March 8, 2019 | David F. Coppedge

The Extrapolation Fallacy in Evolutionary Storytelling

The assumption of universal common ancestry can lead to absurd scientific reasoning.

Humans have culture. Insects show cooperative behavior. Therefore, human culture evolved from insect behavior. Does that make sense? Can any scientist really compare those two things, and derive one from the other? They do it, but that doesn’t make it rational. Extrapolation is a logical fallacy, and so is the non-sequitur.

Animal Behaviour: Conformity and the Beginnings of Culture in an Insect (Current Biology). After making excuses for studying the “evolution of culture” in fruit flies, (e.g., “it might be misguided to suspect that the learning mechanisms that support culture are inherently complex or difficult to evolve, or that these might exist only in our closest relatives“), these authors make some absurd statements that could never be proved. Here’s an example:

Female flies, like many adolescent humans, seem to acquire their partner preferences from the majority choices that can be observed around them.

Well, then, the writing of scientific papers was a behavior derived from fruit flies. The authors have to work themselves out of a trap, though. There’s no basis in animal evolution for things we do that should have been easy for natural selection to invent. Here comes a whopper of a just-so story:

Why, then, are animal cultures not more common in the wild, especially the cumulative variety seen in humans, where new innovations build on previous ones? Why don’t flies build vehicles to travel over land, why do bees not construct walls around their territory to keep competitors away from their flower patches? The conventional way of answering such questions is that they do not have the required brain power. Behavioural experimental studies on multiple invertebrates, however, indicate that the basic problem-solving skills required, and the capacity to learn from observation, are present in a number of invertebrates. Many seemingly advanced cognitive capacities have recently been shown to be computationally trivial, and the required neural circuits could certainly be implemented in some of the smallest brains. So, the reason why culture, or cumulative culture, is so rarely seen in nature, might simply be that the conditions that favour its emergence are quite rare. It is easy to see how an animal might benefit, for example to cope with rapid man-made global change, if it were given the benefit of a fully-fledged cumulative culture tomorrow. But one would have to develop a scenario by which the first tiny steps in the direction of such a culture would already be beneficial and maintained in a population — and in such a manner that such variation could not be more beneficially just cemented into genes. A laboratory setting under which culture emerges in a free-flowing experiment (i.e. without significant experimenter intervention) is actually quite hard to conceive for any animal. Even if you gave insects all the tools and parts to build a bicycle, there would be little incentive for them to begin building anything in the right direction. Another potential answer to this question may lie with conformity itself. Conformist biases are a useful way to maintain traditions. However, if these biases are so strong that they result in discrimination against new phenotypes, whether brought about by mutation or individual innovation, such novelty may be discriminated against even if it could be of adaptive benefit. This would prevent the accumulation of improvements characteristic of cumulative culture.

Nonetheless, fruit flies are an interesting choice of model for cultural processes due to the feasibility of selection experiments in relatively short time spans, and thus the potential of exploring interactions between cultural and genetic evolution. In addition, the expansive molecular-genetic toolkit that is available in Drosophila should make it possible to explore the neural mechanisms underpinning social learning, as well as the processes mediating evolutionary change under conditions in which certain forms of social learning and culture are selectively advantageous.

If you endured that long quote without falling asleep, you saw nothing but extrapolation, assumption, waffling, rationalization, and storytelling (“develop a scenario” they call it). Nothing natural selection cannot handle!

Human roars communicate upper-body strength more effectively than do screams or aggressive and distressed speech (PLoS One). Evolutionists were not sufficiently embarrassed last time they told a story about the evolution of screaming (2 July 2018). They did it again. While a scientist might be able to gather data on whether a man with a good roar has good upper-body strength, what does that have to do with the price of natural selection in China?

In competitive contests, evolutionary selection processes favour vocal communication of resource holding potential to settle disputes without engaging in potentially costly combat. For example, many terrestrial mammalian species, including giant pandas, sea lions, fallow and red deer, and domestic dogs use acoustic cues to body size or dominance rank in aggressive vocalizations to mediate agonistic interactions, particularly during male-male competition.

Among humans, the nonverbal components of speech also allow listeners to assess body size from the voice, including height and weight…

How stupid can Darwine-drunk scientists get? Ask Cyrano de Bergerac if he had better success winning his love by roaring or by serenading. To evolutionists, they justify such absurdity because of their belief that humans are mere animals. If dogs howl and sea lions say “Ork! ork!” to each other, then humans must have gained this ability because of the Stuff Happens Law, too. This is the fallacy of extrapolation: thinking that humans are nothing but evolved pandas, and so animal behavior can be extrapolated into human behavior. The illustration above says it all. Roar at a woman, and you are not likely to gain love, regardless of your upper-body strength. You are likely to get charged for harassment.

You may now LOL.

Evolutionists continue to carry out their silly game of applying natural selection to everything, including human behavior, because nobody feels safe to laugh. That must change. Go ahead: roar at an evolutionist, and explain you are just trying to win their love. Then laugh hilariously. If they get huffy about it, then engage them in a little logic. Tell them, “If human culture is nothing but evolved fruit-fly behavior, then so is the behavior of writing scientific papers. Therefore, everything you say was predetermined in your genes, and signifies nothing.”





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