Prof Joan Rougarden' challenge to Darwin

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Prof Joan Rougarden' challenge to Darwin

Postby Paula Thomas » Fri Dec 22, 2006 9:27 pm

Before snyone thinks I've lost i t and joined the creationists I should say that the challenge is to sexual selection not natural selection!!

There is an article that explains her ideas at


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Postby Michael » Fri Dec 22, 2006 10:54 pm

It buggers up Darwin!
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Postby Brian Jordan » Sat Dec 23, 2006 12:30 am

I don't see much of a problem here. Two things come to mind. Firstly, if you have a hareem culture - eg deer - there's a whole lot of sexual energy/tension going to waste. It makes sense to divert it into some other activity favouring survival. On the other hand, bower birds and peacocks - and the horned stags - have driven themselves onto the edge of a cliff on mount improbable.

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Postby Monad » Sun Dec 31, 2006 12:34 am

I don't see too much of a problem for sexual selection either. If anything what she is arguing is there are more factors (some of which the Victorian Darwin wasn't aware of) to take into consideration as potentially selective forces but selection still occurs nonetheless on the basis of sexual preference and at the end of the day selected traits still need to be passed on through reproduction.
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Postby Timothy Chase » Sun Dec 31, 2006 6:03 pm

Additionally, it should be remembered that much of the homosexual activity in the animal kingdom is actually a case of bisexuality which helps to bind the herd or what have you - and thus may promote the survival of those who are most closely related to you. Moreover, there are typically a fair number of genes which are involved in sexual preference (I believe it was around forty for mice), and if homosexual activity has benefits (for example, in reducing the amount of conflict involving fights over the females while directing more resources to the raising of the young), then this can result in a net benefit for genes which are may result in homosexual behavior - in combination with other genes.
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