Evolution Genetics Intelligent Design

Universal formula for “turning on” monogamy: Common descent or common design?

Spread the love

From ScienceDaily:


According to a new study led by researchers at The University of Texas at Austin that looked at 10 species of vertebrates, evolution used a kind of universal formula for turning non-monogamous species into monogamous species — turning up the activity of some genes and turning down others in the brain.

“Our study spans 450 million years of evolution, which is how long ago all these species shared a common ancestor,” said Rebecca Young, research associate in UT Austin’s Department of Integrative Biology and first author of the study published today in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The authors define monogamy in animals as forming a pair bond with one mate for at least one mating season, sharing at least some of the work of raising offspring and defending young together from predators and other hazards. Researchers still consider animals monogamous if they occasionally mate with another.

The researchers studied five pairs of closely related species — four mammals, two birds, two frogs and two fish — each with one monogamous and one non-monogamous member. These five pairs represent five times in the evolution of vertebrates that monogamy independently arose, such as when the non-monogamous meadow voles and their close relatives the monogamous prairie voles diverged into two separate species.

The researchers compared gene expression in male brains of all 10 species to determine what changes occurred in each of the evolutionary transitions linked to the closely related animals. Despite the complexity of monogamy as a behavior, they found that the same changes in gene expression occurred each time. The finding suggests a level of order in how complex social behaviors come about through the way that genes are expressed in the brain.

This study covers a broader span of evolutionary time than had been explored previously. Other studies have looked at genetic differences related to evolutionary transitions to new traits, but they typically focus on animals separated by, at most, tens of millions of years of evolution, as opposed to the hundreds of millions of years examined with this study.

“Most people wouldn’t expect that across 450 million years, transitions to such complex behaviors would happen the same way every time,” Young said. Paper. (paywall) – Rebecca L. Young, Michael H. Ferkin, Nina F. Ockendon-Powell, Veronica N. Orr, Steven M. Phelps, Ákos Pogány, Corinne L. Richards-Zawacki, Kyle Summers, Tamás Székely, Brian C. Trainor, Araxi O. Urrutia, Gergely Zachar, Lauren A. O’Connell, Hans A. Hofmann. Conserved transcriptomic profiles underpin monogamy across vertebrates. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2019; 201813775 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1813775116
More.

This figure from the University of Texas at Austin demonstrates that “At least five times during the past 450 million years, evolution used a kind of universal formula for turning animals monogamous — turning up the activity of some genes (red) and turning down others (blue) in the brain”:

Notice the odd choice of language: What if, instead of saying “evolution used a kind of universal formula for turning non-monogamous species into monogamous species,” they had said “God used a kind of universal formula for turning non-monogamous species into monogamous species”? Does that formula bother you? Why?

Suppose they had just said, “It appears that there is a standard genetic formula for turning non-monogamous species into monogamous species”? Would that bother you too? Why? Because putting it that way makes you wonder about design but saying “evolution used” precludes the thought? If so, Big Brother smiles on you, you dumb cluck. Better find out what else he’s up to these days.

Seriously, the third way of expressing it would be the least value-laden.

Anyway, a friend writes to say, in response to: “Most people wouldn’t expect that across 450 million years, transitions to such complex behaviors would happen the same way every time”: That’s what you would expect if it’s not common descent but common design.

Incidentally, if humans have that coding, what becomes of claims that monogamy isn’t natural to us? Maybe genetic determinism won’t be as popular then.

See also: STDs + Stone Age = Monogamy!!

and

“Two Simulations Reach Opposing Conclusions About Why Monogamy Evolved In Primates”

Follow UD News at Twitter!

17 Replies to “Universal formula for “turning on” monogamy: Common descent or common design?

  1. 1
    Ed George says:

    Notice the odd choice of language: What if, instead of saying “evolution used a kind of universal formula for turning non-monogamous species into monogamous species,” they had said “God used a kind of universal formula for turning non-monogamous species into monogamous species”?

    Or, to really mix things up, what if they had said “evolution used a kind of universal formula for turning monogamous species into non-monogamous species,” Is their language showing a bias other than the anti-religious one?

  2. 2
    AaronS1978 says:

    This sounds like genetic determinism, you are monogamous only because of gene express in your brain, it’s not a choice, but it was once that monogamy was unnatural, now it’s encoded in our dna

  3. 3
    AaronS1978 says:

    And yes it bothers me because my devotion to my wife is nothing but a genetic urge

  4. 4
    vmahuna says:

    I would be wary about this “monogamy” stuff. Several years back, field researchers who took DNA samples from Offspring of one or the other birds that allegedly “mate for life” and discovered that, well, yeah, the main male and female HANG OUT together a lot and apparently help feed the young, but both the males and females were in fact mating with other birds during the same season.

    Similarly, I saw an article a year or so back that pointed out that the HUGE effort male deer exert to build a harem during mating season last perhaps a week or so. Then the females drift off and are rounded up into OTHER harems. NONE of the males who build harems have ANY idea if their matings have been successful or even whether the females they’ve just mated with is already preggers with another male’s fawn.

    But modern Westerners LIKE the myth that other mammals live like modern Western humans. Watch “Bambi” or “Lion King”. Bambi’s mom is implied to be Bambi’s dad’s ONLY “wife”. And it’s the same with the Lions: Simba’s mom is STRONGLY implied to be Mustafa’s ONLY mate. And other young lions in the pride have ALL been fathered by males OTHER than Mustafa. And there is no suggestion that Nala, who becomes Simba’s mate, is obviously his SISTER (or at least half-sister).

    Being “monogamous” for a SINGLE breeding season is most probably just a matter of opportunity, and of course once a female recognizes she’s preggers, her hormones shift and she’s no longer interested in mating with ANY male. Or in the ancient wisdom: it is a smart monkey who knows who his father is.

    Humans are only monogamous if the local social customs and laws demand monogamy.

  5. 5
    Ed George says:

    V

    Humans are only monogamous if the local social customs and laws demand monogamy.

    Or, if you are ET, no other person would mate with you. 🙂 IT’S A JOKE.

  6. 6
    ET says:

    Too late- way too late.

  7. 7
    hazel says:

    Human customs about marriage vary widely. The Wikipedia article on monogamy has some interesting statistics. I’ve read quite a bit about different cultures, and in many monogamy as is the Western ideal is not the norm.

  8. 8
  9. 9
    es58 says:

    They had me going until they mentioned the male brain. As any sjw knows that’s pure bunk and invalidates the whole study.

  10. 10
    Mung says:

    Why can’t it be both descent and design?

  11. 11
    AaronS1978 says:

    Mung you’re absolutely right there is no reason why it wouldn’t be both or couldn’t be both, and there are several ID proponents that do you believe in that.

    In fact that was the one interesting thing about the article, which was the fact that even though these species all broke apart from their common ancestor many many years ago “450 million” ( which I really would like to know what fossil that was all of the choosen animal’s Ancestor) they apparently all independently evolved the same trait for monogamy exactly the same way. Which looking at the diagram it doesn’t look like they actually evolved exactly the same way, I can see that they evolved similarly, but they were not the same as the article claims.

    Honestly though I think the bigger elephant in the room or thing to tackle in this article is the claim that monogamy is genetically linked and not just the cultural adaptation. That it’s not a choice and it’s another proof as the article would imply of genetic determinism.

  12. 12
    ET says:

    Mung:

    Why can’t it be both descent and design?

    It cannot be both Common Descent and Common Design. That said, the only way Common Descent could even be possible is via intelligent design.

  13. 13
    Tom Robbins says:

    “According to a new study led by researchers at The University of Texas at Austin that looked at 10 species of vertebrates, evolution used a kind of universal formula for turning non-monogamous species into monogamous species — turning up the activity of some genes and turning down others in the brain.”

    Ok – let me get this straight – due to the all powerful “Evolution” – however you want to define that seems fine as long as you mention Darwin, and say things like EVOLUTION did this or EVOLUTION did that (lets not worry too much about how, after all its EVOLUTION, which we all know is random and can do ANYTHING, especially impossible things)…but anyway according to EVOLUTION which is a FACT that we all know is one theory and we all know you are simply stupid if you question it (no matter how the mechanisms have changed, and lets not worry about neo-darwinism being dead and all, its still EVOLUTION)…..evolution had (see it has human attributes…evolution “had”, evolution “planned”, evolution “created” evolution “thought up many ways of coping”), but again it had….wait for it……..”a kind of universal formula for turning non-monogamous species into monogamous species — turning up the activity of some genes and turning down others in the brain”

    Man how smart is EVOLUTION! It had genes already there, that could make animals behave like sluts OR, make them behave like a proper couple, and it just kind of decided to start switching these genes on, and turning other genes down, to change very complex BRAIN FUNCTION, and POOF, a bunch of species decided that monogamy was in their best interest (we do not know when EVOLUTION decided on making Pre-nups, if one of the two individuals was much more successful than the other, nor do we understand quite yet when the cheating genes turned on, but EVOLUTION can handle it we are certain of that…. OH MY!!!! oh yeah, and it did all this around the same times, and it had this power all for millions of years before hand, and just waited until being an playa’ was no longer cool, and presto…. oh my!!!

  14. 14
    AaronS1978 says:

    I’m actually really shocked that ba77 Hasn’t brought the holy smackith down upon this one.

    But you are right Tom Robbins the incredible amount of force say that a blind process is capable of actually exercising is unbelievable the other problem is to is whether or not the behavior actually change the mind or the genetics of the mind or whether or not it was the genetics that created the behavior it is obviously assumed that it’s the genetics that originated the behavior. But to be honest with you there’s always an interplay between the two and that it is very possible that these changes since they seem to be so universal we’re due to the creatures actually exercising the behavior. It would make more sense if that was the case, And fits better with the neural plasticity of brains and plasticity of our genome

  15. 15
    ET says:

    You would think that “evolution” would promote promiscuity. To get the most of of variation and all- to spread the genes, etc

  16. 16
    bornagain77 says:

    AaronS1978 you stated

    I’m actually really shocked that ba77 Hasn’t brought the holy smackith down upon this one.

    I really can’t bringeth “the holy smackith down upon this one” any where close to the ‘holy smackith down’ that Tom Robbins brought on it in post 13. Mr Robbins deserves a standing ovation for that post. 🙂

    And AaronS1978 you yourself did not do too bad in bringing up “the neural plasticity of brains and plasticity of our genome”

    But to add a little ole ‘boring’ science to the thread. There are three main flaws with the study that I can see from my first glance.

    The first flawed assumption is that they assume that both common descent and convergent evolution are true.

    “These five pairs represent five times in the evolution of vertebrates that monogamy independently arose,”

    The second flawed assumption is that they assume ‘noble’ morality of any sort, such as monogamy, is compatible with Darwinian evolution.

    The third flawed assumption, indeed the main lie of the paper, is that they assume ‘genetic determinism’ is true and that you have absolutely no control over what your genes tell you to do., i.e. You are just a victim of your genes and you have absolutely no control over whether you sleep around, (or whether you are a homosexual, a alcoholic, a drug addict or a etc.. etc…)

    As to the first flawed assumption, first off supposed genetic trees of common descent are far more problematic for Darwinists than they (rarely) will ever honestly admit to the public,,,

    Logged Out – Scientists Can’t Find Darwin’s “Tree of Life” Anywhere in Nature by Casey Luskin – Winter 2013
    Excerpt: the (fossil) record shows that major groups of animals appeared abruptly, without direct evolutionary precursors.
    Because biogeography and fossils have failed to bolster common descent, many evolutionary scientists have turned to molecules—the nucleotide and amino acid sequences of genes and proteins—to establish a phylogenetic tree of life showing the evolutionary relationships between all living organisms.,,,
    Many papers have noted the prevalence of contradictory molecule-based phylogenetic trees. For instance:
    • A 1998 paper in Genome Research observed that “different proteins generate different phylogenetic tree[s].”6
    • A 2009 paper in Trends in Ecology and Evolution acknowledged that “evolutionary trees from different genes often have conflicting branching patterns.”7
    • A 2013 paper in Trends in Genetics reported that “the more we learn about genomes the less tree-like we find their evolutionary history to be.”8
    Perhaps the most candid discussion of the problem came in a 2009 review article in New Scientist titled “Why Darwin Was Wrong about the Tree of Life.”9 The author quoted researcher Eric Bapteste explaining that “the holy grail was to build a tree of life,” but “today that project lies in tatters, torn to pieces by an onslaught of negative evidence.” According to the article, “many biologists now argue that the tree concept is obsolete and needs to be discarded.”,,,
    Syvanen succinctly summarized the problem: “We’ve just annihilated the tree of life. It’s not a tree any more, it’s a different topology entirely. What would Darwin have made of that?” ,,,
    “battles between molecules and morphology are being fought across the entire tree of life,” leaving readers with a stark assessment: “Evolutionary trees constructed by studying biological molecules often don’t resemble those drawn up from morphology.”10,,,
    A 2012 paper noted that “phylogenetic conflict is common, and [is] frequently the norm rather than the exception,” since “incongruence between phylogenies derived from morphological versus molecular analyses, and between trees based on different subsets of molecular sequences has become pervasive as datasets have expanded rapidly in both characters and species.”12,,,
    http://www.salvomag.com/new/ar.....ed-out.php

    Second off, ‘convergent evolution’ actually falsifies the hypothesis of common descent. So for them to assume both convergent evolution and common descent in the same paper is actually a self-refuting aspect of the paper.

    Problem 7: Convergent Evolution Challenges Darwinism and Destroys the Logic Behind Common Ancestry – Casey Luskin February 9, 2015
    Excerpt: Whenever evolutionary biologists are forced to appeal to convergent evolution, it reflects a breakdown in the main assumption, and an inability to fit the data to a treelike pattern. Examples of this abound in the literature,,,,
    Biochemist and Darwin-skeptic Fazale Rana reviewed the technical literature and documented over 100 reported cases of convergent genetic evolution.126 Each case shows an example where biological similarity — even at the genetic level — is not the result of inheritance from a common ancestor. So what does this do to the main assumption of tree-building that biological similarity implies inheritance from a common ancestor? With so many exceptions to the rule, one has to wonder if the rule itself holds merit.,,,
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....91161.html

    Extinct Four-Eyed Monitor Lizard Busts Myth of a Congruent Nested Hierarchy – Günter Bechly – April 23, 2018
    Excerpt: One of the most essential doctrines of Darwinian evolution, apart from universal common descent with modification, is the notion that complex similarities indicate homology are ordered in a congruent nested pattern that facilitates the hierarchical classification of life. When this pattern is disrupted by incongruent evidence, such conflicting evidence is readily explained away as homoplasies with ad hoc explanations like underlying apomorphies (parallelisms), secondary reductions, evolutionary convergences, long branch attraction, and incomplete lineage sorting.
    When I studied in the 1980s at the University of Tübingen, where the founder of phylogenetic systematics, Professor Willi Hennig, was teaching a first generation of cladists, we still all thought that such homoplasies are the exceptions to the rule, usually restricted to simple or poorly known characters. Since then the situation has profoundly changed. Homoplasy is now recognized as a ubiquitous phenomenon (e.g., eyes evolved 45 times independently, and bioluminiscence 27 times; hundreds of more examples can be found at Cambridge University’s “Map of Life” website).
    https://evolutionnews.org/2018/04/extinct-four-eyed-monitor-lizard-busts-myth-of-a-congruent-nested-hierarchy/

    The “Shared Error” Argument – Cornelius Hunter – April 17, 2017
    Excerpt: the evolutionist’s contention that common descent is needed to explain those shared mutations in different species contradicts the most basic biology. Simply put, similarities across species which cannot be explained by common descent, are rampant in biology. The olfactory system is no exception. Its several fundamental components, if evolution is true, must have evolved several times independently. The level of independent origin which evolutionists must admit to (variously referred to as convergent evolution, parallel evolution, recurrent evolution, cascades of convergence, and so forth depending on the pattern) is staggering and dwarfs the levels of similarities in the olfactory receptor genes. To cast those relatively few similarities as mandates for common descent, while ignoring the volumes of similarities that violate common descent constitutes the mother of all confirmation biases.
    http://darwins-god.blogspot.co.....prove.html

    The second flawed assumption is that they assume ‘noble’ morality of any sort, such as monogamy, is compatible with Darwinian evolution.

    In fact, Darwin himself offered this following ‘anti-moral’ standard as a falsification criteria for his theory,

    “Natural selection cannot possibly produce any modification in any one species exclusively for the good of another species; though throughout nature one species incessantly takes advantage of, and profits by, the structure of another. But natural selection can and does often produce structures for the direct injury of other species, as we see in the fang of the adder, and in the ovipositor of the ichneumon, by which its eggs are deposited in the living bodies of other insects. If it could be proved that any part of the structure of any one species had been formed for the exclusive good of another species, it would annihilate my theory, for such could not have been produced through natural selection.”
    – Charles Darwin – Origin of Species

    And as I showed the other day, that ‘anti-moral’ falsification standard laid out by Darwin himself has been met on several different levels:

    Where is love, empathy, and altruism to be found in Darwin’s ‘survival of the fittest’ maxim?
    “One general law, leading to the advancement of all organic beings, namely, multiply, vary, let the strongest live and the weakest die.”
    – Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species
    Morally noble altruistic behavior of any type is simply completely antithetical to Darwin’s ‘survival of the fittest’ theory.,,, (here are several examples that falsify that base assumption of Darwinian evolution)
    https://uncommondescent.com/philosophy/getting-at-what-we-mean-by-truth/#comment-670690

    The third flawed assumption, indeed the main lie of the paper, is that they assumed ‘genetic determinism’ is true and that you have absolutely no control over what your genes tell you to do., i.e. You are just a victim of your genes and you have absolutely no control over whether you sleep around, (or whether you are a homosexual, a alcoholic, a drug addict or a etc.. etc…)

    Yet genetic determinism is now known to be false, besides the fact that, according to empirical science, “It’s the organism controlling the DNA, not the DNA controlling the organism.”

    “It’s the organism controlling the DNA, not the DNA controlling the organism.”
    https://uncommondescent.com/genetics/is-the-age-of-the-gene-finally-over/#comment-670822

    ,,, besides the fact that, according to empirical science “It’s the organism controlling the DNA, not the DNA controlling the organism”, genetic determinism is also falsified by the fact that “mindfulness” is now shown to be able to reach all the way down and effect the gene expression of our bodies

    Scientists Finally Show How Your Thoughts Can Cause Specific Molecular Changes To Your Genes, – December 10, 2013
    Excerpt: “To the best of our knowledge, this is the first paper that shows rapid alterations in gene expression within subjects associated with mindfulness meditation practice,” says study author Richard J. Davidson, founder of the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds and the William James and Vilas Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
    “Most interestingly, the changes were observed in genes that are the current targets of anti-inflammatory and analgesic drugs,” says Perla Kaliman, first author of the article and a researcher at the Institute of Biomedical Research of Barcelona, Spain (IIBB-CSIC-IDIBAPS), where the molecular analyses were conducted.,,,
    the researchers say, there was no difference in the tested genes between the two groups of people at the start of the study. The observed effects were seen only in the meditators following mindfulness practice. In addition, several other DNA-modifying genes showed no differences between groups, suggesting that the mindfulness practice specifically affected certain regulatory pathways.
    http://www.tunedbody.com/scien.....ges-genes/

    Besides that falsification of genetic determinism, and in direct contradiction to the atheistic claim that our thoughts are merely the result of whatever prior state our material brain happens to be in, ‘Brain Plasticity’, the ability to alter the structure of the brain from a person’s focused intention, has now been established by Jeffrey Schwartz, as well as among other researchers.

    The Case for the Soul – InspiringPhilosophy – (4:03 minute mark, Brain Plasticity including Schwartz’s work) – Oct. 2014 – video
    The Mind is able to modify the brain (brain plasticity). Moreover, Idealism explains all anomalous evidence of personality changes due to brain injury, whereas physicalism cannot explain mind.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oBsI_ay8K70

    Thus in conclusion, their paper fails on at least three different levels as far as empirical science itself is concerned.

    Whereas philosophically, their primary failure is that they have ignored that “There is a moral or metaphysical part of nature as well as a physical. A man who denies this is deep in the mire of folly.”

    From Adam Sedgwick – 24 November 1859
    Cambridge
    My dear Darwin,
    ,,,, There is a moral or metaphysical part of nature as well as a physical. A man who denies this is deep in the mire of folly. Tis the crown & glory of organic science that it does thro’ final cause , link material to moral; & yet does not allow us to mingle them in our first conception of laws, & our classification of such laws whether we consider one side of nature or the other— You have ignored this link; &, if I do not mistake your meaning, you have done your best in one or two pregnant cases to break it. Were it possible (which thank God it is not) to break it, humanity in my mind, would suffer a damage that might brutalize it—& sink the human race into a lower grade of degradation than any into which it has fallen since its written records tell us of its history.,,,
    https://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/letter/DCP-LETT-2548.xml

    Verse:

    2 Corinthians 5:17
    Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 

  17. 17
    AaronS1978 says:

    Thank you sir I actually do Appreciate your posts and the work that you put into them citing all your sources 🙂

Leave a Reply