Friday, July 9, 2010

Hans v. Luke (v. Princess Leia)

Evolutionary psychology appears to be bigger than evolutionary medicine at this time...! Here is a post entry from their wonderful group, including Prof Steven Pletak -- crossfit gym owner and blogger who advocates evolutionary nutrition and fitness. The group also have an open access, peer-reviewed journal EvoS Journal: The Journal of the Evolutionary Studies Consortium.

Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and the Importance of Adaptation Implementation in Evolutionary Psychology
By Professor Glenn Geher at EvoStudies blog (see blogroll, side)

I’m not going to lie. If you follow my work at all, hopefully this isn’t a surprise – I try to stay honest – it’s a way to compensate for my deficits. Lots of folks I know – several of whom I consider good friends – report that they just can’t stand evolutionary psychology. Some seem to think it’s the devil – morally and scientifically irresponsible and reprehensible. I do my best to deal with things, but every now and then, honestly, I just shake my head. And sometimes I just have to write about it.

A few weeks ago, a really interesting discussion about the mating-relevant differences between Luke Skywalker and Han Solo emerged in my graduate course in social psychology. This was one of these moments when a thread of the fabric of American culture and the content of the course interfaced perfectly. Luke is prototyipically non-masculine – whiny and wimpy throughout three episodes. Han is just macho. He plays it cool, doesn’t need anyone’s help, and has classic masculine good looks.

What’s attractive about Luke? What’s attractive about Han? The conversation touched on several themes relevant to evolutionary psychology – mate choice, optimal features of long-term mates, optimal features of short-term mates, morphological features of sexually attractive males, the handicap principle applied to high levels of testosterone, inbreeding depression, and so forth. It was an exciting class discussion that put a face to many of the concepts from the readings of the week.
[Read more deep thoughts here]

From the journal, I love the thoughts on mitochondria which do nutrient and energy sensing... much like PPAR nutrient and energy sensing HERE:

Blackstone, N. W. (2009). Is evolutionary theory central to molecular cell biology? EvoS Journal: The Journal of the Evolutionary Studies Consortium, 1(1), 34-43.

'Mitochondrial signaling pathways may remain as vestiges
of ancient levels-of-selection conflicts... Because mitochondria were evolutionary units capable of heritable variation, levels-of-selection synergies and antagonisms no doubt ruled the emerging features of the eukaryotic cell... Electron transport chains are typically the locus of not just energy conversion, but environmental sensing as well... Mitochondria are descended from bacteria not unlike E. coli. Primitively, they are expected to have employed similar environmental sensing mechanisms.' (see electron transport chain, below)

Other references:
Redox control in development and evolution: evidence from colonial hydroids
Blackstone NW.
J Exp Biol. 1999 Dec;202 Pt 24:3541-53.

Redox control and the evolution of multicellularity.
Blackstone NW.
Bioessays. 2000 Oct;22(10):947-53. Review.

Mitochondria as integrators of information in an early-evolving animal: insights from a triterpenoid metabolite.
Blackstone NW, Kelly MM, Haridas V, Gutterman JU.
Proc Biol Sci. 2005 Mar 7;272(1562):527-31.

Multicellular redox regulation in an early-evolving animal treated with glutathione.
Doolen JF, Geddes GC, Blackstone NW.
Physiol Biochem Zool. 2007 May-Jun;80(3):317-25.


Jamie Scott said...

As if the excellent information we get from your blog isn't enough, we get photo's of well foxy women!!

Love ya work!

Neonomide said...

Yes, Jamie, and the foxiest of all is Mrs G hrself! ^^

Personally, I love evolutionary psychology. It just wraps everything up the way nothing else can. It has it's limitations, but many people seem to just focus on them.

I actually have studied evolution in a way as a social science student for years now (I'll graduate when I'm ready!). I've not so intimate with it's "real" dimension but I have to know it's implications pretty well to be able to comment it academically. Iäm interested (professionally) in it's impact upon it's words, notions, discourses and so on.

I also attended years ago to biology, yet missed my chance and took a different, perhaps even better positioned and more "PR" view on it. You know, most social scientists have incredibly little knowledge and/or interest in evolutionism as a thinking system, since it seems to directly oppose what social science stands for.

It seems obvious to me that several tremendously *humanistically* important fields like nutrition stand pretty far from adoption the Darwinian Grand Theory to it's tool pack. I just read Staffan Lindeberg's incredible Food and Western Disease and remain gobsmacked how little these brilliant hypotheses seem to have had real effect on nutrition theory and research as far as I know it.

Modern nutrition seems a lot like Creationism in it's innate inability to look critically at its premises and basic assumptions.

Dr. B G said...

Thank you Neo!! *haaa!*

That is great -- I have not had a chance to ck out Lindeberg's latest. I'm getting into evolutionary pyschology -- just picked up Red Queen that everyone talks about. Ridley is cool.

Yes -- nutritional science (like medical science) appears totally submitted to the dark ages... who knows when the tide will turn??!