Experts of the Week give Grandfathers all-clear to sow their wild oats

While we all approach things from our own point of view and all have prejudices and opinions of the moment, it seems scientists suffer most dreadfully from this and insist on continuing to display their remarkably narrow-band intelligence, ie., they can create a Bose-Einstein Condensate but can’t iron a shirt to save their life.

Sheffield-based Dr Virpi Lummaa and Dr Andrew Russell, with the help of Finnish colleagues from the University of Turku have examined 361 family histories and their work was reported on by BBC.co.uk.

Dr Lummaa states:

“The results suggest the long lifespan in human men has not benefited their adult offspring’s reproductive success, even though grandfathers are much valued today.”

In other words, if your father is still alive it has no effect on the number of children you have. By my calculations, if your father is still alive it has no effect on the lunar cycle either. Perhaps I should become a doctor.

While the report clearly doesn’t contain every element of the study it never mentions the fact that the adult offspring of a grandfather will likely be about forty, ie., probably unable to successfully bear children even if they wanted to. Though it did have this remarkably unlikely statistic about the adult offspring of grandmothers.

“In their study, grandmothers gained two extra grandchildren for every 10 years they survived beyond the menopause.”

Let’s stop and think about this. The average age of the onset of menopause is just over fifty. Let’s say that the average grandmother has had two children, two years apart in her mid-twenties. So between the age of fifty and sixty, her children would be up to thirty-four and thirty-six and produce a child each. Fair enough. The next decade (sixty to seventy) sees her children at forty-four and forty-six. While technically possible, it seems rather unlikely that they produce another child each. When the grandmother is seventy to eighty, her children are fifty-four and fifty-six and have almost certainly passed through the menopause themselves. The life-expectancy of British women was about eighty in 2002. What is clear is that this statement by Dr Lummaa doesn’t hold any rational water.

Undeterred and presumably with complete confidence in her expertise, Dr Lummaa continues:

“It is more likely that longevity in men is related to their ability to have their own offspring even at advanced ages.”

For a statement to be true, the opposite must also be true. So if longevity in men is related to sperm-production and sexual potency, then infertile and impotent men should die earlier. True? Rubbish.

The BBC.co.uk reporter translated Dr Lummaa’s statement as:

“the scientists say the “evolutionary” argument for a man’s survival to a ripe old age is to continue to churn out sperm and procreate.”

I think that is a fair translation and it again shows that the doctor’s report has reached ridiculous conclusions. Considering this from an “evolutionary” standpoint manages to shoot it down in flames. (As a side point, believing in evolution means having blind faith in what men and women in white coats tell you and this silly statement is typical of evolution texts. Interestingly, this is also the state of people in the Mental Health Unit of your local hospital.)

Evolutionary theory states that the primary reason men and women exist is to produce more men and women. To this end, everything has to be interpreted as having a bearing on the likelihood of a man and a woman producing offspring. Therefore, for the doctor’s statement to be true, women of child-bearing age must be sexually attracted to crinkly old men with more hair in their nose than on their head and be able to tell at a distance whether he can still perform sexually. Ridiculous.

Doctor’s Lummaa and Russell and your Finnish associates, for making short-sighted conclusions shorn of common sense, you are my experts of the week.

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