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The New York Times and child abuse: Darwinism sheds light on itself and not much else

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It was interesting to see the New York Times pick up the Nazca boobies story: Researchers studying the fact that Galapagos booby juveniles kill neighbouring nestlings now claim their work will help us understand child abuse:

“It’s not just humans, and it’s not just a pathology associated with captivity,” Dr. Anderson said. “Maybe the cycle of violence is generalizable, and we may have other research models to work with in ways we can’t work with humans.”

Because “abused children grow up to be abusers,” right? Even if that were usually true (it isn’t; it’s just “often” true), the boobies would not shed any light. For one thing, a booby juvenile is likely the survivor of a lethal nestling war with its sib. (Its parents can only raise one newly hatched chick. That’s the usual way with these birds.

Instead of wasting time on a “Darwinian” explanation (= why the behaviour helps pass on selfish genes), the researchers might have noted that in general birds learn early lessons most emphatically (in this case: Kill chick), whether those lessons pass on selfish genes or not. If the behaviour doesn’t endanger the colony, there will be no impact.

Now, as to understanding child abuse, most abusers harm children entrusted to their care, not children they happen to notice on the street. So it isn’t even a similar situation. About randomly harming other people’s kids, in most societies most of the time, it would be a good way to make the poet’s adage come true:

Bacon’s not the only thing

That’s cured by hanging on a string …

Try explaining how that promotes one’s selfish genes.

What’s spooky is what passes for insight in Darwin’s world.

Your Motor/Generators Are 100% Efficient - October 14, 2011 Excerpt: ATP synthase astounds again. The molecular machine that generates almost all the ATP (molecular “energy pellets”) for all life was examined by Japanese scientists for its thermodynamic efficiency. By applying and measuring load on the top part that synthesizes ATP, they were able to determine that one cannot do better at getting work out of a motor,,, The article was edited by noted Harvard expert on the bacterial flagellum, Howard Berg. http://crev.info/content/111014-your_motor_generators

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