Sexual Selection Is Not Helpful to “Evolution”?

Can you say “breast implants”? Standard of beauty same as 30,000 years ago.
Venus of Willendorf

Can you say “breast implants”? Standard of beauty same as 30,000 years ago. That is more than 1,000 generations of NO “evolution”!

When no one can address their “fitness” function – because there is no such thing as a “fitness” function – it’s clear that “evolution” is dead in the water and nothing more needs to be added to disprove the failed hypothesis. And yet proponents never learn. Still, shooting the Darwinist fish in a barrel is fun. Enjoy.

  1. Sexual selection tries to explain sexual dimorphism and more. According to the theory, certain conspicuous physical traits, such as pronounced coloration, increased size, or striking adornments have “evolved” through sexual selection. The selecting sex often displays similar but subdued ornaments, indicating a sort of sexual selection leak from the selected to the selecting if the theory is true. Sexual selection is independent and often in conflict with “natural selection” when the sexually selected traits appear detrimental to general survival of the species. The extinct Irish Elk Deer is the standard example of detrimental sexual selection.
  2. At least two incompatible mating behaviors have been randomly grouped under “sexual selection”. One is “select the display”, while the other is “fight for mating rights”. The first one looks somewhat like selection. In the second case the dominant male mates indiscriminately, so there is no selection of the female and the female cannot turn down the dominant male, so there is no selection there either. Other schemes are “save the sperm” and “adopt a male”, both of which are not associated with any selection.
  3. Sexual selection would be just “natural selection” if such thing existed, contrary to Darwin’s contrived distinction. Fighting males for instance do not give females any choice. The “better fit” simply has more offspring by force. The female, predator, pray, parasites, community, and the environment in general, they all “select” the “best fit” whatever that means. If sexual selection were true, then there were also be predator selection as well as pray, parasite, community, kin, and so on ad infinitum selection, all conflicting with each other. Or to sum, no “natural selection”. No wonder Alfred Russel Wallace thought the idea of sexual selection as a driving force in “evolution” crazy.
  4. There is no sexual selection distinct from ‘Attraction to Universal Beauty’. Our tastes differ from bugs to humans in large part due to sensory limitations. But otherwise we all have the same standards of beauty. All organisms are intrigued by shapes, colors, contrasts, movements, sounds. We like other beautiful organism and inanimate objects. The cat likes the mouse and the mouse appreciates the cat’s beauty. Just as humans like both the dangerous lion and the cute, tasty pig. And everyone finds everyone’s babies more attractive. What animals like in one another is hard to tease due to their limited communication, but humans like the peacock as the peahen does, the lion as the lioness, the butterfly, the puppy, kitten, dragonfly, cricket, pup seal, cub bear, and many, many more as their own kind do. We can’t even get enough of the ugliest – pug dog, sphynx cat, lizards, snakes, vultures, and more – devoting much to bring them near us. And if we humans like them all, they would probably appreciate each other too across all species, were it not for fear, sensory and intelligence limitations. ”At least humans are not sexually attracted to animals” would be the counterargument. Would any human have sex with a peacock? A rabbit?? A cat, bat, fish (well, mermaid)??? Oh no, they would… as erotic animal costumes show. What a shame!
  5. Contrary to sexual selection that is expected to drift randomly, the standards of beauty remain essentially unchanged. Consider an “evolutionary” proto-bird. Million of years later, suppose the proto-bird split due to random events and various environments into the many bird species we see today. Then – to take one example – the current beautiful peacock is just the product of a series of random events and of its own female’s search for beauty. There is nothing in its current environment that demands that particular look. And why exactly is the peahen so desperate for that particular look? She isn’t. There is nothing in her little skull, genes, environment, or anywhere else that demands that particular look. She is only intrigued by beauty like the rest of us. Any beauty, not just the standard peacock beauty. If some peacock decides to build a beautiful bower (not suddenly, just amassing shiny objects in a first gen) or another peacock finds his voice, another becomes more protective, or goes for a modern look, she’s liable to fall for that new fellow and change the course of peafowl history. Which in the end turns out to be no different than random. So why does the peacock look the way he does? Just random. Why do all dimorphic birds look and behave as they do? Just random. Why the lion’s mane, the woman’s breasts and on and on? Random again and again. Yet the “just random” Darwinist reply does not work as “easy come, easy go” – “random come, random go” whereas the standards of beauty remain essentially unchanged. As Venus of Willendorf shows, the human standard of beauty has not changed in at least 30,000 years or 1,000 generations, these days aided by breast and buttock implants. A hypothesized trend (“evolution”) that doesn’t budge for that long cannot be a real trend.
  6. Whatever happens to organisms is outside their control, hence sexual selection cannot shape organisms as Darwin imagined. The peahen is not responsible in the slightest for the peacock’s plumage. Even if it had an objective, the “selecting” sex has no means to get to that objective. The best example of what selection can do and cannot do is breeding. Human breeders indeed have the long term targets and the best technology available. Yet all they can do is fragile deformed variants of the wild that require a lot to survive and propagate and that under no circumstance will “diverge” into new “species”. Contrast that with the “selecting” bird. Why is she having sex? She doesn’t know. What is she looking for? She doesn’t know… whatever her beauty instinct tells her. She doesn’t read, write, or talk. Cannot correlate the beauty seen to underlying health of her peer. Doesn’t know she will have offspring, let alone how to improve their lot… if she even cares. We know all these because we, the humans, are also automatons with regard to our descendants. We know very little and can influence almost nothing. Countless number of parents hope for more from their children, yet are badly disappointed. Where are the descendants of famous rulers, scientists, artists, and athletes? Nowhere in particular. They all regressed to the mean. And it is even worse for some of those afflicted by “reason” as they decide to “save the planet” by not even having any offspring at all.
  7. Incorrect assumptions drive the confused “evolution through sexual selection” narrative: that the selection has a direction – without a direction, there is no output different than random; that the selected passes most of his characteristics to the progeny – this disregards regression to the mean as well as the contribution of the other parent, meaning the selector; that the phenotype is entirely encoded in the genotype – if this were the case, we would be able to control 100% of the phenotype by changing the genome, but it’s clear that’s not possible even theoretically; that successive mutations can accomplish anything as long as sexual selection guides the output – this is clearly false as breeding shows when comparing the robustness of crossbreeds with the feebleness of purebreds. Of course Darwin was clueless about genetics. But even with our current best knowledge of genetics – knowledge that the selecting sex completely lacks – it is not clear what sexual selection accomplishes, given that the Y chromosome is just a very small percentage of the genome. After all, offspring inherit both lineages regardless of sex. So if the male progeny is attractive like the male parent (a positive), that may be offset by both the male and female offspring becoming more attractive to the predator too (two negatives). For instance, in some peafowl, even the peahen has some conspicuous blue streaks that cannot help her camouflage.
  8. In conclusion, “evolution” by sexual selection is one confused mess because:
    1. The distinction between sexual selection and “natural selection” (if such thing existed) is contrived
    2. Incompatible mating behaviors are incorrectly grouped under the same banner
    3. Attraction to Universal Beauty is what is incorrectly interpreted as sexual selection
    4. The standard of beauty is essentially unchanged contrary to the Darwinist narrative
    5. Whatever happens to organisms is outside their control, hence sexual selection cannot shape organisms as Darwin imagined
    6. Darwin’s sexual selection hypothesis is based on a number of incorrect and ignorant assumptions

 Links:

https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/224257/the-evolution-of-beauty-by-richard-o-prum/

https://www.britannica.com/science/sexual-selection

https://www.treehugger.com/ugliest-animals-on-the-planet-4869328

https://www.amazon.com/peacock-costumes-women/s?k=peacock+costumes+for+women

https://www.amiclubwear.com/costume-animal.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Y_chromosome

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Venus_of_Willendorf#/media/File:Venus_of_Willendorf_-_All_sides.jpg 

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204 thoughts on “Sexual Selection Is Not Helpful to “Evolution”?

  1. Nonlin.org: But we know “selection” cannot operate because there’s no “fitness” until after you already had your kids.

    Good grief. There’s fitness and there is measuring fitness. Fitness is defined as relative breeding success of individuals within a population. Yes fitness (as number of progeny) is measured retrospectively. I mean of all the puerile argument you’ve made against evolutionary theory, this strikes me as particularly daft.

    +1
  2. Alan Fox,

    Hard to choose:

    Exemplars of Nonlin’s “arguments” against evolution:

    “Gradualism” means constant change rate, since appearances do not constantly change, evolution is false.

    “Gradualism” means following a continuous line, rather than discrete, nature is discrete, therefore evolution is false.

    Darwin didn’t know genetics because Mendel made his discoveries later, therefore evolution and genetics have nothing to do with each other, therefore evolution is false.

    Metaphors used to describe genomes do not apply literally and perfectly, therefore evolution and genetics have nothing to do with each other, therefore evolution is false.

    If it isn’t completely random it’s not evolution, I declare this to be non-random, therefore evolution is false.

    +2
  3. Nonlin.org: Sure, “the principles”. “Evolution” is sooo difficult to “comprehend”. Oh, wait. It’s just me.

    Yes. It’s just you. You’re astoundingly clueless about evolution. But your problem doesn’t start with that subject. You’re clueless about a lot of things, from logic to math to physics to chemistry to biology to just about everything.

    +2
  4. Entropy: Yes. It’s just you. You’re astoundingly clueless about evolution. But your problem doesn’t start with that subject. You’re clueless about a lot of things, from logic to math to physics to chemistry to biology to just about everything.

    Most of all logic. Almost the totality of Nonlin’s output constitutes nothing but bare assertions. There is no argument or attempt to persuade, nor reasoning from premises to conclusions. He just says stuff. Declares things to be a certain way.

    Same endless dumshittery, day in day out.

    +2
  5. CharlieM: I’m not sure that Elton John was forced into it.

    Fair point.

    CharlieM: As far as I’m aware it’s more to do with the timing of the males acquiring their colourful plumage that gives them mating advantage.

    According to Richard Prum
    “Forced copulations are “pervasively common in many species of ducks,”

    I am not up to speed on sexual selection in Anas, but the very post you link to already hints at strong sexual selection by female choice:

    For a male duck to land a female, he must boast colorful plumage plus have an elaborate dance mating ritual and beautiful mating calls. In other words, he needs to be a beauty, plus a great singer and dancer.

    The paper focuses on the sexual conflict this results in: Choosy females act against the reproductive interests of the losing males. The forced copulations are a result of this conflict. If you want to see a more spectacular example, check out bed bugs. They display a phenomenon called traumatic insemination where males pierce the abdominal wall of the female to deliver their semen.

    CharlieM: They haven’t acquired such individual creativity. Other animals may show a higher wisdom than that of humans but any superiority other species posses lies in the creativity of them as a group. A wisdom shared by the group.

    This I do not understand. You are always tooting your horn about our massive superiority in terms of cognitive ability. But whenever I ask you to explicitely state so, you start mumbling about “group wisdom”. C’mon Charlie. Say it loud and proud: We humans are the shit! Right?

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  6. Nonlin.org: Anyway, this essay is about sexual selection and its impossible task of modeling organisms. I offered some clues. And you should attack those if you think they’re weak. Your definition apparently doesn’t explain anything, much less provide valid counterarguments.

    This essay is NOT about sexual selection, but just about another of your strawmen. And you did NOT offer anything but obscurantism. You respond to any attempt at clarification with deliberate misunderstanding. Neither of us gains anything by this exchange. I really do not understand what you hope to achieve by expending so much energy on cultivating your ignorance.

    Anyway, I am out. You can have the last word, if you please.

    +1
  7. Corneel:
    CharlieM: I’m not sure that Elton John was forced into it.

    Corneel: Fair point.

    But he did rival the most ornate birds when it came to display outfits. 🙂

    CharlieM: As far as I’m aware it’s more to do with the timing of the males acquiring their colourful plumage that gives them mating advantage.

    According to Richard Prum
    “Forced copulations are “pervasively common in many species of ducks,”

    orneel: I am not up to speed on sexual selection in Anas, but the very post you link to already hints at strong sexual selection by female choice:

    “For a male duck to land a female, he must boast colorful plumage plus have an elaborate dance mating ritual and beautiful mating calls. In other words, he needs to be a beauty, plus a great singer and dancer.”

    The paper focuses on the sexual conflict this results in: Choosy females act against the reproductive interests of the losing males. The forced copulations are a result of this conflict. If you want to see a more spectacular example, check out bed bugs. They display a phenomenon called traumatic insemination where males pierce the abdominal wall of the female to deliver their semen.

    I totally agree that females can be picky in choosing mates. My point is that there are differences between species but the mating habits within species are very predictable. The mating habits of humans are far from predictable.

    Another point I would like to make is the way that research findings are related in a way that tries to confirm the standard account of evolution. Ducks lack penises to benefit their further evolution, except some do have penises (presumably for the benefit of evolution). Female mallards have vaginas that resist egg fertilization by force. Don’t all penetrations involve force? A penis and a vagina with opposing spirals doesn’t seem to be a good fit in any type of copulation.

    CharlieM: They haven’t acquired such individual creativity. Other animals may show a higher wisdom than that of humans but any superiority other species posses lies in the creativity of them as a group. A wisdom shared by the group.

    This I do not understand. You are always tooting your horn about our massive superiority in terms of cognitive ability. But whenever I ask you to explicitely state so, you start mumbling about “group wisdom”. C’mon Charlie. Say it loud and proud: We humans are the shit! Right?

    Yes we humans are shit. It’s like a couple going away for a weekend break and leaving the oldest child in charge. They come back to find their house trashed. The responsible person wasn’t up to the task given to them.

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  8. CharlieM: My point is that there are differences between species but the mating habits within species are very predictable. The mating habits of humans are far from predictable.

    Again, how did you come to these conclusions? Watching a BBC wildlife program?

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  9. Alan Fox: …there are differences between species but the mating habits within species are very predictable…

    Though it might be a reasonable starting assumption to test because…

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  10. Just riffing on an idea, chewing the fat, running an idea up a flagpole here.

    Humans are in some ways a species apart from the mainstream because of our ratio of innate to learned behaviour. Language (the acquisition of a particular mother tongue not the ability to acquire language which is a human biological trait) and storage of information, processes that are cultural evolution rather than cultural evolution, have freed us from our biological limitations.

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  11. Charlie and “wha’s like us?” again? 😁 I think it very unwise to try and judge ‘specialness’ from within. There is nowhere else to reside, of course. A puffin may think ‘all those humans look alike to me’ as it unerringly finds its partner after months at sea. “And they don’t even do the little dance. I’ve got my own move; a kind of wiggle with the left foot.”.

    +2
  12. CharlieM: My point is that there are differences between species but the mating habits within species are very predictable. The mating habits of humans are far from predictable.

    Again, you just seem to hope that my human chauvinism makes me nod in agreement. However, until you demonstrate this to actually be the case, I will just default to the position that this is utter rubbish.

    CharlieM: Another point I would like to make is the way that research findings are related in a way that tries to confirm the standard account of evolution.

    That is just the way the research is presented in popular science communications. Usually, if research hypotheses have not been subjected to rigorous modeling and/or empirical testing, you don’t get to publish. This is a side you’re not exposed to when skimming internet posts. Try reading the primary literature for a taste.

    CharlieM: Female mallards have vaginas that resist egg fertilization by force. Don’t all penetrations involve force? A penis and a vagina with opposing spirals doesn’t seem to be a good fit in any type of copulation.

    Again, I am not an expert on sexual selection in Anas, but I suppose that when copulation is consensual, things work out just fine. We are still seeing plenty of ducklings in spring. Also, I am not hearing an alternative explanation.

    CharlieM: Yes we humans are shit.

    No, you silly boomer. Humans are THE shit 😆

    +1
  13. Alan Fox: There’s fitness and there is measuring fitness. Fitness is defined as relative breeding success of individuals within a population. Yes fitness (as number of progeny) is measured retrospectively.

    If “fitness” is “relative breeding success”, then this is clear admission “evolution” is a failed theory. Because “selection” cannot operate on “fitness” to produce “breeding success”. IOW, what’s driving breeding success? “Selection” of what if not “fitness” that should therefore precede breeding success???

    Measuring “fitness” retrospectively is like extracting Big Foot’s DNA from the fresh snow before he’ll show up there. Of course, Big Foot is somewhat more realistic than “fitness”.

    Rumraket: Most of all logic. Almost the totality of Nonlin’s output constitutes nothing but bare assertions. There is no argument or attempt to persuade, nor reasoning from premises to conclusions. He just says stuff. Declares things to be a certain way.

    And to prove all that, you just spew a series of unsupported assertions. So funny.

    Corneel: This essay is NOT about sexual selection, but just about another of your strawmen. And you did NOT offer anything but obscurantism. You respond to any attempt at clarification with deliberate misunderstanding. Neither of us gains anything by this exchange. I really do not understand what you hope to achieve by expending so much energy on cultivating your ignorance.

    And Corneel is out with another series of unsupported assertions. Even funnier.

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  14. Alan Fox:
    CharlieM: My point is that there are differences between species but the mating habits within species are very predictable. The mating habits of humans are far from predictable.

    Alan Fox: Again, how did you come to these conclusions? Watching a BBC wildlife program?

    I’ve had a keen interest in birds for as long as I can remember. I even had an extensive birds egg collection when I was a kid. Although I realise now that it was wrong of me to take eggs.

    We used to look forward to the mating season, watching for the signs of nest building and mating. I remember being very exited when I found a skylark’s nest and rushing off to tell my friend. I thought I knew where it was so it would be easy to find again. It wasn’t and I had to give up after a long search. And watching the birds landing did no good as they were too clever to land directly above the nest.

    I once used one of my socks on a stick to retrieve a jackdaws egg from down the chimney of a derelict farm house. It’s a good job my mother never knew half of what we got up to as kids. By the time we left there was no lead left on the farmhouse roof, but that’s another story.

    +1
  15. Alan Fox: Though it might be a reasonable starting assumption to test because…

    Because species have set breeding seasons, and mating rituals are pretty standard within species. As in the case of the widowbird displays, great crested grebe courtship dances, blackcock leks and the like.

    What would you say is standard about human courtship?

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  16. Nonlin.org to Rum:
    And to prove all that, you just spew a series of unsupported assertions. So funny.

    You sure produce a lot of material to ensure you’ll get the irony of the year award.

    Run doesn’t need to prove that logic is not your forte, or that all you do is produce unsupported assertions after unsupported assertions. All we need to verify Rum’s take is read your OPs, or see you losing it because you don’t remember what you wrote.

    Nonlin.org:
    And Corneel is out with another series of unsupported assertions. Even funnier.

    Crap! The problem will be choosing which one gives you the prize, but the irony of the year award is surely yours, hands down.

    +1
  17. Yes, according to Nonlin (and phoodoo), if we had two variants, carriers of one having an average 0.1 offspring, the other 7 (if measured), the population cannot change in respect of those variants due to the ‘measurement problem’! Likewise, blue tits and blackbirds must wait till we’ve measured them before one of ’em can get through the hole in our nesting box.

    I often wonder if maintaining a ludicrously obtuse position is the equivalent of wearing a hair shirt, or going to Jerusalem on your knees.

    +1
  18. Nonlin.org: If “fitness” is “relative breeding success”, then this is clear admission “evolution” is a failed theory. Because “selection” cannot operate on “fitness” to produce “breeding success”.

    That’s some really weird confusion.

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  19. CharlieM,

    This comment was an attempt to address that. Humans are social animals allowing long childhoods with a high ratio of learned to innate behaviour. There’s thousands of years cultural evolution overlaying human biological evolution. Humans are still under emotional influence; we get excited, angry, aroused.

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  20. Neil Rickert: That’s some really weird confusion.

    Really?!? Because…???

    Allan Miller: Yes, according to Nonlin (and phoodoo), if we had two variants, carriers of one having an average 0.1 offspring, the other 7 (if measured), the population cannot change in respect of those variants due to the ‘measurement problem’!

    You always know better than me what I say and what I think? But where exactly am I saying that? And what ‘measurement problem’? And what has this to do with “fitness”, “selection” or “evolution”?

    You don’t have a ‘measurement problem’. You have a “fitness” (Big Foot) problem in that there’s none to put your finger on.

    You have a time travel problem and a modelling problem. Meaning you take an output (number of progeny) and declare it both an input (“fitness”) and an output. Which is seriously fucked up thinking.

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  21. Nonlin.org,

    You always know better than me what I say and what I think? But where exactly am I saying that?

    Wherever you say that fitness (mean reproductive output) can only be retrospective, and cannot be causal. You’re just about to say it again. But first:

    And what ‘measurement problem’?

    The problem of retrospective assessments of fitness.

    And what has this to do with “fitness”, “selection” or “evolution”?

    Good grief.

    You don’t have a ‘measurement problem’. You have a “fitness” (Big Foot) problem in that there’s none to put your finger on.

    You have a time travel problem and a modelling problem. Meaning you take an output (number of progeny) and declare it both an input (“fitness”) and an output. Which is seriously fucked up thinking.

    Imagine you know the average fitness (offspring count) of a wild-type allele, because you’ve measured it. It’s 7. Imagine you have an allele whose bearers’ average fitness is 0.1. Because you’ve measured that too.

    Imagine now creating a population with 50% of each allele. Are you seriously saying that the measured fitness differential cannot have causal effect on the progress of the respective alleles in the new population, because you need a time machine?

    What do you think would happen in this new population, then? Impossible to say?

    +2
  22. Alan Fox: Just riffing on an idea, chewing the fat, running an idea up a flagpole here.

    Humans are in some ways a species apart from the mainstream because of our ratio of innate to learned behaviour. Language (the acquisition of a particular mother tongue not the ability to acquire language which is a human biological trait) and storage of information, processes that are cultural evolution rather than cultural evolution, have freed us from our biological limitations.

    Yes, we are distinguished by our mental abilities and our physical attributes which allow us to make use of the mental abilities such as communicating and understanding each other, retaining information and being individually creative.

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  23. Allan Miller:
    Charlie and “wha’s like us?” again? I think it very unwise to try and judge ‘specialness’ from within. There is nowhere else to reside, of course. A puffin may think ‘all those humans look alike to me’ as it unerringly finds its partner after months at sea. “And they don’t even do the little dance. I’ve got my own move; a kind of wiggle with the left foot.”.

    Is that why it’s hard to judge and understand evolution, because we are within it?

    Of course it’s not just about looks. I love puffins, but apart from managing to maintain their species identity what have they achieved in life?

    Managing to pollute an entire planet and to extend this into space may not be something to be proud of but nonetheless it is an impressive achievement.

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  24. CharlieM: Yes, we are distinguished by our mental abilities and our physical attributes which allow us to make use of the mental abilities such as communicating and understanding each other, retaining information and being individually creative.

    Well, there’s a bit more to it than that. Have you ever read Geoffrey Miller’s The Mating Mind? He proposes the idea that the human capacity for language was driven at least partly by sexual selection.

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  25. Corneel:
    CharlieM: My point is that there are differences between species but the mating habits within species are very predictable. The mating habits of humans are far from predictable.

    Corneel: Again, you just seem to hope that my human chauvinism makes me nod in agreement. However, until you demonstrate this to actually be the case, I will just default to the position that this is utter rubbish.

    Have you ever studied the mating behaviour of any bird species? What about a school full of children, can you predict what the mating behaviour of these kids is going to be as they mature?

    CharlieM: Another point I would like to make is the way that research findings are related in a way that tries to confirm the standard account of evolution.

    Corneel: That is just the way the research is presented in popular science communications. Usually, if research hypotheses have not been subjected to rigorous modeling and/or empirical testing, you don’t get to publish. This is a side you’re not exposed to when skimming internet posts. Try reading the primary literature for a taste.

    There are enough writings of professional biologists and papers available on-line for me to get an idea of biases and assumptions that are being made.

    CharlieM: Female mallards have vaginas that resist egg fertilization by force. Don’t all penetrations involve force? A penis and a vagina with opposing spirals doesn’t seem to be a good fit in any type of copulation.

    Corneel: Again, I am not an expert on sexual selection in Anas, but I suppose that when copulation is consensual, things work out just fine. We are still seeing plenty of ducklings in spring. Also, I am not hearing an alternative explanation.

    The main point I am making is that the mating habits of this species is well documented and can be fairly accurately predicted unlike human sexual behaviour which is much more tied to the preference of the individual..

    CharlieM: Yes we humans are shit.

    No, you silly boomer. Humans are THE shit

    So you are arguing that humans are wonderful and I am arguing that we are making an utter mess of our position and responsibilities. Who’d have thought it? 😉 🙂

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  26. CharlieM: What about a school full of children, can you predict what the mating behaviour of these kids is going to be as they mature?

    I think that might depend whether the school is in Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Tibet, etc.

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  27. Allan Miller: Imagine now creating a population with 50% of each allele. Are you seriously saying that the measured fitness differential cannot have causal effect on the progress of the respective alleles in the new population, because you need a time machine?

    What do you think would happen in this new population, then? Impossible to say?

    I don’t know your many undisclosed assumptions. Probably that the future environment is same as the past environment which was the same for both populations. This means you’re peeking at the future by observing the past. That is your “time machine” and is cheating. Also, past offspring count (or internet research) is the best estimate of your future offspring count anyway. There’s no need for any “fitness” for that estimate.

    But let me give you a more realistic scenario: we release a population of mice on an island with limited resources and previously free of mice. You’re free to measure anything you want in that population and environment, except count descendants (presumably you’ll measure the “fitness” of that population to the environment). With what precision can you estimate the percentage of progeny that will itself reproduce? Show your work!

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  28. Nonlin.org: I don’t know your many undisclosed assumptions. Probably that the future environment is same as the past environment which was the same for both populations.

    Yes, that’s right. Look at it as a PoC.

    This means you’re peeking at the future by observing the past. That is your “time machine” and is cheating. Also, past offspring count (or internet research) is the best estimate of your future offspring count anyway. There’s no need for any “fitness” for that estimate.

    It indicates which allele is most likely to outcompete the other, given an actual fitness differential, measured or not. Imagine we did the same mix of 50% of each allele, but didn’t measure first. What’s the difference? In the first case, we checked first, in the second we didn’t know, Schrodinger’s cat style. But the outcome in the 50/50 scenario, the actual run, is not dependent on whether we knew the fitnesses in advance or not. Fitness differences have a causal effect on progress, even if you don’t know what they are.

    Sure It’s trivial, but that’s evolution for you: the thing you deny is trivially true.

    But let me give you a more realistic scenario: we release a population of mice on an island with limited resources and previously free of mice. You’re free to measure anything you want in that population and environment, except count descendants (presumably you’ll measure the “fitness” of that population to the environment). With what precision can you estimate the percentage of progeny that will itself reproduce? Show your work!

    You’re not creating a selective scenario in that case, so it’s pretty irrelevant. Selection is all about relative performance of variants in a population. If there are no alternatives, there’s no selection.

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  29. Allan Miller: Yes, that’s right. Look at it as a PoC.

    No. It’s a forced outcome. You repeat a previously known experiment with just a tiny enough modification to ensure result duplication (after a simple arithmetic operation). This is NOT science.

    Allan Miller: But the outcome in the 50/50 scenario, the actual run, is not dependent on whether we knew the fitnesses in advance or not. Fitness differences have a causal effect on progress, even if you don’t know what they are.

    There’s no fucking “fitness”. And the fact you keep including your conclusions into your assumptions, proves you’re far from conducting actual scientific experiments.

    Something WILL happen by necessity. Then you retrospectively “explain” whatever result based on your “theory”. This is NOT science either.

    Allan Miller: Sure It’s trivial, but that’s evolution for you: the thing you deny is trivially true.

    It’s trivial because you either 1. force the result to match a previously run experiment, or 2. you interpret as you wish without actually running an experiment. It is trivial because it’s not science. “Evolution” is indeed NOT science.

    Allan Miller: You’re not creating a selective scenario in that case, so it’s pretty irrelevant. Selection is all about relative performance of variants in a population. If there are no alternatives, there’s no selection.

    False. How do organisms go extinct then? If there were “fitness”, it would be intrinsic to the population. And “selection” would be against all other organisms and/or the environment.

    Also, as explained, you’re not a monkey with different alleles. Your focus on alleles is irrational.

    0
  30. Nonlin.org,

    No. It’s a forced outcome.

    What’s forced about assuming some constancy of environmental factors? Do environments look madly capricious to you? Selection could not work if they were. So when I’m doing a thought experiment involving selection, I naturally exclude situations in which it cannot operate.

    You repeat a previously known experiment with just a tiny enough modification to ensure result duplication (after a simple arithmetic operation). This is NOT science.

    This is how every Phase 3 trial works. So you’re wrong.

    Allan Miller: But the outcome in the 50/50 scenario, the actual run, is not dependent on whether we knew the fitnesses in advance or not. Fitness differences have a causal effect on progress, even if you don’t know what they are.

    Nonlin. There’s no fucking “fitness”.

    The fucking fitness is the fucking mean fucking offspring count. Fucking fuckety fuck fuck.

    And the fact you keep including your conclusions into your assumptions, proves you’re far from conducting actual scientific experiments.

    Something WILL happen by necessity. Then you retrospectively “explain” whatever result based on your “theory”. This is NOT science either.

    Oh, you tell us what science is, big fella! 🤣

    Allan Miller: Sure It’s trivial, but that’s evolution for you: the thing you deny is trivially true.

    Nonlin: It’s trivial because you either 1. force the result to match a previously run experiment,

    There’s no forcing. You just stick the two types together and let them duke it out.

    or 2. you interpret as you wish without actually running an experiment.

    Where’s the ‘not running an experiment’ part above? Bearing in mind that this is a thought experiment, of course. But I’m definitely running it.

    It is trivial because it’s not science. “Evolution” is indeed NOT science.

    … and breathe.

    Allan Miller: You’re not creating a selective scenario in that case, so it’s pretty irrelevant. Selection is all about relative performance of variants in a population. If there are no alternatives, there’s no selection.

    Nonlin: False. How do organisms go extinct then?

    All sortsa reasons. Within-population natural selection not being one of them.

    If there were “fitness”, it would be intrinsic to the population. And “selection” would be against all other organisms and/or the environment.

    With fitness as mean offspring number, that is not intrinsic to the population. It varies with circumstances – including those circumstances that act differentially on the bearers of variant alleles.

    Also, as explained, you’re not a monkey with different alleles.

    That’s true, because I am reproductively isolated from monkeys.

    Your focus on alleles is irrational.

    It’s genetics!

    +3
  31. Allan Miller: You’re not creating a selective scenario in that case, so it’s pretty irrelevant. Selection is all about relative performance of variants in a population. If there are no alternatives, there’s no selection.

    It’s staggering to me that nonlin is still unable (or more charitably, unwilling for reasons) to grasp the simplest concepts and needs them repeating. Perhaps we should have a facts sheet to refer to.

    +4
  32. Nonlin.org: You repeat a previously known experiment with just a tiny enough modification to ensure result duplication (after a simple arithmetic operation). This is NOT science.

    Oh come now, this is a porky that even you must realise. Repeatability is a cornerstone of science. Many false dawns failed the hurdle of repeatability. Cold fusion? Other examples? Anyone?

    +3
  33. Alan Fox: It’s staggering to me that nonlin is still unable (or more charitably, unwilling for reasons) to grasp the simplest concepts and needs them repeating.

    Yep. I’m cheating by restricting selective scenarios to arenas in which it might happen!

    +3
  34. Allan Miller: What’s forced about assuming some constancy of environmental factors?

    You do once the experiment to GET your fake assumption. And then you repeat the experiment to USE your fake and redundant assumption.

    But of course, you don’t need any of your fake assumptions to know that a repeated experiment will yield the same output with the same setup.

    Allan Miller: This is how every Phase 3 trial works. So you’re wrong.

    False. Many drugs fail phase 3. You’re wrong. https://www.nccn.org/patients/resources/clinical_trials/phases.aspx

    Allan Miller: The fucking fitness is the fucking mean fucking offspring count.

    Running your experiment to get your assumptions is ass backwards and retard.

    2nd time results matching 1st experiment prove your setup was indeed the same, not your ass backwards assumption. It’s fucking elementary.

    Allan Miller: Where’s the ‘not running an experiment’ part above?

    Every time you “explain” something. Here: “Something WILL happen by necessity. Then you retrospectively “explain” whatever result based on your “theory”. This is NOT science either.”

    Allan Miller: Nonlin: False. How do organisms go extinct then?

    All sortsa reasons. Within-population natural selection not being one of them.

    Meaning? What “sortsa”? Are you saying there’s no intrinsic “fitness” and that “natural selection” fails? Hey, maybe we can agree on something!

    Allan Miller: With fitness as mean offspring number, that is not intrinsic to the population. It varies with circumstances – including those circumstances that act differentially on the bearers of variant alleles.

    Then take the next step and admit there’s no “fitness” whatsoever. And admit you can only know “mean offspring number” post fact. When no one needs the “fitness” assumption anyway.

    Allan Miller: That’s true, because I am reproductively isolated from monkeys.

    There you go again with your “explanations”.

    I’m not isolating you from a little monkey love. You’re not even the first: https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg19926701-000-blasts-from-the-past-the-soviet-ape-man-scandal/

    Allan Miller: Nonlin: Your focus on alleles is irrational.

    It’s genetics!

    Indeed, it could be something wrong with your genetics.

    0
  35. Nonlin.org: You do once the experiment to GET your fake assumption. And then you repeat the experiment to USE your fake and redundant assumption.

    Nah. You don’t need to measure the fitnesses. They are what they are. What you’re doing is denying that there’s ever a fitness differential between 2 variants unless you measure it. Well, Nature goes its merry way without our measurements.

    But of course, you don’t need any of your fake assumptions to know that a repeated experiment will yield the same output with the same setup.

    It’s not the same setup. In the measurement phase, you’re checking the independent fitnesses. In the 50/50 setup, you’re putting them together, competitively.

    False. Many drugs fail phase 3.

    I don’t know what failing trials has to do with whether they are repeat experiments with slight variation or not. Another subject you picked up at Dunning-Kruger U, I suppose.

    Running your experiment to get your assumptions is ass backwards and retard.

    The measurement phase is optional, and is not an ‘experiment’.

    2nd time results matching 1st experiment prove your setup was indeed the same, not your ass backwards assumption. It’s fucking elementary.

    The first ‘experiment’ was measuring rate of increase of each in the absence of the other. Second was putting them together and seeing what the population outcome was. Imagine doing it with bacterial cultures. You measure one strain and it duplicates every 20 minutes. The second, every 40. So the first has twice the rate of increase per unit time. Now put them together, see what happens. Would the result be any different if you hadn’t measured first?

    Every time you “explain” something. Here: “Something WILL happen by necessity. Then you retrospectively “explain” whatever result based on your “theory”. This is NOT science either.”

    Pound that nail, nonlin! Pound it good!

    Meaning? What “sortsa”? Are you saying there’s no intrinsic “fitness” and that “natural selection” fails? Hey, maybe we can agree on something!

    No, I’m not saying that. Selection is not relevant in an extinction scenario. The reproductive output of all variants falls to zero.

    Then take the next step and admit there’s no “fitness” whatsoever.

    With fitness as mean offspring number of carriers, that would be a dumb admission.

    And admit you can only know “mean offspring number” post fact. When no one needs the “fitness” assumption anyway.

    You can only find it out after monitoring breeding, but that doesn’t mean it can’t have a causal effect on the progress of competitive alleles, just because you don’t know the values in advance.

    You are literally denying that a type with higher output will outcompete a type with lower, because you don’t know in advance which is which. Likewise, I suppose, nothing was ever squeezed out ecologically by competition.

    0
  36. CharlieM: Have you ever studied the mating behaviour of any bird species?

    I have not.

    CharlieM: What about a school full of children, can you predict what the mating behaviour of these kids is going to be as they mature?

    Easy enough: They will exchange shy glances, send each other secret notes, give each other presents and start dating each other. No other species on earth visits the movies together as part of their mating rituals, so I guess this makes humans unique.

    CharlieM: There are enough writings of professional biologists and papers available on-line for me to get an idea of biases and assumptions that are being made.

    Have you ever published a scientific paper? (Hey, two can play at that game)

    CharlieM: The main point I am making is that the mating habits of this species is well documented and can be fairly accurately predicted unlike human sexual behaviour which is much more tied to the preference of the individual..

    The very phrase “the mating habits of this species” presupposes there is no significant intraspecies variation in courtship behaviour; Another example of “they all look the same to me”.
    Human mating behaviour OTOH is probably the best documented of all species on earth and has as many stereotypes as that of the next species.

    Will you be presenting some data to support your claim or will you just continue to give us a taste of your “biases and assumptions”?

    +1
  37. CharlieM: So you are arguing that humans are wonderful and I am arguing that we are making an utter mess of our position and responsibilities. Who’d have thought it? 😉

    Oh, but I agree that we are making an utter mess of our position and responsibilities. However, contrary to what you may think, I also agree that humans are wonderful. The only thing we disagree about is whether the universe is pushing for the things that set humans apart.

    +1
  38. Allan Miller: Nah. You don’t need to measure the fitnesses.

    Damn right! You just assert it:

    Yet all they can do is fragile deformed variants of the wild that require a lot to survive and propagate and that under no circumstance will “diverge” into new “species”.

    And remember, you can freely appeal to purifying selection and use it to make predictions, as long as you do not actually use the f-word.

    +1
  39. Neil Rickert: to Nonlin:
    Nonlin.org: If “fitness” is “relative breeding success”, then this is clear admission “evolution” is a failed theory. Because “selection” cannot operate on “fitness” to produce “breeding success”.

    Neil Rickert: That’s some really weird confusion.

    It does mean that measuring fitness is of no use to testing how biological diversity came about.

    0
  40. Alan Fox:
    CharlieM,

    This comment was an attempt to address that. Humans are social animals allowing long childhoods with a high ratio of learned to innate behaviour. There’s thousands of years cultural evolution overlaying human biological evolution.

    And there is no simple biological and/or cultural account of what drives breeding success in humans. It is a very complex mixture of individual sexual drive, desire to have offspring, cultural restraints and technology.

    Alan Fox: Humans are still under emotional influence; we get excited, angry, aroused.

    Human maturation is a process whereby we learn to take greater control over our emotions. Babies cry when they are hungry, teenage children tend not to.

    0
  41. Alan Fox:
    CharlieM: Yes, we are distinguished by our mental abilities and our physical attributes which allow us to make use of the mental abilities such as communicating and understanding each other, retaining information and being individually creative.

    Alan Fox: Well, there’s a bit more to it than that. Have you ever read Geoffrey Miller’s The Mating Mind? He proposes the idea that the human capacity for language was driven at least partly by sexual selection.

    I haven’t read “The Mating Mind”, but I found this

    He is coming from the initial assumption that the neo-Darwinian account of evolution is true. I question that assumption. He basically attributes the uniqueness of the human mind to sexual selection. This seems to be yet another just so story.

    He writes that, “Fitness matching based on creative courtship behavior may have been the key sexual selection process in human mental evolution.”

    And seemingly “The last four chapters offer four case studies of uniquely human mental traits that appear to have evolved under mate choice: art, morality, language, and creativity”

    i think that would make interesting reading. Thanks for the reference.

    0
  42. CharlieM,

    I found it to be thought-provoking and one attempt (I don’t know of others) to explain how human biological evolution and cultural evolution seem so temporally displaced. I think I should credit KN for introducing me to Miller.

    0
  43. Alan Fox:
    CharlieM: What about a school full of children, can you predict what the mating behaviour of these kids is going to be as they mature?

    Alan Fox: I think that might depend whether the school is in Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Tibet, etc.

    I have a friend who grew up in Sri Lanka. He lives there today with his wife and two children. I’m not sure how I could have predicted that if I had known him from his school days. The mating behaviour of humans around the planet is extremely diverse. On the other hand the mating behaviour of salmon around the planet can be fairly accurately predicted.

    0
  44. CharlieM:

    And there is no simple biological and/or cultural account of what drives breeding success in humans.

    And no sentient entity can comprehend systems as complex as itself. 😉

    Oops double post deleted.

    0
  45. CharlieM: The mating behaviour of humans around the planet is extremely diverse. On the other hand the mating behaviour of salmon around the planet can be fairly accurately predicted.

    It’s innate behaviour that is more predictable, sure. Humans have more scope with learned behaviours. Though societal norms and how that may affect individual’s choice of social interaction, clothing, prejudices isn’t immune to broad-brush prediction. There’s even less choice about mother tongue.

    0
  46. Alan Fox:
    CharlieM,

    I found it to be thought-provoking and one attempt (I don’t know of others) to explain how human biological evolution and cultural evolution seem so temporally displaced. I think I should credit KN for introducing me to Miller.

    By “temporally displaced”, do you mean that human biological evolution has been superseded by cultural evolution?

    0
  47. Alan Fox:
    CharlieM: And there is no simple biological and/or cultural account of what drives breeding success in humans.

    Alan Fox: And no sentient entity can comprehend systems as complex as itself.

    Wholes can be understood in essence without the need to know every detail of the parts. To take a simple case we can understand a paperclip without having to know the position of every molecule that it’s composed of.

    0
  48. Allan Miller:
    “We’re brilliant!” say humans in groundbreaking new paper.

    A case of humans muttering to ourselves while animals do not think about it, they just get on with the job of living. 🙂

    0

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