Are we tending our gene pool well?

cyberianpan

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I was reading this:

Times

Such courage has always been recognised as a supreme asset by military strategists — Carl von Clausewitz, the 19th-century Prussian theorist, described it as “above all things . . . the first quality of a warrior”. For biologists, however, it poses a problem: humans simply should not have evolved to be heroic: the dangers to life and limb are too great.

Now, it appears, the solution to this evolutionary puzzle may lie in sex. New research suggests that braver soldiers may ultimately win more sexual partners as well as more battles, and that the extra chances to spread their genes can outweigh the risk of dying in combat.

its overall advantages can easily outweigh its risks, a mathematical model has shown.

Some men who carry genetic variants that promote bravery might perish because of them, but the ones who survive may win more battles through their greater daring. The resulting opportunities for rape and pillage can create a net evolutionary benefit.
And was thinking that "warrior rapist" is a quite undesirable genetic trait for civilised society as whole. I'd wager that even as recently as 150 years ago being a "warrior rapist" was a great advantage (to the man's genes) and allowed lots more children.

Ok by now laws & civilisation have probably reduced the advantage of the "warrior rapist" gene ... possibly to zero but I doubt to negative zone. Also maybe the "warrior rapist" gene isn't recessive and may be increasing...

Often natural selection was "good", it encouraged greater intelligence as the smart survived longer ... now (in the "civilised world") the state ensures no one dies of hunger and that we try to treat all diseases ... all these people go on to have children and thus bad genes get passed on.

I'm aware that anyone who discusses eugenics gets labelled a Nazi very quickly ... I'm not - I'm worried that in say 500 years we might be weakened as a society and the "warrior rapists" or some other ugly creature might take over.

Given that, by choice, we've pretty much abandoned natural selection at a genetic level(*) ought we start consider social enforcement ?

E.g. banning repeat rapists from having children etc ?

Some say it's a slippery slope and we shouldn't tinker ... but doing nothing is in and of itself taking a choice - but anyway we're already tinkering with natural selection...

cYp
(*) though not at memetic level
 


expat girl

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I wouldn't worry, Cyp. These days, warrior rapist types just work for Wall Street and the City of London.

Bankers bonuses are a far more predictable indicator of maximum reproductive capacity than brandishing a sword ever was. :lol: :lol: :lol:

More seriously; there are ways in which the gene pool might be being corrupted however. The 24/7 work culture is ensuring that intelligent career women are having far fewer children than their stay-at home or McJob employed peers. Their diminution of reproductive success is undoubtedly affecting everyone's gene pool.... it means that half of the people programmed for career success, often the best and the brightest, are not having the children they should.

Better working hours and child care provision please!!
 

twtone

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Of course the Irish gene poll will not exist as a separate entity within a couple of decades.

I think that's a pity, but then again I love diversity. I regret the loss of anything that can never be replaced.

Ni fheicfear ar leitheid aris.
 

Oppenheimer

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cyberianpan said:
Given that, by choice, we've pretty much abandoned natural selection at a genetic level(*) ought we start consider social enforcement ?
This is a bit of a brash statement - how do you arrive at the conclusion we have the choice to abandon this? We have increased our resilience as a species but we are still not beyond external influences, nor indeed, internal programming by our genetic code, to becoming extinct. This is a somewhat flippant reference, The Darwin Awards but does, on a lower level, illustrate my point.

@ Expat Girl: Will women ever evolve to be less superficial - looking at a man's bonus, indeed!! :D
 

expat girl

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twtone said:
Of course the Irish gene poll will not exist as a separate entity within a couple of decades.

I think that's a pity, but then again I love diversity. I regret the loss of anything that can never be replaced.

Ni fheicfear ar leitheid aris.
It never did exist.... Celts, Vikings, Normans, British (who are also a mixed bag; Celts, Romans, Saxons, Vikings, Normans, now Asians and Eastern Europeans).... and to muddy the British gene pool, there was an Irish invasion of Scotland in the 5th century.

The racially pure Irish person doesn't exist! You need to go to isolated and remote places like Iceland if you want genetically isolated populations!

Besides, outbreeding is good; the further apart two people are in terms of genetic origin, the less likely their offspring are to inherit nasty recessive diseases. This is the reason that people have known by gut instinct for ages that the breeding of close relatives is a Bad Idea. Just look at the recent press on pedigree dogs if you don't believe me. Inbred doggies = huge vets bills, gimme a good outbred mongrel any day.
 

cyberianpan

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Oppenheimer said:
cyberianpan said:
Given that, by choice, we've pretty much abandoned natural selection at a genetic level(*) ought we start consider social enforcement ?
This is a bit of a brash statement - how do you arrive at the conclusion we have the choice to abandon this? We have increased our resilience as a species but we are still not beyond external influences, nor indeed, internal programming by our genetic code, to becoming extinct. This is a somewhat flippant reference, The Darwin Awards but does, on a lower level, illustrate my point.
Very few people win the Darwin Awards/Feic all Westerners die without having opportunity to rear children:

UN Mortality Stats
Malawi(1998)
0 - 1......................................................................................................... | 44,928
1 - 4......................................................................................................... | 59,930
5 - 9......................................................................................................... | 16,717
10 - 14......................................................................................................... | 9,638
15 - 19......................................................................................................... | 7,130
20 - 24......................................................................................................... | 11,710
25 - 29......................................................................................................... | 9,290
30 - 34......................................................................................................... | 8,797
35 - 39......................................................................................................... | 7,036
40 - 44......................................................................................................... | 6,338
45 - 49......................................................................................................... | 5,639
50 - 54......................................................................................................... | 3,677
55 - 59......................................................................................................... | 3,872
60 - 64......................................................................................................... | 2,921
65 - 69......................................................................................................... | 2,695
70 - 74......................................................................................................... | 2,228
75 - 79......................................................................................................... | 1,599
80 - 84......................................................................................................... | 1,516
85+ ......................................................................................................... | 2,379

Canada(2001)
0 - 1......................................................................................................... C 1,739
1 - 4......................................................................................................... C 340
5 - 9......................................................................................................... C 245
10 - 14......................................................................................................... C 286
15 - 19......................................................................................................... C 1,033
20 - 24......................................................................................................... C 1,267
25 - 29......................................................................................................... C 1,238
30 - 34......................................................................................................... C 1,616
35 - 39......................................................................................................... C 2,649
40 - 44......................................................................................................... C 3,829
45 - 49......................................................................................................... C 5,488
50 - 54......................................................................................................... C 7,620
55 - 59......................................................................................................... C 9,396
60 - 64......................................................................................................... C 12,100
65 - 69......................................................................................................... C 17,452
70 - 74......................................................................................................... C 24,938
75 - 79......................................................................................................... C 32,381
80 - 84......................................................................................................... C 34,630
85 - 89......................................................................................................... C 32,192
90+ ......................................................................................................... C 29,096
I'm taking age 45 to be cut off for people (men or women) having children, a bit crude I know but it's roughly right.

So from above 9% of Canadians die before they reach 45 whereas 90% of Malawians die before this age. In Malawi it takes something special to survive and pass on your genes (infant mortality 50%!) ... that something special is effectively natural selection. E.g. I would posit that if in Malawi you live long enough to pass on genes that you must have a pretty amazing immune system ... so Malawi is clearly still "selecting" yet still better immune systems.

So most Malawians experience mortality which interferes with their passing on their genes whereas the opposite is true for Canada.

I'm claiming that social progress (not individual effort(*)) is prime reason for Canadians living longer (food,health less conflict etc). So Canadians are (to an extent) are cheating individual natural selection. The only Canadians to whom natural selection possibly still applies to are the childless who wish for children (homosexuals, singeltons, infertile etc) - however these are a small proportion.

In The West , mostly, we cheat natural selection ... this I approve of , in general however I'm wondering if we should look for downside ?

cYp
(*) if you want to claim individual effort is why Canadians don't die young you're in a strange boat, for starters you're clearly claiming Canadians to be massively genetically superior to the Malawians
 

mairteenpak

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expat girl said:
I wouldn't worry, Cyp. These days, warrior rapist types just work for Wall Street and the City of London.

Bankers bonuses are a far more predictable indicator of maximum reproductive capacity than brandishing a sword ever was. :lol: :lol: :lol:

More seriously; there are ways in which the gene pool might be being corrupted however. The 24/7 work culture is ensuring that intelligent career women are having far fewer children than their stay-at home or McJob employed peers. Their diminution of reproductive success is undoubtedly affecting everyone's gene pool.... it means that half of the people programmed for career success, often the best and the brightest, are not having the children they should.

Better working hours and child care provision please!!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Bell_Curve

The more able mothers are probably producing fewer children than the less able
 

diddleydoo

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I agree that we humans (in non-third world countries) are more or less outside the realms of natural selection.

This has partly to do with the fact that we have no natural predators and many illnesses can be taken care of through medicine.

This removes a relatively large individual aspect to evolution. We, as a whole, are benefiting from developments made by a few. We are surviving, but not because of changes in OUR genes, but rather because others have developed methods to tame dangers to our survival. I'm not saying this is wrong and I certainly would never be able to deny a sick child treatment but it is not exactly what is normally meant by "natural selection". We control our environment and not the other way around.

One could argue that humans go out of their way to help others with no genetic relation whatsoever and call this an evolutionary trait in humans. I don't think so. We, in the western world, have abundant food supplies and no natural predators (Insurance salespeople excluded) so the "competition" part of natural selection is basically undone. But should we have a food shortage, we would (i believe) fall immediately back to a typical behaviour in which only members of our own gene pool will be supported.

Shane.
 

constitutionus

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your talking about riding so at the end of the day you can forget about social enforcement as sex is primaraly a selfish act of gene aquirement so people will always do what they want regardless to social imperatives.

they wont admit it in public but they'll still go ahead and do it.

from my point of view in terms of the irish genepool the best thing to happen in a hundred years was the NICE treaty. i voted against the thing on political grounds but on biological grounds its been a godsend as thanks to isolation this country was so indemically imbred that weve got a 50% higher risk of cystic fibrosis than anyone else on the planet.

so as far as im conscerned the greater the mix the better

to be honest though the biggest threats to this countrys gene pool come from capitalism, which forces women into the workplace thanks to social and financial preasures and such puts off reproduction. and the pill. lets be honest if middle and upper class people were riding as much as they are without that there'd be ALOT more kids in this country. plus abortion. contentious i know but its undeniable that if all the women that had abortions in the last 10yrs didnt than we'd have an extra 50 to 60 thousand citizens now.

the really scary thing is take out immigration and our populations dropping as more of us are dying than are being born. thats why the gov are so shite sacared about a pensions crisis down the road. as it stands theres six workers to every pensioner. by the time i retire (and thats only 30yrs cheeky!) that figure'll be down to 2 workers to every pensioner. this is why people in australia and france are paying people to have kids.

in regards to the whole "Designed to succed " thing though it is worth mentioning that if you stuck the best paid people in this country on an island with no supplies odds are they'd be dead in a week. as mentioned weve built up an entire system for survival. take your average media consultant or banker out of that and they'll wake up to reality quick sharp. for all the slagging scumbags get they'd probably thrive as they recieve the least amount of support in our society.

fact is as far as your genes are conscerned were still out there fighting tigers and living in a cave. your bodys no idea civilisations even happend yet.(hence why when your being chewed out by your boss you want to either smash his skull in or do a legger :) )
 

Simon.D

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diddleydoo said:
I agree that we humans (in non-third world countries) are more or less outside the realms of natural selection.
I completely disagree... We have very strong selective pressures acting on us in this part of the world and it's mostly down to how fussy we are when it comes to choosing sexual partners for reproduction, taking into account all sorts of genetic traits.. The only way we could venture somewhat "outside the realms of natural selection" is the random insemination of women.. i.e. Semen taken from every man, mixed up in a big bucket and syringefuls then used to impregnate all our women :mrgreen: ..
 
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expat girl said:
I wouldn't worry, Cyp. These days, warrior rapist types just work for Wall Street and the City of London.

More seriously; there are ways in which the gene pool might be being corrupted however. The 24/7 work culture is ensuring that intelligent career women are having far fewer children than their stay-at home or McJob employed peers. Their diminution of reproductive success is undoubtedly affecting everyone's gene pool.... it means that half of the people programmed for career success, often the best and the brightest, are not having the children they should.

Better working hours and child care provision please!!
You obviously work as seem happy to demean anybody who doesn't fit into your stereotype of Intelligent Career Women and think that they having children will improve the gene pool.

On what basis does your proof exist for this.
 

mairteenpak

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In the western world we have inverted the process of Natural Selection, or at least we have done so in Ireland

The more able in society work to support the less well able, often to the detriment of passing on their own Genes

It is acceptable in our Society to attribute certain traits of our genetic inheritance to our fore bearers, such as strength, running ability, attractiveness, longevity, temperament, height, body conformation, etc.

Society does not like to acknowledge that genetic inheritance has a major factor in intelligence. Hence children of manual workers are expected to be represented in Universities , in the same proportions as the children of high achieving professionals.

If we are to run a society which limits the capacity of of high achieving individuals particularly women to reproduce it will have consequences for the average National Intelligence, and consequences for our society.
 

Oppenheimer

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I still disagree we are outside the realms of Natural Selection - or your definition of Natural Selection is too narrow for me, e.g., we could all be wiped off this island by a tsunami so where is the environmental control in that?

I agree we have successful strategies for recognising dangers to our survival and develop solutions to them but nature does not stop developing new ways to keep a balance and from time to time, new diseases will pop up and become epidemic to the population such that a natural "cull" will follow, e.g., AIDS, SARS, influenza. Despite the fact that we are quicker now to find solutions for these, the likely natural response will be to throw more in the way of our progress. Furthermore, fertility rates are dropping not just based on socio-demographic influences like people's economic circumstances or decision to hold off on having kids, but also to do with lower rates of egg generation and sperm counts (I don't have the time now but will pull references to articles later).

The factors we do have in our control allow us to not have to spend so much time thinking now about survival and we can think of our next problem and I believe this gives us a sense that, genetically, we have reversed Natural Selection.
 

The Lighthouse Keeper

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expat girl said:
I wouldn't worry, Cyp. These days, warrior rapist types just work for Wall Street and the City of London.
Bankers bonuses are a far more predictable indicator of maximum reproductive capacity than brandishing a sword ever was. :lol: :lol: :lol:
More seriously; there are ways in which the gene pool might be being corrupted however. The 24/7 work culture is ensuring that intelligent career women are having far fewer children than their stay-at home or McJob employed peers. Their diminution of reproductive success is undoubtedly affecting everyone's gene pool.... it means that half of the people programmed for career success, often the best and the brightest, are not having the children they should.
Better working hours and child care provision please!!
Which results in the rest breeding mediocrity in far greater numbers, I suppose,
and a future dumbing down of society as a whole?
 

diddleydoo

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Simon.D said:
diddleydoo said:
I agree that we humans (in non-third world countries) are more or less outside the realms of natural selection.
I completely disagree... We have very strong selective pressures acting on us in this part of the world and it's mostly down to how fussy we are when it comes to choosing sexual partners for reproduction, taking into account all sorts of genetic traits.. The only way we could venture somewhat "outside the realms of natural selection" is the random insemination of women.. i.e. Semen taken from every man, mixed up in a big bucket and syringefuls then used to impregnate all our women :mrgreen: ..
Eeew, what an idea. :?

I agree that there ARE aspects which may still play a role in reproduction but our survival chances in general are boosted severely by our ability to control our environment.

Instead of "survival of the fit enough" (A dawkins phrase I believe) we might argue we have to some extent at least a "survival of the wealthy enough".

Oppenheimer said:
we could all be wiped off this island by a tsunami so where is the environmental control in that?
Yeah, but it's unlikely that we'll be evolving to a situation where we would EVER survive that, so it doesn't really fall under natural selection. Natural selection would suggest that SOME people based on newly developed traits would survive that...... I'm not sure about that link.

mairteenpak said:
The more able in society work to support the less well able, often to the detriment of passing on their own Genes
That's basically what I'm getting at. The survival of an individual is no longer dependent on THEIR traits but rather on the traits of others. Maybe this is normal in natural selection, I'm not an expert on the subject.

odie1kanobe said:
You obviously work as seem happy to demean anybody who doesn't fit into your stereotype of Intelligent Career Women and think that they having children will improve the gene pool.
I have to agree. What might benefit us economically in our artificially-constructed environment is not necessarily good for the human race in the long run. Many civilisations have disappeared over the years which were deemed rather advanced, Incas for example. If our fortunes should change, if the environment fights back then a lot of these "careers" would have no bearing on our success any more. Women able to give birth to and raise children as rule is something very necessary for our development. And who said non-working mothers were any less capable than career women? I know many career women who would be sheer incapable of looking after 3 kids at the same time. It's a skillset in its own right.

mairteenpak said:
Society does not like to acknowledge that genetic inheritance has a major factor in intelligence. Hence children of manual workers are expected to be represented in Universities , in the same proportions as the children of high achieving professionals.
I'm always careful on the topic of intelligence. IQ only measures a certain aspect of our intelligence. I always maintain that wisdom (or cop-on) can go a lot further than pure knowledge any day. Of course this all depends on how you define "Intelligence".

Shane
 

Nudles

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Excellent points Shane, you really know what you are talking about. (At least that's what I say when I agree with someone ;))

Simon.D said:
.. The only way we could venture somewhat "outside the realms of natural selection" is the random insemination of women.. i.e. Semen taken from every man, mixed up in a big bucket and syringefuls then used to impregnate all our women :mrgreen: ..
That's what you think! ;)

The genes would be chosen (by Natural Selection a in so-called "unnatural environment") for the fastest and fittest sperm. It may even come down to the human body producing anti-bodies that kill the sperm of other men. This could be introduced in many ways, natural selection can be an extremely subtle process. That may even have an impact on a higher level. So many possibilities!

But your point is well made, it would seem virtually impossible, even in what we think of as an unnatural environment, to escape the process of natural selection, to evolve.

Evidence of recent evolution:
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/20 ... 115936.htm

I guess a lot of our wanting to believe we are no-longer susceptible to the whims of nature may be part of the reason we think what we do is unnatural. It may even be a semantic confusion, the word natural seems to have an almost pointless meaning in some press today.

Edit: As to the original point of the thread. At some point it may be inevitable that we employ eugenics, it is not inherently a "bad" thing. Selecting out genes that cause harm, or selecting for genes that promote fertility may become a necessity in the future, not as some would say; a convenience. Also, I don't think just because something is convenient, that it is a bad thing. It just seems like lazy thinking to me to say so, for the most part.
 

Simon.D

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diddleydoo said:
I agree that there ARE aspects which may still play a role in reproduction but our survival chances in general are boosted severely by our ability to control our environment.

Instead of "survival of the fit enough" (A dawkins phrase I believe) we might argue we have to some extent at least a "survival of the wealthy enough".
To an extent it doesn't really matter how long we live, from an evolutionary perspective all that matters is how many viable offspring we produce... As careers and the like tend to get in the way of offspring, as was alluded to previously, it could be argued that the genes whose hosts happen to have high paying positions will actually be selected out of the gene-pool, replaced by those of the pram-pushing, tracksuit wearing members of our society who have little better to do than procreate....


Nudles said:
The genes would be chosen (by Natural Selection a in so-called "unnatural environment") for the fastest and fittest sperm. It may even come down to the human body producing anti-bodies that kill the sperm of other men. This could be introduced in many ways, natural selection can be an extremely subtle process. That may even have an impact on a higher level. So many possibilities!
Indeed!
 
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Nudles said:
Edit: As to the original point of the thread. At some point to may be inevitable that we employ eugenics, it is not inherently a "bad" thing. Selecting out genes that cause harm, or selecting for genes that promote fertility may become a necessity in the future, not as some would say; a convenience. Also, I don't think just because something is convenient, that it is a bad thing. It just seems like lazy thinking to me to say so, for the most part.
The human body is complex and scientists assume that they can get rid of the so called genes that cause harm without really understanding the impact.....and it would be 2-3 generations before its implications were known.

A cancer gene in a body where the person is immune to cancer because of another gene seems superflous but the combination of those genes may make that person less susceptible to smallpox or influenza.

The human body has evolved and developed over thousands of years but now Scientists think that they have the answers.

People sometimes claim they want eternal life but then struggle to find something to keep them selfselves interested on a wet Sunday afternoon.
 

Oppenheimer

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diddleydoo said:
Oppenheimer said:
we could all be wiped off this island by a tsunami so where is the environmental control in that?
Yeah, but it's unlikely that we'll be evolving to a situation where we would EVER survive that, so it doesn't really fall under natural selection. Natural selection would suggest that SOME people based on newly developed traits would survive that...... I'm not sure about that link.

Shane
OK - the example was more to refute the claim that we are outside "natural selection" - I always react when "we" are taken outside nature in general. The example could equally be true for other natural phenomena such as a superbug (bugs brought by "explorers" in the past have been responsble for wiping out up to 99% of indigenous populations).

The fact we have securitised our existence in several ways does not put us "outside" natural selection - I do not completely disagree with your proposition - I think that you define "natural selection" too narrowly.
 


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