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Showing posts from May, 2011

Intelligence and Human Sex Drive

The notion that humans' sex drive is based on the finding of so-called "ideal" mates is deeply flawed. All the articles written by evolutionary psychologists about subconscious desires to select those who fit the stereotype of what may seem like the best mate in the wilderness i.e. features of physical appearance, are based on the assumption that human sexual selection is identical to any other animal's sexual selection. This is false, not because sexual selection is different itself, because it is not.

As explained in previous posts, sexual selection is constant in all living things, and is defined as the drive to preserve qualities predicted to be advantageous in the face of future, unknown selection pressures. Although the obvious method of carrying out the selection is mating, as seen predominantly in species which go through complex courtship behaviour displays, in humans this has ceased to be the case.

Today I saw a guy at college wearing a black t-shirt with b…

The Relationship between Sexual Selection, Intelligence and Art

Look at the human: a comparatively dull-looking, weak being. No colour, no tusks, no nothing. But look again, and you will see the tanks, works of art, fashion, music, superior communication, and the artificial environments.

Nature might have taken a gamble when physical strength was selected second to a growing brain and intelligence. The gamble certainly paid off, humans don't need strength, we have guns and walls, humans don't need colours, we have dyes and clothes (that inadvertently rhymes!). So we experience, and have experienced, much fewer natural selection pressures and responses, and more artificial responses. For example, although the natural selection pressure of cold weather resulted in a thick fur in polar bears, and therefore turned into a sexual selection pressure due to furry polar bears surviving for longer, the same natural selection pressure resulted in a completely different adaptation for Eskimos - building igloos and shooting bears.

In fact, human intell…

Principles of Evolution - Sexual Selection

If it weren't for sexual selection, evolution itself would be a passive process. Natural selection isn't sufficient in the evolution of life, because it does not deal with predictions of future selection pressures. For example, if a massive natural disaster were to wipe out every single collared pigeon on Earth, then there would be no process in place to bring the collared pigeon back to life. Since the development of the pigeon from its ancestor must have taken a very long period of time, it is a really inefficient idea to just let the pigeon's fate hang by chance. Admittedly, if all members of that species were to be wiped out, the chances of it being reintroduced would be very close to zero.

So, how does sexual selection work to avoid such fates of death of a species? Firstly, let's establish that sexual selection is not the process of reproduction, or self-propagation, but the process by which certain properties are chosen over others to deal with potential future …

Principles of Evolution - Natural Selection

Let's now talk about the processes by which evolution works. This is fairly obvious stuff, but bear with me as I point out areas for improvement, expansion, and reference to humans. The first and foremost principle of evolution which made Darwin well-known is Natural Selection. Again, this links back to a previous principle, that of "all life that cannot exist does not", so many of the principles flow into one another. An important note to make about natural selection is that it is a retroactive process, which means that it works backwards. It does not predict the future, or selection pressures, but instead it acts as a sweeper of life that is no longer self-supporting when faced with a new reflection of its environment. For example, the reflection of a sudden and prolonged lack of food for say, dinosaurs, is put simply a dinosaur without food, and this is a non-supporting life form. Therefore, it becomes extinct.

The principle of Natural Selection states that all living…

Alien Life

Alien life, what an exciting topic! Let's investigate some principles of life which might help illuminate what life forms there are on other planets. One of these principles states that "not all life that can exist does, but all life that cannot exist does not". What this means is that, just because we have discovered certain chemical and physical environments that suggest a life form (for example an earth worm), doesn't mean that an earth worm exists there, or that it will ever exist. However, if the environmental properties are analysed accurately, then it is possible to make an assumption that it is likely for a certain life form to have existed there, or for it to be likely to sometime develop there. The reason why "all life that cannot exist does not" is fairly obvious, either because life will not develop in unfavourable conditions, or because life in unfavourable conditions dies.

Another result of that principle is that evolution never reaches a dead…

Principles of Life

Let's now start with the beginning. All those capable of basic reasoning have at some point wondered what life is. What's the purpose of life? How do I know I am alive? These are just a few questions that seem to have swept humans for a long time. For a moment, let's move away from humans, and focus specifically on life as a general entity. Think of a frog, a bacterium, a rose, or even an extraterrestrial life form. We are going to look at the principles which govern universal life.

As chemistry lies on physics, so does biology lie on chemistry. That is, in order to understand the development of life, we must look at the development of those which make up life: chemical compounds and their behaviour. It is conclusively established that atoms seek stable electron configuration, and this is what drives atoms. The pursuit of chemical stability ultimately results in the development of life forms. By definition, all life is self-supporting (survival) and self-propagating (multi…

First Blog, Ever.

Before we start to explore evolution, let me outline what this blog is about, and what approaches it will take. Most people are aware of the theory of evolution. However, the predominant context of it has been restricted to the animal kingdom, and the most obvious animal of all has been ommitted: you, the human. Us, Homo sapiens. Articles of so-called "evolutionary psychology" may jump up in your head right now. Something about the colours women wear, or the jobs men want. Something about sex, something about money. Something silly.

This blog aims to explore the fundamental principles of life and evolution, and apply them to the surrounding world, with an emphasis on humans. This blog aims to challenge evolutionary psychology with evolutionary biology. This blog aims to cast light on many dark areas such as:

What is the cause, course and effect of life? Are there principles which apply to all forms of life, on Earth and other places in the Universe? Can we predict life forms…