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Amused Muse

Inspiring dissent and debate and the love of dissonance

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Master's Degree holder, telecommuting from the hot tub, proud Darwinian Dawkobot, and pirate librarian belly-dancer bohemian secret agent scribe on a mission to rescue bloggers from the wholesome clutches of the pious backstabbing girl fridays of the world.



Friday, October 20, 2006

Arms Races and Manipulation, Part I

(I'm ahead in my homework, so I've resumed reading The Extended Phenotype.)

Dawkins' purpose in his book The Extended Phenotype is to dash the concept that the individual is the unit of selection, that is, the idea that, among other things, individuals act in a manner as to increase copies of itself. (Ann Coulter, for example, in her crap book Godless asks why, if evolution is true, she doesn't want to have children. Once again, she has mistaken evolutionary theory for a naive "for the good of the species" caricature of evolution. I should think that organisms (i.e., Dembski) manipulating other organisms (i.e., Coulter) into believing in creationism would be a prime example of said manipulation.)

Organisms may consistently work against their own interests (inclusive fitness) through being manipulated by another organism. Examples of manipulators are angler fish and cuckoos.

Although it's easy to assume that one animal manipulating another is only a temporary phenomenon until the other animal evolves some method of fighting back (that is, that the manipulation is a "time-lag" phenomenon--see my post on constraints on perfection), in reality the manipulator can in fact succeed continuously under certain conditions. An example of this is intraspecific manipulation (manipulation within the species, particularly kin-manipulation). Examples are parents manipulating their offspring, and offspring manipulating their parents.

Altruism is defined here, in a biological sense, as a behavior that favors other individuals (their inclusive fitness) at the expense of the actor.

Dawkins believes that parents who manipulate their children have an advantage over parents who do not, but states that parents do not have any built-in advantage over their children by the mere fact of their being parents.

TO BE CONTINUED

6 Comments:

Blogger JanieBelle said...

"Ann Coulter, for example, in her crap book Godless asks why, if evolution is true, she doesn't want to have children."

As long as she doesn't, do we really care WHY? I for one, am quite pleased that she has prophylactically removed herself from the gene pool.

October 20, 2006 7:19 PM  
Blogger Kristine said...

I don't care why. :-) But she uses that fact to "disprove" evolution, because she's a moron.

And incidentally, doesn't she want to see her worldview reproduced in vast quantities and kill and eat other worldviews?

But yes, I too am glad that she doesn't dip into the gene pool. With all of her plastic surgery, she probably doesn't have much original body left, anyway. (Although I wouldn't put it past her to have had an abortion or two. I'm not saying that she did--I don't know that--I'm just saying that it would not surprise me if she had.)

October 20, 2006 9:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Obviously, God is correcting a Design Error.

October 21, 2006 11:59 AM  
Blogger Kristine said...

Not that I don't have design errors! For example, I wear contact lenses. Yeah, let me hear that "how do we explain the perfection of the eye" argument again?

October 21, 2006 12:11 PM  
Anonymous garote said...

I think the truest description I ever heard about Miz Coulter was two words: "rabble rouser". She's just another version of that guy I saw at football games who would beat a drum and get the audience to do the wave. His name was "Crazy George". I appreciated his antics better than Coulter's. BTW, has she ever shown up on Colbert's show?

October 22, 2006 12:34 AM  
Blogger Kristine said...

She's just another version of that guy I saw at football games who would beat a drum and get the audience to do the wave.

I like the analogy, garote. Crazy George sounds a lot less shrill.

BTW, has she ever shown up on Colbert's show?

Good question! I don't know, but I don't think so.

October 22, 2006 10:07 AM  

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