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Marriage May Tame Genius 941

theodp writes "Here's one to share with the wife and kids. Using a database of the biographies of 280 great scientists, a psychologist at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand has concluded that creative genius is turned off almost like a tap if a man gets married and has children, regardless of age."
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Marriage May Tame Genius

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  • Aw, cripes (Score:4, Funny)

    by krray ( 605395 ) * on Friday July 11, 2003 @04:47PM (#6419107)
    Aw cripes. NO WONDER I'm feeling dragged by the lagging economy and wishy-washy business recently.

    It must have NOTHING to do with the fact that I'm now in my early 30's and married just over one year now. So, basically ... I'm screwed?

    At least I won't knock over the 7-11 on whim while out on my midnight smoke run. Oh, wait, pussy whipped...Quitting.

    Damn it Spock, we need more testosterone.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 11, 2003 @04:51PM (#6419157)

      It's just that most (ordinary) women aren't really much for issues bigger than the Cable Bill and What Emmy Said To Susan About Dana's Relationship With Kevin and so on.

      I disinclude geek women here - you ladies are a breed apart and I salute you.

      Just try thinking about a Grand Unified Theory when someone is whining at you about how you forgot to clean out the f***ing cat box again.

    • by dnoyeb ( 547705 ) on Friday July 11, 2003 @05:40PM (#6419782) Homepage Journal
      I think he has it all backwards. If you get married you can nolonger be considered a genious.
    • Re:Aw, cripes (Score:5, Insightful)

      by einhverfr ( 238914 ) <{moc.liamg} {ta} {srevart.sirhc}> on Friday July 11, 2003 @05:40PM (#6419786) Homepage Journal
      Darn. I recently got married, and will probably soon have children :P

      Of course, maybe it is just that the creative genius changes to some extent.... Obviously children require a creative attitude towards, so maybe they become the focus of the creative genius instead of things like computers, physics, etc... What do you all think?
      • Re:Aw, cripes (Score:5, Insightful)

        by whorfin ( 686885 ) on Friday July 11, 2003 @07:23PM (#6420631)
        Raising children doesn't require genuis, it requires endurance.

      • I really think it's the children's programming that does it to you. After watching a few hours of the wiggles [] with your kids, you spend the rest of your life wondering how God let something as awful as the wiggles come to being.
      • yeah, and 10 months ago, I went out with my wife, ate some spicy food, drank some red wine, came home and feeling slighty spritzy, got creative with her. Nine months and 4 days later, a little person looking just like me entered the world and I haven't had a full nights sleep since.
        Now that's what I call genius... :)
      • Re:Aw, cripes (Score:4, Interesting)

        by zangdesign ( 462534 ) on Friday July 11, 2003 @07:50PM (#6420844) Journal
        It all boils down to this: which is more fun - thinking up smart stuff all day long or having sex?

        I think the process goes something like this: Man sits around thinking up smart stuff all day, which requires a certain amount of practice. You don't just wake up thinking smart stuff - you kinda gotta work into it. Those first ideas upon waking are probably not going to be winners in anyone's book.

        To continue, then, one day, Woman gets introduced into the environment. So now Man has to go have sex. Hey, he thinks, this is fun - maybe I better practice this instead. So now, instead of thinking up smart stuff all the time, he's having sex and thinking up smart stuff, not in equal measure and probably without a whole lot of consideration to the fact that smart stuff requires practice, just like sex.

        So, now all of a sudden, he's dumb as a rock. Dumber even. Except it doesn't matter. Wow, he thinks, I don't have to be smart to have sex - in fact, Woman get's pretty upset when I think up smart stuff while having sex, so maybe it's just better if I have sex and stop trying to be so smart all the time.

        That's my view of how genius ends.

        As to the claim that one doesn't have to be to bright to have sex - go to any Walmart sometime. There's the proof right there. I swear they import hillbillies to attend every Walmart. There's can't be that many badly dressed, foul-mouthed, gaptoothed ignorami with equally dumb spawn in the world, can there?
        • by thynk ( 653762 )
          You bring up some really good points, but I think that you're forgetting one of the basic laws of marriage.

          The longer you've been married, the longer you learn to go with out sex. For example...

          A single man looks at a married man who has 4 kids. He thinks "Wow, they must have sex all the time to have 4 kids".

          A married man looks at a married man who has 4 kids. He thinks "Wow, he's had sex 4 times"...

  • D'OH! (Score:5, Informative)

    by ( 156602 ) * on Friday July 11, 2003 @04:47PM (#6419112) Homepage Journal
    And crime. The linked article says this happens to genus and crime in young men. Why leave that off the article? Only 10% of Slashdot readers ever read the articles, so leaving that key piece of information off is a little irresponsible, since we know the reader's habits now.

    Of course, I don't know why the average Slashdot reader would need to know either fact.
    • Or, as Homer J. said:

      "I don't have time to read it. Just give me the gist of it, son."
    • Because drop in crime isn't "News for Nerds." Cutting off genius, on the other hand is (or at least closer)

      It's not /.'s responsibility to report all news. /. has a very targetted audience. If you want to know about news corresponding to other areas, look for another site. I, on the other hand, am interested in stuff that has to do with geek stuff.

      Btw, the parent poster misspelled "genius" as "genus". Maybe he's married?
      • Re:D'OH! (Score:5, Funny)

        by maxume ( 22995 ) on Friday July 11, 2003 @05:05PM (#6419388)
        The correlation between 'Nerd' and 'genius' probably doesn't exist. I don't really think it does.

        If we ask the dictionary, nerd means:
        1. A foolish, inept, or unattractive person.
        2. A person who is single-minded or accomplished in scientific or technical pursuits but is felt to be socially inept.

        Genius is often associated with the second definition, but I don't think that the correlation operates in both directions.
        Genius -> possible/probable nerd.
        Nerd -> slim possibility of genius; most likely overestimates self and has difficulting interacting with others.
        Slashdotter(ave.) -> Has extreme dillusion regarding self intelligence, spastic personality, highly likely to have difficulty with simple social interaction.
        This .sig is fake.

        • Re:D'OH! (Score:5, Funny)

          by IIRCAFAIKIANAL ( 572786 ) on Friday July 11, 2003 @06:22PM (#6420161) Journal
          Slashdotter(ave.) -> Has extreme dillusion regarding self intelligence, spastic personality, highly likely to have difficulty with simple social interaction.

          WHAT?!1?! I don't have to take this! I'm too smart for this - what kind of mickey mouse shit are you passing for insightful comments?!? How dare you insult one as smart as I?!?

      • Re:D'OH! (Score:3, Funny)

        by EvilAlien ( 133134 )
        " Because drop in crime isn't "News for Nerds." Cutting off genius, on the other hand is (or at least closer)"

        Didn't you get the memo? The RIAA is in the midst of getting the vast majority of /.ers reclassified as criminals.

        Getting married may wipe out creative genius, but at least it will also liberate us from our dastardly digital music sharing.

    • Re:D'OH! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by letxa2000 ( 215841 ) on Friday July 11, 2003 @04:58PM (#6419282)
      I wonder if its that the genius just turns off, or if it's just that you don't have as much time available to do genius stuff. Fact is, I know I produced much better code much quicker when I was single and could do development from 9pm to 5am. That kind of goes out the window once you get married... I don't feel stupid, but I do feel my creative and technological output has gone down since I got married.

    • Re:D'OH! (Score:5, Funny)

      by ipandithurts ( 516079 ) * on Friday July 11, 2003 @05:05PM (#6419390) Homepage Journal
      So, the article states that if one gets married, within five years they will likely lose their "genius" for "music, painting and writing, as well as in criminal activity."

      So, to sum it up, you get married you will not longer: compose scores; create masterpieces; write the Great American novel; or use peer-to-peer networks.

      Gee, I'm glad you'll at least be able to have sex. Wait. Nevermind. You'll be married.
    • by MarcQuadra ( 129430 ) * on Friday July 11, 2003 @05:09PM (#6419441)
      Man, before I was all 'boyfriend' I was such a fun-loving punk-assed drunk of a geek, and it was FUN! I'd pop pills and drink all the time and geek for days on end. I learned so much back then, it would take me a decade to learn now what took only twoi years when I had that sort of... un-focus in my life.

      Now I'm so tired from the commute and the 9-to-5 and I have to pay attention to all this other shit (cats, girlfriend, email, bills, car care, lawn, landlord) I don't have any room left for being creative.
    • Re:D'OH! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by dmoynihan ( 468668 ) on Friday July 11, 2003 @05:38PM (#6419765) Homepage

      And crime. The linked article says this happens to genus and crime in young men.

      Well, they say Mediocrity borrows while Genius steals, so maybe the two are more closely related than ya think...

      On the other hand, people talk about Hemingway having one good book for each wife... so if you're a genius and worried, you can still be a serial polygamist.

      • Re:D'OH! (Score:3, Interesting)

        by mjh ( 57755 )

        Well, they say Mediocrity borrows while Genius steals, so maybe the two are more closely related than ya think...

        I think it's more closely related to potential. The more potential you have, the more options you have to exercise that potential. So if, for example, you're really smart, you're left with a choice of how you want to use that intelligence. Either for something productive (genius) or for something antisocial (crime).

        As far as getting married and having kids and the impact that it has on

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 11, 2003 @04:49PM (#6419130)
    Two words sum it all up....

    "yes dear...."
  • by Planesdragon ( 210349 ) <slashdot.castlesteelstone@us> on Friday July 11, 2003 @04:49PM (#6419134) Homepage Journal
    Being married--and raising children--is hard work.

    Most recognized genuses have the luxury of working with little to no distraction. When you have a wife, financial trouble, and screaming children, it's rather hard to plumb the secrets of the universe.

    This is no surprise to anyone.
    • by cshark ( 673578 ) on Friday July 11, 2003 @04:57PM (#6419264)
      I don't really agree with the results of this test. I've been married for five years, and I'm more creative than ever. Of course, it doesn't hurt to have a happy stable relationship with someone who shares many of my interests.

      But most geniuses make bad relationship decisions. In fact, most of the other geniuses (especially computer programmers and physicists for some reason) that I know are morons in this area. So how about this.

      Marriage itself doesn't necessarily cause brain impotence, bad choices in interpersonal relationships do.

      So kids, the moral of the story...
      Don't think with your dick.

      So there.
      • Dont think with your dick, then whats left to think with in this area? My genius is dedicated to science..
      • by Grishnakh ( 216268 ) on Friday July 11, 2003 @05:12PM (#6419484)
        This isn't the geniuses' fault; the problem is that there just aren't enough decent women to go around, so people have to take what they can get. So all the people you know, who you claim to be morons, are really just not lucky enough to find someone who enhances their life (at least the creative part of it), and are stuck with someone who saddles them with other crap.

        If our society raised women better, so that they'd pick better partners (not the asshole/badboy type), not become single mothers in their youth, get a good education, go into intellectual fields, not be whiny bitches, etc., then maybe we wouldn't have this problem and more of these genius men could find suitable companions.
        • How is this flamebait? The gentleman might not hold the prevailing viewpoint but it is his right to hold this opinion. I don't see him targeting a specific group or insulting the majority of readers. Perhaps moderators need a choice to indicate their disagreement in a more accurate way.
          • This is classic bad Slashdot moderation. If you don't agree with a viewpoint, you're supposed to just leave it alone. Moderation is to decrease the visibility of unproductive posts, like obvious trolls, and increase it for very good posts which are insightful, etc. There's no moderation for "I don't like this opinion" because then it'd just be a majority-rules system with dissenting viewpoints removed. Kinda hard to have a discussion when everyone's required to agree on everything.

            This is why I like me
        • by YoJ ( 20860 ) on Saturday July 12, 2003 @02:03AM (#6422430) Journal
          Did anyone here at Slashdot even consider the possibility that the genius is a woman? My god, I am continually amazed at the extent of sexism here.
    • Being married--and raising children--is hard work.

      Most recognized genuses have the luxury of working with little to no distraction. When you have a wife, financial trouble, and screaming children, it's rather hard to plumb the secrets of the universe.

      That's not the reason. We work hard because we're competitive, and we're most competitive when we're looking for a mate whether or not it's intentional. When they get a wife (or a husband) they just lost a major motivation which is showing off to the oppo
      • No, it's because marriage and kids especially are hard work. Before I got married, I screwed around with Java all the time. After I got married, I occasionally had time to mess with GCC language front-ends, but now post-kids I have almost no time outside 8-5 to think and act creatively.
    • by no reason to be here ( 218628 ) on Friday July 11, 2003 @05:02PM (#6419351) Homepage
      Most recognized genuses have the luxury of working with little to no distraction.

      Most recognized genuses also have the luxury of being made up of several different species.

    • by martyros ( 588782 ) on Friday July 11, 2003 @06:48PM (#6420366)
      Man, I wish I had my Tolstoy with me... there's a section at the end of Anna Karenina that talks about a woman who is married; he describes the difference between what she looked like when she was single: a fire in the eyes, slender, beautiful, accomplished in music and singing, an edge to her speech that made men really attracted to her. Now that she's married and has kids, the fire is gone; her body has softened up a bit, she lives her life for her husband and her kids, doesn't go out much or write or sing or play anymore.

      But Tolstoy's take on it was that the fire and edge and all that she had when she was single was really a consequence of her desire, her longing for a family; and now that she has it, she is satisfied.

      Obviously I don't put it nearly as well as Tolstoy did, but it was a neat observation. Probably the same thing applies. I don't buy the "trying to attract a mate" obligatory darwinism crap; but I do buy that energy, fire, edge, whatever can come from our lack of fulfillment, and that fulfillment has the side-effect of turning off our "genius".

      Luckily, I'm still single, so I might make it big yet...

  • by jpmkm ( 160526 ) on Friday July 11, 2003 @04:49PM (#6419135) Homepage
    I'm thinking this is just to make slashdotters able to justify their position with the opposite sex.
  • by A_Non_Moose ( 413034 ) on Friday July 11, 2003 @04:50PM (#6419143) Homepage Journal
    Stupidity is hereditary...your kids give it to you.


    The marriage part...well, I'll let her explain it.

  • by Hao Wu ( 652581 ) on Friday July 11, 2003 @04:50PM (#6419144) Homepage
    That is why I worry about accepting a bride. What will it do to my studies? How could a woman help my research, or compile data for me? I am very torn both ways.
  • by rkz ( 667993 ) on Friday July 11, 2003 @04:50PM (#6419147) Homepage Journal
    If you are young single and have no children you obviously value your work very highly. Marriage is not too bad, your work is still important but your wife takes away from your work slightly.
    I belive the biggest change comes when your children are born, after which your whole life changes. You no longer live for yourslef but ever decision is based on the children. They are the most important thing in your life, work is nothing....!

    A proud father.
    • Very, very, very true. The first few years of marriage seem carefree now that I've got three kids in the fold (16-month old twins, and their 15-week old little brother). Basically, my day is now a morning blur getting everybody ready for the day and out of the house, following by a tranquil interlude that is my tedious workplace, followed by another blur of activity when I get home (dinner-playtime-storytime-bedtime). Basically personal time is gone for the short-term. With luck I can get in some Americ
  • At last!! (Score:5, Funny)

    by md81544 ( 619625 ) on Friday July 11, 2003 @04:51PM (#6419152) Homepage
    Scientific support for my choice of the bachelor lifestyle. And I thought I was just being selfish.
  • Fear not! (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    This is a problem most /. readers will never have to deal with.
  • by rice_web ( 604109 ) on Friday July 11, 2003 @04:52PM (#6419168)
    So it is a good thing to be a virgin.

    Time to go back to the high school jocks and teach 'em who was right afterall.

    They thought I couldn't get sex.... I was simply trying to maintain my genius.
    • They thought I couldn't get sex.... I was simply trying to maintain my genius.

      Sorry, no... Study says you just have to remain unmarried - but you can feel free to get all the sex you can.

      Or maybe this implies something about your lack of genius. ;)


  • Yep. (Score:5, Funny)

    by cascino ( 454769 ) * on Friday July 11, 2003 @04:52PM (#6419181) Homepage
    To quote Victor Hugo the morning after sleeping with his mistress:
    "France lost a great novel last night."
  • by EvilStein ( 414640 ) <> on Friday July 11, 2003 @04:52PM (#6419185)
    There is a food that has been proven to all but eliminate a woman's sex drive.

    It's called "wedding cake." :D

  • by hax4bux ( 209237 ) on Friday July 11, 2003 @04:52PM (#6419190)
    Spouses, rug rats and home ownership are all serious destractions. This is why I feel real hackers should be castrated to avoid them. There is historical precedent (i.e. the operatic castrato).

    You might think being an unwashed dedicated geek is enough to repel the opposite sex, but we all know plenty of counter examples. Nope. Castration is the only way to demonstrate that you are a dedicate uber geek.

    You first.
  • oh (Score:5, Funny)

    by lurgyman ( 587233 ) on Friday July 11, 2003 @04:53PM (#6419191)
    Does this mean there's been a rash of marriages in Washington?
  • Bach humbug! (Score:5, Informative)

    by AtariAmarok ( 451306 ) on Friday July 11, 2003 @04:53PM (#6419192)
    It did not take long to come up with a glaring exception: a man recognized as one of the top few composers of all time:

    "Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) was the most prolific of the great composers. In his 65 years he produced 1,200 musical works and 20 children. You can find his compositions listed in an encyclopedia." []

    (For the mathematically minded, that's 60 musical works per child. Isn't P.D.Q. #21 ?)
    • by efuseekay ( 138418 ) on Friday July 11, 2003 @05:01PM (#6419327)
      ...they are trying to raise a nice headline to publicise their work.

      "Marriage tames Genius" is so much better a headline than "Genius burns out, then gets married."

      Remember, causality is very hard to prove either way.

      • by AtariAmarok ( 451306 ) on Friday July 11, 2003 @05:06PM (#6419401)
        Stephen Hawking? Hard to top his mind among living scientists. 3 children for him.

        Einstein? Two sons there.

        Frank Lloyd Wright? World's greatest architect (he said so himself, and not many argue with it). 6 children (or was it 7?)
        • Having children is not necessarily the same as our modern form of married life (or female/male relationships).

          Look at classical Greece. It was quite common for men to have large families with their wives locked at home, engage in sexual relationships with young boys, not to mention have the occasional drunken symposium with lots of prostitutes and wine.

          It used to be an accepted fact that women have a negative impact upon masculine creativity and they should be prevented from dominating a man's life and ti
          • by identity0 ( 77976 ) on Friday July 11, 2003 @08:47PM (#6421188) Journal
            How the hell did the parent post get modded insightful? The entire post reeks of an attitude that says 'boys should be boys, and girls should be powerless'. The poster seems to regard women as evil succubuses that entrap men through their feminine wiles and sap them of their creativity. I call bullshit. Men have been a far larger burden on women than the other way around.

            It used to be an accepted fact that women have a negative impact upon masculine creativity and they should be prevented from dominating a man's life and time as much as possible.

            It's an accepted fact that men have a negative impact upon feminine creativity and should be prevented from dominating a woman's life and time as much as possible. The traditional view of marriage sees the wife as housekeeper, mother, cook, caretaker, etc... all roles that ask her to serve others, instead of expressing herself or being creative. Yes, those jobs are important, and involve some creativity - but not in ways that society respets in men, such as writing, research, or art. Why do you think there was a whole movement by women so that being unmarried wouldn't be stigmatized like in the past? Do you think that *maybe* the 'traditional marriage' you refer to is the reason women have made up a minority of artists and scientists?

            Hell, you're not even affirming commited relationships - you seem to approve of men "[having] their wives locked at home, engage[ing] in sexual relationships with young boys, not to mention have the occasional drunken symposium with lots of prostitutes and wine." As if drunkenly fucking a young boy makes you more creative, and demanding that one sleep only with a spouse is, like, waaaay too confining, man... free love(for the men), you dig? I won't even get into the fact that you disapprove of women 'flauning their bodies' a few paragraphs later.

            The poster reminds me of this exchange from "Dr. Strangelove":
            Capt. Mandrake: Uh, Jack, Jack, listen, tell me, tell me, Jack. When did you first... become... well, develop this theory?
            General Ripper: Well, I, uh... I... I... first became aware of it, Mandrake, during the physical act of love.
            Capt. Mandrake: Hmm.
            General Ripper: Yes, a uh, a profound sense of fatigue... a feeling of emptiness followed. Luckily I... I was able to interpret these feelings correctly. Loss of essence.
            Capt. Mandrake: Hmm.
            General Ripper: I can assure you it has not recurred, Mandrake. Women uh... women sense my power and they seek the life essence. I, uh... I do not avoid women, Mandrake.
            Capt. Mandrake: No.
            General Ripper: But I... I do deny them my essence.
    • Re:Bach humbug! (Score:3, Informative)

      by SashaM ( 520334 )
      Also, I understand Andrew Wiles has been married all the years he worked on Fermat's Last Theorem, which he proved at the age of 41.
    • Madam Curie (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Marnhinn ( 310256 ) on Friday July 11, 2003 @05:10PM (#6419465) Homepage Journal
      Madam Curie is also another exception to this rule. She and her husband both made significant contributions to science after they were married.

      I think it depends on who you marry mostly - in Madam Curie's case - her husband Pierre was a helpmate. And anyways - the article states that most scientists drop out at 30 or after 5 years (of marriage). Well - if most people get married about 24 (assumming Geeks marry late) or so - 5 years later they're 30.
  • by Lysol ( 11150 ) *
    Dr Kanazawa theorises after a man settles down, the testosterone level falls, as does his creative output.

    This is great! I have two scenerios in my head:

    1. Man, hard five-o'clock shadow, wearing apron, cig hangin out of his mouth, frying eggs wondering 'how'd I get myself into this'.

    2. Man sitting on couch, staring into space and kids repeatedly hit him on the head with nerf sword yelling 'play Harry Potter with us'.

    What's worse and definitely not funny, btw, is that I'm just around the corner from tha
  • >creative genius is turned off almost like a tap if a man gets married and has children, regardless of age."

    Lack of regular sex will do that to you...
  • Not having RTFA, I find it much more likely these men chose between being a scientist or inventor and having a family. They both require just about 100% commitment if you're to have any success with them, so it seems you can't do both, and these guys are smart enough to know that. Once they chose their family, they gave up on attaining greatness.
  • It means that our brilliant technical minds will continue being brilliant, since the overwhelming majority are in no danger of becoming married.
  • Immagine, spending time on something will leave you with less time for other things!
  • by Dijital ( 74753 )
    There's a simple reason why. In any good committed relationship, your partner usually comes in first place on the priority list. For a scientist to make a great contribution, you have to have 2 things: (1) Almost fanatical devotion to your field of study. (2) Luck. Having a wife and kids to look after doesn't leave much time and attention to a scientific study.
  • Are these the same guys who measured heads and lumps on skulls to determine who's a potential criminal?
  • by sonali ( 619788 ) on Friday July 11, 2003 @04:57PM (#6419261)
    Dr Kanazawa suggests "a single psychological mechanism" is responsible for this: the competitive edge among young men to fight for glory and gain the attention of women. That craving drives the all-important male hormone, testosterone..

    Don't you think that after fighting for the attention of women, the "scientist" would go ahead and concentrate on other stuff: his scientific career? You know with one thing out of the way, even lesser mortals like us pay attention to other issues.

    Just a thought. I wonder what happens to women scientists when they get married!

    • by Lil'wombat ( 233322 ) on Friday July 11, 2003 @05:03PM (#6419353)
      Reminds me of the old joke about how having a wife and a mistress is the best situation for a scientist/engineer/geek.

      The wife assumes you are with the mistress,
      The mistress assume you are with the wife,
      So you can go to the lab and get some work done.

      Of course this requires two nigh-impossible things - namely a wife and a mistress.
  • what about women? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sniggly ( 216454 ) on Friday July 11, 2003 @04:57PM (#6419267) Journal
    Creative genius and crime express themselves early in men but both are turned off almost like a tap if a man gets married and has children, a study says.

    Are we supposed to guess women aren't affected by this? Maybe the study isnt sexist but the article covering it sure is...

  • Fruedian article. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by u19925 ( 613350 ) on Friday July 11, 2003 @04:58PM (#6419274)
    From the article:

    Dr Kanazawa suggests "a single psychological mechanism" is responsible for this: the competitive edge among young men to fight for glory and gain the attention of women.

    Isn't this what Freud said nearly 100 years ago?

  • by IntelliTubbie ( 29947 ) on Friday July 11, 2003 @05:03PM (#6419365)
    All this study shows is that marriage is associated with a decline in scientific productivity, not that it's the cause. The causation could easily work the other way: once scientists are done making their major contributions, they're more likely to settle down, get married, and focus on family life.

  • by Genjurosan ( 601032 ) on Friday July 11, 2003 @05:12PM (#6419493)
    This just in from CES 2004:

    DiaperGene (a small company created by former scientists that married and had children) today introduced AutoWipe. Much like the 'autowash' process we all loved in "The Fifth Element", AutoWipe simply bolts onto most cribs for infants and toddlers. The AutoWipe uses backscatter x-ray technology to detect when a #1 or #2 enters any standard diaper, and proceeds to automatically change and dispose of the diaper. A built in incinerator module disposes of the used diaper, and is powered off standard LP portable tanks manufactured by Coleman or etc.. Additionally customers can purchase a module that uses a wireless connection to e-mail or page the parent when the diaper supply is low. All this without harm to your children, and without that eye-opening smell.

    Parents everywhere delight!
  • by madro ( 221107 ) * on Friday July 11, 2003 @05:14PM (#6419501)
    "So - all the Simpson women turn out okay?"
    "That's right, sweetie. The defective 'Simpson Gene' is on the Y chromosome, so only men are affected."
    "So I'm not doomed! Oh, Dad, I've never been so glad to be your daughter!"
  • by DrCode ( 95839 ) on Friday July 11, 2003 @05:15PM (#6419524)
    One thing I've noticed over the years: Women want a man to BE successful, but they often don't want to be married to a man who's doing the necessary work to become successful.

    (There's a similar thing with cars: If you're single, having a cool sports-car will help you attract women. Once you've married, she'll want you to trade it in for something more 'practical'.)
  • by Future Linux-Guru ( 34181 ) on Friday July 11, 2003 @05:16PM (#6419536)
    ...that Linux got hooked nicely into the server but tailed off on the desktop.

    Curse you Linus! Divorce her for the freedom of mankind!
  • by trillian42 ( 674714 ) on Friday July 11, 2003 @05:19PM (#6419567)
    "Dr Kanazawa suggests "a single psychological mechanism" is responsible for this: the competitive edge among young men to fight for glory and gain the attention of women. "

    As a young female scientist, I object to the slightest intimation of the idea that the only way good science gets done is because young (presumably male) scientists are trying to compete for female attention. How many young male scientists out their have managed to impress girls with their thesis results anyway?

    On the other hand, I find it entirely plausible that scientists of both genders who get married and have families often find their priorities rearranged. Discovering that having a family means a less obsessive attention to your career shouldn't be a surprise to anyone with a balanced view of life.

    Luckily for many male scientists at institutions such as the one where I'm a student (MIT), they DO have wives who often stay home at least part time, enabling them to maintain something close to the obsessively competitive hours they put in before marriage and kids. That applies for all but one of the male professors in my department. For female scientists, it's much rarer to have a house-husband. The two female professors in my department only manage because their salary combined with their husband's allows them to hire people to help with household chores and raising the kids. Any female scientist who can't come up with a substitute for a housewife finds it very, very difficult to compete.
    • As a scientist, you should be careful about reading so much into their conclusions. They never say that the *only* way sciences gets done is because of testosterone. Their study included and only drew conclusions about the careers of male scientists. And as for the logic of trying to attract a mate with thesis results, remember that we're talking about hormones here - logic isn't a big factor.
  • by Hamster Lover ( 558288 ) on Friday July 11, 2003 @05:29PM (#6419665) Journal
    Could you be a genius if you heard the following:

    "Albert, get this chalk board out of the living room, NOW!"

    "Johan Sebastian Bach stop that infernal racket this instant!"

    "Rene! Cartesian my ass, help me with the laundry!"

    I mean genius has it's limits.
  • by Junks Jerzey ( 54586 ) on Friday July 11, 2003 @05:31PM (#6419695)
    Let's say you're a single guy just out of college, working your first job and living in an apartment. When you come home in the evening, you may have a few chores (laundry, make dinner, clean up here and there), but essentially you have a vast window of free time from at least 7:00pm until you go to sleep. That's 3-5 hours of free time TO DO WHATEVER YOU WANT. On the weekend, you easily have 6 to 8 hours a day to do whatever you want, with lots of time left over to have fun.

    Now let's say you're married. This chips away at the amount of free time, but not too much. Maybe this cuts down your evenings a bit, and you never do anything on Friday, but it's still a lot of time.

    Now you have kids. To make a long story short, this takes away most of your evenings and weekends, dropping you from 20-30 free hours a week to a few here and there which you have to plan far ahead for and during which you're most likely going to be very tired. It's hard to want to jump into a creative activity during those few hours.

    Also, you likely have a house by this point. Now you have maintenance and mowing and so on to eat up any free hours you may have. The realization hits you that even if you could write the great american novel it would take three years of 1-2 hours per week to finish it.
  • by popo ( 107611 ) on Friday July 11, 2003 @05:32PM (#6419709) Homepage

    The article does a pretty crappy job of demonstrating causality.

    While the findings may indeed be true that those who are married exhibit a decrease in creative output, the study doesn't say whether or not "Creative men who's creativity is beginning to wane may suddenly get married" --or -- "Consistently creative men are less likely to marry", or in fact as the article suggests: "Marriage decreases creativity".

  • by RobertB-DC ( 622190 ) * on Friday July 11, 2003 @05:33PM (#6419712) Homepage Journal
    I think the mechanism here isn't the oversimplified, neo-Freudian "competitive edge among young men to fight for glory and gain the attention of women." That would imply that only men lose their creative edge when their priorities shift.

    A broader look at the subject would show a parallel with a more modern topic: anti-depression medications. There are plenty of examples of highly creative people -- geniuses in their fields -- whose creativity would likely have been quashed if they'd had access to a good Selective Seratonin Reuptake Inhibitor. Poet Emily Dickinson [] and artist Vincent Van Gogh [] come to mind, but I'm sure there are many others.

    The problem, as I see it, isn't that having a family takes something away from a would-be genius... any more than an appropriate dosage of Prozac does. What both do, ideally, is give the person a sense of contentment, a feeling that things are the way they should be.

    Creativity, in the end, often requires adversity to bring it out. Remove the adversity, and the creativity (or "genius") may seem to be extinguished. But as the examples in this discussion show -- Bach, Hawking, et al -- it is possible to achieve both genius and happiness. It just doesn't happen very often.
  • Euler and others (Score:4, Informative)

    by nullWyvern ( 612011 ) on Friday July 11, 2003 @05:33PM (#6419720)
    Leonhard Euler was married and had fourteen children. He was also stone blind for the last 17 years of his life. Despite this he made tremendous and lasting contributions to the field of mathematics.

    One biography says of him:
    "He was blind for the last 17 years of his life, and during that time his mathematical productivity actually increased. It was said that Euler had tremendous powers of concentration and that he was even able to do mathematics 'with a baby in his lap while the older children played all about him.'"

    If the trend is that people become less creative after they marry, it is likely due to a lack of time rather than any suppresion of the creative instinct.

    If the study had concentrated on people for whom creativity was essential to their livelihood I doubt there'd be a correlation between creativity and being married. Many artists and writers are married and still turn out works of genius. Some don't even become famous for their works until long after they're married, for example J.K. Rowlings (a woman, I know, and whether or not you like Harry Potter it is a great work), and Stephen King(one of the most prolific writers of our time).

  • by pjt48108 ( 321212 ) <`moc.oohay' `ta' `80184tjp'> on Friday July 11, 2003 @05:34PM (#6419735) Homepage
    I always wondered why my friends who married became dull and unentertaining almost overnight. Once, while on my death bed with a horrible flu, a recently-married friend called to regail me with his tale of putting plastic up on his second-floor condo windows. Man, til then I hadn't had so much fun--NOT!

    I have yet to see a friend become MORE interesting after marriage, or even manage to tread water and remain a good ol' guy.

    And now, a study supports my theory. Of course, I am still waiting eagerly for some chickie to come along and make ME a bore...
  • by JordanH ( 75307 ) on Friday July 11, 2003 @05:55PM (#6419954) Homepage Journal
    Anyone who's ever observed a creative genius knows that they are only showing off their great minds to attract women!

    Once they are married... well, what's the point?

    What great brainstorm you going to tell us next? Women tend to gain weight after they get married?

  • by eaolson ( 153849 ) on Friday July 11, 2003 @05:59PM (#6419986)
    Within five years of making their nuptial vows, nearly a quarter of married scientists had made their last significant contribution to history's hall of fame.

    Or to turn a different interpretation on this data, once married, a scientist is less likely to be able to spend 15 hours a day in the lab.

    Dr Kanazawa suggests "a single psychological mechanism" is responsible for this: the competitive edge among young men to fight for glory and gain the attention of women.

    That craving drives the all-important male hormone, testosterone.

    Well, this should be a very easy hypothesis to test. Female scientists should show less of a drop after their marriage, since they should be less affected by the "all-important male hormone."

    This guy theorizes that testosterone levels drop after marriage, and therefore so does the competitive drive, and therefore one's level of contribution to science. This seems to be a LOT of interpretation to read into a small amount of data.

  • Ahh.. (Score:3, Funny)

    by windex ( 92715 ) on Friday July 11, 2003 @06:43PM (#6420327) Homepage
    But the way she says "We don't have money for you to try to blow yourself up" is so cute...
  • No matter? (Score:3, Funny)

    by gamgee5273 ( 410326 ) on Friday July 11, 2003 @07:33PM (#6420710) Homepage Journal
    Wait...Tolkien? James Joyce? Francis Ford Coppola? Akira Kurosawa? So these fellows weren't creative geniuses?

    I could go on...but that seems kinda silly to do...

  • by Loundry ( 4143 ) on Friday July 11, 2003 @08:12PM (#6420996) Journal
    You can either be a great person or a great parent, but not both. The two are mutually exclusive.

    Lots of great people have tried to be parents. What happened? They ended up being "distant", "unknowable" (i.e., shitty) parents becuase they were spending no time with their kids. After all, they couldn't afford to spend any time with their kids -- all of their precious time was spent doing things that made them into a great person.

    And what is the primary requisite for being a great parent? Spending time with your children! It doesn't have to be some exalted kind of "quality time", just spend time with them! Even watching television with your child is infinitely better than spending no time with your child.

    So if you have the desire to be a great person, give up on the idea of having children. You will end up doing a disservice to them.

No problem is so large it can't be fit in somewhere.