0775: "Savannah Ancestry"

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Re: "Savannah Ancestry" discussion (#775)

Postby netcrusher88 » Thu Aug 26, 2010 7:19 am UTC

Well that's an awful lot of bullshit I'm not going to bother wading through, but I will pick on one thing:
A sentient self-perpetuating intelligence would be, by definition, intelligent life. At some point "synthetic" and "artificial" become meaningless. It's not a broad definition, it is the definition.
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Re: "Savannah Ancestry" discussion (#775)

Postby SocialSceneRepairman » Thu Aug 26, 2010 8:01 am UTC

Who said anything about self-replicating?

And the way I remember it, "life" has to meet a rather narrow definition of "self-replicating."

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Re: "Savannah Ancestry" discussion (#775)

Postby The Great Hippo » Thu Aug 26, 2010 8:05 am UTC

SocialSceneRepairman wrote:Of course it isn't. Life is better than simulacra? Why? Because it's more natural?
All of this is completely irrelevant to my point--calling males 'robots' and females 'life itself' carries with it certain value judgments, and pointing those value judgments out does not constitute an example of the Naturalistic Fallacy--anymore than pointing out that 'Shit-fucker' is an insult is an example of the Naturalistic Fallacy. If you referred to all life as robots, that'd be different. As it is, that's (apparently) what you meant to say--but it wasn't what I took away from your post.
SocialSceneRepairman wrote:This is very true. However, the phenomenon that's described as "natural selection" is very real, and most people who aren't busy reading about an invisible sky wizard and his self-important son understand no one's actually "selecting" but the pressures of the environment.
Even Richard Dawkins in his book, The Selfish Gene, points out that the term is problematic for this reason--and he has caught himself in the act of anthropomorphizing these forces. I'm bringing this up so you understand that this is something that even well-established scholars on evolution (even atheist scholars who hold nothing but contempt for 'sky wizards') find themselves doing. Humans are clearly wired to do this. It's an incredibly easy and seductive fallacy to fall into.
SocialSceneRepairman wrote:The male services the female. Females have the egg, which does require sperm to grow, but the rest of the male's sperm can do what it likes, while the rest of the eggs (there are often multiple eggs, but it's not all at once) are sitting out for a bit. The egg is the constant, the element of continuity.

They do not, generally, work together. Because the male has no investment in the sperm itself, in a large number of species, males are "promiscuous," "competitive," and "jealous," whereas females are "cautious" and often more likely to mate with a male based on his number of partners. I don't mean to say that this is or should be human behavior on any level, but it does create a "conflict of interest" such that males and females cannot be said to work together.
This is where the anthropomorphizing comes in. The above is magical and imprecise thinking.

What constitutes 'working together'? Males and females 'work together' for the purposes of child-rearing throughout several different species--to the point that removing the male actually causes potentially significant damage to the child. Why is the egg magically 'constant' or an 'element of continuity' when it's regularly destroyed by the act of menopause--how is the process of the sperm (which serves one primary function--delivering genetic material to the egg) any different than the process of the egg (which serves two primary functions--receiving genetic material from a sperm, then forming into a zygote)?

And most importantly, how does this in any meaningful way relate to whether or not some misogyny and oppression is justifiable?
SocialSceneRepairman wrote:So yes, I am trying to justify oppression, because oppression encompasses enough that it needs to be justified.
How is the widespread and pervasive existence of oppression at all a reason to justify it?
SocialSceneRepairman wrote:Falsifiability is a punchline outside of the hard sciences. The idea of falsifiability is as thoroughly drummed out of your head in the social sciences as rigor is drummed in in math. I've had professors who've gone so far as to try to convince me that it's an obsolete concept in science; of course, I know better than that, but I don't present my claims as falsifiable, although they're based on falsifiable truths. What do you even think I'm claiming? I'm claiming only that a sufficiently, not unreasonably, broad definition of "oppression" or "misogyny" can encompass things that would generally be recognized as good.
When you are formulating your thesis on the nature of oppression based on actual science, you need to prove the science before we are willing to buy into it. If you can't produce falsifiable claims about the evolution of male and female organisms and the interrelationship that has developed between them--how do you expect me to buy your claim that this relationship is unavoidable and ultimately to our benefit? If you can't produce falsifiable claims to back up your moral reasoning, then don't use science as your starting point.

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Re: "Savannah Ancestry" discussion (#775)

Postby gmalivuk » Thu Aug 26, 2010 11:57 am UTC

SocialSceneRepairman wrote:Admittedly (obviously), it's not my subject, but this is what I learned.
Then you've learned a shit ton of wrong information. For one thing, what about all the egg-laying species? The only biological difference between male and female that's universal across all species that have male and female is gamete size: Females have the larger gametes. That's *it*. So they contribute slightly more cellular material to the initial conceptus that eventually develops into a new organism. Every other difference is just something that crops up in some species but not others.

And while the Y chromosome is indeed an atrophied X chromosome, what about all the species where it's females that have two different chromosomes and males that have two of the same kind? Dos your little bullshit "theory" explain those?

So whether or not your distinction is arbitrary doesn't matter: it's just plain wrong and you just plain have not the slightest clue what you're talking about.
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Re: "Savannah Ancestry" discussion (#775)

Postby The Great Hippo » Thu Aug 26, 2010 6:37 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:
SocialSceneRepairman wrote:The only biological difference between male and female that's universal across all species that have male and female is gamete size: Females have the larger gametes. That's *it*. So they contribute slightly more cellular material to the initial conceptus that eventually develops into a new organism. Every other difference is just something that crops up in some species but not others.
And though I might be at risk for engaging in a Just-So story, I'd wager real money that this is primarily because it's just so much more efficient to store that extra cellular material in the egg rather than reproduce it in every single sperm.

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Re: "Savannah Ancestry" discussion (#775)

Postby gmalivuk » Thu Aug 26, 2010 8:52 pm UTC

It's more that there's an advantage for any existing difference in gamete size to get bigger, and this corresponds with a generally greater abundance of the smaller type of gamete than the larger one.
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Re: "Savannah Ancestry" discussion (#775)

Postby SocialSceneRepairman » Fri Aug 27, 2010 12:01 am UTC

gmalivuk wrote:
SocialSceneRepairman wrote:Admittedly (obviously), it's not my subject, but this is what I learned.
Then you've learned a shit ton of wrong information. For one thing, what about all the egg-laying species? The only biological difference between male and female that's universal across all species that have male and female is gamete size: Females have the larger gametes. That's *it*. So they contribute slightly more cellular material to the initial conceptus that eventually develops into a new organism. Every other difference is just something that crops up in some species but not others.

And while the Y chromosome is indeed an atrophied X chromosome, what about all the species where it's females that have two different chromosomes and males that have two of the same kind? Dos your little bullshit "theory" explain those?


Well, to be honest, "my" theory was cobbled together from a years-old 1xx bio lecture, a sexual harassment lecture, a Youtube creation debunker, and a TV Tropes entry. It probably was not a good supporting point, but I was too taken aback by the idea of asexual life being considered "male" as readily as "female" to put more effort into it.

The Great Hippo wrote:
SocialSceneRepairman wrote:Of course it isn't. Life is better than simulacra? Why? Because it's more natural?
All of this is completely irrelevant to my point--calling males 'robots' and females 'life itself' carries with it certain value judgments, and pointing those value judgments out does not constitute an example of the Naturalistic Fallacy--anymore than pointing out that 'Shit-fucker' is an insult is an example of the Naturalistic Fallacy. If you referred to all life as robots, that'd be different. As it is, that's (apparently) what you meant to say--but it wasn't what I took away from your post.


If you were to write up a definition of "shit-fucker," besides the nearly-unused literal definition, the definition you'd go with would have the word "invective" somewhere in it. No definition of "life" or "robot" would have such value judgments.

Frankly, I didn't imagine anyone didn't think of all life as somehow mechanical in this day and age.

The Great Hippo wrote:When you are formulating your thesis on the nature of oppression based on actual science, you need to prove the science before we are willing to buy into it. If you can't produce falsifiable claims about the evolution of male and female organisms and the interrelationship that has developed between them--how do you expect me to buy your claim that this relationship is unavoidable and ultimately to our benefit? If you can't produce falsifiable claims to back up your moral reasoning, then don't use science as your starting point.


That's not precisely what I said, and I've been getting the impression I'm being told to defend my thesis as falsifiable, not my evidence. I don't think the science itself is controversial, but I see now that the mock-mythological tone, allowances for linear narrative, and cheeky phrasings hurt my point greatly, nearly all of my posts since being in defense of those; shortly I'll hunt down some citations and rephrase it more formally.

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Re: "Savannah Ancestry" discussion (#775)

Postby gmalivuk » Fri Aug 27, 2010 1:09 am UTC

SocialSceneRepairman wrote:I don't think the science itself is controversial...shortly I'll hunt down some citations and rephrase it more formally.
I'll save you the trouble and repeat my earlier assertion: you got most of the science completely wrong, so you're not going to find citations for your nonsense.
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Re: "Savannah Ancestry" discussion (#775)

Postby The Great Hippo » Fri Aug 27, 2010 1:37 am UTC

SocialSceneRepairman wrote:If you were to write up a definition of "shit-fucker," besides the nearly-unused literal definition, the definition you'd go with would have the word "invective" somewhere in it. No definition of "life" or "robot" would have such value judgments.

Frankly, I didn't imagine anyone didn't think of all life as somehow mechanical in this day and age.
You've never heard someone use the term 'robot' as an insult? "He's creepy--like some sort of robot"? There's also the simple objectification involved.

Anyway, it's the contrast between the term 'robot' and 'life itself' that I'm talking about; the implication comes from judging one sex as a simulacra and the other sex as 'life itself'. That's where the value judgment comes from, that's what I meant by the Naturalistic Fallacy--the implication that one gender is a robot and the other is 'life itself' carries with it that one is disposable (we don't value robots as much as we value life) while the other is incredibly invaluable.
SocialSceneRepairman wrote:That's not precisely what I said, and I've been getting the impression I'm being told to defend my thesis as falsifiable, not my evidence. I don't think the science itself is controversial, but I see now that the mock-mythological tone, allowances for linear narrative, and cheeky phrasings hurt my point greatly, nearly all of my posts since being in defense of those; shortly I'll hunt down some citations and rephrase it more formally.
I do think that what you originally communicated was murky and imprecise--right or wrong, I read it as an attempt to romanticize oppression and paint it as a tragic but necessary situation through the use of pseudoscience and imprecise labeling. Now, I honestly have no clue--I don't know if your science is wrong because I'm not sure what you're saying. Citing hard science and building your thoughts from there would probably go a long way to helping me (at least) understand exactly what your point is, and whether or not it's something I would actually agree with. At the moment, I don't even understand what difference you're trying to illustrate between male and female organisms--as gmalivuk pointed out, nature has a habit of defying our methods of categorization.

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Re: "Savannah Ancestry" discussion (#775)

Postby BioTube » Fri Aug 27, 2010 2:33 am UTC

SocialSceneRepairman wrote:If that were the case, why would the convention be "female" and "daughters"? Male is the default in this culture, isn't it? By what convention do we call animals or buds male or female? Seahorses? It's who supplies the bulk of the resources in the earliest stages of the offspring's growth. It's not precisely the same, with the necessity of a male, but the female is closer to the asexual ancestors in mode of reproduction. It's convention, but there's a reason for it.
You're applying logic to LANGUAGE? I guess you could say the German word "Mädchen" is neuter because prepubescent girls aren't capable of having kids, but the term NEVER ended at puberty. Why is "Sonne" feminine and "Mond" masculine? BECAUSE THEY ARE. Attempting to explain natural language with logic is an instant fail.
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Re: "Savannah Ancestry" discussion (#775)

Postby cntrational » Fri Aug 27, 2010 3:09 am UTC

For those who don't get it, BioTube is referring to how Mädchen, the German word meaning "girl" is a neuter word.

...I'd kinda say it sorta makes sense, since Mädchen was formed by using the suffix -chen (which forms diminutives) on the word Mädel. Words ending in -chen are always neuter, so they're being consistent.

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Re: "Savannah Ancestry" discussion (#775)

Postby Gelsamel » Fri Aug 27, 2010 8:43 am UTC

In any case; Male is default in some cultures but in our culture Female is very default when it comes to bearing offspring. Just have a look at how favoured the mother is in custody desputes. Biotube has already mentioned another case but, for a case in English, would you apply your logic to daughter nuclei?

The idea that males are female simulacra on the basis that females are more similar to what came before sexual differentiation doesn't cut it (even if it's true, it might not be since phenotype is not genotype). Because it still doesn't change the fact that both males and females are seperate simulacra of what came before.

As I said, the evoluationary tree splits with a 'Y', each branch can be thought of as it's own simulacrum of the branch before it with each split a different 'distortion' (or mutation, if you want) of the 'original'--but 'female' or 'XX' was not the original branch, something different to both XX/XY was. The X chromosomes were not the 'Creationist Apes' of the chromosome world that refused to evolve into humans just to give evolutionists a headache, it's the 'Evolutionist Ape' that has been evolving in tandom with everything else, just on a different branch, and thus poses no challenge to evolutionary theory.

And yes, Social, you do have to prove your claim is first falsifiable or else any evidence proffered in favour of it is both unscientific but also extremely weak. Only in the face of easy (yet unattained) falsification is verification strong. I'm sure you can chalk some of that stuff up to your supposed "mock religious" tone but;
"my" narrative (which is basically a less gently-worded version of everyone's narrative)
Seriously?


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Re: "Savannah Ancestry" discussion (#775)

Postby Belial » Fri Aug 27, 2010 2:47 pm UTC

Just have a look at how favoured the mother is in custody desputes.


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Re: "Savannah Ancestry" discussion (#775)

Postby YTPrenewed » Tue Sep 07, 2010 12:29 am UTC

... I hate that argument.

"Your interpretation of evolutionary psychology seems similar to some fragments of 50s gender stereotypes! Therefore, your interpretation of evolutionary psychology must be wrong!"

It's "ad hominem" meets "guilt by association" on steroids. It uses resemblance to even PARTS of 50s attitudes towards gender as reason to doubt validity, as if it were impossible for popular opinion from the 50s to be right about ANYTHING that popular opinion today might be wrong about. As if "people thought this way in the 50s" automatically disproves it altogether.

For what it's worth, things like math skill should be looked at on an individual basis, not a gender basis. But when it comes to talking about average gender differences in things like math skills, then we damn well SHOULD be looking into the evolutionary history from which we came for insight on the nature of them. So long as specific assessments of that are dismissed with the "reminds me of 50s stereotypes" arguments, something tells me our progress in understanding them is only going to be further delayed.

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Re: "Savannah Ancestry" discussion (#775)

Postby gmalivuk » Tue Sep 07, 2010 5:01 am UTC

YTPrenewed wrote:... I hate that argument.

"Your interpretation of evolutionary psychology seems similar to some fragments of 50s gender stereotypes! Therefore, your interpretation of evolutionary psychology must be wrong!"
Yeah, that is a stupid argument. Remind me, though: who was making that argument? I seem to have missed it.
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Re: "Savannah Ancestry" discussion (#775)

Postby YTPrenewed » Tue Sep 07, 2010 2:30 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:
YTPrenewed wrote:... I hate that argument.

"Your interpretation of evolutionary psychology seems similar to some fragments of 50s gender stereotypes! Therefore, your interpretation of evolutionary psychology must be wrong!"
Yeah, that is a stupid argument. Remind me, though: who was making that argument? I seem to have missed it.

That's how the argument referenced in the comic comes across. It addresses the argument through its resemblance to 50s stereotypes, rather than on its own merits.

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Re: "Savannah Ancestry" discussion (#775)

Postby gmalivuk » Tue Sep 07, 2010 3:18 pm UTC

Well supporting American 1950s gender roles is definitely a sort of weakness, it's just not in itself a complete refutation. But it never claims to be in the first place.

It's a weakness because the prior plausibility of millions of years of evolution turning out to support just one particular culture at one particular point in history seems tremendously unlikely. Are all the other cultures and all the other times just flukes and aberrations? You are of course correct that, if there was actually good evidence to back up those claims, then regardless of the desirability or prior implausibility of the implications, we'd have to accept them if we're going to be intellectually honest with ourselves.

So the fuller problem is that such an implausible explanation is presented without any evidence to back it up.
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Re: "Savannah Ancestry" discussion (#775)

Postby Belial » Tue Sep 07, 2010 3:32 pm UTC

Also, that that astounding coincidence just happens to work in favor of attitudes the person presenting the "theory" likely already held. It's, again, not a scientific refutation (if you hadn't noticed, there are plenty of those too), but it's a good indicator that something might not be above-board. Too convenient.
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Re: "Savannah Ancestry" discussion (#775)

Postby gmalivuk » Tue Sep 07, 2010 4:23 pm UTC

Yeah, we should always view very convenient explanations with extra suspicion, because they're the sorts of explanations that would be easier to accept without evidence, and we can't allow ourselves to do that. If the suspicion turns out to have been unwarranted, because there turns out to be lots of high quality evidence to support the explanation, then fine. Now we have a new explanation.

But that's not the case with pop evo-psych.
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Re: "Savannah Ancestry" discussion (#775)

Postby YTPrenewed » Wed Sep 08, 2010 7:54 pm UTC

Belial wrote:Also, that that astounding coincidence just happens to work in favor of attitudes the person presenting the "theory" likely already held. It's, again, not a scientific refutation (if you hadn't noticed, there are plenty of those too), but it's a good indicator that something might not be above-board. Too convenient.

... such as?

Also, just because someone's theory coincides with their beliefs that doesn't necessarily mean it's why it's their theory; others who came to similar conclusions just might be a little more hesitant to publicize them.

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Re: "Savannah Ancestry" discussion (#775)

Postby gmalivuk » Wed Sep 08, 2010 8:06 pm UTC

YTPrenewed wrote:... such as?
Have you, like, noticed that this is rather an old thread? People have been talking about the weak "scientific" support for pop evopsych since the first page.

Also, just because someone's theory coincides with their beliefs that doesn't necessarily mean it's why it's their theory.
No, but as we've said a couple of times now, it still *should* make the rest of us a bit extra suspicious of it, especially if it's something so blatantly implausible as the claim that all of humankind evolved to act out American gender roles in the 1950s.
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Re: "Savannah Ancestry" discussion (#775)

Postby Belial » Thu Sep 09, 2010 3:02 pm UTC

YTPrenewed wrote:Also, just because someone's theory coincides with their beliefs that doesn't necessarily mean it's why it's their theory; others who came to similar conclusions just might be a little more hesitant to publicize them.


Right. And if you're a paranoid schizophrenic, and you tell me someone has been following you, you might be right. As the saying goes, just because you're paranoid, doesn't mean they're not out to get you. In fact, being paranoid, you're probably in a better position to notice an actual threat.

But since I know you're paranoid, I'm going to be quite a bit more suspicious of your claim, and I'll need to see some pretty solid evidence before I accept that the people following you aren't just a part of your delusions, backed up with confirmation bias.

Right now, pop evo-psych is the guy with paranoid delusions telling me that he ran into the same girl three times at the bookstore and the white car behind him made the same turn as he did four times in a row on the way home, and therefore it's obvious that the wide-ranging conspiracy of the KGB and the Reptile Aliens have found him and he only has hours to live.
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