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  #21  
Unread March 17th, 2006, 12:21 PM
TomJrzk TomJrzk is offline
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Default Re: Who's got rhythm and where did they get it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Margaret McGhee
What do you think?
I don't know. I guess I'll have to expound on my nearly useless intuition:

I always lean toward genetics until I reach a dead-end; the nice feature of that is the possibility that they find that gene and I can feel prescient.

This is one of those just-so stories that everyone dislikes, but it's all I have, again not enough data. I first look at survival, followed by competition (defending resources/eliminating competition) and then sexual selection as the primary evolutionary forces since they have so much to do with progeny. Is rhythm more important to survival in the tropics than the arctic? I don't think so. Is rhythm more important to competition in the tropics than the arctic? I doubt it. Is rhythm more important to sexual selection in the tropics than the arctic? Possibly.

I look at other species and see some that have male dance-offs. If the living is hard, it makes sense that survival skills are attractive (penguins ought to be fat); if living is easier, I'm thinking that some proxy must be attractive.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Margaret McGhee
So from an early age they will tend to have music (and dance) that is more complex rhythmically and where rhythm is a more significant component.
I think it's just as likely that the rhythmic speech followed the displays, or maybe are a part of it.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Margaret McGhee
If it is genetic, then I wonder what happened in those successive waves of homo-sapien northern and eastern migrations that caused the loss of that genetic rhythmic influence
It may also be that the genes developed after the migrations. Or the genes were de-selected when the roofs of the igloos were not tall enough to do the watusi justice. Or maybe there wasn't as much time for avocation in the tougher environments. Your guess is as good as mine.
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  #22  
Unread March 17th, 2006, 01:40 PM
Margaret McGhee Margaret McGhee is offline
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Default Who's got rhythm and where did they get it?

Tom, I see your reasoning and preference for a genetic basis. It's a fascinating question. I came across this interesting article that appeared in the NYT in 2003 on this topic. Thought you might enjoy reading it. It includes references to both of our views.

NYT Music link

I notice in this article that most of the scientists commenting (who I assume tend to be white male) ignore the concept of rhythm and talk about music exclusively in terms of tone and intervals on the 12 tone scale, harmonics, etc.

As I mentioned I see music as a primarily rhythmic experience - with tones embellishing the more direct emotional experience of the rhythm. IMO rhythm provides the emotional context for the tones that we love so much in the West. In a sense, the melody gives our analytical mind (and other emotional regions) something to focus on while we groove to the beat - and adds to the pleasure.

I think there is a cultural bias that is evident in Eurpoean cultures where the rhythmic component of music and speech is less developed compared to esp. African or African derived cultures. This article is perhaps a good example of how even trained scientists are strongly biased to see the world only through their own experience.

Your suggestions regarding sexual selection and fitness I think are right on. But that leads to an EP paradox. In our culture (today) it seems that relatively few males become musicians yet those who do seem to have greater access to mating opportunities. From a female perspective what's not to like about a boy who so easily and competently expresses such powerful emotions.

Yet, in school, it's the male athletes who are more often lionized. The band (if the school has one) is often seen as support for the football and basketball teams. But I think it is natural for both sexes to instinctively experience music as a way to attract mates.

I wonder if we culturally sense that boys who become musicians would much rather jam some tunes with males from other countries than kill them - and so we encourage the football star with huge scholarships but the few young musicians are usually left to their garage bands - especially those who are into sexually potent rock or rap.

A confession: I started getting very interested in brain science and psychology about four years ago as the result of my music teaching. Specifically, I had a student who seemed to have no sense of rhythm, yet loved music and wanted badly to make music herself. It has taken a tremendous effort on her part but she has improved a great deal and is now at least passable. She can enjoy herself now and not embarrass herself - and that's what I call success. Interestingly, when she was young she had an accident that caused a pin to penetrate through her left inner ear and into her brain which I think may be related to her rhythm deficit.

But anyway, that might shed some light on why I find these discussions interesting and also on some of my opinions about the power of a motivated mind to mold itself - regardless of heredity and sometimes even physical handicaps.

Margaret

Last edited by Margaret McGhee; March 17th, 2006 at 02:23 PM.
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  #23  
Unread March 17th, 2006, 02:41 PM
Fred H. Fred H. is offline
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Default Re: Two Cousins: Francis Galton Site

Quote:
TomJ: I was pointing out that I think blacks are better dancers and whites are better at saving for a rainy (or snowy) day.

MM: I used to work with a black man who I sensed wanted to succeed in white culture. He claimed not to have any sense of rhythm and said that it was a cultural myth that blacks had more rhythm than whites.
OK Margaret, so the black man you once worked with, who you “sensed wanted to succeed in white culture,” claimed not to have any sense of rhythm; but let’s get back to Tom’s more controversial point—did this black man claim that he was as good as any white guy “at saving for a rainy (or snowy) day,” or that it was a cultural myth that blacks were worse “at saving for a rainy (or snowy) day?”

Anyway Margaret, Tom already explained the loss of what you refer to as “genetic rhythmic influence”—“you can't play basketball while huddled in your igloo.” Shouldn’t you be more curious about Tom’s POV that “whites are better at saving for a rainy (or snowy) day," whether he thinks it’s, as you say, “cultural or genetic,” and if, as you ask, genetic, “what happened in those successive waves of homo-sapien northern and eastern migrations that caused the [gain] of that genetic [saving] influence?”
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  #24  
Unread March 17th, 2006, 03:34 PM
TomJrzk TomJrzk is offline
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Default Re: Who's got rhythm and where did they get it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Margaret McGhee
But that leads to an EP paradox. In our culture (today) it seems that relatively few males become musicians yet those who do seem to have greater access to mating opportunities. From a female perspective what's not to like about a boy who so easily and competently expresses such powerful emotions.

Yet, in school, it's the male athletes who are more often lionized. The band (if the school has one) is often seen as support for the football and basketball teams. But I think it is natural for both sexes to instinctively experience music as a way to attract mates.
Yes, I'll have to sleep on that paradox for a couple of days. I'm a bad test subject since there was no musical training available to my family; I don't know if my disconnectedness is from genes or environment.

I know that the stereotypical parent is not too keen on the starving-artist life plan.
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  #25  
Unread March 17th, 2006, 05:22 PM
Margaret McGhee Margaret McGhee is offline
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Default Who's got rhythm?

Fred sed,
Quote:
OK Margaret, so the black man you once worked with, who you “sensed wanted to succeed in white culture,” claimed not to have any sense of rhythm; but let’s get back to Tom’s more controversial point—did this black man claim that he was as good as any white guy “at saving for a rainy (or snowy) day,” or that it was a cultural myth that blacks were worse “at saving for a rainy (or snowy) day?
I don't remember him saying anything about that. But, he and his wife who I became friends with were doing that. They were both working and saving for a down payment on a home.

Fred sed,
Quote:
Anyway Margaret, Tom already explained the loss of what you refer to as “genetic rhythmic influence”—“you can't play basketball while huddled in your igloo.
I thought it was a joke. Actually the Inuit I've read about spent quite a bit of time outdoors, even in the winter - and when inside it was often in rather large huts that easily accomodated dancing. Igloos were mostly for temporaray shelters when caught out in a storm etc. I'd highly recommend the film Atanarjuat; The Fast Runner which is the film version of a very old Inuit story that really does a good job of describing what Inuit life was like before snowmobiles and satellite TV.

Canada's Official Selection - Foreign Language Oscar® !Winner of 6 Genie Awards!
Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Original Score, Best Editing, Claude Jutra
Best Canadian Feature Film (2001 Toronto International Film Festival)
Co-Winner, Guardian Award for Best New Director (2001 Edinburgh International Film Festival)
Grand Prix of the Flemish Community for Best Film (2001 Flanders International Film Festival - Ghent)
Special Jury Prize and the Prix du Public (Festival International du nouveau Cinema et des nouveaux Medias de Montreal 2001)
CTV Best of Fest Award (Next Fest 2001 - Digital Motion Picture Festival)
Best Film (ImagineNATIVE Media Arts Festival)
Best Feature Film (2001 Sante Fe International Festival)
Best Feature Film (2002 San Diego International Film Festival)
Audience Award (2002 Newport International Film Festival)
Audience Award (2002 Lake Placid Film Forum)
Best Film, Best Actor, Best Actress (2002 American Indian Film Festival)
Best Feature-Length Mountain Fiction Film (2002 Banff Mountain Film Festival)

Fred sed,
Quote:
Shouldn’t you be more curious about Tom’s POV that “whites are better at saving for a rainy (or snowy) day," whether he thinks it’s, as you say, “cultural or genetic,” and if, as you ask, genetic, “what happened in those successive waves of homo-sapien northern and eastern migrations that caused the [gain] of that genetic [saving] influence?
I don't think I've ever heard of any research that tried to find the "rainy day" gene and/or correllate that with skin color. Do you think this might be a generalized hoarding instinct that whites have or is it just to be used for hard times?

Margaret
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  #26  
Unread March 17th, 2006, 07:34 PM
Fred H. Fred H. is offline
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Default Re: Two Cousins: Francis Galton Site

Quote:
MM: I don't think I've ever heard of any research that tried to find the "rainy day" gene and/or correllate that with skin color. Do you think this might be a generalized hoarding instinct that whites have or is it just to be used for hard times?
Apparently Margaret you intended that question for Tom, since, as you should know by now, it’d be my view that humans, whether white or black, would be equally capable of “choosing,” using their free will, to save, or to not save.

But for those convinced that we humans lack free will, such as you and Tom, I suppose it’s to be expected that you’d also have the view that some groups of humans are going to be somehow “better at saving for a rainy (or snowy) day” than other groups of humans. (And would that be “culturally or genetically” better?)

I don’t suppose that you and Tom will be providing any actual proof for your (what some may see as controversial) beliefs?
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  #27  
Unread March 17th, 2006, 07:50 PM
Margaret McGhee Margaret McGhee is offline
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Default Re: Two Cousins: Francis Galton Site

Fred sed,
Quote:
Apparently Margaret you intended that question for Tom, since, as you should know by now, it’d be my view that humans, whether white or black, would be equally capable of “choosing,” using their free will, to save, or to not save.
No, I was responding to your question,
Quote:
Shouldn’t you be more curious about Tom’s POV that “whites are better at saving for a rainy (or snowy) day," whether he thinks it’s, as you say, “cultural or genetic,” and if, as you ask, genetic, “what happened in those successive waves of homo-sapien northern and eastern migrations that caused the [gain] of that genetic [saving] influence?”
I knew at the time it was probably a mistake to do so. We both know this is just a transparent attempt to sidetrack a polite discussion of evolution back to your theology where you get to call atheists immoral. Fred, I really don't care what you think about god or free will or atheists or me. Get over it.

Margaret
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  #28  
Unread March 17th, 2006, 11:13 PM
Fred H. Fred H. is offline
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Default Re: Two Cousins: Francis Galton Site

Quote:
Fred H.: I don’t suppose that you and Tom will be providing any actual proof for your (what some may see as controversial) beliefs?

MM: We both know this is just a transparent attempt to sidetrack a polite discussion of evolution back to your theology where you get to call atheists immoral.
Here’s what we now “know,” Margaret—no proof, no evidence, no explanation, nothing much at all for your unsubstantiated beliefs, except for your unsubstantiated accusations. Surprise, surprise.

Something else Margaret: You seem to have the rather ugly habit of making unsubstantiated accusations—I don’t recall anywhere in our threads where I “call atheists immoral.” Now on various occasions, when you yourself have demonstrated a lack of intellectual rigor, consistency, and/or honesty (as your doing right here), I’ve of course so noted your lack, as I’m doing here; but then you seem compelled to maliciously extrapolate that into the fabricated accusation that I “call atheists immoral,” compounding your dishonesty.

Bye for now.

Last edited by Fred H.; March 18th, 2006 at 11:04 AM.
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  #29  
Unread March 18th, 2006, 01:32 PM
TomJrzk TomJrzk is offline
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Default Re: Who's got rhythm and where did they get it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TomJrzk
Yes, I'll have to sleep on that paradox for a couple of days.
Well, I slept on it for one night and have a thought. I have case histories of exactly one man so any extrapolation to the masses is obviously dangerous... And to spare other readers these just-so stories, I'll send any further responses as personal messages.

When I knew my first marriage was going to be over I had planned to date multiple women for months until I found my second wife. While there were plenty of available women, my nature went directly against my plans: when I was dating a woman for months that I thought was a good match but met another whom I thought was better, I had to immediately break it off with the first. Huh??? A gorgeous woman who I had rolling with laughter in her apartment held onto my hand as I tried to leave through the front door, yet I left and never dated her again. What???

Years ago I had written about lumping men into 2 groups: penguins and spiders. I found out that I am a penguin: I can't date a woman as rarely as once a week or alternate between women. If I'm in for a penny, I'm in for a pound.

What does that mean here? It's just that I never could figure out why I'm not jealous of the rock stars or basketball players (yes, to counter your 'music over sports' I'd have to say that Jabbar had more sex than Hendrix, at least 10,000 ). I remember thinking about the women being so easy that they probably screwed the entire basketball team. I think the same about music groupies. These women would appeal to me if I just wanted to have one-night stands, but I don't. In fact, the only one-night stand I ever attempted did not turn out very well.

This penguin male wants a penguin female. I don't value women who have 'slept around' and any that would sleep with me on the first night have probably done the same with other men. Any that would faint in my arms just because I sang a song would probably not be good to have children with. Plus, if they take their sex as seriously as I do, these women have probably built up a LOT of resentment over the way they let men treat them. If they don't take their sex as seriously, I don't trust them to remain faithful.

So, my answer, in a phrase is "male sexual selection". Paradox solved.
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  #30  
Unread March 18th, 2006, 02:00 PM
TomJrzk TomJrzk is offline
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Default Re: Two Cousins: Francis Galton Site

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fred H.
Something else Margaret: You seem to have the rather ugly habit of making unsubstantiated accusations—I don’t recall anywhere in our threads where I “call atheists immoral.”
Margaret, I'm glad that Fred is offering more proof for my warning against bothering to debate him. He's willing to stand on the literal, ignore valid points, misrepresent others views and sometimes be completely dishonest. He does, though, offer a perspective that is good to counter in this forum. Plus, he does make choices, as do we all, based on his social animal instincts and deserves pity rather than dislike. He can't help but behave this way based on what he allows to enter his mind but I wish he could lean a little more toward his 'morality' and be a bit nicer about it.

As for "huddling in igloos", that wasn't intended to be a joke or a literal statement. It was a metaphore for the work that's necessary to survive in a harse environment vs an easy one, with a little humor thrown in.

I wasn't saying that blacks can't save money and whites can't play basketball, that's patently false. As I've said, I do not know how much of our psychologies are nature vs nurture and I was offering possible mechanisms which leave the nature possibility open. If I could not think of any possible genetic way that groups of humans could be psychologically different then I'd have to agree with the nurturists. It's an open question that I don't think we can discuss objectively at the moment, as I've said; humans from seasonal environments may have developed instincts to prepare for the coming winter while those in tropical environments may not have since they didn't have to worry about the local fruit being out of season. Women in these environments would, in my view and if they had the choice, breed for different qualities in mates. If there is enough Evolutionary Psychology to drive this forum then I think that's almost a given; otherwise, we'd have to agree with Margaret's more "cultural psychology".
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