Thursday, February 16, 2012

Antler Signals, Objective Libertarians and Bad Analogies (Again)

I was glad to see Frank start developing his arguments in Chapter 2, "Darwin's Wedge". However, I still am not satisfied with depth or stringency of them. In particular, his elk example does nothing for helping me understand his position. Multiple posts by other students have pointed out a great number of flaws in his analogy, and while that doesn't necessarily mean Frank is wrong, it does mean he is not communicating effectively.

Some of the points about the analogy I thought particularly interesting:

1. Antlers as "market" signals (Daniel, Adam and Colleen)

2. Facts about elk populations and life cycles (Kristen)
--Shed their antlers during the winter so don't have to bear the burden all the time
--Larger, heavier antlers often shed cleaner (likely increasing the animal's survival capabilities and overall fitness"
--Populations thriving in natural habitats (are antlers really that much of a burden?)

3. Evolutionary stability of antler size

If larger antlers are so bad then those elk with them will be more likely to die and not pass on their genes, leading to a negative feedback mechanism that corrects the positive competitive force pushing towards increased antler size. Theoretically (and practically, from what I gather from Kristen's post) this should lead to an evolutionary "optimum" antler size.
(This point is something I was thinking about but I think some others touched on it as well.)

I feel petty picking away at his example again, but it seems to be a large part of the development of his argument.

I plan to look over his points on relative scales and contextual models again and will hopefully have some deep, brilliant insights with which to amaze my fellow Scholars. Don't count on it though. ;-)

Finally, I'd like to thank Garrett for accurately representing libertarians (which is actually difficult to do considering what a vague, blanket term the word tends to be). Although, I admit to being puzzled by his use of the adjective "objective" immediately preceding.

"I think the majority of objective Libertarians hold the view that, on net, markets are preferable over government. This does not mean that markets will always lead to the preferable outcome but they find government more detrimental."

I enjoy not being straw-manned. It's quite wonderful.

1 comment:

  1. You damned government hating libertarians! there is not a one among you who doesnt favor free markets over government. Obviously because your a libertarian you must live by this free market creed. Regulation and control is for hippies and communists.