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Sickness behaviour – useful concept or psycho-humbug?

Discussion in 'General ME/CFS News' started by Woolie, Nov 22, 2017.

  1. Squeezy

    Squeezy Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Nothing to add to your discussion, people, but every time I look down the list of threads and see, "Sickness Behaviour" listed as a title, I want to bloody scream.
     
  2. Inara

    Inara Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    That's actually what I thought when I went through museums about dinosaurs. I read all the stories and see all the findings, and I just don't see why the stories should mirror reality - I mean, they could; and they couldn't. It seems to me that some people find some puzzle pieces and - due to fantasy and wishful thinking - the missing pieces are added to create a picture.

    I think we don't really know what happened some million years ago (or just 30.000 years ago). It's fascinating to speculate. But this shouldn't be stated as fact. Also, most people forget it's an "evolution theory" which can be improved, changed, false...(it's not solely about natural selection which occurs in the present).

    If wide parts of psychology don't produce good scientific facts in the present, I wouldn't believe a iota of what they say about the past.

    So I agree with you on this:

     
    Woolie likes this.
  3. Hip

    Hip Established Member (Voting Rights)

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    Richard Dawkins coined the term "meme": a meme he defines as is an element of human culture (such as the ability to make iron tools, or build bridges) which is passed down from one generation to the next. These memes may be encoded in our brains and passed on by oral tradition, or may be written down on parchment, books, etc.



    Certainly when humans start genetically modyfying the human genome at birth, to remove for example disease-causing genes, then you definitely have intelligence driving the path of human evolution.

    But my feeling is that in the species where intelligence is high, especially the human species, the intelligence involved in choosing a reproductive mate (sexual selection) has been for millennia been manipulating the path of evolution.

    From the Wikipedia article on sexual selection:
    Thus the explosive growth in human intelligence may have been driven by sexual selection, not natural selection. And the more human intelligence increases by sexual selection preferences, the more this intelligence will be able to make even better decisions on sexual selection in future.
     
  4. Scarecrow

    Scarecrow Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Memes, themselves, are merely an idea. Memetics is hardly a science.
    Actually, the hypothesis that brain size in primates is linked to monogamy is based on competition among males for a mate, not the preference of females.

    Sorry but I still can't see how intelligence 'drives' evolution.
     
  5. Hip

    Hip Established Member (Voting Rights)

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    I am not sure what you are getting at; are you denying that human intelligence was involved in the evolution of human civilization as well?



    To me the idea that through sexual selection, animal intelligence may shape the course of evolution seems self-evident. If you are not using your brains during a courtship, you are most likely an amoeba!



    Competition among males for a mate (intrasexual selection) is actually part of sexual selection, although a different part to the situation where the female chooses the male that she wants to reproduce with (intersexual selection).

    Competition among males is going to be a driving force for increasing male strength and prowess (and increased prowess may equate to increased intelligence), but in this case, to me this intrasexual selection seems more like natural selection (survival of the fittest) on steroids. There is not any intelligent decision-making in such male-male competition, its just a brawl in which the strongest, fittest and probably smartest wins.

    But in intersexual selection, where there is intelligent choice, even conscious choice in higher animals with developed consciousness, it seems self-evident intelligence itself will be steering the course of evolution.



    I have admit that this is my own interpretation of sexual selection (the idea that female intelligence in mate choice plays a role in steering the course of evolution, and thus that human intelligence is part of the mechanism of evolution). But it just seems self-evident.
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2017
  6. Wonko

    Wonko Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    @Hip

    Just my take so far.....

    You have an interesting way of using the word "intelligence", seeming to equate it with both very stupid behaviours and with the adoption of environmentally trained behaviours.

    ......but, it's taken me a few hours to write that, pair it down, rejig it etc. so...don't be surprised if any response doesn't, as I don't currently have the oomph to either address you point by point or actively try and pointless change what appears to be a fairly complex belief system....so, just a random comment.
     
  7. Hip

    Hip Established Member (Voting Rights)

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    You mean I use the word "intelligence" to include both hardwired abilities (eg, the spider's innate ability to make a web) as well as abilities that have been learnt (eg, the way dogs can be taught tricks and skills). Yes, that's true, I include both.

    I think those are both part of intelligence, but the ability to learn and adapt is obviously a higher and more powerful type of intelligence than the hardwired form. Sexual selection may involve both types of intelligence, but I think the adaptive intelligence, when employed to make decisions in mate choice, may have a more profound effect on the course of evolution.
     
  8. Scarecrow

    Scarecrow Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    You can't possibly think I'm that stupid. Please read post#180.
     
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  9. Hip

    Hip Established Member (Voting Rights)

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    You seemed to be suggesting that memes (defined as an "idea, behavior, or style that spreads from person to person within a culture") may not exist.
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2017
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  10. Skycloud

    Skycloud Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    But random mutation is supposed to have a far more profound affect on evolution. What you are talking about perpetuates an existing genetic line/s, with adaptation within the potential of those genes. And learned behaviour/knowledge passed on generationally occurs under those conditions. The 'profound affect' in your argument is not necessarily a given, that I can see.

    I've probably put that badly and would like to plead The Wonko Defence

     
  11. Inara

    Inara Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    To me, sexual selection and courtship are different. In my opinion sexual selection isn't connected with intelligence, courtship could be. Or more general: I don't think basic needs are linked to intelligence - they're just there - but how to get them, that is.

    Edit: I agree with Wonko - I start to understand your personal meaning of "intelligence", only slowly; sorry.
    I also start to understand your meaning of "sexual selection".
     
  12. Hip

    Hip Established Member (Voting Rights)

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    Random mutation and genetic recombination (the random combination of genes received from parents) provides the basis of both natural selection and sexual selection.

    In natural selection, because of this genetic lottery, some creatures find themsevles genetically better equipped to survive and reproduce than others, and these creatures are more likely to transmit their genes to the next generation, compared to creatures genetically less well equipped to survive. Thus the environment decides which genes are good and promoted to the next generation, and which are poor and not promoted.

    In sexual selection (more specifically intersexual selection), the same genetic lottery applies, but in this case, it is not the environment which decides which genes are good or bad, but the female, by her preference of mating partner.

    Let's take the example of birds, where you get the female staying in the nest to look after her hatchlings, and the male bird goes off in search of food to bring back to the nest. Do you think that given a choice, a female bird is going to choose some scrawny old male with flimsy wings and poor feathers (bad genes) to reproduce with, or some fine specimen of a male, with strong wings and immaculate plumage (good genes)? Obviously she is likely to choose the strong male, because he is better equipped to fulfill his role as a food provider.

    So in sexual selection, the good genes tend to be promoted to the next generation, and the bad genes tend not to be, and it is the female who decides, via her choice of partner, which are the good genes and which are the bad ones.


    So in natural selection it is the environment which determines which are the good and bad genes, and in sexual selection (the intersexual selection version) it is the intelligent choice of the female that determines this.
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2017
  13. Webdog

    Webdog Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    This thread reminded me of an article I read recently, where Elizabeth Unger MD, PhD, chief of the chronic viral diseases branch of the CDC was talking about ME/CFS. At the end of the quotes below she speaks of "sickness behavior".

    http://www.the-rheumatologist.org/a...ome-myalgic-encephalomyelitis-preferred-term/
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2017
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  14. Woolie

    Woolie Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Seeing the term "sickness behavior" now makes me very suspicious. It suggests the person might have a particular view about what MECFS is, and one I'm not in agreement with.

    It also provides a neat segue into depression, which is the other common condition often said to resemble "sickness behavior".

    The bit about "stress from physical trauma and adverse events" is even more worrying. Those little throwaways added there that leave the door wide open to psych explanations. hmmm.
     

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