Addendum – Why not the Coolidge Effect?

In the post before I introduced two behavioral patterns widely exploited by religions to enhance fecundity. These are upholding of mutual trust and the generation micro alpha males. An other behavioral pattern also common in humans is the Coolidge effect. (I highly recommend to read the wiki entry for the origin of this term’s name). The Coolidge effect evolved in animals, including primates, in which males can inseminate more than one female, in which the number of male sperm cells abundantly outnumbers the number of female eggs, in which a female’s capability to produce progeny is more than exhausted by a single shower of sperm, and in which fitness can be increased only by males copulating with as much as possible females. In these species, males soon get tired of a female after copulation but immediately rejuvenate by an new female.

The Coolidge effect would demand societies/religions that would encourage men to have many women. In fact, such societies/religions exist, which proves the impact of this effect in men, but these societies are rare, failed to gain great importance, and are rather dying out. Why? What are the evolutionary disadvantages of religions that rely on the Coolidge effect?

  1. The Coolidge effect reduces allelic variability. Societies that allow harems are characterized by consanguinity and hereditary disorders. Such behavior produces genetic bottle necks that hinder evolution in the long term. This explains why even in apes with strong hierarchical social compounds alpha males do not sire all the children in a troop.
  2. As human sex ratio is nearly 1:1, some men maintaining harems would leave others without any chance to find a mating partner. These unsatisfied men constitute a permanent thread of social unrest which turns the master fauceir, the society, unstable. Witnessing this, successful societies rather discourage men to indulge in their Coolidge effect.
  3. Finally,  overall fitness of a human society is limited by the number of children per female and not the number of females inseminated per man. The latter may have a bearing on the biological evolution of favorable traits, as observed in primate societies, but in human societies this is no longer the case when social status is inherited along with the whole harem.

Coolidge or not the net effect on both biological and social fitness is just the same. Human’s biological capabilities involve and social capabilities remain unchanged.

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Fauceir theory is developed and © by Mato Nagel and available at

High Religious Fertility Rate – Discussion of Two Mechanisms

Talking about how religion affects fecundity I’m going to analyze two behavioral fauceirs. Namely, the alpha male preference and the self defense system.

Psychological intrusion defense model

The self defense system against individuals of the same species is an important invention. It evolved in species with inter-individual competition.  It may change during development. While cubs cuddle, they certainly become fierce competitors when adolescent. It may change with seasons. While birds flock during migrations, they expel competitors when nesting instincts develops. Humans descended from primates that lived in social formations with permanent quarrels. As kind of an early warning system primates evolved something like privacy that can be understood as a circle surrounding the body, which when entered by an other individual of the same species causes a reaction either menace or flight. We humans also have such circle. In fact we have several of them. And as psychologists claim, the diameters slightly differ among nationalities, which indicates these invisible circles are learned behavior, kind of imprinted. Anyway they exist in all of us, save the imbecile, and it costs us lot of effort to overcome our own and our partner’s self defense mechanisms when falling in love. As a study recently revealed, religion can considerably help to suppress these self defense mechanisms and to allow intrusions. This of course would also family bonds allow to develop. At this point please allow a general remark. Most problems in human relations such as problems finding a partner, sexual problems and family problems including childlessness are in fact nothing but problems to suppress this innate or imprinted aversion to allow an other human’s intrusion. And humans developed a remedy that is almost as old as human societies are. Alcohol effectively helps to suppress this aversion.

Psychological selection model

Next, we analyze alpha male preference. It is known for long that females of a troop of primates prefer to mate with the troop leader. This also is an innate or imprinted kind of behavior. Religions all over the world use to channel this drive into some compatible social behavior, the families in which the father is playing the role of an alpha male. Accepting this role makes his wife willing to become pregnant again and again. Our modern societies create social structures that contradict these traditional family roles. At wok, women come to know other males playing a similar role that confuses their feelings. Men also meet other females or see their pictures in glossy print that stimulate their urge to become those female’s alpha male too. All these tendencies erode family bonds and lessen the number of children. The Amish community by deliberately ignoring these external social influences are capable to keep their families stable and to propagate.

The two examples chosen here to demonstrate the effect of a social fauceir, religion, on a behavioral fauceirs. The net result of these effects is a better fecundity. I admit, as I already discussed in the dating website study, this is only part of the story. Other fauceir interactions remain to unveil.

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This work by Paul Netman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

Fauceir theory is developed and © by Mato Nagel and available at

Heredity of religiousness and fecundity – data from a dating website

Today I want to present a little research on religiousness and fecundity that I performed on a free dating website that collects a lot of data about the degree of religiousness and the desire to have children. Unfortunately the search engine provided by the website does not allow queries about how faithful a person and whether he or she likes children, so I had to limit my queries on type of faith and children already present or not.

Religiouness and the probability to have children

Figure 1. The frequency of having at least one child when registered with the dating website.

The result (Fig. 1) is not surprising. It shows what we already know. Religious people are more likely to already have children even when registered with this dating website for search of a new partner. The selection bias that only those people become member of this website that are not in a relationship might explain why Hindus and Jews have only few children when advertising on this website. Probably, in these religions, if children are present or planned, strong family bounds are demanded. An other explanation might be the under-representation of Hindus in America. The next figure (Fig. 2) shows the population density. Given these data, I have to admit that only reliable conclusions about religiousness and the probability to have children can be made for Agnostics, Atheists, Catholics, Christians, and Jews.

Population density

Figure 2. The cumulative popolation density of members in selected East Cost and West Cost areas.

Still, the difference between atheistic and religious faiths is striking. What amazes me is Buddhism. I don’t know enough about this faith but I always find its position somewhere between Atheism and Christianity.

Religousness and declining children

Figure 3. The frequency by which religious and non religous members declared that they don't want children.

Next I did something more experimental. I collected data by google search of the dating website. That approach allowed me to quantify the degree of religiousness, and also I was able to discriminate between those member who do not want children and those who like them. The result, although consistent with the former data, came as a surprise to me. I expected that at the outset Atheists and Religious people were similar, but the difference was even more striking (Fig. 3). By contrast to what I said in my previous post this rather supports the assumption that differences are genetically determined or imprinted during childhood. Well, though differences growing with age and family responsibility would more support my assertion of a social (cultural) determination, the data, on the other hand, does not contradict these ideas. People registered with this website are mature socially active individuals, so cultural factors have already affected them substantially.

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Fauceir theory is developed and © by Mato Nagel and available at

The Regulation of Human Fecundity

Humans are social being not mere biological subjects. Humans consist of a complex structure of nested fauceirs. Each of them is controlled by its master fauceir that mainly reduces the innate proliferation rate.

Nested Fauceir Structure

The first fauceir that we going to consider are unicellular organisms, which exhibit the highest proliferation rate: one cell division every 10 minutes in some bacteria (Prokaryotes). Unicellular Eukaryotes still show an extraordinarily height proliferation rate of 7 cell divisions per day (Paramecium).


In multicellular organisms cell division is more or less tightly controlled by the master fauceir that contains and governs these cells. Control mechanisms include cytokines, hormones, and various mechanisms of DNA silencing that occur during development. Developmental processes ensure cell specialization into tissues and organs, and only specialized reproductive organs are allowed to participate in reproduction. Hormones control these reproductive organs. While male germ cells (sperms) still are abundantly produced there is only a limited number of female reproductive cells (ovum) that mature during lifetime, and maturation is tightly controlled by hormone cycles. By all these mechanisms, the control at the level of the muticellular organisms significantly reduces reproduction rate. On average, a woman prepares 250 eggs for insemination during a lifetime. Mammals are vastly outnumbered in this respect by fish. Still, a female salmon can produce 35,000 eggs and a male salmon the huge number of 100 billion sperms per year, which is minute compared to the reproduction rate of unicellular organisms. If a unicellular organism exhibits only one cell division per day it would have produced this incredible number of progeny.



N(2^365,digits=10) = 7.515336265e109


Reproduction is further controlled by behavior constraints. Behavioral mechanism that control reproduction include: (1) the aversion of having sex observed in males and females during lactation and early child care, (2) females carefully selecting their mating partners, and (3) infanticide. The data given for Gorillas allow to calculate an average of 8 children per female during lifetime.


N(((30+50)/2-(13+11)/2)/3.5,digits=10) = 8.000000000


But we know that even in the most reproductive societies such an average number is not achieved. The average fertility rate in Niger is 7.1. Although I personally know families that had up to 14 children, these are rare exceptions. The average fertility rate is further down regulated by social control mechanisms. By the way, even in these few families with more than 10 children the women had been sterilized by law. (Don’t ask me which law it was.) These figures, however, demonstrate that even in societies as fecund as the Amish there are still constraints that limit the number of children per women. These constraints are doubtlessly more effective in atheist settings. Given parsimony, these constraints most likely effect behavior the closest sub-fauceir. Social fauceirs did so for centuries. Contraceptives that affect the maturation of female germ cells are rather a recent innovation in controlling human reproduction.


Which are the behavior patterns used by societies to control human reproduction will be investigated in a next blog entry. In this respect, the study of religious communities provides insight how innate behavioral patterns are exploited.

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This work by Paul Netman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

Fauceir theory is developed and © by Mato Nagel and available at