Sensory Drive and the Predictability of Natural Selection

I have been getting into a number of non-sense argumentative spats with people who otherwise will never change their mind about the process of natural selection, and I thought I might try and clear things up in long-form for my followers who might be confused.

One of the main criticisms of natural selection is that despite numerous observations that certain traits benefiting the fitness of individuals move into fixation in populations, it is impossible to predict which traits will do so. This is a main criticism by strict neutralists who usually respond to biologists’ real world examples of natural selection beautifully predicting functional traits by moving the goalpost deep into epistemological grounds. For this blogpost, I’m just going to run through three examples of natural selection being both predictable and real, and then after that I will permanently stop engaging with these actors online.

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Did Neanderthals Have Language? Part 2: The Anatomy of Speech

The Neanderthal language debate is old, actually quite old. Dating back almost fifty years, many of the researchers who initially began studying the topic are still heavily engaged in the subject today, and it continues to be one of the most fiery debates in paeloanthropology. Before the advent of genetics, our only way of answering the question of Neanderthal language was by looking at Neanderthal anatomy. The problem is, there are nearly a thousand ways to reconstruct a Neanderthal speech apparatus…

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Did Neanderthals Have Language? Part 1: Language Genes

The most cited research pertaining to language evolution and Neanderthals is almost always the case made from genetics. The reason for this is that the information we have obtained from ancient DNA is relatively more straightforward than what we can even begin to attempt to deduce from anatomy. The only problem with this research is that as straightforward as it is, it also so happens that its case right now is one of the weakest. Continue reading “Did Neanderthals Have Language? Part 1: Language Genes”