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Darwinian grandmother hypothesis takes another hit

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More to the point, is that Grandma or a wolf?

“Evolutionarily,” one might almost say, Darwinism dies hard. It rolls off the tongue of a TED talk type. One can construct any kind of story about nature without the benefit of having ever lived with very much of it because it is a laid-on, one-size-fits-all theory. For example, there is the “grandmother” hypothesis, which attempts to account satisfactorily for the fact that kids have grandmas and weasels don’t (At neast not in the emotional sense). Every so often, in a type of event we can only hope will become more frequent, someone actually tests the burble:

The studies are part of a broader effort to explain the existence of menopause, a rarity in the animal kingdom. The so-called “grandmother hypothesis” stipulates that, from an evolution standpoint, women’s longevity is due to their contributions to their grandkids’ survival, thus extending their own lineage (SN: 3/20/04, p. 188)…

In the Finnish study, researchers wanted to know if grandmas eventually age out of that beneficial role. The team used records collected on the country’s churchgoers born from 1731 to 1895, including 5,815 children. Women at that time had large families, averaging almost six children, with about a third of kids dying before age 5. Sujata Gupta, “Evolutionarily, grandmas are good for grandkids — up to a point” at Science News

What they found was that when grandma was young enough to reliably help, grandchildren’s survival increased but when she wasn’t (over 75), it declined, possibly because she drew off caregivers.

Not much was learned about the menopause puzzle. But then it’s not clear that menopause is even a puzzle. Women, unlike she-bears, can easily outlive their supply of eggs, mainly by belong to a community where old people are cared for. Something to do with human exceptionalism which, if you will recall, is not supposed to exist. Why anyone doubts that humans are exceptional is more of a puzzle than menopause.

Sadly, it probably doesn’t matter whether the grandmother hypothesis explains anything about human history because it doesn’t need to. It needs only to be a Darwinian talking point, trotted out at the correct time.

Still, if you are interested, see also: Shock! Darwinism does not explain why old women exist

Evolutionary medicine: Insomnia in the elderly is due to evolution?

The Grandmother Hypothesis, yet again

Menopause caused by guys staying home

“Grandmother” Thesis In Human Evolution Takes A Hit: The “grandmother” thesis is that the reason our ancestors didn’t kill granny was that she helped out. (And then somehow religion got involved, and …) An actual study showed that “The hazard of death for Dogon children was twofold higher if the resident paternal grandmother was alive rather than dead. This finding may reflect the frailty of elderly grandmothers who become net consumers rather than net producers in this resource-poor society.”

and

Evolutionary psychology: The grandmother hypothesis yet again

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4 Replies to “Darwinian grandmother hypothesis takes another hit

  1. 1
    AaronS1978 says:

    I never understood this ridiculous hypothesis. Of course if there’s an extra person to help the chances of your children surviving go up that happens even when you have a fully functional grandpa to. Anytime you can have family members that are very capable of working together a mother, the grandpa, the father cousins, aunts, sisters brothers, even the grandma the current children are going to benefit from it, it is a duh situation. Oh and go Fig when they couldn’t help the survival of the children went down so it’s just common sense.

    It also seems so dumb that there has to be an evolutionary reason for everything but it creates the illusion of design

  2. 2
    vmahuna says:

    Well, I think there is some unstated assumption that FATHERS were helping raise their own kids. This is VERY unlikely, since the IDEA that males had ANYTHING to do with females producing babies is VERY modern (um, later than 10,000 BC??). Sociologists generally reckon the DISCOVERY of ANY male role in producing offspring from the time that a society switched from EXCLUSIVELY worshiping The Earth Mother to SUDDENLY making the PREMIER Deity the Sky God. (e.g., Thor and Odin are Sky Gods) Prior to the switch, ALL “new life” was assumed to be a GIFT from the Earth Mother, which required ZERO other inputs.
    So, a manpack generally encouraged mothers to raise new pups, but when times got tough, the babies went FIRST. Then the women. There is a quote from one of the first Europeans (Darwin himself??) to have extended contact withe the Amerindians of southern South America and Tierra del Fuego. The European remarked on the fact that he’d just seen the guys bash in the head of one of the grandmothers (“old women”) and asked they hadn’t killed a DOG if they needed food. The response was, “DOG catch seal.” So it is VERY dangerous and misleading to attempt to apply modern Western ideas about Ethics and social structure to humans living under DIFFERENT social norms.

  3. 3
    bornagain77 says:

    Many Grandmothers, often to the frustration of parents, are overly loving and even self-sacrificially giving to their grandkids. But love, empathy, and self-sacrificial giving have absolutely no place within the morality enshrined 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.

    If evolution by natural selection were actually the truth about how all life came to be on Earth then the only life that should be around should be extremely small organisms with the highest replication rate, and with the most ‘mutational firepower’, since only they, (since they greatly outclass multi-cellular organism in terms of ‘reproductive success’ and ‘mutational firepower’), would be fittest to survive in the dog eat dog world where blind pitiless evolution ruled and only the fittest are allowed to survive. The logic of this is nicely summed up here in this following Richard Dawkins’ video:

    Richard Dawkins interview with a ‘Darwinian’ physician goes off track – video
    Excerpt: “I am amazed, Richard, that what we call metazoans, multi-celled organisms, have actually been able to evolve, and the reason [for amazement] is that bacteria and viruses replicate so quickly — a few hours sometimes, they can reproduce themselves — that they can evolve very, very quickly. And we’re stuck with twenty years at least between generations. How is it that we resist infection when they can evolve so quickly to find ways around our defenses?”
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....62031.html

    In other words, since successful reproduction is all that really matters on a neo-Darwinian view of things, how can anything but successful, and highly efficient reproduction, be realistically ‘selected’ for? Darwin himself stated, “every single organic being around us may be said to be striving to the utmost to increase in numbers;”

    “every single organic being around us may be said to be striving to the utmost to increase in numbers;”
    – Charles Darwin – Origin of Species – pg. 66

    The logic of natural selection is nicely and simply illustrated on the following graph:

    The Logic of Natural Selection – graph
    http://recticulatedgiraffe.wee.....35.jpg?308

    As you can see, any other function besides successful reproduction, such as much slower sexual reproduction, sight, hearing, abstract thinking, and especially altruistic behavior (such as grandmothers spoiling their grandkids), would be highly superfluous to the primary criteria of successful reproduction, and should, on a Darwinian view, be discarded, and/or ‘eaten’, by bacteria, as so much excess baggage since it obviously would slow down successful reproduction.

    Yet, contrary to this central ‘survival of the fittest’ assumption of Darwinian evolution, instead of eating us, time after time we find micro-organisms helping each other, and us, in ways that have nothing to with their own ‘survival of the fittest’’ concerns.

    The following researchers said they were ‘banging our heads against the wall’ by the contradictory findings to Darwinian ‘survival of the fittest’ thinking that they had found:

    Doubting Darwin: Algae Findings Surprise Scientists – April 28, 2014
    Excerpt: One of Charles Darwin’s hypotheses posits that closely related species will compete for food and other resources more strongly with one another than with distant relatives, because they occupy similar ecological niches. Most biologists long have accepted this to be true.
    Thus, three researchers were more than a little shaken to find that their experiments on fresh water green algae failed to support Darwin’s theory — at least in one case.
    “It was completely unexpected,” says Bradley Cardinale, associate professor in the University of Michigan’s school of natural resources & environment. “When we saw the results, we said ‘this can’t be.”‘ We sat there banging our heads against the wall. Darwin’s hypothesis has been with us for so long, how can it not be right?”
    The researchers ,,,— were so uncomfortable with their results that they spent the next several months trying to disprove their own work. But the research held up.,,,
    The scientists did not set out to disprove Darwin, but, in fact, to learn more about the genetic and ecological uniqueness of fresh water green algae so they could provide conservationists with useful data for decision-making. “We went into it assuming Darwin to be right, and expecting to come up with some real numbers for conservationists,” Cardinale says. “When we started coming up with numbers that showed he wasn’t right, we were completely baffled.”,,,
    Darwin “was obsessed with competition,” Cardinale says. “He assumed the whole world was composed of species competing with each other, but we found that one-third of the species of algae we studied actually like each other. They don’t grow as well unless you put them with another species. It may be that nature has a heck of a lot more mutualisms than we ever expected.
    “,,, Maybe Darwin’s presumption that the world may be dominated by competition is wrong.”
    http://www.livescience.com/452.....f-bts.html

    And again, directly contrary to the central ‘survival of the fittest’ assumption of Darwinian evolution, we find that bacteria are also directly helping us in essential ways that have nothing to do with their own survival of the fittest concerns:

    NIH Human Microbiome Project defines normal bacterial makeup of the body – June 13, 2012
    Excerpt: Microbes inhabit just about every part of the human body, living on the skin, in the gut, and up the nose. Sometimes they cause sickness, but most of the time, microorganisms live in harmony with their human hosts, providing vital functions essential for human survival.
    http://www.nih.gov/news/health.....gri-13.htm

    We are living in a bacterial world, and it’s impacting us more than previously thought – February 15, 2013
    Excerpt: We often associate bacteria with disease-causing “germs” or pathogens, and bacteria are responsible for many diseases, such as tuberculosis, bubonic plague, and MRSA infections. But bacteria do many good things, too, and the recent research underlines the fact that animal life would not be the same without them.,,,
    I am,, convinced that the number of beneficial microbes, even very necessary microbes, is much, much greater than the number of pathogens.”
    http://phys.org/news/2013-02-b.....tml#ajTabs

    In fact, Darwin himself offered this following ‘anti-altruism’ 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”… and even stated that “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.”

    “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
    http://darwin-online.org.uk/Va.....-1859.html

    And yet, directly contrary to Darwin’s claim that “Natural selection cannot possibly produce any modification in any one species exclusively for the good of another species”, it is now known that “Microbial life can easily live without us; we, however, cannot survive without the global catalysis and environmental transformations it provides.”

    The Microbial Engines That Drive Earth’s Biogeochemical Cycles – Paul G. Falkowski – 2008
    Excerpt: Microbial life can easily live without us; we, however, cannot survive without the global catalysis and environmental transformations it provides.
    http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/v.....8;type=pdf
    – Paul G. Falkowski is Professor Geological Sciences at Rutgers

    As well, in the following article Dr. Wolf-Ekkehard Lönnig reveals that “in thousands of plant species often entirely new organs have been formed for the exclusive good of more than 132,930 other species.”

    Plant Galls and Evolution
    How More than Twelve Thousand1 Ugly Facts are Slaying a Beautiful Hypothesis: Darwinism2
    Wolf-Ekkehard Lönnig – 7 September 2017
    Excerpt: in the case of the galls, in thousands of plant species often entirely new organs have been formed for the exclusive good of more than 132,930 other species, these ‘ugly facts’ have annihilated Darwin’s theory as well as the modern versions of it. The galls are not ‘useful to the possessor’, the plants. There is no space for these phenomena in the world of “the selfish gene” (Dawkins). Moreover, the same conclusion appears to be true for thousands of angiosperm species producing deceptive flowers (in contrast to gall formations, now for the exclusive good of the plant species) – a topic which should be carefully treated in another paper.
    http://www.weloennig.de/PlantGalls.pdf

  4. 4
    bornagain77 says:

    Moreover, to dive a little bit deeper, the falsification of this ‘survival of the fittest’, i.e. ‘selfish’, thinking occurs at the molecular level too.

    Dawkins’ ‘selfish gene’ concept is more of less directly based on Darwin’s own ‘survival of the fittest’ thinking about competition. Yet genes are now found to be anything but selfish. Instead of being ‘selfish’, genes are now found to be existing in a holistic web of mutual interdependence and cooperation (the antithesis of selfishness).

    What If (Almost) Every Gene Affects (Almost) Everything? – JUN 16, 2017
    Excerpt: If you told a modern geneticist that a complex trait—whether a physical characteristic like height or weight, or the risk of a disease like cancer or schizophrenia—was the work of just 15 genes, they’d probably laugh. It’s now thought that such traits are the work of thousands of genetic variants, working in concert. The vast majority of them have only tiny effects, but together, they can dramatically shape our bodies and our health. They’re weak individually, but powerful en masse.
    https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2017/06/its-like-all-connected-man/530532/

    Theory Suggests That All Genes Affect Every Complex Trait – June 20, 2018
    Excerpt: Mutations of a single gene are behind sickle cell anemia, for instance, and mutations in another are behind cystic fibrosis.
    But unfortunately for those who like things simple, these conditions are the exceptions. The roots of many traits, from how tall you are to your susceptibility to schizophrenia, are far more tangled. In fact, they may be so complex that almost the entire genome may be involved in some way,,,
    One very early genetic mapping study in 1999 suggested that “a large number of loci (perhaps > than 15)” might contribute to autism risk, recalled Jonathan Pritchard, now a geneticist at Stanford University. “That’s a lot!” he remembered thinking when the paper came out.
    Over the years, however, what scientists might consider “a lot” in this context has quietly inflated. Last June, Pritchard and his Stanford colleagues Evan Boyle and Yang Li (now at the University of Chicago) published a paper about this in Cell that immediately sparked controversy, although it also had many people nodding in cautious agreement. The authors described what they called the “omnigenic” model of complex traits. Drawing on GWAS analyses of three diseases, they concluded that in the cell types that are relevant to a disease, it appears that not 15, not 100, but essentially all genes contribute to the condition. The authors suggested that for some traits, “multiple” loci could mean more than 100,000.
    https://www.quantamagazine.org/omnigenic-model-suggests-that-all-genes-affect-every-complex-trait-20180620/

    Gene Pleiotropy Roadblocks Evolution by Jeffrey P. Tomkins, Ph.D. – Dec. 8, 2016
    Excerpt: Before the advent of modern molecular biology, scientists defined a gene as a single unit of inheritance. If a gene was found to influence multiple externally visible traits, it was said to be pleiotropic—a term first used in 1910.2 During this early period of genetic discovery, pleiotropy was considered to be quite rare because scientists assumed most genes only possessed a single function—a simplistic idea that remained popular throughout most of the 20th century. However, as our understanding of genetics grew through DNA science, it became clear that genes operate in complex interconnected networks. Furthermore, individual genes produce multiple variants of end products with different effects through a variety of intricate mechanisms.2,3 Taken together, these discoveries show that pleiotropy is a common feature of nearly every gene.,,,
    The pleiotropy evolution problem is widely known among secular geneticists, but rarely discussed in the popular media. In this new research report, the authors state, “Many studies have provided evidence for the ability of pleiotropy to constrain gene evolution.”,,,
    “Our study provided supportive evidence that pleiotropy constraints the evolution of transcription factors (Tfs).”,,,
    The authors state, “We showed that highly pleiotropic genes are more likely to be associated with a disease phenotype.”,,,
    http://www.icr.org/article/9747

    Such ‘holistic cooperation’ is, needless to say, the exact polar opposite of being ‘selfish’ as Dawkins had envisioned. (And should, if Darwinism were a normal science instead of being basically a religion for atheists, count as a direct falsification of the theory).

    In fact on top of genes being in a holistic web of mutual cooperation, the genetic responses of humans are designed in a very sophisticated way so as to differentiate between hedonic (selfish) and ‘noble’ (altruistic) moral happiness:

    Human Cells Respond in Healthy, Unhealthy Ways to Different Kinds of Happiness – July 29, 2013
    Excerpt: Human bodies recognize at the molecular level that not all happiness is created equal, responding in ways that can help or hinder physical health,,,
    The sense of well-being derived from “a noble purpose” may provide cellular health benefits, whereas “simple self-gratification” may have negative effects, despite an overall perceived sense of happiness, researchers found.,,,
    But if all happiness is created equal, and equally opposite to ill-being, then patterns of gene expression should be the same regardless of hedonic or eudaimonic well-being. Not so, found the researchers.
    Eudaimonic well-being was, indeed, associated with a significant decrease in the stress-related CTRA gene expression profile. In contrast, hedonic well-being was associated with a significant increase in the CTRA profile. Their genomics-based analyses, the authors reported, reveal the hidden costs of purely hedonic well-being.,,
    “We can make ourselves happy through simple pleasures, but those ‘empty calories’ don’t help us broaden our awareness or build our capacity in ways that benefit us physically,” she said. “At the cellular level, our bodies appear to respond better to a different kind of well-being, one based on a sense of connectedness and purpose.”
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....161952.htm

    Moreover on top of all that, if anything ever went against Darwin’s claim that “Natural selection cannot possibly produce any modification in any one species exclusively for the good of another species”, it is the notion that a single cell can somehow became tens of trillions of cells that cooperate “exclusively for the good of other cells” in a single organism for the singular purpose of keeping that single organism alive.

    To claim that one cell transforming into the tens of trillions cells, (of extremely cooperative, even altruistic, cells that make up our ONE human body), is anything less than a miracle is either sheer arrogance or profound ignorance (perhaps both).

    One Body – animation – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pDMLq6eqEM4

    Mathematician Alexander Tsiaras on Human Development: “It’s a Mystery, It’s Magic, It’s Divinity” – March 2012
    Excerpt: ‘The magic of the mechanisms inside each genetic structure saying exactly where that nerve cell should go, the complexity of these, the mathematical models on how these things are indeed done, are beyond human comprehension. Even though I am a mathematician, I look at this with the marvel of how do these instruction sets not make these mistakes as they build what is us. It’s a mystery, it’s magic, it’s divinity.’
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....57741.html

    “The mere fact that a firefly comes from a single cell that then develops into a firefly puts it in a completely different league [from an iPhone]. That doesn’t happen with smartphones. Factories make smartphones. Fireflies come from fireflies and come from an initial fertilized cell. It’s absolutely mind-boggling. We have no idea how a single cell produces an adult. These things are marvelous.”
    – Doug Axe PhD. molecular biology – The Problem with Theistic Evolution – video – 1:00 minute mark
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ndRBUyW6EbM

    Thus in conclusion, the claim that Darwinian evolution can produce altruistic morality of any sort, (such as overly loving Grandmothers), is directly contradicted by the empirical evidence at every turn.

    One final note, Objective Morality of any reasonable sort can only be realistically grounded within Theism, and I would further argue that the ‘noblest morality’ of all, to be found within any particular Theistic worldview, is to be found within Christian Theism alone:

    Romans 5:8
    But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

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