is that the family experience was that the nerd would be a kind, reliable and good provider and came from a “good” families, therefore that became the major factor overriding her personal preference from the would-be bride from an extremely desirable to an acceptable man, from their perspective.



4 Responses to “Why do we still have Nerds?”

  1. Firehorse August 29, 2010 at 7:17 pm #

    You over look something important. To a female of a mature mindset intelligence is VERY sexy.

    • mousebert August 29, 2010 at 7:53 pm #

      Well, I didn’t comment on it. I think that factor is in the mature mindset. My personal observation was that before age 24 females were REALLY interested in jocks. I am sure I didn’t change that much from 22 to 26, but I noticed a big difference in the attention I got from women of my age. That may be why the mothers preferred me, funny and smart. But what was the average age of marriage for a female in the past and now? Are most waiting until the late twenties? I don’t have that impression.

      • Firehorse August 30, 2010 at 8:32 pm #

        In the UK the age for first marriage is now around 30 last I looked – by which time you’d think all parties would be old enough to know better.

      • mousebert August 31, 2010 at 1:06 pm #

        Average age of first marriage http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Age_at_first_marriage

        So the trend is to marry at a later age now. But in the past? The recent past was not that different. Still left unanswered is how spouses were chosen. My impression is it was similar to traditional native American Plain Indians for many societies than today’s model.

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