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View Full Version : What if...? (Mental Exercise)



Greyfeld85
2013-02-07, 01:06 AM
In a world where eugenics is used to decrease the chance of conception producing male fetuses to approximately 10%, how would our society differ when the world's male population dwindles to approximately the same percentage?

My first thought is episode 13 from Star Trek: TNG, "Angel One," where men are considered trophies and pets.

FreakyCheeseMan
2013-02-07, 03:27 PM
Eh... I don't buy that.

So, first question - why was this done? If sounds like you're saying this was an intentional government program, but you didn't describe the reasons or agencies behind it, which has a huge amount to do with things.

But, otherwise, society doesn't need to change all that much - not nearly as much as if, say, the reverse happened. Guys get a a higher standard of living, and can probably supplement their incomes by selling sperm to sperm banks. Dating and marriage changes, but with so few guys to go around, "Traditional" families are probably abandoned in favor of other systems - female-female pairs raising one another's children together, or child-rearing becoming a duty of the community, rather than the individual parents.

There have been a number of cultures throughout history with vastly different ideas about sex and reproduction than what we hold to be true today. In these cultures, relationship dynamics changed to follow from what the societies perceived as the situation. There was a cracked article on it... http://www.cracked.com/article_20180_the-6-craziest-beliefs-entire-cultures-have-held-about-sex.html

Frathe
2013-02-07, 03:39 PM
This question is difficult to answer unless you can explain why eugenics would be used this way. In most world cultures, use of eugenics to reduce the female population would be more plausible; consider China and India, where the desire for male children as income-earners is so great that female infants are often killed (http://www.bbc.co.uk/ethics/abortion/medical/infanticide_1.shtml).

Greyfeld85
2013-02-07, 05:10 PM
Sorry for the lack of info. The idea surrounding this question stemmed from something in the radical socio-political sector, and I didn't want to instigate a political discussion by bringing it up. But since you guys do need more information, I'll lay it out on the table. Just please don't turn this into a political discussion.

This Youtube video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jvEJfN-jiS4), and some other radical feminist spaces, illustrate the idea that the way to world peace is to whittle down the male population (under the premise that men are the sole reason for war and violent crime). The idea behind this eugenics question is this radical idea, taken to the next level, where it is actually implemented on a global scale.

FreakyCheeseMan
2013-02-07, 05:31 PM
So, I think the problem with the question is this.

For this to happen, we have to accept the premise that the powers that be have adopted a radical social philosophy, and have the power to enforce it. So, the answer is just "Whatever those powers choose."

If the question were more along the lines of "Suppose a disease wiped out 90% of the male population, or caused 90% of future offspring to be born female", we could debate how society would change in light of such. However, your question assumes that there's already a much different society, in order for these laws to be enacted; what happens next depends entirely on the specific nature and limits of that hypothetical society.

Grinner
2013-02-07, 06:08 PM
I don't think it would work. Period.

Eugenics (or dysgenics, depending on how you look at it), isn't really applicable, to my knowledge.

Background information:

The human genome is diploid (having two sets of chromosomes) and contains twenty-three pairs of chromosomes total. The twenty-third of these pairs is responsible for primary sex characteristics.

In women, the chromosome pair is called XX, for it contains two X chromosomes. In men, the chromosome pair is called XY, for it contains one X chromosome and one Y chromosome.

When a woman's ovaries develop, they're populated with gametes (single chromosome set, reproductive cells) called eggs, each of which contains one X chromosome. Men's gametes are called sperm, which should each contain X or Y chromosomes in equal proportion.

The end result is that when a man and a woman love each other very much, their child has a fifty-fifty chance of being female, depending on which of the man's sperm reaches the egg first.

It's not the woman's genome you want to mess with. It's the man's. However, I don't see how you could breed out an essential characteristic of human reproductive biology. It would be much easier to just kill every nine out of ten male infants, but I don't see many mothers going for that. Maternal instinct, y'know.

In any case, if it did work, men would be treated as either kings or prized cattle, depending on how the politics of the matter resolved. Either way, lots of sex and dead bodies. :smallsigh:

Morph Bark
2013-02-07, 06:19 PM
Let's say this happens. Now you got something that is both rare and necessary for the survival of the human race. I don't think people would go "hey, let's turn these people we need into luxury items!"

It'd be more like how water is treated in desert areas, except instead of a liquid, it's now a living, sapient being.

Frathe
2013-02-07, 06:19 PM
You don't necessarily have to kill nine-tenths of male infants, if you produce all infants as "test-tube babies" and have a method to filter the sperm to select for the 10:1 proportion you want. That way, the rest of the male infants are never "born"; they're never even fertilized as zygotes.

Grinner
2013-02-07, 06:22 PM
You don't necessarily have to kill nine-tenths of male infants, if you produce all infants as "test-tube babies" and have a method to filter the sperm to select for the 10:1 proportion you want. That way, the rest of the male infants are never "born"; they're never even fertilized as zygotes.

I thought about that, but it would be prohibitively expensive. That's perhaps not a problem for a global feminist collective, but it's certainly a consideration.

Edit:

Let's say this happens. Now you got something that is both rare and necessary for the survival of the human race. I don't think people would go "hey, let's turn these people we need into luxury items!"

It'd be more like how water is treated in desert areas, except instead of a liquid, it's now a living, sapient being.

I disagree. You can get by without becoming a parent. You can't get by without water.

Greyfeld85
2013-02-07, 06:46 PM
Can we get past the whole "is it possible" thing, and focus on the question presented? I don't really need to hammer down the scientific aspects of the whole thing, I just need some ideas of what such a society would look like.

FreakyCheeseMan
2013-02-07, 06:54 PM
Can we get past the whole "is it possible" thing, and focus on the question presented? I don't really need to hammer down the scientific aspects of the whole thing, I just need some ideas of what such a society would look like.

Well, that's the problem - it's not independent. "What such a society would look like" depends on "What sort of society created this situation to begin with."

Greyfeld85
2013-02-07, 06:57 PM
Well, that's the problem - it's not independent. "What such a society would look like" depends on "What sort of society created this situation to begin with."

I already answered that question.

Vonwalt
2013-02-07, 07:02 PM
Is it the future? The past? Is there magic? Are there only humans, or are there other species (Or races, I guess)? are we talking about earth?

EDIT: Okay, so earth, sometime in the future. Hmm.

Grinner
2013-02-07, 07:05 PM
I already answered that question.

Well, it sounds like you have your answer then. Men would be traded and treated like cattle, and independently owning one would be a sign of considerable wealth. Additionally, I imagine sex slavery would be fairly common, if not prevalent.

Were you expecting something more comprehensive? :smallconfused:

FreakyCheeseMan
2013-02-07, 07:06 PM
I already answered that question.

But not in enough detail. Is this move widely supported by the female populace, or is it imposed by a despotic regime? How limited were the rights of males before this came to pass? Is there a widespread emotional stigma against males, or was it just a pragmatic decision towards reducing the likelihood of war? Was there violent dissent? How was it quelled?

If you described this as a freak natural occurrence, then we could analyze how modern human societies would react, but that's not what you're doing. You're saying this was a conscious decision on the part of some hypothetical society. We can't describe how that society would react, without knowing more about it; and we can't describe how "Our" society would react, because our society would not be acting that way to begin with.

Greyfeld85
2013-02-07, 07:10 PM
But not in enough detail. Is this move widely supported by the female populace, or is it imposed by a despotic regime? How limited were the rights of males before this came to pass? Is there a widespread emotional stigma against males, or was it just a pragmatic decision towards reducing the likelihood of war? Was there violent dissent? How was it quelled?

If you described this as a freak natural occurrence, then we could analyze how modern human societies would react, but that's not what you're doing. You're saying this was a conscious decision on the part of some hypothetical society. We can't describe how that society would react, without knowing more about it; and we can't describe how "Our" society would react, because our society would not be acting that way to begin with.

I thought it was understood that "Current society gradually adopts this idea, then acts on it," was the premise. If I could answer all that other stuff, then I wouldn't need to pick other peoples' brains, would I?

Coidzor
2013-02-07, 07:11 PM
You don't necessarily have to kill nine-tenths of male infants, if you produce all infants as "test-tube babies" and have a method to filter the sperm to select for the 10:1 proportion you want. That way, the rest of the male infants are never "born"; they're never even fertilized as zygotes.

Then it's not so much eugenics as genetic screening. And have to somehow manage to criminalize sex successfully or universally sterilize one or both of the sexes, in which case you raise the question of why you're making any men at all if you can take humans out of the equation when making new humans.


I thought it was understood that "Current society gradually adopts this idea, then acts on it," was the premise. If I could answer all that other stuff, then I wouldn't need to pick other peoples' brains, would I?

Not answerable at this time due to the variance in speculation that could be made, but probably pretty heavily dystopian to alter any of the Western Societies that we seem to be assuming as the baseline.

So think 1984 with more women or Brave New World with more women and take your pick as to which one you think fits in with the general tone of the game you want.

Considering the youtube video you said gave you the idea, well...
"If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stomping on a human face -- forever."

I'd have to say I'd favor the Orwellian interpretation.

Grinner
2013-02-07, 07:15 PM
Then it's not so much eugenics as genetic screening. And have to somehow manage to criminalize sex successfully or universally sterilize one or both of the sexes, in which case you raise the question of why you're making any men at all if you can take humans out of the equation when making new humans.

Well, it this hypothetical society is to go through so much trouble, it might be easier to just kill all of the men off. Then, use the production clones from recombined DNA as the sole method of reproduction.

Coidzor
2013-02-07, 07:18 PM
Well, it this hypothetical society is to go through so much trouble, it might be easier to just kill all of the men off. Then, produce clones from recombined DNA as the sole method of reproduction.

You might as well just have perfected making babies using only women so that you'd have eliminated maleness altogether, considering they're well on their way to doing that at present and this society has handed the reins over to those who hold that maleness is evil, and just have to worry about intersex children, some of which at least would no longer have any chance of existing.

I imagine most of those would just be surgically altered to appear more female at first until enough generations had passed that eventually they stopped caring or came up with a better solution than surgery.


I disagree. You can get by without becoming a parent. You can't get by without water.

Your society, on the other hand, can't get by without having new citizens/taxpayers/warm bodies, and we're talking about an unprecedented level of control over the personal lives of individuals to be able to get this stuff put into place.

Well, I suppose an AI-run society could get by, but once you get AI you're a stones throw away from uploading which makes it get a little bit weird even taking the AI back out of the equation and the AI would make things a bit weird anyway, though it would serve as a useful deus ex machina for how the genocide of mankind was carried out.

FreakyCheeseMan
2013-02-07, 07:25 PM
I thought it was understood that "Current society gradually adopts this idea, then acts on it," was the premise. If I could answer all that other stuff, then I wouldn't need to pick other peoples' brains, would I?

Except that current society wouldn't do that. Men are never going to be in favor of this idea, and it's tough to push a program that 50% of the population opposes, without some other factors weighing in. So, again, I can't predict the actions of a society that works in an inherently irrational way, without first being given the details of that society.

It's like if I asked you, "What would you do, if you were keeping your wife locked up in the basement?" You couldn't answer that, without first knowing why you were doing so in the first place.

Grinner
2013-02-07, 07:26 PM
You might as well just have perfected making babies using only women so that you'd have eliminated maleness altogether, considering they're well on their way to doing that at present and this society has handed the reins over to those who hold that maleness is evil, and just have to worry about intersex children, some of which at least would no longer have any chance of existing.

That would ultimately be the endgame, but another process would be necessary for the interim.


Your society, on the other hand, can't get by without having new citizens/taxpayers/warm bodies, and we're talking about an unprecedented level of control over the personal lives of individuals to be able to get this stuff put into place.

I think the biological imperative would produce enough volunteer mothers. That or conscription.

Coidzor
2013-02-07, 07:32 PM
That would ultimately be the endgame, but another process would be necessary for the interim.

Admittedly, my knowledge of the current science is a little bit spotty, but it's not going to be a very big interim, certainly not one long enough to set up engrained cultural practices. Maybe it'd last for long enough that everyone who remembered a saner time would be dead, but that'd require institutional raising of children in order to properly indoctrinate them so that no one manages to communicate that there's something unhealthily wrong with the society to them if the people in charge wanted some kind of gradualism, which seems unlikely considering the necessary bloodshed to get to the point where men comprised such a distinct minority of the population.

It's much more plausible, in my reading of the broader scenario that they'd want a clean break with the past for their perfect society of sisterhood.


I think the biological imperative would produce enough volunteer mothers. That or conscription.

Yes, but the most plausible thing is government control of the means of reproduction, which would make private ownership something that only those who were effectively untouchable could be conceived of as doing.

Frathe
2013-02-07, 08:50 PM
Then it's not so much eugenics as genetic screening. And have to somehow manage to criminalize sex successfully or universally sterilize one or both of the sexes, in which case you raise the question of why you're making any men at all if you can take humans out of the equation when making new humans.

Nope, that's still eugenics (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eugenics).


...including: genetic screening, birth control, promoting differential birth rates, marriage restrictions, segregation (both racial segregation and segregation of the mentally ill from the rest of the population), compulsory sterilization, forced abortions or forced pregnancies and genocide.

Jade_Lance
2013-02-07, 10:36 PM
At the risk of sounding intellectually stunted, this is a stupid idea. That said, to implement it is easy, but it would take magic; either Wish or Miracle would do. Genetic tinkering should take multiple castings of either (or both), and I would require them to be worded carefully.

The best world-building answer to this question is Frostflower and Thorn, by Phyllis Ann Karr. Her Frostflower stories are fun to read and internally consistent.

By the way, girls can do anything boys can do, even be violent. :smalltongue:

Greyfeld85
2013-02-07, 11:58 PM
At the risk of sounding intellectually stunted, this is a stupid idea.

The idea presented in the video is stupid? Or building a fictional world around it is stupid?

Jade_Lance
2013-02-08, 01:16 AM
The idea in the video. Boys are a pain in the tuchas, but girls can be too. Getting rid of almost all of them is like throwing away half the human race. That's throwing the baby out with the bath water. and is dumber than a box of rocks.

The better solution is to teach the sexes to just get along, and teach both of us to be more peaceful instead of just assuming one side just can't be taught.

On the other hand, fictional worlds can be built on anything and they'd still be fun to play in. That's the essence of SyFy/Fantasy. So the evil queen and her sister, a Wizard 17 and a Cleric 17, band together and a some Wishes, Miracles and sacrificed levels later, the hated male sex has been dropped to 1-10% of the population.

Socioeconomic and religiopolitical hilarity ensues. :smallsmile:

Perhaps the party would be recruited by a Goddess of Good to restore the chromosomal balance, before the male Gods all disappear too ...

Morph Bark
2013-02-08, 05:19 AM
I disagree. You can get by without becoming a parent. You can't get by without water.

I said the survival of the human race, not the survival of a single human being.

zabbarot
2013-02-08, 01:10 PM
Socioeconomic and religiopolitical hilarity ensues. :smallsmile:

Perhaps the party would be recruited by a Goddess of Good to restore the chromosomal balance, before the male Gods all disappear too ...

The party, A.K.A. The He-Man Woman Hater's Club (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wBIC8JTQMMQ), sets off to defeat the evil Queen and restore men to their proper place in the cosmos.

Jade_Lance
2013-02-08, 09:22 PM
I don't mean it that way. :p I mean that making a lot of people disappear is just not the right answer. My parents didn't get rid of my bratty little brother, they just taught him to behave. The world would be a little less if he hadn't have been allowed to be in it.

And rather than fighting the evil queen and her sister, it'd be more interesting to say that the level 9 spells were already thrown around a generation or two ago. The party grew up in the changed world and has to restore a balance they might not have known was off, and maybe they have to do that by Finding The MacGuffin or something. They're not fighting a person, they're changing reality. Then perhaps after the land's male offspring are brought back from the brink, they are taught by their moms and presumably lots of sisters to respect ladies and when that generation grows up both sexes live happily ever after, together.

Synovia
2013-02-09, 11:50 AM
Well, it sounds like you have your answer then. Men would be traded and treated like cattle, and independently owning one would be a sign of considerable wealth. Additionally, I imagine sex slavery would be fairly common, if not prevalent.

Were you expecting something more comprehensive? :smallconfused:

I'd disagree. I'd think we'd see polygamy. In pretty much every animal species that has serious sex ratio imbalances, there is polygamy. Its genetically much more viable than only allowing a small percentage of your females to breed.

Morph Bark
2013-02-09, 12:05 PM
Historically, and even in the present day in some areas of the world, there are groups of people where there were a lot more men or a lot more women than the other sex (usually more women than men due to the men dying in wars at the time). At those times, if there was anything done to capitalize on that difference, it was typically polygamy. For instance, in the Himalayas there are some cultures where a woman has multiple husbands, and there are less women than men. In the past there were also many men in the Middle East with multiple women, and there were less men than women overall.

This was generally the result of specific socioeconomic situations and stuff like wars or other things coming together to produce that end result, so obviously it hasn't happened in all situations where there were a lot more of one sex than the other.

A decrease of 90% in men is a lot more vast and critical though, and it wouldn't make sense as the result of a eugenics program, at least not in a modern day sense or in a standard DnD sense. It might be that the Star Trek example in the OP had reasons that would explain why the situation was the way it was though.

Ozfer
2013-02-09, 12:05 PM
On the thread of preventing war, and how men would ever agree to this, perhaps war made it possible. Maybe World War Three kills so many soldiers, that there are very few men left. In this case, females could likely dominate politics, and conceive this idea.

boldfont
2013-02-10, 10:02 PM
Mind if I weigh in? Fun topic.

If this society were so philosophically stunted as to devalue a gender and eugenically taper their existance, then I think it stands to reason that someone is going to fare poorly.

Personally, I'm a big fan of the golden rule.

Let me put it another way. What if a couple really want a son, but can't afford to keep having girls until they get lucky. Do you see the coercive nature of this thought experiment? Liberty and freedom are about choice. In this world (as opposed to the disease scenario) a significant choice has been taken away. Now, I don't know if we would have an oppresive matriarchy or a 10% male ruling elite. What I do know is that someone is getting the shaft. Because what your question really posits is, "What if women and men stopped viewing each other as anything close to moral equals?" The answer, as it has always been, is that we would see human cruelty and oppression at its worst. The National Socialists in Germany thought the Jews were evil and a cause of war and suffering. The Khmer Rouge similarly saw progress and intellectuals as the enemy. There are Tutsi and Hutu, and also the Serbs and the Bosnians. So, I say with complete confidence that the scenario suggested in that highly offensive and bloody ignorant video that you shared is by sane and rational definition evil.