"Many of us were wrong about the European Enlightenment. Our expectations for it were naive, exaggerated and grandiose. The Enlightenment - when it was injected into the blood-stream of Western Civilization over 300 years ago - has not functioned like an innoculation against goof-ball ideas - such as those on parade in this Myspace group." -- me
To refresh: if you'll recall from a previous episode in this long-running, Myspace tragico-comedy, Lord Norton redefined the terminology of Darwin's theory of sexual selection (SS) into parodies, requiring insects to express "preference declarations" and to "premeditate" for them to exhibit biological mate preferences. He insisted that - after his mutilation of the theory of SS - it could not explain the mating behavior of insects and that only his own "chemical" mating theory could. In two separate threads, he attributed the distortions of orthodox, SS terminology to me and to the biological research quoted. He - further - declared that biologists were not permitted to select their own terminology(!) and that the observations of insect behavior during SS experiments were "subjective". Asserting - to him - that the theory of SS accurately depicts insect mating warranted a diagnosis of sociopathy. (This is how Lord Norton's mind functions - or better how it fails to function on even a pre-hominid level.)
As Darwin maintained, natural selection (NS) and SS are drivers of evolution, and without the theory of SS - which rests on the fact that sexually reproducing organisms show mate preferences for "ornaments", carried by members of the opposite sex, evolutionary theory collapses. This will be explained in exhaustive detail and backed-up by current research. Ernst Mayr predicted that once science attained a good understanding of genetics, SS would be deemed the dominant driver of evolution - at least in some species. Mayr's prediction is well on its way to being confirmed. Due to the explosion of knowledge in genetics during the last two decades, the volume of papers written, pertaining to SS, has come to dwarf most other evolutionary topics.
Below is a book-length critique of Lord Norton's equivocations with SS terms. His meaning-warping scheme, if permitted, to slaughter standard science-terms (such as "gift", "preference", "choice", "competition", "male combat", etc.) would lead to referential contradictions, knowledge paradoxes and the de-objectification of biology. Lord Norton is not entitled to insist that he can wave his magic word-wand over biology, making its data and its theories vanish. He must openly confront the evidence I present, come to grips with evolutionary theory as a viable theory and he is disallowed to tinker-around with the meanings of terms which have been universally accepted for over 140 years. Despite pretending that he's a "scientist" (the only one who counts) will not cut it. His anti-Darwinian position can prevail only by him overthrowing evolutionary biology with stronger evidence and a superior theory - than the evidence and the theory which we now have.
Keep this in mind: should a person on a Myspace group alter the value of c in Einstein's equation, e=mc², to zero then insist that one consequence of c being equal to zero is that Einstein's theory no longer explains how the sun radiates light and heat through fusion reactions, it does not follow that Einstein's theory no longer explains how the sun radiates light and heat through fusion. This is the diseased-root of the "norton-problem". Evidence not the twisting-around of a theory into a manufactured contradiction is required to dispense with a scientific theory. Lord Norton lacks the intellectual maturity to admit to himself that his sabotaging of Darwin's theory is not allowed - anymore than the above sabotaging of Einstein's is.
Point to yourself and say this: "I am Julius Caesar, and since Caesar is dead, I do not exist!". A self-referential contradiction is produced. You exist despite trying to POOF your existence away - by shifting the reference from the proper name of a deceased Roman to the first-person pronoun via a cheap word-stunt. Words depend on reality - not reality on the re-definitions of words.
Redefining the bio-term "preference" (a term introduced by Darwin as the basis of SS) yields a similar contradiction. To require insects to express "preference declarations" and be capable of "premeditation" for them to exhibit mate preferences is an equivocation, engineered by Lord Norton. When the word "preference" is redefined to mean what it does not mean, then applied with the new word-meaning in the old context, it might appear to the mind of the redefiner that the mate preferences on the part of insects do not exist, but they do exist. Words depend on reality - not reality on the redefinition of words. Evidence (not a word-game) is required to show that insects lack mate preferences. This evidence would refute the theory of SS; thereby, evolutionary theory would veer - instantly - into crisis.
The prior round of cult-antics consisted not just of constant vilification and lying about everything I wrote, but - of one person, announcing that biology is what he says it is. The many pieces of biological data (including Darwin, Sauer, Sakaluk, Engels, Engqvist, etc.) I posted were ignored, pronounced a "shallow viewpoint" or products of damaged minds. In this group, biology is conceived of as refuting itself. This conclusion will be known as the "norton-contradiction". Since Lord Norton was incapable of addressing me or scientific evidence openly, honestly and rationally, I'll leave this post up as a "permanent" record.
When there's a "debate" revolving around science held between one person who insists that science is what is done by the scientific community and another who maintains that he has the final authority to decide what science is, barring a total collapse of logic - only the former prevails.
Th. Dobzhansky, perhaps the greatest biologist to have walked the face of the earth, was one of the four horseman of the Modern Synthesis. Given his profession, he was a chronic, compulsive and spastic user of the norton-banned SS terms - in his pioneering studies of fruit flies.
In every paper quoted, the theory of SS was explicitly cited as the foundation of its particular line of research. Darwin cannot be expunged from biology with word-games or by demoting what he wrote (and what current biologists write) to "jargon". Serious evidence is required to refute the theory of SS. If insects were shown to lack mate preferences, biology would be revolutionized and evolution displaced. (Following Dobzhansky, biology minus the powerful evo-driver of SS yields a goose egg.)
No rational mind will concede these points: that a person on a Myspace group has the final-say over what biology is and that he - peremptorily - can redefine what its terms mean. Once Lord Norton announced his rejection of the terms which biologists use, he cannot annoint himself the sole biological authority. One consequence of his redefining biology, if successful, would generate a knowledge paradox, i.e. "What is known to exist is also known not to exist." (Since what is known to biology exists in nature, is - after the redefinition, known not to exist in nature - because someone thinks he can by words alone define both biology and nature away.)
As will be shown, against the "norton-contradiction", the mate preferences of insects, nuptial gifts and gift-giving species of insects exist. These items have been known by science to exist for quite some time. (Insect mate preferences for ~140 years. Nuptial gifts and gift-giving species for ~100 years.) The theory of SS cannot be polished-off by modifying any term - which underpins it. The bio-physical mechanisms, associated with SS in sexually reproducing organisms, do not leave reality - because a pellet-brain on an internet group commits the logical fallacy of equivocation with bio-terms. Evidence is needed to falsify SS (or any other) theory.
According to Darwin (quotes below), SS could not be observed, operating in nature, had sexually reproducing organisms no mate preferences. He - also - pointed-out that the theory of evolution without SS as a vital component cannot explain many facets of nature. Evolutionary theory, lacking SS, makes it all but self-implode.
For about 2 decades, Karl R. Popper publicly held the view that evolutionary theory was "unfalsifiable". In November of 1978 - while delivering the first Darwin Lecture at Cambridge, he recanted. In his lecture, Popper explained that only when SS is conjoined with NS is evolutionary theory falsifiable. [Evolutionary Epistemology, Rationality, and the Sociology of Knowledge (1987) pg. 145] But for his recognition of the importance of SS, Popper would probably have continued to maintain that evolution was a "metaphysical research project"; thereby, evolution remaining a myth. By adopting the salience of SS in evolution, he arrived at a similar conclusion - as his hero Darwin - did. If Popper is correct, that's what's at stake by ditching SS, turning evolution into a religious fable. (I think Popper was wrong. Evolution can be falsified independently of making SS a complement to (or co-equal with) NS. However, SS hacked-off of evo-theory makes it a lousy explainer.)
Darwin (From the 6th edition of The Origin of Species):
"As my conclusions have lately been much misrepresented, and it has been stated that I attribute the modification of species exclusively to natural selection, I may be permitted to remark that in the first edition of this work, and subsequently, I placed in a most conspicuous position - namely at the close of the introduction - the following words: "I am convinced that natural selection has been the main, but not the exclusive means of modification." This has been of no avail. Great is the power of steady misinterpretation."
So, the distortion of (and the lying about) Darwin's theory continues - uninterrupted - for over 150 years. This time 'round, it's the misrepresentation of SS terms and the quaint, Post-Modern subjectivizing of experimental data.
Before the publication of the Origin of Species, Darwin noticed that evolution was problematic with NS as its only driver. In the Origin, he briefly touched on aspects of SS. One reason why he wrote the book: The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex was to correct what he saw as a deficiency in the theory. Without SS as a prominent evo-driver, what exists in nature is under-explained by evolutionary theory. Genetic diversity cannot be accounted for by NS alone. Darwin declared outright that the "gorgeous plumage" of male birds, birdsong, the massive antler racks on elk, the "odoriferous glands" of male insects, the sizes, colors and structural differences between males and females, etc. could not have arisen solely by NS. Such "exaggerated male traits" (also called "male ornaments") make the carrier conspicuous to predators (and in some cases these traits make him less capable of protecting himself - than in carrying no exaggerated male traits.)
To Darwin and subsequent generations of biologists, NS cannot explain the appearance and preservation of the above "male ornaments" in nature - because they do not convey obvious survival advantages on male's carrying them, but SS does explain them - because they do convey reproductive advantages to males.
Darwin (from the Descent of Man):
" the advantages which favoured males derive from conquering other males in battle or courtship, and thus leaving a numerous progeny, are in the long run greater than those derived from rather more perfect adaptation to their conditions of life."
In the 1930s, R.A. Fisher took Darwin - relatively at face value, cobbling-together a model of SS derived from passages in the Descent. Under Fisher's model, not only males but females selecting for these exaggerated traits and their offspring are conferred reproductive advantages. (According to more recent SS models, Fisher may have "jumped the gun" regarding the latter two predictions. He overgeneralized from sparse - if any - data.)
Fisher named his model of SS "runaway". Both the "exaggerated traits" shown by males and the preferences for the traits among females are reinforced through a positive feedback loop. Over time - however, the intensity of female preferences for male traits (and the magnitude of these traits expressed by males) are checked by counter-selection pressures. Fisher maintained that these pressures nearly counterbalance the survival disadvantages conveyed on males showing (and on females selecting for) these traits.
"We are, however, here concerned only with that kind of selection, which I have called sexual selection. This depends on the advantage which certain individuals have over other individuals of the same sex and species, in exclusive relation to reproduction."
"The sexual struggle is of two kinds: in the one it is between the individuals of the same sex, generally the males, in order to drive away or kill their rivals, the females remaining passive; while in the other, the struggle is likewise between the individuals of the same sex, in order to excite or charm those of the opposite sex, generally the females, which no longer remain passive, but select the more agreeable partners."
"It is shown by various facts, given hereafter, and by the results fairly attributable to sexual selection, that the female, though comparatively passive, generally exerts some choice and accepts one male in preference to others. Or she may accept, as appearances would sometimes lead us to believe, not the male which is the most attractive to her, but the one which is the least distasteful. The exertion of some choice on the part of the female seems a law almost as general as the eagerness of the male."
[note: Darwin's words - "the female, though comparatively passive, generally exerts some choice and accepts one male in preference to others." "The exertion of some choice on the part of the female seems a law."]
" when we see many males pursuing the same female, we can hardly believe that the pairing is left to blind chance - that the female exerts no choice, and is not influenced by the gorgeous colours or other ornaments with which the male alone is decorated."
"The males (passing over a few exceptional cases) are the more active in courtship; they are the better armed, and are rendered the more attractive in various ways. It is to be especially observed that the males display their attractions with elaborate care in the presence of the females; and that they rarely or never display them excepting during the season of love. It is incredible that all this should be purposeless. Lastly we have distinct evidence with some quadrupeds and birds, that the individuals of one sex are capable of feeling a strong antipathy or preference for certain individuals of the other sex."
[note: Darwin's word - "preference"]
"The modifications acquired through Sexual Selection are often so strongly pronounced that the two sexes have frequently been ranked as distinct species, or even as distinct genera. Such strongly-marked differences must be in some manner highly important; and we know that they have been acquired in some instances at the cost not only of inconvenience, but of exposure to actual danger."
"Nevertheless, natural selection will determine that such characters shall not be acquired by the victorious males, if they would be highly injurious, either by expending too much of their vital powers, or by exposing them to any great danger. The development, however, of certain structures - of the horns, for instance, in certain stags - has been carried to a wonderful extreme; and in some cases to an extreme which, as far as the general conditions of life are concerned, must be slightly injurious to the male. From this fact we learn that the advantages which favoured males derive from conquering other males in battle or courtship, and thus leaving a numerous progeny, are in the long run greater than those derived from rather more perfect adaptation to their conditions of life."
"Everyone who admits the principle of evolution, and yet feels great difficulty in admitting that female mammals, birds, reptiles, and fish, could have acquired the high taste implied by the beauty of the males, and which generally coincides with our own standard, should reflect that the nerve-cells of the brain in the highest as well as in the lowest members of the Vertebrate series, are derived from those of the common progenitor of this great Kingdom."
" it is doubtful how the more attractive males succeed in leaving a larger number of offspring to inherit their superiority in ornaments or other charms than the less attractive males; but I have shown that this would probably follow from the females - especially the more vigorous ones, which would be the first to breed - preferring not only the more attractive but at the same time the more vigorous and victorious males."
[note: Darwin's word - preferring]
"But in very many cases the males which conquer their rivals, do not obtain possession of the females, independently of the choice of the latter. The courtship of animals is by no means so simple and short an affair as might be thought. The females are most excited by, or prefer pairing with, the more ornamented males, or those which are the best songsters, or play the best antics; but it is obviously probable that they would at the same time prefer the more vigorous and lively males, and this has in some cases been confirmed by actual observation. Thus the more vigorous females, which are the first to breed, will have the choice of many males; and though they may not always select the strongest or best armed, they will select those which are vigorous and well armed, and in other respects the most attractive. Both sexes, therefore, of such early pairs would as above explained, have an advantage over others in rearing offspring; and this apparently has sufficed during a long course of generations to add not only to the strength and fighting powers of the males, but likewise to their various ornaments or other attractions."
[note: Darwin: "The females are most excited by, or prefer pairing with, the more ornamented males." The nuptial gift is one of Darwin's "male ornaments". In two threads, I quoted from about 10 of the most recent experiments on scorpionfly mating behavior. Not too surprisingly, the conclusions of the experimenters are exactly the same as Darwin's.]
"There are many other structures and instincts which must have been developed through sexual selection - such as the weapons of offence and the means of defence - of the males for fighting with and driving away their rivals - their courage and pugnacity - their various ornaments - their contrivances for producing vocal or instrumental music - and their glands for emitting odours, most of these latter structures serving only to allure or excite the female."
"Does the male parade his charms with so much pomp and rivalry for no purpose? Are we not justified in believing that the female exerts a choice, and that she receives the addresses of the male who pleases her most? It is not probable that she consciously deliberates; but she is most attracted by the most beautiful, or melodious, or gallant males. Nor need it be supposed that the female studies each stripe or spot of color; that the pea hen, for instance, admires each detail in the gorgeous train of the peacock - she is probably struck only by the general effect."
[note: Darwin's words - "the female exerts a choice"]
Darwin's other mechanism - which pushes organisms to mate differentially is male-male competition, i.e. males in many species vie for the possession of females within their own species. This mechanism, too, requires a preference, but on the part of males: males are inclined by nature to pursue reproductive success by winning through competition with other males.
The theory of SS is a house of cards, built-on the fact that sexually reproducing organisms exhibit mate preferences. If the preference card is pulled out by redefining it, it does not follow that the house of cards collapses. The redefinition does not - ipso facto/presto chango - make sexually reproducing organisms lose their preferences. Nothing which happens in this world can be made to slide-out of the reality-shoot - when a person shifts the meaning of a word around; only a bewitching word-spell has been conjured.
Darwin did not require females of any sexually reproducing species to express "preference declarations" or be capable of "premeditation" for them to carry mate preferences for attractive male traits. Identically for male-male competition, males are driven by a preference to succeed reproductively. As I have written - before diagnosing SS as a sickness, Darwin's theory needs to be taken in dead seriousness. In a contest for the prize of scientific objectivity held between Lord Norton and Darwin, barring the collapse of science, reason and realism, we should have a minimal level of intellectual maturity to give Darwin the nod. According to Lord Norton, Darwin - along with all the scientists from whose research I quoted - must be demoted in rank to the status of jargonizers for their forbidden use of the anathemized, SS terms. If applied, the "norton exclusion rule" on bio-terms leads to a reductio ad absurdum, i.e. biology ceases to be biology. One of the most productive theories in the history of science (evolution) would - after a successful banishment of the terms which underpin it - have as much explanatory power as a pile of reeking manure.
For a short, up to date history of SS, see: http://nekhbet.com/PNAS-2009-Jones-10001-8.pdf.
Under evolutionary theory, the statement that in any sexually reproducing species SS via female choice (rarely male choice) or male-male competition cannot occur is a contradiction.
For whatever reason, I was supposed to have conceded that biologists (at some point) lost control over matters, foundational to biology. Had the "norton exclusion" been applied to physics by him distorting the meaning of a Quantum Mechanics term then criticizing his distorted meaning of it by deriding it as "jargon", all would chuckle that physicists had lost control over their branch of science. Biology is no different. The tactics of a meaning-distorter undermine nothing but the intellectual integrity of the meaning-distorter. Lord Norton exercises no legitimate authority to monkey-around with the meanings of scientific terms - which are fundamental to modern biology and which have remained stable, constant and intact for over 140 years.
The bio-term "preference" means no more (and no less) than the following -
When a word is redefined to mean what it does not mean, then used as if it applied in its original context, an equivocation (a logical fallacy) is committed. By Lord Norton's binding the word "preference" (and all other SS terms) to "preference declarations", "planning", "thinking", "premeditation", etc., equivocation is what has resulted.
To Darwin (and those who followed him) - if there were no mate preferences on the part of sexually reproducing organisms, propelling them to differential reproductive outcomes, then the consequences of SS (genetic diversity, exaggerated male traits, sexual dimorphism, etc.) would not be observed in nature or in experiments.
To Lord Norton, no mate preferences exist on the part of scorpionflies and fruit flies - because such creatures cannot express "preference declarations" nor engage in the advanced cognitive trait of "premeditation". If SS did not (and cannot) operate in any species of non-human organisms, then how the devil did non-human creatures evolve into humans?
These are his words. He cannot squeal "sarcasm" with these cracks - because he has been consistent in (mis)identifying the word "preference" with "preference declarations" and "premeditation" to attack me, biologists, experimental data and the theory of SS in two separate threads. He has truculently used his (mis)identification to deny biologists(!) the permission to select their own terminology. He endows himself soley with this authority: the integrity of science, the theory of evolution, the expansion of human knowledge through biology and genetics, minimal rationality, humility, human decency, etc. all be damned.
Keep this in mind: flies are not doing any thinking, human behavior, Did the fly say and jargon of preference is the redefinition against Darwin (and the ordinary meaning) of the term "preference" to human verbal behavior and an advanced level of consciousness. For over 140 years, the mate preferences shown by non-human organisms have been understood to be brute biological functions which these organisms possess - not the cognitive and linguistic traits uniquely possessed by humans.
One could redefine the word "preference" so restrictively that humans could be said to have none. Only super-human beings - who express "preference prognostications" and who have the trait of "precognition" - could be said to authentically carry preferences. A super-human being - who objectively knows and asserts: "I shall like x rather than y in the future at T3!" has a preference. However, most (if not all) humans lack the ability to peer into the future; therefore, most (if not all) humans have no preferences. As with the equivocation above - on Darwin's term, this word-stunt does not modify how things stand in the world. The equivocation does not deprive human beings of their preferences; it's a pointless adventure, born of wrenching the meanings of words 'round and 'round. Words depend on reality - not reality on the redefinition of words.
Anyone who makes wine knows what fruit flies prefer. Attempt this trick at home: crush 80 lbs of red wine grapes, ferment the must on the skins for 5 days, remove the "chapeau" from the fermentor and press the new wine from the spent skins. Allow the skins to remain in a bucket for a few days, and you will be greeted by bazillions of buzzing fruit flys. Next, take a standard solution of potassium metabisulfite, splash it in and around the bucket. Where did all of those flies go? Fruit flies prefer rotting fruit over sulfur dioxide fumes - because sulfur dioxide kills them. Surprise. Who'da thunk it that living organisms prefer living over dying? Sexually reproducing organisms - such as fruit flys and scorpionflies - also prefer successful over less successful/failed reproduction. Who'da thunk that one up as well? Charles Darwin did. The assertion that "Insects do not make preference declarations" is a tautology - because it's logically impossible for such creatures to make them. No one but Lord Norton confounded the biological (and ordinary) meaning of term of "preference" with language competence and premeditation. Evidence (not the redefinition of a word) is required to show (against experimental biology) that non-human, sexually reproducing organisms lack mate preferences.
The dogs that I've raised - enjoy Alpo more than Gravy Train. No observer who has his wits about him could miss the duality in the predispositions, displayed by them. Dogs do not (because they cannot) make obscene "preference declarations" for Alpo. They (literally) wolf-down a bowl of reeking Alpo in seconds, yet they allow a bowl of Gravy Train to sit for hours, rotting and avoiding it like the plague. We can easily detect the preference that the dogs have for Alpo over the Gravy Train. Only someone intentionally false (or hell-bent on destroying reason) would insist that these dogs have no preference for Alpo - because they cannot verbally announce that they prefer Alpo over Gravy Train. By inspecting their behavior, the preference can be isolated. Once again, the line running that: "Non-human organisms have no preferences because I've arbitrarily restricted the word "preference" to refer to those organisms who have the capacity to express verbal "preference declarations" is a manufactured tautology. It's a meaningless expression - foreign to both biology (and the ordinary usage) of this word. When the made-up definition is confused with the bio-term - by insisting that whoever states that animals are not required to articulate preference declarations for them to be inclined towards condition x is attributing human intentions to animals, that conclusion is a straw man built on top of an equivocation. The only one peddling jargon by grafting "preference declarations", "planning", "thinking" and "premeditation" onto the bio-term "preference" is Lord Norton. Similarly, the assertion that EITHER premeditation exists in an organism OR no preference can be observed on the part of that organism is a false dichotomy - in spades.
Experimentally, we can test the Alice in Wonderland thesis that "words have only the meanings which I assign to them". If you were placed in a sealed crypt and all of the oxygen got sucked out of it, no amount of redefining that the lack of an oxygen supply means the sufficiency of an oxygen supply would save you from suffocating to death. Your ability to redefine words depends on conditions in the world - not the conditions in the world on your redefining words. The Alice in Wonderland thesis is exactly what is proposed when the bio-term "preference" is redefined to "preference declarations", "planning", "thinking" and "premeditation".
The knowledge paradox resumes: SS in insect species which is known to exist - after the redefinition - is known not to exist - since by the redefinition, insects (and many other organisms) cannot have mate preferences. Had no mate preferences on the part of insects existed, then the consequences of SS would not be routinely observed by biologists. (See the mounds of research below.) The conflation of word "preference" with "preference declarations" and "premeditation", if allowed, would generate a knowledge paradox, i.e. what is known to happen in nature is also known not to happen in nature. Not teapots, nor sealing wax, nor instances of SS nor succotash owe their existences to (re)definitions. They are world-facts. They are not word-facts. There are no word-facts.
Repeat this sentence to yourself - again and again - until you self-induce a lethal, brain-aneurysm:
There are no word-facts.
There are no word-facts.
There are no word-facts.
There are no word-facts.
Norton's linguistic redefinition project gives rise to a logical paradox, closely related to the famous Liar. The paradox runs: An equivocator says: "What I say is an equivocation!". If his assertion is true, then it is false - because he's an equivocator. But assume that what he says is false. Because what the equivocator says is that what he says is an equivocation, then it is true. Reductio ad absurdum... Knowledge paradox... The results of this counter-logical mischief are referential and self-referential paradoxes infinitely crammed-up the ol' wazoo...
Darwin directly observed mate preferences on the part of non-human organisms in nature and in his experiment. He exhaustively explained in the Origin and the Descent that the term "preference" was picked as the foundation for SS theory - because it is a synonym for "selection" - similarly for the term "mate choice".
By slapping mentalistic connotations onto bio-terms, Norton misconstrued what they refer to. In doing so, he committed a Rylean category mistake. The cause-words of biology pick-out states of affairs in nature. Whatever his intrigues are, Norton confounded the cause-words of science (SS) with reason-words ("preference declarations" and "premeditation") alien to it. Once it is realized that the only jargonizer around is Lord Norton, the "jargon" attack on the theory of SS loses its sting.
"It doesn't matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn't matter how smart you are. If it doesn't agree with experiment, it's wrong." -- Richard Feynman
Lord Norton's "argument" is predicated on a universal negation. He does not know better than to try to pull this logically-weak wonder off on me. "No instance of SS has ever occurred in any insect species - because such creatures lack mate preferences." He who spits-out a universal negation plays in my ball-park.
Let's compare Norton's "argument" with an experiment - which tested Drosophila female mate preference for the male sex trait 7-T.
Or - for the more logically minded:
The single question posed was why is Lord Norton the only "scientist" - who chuckles at the fact that SS operates in mating system of this non-human population (fruitflies)? Darwin did not. Fisher did not. Dobzhansky did not. Mayr did not. Wright did not. The biologists in the 10 pieces of research I quoted from and linked to do not. Biologists have not refuted the theory of SS. Insect mating continues to be cashed-out under it - not under any arcane "chemical processes" theory. This paper is entitled: "Female remating, sperm competition and sexual selection in Drosophila" - not "Norton's chemical theory makes SS blast-out the gates of reality into non-being". The Lord must approach evidence as evidence - not use it as a instrument to pole-vault over a theory which has functioned as a high-bar for biology.
The crux of the paper proposes that SS occurs in Drosophila. (Sperm competition pertains to both male-male competition and to the bio-physical mechanisms inside of female bodies - which select between distinct assortments of sperm, resulting in non-random, differential reproductive success.) "Competition" occurs in nature. It drives both natural and sexual selection. Unlike Norton, no person with a functional brain has ever asserted that the above bolded term "competition" refers to an advanced level of consciousness ("premeditation") or language competence ("preference declarations") to bring about reproductive success in any species. Competition among organisms in nature is a fact, fundamental to biology.
On a "social networking site" - when you come-across an assertion, rambling to the effect that competition cannot occur in any population of non-human organisms - because such organisms lack both a mastery of human language and the human trait of premeditation, you should have brains enough to bail from the site, if not the internet - in perpetuity.
Nothing in the paragraph pasted pertains to rape. This is another intentional distortion of a simple passage. Clearly, rape is Norton's obsession. However, "forced mating in natural populations" observed is mentioned in it - further on. The content in this paper is the polar-opposite of "shallow". SS theory is not shallow - nor is it a "viewpoint". Demoting SS to a "viewpoint" is another cheap-attempt to de-objectify, de-rationalize and de-Darwinize evolutionary biology. This paper represents biology - as-it-is. It should have been read before twisting it into what it is not. Abscessed half-wits on a Myspace group are disallowed to linguistically warp the scientific evidence sustaining a theory into the disproof of the theory.
Researchers have begun to identify (alleles, proteins, organs, etc.) inside of the bodies of female fruit flies - which are responsible for SS (in this case "sperm competition"). Biological theory and terminology are crucial tools, needed to lay-out a coherent map of nature. Word games - like bending every conceivable biological term into a manufactured contradiction then pronouncing every quote from the SS experiments presented as "jargon", "a relatively shallow viewpoint", "garbage data", "pseudo science", "writing haiku", "obsessed", etc. cannot begin to describe of what reality consists.
Norton is the only person, maintaining that the terms employed to describe SS in fruit fly(!) populations entails a non-physical, "thoughtful process". He is attacking his own distortions of orthodox SS words. The jargonizer is he - not Darwin nor the scientists who followed him. Nothing about insect mating in the papers quoted was "neglected". Norton read none of them. Namely - as mentioned in the "relatively shallow viewpoint" paper: "The "good genes model" (Zahavi, 1977) states that females choose their mates, using "male secondary sex traits as indicators that possess high genetic quality that will be passed on to their offspring.". Pheromones are (among other traits) accounted for in the phrase "secondary sex traits". The Lord refutes his own position by asserting that pheromones, i.e. what he calls "chemicals" have been "neglected" by evolutionary biologists.
Even more drivel was spewed to satirize "The Good Genes model". The Good Genes model is an hypothesis, stating that "female preference for elaborate male traits evolves because the male trait is an indicator of genetic quality". It's one of a number of hypotheses used to evaluate how (not whether) SS occurs in sexually reproducing species. The Good Genes model asseses the existence and efficacy of "elaborate male traits" to drive differential mate selection. Norton is proscribed from twisting scientific terms into what they are not. He can either accept or reject evolutionary biology - not colonize it for himself, becoming the only "scientist" who reigns over its fertile terrain.
Researchers have isolated mechanisms in the reproductive tract of female fruit flies - which non-randomly select between their mates' sperm contributions. This discovery provides more, unmistakable evidence of SS in insects species. "Cryptic female choice" means no more (and no less) than that (alleles, proteins, organs, etc.) in female bodies select which mate(s) will become the father(s) of their offspring. Consciousness is not involved. The low-level functions in the anatomy of female fruit flies cannot be made to leave the reality hatch by incoherently babbling "jargon" at biological terms - because they are annoying to him. Only counter-evidence suffices to refute the theory of SS. To demonstrate that the brute, biological functions in the bodies of female fruit flies do not non-randomly select (or selectively incapacitate sperm) powerful counter-evidence is required.
From Science Nov 8 2002, Sperm-Female Coevolution in Drosophila by Miller and Pitnick:
" males competed equally well within females with short sperm-storage organs, but males with longer sperm out-competed their less endowed rivals within females sporting longer storage organs. The advantage to males of longer sperm increased with increasing length of the female tract."
"the length of the sperm-storage organ is a mechanism dictating female choice among potential sires of her offspring. Females choose among males based on the length of their sperm. Long sperm tails are thus the post-copulatory, cellular equivalent of long peacock tail feathers."
To specially plead that "female choice" (cryptic or otherwise) is "jargon" does not refute the evidence that the reproductive organs of female fruit flies pick-out long sized sperm over small sized sperm. This research points out - again - that SS occurs in populations of fruit flies. Darwin has been vindicated. He cannot be excised from biology - anymore than Einstein can from physics by announcing that the space/time continuum, tensors, fields, time dilation, black holes, etc. are subjective issuances of "jargon".
Contra Norton's "chemical" nonsense, fruit fly mating does not boil-down to the excretion and reception of pheromones. Eye color, wing size, wing flapping, body mass, etc. are also sexually selectable traits. In the experiment: "Sexual selection in Drosophila silvestris of Hawaii", the authors observed that "tibia bristle row variation" between two (slightly geographically separated) populations of Drosophila was a significant factor for female mate preference. (The more rows a male has, the more of a preference on the part of the females for the male, carrying the trait.) They also demonstrate that winners of the initial male-male combat and "second to court" males were "favored" over loser males and males lacking a "second to court" opportunity.
Sexual selection in Drosophila silvestris of Hawaii (1981), by E. Spiess and H. Carson
"Females tend to accept particular males, and in turn females appear to vary in their desirability for being courted. Thus sexual selection in both aspects (male-male rivalry and discrimination in favor of particular opposite sex individuals) is demonstrated."
[note: To biologists, SS has been demonstrated to operate in a species of sexually reproducing organisms (Drosophila silvestris). Who'da thunk it?]
"Tibial bristle variation in males from opposite coasts of the island of Hawaii functions in courtship "
"the interpopulational tests presented males alternatively that differed in their tibial bristle rows and geographic origin. Expression of the second-to-court preference (c + f categories) is slight but suggestive with U26 males (upper row, Table 4) but significant with U28 males (lower row). Thus it appears that a morphological feature [tibial bristle variation] likely to influence courtship and mating acceptance has actually done so."
"In D. silvestris, males that win initial combat contests tend to be more successful in mating than "losers"; this tendency probably follows from lek behavior in which success at holding a lek may well be a condition for acceptance by a female."
At face value, Norton's idiosyncratic take on the function of "chemicals" (by which he means pheromones, i.e. sex attractants) regarding insect mating is not a shot at deception. In two separate threads, he has maintained continuity with this howler.
Unlike the Lord, biologists (and everyone else) do not contend that the presence of chemical sex traits, i.e. sex attractants(!) turns the mate preferences for these chemicals into mind-dependent chimeras. In the experiments - which I quoted from and linked to, it was stated unequivocally that pheromones are olfactory, secondary sex traits. As will be demonstrated below, female fruit flies show mate preferences for specific olfactory cues. In an elegantly devised experiment, Drosophila females exhibited a strong mate preference for males carrying high concentrations of the chemical sex trait - 7-tricosene.
No biologist "neglected" pheromones. Biologists discovered them! The knowledge paradox continues: pheromones are secondary sex traits, but after purging secondary sex traits from reality - because they are irritating "jargon", pheromones are also not secondary sex traits. When (and on what planet) did pheromones (and all other sex traits like nuptial gifts) cease being sexually selectable traits? How does he know this? Norton has done nothing but decree that all SS data are invalid. He cannot wave a magic word-wand over biology, making secondary sex traits turn into anti-secondary-sex-traits. SS theory needs to be refuted by evidence. Norton has not put forth a scrap of evidence - because there is none to sustain his "chemical" mating, mad-cap theory.
The releases of pheromones by males and their reception by females involved in fruit fly mating are explained (and have always been explained) by SS. Darwin wrote in the Descent that the "odoriferous glands" of male insects attract females. Pheromones prime, push and direct evolution. Sex attractants are - in no way, shape or form - incompatible with the operation of SS. In fact, they trigger it. From Darwin forward, biologists have arrived at the polar-opposite conclusion, regarding the influence of pheromones on mate selection.
Biologists have never excluded pheromones, alleles, salivary masses, morphological features or internal organs from triggering (or mediating) the process of SS. Why should they? Since it's his theory that fruit flies are "replicating machines" and that they replicate by a means wholly independent of SS, the burden of proof for this counter-biological imbecility falls exclusively on him. If SS cannot operate in the mating systems of non-human organisms, Norton's "replicating machines" could not show differential reproductive successes - as is documented in the experimental literature! Given Darwin's theory, the results of experiments and the existence of fruit flies in nature, this is a reductio ad absurdum. Every balderdash-claim that he's uttered on this subject collides with what has been known to biology for over 140 years!
These are his words - not mine. The quote below was eructed - before he began attacking me (unprovoked) like a rabid animal in the "Pretend you attend Yale" thread. Norton cannot maintain that he was feigning ignorance to bait me.
N.B. "Insects as far as we know are primarily motivated by chemical processes ". Biologists, if you'll recall, have been banned from using their "p" word - "preference". Yet, Norton invokes a word, "motivation", which is - arguably - more packed with intentionality than preference is. Again, "Their only purpose is to reproduce". Here's a new "p" word, "purpose" - which he has introduced. The Lord is applying this word to describe insect mating behavior! "purpose" is more intentionality-laden than "preference". Fundamentalists use this word to convince themselves that nature is guided by God - evolution being a fraud. He operates under double standards. Under his jargon-banishment-diktat, he banishes himself for the uses of his mentalistic "m" and "p" words, but - to him - biologists are not permitted to employ the bio-term "preference". Under SS, the term "preference" means no more (and no less) - than an inclination on the part of an organism towards reproductive success than reproductive failure. Norton is the one who invented the hokum that the word "preference" is linked with language ability and a complex level of thought. He alone has pursued a misconstrual of a simple bio-term. His "theory" is that, contra biology, SS cannot occur in populations of organisms - which lack language mastery and an advanced level of consciousness.
Bullcrap. If the mating behavior of insects boils-down to "chemical processes" (not SS), then how do we account for the results of an often replicated experiment?
A Drosophila population, containing equal numbers of red-eyed and white-eyed flies of both sexes after about 25 generations, will wind-up with only red-eyed flies. (10 days from egg to adult is the normal generation-time for Drosophila.) This outcome occurs despite the fact that white-eyed flies are just as healthy and live as long as red-eyed flies, i.e. both eye-color groups possess the same level of fitness. Not only do red-eyed females prefer red-eyed males, white-eyed females do also.
The occult-workings of Norton's "chemicals" do not plausibly explain this result - only the non-random, differential consequences of SS can (and do). Eye color in potential mates are visual (like nuptial gifts) secondary sex selection traits. As shown below, acoustic (wing flapping) cues also drive fruit fly reproduction. Fruitfly mating, like scorpionfly, butterfly, etc. mating, is not contingent on (nor reducible to) the selection for one sex trait. This experimental observation was pointed out in every paper of the research - which I linked to and quoted from. Can't he - once - read a god-damned scientific paper before torturing SS into parody?
Norton's theory runs that insect mating boils-down to "chemicals" and that SS is not involved(!). Since - to him - there can be no mate preferences on the part of insects, then SS (via female choice) cannot operate in the mating systems of these populations, but every bit of evidence to the contrary demonstrates that chemical traits drive SS, visual and acoustic traits drive SS and that these non-chemical signals are as equally important as chemicals for SS in numerous, insect species. What's presented - below - is but a fractional sampling of the data amassed within the last 140 years, bearing-out the theory of SS. The Lord's routinely invoked position slams-into what has been known to biology. Darwin, Fisher, Dobzhansky, Mayr, Wright, Holland, Sauer, Bonn et al. were wrong about SS, but he is the only person in the history of modern biology who has ever been right. Under such a megalo-maniacal delusion, how does he function in this world? He is not entitled to novelly rework the terminology of biology into contradictions - anymore than he is entitled to redefine a "photon" as "the basic unit of sound" or a "galaxy" as "a collection of milk cartons".
"Sex pheromones are chemical signals frequently required for mate choice"
" pheromones are multicomponent blends of chemicals, some of which tend to stimulate partner attraction while other components can induce repulsion (Linn & Roelofs 1989; Mustaparta 1996)."
[note: Compare: "pheromones are multicomponent blends of chemicals", "stimulate partner attraction" and "induce repulsion" with Darwin's: "odoriferous glands" and "the individuals of one sex are capable of feeling a strong antipathy or preference for certain individuals of the other sex". Darwin wins, and Norton loses again. Every bit of evidence presented was predicated on Darwin's theory. The Lord cannot supplant this theory by slinging excrement, performing word-spells and unleashing stunning ignorance against biology - as it is practiced by biologists. Pheromones trigger sexual selection. They do not eliminate it.]
"Drosophila female discrimination and receptivity to male courtship is genetically based (Pineiro et al. 1993;)"
"The distal part of the female antenna (consisting of the arista attached to the third antennal segment) is clearly involved in the perception of male acoustic signals ('love song') and changes in female receptivity (Bennet-Clark& Ewing)"
[note: Contrary to Norton's "chemical motivation" theory, male acoustic signals are not composed of nor are they received as "chemicals" by female sense organs. Male acoustic signals are - also - primers of SS via "female choice". This mate selection process does not boil-down to "chemical processes". His theory that "insects are primarily motivated by chemicals" has been decisively, unmistakably and utterly refuted. For once, will he submit to scientific evidence?]
The use of chemical and visual cues in female choice in the butterfly Bicyclus anynana (2007), by Katie Costanzo and Antónia Monteirio
"Investigating the relative importance of multiple cues for mate choice within a species may highlight possible mechanisms that led to the diversification of closely related species in the past. Here, we investigate the importance of close-range pheromones produced by male Bicyclus anynana butterflies and determine the relative importance of these chemical cues versus visual cues in sexual selection by female choice."
"Our study and that of Robertson & Monteiro (2005) also support the idea that females prefer to mate with males with both visual and olfactory cues present relative to males that carry only either a visual or a chemical signal."
"In conclusion, this study found that in addition to visual cues such as wing patterns, chemical cues also play a role in intraspecific communication for mate choice in B. anynana. In addition, we found that both signals are equally important in the process of sexual selection by female choice in the laboratory and that females will mate with males exhibiting only one of these signals."
Compare the above: "females prefer to mate with males with both visual and olfactory cues present relative to males that carry only either a visual or a chemical signal." with the bellowing below:
Examine the following sentence with the reading-comprehesion-skill demanded of a 3rd grader: "both signals are equally important in the process of sexual selection by female choice". Visual signals as mate preference-drivers are equally important as "chemicals" for SS to occur on the part of these insects: butterflies.
"both signals are equally important in the process of sexual selection by female choice"
Back to fruitflies:
"Darwin (1874) postulated that if the most odoriferous males were the most successful in winning females, male odours should constitute a sexually selected trait."
[note: To me, Darwin in the Descent seems an overawed amateur, enthused and winging it with his quaint descriptions of mating behavior on the part of non-human organisms. It's uncanny (and scary) that experimental research some 140 years after the publication of his book continues to confirm him. No other scientist (with the possible exception of Einstein) can lay claim to such prescience and validation. To Norton, Darwin and the current consensus of biology are all wet. (no mate preference on the part of insects = no SS operating in the mating systems of any insects species = no evolution) These "male odours" constitute "a sexually selected trait". Female fruit flies prefer the concentrated presence of certain "odours" in their mates - rather than mates having a diluted presence of these (or repellent) "odours". Darwin's "p" word and SS have been spotted yet again. No one can make the theory of SS or this data vanish by wrenching-away what the word "preference" means from biology. An experiment must be conducted, falsifying this data. By Norton's diktat of excluding all SS terminology - if permitted, the biologists who conducted this experiment would be proscribed from evaluating insect mating on the basis of SS terms! With his appeal to the supreme authority, he has elevated himself above all of them, expelling them, their own theory and their own terms from their own science. Norton has positively no special authority to lay-down what biology is and what biological terminology can be used. Does he even understand this? Norton needs to read Darwin's book - before he ventures another opinion insofar as evolutionary biology. http://www.literature.org/authors/darwin-charles/the-descent-of-man]
"Our data suggest that 7-tricosene (7-T) is a male-specific trait preferred by D. melanogaster females. A clear relationship was found between the amount of 7-T carried by the tester male"
[note: Look at the math and the graphs. "7-tricosene (7-T) is a male-specific trait preferred by D. melanogaster females." In this experiment, the reproductive outcomes could not have been observed as they were if female fruit flies were not wired-up to mate, in roughly a direct proportion to the amount of 7-T carried by male fruit flies. Contra Lord Norton, the presence of 7-T in males does not abort SS in fruit flies. According to biology, it triggers it. The "preference" word rears its pathological head again. Females prefer to mate with males proportional to the amount of 7-T carried by them. No one can make the fact that females of this species show a preference for breeding with males excreting high amounts this trait blast-out of the gates of reality into non-being by engineering an equivocation with the elementary bio-term - "preference". The Lord needs to grow up and come to terms that he cannot - with word-spells alone - control science and nature!]
"In summary, we show that the principal Drosophila male cuticular pheromone (7-tricosene) can change female receptivity and mating behaviour. This finding should help us to better understand the implication of pheromonal communication in sexual selection and isolation."
Answer: have biologists convincingly demonstrated that pheromones function as mate-preference drivers in this Drosophila species? Do females have a preference for the 7-T chemical blend, expelled by males? The correct answers to the previous questions refute the Lord's "chemical" madcap-theory, which runs that SS in insects cannot occur - because female fruit flies lack the advanced linguistic ability to verbally express "preference declarations" and engage in "premeditation". Female fruit flys are inclined by their genes to breed with males who carry proportionally high amounts of 7-T in them - rather than with those carrying proportionally low amounts of 7-T. No one can make such compelling evidence evaporate by branding it a "shallow viewpoint", "jargon", "garbage material" or "pseudo science". Norton's category error, confusing insects with people and people with insects, does not stand. Biology and the world as-it-is does. Science remains immune from his perverse manipulation of words.
The knowledge paradox resumes: chemical cues are known to drive SS in Drosophila, but since SS cannot occur in Drosophila, chemical cues are also known to not drive SS in Drosophila.
Neither Darwin nor Dobzhansky nor anyone else in the history of biology required fruit flies to express "preference declarations" or "premeditate" for them to exhibit biological mate preferences. Below is one of Dobzhansky's many contributions to biology. It was he who first demonstrated that females fruit flies carry preferences for - among other traits - eye color and wing size in mates - which falsifies Norton's "chemical processes" silliness.
Experiments on sexual isolation in Drosophila. III. Geographic strains of DROSOPHILA STURTEVANTI (1944), by Th. Dobzhansky
"Relatively slight mating preferences have been observed in Brazilian and Guatemalan Drosophila willistoni, and some quite striking preferences have been found in Brazilian, Guatemalan and Mexican strains of D. prosaltans. Most of these intra-specific mating preferences are one-sided: greater proportions of females of one than of the other strain are inseminated by males of both strains. Data reported in the present article show, however, that two-sided preferences for homo-gamic matings, which are, in general, characteristic of interspecific crosses, occur also within the species D. sturtevanti Duda (=D. biopaca Sturtevant)."
"both Guatemala and Brazilian males have in some crosses inseminated preferentially Brazilian females."
"It is evident that when Brazilian and Mexican females are kept with Brazilian males, Brazilian females are inseminated preferentially"
"They are sexual isolation proper and one-sided mating preferences. Strains A and B are said to be sexually isolated if males of A mate chiefly with A, and males of B chiefly with B females (positive isplation indices). If the mating preference is one-sided, A males mate more frequently with A than with B females (positive isolation index), but B males show either no preference (isolation index close to zero) or a preference for A females (negative isolation index). Situations intermediate between true sexual isolation and one-sided mating preference occur. Theoretically, two strains may also show consistent preferences for heterogamic matings (negative isolation indices), but this has never been found in experiments."
"Two types of preferential mating have been observed in Drosophila."
"True sexual isolation develops if one-sided mating preferences are added up and coordinated by natural selection."
Be honest for once and answer, embracing evidence as evidence: did Dobzhansky observe fruit flies, showing preference for mating with members of their own (and rarely with closely related) species? If organisms lacked this preference, then how, why and with what would they be driven by nature to reproductively interact? If fruit flies lacked a generalized, intra-specific mate preference, would they be prone to attempt mating with petunias or aardvarks? The bio-term "preference" means no more (and no less) than a predisposition on the part of an organism towards reproductive success than reproductive failure. To Darwin, Dobzhansky, Fisher, etc. (no mate preference = no SS = no evolution). Evolutionary theory would be in ruins without SS. We can either get rid of evolution or get rid of Norton and his "preference declarations", "premeditation", "jargon", etc. I choose the latter, signing on with Darwin, Dobzhansky, Fisher, Mayr, etc. This man, Dobzhansky, was no piker in the history of biology. Had it not been for him, it's an open question as to whether Darwin's biology would have been successfully fused with Mendel's laws, during the Great Synthesis (1920s-1950s).
Norton fancies himself, inhabiting a status above every existing (and deceased biologist) - from which he assumes the supreme authority to decree what the terms of biology mean. He does so on the basis of a self-referential appeal to authority as a "scientist". He alone can dislodge SS theory from scientific viablility - in contempt of the fact that biologists have no evidence to dislodge this theory. Had fundamentalists his hubris, they could have - long ago - tinkered-around with the orthodox meanings of evolutionary terms, making evolution appear to exit through the reality hatch. However, no one would have taken them seriously. They would have been sent away - packin'.
According to biology - since Darwin, the organisms of sexually reproducing populations show non-random, differential reproductive outcomes - due to their having mate preferences for attractive traits, displayed by members of the opposite sex. Sexually reproducing organisms, their preferences and instances of SS are known to exist in nature.
Following Darwin and Popper, evolution is a pivot-hinge, composed of two brackets: NS and SS. SS rests on the fact that organisms have mate preferences. If mate preferences are removed, one part of the hinge breaks. The hinge won't turn. Evolutionary theory becomes a fable.
The research presented - below - overwhelmingly demonstrates that female choice (i.e. female preferences for male ornaments in scorpionfly species) is an observable feature of reality. This evidence cannot be made to vanish into the ether by redefining bio-terms. One can merely exclude the possibility of conceding the point that nature contains female selection for male nuptial gifts in scorpionfly species. The scientific consensus, holding that gift-giving species exist, cannot be magically dispelled with wizard-like spells or by committing unhinged defamation against me or Leif Engqvist.
The norton-contradiction bubbles to the surface once again: Even though the theory of SS is textbook biology, SS is not textbook biology. It's the defining-mark of intellectual obsession and depravity.
Norton must accept the scientific evidence I present as evidence, analysing it as a civilized human being. He is disallowed to redefine any bio-term, pronounce the results of experiments "pseudo-science" or denounce scientists as charlatans. Counter-evidence is required to refute evolutionary (or any other scientific) theory.
Norton unleashed an ad hominem attack against a fellow human being - who has devoted his life to science, seeking to clarify how nature functions. If an ad hominem assault against a scientist (or in this case an entire branch of science) can refute a theory, then no theory is immune from being expelled by another ad hominem. For example - since Einstein was obsessed with the velocity of light; therefore, Relativity is a fraud! A knowledge paradox emerges: even though the velocity of light in a vacuum is constant, it's also not constant - due to Einstein's obsession with the velocity of light.
Engqvist's line of research is predicated on the theory of SS. His contributions to science need to be read, instead of libeling him and denying his credentials. When did biologists fork-over control of their research, their reputations and their legacies to the tender mercies of a baloney-merchant - such as Lord Norton? Isn't it sufficient that Norton exerts plenipotent control over biological terminology? Does he really need to convince himself that he has the special privilege of deciding who is (and who is not) a legitimate biologist?
Denouncing Engqvist as prone to obsession and a third-rate non-biologist is rubbish. He holds a PHD in biology, and he experiments on organisms, belonging to polyandrous insect species. Given biology and evolution, what the hell is he supposed to write? Engqvist was not the biologist who discovered nuptial feeding in insect species. It was identified a century - before he came on the scene. His research stands until refuted by dis-confirming evidence. Name calling does not undermine the results of experiments. Only evidence (which Norton has never presented a scrap of) does. Engqvist did not invent the plethora of bio-terms - which depicts the behavior of organisms in sexually reproducing populations. Darwin introduced most of them. Had Norton never encountered the theory of SS in a biology textbook, then he never read one.
Here's a 39 page chapter from a biology text-book! The taboo/disease-ridden/heresy words veritably abound within it.
This is biology as-it-is, precisely what has been rejected publicly - time and time again - by Lord Norton. (No mate preferences on the part of non-human, sexually reproducing organisms because they cannot express "preference declarations" or "premeditate" = no SS operating on individuals in their species = no evolution of non-human, sexually reproducing species) Acoustic signals emitted by bullfrogs are mentioned. Female frogs have very definite and quantifiable preferences for specific, croak frequencies. The croaks (like pheromones, gifts, wing size, etc. shown by insects) drive (they do not eliminate) SS in frog populations. Had the biologist - who wrote this text-book - insisted that female frogs have no mate preferences for the croaks of bullfrogs - because they express no "preference declarations" nor can they "premeditate", he would become a laughing-stock to (and drummed-out of) his profession.
Contra Norton's jihad against biology, male scorpionflies are inclined by nature towards maximal sperm transfer (reproductive success) rather than minimal sperm transfer (reproductive failure) - Darwin. In polyandrous species, males compete with the sperm contributions of other males. The relationship between nuptial gifts and sperm transfer has been precisely measured and quantified for decades in experiments - where it counts. During mating trials, the volumes of sperm deposited into female scorpionflies have been shown directly proportional to the sizes (and numbers) of nuptial gifts, delivered by males. Male scorpionflies invest considerable physiological resources (2% - 5% of their bodily mass) in producing these gifts to induce females of high genetic fitness to mate with them. The volume of egg production (and fertilized eggs) has also been shown directly proportional to the sizes (and numbers) of the gifts consumed by females.
It was that ol' bearded feller' Darwin - who hypothesized that males compete with other males, having a preference towards winnning (succeeding reproductively) than losing (failing reproductively). Darwin did not require a human level of "planning behind" reproductive interactions for the members of any non-human, sexually reproducing species to exhibit a preference for selecting traits - which leads to reproductive success. Following the Great Synthesis and results of current research, the preference to succeed reproductively is inscribed into the genes of all sexually reproducing organisms.
Larger masses of salivary gifts = longer copulation durations = more sperm transfer = greater numbers of eggs produced and fertilized = more offspring fathered by the gift-givers = Darwinian success in reproductive competition
There's massive, overwhelming and incontestable evidence for what Lord Norton denies exists in reality and denies can be measured. Yet - since SS terminology is pure "jargon", the sheer enormity of this data is supposed to swirl-down the drain-hole of reality out into non-being. The "jargon" scorned is precisely what biologists - since Darwin have universally adopted to picture the mating interactions of organisms in sexually reproducing species.
The knowledge paradox returns: the sperm transfer advantage shown to be correlated with the sizes and numbers of gifts produced and transferred by males is known to happen in nature, but after the SS jargon-banishment-diktat is enforced, it is also known not to happen in nature.
These knowledge paradoxes (above and below) could be best explained by Lord Norton's adoption of counter-realism; that is, the doctrine whereby: "What is known to exist does not exist.". It happens; therefore, it does not happen. Since a state of affairs is true; therefore, it is false. "The sperm transfer advantage shown to be correlated with the sizes and numbers of gifts given in scorpionfly species is false - despite its being shown (for decades in experiments) to be true."
In a nut-shell, the counter-real doctrine runs: science deals with what happens in the world; hence to counter-realists, it deals in falsehood. According to counter-realism - even though a sperm transfer advantage has been shown linked to the sizes and numbers of nuptial gifts transferred by males scorpionflies to females is true, it's false - apodictically.
Cryptic Sexual Conflict in Gift-Giving Insects: Chasing the Chase-Away (2006), by Scott K. Sakaluk, Rachel L. Avery, and Carie B. Weddle
"The amount of sperm transferred is vital to male fitness because it is the principal determinant of a male's fertilization success, particularly when his sperm must compete with those of a female's other mating partners (Sakaluk 1986; Sakaluk and Eggert 1996; Calos and Sakaluk 1998; Eggert et al. 2003)."
[note: "The amount of sperm transferred" is "principal determinant of a male's fertilization success". Scientists know this as a fact - because they experiment on living organisms. They do not play redefinitional word-games as Norton does.]
Nuptial feeding in the scorpionfly Panorpa vulgaris: ultimate and proximate causes (2005), by Engels and Bonn
[note: For once, why not read a god-damned scientific paper before denying what reality consists of?]
"Since sperm transfer is continuous during copulation (Sauer et al. 1997), the number of sperm transferred is controlled by copulation duration which in turn depends on the number of salivary masses a male is capable to invest (Sauer et al. 1998)."
"Since copulation duration determines the number of fertilised eggs for a given male, salivary mass production can be viewed as a sexually selected trait that is the main proximate determinant for male fitness."
"While males produce salivary secretions on which females feed during copulation, females adjust mating duration to the number of nuptial gifts they receive (Sauer et al. 1998, Sindern 1996)."
"In this study I was able to show that the nuptial gifts of male P. vulgaris have a significant effect on female fecundity. There is a positive correlation between the number of salivary masses a female consumed and the number of eggs it produced."
"the nuptial gift increases the reproductive output of females and hence must not only be considered as mating effort but also as paternal investment."
"Engels & Sauer showed that females receiving more saliva significantly increase their reproductive output. Therefore, males providing females with more secretion increase the number of eggs a given female can produce and therewith the absolute number of eggs these males can fertilise."
"According to Simmons & Parker (1989) male nuptial feeding represents a form of paternal investment if the female's reproductive output is increased and as a result the fitness of the male's progeny as a whole gains benefits by an increased number of offspring."
"Since females adjust copulation duration and thereby the number of received sperm to the number of salivary masses they receive from a male, the gifts' function as mating effort is unquestionable."
"The number of saliva secretions males are able to produce declines in successive matings. Moreover, males of nutritionally high status produce more gifts than those of nutritionally low status."
"nuptial feeding obviously is a sexually selected trait."
[note: To evo-bio, the existence of "a sexually selected trait" presupposes a definite preference on the part of an organism "selecting for" that sex trait.]
What Lord Norton insists cannot occur (preferences for ornaments) and cannot be measured (sperm transfer from males to females) has been shown to occur and has been precisely measured for decades in experiments - where it counts. No special pleading that he is a "scientist" can make the reams of this data dissolve into the empyrean or convert Darwin's theory into a taboo-object - on which no-one may peer. He must first refute the theory of SS with stronger evidence than that which modern biology has racked-up over the last 140 years. Word-games cannot refute scientific theories.
Repeat this sentence to yourself - again and again - until you induce a lethal, brain-aneurysm:
Word-games cannot refute scientific theories.
Word-games cannot refute scientific theories.
Word-games cannot refute scientific theories.
Word-games cannot refute scientific theories.
In scorpionfly species, the nuptial food gift - generally - consists of male salivary secretions. More of this trait (than less of it) is an indicator of male genetic quality - which females select for. There's accumulating evidence that in scorpionfly (and other gift-giving species) the gifts contain hormones which lead to significant increases in egg production. N.B. Lord Norton's attempt to warp the display of and selection for a well-known secondary sex trait (gift-giving) into a subjectivist's delusion. By a word-spell, the knowledge paradox resumes: what is known by science to be objective (the display of a male phenotypic sex trait) is also known to be "subjective" - after twisting 100 years worth of experimental observations into an "artistic interpretation" of nature.
Perform this word-trick now. First, point to the ceiling and assert: "This ceiling does not exist!". You've committed a referential contradiction. Next, look at what a biologist is holding between a pair of forceps. Point to the object - which has been removed from a male of a gift-giving species and whine: "That nuptial gift does not exist!". Finally, point to a gift-giving insect and scream: "That organism of a gift-giving species does not exist!". My regrets to you. You, too, may be a Norton. According to Lord Norton, the latter 2 existents are just non-cognitive chunks of jargonized nothingness - because they are described by the anathemized, SS terms (nuptial gifts and gift giving). However - if there were no mate preferences on the part of female scorpionflies, then - according to science, there would be no observable male sexual display traits (nuptial gifts) to isolate from the male scorpionfly. Plus - if there never were female mate preferences for gifts displayed by male insects, then - trivially - there would be no members of any gift-giving species around to point at!
By performing the above referential contradictions, nothing tangible reaches-out and modifies the conditions in this world. The pre-copulatory gifts delivered by the males of scorpionfly species exist. By the display of the gift, females are enabled to visually discriminate against "low-quality" males, and - by this, increase their reproductive fitness by selecting well-adapted males as fathers of their offspring. As has been shown by mountains of evidence, males transferring the gifts maximize their reproductive success; that is, they produce more offspring than males who give poor gifts or no gifts. If no mate preferences on the part of female scorpionflies existed in nature, then nuptial gifts, gift giving [scorpionfly] species and the members of these species could not be observed by biologists in nature - unless everyone (except Lord Norton) got evolution incredibly wrong!
Does the Lord really wish to go against Darwin again - by palming-off SS theory as "a word game" then identifying what pushes insect mating as "a regulatory process that has more to do with fertility than anything"? Fertility (the natural capability of giving life) does not plausibly explain the non-random, differential reproductive successes, primed by preferences for male display traits. Only SS explains these consequences. Fertility and SS are not co-extensive. Fertility has never been a biological theory, advanced to explain mating behavior. It's not even a theory! It's merely a condition - which healthy, sexually mature organisms possess. Evidence (not the redefinition of terms) is required to overthrow the theory of SS in gift-giving (and other) insects species. The only "argument" which Rob L. Norton has eructed is that evolutionary biology has been wrong for over 140 years and that only he is right. For example:
"Males invest substantially in matings by offering a nuptial gift. The size of this salivary mass, which males produce before copulation, influences copulation duration (Engqvist and Sauer, 2001Go) and, consequently, the number of sperm transferred during copulation (Engqvist, 2000Go). The larger the salivary mass, the more sperm are transferred. In this sense, the salivary mass of P. cognata functions as mating effort in correspondence to nuptial gifts in a variety of insect species (for review, see Vahed, 1998Go)."
"we previously demonstrated that males manipulate the size of the produced salivary mass in relation to the quality (i.e., fecundity) of the female. Males with a limited supply of saliva offer high-quality females larger salivary masses than they offer to low-quality females (Engqvist and Sauer, 2001Go)."
"The fly is going to breed regardless if the chemicals being produced by the opposite sex are appropriate."
Bullcrap. In the many pieces of data I plastered regarding scorpionfly research, it was pointed-out crystal clearly that pheromone emissions were made (in some cases 7 hours) prior to a male, presenting the gift or that no pheromone emissions were made. Breeding in scorpionfly (and other insect) species is not contingent on (nor reducible to) the selection of a single male sex trait. Why not just read the research I present - instead of dismissing it then inventing counter-biological hokum? There are volumes of research which show that females in some scorpionfly species will not mate without a pre-copulatory nuptial gift presented and which also show that females in some scorpionfly species will mate without a prior pheromone emission. For example:
Influence of Nutrition on Courtship and Mating in the Scorpionfly Panorpa cognata (Mecoptera, Insecta) (2003), by Leif Engqvist & Klaus Peter Sauer
"Copulations also occurred with an arthropod carcass (prey) as nuptial gift. However, these copulations were usually not preceded by male calling [pheromone emissions] and the complex courtship behaviour. In only one of the 185 copulations involving a carcass, the male also called [made a pheromone emission]."
[note: compare "complex courtship behaviour" with Darwin's: "The courtship of animals is by no means so simple and short an affair as might be thought.". Only Norton has reduced insect mating to the expelling and reception of "chemicals". Since Darwin, it has been well-known that mating is the result of complex, reciprocal interactions.]
In perhaps the most consequential SS experiment of recent memory, Cryptic Sexual Conflict in Gift-Giving Insects: Chasing the Chase-Away (2006), Sakaluk et al. isolated nuptial gifts from males of a gift-giving species of crickets, then during mating trials, they fed them to females of a non-gift-giving cricket species. This research was conducted to test - whether the onset of female remating is postponed by the consumption of gifts and to evaluate how their ingestion affects "classical", female reproductive fitness.
Females of the non-gift-giving species showed strong preferences for the gifts - whereas females of the gift-giving species showed weak ones. When the gifts were consumed by females of the non-gift-giving species, their remating was delayed "significantly". In contrast - when females of the gift-giving species were deprived of gifts during mating, "there was no difference in their propensity to remate relative to females permitted to consume a food gift".
The researchers postulate that these gifts contain hormones - which regulate the speed of female remating. Subsequent research has born-out that over time females of a number of species have developed "resistances" to male display traits by building-up defenses via "counteradaptations". Unlike females of the gift-giving species, females of non-gift-giving species never had the "evolutionary experience" to acquire immunity against the effects of the gifts, i.e. "antiaphrodisiacs"; hence, their remating was shown to be delayed.
Insofar as genetic fitness in polyandrous species, the delay of female remating is an advantage to males but a disadvantage to females. Delaying female remating reduces the probability that females will combine their genes with high(er) quality male genes (or combine them with a wider variety of males which maximize the probability of their genes proliferating). Over a female's reproductive lifetime, slowing-down her remating lowers her reproductive output and shifts the genetic profile of her offspring. By a multiplier effect on other females, slowing-down female remating lowers the reproductive output and shifts the genetic environment of the population. Such outcomes may shape the evolutionary trajectory of an entire species - unless the male-fitness-driven consequences of gift acceptance are "chased away" by concealed ("cryptic") female counter-measures.
Norton's attempt - if permissible - to linguistically blot-out SS terminology (preference, male display traits (gifts), advantage, disadvantage, resistance, sexual conflict, competition, choice, discrimination, gift-giving species, etc.) as "jargon" from science would prevent our intriguing experiment from being science. Obviously, this word-stunt would disallow the above paper (and all others containing the norton-banished terms) to be subject to criticism, revision and refutation by the scientific community. Evo-bio without such terms would descend into a circus of farce.
Most strikingly, had no male crickets produced nuptial gifts, then the experimentors could not have isolated the gifts and transferred them to the female crickets of the non-gift giving species! If - per impossibile - nuptial gifts were word-facts, they could not have been extracted and fed to female crickets. But - since this is polar-opposite of what Sakaluk et al. performed, it follows that these "male display traits", i.e. gifts (contra Lord Norton's rejection of them) exist in reality.
Biologists could not have determined that gift consumption leads to advantages, disadvantages, sexual conflict, etc. as evidence for SS on the part of gift-giving crickets had nuptial gifts, the mate preferences for these gifts and gift-giving organisms not existed in nature. Either the cricket researchers are pulling a fast one or Lord Norton is epically wrong by duping himself into disbelieving that nuptial gifts, mate preferences for the gifts and gift-giving organisms are facts of nature. If the above three were not parts of the furniture of this world, then conclusions flowing from these experiments would have the intellectual status of sibilance, i.e. noise. The norton-exclusion on SS-terms introduces yet another paradox, a reductio ad absurdum or worse.
In the mating systems of sexually reproducing populations, a condition of "optimal breeding" has never been observed. Lord Norton reeled-off this howler from out of the abyss of his goof-ball mind. In the experiment below, the consumption of the gift in the gift-giving [cricket] species once delayed female remating. For males, it was an "advantage", but it was not optimal. Its consumption by females increased the likelihood of an individual male's genes combining with female genes and proliferating. For females of this species, gift consumption was the polar-opposite of optimal - "sub-optimal" - as stated below. It was a "disadvantage" to them. Gift consumption once delayed their remating "significantly" until a resistance against the bio-physical effects of the gift arose (over time) from within the females' bodies. What Lord Norton has denied about organisms - time and time again - is known to happen. Mutual conflicts between the reproductive interests of both sexes in a species do not yield the condition of "optimal breeding".
Does Norton have any counter-evidence, refuting the results of the experiment below, which demonstrate - again - that SS has been detected to operate in a gift-giving [cricket] species, involving the production, transfer and consumption of nuptial gifts? If there never was a preference for the gift by the females of the gift-giving [cricket] species, then the preference for the gift among subsequent generations of females in this species could not have decreased - as a result of a counter-adaptation. (A decrease in a preference for a selectable sex trait presupposes a once definite preference for that trait.)
Cryptic Sexual Conflict in Gift-Giving Insects: Chasing the Chase-Away (2006), by Scott K. Sakaluk, Rachel L. Avery, and Carie B. Weddle
"Holland and Rice (1998) proposed a new model to account for the evolution of elaborate male sexual displays that incorporates this fundamental conflict over mating rate. According to their model, display traits initially arise in males because they exploit preexisting sensory biases in females and consequently induce females to mate in a suboptimal manner. This in turn selects for female resistance or decreased attraction for the trait, which in turn leads to greater selection on males to exaggerate the display trait to overcome this resistance. The resultant cycle of antagonistic coevolution forms the basis of what Holland and Rice (1998) and Rice (1998) term the "chase-away" model of SS" .
[note: To be scientifically clear: evolutionary theory is a house of cards constructed on the facts of NS, SS, Mendelian inheritance and genetic drift - which are observed in nature and experiments. SS is built-on the fact that sexually reproducing organisms carry mate preferences. If the SS card is yanked-out by demonstrating that non-human organisms have no mate preferences, evolutionary theory collapses into a jumbled-heap of 52 pick up on the floor. However - with his anti-SS diktat, Norton cannot expunge the mate preference from any organism or hack-off SS from evolutionary theory.
If non-human, sexually reproducing organisms were shown to have always lacked mate preferences, then evolutionary biology would be flawed - if not flat-out, bird-brained balmy.]
"the chase-away SS model predicts that females will evolve decreased attraction to male display traits "
" we have identified a male display trait that presents a unique opportunity to seek unequivocal evidence of female resistance and to demonstrate that female attraction to a male display trait can lead to decreased female fitness. The male display trait in question is a courtship food gift, the spermatophylax, a component of the spermatophore that is transferred by male decorated crickets Gryllodes sigillatus (Orthoptera: Gryllidae) to females at mating."
"Females provisioned with novel food gifts were "fooled" into accepting more sperm than they otherwise would in the absence of a gift"
"Nuptial food gifts, an integral feature of the mating systems of a wide variety of insects, may be a frequent conduit by which males attempt to influence the mating behavior of females against females' own reproductive interests."
[note: Researchers could not have rationally concluded that "nuptial food gifts" are "an integral feature of the mating systems of a wide variety of insects" had mate preferences not existed for 100s of millions of years among female insects towards these male gifts. (Nuptial gifts - probably - arose as a reproductive trait in the Triassic era, ~500Myr ago.) In Sakaluk's experiment, female preferences for the gifts were shown to be "against females' own reproductive interests" - because the bio-chemical effects of them impaired the females' remating ability. Occult appeals to "fertility", "a regulatory processes" or "chemicals" radically fail to explain these phenomena. Only SS, its operation in nature, does adequately explain it.]
"We hypothesize that the spermatophylax transferred by male G. sigillatus contains substances that at one time inhibited the subsequent sexual receptivity of their mates but that female G. sigillatus have evolved reduced responsiveness (i.e., resistance) to these substances to retain control of their mating rate."
"When food gifts of male G. sigillatus were fed to females of a non-gift giving species, Acheta domesticus, females took significantly longer to remate than did females that were not given food gifts to consume after their initial mating."
" males benefit by inducing a delay in remating by their mates and that females suffer a reduction in fitness from any such delay. There is clear evidence to support both of these underlying assumptions."
" have established a critical facet of the chase-away model, namely, that females frequently prevail in sexual conflicts, encumbering males with sexual display traits that often have little or no effect on female mating decisions (Holland and Rice 1998)."
The evidence plastered above does not cease being science - because a frenzied megalomaniac from his perch on a Myspace group arrogates unto himself the supreme authority to invalidate and de-rationalize the bio-terms employed by the biological community! Counter-evidence (not a word-game) is required to falsify the above experiment. Re-definitional word-games (e.g. by insisting against science that - since insects cannot express "preference declarations" or "premeditate"; therefore, they have no mate preferences) does not make that which has been observed during experimentation fly-out of the window of the world. There will come a time in his life, when - if Norton does not let reality intrude and dissolve his fantasies, he will die or become destroyed. Will he resolve to embrace a chunk of reality now?
Answer this question - which was ducked by both Norton and Khuno. The correct answer is located on the base-line of minimal, human rationality. Either the consensus of biology is all wet - or they are. There's no mention of "preference declarations" or "premediatation", required for scorpionflies to show mate preferences. Fundamentalists, 13 year olds and those who believe that this planet was colonized by space-aliens(!) answer the question (correctly) - in the affirmative. But - given the corner that they've painted themselves into, they cannot. This experiment is core SS research. Missoweit, Engels and Sauer are no dilettantes in this field.
Foraging ability in the scorpionfly Panorpa vulgaris: individual differences and heritability (2007), by M. Missoweit, S. Engels, and K. P. Sauer
"According to indicator models of sexual selection, mates may obtain indirect, i.e. genetic, benefits from choosing partners indicating high overall genetic quality by honest signals. In the scorpionfly Panorpa vulgaris, both sexes show mating preferences on the basis of the condition of the potential partners. Females prefer males that produce nuptial gifts (i.e. salivary secretions) during copulation, while males invest more nuptial gifts in females of high nutritional status."
Have both sexes of Panorpa vulgaris been shown by 3 biologists to exhibit mating preferences and that the males of the species produce nuptial gifts, exactly as these scientists observed them, using the orthodox, SS terms which biologists have selected?
According to Norton's rule, any person who answers "yes" is as deranged as the biologists are. According to ordinary rationality, a person who answers "no" is an imbecile and a repudiator of evolution. Is there a third possibility?
Perhaps: the norton-contradiction: "Male and female mating preferences of Panorpa vulgaris organisms, despite being shown to exist by Missoweit, Engels and Sauer, do not exist - because I've - ex cathedra - redefined mate preferences out of insects - for good!".
The counter-realist conclusions against SS are: Text-book biology is false - because text-book biology is true. The theory of SS is not viable - because the theory is viable. In SS experiments, nuptial feeding in scorpionfly species has not been objectively observed for over 40 years - because such feeding has been objectively observed for over 40 years.
Thus sayeth the quasar: "I do not exist!".
Declaring that forced sex can occur only when a human level of purpose accompanies the behavior ignores the behavior itself. Norton's redefinition is a circular argument (a manufactured tautology), i.e. -
"Since non-human organisms cannot form a human intent to force sex, they cannot be observed forcing sex. Why? Non-human organisms cannot be observed forcing sex - since they cannot form a human intent to force sex." And so on.
However, I trust the eyes and reasoning skills of biologists - more than the motives of a redefiner. Unlike Lord Norton's preference towards lying about biology - as opposed to accepting it, no biologist has ever lied about anything I've said.
If I understand one of Lord Norton's queer predicaments, he needs to insist that SS is "jargon" to maintain consistently that forced sex cannot occur in any species - in which he does not want it to occur. If the point is conceded that Darwin's theory of SS reaches out to the world, picturing it as-it-is, then organisms other than humans can be observed forcing sex - because no female of any species prefers to have sex forced on her. However, SS and forced sex are not connected as only he has misconnected them. No one (save him) has ever conflated the existence of mate preferences for traits carried by members of the opposite sex with forced mating. Insects in all species carry mate preferences, but forced matings are not observed in many of them. Whether they are observed in forced mating (or not) is contingent on many factors (genetic and environmental). The redefinition of forced sex (to a human level of purpose) is an attempt to erase as scientifically meaningful any observation that insects (or individuals of any non-human species) engage in forced mating.
Forced sex can be detected in nature - not defined out of it, by fiat, on the part of supercilious cretin from his perch on a Myspace group. This is an experiential question - not a matter settled by messing-about with word-meanings. No behavior depends upon a definition for its existence.
Repeat this sentence - again and again - until you self-induce a lethal, brain-aneurysm:
No behavior depends upon a definition for its existence.
No behavior depends upon a definition for its existence.
No behavior depends upon a definition for its existence.
No behavior depends upon a definition for its existence.
Just as it was stated that insect mate preference - which is known to exist - does not exist - due to linguistically mauling the word-meaning of "preference" into a word-fact, so it is with forced sex in non-human species. The behavior cannot exist - because it, too, has been twisted-into a word-fact. This sort of a thinking-cramp results in the triumph of the redefinition over the world. The victory of the delusion over reality - a strain of counter-realism. Redefining the phrase "forced sex" so narrowly that only one species can be said to enact it is a cheap-shot to block the question from being rationally approached and answered. The manufactured tautology lays-down a quasi-religious dogma. Norton disallows biologists(!) to detect forced sex in any species - in which he disallows forced sex to be detected. His tactic is entirely meaningless.
One might redefine forced sex so restrictively that only space-aliens - when their "advanced, super-human purpose" coincides with the behavior - can this behavior be authentically observed as forced sex; therefore, since humans beings lack an advanced, super-human purpose, they are incapable of forcing sex. However, it does not follow that no human ever forced sex - due to casting a definition-mongering spell.
By shuffling-around what forced sex means, the research below does not whoosh-out of the reality blow-hole. Norton's appointing himself the anti-jargon dictator does not make that which transpires in nature not transpire in it. The biologists who wrote the papers below would not tolerate Lord Norton's attempt to subjectivize their branch of science. They would show Norton the door.
Forced copulation and costly female resistence behavior in the Lake Eyre Dragon, CTENOPHORUS MACULOSUS, by Mats Olsson
"A MALE'S advantage from multiple copulations is not controversial: more matings often yield more offspring (Darwin, 1871). However, in several situations females are expected not to mate "
"The mechanism explaining female mate rejection can be proximate: e.g., a female may refuse to mate with all males simply because she is not yet physiologically and behaviorally ready to mate. This occurs, for instance, when females emerge after males from a period of inactivity preceding the mating season and initially reject courting males (Carpenter and Ferguson, 1977)"
"In other species, the mechanism is ultimate and females have evolved mate rejection as a form of mate choice, avoiding copulations with non-preferred males (e.g., Cox and LeBouef, 1977)."
"When female mate rejection is costly (e.g., by being time consuming or by exposing females to danger), one expects a selective advantage to offset its costs."
"In some species, males coerce matings with unreceptive females [e.g., in birds (McKinney et aI., 1983), insects (Arnqvist, 1989; Thornhill and Sauer, 1991),and lizards (Werner, 1978)]. In two species, males have even evolved morphological adaptations specifically designed to obtain matings by force. In a water strider (Gerris odontogaster), males coerce copulations by using a clasper on the abdomen (Arnqvist, 1979). In the scorpionfly (Panorpa vulgaris), the clamplike notal organ makes it possible for males to coerce copulations when lack of food prevents the male from producing the nuptial gift needed to induce female receptivity."
"In two phylogenetically widely separate taxa, a water strider (Gerris odontogaster) (Arnqvist, 1989) and a lizard (Ctenophorus maculosus) (Mitchell, 1973), females flip over onto their backs when resisting attempts at forced copulation. "Costs of Rejection. One female died after an unusually fierce forced copulation. The cause of death appeared to be that one of the male's enlarged teeth penetrated her spine."
"Even if the female has already ovulated, the male may experience some gain in reproductive success if females store sperm between ovulations. Female sperm storage has been demonstrated in the iguanid lizard Holhrookia propinqua (Adams and Cooper, 1988), and in the Lake Eyre dragon "
"she flipped over onto her back, which prevented copulation "
"Females may avoid copulations by using size-dependent "lateral threat" and "run," and size-independent "flip-over" behaviors when avoiding forced copulations. Why do females evolve such dramatic rejection behaviors?"
"Females responded to attempts at forced copulation by employing the three rejection behaviors singly or in combination (the proportion of each rejection behavior of the total rejection time was: run = 17%, lateral threat = 24%, flip-over = 59%, n = 31)."
"Williams (1966) discussed the evolutionary implications of sexual conflicts and concluded that "inevitably there is a kind of evolutionary battle of the sexes". In essence, he captured the idea of an intersexual evolutionary arms race between the sexes (Dawkins and Krebs, 1979)."
"In several respects, the sexual conflict over matings between males and females in the Lake Eyre dragon seems to conform to the idea of sexual behavior as such an evolutionary arms race."
Influence of Nutrition on Courtship and Mating in the Scorpionfly Panorpa cognata (Mecoptera, Insecta), by Leif Engqvist & Klaus Peter Sauer
" forced copulations are a common feature in the mating behaviour of several North American [Panorpa cognata] species, but this behaviour has never been observed in European species (see e.g. Bockwinkel 1990). Moreover, males of different species differ in their ability to forcefully prolong copulation duration, and this ability seems to covary with the size of the males's notal organ (cf. Bockwinkel 1990; Thornhill & Sauer 1991; Gerhards 1999; Aumann 2000). This is a clamp-like structure positioned dorsally on the males's abdomen, in which the anterior edge of one of the female's forewing is secured during mating, and which is a male adaptation to enforce longer copulations"
Scientists look to see what happens in the world. Equivocators turn their backs on it, favoring the illusory comfort that word-spells offer. To explain what goes-on in nature, we need to test our theories regarding it - not lay down rules for what can (and cannot) be observed. Norton's linguistic redefinition-project is no substitute for an experiment. To confuse these two, radically dissimilar pursuits produces bewilderment, fanaticism and the break-down of human understanding.
Below are batches of norton-like equivocations, relating to (primarily) physics and astronomy. Assume that it's permissible for any irrational clown to concoct equivocations with science-terms and that these equivocations refute scientific theories - despite their not being refuted by scientists who present counter-evidence and counter-theories. If this linguistic sleight-of-mind is allowed, then every scientific theory can be easily dispensed with. All currently held scientific theories are but one equivocation away from falsification. Popper's quaint notion that science advances by "criticism, revision and refutation" be damned.
Following Norton's toxic rule that what he believes to be "jargon" must be stricken from science yields this howler: should a paper concerning particle physics mention the word "quark", the use of the term would be banned from physics by the norton-exclusion. Initially to Murray Gell-Man, the word "quark" was taken to be the sound made by ducks! Since quarks lack the wherewithal to be calls emitted by ducks (Did the quark quack?), this term must be purged from physics to prevent "jargon" from creeping-in and to halt any water-fowl/roasted-with-an-orange-glaze/egg-laying associations from cropping-up. Under the anti-jargon rule, a reductio ad absurdum results. Once the norton-exclusion is applied, much of particle physics ceases to be particle physics - as the quark is a fundamental (constituent) particle!
According to the jargon-banishment-diktat, a referential contradiction will be produced when Gell Mann is ordered to say - while pointing in the direction of a quark:
Gell Mann: "That quark does not exist!"
However, Lord Norton and his Myspace merry-makers exercise as much jurisdiction over what the terminology of physics and biology contains - as I do over what foods the peoples of the Yucatan eat. Evidence (not a jargon-banishing-diktat) is required to show that quarks do not exist. Evidence (not a jargon-banishing-diktat) is required to demonstrate that SS does not function in the mating systems of insect species.
In science, how things stand in the word - not the conjuring of words by semantic voo-doo is what ultimately matters.
In Quantum physics - under the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, a micro-physical particle (when measured by a scientist's device) cannot yield BOTH a definite position value AND a definite momentum value. If the momentum of a particle is measured, then its position falls within a range of possible values. Its position value is described as "uncertain". The word "uncertainty" could easily be confined via the "norton-shift" to apply in purely human mental contexts - exactly as the SS-term "preference" was.
Physicists - via the norton-exclusion - would be compelled (under the threat of being de-funded) to publicly announce this nortonism:
"While undergoing measurement for position, it's not true that a microscopic particle lacks a definite value in momentum - as predicted by the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle! Only human minds can be uncertain! Since the early 20th century, we physicists have been ascribing human mental properties to micro-physical states via quantum mechanics! We were wrong! Did the electron say: "I'm so uncertain!"?
To astronomers, quasars are celestial objects: star-like in dimension but galaxy-like in the magnitude of their energy emissions. Quasars recede at very high velocities relative to earth, and they are located at cosmological distances - near the fringes of the observable universe. One could easily commit equivocation with the word "recede", forcing it to apply in human-only contexts - in this case to human standards of beauty and economic declines.
The no quasars allowed in the universe nortonism:
"Quasars cannot recede relative to the earth - because the words "recede" and "recession" have been restricted to human problems! Only hairlines on balding men recede - due to male pattern baldness! Did the quasar say: "I need Rogaine!"? Only human economies descend into recession! Quasars aren't doing a considerable amount of planning for the recovery from their recessions!"
What should be impressed on the equivocator is this: your cockamamie confounding of distant, celestial objects and human problems does not undermine the fact that quasars are located at cosmological distances. To insist that quasars do not suffer from follicle problems, demand Rogaine or experience economic downturns is a tautology - an empty (contentless) expression. Quasars recede at blistering velocites - despite your attempt to rip them out of the world with screw-ball word-spells. Evidence is needed to demonstrate how astronomers have gotten the fact of their existence - and their recessional velocities incredibly wrong.
We should have the intellectual maturity to accept what astronomers say about quasars - unless we have overwhelming evidence to refute them. Similarly, we should have the intellectual maturity to accept what biologists say about SS: that it operates in the mating systems of non-human species, driven by preferences for ornaments. We should not take it upon ourselves to rework the meanings of bio-terms - over which we have absolutely no authority.
Translating the above nortonism into counter-realist terms: since quasars recede at incredible velocites relative to earth; therefore, they do not recede at incredible velocites relative to earth. Quasars do not recede - despite of (or because of the fact that) they recede at incredible velocities.
Another anti-astronomical nortonism:
"Since radio is an invention, devised by human minds, no segment of the electromagnetic spectrum called "radio" frequencies exists in nature! Did the 40 megahertz wave say: "This is radio KLRC from Houston. We play the hits!"?
What might be interjected to the equivocator is as follows: the manner in which you have fused-together a human invention and a band of radiation frequencies does not make the detection of cosmic radio sources impossible for astronomers. This conflation does not alter how things stand in the world; that is, by word-spells alone, you cannot make a feature of reality wink-out of reality. Don't you think that when astonomers capture and record radio emissions from distant galaxies, we should be rational enough to accept it - unless we can place dis-confirming evidence on the table? (Contrast this analysis with Lord Norton's insistence that only he can define what biological terms mean, that biologists do not objectively observe "gifts", "mate preferences", "competition", "male combat", etc. during SS experiments and his repeated rejections - against indisputable data - that biologists have detected SS, operating in the mating systems of insect species.)
Since Copernicus, astronomers - who rely on evidence - strongly suspect that the Heliocentric theory has been confirmed; that is, the earth is in orbit 'round the sun. One might de-rail the Heliocentric theory by forcing the word "revolution" to apply in politics-only contexts.
The Copernicus-was-a-fraud nortonism:
"Since the earth produces no "revolutionary declarations, manifestos or acts", Copernicus was wrong! The earth is not in revolution regarding the sun! Did the earth say: "Working planets of the solar system unite! You have nothing to lose but your gases!"? Anyone who states that the earth is in revolution with the sun is imputing a human level of political consciousness to a freakin' planet!"
The appropriate response should be: it's not logically possible for a planet to launch an armed, political revolution against a star or utter revolutionary slogans. You have confused the science word-meaning of "revolution" with the political word-meaning of the same word, then you used the political word-meaning as if it applied in its science context. There is no possible relationship between the sweep of the earth around the sun and the episodic, political upheavals, dotting human history. To insist that EITHER a planet expresses "revolutionary declarations, manifestos or acts" OR it's not in revolution around its own star is a false dichotomy.
Newton's theory of universal gravitation runs: all physical objects in the universe exert a gravitational pull on one another. This theory, like Darwin's, could be wrenched-away into a jargonized nothingness by compelling the word "attraction" to apply - exclusively - to a human understanding of love (or lust).
The anti-gravitational nortonism:
"Universal gravitation is a fairytale! Neither celestial nor other non-sentient, physical objects can attract one another! Only humans of the opposite (or the same) sex can attract one another and fall in love! Did the moon say: "Sister Earth, you stir my manhood! How's about a date?"? Anyone who insists otherwise is attributing erotically charged impulses to atoms, molecules, moons, planets, stars, galaxies and clusters of galaxies!"
A sound rejoinder would be: but what have you been smoking lately? Or, your wacky assimilation of love-attraction with non-love-attraction cannot refute a scientific theory. You need (as Einstein's theory garnered) solid evidence to displace Newton's theory.
Look below. A Mantis is praying!
To amaze your friends - the next time you see a praying Mantis belt-out this line: "The Mantis cannot pray - as it lacks the spiritual complexity to petition the Lord with prayer! Did the mantis say: "Our father who art in heaven, etc."?; therefore, that praying Mantis does not exist!".
A reasonable question to ask is: can asserting the empty word-fact that a praying Mantis cannot pray convert it into a concrete world-fact, somehow making the Mantis's existence poof-away? By screaming: "That Mantis cannot pray!", does the existence of the praying Mantis waft-out the exhaust port of reality into non-being? (This is exactly what Lord Norton has declared about SS in insect species. Since insects cannot express "preference declarations" or "premeditate", the observed patterns of Scorpionfly females preferring to mate with males who produce and transfer nuptial gifts, demonstrated over decades in experiments, do not occur. Repeatedly hauling-out uncontroversial, experimental research to Lord Norton is judged by him to be the out-gassings of "obsessed", demented and degenerate minds.)
A Fundamentalist nortonism:
"We Fundamentalists have reworked Darwin's theory into meaning that species sprang into existence all at once - de nova - and fully-formed by a chemical act of God; therefore, Darwin was a chemical creationist and evolutionary theory is logically compatible with our chemical creationist theory!"
What should be asserted is this: no special pleading can unilaterally excise, discharge or overthrow a scientific theory. You druids lack any say in redefining a scientific theory. The Fundamentalist nortonism is identical to Lord Norton's redefining biological preferences to "preference declarations" and "premeditation", then insisting that his "chemical motivation" theory (contra the last 140 years in biology) exhaustively explains the non-random, differential reproductive outcomes, detected in SS experiments - which assay insect mating behavior. By murdering conventional word-meanings and slabbing Darwin's theory, nothing in this world (or about science) goes POOF.
No biological theory can be polished-off by monkeying-around with the connotations of its terms - anymore than a theory in physics or astronomy can be polished-off by similar norton-like monkeying.
With words alone, you cannot make that which exists not exist. You can only exclude the possibility of admitting to yourself that which exists - exists: SS (Darwin), quarks (Gell Mann), the Uncertainty Principle (Heisenberg), quasars (Hong-Yee Chiu), gravity (Newton), gift-giving insects, etc.
A final question: what should be done with the jargon of "preference declarations"? Pointing at a gift-giving insect and bellowing: "That gift-giving insect can express no preference declarations!" is true - trivially. The remark is a referential tautology. Nothing important is communicated by asserting that: "Since insects express no preference declarations; therefore, they lack mate preferences.". The mate preferences exhibited by sexually reproducing organisms and preference declarations made (rarely) by a fractional sub-set of these organisms (humans) are logically disconnected from any fact, routinely observed in SS experiments and nature.
Darwin conducted the first SS experiment - by surgically blinding a control group of peahens. The experimental (non-blinded) peahens, Darwin observed, showed a "preference" for mating with the "more ornamented" cock. He, also, observed that the control group could not, after blinding, "choose" peacocks on the basis of the cocks' tails displaying "gorgeous plumage" - due to their inability to receive visual stimuli.
Darwin (from the Descent of Man):
"The females are most excited by, or prefer pairing with, the more ornamented males, or those which are the best songsters, or play the best antics; but it is obviously probable that they would at the same time prefer the more vigorous and lively males, and this has in some cases been confirmed by actual observation."
According to Norton - since Darwin coined the anathemized, sexual selection terminology ("choice", "preference", "male ornament", "competition", etc.), his experiment vanishes as de-objectified jargon, and Darwin has been retroactively barred from selecting the terms of his own theory. Under Norton's jargon-banishment-diktat, SS terms, SS experimentation and evolutionary biology all go poof - in one fell swoop - due to his imbecilic equivocations with orthodox bio-terms.
Ernst Mayr (from The objects of selection):
"Considering how many new kinds of selection for reproductive success are discovered year after year, I am beginning to wonder whether it is not even more important than survival selection "
Ernst Mayr coined the phrase "selection for reproductive success", insisting that it pictures how the mating systems in sexually reproducing species function more accurately than Darwin's term "sexual selection" does. Mayr was a chronic, compulsive and spastic user of the taboo-words: "preference", "choice", "competition", etc. used to describe "selection for reproductive success". Was Mayr all wet, too, regarding science and nature as Darwin, Dobzhansky, Fisher, Engqvist, Sakaluk, Sauer, Zahavi, etc. were/are?
Darwin speculated that the presence of extreme "male ornaments" (in higher taxa of organisms) speeds-up the spinning-off of novel species. In the 1870s, Darwin did not know SS via female choice to have been a trigger of speciation, yet he more than dimly grasped its significance. For his "guess-work", Darwin was widely ridiculed. Mayr, Fisher and Dobzhansky were among his few defenders. It required over 140 years for Darwin's hypothesis to be sustained by solid, observational data.
There are moments in the history of science (such as this) - when one's breath is drawn from one's body. One becomes aware that great scientists have a window into human mind-independent aspects of the universe.
Relatively recent (2004) evidence "strongly supports" Darwin's conjecture that sexual selection accelerates species-diversification. Fast-breeding populations of fishes in Africa have been observed to speciate within about 100 years, and the processes leading to their speciation are closely linked to SS.
Ken Kraaijeveld and Andrew Pomiankowski (from Evolution: Love thy Neighbour):
"When Darwin proposed his theory of sexual selection, he was concerned mainly with explaining the widespread occurrence of exaggerated sexual ornaments and courtship displays, as these traits could not easily be explained by natural selection. He also noted that taxonomic groups with more pronounced sexual ornaments tended to have more species. This suggests that sexual selection elevates the rate at which populations diversify and give rise to new species. A new study of female mate preferences in five populations of an East African cichlid species strongly supports the connection between sexual selection and speciation."
[note: The "exaggerated male ornaments" displayed by fishes include the building of "bowers" to attract females - and below the phenotypic trait of highly colored scales.]
The more exaggerated the ornaments displayed by males of a higher taxon -> the more intense the female preferences are for the ornaments -> the more the genetic profile of the taxon shifts due to greater differential reproductive outcomes leading to the reproductive isolation of that taxon -> the more rapidly species spin off from that taxon - relative to closely linked taxa where males show less exaggerated ornaments
Below, Norton explicitly rejects the mechanism of preferences for ornaments (i.e., female choice) in the mating systems of non-human populations. He insists that the experimental observation of (at least one of) Darwin's "male ornaments" (the nuptial gift) is "subjective", and he denies that SS data can be objective.
Great. The definition of rape if "based on primates like humans then it is only subjective". Under Norton's "scientific terminology can't map the mind-independent states of affairs, operating in the world" angle, no human female can objectively assert that she was violated by a predator - because the word "rape" (to him) is elastic and "relative to their societal norms". Women who experience this violent act would contest his solipsism with fierce words (or by throwing objects at his head). Rape is an event, a fact, a phenomenon, a circumstance, transpiring in the world. It cannot be defined in or out of it by conjuring word-spells. The facts underlying the theory of evolution are no different.
Until Norton and Khuno injected "premeditation", "purpose", "planning", "forethought", etc. into the bio-term - preference - it never carried such mentalistic connotations to any speaker in human history. By equivocating it, they committed a category mistake, confounding the advanced cognitive traits of humans with the total lack of them on the parts of insects, and - in the process, they confused people with insects and insects with people.
Norton began his nonsense with the above cracks in the "Pretend you attend Yale" thread. These questions were asked by him - not me. Once he declared that no definition of rape can be objective, I presented quotes from biologists. Biologists disagree, and they would ridicule a self-refuting statement that observations taken during scientific experiments are "subjective". They (as well as I) reject his cognitive relativism and metaphysical counter-realism.
Forced sex can be detected in this world - not defined in or out of it by a linguistic redefinition project. This is an experiential matter - not a matter settled by irrationally kibitzing with word-meanings. To Norton, reality is one big balloon - which can be inflated, deflated and popped at will by shuffling-around word-meanings on a Myspace group.
Insects (and other organisms) have been routinely observed being forced to mate and endure that which is against their own inclinations. (If an insect catches another insect, kills and eats this other insect, the dead insect was forced against his preference, i.e. to live.) N.B. I repeatedly denied that SS research on non-human species(!) could be leveraged into a case for the hard-wiring of rape in human males, but he deliberately contorted my flat-out denials into sworn affirmations that they could be so leveraged. On what planet is such a contradictory criterion coherent? Norton is an inveterate liar and a sadistic strain of inhuman refuse.
Biologists study and refer to the behavior - which they observe in non-human populations to be "rape", "forced mating", "coerced copulation", etc. Inferentially, there's a definition behind the term that they use. It defines what Norton contends is undefinable. But, the only subjective opinion hovering-around is his nisus to automatically de-rationalize biological terminology, data, theories, conclusions, etc. as "subjective", "a relatively shallow viewpoint", "garbage data", "obsessed" and "jargon". This is doubly ironic - in that Norton is the subjectivist jargonizer of this "debate". He denies what is known to exist in nature (insect mate preferences), and he invents the novel jargon of "preference declarations" to smear excrement over the theory of SS - one of the most fruitful theories, generated in the last 400 years.
The above claim, regarding the definition of rape being neither "universal nor permanent", is a universal negation, and - even if true, it's entirely meaningless. What word-meanings, currently in use, have been universal and permanent throughout all of human experience? If word-meanings were needed to have been laid-down and forever fixed to know anything, extending the idiotic assumption above: "If the definition of x is neither universal nor permanent through time, x cannot be known and x does not objectively exist.".
There never were "universal nor permanent" definitions of stars, matter, atoms, energy, space, time or even the universe. (Before Newton discovered gravity, there was no definition of gravity at all!) The absence of these definitions did not preclude science from progressing nor humans from acquiring knowledge about this world. Had scientists played the "no universal nor permanent definition = no knowledge and no existence" word-game, there would be no science. Norton's definition game leads - inexorably - to yet another self-referential contradiction: the universe exists but - since there has never been a "universal nor permanent definition" of it, the universe and all things in it (including Lord Norton) do not exist.
If no one can know that rape is hard-wired into men - because the definition of it has been in flux - then by Norton's own rules, he cannot know that it is not hard-wired into men. By his "lack of a definition game", he constructs a black-box, placing the word "rape" into it and cutting himself off from any meaningful conclusions regarding it. Even if massive evidence demonstrated that rape was not associated with an adaptation in men - under his "what rape is is too subjective and too ambiguous" shtick, he could not affirm that rape was not associated with an adaptation - because he has left himself nothing solid to nail an inference on.
Once x maintains that the reference of a word is vague, varying and in flux, this definition becomes self-referentially binding on him. He cannot possibly pick-out what the deliberately fuzzy word refers to - since it is he who asserts that all references for it are spastic, unreliable and opaque.
Due to Norton's "no universal nor permanent definition = no knowledge and no existence" rule, he cannot consistently conclude that forced mating does (or does not) occur in fruit fly, scorpionfly, duck, etc. or even the human species. He slit his own throat with this word-game. His definition game subjectivizes all observations from experimental observations, including his own. If all positions are subjective due to the impossibility of isolating a universal and permanent definition, then the position adopted by Norton is subjective - as well.
The questions: "Is there a universal and permanent definition of rape?" and "Is there experimental evidence for a genetic component, associated with rape in this or that species?" are distinct and separate questions. The latter does not become negative if the former is negative. Norton grafted both questions together, playing a definitional word game and a science (evidence) "game" - simultaneously. The latter (evidence) question is not part of any word game. It's about how things stand (or do not stand) in this world.
If the behavior of rape could not lead to conception, then we can confidently conclude that: "The behavior of rape could not be an adaptation which conferred any net reproductive benefit" - because reproduction must occur for rape confer an inherited advantage. The (re)definitional word-game is the wrong approach to take on this (or any other) subject.
Whether the behavior of rape in men is predisposed by an evolutionary adaptation can be decided only on the basis of evidence. Khuno's angle of jiggering-up the definitions of "biological imperative", "reproductive advantage" and "reproduction" by slapping-on ad-hoc and arbitrary side-constraints to make them yield his forced conclusion that rape cannot confer a net reproductive benefit does not begin to answer the question. Even more obscene is Khuno's attempt to shift the "unit of natural selection" from the organism to the group - in order to "prove" that rape never occurred in the human species until 10Kyr ago.
A fortiori, Norton's "no permanent definition/no knowledge game" is an even more pathetic joke. That's why the arguments of Evolutionary Psychologists, Thornhill, Palmer and Chagnon are superior to Khuno's and his. At least, they honestly try to move the debate by placing evidence on the table. Their interpretations of evidence can be accepted or rejected. I was the only one in this pleasant "debate", plastering evidence rather than plying word-games. Every piece of evidence presented on any topic (including experimental data which is not controversial) was pronounced lurid, depraved and pathological, then twisted inside-out to attack me. To me, the sets of evidence presented by those above are deficient and have not shown that rape is an adaptation or a by-product of an adapatation in men - as I had pointed out over and over again, only to have my rejections lied about over and over again.
As I have written - ad nauseam, Fundamentalists do a better job of seeking to overthrow evolution by quoting Genesis - than by re-defining it into a jargonized nothingness. Fundamentalists do not complain that sexual selection research is a subjective discharge of noise nor the products of damaged minds. They yield to the experimental evidence that this mechanism (preferences for ornaments) shifts gene frequencies in populations due to non-random, differential reproductive outcomes - in real time. However, fundamentalists reject that SS (or any other evo-driver) triggers speciation events.
Norton's objections do not lie with me. They lie with the world as-it-is. He has repudiated it, favoring the notion that the counter-real intrigues of his mind trump it at will. The sealed crypt experiment gives the lie to this notion. He has rejected metaphysical realism, i.e. that the world exists independently both of ideas concerning it and that all attempts to redefine it into what it is not by tinkering-around with word-meanings are pernicious folly.
The Lord struck the weakest stance imaginable: "Biology is what I say it is - because I am its sole authority, regulating what it is." We (once) thought that this strain of idiocy had been purged from the West as a consequence of the Scientific Enlightenment. His technique is identical to that of the Inquisitor: "He who sees the rings of Saturn, the moons of Jupiter or the phases of Venus through a telescope is bewitched by demons - because our faith informs us these phenomena cannot exist. The heavens, beyond the moon, are changeless, constant and perfect! Whoever contradicts me will be branded an anathema and a heretic."
The only way to pitch his counter-evolutionary screw-ball was to lie about everything I wrote, involving what has not been controversial in biology for over 140 years. Norton modernized the nature of the imprecation from demonic posession to sociopathy. Just as the priests exerted no control over what astronomy was, he exerts absolutely none over biology is. Norton needs powerful counter-evidence to strike-out a theory as hit-producing as SS. Ad-hominem attacks, resorts to deception, red-herrings, straw-men and redefinitional word-games did not put the screw-ball over the plate. Should the biological terminology, such as "preference", "resistance", "(active, passive and cryptic) choice", "gift", "competition", "advantage", "disadvantage", "discrimination", "quality", "fitness", "attractiveness", "male combat", "exploitation", "male display", "manipulation", "conflict", etc., used by biologists to depict the SS behavior on the part of organisms in nature become expunged from science - because they are "subjective", "jargon", "haiku", "obsessed", etc., then biology would become as unfalsifiable as religion. Obviously, that's his aim.
So, let's get this one straight: according to Norton, citing reams of scientific data is evidence of fraud and irrationality on my part, but dismissing all it without any counter-data, lying about every piece of it and redefining the standard terminology of biology is evidence of honesty and rationality on his part. Correct?
By seeking to jargonize the scientific research which I presented, did the Lord get anywhere? Does he expect that any rational mind would yield to the conclusion that he holds a scientific status beyond Darwin, Dobzhansky, Fisher, Mayr, Wright, etc. - that only he has the authority to unilaterally excise the crucial SS driver from evolutionary theory?
Physics is what physicists do. Astronomy is what astronomers do. Biology is what biologists do. And, no supercilious cretin on a Myspace group can overthrow a scientific theory (or de-objectify a branch of science) with equivocations and word-games. Through science, human knowledge will continue to expand, and Lord Norton will not impede this progress - our human progress.
The following was my response to Norton in the "Pretend you attend Yale" thread. In it, at least eight SS experiments were quoted from and/or linked to. As is his wont, biologists, experimental data and the conclusions flowing from these experiments were automatically attacked by him as products of depraved minds, rubbish-notions and biological heresies in the subsequent "Introducing a BO" thread.
Contrary to Lord Norton's victory speech, eructed in an above post, I did not surrender on any point I made, regarding the fact that sexual selection has been observed in the mating systems of scorpionflies. I got fed up with playing the witch-hunt game, where - when I disclose fundamental facts about the world, I become the target of calumny, distortion and ridicule. I had my account deleted, later wondering how lost in daft absurdity Lord Norton really was.
Science is not a collection of insults, ignorance and defamation, plied on internet forums. Physics is what physicists do. Astronomy is what astomomers do. Biology is what biologists do. And, no frenzied megalomaniac on Myspace has the final-say over any matter, foundational to evolutionary biology. This statement should be a truism to all rational minds.
The Lord rejected that there was a stable definition for rape. I informed him that biologists use the term "rape" to describe the behavior of males in many non-human species. I pasted him a few samples, regarding scorpionflies, ducks and apes. The Lord lost control of himself, rabidly frothing into a rage, then he announced that he was a "scientist". The venom spewed at me will not be rehearsed in this post. Despite contesting (in 4 previous posts on this thread) the notion that rape in the human species is hard-wired into men, he could not overcome his mental-blockage that I maintained this rejected conclusion, based on scorpionfly research!
When confronted with the fact that sexual selection has been detected to operate in non-human, sexually reproducing species, Lord Norton declared that biologists, making such observations, were engaged in "pseudo-science". He pronounced that there could be no "preferences" and "gift bearing" on the part of scorpionflies - because for supposed neurological and "cultural" reasons, there could be none.
No one on an internet forum can make the powerful evolutionary driver of sexual selection vanish into a subjectivized nothingness by slinging verbal excrement - for he who slings the crap precisely lacks any say over what biology is.
Initially, I missed his "suspicion about flies" remark. Scorpionflies are not flies. Had he taken a 9th grade biology course, he would have instantly grasped this fact. No scientist has "suspicions about" whether flies "do a considerable amount of thinking" and that "gift bearing" "is an interesting indicator that some observers may use". For my money - given his lousy masquerade in palming himself off as a scientist, the Lord has - by his own words - pulled the mask from himself.
When biologists use standard sexual selection terms, these terms need to be accepted as having the precise connotations which they were assigned - not wrenched into metaphors by those utterly bewitched by language.
Under no interpretation of sexual selection do male or female mate preferences presuppose "a considerable amount of thinking" or advanced cognitive capacities. In the case of scorpionflies, mate preference is a product of genetic hard-wiring. Biologists use the terms "gift", "choice", "preference" and "combat" to refer to facts which they routinely observe in nature and experiments. They need to be taken in dead seriousness - not dismissed as charlatans. What biologists say is biology - is biology. In an experiment below, sexual selection via the transfer and consumption of nuptial gifts has been observed to operate in the scorpionfly species, Panorpa cognata:
"Before copulation, male Panorpa cognata scorpionflies offer females a salivary secretion, which is consumed by the female during copulation. It has previously been demonstrated that this nuptial food gift functions as mating effort by increasing male attractiveness and by increasing ejaculate transfer during copulation." 
A preference for females can be spotted in favoring "male attractiveness". The predisposition for selecting attractive male traits is universal among Panorpa females. "attractiveness" in a potential mate are sets of phenotypic traits, linked to genetic fitness. The greater the genetic fitness of a mate, the more viable potential offspring will be. Females selecting for attractive over less attractive male traits is a "pre-copulatory strategy", known as "female choice" to evolutionary biologists.
Biologists have never cashed-out preferences for mating in any species as having to do with "preference declarations". This is a phrase, manufactured by him. However, "preferred conditions" do sound like organisms being inclined by nature, as to how, when and with what organism they reproductively interact. Had anyone confused scorpionflies with humans and humans with scorpionflies by anthropomorphizing bio-terms, it was the Lord - not I. As can be seen below, scorpionflies show various types of mate preference:
"According to indicator models of sexual selection, mates may obtain indirect, i.e. genetic, benefits from choosing partners indicating high overall genetic quality by honest signals. In the scorpionfly Panorpa vulgaris, both sexes show mating preferences on the basis of the condition of the potential partners. Females prefer males that produce nuptial gifts (i.e. salivary secretions) during copulation, while males invest more nuptial gifts in females of high nutritional status." 
These are the words: "Females prefer males that produce nuptial gifts". Females have been observed mating with males who display large gifts, small gifts, no gifts and being forced to mate by males. Panorpa females prefer a large gift, over a small one or none. Predictably, they strongly prefer non-coerced copulations. Males prefer females of high genetic fitness. They invest considerable amounts of time and bodily resources in producing these gifts to lure females into mating with them.
"It has been argued that in addition to direct benefits, such as nuptial gifts or an adequate sperm supply, females may gain genetic benefits from mating with different males. Females of the scorpionfly Panorpa cognata mate with several males during their lifetime." 
That "females may gain genetic benefits from mating with different males" is another feature of sexual selection at work in a polyandrous species. Each male in the population possesses a differential genetic make-up to be realized in potential offspring. At times of mating, a female selects the most desirable qualities from a pool of available and competing males. By breeding with an assortment of males over her reproductive lifetime, a female's genes are passed on, maximizing the probability that her genes will proliferate.
"Females of the scorpionfly Panorpa cognata Ramb. mate multiply during their lifetime (Engqvist and Sauer, 2003b). However, in this species, polyandry does not constitute an evolutionary problem as there is good evidence that females receive material benefits from nuptial gift consumption during copulation."
By consuming nuptial gifts, "material benefits" are conferred on females. Nutritional advantages are preferred over nutritional disadvantages by all organisms in every species - unless an individual wishes to commit both survival and reproductive suicide. This advantage - as the preferred condition for all living organisms - should be construed as quite trivial to those, having sufficient brains and sense left in them.
Lord Norton plays the word game here, deceiving himself that his misconstrual of scientific terminology counts for something. Sexual Selection is not "a regulatory process that has more to do with fertility than anything". It's an inclination on the part of organisms to mate with the most reproductively fit members of their own species. Darwin wrote of a "struggle between the individuals of one sex, generally the males, for the possession of the other sex". Biologists speak of this intra-specific sexual selection as "male combat". Gift production is a form of male combat. As mentioned above, "female choice" is another mechanism of sexual selection. (It's my conjecture that "female choice" was the primary mechanism in the archaic, human past, contributing to how anatomically modern humans wound-up with some of the obvious, physical characteristics - which we now have.) Biologists have recently begun to focus on a set of "post-copulatory stratagies", called "cryptic female choice", as a powerful regulator of mate selection. Biologists and only biologists are entitled to decide what their science is about (and how it is terminologized).
"Food items such as caterpillars, bugs, and flies are offered to be eaten during copulation. The female is first attracted by a pheromone emitted by one or more vesicles or pouches at the end of the male's abdomen. When the female is near, the vesicles are retracted. The female examines the offering while the male searches for her genitalia with his own. If the gift is rejected, the female flies away. If the gift is accepted, the genitalia of the male couples with that of the female, who lowers herself until she is hanging upside down. She consumes the offering during copulation." 
The food items, "caterpillars, bugs, and flies" displayed by males are gifts. The selection for them on the part of females is a preference. No Lord (or otherwise) is permitted to unilaterally excise, discharge or overthrow well-established scientific terms - by screaming "sociopath" at one who rejects his occult world-view.
Sexual Selection on the part of scorpionflies does not involve the adoption of cultural rituals, consciously devised and enacted by them. Only a person who is infinitely befuddled would assert that biologists had defined the "gift" to refer to a "cultural societal thing". The nuptial gifts of saliva and dead bugs, displayed by males, are offered to induce high-quality females into mating with them. These gifts provide valuable incentives for females, as nutritional resources are scarce - severely lacking in many scorpionfly habitats.
No categorical confusion, regarding the genetically programmed behaviors of scorpionflies and the intentional, rule-bound practices of human beings, has ever appeared to the mind of anyone but Lord Norton. The Lord's interpretation of the "nuptial gift" as "cute", "subjective" or a form of "writing haiku" points to a deep-level of his misunderstanding of science. His mis-representation of gift giving is idiosyncratic and self-referential, spinning back-and-forth inside the works of his vacant, little mind.
Once again, scorpionflies are not flies. However - our scientist, Lord Norton, was blissfully unaware of this simple, taxonomic distinction. "Scorpionfly" is a common name for insects, belonging to the family of Panorpidae within the order Mecoptera.
If a male scorpionfly does not achieve maximal sperm transfer, there is a low probability that the female's eggs will be fertilized by him. Males who transfer large gifts have been shown in experiments to have a sperm transfer advantage during mating, relative to those who do not. This is called competition. Winning is preferable to losing. Males who lack gifts or produce poor gifts generally have only low-quality females with whom to breed. Males, forcing themselves on females, have a statistically low probability of passing-on their genes. To biologists, these traits are "preferences" - insofar as reproductive success is concerned. Contra the Lord's stunning ignorance, there need be no conscious "planning" for an organism to exhibit any of these features in its behavior. This is Biology 101. Scorpionflies have been programmed by nature to respond to pressors, present in their environments. Every organism in every species is inclined by nature towards a particular set of behaviors - as opposed to a dissimilar set of behaviors. To biologists, behaviors are "extended phenotypes" - which are "selected for" or "selected against" - by the environment. Behaviors - which confer reproductive advantages - are selected for. Conversely, behaviors - which confer reproductive disadvantages - are selected against.
The "jargon" scorned is precisely what biologists have universally adopted to depict the behavioral interactions between male and female organisms. As a self-proclaimed scientist, he should have - immediately - grasped the orthodox meanings of these terms. His gripes have nothing to do with me, but with well-established facts. He persists in confounding the bio-term "preference" with the intension-words: "thinking", "planning", "a cultural societal thing", etc. - by illicitly smuggling into sexual selection terminology a belief that insects possess human cognitive, linguistic and cultural traits - when observed, during experiments and in nature.
"The amount of sperm transferred is vital to male fitness because a males's fertilization success relative to that of a female's other mates, is contingent in part on the numerical abundance of his sperm (Sakaluk 1986b)." 
"The amount of sperm transferred is vital to male fitness because it is the principal determinant of a male's fertilization success, particularly when his sperm must compete with those of a female's other mating partners (Sakaluk 1986; Sakaluk and Eggert 1996; Calos and Sakaluk 1998; Eggert et al. 2003)." 
"Males invest substantially in matings by offering a nuptial gift. The size of this salivary mass, which males produce before copulation, influences copulation duration (Engqvist and Sauer, 2001Go) and, consequently, the number of sperm transferred during copulation (Engqvist, 2000Go). The larger the salivary mass, the more sperm are transferred. In this sense, the salivary mass of P. cognata functions as mating effort in correspondence to nuptial gifts in a variety of insect species (for review, see Vahed, 1998Go)." 
Hear me, O Lord, optimal fertilization does constitute preference now. This has been precisely measured and quantified - over the course of decades in scorpionfly experiments - where it counts. The volumes of sperm deposited into females during mating trials are directly proportional to the sizes (and numbers) of gifts transferred by males.
Male scorpionflies prefer "fertilization success" over the failure of "fertilization success" for blisteringly self-evident reasons. The preference to succeed reproductively is inscribed into the genes of male scorpionflies.
Nothing that male scorpionflies do when offering dessicated saliva pellets, dead insects or salivary masses to potential breeding partners necessitates the possession of an advanced consciousness (though Evolutionary Epistemologists speculate that even uni-cellular organisms interacting within their environments marks the emergence of what they call "the quality of mind"). This behavior, under any coherent interpretation, is not - in any sense whatsoever - incompatible with an organism having (and executing behaviors from) an instinctual template. That scorpionflies must entertain abstract thoughts - which coincide with the production and delivery of nuptial gifts, is what the Lord "mixes up", not what biologists have ever "mixed up" or contended. Lord Norton is the one, conflating "preferences" and "gift giving" with "thinking" - where no 7th grade biology student has. All bewilderments, regarding the mental traits of scorpionflies, arise and remain, solely with him.
Examine the following quotes, bearing in mind that sexual selection occurs in sexually reproducing species: this case involves mate selection on the part of scorpionflies. To automatically rule-out that "a transaction between animals of any kind is gift giving" is the most subjective stance imaginable. "gift giving" is basically a quid pro quo: for males, a large gift translates to a high-quality female with whom to mate, long copulation duration and a maximal amount of sperm transfer. For females - in exchange for mating, the benefits are supplemental nutrition and breeding with a mate possessing high genetic fitness. That is how nature works: organisms wired-up by their genes, responding to environmental cues. The Lord mistook everything I wrote, absorbing into his warped-ideology that "preferences" and "gift giving" cannot be genetically programmed into non-human organisms. His lack of understanding evo-bio is abysmal, world-historical and limitless.
"Males invest substantially in matings by offering a nuptial gift. The size of this salivary mass, which males produce before copulation, influences copulation duration (Engqvist and Sauer, 2001Go) and, consequently, the number of sperm transferred during copulation (Engqvist, 2000Go). The larger the salivary mass, the more sperm are transferred. In this sense, the salivary mass of P. cognata functions as mating effort in correspondence to nuptial gifts in a variety of insect species (for review, see Vahed, 1998Go)."
"we previously demonstrated that males manipulate the size of the produced salivary mass in relation to the quality (i.e., fecundity) of the female. Males with a limited supply of saliva offer high-quality females larger salivary masses than they offer to low-quality females (Engqvist and Sauer, 2001Go)"
"Males initially adopt a discriminatory mating strategy, saving resources in matings with low-quality females for future more valuable matings. Later, as the advantage of resource rationing decreases, males become less sensitive to female quality."
For over 100 years, sexual selection has been observed to function in the mating systems of insect species. This driver of evolution is a hard fact of nature. The overwhelming evidence for it cannot be made to dissapear by thinking so hard that these facts eventually evaporate, by yelling "sociopath" at a person who presents scientific evidence or by conjuring-up the delusion inside oneself that what is wanted to be believed about organisms negates how organisms are known - by science - to function.
Fundamentalists - who argue that the world was created 6Kyr ago and who reject evolution - do not deny that sexual selection is a fact, operating in the mating systems of non-human, sexually reproducing populations. In this group, the evolutionary-rejectionist position is - routinely - cast as a product of benighted and inferior minds. Fundamentalists are on stronger footing, questioning whether macro-shifts in allele frequencies have elapsed over the spans of dimly-known geological time, than the Lord's (and others') outright repudiation that sexual selection (a micro-shift in an allele frequency) has been observed (in real time) - experimentally in a non-human species. Therefore, those who deny the existence and efficacy of sexual selection in populations of scorpionflies occupy a far lower intellectual niche - than that of the Fundamentalists.
So, this is the criteria manufactured by the Lord: (1) presenting experimental evidence - which demonstrates that sexual selection occurs in an insect species - warrants a diagnosis of sociopathy and (2) publicly stating orthodox biology as biology is an irrational pursuit. Should no one on this forum be able to isolate the profound logical disturbances within his Lordship's thinking, then those on this board have driven themselves off the deep-end - to intellectually sink, choke and drown with his Lordship.
1. Nuptial food gifts influence female egg production in the scorpionfly Panorpa cognata: http://www.evolution.uni-bonn.de/LEngqvist/download/Engqvist_eco_entomol_2007.pdf
2. Foraging ability in the scorpionfly Panorpa vulgaris: individual differences and heritability: http://www.springerlink.com/content/u4808836g02h7760/fulltext.pdf?page=1
3. Females benefit from mating with different males in the scorpionfly Panorpa cognata: http://beheco.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/reprint/17/3/435.pdf
4. Mecoptera Scorpionflies; Hanging flies: http://www.discoverlife.org/mp/20o?search=Mecoptera
5. Fluctuating Asymmetry and Variation in the Size of Courtship Food Gifts in Decorated Crickets: http://www.bio.ilstu.edu/sakaluk/PDF%20reprints/Eggert%20and%20Sakaluk%20Am%20Nat.pdf
6. Cryptic Sexual Conflict in Gift-Giving Insects: Chasing the Chase-Away: http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/pdf/10.1086/498279
7. A life-history perspective on strategic mating effort in male scorpionflies: http://beheco.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/full/13/5/632
8. Nuptial gift consumption influences female remating in a scorpionfly: male or female control of mating rate?: http://www.springerlink.com/content/k70v567910333550/fulltext.pdf
10. Sexual conflict and cryptic female choice in the black field cricket, Teleogryllus Commodus: http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/cgi-bin/fulltext/118726541
N.B. In the first encounter I had with the Lord, he insisted that he was an "engineer". The next encounter, a "scientist". On another thread, he maintained that his background was in "computers". On yet another, he was once a "priest". No one with a scientific background would have disputed the fact that there exists sexual selection among bears, chickens, wombats or scorpionflies - much less have worked himself into a deranged lather over the base-line assertion of the fact that scorpionflys show mate preferences. Sociopaths are notorious and prolific liars. Just who is the sociopath and who is in desperate need of professional care?