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38336Re: [evol-psych] Re: Africa, Race & I.Q... [race & social functioning?]

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  • Ralph L Holloway
    Oct 3, 2005
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      On Mon, 3 Oct 2005, Mark Flinn wrote:

      > I think if we are looking at selective pressures that are salient to
      > understanding the evolution of human cognitive processes then life history
      > effects of pathogens and social competition are the two areas that are
      > likely to have been much more important than heat stress or anything else
      > about climatic conditions per se.

      This response to my earlier suggestion is about as glib as you can get,
      Mark. There are no studies relating pathogen levels to distributions of
      brain sizes throughout the world. There are no studies of social
      competition that have similarly related brain sizes to gradienhts of
      social competition throughout the world. The earlier parturition of
      peoples of African descent appears here in the US as well as elsewhere,
      and I sicerely doubt the pathogen loads are higher here than elsewhere.

      The heat stress hypothesis is simply that. Offered in part because it
      jibes with some facts you appear to ignore.


      >
      > I think it useful to get our heads out of the narrow confines of our
      > impressions of recent human conditions and examine the broader picture in
      > comparative perspective. There is no pattern analogous, e.g., to geographic
      > parthenogenesis, in the distribution of brain size in animals. Whatever
      > taxa you want to look at, there are no general associations btw cold
      > climates and large brains. To the contrary, what associations there are
      > indicate links between benign environments fostering greater social
      > competition and larger brains. High pathogen loads (and high early
      > morbidity) can push faster senescence.
      >

      Show me the studies done on human beings where these ideas apply. "Useful
      to get out of our heads..." means to me that the comparative perspective
      necessarilyt has to trump associations between brain size, neuromuscular
      and sensory development (tell me, did Freedman's study find high pathogen
      loads in the newborn babies he studied?). Sorry you don't like what is in
      some of our heads or the data upon which some hypotheses are offered.

      >
      > Mark Flinn
      > Departments of Anthropology
      > and Psychological Sciences
      > University of Missouri
      > Columbia, MO 65211
      > (573) 882-9404
      >

      Ralph L. Holloway
      Professor of Anthropology
      Dept. Anthropology
      Columbia University
      1200 Amsterdam Ave.
      NY, NY 10027
      212-854-4570
      Fax= 212-854-7347
      Web Page www.columbia.edu/~rlh2
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