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Re: RE : [sig] Cavemen prefer blondes

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  • Tim Nalley
    The theories I found interesting, and irritating, were about aggression amongst caucasians based on isolation and extreme weather, but the intervening 10,000
    Message 1 of 3 , Mar 6, 2006
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      The theories I found interesting, and irritating,
      were about aggression amongst caucasians based on
      isolation and extreme weather, but the intervening
      10,000 years since seem problematic at best.
      Especially in light of much more credible recent
      studies concerning adolescent males in households
      without a male influence vis a is hyper aggression as
      compensation or exaggerated male role typing.
      Anyway, sorry about the divergence.
      'dok

      --- "L.M. Kies" <lkies@...> wrote:

      >
      >
      > This article is both intriguing, and irritating.
      >
      >

      >
      >  
      >
      >

      >
      > The theory about the possible origin of the large
      > percent of blonds in northern European populations
      > is intriguing.
      >
      >

      >
      >  
      >
      >

      >
      > But as presented, it irritatingly glosses over basic
      > ideas in population genetics, facts about
      > hunter-gatherer subsistence strategies, social
      > psychology and the philosophy of science.
      >
      >

      >
      >  
      >
      >

      >
      > [WARNING:  Creationists may some of this
      > discussion too “evolutionary”.]
      > [Quotes are in italics.]
      >
      >
      >

      >
      >  
      >
      >

      >
      > I’m assuming these oversights are the result of
      > popular press mangling, not ignorance on the part of
      > the anthropologist.  After all, it’s a lot
      > more sexy to publish that “Blondes had more fun
      > 10,000 years ago” than it is to talk about genetic
      > drift and the founder effect.
      >
      >

      >
      >  
      >
      >

      >
      > Thanks to a food shortage and a man shortage about
      > 10,000 years ago, men were in such demand they had
      > their pick of mates.
      >
      >

      >
      >  
      >
      >

      >
      > There is no evidence provided in the article for the
      > food shortage and man shortage 10,000 years
      > ago.  I’m assuming Dr. Frost (I’m assuming
      > he’s a PhD) has DNA analysis showing a genetic
      > bottleneck at that time?  Although that
      > wouldn’t be able to tell him that it was a
      > “man” shortage, unless he had cemetery/grave or
      > other data.  And presumably the “food
      > shortage” is based on climatic data and/or
      > paleobotanical research?  Again, this summary
      > article leaves out key information that was
      > presumably in the original paper.
      >
      >

      >
      >  
      >
      >

      >
      > With so much competition among women to find a mate,
      > nature and evolution kicked in to give some cave
      > women a distinctive look…
      >
      >

      >
      > Still, the study admits it's unclear why the
      > mutation happened in Europe and not elsewhere…
      > Frost concluded that Mother Nature answered the call
      > by introducing hair and eye colors ? like the more
      > than seven distinct colors found in Northern and
      > eastern Europe today.
      >
      > Here the article contradicts itself.  Did
      > Nature somehow knowingly engineer a solution to the
      > problem of competition for mates?  (A common
      > fallacy presented as a “fairy tail” explanation
      > of evolutionary mutation and change.)  Or is it
      > unclear why it happened?  (Random events often
      > defy our psychological need for a “reason”.)
      >
      >

      >
      >  
      >
      >

      >
      > Are Blondes Mutants?
      >
      >

      >
      >  
      >
      >

      >
      > Of course blondes are mutants.  We are all
      > mutants.  That’s one of the factors (but not
      > the only one) in evolutionary change.
      >
      >

      >
      >  
      >
      >

      >
      > Speaking of factors in evolutionary change, natural
      > (or sexual) selection is not the only option in
      > explaining genetic change in a population. 
      >
      >

      >
      >  
      >
      >

      >
      > In fact, according to my old “Concepts in
      > Zoology” textbook, most evolutionists do not
      > believe that natural selection is sufficient to
      > explain high levels of variability in a
      > population.  A wide variety of genetic
      > mutations (blond hair, red hair, black hair, etc.
      > blue eyes, green eyes, hazel eyes, etc.) will only
      > survive if those mutations have little effect on
      > evolutionary fitness.  Otherwise, they would be
      > selected for near-complete dominance, or
      > near-complete extinction.   (Although,
      > perhaps here my below argument about the “exotic
      > becoming common” works against me…  ;)
      >
      >

      >
      >  
      >
      >

      >
      > Anyway, complete evolutionary stability only occurs
      > in an infinitely large population (it’s a
      > statistics thing).  Smaller populations are
      > subject to “genetic drift” due to sampling
      > error.  Take a jar of 100 marbles of equal
      > numbers of 20 different colors of marbles (5 of each
      > color).  Randomly take out 20 marbles to put in
      > a new jar, and it will be very, very unlikely that
      > your 20 marbles will be a perfectly representative
      > sample i.e. 1 marble of each color in the original
      > jar.  There will probably be 3 blue, 2 green,
      > no red, etc.  Voila, genetic drift.  If
      > you only pulled out 3 marbles, a fairly severe
      > genetic bottleneck,  there would even be a
      > reasonable chance that all three marbles would be
      > the same color!
      >
      >

      >
      >  
      >
      >

      >
      > If such a small, non-representative sample moved to
      > a new area (say, late Ice Age northern Europe) and
      > started a new population, isolated from the main
      > population (by, perhaps, glaciers and/or the Baltic
      > Sea, or even the widespread taboo against
      > intermarrying with foreigners/aliens/other
      > religions) the new group could look rather different
      > from the old one.  This is the “founder
      > effect”. 
      >
      >

      >
      >
      > The study's author, Canadian anthropologist Peter
      > Frost, concludes that although blond hair and blue
      > eyes started as a genetic mutation….
      >
      >
      >
      >
      === message truncated ===


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