Read about The Theory of Interest first, if you've come here because of women. Otherwise, check the table of contents. Despite model scenarios, you can lose some illusions here.

Pokud jste tu kvůli ženám, přečtěte si, o čem Teorie zájmu vlastně je. Jinak zkuste rovnou obsah. Ač uvedené jsou modelové situace, nedivte se, když tu přijdete o iluze.

Evolutionary Biology  

Posted by SomeoneCZ in ,

WolvesFor thousands of years, man has evolved and so his behavioral patterns have evolved and consolidated – tools of evolution have shaped the mankind – man and women. And thanks to that, we know how to get them. It is nice, but erroneous idea. Evolutionary biology [9, 10] "as is" is OK. In the following text, the criticized evolutionary biology corresponds to its popularization that focuses on relationships and seduction – there's an error (and not just one;-). As you'll notice later, we'll get into e.g. etiology and sociology as well.


The Selfish Gene

One cannot overlook as the interpreters of evolutionary biology back their claims with The Selfish Gene [11]. It has led to misinterpretation into such degree that corrections were published even in science popularization writings such as [12].

Let us start with the selfishness as the main motive of the book. It is popular to assume that there is a lot of junk in the human DNA. Here comes the calling it as selfish – if it does not encode any protein, it has no relation to the organism. According to Dawkins, genes use the organism to survive, not vice-versa. This answered many questions, but... in DNA, there is complete retrovirus ERV-3 for instance. This retrovirus prevents the immunity system of mother to dispose an embryo as it is a foreign organism [13, 14, 15]. Without ERV-3, human would cease to exist. DNA is not selfish in the way it is popularly accepted.

Another misconception goes that gene means one protein and one function. However, Dawkins never said it has to be exactly this way. Human genome contains 34.000 genes, which encode over 100.000 proteins. Clearly, and despite mass-media propagation, it really is a misconception.

In late 50s of 20th century, James Watson and Francis Clark described DNA's structure and replication. It led to a belief that DNA is a human blue print. It did not take long and in a medical practice, we could see a procedure coming out of this invalid idea. In USA, pregnant women used thalidomide that induces inborn defects [17], as it has been discovered later. The all-knowing blue print produced something different under the influence of the environment – something different than it was supposed to produce.

A possible look is that DNA is really a human blue print that just conditions the production plan accordingly to the environment. The problem is that we still miss one importance piece – RNA. RNA has a regulatory function that affects itself and DNA. As published in 1995, an unexpected proof came from the world of plants [16].

Another important discovery, polydnaviruses [18], was done in 2004 – i.e. almost thirty years after the book. Although they are mostly referenced with wasps, we can assume that they played an important role in the process of the evolution. They lead to all what has been described above. For instance, mammals have not developed ERV-3, they took it from somebody else – no evolution, but assimilation. Just like the Borg... resistance is futile:-) The gene-centered view on the evolution gets complicated somehow...

Oh, I see next generation of love potions, superseding today's pheromones, which are based on polydnaviruses: "Buy our virus – just apply and then sneeze on the girl you want":D

In his book, Dawkins introduced the “meme” term to explain a cultural evolution as an analogy to genes. The problem is that some information, such as polydnaviruses, was not known, when he wrote the book.

Even a correct procedure gives bad results, when supplied with erroneous input parameters. For instance, erroneous in a sense of missing information. And that's what I see as the core of mistakes, which have been done in the name of evolutionary biology that is applied to human relationships. In the further text, I'll analyze several popular mistakes, which are being accepted because of unfamiliarity with scientific facts.


Peacock Theory

A popular example is Pickup's Peacock Theory. Basically, you copy behavior of e.g. the mentioned peacock. Are we supposed to blindly accept that he is at the same evolutionary step as a human? ;-7 Their males have flashy, colored plumage to attract females. And for instance, in The Game book, Style recommends flashy, colorful outfit. I would say, he tells you to dress like idiots without a touch of elegance. I would say that all over the room, to all mercenaries and users, such outfit yells: "Hey, I am easy loot and if you use me, I'm even gonna be delighted by my belief, what a belter I am". But I give another motivation – whose social behavior is more similar to human? Peafowl or wolves? Wolves. So, take your time and look at a wolf pair and you'll see no peacocking there.

Pickup backs this theory with Handicap Principle [19]. Basically, it says that if the male survives, to female it is a demonstration of genes' quality, as he can eat and not be eaten.

Speaking with the language of diplomats, the following text gives examples, which cast shadows of doubts upon the Pickup's use of the handicap principle. If you would like to study signaling costs and their relationships with gene quality, you can start e.g. with [20].

Let us start with the ability to hunt a prey. What does a peacock eat? Well, the mentioned wolves are not his usual prey, perhaps. It would be something smaller like insects, plant parts, flower petals, etc. So, his coloring would not be such problem at all... But, it is logical – if the coloring would affect the success of getting food, those "promising" males would not survive and thus not pass their genes.

And now, let us continue with the ability to avoid predators. Where does a peacock live? You can meet him in a garden, zoo, somewhere they care about him. I omit this scenario since the predator either cannot get to him, or the peacock would stand no chance. Or do you thank that he could defend himself from e.g. a dog attack? Perhaps, in Chivava case;-) And how about the wildlife? No freely living predator, such as wolf, hunts down any animal in the reach. Clearly, the question of survival is given by conditions, under which he encounters a predator – and they will meet. The peacock's colored plumage increases probability that a predator will notice peacock's presence. But it does not mean that predator will start the hunt immediately once the peacock is discovered.

Peacock defends himself as he drastically changes his appearance, including loud sound. He tries to discourage the aggressor. And then a hungry predator came...

Peacock uses his colored plumage to attract females, to defend himself and it does not affect his food supplies – what handicap do you see? Selfish, as well handicap, is a badly chosen naming as people already have these words associated with other meaning than they have here. Humor is an example of handicap as well – it is a way to demonstrate certain qualities too;-)

There is an interesting thing. Human and wolf – they are both predators. And their males and females do not distinguish with a coloring. In the sense of Peacock theory assumptions, Pickup puts you into the role of a prey. Do you remember, what I said about the outfit's yelling right in the beginning?

However, if you would like to be able to comprehend consequences, you have to be able to face up the following – to a woman, you necessarily does not need to mean something more than a sexual toy for a night. Even if that could be a pleasant experience for you, you could be snared and used only.

Shortly given, so many times women have used the following sentence to their advantage: "Stroke his ego and he'll do what you need.".


Jewels

Thinking about the previous section, you might have noticed the following:

  1. Pickup summed apples and pears to get gooseberries.
  2. How do I explain e.g. woman wearing jewels as Miss Right does that?

Woman's appearance participates in her overall ability to keep man's interest – the one she already has, or the one she wants. Improving her look, e.g. staying thin, jewels or a dress, is a way of signaling, what we can expect from her. This goes for both sexes.

Consider a lonely truck driver that is hungry for a woman company for a particular reason. He can assess his options, while comparing at the road staying woman wearing a miniskirt with neatly dressed woman wearing an elegant costume, whom he saw crossing the street in a downtown. Both women have not chosen their outfits randomly, but they did it purposely.

Similarly, judging the outfit of men in a bar, woman can estimate, who is who and what she can get away with him. It depends, whom she wants and what's her plan. Is she after a relationship with a gentleman, or is she going to use some naïve bighead? As you can see again, predator does not change the colors.


Alpha

Another popularized term of great misuse is Alpha. Surprisingly, mainly again from Pickup*. In its use, alpha is a seducer that plants his seed. Women want him and have a sex with him. You would learn that sex-mating is a thrilling endeavor, a fun with alpha, while beta is good just to raise children and to gather resources. Also, you can learn that betas invented trade, money and imposed religion restrictions to restrain their women from having sex with alphas, which women view as more attractive than betas. What happened? You've just encountered a loaded language. Study as the emotional words were used instead of being clear and reflecting facts, the reality. In contradiction to reality, Pickup's emotional context classifies a man in relationship as inferior to an unattached pickuper. Of course, we won't be told this plainly, because it is an obvious non-sense.

*Pickup is not the only one, who does not know how it is. But I've not seen anything else that could challenge Pickup in the number of errors, when it comes to understating the Alpha term.

Let's start from the last saying. Pickup fans, you might wonder, but women can tell, whether a man is interested in a long-term relationship. And what's more interesting, they do not loose their interest level by that. But, if he tells her, right from the beginning, how great relationship they'll have, starring at her with dog eyes, her interest level will start to drop. We can agree, that winner will not use such tactic. Yet, notice the difference – Pickup's emotional context pushes an assumption that a long-term relationship degrades alpha to beta. This is wrong, as you'll see in the following text.

Anybody, who ever studied organization of groups with hierarchy seriously, knows the Omega term that identifies an individual standing at the lowest position. Beta does relatively fine as it occupies second position. It is either a former Alpha, or it is a potential, future Alpha. It is interesting that Omega may be of a greater size than Alpha. So, it is clear that intelligence and social behavior play a role. Thus, you cannot spray yourself with a magic potion and expect it to turn you into an Alpha [98]. Well, you can expect that, but the implication does not fit the reality.

Alpha takes the leadership as he is able to solve existential problems of entire group – i.e. there's required intelligence, enough of experience and the proper social behavior. Thus, you cannot become true Alpha, if you ignore the others. As Alpha is able to solve the existential problems of entire group, his endeavor would include taking care about his offspring.

Pickup of Czech websites argues that up to one third of all children born in marriage have other fathers than husband. This number would play their song, but there is no telling, where they got this number. However, e.g. Cosmopolitan made a survey about adultery and the result is: "Nice girls don't do that" [2]. Putting this together with a statistics on artificial insemination, we can watch both results to go against each other. A conclusion of any survey falls and stands with input parameters and evaluation: whom you asked, how you asked, how you interpreted gathered information, including the fact that not all of them must necessarily told the truth. With Cosmopolitan, we could ask, how did they interpret an answer like "I don't remember", and with Pickup, we could ask, how did they get the up to one third. We can find an argument on the one third in its original, not modified version at a demographic portal [21]: "Probably, most of cohabitations is legalized shortly before a birth and therefore almost one third of children is born in 8 months after a wedding.". See, there's no other, in marriage born, one third in entire report and the report covers years from 1950 to 2005. Pickupers either caught this from the air, or they made an erroneous survey, or they argue with a forced interpretation.

People are social, aggressive beings, which are forced to cooperate to survive. Hierarchy is a tool for survival. Solving of everyday problems consumes your energy. Adding aggressiveness and fear as tools to keep your position drastically increase energy consumption. For instance, you might try to score with every babe because of fear of loosing your reputation, i.e. position, inside your group. You need to learn to compromise – you need to learn that you cannot win all the time, or you won't keep enough of energy. If you try to win at any costs, there will be signs of neurotic behavior [22, 23, 24]. So, do you know now, why an alarm should go on as you hear that only the best ones score with every babe?

There is one more reason, why people consider such misinterpreted view as true. Our domesticated dogs are the reason. What I've described above goes e.g. for a wolf pack that has to survive on its own. Therefore the Alpha has to be able to solve existential problems. But domesticated dogs do not need a leader as their survival depends on man, who cares about them [25]. Therefore the heaviest dog becomes leader – the dog that would not guarantee survival of the pack in the wildlife – he does not have the best genes.


Romance Novels

Remember the extelligence [1]. There she is – a woman watches romance novels on TV, while catching her breath to see an outcome of Rodrigo's fight with his bad twin, Christobal, for Emanuela and family wealth. In the very moment, when she starts to behave as in the novel, you can go to pick up mushrooms together with the evolutionary biology. I just remind that extelligence does not take the form romance novels only, but we can find it e.g. as good advices such as "If somebody tries to steal your girl, loyal girl with high interest level in you rejects him automatically.". Yet, to obey the voice of thousand years of evolution, you would like to smash him into the oblivion. Well, some guys behave so.


Adultery

When a man, or a woman, found him/herself in a seasonable situation with someone, who seems to posse appropriate genes, they should have sex. But since everybody is not for adultery, evolution has to stand aside. Civilization has the upper hand.

By the way, it would mean an unsafe sex with a stranger... STD;-)

So, what's the proper interpretation in accordance with evolution? Some animals, e.g. humans, developed monogamous behavior as it is easier for parents to gather resources to ensure survival of young, and parents themselves. Successful pack survives – and we can see the couple as a pack of two members. However, we don't have to go so far, since every man has two grandmas and two grandpas;-)

Some could start telling something about the difference between social and sexual monogamy. Both partners are not sexually exclusive to one another with social monogamy. Do not forget that we talk about humans, mainly about the western civilization. Both partners must agree with outside sexual partners on their free will. Most pairs are not such. For most people, sexual non-monogamy induces insecurities and jealousy, which lead to breakup [26, 27, 28]. Social and sexual monogamy reduces these problems, and therefore such relationships are more stable [28, 29].

Usually, people enter relationship while assuming the sexual monogamy. If one of partners commits adultery under such circumstances, s/he knows very well that s/he breaks the rules they mutually agreed upon. Rationally thinking, cheated partner cannot completely trust the cheating partner. So, what happened? Despite different reasons, they both started to rely less on their relationship. With the cheated partner, we can expect an increased activity not to depend on the un-trustworthy partner too much. And the cheating partner tries to camouflage the adultery and seeks another partner. In both cases, there are increased energy costs, which could be used to build a bright future of the relationship otherwise. In a sexually monogamous relationship, based on a free will of both partners, we do not encounter this loss. It's still the same – the better a pack works, the greater the chances of survival are. That's the reason, why you fear the rejection so much. Aka, if anybody would like to impeach the above stated citations, s/he would have to overcome this event sequence.

Do you see how nicely it fits together with the description of Alpha from the real world? It is the same Alpha, whom a long-term relationship, even a sexually monogamous one, does not disqualify.

Pickup blames the church for enforcing the sexually monogamous relationships. As we can see, Pickup is deadly wrong and the church used a feature that evolution proved as advantageous. Even some people seem unable to understand that a sexually monogamous man can have several partners, but continuously, not concurrently.

Generally, there are two reasons, why man seeks several partners at the same time:

  1. It is a matter of opinions

    1. S/he is not necessarily loyal
    2. A follower of free love – for all parties involved
    3. Environment influence
    4. Ego

  2. Problem in current relationship

    1. There's none as s/he has problem to keep one – frustration, sometimes it is a form of revenge – fine, if you don't want me, I'll treat you like a slut; a faulty selection process may be the reason for this.

    2. There is low interest level in the partner, e.g. because of faulty selection process. S/he sees less difficult to find another partner than to go through the pain of breakup.

    3. Partner has low interest level and that is reflected in his/her behavior – and here we go again with relationship dissatisfaction.

When somebody, from culture where monogamy is preferred, boasts of about non-monogamous behavior, check his long-term relationship. Some people do not stay together because of high interest level on both sides, but because it is more convenient, certain, standing custom... although their pack does not work the best way, it still gives advantages they don't wanna loose. And then they start to miss something...


Evolution as the Cause of Promiscuity

Some people commit adultery and act with a polygamous behavior. So, some started to speculate that it is just a human nature, that monogamy is only a painting of civilization. Saying it shortly: no, it is not. And we can observe correctness of this statement in everyday life, as well as scientific evidence confirms it.

I already warned that it is not that easy to extrapolate animals' behavior to human. So, the following text discusses human specifically, not mammals (where polygamy is usual, in general).

When one of partners commits adultery, why does not the other one like it? Why is the other one getting so upset? If it is a usual, accordingly to the evolution speculators, then the other partner should stay calm as it is something we all do, including him/herself. But s/he does not behave this way. Instead, we can see such behavior, as if human has adapted monogamy.

Let us a take a look at one more counter-example. If polygamy would be a usual choice for human, there will be a lot of illegitimate children. References [148, 149] present a research, when 1600 males with 40 family names (time-induced misspelling was taken into account) were subjects to chromosome-Y testing. The less the correlation between family name and the chromosome would be, the greater the number of illegitimate children would be. However, the test found 4% only of such children.

Of course, it is impossible to derive total number of intercourses from the number of children. However, if polygamy would be usual, the number of illegitimate children would be greater. A woman would not care to prefer her socially-monogamous partner as the father. And her partner would not care as well, as he would be busy making children with other women. Instead, woman usually prefers her partner as the father. Besides being in love, there are more motivations as well – securing resources for survival and achieving stability of the partnership [26, 27, 28, 29].

It is hard to deny that human became dominant specie on this planet. As there is more than one factor for this, successful securing of resources for survival was a required one. And here, we can look for a contribution of monogamy to this.

Human accepted serial sexual monogamy as better than polygamy. Having known cases of adultery does not disprove it.

Although it was not done on human, there was an interesting test done on beetles [150, 151]. The trick is that we can achieve several generations of beetles quickly. So, we can observe as the experiment's idea contributes to their survival fitness. Originally, the referenced test was supposed to prove advantages of female polygamy behavior. They were supposed to have superior offspring to offspring of monogamous females (in terms of fitness to the environment). The test showed the opposite to be true.


Divorce Rate and Adultery

In 2008, there were 31,300 divorce suits filled in Czech Republic; 65% were filled by women. Overall divorce rate got to 49.6% with average marriage-span of 12.3 years. Out of precisely formed divorce reasons, 1,442 reasons were men's adultery and 921 reasons were women's adultery. See [152].

Having at our knowledge just these numbers, there would be two ways to interpret such small ratio of adultery-caused divorce. Either, the adultery is OK, so just a small number of people dislike it. Or, it is vice versa. The second variant is OK – see previously given facts on accepting serial sexual monogamy.

Looking at it from the point of view of evolution, we can get some interesting answers, once we start probing, what caused such great divorce rate with so small adultery ratio.

First of all, there is a possibility that at least one partner pall on the other. So, they lost their interest in continuing with the relationship, having no benefits from it. Or, alcoholism, gambling and other addictions may be a cause as well. However, let's go beyond such obvious reasons.

From time to time, any pair has a problem to deal with. Consider there's a frustration out of these problems. Giving it that there's a threshold, since which a divorce comes on one's mind. Then, there is another threshold, since which the divorce is done. With the time, the society became more tolerant towards divorces. So, the environment lowered both thresholds. Instead of trying harder, it is more acceptable, thus easier, to give it up and have a divorce.

As I gave numbers for Czech Republic, let me note that Czech Republic is a very atheistic country, where communistic party ruled for several decades after WWII. People, as biological specie, exhibit frequently a need to believe. In Czech Republic, they don't believe in God very much, so the in-something-believing ones fill their need somewhere else. The fall of communistic party gave charlatans a field wide open to raise businesses like fortune-tellers, astrologers, non-scientific healers and relationship advisers (not that the earlier given ones would hesitate to mess with relationships). As a result, increased number of people has started to take care about their relationships in such manner that actually harms them.

From evolution's point of view, it is interesting that there are particular brain centers, which are responsible for spiritual thinking [141] – to have a belief in charlatans' alleged abilities.

Next, Internet has grown and become available to wide public. No longer, you need to go to visit a charlatan personally, while facing looks of others, which consider you as a fool. Thanks to the Internet, you can let him to mess with your life, while you are comfortable at home. As most dangerous, I consider such pseudo-experts, which ignore scientific evidence, i.e. objectively proven facts, demonstrate misunderstanding of the topic, and give advices with errors, logical fallacies and vague statements. Once such pseudo-expert behaves as an authority, a lot of people believe him/her [103]. And, it may get yet worse, once s/he would start using manipulative techniques to sell the advices.

Let us consider a model scenario about consequence of a small dispute. Just out of a mood, he went with his friend to have some beer, but she did not like it. So, they had some arguments about this and since they like each other, they started to think about, whose fault it was. Since he (or it could be she) was not sure about this, he connected to some website and asked a pseudo-expert in a good faith. In a fact, he opened his door wide to far bigger problems. The pseudo-expert could have told him that this is a warning sign that his behavior could result in wife's adultery (an artificial fear injection). But he was assured that there's a time, that the pseudo-expert knows what to do. Of course, the pseudo-expert gave him a bad advice that actually harmed the relationship. And if he won't stop listen to bad advices, there will be a divorce.

Such scenario is far more dangerous that the previously given romance novels. Here, it looks like a good thing to un-informed public and to the people in the relationship that is being damaged.

There is an evolution benefit for those, who learn that their environment may harm them by providing bad advices, and who learn how to spot such advices.


Stephen Hawking

Do you know Stephen Hawking? Accordingly to evolution, the group should not let him survive the winter – unless we take a simplifying assumption that several past years are more important than the others.

His survival corresponds with the goal of mankind – to survive. It is known that mankind will not survive, unless it will inhabit other planets. And his work pays off to achieve this goal. Yet, someone had to break existing rules and feed people, who were not able to get food on their own. The intellect that has created a civilization has the upper hand over instincts. The Gom-Jabbar test? [4]


Unlisted Myths of Evolutionary Biology

There are a lot of people, to which the evolution is an uncomfortable fact. For instance, the evolution diminishes successfully the creationist idea of Intelligent Design [155]. When reading about evolutionary biology, take a look at cited sources. If the reading defends a pseudo-scientist's claims, it is not logical to consider the reading as valid. If there's a believer among the cited sources, it is logical to assume a conflict of interests – between his religion and facts, which do not adhere to the religion.

If there is no source given, try to take a look at some fundamental misconceptions. For example, a claim that the evolution has some intention – this is the creationism approach. Or, let us take a look at the claim that a human outran the evolution. Evolution is a process of change in the frequency of genes in a population. So, the myth-claim is a non-sense directly out of the principle.

If there is no cited source, optionally with a revelation of fundamental information, it is a big alert to have mistrust toward the presented information.

Environment lets live those, who fit,
and those change the environment in turn.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, February 20, 2008 at 2:41 PM and is filed under , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .

2 komentářů

Even though I've never taken seriously many of "The Selfish Gene" ideas I don't agree with the way in which you expressed your own non-alingment.

There's some points I would like to comment on:

-DNA is the blueprint for our organism. Fact(this is the most basic thing you learn in genetics or biology classes). That doesn't mean that is the blueprint for human beings from an holistic point if view.

-RNA does NOT control DNA, RNA functions copying and transmiting the information contained in the DNA.

-Do not confuse mutation with evolution, assimilation, as you say, IS a way of evolving so long as it increases the overall chances of survival.

-Handicap principle in short (it needs a thorough cleanup to make it more accurate): Males who expose themselves to a greater extent to danger or agression and survive with ease display superiority within females.

I don't think you are qualified to talk about science, but I still laughed with your "giros" so keep going.

S. from .ar

February 7, 2009 at 8:10 AM

Thanks for the critical insight and "giros" appreciation :-) I'll try to clarify the ideas, so feel free to comment them after that.

If I'd take DNA as complete manufacturing information for an organism, I should get the same organism all the time. However, as the e.g. the thalidomide case has shown, environment affects the result. The point is the word "complete".

Programmatically, we could say that DNA contains "if cond then st1 else st2" sequences and that it contains complete information in this manner. However, since the environment supplies the value of "cond", I don't say that DNA is complete manufacturing information.

If I'd say that it is complete information, then I could assume that DNA contains information how to compensate for various environments to produce the same organism all the time. And this has been shown to be a false assumption.

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Yes, the controlling part was not translated accurately. RNA has a regulatory function that affects DNA. Thanks for the info, it is corrected now.

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The "mutation" term is not even used in the article. Nevertheless, if there's a part that might be misinterpreted on this account, let me know.

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Ideas on the Handicap principle are welcomed. However, I'd rather cautious with some formulations. For instance, comparing Elvis and a Viet Nam vet, we can see they both have military skills and some experience with women. The vet would have a serious problem to keep a super hot babe he has feelings for, while Elvis would have a hard-time to survive in the jungle. I agree with you on the Handicap principle, but there are other factors in the way, when it comes to humans.

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Thanks, but let's take it this way. People, who decided to ruin their lives by believing a pseudoscientific stuff (and I don't say they all did it intentionally) , would not read a truly scientific article as it would be too boring and "non-miracle" for them. This is a way to let some of them to reconsider ideas, which do not hold.

February 7, 2009 at 5:19 PM

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