Darwin’s sexual selection (seen as an alleged massive shaper of evolution) has given rise to any number of naturalist legends, including—local favourites—the Darwinbird of Pop Science and the Clever Abortion Mare.
Of course, sexual selection could spark new species. Lots of events could. At least in theory. The problem is, it must persist generation after generation to make and maintain a difference. How often can it work that way unchecked in an ecology where a great many other shaping events are happening at the same time?
Beauty Darwin & Design is a new short film from the John 10:10 project.
It’s an interesting theory but the obvious problem is that transmissible cancers are, as the authors admit, rare. They may always have been rare, relative, say, to predation or extinction—whether sex was part of a life form’s organization or not.
Sexual conflict, and sexual selection in general could conceivably turn out to be so “complicated” that, while it usually makes a difference when it occurs, it does not point in any particular direction for evolution.
Contrary to assumption, 1) smell was important in locating mates and 2) males and females had different smells 3) produced by symbiotic bacteria. One wonders how many other life forms would challenge simple evolution tales if they were closely studied.
Male birds are more likely to do so: After a five-year experiment, researchers from Florida State University and the Tallahassee-based Tall Timbers Research Station found that when fewer mates were available for brown-headed nuthatches, these small pine-forest birds opted to stay home and help their parents or other adults raise their offspring… Associate Professor of […]
Popscience: No natural mechanism is remotely suggested, so we must assume that it is sheer mental power, of the sort that we species-ists once thought existed only in humans, that enables the hen bird to plan for her chicks’ future. Shame on us!
If this report is a first, we might want to go a bit light on the traditional Darwinism while more bees are researched. If people used to think males wouldn’t do this, they will realize that one can be mistaken; those who rush in with an easy traditional answer might be too.
It’s odd. The fact that he came to doubt the thesis after twenty years is the first time some of us sense a good reason to at least take it seriously. That is, the fact that a specific hypothesis of that sort might be wrong implies that others might turn out to be right, as opposed to mere Darwinian storytelling.
The biggest problem, which Jabr discusses, is whether beauty really exists or is it just an illusion that promotes our genes’ survival, as a naturalist (nature is all there is) must insist. Yet, despite the stale “Darwin himself” creedal statements, the long piece ends on a curiously tolerant, ecumenical note.
Our physics color commentator Rob Sheldon writes to offer some thoughts on the recent study of bees, which failed to confirm selfish gene thinking as an explanation for communal life: This is really a most interesting study. If you recall, E. O. Wilson got fame and glory for studying ants. The problem he addressed, is […]
Explains everything and its opposite! Our philosopher and photographer friend Laszlo Bencze writes to apprise us of “the definitive explanation” of why men want to pay on a first date: “There is an evolutionary reason for this, says Helen Fisher, a biological anthropologist and senior research fellow at the Kinsey Institute at Indiana University Bloomington. […]
It’s as if evolutionary biologists are beginning to take some of the problems of Darwinism seriously enough to discuss them openly, as failures in research. In this case, the failure of claims for sexual selection (females drive evolution by choosing the fittest mates) are openly publicized. In the past five years, meta-analyses and reviews have […]
From ScienceDaily: Research on evolution typically focuses on the importance of social interactions, including parent-offspring bonding, competition for resources, and courtship and mating rituals. But Nathan Bailey at the University of St Andrews in Scotland and his colleague Allen Moore at the University of Georgia realized that isolation must then be an extreme condition worthy […]