domingo, 20 de noviembre de 2016

Is biology against equality?

 "Evolution selection of mammals are done by selecting the males. Such circumstances made polygamic male mammals significantly stronger and possibly smarter than their female counterparts.This is observed in chimps, lions etc"is this true?Because I'm not sure people who say that are against equality

 The question as it was posted.
Someone requested me to anwer this bizarre question. Well, not so bizarre if you think on a female student whose teacher of biology is taking advance of his position to impose a distorted vision of the role of sex and gender among animals. Pure garbain. I really got upset when some stupid quoran told this anonyme question maker that they was being childish. 

My answer, go to learn about animals and you will discover that your rules are not universal and that the role of sex is far more complex that you thought. And fire that stupid teacher. 

Dicho de otro modo, que despidan a ese profesor, y que alguien mande a la mierda al gilipollas que insultó a quien quiera que hiciera esta pregunta. Creo que ese alguien voy a ser yo...mucha gente que pretende escribir en Quora dándoselas de estudiante, licenciado, etc...son gilipollas.

A message for the anonyme op who a2aed me this:
I know you have unfollowed your question, and all I can do is to imagine what you had in mind. The quote has a grammal mistake, and also you could have explained your point more clearly, but I won't give it too many importance, not everybody here was educated in English, I wasn't educated in English, either. But I don't know wether you think the quote makes sense or not.
It doesn't.
If you are a young female student and have had to endure some stupid sexist insinuations in your biology tuitions, think on this, you are not the first one. Question your proffessor's intenttions. Stay strong and cold minded. And if you like biology, go on. It is incredibly varied and interesting, it has surprises for all of us, and it is experimenting a revolution in the way of regarding female mammals in the last years. 

First off, Biology is not nature, it is  a science that studies a part of nature, life and living organisms branched in numerous subdisciplines that are defined by the scale at which those organisms are examined. Nature, on the other hand, is is the natural, physical, or material world or universe, it is life and the physical world at the same time. It is very important to make this distinction, which is in fact the cornerstone of this answer. You may not confuse our natural world with the science that studies it.
A science is a is a methodical system of acquiring knowledge, that seeks to explain the events of natural world in a reproductible way by other researhers working under the same conditions. In the case of Biology, the main stages of this method are observation and experimentation, and interpretation of the data acquired.
Although observation and experimentation are not free of flaws and assumptions, it is interpretation the most problematic part, because the uncoscious preconceptions, bias and assumptions afect it in a degree we can not predict.
Biology, biologists and description of the observational data made by biologists is not rid of assumptions, especially when it comes to matters that are important for our conception of the world, and the two main ones are the role of sexes (sadly, for some even of races) in human society and the connection of humans with the rest of animals. Put it in another words, you won't read more vivid discussions and more arrogant asumptions regarding biologic topics than in those two themes. Nobody will give so much thinking and energy to the way of feeding of mites or the reproduction of lichens. But when it comes to these two cathegories everybody seems to have something to say, no matter how much they really know about the science, the natural world, and all the incredibly intricated kind of complexities the study of animals, and mammals has.
I repeat, nobody is aware of how much their assumptions interfere the conclussions they make about the data proportioned by observations, and very few have take the job of looking for when did this theory of male rivalry conducting evolution started. It results that it started in the very writings of Darwin, who was assuming the preconceptions of the society he lived in:
Less widely known is that many evolutionists, including Darwin, taught that women were biologically and intellectually inferior to men. The intelligence gap that Darwinists believed existed between males and females was not minor, but of a level that caused some evolutionists to classify the sexes as two distinct psychological species, males as homo frontalis and females as homo parietalis. Darwin himself concluded that the differences between male and female humans were so enormous that he was amazed that ‘such different beings belong to the same species’ and he was surprised that ‘even greater differences still had not been evolved.
Darwin concluded that males were like animal breeders, shaping women to their liking by sexual selection. In contrast, war pruned weaker men, allowing only the strong to come home and reproduce. Men were also the hunting specialists, an activity that pruned weaker men. Women by contrast, ‘specialized in the “gathering” part of the primitive economy.’
Sexism is not absent in the story of teaching of the evolution theory.
The female inferiority doctrine is an excellent example of the armchair logic, a logic derived from our assumptions imposed to the interpretation of data. Do you see that what Darwin theorized based upon his own preconceptions is exactly the core of the phrase quoted in the question?. Can you see it?.
Darwin taught that the differences between men and women were due partly, or even largely, to sexual selection. A male must prove himself physically and intellectually superior to other males in the competition for females to pass his genes on, whereas a woman must only be superior in sexual attraction. Darwin also concluded that ‘sexual selection depended on two different intraspecific activities: the male struggle with males for possession of females; and female choice of a mate.’
In Darwin’s words, evolution depended on ‘a struggle of individuals of one sex, generally males, for the possession of the other sex.’ (Darwin, C., The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, 1897 edition, D. Appleton and Company, New York, p. 108, 1859.).
Those old victorian sexist prejudices absorbed in the understanding of biology of so many generations and appearing now, as of 2016, in this stupid phrase and in this interesting question. Memes. Dawkins had it right. Memes percolating in our collective unconscious.
Now that I have stablished the difference between nature and its study, the existence of unconscious bias in our way of understanding data acquired by observation of experiments, and he origin of assumption of that evolution is driven by selecting males...which is way much more than the former answers have done, I will take a time for a laugh. The rest of the answer is as painfully long and complex to explain as this part, so let's make a stop.

"[...] Such circumstances made polygamic male mammals significantly stronger and possibly smarter than their female counterparts.This is observed in chimps, lions etc". This is pissing, isn't it?. Absolutely!

Oh, you think that this is not fair...just cherrypicking?. What do you think that people propossing that selecion of males drives mammal evolution do?. Cherrypicking, no more. Worse, they can't give you a single study carried out on all poligamic mammal species that shows that evolution is made selecting males. NOT A SINGLE STUDY THAT BACKS THIS CONCLUSSION. Cope with it. There are not such studies.

Let's go again with the boring explanation.
"Evolution selection of mammals are done by selecting the males. Such circumstances made polygamic male mammals significantly stronger and possibly smarter than their female counterparts.This is observed in chimps, lions etc"
I'm going to be very clement here, and assume that the first phrase refers to polygamic mammals as well. It is more difficult to make a case against the phrase assuming that we are talking about polygynic species than in any other possibility, and I going to refer to this case. Also, I will forget about the pissing part of smarter males from now on.
To start off, we are talking about mammals. What all mammals have in common is that every single individual depends on their mother in the first part of their lives. We could think that those mammals produce equal number of male and female offspring, and that they invest the same work in rearing them up. But this is not always true.
Within species, mothers also often subtly adjust sex ratios to advantage themselves. Since the variance in male reproductive success is usually higher, it makes sense for mothers to produce more sons when they expect to have highly successful offspring, and more daughters when they don't. Boars, for instance, produce extra extra sons in small litters (when the mother can invest more) and extra daughters in large litters. Mother marsupials, including antechinus and brushtail possums, are thought to produce more sons to avoid competing with their daughters. Female bighorn sheep produce more sons when they are older and conditions are poor, but only breed every second season. The net outcome of this sort of individual-level bias is usually still a 50:50 sex ratio.
Here we examine the extent to which parental investment in red deer (Cervus elaphus) and other polygynous mammals matches these predictions. We conclude that, in several mammals, mothers invest more heavily in individual sons than daughters.
So we have here some evidences that point that parents make different choices accordingly to the possible reproductive success of their offspring accordingly to its sex. And they can favourite male over female or viceversa in function of the ecological factors. Parental selection of both sexes.
The matter is even more complicated, although infanticide commited by males due to sexual conflict is very estudied and divulgated (Infanticide (zoology), it is the known case of males killing the cubs when entering in a pride) there are other kinds of infanticide such as those commited by non maternal females due to sexual and resource competence (female rats will eat the kits of strange females for a source of nutrition, and to take over the nest for her own litter (wikipedia Infanticide (zoology). Mother rats also kill their own if they are deformed or wounded, to allow them to allocate resources to their other offspring. Why killing infants can benefit animals. Dominant females meerkats are known to kill subordinates' young, and they too have been known to kill a top female's young if they have a litter of their own. But male meerkats do not get blood on their paws. Why killing infants can benefit animals). Those killings don't select males, they kill all the youngs, if you follow my reasoning.
The pression of intraspecifical agression to youngs has lead to different strategies in order to protect the offsprings, one of them used by many female primates is paternity confusion where female primates mate with multiple partners so the males don't know who is the father. But they also have to have a look upon nearby females:
The adaptive function of copulation calls in female primates has been debated for years. One influential idea is that copulation calls are a sexually selected trait, which enables females to advertise their receptive state to males. Male-male competition ensues and females benefit by getting better mating partners and higher quality offspring. We analysed the copulation calling behaviour of wild female chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii) at Budongo Forest, Uganda, but found no support for the male-male competition hypothesis. Hormone analysis showed that the calling behaviour of copulating females was unrelated to their fertile period and likelihood of conception. Instead, females called significantly more while with high-ranking males, but suppressed their calls if high-ranking females were nearby. Copulation calling may therefore be one potential strategy employed by female chimpanzees to advertise receptivity to high-ranked males, confuse paternity and secure future support from these socially important individuals. Competition between females can be dangerously high in wild chimpanzees, and our results indicate that females use their copulation calls strategically to minimise the risks associated with such competition.
Oops, female female competition in chimpanzees!.
With all these facts together, similar enviromental selective pressure, gestation and lactation periods, parental choices, female infaticide and female-female competition...the question is how can anybody say that selection is made only on males?. Is Higher male variance in reproductive success enough to contrarest all the above pressures and make the selective pressure on females insignificant?. There is only a way to make a case for it. A great study with the sufficient number of species and individuals to demonstrate it. And do you know what?. Nobody has done it.
So the believing in a greater selective pressure over males is just that, a believing. The theory was coined in the very first years of the evolution theory debate and it has never been properly demonstrated.
There are only two exceptions in which the statement of a higher selective pressure over mammals males make sense:
- Harmful mutations on the X chormosome.
- Poultry and cattle: Where the asumption of "evolution done selecting the males" has some sense, is specifically in my speciality, agronomy. In fact I was also taught this same concept, but it is false. What it is true is that under non natural circumstances, where the animals can't make their own choices of reproduction, i.e. cattle and factory farm animals, it is more efficent to select the sperm of the males that have had very productive offspring (milky cows, meat cattle, egg laying chicks...), because you can very cheaply collect it, filter it in the way you can obtain many doses out of the original one, conserve it and sell it. This is the sense of this concept for an agronomist, and it makes sense. But it is not the real world under natural selection :).
Final worlds about equality in humans and finally about nature:
So what? Equality of the sexes does not mean that women want to be as strong or as large as males on average! It means equality of rights and opportunities. Biology and evolution has nothing to do with human rights. A male lion that dethrones the king of the pride kills his cubs. It's what lions do: infanticide. If a bigger man kills a woman's husband so he can marry her and then kills her children, it's a crime. My point is, don't go invoking biology as justification for human behavior considered criminal, immoral or unacceptable. It's not going to help you much. Here's an undeniable fact of human biology: we are highly social animals with complex and changing culture.
Does nature take care about equality?. No. In fact there are terrible reproductive strategies for both males and females in nature.
Do we humans have to care about equality?. Yes, this concept is a product of our social evolution which is a product of our evolutive history, as it is the science of Biology. Nature is the whole picture, like the cosmos, biology is our way of making cosmology. (sorry, I needed to give some visual reference, I have a sort of visual brain).

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