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  #191  
Old 21st June 2011, 05:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Jazer View Post
So does that make rape or incest or anything that produces a baby a good thing?
"Functionally better" is not the same as "morally good".

Originally Posted by Jazer View Post
They do not think it is a good thing to have a baby in China. They boast about how they have prevented as many as 600,000 babies from being born. Also war tends to kill a lot of people before they are able to reproduce. You would think that all the pro war people would have been killed in those wars and natural selection should have eliminated it by now. Anti war people tend not to go off and fight, so they would be around to reproduce.
Likewise, anti-war people are also killed more frequently when war comes to them. People are anti-war for largely cultural reasons, not genetic reasons. For a large part of human history, armies were made of conscripts, not volunteers - anti-war or not, you had no choice.
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  #192  
Old 23rd June 2011, 10:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Lillen View Post
Thus we can see that not all indvidual are better fit according to evolution, and we have something that speaks otherwise!
This statement doesn't make sense. If every individual is "better fit", then what are they "better fit" than? "Better" is relative. You need to have variation in order for some individuals to be "better" (at whatever we are measuring) than others.

Natural selection is just a fancy expression for the fact that some individuals have more descendants than others for genetic reasons. And natural selection is just ONE way evolution can happen. Other mechanisms (I see someone linked genetic drift) don't require any difference in fitness at all. Genetic variation is enough in itself to cause evolution.

(Just how much interesting change you can achieve without selection is a different question)

Originally Posted by Lillen View Post
I am not sure i understand your last arguments, can you incubate?
English language lesson: "incubate" is what female birds do to their eggs. You want him to elaborate.

Dogs can ventriloquy... They are very wicked!
(a) Really? (b) How does ventriloquy make something wicked?

Originally Posted by Jazer View Post
Isn't that the theory behind the Nazi death camps? Kill everyone that is not a part of the master race. Is it a good idea for us to step in and help mother nature to make us all more perfect?
Haha, the problem is, what we do changes what is "more perfect" (in quotes because evolution doesn't ever deal in perfection). If the Nazis kill off all members of certain groups, then being a member of those groups ain't much of an evolutionary advantage. But if there are no Nazis to slaughter them, I'd say Jews (and the Romani people, another target of the Nazi madness) are pretty good at keeping their genetic heritage alive.

The point being, evolution knows no absolutes (well, strictly speaking it doesn't "know" anything, being an inanimate phenomenon). We can't "help mother nature to make us all more perfect", as the very act of our trying changes the definition of "more perfect". Fitness is always context-dependent.

In other words, the Nazis misunderstood evolution, or chose to misunderstand. Which is not really a surprise, considering the number of people that still do. (You being one of them right here, or I wouldn't need to write this reply)

Originally Posted by Jazer View Post
So does that make rape or incest or anything that produces a baby a good thing?
Like so many people, you are ignoring an important distinction between different meanings of "good". Anything that produces a baby* is a "good thing" in the sense that it propagates the parent(s)'s genes. That's something different from being morally good, which is a value judgement imparted by humans (or gods, whichever you prefer).

*It is also way more complicated than that. Yeah, a baby is "good". A baby that has a chance of growing up and producing babies of its own, that is. Which is why rape by a random stranger is in no way a good thing for a woman, even if we include "good things" in the "increase fitness" sense. (1) Mr Random Stranger is probably not the (genetic) dad she would've chosen for her babies, or he wouldn't have to force himself on her, (2) Mr Random Stranger's unlikely to stay around and help raise the kid, (3) Her mate/husband, if she has one, is unlikely to help as much with Mr Random Stranger's kid as he would with his own. Ergo, the baby is less likely to increase her reproductive success than a baby born from her pair bond/marriage would be. And she's just wasted months or years of her fertile life, depleted her body's reserves, and, if we're talking pre-modern times, risked her life with childbirth. From the rapist's point of view, all that doesn't matter. If the baby lives, he wins. If it dies, all he lost is a squirt of sperm.

There are two parents behind any baby, and what's "good" for one isn't always "good" for the other. It's a huge area of research since biologists realised that reproduction isn't all "you like me, I like you, let's make babies together!" (See entire book written on the subject)

Of course, rape can happen within a pair bond. Which makes the whole issue even more complicated.

(This turned into something of a rant. Sorry for that... take home message is still that "good" is always relative in evolution.)

They do not think it is a good thing to have a baby in China. They boast about how they have prevented as many as 600,000 babies from being born.
They do not think it's a good thing to have many babies, and they have a good reason for that. China has something of a population problem.

Of course, the whole one-child policy is beginning to seriously bite their demographics in the rump, but that's a different issue again.

Also war tends to kill a lot of people before they are able to reproduce. You would think that all the pro war people would have been killed in those wars and natural selection should have eliminated it by now. Anti war people tend not to go off and fight, so they would be around to reproduce.
Nah, anti-war people would end up massacred or enslaved when the pro-war tribe next door exterminates their own pro-war fighters that their anti-war sentiments prevented them from helping.
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  #193  
Old 23rd June 2011, 10:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Wiccan_Child View Post
Likewise, anti-war people are also killed more frequently when war comes to them. People are anti-war for largely cultural reasons, not genetic reasons. For a large part of human history, armies were made of conscripts, not volunteers - anti-war or not, you had no choice.
I've got to wonder how much choice you had in a prehistoric hunter-gatherer society. Most of human history is prehistory, and so long as there was opportunity for people to act on their genetic inclinations with regards to fighting, selection could shape those inclinations.
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"There is much we do not understand about the history of life, and the same will be true of our grandchildren. But, then, if we knew all there was to know, scientific interest would cease. Textbooks may portray science as a codification of facts, but it is really a disciplined way of asking about the unknown." - A.H. Knoll, Life on a Young Planet

"[G]ood and evil are names for what people do, not for what they are." Philip Pullman, The Amber Spyglass


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