Mutants Can’t Get Girlfriends: Darwin’s Real Black Box

Scientists have been pushing this one for about a century now. While Evolution is at points nearly too ridiculous to merit comment, I’ll humor you. And I really do mean humor. For this post I’ve decided to write on the lighter side, although at the core the idea is serious.

The entire foundation for evolution, according to Charles Darwin and Richard Dawkins and Stephen Gould, is that creatures mutate into more and more advanced creatures, then get married and have new more advanced babies, with thumbs and wings and so on. Fair enough. But wait a minute, isn’t there something a little bit fishy about this?

Think back to middle school. None of the mutants could get girlfriends. If mutants cannot get girlfriends, then how can you expect them to get married? And if they can’t get married, then how can you expect them to ever have kids? Moreover, the mutants would never survive as the fittest in the first place, because all of the normal children, who are bullies, would beat them up. And in distant evolutionary times they would kill them, because as recently excavated cave paintings show us a la carte Marc Hauser, the more historic you get, the more barbaric you are. So just imagine what they did to mutants back then! So if you’re dead and you can’t get girlfriends, there is no way you’re going to pass on your mutant genes – even if they are selfish genes. And all this is a matter of a few years – nothing compared to geological time!

Sure, Middle School is not the Stone Age. But so what? The basic principles of life apply to all times and places.

Qued Errata Demonstrum!

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49 thoughts on “Mutants Can’t Get Girlfriends: Darwin’s Real Black Box

  1. Every human has at least several hundred unique mutations.

    You are Human.

    Therefor you are a mutant.

    Therefore you are a virgin.

    Your parents were both mutants.

    Therefor both of your parents were virgins.

    Therefor you are Jesus.

    QED.

  2. You’re entire argument appears to rest upon a single, unfounded, incorrect, and frankly idiotic assumption: mutant = weaker.

    Let’s take the hypothetical case of a mutant that is meaningfully larger and stronger then the general population (like The Hulk, but less green). In the Stone Age, he may have killed any rivals for mates. He likely would have been the alpha male, and mated with a disproportionately large number of females. He would have been more likely to survive an encounter with a predator.

    If you move to a more modern settings, our hulking male would probably be a jock. He’d be the guy on the football team that’s the star player, and he’d be sleeping with damn near anyone he wanted.

    You do, however, offer a decent example of how evolution works to reduce weaker genes to allow stronger ones to survive – just as predicted by Darwin, Dawkins, and Gould. Good job.

  3. Dear Airtight Noodle,

    I have to admit that this entry is a little more on the funny side. But it’s underlying thrust is still of interest: that mutations are actually less likely to reproduce than regularities.

    Thanks for the comment!

  4. Dear WTF,

    Insofar as I can disentangle something serious out of your post (I can’t), it seems that you are saying that mutations could be drastic advantages making one more attractive. But this is never the case. Your only analogous example seems to be jocks… who are common and not mutated. Where is the force of this argument? Somewhere deep in your womanly fantasies.

  5. Oh damn aren’t you special. First, your logic is hideously flawed. Are you some kind of creationist asshole? I bet you are. You always seem to be heading into what seems like your argument but stop dead short on the introduction of it, leaving us wondering if this is merely your idiotic opinion, or if you really are trying to prove a point. In either case, you fail miserably at making critical analyses of your subjects. You might want to do research on that for future posts.
    Genes are mutated in each newborn individual and in each newborn individual there are differences. The ones that are picked are ADVANTAGEOUS mutations. You failed to even think about that part. ALSO, Darwin didn’t know shit about genetics…that came about with Mendel and his peas.

  6. Someone obviously does not understand how slowly evolution occurs.

    Someone who is slightly taller is not going to be labeled a freak, and if being tall is desirable (reach higher on trees, etc), then they are even more likely to get a mate.

    As the “tall gene” spreads, thoruh thousands of years, eventually all members of the species are taller.

  7. So, since when do animals marry? And even when, since when is it impossible to create offspring without marriage? And does the author really think that evolution goes as fast as “uh-oh, I have wings while the rest of my species has not”? and why should animals (and our acestors) have the same value systems? Why should all mutations make the subject weaker?
    You are seriously full of shit

  8. Dear Someone,

    Are you some kind of creationist asshole?

    I am neither of those things!

    Genes are mutated in each newborn individual and in each newborn individual there are differences. The ones that are picked are ADVANTAGEOUS mutations. You failed to even think about that part. ALSO, Darwin didn’t know shit about genetics…that came about with Mendel and his peas.

    I agree that many babies are born with defects. The idea of an “advantageous mutation” is simply an oxymoron. I bet you really have something else in mind. If a characteristic is advantageous, then it is not a mutation. And so I lay the foundations of my own theory of evolution, which is called Positive Synthesis. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves! I have much more blogging to do.

  9. Dear Casey,

    Someone obviously does not understand how slowly evolution occurs. Someone who is slightly taller is not going to be labeled a freak, and if being tall is desirable (reach higher on trees, etc), then they are even more likely to get a mate.

    I agree. The poster you mention clearly didn’t get what I (or even she!) was talking about. Unfortunately she didn’t give us her real identity, so there’s no way to pursue fruitful discussion. It’s very kind of you to encourage her about her prospects for finding a mate! I’m afraid that mutated persons will be less likely to be swayed by my theory, so it’s kind of you to try and soften the blow.

  10. Dear Klaue,

    First of all, is that your real name?

    Thank you for all your interesting questions! However, I am confused by your last line, “You are seriously full of shit.” Is this a joke? If so, I don’t get it. If you’re curious about what I think on so very many topics, why add the insulting afterword? Please explain!

  11. Wow, there’s some seriously wound up people out there.

    Perhaps mutants are not weaker but stronger and therefore, those genes will dominate … like all the geeks/nerds that now rule.

  12. Nothing personal, but you don’t have the foggiest notion of what is claimed by the Theory of Evolution. It’s about the ORIGINS and DIVERSITY of species.

    Do yourself a favor. LEARN what the Theory of Evolution claims and does not claim for yourself. Not the crap the Creo-bots put in your head.

    And another favor. Shut down your blog until you have a clue about the subjects on which you pontificate. You should be embarrassed to have written this post with it’s laughable understanding of a deep and complex scientific issue.

    Seriously. It’s so flawed it doesn’t even rise to the level of “inept.”

  13. Mutation (n):
    1. Biology.
    a. a sudden departure from the parent type in one or more heritable characteristics, caused by a change in a gene or a chromosome.
    b. an individual, species, or the like, resulting from such a departure.
    2. the act or process of changing.
    3. a change or alteration, as in form or nature.

    A mutation isn’t inherently *negative*, it just means a change (Latin: mutare: to change). Your “Positive Characteristics” or whatever the hell you want to call them are just positive *mutations*: differences from the rest of the population that bestow an advantage.

    Also a mutation in biology isn’t extreme as in the comics. Everyone has separate genes, everyone is different, everyone is a mutant. There is no such thing as an “ordinary person” in genetic terms.

    If I were you I’d pull my head out of my ass and buy a dictionary.

  14. Dear “notedsholar”
    If that’s my real name or not is none of your buisness.
    Also, the questions were clearly rhetoric. Either you’re being an asshole by deliberately misunderstanding it, or this whole blog entry was a joke. Too bad the latter one is unlikely – I’ve met way too many people who would seriously write something like that.

  15. Moses:

    Just because you call yourself Moses doesn’t mean anyone is going to be inclined to listen to you, much less follow you across a desert!

    Anyway, I noticed something interesting about your comment, i.e. it does not address any of my arguments!!! Try harder next time.

    NS

  16. Dear sangfroid:

    Thanks for Webster. Last time I checked, Webster wasn’t an authority on science. Anyway, like Moses, you need to learn to deal with actual arguments, not just mockery.

    NS

  17. Klaue:

    Get off your high horse! You ask a bunch of question to me. Then…. you sent an insult. Not the best kind of diplomacy. You’ve been paying too close attention to the Bush Administration!!!

    NS

  18. Ah, now I’ve got it. My objection is, you never define mutants in relation to high school. I assumed nerds, etc. I’ll give you that. I did it for lack of a definition.

    Point is, 99.99% of mutations are either not beneficial, or have no immediately evident result. Right? So all the bullies can kill the mutants as much as they want. These changes are slight, remember. That’s the trick: mostly, if the bullies reproduce, it’ll be the bullies having mutants, eventually. If one of those mutants is better suited to…you can probably take it from there.

  19. Posted my objection here, NotedScholar, where you said to post it. Where’s all your fancy talk now?

  20. Mutant, mutant, mutant. As bah says, all humans are mutants: there is no “original” or “true” human genome. Mutants are just people who have different alleles from one another, and if everyone had the same genetic sequence DNA testing would be useless. All humans have the same genes, but different versions of each gene- alleles.

    You all (sorry if I missed someone) seem to be missing the point that THE JOCKS ARE NOT NORMAL! They are just as strange as the nerds, and the geeks, the bullies, and the scholars. Just as I am not normal, you are not normal, and even normal is not normal (if normal=average).

    Also: mutants and mutations are two different things. Assuming here we are using the word mutant to mean someone who is genetically identical from every other person on earth (except for identical twins) then that person does not necessarily have mutations. In fact: most mutations (among humans) are so problematic that they are not survivable. Most diversity arises from meiosis, and is perfectly survivable or even helpful, but it does not introduce a wider spectrum of genetic potential; that is for mutation.

    Lastly: because everyone is genetically identical, if we call ourselves mutants, that means that most mutations are not successful. To paraphrase Michael, mutations don’t have to be helpful. If the mutations that lead to bullies and jocks (assuming it’s genetic, it’s probably not) are beneficial, then they will be more prolific breeders. And they will be mutants. And they will get girlfriends.

  21. Michael the little boot:

    Your hypothetical is silly. It’s based on a traditionalist hero mentality (present in great work of literature) where the little guy pulls through against the strong. No thanks. Keep your fairy tales, I’ll keep not-false science.

    NS

  22. Well… I see your all just fighting and twisting language to your own ends… Notedscholar I don’t see where your comment to Micheal the little boot comes from, how is the little guy pulling through against the strong? Little guy gets trampled by big guy, big guy has a kid who’s bigger than normal big guys, evolution at work. Over simplified of course but oh well. I too got lost in the other foot’s rant, next time take when you finish don’t hit the submit comment button, instead look over your rant to make sure people can understand the point easily.
    Earlier you said “advantageous mutation” is an oxymoron. You must be changing meanings somewhere in there. Advantageous basicly means helpful, like making it easier to mate or get food. Mutation basically means a change. An oxymoron is a combination of opposites, and inherently does not make sense. Change… advantage… nope not opposites, in fact they go hand in hand. Not all change is advantageous but you can’t be more advantageous without change.

    Example 1: Your a mutant, you happen to have no nails. Its weird and useless, you are less likely to mate. mutation -> not mating as much -> mutation dies out

    Example 2: Your a mutant, your muscles happen to be more efficient, its useful as being strong helps get mates and helps you survive. mutation -> mates more -> mutation thrives as long as it remains an advantage

  23. O this blog made a borning day of deployment a tad better. That the OP is so lacking in his understanding of evolution ( and unaware of his shortcommings ) is just soup for my soul.

    Let’s just take the premise for the start, no forces of natural selection are present. At this school you have numerouse indivuals with mutations that would have killed them by now; your premature births, mental/physical retardation, and viruses would have done there work. Not to mention factors like shoddy vision which would made getting owned by a predator a bit more likely. In a natural enviroment you would not have had jocks either, you would have some; but diet being what is was it would be hard to have enough food to get large muscles at least untill hunting evolved a bit.

    What you are talking about is a situation when primative instict and emotion plays into human society, which is not an example of physical evolution.

    Like alot of this blog, the author does not have a complete grasp of the suject matter. your premise is flawed so it’s not productive to argue it futher.

    But then again you could just be a troll and this is all a Poe, in which case thanks for the lulz

  24. Dar bam,

    You have basically missed the point. I’m not sure I can help you, but I’ll go through your examples, one by one by one, each, and maybe you can glean some insight through watching me work.

    Example 1: Your a mutant, you happen to have no nails. Its weird and useless, you are less likely to mate. mutation -> not mating as much -> mutation dies out

    I agree with this instance of sexual selection. It’s very reasonable. Kudos to the females who avoided the nail-less mutant.

    Example 2: Your a mutant, your muscles happen to be more efficient, its useful as being strong helps get mates and helps you survive. mutation -> mates more -> mutation thrives as long as it remains an advantage

    This example makes very, very, very little sense. Two possibilities arise: either (1) you have misidentified this creature as a mutant (most likely to me), or (2) the creature’s attractive muscles attract females in spite of its mutations.

    Hope this helps. Continue your studies of science!

    NS

  25. Lt armor,

    First, as you surely know from Sun Tzu, your overconfidence will be your undoing.

    Let’s just take the premise for the start, no forces of natural selection are present.

    On the contrary, natural selection just is the selective force that works on the level of individuals. Macro-properties like species-variation and common descent arise from these properties. They are supervenient, if you will.

    What you are talking about is a situation when primative instict and emotion plays into human society, which is not an example of physical evolution.

    By definition any choices biological agents make are part of evolution. This is trivially true!

    Like alot of this blog, the author does not have a complete grasp of the suject matter. your premise is flawed so it’s not productive to argue it further.

    You keep reverting to this obfuscation. Why?

    NS

  26. You have taught me to never be afraid to rant about topics I have no understanding of. I thank you.

  27. Myrmidon,

    If I understand your comment correctly, you are indicating that I have been successful. One of my primary desires is that “laymen” would realize that there is ultimately nothing to understand in the scientific consensus. It is a self-perpetuating web of logical fallacies.

    So, while scientists make you feel like you have insufficient knowledge, I am flattered to hear you say I have taught you to have more confidence in yourself!

    Truly yours,
    NS

  28. Still wondering about that “positive synthesis”… (this remains the only “sciencedefeated” page mentioning it).

  29. Um, Notedscholar, that was not his point. His point was the implication, a true one, that you have no idea what you are talking about.

    I think that this point hasn’t been adequately rammed in. Mutations don’t have to be negative. They’re any genetic change whatsoever. You could be slightly stronger due to your genes, and yes, that would be a mutation.

    Also, the whole idea of comparing evolution to high school is ridiculous. High school is a VERY specific social and cultural environment, and considering how there were no such social or cultural constructs in what you call “evolutionary times”, it’s complete nonsense to compare the situation.

    You’re probably going to

    a) Tell me that I’m not actually making any arguments
    b) Tell me that I haven’t addressed your arguments
    c) Tell me that I don’t know what I’m talking about
    d) Tell me that I’m ranting and that you can’t extract any arguments out of what I’m saying

    Don’t do any of those things. They don’t prove anything.

  30. Looks like NS has bailed after being challenged strongly enough.

    Also, I had been meaning to make a post like yours to force him to actually answer something instead of his usual “not enough time, too much ranting, etc.” excuses. Looks like you beat me to it!

  31. Lenoxus,

    I encourage you to begin your own investigations! Recently I have been more focused on Brain Studies than Positive Synthesis. But I’ll return to it someday!

    Cheers to you and your family,
    NS

  32. Dear Dieu de Lacunes,

    First, thank you for your penetrating, constructive criticisms. I will not be as crushing to you as you fear! Now onto your points.

    “His point was the implication, a true one, that you have no idea what you are talking about.”
    I don’t know who the “his” is. Please specify! But in any case this seems to be against the hominem, so…

    “I think that this point hasn’t been adequately rammed in. Mutations don’t have to be negative. They’re any genetic change whatsoever. You could be slightly stronger due to your genes, and yes, that would be a mutation.”

    I think this begs the question at issue. My thesis is that because mutants can’t get girl friends, etc. You can’t just begin with the premise that they can! Anyway even Kenneth Miller admits that something like 100% of mutations have been ill-adapted.

    “Also, the whole idea of comparing evolution to high school is ridiculous. High school is a VERY specific social and cultural environment, and considering how there were no such social or cultural constructs in what you call “evolutionary times”, it’s complete nonsense to compare the situation.”

    I shouldn’t have presented this as a literary comparison. It was a scientific comparison, in which I applied a single concept to a different environment, common practice in the natural sciences.

    I hope you find my answers satisfying!

    Best hopes to you,
    NS

  33. Plague,

    Sometimes I get the feeling that you are mad at me for something personal…. if so, please email me. I am trying to help you! (and everyone else)

    Today,
    NS

  34. Many people alive today are born with a genetic defect – a mutation – that makes the gene regulating lactase production nonfunctional. Sounds like something bad, isn’t it?

    Unfortunately, the resulting condition is called “lactose tolerance”. The defective regulator gene fails to shut down lactase production after weaning, allowing mutants to digest milk into adulthood. The opposite, lactose intolerance, is actually the wild type.

    In other words,
    Got Milk? Then you’re a mutant.

  35. If there are no beneficial mutations, then what do you call benefiucial changes to DNA?

  36. Your viewpoint, although uncommon, is quite interesting – as is your blog. After all, how would something’s incorrectness be shown if its validity was never discussed ?

    If I understand correctly, your points are :

    0. “Scientists say that creatures mutate for the best and transfer the mutation to their childs.”
    1. “But mutations are always negative.”
    2. “A lifeform that is subject of a mutation can be compared to a wierd kid in middle school.”
    3. “Weird people in middle school are unattractive and thus cannot mate and have kids.” (= “Mutated lifeforms are unattractive and thus cannot have children.”)
    4. “Normal children are bullies and behave agressively toward weird children (and would’ve killed in the distant past), this contributes to their unpopularity.” (= “Not mutated creatures are agressive toward mutated creatures.”)
    5. “Unpopular wierd people cannot mate and have weird kids.”
    6. “The basic principles of life are universal.”
    7. “Therefore, a mutated creature cannot have children, who would have the same mutation.”
    8. “Thus, the theory of evolution is flawed.”

    The idea is quite new and trying to present it lightheartedly is interesting. But it is a bit decieving to me because in my view most of your points aren’t really solid.
    While I would not attack your point of view itself – everyone has a right to opinions – I think that you would be percieved better if your points were more tangible and better supported. Who knows, perhaps someday you’ll be recognized as a revolutionary scholar.

    At present time, though, here is some criticizing of your points.

    0. I don’t remember those scientists explicitly saying that creatures mutate into better (more advanced) ones – but actually into more adaptated ones.
    The former would have implied that evolution strives for absolute perfection. But these scientists don’t give any goal to evolution, if only the best adaptation of species to their environment. I wanted to adress this although I know this is not a direct part of your article.

    1. This is mainly semantics. Your view is that mutations are always negative.
    However, a mutation is just a random genetic change and not explicitly a negative one. The definition of “mutation” is etymologically “change”, which is neutral. In genetics, it has retained its neutrality (from the Oxford dictionary : “The changing of the structure of a gene, resulting in a variant form which may be transmitted to subsequent generations, caused by the alteration of single base units in DNA, or the deletion, insertion, or rearrangement of larger sections of genes or chromosomes.”).
    A mutation is not necessarly a genetic handicap. Not to mention that something considered an handicap could have a positive effect : the first peacock that, via mutation, crossed the boundary from ‘pretty tail’ to ‘useless, conspicuous and eyes-catching giant tail’ would’ve been deemed wierd. Instead it was very effective to seduce, as we can see that peacocks have those big tails today. Perhaps a new word would be needed to describe negative mutations and set them apart from positive and neutral ones, sort of like anions and cations.

    2. This is a personal opinion and the comparison is quite unusual. I will be adressing the “middle school” image for my entertainment – although it is unrelated because we’re not talking about social selection and it is merely a metaphor.

    3, 4 and 5. Regarding the image, it is not true that difference repels interest. It is a part of our social codes, as a fly would not be dismissing another if it had, say, differently colored wings or a different behavio(u)r because it has no meaning to them. Additionally, a flock of sharp-teethed wolves would not attack a square-teethed wolf just because it is square-teethed as they probably wouldn’t even care about it. This discrimination is specific to our society. If this wolf becomes the leader, it will mate anyway (not to mention that submissive wolves will mate when the dominant pair isn’t looking at them).

    6. This is an assumption and is as subjective as point 2.

    7 and 8. These follow and end your previous points. I can only disprove the points, not the conclusion itself.

    You are probably aware that your point was made using an association fallacy – I guess you are, for this is a not-so-serious article. Nontheless, I could also say the following, which should be fallacious :

    O. Scientists say the Earth is not special at all and is not alive itself.
    I. But the Earth is special.
    II. The presence of life on Earth is akin to that of cells in a lifeform.
    III. A lifeform has cells and it is alive.
    IV. This applies to life on Earth too.
    V. The Earth is alive.
    VI. Scientists are wrong.

    I know this is a bit far-fetched but too much explanation of a view is better than not enough so.

    Please pardon my mistakes as I am nor a professional, nor a native English speaker, however I encourage you not to dismiss my ideas because they do not appear convicing or attractive – as I didn’t dismiss yours.

    Regards and best of luck in your research (that I hope will someday produce new insights on commonly accepted ideas).

    Sincerely,
    a stranger on the internet.

  37. ns
    thank you for correcting that typo. now, please answer the question.
    also, ever been to Rolla MO?

  38. Other than a denial of beneficial mutations, this theory suffers from a misunderstanding of mating in animal populations. 1st, animals do not marry as humans do. 2nd, even in human society, marriage is not a requirement for reproduction. Finally, even in middle school, those you describe as mutants often pair with those of the same type.

  39. Pingback: PZ Myers responds to my critique of evolution, ignores current research by Klingenberg | Science and Math Defeated

  40. Dearest Henk [sic],

    You write that I “have no idea” what “the thesis of evolution really is.” That’s a cute accusation, but it won’t work here. This is Science and Math Defeated, not whatever pub you frequent.

    Best but not the very best,
    NS

  41. Wow this is dmmber than I thought it would be. What is a ‘muntant’ is it a disabled person or just a nerd that can’t get a girl. If it really is a down syndrome person then you really are thicker than a thickshake. People with down syndrome quite often have happy lives, as well as people who have cerable palsy and other genitic or fetal problems. Though your right it is the kids that struggle with more often druing school. And secondly if a muntant is just a nerd do you really think they never have kids the nerd ‘culture’ is so intwined they all breed with each other. Just because they get beat up doesn’t mean that they can’t do anything good. Science is the only thing left to move this world forward.

  42. Dear Maddi Parlato,

    First, thanks to you for your relevant, interesting comment and comments. I especially am appreciating your concession that mutants will “have a hard time in school,” as you put it. However, the rest of your comment here is so ability-ist and offensive that I don’t know where to go next?

    Please help me,

    Best,
    NS

  43. “… creatures mutate into more and more advanced creatures, then get married and have new more advanced babies, with thumbs and wings and so on.”

    That is not even close to what is accepted as biological evolution.

    The rest is just nonsense.

  44. Adri,

    I am full of conflicts and contradictions…. on the one hand, I am happy to have you arrive here. On the other hand, you just add hominem to what I’ve said.

    Pondering,
    NS

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