Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘evolution.

Are we confounding brain, mind and Evolution with neurosciences?

Professionals in a discipline explain evolution and mind with respect to the perspective and terminologies of their discipline.  This tunnel-vision of explaining serious matter is skewing issues.

In Mind and Cosmos, Thomas Nagel had scientists up in arms because Nagel had the gall to question the neo-Darwinian belief that consciousness, like any aspect of adaptability, is evolutionary in nature.

It is prima facie highly implausible,” Nagel writes, “that life as we know it is the result of a sequence of physical accidents together with the mechanism of natural selection.”

Nagel claim is not based on evidence that nature is predisposed to give rise to conscious existence, since no mechanistic explanation seems commensurate with the miracle of subjective experience and the ability to reason.

There are very few  scientists who hypothesize that human life was inevitable.

Robert Hazen, a mineralogist and bio-geologist, put it this way: “Biochemistry is wired into the universe. The self-made cell emerges from geochemistry as inevitably as basalt or granite.”

Indeed, the tendency to think that organisms increase in complexity over time seems natural. So why not actual laws of nature to vouchsafe this eventuality?

According to Stuart Kauffman of the Santa Fe Institute, the universe gives us “order for free.”

Kauffman believes that all molecules must sooner or later catalyze themselves in self-sustaining reactions, or “autocatalytic networks,” crossing the boundary between inanimate and animate.

The more common view is that while natural selection encourages the development and retention of traits that help us to survive, evolution is essentially directionless; it has no goals, no set outcome.

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Female Orgasm: Where it fits in evolution?

Many aspects of the human body have obvious purposes.

But some defy easy explanation. For biologists, few phenomena are as mysterious as the female orgasm.

While orgasms have an important role in a woman’s intimate relationships, the evolutionary roots of the experience — a combination of muscle contractions, hormone release, and intense pleasure — have been difficult to uncover.

For decades, researchers have put forward theories, but none are widely accepted. Now two evolutionary biologists have joined the fray, offering a new way of thinking about the female orgasm based on a reconstruction of its ancient history.

On Monday, in The Journal of Experimental Zoology, the authors conclude that the response originated in mammals more than 150 million years ago as a way to release eggs to be fertilized after sex.

Until now, few scientists have investigated the biology of distantly related animals for clues to the mystery.

The male orgasm has never caused much of a stir among evolutionary biologists. The pleasure is precisely linked to ejaculation, the most important step in passing on a male’s genes to the next generation. That pleasure encourages men to deliver more sperm, which is evolutionarily advantageous.

For women, the evolutionary path is harder to figure out. The muscle contractions that occur during an orgasm are not essential for a woman to become pregnant. And while most men can experience an orgasm during sex, it’s less reliable for women.

In a 2010 survey, 35.6 percent of women said that they hadn’t had an orgasm the most recent time they had sex. Part of the reason for this is anatomy: the clitoris is physically separated from the vagina.

Still, a number of scientists suspect that the female orgasm serves some biological function favored by natural selection. They just need to figure out what it is.

“My gut instinct is that something that matters so much at an emotional level — the intense pleasure of orgasm — would seem to have reproductive consequences,” said David A. Puts, an evolutionary anthropologist at Pennsylvania State University.

Many hypotheses have been put forward. Dr. Puts and his colleagues have carried out studies to test the possibility that orgasms increase the odds that a woman’s eggs are fertilized by a genetically attractive male. (Many novels mention that women knew they were impregnated from the types of orgasm they experience, though impregnation does Not happens until 2 days later)

Elisabeth A. Lloyd, a philosopher at Indiana University, isn’t buying it. In 2005, she published a book called “The Case of the Female Orgasm,” in which she reviewed 18 published theories about its function.

Dr. Lloyd thinks the best explanation for the female orgasm is that it hasn’t served any evolutionary purpose at all. It’s nothing more than the by-product of the development of the male orgasm. The orgasm is to women, she believes, as nipples are to men. (Funny. I don’t buy that)

Esther Perel shared this link. August 29 at 5:00pm ·
nytimes.com|By Carl Zimmer

Dr. Pavlicev and her colleague, Günter P. Wagner of Yale University, are making the case that the human female orgasm has a deep evolutionary history that reaches back to early mammals.

They began by getting better acquainted with the sex lives of other animals, poring through obscure old journals to gather information on species ranging from aardvarks to koalas.

They noted that many female mammals release oxytocin and prolactin during sex — the hormones released by women during orgasms. What’s more, in many of those species, females use a radically different kind of reproduction.

While women release an egg each month, other female mammals, such as rabbits and camels, release an egg only after mating with a male.

Ovulatory cycles evolved in only a few lineages of mammals, including our own, Dr. Pavlicev and Dr. Wagner found. Before then, our ancient mammal ancestors originally relied on ovulation triggered by sex with a male.

Those early mammals developed a clitoris inside the vagina.

Only in mammals that evolved ovulatory cycles did the clitoris move away. Based on these findings, Dr. Pavlicev and Dr. Wagner argue that the female orgasm first evolved as a reflex to help females become pregnant.

This arrangement has worked well for mammals that rarely encounter males. It helps females make the most of each mating.

But eventually some mammals, including primates like us, started spending their lives in social groups. Females had access to regular sex with males, and orgasm as an ovulatory mechanism was no longer so useful.

Our female forebears instead evolved a new system: releasing eggs in a regular cycle.

As the original purpose of the orgasm was lost, the clitoris moved away from its original position.

Dr. Wagner speculated that this shift was part of evolution’s dismantling of a sensor system: “You don’t want to have the old signal sending noise at the wrong time,” he said.

“Basically, we don’t know why this happened,” he added. But across mammalian species, “it’s just a very strong evolutionary pattern.”

Dr. Lloyd and Dr. Puts welcomed the new study as a provocative addition to the debate over the female orgasms.

“I’m pretty excited that it’s being published,” Dr. Lloyd said, “because people are going to start talking about female orgasms and getting a fresh look at how much we don’t know about female orgasms, and thinking hard about what we need to know.”

The new theory may shed light on how the human female orgasm first evolved, but Dr. Pavlicev and Dr. Wagner said that it doesn’t settle the debate about its current role in women. “All directions are open,” Dr. Wagner said.

Dr. Wagner said that deciphering the history of the female orgasm might improve reproductive medicine.

Evolution Of Men’s Hairstyles Over 100 Years

I’m interested how military haircuts evolved over a 1000 years

I’m interested how elders’ haircut changed this century

In support of Movember, a cause to bring greater awareness to men’s health, Seattle-based video makers, Cut, have released their latest video chronicling the fascinating evolution of men’s hairstyles in America over a period of 100 years.

Covering a range of hairdos marking the iconic movements or stylistic preferences of each decade, the cuts include the tight centre-part of the 1920s, the thick and wavy poof worn by sailors in the 1940s and the long, untamed mane sported by men in the 1970s hippie era.

By Aqila Xiao Qi, Nov. 3, 2015

In support of Movember, a cause to bring greater awareness to men’s health, Seattle-based video makers, Cut, have released their latest video…
designtaxi.com

The Sacred Practical Necessities; (October 25, 2009)

Cultural transformation is the byproduct of practical necessities: Struggling for life and fearing of death.  For example, by the time mankind got conscious of his ephemeral life (for many millennia, people didn’t get to live beyond the age of 30 at best) and that death is a certainty then, religion (the eminently among the sacred practical necessities) was created to cope with the consequences that resulted from that conscious fear, on the ground that, otherwise, no security or peace of mind could prevail within any organized society.

Religion might not have been invented right after we got conscious of our mortality, but necessarily as modern man realized that he is a special individuality.  Then modern man got wary of producing mass hand tools for the tribe and took special care for individual designs such as specialty carved symbols on the tools, particular color combinations, drawing and painting that reflected feelings and awe toward the environment and the forces of nature.  Painting, sculpting, and drawing symbols were the precursors for inventing a language as a practical necessity, first verbally and then, by written medium.

Death is chaos and life is a struggle to feed on death:  a constant semblance of restructuring spiritual cohesion.   Metaphysic, the precursor to religion, is but this longing to providing continuity between life and death so that our logical mind does not breakdown to smithereens: Sciences and technologies cannot provide definite and exact answers to everything.  Metaphysics must have been substantiated because many people experienced a few supernatural events and realized that what is being physically sensed is not the whole story.

I believe that institutionalized religions grew after verbal communication was feasible by means of languages to harangue communities against the other infidel tribes.  Religion, as a conscious culture, utilized the metaphysical potentials in man to codify its system of beliefs and then codifying a system of daily behavior, rules, and regulations.

Unfortunately, what was necessary at a period was utilized inevitably to dominate other tribes that believed or adopted different totems or sacred rites.  An irreversible trend was set in motion: practical necessities generate cultures with counter productive results (theorized as necessary) to our evolution.  That mental process is the foundation to our spiritual shortcomings to progress ethically and morally.

Religion and sciences have the same roots in the conscious and, though they evolved with different methodologies, they adopted the same procedure for impacting on the mind: They established consensus based on a few premises, struggled hard not change their system of beliefs and then, waited for a paradigm shift to transforming the traditional culture.  The revolution of Luther and Calvin against the concept of Papal infallibility left intact the core obscurantist culture of Catholicism and Christianity which is viewing knowledge with suspicion, and specifically scientific knowledge, as the work of the devil. In fact, Protestantism went as far as considering philosophy as compromising the human mind.

The fundamental revolution came when people realized that if the Pope is fallible then, religion is consequently fallible and the quest for answers to fill the void in knowledge was resurrected with sciences.  Cultural Revolution in Europe was made feasible because of three basic developments: the weakening of the central religious power in Rome, the invention of mass printing, and the focus on local languages such as German, French, and Italian instead of Latin (the language of central power). Hence, this frenzy in Europe of the 16th century Renaissance to translating the Islamic books (then the most advanced in sciences).

Historically, the Arab conquerors of the Near East region (that was part of the Byzantium Empire in Constantinople) relied on scholars in the Near East who wrote in the Greek language to re-translating the Greek classical work into Arabic and Syriac (also called Aramaic, the written language of the Land).  Aramaic was the spoken language of the people and of Jesus. Damascus was selected to be the first Capital of the Arabic Dynasty of the Umayyad and Damascus saved the Greek language from oblivion.

The scholars of the Renaissance in Europe mastered both the Greek and Latin languages and could eventually refer to the original Greek manuscripts.  Thus, the period of the Renaissance in Europe was a revolution against the failure of the Christian religion to satisfying the cultural transformation after the failure of the crusading campaigns to circumvent the essential trade routes (through Egypt) and the affinity of the Arabic/Islamic culture in Spain (from 800 to 1400 AC).

Most paradigm shifts could be classified as cultural transformations but a few could be conceived as cultural evolution; a qualitative jump in our knowledge of nature and man are related to concepts such as using symbols, verbal communications as a language, the written language, the concept that man and earth are not the center of the universe, that time is an intrinsic element of space such that no two events can be said to occur simultaneously, that man is not wholly master of his decisions, and that man is neither the crown of creation nor the peak of evolution.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

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