Another Hypothesis In Evolution, Falsified

It has been believed among secular scientists, species in social groups evolve bigger brains. One of the problems as  I pointed out earlier in previous posts concerning evolution, it makes faulty conclusions using only similarities and then tries to explain those similarities in light of evolution.

John Finarelli (University of Michigan) and John Flynn (American Museum of Natural History in New York) conducted a study reported in Live Science which examined the largest number of species ever. Half the number studied were from fossils.

“They found the relationship might hold up among living members of the Canidae family (wolves, foxes, coyotes and jackals), but that’s about it. For instance, sociality should be widespread among musteloids (weasels, raccoons, skunks and red pandas) and bears, which have had brain to body mass ratio increases over the course of their evolution. But they aren’t. All bears in fact are solitary and the musteloids are mostly “nonsocial.”

“It’s true that bigger brains — in such animals as whales, dolphins, primates and birds — are associated with greater behavioral flexibility and adaptability to new environments. But big brains relative to overall body mass (this ratio is referred to as encephalization) also take a lot of energy to maintain. And some brains tend to get smaller when animals are domesticated or are hunted less by other animals. So the overall trend has been hard to discern.”

So what we find here, explaination is deemed as nothing more than a goal rather than an accomplishment. The falsification of the “social brain hypothesis” also undercuts the idea that intelligence is necessarily correlated with brain size increases.

“Intelligence does appear to increase with time in some cases.  Above right is a plot by neuroscientist Lori Marino at Emory University that shows an index computed from the ratio of brain size to body size, the so-called encephalization quotient (EQ), for a bunch of species of dolphins and toothed whales over the last 50,000,000 years.”

“They were all pretty stupid 50,000,000 years ago, but 48,000,000 years later, white-flanked dolphins were the smartest things on the planet.  If you go to the local library and look up “Dolphin Literary Criticism,” it’s all from two million years ago.  Once you get to a certain level of complexity, there’s a niche market for intelligence, and it may get filled.”

Interesting to note, Flynn and Finarelli would argue that if Shostak had used more groups than just marine mammals in their study, the correlation would have fallen part. So not surprisingly, another hypothesis in evolution is falsified.

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One thought on “Another Hypothesis In Evolution, Falsified

  1. @Michael:
    “Another” hypothesis falsified ???
    You say: ” then tries to explain those similarities in light of evolution.” which you say does not work.
    Fine, if their particular explanation about bigger brains is wrong, that does not mean evolution is wrong ! That does not follow at all. Perhaps their idea is wrong (I’m not an expert on brains), but that does not mean that evolution is wrong!

    I think you are also mixing up “brain size versus intelligence” ideas with the ‘social brain hypothesis’, which are not the same, right ?

    BTW: care to react to my post on causation in your earlier blog ? I am really interested in your arguments there.

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