Archive for September 19th, 2010
One of the biggest mistakes one can make when trying to figure out people, in my opinion, is to assume that conscious thoughts in the form of words do most of the work of cognition. I believe this has it upside down, and that 90% of the engine our cognitive engine is not available to consciousness–it is subconscious and not available for introspection. It is a huge foundational mistake to ignore Freud’s recognition that a large and powerful portion of the mind is not conscious. This is an especially important thing to note for those who cling to the notion that they can explain human behavior on the basis that it is generally rational. This mistake is compounded by the fact that humans are exquisitely good at confabulating, both consciously and unconsciously. We drum up ex-temporary reasons for our decisions post facto. We don’t really know why we do the things we do but we brashly claim that we do know why we do the things we do.
Based on new evidence, it shouldn’t be long before Las Vegas oddsmakers start accepting wagers on the intense battles that have now been observed within the sex organs of females.
According to the March 19, 2010 issue of Science (available online only to subscribers; it is page 1443 in the print edition), sexual selection continues on in the most intimate of arenas in at least some species in which the females sometimes mate “more than once in quick succession, filling their reproductive tract with rival sperm that must compete for access to the unfertilized eggs.” The Science article, by Elizabeth Pennisi, is entitled “Male Rivalry Extends to Sperm and Female Reproductive Tract.” According to Pennisi, two recent studies have shown that the seminal fluid of some ants and bees contains “toxins that impede rival sperm.” She also notes that some female fluids seem to counter these toxins. The studies cited in science indicates that “the competition between males continues in a very fierce way inside the female.”