[ExI] IQ and beauty

John Clark johnkclark at gmail.com
Tue Oct 20 22:37:26 UTC 2015

On Tue, Oct 20, 2015 at 2:32 PM, rex <rex at nosyntax.net> wrote:

> ​> ​
> Many aspects of evolutionary theory are testable.



ideas/theories that cannot, in principle, be falsified have no place

> in science.

​In principle you could surgically attach fiberglass antlers that were
9 feet wide and weighed 90 ponds onto a modern elk, the animal would get
them for free and wouldn't have to pay the metabolic cost of growing them
each year as a Irish Elk did; but even so I don't think you'd have to wait
long to observe a drop in survival rates compared with elk without the huge
prosthesis. If the experiment has not been done it's only because it would
violate cruelty to animals laws, and attaching such a monstrosity to a elk
really would be cruel.     ​

> I know that the Irish Elk isn't an elk at all,
>> it's a deer.

​I've heard that complaint before and I think it's silly; yes it was a deer
but it was also a elk.
The word "deer" is a large category of several different species ​of
​, one particularly large species is is the modern elk​. The extinct Irish
"Elk" was also a large ruminant and people wanted  to call it something
besides its Latin name and elk was as good a name as any.

> who cares? Likewise for the meaningless
>> distinction between "horn" and "antler" here.

​Meaningless? Such a cavalier attitude ​would explain why somebody giving
us a lecture on the Irish elk thinks a plot of body weight vs horn size has
any relevance. The words "horns" "antlers" and "tusks" all refer to big
things sticking out of a
animal but that's about all they have in common; the 3 things have very
different growth patterns, evolutionary histories and functions. Horns and
tusks are permanent structures but antlers are temporary and must be
regrown each year at great metabolic cost. Antlers are made of cartilage,
horns are modified hair and are made of keratin, and tusks are modified
teeth made of the hardest substance in the body, enamel. Antlers are chick
magnets, horns and tusks probably serve that function too but they also
make excellent weapons, and elephant tusks can even manipulate things to
some degree

​> ​
> Like most, I use the terms "horn" and "antler" interchangeably

​Yes I've noticed, but somebody who had a serious interest in why the Irish
Elk went extinct would not.   ​

> ​> ​
> Do
>> you think anyone here will be distracted from the main thesis if
> "horn" is used instead of "antler"?

​Yes because most people around here are not dilettantes.

  John K Clark   ​
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