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  • OK, ladies...

    [email protected] (WhansaMi) writes:
    There is a big difference between macro-evolution and "innatepersonality differences." <shrug> I think there is adequate evidence to say with reasonable certainty that I know that both macro-evolution, AND biological differences between the genders exist. Look, ultimately, this is a philosophical question. I could sit and argue all day with a solipsist who could maintain that we "know" nothing, because nothing at all exists!
    You could. But this isn't like that.
    When the evidence repeats itself over and over again, and it fits within the paradigm well, and it is a very elegant explanation of what we see around us.... I'm willing to accept that we "know" it.
    Yes, but the evidence isn't nearly as clear as that. You make a lot
    of references to physiological differences between brains. But until
    people understand thta well enough to use it _predictively_; i.e. look
    at the physiological differences and predict personality differences
    based on them it is not even as good as phrenology.
    >>Yeah, brains vary, but it isn't like you can look at a cat scan of someone's brain at birth and guess a single thing about their personality! It probably won't happen with a CAT scan, but I suspect that in the future we WILL have mechanisms (probably DNA analysis) that will be able to give us good indications of children's temperaments from birth.
    But since we don't now, I maintain that the current evidence is
    insufficient to classify as "knowledge" instead of belief.

  • #2
    OK, ladies...

    WhansaMi wrote:
    When the evidence repeats itself over and over again, and it fits within
    the
    paradigm well, and it is a very elegant explanation of what we see around us.... I'm willing to accept that we "know" it. Yes, but the evidence isn't nearly as clear as that. You make a lot of references to physiological differences between brains. But until people understand thta well enough to use it _predictively_; i.e. look at the physiological differences and predict personality differences based on them it is not even as good as phrenology. But, Doug, they *can* do that in specific instances. My first master's thesis was a study of brain processing of autistic, language-disordered, and normal kids/teens.
    This does sound fascinating...!
    I looked at hemispheric differentiation in language processing. My hypothesis was that, since there
    is
    significant evidence that autistic kids have left hemisphere damage from a
    very
    early developmental stage,
    How did that happen (for autistic children)? From problems with childbirth,
    or just a genetic mutation?
    to the degree that the right hemisphere could take over the language functioning, the kid's language skills would be better--stilted, but at least existant. I was wrong. Language functioning strongly---and positively---correlated to left hemisphere functioning, in all groups, including the autistic group. Since that time, EEG readings of autistic toddlers and preschoolers have been used to, pretty accurately, predict whether or not the kids will be non-verbal.
    I thought the hemispheres were pretty delineated, in terms of what their
    functions were. Although I seem to recall something about some built in
    redundancy capability, which I guess is what you counted on.

    For some reason, this reminded me of some brain operation they did on some
    severe epileptics, where they removed part of the brain to stop the epilepsy.
    I can't remember now what the outcome was, but it was fascinating....
    It is true that we, as a society, are in the earliest stages of being able to make specific predictions of behavior based on neural functioning. But I
    don't
    know a single neurologist or neuropsychologist who would maintain that there
    is
    not a link between the morphological and physiological differences we have clear evidence of, and some behavioral differences between the genders. Just because we didn't have an electron microscope, didn't mean we didn't
    have
    atoms, ya know? Sheila
    I must say I thought I was a doubting Thomas, but in comparison, I think Doug
    takes the cake!

    Doug - what field are you in again? I was trained as an engineer, and I
    thought I was skeptical - geeeez!!


    Comment


    • #3
      OK, ladies...

      [email protected] (WhansaMi) writes:
      When the evidence repeats itself over and over again, and it fits withinthe
      paradigm well, and it is a very elegant explanation of what we see around us.... I'm willing to accept that we "know" it.
      Yes, but the evidence isn't nearly as clear as that. You make a lotof references to physiological differences between brains. But untilpeople understand thta well enough to use it _predictively_; i.e. lookat the physiological differences and predict personality differencesbased on them it is not even as good as phrenology. But, Doug, they *can* do that in specific instances. My first master's thesis was a study of brain processing of autistic, language-disordered, and normal kids/teens. I looked at hemispheric differentiation in language processing. My hypothesis was that, since there is significant evidence that autistic kids have left hemisphere damage from a very early developmental stage, to the degree that the right hemisphere could take over the language functioning, the kid's language skills would be better--stilted, but at least existant. I was wrong. Language functioning strongly---and positively---correlated to left hemisphere functioning, in all groups, including the autistic group. Since that time, EEG readings of autistic toddlers and preschoolers have been used to, pretty accurately, predict whether or not the kids will be non-verbal.
      You are really talking about extreme disfunction here (being
      non-verbal) rather than normal variation in personality.
      It is true that we, as a society, are in the earliest stages of being able to make specific predictions of behavior based on neural functioning. But I don't know a single neurologist or neuropsychologist who would maintain that there is not a link between the morphological and physiological differences we have clear evidence of, and some behavioral differences between the genders. Just because we didn't have an electron microscope, didn't mean we didn't have atoms, ya know?
      Sure. Matter is made out of something, and they might as well call it
      atoms. But people didn't really start understanding what that meant
      until the 19th century in spite of the ideas origination in ancient
      Greece.

      Comment


      • #4
        OK, ladies...

        [email protected] (WhansaMi) writes:

        It is true that we, as a society, are in the earliest stages of being able to make specific predictions of behavior based on neural functioning. But I don't know a single neurologist or neuropsychologist who would maintain that there is not a link between the morphological and physiological differences we have clear evidence of, and some behavioral differences between the genders.
        Wouldn't you expect these behavioral differences to be more consistent
        if they are caused by brain structure?

        Comment


        • #5
          OK, ladies...

          >> I looked at hemispheric
          differentiation in language processing. My hypothesis was that, sincethereis
          significant evidence that autistic kids have left hemisphere damage from a
          very
          early developmental stage,
          How did that happen (for autistic children)? From problems withchildbirth,or just a genetic mutation?
          We don't know. Possibly both, as there are sub-groups within the autism
          spectrum.
          to the degree that the right hemisphere could take over the language functioning, the kid's language skills would be better--stilted, but at least existant. I was wrong. Language functioning strongly---and positively---correlated to left hemisphere functioning, in
          all
          groups, including the autistic group. Since that time, EEG readings of autistic toddlers and preschoolers have been used to, pretty accurately, predict whether or not the kids will be non-verbal.
          I thought the hemispheres were pretty delineated, in terms of what theirfunctions were. Although I seem to recall something about some built inredundancy capability, which I guess is what you counted on.
          If there is damage to one hemisphere, the other hemisphere can often take over
          (to one degree or another) the functions of the damaged hemisphere. This will
          often happen in stroke patients. I thought maybe that is what happened in
          autistic kids, but, not so!
          Just because we didn't have an electron microscope, didn't mean we didn'thave
          atoms, ya know? Sheila
          I must say I thought I was a doubting Thomas, but in comparison, I think Dougtakes the cake!Doug - what field are you in again? I was trained as an engineer, and Ithought I was skeptical - geeeez!!
          There are times I wonder if Doug just likes to argue. :-)

          Sheila

          Comment


          • #6
            OK, ladies...

            "Bill" <[email protected]> writes:
            I must say I thought I was a doubting Thomas, but in comparison, I think Doug takes the cake! Doug - what field are you in again? I was trained as an engineer, and I thought I was skeptical - geeeez!!
            I prefer not to think of myself as skeptical. I just don't like
            confusing the three ideas "true," "likely," and "possible!"

            And hey, any day that I can convince someone to be less certain of
            received wisdom feels like a good one.

            Comment


            • #7
              OK, ladies...

              [email protected] (WhansaMi) writes:
              better--stilted, but at least existant. I was wrong. Language functioning strongly---and positively---correlated to left hemisphere functioning, inall
              groups, including the autistic group. Since that time, EEG readings of autistic toddlers and preschoolers have been used to, pretty accurately, predict whether or not the kids will be non-verbal.
              I thought the hemispheres were pretty delineated, in terms of what theirfunctions were. Although I seem to recall something about some built inredundancy capability, which I guess is what you counted on. If there is damage to one hemisphere, the other hemisphere can often take over (to one degree or another) the functions of the damaged hemisphere. This will often happen in stroke patients. I thought maybe that is what happened in autistic kids, but, not so!
              Note though, that it _does_ happen to some extent in other children.

              As special examples look at these kids who because of severe seizure
              disorders have had half of their brain removed. A number of them
              (even when the language hemisphere was removed developed (or more
              extraordinary still _recovered_) language abilities.
              Just because we didn't have an electron microscope, didn't meanwe didn't have > atoms, ya know?
              Sheila
              I must say I thought I was a doubting Thomas, but in comparison, I think Dougtakes the cake!Doug - what field are you in again? I was trained as an engineer, and Ithought I was skeptical - geeeez!! There are times I wonder if Doug just likes to argue. :-)
              Well, I don't really mind arguing, though I don't especially like it.

              But as I said to Bill, when someone confuses the likely or the
              possible with the _true_, I have to admit I can't help wanting to
              point out that confusion.

              Comment


              • #8
                OK, ladies...

                >> It is true that we, as a society, are in the earliest stages of being able
                to
                make specific predictions of behavior based on neural functioning. But I
                don't
                know a single neurologist or neuropsychologist who would maintain that
                there is
                not a link between the morphological and physiological differences we have clear evidence of, and some behavioral differences between the genders.
                Wouldn't you expect these behavioral differences to be more consistentif they are caused by brain structure?
                Not necessarily. The brain's function is incredibly intricate and complex.
                Things that we would think would be catastrophic aren't always, such as the
                poor Phineas Gage, who had a railroad spike driven through his head, destroying
                a good portion of his frontal lobe and produced little decrease in cognitive
                functioning, but a great change in his demeanor. Other injuries which affect
                little of the area of the brain, can cause great disabilities. People with
                strokes in the same area can have VASTLY different degrees of disability.
                Maybe it is the ability of some people's brains to compensate more than others.
                Maybe it is the ability of neighboring cells to take over the functions of the
                damaged--or even slightly aberrrant --ones. We don't know yet... but we are
                starting to see patterns and know more.

                Have you ever read Oliver Sack's "The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat?" I
                think this is a lovely book for describing the myriad ways a brain trauma can
                mainfest itself. And, we are talking about people who sustained massive
                traumas, overall. Given that most people would simply have "changes" in brain
                structure and physiology, rather than damage, I could easily see how brain
                biology could account for much of who we are.

                That isn't to say I think that biology is destiny. Your experiences certainly
                shape you, although I believe that we each filter even our earliest experiences
                through our biology. For instance, my son was the poster child for the "High
                Need Infant" or "Fussy Baby". :-/ (I carried around a copy of Dr. Sear's "The
                High Need Infant" in my diaper bag, to remind me that I was NOT going crazy...
                this really WAS hard, but doable!) My son's perception of his earliest
                experiences are different than they would have been if he had been "an easy
                baby". The hypersensitive child is going to filter experience differently than
                the resilient child. Of course it is a mix... but, I think we will ultimately
                find that biology is a goodly part of that mix, much more so than we thought 30
                or 40 years ago.

                Sheila

                Comment


                • #9
                  OK, ladies...

                  >> I must say I thought I was a doubting Thomas, but in comparison, I think
                  Doug
                  takes the cake! Doug - what field are you in again? I was trained as an engineer, and I thought I was skeptical - geeeez!!
                  I prefer not to think of myself as skeptical. I just don't likeconfusing the three ideas "true," "likely," and "possible!"And hey, any day that I can convince someone to be less certain ofreceived wisdom feels like a good one.
                  Sorry, Doug... not going to convert me on this one! ;-)

                  Sheila

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    OK, ladies...

                    [email protected] (WhansaMi) writes:
                    It is true that we, as a society, are in the earliest stages of being ableto
                    make specific predictions of behavior based on neural functioning. But I
                    don't
                    know a single neurologist or neuropsychologist who would maintain that
                    there is
                    not a link between the morphological and physiological differences we have clear evidence of, and some behavioral differences between the genders.
                    Wouldn't you expect these behavioral differences to be more consistentif they are caused by brain structure? Not necessarily. The brain's function is incredibly intricate and complex. Things that we would think would be catastrophic aren't always, such as the poor Phineas Gage, who had a railroad spike driven through his head, destroying a good portion of his frontal lobe and produced little decrease in cognitive functioning, but a great change in his demeanor. Other injuries which affect little of the area of the brain, can cause great disabilities. People with strokes in the same area can have VASTLY different degrees of disability. Maybe it is the ability of some people's brains to compensate more than others. Maybe it is the ability of neighboring cells to take over the functions of the damaged--or even slightly aberrrant --ones. We don't know yet... but we are starting to see patterns and know more.
                    Well, that's exactly my point. There is lots of interesting stuff
                    known. But none of it is enough to be certain how much if any basic
                    personality is determined by the physical structure of the brain (or
                    body) as opposed to environment. Yeah, you know that wiping out an
                    area of the brain generally has a dramatic effect, but you can't tell
                    me what structures in women's brains make them think like women (if
                    that even means anything) or what structures in men's make them think
                    like men.

                    More fun: what structure in my daughter's brain makes her painfully
                    stubborn, and what structure in my son's brain makes him astonishingly
                    flexible?
                    Have you ever read Oliver Sack's "The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat?" I
                    Great book. I like all his writing. Awakenings (forget about the
                    stupid movie) was a fascinating and moving book.
                    think this is a lovely book for describing the myriad ways a brain trauma can mainfest itself. And, we are talking about people who sustained massive traumas, overall. Given that most people would simply have "changes" in brain structure and physiology, rather than damage, I could easily see how brain biology could account for much of who we are.
                    Well, you're relating major brain trauma to the individual differences in normal brains in a way that my brain can't understand at all.
                    That isn't to say I think that biology is destiny. Your experiences certainly shape you, although I believe that we each filter even our earliest experiences through our biology. For instance, my son was the poster child for the "High Need Infant" or "Fussy Baby". :-/ (I carried around a copy of Dr. Sear's "The High Need Infant" in my diaper bag, to remind me that I was NOT going crazy... this really WAS hard, but doable!) My son's perception of his earliest experiences are different than they would have been if he had been "an easy baby". The hypersensitive child is going to filter experience differently than the resilient child. Of course it is a mix... but, I think we will ultimately find that biology is a goodly part of that mix, much more so than we thought 30 or 40 years ago.
                    First or second child? Note the much higher prevalence of "high needs
                    babies" among first born middle class children.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      OK, ladies...

                      [email protected] (WhansaMi) writes:
                      I must say I thought I was a doubting Thomas, but in comparison, I thinkDoug
                      takes the cake! Doug - what field are you in again? I was trained as an engineer, and I thought I was skeptical - geeeez!!
                      I prefer not to think of myself as skeptical. I just don't likeconfusing the three ideas "true," "likely," and "possible!"And hey, any day that I can convince someone to be less certain ofreceived wisdom feels like a good one. Sorry, Doug... not going to convert me on this one! ;-)
                      Yes, I notice that you like to hang onto your certainties. Maybe it's
                      a religion thing.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        OK, ladies...

                        >Yes, I notice that you like to hang onto your certainties. Maybe it's
                        a religion thing.
                        Ummm... I'm an agnostic. :-O

                        Of course, I'm CERTAIN about my agnostism!

                        Sheila

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          OK, ladies...

                          [email protected] (WhansaMi) writes:
                          First or second child? Note the much higher prevalence of "high needsbabies" among first born middle class children. Wouldn't surprise me a bit. **Obviously**, the anxiety of the first time mother during gestation floods the fetus with hormones and neurotransmitters between the 14th and 20th weeks of gestation, the fastest and most crucial time of brain development. The effect is one of hypersensitivity to stimuli in the fetus/later newborn. Clearly, this is true. <ducking and running>
                          Right.

                          Actually I have no trouble buying this as a _possibility_, though it
                          seems to violate Occam's razor!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            OK, ladies...

                            >Right.
                            Actually I have no trouble buying this as a _possibility_, though itseems to violate Occam's razor!
                            Ya know, Doug... I keep having this vision that one day there will be a
                            definitive study done, where the evidence is clear, and even you will have to
                            be convinced.

                            And the rest of us will stand there looking at the headline in the Washington
                            Post that says, "Gender Differences in Brain Cause Differences in Thoughts and
                            Behavior: Men and Women ARE Different" and wonder.... "Exactly how much did
                            this study cost???" ;-)

                            Sehila

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              OK, ladies...

                              WhansaMi wrote:
                              Not necessarily. The brain's function is incredibly intricate and complex. Things that we would think would be catastrophic aren't always, such as the poor Phineas Gage, who had a railroad spike driven through his head,
                              destroying
                              a good portion of his frontal lobe and produced little decrease in cognitive functioning, but a great change in his demeanor.
                              What change? Impatience and irritability? That's just my guess...


                              Comment

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