Evolutionary psychology Creation and dysfunction

Incl. intelligent design, belief in divine creation

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Evolutionary psychology Creation and dysfunction

#1  Postby Jayjay4547 » May 22, 2012 1:10 pm

The local May issue of Popular Mechanics carries an article “On the Edge”, that reports on what two of the brightest people on the planet answer to the question “What is your favourite deep, elegant of beautiful explanation?”. One response is from David M Buss, professor of psychology at the University of Texas. The original is at

http://edge.org/response-detail/2931/wh ... xplanation.

Professor Buss complains that major conflicts within romantic couples were and still are typically seen as signs of dysfunction. But sexual conflict theory changes these views. Conflict arises whenever the “interests” of genes inhabiting individual male and females interactants diverge. He concludes that the prevalence of deception, sexual coercion, stalking, intimate partner violence, murder and the many forms of infidelity reveal that conflict between the sexes is ubiquitous and that sexual conflict theory, a logical consequence of modern evolutionary genetics, provides the most beautiful theoretical explanation for these darker sides of human sexual interaction.

I’ve got two comments about his view that I’d like to share here. First, according to Buss, the working of evolution just naturally produces behaviour we can easily mistake as dysfunctional- murder, sexual coercion (AKA rape) and stalking. I’d expect a theory of how the Creation has worked, to overwhelmingly explain function rather than dysfunction- how cunning functions came about such as the liver, feathers, and human language.

Second, I’d expect a theory that explained the wonder of the creation to address higher concepts than the tricks men and women sometimes play on each other. It should amaze us, bring light into our lives. But it seems that some of the brightest people on the planet involve themselves, through evolution, too much with mere parlour games. A funny or maybe a tragic way for them to spend their time in what looks like a period of crisis for the species.
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Re: Evolutionary psychology Creation and dysfunction

#2  Postby Spearthrower » May 22, 2012 1:41 pm

First, we don't resurrect previously falsified hypotheses just because we still quite like them... so you can chuck Creationism out right now. It's not a scientific explanation, it's a religious narrative.

Further, Evolution already explains how such organs and functions came to be - no need to invoke magic. While Creationism can assert that God made people love one another, it does so without any evidence other than deferring to authority and tradition. Also, it fails to explain how an all good, all knowing, all powerful being could create/permit 'evil' or dysfunctional behavior. In summary, drop the pleas to magic - it's not going to wash for a moment.


Second, you're talking about Evolutionary Psychology, as such, your desire for them to talk about the 'wonders of Creation' is what is know as 'way outside the scope'. Science, even such a speculative, qualitative science as this, has a scope - a remit. No biologist needs to contemplate the motions of fundamental particles to talk about the way an organ functions, or a species reproduces. As such, your criticism is invalid.
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Re: Evolutionary psychology Creation and dysfunction

#3  Postby Zadocfish2 » May 22, 2012 2:14 pm

Yeah... talking bad about a professional lecturer explaining how a dysfunction came about will NOT strengthen your Creationist position, which is an attempt to get away from explaining such things.
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Re: Evolutionary psychology Creation and dysfunction

#4  Postby Calilasseia » May 22, 2012 5:55 pm

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Re: Evolutionary psychology Creation and dysfunction

#5  Postby Jayjay4547 » May 23, 2012 10:13 am

Spearthrower wrote:First, we don't resurrect previously falsified hypotheses just because we still quite like them... so you can chuck Creationism out right now. It's not a scientific explanation, it's a religious narrative.


The way I see it, Creationism is basically a rejection of the evolution explanation for the biological past. before Darwin there was no such word as Creationism. I agree it’s not a scientific explanation.

Spearthrower wrote:Further, Evolution already explains how such organs and functions came to be - no need to invoke magic. While Creationism can assert that God made people love one another, it does so without any evidence other than deferring to authority and tradition. Also, it fails to explain how an all good, all knowing, all powerful being could create/permit 'evil' or dysfunctional behavior. In summary, drop the pleas to magic - it's not going to wash for a moment.


The Creator might not be all good or might not see good the way we do, or might use a wider frame of reference. The Creator might not be a being. We humans have some cheek, a hundred thousand years into sharing language on one planet around one sun in one galaxy, to pontificate about the qualities of creator of the universe.

Spearthrower wrote:Second, you're talking about Evolutionary Psychology, as such, your desire for them to talk about the 'wonders of Creation' is what is know as 'way outside the scope'. Science, even such a speculative, qualitative science as this, has a scope - a remit. No biologist needs to contemplate the motions of fundamental particles to talk about the way an organ functions, or a species reproduces. As such, your criticism is invalid.


Well I’m pointing to a problem for a model which is (a) in contention (b) forms an origin narrative and (c) is used as a tool for weak and silly explanations.

falconjudge wrote:Yeah... talking bad about a professional lecturer explaining how a dysfunction came about will NOT strengthen your Creationist position, which is an attempt to get away from explaining such things.


How dare one be sceptical about the utterances of a professional lecturer? Well in the first place this one admits that many other professionals don’t see issues like domestic violence the same way he does.
“ Major conflicts within romantic couples were and still are typically seen as signs of dysfunction.”
In the second place, to accept an argument it needs to click. And Buss’s declaration that for example domestic violence is due to different reproductive interests of the partner’s genes, just doesn’t click for me. I think of the case of domestic violence that I came across most disturbingly for me. It involved a fellow parishioner who did a great deal with the church youth, teaching guitar and building up a church band. We were all eating out of his hand. Then it turned out that in the privacy of their bedroom he was terrifying his wife with his service pistol. Sure one could interpret that as arising from different reproductive interests of his and her genes but I’d rather listen to some pathologist’s explanation. And it was dysfunctional.
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Re: Evolutionary psychology Creation and dysfunction

#6  Postby Spearthrower » May 23, 2012 11:29 am

Jayjay4547 wrote:
Spearthrower wrote:First, we don't resurrect previously falsified hypotheses just because we still quite like them... so you can chuck Creationism out right now. It's not a scientific explanation, it's a religious narrative.


The way I see it, Creationism is basically a rejection of the evolution explanation for the biological past. before Darwin there was no such word as Creationism. I agree it’s not a scientific explanation.


Regardless of whether there wasn't such a word, which incidentally I think is untrue, the position labelled Creationism was in fact in existence, and had been for a considerable amount of time. As you agree it's not a scientific position, you're also aware that it is unsupported by evidence, has no testable predictions, and no outlined mechanism. Quite the contrary - the tenets of Creationism are thoroughly falsified by empirical evidence. Some Divine Being may well have magicked it all into existence, but all the religious narratives asserting this are still entirely ex-recto claims. Either some people know, and consequently have evidence for it... or there is no evidence, and consequently no one actually knows jack shit about it. The problem is that people still hold desperately onto it pretending that it's actually valid. It's simply a belief that has no means of assessing the verity, and as such is simply an inherited belief, not a considered position.



Jayjay4547 wrote:
Spearthrower wrote:Further, Evolution already explains how such organs and functions came to be - no need to invoke magic. While Creationism can assert that God made people love one another, it does so without any evidence other than deferring to authority and tradition. Also, it fails to explain how an all good, all knowing, all powerful being could create/permit 'evil' or dysfunctional behavior. In summary, drop the pleas to magic - it's not going to wash for a moment.


The Creator might not be all good or might not see good the way we do, or might use a wider frame of reference. The Creator might not be a being. We humans have some cheek, a hundred thousand years into sharing language on one planet around one sun in one galaxy, to pontificate about the qualities of creator of the universe.


I very much agree. All these claimed qualities of the creator of the universe, and no one even knows it exists. What a pathetic muddle of a species we are.



Jayjay4547 wrote:
Spearthrower wrote:Second, you're talking about Evolutionary Psychology, as such, your desire for them to talk about the 'wonders of Creation' is what is know as 'way outside the scope'. Science, even such a speculative, qualitative science as this, has a scope - a remit. No biologist needs to contemplate the motions of fundamental particles to talk about the way an organ functions, or a species reproduces. As such, your criticism is invalid.


Well I’m pointing to a problem for a model which is (a) in contention (b) forms an origin narrative and (c) is used as a tool for weak and silly explanations.


This is confused. Evolution doesn't form an origin narrative, it explains how species diverge. What people personally do with that information is another thing altogether.

Secondly, what is 'in contention'? Do you mean the ToE, or Evolutionary Psychology, or the specific notion in the OP?

Third, if you mean that Evolutionary Psychology offers some weak and silly explanations, I'd be forced to agree. It's more 'just-so' than anything. However, that doesn't mean that all the findings of Evolutionary Psychology are weak and silly. And really, in comparison to invoking magical beings as a counter, any hypothesis based on actual observations is in a far stronger position from the outset.



Jayjay4547 wrote:
falconjudge wrote:Yeah... talking bad about a professional lecturer explaining how a dysfunction came about will NOT strengthen your Creationist position, which is an attempt to get away from explaining such things.


How dare one be sceptical about the utterances of a professional lecturer? Well in the first place this one admits that many other professionals don’t see issues like domestic violence the same way he does.


Actually, Falconjudge was quite specific in his criticism, and it didn't say 'You can't be sceptical of professional lecturers' - he said, 'you can't use your criticisms of this lecturer to bolster the validity of Creationism' - I thought that was quite clear.
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Re: Evolutionary psychology Creation and dysfunction

#7  Postby Doubtdispelled » May 23, 2012 11:52 am

Jayjay4547 wrote:We humans have some cheek, a hundred thousand years into sharing language on one planet around one sun in one galaxy, to pontificate about the qualities of creator of the universe.

:lol:

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Re: Evolutionary psychology Creation and dysfunction

#8  Postby Mr.Samsa » May 23, 2012 11:58 am

Jayjay4547 wrote:The local May issue of Popular Mechanics carries an article “On the Edge”, that reports on what two of the brightest people on the planet answer to the question “What is your favourite deep, elegant of beautiful explanation?”. One response is from David M Buss, professor of psychology at the University of Texas.


Wait, hold on. If they were interviewing two of the brightest people on the planet, why are they also interviewing Buss? I'd rather hear what the bright people have to say.
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Re: Evolutionary psychology Creation and dysfunction

#9  Postby Spearthrower » May 23, 2012 12:19 pm

Mr.Samsa wrote:
Jayjay4547 wrote:The local May issue of Popular Mechanics carries an article “On the Edge”, that reports on what two of the brightest people on the planet answer to the question “What is your favourite deep, elegant of beautiful explanation?”. One response is from David M Buss, professor of psychology at the University of Texas.


Wait, hold on. If they were interviewing two of the brightest people on the planet, why are they also interviewing Buss? I'd rather hear what the bright people have to say.



I dunno - you'd have to be pretty bright to make heads or tails of the question:

“What is your favourite deep, elegant of beautiful explanation?”

Sounds like a Google translation from Swahili.
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Re: Evolutionary psychology Creation and dysfunction

#10  Postby Calilasseia » May 23, 2012 12:23 pm

Jayjay4547 wrote:
Spearthrower wrote:First, we don't resurrect previously falsified hypotheses just because we still quite like them... so you can chuck Creationism out right now. It's not a scientific explanation, it's a religious narrative.


The way I see it, Creationism is basically a rejection of the evolution explanation for the biological past.


A rejection that is massively pointed and laughed at by real world evidence. But please, don't let this stop you from pretending that blind mythological assertion counts for more than the honking big Himalayan mountain range of empirical evidence.

Jayjay4547 wrote:before Darwin there was no such word as Creationism. I agree it’s not a scientific explanation.


Whereas evolutionary processes are a scientific explanation, one that has been subject to empirical test and found to be in accord with reality.

Jayjay4547 wrote:
Spearthrower wrote:Further, Evolution already explains how such organs and functions came to be - no need to invoke magic. While Creationism can assert that God made people love one another, it does so without any evidence other than deferring to authority and tradition. Also, it fails to explain how an all good, all knowing, all powerful being could create/permit 'evil' or dysfunctional behavior. In summary, drop the pleas to magic - it's not going to wash for a moment.


The Creator might not be all good or might not see good the way we do, or might use a wider frame of reference.


Ah, the "mysterious ways" apologetic evasion, erected whenever inconvenient facts from the real world make a mockery of mythological assertions written 3,000 years ago. Oh by the way, amongst the assertions in said collection of myths, is that it's possible to change the genomes of living organisms wholesale, simply by having the parents shag alongside different coloured sticks. Care to explain to us all why Mendel was wrong, and some backward, piss-stained Middle Eastern nomads were right on this one?

Jayjay4547 wrote:The Creator might not be a being. We humans have some cheek, a hundred thousand years into sharing language on one planet around one sun in one galaxy, to pontificate about the qualities of creator of the universe.


Doesn't stop mythology fetishists doing just that, does it? Strange how their assorted eructations are also completely in accord with their personal fantasies and bigotries. All we do here is take those eructation at face value, then apply reductio ad absurdum to them.

Jayjay4547 wrote:
Spearthrower wrote:Second, you're talking about Evolutionary Psychology, as such, your desire for them to talk about the 'wonders of Creation' is what is know as 'way outside the scope'. Science, even such a speculative, qualitative science as this, has a scope - a remit. No biologist needs to contemplate the motions of fundamental particles to talk about the way an organ functions, or a species reproduces. As such, your criticism is invalid.


Well I’m pointing to a problem for a model which is (a) in contention (b) forms an origin narrative and (c) is used as a tool for weak and silly explanations.


You've just described creationism in a nutshell. Congratulations.

As for evolutionary psychology, it's a discipline that's still in its infancy. Which is why you'll see the odd wrong idea emerge from time to time within that discipline, until said wrong ideas are weeded out by empirical evidence. Which, oddly enough, never happened in the world of creationism.

Jayjay4547 wrote:
falconjudge wrote:Yeah... talking bad about a professional lecturer explaining how a dysfunction came about will NOT strengthen your Creationist position, which is an attempt to get away from explaining such things.


How dare one be sceptical about the utterances of a professional lecturer?


As opposed to not being sceptical about the witterings of superstitious, pre-scientific nomads?

Jayjay4547 wrote:Well in the first place this one admits that many other professionals don’t see issues like domestic violence the same way he does.


Basically, in the world of science, disagreements aren't "doctrinal positions". Please toss any idea that this is so into the bin where it belongs. In the world of science, disagreements are merely a sign that we need more empirical evidence, to decide one way or the other. No competent scientist thinks evolutionary processes don't happen. Whether those processes are the root cause of certain phenomena is sometimes not immediately evident, until someone comes along and devises the requisite empirical test. See Dobzhansky for examples of how it's done.

Jayjay4547 wrote:“ Major conflicts within romantic couples were and still are typically seen as signs of dysfunction.”
In the second place, to accept an argument it needs to click. And Buss’s declaration that for example domestic violence is due to different reproductive interests of the partner’s genes, just doesn’t click for me.


Actually, there are numerous animal models supporting this from the world of Cichlid fishes alone. For example, any aquarist who has kept Julidochromis species in the aquarium, will tell you that these fishes are prone to episodes of the red mist descending before their eyes if there's an unexpected change in their environment. These fishes are well known amongst Tanganyikan Cichlid keepers for what are termed "murderous divorces". Similar violent break-ups of previously successful reproductive partnerships can be observed in other Cichlid species, for example, amongst one or two of the Central American Nandopsis species (all of which have a 'take no prisoners' reputation in the aquarium), or between individuals belonging to certain Caquetaia species that likewise exhibit a propensity for brutality if they're not given conditions to their liking. Phenomena like this are what lead aquarists like myself to ask ourselves what does the fish want, before trying to keep it in captivity in an aquarium, usually by reference to known data on the wild behaviour of these species. In the case of some of the fishes I've just cited, it's the reason aquarists resort to certain devices in order to minimise the fallout if things go wrong at breeding time.

Jayjay4547 wrote:I think of the case of domestic violence that I came across most disturbingly for me. It involved a fellow parishioner who did a great deal with the church youth, teaching guitar and building up a church band. We were all eating out of his hand. Then it turned out that in the privacy of their bedroom he was terrifying his wife with his service pistol. Sure one could interpret that as arising from different reproductive interests of his and her genes but I’d rather listen to some pathologist’s explanation. And it was dysfunctional.


Well just because humans happen to have a large cerebral cortex grafted onto the other parts of their brains, doesn't in the least prevent humans from being influenced by past inheritance. Carl Sagan covered this in some detail, with respect to the R-complex and the limbic system, for example, both of which influence our behaviour even though we possess a large cerebral cortex that is theoretically capable of overriding those antecedent systems. Anyone who claims that those antecedent systems don't play a part in human behaviour is scientifically illiterate.
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Re: Evolutionary psychology Creation and dysfunction

#11  Postby Zadocfish2 » May 23, 2012 7:30 pm

Again, arguments from incredulity, JayJay. I see this all the time. Just because something "doesn't click" with you does not mean its invalid. Truth and research do not depend on your limited ability to understand them.

Also, giving examples that actively support the claim of the theory does not in any way assist in arguing against it.
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Re: Evolutionary psychology Creation and dysfunction

#12  Postby Mr.Samsa » May 24, 2012 4:59 am

Spearthrower wrote:
Mr.Samsa wrote:Wait, hold on. If they were interviewing two of the brightest people on the planet, why are they also interviewing Buss? I'd rather hear what the bright people have to say.



I dunno - you'd have to be pretty bright to make heads or tails of the question:

“What is your favourite deep, elegant of beautiful explanation?”

Sounds like a Google translation from Swahili.


Excellent point. Perhaps that all "intelligence" really is - the ability to form a coherent response to an incoherent question. :think: :grin:
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Re: Evolutionary psychology Creation and dysfunction

#13  Postby Jayjay4547 » May 24, 2012 5:14 am

Calilasseia wrote:
Jayjay4547 wrote: The way I see it, Creationism is basically a rejection of the evolution explanation for the biological past.


A rejection that is massively pointed and laughed at by real world evidence. But please, don't let this stop you from pretending that blind mythological assertion counts for more than the honking big Himalayan mountain range of empirical evidence.


Not blind. But the mythological assertion has informed evolutionary explanations, which have become its opposite. A dialectic has developed.

Calilasseia wrote:
Jayjay4547 wrote:before Darwin there was no such word as Creationism. I agree it’s not a scientific explanation.


Whereas evolutionary processes are a scientific explanation, one that has been subject to empirical test and found to be in accord with reality.


Like Buss’s explanation that game theory explains domestic violence and murder.

Calilasseia wrote:
Jayjay4547 wrote:
Spearthrower wrote:Further, Evolution already explains how such organs and functions came to be - no need to invoke magic. While Creationism can assert that God made people love one another, it does so without any evidence other than deferring to authority and tradition. Also, it fails to explain how an all good, all knowing, all powerful being could create/permit 'evil' or dysfunctional behavior. In summary, drop the pleas to magic - it's not going to wash for a moment.


The Creator might not be all good or might not see good the way we do, or might use a wider frame of reference.


Ah, the "mysterious ways" apologetic evasion, erected whenever inconvenient facts from the real world make a mockery of mythological assertions written 3,000 years ago. Oh by the way, amongst the assertions in said collection of myths, is that it's possible to change the genomes of living organisms wholesale, simply by having the parents shag alongside different coloured sticks. Care to explain to us all why Mendel was wrong, and some backward, piss-stained Middle Eastern nomads were right on this one?


I was taking up Spearthrower’s query of how an all-knowing, all powerful being could create/permit dysfunctional behaviour. Mendel has nothing to do with that nor do I have any problem with Mendel’s science.

Jayjay4547 wrote:The Creator might not be a being. We humans have some cheek, a hundred thousand years into sharing language on one planet around one sun in one galaxy, to pontificate about the qualities of creator of the universe.

Calilasseia wrote: Doesn't stop mythology fetishists doing just that, does it? Strange how their assorted eructations are also completely in accord with their personal fantasies and bigotries. All we do here is take those eructation at face value, then apply reductio ad absurdum to them.


In this case it was an atheist (or agnostic?) evolutionist who was demanding some characteristic of the creator of the universe.

Calilasseia wrote:
Jayjay4547 wrote:
Spearthrower wrote:Second, you're talking about Evolutionary Psychology, as such, your desire for them to talk about the 'wonders of Creation' is what is know as 'way outside the scope'. Science, even such a speculative, qualitative science as this, has a scope - a remit. No biologist needs to contemplate the motions of fundamental particles to talk about the way an organ functions, or a species reproduces. As such, your criticism is invalid.


Well I’m pointing to a problem for a model which is (a) in contention (b) forms an origin narrative and (c) is used as a tool for weak and silly explanations.


You've just described creationism in a nutshell. Congratulations.

As for evolutionary psychology, it's a discipline that's still in its infancy. Which is why you'll see the odd wrong idea emerge from time to time within that discipline, until said wrong ideas are weeded out by empirical evidence. Which, oddly enough, never happened in the world of creationism.


Pronouncements made in the name of science can be taken up as they stand in the here and now, without invoking some supposed future self-correction. I’m suggesting that evolutionary psychology is marked by weakness and triviality and as such it reflects a scientific failure.

Creationism isn’t a science. it’s a contradiction of what is proposed and clothes itself as science, which is in fact scientific in part- and which increasingly, is being driven into failure by its unimaginative opposition to creationism.

Calilasseia wrote:
Jayjay4547 wrote:
falconjudge wrote:Yeah... talking bad about a professional lecturer explaining how a dysfunction came about will NOT strengthen your Creationist position, which is an attempt to get away from explaining such things.


How dare one be sceptical about the utterances of a professional lecturer?


As opposed to not being sceptical about the witterings of superstitious, pre-scientific nomads?


Witterings, piss-stained, backwards, eructations. I’m polite. I wish you would be.

Calilasseia wrote:
Jayjay4547 wrote:Well in the first place this one admits that many other professionals don’t see issues like domestic violence the same way he does.


Basically, in the world of science, disagreements aren't "doctrinal positions". Please toss any idea that this is so into the bin where it belongs. In the world of science, disagreements are merely a sign that we need more empirical evidence, to decide one way or the other. No competent scientist thinks evolutionary processes don't happen. Whether those processes are the root cause of certain phenomena is sometimes not immediately evident, until someone comes along and devises the requisite empirical test. See Dobzhansky for examples of how it's done.

As you can see from the above, Falconjudge was making an appeal to authority- or to my lack of authority. And my response, that other authorities evidently disagree with Buss by his own admission, is perfectly valid. Buss is engaging in a little intellectual propaganda when he writes “Major conflicts within romantic couples were and still are typically seen as signs of dysfunction. A radical reformulation embodied by sexual conflict theory changes these views”. So the old view is being replaced by his new progressive one –though that hasn’t happened yet. To be fair to him, Buss is being unguarded. If someone asks for your view as “one of the brightest people on the planet”, you can be excused for spreading yourself.

There is another side to this issue of selection-to-spokesman. I’m quoting from Popular Mechanics whose local editor would fit in perfectly well on this forum – he is clearly a nice guy incidentally and hard working. Anyway he selected 2 out of 192 responses from the supposedly brightest people in the planet. Buss might have been selected as one of those because of his book “Why Women have Sex”. I guess his answer to that is different than lust/coercion/wish for children/wish for child subsidy/wish to be like the neighbour. So that caught the selector’s eye. I’s fruitful to question such highly selected “trendy” views that us grease-monkeys are fed with.

Calilasseia wrote:
Jayjay4547 wrote:“ Major conflicts within romantic couples were and still are typically seen as signs of dysfunction.”

In the second place, to accept an argument it needs to click. And Buss’s declaration that for example domestic violence is due to different reproductive interests of the partner’s genes, just doesn’t click for me.


Actually, there are numerous animal models supporting this from the world of Cichlid fishes alone. For example, any aquarist who has kept Julidochromis species in the aquarium, will tell you that these fishes are prone to episodes of the red mist descending before their eyes if there's an unexpected change in their environment. These fishes are well known amongst Tanganyikan Cichlid keepers for what are termed "murderous divorces". Similar violent break-ups of previously successful reproductive partnerships can be observed in other Cichlid species, for example, amongst one or two of the Central American Nandopsis species (all of which have a 'take no prisoners' reputation in the aquarium), or between individuals belonging to certain Caquetaia species that likewise exhibit a propensity for brutality if they're not given conditions to their liking. Phenomena like this are what lead aquarists like myself to ask ourselves what does the fish want, before trying to keep it in captivity in an aquarium, usually by reference to known data on the wild behaviour of these species. In the case of some of the fishes I've just cited, it's the reason aquarists resort to certain devices in order to minimise the fallout if things go wrong at breeding time.


I‘m curious to have that explained in terms of game theory. If you keep animals under more restricted conditions than the wild, and they do something murderous, isn’t what happens dysfunctional? Isn’t the solution to restore wild conditions? You say “Cichlid fishes ALONE” but from fish keepers coining the term “murderous divorce” that implies something unusual applies to them in captivity. I acknowledge that murderous violence often happens in nature. Elephants kill rhinos and each other. And men kill people in war, on a truly “industrial” scale. Human domestic violence is a problem, I’m not convinced it has the same root as in male cichlids.


Calilasseia wrote:
Jayjay4547 wrote:I think of the case of domestic violence that I came across most disturbingly for me. It involved a fellow parishioner who did a great deal with the church youth, teaching guitar and building up a church band. We were all eating out of his hand. Then it turned out that in the privacy of their bedroom he was terrifying his wife with his service pistol. Sure one could interpret that as arising from different reproductive interests of his and her genes but I’d rather listen to some pathologist’s explanation. And it was dysfunctional.


Well just because humans happen to have a large cerebral cortex grafted onto the other parts of their brains, doesn't in the least prevent humans from being influenced by past inheritance. Carl Sagan covered this in some detail, with respect to the R-complex and the limbic system, for example, both of which influence our behaviour even though we possess a large cerebral cortex that is theoretically capable of overriding those antecedent systems. Anyone who claims that those antecedent systems don't play a part in human behaviour is scientifically illiterate.


Limbic system? Is that in game theory? The issue isn’t whether humans are influenced by past inheritance. Actually game theory rather discounts the influence of inheritance. If “romantic interactants” (yuk) optimise the reproductive chances of their genes then it’s a new game every generation. You can explain what happens without reference to inheritance.
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Re: Evolutionary psychology Creation and dysfunction

#14  Postby Spearthrower » May 24, 2012 7:29 am

Jayjay4547 wrote:
Not blind. But the mythological assertion has informed evolutionary explanations, which have become its opposite. A dialectic has developed.



Mythological assertion hasn't informed evolutionary explanations - empirical data has. If the resulting explanation is 'opposite' (not that this makes any logical sense) that only highlights how erroneous Creationist claims were.



Jayjay4547 wrote:
Calilasseia wrote:
Jayjay4547 wrote:before Darwin there was no such word as Creationism. I agree it’s not a scientific explanation.


Whereas evolutionary processes are a scientific explanation, one that has been subject to empirical test and found to be in accord with reality.


Like Buss’s explanation that game theory explains domestic violence and murder.


I think you'll note that this is hypothetical and unestablished. It's a line of questioning which they are trying to verify through evidence. The method is the key here, Jayjay, not the ideas themselves. Any idea can be subjected to scientific inquiry, most will fall because they don't agree with the data. This is how science operates. Religious narratives don't submit themselves to be tested against evidence; quite the contrary, it's typical to hear the notion that when evidence and scripture disagree, scripture is automatically correct regardless.

If you look into this topic - Buss' claims - I think you'll find there's a rather robust, healthy debate on the claim. Again, not something you'll find in religion - you don't have religious professionals questioning god's existence, or the tenets of their religious practices. Religion is not a way of knowing, it's a way of doing.



Jayjay4547 wrote:
I was taking up Spearthrower’s query of how an all-knowing, all powerful being could create/permit dysfunctional behaviour. Mendel has nothing to do with that nor do I have any problem with Mendel’s science.


You omitted the rather key quality there - all good. An all good creator cannot, by definition, create evil. So, either this deity is not all-good, or is not all-powerful, or is just not all-knowing... a fundamentally erroneous triumvirate of characteristics that is, once again, at odds with the real world.

Also note how you've just given a case example of my previous point: something that doesn't contradict your preconceptions is just fine.


Jayjay4547 wrote:
In this case it was an atheist (or agnostic?) evolutionist who was demanding some characteristic of the creator of the universe.


Me? Where was I demanding anything? I was explaining the fundamental errors in people making claims about the unknown without recourse to evidence.



Jayjay4547 wrote:Pronouncements made in the name of science can be taken up as they stand in the here and now, without invoking some supposed future self-correction. I’m suggesting that evolutionary psychology is marked by weakness and triviality and as such it reflects a scientific failure.


No, you're just unaware of the difference between qualitative and quantitative inquiry. I've already explained partially why this discipline is considered fraught with problems. However, we accept qualitative inquiries in other disciplines like Sociology, so it's a case of refining the methods of observation and data collection.

Secondly, this thread includes the notion of Creationism. As such, you can make as many criticisms as you like of any area of science, but it's still vastly superior to Creationism, which is just flat-out wrong.

Finally, modern science operates by removing misunderstandings - lessening uncertainty. As such, there are no failures because something proven false helps elucidate the problem by removing errors. Again, as the thread is raising the spectre of Creationism, can you explain where religious methodology practices such an important self-regulation? Scripture is right, because God says so, and we know God says so because it's written in the scriptures. Imagine this kind of appeal to authority in science - Einstein said that energy and mass are equivalent, and Einstein was a genius, so he's right and we don't need to question it. Imagine where we'd be now in terms of scientific progress were this the way scientific method operated.... well, no need to imagine, just read a book on pre-Enlightenment thought.



Jayjay4547 wrote:Creationism isn’t a science. it’s a contradiction of what is proposed and clothes itself as science, which is in fact scientific in part- and which increasingly, is being driven into failure by its unimaginative opposition to creationism.


Hmm looks like you're losing your grip on reality here, Jayjay.

I take it that you're pretending that the alleged failures of Evolutionary Psychology are tantamount to failures in the biological Theory of Evolution, and as such, you think this strengthens the case for Creationism.

Unfortunately, you're just engaging specious reasoning and consequently coming to erroneous conclusions.

Creationism is not something that popped up to combat scientific naturalism. Whether the term was coined in the 1920's or not is irrelevant - the narrative is precisely the same as had been espoused by religious authorities and scripture for over a thousand years prior to Darwin's insight. Really, all that Creationism amounts to is an antiquated fairy tale - only, unlike the other myths of the past, some people still believe this narrative to be true. They cannot accept that a study of the natural world would not result in their narrative being corroborated, so they fear science as an enemy, or pretend that science is being practiced by wrong-minded people, and consequently just getting the wrong answers. This results in the fallacy of the stolen concept:these scientific findings are acceptable because they don't contradict my interpretation of scripture! i.e. cherrypicking.

Secondly, evolution is an established fact. Saying otherwise to people who know what they talk about receives the same kind of response as if you started trying to claim that gravity is just pretend science. People point and laugh - people are cruel sometimes, huh? But you have only yourself to blame if you're capable of posting on an internet as opposed to rambling round a park, with tousled hair and untucked shirt, shouting at strangers. In that case, pity would be more appropriate. If you're going to proselytise your belief, you can't do so by lying about facts.

Which brings me to the final error in your argument: Even if Evolution is falsified, it doesn't make Creationism true. Science works by providing explanations for phenomena - Creationism routinely fails to explain phenomena, it ignores the contradictory evidence and works tirelessly to pretend otherwise though apologetics. These dualistic notions are a core component of the religious mode of thinking, and they're completely at odds with the real world. There are billions of possible answers to a question; if answer A is shown wrong, it doesn't confer validity on answer B - you need to consider the rest of the alphabet. Note your fallacy with respect to this above. Should evolution be falsified, it would be done so by a model that is better able to account for the available data, not by a logically dysfunctional and evidentially erroneous claim.

Finally, the whole paragraph is deluded. I think you've been on too many Creationist sites recently and have bought into the notions that evolution is an anti-religion movement rather than just a well established science, and that there is some dark conspiracy to foist this god-hating rhetoric onto the world to pervert society. Science is only in opposition to religion insomuch as religion makes claims about the natural world - provably erroneous claims. Science isn't a conspiracy to dethrone religion. To be frank, science doesn't give a rat's chuff about your god, or anyone else's. Gods are not within the remit of science, as you've already agreed, and as such - what possible benefit would be achieved? Cui bono, Jayjay? The devil? :what:



Jayjay4547 wrote:
Calilasseia wrote:
Jayjay4547 wrote:
falconjudge wrote:Yeah... talking bad about a professional lecturer explaining how a dysfunction came about will NOT strengthen your Creationist position, which is an attempt to get away from explaining such things.


How dare one be sceptical about the utterances of a professional lecturer?


As opposed to not being sceptical about the witterings of superstitious, pre-scientific nomads?


Witterings, piss-stained, backwards, eructations. I’m polite. I wish you would be.



Can you explain precisely how this is impolite? If I described the Vikings as mass-murdering rapists, is that considered impolite to the person I am talking to? It's potentially incorrect, but impolite? Let's not be silly here - not one of those adjectives is directed at you.


Jayjay4547 wrote:
As you can see from the above, Falconjudge was making an appeal to authority- or to my lack of authority. And my response, that other authorities evidently disagree with Buss by his own admission, is perfectly valid. Buss is engaging in a little intellectual propaganda when he writes “Major conflicts within romantic couples were and still are typically seen as signs of dysfunction. A radical reformulation embodied by sexual conflict theory changes these views”. So the old view is being replaced by his new progressive one –though that hasn’t happened yet. To be fair to him, Buss is being unguarded. If someone asks for your view as “one of the brightest people on the planet”, you can be excused for spreading yourself.


First, I already explained your mistake with respect to your reading of Falconjudge's post. It is not an appeal to authority. Let me show you again:

Spearthrower wrote:Actually, Falconjudge was quite specific in his criticism, and it didn't say 'You can't be sceptical of professional lecturers' - he said, 'you can't use your criticisms of this lecturer to bolster the validity of Creationism' - I thought that was quite clear.


The idea that this is intellectual propaganda is plain nuts, Jayjay - you are doing the rambling in the park thing, only on the internet. There's no other way to say it - it's so delusional. What he's doing is being human. He's got a job to produce explanations for these phenomena. He's come up with a notion he thinks is valid. He is promoting that idea, defending it, arguing for it. Now, he might be clueless, he might have been lucky and hit the jackpot. He might also be an idiot and completely wrong. He might be many things, but the idea that he's part of some shadowy cabal trying to combat Creationism is utter drivel and you're already scraping through the bottom of the barrel if this is what this thread's about. The fact is that Buss probably doesn't give a toss about a religious narrative with respect to this discipline - he may even be a religious practicioner himself. What he's doing is self-promotion, not intellectual propaganda.

However, I am not sure quite how far down the rabbit hole you are. When people start to actively perceive every interaction in the world in the terms of their ideological dialectic, then such pronouncements are common. As an example for your consideration, although you need not respond: Have you ever thought to yourself that the media is a mouthpiece of this evolutionary cabal when they write about chimpanzees being our closest ancestor?


Jayjay4547 wrote:There is another side to this issue of selection-to-spokesman. I’m quoting from Popular Mechanics whose local editor would fit in perfectly well on this forum – he is clearly a nice guy incidentally and hard working. Anyway he selected 2 out of 192 responses from the supposedly brightest people in the planet. Buss might have been selected as one of those because of his book “Why Women have Sex”. I guess his answer to that is different than lust/coercion/wish for children/wish for child subsidy/wish to be like the neighbour. So that caught the selector’s eye. I’s fruitful to question such highly selected “trendy” views that us grease-monkeys are fed with.


As opposed to someone invoking Gods to explain it? Yep, you're spot on there Jayjay. This 'trend' of explaining natural phenomena without recourse to gods has been going on for a few centuries - a few centuries that just so happens to coincide with the fastest expansion of our knowledge of the universe in the history of our species. Quite a coincidence that.



Jayjay4547 wrote:
I‘m curious to have that explained in terms of game theory. If you keep animals under more restricted conditions than the wild, and they do something murderous, isn’t what happens dysfunctional? Isn’t the solution to restore wild conditions? You say “Cichlid fishes ALONE” but from fish keepers coining the term “murderous divorce” that implies something unusual applies to them in captivity. I acknowledge that murderous violence often happens in nature. Elephants kill rhinos and each other. And men kill people in war, on a truly “industrial” scale. Human domestic violence is a problem, I’m not convinced it has the same root as in male cichlids.


Population density and cognitive 'carrying capacities' are responsible for actual social dysfunction in many cases. The examples you listed aren't dysfunctional - dysfunction is when the normal means of interaction fails. Elephants killing elephants is functional within elephant society, even if the actual mortal outcome is unintended. As an example, elephant females form a matriarchal herd. If, in a particular population of female elephants, it was observed that the herd broke apart and the females began living solitary lives, then there's a dysfunction there.

In terms of the cichlids Cali mentioned, there's a clear external factor to this sudden failure of the 'normal' cichlid relations: a change in the environment. I don't know enough about cichlids to use this as an example, but the point is that the dysfunction is a result, not a cause itself - the cause could be many things. One very well documented example is, as I mentioned, population density. This is very much apparent in fish-keeping as well - take a tank large enough to comfortably house 50 neon tetra and watch them enjoy their lives. Then try putting in 200 neon tetra into the same size tank and see what happens.

Robin Dunbar has done the most work on this with respect to primates. It's very suggestive that the types of dysfunction the popular press erroneously associates with the failings of modern society is in fact the result of our over-dense populations caused by our increasingly centralised and urbanised societies, and the absurd expansion of the numbers of individuals in the last century.

I say all this because I know the religious arguments too well, having been both religious and still having very religious family members, and the 'culture war' you're clearly buying into. Scientific understanding and consequent undermining of religious dominance is not the root problem of human society - there was no golden age of universal good predating the concept of biological evolution, or the diminishment of theocratic institutions. The medieval era of Europe was a violent, barbaric, and nasty time to live for the majority of people. Mass inequality, mass disease, mass violence - these are not the hallmarks of contemporary societies where the belief in Christianity has diminished.

Just consider all that a 'nipping in the bud'. I pay attention to people's arguments, and I know where you're going already Monsieur Jay.


Jayjay4547 wrote:
Limbic system? Is that in game theory?


It's a part of your brain.

Of course game theory being applied to human actions would take into account factors regarding human cognition and behaviour - but that's 'game theory applied' not just game theory.



Jayjay4547 wrote:The issue isn’t whether humans are influenced by past inheritance. Actually game theory rather discounts the influence of inheritance. If “romantic interactants” (yuk) optimise the reproductive chances of their genes then it’s a new game every generation. You can explain what happens without reference to inheritance.


It's the same game every generation with the same victory objective, just a very minutely optimised rulebook. If you stopped pawns from being able to move 2 spaces on their first turn, it wouldn't cease to be Chess, and the game would still operate nearly exactly the same - just some strategies would become naturally favoured or disfavoured. Voila.
I'm not an atheist; I just don't believe in gods :- that which I don't belong to isn't a group!
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Re: Evolutionary psychology Creation and dysfunction

#15  Postby Calilasseia » May 24, 2012 10:35 am

Jayjay4547 wrote:
Calilasseia wrote:
Jayjay4547 wrote: The way I see it, Creationism is basically a rejection of the evolution explanation for the biological past.


A rejection that is massively pointed and laughed at by real world evidence. But please, don't let this stop you from pretending that blind mythological assertion counts for more than the honking big Himalayan mountain range of empirical evidence.


Not blind.


Oh, you've admitted yourself in your previous post that creationism isn't a scientific theory, and part of the reason for this is that several of its assertions are completely untestable. Therefore they remain blind assertions.

Jayjay4547 wrote:But the mythological assertion has informed evolutionary explanations


No they haven't. Please do tell me which peer reviewed scientific papers in evolutionary biology have ever made reference to mythological assertions? The only reason anyone in the world of science wastes time on these assertions, is because these assertions enjoy wholly unearned and stolen discoursive privilieges, courtesy of the fact that supernaturalists keep insisting that their favourite books of myths constitute established fact, regardless of whether or not reality agrees with this, and supernaturalists have in the past used ruthless means to steal those discoursive privileges. Mythological assertions are a fucking irrelevance as far as the science is concerned.

Jayjay4547 wrote:which have become its opposite. A dialectic has developed.


Excuse me, but rampant denial of vast quantities of real world evidence, and the peddling of lies to prop up a mythology-based doctrine, in a futile attempt to overthrow empirically validated scientific postulates, isn't a "dialectic".

Jayjay4547 wrote:
Calilasseia wrote:
Jayjay4547 wrote:before Darwin there was no such word as Creationism. I agree it’s not a scientific explanation.


Whereas evolutionary processes are a scientific explanation, one that has been subject to empirical test and found to be in accord with reality.


Like Buss’s explanation that game theory explains domestic violence and murder.


Well first of all, we have empirical evidence that these phenomena exist. The question is, what underpins those phenomena? A question that is complicated in the case of humans by that large cerebral cortex I mentioned in my previous post, but as I've already stated, we have animal models for differential reproductive goals leading to relevant behaviours.

Jayjay4547 wrote:
Calilasseia wrote:
Jayjay4547 wrote:
Spearthrower wrote:Further, Evolution already explains how such organs and functions came to be - no need to invoke magic. While Creationism can assert that God made people love one another, it does so without any evidence other than deferring to authority and tradition. Also, it fails to explain how an all good, all knowing, all powerful being could create/permit 'evil' or dysfunctional behavior. In summary, drop the pleas to magic - it's not going to wash for a moment.


The Creator might not be all good or might not see good the way we do, or might use a wider frame of reference.


Ah, the "mysterious ways" apologetic evasion, erected whenever inconvenient facts from the real world make a mockery of mythological assertions written 3,000 years ago. Oh by the way, amongst the assertions in said collection of myths, is that it's possible to change the genomes of living organisms wholesale, simply by having the parents shag alongside different coloured sticks. Care to explain to us all why Mendel was wrong, and some backward, piss-stained Middle Eastern nomads were right on this one?


I was taking up Spearthrower’s query of how an all-knowing, all powerful being could create/permit dysfunctional behaviour. Mendel has nothing to do with that nor do I have any problem with Mendel’s science.


Actually, it was apposite to bring Mendel into the picture at this point, because his work directly refutes a mythological assertion. Now, if the mythology in question got it so badly wrong on this simple matter, what makes you think said mythology has it right with respect to the validity of evolution?

Plus, you still haven't addressed the fact that the "mysterious ways" apologetic fabrication is a grand piece of evasion. It's a gargantuan cop out erected to hand-wave away inconvenient real world facts, when those real world facts render other apologetic fabrications absurd. As an example thereof, I'm aware of the existence of a number of Carabid beetles, whose features make a mockery of the entire "design" assertion. This is because they have a pair of wings that would be fully functional for flight, but for one little problem - the elytra or wing cases are fused shut in these species. Please, do explain to us all how any genuinely "intelligent" entity purportedly responsible for "creating" such organisms, would arrange for this combination of features to be present?

Now of course, the emergence of such combinations of features makes eminent sense from the standpoint of evolution. Basically, these beetles inherited those wings from ancestors that actually used them for flight, but have since moved into a ground based ecological niche, where those wings are superfluous to requirements and irrelevant. Within that niche, protection of soft body parts whilst burrowing amongst leaf litter and gritty soil is now more important, and the appearance of fused elytra provides that additional level of protection. Indeed, we see a number of species in the Carabidae, exhibiting a range of levels of wing atrophy under those fused elytra, from fully functional wings, through partially atrophied wings, to species that exhibit almost complete atrophy of those wings. Which of course, makes sense if one considers these to be the products of common descent with subsequent modification in the generations following that descent, particularly when the evidence from molecular phylogeny clearly indicates that these beetles all share a relevant common ancestor. But these beetles make no sense whatsoever from the standpoint of mythological assertions, or the apologetic fabrications erected to try and prop up those assertions.

For that matter, you might like to address an even more serious issue here, namely, why your purported "creator" was apparently too incompetent to ensure, that the mythology purportedly dispensed by said "creator" contained statements that were in accord with observational reality. That little bit about coloured sticks being a prime example. Why did your purported "creator" arrange for Middle Eastern nomads to include this nonsense within what was supposed to be "divinely revealed knowledge", when said "creator" is also asserted to have possessed the foresight to know that we would eventually work out that said assertion was nonsense? The whole edifice erected around this collection of myths simply doesn't withstand even the most elementary level of critical scrutiny.

Jayjay4547 wrote:
Jayjay4547 wrote:The Creator might not be a being. We humans have some cheek, a hundred thousand years into sharing language on one planet around one sun in one galaxy, to pontificate about the qualities of creator of the universe.

Calilasseia wrote: Doesn't stop mythology fetishists doing just that, does it? Strange how their assorted eructations are also completely in accord with their personal fantasies and bigotries. All we do here is take those eructation at face value, then apply reductio ad absurdum to them.


In this case it was an atheist (or agnostic?) evolutionist who was demanding some characteristic of the creator of the universe.


Oh dear. It's time for this once more ...

The "evolutionist" canard (with "Darwinist" side salad).

Now, if there is one guaranteed way for a creationist to establish that he or she is here for no other reason than to propagandise for a doctrine, it's the deployment of that most viscerally hated of words in the lexicon, namely, evolutionist. I have posted about this so often here, that I was surprised to find that I'd missed it out of the original list, but I had more pressing concerns to attend to when compiling the list originally. However, having been reminded of it, now is the time to nail this one to the ground with a stake through its heart once and for all.

There is no such thing as an "evolutionist". Why do I say this? Simple. Because the word has become thoroughly debased through creationist abuse thereof, and in my view, deserves to be struck from the language forever. For those who need the requisite education, there exist evolutionary biologists, namely the scientific professionals who devote decades of their lives to understanding the biosphere and conducting research into appropriate biological phenomena, and those outside that specialist professional remit who accept the reality-based, evidence-based case that they present in their peer reviewed scientific papers for their postulates. The word "evolutionist" is a discoursive elision, erected by creationists for a very specific and utterly mendacious purpose, namely to suggest that valid evolutionary science is a "doctrine", and that those who accept its postulates do so merely as a priori "assumptions" (see [3] above). This is manifestly false, as anyone who has actually read the peer reviewed scientific literature is eminently well placed to understand. The idea that there exists some sort of "symmetry" between valid, evidence-based, reality-based science (evolutionary biology) and assertion-laden, mythology-based doctrine (creationism) is FALSE. Evolutionary biology, like every other branch of science, tests assertions and presuppositions to destruction, which is why creationism was tossed into the bin 150 years ago (see [2] above). When creationists can provide methodologically rigorous empirical tests of their assertions, the critical thinkers will sit up and take notice.

Furthermore, with respect to this canard, does the acceptance of the scientifically educated individuals on this board, of the current scientific paradigm for gravity make them "gravitationists"? Does their acceptance of the evidence supporting the germ theory of disease make them "microbists"? Does their acceptance of the validity of Maxwell's Equations make them "electromagnetists"? Does their acceptance of of the validity of the work of Planck, Bohr, Schrödinger, Dirac and a dozen others in the relevant field make them "quantumists"? Does their acceptance of the validity of the astrophysical model for star formation and the processes that take place inside stars make them "stellarists"? If you are unable to see the absurdity inherent in this, then you are in no position to tell people here that professional scientists have got it wrong, whilst ignorant Bronze Age nomads writing mythology 3,000 years ago got it right.

While we're at it, let's deal with the duplicitous side salad known as "Darwinist". The critical thinkers here know why this particular discoursive elision is erected, and the reason is related to the above. Basically, "Darwinist" is erected for the specific purpose of suggesting that the only reason people accept evolution is because they bow uncritically to Darwin as an authority figure. This is, not to put too fine a point on it, droolingly encephalitic drivel of a particularly suppurating order. Let's provide a much needed education once and for all here.

Darwin is regarded as historically important because he founded the scientific discipline of evolutionary biology, and in the process, converted biology from a cataloguing exercise into a proper empirical science. The reason Darwin is considered important is NOT because he is regarded uncritically as an "authority figure" - the critical thinkers leave this sort of starry-eyed gazing to followers of the likes of William Lane Craig. Darwin is regarded as important because he was the first person to pay serious attention to reality with respect to the biosphere, with respect to the business of determining mechanisms for its development, and the first to engage in diligent intellectual labour for the purpose of establishing that reality supported his postulates with respect to the biosphere. In other words, instead of sitting around accepting uncritically mythological blind assertion, he got off his arse, rolled up his sleeves, did the hard work, put in the long hours performing the research and gathering the real world data, and then spending long hours determining what would falsify his ideas and determining in a rigorous manner that no such falsification existed. For those who are unaware of this, the requisite labour swallowed up twenty years of his life, which is par for the course for a scientist introducing a new paradigm to the world. THAT is why he is regarded as important, because he expended colossal amounts of labour ensuring that REALITY supported his ideas. That's the ONLY reason ANY scientist acquires a reputation for being a towering contributor to the field, because said scientist toils unceasingly for many years, in some cases whole decades, ensuring that his ideas are supported by reality in a methodologically rigorous fashion.

Additionally, just in case this idea hasn't crossed the mind of any creationist posting here, evolutionary biology has moved on in the 150 years since Darwin, and whilst his historical role is rightly recognised, the critical thinkers have also recognised that more recent developments have taken place that would leave Darwin's eyes out on stalks if he were around to see them. The contributors to the field after Darwin are numerous, and include individuals who contributed to the development of other branches of science making advances in evolutionary theory possible. Individuals such as Ronald Fisher, who developed the mathematical tools required to make sense of vast swathes of biological data (heard of analysis of variance? Fisher invented it), or Theodosius Dobzhansky, who combined theoretical imagination with empirical rigour, and who, amongst other developments, provided science with a documented instance of speciation in the laboratory. Other seminal contributors included Müller (who trashed Behe's nonsense six decades before Behe was born), E. O. Wilson, Ernst Mayr, Motoo Kimura, Stephen Jay Gould, Niles Eldredge, J. B. S. Haldane, Richard Lewontin, Sewall Wright, Jerry Coyne, Carl Woese, Kenneth Miller, and they're just the ones I can list off the top of my head. Pick up any half-decent collection of scientific papers from the past 100 years, and dozens more names can be added to that list.

So, anyone who wants to be regarded as an extremely low-grade chew toy here only has to erect the "evolutionist" or "Darwinist" canard, and they will guarantee this end result.

Having addressed this little canard, it's time to address another point. Namely, that the poster in question was asking the very sort of elementary question that arises, the moment supernaturalist assertions of the sort you wish to peddle here are erected. It's precisely because supernaturalists keep insisting that they possess some sort of "privileged knowledge" about this purported "creator" entity, that these questions arise, questions which invariably end up demonstrating that said assertions about possession of "privileged knowledge" are complete horseshit. Which brings me neatly back to the question of why your purported "creator" was too incompetent to proof-read the mythology properly, and keep horseshit assertions out of it.

Jayjay4547 wrote:
Calilasseia wrote:
Jayjay4547 wrote:
Spearthrower wrote:Second, you're talking about Evolutionary Psychology, as such, your desire for them to talk about the 'wonders of Creation' is what is know as 'way outside the scope'. Science, even such a speculative, qualitative science as this, has a scope - a remit. No biologist needs to contemplate the motions of fundamental particles to talk about the way an organ functions, or a species reproduces. As such, your criticism is invalid.


Well I’m pointing to a problem for a model which is (a) in contention (b) forms an origin narrative and (c) is used as a tool for weak and silly explanations.


You've just described creationism in a nutshell. Congratulations.

As for evolutionary psychology, it's a discipline that's still in its infancy. Which is why you'll see the odd wrong idea emerge from time to time within that discipline, until said wrong ideas are weeded out by empirical evidence. Which, oddly enough, never happened in the world of creationism.


Pronouncements made in the name of science can be taken up as they stand in the here and now, without invoking some supposed future self-correction. I’m suggesting that evolutionary psychology is marked by weakness and triviality and as such it reflects a scientific failure.


Nowhere near as huge a failure as mythological assertions, which, I remind you, were tossed into the bin when something better came along. Plus, the mere fact that science corrects its mistakes when reality tells it to, a process that never happens in the world of supernaturalist mythology, means that even infant scientific disciplines are far more likely to be reliable than mythology.

Jayjay4547 wrote:Creationism isn’t a science. it’s a contradiction of what is proposed and clothes itself as science, which is in fact scientific in part- and which increasingly, is being driven into failure by its unimaginative opposition to creationism.


Oh please, do the thousands of peer reviewed scientific papers produced each year in the field of evolutionary biology look like "failure" to anyone not viewing them through ideological blinkers? Er, no. Evolutionary processes have been demonstrated to work, demonstrated to produce relevant features and diversity in living organisms, and are now being applied in the laboratory to produce useful biotechnology products. I have papers on this subject in my collection that I've presented here in the past. Creationism has nothing of this sort to show for all the hot air wasted upon apologetic fabrications, quote mining, deliberate misrepresentation of science, and the peddling of what are, in some cases, demonstrable and manifest lies. But then, it's because modern American corporate creationism in particular is founded upon lies, that it has nothing of substance to show for all its hubristic posturing.

Jayjay4547 wrote:
Calilasseia wrote:
Jayjay4547 wrote:
falconjudge wrote:Yeah... talking bad about a professional lecturer explaining how a dysfunction came about will NOT strengthen your Creationist position, which is an attempt to get away from explaining such things.


How dare one be sceptical about the utterances of a professional lecturer?


As opposed to not being sceptical about the witterings of superstitious, pre-scientific nomads?


Witterings, piss-stained, backwards, eructations. I’m polite. I wish you would be.


Having spent four years dealing with creationist lies, I'm not in the mood.

Jayjay4547 wrote:
Calilasseia wrote:
Jayjay4547 wrote:Well in the first place this one admits that many other professionals don’t see issues like domestic violence the same way he does.


Basically, in the world of science, disagreements aren't "doctrinal positions". Please toss any idea that this is so into the bin where it belongs. In the world of science, disagreements are merely a sign that we need more empirical evidence, to decide one way or the other. No competent scientist thinks evolutionary processes don't happen. Whether those processes are the root cause of certain phenomena is sometimes not immediately evident, until someone comes along and devises the requisite empirical test. See Dobzhansky for examples of how it's done.


As you can see from the above, Falconjudge was making an appeal to authority- or to my lack of authority. And my response, that other authorities evidently disagree with Buss by his own admission, is perfectly valid. Buss is engaging in a little intellectual propaganda when he writes “Major conflicts within romantic couples were and still are typically seen as signs of dysfunction. A radical reformulation embodied by sexual conflict theory changes these views”. So the old view is being replaced by his new progressive one –though that hasn’t happened yet. To be fair to him, Buss is being unguarded. If someone asks for your view as “one of the brightest people on the planet”, you can be excused for spreading yourself.


And once again, the rest of us here will sit up and take notice when empirical evidence says that Buss is right. Though as I've already stated, we already have animal models that make his ideas seem reasonable at first glance. Whether those ideas remain reasonable, once more detailed empirical work is conducted, remains to be seen. But for your information, sexual conflict isn't a new idea in evolutionary biology, it's been around for decades, and the idea of an 'arms race' between males and females of a given species resulting in interesting developments has been in circulation even since Van Valen first explicitly formulated the Red Queen Hypothesis, which, incidentally, has been subject to numerous empirical tests. One interesting test being the direct manipulation of the genome of Ceanorhabditis elegans in the laboratory, to produce populations with different reproductive strategies, and then comparing how those different strategies fare when the organism is subject to attack by a pathogen in a co-evolutionary situation. The paper in question is this one:

Running With The Red Queen: Host-Parasite Coevolution Selects For Biparental Sex by Levi T. Morran, Olivia G. Schmidt, Ian A. Gelarden, Raymond C Parrish II and Curtis M. Lively, Science, 333: 216-218 (8th July 2011) [Full paper downloadable from here]

Morran et al, 2011 wrote:Most organisms reproduce through outcrossing, even though it comes with substantial costs. The Red Queen hypothesis proposes that selection from coevolving pathogens facilitates the persistence of outcrossing despite these costs. We used experimental coevolution to test the Red Queen hypothesis and found that coevolution with a bacterial pathogen (Serratia marcescens) resulted in significantly more outcrossing in mixed mating experimental populations of the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. Furthermore, we found that coevolution with the pathogen rapidly drove obligately selfing populations to extinction, whereas outcrossing populations persisted through reciprocal coevolution. Thus, consistent with the Red Queen hypothesis, coevolving pathogens can select for biparental sex.


From that paper:

Morran et al, 2011 wrote:The Red Queen hypothesis has been empirically supported in studies of natural snail populations, which show that sexual reproduction is more common where parasites are common and adapted to infect the local host population (14, 15). Outcrossing also seems to reduce the degree of infection relative to biparental inbreeding and asexual reproduction in fish (16). Finally, the capability of antagonistic interactions to drive rapid evolutionary change has also been determined for several different systems (17–20). Nonetheless, direct controlled tests for the effect of coevolution on the maintenance of sex have proven difficult, because they require biological systems in which host and pathogen populations can coevolve for multiple generations in a manner that selects for increased infectivity by a pathogen as well as increased resistance (or enhanced avoidance) by the host. Further, the host species should exhibit genetic variation in its degree of outcrossing. Thus, we chose to examine the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans and its pathogenic bacteria Serratia marcescens, which exhibit these desired properties.

Populations of the host species, C. elegans, are composed of males and hermaphrodites. The hermaphrodites can reproduce through either self-fertilization or by outcrossing with males (21). Although usually low (<1% to 30%) (22), outcrossing rates can be genetically manipulated to produce either obligately selfing (5, 23) or obligately outcrossing (5, 24) populations. The pathogen, S. marcescens 2170, is highly virulent and capable of exerting strong selection on C. elegans. When consumed, live S. marcescens can produce a systemic infection that kills the nematode within 24 hours (25). This interaction has a heritable genetic basis (26), which allows for a potential response to selection. Moreover, C. elegans populations are capable of evolving greater fitness in response to S. marcescens exposure (5), and S. marcescens can evolve greater infectivity when successful infection of C. elegans is its only means of proliferation. Selection for increased infectivity can be imposed by propagating only those bacterial cells that have been harvested from the carcasses of hosts, which were killed by the bacteria within 24 hours of exposure. Therefore, the C. elegans/S. marcescens system can be used to generate antagonistic coevolution when a host population and a pathogen population are repeatedly
passaged under selection together, thus permitting a direct test of the Red Queen hypothesis.


So, the authors of the paper genetically manipulated Ceanorhabditis elegans nematodes, and produced via said manipulation, populations that would either reproduce via hermaphrodite self-fertilisation (producing populations consisting of clones, with occasional appearance of mutations within those clones), or reproduce via outcrossing with obligate male individuals (producing populations with a much greater degree of dissemination of variation across generations, thanks to the operation of meiosis). Then, they set several such experimental populations on their way, and introduced those populations to the pathogen cited above. Here's the details:

Marron et al, 2011 wrote:We used experimental coevolution in the C. elegans/S. marcescens system to test the prediction that antagonistic coevolution between host and pathogen populations can maintain high levels of outcrossing despite the inherent cost of males. We used obligately selfing, wild-type, and obligately outcrossing populations of C. elegans with a CB4856 genetic background (5). Whereas the reproductive modes of the obligately selfing and obligately outcrossing populations are genetically fixed, the wild-type populations can reproduce by either selfing or outcrossing [the baseline outcrossing rate is ~20 to 30% (5)], and the rate of outcrossing can respond to selection (5). Before the experiment, we mutagenized five independent replicate populations of each mating type (obligate selfing, wild-type, and obligate outcrossing) by exposing them to ethyl methanesulfonate (EMS) to infuse novel genetic variation in each population. The five replicate populations were then passaged under three different parasite treatments (table S1): (i) control (no exposure to S. marcescens), (ii) evolution (repeated exposure to a fixed, nonevolving strain of S. marcescens), and (iii) coevolution. The coevolution treatment involved repeated exposure (30 host generations) to a potentially coevolving population of S. marcescens, which was under selection for increased infectivity. S. marcescens Sm2170 served as the ancestral strain in the coevolution treatment, as well as thefixed strain in the evolution treatment.

The results were consistent with the Red Queen hypothesis. In the coevolution treatment, all of the obligately selfing populations became extinct within 20 generations (fig. S1). However, none of the obligately selfing populations went extinct in either the evolution treatment or in the control treatment. In addition, all of the obligately outcrossing and wild-type populations persisted throughout the experiment in all three treatment types (fig. S1). Thus, extinction was only observed in obligately selfing hosts when confronted with coevolving pathogens.


I'll let everyone read the rest of the paper in full, as it's quite a compelling read. However, the upshot is that the Red Queen Hypothesis was empirically validated with respect to the persistence of sexual reproduction via the above experimental test. The Red Queen Hypothesis also applies to the emergence of sexual 'arms races' within a species, and this is covered neatly in another paper in my collection, namely this one:

Comparative Evidence For The Evolution Of Genitalia By Sexual Selection by Göran Armqvist, Nature, 393: 784-786 (25th June 1998) [Full paper downloadable from here]

Arnqvist, 1998 wrote:Rapid divergent evolution of male genitalia is one of the most general evolutionary trends in animals with internal fertilization; the shapes of genital traits often provide the only reliable characters for species identification1. Yet the evolutionary processes responsible for this pattern remain obscure. The long-standing lock-and-key hypothesis, still popular among taxonomists, suggests that genitalia evolve by pre-insemination hybridization avoidance; that is, hybrid inferiority drives the evolution of male genitalia with a proper mechanical fit to female genitalia. The sexual selection hypothesis2,3, in contrast, proposes that divergent evolution of genitalia is the result of sexual selection, brought about by variation in postinsemination paternity success among males. Here, by comparing pairs of related clades of insects that differ in mating system, I assess how the opportunity for postmating sexual selection affects the rate of divergent evolution of male genitalia. Genital evolution is more than twice as divergent in groups in which females mate several times than in groups in which females mate only once. This pattern is not found for other morphological traits. These findings provide strong empirical evidence in favour of a postmating sexual selection mechanism of genital evolution.


Now, this is a particular favourite of mine, as it covers the wonderful world of insects, a group of organisms I have a special fondness for. In the world of insects, identification to species level is performed by dissecting the genitalia of the specimens requiring identification, as the morphology of insect genitalia is, with only a few well-documented exceptions, diagnostic with respect to species identity (however, there are papers on the existence of 'crypto-species' to which this does not apply, such as the variations within the organism denoted taxonomically as Astraptes fulgerator - I'll deal with this topic when apposite). Genital dissection has been regarded as a "gold standard" for insect species determination since the days of Linnaeus, and most published papers in the field of entomology covering the description of new species, include extensive and detailed presentation of genital dissection results, and where possible, images of the genital morphology uncovered thereby.

Now, there exist two hypotheses for the emergence of divergent genital morphology in insects. One hypothesis, advanced originally by taxonomists, is the 'lock and key' hypothesis. This hypothesis states that insect genital morphology diverged as a result of selection against hybrids produced by 'incorrect' matings, and that 'lock and key' mechanisms arose to allow correct mate choice, and the avoidance of unwanted hybrid matings resulting in sterile or unfit offspring. The second hypothesis is the sexual selection hypothesis, whereby divergence in genital morphology arises as a result of differential post-mating success by males, as a result of female sexual selection.

It transpires that there's an interesting means of testing this, but before I do, I'll provide a quick quote from the above paper that is apposite here:

Arnqvist, 1998 wrote:Under the postmating sexual selection hypothesis, selection on male genitalia is caused by mechanisms that generate variation in postinsemination paternity success among males. Such mechanisms include: first, any of several female processes that affect male paternity success (that is, cryptic female choice3–5); second, competition between male gametes for fertilization (that is, sperm competition6,7); and third, evolutionary arms races between males and females over the control of fertilization (that is, sexual conflict4,8–10). The key prediction of this hypothesis concerns the relationship between mating system and the rate of genital evolution1,3. In taxa in which females typically mate with only one male (monandry), there can be little variation in male postinsemination paternity success and postmating sexual selection on genitalia will thus be weak or absent. If females mate with many males (polyandry), on the other hand, there will be ample opportunity for variation in male postinsemination paternity success and therefore for postmating sexual selection also. Under the lock-and-key hypothesis, selection for hybridization avoidance is suggested to impel the evolution of male genitalia with a proper mechanical fit. In contrast to postmating sexual selection, such selection for preinsemination reproductive isolation would be expected to be more intense in monandrous species than in polyandrous species.


So, on to the test.

Basically, insects exhibit a wide variation of mating strategies. Some insects, termed 'monandrous', have a life cycle in which females mate only once, before laying eggs, and the female's entire reproductive effort is devoted to that one batch of eggs before she dies. Other insects, termed 'polyandrous', have females that can mate many times before laying eggs, and within which, competition amongst the sperm is one of several factors determining the mating success of the males in question.

If the 'lock and key' hypothesis is the correct one, then one would expect to see greater diversity of genital morphology in monandrous species, as in these species, it is absolutely critical that the female mates with a male from the correct species, because she only mates once. A wrong mating would be disastrous for her from the standpoint of her reproductive success. Consequently, if 'lock and key' applies as a determining force, monandrous species should be expected to exhibit a much greater level of diversity with respect to the morphology of the genitalia, than would be seen in polyandrous species, in which there exist ample opportunities for a female to 'correct' a mistaken hybrid mating.

If, on the other hand, sexual selection (which, courtesy of sexual conflict and the existence of 'arms races' arising from competing interests) drives genital morphology, then polyandrous insects would be expected to exhibit greater genital diversity than monandrous insects, as there exists in polyandrous insects plenty of opportunity for a female to acquire sperm from several mates, and apply post-mating selection to that sperm. (Mechanisms for this can be found in a range of other papers).

So, upon examining insect clades containing both monandrous and polyandrous species, what do we find?

The evidence is unambiguous. Genital diversity is considerably greater in polyandrous insects, indicating that postmating sexual selection is driving the development of insect genital morphology. From the paper again:

Arnqvist, 1998 wrote:Comparisons of the rate of evolutionary divergence of complex morphological traits in a set of related species have been hampered by problems with identifying homologous structures, as well as by a lack of appropriate methods for quantifying shape variation. Previous comparative studies have often resorted to various subjective ratings of morphological complexity11–13. Here I use one of the new tools of geometric morphometrics14, which not only provides objective and quantitative descriptors of shape but also avoids the problem of defining homologous landmarks (that is, structural points with correspondence resulting from descent from the same point in a common ancestor) across species14,15. By describing the outlines of the genitalia of each species with a nonlinear function (see Methods), and by subsequently analysing morphological shape variation among species as variance in the parameters of the fitted functions, this method allows the ordination of all the species in each contrast in a common multivariate morphological shape space (Fig. 1b).

The results of this analysis show that male genitalia evolve much more divergently in taxa in which females mate many times. The shape of male genitalia of polyandrous species were more dissimilar
than were those of monandrous species in 18 out of 19 contrasts, and the average morphological distance between the genitalia of polyandrous species was more than twice that of monandrous species (see Table 1 for tests). This pattern did not differ between orders (Kruskal–Wallis analysis of variance, P = 0:84), and the
taxonomic distance between the two clades in each contrast did not significantly affect the relative degree of genital divergence within clades (within versus between-family contrasts; Mann–Whitney U-test, P = 0:80). There was no association between the distance ratios of genitalia and the distance ratios of other traits across
contrasts (Spearman rank correlation, P > 0:9). The analysis did not reveal any influence of mating system on evolutionary divergence for morphological traits other than genital traits (Table 1), and the distance ratios of genital traits were indeed significantly larger than those of other traits (paired Wilcoxon signed rank test, P = 0:023; Kolmogorov–Smirnov two-sample test, P = 0:003).


Indeed, the existence of a sexual arms race within a species would explain the emergence of hihgly divergent genital morphology amongst insects isolated upon islands, with few or no close relations with which hybridisation 'mistakes' could be made, and indeed, some island insect species exhibit highly divergent genital morphology, that would not make sense in an environment where 'lock and key' avoidance is not an issue.

So, it's not as if the literature lacks discussion of sexual conflict and empirical tests thereof. Indeed, elaborate genital morphology is the order of the day in many insect Orders, including in species where the need for 'lock and key' avoidance of hybrids is not an issue - for example, the rabbit flea Spilopsyllus cuniculi is regarded as having the most elaborate penis in the entire Animal Kingdom, despite having few or no opportunities for hybridisation with other fleas - this particular organ is a veritable biological "Swiss army knife" of springs, coils, barbs, scoops and other protruberances, with matching complexity seen in the female bursal opening.

Another relevant paper on sexual conflict, and how this can affect genital morphology, is this one:

Sexual Selection And Genital Evolution by David J. Hosken and Paula Stockley, TRENDS in Ecology & Evolution, 19(2): 87-93 (February 2004) [Full paper downloadable from here]

Hosken & Stockley, 2004 wrote:Genitalia are conspicuously variable, even in closely related taxa that are otherwise morphologically very similar. Explaining genital diversity is a longstanding problem that is attracting renewed interest from evolutionary biologists. New studies provide ever more compelling evidence that sexual selection is important in driving genital divergence. Importantly, several studies now link variation in genital morphology directly to male fertilization success, and modern comparative techniques have confirmed predicted associations between genital complexity and mating patterns across species. There is also evidence that male and female genitalia can coevolve antagonistically. Determining mechanisms of genital evolution is an important challenge if we are to resolve current debate concerning the relative significance of mate choice benefits and sexual conflict in sexual selection.


While we're at it, try this paper:

Sexual Conflict by Tracey Chapman, Göran Arnqvist, Jenny Bangham and Locke Rowe, TRENDS in Ecology & Evolution, 18(1): 41-47 (January 2003) [Full paper downloadable from here]

Chapman et al, 2003 wrote: exual conflict occurs when the genetic interests of males and females diverge. Recent evidence supporting the view that male and female genomes are in conflict has now revolutionized the way in which we interpret interactions between the sexes, and suggests that sexual conflict is a potent force in male–female coevolution. Here, we consider the nature of sexual conflict and what distinguishes it from models of coevolution by sexual selection. There are advantages and pitfalls to the various experimental and comparative approaches now used. More precise predictions derived from theory are essential to evaluate much of the empirical data in support of sexually antagonistic coevolution. Equally, there needs to be a mechanistic understanding of the traits underlying sexual conflict to formulate and test these predictions.


I think this covers relevant bases here.

Jayjay4547 wrote:There is another side to this issue of selection-to-spokesman. I’m quoting from Popular Mechanics whose local editor would fit in perfectly well on this forum – he is clearly a nice guy incidentally and hard working. Anyway he selected 2 out of 192 responses from the supposedly brightest people in the planet. Buss might have been selected as one of those because of his book “Why Women have Sex”. I guess his answer to that is different than lust/coercion/wish for children/wish for child subsidy/wish to be like the neighbour. So that caught the selector’s eye. I’s fruitful to question such highly selected “trendy” views that us grease-monkeys are fed with.


Once again, when we have empirical evidence supporting a given hypothesis, it's not adopted because its "trendy", it's adopted because reality agrees with it. Learn this lesson sometime. See the above papers for examples of how this is done.

Jayjay4547 wrote:
Calilasseia wrote:
Jayjay4547 wrote:“ Major conflicts within romantic couples were and still are typically seen as signs of dysfunction.”

In the second place, to accept an argument it needs to click. And Buss’s declaration that for example domestic violence is due to different reproductive interests of the partner’s genes, just doesn’t click for me.


Actually, there are numerous animal models supporting this from the world of Cichlid fishes alone. For example, any aquarist who has kept Julidochromis species in the aquarium, will tell you that these fishes are prone to episodes of the red mist descending before their eyes if there's an unexpected change in their environment. These fishes are well known amongst Tanganyikan Cichlid keepers for what are termed "murderous divorces". Similar violent break-ups of previously successful reproductive partnerships can be observed in other Cichlid species, for example, amongst one or two of the Central American Nandopsis species (all of which have a 'take no prisoners' reputation in the aquarium), or between individuals belonging to certain Caquetaia species that likewise exhibit a propensity for brutality if they're not given conditions to their liking. Phenomena like this are what lead aquarists like myself to ask ourselves what does the fish want, before trying to keep it in captivity in an aquarium, usually by reference to known data on the wild behaviour of these species. In the case of some of the fishes I've just cited, it's the reason aquarists resort to certain devices in order to minimise the fallout if things go wrong at breeding time.


I‘m curious to have that explained in terms of game theory. If you keep animals under more restricted conditions than the wild, and they do something murderous, isn’t what happens dysfunctional? Isn’t the solution to restore wild conditions?


Actually, the same phenomena have been observed in the wild as well as in the aquarium. Indeed, it's because of the data obtained from studies in the wild, that aquarists are able to maintain and breed these fishes in captivity at all, because, wait for it, they strive to replicate those wild conditions in the aquarium. You'll find a lot of literature in the aquarium press about 'biotope aquaria', which attempt to mimic as closely as possible a particular habitat, for the purpose of maintaining and breeding a particularly recalcitrant species. The need to replicate wild biosphere conditions as closely as possible in order to maximise maintenance and breeding success, is something that has been known since William T. Innes published his venerable tome on aquarium fishes in 1936.

Jayjay4547 wrote:You say “Cichlid fishes ALONE” but from fish keepers coining the term “murderous divorce” that implies something unusual applies to them in captivity. I acknowledge that murderous violence often happens in nature. Elephants kill rhinos and each other. And men kill people in war, on a truly “industrial” scale. Human domestic violence is a problem, I’m not convinced it has the same root as in male cichlids.


You'd be surprised how much we have in common with those fishes. For example, many Cichlid species are monogamous, pairing for life. They have elaborate courtship rituals, allowing the partners to determine compatibility over time. They share parental duties, and engage in elaborate egg and fry care, in some cases exhibiting a level of diligence that would shame some human parents. If one of the partners dies, the other visibly mourns the passing of that partner. All of this has been observed both in the wild and in the aquarium. Indeed, when Innes wrote his description of Cichlid breeding in 1936, he could not help but engage in a level of anthropomorphising that today would be considered woeful in scientific circles, so thoroughly was he struck by the compelling parallels between the Cichlids he observed and humans.

Jayjay4547 wrote:
Calilasseia wrote:
Jayjay4547 wrote:I think of the case of domestic violence that I came across most disturbingly for me. It involved a fellow parishioner who did a great deal with the church youth, teaching guitar and building up a church band. We were all eating out of his hand. Then it turned out that in the privacy of their bedroom he was terrifying his wife with his service pistol. Sure one could interpret that as arising from different reproductive interests of his and her genes but I’d rather listen to some pathologist’s explanation. And it was dysfunctional.


Well just because humans happen to have a large cerebral cortex grafted onto the other parts of their brains, doesn't in the least prevent humans from being influenced by past inheritance. Carl Sagan covered this in some detail, with respect to the R-complex and the limbic system, for example, both of which influence our behaviour even though we possess a large cerebral cortex that is theoretically capable of overriding those antecedent systems. Anyone who claims that those antecedent systems don't play a part in human behaviour is scientifically illiterate.


Limbic system? Is that in game theory?


No. It's a part of our brain anatomy. Shows how little you've paid attention to the actual science, or how little diligence you apply to these matters, when you cannot even be bothered to look this up for yourself.

Jayjay4547 wrote:The issue isn’t whether humans are influenced by past inheritance. Actually game theory rather discounts the influence of inheritance.


Really? Citations please?

Jayjay4547 wrote:If “romantic interactants” (yuk) optimise the reproductive chances of their genes then it’s a new game every generation. You can explain what happens without reference to inheritance.


So the fact that manipulating the genome of certain organisms affects their mating strategies, as demonstrated above with Caenorhabditis elegans, means that inheritance has a very large part to play in reproduction strategies, is another inconvenient fact from reality you're going to ignore?
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Re: Evolutionary psychology Creation and dysfunction

#16  Postby bert » May 24, 2012 1:09 pm

Jayjay4547 wrote:The Creator might not be all good or might not see good the way we do, or might use a wider frame of reference. The Creator might not be a being. We humans have some cheek, a hundred thousand years into sharing language on one planet around one sun in one galaxy, to pontificate about the qualities of creator of the universe.


It would be fine by me if everybody stopped addressing the creator(s) until solid evidence comes in about what (s)he/they want us to do.

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Re: Evolutionary psychology Creation and dysfunction

#17  Postby Spearthrower » May 24, 2012 1:11 pm

bert wrote:
Bert
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I've just had a quick revelation, Bert. Thor's noticed your lack of enthusiasm and expects you to engage in a little ritualised wenching too today. Thought I'd pass that on and save you the smiting.
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Re: Evolutionary psychology Creation and dysfunction

#18  Postby DaveScriv » May 24, 2012 2:17 pm

Spearthrower wrote:
bert wrote:
Bert
Who notices that it is Thor's day today. Time to go to ye olde oak and pay respect.


I've just had a quick revelation, Bert. Thor's noticed your lack of enthusiasm and expects you to engage in a little ritualised wenching too today. Thought I'd pass that on and save you the smiting.


:ask: This Thor thing, are wenches provided? :naughty2:
Or do you have to bring your own? :(
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Re: Evolutionary psychology Creation and dysfunction

#19  Postby byofrcs » May 24, 2012 3:28 pm

Jayjay4547 wrote:.....


e + 1 = 0

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Re: Evolutionary psychology Creation and dysfunction

#20  Postby Jayjay4547 » May 25, 2012 8:04 am

Spearthrower wrote:Mythological assertion hasn't informed evolutionary explanations - empirical data has. If the resulting explanation is 'opposite' (not that this makes any logical sense) that only highlights how erroneous Creationist claims were.


It seems to me that evolutionary explanations have been heavily influenced to be the opposite of the creation narrative. After so many decades of confrontation and considering how exercised evolutionists are about it, that should be expected.

Spearthrower wrote:I think you'll note that this [Buss’s explanation] is hypothetical and unestablished. It's a line of questioning which they are trying to verify through evidence. The method is the key here, Jayjay, not the ideas themselves. Any idea can be subjected to scientific inquiry, most will fall because they don't agree with the data. This is how science operates. Religious narratives don't submit themselves to be tested against evidence; quite the contrary, it's typical to hear the notion that when evidence and scripture disagree, scripture is automatically correct regardless.

If you look into this topic - Buss' claims - I think you'll find there's a rather robust, healthy debate on the claim. Again, not something you'll find in religion - you don't have religious professionals questioning god's existence, or the tenets of their religious practices. Religion is not a way of knowing, it's a way of doing.


I’m discussing what was presented to me as the views of one of the brightest people on the planet, that “sexual conflict theory, a logical consequence of modern evolutionary genetics, provides the most beautiful theoretical explanation for those darker sides of human sexual interaction”. I’m happy that other people disagree with Buss. The more annoyed other psychologists get with this imperialism by the grand “evolution” paradigm the better for science.

Spearthrower wrote:
Jayjay4547 wrote:
I was taking up Spearthrower’s query of how an all-knowing, all powerful being could create/permit dysfunctional behaviour. Mendel has nothing to do with that nor do I have any problem with Mendel’s science.


You omitted the rather key quality there - all good. An all good creator cannot, by definition, create evil. So, either this deity is not all-good, or is not all-powerful, or is just not all-knowing... a fundamentally erroneous triumvirate of characteristics that is, once again, at odds with the real world.


Add “good” by all means- you still can’t pontificate about the necessary qualities of the creator of the universe. It’s a very big place, been around a while, contains many wonders. And we are young and untaught..

Spearthrower wrote:
Jayjay4547 wrote:Pronouncements made in the name of science can be taken up as they stand in the here and now, without invoking some supposed future self-correction. I’m suggesting that evolutionary psychology is marked by weakness and triviality and as such it reflects a scientific failure.


No, you're just unaware of the difference between qualitative and quantitative inquiry. I've already explained partially why this discipline is considered fraught with problems. However, we accept qualitative inquiries in other disciplines like Sociology, so it's a case of refining the methods of observation and data collection.


I am aware of the difference between qualitative and quantitative inquiry but I’m baffled why you brought it up here. Maybe you went banging on about them in some other thread.

Spearthrower wrote:Secondly, this thread includes the notion of Creationism. As such, you can make as many criticisms as you like of any area of science, but it's still vastly superior to Creationism, which is just flat-out wrong.


True, many things especially young-earth creationsists say, are just flat out wrong. That’s not as interesting as when science goes wonky.

Spearthrower wrote:Finally, modern science operates by removing misunderstandings - lessening uncertainty. As such, there are no failures because something proven false helps elucidate the problem by removing errors. Again, as the thread is raising the spectre of Creationism, can you explain where religious methodology practices such an important self-regulation? Scripture is right, because God says so, and we know God says so because it's written in the scriptures. Imagine this kind of appeal to authority in science - Einstein said that energy and mass are equivalent, and Einstein was a genius, so he's right and we don't need to question it. Imagine where we'd be now in terms of scientific progress were this the way scientific method operated.... well, no need to imagine, just read a book on pre-Enlightenment thought.


Some post-enlightenment thought- eg what is said here- can also be pretty nauseating. And there is a lot in our pre-enlightenment legacy that is worthwhile. Science deals with what we can experiment with or what are following independent time-lines. Religion deals with what we can’t experiment with but is greater than us, what owns us. When religious people speak dogmatically about that realm you should treat it is if we have fashioned an antenna in a particular shape and we insist on using it in that shape. We don’t want to be chivvied about it. If you think a different shape will do better by all means try that out. Or if you think there is no signal anyway try that out as well.


Spearthrower wrote:Hmm looks like you're losing your grip on reality here, Jayjay.

I take it that you're pretending that the alleged failures of Evolutionary Psychology are tantamount to failures in the biological Theory of Evolution, and as such, you think this strengthens the case for Creationism.

Unfortunately, you're just engaging specious reasoning and consequently coming to erroneous conclusions.


My point about Buss’s expression of evolutionary psychology is that it is trivial and weak. Seeing that evolution deals with what mankind has considered the most marvellous and great thing, which is has been called the Creation, that is bad news for mankind’s understanding of the creation in light of evolution. Creationism is strengthened by that weakness.

Spearthrower wrote:Creationism is not something that popped up to combat scientific naturalism. Whether the term was coined in the 1920's or not is irrelevant - the narrative is precisely the same as had been espoused by religious authorities and scripture for over a thousand years prior to Darwin's insight. Really, all that Creationism amounts to is an antiquated fairy tale - only, unlike the other myths of the past, some people still believe this narrative to be true. They cannot accept that a study of the natural world would not result in their narrative being corroborated, so they fear science as an enemy, or pretend that science is being practiced by wrong-minded people, and consequently just getting the wrong answers. This results in the fallacy of the stolen concept:these scientific findings are acceptable because they don't contradict my interpretation of scripture! i.e. cherrypicking.


Seems likely you checked the Wikipedia entry on Creationism and picked up that the term itself is in fact recent, which you doubted earlier. The emergence of creationism has been a bit like the way people came to understand that the world is round. The ancient Greeks “knew” it was round and educated westerners took up the cue, whatever the Hebrew Bible had to say on the matter. But they knew it in a curiously formal way. For example the Greeks never developed a decent map projection from the round earth although they were wide awake to geometry. Later when Columbus proposed exploiting a practical consequence of roundness, that was considered a radical thing. He did “discover” that the world is round in the sense of putting that practical understanding of roundness in the western mindset. And one can argue that western man still has a long way to go to really really understand that the world is round

In a similar way, before the geological discoveries of the 19th century, Westerners formally believed that the creation came about as told in Genesis – but they kept it in the same part of their mind as their belief the world is round. I’m not denying that our ancestors made spiritual use of the creation and their veneration for the Creator. Geology brought up new facts that directly contradicted Genesis as a practical account: long age and a long advancing sequence of extinct species. That’s when Creationism arose- as an affirmation that Genesis is true in the practical sense.

You could argue that the similarity breaks down on the point that the world is actually round but Genesis is actually wrong. What I believe though is that the theory of evolution is a matching polar product of the geological discoveries of the nineteenth century. To a greater extent than atheists might think evolution is just the negative of Genesis- and in ways that Genesis is right. I’m picking out atheists here because the theory of evolution has become the big lever and home of atheism- It’s difficult for a atheist to critique the foundation of his own belief.

Spearthrower wrote:Secondly, evolution is an established fact. Saying otherwise to people who know what they talk about receives the same kind of response as if you started trying to claim that gravity is just pretend science. People point and laugh - people are cruel sometimes, huh? But you have only yourself to blame if you're capable of posting on an internet as opposed to rambling round a park, with tousled hair and untucked shirt, shouting at strangers. In that case, pity would be more appropriate. If you're going to proselytise your belief, you can't do so by lying about facts.


I am not a liar. I have not lied about anything.

Spearthrower wrote:Which brings me to the final error in your argument: Even if Evolution is falsified, it doesn't make Creationism true. Science works by providing explanations for phenomena - Creationism routinely fails to explain phenomena, it ignores the contradictory evidence and works tirelessly to pretend otherwise though apologetics. These dualistic notions are a core component of the religious mode of thinking, and they're completely at odds with the real world. There are billions of possible answers to a question; if answer A is shown wrong, it doesn't confer validity on answer B - you need to consider the rest of the alphabet. Note your fallacy with respect to this above. Should evolution be falsified, it would be done so by a model that is better able to account for the available data, not by a logically dysfunctional and evidentially erroneous claim.


Spearthrower wrote:Finally, the whole paragraph is deluded. I think you've been on too many Creationist sites recently and have bought into the notions that evolution is an anti-religion movement rather than just a well established science, and that there is some dark conspiracy to foist this god-hating rhetoric onto the world to pervert society. Science is only in opposition to religion insomuch as religion makes claims about the natural world - provably erroneous claims. Science isn't a conspiracy to dethrone religion. To be frank, science doesn't give a rat's chuff about your god, or anyone else's. Gods are not within the remit of science, as you've already agreed, and as such - what possible benefit would be achieved? Cui bono, Jayjay? The devil? :what:


Science is exercised by people in society,– and they are informed by world views that have historical roots. with agendas, allies, enemies, organised into groups- amongst which universities are important players. It’s an open issue how far a model of the creation developed by scientists is influenced by these alliances. It’s much in your interests, protecting the intellectual product of the dominant intellectual belief system in the West, to claim that it is unaffected by mere ideologiy. But I think that’s wrong.


Spearthrower wrote:
Jayjay4547 wrote:

Witterings, piss-stained, backwards, eructations. I’m polite. I wish you would be.



Can you explain precisely how this is impolite? If I described the Vikings as mass-murdering rapists, is that considered impolite to the person I am talking to? It's potentially incorrect, but impolite? Let's not be silly here - not one of those adjectives is directed at you.


Forget about the Vikings. What if I called your father piss-stained? Well Calilasseia called Father Abraham piss-stained. That’s not polite. I can’t force you to talk politely, you guys set the rules of what can be said around here. But don’t pretend about it. That is bullying carried to really unacceptable levels.

Spearthrower wrote:
Jayjay4547 wrote:
As you can see from the above, Falconjudge was making an appeal to authority- or to my lack of authority. And my response, that other authorities evidently disagree with Buss by his own admission, is perfectly valid. Buss is engaging in a little intellectual propaganda when he writes “Major conflicts within romantic couples were and still are typically seen as signs of dysfunction. A radical reformulation embodied by sexual conflict theory changes these views”. So the old view is being replaced by his new progressive one –though that hasn’t happened yet. To be fair to him, Buss is being unguarded. If someone asks for your view as “one of the brightest people on the planet”, you can be excused for spreading yourself.


First, I already explained your mistake with respect to your reading of Falconjudge's post. It is not an appeal to authority. Let me show you again:

Spearthrower wrote:Actually, Falconjudge was quite specific in his criticism, and it didn't say 'You can't be sceptical of professional lecturers' - he said, 'you can't use your criticisms of this lecturer to bolster the validity of Creationism' - I thought that was quite clear.


The idea that this is intellectual propaganda is plain nuts, Jayjay - you are doing the rambling in the park thing, only on the internet. There's no other way to say it - it's so delusional. What he's doing is being human. He's got a job to produce explanations for these phenomena. He's come up with a notion he thinks is valid. He is promoting that idea, defending it, arguing for it. Now, he might be clueless, he might have been lucky and hit the jackpot. He might also be an idiot and completely wrong. He might be many things, but the idea that he's part of some shadowy cabal trying to combat Creationism is utter drivel and you're already scraping through the bottom of the barrel if this is what this thread's about. The fact is that Buss probably doesn't give a toss about a religious narrative with respect to this discipline - he may even be a religious practicioner himself. What he's doing is self-promotion, not intellectual propaganda.


When you say “he has got a job to produce explanations for these phenomena” you must be talking about David M Buss, professor of psychology at University of Texas. I wasn’t accusing him of appealing to authority. I was accusing the excellent Falconjudge of doing that when he said

“Yeah... talking bad about a professional lecturer explaining how a dysfunction came about will NOT strengthen your Creationist position, which is an attempt to get away from explaining such things.”

I stress the word “explain”. When a professional mechanic explains to me how the tie rod on my car parted, my role is just to listen and accept. Because my experience of mechanics gives his explanation valid authority and i reasonably believe that other mechanics would give me the same answer. The word “explain” carries the implication of certain knowledge. But when professor Buss is claimed to have explained domestic violence in terms of game theory and evolutionary genetics its accurate to call that an invalid appeal to authority.

Spearthrower wrote: However, I am not sure quite how far down the rabbit hole you are. When people start to actively perceive every interaction in the world in the terms of their ideological dialectic, then such pronouncements are common. As an example for your consideration, although you need not respond: Have you ever thought to yourself that the media is a mouthpiece of this evolutionary cabal when they write about chimpanzees being our closest ancestor?


You said “ancestor” when you should have said “relative”. It would depend on the article. If it’s about some threat to chimps and -appealing for help then I would overlook the mistake as innocent. But I would blame a weird mental confusion generated by the meta-theory of evolution, with ideological implications. In this case, to call the chimp an ancestor makes the path of human origins seem immediately obvious- as realised by actual flesh and blood living animals. Whereas I think our creation has been more particular and mysterious.

There is another misdirection in your paragraph, where you refer to the media as the mouthpiece of an evolutionary cabal. A cabal is a little group of conspirators. But there are millions and millions of atheists and evolutionists, it’s a substantial universe of them. One needs quite different analytical tools to understand a universe of believers, than a cabal. For one thing, its members are victims of their belief not inventors. By referring to an imaginary group like a cabal you make something look impossible that is actually quite possible, it’s just group-think

Mind you, posters on this estimable forum do behave just a bit like a cabal.

Spearthrower wrote:
Jayjay4547 wrote:There is another side to this issue of selection-to-spokesman. I’m quoting from Popular Mechanics whose local editor would fit in perfectly well on this forum – he is clearly a nice guy incidentally and hard working. Anyway he selected 2 out of 192 responses from the supposedly brightest people in the planet. Buss might have been selected as one of those because of his book “Why Women have Sex”. I guess his answer to that is different than lust/coercion/wish for children/wish for child subsidy/wish to be like the neighbour. So that caught the selector’s eye. I’s fruitful to question such highly selected “trendy” views that us grease-monkeys are fed with.


As opposed to someone invoking Gods to explain it? Yep, you're spot on there Jayjay. This 'trend' of explaining natural phenomena without recourse to gods has been going on for a few centuries - a few centuries that just so happens to coincide with the fastest expansion of our knowledge of the universe in the history of our species. Quite a coincidence that.


That’s a good point and an important one. Lets clarify though, I wasn’t talking about a trend towards explaining natural phenomena without recourse to gods. I was talking about the claim that game theory applied through the theory of evolution provides a beautiful theoretical explanation for those darker sides of human sexual interaction as for example, domestic violence. I was talking about an overreaching claim. And about the selection of that claim with the aim of “educating” the grease monkeys.

The fast expansion of knowledge has been due to a method that relies on experiment about that part of the world we can experiment with. No problem.

Spearthrower wrote:
Jayjay4547 wrote:
I‘m curious to have that explained in terms of game theory. If you keep animals under more restricted conditions than the wild, and they do something murderous, isn’t what happens dysfunctional? Isn’t the solution to restore wild conditions? You say “Cichlid fishes ALONE” but from fish keepers coining the term “murderous divorce” that implies something unusual applies to them in captivity. I acknowledge that murderous violence often happens in nature. Elephants kill rhinos and each other. And men kill people in war, on a truly “industrial” scale. Human domestic violence is a problem, I’m not convinced it has the same root as in male cichlids.


Population density and cognitive 'carrying capacities' are responsible for actual social dysfunction in many cases. The examples you listed aren't dysfunctional - dysfunction is when the normal means of interaction fails. Elephants killing elephants is functional within elephant society, even if the actual mortal outcome is unintended. As an example, elephant females form a matriarchal herd. If, in a particular population of female elephants, it was observed that the herd broke apart and the females began living solitary lives, then there's a dysfunction there.

In terms of the cichlids Cali mentioned, there's a clear external factor to this sudden failure of the 'normal' cichlid relations: a change in the environment. I don't know enough about cichlids to use this as an example, but the point is that the dysfunction is a result, not a cause itself - the cause could be many things. One very well documented example is, as I mentioned, population density. This is very much apparent in fish-keeping as well - take a tank large enough to comfortably house 50 neon tetra and watch them enjoy their lives. Then try putting in 200 neon tetra into the same size tank and see what happens.

Robin Dunbar has done the most work on this with respect to primates. It's very suggestive that the types of dysfunction the popular press erroneously associates with the failings of modern society is in fact the result of our over-dense populations caused by our increasingly centralised and urbanised societies, and the absurd expansion of the numbers of individuals in the last century.


Far as I can make out you are agreeing with me that evolutionary psychology and game theory doesn’t provide a beautiful theoretical explanation for those darker sides of human sexual interaction as domestic violence.

Spearthrower wrote: I say all this because I know the religious arguments too well, having been both religious and still having very religious family members, and the 'culture war' you're clearly buying into. Scientific understanding and consequent undermining of religious dominance is not the root problem of human society - there was no golden age of universal good predating the concept of biological evolution, or the diminishment of theocratic institutions. The medieval era of Europe was a violent, barbaric, and nasty time to live for the majority of people. Mass inequality, mass disease, mass violence - these are not the hallmarks of contemporary societies where the belief in Christianity has diminished.

Just consider all that a 'nipping in the bud'. I pay attention to people's arguments, and I know where you're going already Monsieur Jay.


You haven’t been paying close attention to my arguments Spearthrower but I’m grateful you have responded at all.
Spearthrower wrote:
Jayjay4547 wrote:
Limbic system? Is that in game theory?


It's a part of your brain.


It was a rhetorical device. I see Calilasseia has also taken it straight- but he has made more of a snooty thing about it.
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