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It’s Time To Stop Feeding The Monkeys

Posted by inspir3d on February 25, 2007

Lately, I have noticed something very strange – people regularly resort to pseudo-science, particularly Darwinism, to make sense of history, culture, politics, arts and even something as mundane as car maintenance. It’s everywhere these days, if only one cares to tune in and seek it out.

Policy makers are the worst, they regularly tell us welfare is bad. And why is it bad? Because it destroys our Asian work ethics by eroding away our Asian values. The key word here isn’t a word as much as it is a mere punctuation, the argument stops there, it doesn’t go on further. That’s the problem. Managers are even worse, they come up with statements like, “If it doesn’t kill you, it will make you stronger” (obviously they have never negotiated with a freight train before.) Again we see the finality of the argument, this time in its wonderful completeness. It doesn’t even go on to the next sentence. There in lies the beauty of a circular argument, it’s self explanatory. Even parents who presumably love and care for their kids regularly say, “They just need to learn the hard way.” And everyone looks up and says, “OK.” As if it’s cut and dried. So what’s happening here? Am I like Rip Van Winkle who suddenly wakes up from a marathon slumber only to discover something has suddenly overtaken the human race?

Where are these people drawing their attributions from, when they speak like that? Has the world’s water supply been laced with mind numbing drugs by Al Qaeda? Or are perhaps you and I living in a parallel universe that mirrors the contradictions of our time?

Not really. When people speak along such lines, they are of course referring impliedly to Darwinism, namely the theory of the survival of the fittest. It’s a theory that attempts to provide explanations of natural phenomena as methodological principles based on the process of natural selection.

A classic case that’s often cited is how natural selection operates on a particular species of Amazonian frogs to ensure their survival through mimicry. It goes like this: some frogs taste lousy to their reptilian predators, and snakes being snakes quickly wise up from a few revolting bites. After a while, they learn to distinguish which frogs are good and bad by registering the different patterns, colors and profiles. Frogs that taste good soon get smart and begin to mimic the coloration and patterns of their distasteful frog buddies and by doing so, they also manage to avoid being eaten up. As each successive generation of tasty frogs get whittled down because they haven’t adapted rapidly enough to pick up on mimicking the less tasty frogs, the cumulative survival rate of the nice tasting frogs increases as they gain greater proficiency in being able to mimic the color, pattern and profile of the less tasty frogs. In time, even the offspring of these survivors will be quite adept at fooling the best predators, thus staving off extinction through a process of deception, brought forth by natural selection. That’s natural selection in a nutshell.

The only problem with Darwin’s theory is, I am not Kermit the frog and the problems of my life don’t half mirror the likes of Sammy the snake who is out to take a swipe out of me. Neither can it explain how or why metaphoric Darwinian models of natural selection have managed to leach into the sphere of rational science to play such a dominant role in politics, economics, sociology and technology today, nor why professionals and subject matter experts regularly deploy Darwinian models to shore up what would otherwise be a questionable line of logic. One clue lies in the widespread appeal of Darwinian logic – it’s a compelling model that manages to explain much of the phenomena that has played a role in shaping contours of past and present.

You don’t need to be sociologist to figure out how cultural variants can be easily modeled into gene mutations propagated over time in human minds and the environment only to result in explainable cultural revolutions that can provide cogent explanations for historical development. Neither do you need to be a psychologist to figure out why babies typically cry out at ear shattering decibels – according to Darwinian theory, they are helpless. And unless the weak can attract the attention of adults – they will just perish. It makes sense right? That’s the problem, it makes too much sense.

And it’s one that leads me to question the wisdom of using Darwinian theory as the basis of explaining much of what we still consider as mystery today. Are we using the right tools to do the job? The stakes are high because, if we aren’t, it simply means garbage in and garbage out, no matter how logical we come across during the course of a debate.

It’s not a simple question. Adherents who see nothing apparently wrong with facilitating the migration of Darwinian theory – to render sense and proportion to their field of study – will be quick to point out crying babies do have the power to provoke positive reactions from their parents, a natural trait that’s vital of survival. But it still doesn’t explain why a certain number of parents react negatively by putting their wailing babies into drawers while they go out and enjoy a movie and a curry. These incidences fortunately fall into the minority, but nonetheless they go some way to illustrate the flaws associated with mindlessly transplanting Darwinian theory to explain much of the phenomena that remains inexplicable.

Evolutionary psychology also explains why welfare is bad because they say, it softens the backbone of those who may otherwise choose to work instead of relying on social benefits. Yet Darwinian theory remains blind to the demoralizing effects of long term employment and how it scours down the human spirit (not everyone is fortunate enough to work for Neolithic stone bowl SPH where journalists typically have one whole working week to write only one article!). Neither does Darwinian theory take into account the prevailing economic mood of the times or even question whether there are actually enough jobs to go around.

It’s at best, a one dimensional ruler that attempts to demystify very complex problems by reducing them to their common denominator to render phenomena more explainable. That there are indeed lazy people who may be de-motivated to seek employment, if there is welfare is indeed palpable in today’s world is undeniable based on Western experiences; that it is connected to hollowing Asian work ethic values is probable; that it is logically explainable by applying purely Darwinian theory to a perennial problem remains nonsensical!

Darwinian theory is NOT a rational theory to flesh out historical, cultural and political development. It may provide an account of how chopsticks manage to find their way to Japan. Or why Korean housewives still continue to make Kimchi. But it cannot explain why there are five million Jews in the state of Israel surrounded by 200 million over Arabs. Neither does it explain why the gentlemanly pursuit of dueling suddenly fell into disrepute in the late 19th century. Or why Singapore suffers from the highest rate of myopia in the world. The limits of Darwinian theory become all too evident when power and politics is introduced into the equation.

This is where Darwinian theory falls flat on its face, it wasn’t designed to address the complexities of modern society where free markets feature along side abstractions such as globalization or even the concept of a 9 to 5 job. Neolithic man was a hunter gatherer who foraged the lands without regard to all these modern attributions and to ascribe currency to the Darwinian theory as a means of making sense of the problems of our age is seriously misplaced logic. It cannot even take into account the realities or complexities which modern life generates – problems such as people living longer than they are supposed too, or a frenetic pace of city living which is not so different from the “Red Queen,” syndrome, named after the character in “Through the Looking Glass” who found it necessary to run constantly just to keep up with a world that was constantly moving beneath her feet. Unfortunately, it’s a war of attrition, one where our sinews will eventually give way and we will inevitably tire and stumble only to fall by the way side. Against this pantheon of realities, one really sees how inadequate it is when apparently learned men still cling to the pre Edenic tools of using Darwin’s theory to justify their line of reasoning.

Perhaps the most corrosive effects of allowing Darwinian theory to seep into our consciousness, be it managing human resources, profiling policies or simply to make sense of the world, lies in the widespread misconception that it’s a robust model that doesn’t suffer from any systematic flaws. If we are to believe Darwinian theory holds the key to our continued survival by nurturing competitive means to stave off the effects of extinction, this naturally requires us to question whether the theory implies progress or a step up from the status quo. But as modern science has shown, even this notion is at best fragile and at worst downright dubious. Part of the weakness of Darwinian theory lies in, it isn’t so much based on progress as it is on controlled regression, and the reasons are simple: man isn’t supposed to live forever. In fact, no species is. We are all supposed to eventually perish and natural selection isn’t so much a way to move forward or improve as it is a means to engineer a soft landing for our inexorable demise.

There lies the broken dreams of Darwinian theory. As paleontologists have long known based on fossil records, a typical mammalian species lasts roughly ten million years, so we might expect to last another nine million, though I seriously doubt even this optimistic view considering how the human race is barreling inexorably towards extinction in the way we mismanage the environment. Every species has a built in mechanism of self destruction, one that is programmed accounting for its primacy to its eventual relegation from the face of this planet. It’s one that’s encoded in our helix like the devil in the details, and it’s inescapable – its simply called the life cycle of man, mankind doesn’t even stand a chance. It’s a condition that forces us to ask ourselves whether it is wise to continue to allow Darwinian theories to proliferate in the way we used them to make sense of the complexities of our world.

In my view, it is one that creates more problems than solutions in this age. Above all, relying on this crude Neolithic tool to make sense of modern day complexities bleaches away everything that is noble about being a human, to be able care, empathize and love others who may be less fortunate than us.

To even believe for one moment coherent and rational arguments, decisions, strategies and plans can be premised on Darwinian theory is good entertainment. It’s one that the serious people of this world cannot even take very seriously for one moment, because they all know that it remains, tragically, just monkey business. And the sum of its worth is barely a handful of peanuts.

I think it is time to stop feeding the monkeys.

(By Darkness / Chinese New Year 2007 / EP000001/ 0001/ 2007 / The Brotherhood Press 2007)

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58 Responses to “It’s Time To Stop Feeding The Monkeys”

  1. Evolutionary psychology also explains why welfare is bad because they say, it softens the backbone of those who may otherwise choose to work instead of relying on social benefits.

    Please point me to even one professional evolutionary psychologist (not armchair pontificator) who would say that. Just because there are some policy makers who know nothing about biology who say that doesn’t mean you can tar all evolutionary thinkers with the same brush.

  2. Every species has a built in mechanism of self destruction, one that is programmed accounting for its primacy to its eventual relegation from the face of this planet. It’s one that’s encoded in our helix like the devil in the details, and it’s inescapable – its simply called the life cycle of man, mankind doesn’t even stand a chance. It’s a condition that forces us to ask ourselves whether it is wise to continue to allow Darwinian theories to proliferate in the way we used them to make sense of the complexities of our world.

    This is simply incoherent. There is nothing programmed into any species’ DNA that ensures that it will go extinct. In fact, if you think about it, the fact that life has subsisted on earth since 3.5 billion years ago necessarily means that there was a continuous lineage of organisms descending from the earliest ones; i.e. all species that are on earth today are ones that have not gone extinct for 3.5 billion years — they have merely evolved. You are welcome to argue that humans will evolve too — but that hardly means they will be relegated from the face of the planet.

    I have no idea what makes you think that the eventual extinction of any species says anything about the applicability of evolutionary biology. After all, any pronouncements about the extinction of species is based on an evolutionary outlook on life. It is misleading to say that paleontology tell us that the average mammalian species lasts 9 million years, for the same reason I brought up in the previous paragraph — mammals have been around for >65 million years, so obviously each mammalian lineage still on earth today has survived >65 million years — it’s just that most of them look nothing like the mammals of the Cretaceous.

  3. dodo said

    I don’t understand your examples. What reasons do you have to believe that policy makers, managers and parents use “Darwinian” theories to justify those actions? Do you mean social(cultural) evolution when you say Darwinism and Darwinian Theory?

    Your frog example is not quite accurate. They don’t get smart and mimic coloration and patterns. It’s just that those with colors and patterns that look more like the nasty tasting frogs get to live and reproduce while the others get eaten.

    I suppose the problem with the “fakers” is that their they are selling their untested hypotheses as proven facts when they are not.

    “It is misleading to say that paleontology tell us that the average mammalian species lasts 9 million years, for the same reason I brought up in the previous paragraph — mammals have been around for >65 million years, so obviously each mammalian lineage still on earth today has survived >65 million years — it’s just that most of them look nothing like the mammals of the Cretaceous.”

    And there is that question of how to define the term “species”.

  4. Trajan said

    (1)Is extinction inexorable? Is every species supposed to get stronger and smarter with time?

    If that is the case, then the math is against you. Why dont you go and do a comparative study between the number of species that has survived beyond 10 million years. Because I can mention 9,010,329 have gone the way of the dodo. Clue: University of Chicago / Prof Leigh Van Valen / longevity on Tennyson’s “types.”

    Go and come back to me.

    (2) Which part of the frog part did you not understand? It was written in plain and simple English.

    “I have no idea what makes you think that the eventual extinction of any species says anything about the applicability of evolutionary biology.”

    It says alot, it means we the human race are using a wrong theorem or formula to base our reasoning on.

    By deliberately highlighting this anomaly darkness is also saying the entire basis of building ANY rational argument based on evolutionary theory i.e survival of the fittest is fundamentally flawed bc it fails to recognize how (a) the condition precedents have changed dramatically, neolithic man did not have to deal with a billion issues which confront modern man (b) survival of the fittest = immoral / zero ethics / nil humanity.

    “It is misleading to say that paleontology tell us that the average mammalian species lasts 9 million years, for the same reason I brought up in the previous paragraph — mammals have been around for >65 million years, so obviously each mammalian lineage still on earth today has survived >65 million years — it’s just that most of them look nothing like the mammals of the Cretaceous.”

    This is wrong, factually, theoretically and otherwise.

    If you want to point out faults please kindly attach your attributions in future.

    You cannot expect me to educate you when you obviously have not even bothered to do you homework.

    BTW perhaps you can share with us some empirical data to show us all the error of our ways, why it is “misleading.”

  5. Trajan said

    “Please point me to even one professional evolutionary psychologist (not armchair pontificator) who would say that.”

    Psychologist

    (1) Otis
    (2) Dudley
    (3) Duncan
    (4) Geist

    Reports of the national center for science edu Vol 24, No 5 2004.

    (5) Charles Darwin,

    Who noted in his seminal works the origins of the species how Spain ceased to be a world power bc the elite typical joined the ranks of the clergy, thus failing to perpetuate the good genes.

    You asked for 1, I gave you 5, if you want more, you know where to come.

    Trajan

  6. Harphoon said

    Gentlemen

    Let us all cool down for a moment and consider the crux of darkness’s post. He was merely lamenting how evolutionary theory i.e survival of the fittest has recently proliferated much of what we call today, the science of decision making i.e to be or not to be. In doing so he did indeed pooh pooh ET by giving a few thought provoking examples to illustrate how much of what happens in politics, economics, sociology and tech has absolutely nothing to do with this theory. He specifically mentions the formation of the state of Israel as an example to illustrate how politics was a key determinant carving out a Jewish state which would otherwise never come about through gradual historical and social development or evolution. He also mentions the demise of dueling which was specifically brought to an abrupt end because of the legislation. Once again we see the effects of positive political intervention as being key factors which brought about these changes and they have nothing to do with evolutionary theory.

    From my POV, the gist of his point is, if ET is a lousy road map that leads to a dead end, why are so many people still using it as a priori of justification? They should be junking it!

    Another underlying point that he is making is, it is wise for all of us to go one step further whenever we encounter monkey talk. Instead of being bovine and simply accepting it as a rational argument, we need to go one step further and ask the really jugular questions, like what is this line of logic premised on? Are there any counter arguments? Are there any other contrarian models? That is why in the final part, he uses the term, “the serious men” – he is implying that anyone who simply resorts to monkey talk to win arguments should never be treated as a heavy weight and he simply doesn’t have any time with these people.

    It is a polite way I think of telling these people to FO bc all they are going to get from his is a handful of nuts. I am of course just postulating on probabilities and we all know they hardly add up to possibilities.

    However, pls all including you Trajan calm down.

  7. extinct croc hunter said

    “There is nothing programmed into any species’ DNA that ensures that it will go extinct.”

    Actually there is, thats why certain species of fishes commit mass suicide for no apparent reason by beaching themselves en masse by the thousands for no apparent environmental or conditional reasons.

    You can check it out. As for the DNA of homo sapiens, it is actually programmed to self destruct, why do you think we grow older? On a larger construct using fractal logic if an individual degenerates against the time line. On a larger fractal scale, the species will do the same – its called fractal theory analysis.

    If you think you are a big fish just bc you know a bit of math / research methodology.

    My advice to you is think again. Otherwise I assure you, they will make you look very small. In every pond there is always a bigger fish somewhere – welcome to the extinction game.

  8. extinct croc hunter said

    Ponder Stibbons,

    let me tell what is going to happen next. The big monkey darknes probably hasnt read your post yet.

    But trust me when he does, he will come knocking on yr door.

    I know these people, I have seen it with my own two eyes (I know you dont believe me, but you can ask anyone who regularly follows them. This is the stuff of legends)

    He has taken a man apart and put him back again like a lego set. He hasnt done it once, twice, thrice, but at least 50 times in his moniker lifetime.

    Trust me, this will happen very soon. So you better start hitting the books bc the big ape is coming.

    You made a big bubu by taking a confrontational stance with the big monkey (IMHO that was not necessary, there are so many ways to skin a cat).

    So there you have it, the low down (thats really as good as it gets). Now I am just going to sit back, sip my ribena and watch it all happen.

    Online bloodsports!

  9. darkness said

    Did you know, if you put a stick of cinnamon in a steaming cup of coffee, time just stops.

    Good bye all and peace. I am tired of fighting, so very tired.

    You see that door, I am walking thru it.

  10. Actually there is, thats why certain species of fishes commit mass suicide for no apparent reason by beaching themselves en masse by the thousands for no apparent environmental or conditional reasons.

    You can check it out. As for the DNA of homo sapiens, it is actually programmed to self destruct, why do you think we grow older? On a larger construct using fractal logic if an individual degenerates against the time line. On a larger fractal scale, the species will do the same – its called fractal theory analysis.

    Individual humans are programmed to self-destruct. The human species is not. Your fish example shows nothing about the human species; it shows nothing about the fish species either since, like lemmings, individual colonies may self-destruct while the species doesn’t go extinct.

    You have not addressed my point about chronological species “extinction”. Clearly it is not possible that every lineage of organisms ends after 9 million years, since in that case life would not have had a continuous 3.5 billion year history. Clearly, humans are descended from a lineage of organisms that has been around for 3.5 billion years. Over these years, their descendants have passed through many ‘species’ stages (as someone pointed out, where to draw the boundaries of ‘species’ is somewhat arbitrary). Hence the ‘species’ that humans were, say, 4 million years ago, is not around today, but it has not died out — it has simply changed into what we know as humans today. I am speaking here the distinction between pseudoextinction and the complete extinction of one group of organisms without passing the genes on. For example, the dodo is truly extinct — it did not change into another distinct species. The common ancestor of humans and chimpanzees is ”extinct” but its lineage clearly has not died out — humans and chimpanzees are still around today. What I am suggesting is that in 9 million years ‘humans’ may not be like humans today, so they would count as a different ‘species’ and homo sapiens would be labelled ‘extinct’, but this does not mean that mankind has not and will not continue to survive beyond that. All ‘extinction’ in that sense would mean is that the descendants at that time are considered sufficiently distinct from current humans to be classified as a different species.

  11. Trajan said

    “Clearly it is not possible that every lineage of organisms ends after 9 million years”

    Disagreed.University of Chicago / Prof Leigh Van Valen / longevity on Tennyson’s “types.”

    Tell me one species that has survived beyond this period!

    I do not ask for two, three or four. I just ask for one.

    Can you pls oblige us?

  12. Trajan,

    Charles Darwin is not an evolutionary psychologist. Evolutionary psychology as a discipline only emerged in the 1980s. Further, evolutionary psychology is not the mere acceptance of the fact that human behaviour has evolutionary reasons. It is a systematic body of axioms, amongst which are massive modularity and the computational nature of our brains. Darwin has no clues about such things at that time. The semi-official manifesto of evolutionary psychology is found here. Tooby and Cosmides are widely considered the ‘founders’ of evolutionary psychology.

    No doubt many thinkers before the 1980s have used evolution to try and justify social policies. However, evolutionary psychology is a specialised, well-defined discipline that only emerged in the 1980s. It is therefore simply wrong to say that anyone before then could have been an evolutionary psychologist. Social Darwinist, sociobiologist, yes. But not evolutionary psychologist.

  13. Trajan said

    You seem for some reason to confuse life with species. Tell me what does a human have to do with a ameoba? Nothing. We are focussed on specificity here, while for some reason you seem to be quite content to base yr assumptions on generalities.

    Again pls tell one species that has survived beyond 10 million years. I ask for one, I do not even ask for two or three or even four.

  14. Trajan said

    “Charles Darwin is not an evolutionary psychologist.”

    I correct you sir, if you read the origin of the species that he penned, he draws specific references to the aristocracy in Spain, Scotland and England. If this is not evidence of evolutionary psychologist then can you tell me what it is?

  15. Trajan said

    To need to seriously invest in the reading! You have not even produced a single attribution concerning the issues I have raised!

    Where are these attributions?

    We are waiting.

  16. Trajan,

    Are your first four citations a joke? I went to the NCSE issue in concern here and the only articles with your names in it are on obitruary of the sociologist Otis Dudley Duncan and another article by Otis Dudley Duncan himself, which is about creationism and nothing to do with evolutionary psychology. Kindly explain how you think that is relevant.

  17. Trajan said

    “Evolutionary psychology as a discipline only emerged in the 1980s.”

    I correct you again sir. In Mein Kampf, Adolf Hitler promugated the theory that inferior races would ultimately corrupt the purity of the Aryan order. Hence he proposed the extermination of the inferior races to protect the welfare of the Aryans.

  18. astroboy said

    That will keep you busy for a while hehehehehe.

  19. Trajan,

    Did you read the Tooby and Cosmides article? That is what evolutionary psychology is. Evolutionary psychology is not social Darwinism. It is not even sociobiology. If you would like more definitions of evolutionary psychology, look at the links section of the Wikipedia article here. Also check out David Buller’s “Adapting Minds” (which by the way is against evo-psych but does have a good definition of what evo-psych is) and Steven Pinker’s “The Blank Slate”.

  20. astroboy said

    “Are your first four citations a joke? I went to the NCSE issue in concern here and the only articles with your names in it are on obitruary of the sociologist Otis Dudley Duncan and another article by Otis Dudley Duncan himself, which is about creationism”

    Wrong again! Fail to draw the connection that a large part of the creationist argument is predicated on the theory of evolution.

    The ratio decidendi that validates evolutionist theory needs to be seen in the context of socialogical development, namely how did human beings develop. Hence it questions the premise of evolution as a valid assumptive context.

    Again I am asking where is your attribution?

  21. Trajan,

    Once again you are completely missing the point. Hitler was a social Darwinist. However he was not an evolutionary psychologist. Please tell me how Hitler suscribed to massive modularity, the EEA, the computational nature of the brain, and various other axioms of evolutionary psychology as formulated by its founders Tooby, Cosmides, Sperber and Buss amongst others. If you do not suscribe to those axioms you are not an evolutionary psychologist.

  22. Trajan said

    I am asking a very simple question name one species that has survived beyond 10 million years! Stop talking abt life, that is the easy part. I am just asking for one species, I am not even asking for two, three or four.

    Just one will do! Produce it and you win this debate

  23. Astroboy,

    I am not disputing that Duncan is making an evolutionary argument. I am disputing the fact that he is an evolutionary psychologist. Once again, kindly read the link to Tooby and Cosmides, the many articles in the link at Wikipedia, and tell me how the creationist article addresses evo-psych. If it does not involve massive modularity, the EEA, and the computational nature of the brain, it is not evolutionary psychology. There are many theories other than evolutionary psychology that try to explain human behaviour with evolution. I object to you misusing the technical, specific term “evolutionary psychology” to refer to all of these theories, when EP is a clearly defined discipline that actually contradicts many of the axioms of social Darwinism (for example).

  24. astroboy said

    “Hitler was a social Darwinist”

    Wrong again! Social darwinist dont murder 6 million jews in the name of racial purity.

    In 23th December 1941. Adolf Hitler specifically used the word, “inferior races” in the Reichstag and under ordinance 13 of the Nuremberg Act authorized “lebensraum” – the active acquisition of living space for the Aryan race.

    Would a social evolutionist do that?

    Another thing how else do you explain the physical critieria for the recruitment of the SS, namely the waffen and the schuztaffel, where a precondition was blond, blue eyed and fair?

    Again would a social evolutionist codify physical requirements as a prerequisite for recruitment?

    Even of SAF do not practise that!

  25. Trajan,

    1. I believe the coelacanth has been around since before the dinosaurs.

    2. I do not disagree that species only last for 10MY on average. My dispute is with the inference that this means humans will die out. This is simply not true because humans could simply evolve into another species after 10 MY.

  26. pumpman said

    “massive modularity.” Excuse me is my brains spilling out, since when was MM a precondition for being a psychological evolutionist.

    I think you are missing the point here by a mile. What we are trying to establish here is the parametric links between PE and the issue of evolutionary theorem and how it applies to the decision making process.

    You dont even have the right end of the stick.

    Again very respectfully, can you produce one species that has survived beyond 10 million years. How long are you going to sideline this question?

  27. pumpman said

    “I believe the coelacanth has been around since before the dinosaurs.”

    You are wrong again. Fossilized records of the coelacanth show at least 4,000 instances of vertebrae modulations to its species kind since the Jurassic period.

    Though it is often referred too as a 400 million year fish. The species today from what it was even less than 10 million years ago is not the same fish.

    Its like saying a selar and seng yu is the same fish. They aint. You have to find a better example.

    Again I reiterate the question, show me one species that has survived beyond 10 million years!

  28. astroboy said

    so finally you admitted it,

    “I do not disagree that species only last for 10MY on average.”

    That was not what you said bfr on your earlier post.

    So can I ask you a very simple question, why should every species barrel inexorably towards extinction, if the darwinian theory is supposed to ensure its survival?

    Could you pls explain to all of us why?

  29. Trajan said

    10 million years is the ROD. So finally we have progress.

    So can you tell us why is this 10 million ROD so robust?

  30. astroboy said

    Excuse me but you have not answered my question concerning adolf hitler and his ss men.

    So is he still a social evolutionist?

  31. Agagooga said

    That’s the problem, it makes too much sense. – ???

    Evolutionary psychology also explains why welfare is bad because they say, it softens the backbone of those who may otherwise choose to work instead of relying on social benefits. – I’ve never ever heard someone using Evolutionary Psychology to justify the lack of welfare benefits.

    the aristocracy in Spain, Scotland and England – What does this have to do with Evolutionary Psychology?!

    You don’t need to be sociologist to figure out how cultural variants can be easily modeled into gene mutations propagated over time in human minds and the environment only to result in explainable cultural revolutions that can provide cogent explanations for historical development. – ???

    Fail to draw the connection that a large part of the creationist argument is predicated on the theory of evolution. – ???????

    Social darwinist dont murder 6 million jews in the name of racial purity. – ???? Even if they don’t, what makes you think Evolutionary Psychologists do?!

    I’m not sure what the constant demands to find a species that has survived for 10 million years are for.

    Darwinian theory was never intended as a theory of everything. Just because not all “coherent and rational arguments, decisions, strategies and plans” can be premised on Darwinian theory does not mean none can be. Why raise a straw man? And why specifically Evolutionary Psychology? EP is a very specific discipline with principles and axioms very different from the vague flailing that’s going on here.

  32. Agagooga said

    “Most [Social Darwinists] propose arguments that justify imbalances of power between individuals, races, and nations because they consider some people more fit to survive than others.”

    Yes. Hitler was a Social Darwinist.

  33. astroboy said

    I have to go clean my bike, it is very muddy, very muddy indeed.

  34. ttw said

    A quick study into paleontology will tell you why no species has survived beyond 10 million years. Either an asteroid hits the earth, or the polar ice caps melt, inducing an environmental catastrophe so large that it eliminates a significant proportion of all living things on the planet. This is nothing to do with the failure of Darwinism. It is simply the inability of most (read: MOST) living things to deal with the environmental change imposed on them. The remaining organisms that “survive” have to undergo a huge physiological change that they effectively become another species.

    [unnecessary personal attack – inspir3d]

  35. Trajan said

    “I’m not sure what the constant demands to find a species that has survived for 10 million years are for.”

    You do not understand that is the crux of the whole debate. If a species expires after 10 million years that proves conclusively the darwinian theory that is predicated on the survival of the fittest i.e progress vs regression is all hog wash.

    [unnecessary personal attack – inspir3d]

    I think we have established our point, he has conceded to the 10 million yrs issue.

    The matter is closed. I have to clean my bike as well. It is very muddy.

  36. wbg said

    It is not welfare that is bad because free falling manna from the sky is always good!

    It is the wilful stubborness to adapt and change to survive that is bad!

    Sometimes the mathematician doesn’t know how to use his words correctly.

  37. Agagooga said

    Excellent. Non-sequiturs and ad hominem arguments are rolled into one in this thread.

    Matilah Singapura.

  38. Pumpman said

    “In fact the author doesn’t seem to have any knowledge of biology beyond what is popularised in the media today either.”

    The author happens to be a scientist. An expert in Operational Science, that means he has the capacity to theorize based on conventional academic methodology.

    You dont have to be a trained mechanic to know that your car is on fire.

    Besides he has attributed much of what he has written to sources we have posted here. While the rest of critics have no even produced a single attribution to support their baseless statements.

    So how is the huckster?

  39. astroboy said

    I really need to clean my bike. It is late and I have a 7 am meeting tomorrow. Bye Bye.

  40. Agagooga said

    Incidentally, for the Intelligent Singaporeans reading this, Darwinian (or rather, Neo-Darwinian) theory is based on the survival of genes, not individuals or even species (very strictly speaking).

    Darwinian theory does not say that species will remain unchanged over 10 million years. It says that organisms will adapt to their environment over 10 million years. If the environment stays the same, the species will likely stay the same. If the environment changes, organisms will change and eventually become another species (defined as groups of organisms that can produce viable offspring with each other).

    Species “disappearing” after 10 million years does not prove that Darwinian theory is hogwash, but in fact wholly validates it.

    Oh, and individuals cannot evolve.

  41. Agagooga said

    Living fossil – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Plants

    * Ginkgo tree (Ginkgoaceae)
    * Horsetails Equisetum (Equisetaceae)
    * Metasequoia Dawn Redwood (Cupressaceae; a borderline example, related to Sequoia and Sequoiadendron)
    * Sciadopitys tree (Sciadopityaceae)
    * Whisk ferns Psilotum (Psilotaceae)
    * Welwitschia
    * Wollemia tree (Araucariaceae; a borderline example, related to Agathis and Araucaria)

    Animals

    * Vertebrates
    o Mammals
    + Cypriot mouse (Mus cypriacus)
    + Laotian Rock Rat (Laonastes aenigmamus)
    + Monotremes (the Platypus and echidnas)
    + Mountain Beaver (Aplodontia rufa)
    o Birds
    + Hoatzin (Ophisthocomus hoazin)
    o Reptiles
    + Crocodilia (Crocodiles, Gavials and Alligators)
    + Tuatara (Sphenodon punctatus and Sphenodon guntheri)
    o Fish
    + Coelacanth (Latimeria menadoensis and Latimeria chalumnae)
    + Queensland lungfish (Neoceratodus fosteri)
    o Sharks
    + Frilled shark (Chlamydoselachus anguineus)
    o Amphibians
    + Purple frog (Nasikabatrachus sahyadrensis)
    * Invertebrates
    o Insects
    + Cedar wood wasp (Syntexis libocedrii)
    + Notiothauma reedi, a scorpionfly relative
    + Sikhotealinia zhiltzovae, a Jurodid beetle
    + Mymarommatid wasps (10 known species in genus Palaeomymar)
    + Parasitic wood wasps (about 70 species in 16 genera)
    + Peloridiid bugs (fewer than 30 species in 13 genera)
    o Crustaceans
    + Neoglyphea inopinata, N. neocaledonica, and Laurentaeglyphea neocaledonica ; three glypheoid lobsters
    + Triops cancriformis, a notostracid crustacean
    o Other invertebrates
    + Crinoids
    + Horseshoe crab (Limulus polyphemus)
    + Lingula anatina, an inarticulate brachiopod
    + Neopilina galateae, a monoplacophorid mollusc
    + Nut clam (Ennucula superba)
    + Onychophorans, for instance Peripatus

  42. Djinni said

    Post #17:

    I correct you again sir. In Mein Kampf, Adolf Hitler promugated the theory that inferior races would ultimately corrupt the purity of the Aryan order. Hence he proposed the extermination of the inferior races to protect the welfare of the Aryans.

    You lose, end of discussion. Look up Godwin’s Law sometime, yeah?

    And everyone else, remember: it’s time to stop feeding the monkeys.

  43. observer said

    Darkness point is very simply this. He is questioning the wisdom of using EP to explain the historical, social, economic and political phenomena.

    In my opinion, I agree with him, there has been alot of monkey talk these days especially in the age of globalization.

    Where the mantra is compete or perish i.e survival of the fittest.

    He is (I think) also questioning the morality of this sort of reasoning. He is saying: EP is based on a crude theoreom that displaces those who may not be strong enough to compete i.e people like Derek Wee who are growing older.

    He is saying as long as decision makers are guided by EP principles, they will cont to make bad decisions.

    I am going to conduct an experiment today. I am going to carry a marker around with me, if I see anything resembling monkey talk in a the newspaper, magazine or article, I am just going to highlight it.

    Above all I think he is sharing with all of us what he calls – the great lie, he once mentioned in his “foundation” papers.

  44. Ben said

    Why got so many monkeys? This post is not very logical lar. Creating a dummy to whack at him is worse than disturbing monkeys. Not very nice.

  45. Sarah said

    Nevermind Bambi darkness boy, we ALL really appreciate that you took the trouble to make a chinese new year appearance. The timming was out, but better late than never.

    I enjoyed what you wrote very much, it is very very interesting. I never really saw it that way, monkey talk and how it is beginning to be more and more popular these days. It is a bit like suddenly coming across a word again and again, but you just dont know what it really means. It crops up in ordinary conversations etc, but somehow you cannot pin in. Till someone really tells you. I wonder why cant the ST write like this? Oh I forgot, they believe content is still king, now thats definitely, nuts! 🙂 Cheer up, you sounded tired and sad in your post.

    Can we have something light now? Please. Thanks.

  46. montburan said

    I knew Bambi would come, he always keeps his promise. I just wished, he stayed and write.

  47. mb said

    Bambi bad boy was right, we the human race dont even stand a chance.

    The Red Queen’s Hypothesis, Red Queen, “Red Queen’s race” or “Red Queen Effect” is an evolutionary hypothesis to explain two different phenomena: the advantage of sex at the level of individuals, and the constant evolutionary arms race between competing species. In the first (microevolutionary) version, by making every individual an experiment when mixing mother’s and father’s genes, sex may allow a species to adapt quickly just to hold onto the ecological niche that it already has in the ecosystem. In the second (macroevolutionary) version, the probability of extinction for groups (usually families) of organisms is hypothesized to be constant within the group and random among groups.

    The term is taken from the Red Queen’s race in Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass. The Red Queen said, “It takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place.”

  48. anon said

    Oh dear! Now I know why darkness took a walk. There could some politics of envy at work here.darkness always has a big and dedicated following that’s a fact and this has obviously translates into readership hits and loss for certain quarters. Who I feel may well form the ranks of the critics here. Pls don’t flame me, that is just my POV. I for one thought, it was a very interesting post that was well researched and after all the b’hood chappies did provide a list of reference.

    Darkness should consider writing for a while to cont irritating these green eyed monsters, just my POV.

    Success is always the best revenge as Lance Armstrong once said. Kudos!

  49. Azmodeus said

    Well just as L. Ron Hubbard likes promoting Scientology as a religion?

    No no, I don’t like making monkey faces. *smiles*

  50. kwokheng said

    A lot of things depend on treading a fine line; Darwinism or not.

    It is true in that sense, that if you’re prepared to take on a challenging project and you learn it ‘the hard way’ and make a slew of mistakes, that you’ll come out the better for it.

    The problem however, with bitter pills, is knowing what dose to give.

    And that is all.

    For all of the ‘Brotherhood’ writes, one must indeed note that figuratives can only go so far. Sometimes the entries make sense, sometimes—like in this case—they’re an unwieldy mess.

    It’s basically putting one’s cleverness in front of the communication.

    kh

  51. Kira said

    If I am right in reading Tooby and Cosmides, an evolutionary psychologists must hold that the brain is nothing more than a ‘wet computer’ (eg. ontologically there is no mind/body separation. The brain is composed of a multitude of specifically designed circuits and these came about through adaptive problems faced by our ancestors in the past. In other words that the architecture of the human mind (universal for the entire human species) was brought about by evolution (perhaps through natural selection?)

    Social Darwinism on the other hand, can merely be nebulously defined as the extension of scientific biological theories can be extended into the social sphere. A more specific but perhaps less robust definition is to locate social Darwinism in Herbert Spencer who argued that society grows and becomes more complex and that eventually there is more differentiation in structure and hence function. It differentiates because the individual evolves and through a process of natural selection. hence it can be extrapolated that the individual which survives because he has “evolved” is whom the rest of society must depend on for subsequent progress. Might makes Right. Of course it may be argued that Spenser was arguing solely from Malthus, but the publishing of Darwin’s work, gave Spenser’s argument the lustre of having been confirmed by science. In a sense there were social Darwinist even before the world had even heard of Darwin. If we follow the first initial definition, the case of Spenser and Darwin illustrates what is meant by social Darwinism – a way to set out and defend social policy arguments through the use (rightly or wrongly) of what is held to be the relevant and seemingly incontrovertible scientific evidence. The reason why this evidence is used is simple, as the author says: it is a compelling model.

    Back to Evolutionary Psychology, with its definition, it can be shown that it is not Social Darwinism, afterall as a research program it only seeks to discover the architecture of the mind and perhaps speculate and test how that architecture came about. David Buss’s work uses evolutionary theory to describe why we are jealous and why jealousy is different for each gender.

    Buss tests involved testing how married couples retained their mates. Men seemd to prefer to show how wealthy they were and were more likely to use debasement, submission or intrasexual violence, especially if they were married to younger women. Women preferred to use verbal possession signals and punishment of male infidelity.

    Buss conclusion was that jealousy inducing behaviour for man and women were linked to age and perceived attractiveness of partner. Men become more easily jealous if their partner is young, women become mroe easily jealous when they young and lose that with age. Men become mroe jealous if they percieved their partner to beautiful and women become more jealous when they perceived their partner to be less attractive. Basically for men its the youth adn attractivenes of their partner that causes them to be more suseptible to jealousy and women are concerned about mroe resource gathering efforts of their partner and less his age and attractiveness.

    But why? One is taken back to a period where we were all hunter-gatherers, for if man and women faced the same adaptive problems where jealousy arose, then jealousy would be the same. It is only if adaptive problems were different that could account for the “evolution” of different jealousies. Here we are looking at what makes a man’s architecture in thought different from a woman’s, and we must assume that the difference is because of evolutionary pressures. A man is always worried about the paternity of his child, his behaviour of jealousy is to ensure his paternity claims Buss. On the other hadn, a woman is not able to be self-sufficient during childbirth, hence she is jealous in order to protect a superlative resource collector from being taken from other women. Evolution explains desire and jealousy.Buss also adds that further emphircal evidence about the evolutionary process can be obtained from archeological records, data from hunter-gatherer societies, observations, self-reports, life-history data and public records, and human products.

    But if you ahve been reading the earlier passage nodding ones head. think about this. If sexual interaction is a cornerstone of human society, is evolutionary psychology also saying something about human societies and human culture?

    If men were more abusive when they used tactics of concealment and vigilance on the partner and if those tactics meant that the male is more likely to be abusive. What does the “science” tell us of societies where women are meant to cover or conceal themselves from other men (eg. Ancient Greece, Afghanistan under the Taliban). How about the case in which there is a society where the majority of men marry women who are several years younger?
    A further speculative extrapolation: If men were in a communist system, would the level of female jealousy be reduced due to their resource alloaction? If women are marrying later than previous generations, are they less jealous if other conditions are held constant?

    In the end, the evolutionary psychologist maintains his mandate is science. But is not hard to see how the theories within that research program may offer compelling evidence to those who already have certain opinions on society and culture. To explain desire is to explain something that probably is a fundamental cornerstone of all societies. If we can udnerstand desire, cannot we make statements on whether a culture or a society better handles it than others? How should we react when evolutionary psychology begins or makes conclusion in its research program on human hope and despair, love and hate, brotherhood and emnity?

    I am not attacking evolutionary psychology on its findings or on its assumptions, or even that they are social Darwinist. All I am concerned is the insistence that an evolutionary psychologists is not making any statement whatsoever on society or culture. If evolutionary pscyhologists try to obtain data on evolutionary adpatation using archeaological records, from observation of hunter-gatherer societies – are they completely immune from normative biases about the societies they are examining? When do we know that one or another evolutionary psychology theory can be tested in order to be wrong or right? If we describe the volutionary process form fragments of historical data about an age of hunter-gatheres, how can we emphirically test that the explanation is right? And if we cant do so, how can we at least know when the explanation is worng?

    And lastly, sorry for the long post.

  52. shoestring said

    You will know you have won the debate if the opponents begin attacking your character and try to create doubts about your credibility and intentions. A favorite strategy of some politicians, it seems.

  53. darkness said

    Kira

    One of the problems with any discipline is the elastic nature of its mandate (though others for some reason cont to insist it can only remain static). So migrate, creep and even encroach on other disciplines it will. Neither does it really matter whether it is EP or SD or even basic technology like distilling moonshine. To believe for one moment, a body of knowledge can be effectively delineated just because a few academics have attempted to pin its raison by defining its attributions. Is naïve as it presupposes man will always favor altruistic decision making instead of maximizing his opportunities. Unfortunately, the later happens most of the time. It could driven by strategic considerations in the way the US once recruited Nazi scientist (under the paperclip program) who designed flying bombs only to refocus their skills sets on peaceful space exploration. My point is simply this where an apparent benefit or utility exist, it will be maximized.

    And when this happens that discipline or body of knowledge will shift away from its tradition focus, thereby eliding much of its own history. To me it really doesn’t matter what drove people like Adolf Hitler to sanction mass sterilization, euthanasia, eugenics and even the holocaust. Debating whether Hitler was a EP or SD is like taking a bite of something smelly and brown only to put it down and say, “well, its shit alright, luckily we didn’t step on it.” The fact remains there was most certainly a body of knowledge, philosophy and certainly a diseased state of mind that conceived all these Frankensteinian voodoo science that culminated in the final solution.

    This underscores the need to look deeper into how irrationality actually takes root. It could be racism, intolerance, faith extremism or even just monkey talk. Contrary to popular mass belief, these irrationalities never ever take root without any thing short of a “credible” scientific paradigm that aspires to render the inexplicable clear. There is where the danger lies, half and partial truths packaged as the real deal. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out the world is already a very complicated place where the mere act of linear thinking is simply woefully inadequate, but rather there is a need to nurture the loss art of critical and if possible lateral thinking to continue to make sense of the signs of our times, so that we may all claim the right to winnow truths from lies.

    Kira, I do not get this type of post often one that posits another line of thinking that allows me to learn as much as I have shared. I thank you very much for you time and effort. I wish to incorporate this into brotherhood press beside my article as an appendix reading list, with your kind permission. Chronicler pls see to the details. Thank you.

    Darkness 2007

  54. chronicler said

    By your command

  55. Kira said

    Thanks for the response,

    There seems little reason to withhold my article given that its on the public domain, I am glad that you would hold it under such high consideration.

    If I am correct in interpreting your post, you feel that the difficulty of keeping scientific truth safely locked up in a Pandora’s box is because science itself is a human endeavor and people tend to have less than altruistic motives. From what you write, it seems that human morality itself is within the Red Queen’s gambit. The more one knows about something, the more power over it, the less restrained one can be in not utilitising it for ones own benefit. This is why I guess that there seems to be evidence that the medical profession was one of the most supportive professions given the oppoturnities afforded by the Third Reich and the events of the Second world War.

    I would like to clarify this point though: Is the inability to follow the mandate a case of bad science or of science overstepping its boundaries? Does a change in aim but not in methodology turn science into non-science?

    And is it because we are rational animals who will maximise any given body of knowledge or becuase we are irrational animals who will jump to any conclusion based on less than perfect information? Or perhaps even both?

    These i admit are difficult questions but I would be much obliged if you could help shed some light on them

    Thanks once again

  56. Professor Y. O. said recently in class that “In today’s world, biology textbooks are only good for three years.” The current surge in interest in biological problems means that one should really get well-acquainted with the latest state of affairs before saying too much about this.

    Interested parties on this thread may be interested to read a recent op/ed in Nature entitled “Biology’s next Revolution”. You can find the link to it on my blog.

  57. Tan.B.L said

    Dear Mr Darkness,

    I would like to lodge a complain concerning a very disturbing observation that I have noted abt the b’hood press. It relates to how there has been virtually no comment or articles concerning the GST hikes and the recent budget. I believe these issues resonante very strongly with ordinary singaporeans as they are bread and butter issues. Since they are not able to get an objective and impartial assesment from the Strait Times. Do you not think the b’hood press owes it to their regular readers to disucss this matter in greater detail so that we may all have a clearer picture. As the feeling of not really knowing remains very disturbing.

    I want you to understand, I have never complained bfr, but I feel of late I really must, as I mentioned there has been too little focus on this area and it is one that causes me and many to question, why has the b’hood press been so silent abt it? Dont they know this is terribly important to all of us? Can they see it affects all taxpayers? Dont we have the right to know what is really happening? Is it good or bad? what are the weaknesses and strengths? For the time being I shall reserve judgement. I also wish to add, I am not an ordinary long time reader and I have a personal relationship with the lady of the lake, who happens to be a very generous patron of the brotherhood. I do so hope Mr darkness will PERSONALLY take the trouble either to respond or redress this minor area that warrants his attention. Thanks TBL

  58. chronicler said

    Dear Miss Tan,

    darkness will be posting an article very soon to address your concerns regarding the GST hike. I have just communicated with him, it will be a special run just for the lady of the lake and her friends. Pls be patient. We understand your concerns.

    Allow me to extend our regards and fondness to the lady of the lake and we all wish her good health and happy reading.

    Yours very respectfully, by your command always.

    The Chronicler.

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