Archive for April, 2009

Announcement: Intro

Monday, April 6th, 2009

The purpose of this website is to introduce the visitor to the idea that autism, and many other neurological conditions characterized by maturational delay, have their origins in evolutionary processes. When these processes are understood, actions to address the condition can be intuited and initiated.

Many forms of autism occur when a specific human physiological/neurological profile which we will refer to here as left spectrum is not provided the specific kind of sensory stimuli craved by individuals with the related tendencies. The profile evolutionarily precedes the present day physiological/ neurological profile by at least 30,000 years, likely as much 100,000 years. It is our conclusion that autism is not a ‘regression’, but an expression of a common though minority contemporary physiological/neurological profile now becoming more prevelant because of specific kinds of influences, largely environmental. This physiological/neurological cluster was the more common type for tens of thousands of years before the rise of patriarchal social structures and the physiological/neurological profile associated with these new cultures.

The majority of individuals in contemporary societies are living within patriarchal or patrifocal social structures and are highly lateralized, narratively focussed, right handed, hierarchically inclined humans which is a deviation from the traditional matrifocal physiological/neurological type characteristics of which are often found in individuals diagnosed as autistic. The traditional matrifocal type features brains that are less lateralized with the two hemispheres often being of similar size, males that are associative thinkers not narratively organized, individuals who are frequently left handed or ambidextrous, and non-hierarchically organized men who are maturationally delayed compared to their patriarchal social structure relations. The human species is spread along a left-right spectrum or arc reaching from the matrifocal, ambidextrous, left-handed, old genetics on the left to the patrifocal, right-handed, newer genetics on the right with most people falling in the center showing features that are a combination of the two. Individuals with a familial history which places them at the left end of this continuum are particularly vulnerable to disorders characterized by maturational delay.

This site will begin with a discussion on evolutionary theory, proceed to outline the origins of autism through an understanding of matrifocal social structures and its place in human evolution, and conclude by specifying the exact reasons autism is becoming common at this time.

Mother’s Age

Tuesday, April 28th, 2009

I seem to often come across references to studies that observe that there is an increase in autism in children that are first born and children born of older mothers.

This leaves me with several questions.

Is there a clear exponential increase in the likelihood of autism in only children born later and later? Many parents would have an autistic child and then hesitate to have another child influencing the numbers.

As far fetched as this sounds, when children are adopted, does this same pattern apply of first born and older mother’s having autistic children? I can’t imagine this to be the case, but an answer might be interesting.

It is possible that there is a different etiology for younger mother’s with first born children having autism and older mothers having autistic children. I would guess that younger mothers might reveal causes related to stress factors or maybe lifestyle impacts that would influence testosterone levels. Do the specific features of an autistic child of a younger mother differ from the specific features of an autistic child born of an older mother? What of a mother who has her first child when she is older?

Opportunities to break out variations in autistic features in association with particular conditions would be useful in hypothesizing autism’s causes.

Somali Autism and Vitamin D

Saturday, April 25th, 2009

An Article appeared in Scientific American yesterday that’s been picked up here and here titled, What If Vitamin D Deficiency Is a Cause of Autism?

Consider that the amount of sunlight does influence the emergence of autism. Instead of Vitamin D, which does not influence maturation rates that I am aware of, light influences the pineal gland which moderates melatonin levels influencing testosterone levels that impact maturation rates.

Autism is a condition characterized by variation in maturation rate.

In the stories I’ve read so far regarding Vitamin D as a cause of Somali autism, there has been no attention to season of birth effects. Clearly, the births of autistic children should be congregating in certain months if the Vitamin D or pineal/melatonin conjectures are potentially useful.

In addition, the diet of Minnesota and Swedish Somalis may be radically shifting a mother’s hormonal levels with increases of both testosterone and estrogen if she puts on weight. This could influence the rate and timing of the maturation of her children.

Perhaps Somali and Swedish autism is caused by a combination of fluctuations in light and radical changes in diet.

Autism Numbers Growing?

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009

Complicating discussions of autism is controversy around the number of children that are subject to this condition. (Click here) It is not clear how fast autism and related conditions are growing with some professionals stating that better diagnosis is increasing numbers vs. others that show autism is growing fast.

There also seems to be regional variations, differences among ethnicities and different percentages in different societies.

Autism does not seem to have just one cause or etiology. Still, issues associated with maturational delay and acceleration seems to be closely connected to the condition. Maybe it is not by chance that there also seems to be an increase in left handedness over the last few decades, though this also is a feature influenced by how the condition is measured. Left handedness is closely associated with issues around maturation.

Perhaps we can understand autism better if we pay closer attention to the conditions that encourage changes in maturation rate. This would include handedness, pubertal onset, the timing of infant and toddler synapse pruning and the influences of mothers uterine testosterone and estrogen levels on the rate and timing of maturation.

In other words, changes in the numbers of children diagnosed with autism might be usefully informed by an exploration of related conditions and what might contribute to changes in maturation rates and timing.

Premature Birth and Lifelong Maturation Rate

Monday, April 20th, 2009

In late January, I noted comments popping up around the web regarding a study that had just come out…

“Positive Screening on the Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers (M-CHAT) in Extremely Low Gestational Age Newborns” by Karl C. K. Kuban, MD, SM, Epi, T. Michael O’Shea, MD, MPH, Elizabeth N. Alfred, MS, Helen Tager-Flusberg, PhD, Donald J. Goldstein, PhD, Alan Leviton, M, DOI: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2008.10.011.

…that concluded that very premature infants showed increased likelihood for becoming autistic. If maturation rates are set by a mother’s testosterone levels around six weeks before birth, and a child emerges before that crucial ontological epigenetic day, then it seems to me that the child will likely emerge with radical maturation rate repercussions.

I would want to know what other conditions besides autism those children might exhibit, and what diseases they are likely to contract. Do some of the children emerge maturational accelerated? Are there cerebral lateralization repercussions? Using Annett’s peg tests, do the children born that premature show signs of both extreme left-handedness and extreme right-handedness?

If, indeed, these children tend to polarize, does it seem like they do so randomly or are there perhaps other factors that emerge, influencing their rates of maturation when the primary trigger is absent?

Then there are the issues that revolve around estrogen. There have not been studies conducted to determine if estrogen levels are also established by a mother’s uterine estrogen levels. If so, do extremely premature infants exhibit estrogen-related maladies such as breast cancer in higher proportion? Hypothesizing personality markers for extremely high and low estrogen in males and females, what might be the evidence that these extremely premature individuals are experiencing the estrogen equivalent of testosterone influencing maturational delay and acceleration?

It seems to me that detailed studies exploring the diseases, conditions, personalities, handedness propensities, cerebral lateralization, talents and skills of people born very premature might shed light on the influence of testosterone and estrogen, using an epigenetic model.

It would also be interesting to see if these features carry forward to future generations.

Autism and Politics

Sunday, April 19th, 2009

Politics and Science ally themselves in ways that are not useful to those seeking an answer to the causes of autism. Darwin wrote three books proposing three different theories of evolution. Darwin’s theory of natural selection we know best. Sexual selection is growing in influence. Pangenesis has been disappeared.

 Pangenesis was Darwin’s attempt to understand how he observed the environment to influence evolution in a single generation. Jean-Baptiste Lamarck was a French evolutionary theorist from earlier in Darwin’s century that pioneered the premise that the engine of evolution was the use and disuse of particular organs or features, and that the environment could influence changes. By late in Darwin’s life, evolutionary theory had polarized such that Larmarckian and natural selection paradigms were considered opponent frames of reference. Darwin, when describing his “Larmarckian” ideas when discussing pangenesis did not use Lamarck’s names or cite Lamarck’s followers.

 Natural selection won the debate. Mendelian genetics in combination with a deep respect for the elegance of the natural selection solution suggested the Lamarckian solution was an unnecessary embellishment to an explanation of how evolution unfolds. The Lamarckian theories were never disproved. They just seemed unnecessary. It is rare you find Darwin’s Lamarckism discussed when his theories are reviewed.

 What does this have to do with autism?

 Darwin’s theory of natural selection is a theory that reflects a “might makes right” patrifocal societal interpretation of how human society unfolds. Natural selection supports a highly stratified view of how society most efficiently operates. In the West, it is believed by many that by encouraging “the survival of the fittest” a society stokes innovation with wealth tricking down to those with less useful gifts. We believe the horizontal cooperative interconnection between individuals and the influence of the environment are far less important regarding evolutionary processes than what it takes to reach procreation age and have progeny.

 The Variation of Animals and Plants Under Domestication is Darwin’s work exploring how he believes the environment influences evolution in a single generation. It is a work that suggests how autism can be explained.

 All that’s stopping us from making the connection is the political allegiance to the concept that societal success is a function of individual survival. We in the West adore this myth. It obfuscates our ability to see autism as an evolutionary condition. Autism is not about natural selection.

 I saw an article yesterday in The Canary Report that connects autism to environmental pollution. Several studies have been released lately connecting autism to various environmental effects including linoleum floors, rainy climes and cooler climates. The environment is being considered closely as effecting the autism. Only, we have no explanatory paradigm to evolutionarily connect the dots.

 We might begin with how our beliefs influence what we can know. Our politics are dedicated to the drama of resource control with the savvy few controlling the less lucky many. Our science reflects this story line when it embraces theories that emphase struggle over cooperation. If autism is revealed to emerge as a result of both environmental and heredity factors, then perhaps we should explore the stories we tell ourselves that makes it so difficult to see how genes and the environment cooperate to achieve what we become.

 Evolutionary developmental biology offers an epigenetic or heredity plus environment point of view. Recent discoveries in neuropsychology suggest that the environment influences hormone levels that in turn influence the rate and timing of maturational delay.

 Autism is all about the rate and timing of maturational delay.

 Maybe with a different way of looking at how society unfolds we’ll be able to interpret information that suggests that evolution and autism have little to do with stories and theories of competition.

Back Burner

Thursday, April 16th, 2009

Sometimes theories or cuisines go out of style. It is not because they failed or tasted bad. They just didn’t fit the contemporary trends.

 A story in the NY Times today (click here) describes the difficulty researchers and theorists are having finding cures to diseases with a genetic component. It was more complicated than they thought.

 A blog post today (click here) notes evident increases in autism when there are toxins, such as toxic waste dumps, close to where children live.

 When the mid twentieth century Darwinian synthesis occurred several other theories of evolution were moved to the back burner or removed from the kitchen altogether. Sexual selection has seen a resurgence over the last generations. Evolutionary developmental biology has offered insights into the effects of the environment upon our genetics, a concept even Darwin embraced when he discussed the theory he called pangenesis.

 The answer to what causes autism may have much to do with theories of evolution that were rejected when we worshiped Occam’s razor and selected a theory that fit the criteria of least complicated to achieve a desired goal. Yet, as we’re discovering now, it’s complicated. Perhaps a theory, the theory of natural selection, that appeals to our reductionist compulsions is not the right theory.

 Particularly when it comes to autism.

 Consider a theory, heterochronic theory, that specializes in what causes maturational delay. Autism is a condition the revolves around changes in the rate and timing of maturation. Let’s bring heterochronic theory back into the kitchen and start cooking with spices not tasted since the 1800’s. 

Autism and Ambiguity

Wednesday, April 15th, 2009

Autism being the name for the way a condition looks and behaves, not its cause, creates numerous communication problems and misunderstandings.

First, when discussing the condition, it is often not said that any given discussion is in a context of their being several causes. This creates miscommunications. Language tends to make fundamentalists of users when one word is all we have for several things. Autism is a pluralist’s condition.

Second, in those cases where environmental effects contribute to its manifestation, there may be several different environmental effects. A relatively obscure possible cause, such as vaccines, may be a cause in relatively rare situations. It’s difficult to rule causes out when you don’t know the etiology. This is particularly true with a multi-cause condition. This ambiguity polarizes proponents of particular theories.

I guess a question I have is, which particular hypothesized causes of autism influence a mother’s uterine testosterone and estrogen levels, or the hormone levels of the young children that shows symptoms?


Thursday, April 9th, 2009

I noted a piece today (click here) that discussed how an evaluation of how infants use toys could lead to an eventual diagnosis of autism. Unconventional spinning and rotating were marked as possible indications of future autistic behavior.

Play that does not reveal a theory of mind, non symbolic play, can suggest a different consciousness. Consider that autistic behavior can reveal close ties to rhythmic auditory, visual and kinesthetic compulsions. What if these behaviors are seeking a reflection by the family and community of powerful rhythmic mirroring, dance for example. Aboriginal dance behavior is art/play engaged in without necessarily thinking in symbolic terms, theory of mind limited to the experience of the group.

Consider that autism is somehow connected to aboriginal shared dance consciousness.

Primary Process and the Autistic Mind

Wednesday, April 8th, 2009

Yesterday I posted a piece at the Neoteny site, that suggests a new direction through which autism can be explored. Conducting Google searches for sites or theorists working with the concept of Freud’s primary process (one time, one place, no negatives) that characterizes dream consciousness and the thinking of animals and infants, I found few sites connecting this to autism.

What is at issue is an understanding of primary process as a stage in human evolutionary development, both as a species and ontogenetically as individuals. Freud believed in four-fold parallelism or transformation exhibiting correlations at a species, societal, ontological and individual levels. The impact of autism being the same as an exhibition of primary process suggests autism is an evolutionary condition.

The ramifications are numerous and potentially useful. If there are aboriginal societies that seem familiar with primary process, dream states, and language structures more focussed on the hear and now, then those societies may have something to offer us regarding how to guide into adulthood those modern children unable to extricate themselves from a primary process frame of reference.

Theory of Waves

Monday, April 6th, 2009

Ten years ago, I was exploring the possible origin of human culture in tribal societies driven by rhythmic dance and music. Tribal societies are on rare occasions characterized by paternal anonymity, or children who are unaware of the identity of their biological father. Observing that human brain size began to diminish about 25,000 years ago, I hypothesized that this reflected an emerging patrifocal emphasis on speech instead of gesture and a movement away from a selection for big-brained males. If this was the case, I suspected that there might be remnants of the old matrifocal paradigm that still exist within contemporary society. In the neurological literature, I sought humans with unusually large brains, difficulty with language, but who were also ambidextrous or left-handed. I came to find that autistic individuals commonly display these features; in addition, I discovered that individuals with autism are often obsessed with pattern replication and have perfect pitch (Brenton, Devries, Barton, Minnich & Sokol, 2008).

It appeared that hidden beneath the just-so story was a theory, which, if brought to light, could help make useful predictions and illuminate unrecognized relationships. From the beginning, the theory drew information from three different disciplines: anthropology, evolutionary biology and neuropsychology; yet, because these three disciplines did not share a common language, it became my goal to show that they were indeed studying an identical process. Evolutionary biology’s heterochronic theory explored the long-term effects of changing maturation rates, while anthropological explorations of human social structure examined the repercussions that one or more generation’s mate choice has on society. Researchers in the field of neuropsychology largely neglected to acknowledge the evolutionary implications of their discoveries, which could elucidate the parallels between the environment’s influence on uterine hormone levels and the distribution of handedness across a society. It became clear to me that all three subdisciplines were describing the dynamic of sexual selection and how sexual selection’s influence on maturation rates impacts human evolution. There seemed limited opportunities for the practitioners of each discipline to feel moved by potential synergies with their academic neighbors. However, in order to further understand human evolution, there seems a need to speak the basic languages of these three subdisciplines.

This work seeks to transcend the academic language barrier by emphasizing common patterns and ideas shared by all three subdisciplines.

This introduction to the Theory of Waves begins with an overview of four hypothetical, yet fundamental, social structures (two matrifocal and two patrifocal) and outlines the hormonal constellation of the individuals who comprise those four basic prototypes. There exists an elegant dynamic that compels and maintains these four balances. This dynamic, as explained below, can be maintained or propelled at three different levels of two overlapping hormonal paradigms.

Below, I discuss the impact this dynamic has on understanding ethnic variation, disease and condition etiology. For example, I reframe female infanticide as a socially engineered form of sexual selection. The hormonal constellations that arise as a result of this selection process produce a low prevalence of female breast cancer in Asian societies.

Having investigated related theories, I offer several reasons why neuropsychological studies have produced such inconsistent results. This theory, the Theory of Waves, ends by making a number of predictions that concentrate on autism. These predictions provide an opportunity for members of the academic community to prove this story wrong. It has been by matching up anomalies across disciplines and by discovering melodies using the black keys on a piano that this theory has come together.

I believe that understanding neoteny (the prolongation of ancestor infant features into the adults of descendants) is integral to understanding the process of becoming human. Central to understanding neoteny is understanding early play behavior. Experiencing this theory as it has come together over the last ten years has felt like deep play, frequently crossing the line to the reverential. Let the following concepts play across your mind like music. Email me if this theory strikes a chord with your own experiences, or if it harmonizes with your own understanding.

Evolutionary Origins

Monday, April 6th, 2009

Charles Darwin presented three different yet closely related theories to explain species evolution. Our ability to understand the causes of autism is directly related to how well we understand the processes underlying human evolution. Natural selection is academia’s default frame for examining how human’s evolved. Sexual selection has received attention only in the last 40 years. Lamarckian selection, the dynamics of which Darwin named Pangenesis, to this day, is disparaged and ignored. Only a thorough understanding of all three processes reveals how autism is directly related to how humans evolved. Darwin believed all three processes propelled species transformation. An understanding of how autism comes to be, evolutionarily, and why it appears in such force now, suggests the specific actions and treatments that can be taken to prevent and alleviate the symptoms of the condition.

Just as there is a branching relationship between species revealing how one species is related to another through common ancestors, the evolutionary processes themselves are related to one another though a branching family tree. Natural selection was the first selective dynamic – the adam and eve of evolutionary engines. Understanding the branching relationship between the selective processes reveals how humans evolved and how autism surfaces.

In natural selection, members of a species produce more progeny than can survive, progeny with a variety of features or characteristics. The specific features of those individuals that do survive to reproduce are inherited by the next generation. The ability of individuals to inherit features and pass them on to their progeny over time creates variation in species and eventually new species.

Darwin’s second selective process is sexual selection. In The Descent of Man he detailed the powerful effects of sexual selection on animal and human evolution. The peacock was used as an example to show how the choice of females in a species can propel changes in the features of a species when males without those features have no access to procreation. Occasionally males sexually select females to cooperate with a specific visual or behavioral agendas, but the vast majority of examples of sexual selection in nature follow the dynamic of females picking males. With humans both females and males do the choosing. Which sex does the choosing depends on whether they come from a matrifocal or patrifocal social structure. Sexual selection, as a selective process, branches directly off of natural selection – a progeny process, so to speak.

The dynamics of Lamarckian selection was described by Darwin in detail in his work, The Variation of Animals and Plants under Domestication. Darwin did not discover Lamarckian selection, as he did natural selection and sexual selection, but he did feel compelled to explain how it worked, in detail, and its relationship with the other selective processes. Two main tenets of Lamarckian selection are that individuals are shaped by their environment – either directly by its effects or indirectly by the use or disuse of limbs and organs – and that those effects can be carried into the next generation. For example, the actual exposure of an animal to cold and dark its whole life might engender a next generation with longer hair or an increased degree of comfort in the cold – a direct response to the environment. An indirect response might be a highly stressed individual forced to fight over a long period of time creates a next generation with an aggressive advantage because their parent had already engaged in the activity. We believe that Lamarckian selection, as a selective process, also branches directly off of natural selection.

Darwin specified in his theory of natural selection that variation is random. This is, perhaps, the most theoretically conflicted element of Darwin’s works. Both in his The Origin of Species, 6th ed. and in his The Variation of Animals and Plants Under Domestication where he discussed his Lamarckian theory, Darwin makes clear that he believes that variation is not random, that both use and disuse and environmental influences such as climate changes, compel the creation of progeny pre-selected for an environment. Darwin’s inability to form a synthesis of natural selection, sexual selection, and Lamarckian principals revolves around this issue of whether variation is random, not random, or something in between. If evolution is completely random, there can be no sexual selection or Lamarckian selection.

Researchers from Mivart to Steele have focussed on the fulcrum that random variation represents. Darwin was frustrated by his own efforts at the reconciliation of the three selective processes. One way to understand and resolve the relationship between the selective processes, and open a door to understanding the source of a number of modern conditions and disorders, is to note that natural selection is the progenitor, the ancestor of the other selective processes. Natural selection selected for or created Sexual selection, and Lamarckian selective dynamics. None of the products of the other selective processes can meet the requirements of evolution unless they also pass the test of natural selection, that individuals survive to procreation age and procreate.

Cultural selection, learning on an abstract level, is a product of female sexual selection. It lies two levels down from natural selection, but still must past muster when it comes down to an individual’s survival to procreation age. Ideas also die, and must compete for survival. Cultural selection is the grandchild of Natural selection. Cultural selection is unrelated to autism but can be explored in detail by clicking here.

So, just as there is a branching tree of species representing their relationships over time, there is a smaller branching tree of selective processes representing their relationships and how one selective process generates another. With each branching there is a more select group of species effected by the processes at issue. Natural selection affects all species. Sexual selection and Lamarckian selection affect many. Cultural selection affects perhaps only humans.

What drives the dynamic of natural selection spawning other selective processes is the immediate advantage any individual has if he or she can transcend the barrier of random variation. Any feature that an individual can generate, preadapted for the environment he or she (or his or her progeny) will be born into, is a huge advantage over an individual without a preadapted feature. Fast, targeted evolutionary flexibility is what it’s all about. Whatever the individual is competing for: more sunlight, prey, speed, smaller or greater size; if that individual’s genetic predispositions can discern which direction to evolve in, he or she will have an advantage. it’s progeny, when they inherit that ability and will be more likely to survive to procreate. Among humans, the ability to shift or change features in a single generation, features preadapted to fit into a changing culture, is a direct result of this branching tree of selective processes.

How does understanding the relationship between selective processes help us understand the origins of autism?

The two most powerful selective processes propelling human evolution are Sexual selection and Lamarckian selection. At a particular stage in human evolution, once humans had firmly established themselves at the top of the food chain perhaps 2 to 3 million years ago, natural selection ceased to influence the offspring of human beings except through these two progeny processes. Sexual selection was the primary player responsible for the exponential increase in human brain size and the advent of language and culture. Lamarckian selection molded more subtle elements of the human physiology and character. Sexual selection creates the path along which humans evolve. Lamarckian selection propels individuals back and forth along the established path as it influences individuals and their progeny converting environmental influences into changes in neurology and physiology.

Our species is carried forward (and backward) through evolutionary time on the wings of maturational acceleration and maturational delay. The single most profound influence on individual human personality is the rate and timing of maturation. Stephen J. Gould, the late great evolutionary biologist, believed that this one variable is primarily responsible for the specific evolutionary trajectory that human beings have taken since branching off from the other great apes between 4 and 5 million years ago – humans only vary from chimpanzees through 1% of our chromosomes, which is less than some intra species variation. The rate and timing of maturation is also responsible for the wide variation of contemporary humans, the left to right arc. Deep variations between humans is not about cosmetic differences between ethnicities – color in skin or hair, size or girth, but rather about degrees of maturational development. There is often far more variation within ethnicities than across ethnicities. Those profoundly influential variations between the left and right are the differences in speed and timing of maturation. It is at the ‘left’ end, the far left side of the human maturation spectrum, that children with delayed maturation rates often exhibit autism or other related disabilities. And, it is at this left end, that a huge number of contemporary individuals exhibit extraordinary talents in music, dance, athletics, architecture, rhythm, art and mathematics.

Sexual selection creates the path, Lamarckian selection can propel individuals back and forth along that path. How is the path is created?

Sexual selection is the process by which individuals in a society choose a mate considered most desirable by that culture or social structure. In a large society exposed to frequent wars the ideal male is strong, strong enough to live long enough to have children, has access to powerful aggressions, and works well in hierarchy. The female is supportive and cooperative. Patriarchal social structures have ideal male and female types that engender an ideal mate: powerful males and cooperative females. Those males closest to the ideal type are married to the most ideal females. Female infanticide and multiple wives for a single male reinforces the process by removing females from the mate pool leaving the less than ideal males unable to procreate. The ideal types are reinforced when the paradigm mates are picked for procreation in these societies complying with the ideal types. Humans have been evolving according to the patriarchal model of ideal types for at least 6,500 years, perhaps several thousand years longer. Female infanticide has only faded from most cultures in the last 200 years and is still widely practiced in Asia. The values of patriarchal social structures are the values of most contemporary societies. Only in the last two generations has that begun to change. One of the results of these recent changes is the rise in autism.

There are many differences between the personality structures/physiological/neurological profiles of individuals in matrifocal and patrifocal social structures or the males and females selected first as mates in those cultures. The males in matrifocal social structure are characterized by maturational delay with a cluster of features very different than the ideal male (maturationally accelerated) in a patriarchal social structure. The matriarchal male is not hierarchical inclined, is far more present oriented with less inclination to focus on future goals, is acutely aware of pattern and the relationship between patterns (specifically music and dance and relationships in space and across time from a present time perspective), rhythm, art and associational thinking. The maturationally delayed male has a slower metabolic rate than his accelerated relations. Ambidextrousness, and increased left handedness are associated with this individual because maturationally delayed males are less cerebrally lateralized exhibited by their two cerebral hemispheres being closer in size than their maturationally accelerated patriarchal relations. And so, in personality, they are less split. Though, at the same time, they are less acutely self aware. The cult of individuality often characteristic of patrifocal societies is not evident in a matrifocal tribal culture.

The female in a matrifocal social structure is the complementary opposite. She is chosen for her strength, fortitude, and ability to wield authority. In a matriarchal society the male does not know his progeny and does not accumulate wealth to be passed down to his sons. A male’s authority is through his sister, whose children he is related to through their parents. Males compete with males for procreation opportunities through the exhibition of their skills in dance, rhythm and song. Matrifocal social structures select the male artist, with the most successful performers mating the most frequently. Procreation is indiscriminate in matriarchal social structures, though serial monogamy is common. Authority and wealth do not accumulate with the male, but with the female or the tribe. A man passes on his genes more through his artistic prowess, not his warring abilities, or his skills in the hunt. His ability to kill benefits the tribe. His ability to astonish benefits himself and she whom he has impressed.

When a society and its individuals idealize and select males and females for temperments, skills and inclinations along this left to right, matrifocal to patrifocal spectrum, humans evolve in those selected directions far faster than the slower selective powers of natural selection. Hence the exponential rise in human brain size and the incredible slowing of human maturation rates and timing over the last 2 – 3 million years. As we humans have selected for the artists among us, far more cerebral capacity was engendered than needed for mere survival. And so, for millions of years, an evolutionary path was layed through our genetics, a path characterized by maturational delay (also called neoteny), the single most powerful variable leading to increased brain size that has culminated in the last few thousand years with a sudden movement toward maturational acceleration.

For the last few thousands of years males have been selecting the females least likely to stray and so provide them with male heirs. Males have been selecting females less likely to wield authority, females who are willing to cooperate with a patriarchal agenda. Females have been selecting males most likely to accumulate wealth, who can stay alive long enough to provide babies and provision a large brood in a relatively monogamous society. Revered features of the ideal male in a matrifocal society are disparaged by patriarchy. But it is these features, and the characteristics of the individuals that thrive in that kind of world, that is the world of the autistic child.

Without constant exposure to the primary features of the matrifocal world, the neurological structure of a child organized physically, mentally, and emotionally to experience the world in that way will languish. Unceasing interactional music with highly evolved rhythms and constant touch with sophisticated dance are essential to a child inclined toward maturational delay. A diet familiar to the physiology of tens of thousands of years ago is appropriate for the facile functioning of that physical system. Their brains crave highly sophisticated pattern in sound and physical space. Their bodies crave protein, vegetables, fruits, nuts, natural oils, roots. How sad and ironic, that a brain created to perceive and appreciate subtle nuances in relationship in space and time, understimulated by a society relatively devoid of song and dance, and a diet characterized by wheat, dairy and other unfamiliar substances, ends up in relationship with itself only, unable to cross bridges to other human beings.

Sexual selection creates the path, Lamarckian selection propels individuals along that path. How is it that individuals move back and forth along the path? How is it that some individuals propelled into deep maturational delay seem to become lost there, unable to communicate with others? By understanding the dynamic of Lamarckian selection we can understand how to prevent and retrieve individuals from becoming lost and alone – Matrifocal social structure humans floundering in a world of the patriarch.

Newton knew he couldn’t perceive how gravity works, but he could perceive its effects. Newton understood that he couldn’t break down gravity into manipulatable variables, but he could make gravity a variable to explain other processes.

Darwin perceived the effects of Lamarckian processes, but felt compelled to explain how the processes occurred. He was disappointed that his Lamarckian theory did not satisfactorily outline how these processes unfolded, and his theory was ignored. Later attempts to explain how individuals could translate the experiences of their lives into the features of their progeny also failed to explain how this could occur. Theorists for the last hundred years have rallied around natural selection, only the first of Darwin’s three founding principals to explain how evolution operated. A reductionist frame of reference does not always focus on the most elegant solution, but rather on where the answers seem easiest to grasp. Unfortunately, more questions have been created in the long run by the exclusion of the other processes.

For over one hundred years these unanswered questions have been accumulating. Doctors are now unfamiliar with concepts alternative to natural selection. Lamarckian selection has been made invisible. Evolutionary biologists give the concepts wide berth. A scholar seeking a doctoral dissertation on Lamarckian selection would be unable to find three tenured professors to sit on committee. The ever courageous Stephen J. Gould, who wrote about Lamarckian principals in some detail in several books and many papers, rarely called it by its name, sticking to observing its effects. Neuropsychologists noting its effects when observing the environmentally induced appearance of inheritable conditions characterized by maturational delay have no vocabulary to relate what they are observing to evolutionary processes. Unnamed it operates in secret. Human maladies unfold, unexplained.

The effects of the environment on an individual that result in changes in the children of that individual are considered damage. This is often the case. Contemporary theorists have no other way to view these effects. Yet, environmental effects on an individual that result in changes in his or her children are often not damage. They are the results of evolution – Lamarckian evolution – evolution that occurs over a single lifetime – evolution that follows an already created channel – a genetic history of maturational delay and acceleration dug by millions of years of sexual selection. Specific environmental effects propel changes in the maturation rate of humans and their progeny. When a human has a predisposition for maturational delay, most readily identified as those with histories of left-handedness in their family, the children of that person can be driven even further along the path of maturational delay when the parents experience specific environmental nudges. Even people with little evidence of maturational delay in themselves or their family histories, if the environmental prod is powerful enough, can experience their children swaying far toward the evolutionary left. Without intervention, some of those children will become autistic.

Not surprisingly, its all about sex – the sexual hormones.

For over 20 years periodic studies note a deeply mysterious event that occurs within the mother six weeks before her infant is born. The embryos maturation rates are established based upon the mother’s testosterone levels. The speed at which the little human matures is established at approximately week 33 after conception. If the mother is carrying a male child and her male hormones are high, the baby’s maturation rate will be notched down. If it is a female within her womb, the rate is notched up. If the the mother’s testosterone levels are low, her male baby will mature faster, and her female baby will mature more slowly. The established maturation rates are passed on to the next generation, evolution occurring in a single lifetime.

Incidentally, matrifocal social structure females have relatively high testosterone levels (remember, they are more domineering) and so they produce maturationally delayed males and maturationally accelerated females. In a patrifocal social structure the females have lower testosterone levels producing maturationally accelerated males, and delayed females.

Over the course of our lives, our hormonal levels change. Numerous environmental variables affect these changes, not the least of which are what we eat, drink and smoke. The levels of sexual hormones of the father at the point the sperm are produced also affect the child’s maturation rates. The environment of the father, what he has been exposed to and how he has lived his life, is information coded into the sperm as it genetically notes the father’s testosterone levels and carries that information to the egg. Here again, evolution over a single lifetime.

It’s no wonder that humans have evolved so rapidly over the last several million years. This single easily adjusted variable, mother’s and father’s testosterone levels controlling maturation rates, accounts for massive evolutionary change as sexual selection carved a ‘mind blindingly’ fast human evolutionary trajectory, and Lamarckian selection – occurring in the women’s womb and father’s sperm – adjusted that trajectory to accommodate to local conditions in time and geography.

Yet, perhaps, this variable is too easily adjusted. Many things in contemporary society influence testosterone levels. Those influences are now having far more of an effect upon our evolution than sexual selection or natural selection. Our children are being propelled into maturationally delayed trajectories without the appropriate culture to nurture the gifts that accompany their new – to the modern world – physiological/neurological conditions.

The eight primary environmental variables influencing testosterone levels are; light, diet, body fat, alcohol and drugs, tobacco, touch, physical activity, and stress. These variables often do not affect the two sexes the same way. For example, increased body fat raises female testosterone and lowers male testosterone.

A women with a left-handed parent (indicating a familial tendency toward male maturational delay), that is overweight, close to 40, and smokes is in danger of giving birth to a male with strong tendencies toward maturational delay. This women already has high testosterone levels further elevated by environmental influences. Fitting the matrifocal structure profile, she is propelling her progeny even further back in evolutionary time, moving along the channel created by sexual selection. If the environmental influences are powerful enough, a child can be neurologically stationed at a point where the language centers of the brain are still wired for gestural communication, dance and song and not yet for the spoken word – a point where the two cerebral hemispheres have not begun to vary in size with a diminution of the right lobe which leads to split consciousness – a split that results in the principle dissociation, with a movement out of the mythical or dream consciousness of the early matrifocal tribal cultures.

What causes the cerebral hemispheres to diverge in size, the right side atrophying, and becoming smaller? Maturational acceleration. It is no wonder that autistic children frequently have a brain size far larger than the norm. Often both cerebral hemispheres are the same size, the right side unpruned by the effects of hormonal surges which occur in the majority of contemporary humans.

The reason that there are far fewer females than males with autism is that females actually become more maturationally accelerated as you move back in evolutionary time, as you move back into matrifocal social structures with more domineering women. These girl children also require the song, music, and dance stimulation of the maturationally delayed male, but cerebrally they are less vulnerable since hemispherically their language centers are more developed and the cerebral lobes more divergent – the effects of maturational acceleration. Since in matriarchal cultures the females are maturationally accelerated relative to females today, girls with autism have to be propelled far further back in evolutionary time to exhibit the same symptoms. Hence, far fewer females are diagnosed.

This is also the reason that there are far fewer females than males with Aspergers, a form of mild autism. A relatively slight movement in the left direction will effect a male far more than a female since the male brain has changed far more dramatically in the direction of divergent hemispheres in the last few thousand years. The female brain began that journey far earlier than the male brain did, having experienced right hemisphere pruning during matrifocal times when they were exposed to maturational acceleration.

The brains of a high percentage of autistic children dramatically accelerate in size shortly after birth, growing far faster than the usual child. It has been suggested that this is a symptom of the autistic brain’s inability to prune unneeded synapsis during early childhood. We suggest that these synapses are craving stimuli, seeking exposure to intricate patterned communications in sound, space and time. These are ‘normal’ brains growing up misunderstood in a foreign time.

We could expect that the brains of our matriarchal forbears would be larger than the brains of the last few thousand years. And, this is so. Just as autistic individuals exhibit brain sizes larger than the norm more often than statistically could be expected, humans up through 30,000 years ago, including the Neanderthal humans, exhibited brain sizes, relative to height and body mass, larger than those of recent millennia up through the 19th century.

The timing of the onset of puberty also has dramatic affects upon the ability of autistic children to join the world as we know it. Diet, percentage of body fat, food additives and physical activity are primary variables responsible for pubertal timing. There has been a drop in the age of puberty by three to four years over the last 100 years in urban cultures worldwide caused primarily by changes in diet. These dietary changes signal our bodies that increased fat, carbohydrate, and protein resources are available to sustain an increase in birth rate, accomplished by lowering the age of procreation; a naturally selected response. The fact that puberty comes several years sooner than would have occurred in the matriarchal society from which the autistic child has been severed from reduces childhood by several years giving the autistic child far less time for the brain to grow and develop. When puberty hits brain growth stops. The testosterone surges at early puberty in both sexes halts cerebral development. For the autistic child, this leaves no more time to catch up. Slower maturation plus early puberty in a world with inappropriate environmental stimulus combine to deeply inhibit these children of artistic cultures from entering the modern world. Proper diet will delay puberty and give the autistic child’s brain more time to mature.

Tracking the distribution of neurological conditions at the left end along the maturational spectrum is tracking the sequence of our genetic heritage and cultural history. At the far left end is autism representing anatomically modern humans maybe 100 M – 50 M years ago when we had bigger brains, ambidextrousness, and no dominant hemisphere. We hypothesize that responsibility for many autistic syndrome complications over and above expected developmental delays lies with the absence of constant touch, interactive music, rhythm and dance as infants, stimulus required for full functioning in a genotype as told as autism represents, coupled with a deeply inappropriate diet. Phonetic dyslexics; stutterers; many Tourette’s sufferers; many homosexuals and lesbians; many gifted athletes, mathematicians, artists, musicians, and composers; many schizophrenics; specific alcoholic types and many obese women are left spectrum, old genotype individuals who can be located along the left end of the maturational arc. We believe that the human species moves through time inside a maturational arc, its character determined by the effects of sexual selection and Lamarckian selection on the rate and timing of maturation, creating the vast skill and talent spread of contemporary culture.

Causes of Autism

Monday, April 6th, 2009

Why autism now

Many things are changing. Three forces in particular are propelling children in the direction of maturational delay.

Environmental Variables

The left-handed or maturationally delayed are generally more sensitive to a variety of drugs. Marijuana use lowers male testosterone levels and raises female testosterone levels. Alcohol lowers testosterone levels in men and women. Cocaine use by a mother with a boy in utero can dramatically lower the testosterone levels of males babies slowing down maturational development.

The testosterone levels of overweight males are far lower than other males. With women it is the reverse with overweight women showing higher testosterone levels. And, in a related fashion, thin men tend to have higher testosterone levels than men of average weight.

Smoking has been shown to increase the testosterone levels of men and women, though less predictably in men.

Studies suggest that extremely stressed men, stressed psychologically or physically, experience a drop in testosterone while highly stressed women frequently see their testosterone levels rise.

Men who undergo ongoing disciplined physical exercise will note that their testosterone levels fall. One of the ways that exercise reduces stress is by lowering testosterone levels. With females it is usually the reverse.

Males exposed long term to a low fat diet with exercise experienced a lowering of testosterone levels.

Light has a subtle yet profound effect upon testosterone and other sexual hormones. The pineal gland notes light levels and regulates testosterone levels in response. The levels of light fluctuate according to the time of day and time of year. Several studies have noted that the mothers uterine testosterone levels vary with time of year with the result that children inclined toward exaggerated maturational delay are often born at specific times of the year. Pregnant mothers with autumn allergies with physiologies that are stressed may be bathing their infants with different levels of sexual hormones during that vital week 33 if the 33rd weeks falls in that period.

In addition, older mothers generally have higher testosterone levels than younger mothers. As a women grows older her testosterone levels increase.

Any single one of these variables can influence maturation rates. Combining them often has powerful effects. If both the mother and father are influenced by several of these variables, a not infrequent occurrence, with the mothers testosterone levels going up and the father’s going down, single generation evolutionary change is inevitable.

Contemporary Sexual selection Practices

Two cultural characteristics, female infanticide and several wives for a single husband both behave as functions of sexual selection in a patriarchal culture, reinforcing sexual types. Remember, with fewer women procreating, the male furthest from the cultural ideal fails to have children, his genetics unable to continue. Now imagine a culture whose boundaries have broken down, where infanticide has ended, the selection for specific traits within a culture has ceased and women have the power to pick procreation partners using whatever criteria they choose. This is the world we live in. No one way is being preserved. All ways are open. For the first time culture is undefined and open ended. It is no coincidence that in the United States so much that is new has been and is being created. It is the first place in the world characterized by a complete breakdown of a specific cultural criteria for the ideal man. Women in contemporary western culture are choosing mates based on a new criteria, their own idiosyncratic ideas based on the hodgepodge of cultures that comprise their background combined with the American ideal of independence. This new criteria is now becoming the cultural criteria, as women and culture together, form a new understanding of what they want in a mate. In our modern world, it is not the family or the male that chooses a mate, but the female. Only she decides who the father of her children will be. Women are no longer chosen exclusively for their tendency to cooperate with the ideals of patriarchal culture. The result: more and more higher testosterone women are having babies in modern culture. A wider and wider variety of males are presented with procreation opportunities, particularly the maturationally delayed males formerly often unable to find a mate in patriarchal culture. The return of the ‘nerd’, so to speak.

Moreover, as women have their children later, engaged in the workplace competing with men, they are gestating their infants in a womb bathed with higher testosterone levels engendering increased maturational delay. For example, a 40 year old left-handed women with a husband in architecture or computer engineering, will conceive a boy who is a candidate for robust maturational delay.

Blending of Ethnic Persuasions

The United States is the melting pot. A glorious result of this stew is the blending of formerly unfamiliar genetics into new genetic mixes engendering skills and talents among our children often unattained by a homogeneous people who rarely mix. Usually, these stunning talents are derived from individuals located along the left end of the maturational spectrum. Grace-filled coordination, musical excellence, and intuition for abstract pattern manipulation, and extraordinary dance skills are some of the many gifts associated with the left side. And it is no mistake that many of these people are Americans – mixed ethnic Americans. In America the races blend.

Darwin placed a very heavy emphasis on his theory of Natural selection. Primary supportive arguments were derived from his experience as a breeder of pigeons. He noted a specific repeating event that occurred among pigeons and other species that he observed. The progeny of two members of the same species that had been breeding along divergent lines often exhibited features of their last common genetic forbear. Pigeons with no common ancestors for 2000 years, breeding along separate lines in China and West, had chicks exhibiting the wing coloration and patterns of roc pigeons, characteristics that had not appeared in either line for hundreds of years.

As barriers keep falling that prevent peoples from different ethnic background from marrying, the children of those marriages often exhibit features of the parents’ last common ancestor. The diaspora from Africa has been estimated to have begun to occur around 50,000 years ago. Marriages of two individuals from ethnic backgrounds last in contact by a portion of that length of time will frequently have children requiring the stimulation and diet common in a matriarchal social structure from that far back in time. These are children blessed with the potential to make the modern world a far richer place to live, but they require special nurturing and a special diet.


Monday, April 6th, 2009

In this model, or theory, which I’ve been calling the Theory of Waves, there are eight varieties of humans, four male and four female. These eight types of humans feature specific characteristics, or tendencies. Each type of human can be influenced by other types, and each is susceptible to specific features in the environment. Environmental influences can compel the progeny of these types of humans to transform into other types of humans. These environmental influences compel evolutionary currents, which can provoke a significant transformation within a single generation. More often, however, these transformations occur over the course of centuries or longer.

Similar to Watson and Crick’s double helix, a larger body is created from an assembly of component parts. In this case, societies are made up of eight types of human beings, each of whom represents one of the eight potential combinations derived from the hormonal extremes. The hormonal extremes form a structure that serves as a template for a majority of the individuals within a society. The majority of individuals within a society will exhibit some basic features associated with these hormonal extremes, yet they will exhibit these extremes to less of a degree than the eight prototype humans.

Imagine that the eight basic artist colors (purple, red, blue, yellow, orange, green, black and white) are all being blended in specific ways to paint the character of a society. Or, consider that instead of the two planets Mars and Venus, which represent the classic male/female dichotomy, there are eight planets—four female and four male—which together comprise a pantheon of eight gods and goddesses.

Female Constellations
High testosterone, high estrogen (F TE)
High testosterone, low estrogen (F Te)
Low testosterone, high estrogen (F tE)
Low testosterone, low estrogen (F te)

Male Constellations
High testosterone, high estrogen (M TE)
High testosterone, low estrogen (M Te)
Low testosterone, high estrogen (M tE)
Low testosterone, low estrogen (M te)

As in the double helix, there are natural complementary pairings. In this framework, opposite sexes are not only drawn to each other based on sexual attraction, but they are also drawn to each other based on the attraction to their complementary opposite hormonal counterparts.

Female te/Male TE
Female tE/Male Te
Female Te/Male tE
Female TE/Male te

The complementary counterparts naturally ally themselves into patrifocal and matrifocal social structures. There exist two variations within each.

F te/M TE Conventional Patrifocal
F tE/M Te Warrior Patrifocal
F Te/M tE Contemporary Matrifocal
F TE/M te Classic Matrifocal

Conventional Patrifocal: Domineering, caring and discriminating men who choose cooperative women.

Warrior Patrifocal: Domineering men who choose cooperative, caring and discriminating women.

Contemporary Matrifocal: Commanding women who choose creative, cooperative, caring and discriminating men.

Classic Matrifocal: Commanding, caring and discriminating women who choose creative and cooperative men.

These fundamental paradigms are flexile and have an ability to transform from one societal prototype into another over time. The human hormone thresholds can vary over time and can control the speed and direction of evolution. The thresholds can be influenced at three locations within two interlocking cycles, or feedback loops, as described below.

Mother’s testosterone level > progeny maturation rate > social structure proclivity > mother’s testosterone level.

Mother’s estrogen level > progeny ability to exercise aesthetic discrimination and caring behavior > social structure proclivity > mother’s estrogen level.

The environment can intervene at any of the three levels of these two loops by influencing both maturation rates and timing (via testosterone) or by influencing the intensity of mate selection criteria (via estrogen).

Level 1: A mother’s uterine hormonal levels are impacted by environmental influences, which in turn affect the child’s maturation and development. The hormonal levels of the mother influence the overall disposition of the social structure by predisposing certain tendencies of the progeny.
Level 2: The environment, through a variety of specific hormone-influencing prompts, impacts a person in society, thereby shifting social structure proclivities.
Level 3: Shifts in social structure influence mate selection criteria, which alter evolutionary trajectories.

Changes may occur at the level of the womb, individual ontogeny and/or at the level of society. The relationship among these three environmentally susceptible locations creates an interactive system, which directs evolutionary trajectory.

Central to this model are the environmental impact points, which compel the transformation of a society and our species. In a woman’s womb, testosterone levels decide her children’s testosterone levels (Geschwind & Galaburda, 1987) and their maturation rates and social structure proclivity. Females (F) with high testosterone (T) give birth to high-testosterone (T) females and low-testosterone (t) males. F T = F T or M t. The reverse is true for low-testosterone females. Low-testosterone females give birth to low-testosterone females and high-testosterone males. F t = F t or M T. This is how societal prototypes are created and maintained and how the complementary opposite foundation of this thesis emerges.

This may be feeling rather dense. Bear with me. I will define some terms.

“Neoteny” refers to the prolonging of infant features over many generations so that eventually they appear in the adults of the descendants. For example, chimpanzee-like progenitor features, such as having a large head relative to body size, small chin, large eyes, upward stature, curiosity and affection, are all characteristics that over time manifest in the physiology and psychology of adults. Acceleration reverses the evolutionary trajectory, whereby processes featured by ancestor adults condense or withdraw over time and appear earlier in development in the characteristics of children as well as in the infants of future descendants.

Heterochronic dynamics (Gould, 1977) of evolution (i.e., neoteny and acceleration) are embedded in social structure and lead to the very specific mating of neotenous males with accelerated females in matrifocal social structures and accelerated males marrying neotenous females in patrifocal social structures. There is a direct connection between womb conditions, maturation rate directions (neoteny and acceleration) and social structure.

The net result is that not only are males and females mating with their hormonal complementary opposites, but also that societies are evolving with males and females trending evolutionarily in opposite directions by continuing selection for opposite proclivities in opposite sexes. It is conceivable that in human beings there exists a dynamic that demands eventual flipping of social structures, perhaps over periods as long as hundreds of thousands of years or as short as 6,000 years (Gimbutas, 1991). This provides an opportunity for the sexes to realign. It is also possible that this “flipping” is constantly occurring within different lineages in a society, which are taking turns performing the role of the hormonal outliers, or eight prototype humans.

Whereas the influence of a mother’s testosterone levels on her progeny has been established (Geschwind & Galaburda, 1987), this model hypothesizes that the mother’s estrogen levels influence her children via an identical dynamic, which encourages and reinforces the sexually selected focus on partner choice and discrimination, as well as caring and care giving. In this case, the estrogen levels within a woman’s womb determine her children’s estrogen levels, their tendencies toward evaluation of nuance and their compulsion to care. A female (F) with high estrogen (E) gives birth to high-estrogen females and low-estrogen (e) males. F E = F E or M e. The reverse is true for low-estrogen females. F e = F e or M E. This is how estrogen-related societal prototypes are created and maintained. This dynamic also contributes to the complementary opposite foundation of this thesis.

Whether a male or female has high or low estrogen levels does not contribute to maturation rates. This makes it possible to have high or low-estrogen males and females in any social structure. Maturation rates inform heterochronic tendencies and social structure proclivities. Nevertheless, estrogen confers discrimination, an attention to detail that can exaggerate the proclivity of a social structure. In addition, estrogen focuses on the features of a child, attracting those with high estrogen toward individuals who exhibit childlike features. Assign high estrogen to a female with high testosterone and you achieve Classic Matrifocal social structure with commanding females prone to choosing cooperative males with neotenous, or child-like, characteristics. Assign high estrogen to a male and you get either a Scandinavian Contemporary Matrifocal paradigm (Eisler, 2007) with both sexes exhibiting neoteny in a matrifocal context, or you get an Asian Conventional Patrifocal paradigm with males who are focused on mating with females displaying highly neotenous features. When pairing high estrogen with high testosterone, you get an exaggerated intensity of sexual selection, not unlike Fisher’s runaway sexual selection (Fisher, 1930), which results in a powerful focus on neoteny. F TE = Matrifocal selection for neotenous males. M TE = Patrifocal selection for neotenous females.

The particular way that testosterone and estrogen align with individuals within a society compels both social structure and particular physical features of individuals. These two hormones, which influence heterochronic trajectories, also influence personality features, disease and condition proclivities, societal characteristics and even such societal mysteries as female infanticide.

Another way to view this is by noting that at the extremes, a society displays the highest and lowest hormonal thresholds. These thresholds exist in those with bodies and minds most impacted by the battle between somatic function and behaviors, which are both required for survival. Those at the hormonal extremes are at the front lines of what a body can easily survive. When the environment changes, the extremes are put under more intense distress as the societal balanced polymorphism (the established balance of social structures within a society) is pushed in a specific direction. The majority of society, which exists in the center of this spectrum and which also has a heterozygote advantage (Annett, 2002), are compelled to drift left or right, matrifocal or patrifocal, over the course of several generations. Those at the margins are under the most intense duress.

Even in a society characterized by one of the four foundation social structures, one or more of the other social structures are integrally involved. Assimilated within a society are representative individuals, couples and subcultures, who act as social structure opposites to the established paradigm. In this way, these couples and subcultures also contribute to the balanced polymorphism. Though we in the West have been living in patrifocal social structures, matrifocal elements are integrated within the larger society and occupy the “left” end of the spectrum. American society displays a combination of all four social structures. Together, all four of these form a balance that is changing, particularly now.

There are a number of repercussions, or implications, of this basic model, and details are explored below. The etiologies for a number of physical and mental diseases and conditions are suggested by understanding the eight human prototypes as hormonal outliers that exist on a continuum within social structures and are held in balance so that they create a heterozygote advantage. Those whose hormonal constellations exist at the center are not burdened by hormonal extremes. The engine behind human evolution can be examined in detail so that one may offer a number of predictions. This work will concentrate on conditions characterized by maturational delay and acceleration, and it will focus particularly on autism. The reader will be able to infer by this example how the principles in this Theory of Waves can be applied to a number of diseases and conditions.

Neuroscientists will recognize at the core of this thesis a variation of the Geschwind and Galaburda (1987) hypothesis that connects hormones, handedness, lateralization and debilitations. Evolutionary developmental biologists familiar with nineteenth century principles of heterochrony (the study of the effects of changing maturation and development rates and timing) will find heterochronic processes (Gould, 1977) manifesting in neuropsychological studies of the endocrine system (specifically, testosterone and estrogen). These evolutionary biologists will also recognize how sexual hormones influence maturation rates and timing (Hall, Person & Muller, 2004). Anthropologists will be able to observe the impact of social structure—and the forms of sexual selection that drive social structure (such as female sexual selection and female infanticide)—on how societies transform and our species evolves. Studies of human social structures are integrally tied to both the evolutionary biological principle of heterochrony and neuropsychological processes driven by testosterone and estrogen.

For example, I’m hypothesizing that in highly patrifocal hierarchical Asian societies, originally organized in ways that demanded large-scale cooperation in order to manage irrigation works spanning for hundreds of miles, males need to be high in testosterone relative to females, while simultaneously being low testosterone relative to other males. This would be necessary in order to better facilitate cooperation within a highly combative hierarchical and patrifocal society requiring male/male collaboration. In this hypothesis, I shift down both estrogen and testosterone levels to accommodate lower testosterone levels for males in a patrifocal society with cooperative undertones. A relatively high-estrogen Asian male is suggested by the highly aesthetic and visually discriminating Asian culture. Relatively low female estrogen level is implied by ubiquitous female infanticide. To fit this model, Asian females would have to exhibit the lowest recorded female estrogen levels. This would mean the normally low Conventional Patrifocal female estrogen would have to be shifted lower in order to accommodate Asian male patrifocal cooperation. And, indeed, studies support anomalously low female Asian estrogen levels (Diamond, 1986).

Female infanticide may be integrated into an understanding of patrifocal social structure—particularly the Conventional Patrifocal social structure of hierarchical Asian social structures, which exhibit long-term stability. When the number of females in the procreation pool is reduced, far fewer males are able to have children. A heavy emphasis is placed on the ideal male, the non-ideal males procreating far less. The result is a continuing selection of highly patrifocal traits in the male population. Because of this, left spectrum and older genotype features that accompany matrifocal social structure do not easily emerge. This would include left-handedness, an attraction to innovation and spontaneous creativity. Instead, status, hierarchy and tradition would be highly valued, as is the case with traditional Asian culture. Female infanticide is a powerful sexual selection tool providing long-term stability to Conventional Patrifocal societies. Very low incidence of autism would also be expected, as I will explain shortly.

With individuals congregating around the eight hormonal paradigms, we’d expect that many diseases, disorders and conditions would be assigned to those located at the extremes, or outlying positions of the balanced polymorphism. For example, Asian females with very low estrogen should have low rates of breast cancer, while matrifocal societies with high estrogen should exhibit high rates of breast cancer. One would expect the same pattern with prostate cancer. We’d expect to see relatively few cases of prostate cancer in Asian patrifocal societies but high rates of prostate cancer in patrifocal societies that exhibit little cooperation. In Contemporary Matrifocal Scandinavia, one would expect very low rates of prostate cancer, yet relatively high rates of male breast cancer. Social structures compel hormonal tendencies, suggesting disease and condition etiology.

For conditions like autism, Asperger’s, stuttering and phonetic dyslexia, we’d expect to see the four matrifocal categories trending toward these conditions, with a possible emphasis on M te and F TE if Classic Matrifocal is how we primarily evolved (see below). Autism, Asperger’s, stuttering and phonetic dyslexia are often accompanied by male maturational delay, which is a marker of matrifocal societies. Matrifocal societies feature low-testosterone males and high-testosterone females.

There is the possibility that certain mental conditions will trend toward these same hormonal extremes. I would estimate that borderline personality disorder, narcissistic personality disorder and obsessive compulsive disorder, based upon their association with families exhibiting left-handers and maturational delay, will fit the same matrifocal profiles, again with a likely Classic Matrifocal emphasis.

Diseases and conditions may have multiple etiologies depending on the particular symptoms they are associated with. For example, Marian Annett and colleagues noted two types of dyslexia. She observed phonetic dyslexia trending toward the extreme left end of the balanced polymorphism and visual dyslexia trending toward the extreme right (Annett, Eglinton & Smythe, 1996).

Schizophrenia may display two radically different etiologies, which would appear in both patrifocal and matrifocal cultures. These two different etiologies would be based upon the hypothesis that hemispheric differentiation and corpus callosum size vary according to two extremes (Coger & Serafetinides, 1990). One etiology is reinforced by facility with language (Crow, 1995; Crow, Done & Sacker, 1996) and is accompanied by a surge in patrifocal social structures, while the other displays a familial and social structure identical to the familial and social structure of autism, characterized by matrifocal origins.

I am hypothesizing a five-step evolutionary continuum that begins with natural selection but then moves to sexual selection. In this continuum, animals focus on particular patterns when they choose a mate. Step three begins with crossing a bridge over to human sexual selection, where adept practitioners of novel pattern creation are selected as procreation partners by mates with sensitivity to these nuances (Miller, 2000). The fourth step is taken when novelty itself becomes desirable outside the partner selection process, and society is thus compelled to embrace in its productions countless nuances of the new. In the fifth stage, awareness of the creation process itself becomes a target experience.

1) natural selection
2) sexual selection (selecting for pattern when seeking a mate)
3) human sexual selection (selection for novel pattern when seeking a mate)
4) art and culture (selecting for novel pattern outside of mate selection)
5) awareness of the selection or creative process

Integrated into the sequence established above is the longer-term dynamic of humans, who evolved from random-handed non-speech users (Annett, 2002) with two equally large cerebral hemispheres and a wide corpus callosum (Witelson, 1991).

I hypothesize that step 3 of this sequence is compelled by long-term male maturational delay and reinforced by sexual selection in a matrifocal context, where child-like features attract more focus (Gould, 1971). Classic Matrifocal was likely our social structure at this stage (Knight, 1991). Stage 4 suggests a shift toward patrifocal social structure as well as a decrease in brain size (Wiercinski, 1979), culminating in the Warrior Patrifocal. This sequence suggests that Classic Matrifocal and Warrior Matrifocal preceded Contemporary Matrifocal as well as Conventional Patrifocal, with the possible emergence of Contemporary and Conventional in the last 5,000 years.

Deep societal change can occur quickly when there is a change in hormonal constellations. Sudden shifts can occur from matrifocal to patrifocal, or patrifocal to matrifocal. For example, if a matrifocal society is highly stressed over time by patrifocal incursions, the ideal male mate may shift from one displaying cooperative tendencies to a male who is quick to fight. Formerly highly valued aesthetic-oriented males may then find themselves outside the pool of highly valued potential mates. In mere generations, physiological, hormonal and neuropsychological transformations can occur.

Migrating populations exposed to changes in sunlight (Geschwind and Galburda, 1987) show radical fluctuations in social structure, which impacts evolution over time. Sunlight impacts the pineal gland, which directly influences the testosterone levels within the individuals of a population (Geschwind and Galburda, 1987). A variety of specific diseases and conditions acquired by the eight prototype hormonal outliers will emerge among these migrating peoples, including autism. In addition, changing diet can exaggerate hormonal changes.

A radical change in diet, such as an increase in high quality fats and nutrients, could raise a female’s estrogen and testosterone levels and lower a male’s testosterone levels (Ahluwalia, Jackson, Jones, Williams, Mamidanna & Rajguru, 1981). These changes in hormonal levels would compel a shift in social structure toward the direction of female choice. Females would then seek mates that were cooperators rather than warriors. Sudden dietary changes that drastically reduce access to high fat foods could compel a hormonal shift toward a patrifocal social structure. These hormonal shifts would be further accentuated if combative situations emerged. This is the variation of the Kuzawa (2007) thesis, which proposes that uterine environments can influence adult physiology. My Theory of Waves thesis suggests that the parent’s hormonal shifts can adjust a progeny’s hormonal constellations and shift a society’s hormonal spectrum in a particular direction, depending on environmental pressures. Such hormonal shifts thus result in modifications of social structure.

Eight environmental variables influence testosterone, including light (Geschwind & Galaburda, 1987), diet (Schmidt, Wijga, Von Zur Muhlen, Brabant & Wagner, 1997), body fat (Ross, Bernstein, Judd, Hanisch, Pike & Henderson, 1986; Glass, Swerdloff, Bray, Dahms & Atkinson, 1977), alcohol and drugs (Castilla-Garcia, Santolaria-Fernandez, Gonzalez-Reimers, Bastita-Lopez, Gonzalez-Garcia, Jorge-Hernandez & Hernandez-Nieto, 1987; Ahluwalia, Clark, Westney, Smith, James, & Rajguru, 1992), tobacco (MacMahon, Trichopoulos, Cole & Brown, 1982; Barrett-Connor & Khaw, 1987), touch, physical activity (MacConnie, Barkan, Lampman, Schork, & Beitins, 1986; Morville, Pesquies, Guezennec, Serrurier & Guignard, 1979) and stress (James, 1986). Estrogen has been far less studied, but diet has been repeatedly shown to dramatically influence estrogen levels (Ahluwalia, et al., 1981).

We can view evolution as both a dynamic and static process that is driven by social structure, environmental influences, maturation rate modifications and hormonal changes. The evolutionary developmental biological view, or the heterochronic perspective, offers a dynamic frame. Annett’s (2002) modern UK society is characterized by a balanced polymorphism, which exhibits an evenly balanced static spectrum view of left and right-handed individuals. On the far left side of this spectrum exist the extreme left-handed, as well as the random-handed, and on the far right side of this spectrum exist the extreme right-handed. Most people in a society exist somewhere in the middle. This spectrum of individuals is aligned along a gradated curve and offers a static snapshot of our society in the process of transition. The older anomalously dominant (both cerebral hemispheres close to the same size) matrifocal prototype is stationed at the left side and balances those with cerebral asymmetry designed for speech facility, the patrifocal prototype, on the right. Annett’s Right Shift Theory (Annett, 1985) argues that cerebral asymmetry with language proclivity offers a heterozygote advantage that allows the moderate right-handed to occupy the center of society. This Theory of Waves integrates social structure, maturation rates and a long-term evolutionary arc into Annett’s static snapshot in time.


Monday, April 6th, 2009

Four major barriers prevent the easy appraisal of the natural hormonal levels that characterize the eight human prototypes.

Assays that fail to measure the variations of handedness with the degree of sensitivity established by Annett’s peg tests obstruct new insight and obscure potentially valuable observation. Annett’s work concluded that humans evolved as a random-handed species, which transitioned to right-handed when brains became lateralized for speech. Her peg tests measure degrees of right and random-handedness and are integral for establishing a locus related to social structure, disease/condition proclivity and maturation rate propensity. It is essential that different studies, particularly studies across cultures, compare apples to apples and use Annett’s protocols when measuring handedness.

It would be useful if Annett’s techniques were required to measure handedness around the world, quickly. Dietary changes within patrifocal societies may be skewing results dramatically. Aboriginal societies with a matrifocal foundation have almost completely disappeared. There are very few tools available to measure variations in societal balanced polymorphisms. Annett’s peg tests seem to measure the effects of testosterone and some indirect effects of estrogen fairly well.

The eight environmental variables noted above profoundly impact the hormone levels of males and females in a variety of contexts. To effectively measure the natural hormonal thresholds in ontogeny at any point, one must have an understanding of how that person’s hormonal levels are being influenced and altered by external variables. Adult hormone levels are dramatically impacted by a variety of factors. Existing studies show wild variation in results because these studies ignore influential variables. One study that measured testosterone levels neglected to take into consideration the time of day that levels were tested. In addition, the effects of stress cannot be underestimated. For example, measuring the testosterone levels of an autistic child in an institutional setting does little to provide an idea of that child’s base hormonal threshold, particularly if that child is on a standard institutional diet. Diet has been shown to have an effect on the symptoms of autism (Hjiej, Doyen, Couprie, Kaye & Contejean, 2008).

Some diseases and conditions appear at both ends of the left/right spectrum and occupy multiple poles of both matrifocal and patrifocal social structure. Annett approached dyslexia etiologies from a new perspective and established a protocol, which discovered that handedness congregated at both the extreme left and right ends of the spectrum. Diseases and conditions with more than one etiology often confound studies and frustrate attempts to discover patterns in social structure, handedness, hormonal constellations and ethnicity. It may seem that a disease such as schizophrenia, or a condition such as obsessive-compulsive disorder, does not always associate with a specific social structure or prototype predilection when more than one etiology is potentially in play.

Lastly, the season in which an individual is born affects the maturational delay and acceleration of that individual. Season of birth can thus help polarize a society’s social structure to either end of the spectrum. The effects of pineal-influenced testosterone levels may not merely be influencing those who live in migrating populations but also those who live in relative climatic extremes. When individuals within a society congregate at the hormonal extremes, vacating the balanced polymorphistic middle where those with the heterozygote advantage reside, it becomes nearly impossible to form conclusions about a society normally based on a seamless arc, or balance. In other words, climate and migration patterns influence the variables we’ve been noting.

These four conditions that inhibit high quality information regarding hormone levels—inconsistent handedness studies, untracked environmental variables, multiple pole disease/condition etiologies and season of birth effects—are primary reasons that the Geschwind/Galaburda hypothesis drew mixed support.

Norman Geschwind and his colleagues suggested that a number of diseases and conditions tend to align with specific handedness and cerebral lateralization tendencies. Geschwind believed that the random-handed (often left-handers) and the anomalously dominant, both of whom exhibit cerebral hemispheres near the same size, were evolutionary derivations. I agree with Annett (2002) that the random-handed and anomalously dominant are our evolutionary forebears, but I’ve added that these ancestral genotypes are matrifocal in origin.

Approaching Geschwind and Galaburda’s (1987) thesis with a heterochronic/social structure perspective gives one the ability to hypothesize the etiologies of a host of diseases and conditions as well as suggest a relationship between handedness, hormonal associations, social structure, lateralization, ethnicity and environmental variables.

These are some of the diseases and conditions noted in the literature (mostly from Geschwind and Galaburda, 1987) that offer correlations with some of the variables addressed in this model: alcoholism, Alzheimer’s disease, anxiety, asthma, ataxia telangiectasia, atopic syndrome, attention deficit disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, autism, benign intracranial hypertension, bi-polar disorder, borderline personality disorder, breast cancer, congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH), cluster headaches, celiac disease, conduct disorder, congenital heart disease, dementia, depression, diabetes, Down’s syndrome, dyslexia, dystrophia myotonica, endometriosis, epilepsy, gastrointestinal issues, harelip, heart disease, Huntington’s disease, immune disorders, hyperkinetic syndrome, Kartagener syndrome, Klinefelter syndrome, Klippel-Feil syndrome, lupus erythematosus, migraine headaches, mital valve prolapse, narcissistic personality disorder, obesity, obsessive compulsive disorder, oppositional defiant disorder, osteoporosis, ovarian cysts, Parkinson’s disease, phobias, pilonidal sinus, polycystic ovary syndrome, prostate cancer, schizophrenia, scoliosis, spina bifida, stuttering, temporal lobe epilepsy, thyroid disorders, torticollis, Tourette’s syndrome, Turner syndrome and twinning. Cross reference these variables with handedness, social structure, maturation rates, ethnicity, family of origin, cerebral dominance and hormonal levels. All of these conditions offer opportunities to observe the relationships of these conditions and diseases to the eight human prototypes.


Monday, April 6th, 2009

The predictions below focus specifically on issues of relative maturation rates with an emphasis on autism and related conditions.

1) Autistic males, from families of left-handers, will have lower testosterone than the norm, and autistic females will have higher testosterone. The mothers will have high testosterone (Baron-Cohen, Lutchmaya & Knickmeyer, 2004) and quite possibly high estrogen. If we evolved primarily from high F TE, M te, then autistic males will have low estrogen, and autistic females will have high estrogen. (In any study of autism, those with familial male maturation delay tendencies, or families of left-handers, need to be evaluated separately from those possibly traumatized by an environmental effect.)

2) Larger penis and testicle size will be associated with autistic, ambidextrous males and the familial left-handed. Left-handed males and autistics will produce more sperm. (This is based on the large testicle matrifocal bonobo sexual egalitarian paradigm vs. the small testicles patrifocal gorilla harem paradigm.) If larger testicles and increased sperm production are associated with low-testosterone, promiscuous social-structure males, then the two variables will be related in the sense that higher-testosterone males will have smaller testicles or lower sperm production.

3) Autistic males will exhibit more neotenous characteristics, while autistic females should show less neoteny than their contemporaries.

4) The children of parents of widely different ethnicities, separated by tens of thousands of years from common ancestry, will reveal characteristics of their last common progenitor and increased incidence of autism and left-handedness. (Maturational delay progenitor feature emergences will be far more common in matrifocal social structure families.)

5) Neoteny has dental correlations, with smaller teeth being characteristic of the neotenous smaller jaw. Learning that teeth have grown smaller over millions of years, researchers will find that they have actually grown larger in males over the last few tens of thousands of years as patrifocal social structure has taken hold. Ontologically, the teeth of males from older mothers should be smaller than the teeth of males of first-born, young mothers. The reverse should be true for females. In a large family, the male’s teeth will erupt later and later, the female’s earlier and earlier.

6) Because a mother’s testosterone level rises with her age and because she has children across the whole arc of her reproductive years, we might observe a display of personality and physiological features in her children that would roughly reproduce human evolution over a span of eons. An older mother should more frequently have male children with maturational delay, female children with accelerated maturation and increased prevalence of autism in both sexes. Autistic children born to young mothers will more likely come with less frequency from families of left-handers, trauma being a likely cause.

7) Obese mothers (overweight women exhibit increased testosterone and estrogen levels), particularly those who are older, should show high incidence of autism in their children, particularly in migrating populations moving from equatorial regions to northern climates. Equatorial peoples transplanted to northern climates will display higher percentages of maturational-delayed male children, and maturational-accelerated females, including autistics, with the births congregating in certain seasons.

8) If the low-testosterone males and high-testosterone females are late born, and high-testosterone males and low-testosterone females are the oldest children in a family or the first born, then first-borns will mate with first-borns and late-borns will mate with late-borns a higher percentage of the time than would occur by chance.

9) Hypothesizing that social structure has political correlates, it would be likely that in a politically conservative family, if liberals were to emerge, it would be among the youngest sons and daughters. One would also expect a higher incidence of divorce or serial monogamy with youngest children (reflecting matrifocal values).

10) Conditions that display maturational delay, such as autism, Asperger’s and stuttering, will appear more often in males with longer limbs and smaller teeth than in others in their family of origin. This would suggest that the youngest males would also be the tallest. (Longer limbs and smaller teeth are neotenous features.)

11) Eating healthfully (the caveman diet) brings puberty later and provides a longer time for the brain to grow. Putting autistic children on such a late-puberty-enhancing diet may enhance their ability to connect. When puberty or progenesis in humans is dropped to a younger age by several years, it has neurological and cognitive repercussions. In addition to a possible increase in depression and bi-polar disorder, there is the potential for a general curtailment of the final stages of cognitive development.

12) Societal periods of innovation will be preceded by periods of romance, revealing changes in the selection criteria by which females pick their mates or by a widening of the selection criteria for the ideal male. Shifts toward increases in the variety of acceptable features in the procreation population will result in increases in cultural and technical variation. For example, if female infanticide is a tool used for patrifocal cultural stability, decreases in female infanticide over time within a culture will correlate with increases in societal and economic variation. These changes will result in matrifocal societal surges, increases in left-handedness and increases in autism.

13) If rhythm and dance were the aesthetics driving human evolution through rituals of sexual selection, then the sound and feeling of nonstop rhythm may be necessary to encourage the development of an autistic child. Rhythmic environmental triggers may be essential to the healthy growth of maturational-delayed children. By implication, comparing congenitally deaf left and right-handers may reveal an unusually high number of autistics in the left-handed group.

I am hypothesizing that evolution is driven by this hormonal ebbing and flowing, or waxing and waning. Mother’s testosterone levels > progeny maturation rate > social structure proclivity > evolutionary trajectory. Mother’s estrogen levels > progeny ability to exercise aesthetic discrimination and caring behavior > social structure proclivity > evolutionary trajectory. These two currents are inextricably intertwined, yet they follow established patterns, not unlike the double helix. Changes in hormone levels, influenced by the environment, impact ontogeny while we are in the womb, when we are children and after we’ve become grown-ups.

I call this the Theory of Waves to suggest the surge of features that travel ontogenetically back and forth from conception to adulthood and adulthood to conception over generations, with the direction of features often opposite between the sexes. Darwin proposed three different theories of evolution. This model in some ways integrates his three models (natural selection, sexual selection and Lamarckian selection, or pangenesis) and seeks to show patterns common to evolutionary biology (heterochronic theory), anthropology (social structure) and neuropsychology (sexual hormone endocrinology and Annett’s balanced polymorphism), all three of which describe ways that human beings may have evolved and may still be evolving.

Clearly, an adjustment (Matsuda, 1987) of Watson and Crick’s (1953) Central Dogma is occurring in several places in this thesis. Let me urge the reader to approach this work playfully while still rummaging for something useful in these conjectures. Most of all, perhaps, this thesis is suggesting that neoteny is central to being human. I believe that by playing with evolution we may discover who we are.


Monday, April 6th, 2009


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