Which would last longer/be more prosperous: an all-male society, or an all-female one?

Here’s the sitch:

I have decided to conduct an experiment.* Using the various technomagic resources at my disposal, I will be recruiting† 20,000 young Americans between the ages of 18 and 25. Half will be men and half women; they’ll be screened beforehand to make sure they’re all physically healthy and of significantly above-average intellect; none have children.‡ Otherwise they’ll be picked randomly, so the incidence of various ethnicities, religions, sexual orientations,and so forth will be about that of the general US population. The abductions will be done while they are sleeping and by teleporter, so the [del]victims[/del] [del]guinea pigs[/del] valued experimental subjects will not be aware of what has happened until they wake up in their new homes. The VESes will be kept unconscious upon being delivered to their new homes, and while unconscious, their bodies will hinkied with so that they no longer age and are immune to all diseases. That’s not to say they’re immortal, though; they can still die by accident, misadventure, or violence.

The women will wake up on an island the size of Madagascar; I’m calling it Themyscira for reasons some of you will appreciate. The men will awake a similar island I’m calling Andro. Neither island is on the Earth we know. Rather, both are on alternate Earths in which no sapient species never got a toehold. Both islands have excellent climates for agriculture, and just to be nice I’ll be providing plenty of game animals, farm animals, seeds for crops, and appropriate tools & weapons needful for agriculture and hunting. (There won’t be any other non-human predators on either island, incidentally, and I’m not providing any guns.) I’m also providing an extensive library–say multiple copies of every single tome in the Library of Congress, all in hardback and printed on whatever paper will last longest. There are no pre-existing structures on either island other than the two libraries and the buildings in which the tools and weapons are kept. Both islands have extensive natural resources; there’s timber, metals, potable water, etc. Everyone in each set of VESes is awakened at the same time and informed of their situation.** Oh, and everybody starts off with the clothes on their back and no more.

After doing all this, I hop in my time-travel buggy and set off for the future of both worlds. What will I find in twenty years? Two hundred? Two thousand?

  • Okay, it’s more like an unethical, sadistic game, but whatever.
    † Well … kidnapping.
    ‡ I am not a monster.
    ** By recording. I am also not an idiot.


So they have no replacement system, but they don’t age?


You realize of course that in 2000 years a bunch of conditional immortals may well manage to engineer whatever tech you have to do this to them, and Og knows what else. In a world where this is possible, you may have created your greatest enemy.

Therefore I totally think you should try it. Two societies of time-traveling Skald-hunting immortals? I’m not saying that would teach you humility, but they might be a counterweight to you.

So you think they’ll both make it to 2000 years?

It’s not like the recording is going to say, “Y’all were all kidnapped & dumped her by Rhymer Industries.” In fact I’ll probably blame claim my name is carnivorousplant.

In other matters, what is “humility”?

Im currently reading “Y: The Last Man”. It’s a comic in which every single male creature (but two, one human, one monkey) is wiped off the face of the earth in a few seconds.

I voted for “Female, both will be dead in 20 years”.

Man, I have no idea. I don’t think we can extrapolate very well from our circumstances to the more unique challenges presented by the societies. I mean, Andros sounds fine to me, but I think for most guys, it would quickly become a hell. Even sailors at sea know there’ll be women again eventually. I imagine there would be an initial push to develop crude technology: Slings, arrows, spears, and so forth but after a month anything not needed for immediate survival would be put towards the creation of a sex doll industry.

I also wonder about the level of medication in society. What happens when the group runs out of adderall or insulin or other medications. Even if we knew exactly how to get from rocks and grass and dirt to sterile labs and a wide collection of materials, there’s no way we’d be able to synthesize the correct compounds before supplies run out. Maybe if we’re totally on the ball, we could pool like medicines and dole them out very sparingly. I dunno.

The OP says “immune to all diseases.” I realize that can be read to mean “immune to infection,” but I’m taking it to mean that there’s no cancer, diabetes, or other such ailments. I should have been more explicit, but I was trying to keep the OP reasonably brief. Sorry.

That said … I don’t know where you get the idea that the Valued Experimental Subjects have any medicine anyway. Certainly no more than they had in their pockets when they were, um, recruited.

What’s that? You say that if Rhymer Inc. has cures for leukemia and Alzheimer’s and so forth we should share it with the world? Did you just meet me?

I don’t think “male vs. female” has nearly as much to do with the community’s longevity compared to “what would happen to a group of immortal humans after hundreds of years?”

I answered “possibly 2000+ years” for both, but I honestly have no idea what sort of attrition rate immortals would have in that time period.

They’re eternally young, not immortal. A good knife in the throat will kill 'em real good. Do you think either group will descend into warfare? Both? Will one be more likely than the other?

Skald arrives on one of the islands (it doesn’t matter which one) in twenty years. The inhabitants are delighted to see him, and invite him into one of their larger houses to show him what they have accomplished.

Instantly upon his entry, a group of trained warriors grabs him, divests him of any weapons or devices he may have on his person, and drags him off to a prison, where they torture all the secrets of his time machine out of him.

Then they kill him, and use his time machine to transport half the inhabitants of Andros to Themyscira, and vice versa. They then reverse-engineer the time machine, build a fleet of the things, and set out to conquer the Universe.

Thanks a ton, Skald.


Warning…extremely sexist perusings incoming. From a female, if that matters:

I suspect part of the exercise is to determine who gets along better: men with men, or women with women. Hell, I expect that’s the entire exercise.

Despite the testosterone men have, which may lead to aggression, I have seen at least one nearly completely-female workplace devolve into really amazing tangles. I mean…it was a total eye-opener to me. That may have been the area and attitudes, too, but it was definitely one big power struggle over every. last. thing. It was really freaking stupid. I hated it, honestly.
So I can’t just say “omg, guys will never cooperate, a few will become leaders and others will gravitate to them just because of the power vortex and then there will be wars and boom!”

'cause obviously women do the exact same thing. Just…can’t punch them out and get it overwith.

Ok, I think the guys will last longer. Sure, some will get combatted into oblivion right away, but at least there will be discipline. On the other side, I just see petty squabblings and lots of cutting off the nose to spite the face.

If I were one of the females, I would probably disappear immediately and go find a place to hide and wait out the menstru-apocolypse.

I think it’s too hard to tell. I think Men are greatly programmed to do what they do to take care of Women and children, and Women are programmed to do what they do to take care of children. Obviously there are people who haven’t chosen to to that, but Pulling it out of my ass Id guess 60% of everything that has ever been accomplished was done in large part for those purposes.
A permanent state where that programming can never be filled by anyone would change the nature of everything drastically.

The above implies that I am brave enough to visit the islands IN PERSON rather than via repeater-scope. Clearly ridiculous. My cowardice is on record.

Incidentally, the poll option for “Whoever said [Skald] isn’t liar was lying,” should read “whoever said [Skald] isn’t a MONSTER was lying”

Not the entire exercise. We might also have some ponderings on whether women have the physical strength to handle what needs to be done without the Y-chromosomed about. I think so, but others may disagree.

I snipped the rest of your response not because I agree or disagree with it but because I simply don’t know. Being a dude, I obviously have limited experience with all-female environments.

Considering we spent the past several millenia with men doing 90% of the inventing, building, running and fighting over of stuff, I think the men would do just fine. OTOH, 90% of that stuff was invented, built, run and fought over to impress a woman.

I honestly can’t imagine. You’re talking about humans deprived of offspring, which is a pretty basic desire, though obviously not for everybody. Also most of them (let’s say 90%) are deprived of their preferred sex for partnering. All of them are deprived of a world with children. The premise of Children of Men was that we would all get depressed and give up on everything, but nobody was immortal in that book.

Oh and all of them have been ripped from everyone they love and everything they’ve known.

I’m guessing there’s a pretty good chance of serious psychological trauma interfering with whatever survival chances either group has.

That said, I think people are pretty resilient. Both groups are going to have individuals that go to pieces, but most of them are going to pretty quickly get to work not starving.

I think the men might do better at first because they probably have more individuals with relevant skills and more raw strength.

Maybe they will devolve faster because of more aggression though. And they probably have more individuals with the relevant skill set for producing alcohol too. Everything went to hell on Pitcairn Island once they figured out how to make their own booze.

For both I put down “will last longer than 20 years, but less than 200”. The lack of the opposite gender and stress of their situation will cause many to die by suicide or murder. And even in a modern, balanced society, IIRC the estimated average lifespan of someone immune to age would be only something like 250 years before accident got them. So I figure chance takes out the rest.

I’ve long understood that’s pretty common in groups that are all or mostly female; the women tend to bunch up into mutually hostile cliques and snipe at each other. Both genders do poorly without the other to moderate them.

As little as 90%? Unsure about the second sentence too.

I think the men could last longer than 20 years, but will kill each other before 200 years. Just not sure what will happen with women. I expect they’ll be around for a while, but eventually will refuse to talk to each other. A lot of it for both groups will depend on their willingness to play for the other team.

I’m not voting, because there isn’t an option that I can choose with a clear conscience.

Random musings:

  1. somewhere between 20 and 200 years, there will be some sort of crisis where the test subjects will either start suiciding or they’ll figure out some other purpose for living. Right now, most people (not everyone, but mostly everyone) wants to get married or hooked up with someone they love, live together, and procreate. Here, that’s totally taken away for most people. I think that’s going to create a real psychological trauma for a lot of the test subjects. Either they’ll (as a society) figure out something to replace that with, or they’ll just die off.

  2. I imagine that people who think they are hetero will very quickly discover that companionship and physical affection outweigh their actual gender preference. There will be a very small percentage of people who will be stoutly hetero, but it will be very very small. People need love and attachment to others.

  3. 20,000 isn’t a lot of people, and lots will probably die off sooner rather than later in accidents or suicide. After the stabilization, deaths by accident are going to hit the society really hard, and suicides even more-so - to the point that they may not actually admit that a given death was a suicide. Everyone will know someone who knows someone, and everyone will be up in everyone’s business. If you liked living on a Greek hall in college, or growing up in a small town, this will be a dream. If not, a perpetual nightmare.

  4. If the society lasts makes it past the initial crisis, then I think it’s going to stagnate rather quickly. I would think that cliques or caste systems will spring up, or cults of personality based around charismatic test subjects, and people will find their purpose or identity by aligning with that group (in lieu of family and children). This will mean that after the basics and the basic “comforts” get created and hashed out, the pace of progress is likely to slow drastically, or proceed in fits and spurts.

All of this is totally WAG.

I have faith in humanity and I think both could make 2000+. I think there will be some waring and petty squabbles until the hierarchies gets situated but after that I think they’d do ok.

I don’t think that’s possible; even if there wasn’t any fighting or suicide at all, over such a long period of time I’d expect accidents to kill everyone off.