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Author Topic:   The evolution of size matters
ProtoTypical
Member
Posts: 1776
From: Ontario Canada
Joined: 08-04-2010


(1)
Message 76 of 91 (696999)
04-20-2013 6:53 AM
Reply to: Message 64 by caffeine
04-19-2013 9:42 AM


Re: it matters
I think this is the point that Jon is getting at. Just because most historical socieities were more patriarchal than ours, we can't assume the same of pre-historical societies.

Odd then that he would make the same type of assumption regarding the linear progression of penis size. The OP study makes the assumption that the preferences of women today have not changed since pre history.

Why would you assume this - this seems to betray a very poor understanding of the development of human society.

I don't know about very poor. Certainly not complete but then who's is?

Sure there would be differences and variations between the many small groups and tribes. Some may have been matriarchal (which apparently means that there was sexual equality as opposed to a patriarchal society where there is not sexual equality). However, I think the greater assumption is to think that there was some complete reversal in a trait like male dominance.

The advent of agriculture some 10k yrs ago had a profound effect on our social behaviour. I assume that it was at around this time that we began to behave much more like we behave today. Prior to that I assume that our behaviour would have been much more like our primate cousins. I can see how the increase in the stability of resources provided by an agricultural way of life would have completely changed the dynamics involved and led directly to an increase in women's equality. This trend continues today. What I do not see is why it should have led to some whole scale change in the tendency for males to be dominant or why you would assume that they were not dominant before that.

Your example of stature is a good example as it demonstrates that environment and nutrition had a greater impact on stature than the sexual attractiveness of a tall man. This supports the idea that not all preferences are strong enough to make an appreciable difference.

All of this is in support of my very simple point that a woman's slight preference would not have always shown up in the eventual pairing and that not just any slight preference will be enough to impact an evolutionary track.

This chart makes some interesting comparisons between our sexual behaviour and that of other great apes. I don't know how much we can infer from this but I think it is pertinent that the females have fewer partners than the males. It also uses the word 'common' to describe the occurrence of rape in humans (relative to apes I guess).

I am not dismissing the idea of sexual selection. It is just that there are so many far more influential elements at work in this case. Like the advantage of depositing sperm closer to the egg when another man's sperm is present. I imagine that an inch matters a lot more to a sperm than it does to a woman.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 64 by caffeine, posted 04-19-2013 9:42 AM caffeine has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 77 by Jon, posted 04-20-2013 8:50 AM ProtoTypical has responded

  
Jon
Inactive Member


Message 77 of 91 (697005)
04-20-2013 8:50 AM
Reply to: Message 76 by ProtoTypical
04-20-2013 6:53 AM


Re: it matters
Your example of stature is a good example as it demonstrates that environment and nutrition had a greater impact on stature than the sexual attractiveness of a tall man. This supports the idea that not all preferences are strong enough to make an appreciable difference.

Except that men are still taller (on average) than women in every individual population on Earth.

This supports the idea that even small preferences are strong enough to make an appreciable difference.

Sure there would be differences and variations between the many small groups and tribes. Some may have been matriarchal (which apparently means that there was sexual equality as opposed to a patriarchal society where there is not sexual equality). However, I think the greater assumption is to think that there was some complete reversal in a trait like male dominance.

The advent of agriculture some 10k yrs ago had a profound effect on our social behaviour. I assume that it was at around this time that we began to behave much more like we behave today. Prior to that I assume that our behaviour would have been much more like our primate cousins. I can see how the increase in the stability of resources provided by an agricultural way of life would have completely changed the dynamics involved and led directly to an increase in women's equality. This trend continues today. What I do not see is why it should have led to some whole scale change in the tendency for males to be dominant or why you would assume that they were not dominant before that.

The evidence is against you; it suggests that the advent of agriculture (plant and animal domestication) brought with it social inequalities. Prior to that you should probably assume that people functioned more like they do in hunter-gatherer societies of today rather than assume they flung shit at each other and stuck their asses in the air.

I am not dismissing the idea of sexual selection. It is just that there are so many far more influential elements at work in this case. Like the advantage of depositing sperm closer to the egg when another man's sperm is present. I imagine that an inch matters a lot more to a sperm than it does to a woman.

Then shouldn't we see more consistency in erect penis size if that is the case? Instead, it is flaccid penis size that is less variable, being roughly 3.53.9 inchesthe preferred size indicated in the study.

You're ignoring too many coincidences and good evidence to hold on to your assumptions.

It's not working.

Jon

Edited by Jon, : No reason given.

Edited by Jon, : No reason given.


Love your enemies!

This message is a reply to:
 Message 76 by ProtoTypical, posted 04-20-2013 6:53 AM ProtoTypical has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 81 by ProtoTypical, posted 04-21-2013 3:38 AM Jon has responded

  
NoNukes
Inactive Member


Message 78 of 91 (697006)
04-20-2013 10:10 AM
Reply to: Message 75 by Jon
04-19-2013 5:44 PM


Re: Penile correlations and rape in the past
But the assumption that human penises evolved from smaller to larger certainly seems better than the alternative notion that human penises are as they have always been and that it is the penises of other primates that shrunk instead of ours getting bigger.

Again, you don't have any track record of penis size, and you don't know if genetic factors are more important than non-genetic ones in determining penis size, and you cannot even establish any track record of women selecting their mates over any substantial period of time. You cannot even present corelation, let alone evidence of causation.

Until you have some evidence to hang your arguments from, you may just as well be doing Creation Science.

I'm not saying that your sexual selection proposal is not workable, only that it is unevidenced and that it is not the only possibility.


Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also in prison. Thoreau: Civil Disobedience (1846)

I would say here something that was heard from an ecclesiastic of the most eminent degree; That the intention of the Holy Ghost is to teach us how one goes to heaven, not how the heaven goes. Galileo Galilei 1615.

If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom, and deprecate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground, they want rain without thunder and lightning. Frederick Douglass


This message is a reply to:
 Message 75 by Jon, posted 04-19-2013 5:44 PM Jon has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 79 by Jon, posted 04-20-2013 2:30 PM NoNukes has responded

  
Jon
Inactive Member


Message 79 of 91 (697028)
04-20-2013 2:30 PM
Reply to: Message 78 by NoNukes
04-20-2013 10:10 AM


Re: Penile correlations and rape in the past
Again, you don't have any track record of penis size

Which do you believe more likely: (1) that human penises evolved from smaller to larger, or (2) that human penises are as they have always been and that it is the penises of other primates that shrunk instead of ours getting bigger?

and you don't know if genetic factors are more important than non-genetic ones in determining penis size

They are obviously important; if not, penises would vary in size considerably, but they don't. Flaccid penis size is pretty much confined to a very small range. Erect penis size varies more. This is exactly what we'd expect if selection pressures acted on flaccid size and not so much on erect size.

and you cannot even establish any track record of women selecting their mates over any substantial period of time.

The fantasy world of Prototypical in which women have never enjoyed any freedom in mate selection is just nonsense. And if I didn't otherwise take you and him more seriously I'd be laughing at the both of you instead of trying to create a serious discussion.

Until you have some evidence to hang your arguments from, you may just as well be doing Creation Science.

I'm not saying that your sexual selection proposal is not workable, only that it is unevidenced and that it is not the only possibility.

Well then present an alternative and we'll examine its merits.

Also, this isn't my proposal. I'm not even backing it or presenting evidence in its favor for the most part (as you've pointed out). I'm just defending it against nonsensical and irrelevant potshots. I actually have considered several alternative explanations, a few of which I think quite good, none of which have been presented by anyone else in this thread full of folks so apparently against the sexual selection proposal and so unwilling to present an alternative.

Can't we get a real discussion going here? One in which several explanations are laid out and examined against one another?

Jon


Love your enemies!

This message is a reply to:
 Message 78 by NoNukes, posted 04-20-2013 10:10 AM NoNukes has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 80 by NoNukes, posted 04-20-2013 3:05 PM Jon has acknowledged this reply

  
NoNukes
Inactive Member


(1)
Message 80 of 91 (697029)
04-20-2013 3:05 PM
Reply to: Message 79 by Jon
04-20-2013 2:30 PM


Re: Penile correlations and rape in the past
Which do you believe more likely: (1) that human penises evolved from smaller to larger, or (2) that human penises are as they have always been and that it is the penises of other primates that shrunk instead of ours getting bigger?

These are not the only options Jon. As has been discussed, and supported with references, penis size is not affected solely by genetics, and thus any explanation need not solely involve genetics.


Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also in prison. Thoreau: Civil Disobedience (1846)

I would say here something that was heard from an ecclesiastic of the most eminent degree; That the intention of the Holy Ghost is to teach us how one goes to heaven, not how the heaven goes. Galileo Galilei 1615.

If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom, and deprecate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground, they want rain without thunder and lightning. Frederick Douglass


This message is a reply to:
 Message 79 by Jon, posted 04-20-2013 2:30 PM Jon has acknowledged this reply

  
ProtoTypical
Member
Posts: 1776
From: Ontario Canada
Joined: 08-04-2010


Message 81 of 91 (697082)
04-21-2013 3:38 AM
Reply to: Message 77 by Jon
04-20-2013 8:50 AM


Re: it matters
Except that men are still taller (on average) than women in every individual population on Earth.
This supports the idea that even small preferences are strong enough to make an appreciable difference.

No it doesn't. It supports the idea that men are taller than women. It also very clearly shows that there are other factors than can easily overpower the effect of sexual selection. This does not mean that there is no sexual selection going on.

The evidence is against you; it suggests that the advent of agriculture (plant and animal domestication) brought with it social inequalities.

What evidence supports that idea?

Prior to that you should probably assume that people functioned more like they do in hunter-gatherer societies of today rather than assume they flung shit at each other and stuck their asses in the air.

The fantasy world of Prototypical in which women have never enjoyed any freedom in mate selection is just nonsense.

WTF man? Are you even paying attention?

I actually have considered several alternative explanations, a few of which I think quite good, none of which have been presented by anyone else in this thread full of folks so apparently against the sexual selection proposal and so unwilling to present an alternative.
Can't we get a real discussion going here? One in which several explanations are laid out and examined against one another?

The alternate theory is that within the framework of evolution some other more important elements are responsible. I see now that there is a word for what I have been talking about. Pleiotropy.

So, for example, if I have a high level of intelligence and this allows me to successfully woo a female into submission (see what I said there) with elegant speech and humour and leads to my reproductive success you might say that my intelligence was sexually selected for. In reality my intelligence played a much more important role in my survival up to the point where I was able to reproduce than it did in my securing a mate. So even though there is sexual selection going on it is not the primary driver of the development of intelligence.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 77 by Jon, posted 04-20-2013 8:50 AM Jon has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 82 by Jon, posted 04-21-2013 5:18 AM ProtoTypical has responded

  
Jon
Inactive Member


Message 82 of 91 (697086)
04-21-2013 5:18 AM
Reply to: Message 81 by ProtoTypical
04-21-2013 3:38 AM


Re: it matters
It also very clearly shows that there are other factors than can easily overpower the effect of sexual selection.

But these factors haven't overpowered sexual selection. The dimorphism exists in all populations whether the population is relatively taller or shorter compared to other populations.

Positing sexual selection isn't to explain general height trends; it's to explain the height dimorphism that exists in every population on Earth. And if that dimorphism is really the result of sexual selection, and that dimorphism exists in every population on Earth, then clearly the sexual selection for height dimorphism has not been overpowered.

The evidence is against you; it suggests that the advent of agriculture (plant and animal domestication) brought with it social inequalities.

What evidence supports that idea?

Relatively equal hunter-gatherer groups became highly structured and classed societies where drastic differences exist(ed) between the haves and the have-nots. Compare your average Native American tribe to the civilization of, say, Ancient Egypt.

In which one is inequality greater and more apparent?

So, for example, if I have a high level of intelligence and this allows me to successfully woo a female into submission (see what I said there) with elegant speech and humour and leads to my reproductive success you might say that my intelligence was sexually selected for. In reality my intelligence played a much more important role in my survival up to the point where I was able to reproduce than it did in my securing a mate. So even though there is sexual selection going on it is not the primary driver of the development of intelligence.

Okay... I think I see where you are coming from now. Larger penises may not have just been useful in wooing a mate, but might have also played a role in general survival, such as fighting off lions in the event spears became scarce.

That might be...


Love your enemies!

This message is a reply to:
 Message 81 by ProtoTypical, posted 04-21-2013 3:38 AM ProtoTypical has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 83 by Phat, posted 04-21-2013 10:51 AM Jon has acknowledged this reply
 Message 84 by Coyote, posted 04-21-2013 11:02 AM Jon has acknowledged this reply
 Message 85 by ProtoTypical, posted 04-21-2013 9:23 PM Jon has responded

  
Phat
Member
Posts: 12175
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003
Member Rating: 1.2


(1)
Message 83 of 91 (697099)
04-21-2013 10:51 AM
Reply to: Message 82 by Jon
04-21-2013 5:18 AM


Re: it matters
Jon writes:

Okay... I think I see where you are coming from now. Larger penises may not have just been useful in wooing a mate, but might have also played a role in general survival, such as fighting off lions in the event spears became scarce.

That might be...

Scary?
This message is a reply to:
 Message 82 by Jon, posted 04-21-2013 5:18 AM Jon has acknowledged this reply

  
Coyote
Member (Idle past 184 days)
Posts: 6117
Joined: 01-12-2008


(1)
Message 84 of 91 (697100)
04-21-2013 11:02 AM
Reply to: Message 82 by Jon
04-21-2013 5:18 AM


Re: it matters
Okay... I think I see where you are coming from now. Larger penises may not have just been useful in wooing a mate, but might have also played a role in general survival, such as fighting off lions in the event spears became scarce.

That might be...

...an early example of "Hold my beer..."

(And would probably qualify the owner for a Darwin Award.)


This message is a reply to:
 Message 82 by Jon, posted 04-21-2013 5:18 AM Jon has acknowledged this reply

  
ProtoTypical
Member
Posts: 1776
From: Ontario Canada
Joined: 08-04-2010


Message 85 of 91 (697136)
04-21-2013 9:23 PM
Reply to: Message 82 by Jon
04-21-2013 5:18 AM


Re: it matters
Positing sexual selection isn't to explain general height trends;

Yeah I understand that but it is being posited to explain general penis size.

And if that dimorphism is really the result of sexual selection...

This is the same type of issue. Men are taller for other biological or beneficial reasons beside being attractive to women. They are attractive because they are taller not taller because they are attractive. A bit of a chicken and egg thing but it seems that it would be the survival advantages of a trait that make them attractive.

I mean if height was a disadvantage in hunting and defence would it still be an attractive feature? The same applies to penises and what makes them attractive or not. (Not for hunting or defence, you meathead, but for making babies.)

Relatively equal hunter-gatherer groups became highly structured and classed societies where drastic differences exist(ed) between the haves and the have-nots. Compare your average Native American tribe to the civilization of, say, Ancient Egypt.
In which one is inequality greater and more apparent?

Differences between the haves and the have-nots are not differences in sexual equality. Those in high society are just like those down at the bottom with the exception that they are generally more depraved and susceptible to power tripping. Men and women both.

I am sure that it was all very complicated but a trait like male dominance does not show up or disappear quickly. It is slowly being minimized by social pressure and the rejection of violence as an acceptable thing.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 82 by Jon, posted 04-21-2013 5:18 AM Jon has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 86 by Jon, posted 04-22-2013 7:56 AM ProtoTypical has responded

  
Jon
Inactive Member


Message 86 of 91 (697152)
04-22-2013 7:56 AM
Reply to: Message 85 by ProtoTypical
04-21-2013 9:23 PM


Re: it matters
Positing sexual selection isn't to explain general height trends;

Yeah I understand that but it is being posited to explain general penis size.

Well obviously it can't explain penis size dimorphism. But the sexual selection for height is essentially the same process as the sexual selection for penis size: taller men get more action/more well-endowed men get more action.

This is the same type of issue. Men are taller for other biological or beneficial reasons beside being attractive to women. They are attractive because they are taller not taller because they are attractive. A bit of a chicken and egg thing but it seems that it would be the survival advantages of a trait that make them attractive.

There is obviously a selection pressure for taller men; specifically men who are taller than women. There is no selection pressure for men to be a specific height, which is what we would expect if height were being selected for because of some other advantage it bestows on the individual.

We would also expect women to evolve to be around the same height, since it would grant an advantage to the population in terms of having more hands for 'hunting and defence'.

Relatively equal hunter-gatherer groups became highly structured and classed societies where drastic differences exist(ed) between the haves and the have-nots. Compare your average Native American tribe to the civilization of, say, Ancient Egypt.
In which one is inequality greater and more apparent?

Differences between the haves and the have-nots are not differences in sexual equality. Those in high society are just like those down at the bottom with the exception that they are generally more depraved and susceptible to power tripping. Men and women both.

I am sure that it was all very complicated but a trait like male dominance does not show up or disappear quickly. It is slowly being minimized by social pressure and the rejection of violence as an acceptable thing.

You have nothing except your assumption that groups of people completely unlike ourselves acted the same way we do.


Love your enemies!

This message is a reply to:
 Message 85 by ProtoTypical, posted 04-21-2013 9:23 PM ProtoTypical has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 87 by ProtoTypical, posted 04-24-2013 9:26 PM Jon has responded

  
ProtoTypical
Member
Posts: 1776
From: Ontario Canada
Joined: 08-04-2010


Message 87 of 91 (697388)
04-24-2013 9:26 PM
Reply to: Message 86 by Jon
04-22-2013 7:56 AM


Re: it matters
I thought that sexual selection was primarily evidenced by the existence of otherwise useless or even counter productive features like bright colours on birds. Obviously, the penis is neither useless nor counter productive and a little extra size has proven benefits.

It is interesting because sexual selection could be said to be conscious interference with the path of evolution even if they didn't actually know what they were doing. Almost like a boost in the speed of evolution or some kind of direction apart from that dictated by the environment. That is if we can consider ourselves to be separate from the environment.

It also begs the question of why we desire what we desire and if there is anything at all beside what makes more babies.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 86 by Jon, posted 04-22-2013 7:56 AM Jon has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 88 by Jon, posted 04-24-2013 9:43 PM ProtoTypical has responded

  
Jon
Inactive Member


Message 88 of 91 (697389)
04-24-2013 9:43 PM
Reply to: Message 87 by ProtoTypical
04-24-2013 9:26 PM


Re: it matters
Obviously, the penis is neither useless nor counter productive and a little extra size has proven benefits.

And what are those proven benefits?


Love your enemies!

This message is a reply to:
 Message 87 by ProtoTypical, posted 04-24-2013 9:26 PM ProtoTypical has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 89 by Dr Adequate, posted 04-24-2013 10:13 PM Jon has not yet responded
 Message 90 by ProtoTypical, posted 04-24-2013 10:15 PM Jon has responded

  
Dr Adequate
Member
Posts: 16085
Joined: 07-20-2006
Member Rating: 10.0


(1)
Message 89 of 91 (697390)
04-24-2013 10:13 PM
Reply to: Message 88 by Jon
04-24-2013 9:43 PM


Re: it matters
And what are those proven benefits?

My film career and my username ...


This message is a reply to:
 Message 88 by Jon, posted 04-24-2013 9:43 PM Jon has not yet responded

  
ProtoTypical
Member
Posts: 1776
From: Ontario Canada
Joined: 08-04-2010


Message 90 of 91 (697391)
04-24-2013 10:15 PM
Reply to: Message 88 by Jon
04-24-2013 9:43 PM


Re: it matters
The displacement of previously deposited semen. The increased likelihood of producing an orgasm in the female which improves the odds of conception. The advantage of depositing sperm closer to the objective.

edit; and at a stretch maybe increased confidence in the male.

Edited by Prototypical, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 88 by Jon, posted 04-24-2013 9:43 PM Jon has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 91 by Jon, posted 04-25-2013 6:58 PM ProtoTypical has not yet responded

  
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