[ExI] IQ and beauty

Anders Sandberg anders at aleph.se
Mon Oct 19 08:47:00 UTC 2015

OK, I have not followed this discussion closely, but a cursory look 
showed me these papers:

Sexual selection may be OK in some environments but not others 
(extensive discussion on the elk example)

Some evidence sexual selection increases extinction risk in birds, but 
it might be a double-edged tool:

No evidence sexual selection affects extinction rates in mammals:

Sexual selection (at least in beetles) protects against accumulating 
mutational load:

My guess, after this scan and noting biologists still disagree ten years 
after the initial papers, is that the effect is not clear-cut at all.

On 2015-10-19 03:22, Dan TheBookMan wrote:
> On Sun, Oct 18, 2015 at 6:09 PM, John Clark <johnkclark at gmail.com 
> <mailto:johnkclark at gmail.com>> wrote:
> > On Sun, Oct 18, 2015  Rafal Smigrodzki <rafal.smigrodzki at gmail.com 
> <mailto:rafal.smigrodzki at gmail.com>> wrote:
> >>  you say it's in the bible, it's your job to quote chapter and verse.
> >
> > I don't have a bible, but maybe the October 28 1982 issue of Nature 
> pages 818 to 820 will do,
> For those who prefer a URL, see:
> http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v299/n5886/abs/299818a0.html
> The article is titled 'Female choice selects for extreme tail length 
> in a widowbird.'
> This will only do for the species in question. Also, this is an extant 
> species. How would this prove the case that sexual selection drove 
> another species -- e.g., the Irish Elk -- to extinction?
> > if not try
> > page 201 of Richard  book "The Blind Watchmaker".
> The link is:
> https://books.google.com/books?id=sPpaZnZMDG0C&q=201#v=snippet&q=201&f=false
> This merely tells what sexual is in lay terms. It doesn't present an 
> actual example of a species going extinct from sexual selection.
> >> Also, I already provided links to articles arguing against your 
> position.
> >
> >
> > You provided no links that say a peacocks tail aids in a individuals 
> survival or is aerodynamic or does anything other than help in finding 
> a mate.
> > You did provided 3 links and you were correct when you said "
> > All three point towards sexual selection as generally increasing the 
> likelihood of species survival
> > ". Well...how could it be otherwise? I
> > f it did not then either sexual selection or species would have 
> disappeared long long ago, it has not so sexual selection must 
> generally increasing the likelihood of species survival
> > . QED.
> >
> > However the key word is "generally" and that means there are 
> exceptions, and that means that sexual selection can cause Evolution 
> to make mistakes as it did with the ridiculous antlers of the Irish 
> Elk and drive the species into extinction.
> That's still a speculation with regard to the Irish Elk. There are 
> many theories of why it went extinct. Why is not possible that range 
> reduction and hunting by humans played a much bigger role here than 
> merely having supersized antlers? (If we're going to go back to the 
> 1980s, e.g., check out this article: 
> http://www.sciencemag.org/content/228/4697/340 -- 'Taphonomy and Herd 
> Structure of the Extinct Irish Elk, Megaloceros giganteus.' Note what 
> the abstract states: adult males with small antlers seemed to have 
> died during winter segregation from females. What might that imply, if 
> true, about big antlers having an impact on survival?)
> >>  Because off-the-cuff anthropomorphic psychologizing doesn't 
> rigorously (i.e. mathematically)
> >
> >
> > Evolution will never be totally as rigorous as some other sciences 
> because it depends
> > as much on history as it does on mathematics.
> Maybe so, but then we also look toward data -- e.g., looking at the 
> fossils or extant species -- and see what happens. We can check 
> speculations against both mathematical models and field data -- all 
> while admitting this isn't a purely deductive science.
> > And psychoanalyzing is not needed
> > to know that humans and animals are attracted to some things and 
> repelled by others
> > and at least some of those likes and dislikes are genetic.
> This is true, though one has to be very careful trying to do this with 
> extinct species like the Irish Elk. We don't have direct field 
> observations of their behavior. We can use some extant species as 
> models -- other elk, for instance -- though one has to be careful with 
> conclusions drawn. And, of course, one can try to infer behavior from 
> fossil remains, but that also requires care. But, that said, it seems 
> the experts here are not all lining up for big antlers did the Irish 
> Elk in. :)
> >> tackle the stuff of evolution (mutation frequency, fitness payoff, 
> heritability, etc.).
> >
> > A trait is not heritable if a mate can not be found. Human females 
> are sexually attracted
> > to human males they find attractive and the same is true for female 
> Irish Elk. For female
> > Irish Elk the larger the antlers the more attractive, and so antler 
> size increased explosively
> > with disastrous results for the species. Our ancestors must have 
> found something else
> > attractive, something else that could be used as a obvious marker 
> for fitness; perhaps it
> > was intelligent behavior, if so that would explain the unprecedented 
> increase in brain size
> > hominids underwent in the last million years or so. Fortunately for 
> us intelligent behavior
> > does more does more that just help in finding a mate and so we are 
> not extinct
> > , at least not yet.
> At best, this is speculative. You're giving us the same just so story 
> for why the elk went extinct. You need to present better data and a 
> stronger argument -- one that addresses why other factors -- loss of 
> habitat, range fragmentation, human hunting -- didn't play a bigger or 
> dominant role in their extinction. The works you cited don't seem to 
> make that a slam dunk case.
> Regards,
> Dan
>   Sample my Kindle books via:
> http://www.amazon.com/Dan-Ust/e/B00J6HPX8M/
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Dr Anders Sandberg
Future of Humanity Institute
Oxford Martin School
Oxford University

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