Buns vs Brains?

Larry Klaes (lklaes@bbn.com)
Mon, 26 Jul 1999 15:58:21 -0400

Regarding -

From: "phil osborn" <philosborn@hotmail.com> Subject: Re: buns vs brains

>Date: Mon, 26 Jul 1999 15:42:28 -0500
>From: Athena Andreadis
> There are so many things wrong with this piece that it's unlikely I'll be
>able to address them all without writing a book. Perhaps I should, come to
>think of it, before people start to believe that there is some basis to
>this gibberish.
> The first item actually concerns "welfare births". In fact, if we are
>hardwired for anything, it is for passing on the genes as early as
>possible. Therefore, the primary question is not bulges in the upper
>versus the lower head, but the fact that in terms of fitness, endurance and
>future longevity for childrearing teenagers are the prime breeding stock
>physically, though not intellectually (there is an interesting theory about
>this being the adaptive reason for the existence of human grandparents).
> The second item is that "intelligence genes", even if they exist (another
>totally open question), have not been mapped ANYWHERE yet, let alone on the
>X or Y chromosome. So the evolutionary psychologists' "data" are in fact
>fond personal wishes. I'd like to know whose work they're quoting as
>evidence. Certainly no geneticist or molecular biologist that I know!
> Now on to birth weights. Statistically, girls tend to be born just
>slightly heavier than boys. Now as far as "male" and "female" programs go
>(if we accept their existence), we have a fundamental error in logic in the
>passage that Larry sent. If we accept that males receive the program from
>their mothers (on the X chromosome) and females from both parents, boys are
>receiving the program that should go for easier delivery. Girls would get
>a mosaic because they randomly inactivate one of their two X chromosomes in
>each and everyone of their cells. That means that the so-called "program"
>should cancel itself out in females.
> It is true that human brain size cannot exceed its present size without
>either killing the mother or affecting the pelvic angle to such an extent
>that she can no longer walk upright. It is also true that the two human
>genders may have slightly competing reproductive strategies, but I submit
>that this is a cultural construct, not a biological one. There is no
>gender bias in our ape cousins; there is general infanticide starting with
>the youngest (hence riskiest) offspring if there are environmental
>pressures on the group.
> However, there is something that the writer of this stellar piece ignores
>in his hurry to ascribe the stasis of human intelligence. to "female
>bio-genetic problems". If the human brain were to become even TEN PERCENT
>larger, the neuronal impulses would have no time to integrate. That's the
>equivalent of the light speed limit in physics -- we'd have split
>personalities for sure, let alone being able to coordinate our motion and
>our autonomous functions.
> I am tired of this venom. People like that will undoubtedly be happy
>with the onset of gender selection (already operating widely in several
>countries, including the US -- read the latest in yesterday's NY Times
>Magazine) and the artificial womb. Then women will become either trophies
>or curiosities in a zoo. Perhaps better so, that be considered eternally
>guilty for the "fall" of the race, re-incarnated now in