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Author Topic:   Response to RAZD
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Message 1 of 6 (200891)
04-21-2005 7:12 AM

I have no reviewed the thread for the second time, and located clear evidence of RAZD's dishonesty.

Firs reference to hairlessness in the Clothes thread, message 37

BUT another question that has not been asked is: why have humans {lost\reduced} their fur? The "it's cold" answer begs this question, as all our ape relatives have healty coats that would provide warmth, especially those living high in the mountains.
The logical conclusion is that humans lost fur when they were able to supplant it's purpose with a more adaptive covering that provided better regulation of heat and cooling.

Mr Jack responded immediately that:
There's some evidence that humans lost their fur as an adaptation for persistance hunting - our greater heat loss ability allows us to keep going for longer. Clothes, even furs, are not equivalent to having your own fur because you can just take them on and off.

Soon followed by the first mention of sexual selection by Abshalom:

I'm having trouble associating the depiliation of the human body solely with clothing. In fact, I think the majority of hair reduction most likely occured before the emergence of widespread and heavy clothing use, but then how do we determine that? Do cave paintings give us any clue as to Paleolithic piliation?
Does natural selection, ala sexual attraction, play into this? I mean, sex always seems to be a primary motivator. Did prehistoric hominids favor the less hairy mates? Or even more to the point, were less hairy females more healthy, productive, and fertile due to their more effective manufacture of vitamin D and folic acid?

RAZD responds:

I think we have to consider their co-evolution, increase use of skins less use for fur, less fur, more need for skins.
I am also personally fairly certain that sexual selection had a lot to do with it's co-evolution.
First off, one of the visible differences between man an most other apes is the estrus cycle: in most other apes this period is marked by loss of hair\fur in sexual signaling areas (breasts) and swelling of certain parts. Thus loss of hair\fur in females more than in males.
This would also lead to covering\uncovering certain areas for {political\personal} reasons.

In a discussion about Vitamin D, a further reference to hairlessness was made by RAZD:

if running were the criteria then cheatahs would have significantly less fur eh?

To which Mr Jack again responded:
No. The hypothesis in human's is that furlessness is an adaptation to long-distance running; cheatah's are sprinters.
But in message 65 RAZD firmly dismisss this issue:

then there are long distance runners with more body mass than humans that should also select for {less\no} hair, wildebeasts can run longer than humans.
it is not our long distance running that {allows\allowed} humans to catch more fleet of foot animals, but the persistence and ability to track said animals and actually {walk\jog} them down rather than just run.
attributing our {rare} loss of hair to our {unique} long-distance ability in this regard is a logical (causal) fallacy -- they are not necessarily connected

To assert that this is a causal fallacy is a pretty strong position to take. Regardless, that IS the hypothesis.

I then pointed out that the long-distance facility is key in the hypothesis, and cannot be conflated with pursuit-hunting:

Not on the savannah. A wounded animal is often capable of running. Even if you have inflicted a fatal wound you might have a mutliple mile run to get to the point at which it actually falls over dead. And you want to be there soon becuase if the hyena's arrive at the kill first you've got more trouble than you need.
What exactly is the difference between jog and run? That seems too fine a dictinction to bother drawing in this context. I knew a man who ran - or jogged if you prefer - for 3 straight days, interspersed with stretches of walking. Thats exactly how we exhibit the persistance you mentioned, and why we need to track in the first place. If we simply ran prey down there and then neither of those would be necessary.

But in message 69, RAZD again asserts strongly:

And I repeat: Attributing our {rare} loss of hair to our {unique} long-distance ability in this regard is a logical (causal) fallacy -- they are not necessarily connected.
It seems to me that long distance pursuit of prey animals is also tied in with wearing camouflage, and that clothes and reduction of parasites also involves sexual selection: it could easily be a number of factors all coming to together, any two of which could have been sufficient.
I responded in message 70:
Jogging is more like a half run in speed and endurance.

Yes of course but you missed the point: why are bothering to draw the distinction? I don't think you are succeeding in making a point by objecting to the statement that ahir loss is an adaptation to running by pointing out that mostly we jog. The relevant factor in hair loss, increased heat dispersion, is still relevant.

Well I agree they are not NECESSARILY connected. However I didn't provide a full defence of the concept because the thread is about clothes. The argument about hair loss and running has to do with the rate of heat dissipation, that is that we can maintain pace over long distances because we sweat well. Now you point out that hippos and rhinos are not runners and this is true - but also they are big, massive animals. Seeing as volume increases by the cube and area increases by the square, big animals have proportionally less area with which to dissipate heat. Thus it is not suprising to me that some big savannah animals are hairless on the basis of exactly the same reason that humans are hairless. Running is merely an *application* of the facility that hairlessness allows - increased heat transmission.
And furthermore, it is unsurprising that animals in arctic or cold areas both tend to have lots of hair and tend toward the large, in order to minimise heat dissipation.

The mechanics of locomotion might apply, but there is very little opportunity for sustained running in the jungle or forest. Savannahs are flat, empty and dry-hot - optimum running conditions. We are also, I point out again, 50% leg by height and a significant proportion by mass. We have all sorts of sex-related interest in legs, buttocks and feet, which makes sense if pedal locomation is a big deal in our evolutionary past. The "running ape" model seems compelling to me, of which the argument to hair loss is only a part.
That was the first specific mention of the Running Ape model by name.

Mr Jack echoed:
Who said they are necessarily connected? There's no logical fallacy involved in constructing a hypothesis based on available evidence so long as one understands that it is a hypothesis.

And it is finally in message 87 that RAZD asserts confidently that sexual selection “blocks” a notional benefit from hair reduction:

a. variation within the population exists
b. significant advantage claimed for humans
see, I just don't see this as the major ne plus ultra reason for the reduction of hair size in humans.
I think it could well have been a contributing factor, but I think when push comes to shove that sexual selection trumps the running in heat model. your (b) is blocked by sexual selection ...
... I think the role of sexual selection is underrated in evolution as currently {taught\understood}

Note also that RAZD openly admits that HIS emphasis on sexual selection is NOT echoed “in evolution as currently taught/understood”. He is entitled to his opinion, he is not entitled to dismiss all other opinions in favour of his own.

Mr Jack offers an expansion once again:

Because the starting point is different. Humans evolved from apes; Hyenas are dogs. Dogs already have a pretty good heat loss system - panting; apes don't. Apes already have good manipulative skills, allowing them to make nests to keep warm at night; dogs don't. Hyena have good night vision and hunt primarily at night; humans and chimps don't.
RAZD still raises objections to which I reply:

that still doesn't get us to loss of hair from the running hunting bit.

It shows that hair loss for running in humans would have contributed to hunting efficiency where it might not have done for other animals.
Incidentally I think you are badly wrong to claim that no other animals have heat dissipation ctonrols for running. I say this becuase ALL mamaals have heat regulation systems; heat regulation is a "fundamental" technology for mammals. An adaptation of that system is not terribly suprising imo. Some whales have blood vessels built as heat exchangers as an adaptation to the cold depths they inhabit.
tjhere is a general continuum of larger, heavy-furred animals in cold environmants and smaller, lighter-furred animals in hot environments. We fit into that paradigm well enough that no extraneous answer is called for IMO; heat exchange is a fundamental parameter of an animals operating envelope.

I message 95 we first cross swords about sexual selection:

AND If it is not more prevalent then either (1) the concept is invalid or (2) there are other factors involved that {accent\mitigate} the action of this factor or (3) there are other factors that are way much more involved in the selection for thinner hair (like sexual selection) and this aspect is a bit-player on a larger stage.

Point 1 is silly. Point 2 can support my argument - it is a specific combination of factoirs in the human body form, such as being bipedal, that make long distance running a viable strategy at all. I'm not sure ther are any presently observed niches of which the same could be said. Point 3 is reasonable enough except for the fact that sexual selection describes only the mechanism and not the motive; that is I find it to be a perpetual non-answer.
RAZD responds to 2 in message 98:
Now this sounds like a chicken and egg problem if not a causal logical fallacy. One could argue that long distance running then evolved with long-legged bi-pedalism prior to hair loss, that hair loss is not necessary for the trait and it is incidental rather than required.
Much more likely that sexual selection chose young looking sexually {active\attractive} mates (see temporary hair loss in certain areas of female apes during heightened sexual receptiveness), imho, but that takes us back to point 3 ...
RAZD launches his first personal attack:

that is I find it {sexual selection} to be a perpetual non-answer.

As have victorian thinkers for generations. That won’t stop it from being true.

I respond to the Chicken/Egg argument in message 99:
Now this sounds like a chicken and egg problem if not a causal logical fallacy. One could argue that long distance running then evolved with long-legged bi-pedalism prior to hair loss, that hair loss is not necessary for the trait and it is incidental rather than required.

You are over-extending my argument as you have done previously. Id did not say REQUIRED. ALL I argued was that the model of the running ape makes sense to me, MORE SO than the idea that hair loss is related to clothing. If I were to stoop to your pathetic reasoning I would challenge that proposition that saying that since elephants do not have clothes its obviously false. Yes?
I expand on why I don’t like “sexual selection” as a simle statement:

What an absurd non sequitur. Sexual selection appears to be a get-out-of-explaining-free card in actual use; what it does not explain is WHY a trait is being selected sexually. As a result it merely frustrates rather than illuminates, in my experience. To date the sole value I have seen in "sexual selection" is describing how counterproductive strategies like the peacocks feathers can become embedded, but its use as a general answer is meaningless. As it is in this case - 'sexual selection' being used as a substitute for thought and analysis.

I expand in message 101:

Again, this is your opinion and you are welcome to it. I think your denial is blinding you, but that is my opinion. The why is easy: specimen A is sexy specimen B is not, I’ll have sex with specimen A.

WHY is specimen A sexy? What ABOUT specimen A is sexy?
"Sexual selection" is a non-answer. But it is the strength of my answer - Specimen A is sexy BECAUSE they look better adapted to running, they have long thighs, smooth calves, well-formed feet, a tight arse (sexual interest in the buttocks of course being present in both men and women). Specimen B over there is squat, hairy, with a flabby arse.
Selection FOR running VIA sex is a meaningful statement. "Sexual selection" alone is not.
RAZD replies and states firmly that fine hair has no survival benefit, despite both Mr Jack and I advancing the Running Ape hypothesis:

Then you are not paying attention. Sexually selected features are those that help you get mates and do not have any survival benefit, in fact they may carry a survival burden. Features like long head hair that have {no or very small} survival benefit. Features like large female breasts 365.24 days a year that have {no or very small} survival benefit. Features like bright yellow hair or bright red hair that have {no or very small} survival benefit. Features like blue eyes that have {no or very small} survival benefit. Features like very fine hair that has {no or very small} survival benefit. We will come back to this later.

RAZD responds to my request fior an expansion on sexual selection per se but does not return to his claims that fine hair has no functional utility:

What makes specimen A sexy is that {he\she} arouses sexual interest. By augmentation of the areas that signal sexual ability, receptivity and reproduction ability: big breasts feed kids, wide hips let em slide through, big penises make it fun to ride, long hair .......... (oops sorry, lost in a reverie there ...).
Sex is not a cognitive process, part of why one sexual apparatus is referred to as “the dumb stick” – that men only having enough blood for either that or the brain but not both.
Your picture implies a level of consciousness, of rationality to it that just does not happen. A man doesn’t ask why his penis is erect ..... he just goes in the direction it is pointing
Note the circular logic. In short, sexy is as sexy does and has no relation to anything else.

And precisely because RAZD then fails to address the utility model proposed, I then say:

Fair enough. This seems to rule out hairlessness as sexually selected.

Because after all I am arguing that it is selected for effectiveness reasons:
Well, now I really do not understand the point of this diversion because my whole argument is that it is NOT trivial, but fundamental to our aboriginal mode of production.
Perfect logic, you are switching your terms. Your implied that hair is NEVER selected for functional reasons, which I disproved. Nowhere did I claim that sexual selection does not happen, nor that it never affects feathers or fur. Please pay attention.
And I expand:
I'm not sure how you think this supports your point. Nowehere have I claimed that bipedalism and hairlessness occurred simultaneously. I would expect that running as a mode would pre-date refinements and improvments in running, such as hair loss. Bipedalism may well have appeared in forested environments - I've seen footage of chimps wading upright through streams, for example - but this does not preclude hairlessness from having developed in a later savannah environment.

RAZD then backpeddles:
False again. I never said that, nor implied it. What I said (consistently) was that in this one instance the selection of bareness shows more of the characteristics of sexual selection than survival selection.
Lfen tries to open up the discussion about what “sexual selection means exactly:

'm assuming sexual selection has a basis in that qualities for sexual selection are often associated with qualities that enhance reproductive survival at least at one time.

Assume rather that (extreme) sexual selection has to do only with getting mates and reproducing. Let the survival mechanism take care of the survival end of the selection spectrum. There are several well known features that have no known survival benefit, and may even have a survival deficit (peacock tails) that mark them as run-away feedback sexually selected features.

RAZD expands, ironically echoing my own argument in his second sentence:

You are conflating two different arguments. Why should sexual selection explain a survival feature? Do male peacock tail feathers explain the remarkable ability of peacocks to fly or walk or crow? This is as irrelevant as the baleen example to my position. For the record I have noted before it takes the human tracking ability and the conscious behavior to not exhaust oneself in the running, and that is sufficient to differentiate human behavior from other animals in that particular behavior. Whether that behavior can then be the basis for bareness rather than just the usual long limbs and good lungs of all other running animals has not been shown.


But, and this is important, we are not talking just normal courtship {displays\rituals}, but run-away feedback selection, where a feature or set of features are selected and developed well beyond their ability to signal fitness. Head hair grows to extreme lengths, like the tails of scissortail birds, and flows down over the shoulders and back to the waist and beyond. The longer the hair the more fit the specimen is for avoiding predators in spite of greater visibility, and the more lustrous the hair the more fit the specimen is for having the nutritional resources to grow and keep the hair in that condition. Such features are not of themselves useful in survival, they are indicators of the overall fitness of the rest of the individual for survival. Again, this is not new, or unusual, or groundbreaking information.

Note once again that the FACT that human hairlessness is caused by runaway sexual selection is simply assumed by RAZD. He has not dealt at all with the existence of the hypothesis referred to by both myself and Mr Jack, or explained why this feature is inherently “runaway”. As throughout, he merely persistently argued his own conclusion.

I point out again that to me, hairlessness does not look runaway or counterproductive, the salient features RAZD identifies:

Because otherwise the organism has no basis for judging the sexiness of a potential mate. As I have already pointed out, "sexual selection" as a phrase is entirely useless for any productive discussion; the ONLY thing it can meaningfully address on its own is runaway counterproductive processes. This is why it is totally inadequate as an explanation for human hair loss, as hair loss appears fundamental to our aboriginal mode of operation.

I lay the issue out explicitly, message 124:

Recapaitulation of mating basics for kindergarten ommitted. Here is the question you persistently refuse to engage with: ARE we looking at runaway selction, or are we looking at environmental adaptation? If so, what is the basis for that claim, and for ruling out the appearence of bareness as related to fitness? That is purely an assumption on your part which you have so far only been able to defend by analogy to other animals. By your logic, we would be compelled to conlude that the fine hair in cetaceans did NOT evolve as a response to the environment in which they find themselves, even progressively over millions of years. No, apparently its purely an accident that cetacean hair contributes to their swimming efficiency; according to your argument, the illogical runaway sexually selected feedback that produced this fine hair could just as easily have produced a thick mass of fur that would have impeded their swimming.


Sure. Unfortunately, none of it supports your argument. The fact that it is reasonable to interpret long head hair as sexually selected does not in any sense imply that the elmination of body hair was selected by the same mechanism. Is it your argument that the perfectly serviceable short feathers on peacocks are also sexually selected for smallness? I have never denied the PRESENCE of sexual selection, nor its potential counter-poroductive outcome. But what you have NOT shown is why it should be thought that hairlessness in humans is related to this process.


Except that when I point out that human hairlessness does NOT look like a runaway feedback process precisely because it is constrained by operational needs for head-top and genital hair, you dismiss this out of hand. There is no basis whatsoever for thinking human hairlessness is unrelated to our fitness, and many reasons for thinking it is directly related.

Pink Sasquatch intervenes after I produce external evidence of the existence of a running ape model that does indeed command some support:

Your list of a dozen or so features don't include hair, or lack thereof. Neither site mentioned hair that I saw. It seems to me RAZD is arguing sexual selection of hairlessness, so why exactly does he need to explain those dozen mostly skeletal features? Kudos to your nicely referenced strawman.

MY strawman? Of all the arrogant bullshit...
Its very simple Sasquatch. As RAZD has been at pains to point out, what matters is consistency with all observed phenomenon. RAZD advances this argument - human hairlessness is INEXPLICABLE from efficiency or fitness concersn, therefore it MUSTN BE due to runaway sexual selection.
My argument is that there IS an hypothesis in which the adapatation is functional, and that is the running ape model. There is no need to default to sexual selection FOR LACK OF ANY OTHER HYPOTHESIS. And in order to challenge that claim RAZD has been arguing that the running ape model is ridiculous in toto.
Therefore it is entirely accurate to demonstrate the other evidence that corroborates the running ape model and which contributes to the model as a whole. RAZD keeps saying that hairlessness is "odd" and needs to be accounted for, but completely fails to account for the many adaptations we clearly have to our most basic functional mode - bipedalism, and out amazing capacity for covering disdtances at speed.
In my next post I invited RAZD to correct me if I was mistaken in this regard:

If you would like to restate your argument for my better comprehension, if you disagree with that cited as I understand it in the post above in response to Pink Sasquatch, by all means do so.

I reprised my argument yet again in message 136:

Whereupon I have tried to show that there can indeed be a significant actual benefit to hairlessness specifically and directly linked to bipedalism and long distance running. You have attacked either the mechanisms of heat dissipation, or argued that there is no other animal with the same engineering, or argued that sexual selection is the only viable explanation of hairlessness point blank.
I have specifically disagreed with your message 65 saying that this is a logical/causal fallacy, and instead have argued that our hairlessness, bipedalism, and sweating facility all produce a particular mode of operation analogous to that of any other creature appropriately adapated to its environment, just as dolphins have fins, streamlining, a top-mounted blowhole and sonar. From my perspective the invocation of runaway sexual selection to explain these features is unnecessary, and even wrong, because the suite of adpatations we do have amount to an entirely plausible model of early human activity.
But what I am not really able to do is give you anything approaching a description of the evolutionary process by which this arose. I am simply not qualified to do so. I favour the running ape model, IMO it explains harilessness, and a variety of other unique features, in a cogent and satiusfying way AFAIC. All I have argued is that this model should not be ruled out, as you appear to do - and especially not on some of the specious grounds presented. I really cannot see what a thread between us discussing this model would achieve - I can't make any better argument than those in the documents I linked. If its truly the case that you have never heard of this idea before, then referring you to those is the best thing I can do.

And again in message 148:

I didn;t say that. All I said was that THERE IS ANOTHER THEORY. You have contended that there is not, and my claims that there was were being "sucked out of my thumb".
I said it is a theory I find PREFERABLE, becuase it explains many more features, and does not require the recursion and meaninglessness of sexual selection.
Do you now finally acknowledge the existance of a rival argument as to the origin of hairlessness in humans?
[and yes, I already openly admitted that I don't know the process and am not trained in this field, whch is precisely why I turned down your bait, RAZD. Play like an adult.]

RAZD then objects that he HAS acknowledged the existence of other theories, but merely dislikes them:

However, soon after that, RAZD starts to lie:

Me: Do you still assert that an effectiveness improvement through hair loss is "blocked" by sexual selection? Yes or no?

Golly, I never said that either. Blocked? Is this some new evolutionary element that features can be "blocked" from evolving?

And yet, he DID say that very thing in message 87.

In message 153 I briefly laid out my objections again:

Your insistence that there were no other possibilityies to consider has been falsified. That was the only point I made, and I am now done with it.

RAZD responds:

The only problems with that are (1) I never insisted there were no other possibilities

And I point out:

1) you certainly did, claiming that sexual selection BLOCKED the running ape model, and that hairlessness had to be explained becuase it was maladaptive. I suggest you actually review your own writings or acquire a reputation for lying deliberately.

Inactive Member

Message 2 of 6 (200892)
04-21-2005 7:15 AM

It is apparent that RAZD did indeed assert that sexual selection blocked effectiveness selection in message 87. He a priori ruled this out as a possibility.

Then, whenever the running ape hypothesis was explained to him, he tried to debunk each of its articles. Thats not inherently wrong, but who the hell is he to tell me that the this theory can be so confidently dismissed that it need not even be taken into acocunt, and that sexual selection can be adopted as an explanation for lack of any conceivable benefit in hairlessness?

His whole argument was dishonest, and RAZD's challenge has now been met.

Replies to this message:
 Message 3 by AdminJar, posted 04-21-2005 9:26 AM contracycle has responded

Inactive Member

Message 3 of 6 (200907)
04-21-2005 9:26 AM
Reply to: Message 2 by contracycle
04-21-2005 7:15 AM

I had hoped you would take a hint, but that seems impossible.
Attacking the messenger instead of the message is simply not acceptable. Calling Razd dishonest is not going to be allowed.

Take a 24 hour break and see if you can develop some understanding.

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This message is a reply to:
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Inactive Member

Message 4 of 6 (201122)
04-22-2005 9:11 AM
Reply to: Message 3 by AdminJar
04-21-2005 9:26 AM

Re: I had hoped you would take a hint, but that seems impossible.

Attacking the messenger instead of the message is simply not acceptable.

Hey Jar, was that ruling operational when Schrafinator called me an apologist for Saddam Hussein? Or do moderators get special dispensation?

This message has been edited by contracycle, 04-22-2005 08:12 AM

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Inactive Member

Message 5 of 6 (202072)
04-25-2005 4:47 AM

So, no response from RAZD as yet.

All mouth and no trousers I presume.

This message has been edited by contracycle, 04-25-2005 03:47 AM

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 Message 6 by AdminJar, posted 04-25-2005 10:02 AM contracycle has not yet responded

Inactive Member

Message 6 of 6 (202166)
04-25-2005 10:02 AM
Reply to: Message 5 by contracycle
04-25-2005 4:47 AM

Closing this rant as well.
I thought you might have learned. Attacking the messenger is not going to be allowed.

This message has been edited by AdminJar, 04-25-2005 08:03 AM

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