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)
Redox control in development and evolution: evidence from colonial hydroids
J Exp Biol. 1999 Dec;202 Pt 24:3541-53.
Redox control and the evolution of multicellularity.
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.