But, again, testosterone obviously plays more roles in our behaviors than a
behavior pattern of "tad more assertive". Do you mean animals with ZERO
testosterone are the control and those with some tiny amount are a tad more
assertive? Or do you mean the (fictitious) average person who takes an
external dose of it becomes a tad more assertive than they otherwise would be?
Your position is confusing. Testosterone is a ubiquitous part of a *complex*
of structure and behavior. And it's the complex that is selected for or
against. It seems to make perfect sense to suggest that "the complex of
physiological processes of which testosterone is a part" has been selected.
Formulating it into something testable would mean (in my naive view) checking
for animals that don't use testosterone and finding where they relate, how they
interact, if they compete, etc. Again, naively,
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Testosterone#Other_animals might imply that
testosterone is more competitive than androstenedione, 11-ketotestosterone, and
ecdysone (whatever the hell those are). If it helps you, I'm happy to say
"systems involving testosterone are more competitive than systems involving
Then again, maybe it doesn't imply that, at all. Maybe one could argue that
each different male hormone is the most competitive in the niche we find it in.
Fine. We'd have to explore the other (systems involving) other hormones that
have gone extinct or are rare variants in those niches. But to claim some
*vague* "behavior pattern" is a more clear topic in the context of natural
selection seems strange to me. It seems like you're piling vague concepts on
top of vague concepts ignoring huge swaths of available data.
On 02/21/2018 10:41 PM, Nick Thompson wrote:
> Let's imagine that (as I believe) that testosterone is an aggression hormone.
> It's effect on the nervous system is, other things being equal, to make a
> person a tad more assertive in all domains of action. Let it be the case
> that a little more assertiveness in all domains leads to reproductive
> success. The nature will be selecting not for the individual behaviors but
> for the "style" of behaving. Now, I call a style of behaving, a behavior, or
> a behavior pattern, or a meta-behavior, or a behavioral design. What have
> you. So talk of selecting for behavior doesn't bother me. I am not quite
> sure what "selecting for testosterone" would mean. When it comes to
> evolution, behavior functions, physiology mediates.
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