Tis’ the season to be jolly?, or Who needs the child tax credit?

by on December 24, 2017 at 2:07 pm in Current Affairs, Data Source, Religion | Permalink

…interest in sex peaks sharply online during major cultural and religious celebrations, regardless of hemisphere location. This online interest, when shifted by nine months, corresponds to documented human births, even after adjusting for numerous factors such as language and amount of free time due to holidays. We further show that mood, measured independently on Twitter, contains distinct collective emotions associated with those cultural celebrations. Our results provide converging evidence that the cyclic sexual and reproductive behavior of human populations is mostly driven by culture and that this interest in sex is associated with specific emotions, characteristic of major cultural and religious celebrations.

That is from Ian B. Wood, et.al., in Nature, via Kevin Lewis.  Kevin also refers me to a new paper arguing that “the company” came before and stimulated the development of “the economist.”

1 Moo cow December 24, 2017 at 2:21 pm

I’m a September baby.


2 So Much For Subtlety December 24, 2017 at 6:26 pm

The New Year started off with a bang?


3 Sasha Grey December 24, 2017 at 2:50 pm

“the company” came before and stimulated the development of “the economist.”

A very satisfying theory, though you can poke a few holes in it.


4 bop December 24, 2017 at 11:39 pm

A tall fern twice the size of a man stood poignant. I realized I had driven unwaveringly, and I saw the hyacinth was made from barbed-wire and rope, and when I looked to see where it grew from I saw its shadow. CLYDE cried out to me then. Like a LOL BIATCH


5 chuck martel December 24, 2017 at 4:10 pm

Come on, you’re just making that up.


6 PJF December 24, 2017 at 4:22 pm

The paper seems to suggest that, roughly speaking, culture dominates biology when it comes to annual human reproductive cycles? but humans in the collective choose the timing of their celebrations, so the force driving the timing might still be biology (e.g. a broad biological preference for sex around the middle of winter might be realised in the form of a culture-specific celebration of the winter solstice)


7 PJF December 24, 2017 at 4:33 pm

Ah my mistake, that’s exactly the issue the paper is trying to control for


8 So Much For Subtlety December 24, 2017 at 6:24 pm

There are countries in the southern Hemisphere that have pretty good record keeping. And celebrate Christmas in the summer. Australia, New Zealand and South Africa for instance.

I am willing to bet that they get a Christmas baby bump too.


9 Jan December 24, 2017 at 7:05 pm

They don’t


10 So Much For Subtlety December 24, 2017 at 7:13 pm

Two seconds of googling found that the most common months in Australia for giving birth are September and October. The least popular month is February.

So the most common birth months are about 40 weeks after Christmas and/or New Years Eve. The least popular is in summer.

If you do not like that, take it up with the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.


11 Vox clamantis in deserto December 24, 2017 at 8:06 pm

And yet I was born in February.

12 clockwork_prior December 24, 2017 at 11:43 pm

Actually, the German reporting on this – from a couple of days ago and referring to the German ‘Fest der Liebe’ (literally ‘festival of love’) – pointed out that the Earth actually has countries that celebrate Christmas in both hemispheres, making this a fairly clear cultural effect – as seen through biological actions.


13 PJF December 25, 2017 at 6:35 pm

Yes true. Ideally would control for seasonal weather differences, e.g. winter in Sydney is nothing like winter in London, so biological incentives may be less pronounced.


14 liberalarts December 24, 2017 at 4:27 pm

Scheduled deliveries also follow culture: July 4 is a relatively scarce birthday in the USA, and I would guess very similar to July 3 and 5 in other countries.


15 Vox clamantis in deserto December 24, 2017 at 6:16 pm

Remember, remember the twenty-ninth of December! The foreign treason and plot; I know of no reason. Why the foreign treason. Should ever be forgot! Remember, remember the twenty-ninth of December! The foreign treason and so on and so forth.


16 Bill December 24, 2017 at 7:52 pm

Re: Interest in sex peaks during major religious celebrations.

Don’t tell Mike Pence.


That explains Jerry Falwell.


17 So Much For Subtlety December 24, 2017 at 8:34 pm

I think Mike Pence probably knows. I think he has this in hand. In part because the link between religious expression and sex is well known and old. It is certainly a commonplace in the Roman world – after all the Graeco-Roman world gave us maenads. There is a constant concern in the Christian world about religious frenzy spilling over into sexual excess and even in the Muslim world, Shrine festivals in North Africa often involved ritual prostitution of one sort or another.

The cause is likely to be much the same in many of these cases – alcohol. They are, to use Instapundit’s term, Dionysexuals. That too is likely to be a factor in Christmas conceptions. Not only does alcohol provide people with the proverbial “beer goggles” so that even their long term partner looks good after a few, but it is also a disinhibitor so that correct contraception use is less likely.

However this is a problem because it implies a worrying lack of consent – or even an understanding of what real consent at a time like Christmas is. After all, isn’t demanding a “special present” at Christmas simply another form of coercion and structural violence? I think there is a need for an urgent public awareness campaign to raise awareness of the fact that issues around consent simply do not disappear because you wear a cheap red hat. And don’t even get me started on mistletoe. It is time we faced the fact that Christmas is simply Rape Culture personified and prettied up for a younger audience.


18 Vox clamantis in deserto December 24, 2017 at 8:57 pm

So while Brazilians celebrate Christmas in a dignified and emotionally health way, Americans choose rape… Such is life in Trump’s America.


19 clockwork_prior December 24, 2017 at 11:47 pm

‘so that even their long term partner looks good after a few’

You truly have one of the more (let’s be charitable and say) divergent viewpoints concerning marriage.


20 pob December 24, 2017 at 11:14 pm



21 rayward December 25, 2017 at 6:55 am

September 25th for me. When I tell people I was my father’s Christmas present to my mother they are confused. Math challenged, I suppose.


22 Robert December 25, 2017 at 8:42 am

September 20. Apparently Mom’s gift from Dad came early.


23 uair01 December 25, 2017 at 10:56 am

In “Rude” Katie Hopkins argues against the idea of the 9-months pregnancy: “But take it from Aunty Hopkins. You have ten months to feel special (the nine-month thing is a lie and a massive conspiracy). By the end of this time you will be on your knees in tears in front of your doctor, begging him to get this thing out of you because it feels like someone is resting a wardrobe on the top of your vagina from the inside.” 🙂


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