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An inedible vegetable

Joe wrote:
News flash: Cult-leader Khuno announces his privileged understanding of biology. Evolutionary biologists investigate metaphor - not reality. Film at 11!

Khuno wrote:
You need to be rightly shamed for this, too. You are making the grossest anthropomorphications, and are then chalking those gross anthropomorphications up to what the biologists are literally saying, to hide your disgusting ignorance and sociopathic understanding of human interaction behind what biologists are reporting. Either they're as stupid as you are, are relying on metaphors, or have their own unique specialized meanings for terms like nuptial gifts and preferences. I opt for the latter two, because I deny that they're as myopic and stupid as you are.
Khuno wrote:
No, norton said that nuptial gifts and mating rituals of scorpionfiles should be interpreted metaphorically, for clearly the concepts associated do not have the same meaning nor imply the same degree of consciousness and intentionality that they do in human interaction. It is you who deny this.

Rob L Norton has the IQ of a spinach leaf. He's a freakin' vegetable. He rejects Sexual Selection (SS) - ex cathedra - declaring that only his own novel, idiosyncratic and potty "chemical" theory explains insect mating and that the theory of SS is a "shallow viewpoint".

More to the point: Khuno's and Norton's denials of non-human mate preference could not have been articulated by them had non-human organisms always lacked mate preference. Their "argument" (unpacked below) is self-refuting.

1. No mate preferences can be had by any non-human organism.

2. 1 was produced by 2 Homo Sapiens, Khuno and Norton, whose existence (under evolutionary theory) is partly a result of sexual selection pressures (driven by mate preferences for ornaments) in the archaic, non-human lineage which gave rise to them.

3. 1 is false because it could not have been asserted by Khuno and Norton - if it were true.

4. Mate preferences can be had by non-human organisms, and - had non-humans never enacted them, no human would be reading this sentence!

O, the scortching ironies... Since SS never operated in the mating systems of non-human organisms - because such creatures can have only metaphorical, not real mate preferences, then - according to evo-bio, our species could not have arisen ~200K years ago. If true, Khuno and Norton never existed, what they blather and what I just typed never occurred! These equivocations with science-terms generate self-referential paradoxes infinitely crammed-up the ol' wazoo. However, Darwinian biology is not de-objectified jargon nor metaphor nor sociopathy.

Whether anyone in this dislocation-of-the-mind cult likes it or not, female scorpionflies are predisposed by genetic factors and environmental cues to prefer mating with male scorpionflies - who display "nuptial gifts", e.g. salivary masses. The gift conveys, in direct proportion to its size, visual signals of male genetic quality to females. If female scorpionflies were shown never to have had a preference for the "nuptial gift", then evolutionary biologists would scratch their heads, wondering why (or how) this "male ornament" arose in nature. Darwin insisted that evolutionary theory would fail - if the existence of "male ornaments" (and female "preferences" for them) were not consequences of SS. Natural Selection cannot explain the appearance (and persistance) of these traits in male organisms - because they confer a survival disadvantage yet they also confer a reproductive advantage on males carrying them.

Mate "preferences" and "nuptial gifts" cannot be "interpreted metaphorically". They must exist as part of the furniture (i.e. constituents) of this world or evolutionary theory becomes pulverized into saw-dust, a myth - just as hydrogen, helium, gravity, etc. must exist in stars for fusion reactions to commense. To ply a culinary analogy: The chefs of science serve-up a sparse fare to its patrons. You can either consume it or throw it out. You may not send it back to the kitchen, expecting that the chefs will cook-up a new dish - more pleasing to your palette.

Nuptial food gifts influence female egg production in the scorpionfly Panorpa cognata

Male nuptial gifts: phenotypic consequences and evolutionary implications

Nuptial feeding in the scorpionfly Panorpa vulgaris: ultimate and proximate causes