Well if you read their abstract, the reasoning appears sound for what they are testing. They seem to provide a brief over-view of competing theories but they're not really refuting them outright. Their theory is based on computer models that adhere to a few strict rules, it makes a prediction based on the assumptions. Obviously, you can't include every factor in the model (we wouldn't even know every factor to begin with) so you have to make some basic assumptions. If the assumptions are a reasonable representation of what really goes on, the model can be robust. However, that doesn't mean the model is correct. It could still be wrong, as they point out for Hamilton's model. It sort of relates to experimental design in the sense that you get out what you put in; you get a response based on the questions you ask. Whether the questions you ask, and the data you use, are accurate, is another matter.Personally, I don't see the reasoning as being sound. This is not my area of expertise though so you'll have to put up with my Western layman arguments.
Forget about the BBC article, go read a bit of the real article (free because PLoS). You need to be objective, and you can do this even from a western perspective that is not familiar with the literature. The authors are not blaming men for menopause, they're saying menopause is the result of mate preference. Even so, menopause isn't necessarily a good/bad thing. Blaming men for this would be like blaming women some sexual dimorphic traits. There is no blame, this isn't a blame game.
Don't judge it based on the BBC article, hell don't even judge it based on press releases. There's a reason the media think we need to eat more chocolate and drink more wine to be healthy but should limit our alcohol consumption and chocolate consumption because it could be harmful; they don't know what the f_ck they're on about. They care about headlines, not facts.You're right here in that I object to what I perceive to be an illogical study being used as another stick to beat my gender. If it had made sense to me, I would be less ticked off.
Check out the article, the introduction will provide a brief overview (potentially biased) with the last paragraph stating their intentions. The study isn't illogical. The premise of the model might be flawed, but that doesn't make it illogical. These studies provide insights, whether they're ultimately right or not.
While the study may be being used as a stick by the media, the study itself is not the cause of this. Don't blame the study. If it doesn't make sense to you, it doesn't mean it's wrong either. You're entitled to your opinion of course, but you should be objective about your ability to judge this study. I've skimmed read it, didn't see anything weird pop out. I'm largely basing my views of it on benefit of the doubt, perhaps I'll read it later if you wish to discuss details of the study further.
I can agree with you there. As you probably know, people like coldplay and voted for the Nazi's, you can't trust 'emUnfortunately, public policy is much more highly influenced by the media than by obscure studies. Indeed, I would never have heard of this study if it wasn't for somebody with an agenda digging it up
Granted, but where the research falls down (IMO) is that it fails to explain male preference for younger females in absence of the fertility argument. Your argument includes the fertility argument but relies on some form of polygyny. There is contemporary evidence against universal polygyny as well as fossil evidence in the form of limited sexual dimorphism compared to our ancestors. Basically, while men may prefer younger females, it doesn't mean that they are going to continually mate with younger females due to social restrictions and norms. The Mother and Grandmother hypothesis side-step the mate preference issue as the selective pressure comes from kinship and not fertility competition.The point I was making is that it is the younger women that are the most desirable, which according to the above you agree with.
I suggest looking at Table.1 in the paper, there are plenty of valid ideas in the list of hypotheses. You can see why no one knows the true answer to the menopausal question, there are lots of factors at play. I personally think mate preference has a minor role, if any, in the origins of menopause. I lean more towards the senescence and kinship hypotheses, and I don't think menopause is necessarily adaptive.
We don't? Hmmm...
Some of the, yes, but a lot of them won't effect our reproductive success whereas they may do for some tribes people. If you're an outcast among your tribe and don't have good relations with another group, you be f_cked. Here, you move cities or get new friends.
I've only really experienced western culture too so I don't mean that you can't legitimately rebut the hypothesis without having lived in Africa. On the other hand, I don't think you can legitimately rebut the hypothesis if you only consider it from a western perspective. Evolutionary Psychology might be more your thing in that case since it pretty much only uses WEIRD-populations (Western Education Industrialised Rich Democratic) for research samples and thus any conclusions only apply to WEIRD-people.I have only lived in Western culture so this is the only experience I can speak of, but I don't think I'm being close minded to think that based on this I can dismiss the conclusions of the research out of hand.
If you compare the hypothesis of this study to the hypotheses in table 1, you'll see that it's not really so out-there. It's backwards compared to some of the other hypotheses, but that doesn't make it any less legitimate. It just means it suffers from some problems that other hypotheses don't have, but it also has certain benefits too.
I think it's too simplistic to put it all down to resources. Chimpanzees exhibit similar meat-sharing behaviour and very little is used in exchange for sex. Instead, meat-sharing may allow individuals to signal fitness (which isn't directly strength or health) as well as increase their social standing. More prominent individuals, in terms of social standing, are often more desirable. Some of this translates over to humans, such as the Hadza, but it goes deeper than face value.That fits the idea that men are evaluated based on what they can offer in terms of resources as opposed to physical attraction, and indeed features considered to be attractive in men are usually markers of health and strength which conventionally indicate a man's potential as a contributor of resources.
In the Hadza, I believe meat-sharing was not shared more frequently among family than the rest of the group, men with families still participated in this sharing, and meat did not form the majority of their diet. So we can see it's more complicated than just resource benefits and signalling fitness. Fitness may have less to do with strength or health (well, health is probably included indirectly since sick/dead people can't hunt), and more to do with hunting ability, intelligence, honesty, compassion, loyality, etc. It seems important for the Hadza to maintain social status and friendships and alliances. These in turn will have benefits or are signals of qualities that females may find attractive.
A lot of EvoPsych papers mentioned in the news will heavily push the resource, health, and physicality aspects of mating preferences but I'd take them with a grain of salt as EvoPsych doesn't have the greatest reputation or research methods.
I've sort of discussed this somewhere above in this post so you can have a look at that in relation to this. Basically, you rely on the assumption that younger women are significantly more fertile than slightly older women, this creates a mate preference among males towards younger women, and that this mate preference is acted upon. This doesn't really explain menopause, it just takes the "blame" away from men. Aside from reversed causes, the only difference between what you're saying and what the research is assuming is that the research lacks an explanation for younger mate preference. Your explanation is a younger mate preference due to higher fertility, but this: a) doesn't explain menopause, and b) may not be representative of mating strategies across the board.This supports my opposition to the study - men are attracted to features which indicate a good chance of reproductive success. This means it makes much more sense that attraction to younger women is due to the fact that older women are less fertile, as opposed to older women becoming infertile since men were chasing younger women.
I'm not sure if it has been demonstrated that men do prefer women of optimal fertility. In terms of reproductive potential, we're looking at young teens. I can think of a few reasons why young teens may not be ideal mates for older men in some of these societies. So if the preference is towards women in their early 20s, we can see that fertility is not the sole factor at play.
That is what a lot of people think. Not exactly what people today would find attractive, is itI wouldn't, but to whoever made it, she was the model of fertility.
This is one of the big problems with figuring out the origins of menopause, evolution should continue fertility until death.Isn't there? Greater risk of infant or mother mortality, greater risk of birth defects, having to raise a child with diminishing physical prowess, probably not living long enough to see the child reach adulthood... it sounds to me that a woman is more likely to survive without the pressure of having to reproduce, especially beyond the years she is considered a desirable mate by the menfolk.
Doesn't matter if infant or mother mortality increases with age, as long as the mother has reproduced successfully before.
As for raising children, that is what the Mother and Grandmother hypotheses are based on. While there are varying degrees of paternal investment depending on the society, women tend to get a lot of help with raising their children. Often, this help includes older siblings (who may still be children themselves!). This is the reason given for our shorter interbirth interval compared to other apes.
No exact figures are given (I believe), but reproductive success in humans includes helping your offspring survive to a reasonable age. This wouldn't be adulthood. It'd probably be the end of weaning, maybe a bit older. If you have family members, they will probably do what they can to help a child survive if he's of the age where he's not dependent on his mother and can perform various tasks. A child may be kept alive just for the fact that it'll soon be old enough to look after younger children.