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Thread: Evolutionary fitness (split from devolution thread)

  1. #1  
    Forum Ph.D. Darius's Avatar
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    I think it's logically consistent if you look at it from the point of philosophy. Philosophy is concerned with purpose, and the purpose of evolution is within our power to define by eugenics. Philosophically, "evolution" can be taken to mean "improvement", and devolution to be the opposite thereof, based on comparisons between the two and their overall capability.

    Humans, in this sense, are devolving. Due to the new environment allowing us to be lax, humans of today would be unlikely to survive in prehistoric conditions. Indeed, evidence suggests we even have fewer muscle fibers than we did just 10,000 years ago. Evolution says "we don't need it", and in this environment we don't, but objectively this makes us inferior.

    I think it's also very worth noting that the most brilliant minds in history, that of Da Vinci and Socrates, haven't been reproduced (in any way close) for thousands of years. Indeed, we of the modern world have fewer polymaths of lesser capability than we did in more ancient times.

    In many ways, logically, the modern species is a pitiful and undisciplined version of its former self. This is why the philosophical concept of "devolution" is very important, because it grants humans the ability to objectively determine what they should be. Eugenics is truly the only way to reverse the damage that has been done.


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    Forum Cosmic Wizard paralith's Avatar
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    That all may be true, Darius, but we're talking about biological definitions and not philosophical ones. Granted, Shubee has yet to give us a firm biological definition of robusticity of life (clearly he doesn't mean the same definition used to describe bone and body morphology), so maybe he'd be better off venturing into philosophy.


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    Actually, I think this is what many "devolution" advocates are blindly groping at. Philosophy, being so disenfranchised, rarely enters into the mind of anyone. I only thought of it as a philosophical concept myself because of my love for logic, reason, and philosophy.

    I think it would be far better for discussion purposes if everyone agreed this to be a philosophical discussion, and moved it to the philosophy section. It makes far more sense to argue whether or not humans can make an objective estimate of ability, rather than to argue that evolution (a non-sentient process) does.
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    Forum Professor marcusclayman's Avatar
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    "Humans, in this sense, are devolving. Due to the new environment allowing us to be lax, humans of today would be unlikely to survive in prehistoric conditions."
    -Darius

    When the Gypsies were forced into houses they were stricken with diseases that domestic folk had grown resistant to. Paralith has told me before that when you domesticate a chimp, they get diabetes just like us.

    We can idealize what came before us, but we can also make decisions. There are many who have chosen to opt for a more archaic lifestyle, going against everything the theory of devolution fails to affirm.
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    I did say "in a sense". We have evolved resistances to "domesticated" diseases because we are now a domesticated race. A very simple correlation, though, would be that of a dog and a wolf. Even the best dog is inferior to a wolf in every way, even though the dog may have adapted toward domestication.
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    Forum Professor marcusclayman's Avatar
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    "A very simple correlation, though, would be that of a dog and a wolf. Even the best dog is inferior to a wolf in every way," - Darius

    In many places wolves have been eliminated by humans, wheras in those same places dogs are kept as friends and helpers. Natural selection is manifold, it's not a matter of who would win in a one on one cage match.
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    Quote Originally Posted by marcusclayman
    "A very simple correlation, though, would be that of a dog and a wolf. Even the best dog is inferior to a wolf in every way," - Darius

    In many places wolves have been eliminated by humans, wheras in those same places dogs are kept as friends and helpers. Natural selection is manifold, it's not a matter of who would win in a one on one cage match.
    Philosophically, yes it is. Who wins a cage match is extremely important in deciding what traits are ultimately survivable. Wolves are actually much smarter than any domesticated dog breed, and can learn to avoid humans very well, excepting aggressive hunts. In the event they get into trouble, they're also far better at getting out of it than domestic breeds.

    By every measure except "whether or not humans like to destroy them", wolves are vastly superior. I would never weigh an animals survivability based on a human aspect, when much of what humans destroy is arbitrary.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shubee
    Quote Originally Posted by TheBiologista
    Shubee, you've misunderstood evolution.
    I have not interpreted evolution. I have defined devolution.
    Sure you have. You said "Specifically, the theory of devolution agrees with Darwin that there are living things that reproduce with variation but says that all life is spiraling downward toward extinction and death, not upward to more glorious forms of life." So you are under the impression that there is directionality to evolution and that this assumed directionality is incorrect. But there isn't any directionality to evolution, so asserting that the direction assumed is wrong is a very serious misunderstanding of evolution on your part.

    Also:

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Shubee
    Quote Originally Posted by TheBiologista
    Increases in complexity are not demanded by evolution. Nor are increases in "robustness".
    Then why all the protests when I posit a general decrease in complexity and a decrease in robustness over time?
    Because there's no evidence of such a trend and you don't seem willing to present any. Further, such a trend, if present, would merely be "evolution", ie change in organisms over time. The "direction" of that change is not relevant.

    Quote Originally Posted by Darius
    Quote Originally Posted by marcusclayman
    "A very simple correlation, though, would be that of a dog and a wolf. Even the best dog is inferior to a wolf in every way," - Darius

    In many places wolves have been eliminated by humans, wheras in those same places dogs are kept as friends and helpers. Natural selection is manifold, it's not a matter of who would win in a one on one cage match.
    Philosophically, yes it is. Who wins a cage match is extremely important in deciding what traits are ultimately survivable.
    Surely the measure of what traits are ultimately "survivable" is... what survives? Under one specific set of selective pressures, wolves thrived. Maybe a cage match would be an analogy for that particular set of selective pressures. But selective pressures change, and different traits become fit. Survival of the fittest, that oft-misunderstood phrase, does not always mean survival of the smartest, fastest or strongest, but merely survival of whatever fits the current set of selective pressures, whatever their origin.

    Quote Originally Posted by Darius
    Wolves are actually much smarter than any domesticated dog breed, and can learn to avoid humans very well, excepting aggressive hunts. In the event they get into trouble, they're also far better at getting out of it than domestic breeds.
    Perhaps this is so, but that does not make them "superior" nor domestic dogs "inferior" in any absolute sense. Each is only so in the narrow context you've decided to measure by. Which is not the context that now exists, nor a context that is particularly special.

    Quote Originally Posted by Darius
    By every measure except "whether or not humans like to destroy them", wolves are vastly superior.
    Isn't that a bit like saying "Dolphins are vastly superior to dogs in so many ways. If the entire world flooded over, dogs would be at a huge disadvantage." In that possible albeit unlikely world, dolphins would indeed have the edge. But instead we have this world, this set of selective pressures, in which utility to humans, or the capacity to hijack human parental instincts, is an incredibly advantageous trait. In this context, dogs are superior to wolves. So much so that hundreds of millions of dogs exist in this context, whilst wolves are comparatively rare. In another context, the reverse might well be true. But above all, the context, the totality of selective pressures, is the key.

    Quote Originally Posted by Darius
    I would never weigh an animals survivability based on a human aspect, when much of what humans destroy is arbitrary.
    Our behaviour is no more arbitrary than any other species and each of them exerts selective pressures on other species just as we do (predation, parasitism, symbiosis). Why would we consider selective pressures exerted by humans to be any more arbitrary? We're just another life form, albeit a successful one.
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheBiologista
    Surely the measure of what traits are ultimately "survivable" is... what survives? Under one specific set of selective pressures, wolves thrived. Maybe a cage match would be an analogy for that particular set of selective pressures. But selective pressures change, and different traits become fit. Survival of the fittest, that oft-misunderstood phrase, does not always mean survival of the smartest, fastest or strongest, but merely survival of whatever fits the current set of selective pressures, whatever their origin.
    You misunderstand. A wolf would be able to survive in a vary greater variety of logically plausible scenarios than, say, a domestic dog. The same thing can be said for prehistoric man. A cage fight is the perfect analogy, because what does best in a "ring" will likely do best in more environments. Domestic dogs can only survive well in one scenario: being cared for by humans. Wolves, on the other hand, can survive (well) in more than I care to list. Domestication of any species narrows its total survival possibilities significantly.

    These concepts are, of course, native to rational thinking rather than biological law. Evolution only cares about survival in immediate cases, no matter how plausible other dangers are. Fortunately, as rational beings, we can foresee the most probably scenarios and use eugenics to be able to survive them. Currently, our technology carries that part, but it's very plausible to be caught "dead in the water".

    Isn't that a bit like saying "Dolphins are vastly superior to dogs in so many ways. If the entire world flooded over, dogs would be at a huge disadvantage." In that possible albeit unlikely world, dolphins would indeed have the edge. But instead we have this world, this set of selective pressures, in which utility to humans, or the capacity to hijack human parental instincts, is an incredibly advantageous trait. In this context, dogs are superior to wolves. So much so that hundreds of millions of dogs exist in this context, whilst wolves are comparatively rare. In another context, the reverse might well be true. But above all, the context, the totality of selective pressures, is the key.
    You're using absolutely no logic whatsoever, and instead using a reductio ad absurdum fallacy. None of this is worth responding to, because it's nothing I've said, and it's nothing that makes sense. Logically constructing scenarios based on plausible events isn't biased, it's reasonable.

    Our behaviour is no more arbitrary than any other species and each of them exerts selective pressures on other species just as we do (predation, parasitism, symbiosis). Why would we consider selective pressures exerted by humans to be any more arbitrary? We're just another life form, albeit a successful one.
    Humans, unlike other species, have the reasoning capability to avoid conflict with lower life forms. What we choose to destroy is incredibly arbitrary, because nine times out of ten we wouldn't need to destroy it. It's a case of having the ability, and being too lazy to use it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darius
    Quote Originally Posted by TheBiologista
    Surely the measure of what traits are ultimately "survivable" is... what survives? Under one specific set of selective pressures, wolves thrived. Maybe a cage match would be an analogy for that particular set of selective pressures. But selective pressures change, and different traits become fit. Survival of the fittest, that oft-misunderstood phrase, does not always mean survival of the smartest, fastest or strongest, but merely survival of whatever fits the current set of selective pressures, whatever their origin.
    You misunderstand. A wolf would be able to survive in a vary greater variety of logically plausible scenarios than, say, a domestic dog.
    How do you assess the full range of plausible sets of selective pressures? How do you validate that assessment?

    Quote Originally Posted by Darius
    The same thing can be said for prehistoric man. A cage fight is the perfect analogy, because what does best in a "ring" will likely do best in more environments.
    Only if the "ring" is a useful simulation of all plausible sets of selective pressures above some plausibility threshold. Otherwise it's just a test of their ability to survive in a ring.

    Quote Originally Posted by Darius
    Domestic dogs can only survive well in one scenario: being cared for by humans.
    Feral dogs disagree with you, one successful example being dingos. They're not as successful as domestic dogs worldwide, but then what species are as successful as the ones we have domesticated?

    Quote Originally Posted by Darius
    Wolves, on the other hand, can survive (well) in more than I care to list. Domestication of any species narrows its total survival possibilities significantly.
    If this is your central point, then I broadly agree. But I would say that extreme selection always results in reduced survivability outside of the niche. Be that niche human utility or a very deep dark cave. Despite this, many of our domesticated animals fare quite well when they go feral, mostly because the time they've spent becoming more useful to humans is not all that much on the evolutionary time scale. Selective breeding has exaggerated that somewhat, but it's still not crippling as the dingo demonstrates.

    Quote Originally Posted by Darius
    These concepts are, of course, native to rational thinking rather than biological law. Evolution only cares about survival in immediate cases, no matter how plausible other dangers are. Fortunately, as rational beings, we can foresee the most probably scenarios and use eugenics to be able to survive them. Currently, our technology carries that part, but it's very plausible to be caught "dead in the water".
    Again I broadly agree, but I doubt our ability to assess the range of plausible selective pressures or threats, or at least to forecast them with useful accuracy beyond the very near future. Eugenics carries with it the risk that we eliminate traits that are contextually detrimental only to have an unforeseen context render that trait favourable. An extreme eugenicist might well have eliminated the broken version of the human CCR5 gene that we call CCRd32. That gene, although unable to perform the function of CCR5, confers resistance to HIV infection.

    Quote Originally Posted by Darius
    Isn't that a bit like saying "Dolphins are vastly superior to dogs in so many ways. If the entire world flooded over, dogs would be at a huge disadvantage." In that possible albeit unlikely world, dolphins would indeed have the edge. But instead we have this world, this set of selective pressures, in which utility to humans, or the capacity to hijack human parental instincts, is an incredibly advantageous trait. In this context, dogs are superior to wolves. So much so that hundreds of millions of dogs exist in this context, whilst wolves are comparatively rare. In another context, the reverse might well be true. But above all, the context, the totality of selective pressures, is the key.
    You're using absolutely no logic whatsoever, and instead using a reductio ad absurdum fallacy. None of this is worth responding to, because it's nothing I've said, and it's nothing that makes sense. Logically constructing scenarios based on plausible events isn't biased, it's reasonable.
    Darius, you rely too heavily on crying "logical fallacy" and implying your opponents are illogical. That' a form of ad hominem argument as well as being arrogant and dismissive. Ad hominem arguments are ironically something of a logical faux pas (though not a fallacy) themselves. You've also mistaken a mode of argument (reductio ad absurdum) for a logical fallacy (perhaps you meant to imply I was using a straw man argument). Reductio ad absurdum is not a logical fallacy, it is an argument technique used to show that ones opponent's assertion leads to a logically absurd outcome. The argument may be correct or not. Rather than crying fallacy, try refuting me.

    In my example above, I assert that it makes little sense to claim species A to be "superior" (be it in the sense of survivability, fitness, robustness or whatever) to species B in some absolute sense merely because it is demonstrably so in some limited context X. Unless it has been demonstrated in the set of all plausible contexts, the the contention can only be made in the limited context. The contention could at best be made as an hypothesis pending testing in the broader context.

    Further, the selective context that you consider "absurd" (a global flood) is merely unlikely and was used for illustrative purposes.

    Quote Originally Posted by Darius
    Our behaviour is no more arbitrary than any other species and each of them exerts selective pressures on other species just as we do (predation, parasitism, symbiosis). Why would we consider selective pressures exerted by humans to be any more arbitrary? We're just another life form, albeit a successful one.
    Humans, unlike other species, have the reasoning capability to avoid conflict with lower life forms. What we choose to destroy is incredibly arbitrary, because nine times out of ten we wouldn't need to destroy it. It's a case of having the ability, and being too lazy to use it.
    Then surely we are destroying out of selfishness and laziness? That's not arbitrary, that's selfish and lazy.
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    Forum Professor marcusclayman's Avatar
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    "Philosophically, yes it is."

    Biologically, no it's not, unless of course the philosophical cage is the natural world, and your opponents are not species but genetic patterns.


    In a boxing or wrestling match they have weight limitations because larger fighters hit harder. They have boundaries to force people to face each other instead of running around excessively. In the real world the boundaries are not always so clear, and the weight limitations are non existent. Larger creatures do not always fare vs smaller creatures, because smaller creatures have evolved to survive according to their size, either they work in groups or avoid conflict with larger creatures. Survivability is not measured by any other characteristic.
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheBiologista
    Quote Originally Posted by Shubee
    Quote Originally Posted by TheBiologista
    Shubee, you've misunderstood evolution.
    I have not interpreted evolution. I have defined devolution.
    Sure you have. You said "Specifically, the theory of devolution agrees with Darwin that there are living things that reproduce with variation but says that all life is spiraling downward toward extinction and death, not upward to more glorious forms of life." So you are under the impression that there is directionality to evolution and that this assumed directionality is incorrect. But there isn't any directionality to evolution, so asserting that the direction assumed is wrong is a very serious misunderstanding of evolution on your part.
    The question is whether we made a mistake in defining it that way. Perhaps our definition of it should have had a direction.

    It seems fair to say that evolution always moves in the direction of survivability in the environment a species lives in. But, maybe it would be wise to also note whether it is moving toward being adapted to the environment we would like to create, since anything that isn't adapted to that environment will ultimately have to be selected out.


    Quote Originally Posted by Darius
    Quote Originally Posted by TheBiologista
    Surely the measure of what traits are ultimately "survivable" is... what survives? Under one specific set of selective pressures, wolves thrived. Maybe a cage match would be an analogy for that particular set of selective pressures. But selective pressures change, and different traits become fit. Survival of the fittest, that oft-misunderstood phrase, does not always mean survival of the smartest, fastest or strongest, but merely survival of whatever fits the current set of selective pressures, whatever their origin.
    You misunderstand. A wolf would be able to survive in a vary greater variety of logically plausible scenarios than, say, a domestic dog. The same thing can be said for prehistoric man. A cage fight is the perfect analogy, because what does best in a "ring" will likely do best in more environments. Domestic dogs can only survive well in one scenario: being cared for by humans. Wolves, on the other hand, can survive (well) in more than I care to list. Domestication of any species narrows its total survival possibilities significantly.
    The ability to contribute to a larger group's survival has to be taken into account as a strength as well. Often people who would make extremely capable soldiers are barred from the armed forces because they fail a personality profile. Their individual abilities don't matter as much as their degree of socialization.

    The domestic dog survives better not just because humans "like" the dog, in some purely arbitrary sense, but because the dog honestly improves the likelihood that the humans will survive.
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheBiologista
    How do you assess the full range of plausible sets of selective pressures? How do you validate that assessment?
    Logic.

    Only if the "ring" is a useful simulation of all plausible sets of selective pressures above some plausibility threshold. Otherwise it's just a test of their ability to survive in a ring.
    It's a test of many variables, though I don't suppose someone without martial arts training would realize that. A creature that does well in the ring will do very well in more scenarios than one that doesn't. Even so, this "ring" is just an example for simplicity sake, as I assumed you'd be able to get the idea. Instead you're grabbing anything you can disagree with and run with it. Shame on you.

    Feral dogs disagree with you, one successful example being dingos. They're not as successful as domestic dogs worldwide, but then what species are as successful as the ones we have domesticated?
    Note my use of the word "well". Feral dogs inevitably revert to a more wolf-like appearance and behavior through generations anyway, but initially are far worse off. Note that it takes generations for selective pressure to change them back, in the mean time they survive pitifully.

    If this is your central point, then I broadly agree. But I would say that extreme selection always results in reduced survivability outside of the niche. Be that niche human utility or a very deep dark cave. Despite this, many of our domesticated animals fare quite well when they go feral, mostly because the time they've spent becoming more useful to humans is not all that much on the evolutionary time scale. Selective breeding has exaggerated that somewhat, but it's still not crippling as the dingo demonstrates.
    It took the dingo thousands of years. The grand majority of dogs, especially smaller breeds, would die out. Ultimately they revert back to as close to their original state as possible, proving its necessity for overall survival.

    Again I broadly agree, but I doubt our ability to assess the range of plausible selective pressures or threats, or at least to forecast them with useful accuracy beyond the very near future. Eugenics carries with it the risk that we eliminate traits that are contextually detrimental only to have an unforeseen context render that trait favourable. An extreme eugenicist might well have eliminated the broken version of the human CCR5 gene that we call CCRd32. That gene, although unable to perform the function of CCR5, confers resistance to HIV infection.
    Grasping at straws. General eugenics could easily select vague traits that, on their own, would ensure a far healthier race. Selection toward intelligence, athleticism, a medium sized body, more muscle fibers, things like this. Incidentally, eugenics would have allowed us to breed HIV and AIDS out of existence. What you fear is eugenics gone awry, which is unlikely of conservatively guided by conclusive science. Especially since it requires generations to really begin to work.

    Darius, you rely too heavily on crying "logical fallacy" and implying your opponents are illogical. That' a form of ad hominem argument as well as being arrogant and dismissive. Ad hominem arguments are ironically something of a logical faux pas (though not a fallacy) themselves. You've also mistaken a mode of argument (reductio ad absurdum) for a logical fallacy (perhaps you meant to imply I was using a straw man argument). Reductio ad absurdum is not a logical fallacy, it is an argument technique used to show that ones opponent's assertion leads to a logically absurd outcome. The argument may be correct or not. Rather than crying fallacy, try refuting me.
    I consider reductio ad absurdum a fallacy because nobody does it right, not even me. You took a vague line of reasoning, ran with it in the opposite direction, and proclaimed my argument "invalid" based on flawed understanding of it. Thus, it always leads to a straw man fallacy. I'm sure "official" sources disagree, and I'm sure you will because you used it, but appealing to authority isn't something I do.

    In my example above, I assert that it makes little sense to claim species A to be "superior" (be it in the sense of survivability, fitness, robustness or whatever) to species B in some absolute sense merely because it is demonstrably so in some limited context X. Unless it has been demonstrated in the set of all plausible contexts, the the contention can only be made in the limited context. The contention could at best be made as an hypothesis pending testing in the broader context.
    The goal is general survivability in the majority of scenarios for a given (global) environment, not a specific limited context.

    Then surely we are destroying out of selfishness and laziness? That's not arbitrary, that's selfish and lazy.
    You must enjoy disagreeing with everything before thinking. What's arbitrary is when we choose to be lazy, and when we don't.

    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    The ability to contribute to a larger group's survival has to be taken into account as a strength as well. Often people who would make extremely capable soldiers are barred from the armed forces because they fail a personality profile. Their individual abilities don't matter as much as their degree of socialization.
    This is what has been selecting humans for generations, and as a result we won't have any more revolutions. There is a reason the term "sheeple" is being thrown around more and more, and it's because humans are so domesticated they refuse to do anything. Sociability is one thing, refusal to stand up for yourself is another.

    Incidentally, domestic dogs tend to not bite no matter how many times you hit them. Sound familiar?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darius
    Grasping at straws. General eugenics could easily select vague traits that, on their own, would ensure a far healthier race. Selection toward intelligence, athleticism, a medium sized body, more muscle fibers, things like this. Incidentally, eugenics would have allowed us to breed HIV and AIDS out of existence. What you fear is eugenics gone awry, which is unlikely of conservatively guided by conclusive science. Especially since it requires generations to really begin to work.
    My, you have even more faith in science than I do at this point. The worry about "eugenics gone awry" is valid because of the complexity of biological systems and how much we really still don't know about them. Complex traits are related to each other genetically in complex ways, so by selecting for vague traits that one would think would "ensure a far healthier race" you may very well be selecting for a variety of unexpectedly related traits as well, and not all of them may be what you wanted. Biologista's example is a good one; if you were selecting for a well-functioning circulatory system you probably would want to select out that genetic variation. Yet, if you wanted to "breed out" HIV, altering the sites at which we are vulnerable to the virus as this variant does is what we'd want to do. (Unless you meant just tightly controlling the behavior of people with HIV to simply prevent them from spreading it.)

    I do think that one day our understanding of this complex interweaving of traits will be fully understood. But that day is far, far away.
    Man can will nothing unless he has first understood that he must count on no one but himself; that he is alone, abandoned on earth in the midst of his infinite responsibilities, without help, with no other aim than the one he sets himself, with no other destiny than the one he forges for himself on this earth.
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    Quote Originally Posted by paralith
    My, you have even more faith in science than I do at this point. The worry about "eugenics gone awry" is valid because of the complexity of biological systems and how much we really still don't know about them. Complex traits are related to each other genetically in complex ways, so by selecting for vague traits that one would think would "ensure a far healthier race" you may very well be selecting for a variety of unexpectedly related traits as well, and not all of them may be what you wanted. Biologista's example is a good one; if you were selecting for a well-functioning circulatory system you probably would want to select out that genetic variation. Yet, if you wanted to "breed out" HIV, altering the sites at which we are vulnerable to the virus as this variant does is what we'd want to do. (Unless you meant just tightly controlling the behavior of people with HIV to simply prevent them from spreading it.)
    These vague characteristics have served human breeders in the past, most notably with horses. It's easy claim there's a problem, but how about you list a specific one? In using vague characteristics, such as health, strength, intelligence, etc, you run no risk of breeding out something truly useful. For example, the gene that allows some to be immune to the plague wouldn't be bred out, as it causes no deterrent effects.

    In fact, I'm just going you call you on this right there. Name one "beneficial" thing that's also a health deterrent.

    Quote Originally Posted by paralith
    I do think that one day our understanding of this complex interweaving of traits will be fully understood. But that day is far, far away.
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    "Name one "beneficial" thing that's also a health deterrent. "

    various appetites
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    Oh come on. If I had said "Name something that's healthy and also harmful" that would have been funny. "Healthy appetite". Ahurhur. Saying it that way makes the joke completely lame.
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  19. #18  
    Moderator Moderator TheBiologista's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darius
    Quote Originally Posted by TheBiologista
    How do you assess the full range of plausible sets of selective pressures? How do you validate that assessment?
    Logic.
    Specifically how would you use logic to assess the full range of plausible sets of selective pressures?

    Quote Originally Posted by Darius
    Only if the "ring" is a useful simulation of all plausible sets of selective pressures above some plausibility threshold. Otherwise it's just a test of their ability to survive in a ring.
    It's a test of many variables, though I don't suppose someone without martial arts training would realize that.
    For fear of being accused of logical fallacy once again, I hesitate to say this but... it's not a great test of say, one's ability to swim, is it? Or run long distance. In fact, in the grand scheme of things it tests a very very narrow range of traits and does so not against a broad set of pressures but against the immediate presence of one member of another species.

    Quote Originally Posted by Darius
    A creature that does well in the ring will do very well in more scenarios than one that doesn't. Even so, this "ring" is just an example for simplicity sake, as I assumed you'd be able to get the idea. Instead you're grabbing anything you can disagree with and run with it. Shame on you.
    Why don't you explain the broader point to me then? Because I'm not getting it from your analogy. In fact, it wasn't really clear that it was an analogy until right now.

    Quote Originally Posted by Darius
    Feral dogs disagree with you, one successful example being dingos. They're not as successful as domestic dogs worldwide, but then what species are as successful as the ones we have domesticated?
    Note my use of the word "well". Feral dogs inevitably revert to a more wolf-like appearance and behavior through generations anyway, but initially are far worse off. Note that it takes generations for selective pressure to change them back, in the mean time they survive pitifully.
    Right so we'll quibble over how "well" is "well" shall we? Or how wolf-like dingos or other feral dogs are? The measure of survivability is surely how quickly a population grows and to what extent. In the case of dingos, the population grew from the escaped/feral domesticated dog population to a pest species spanning an entire continent in as little as 6000 years. In evolutionary terms, 6000 years is a tiny span of time. I'd be impressed at any species that could go from its niche to another niche and not merely survive but thrive in that span.

    Quote Originally Posted by Darius
    If this is your central point, then I broadly agree. But I would say that extreme selection always results in reduced survivability outside of the niche. Be that niche human utility or a very deep dark cave. Despite this, many of our domesticated animals fare quite well when they go feral, mostly because the time they've spent becoming more useful to humans is not all that much on the evolutionary time scale. Selective breeding has exaggerated that somewhat, but it's still not crippling as the dingo demonstrates.
    It took the dingo thousands of years.
    And as stated already, thousands of years is a very brief span in evolutionary terms. It is generally insufficient to allow the emergence of any new traits in a multicellular species and thus any adaptation relies almost entirely on redistribution of alleles already present in the newly-feral population. Selection will be harsh and survival unlikely.

    Quote Originally Posted by Darius
    The grand majority of dogs, especially smaller breeds, would die out. Ultimately they revert back to as close to their original state as possible, proving its necessity for overall survival.
    Can you show that dingos show more traits in common with wolves than domestic dogs do? Can you quantify that?

    Quote Originally Posted by Darius
    Again I broadly agree, but I doubt our ability to assess the range of plausible selective pressures or threats, or at least to forecast them with useful accuracy beyond the very near future. Eugenics carries with it the risk that we eliminate traits that are contextually detrimental only to have an unforeseen context render that trait favourable. An extreme eugenicist might well have eliminated the broken version of the human CCR5 gene that we call CCRd32. That gene, although unable to perform the function of CCR5, confers resistance to HIV infection.
    Grasping at straws. General eugenics could easily select vague traits that, on their own, would ensure a far healthier race. Selection toward intelligence, athleticism, a medium sized body, more muscle fibers, things like this. Incidentally, eugenics would have allowed us to breed HIV and AIDS out of existence. What you fear is eugenics gone awry, which is unlikely of conservatively guided by conclusive science. Especially since it requires generations to really begin to work.
    So on the one hand the eugenics we practice on dogs has made them inferior to their wild brethren, but eugenically selected humans would thrive... Oh I get that the goals are very different, but the techniques are largely the same. So it's not much of a stretch to suggest that the problems would be similar too. Honestly Darius, whatever your expertise in logic, psychology and martial arts, I think you do not have a sufficient grasp of evolution, genetics or eugenics to appreciate the massive technical difficulties that surround eugenics.

    Breed HIV out of existence? If we could breed it out of existence we could eliminate it with gene therapy even more easily.

    Quote Originally Posted by Darius
    Darius, you rely too heavily on crying "logical fallacy" and implying your opponents are illogical. That' a form of ad hominem argument as well as being arrogant and dismissive. Ad hominem arguments are ironically something of a logical faux pas (though not a fallacy) themselves. You've also mistaken a mode of argument (reductio ad absurdum) for a logical fallacy (perhaps you meant to imply I was using a straw man argument). Reductio ad absurdum is not a logical fallacy, it is an argument technique used to show that ones opponent's assertion leads to a logically absurd outcome. The argument may be correct or not. Rather than crying fallacy, try refuting me.
    I consider reductio ad absurdum a fallacy because nobody does it right, not even me. You took a vague line of reasoning, ran with it in the opposite direction, and proclaimed my argument "invalid" based on flawed understanding of it.
    No, I made an argument by analogy which you misidentified as a straw man argument and misnamed as a reductio ad absurdum argument which itself you misclassified as a logical fallacy.

    Quote Originally Posted by Darius
    Thus, it always leads to a straw man fallacy.
    Used as it is defined, that cannot be so as the purpose of the argument is to point out a logical contradiction, an absurdity. A straw man argument is a misrepresentation of of the opponents proposition.

    Quote Originally Posted by Darius
    I'm sure "official" sources disagree, and I'm sure you will because you used it, but appealing to authority isn't something I do.
    Oh what's next? Will dictionary definitions be considered appeals to authority? Why bother to use a term with an established meaning if your meaning is something else?

    Quote Originally Posted by Darius
    In my example above, I assert that it makes little sense to claim species A to be "superior" (be it in the sense of survivability, fitness, robustness or whatever) to species B in some absolute sense merely because it is demonstrably so in some limited context X. Unless it has been demonstrated in the set of all plausible contexts, the the contention can only be made in the limited context. The contention could at best be made as an hypothesis pending testing in the broader context.
    The goal is general survivability in the majority of scenarios for a given (global) environment, not a specific limited context.
    Then the test must be adequate to cover all plausible sets of selective pressures. Otherwise an assertion of superiority in any grander sense is unsupported. It'll take more than a cage fight test but I'm sure, as an expert biologist, you can devise such a test.

    Then you could do one of those monotonous Top 100 style TV shows and count down the best species of all time (and the superset of all plausible contexts). You could have a bunch of semi-celebrity talking heads to waffle about their favourite species. The wolf does well, topping the metazoans, but will sadly be pipped to the top spot by Influenza.

    Quote Originally Posted by Darius
    Then surely we are destroying out of selfishness and laziness? That's not arbitrary, that's selfish and lazy.
    You must enjoy disagreeing with everything before thinking. What's arbitrary is when we choose to be lazy, and when we don't.
    Yeah that's what I do. If in doubt, disagree with whatever just got said. Or maybe I've actually given this some thought and still genuinely reckon you're wrong. I'm sure you'd prefer to assume that people disagree with you for more or less any other reason than that.

    Laziness, an arbitrary choice? Or the result of an inherited tendency towards laziness? Well that's a whole debate on determinism in itself.
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    Moderator Moderator TheBiologista's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darius
    These vague characteristics have served human breeders in the past, most notably with horses. It's easy claim there's a problem, but how about you list a specific one? In using vague characteristics, such as health, strength, intelligence, etc, you run no risk of breeding out something truly useful. For example, the gene that allows some to be immune to the plague wouldn't be bred out, as it causes no deterrent effects.

    In fact, I'm just going you call you on this right there. Name one "beneficial" thing that's also a health deterrent.
    You just did. The gene that allows immunity to the plague. It's is a chemokine receptor with a deletion mutation that renders it non-functional and thus reduces the functionality of any cells which use it. That would be T cells, macrophages and dendritic cells. If the mutation is inherited heterozygously, the subject gets partial resistance plus some normal receptor function. If inherited homozygously, the receptor function is entirely lost. In the context of a bubonic plague , the cost to benefit ratio is favourable in both cases. With that selective pressure absent, the ratio is ambiguous for the heterozygous case and unfavourable for the homozygous case.

    We could breed for that or just vaccinate instead...
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    Forum Cosmic Wizard SkinWalker's Avatar
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    In addition, the sickle cell trait is deters good health but also has a beneficial side-effect in that it also deters malaria. In regions of the world where the trait originates, malaria is more serious a threat than anemia.
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    Forum Cosmic Wizard SkinWalker's Avatar
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    I'll stop. He did say "one thing."
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  23. #22  
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    At Darius' request, I've split these posts from the devolution thread. Now, given that Darius' topic is actually worthy of a decent scientific/philosophical debate and could not be termed pseudoscience, I really don't think that pseudo is the right home for this new thread. So if anyone has any suggestions as to where this thread ought to live I'll be happy to move it.
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    Darius' request for "one "beneficial" thing that's also a health deterrent," is somewhat vague of a request, my apologies if my statement of "various appetites" was equally vague.

    Appetite in general is good, but when our environment changes faster than our appetites it can be contradictory. For example, meat is a wonderful food, but in the recent decades it has increased manifold in supply to the developed countries, while our appetite for it has mostly stayed the same(blind assumption). Many people thus eat far too much meat, because your body doesn't know that it's so plentiful, it expects every bite of meat to last you until the next hunt, more or less.

    This same thing can be said about food in general, as well as relaxation, and drugs.

    While various neural transmitters are good, an excess of them that occurs with usage of various drugs potentially damages the nerves, creates resistance to the effectiveness of the neural transmitter, or worse, the producer of the neural transmitter stops producing since it's no longer needed, creating dependence.

    Neural transmitters are generally good, but our appetites for them are not when our appetites are calibrated for a much different environment than the one we are currently in.
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    I think Sickle-cell Anemia is the BEST counter-example to Darius's argument. I'm sure those genetic traits pop-up everywhere too, where you have traits that are both beneficial in certain situations or for certain applications, but can be rather detrimental in others. I don't know anything about the gene that grants immunity to Yersinia pestis, but judging from the response by Bio, it's quite a silly gene at this point. I'm sure that if Paralith jumps in we'll get a whole new lesson on genes.
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  26. #25  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darius

    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    The ability to contribute to a larger group's survival has to be taken into account as a strength as well. Often people who would make extremely capable soldiers are barred from the armed forces because they fail a personality profile. Their individual abilities don't matter as much as their degree of socialization.
    This is what has been selecting humans for generations, and as a result we won't have any more revolutions. There is a reason the term "sheeple" is being thrown around more and more, and it's because humans are so domesticated they refuse to do anything. Sociability is one thing, refusal to stand up for yourself is another.

    Incidentally, domestic dogs tend to not bite no matter how many times you hit them. Sound familiar?
    That's sort of like how the cells in your arm might be considered inferior to free roaming bacteria. If you damage them, they'll complain back to your brain, but they won't try to attack your body in order to stop it. Another way of seeing it is that we're approaching a state of hive mind. Just like how individual bees have very little sense of self preservation, but if you provoke the hive as whole, you'd better run. But bees are not necessarily inferior to house flies.

    If one entire culture of sheeple is provoked by another entire culture, then they turn fierce pretty fast, which is a fine example of a situation where a trait that evolved in one environment doesn't necessarily work in another. Before the nuclear bomb, it made sense to have a massive territorial war every couple of generations (because it allowed unlimited expansion to the more adapted culture), but now the bomb is here, and we're in a different environment.


    Quote Originally Posted by paralith
    Quote Originally Posted by Darius
    Grasping at straws. General eugenics could easily select vague traits that, on their own, would ensure a far healthier race. Selection toward intelligence, athleticism, a medium sized body, more muscle fibers, things like this. Incidentally, eugenics would have allowed us to breed HIV and AIDS out of existence. What you fear is eugenics gone awry, which is unlikely of conservatively guided by conclusive science. Especially since it requires generations to really begin to work.
    My, you have even more faith in science than I do at this point. The worry about "eugenics gone awry" is valid because of the complexity of biological systems and how much we really still don't know about them. Complex traits are related to each other genetically in complex ways, so by selecting for vague traits that one would think would "ensure a far healthier race" you may very well be selecting for a variety of unexpectedly related traits as well, and not all of them may be what you wanted. Biologista's example is a good one; if you were selecting for a well-functioning circulatory system you probably would want to select out that genetic variation. Yet, if you wanted to "breed out" HIV, altering the sites at which we are vulnerable to the virus as this variant does is what we'd want to do. (Unless you meant just tightly controlling the behavior of people with HIV to simply prevent them from spreading it.)

    I do think that one day our understanding of this complex interweaving of traits will be fully understood. But that day is far, far away.
    Yeah. The problem with Eugenics is that pretty much every problem it pretends to solve can be solved easier another way. Genetic evolution is way slower than cultural or intellectual evolution, which spreads as fast as the rate of education.

    Adjusting what a biological organism knows changes more about what they do than adjusting that same biological organism's DNA. Who needs a strong body when you know how to build a hydraulic lifter? Who needs to run fast when you've got a car?
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    Okay, this thread is not at home here. Where should it go? Biology or Philosophy?
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    Forum Cosmic Wizard paralith's Avatar
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    I'm fine with it in Biology, but I think it should be Darius' choice.
    Man can will nothing unless he has first understood that he must count on no one but himself; that he is alone, abandoned on earth in the midst of his infinite responsibilities, without help, with no other aim than the one he sets himself, with no other destiny than the one he forges for himself on this earth.
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  29. #28  
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    Well this is turning into a me vs. everyone thread. Not surprising, given the nature of the subject. I've replied to Kojax and Skinwalker in addition to TheBiologista. Let the scanning-through-what-I-wrote-to-facilitate-misunderstanding begin!

    Due to the twists that have occurred, bringing out more biology than philosophy, I suppose it does belong in biology. I only wish people would care to ask meaningful questions (which I've already thought of, no less) about the philosophy I presented, instead of arguing the physical mechanics of it.

    Quote Originally Posted by TheBiologista
    Specifically how would you use logic to assess the full range of plausible sets of selective pressures?
    Who is John Galt? Ergh, I hate Ayn Rand. Anyway, this is like asking for the scientific method. There is no singular method capable of deciding, with absolute certainty, what set is the most plausible. I go with vague requirements because that is the limitation of the logic: You can only reasonably assume that most environments would require better strength, intelligence, etc.

    For fear of being accused of logical fallacy once again, I hesitate to say this but... it's not a great test of say, one's ability to swim, is it? Or run long distance. In fact, in the grand scheme of things it tests a very very narrow range of traits and does so not against a broad set of pressures but against the immediate presence of one member of another species.
    That is not a fallacy, it is a question followed by exposition. Though this is a tired analogy, it still works, because ones ability to fight is closely tied with ones intelligence and overall muscular strength/endurance. This, in turn, helps with all sorts of varied physical activity. It's not specialist, of course, but we're looking for "most survivable". If a runner can only run, what happens if his legs are tied?

    Anyway, the ring analogy had a point, but in all the tedious disagreement it lost its use. I ended up explaining most of what it was supposed to, anyway, such as vague trait selection for maximum survivability.

    Right so we'll quibble over how "well" is "well" shall we? Or how wolf-like dingos or other feral dogs are? The measure of survivability is surely how quickly a population grows and to what extent. In the case of dingos, the population grew from the escaped/feral domesticated dog population to a pest species spanning an entire continent in as little as 6000 years. In evolutionary terms, 6000 years is a tiny span of time. I'd be impressed at any species that could go from its niche to another niche and not merely survive but thrive in that span.
    Not at all, because the land it went to had no real natural predators for it. On top of this, Dingo's weren't even that domesticated. The fact it has very little real danger to contend with in Australia is evidenced by the fact it hasn't changed much at all in that time. Lets also not forget that, thanks to human waste, many feral dogs get a free meal (literally). I'd consider Dingo's a bad example, given how sparse the dangers are in Australia.

    It's also worth mentioning that Dingo's just got lucky, too, in that their ancestor(s) are speculated to be the iranian/arabian wolf, which had already evolved for an environment similar to that of certain parts of australia.

    And as stated already, thousands of years is a very brief span in evolutionary terms. It is generally insufficient to allow the emergence of any new traits in a multicellular species and thus any adaptation relies almost entirely on redistribution of alleles already present in the newly-feral population. Selection will be harsh and survival unlikely.
    Not so. Humans have changed significantly in a short period of time, as have many domestic dog breeds. If there are selective pressures, and there never are for successful feral breeds (as I just found out), the feral(s) will take on an appearance more akin to that of its ancestors. In the true wild, anyway. Remember, evolution is dictated by necessity.


    Can you show that dingos show more traits in common with wolves than domestic dogs do? Can you quantify that?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dingo#O...genetic_status

    While the dingo still has more in common with the domestic dog (again, lack of selective pressure), it does have more in common with its ancestor than modern domesticated breeds.

    So on the one hand the eugenics we practice on dogs has made them inferior to their wild brethren, but eugenically selected humans would thrive... Oh I get that the goals are very different, but the techniques are largely the same. So it's not much of a stretch to suggest that the problems would be similar too. Honestly Darius, whatever your expertise in logic, psychology and martial arts, I think you do not have a sufficient grasp of evolution, genetics or eugenics to appreciate the massive technical difficulties that surround eugenics.
    Ahahahaha. Wow. That's like asking if a different methodology will change the result. The technique is always the same: Get two people with similar traits you want to breed, and voila. The whole point is that the different goals would make a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT result.

    The reason modern domestic breeds are inferior is because we did not breed them for survivability. We bred them to be pets.

    Breed HIV out of existence? If we could breed it out of existence we could eliminate it with gene therapy even more easily.
    People that are immune to the black death are immune to HIV, and the cause is a genetic mutation that has been identified. It makes it impossible for HIV to infect cells, because HIV needs a specific (vestigial) "connection" to infect cells.

    No, I made an argument by analogy which you misidentified as a straw man argument and misnamed as a reductio ad absurdum argument which itself you misclassified as a logical fallacy.
    Okay, fine. You made a terrible analogy that made absolutely no sense and was based on misunderstanding what I wrote. I fail to see how this interpretation helps you.

    Oh what's next? Will dictionary definitions be considered appeals to authority? Why bother to use a term with an established meaning if your meaning is something else?
    Man, do you ever shut up? The more I say the more you find to disagree on, and the less you seem to think. My meaning of reductio ad absurdum is absolutely no different from the meaning dictated from an official source. What I said, and what is plainly obvious to anyone that's thinking at all while he reads (i.e, not you), is that I find it impossible for anyone to use it properly, and that it always leads to a strawman fallacy.

    Then the test must be adequate to cover all plausible sets of selective pressures. Otherwise an assertion of superiority in any grander sense is unsupported. It'll take more than a cage fight test but I'm sure, as an expert biologist, you can devise such a test.
    I wasn't aware that you knew my profession. Perhaps such a wise person like yourself is borderline psychic, and thus can divine through godly means the limits of my knowledge.

    Quote Originally Posted by TheBiologista
    You just did. The gene that allows immunity to the plague. It's is a chemokine receptor with a deletion mutation that renders it non-functional and thus reduces the functionality of any cells which use it. That would be T cells, macrophages and dendritic cells. If the mutation is inherited heterozygously, the subject gets partial resistance plus some normal receptor function. If inherited homozygously, the receptor function is entirely lost. In the context of a bubonic plague , the cost to benefit ratio is favourable in both cases. With that selective pressure absent, the ratio is ambiguous for the heterozygous case and unfavourable for the homozygous case.

    We could breed for that or just vaccinate instead...
    Specifically the chemokine (C-C motif) receptor 5 (CCR5), which is considered rather vestigial. It's only known interactions, aside from HIV, come from CCL5 and CCL3L1. Ironically both serve to combat HIV in the first place (failing at it), and do almost nothing else. CCR5 is, to my knowledge, entirely vestigial.

    Quote Originally Posted by SkinWalker
    In addition, the sickle cell trait is deters good health but also has a beneficial side-effect in that it also deters malaria. In regions of the world where the trait originates, malaria is more serious a threat than anemia.
    It was a trick question, because anything with side effects as severe as the sickle cell trait is not beneficial overall. Instead, it's a niche adaptation that goes against the very basic philosophy I'm proposing, and as a result carries with it the prospect of certain death at completely random intervals.

    Incidentally, this is also my rebuttal for similar comments. It was a trick request whereby no true answer can be presented, as each adaptation is a niche one that cannot be arrived upon by vague-trait eugenics. In fact, that sort of selection would immediately remove it from the gene pool, because of its symptoms! Is anyone even TRYING to follow along?

    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    That's sort of like how the cells in your arm might be considered inferior to free roaming bacteria. If you damage them, they'll complain back to your brain, but they won't try to attack your body in order to stop it. Another way of seeing it is that we're approaching a state of hive mind. Just like how individual bees have very little sense of self preservation, but if you provoke the hive as whole, you'd better run. But bees are not necessarily inferior to house flies.
    I am hesitant to correct another misunderstanding, but circumstances give it warrant. Rather than make a proper analogy, you made an incorrect one (as has everyone else so far). This is why I try to avoid analogies in conversation, because it is another thing not even I do properly.

    The "hive mind" concept is inherently deterring because it leads to stagnation. If bees can be considered to have a "culture", then it hasn't changed in millions of years. Human cultures, too, stagnate when everyone is afraid to usurp common knowledge. Recent evolution in the past few thousand years has, as a result of killing off the vocal dissidents, has weeded out individuals of lower serotonin levels (used for mood regulation), and left us with people far less inclined to rouse to action (they have "control" that masquerades as apathy).

    I advise everyone read THIS, as it (coincidentally) provides evidence for a growing evolved complacency in humans.

    If one entire culture of sheeple is provoked by another entire culture, then they turn fierce pretty fast, which is a fine example of a situation where a trait that evolved in one environment doesn't necessarily work in another. Before the nuclear bomb, it made sense to have a massive territorial war every couple of generations (because it allowed unlimited expansion to the more adapted culture), but now the bomb is here, and we're in a different environment.
    And cultures worldwide are stagnating because of it, just as ROME did before bad leadership and barbarians tore her apart. All the world is doing is waiting for the barbarians.

    Yeah. The problem with Eugenics is that pretty much every problem it pretends to solve can be solved easier another way. Genetic evolution is way slower than cultural or intellectual evolution, which spreads as fast as the rate of education.
    You're wrong. While it takes time for changes to fully propogate, many of them are immediately evident. If you have two highly gifted individuals breed, their child will oft be of similar quality. A voluntary eugenics program in the 1980's ran by Robert Klark Graham produced some very interesting results, though entirely ignored by modern society.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/magazine/5078800.stm

    This article provides evidence (though small), that it was a very good success in matters of intelligence. As Robert Klark Graham's selection was vague like mine, nothing negative resulted from his voluntary program.

    Who needs a strong body when you know how to build a hydraulic lifter? Who needs to run fast when you've got a car?
    I like how nobody reads what I write. Unless that technology is integrated into your body, with 0% chance of failure, there is a decent plausible situation where you will be caught dead without it. Thus, it is very beneficial to guide evolution to general survivability.
    Om mani padme hum

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  30. #29  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard paralith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darius
    It was a trick question, because anything with side effects as severe as the sickle cell trait is not beneficial overall. Instead, it's a niche adaptation that goes against the very basic philosophy I'm proposing, and as a result carries with it the prospect of certain death at completely random intervals.

    Incidentally, this is also my rebuttal for similar comments. It was a trick request whereby no true answer can be presented, as each adaptation is a niche one that cannot be arrived upon by vague-trait eugenics. In fact, that sort of selection would immediately remove it from the gene pool, because of its symptoms! Is anyone even TRYING to follow along?
    The example of sickle cell still applies. The sickle cell adaptation has a negative side-effect not because it's an adaptation to a narrow niche (though areas exposed to malaria cover large parts of tropical areas across the world encompassing a large percent of the total human population so I personally don't consider it that narrow), but because it is a relatively recent adaptation that was selected for relatively quickly.

    Recent strong sweeps of selection often lead to negative traits becoming associated with the trait that is being selected for. One way is by linkage on the chromosome; simply, two traits are located close to each other and it takes a while for recombination to break them up, so for a while they go hand in hand. Select for one and you get the other too. This is why domesticated animals of all kinds tend to have spots and floppy ears where their wild ancestors had none. Selecting for nothing but tameness (a pretty vague trait) leads to animals that are not only tame but with unexpected physical alterations as well.

    Another way is by creating changes that the rest of the body has yet to cope with, as in sickle cell. Malaria is a relatively recent threat in human evolutionary history (and sickle cell is not the only genetic variant that has recently arisen to defend against it; alpha thalessemia, for example, is another defense that often leads to anemia and weakness.) Given enough time and a maintenance of the selective pressure, people with variations of sickle cell (or other circulatory system variants that work better with sickled cells) that make them less susceptible to the negative side effects will have greater reproductive success. Given enough time natu]al selection will have isolated the good and removed the bad.

    This is why it doesn't matter if we select for vague trait suites or specific traits; strong, swift selection often results in hitch-hiking undesired traits or changes that the rest of our physiology hasn't caught up with yet. Also, the vague trait vs specific trait dichotomy seems, to me at least, a false one. After all, is not resistance to common and debilitating diseases a vague trait that you would want to select for to create a healthier human population? Vague trait suites are built up of specific traits that have to change in order to get a specific result.

    You're wrong. While it takes time for changes to fully propogate, many of them are immediately evident. If you have two highly gifted individuals breed, their child will oft be of similar quality. A voluntary eugenics program in the 1980's ran by Robert Klark Graham produced some very interesting results, though entirely ignored by modern society.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/magazine/5078800.stm

    This article provides evidence (though small), that it was a very good success in matters of intelligence. As Robert Klark Graham's selection was vague like mine, nothing negative resulted from his voluntary program.
    I do not debate that intelligence has a significant genetic component and that the genetic component is heritable. However, I also think that the environmental component to intelligence is responsible for a very large amount of the variation in human IQ, and for the purposes of speedy intelligence boosting of the human race the environmental component is the one that deserves more attention.

    I say this in spite of Graham's study you linked to above, because Graham's study did not isolate the genetic component. I quote from the article:

    But Graham was offering more than genius sperm, he was offering "healthy and intelligent" women freedom of choice, where couples could choose the donor whose characteristics they prefer.
    Note the healthy and intelligent women phrase; Graham also affected the environment that the sperm donor children were going to be raised in by selecting for women who were healthy and intelligent. Intelligent people tend to have good jobs, and have plentiful resources which they can apply to boost the environmental contribution to their child's intelligence. The relative importance of genetics in this equation, then, is not clearly demonstrated by this example.
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  31. #30  
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    Quote Originally Posted by paralith
    I'm fine with it in Biology, but I think it should be Darius' choice.
    Well Darius seems to think Biology now as well, so I'll move it there.

    Quote Originally Posted by Darius
    Specifically the chemokine (C-C motif) receptor 5 (CCR5), which is considered rather vestigial. It's only known interactions, aside from HIV, come from CCL5 and CCL3L1. Ironically both serve to combat HIV in the first place (failing at it), and do almost nothing else. CCR5 is, to my knowledge, entirely vestigial.
    This just about finishes it for me. Now you're an immunologist, CCR5 is a vestigial receptor and its ligands serve only to fight a virus badly... Or you skimmed Wikipedia, regurgitated bits of it without understanding it and reached a totally faulty conclusion.

    Screw it, I'll bite. I am an immunologist. CCR5 shares ligands with other CC receptors but since neither its responses to those ligands nor its expression pattern are fully redundant it cannot be considered "vestigial". It's "known interactions" are not limited to CCL3L1 and CCL5 but also extend to CCL3 and CCL4. The functions of these ligands is not to fight HIV and "almost nothing else", they are chemokines. They are signals which draw cells towards them by chemotaxis (by binding to the CCRs and related receptors), a process which is central to the recruitment of leukocytes during immune responses, central to the recruitment of various stem cell populations to sites of damage and are also major players during embryogenesis. The ligands of CCR5 only "fight" HIV because they compete with HIV viral particles for CCR5 binding, blocking it from entry, during the course of their normal functioning. Quite why you felt the need to expand out the full name of CCR5 to tell us that it has a CC motif is a mystery to me as that point has no relevance at all to this discussion.

    Your conclusions overreach your understanding here as they do when it comes to evolution and eugenics. That would not be a problem at all were you not so stubbornly certain, so totally lacking in the doubt that befits debating a complex topic and so strident in your delivery of every argument.

    And then there's this:

    Quote Originally Posted by Darius
    Well this is turning into a me vs. everyone thread. Not surprising, given the nature of the subject. I've replied to Kojax and Skinwalker in addition to TheBiologista. Let the scanning-through-what-I-wrote-to-facilitate-misunderstanding begin!
    Implying that your opponents don't think, are illogical and so on... well that's a cop out. I think you just don't like being contradicted and would prefer to explain it away as error on the rest of the world's part. I'll give you a hint Darius; sometimes, when everyone is telling you you're wrong, it means you're wrong. When it happens all the damn time, it should be a serious warning sign to anyone with the slightest capacity for self-analysis.

    I'm going to exit the discussion at this point because I don't have the patience for this game where you repeatedly get a loose grasp of a topic, reach an immediate and far-reaching conclusion and then refuse to budge an inch until the end of time.
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  32. #31  
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheBiologista
    This just about finishes it for me. Now you're an immunologist, CCR5 is a vestigial receptor and its ligands serve only to fight a virus badly... Or you skimmed Wikipedia, regurgitated bits of it without understanding it and reached a totally faulty conclusion.
    The concept has fascinated me for some time. I've read the material available to me on the internet, not just the wiki article. I admit to not having a book on the relevant topic. If you know better, then I will acquiesce.

    Screw it, I'll bite. I am an immunologist. CCR5 shares ligands with other CC receptors but since neither its responses to those ligands nor its expression pattern are fully redundant it cannot be considered "vestigial". It's "known interactions" are not limited to CCL3L1 and CCL5 but also extend to CCL3 and CCL4. The functions of these ligands is not to fight HIV and "almost nothing else", they are chemokines. They are signals which draw cells towards them by chemotaxis (by binding to the CCRs and related receptors), a process which is central to the recruitment of leukocytes during immune responses, central to the recruitment of various stem cell populations to sites of damage and are also major players during embryogenesis. The ligands of CCR5 only "fight" HIV because they compete with HIV viral particles for CCR5 binding, blocking it from entry, during the course of their normal functioning. Quite why you felt the need to expand out the full name of CCR5 to tell us that it has a CC motif is a mystery to me as that point has no relevance at all to this discussion.
    I did so in case others were curious as to its full name. This is interesting, as I had not known, because no negative effects of the immunity have been noted in my research.

    I'm going to exit the discussion at this point because I don't have the patience for this game where you repeatedly get a loose grasp of a topic, reach an immediate and far-reaching conclusion and then refuse to budge an inch until the end of time.
    Petty insults are quite unbecoming of a moderator. In fact I only now acquiesced because you actually began reporting facts to me, instead of your opinion. Immunologist or not, until you provide me relevant facts, I cannot be expected to agree.

    It should also be noted that breeding for HIV immunity was not my first suggestion, but rather preventing HIV carriers from propagating entirely.

    Quote Originally Posted by paralith
    The example of sickle cell still applies. The sickle cell adaptation has a negative side-effect not because it's an adaptation to a narrow niche (though areas exposed to malaria cover large parts of tropical areas across the world encompassing a large percent of the total human population so I personally don't consider it that narrow), but because it is a relatively recent adaptation that was selected for relatively quickly.
    If it is your personal view of the matter, I imagine nothing will sway your mind short of God. I define "narrow" as being just that, located in a single region or area. Technology, not eugenics, should focus on making us immune to niche problems like that, due to the very negative effects the sickle cell adaptation shows. Mainly because one of the disadvantages of Eugenics is that it takes longer, thereby deprecating its use over faster evolving technology for specific ailments. I believe this responds to the following few paragraphs (informative as they are) as well.

    This is why it doesn't matter if we select for vague trait suites or specific traits; strong, swift selection often results in hitch-hiking undesired traits or changes that the rest of our physiology hasn't caught up with yet. Also, the vague trait vs specific trait dichotomy seems, to me at least, a false one. After all, is not resistance to common and debilitating diseases a vague trait that you would want to select for to create a healthier human population? Vague trait suites are built up of specific traits that have to change in order to get a specific result.
    Our definitions of "common" differ. I advocate eugenics for a stronger general immune system, yes, but not for specific diseases that require wilder adaptation. Which, as always, are shown to cause negative effects. For example, due to a mix of genetics and exposure as a child, I am immune to symptoms from a cold/flu. This would be a good thing for everyone, as it benefits each region worldwide.

    Also, while I know that many traits are linked to others, advances in traits like intelligence and strength have never been shown to be harmful, excepting extreme mutation. Mutations in general should be avoided, as they always require more time to stabilize than they're worth.

    I do not debate that intelligence has a significant genetic component and that the genetic component is heritable. However, I also think that the environmental component to intelligence is responsible for a very large amount of the variation in human IQ, and for the purposes of speedy intelligence boosting of the human race the environmental component is the one that deserves more attention.
    The environment factor is not in dispute, and is indeed included in what would be selected by use of vague traits. Intelligence selection doesn't exactly mean examination of genetics, ignoring the results of environment.
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    Biologista, you are an immunologist? Are there any other immunities (off the top of your head, of course) that we develop that end up like the one we were just educated about?
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  34. #33  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard paralith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darius
    If it is your personal view of the matter, I imagine nothing will sway your mind short of God.
    Wha? What does a god have to do with this?

    I define "narrow" as being just that, located in a single region or area.
    Here is a map illustrating areas of the world affected by malaria.



    The majority of Africa, large areas of the Middle East and Southeast Asia including large chunks of India and China, some of the most population-dense countries in the world, and a large portion of South America. If you choose to consider this a portion of the human population that is too small to be worth the benefit of malaria-prevention eugenics, fine. But it is not a single region or area.

    Technology, not eugenics, should focus on making us immune to niche problems like that, due to the very negative effects the sickle cell adaptation shows. Mainly because one of the disadvantages of Eugenics is that it takes longer, thereby deprecating its use over faster evolving technology for specific ailments. I believe this responds to the following few paragraphs (informative as they are) as well.
    Not really. What I wrote was to explain why swift and powerful selection often has negative side effects, regardless of the nature of the trait being selected for. Adaptations against malaria were simply examples of that process.

    Our definitions of "common" differ. I advocate eugenics for a stronger general immune system, yes, but not for specific diseases that require wilder adaptation. Which, as always, are shown to cause negative effects. For example, due to a mix of genetics and exposure as a child, I am immune to symptoms from a cold/flu. This would be a good thing for everyone, as it benefits each region worldwide.
    Regardless of whether or not we agree on the specific example of malaria, the main point I would like to make is that selection for "vague traits" is essentially synonymous with selection for specific traits; in order for your general immune system to be better you would need a more rapid production of white blood cells, or more efficient white blood cells, or a wider variety of antibodies, etc - some specific variant or specific mutation that has the phenotypic result you desire will be selected for, and by creating a very strong selective force you will be susceptible to negative side effects for the reasons I've mentioned.

    Also, while I know that many traits are linked to others, advances in traits like intelligence and strength have never been shown to be harmful, excepting extreme mutation. Mutations in general should be avoided, as they always require more time to stabilize than they're worth.
    lol, mutations are how you create variation upon which to select. Existing variation in human genes wouldn't exist if it weren't for mutation. And they happen every single generation. There is no avoiding them. And as far as I'm aware, you're right in that there aren't any known examples of negative effects from speedy selection on muscle mass or general intelligence - none yet. It's not necessary that negative effects will occur, it just becomes more likely to happen when the selection is very strong. The risk is not one you can avoid, regardless of the past history of whatever trait you're trying to focus on. That's my main point.

    And actually, I do know of a paper published which hypothesized that many of the genetic disorders particular to certain Jewish populations are the result of strong selection on that population for intelligence hundreds of years ago; however I hesitate to link to it because the science in it is pretty awful.

    The environment factor is not in dispute, and is indeed included in what would be selected by use of vague traits. Intelligence selection doesn't exactly mean examination of genetics, ignoring the results of environment.
    In your future vision of eugenics I can see that. Just be aware for terminology's sake that selection, whether it be by humans or by the environment, is inherently a process that acts on genetics and not on the environment. Only that which is heritable can be affected by selection, natural or otherwise. To alter environmental factors would be an additional but technically distinct process. [/img]
    Man can will nothing unless he has first understood that he must count on no one but himself; that he is alone, abandoned on earth in the midst of his infinite responsibilities, without help, with no other aim than the one he sets himself, with no other destiny than the one he forges for himself on this earth.
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  35. #34  
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    Quote Originally Posted by paralith
    Here is a map illustrating areas of the world affected by malaria.



    The majority of Africa, large areas of the Middle East and Southeast Asia including large chunks of India and China, some of the most population-dense countries in the world, and a large portion of South America. If you choose to consider this a portion of the human population that is too small to be worth the benefit of malaria-prevention eugenics, fine. But it is not a single region or area.
    It IS a "region", according to one definition of the word. If people would voluntarily choose to propagate a eugenics program as volatile as malaria immunity, that's their business. My stance is that eugenics to combat specific diseases, such as Malaria, are too dangerous and specific to seek.

    Not really. What I wrote was to explain why swift and powerful selection often has negative side effects, regardless of the nature of the trait being selected for. Adaptations against malaria were simply examples of that process.
    What you wrote was against swift selection to combat specific changes. Key word, "combat" and "specific". Again, vague traits do none of these things, and I've already requested someone try to prove they do. Instead, all I got were specifics I never argued for to begin with.

    Regardless of whether or not we agree on the specific example of malaria, the main point I would like to make is that selection for "vague traits" is essentially synonymous with selection for specific traits; in order for your general immune system to be better you would need a more rapid production of white blood cells, or more efficient white blood cells, or a wider variety of antibodies, etc - some specific variant or specific mutation that has the phenotypic result you desire will be selected for, and by creating a very strong selective force you will be susceptible to negative side effects for the reasons I've mentioned.
    To my knowledge, Sparta experienced no such thing, and I'm an avid reader of history. Neither did the children of Nazi eugenics programs. Neither, again, anyone in voluntary programs. If you argument is that it's inevitable, then when is it? Put a date on it. Otherwise all you're doing is handwaving.

    So far, no evidence has been presented that selecting individuals based on health, intelligence, etc, is harmful. Rather, evidence has been presented that selecting for specifics is. Again, a concept I never advocated.

    lol, mutations are how you create variation upon which to select. Existing variation in human genes wouldn't exist if it weren't for mutation. And they happen every single generation. There is no avoiding them. And as far as I'm aware, you're right in that there aren't any known examples of negative effects from speedy selection on muscle mass or general intelligence - none yet. It's not necessary that negative effects will occur, it just becomes more likely to happen when the selection is very strong. The risk is not one you can avoid, regardless of the past history of whatever trait you're trying to focus on. That's my main point.
    On the contrary, selecting against mutations themselves has been demonstrated to reduce (nearly eliminate) their occurrence. Of course they may happen, but all historical evidence from cultures that have practiced eugenics shows they happen in lesser frequency than normal breeding.

    And actually, I do know of a paper published which hypothesized that many of the genetic disorders particular to certain Jewish populations are the result of strong selection on that population for intelligence hundreds of years ago; however I hesitate to link to it because the science in it is pretty awful.
    If the science is awful, why did you mention it? If it's awful, then it's logical to view it as inaccurate, so it helps you in no way. What was the purpose of this mention?

    In your future vision of eugenics I can see that. Just be aware for terminology's sake that selection, whether it be by humans or by the environment, is inherently a process that acts on genetics and not on the environment. Only that which is heritable can be affected by selection, natural or otherwise. To alter environmental factors would be an additional but technically distinct process.
    This is very true, but a discussion for another thread and time. Sadly, one that will be even more controversial than this.
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  36. #35  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darius
    My stance is that eugenics to combat specific diseases, such as Malaria, are too dangerous and specific to seek.
    My stance is that selection of any kind involves discrete traits. Complex phenotypes of made up of numerous discrete traits. You can't avoid selecting on them; by not targeting one in particular you simply leave it up to chance which one or ones end up being the winner.

    What you wrote was against swift selection to combat specific changes. Key word, "combat" and "specific". Again, vague traits do none of these things, and I've already requested someone try to prove they do. Instead, all I got were specifics I never argued for to begin with.
    No, I wrote only about swift and powerful selection. I said if you want specific results, some single trait or traits will have to change. Your vague traits are constituted of a myriad of specific traits. I say yet again, selection on vague traits leads to selection on one or more specific traits because that's what they're made of. The results of swift and strong selection are the same regardless of what you select for. Thus my example of selection for tameness and getting spotted coats.

    To my knowledge, Sparta experienced no such thing, and I'm an avid reader of history. Neither did the children of Nazi eugenics programs. Neither, again, anyone in voluntary programs. If you argument is that it's inevitable, then when is it? Put a date on it. Otherwise all you're doing is handwaving.
    To quote myself from my previous post:

    It's not necessary that negative effects will occur, it just becomes more likely to happen when the selection is very strong. The risk is not one you can avoid, regardless of the past history of whatever trait you're trying to focus on. That's my main point.
    I never said it was inevitable, I never attempted to put a date on it. I talked about risk and susceptibility. I said strong selection often, not always, creates negative side effects. The risk is an inherent property of the effects of selection, recombination, and the inter-relatedness of traits. This whole thing started when you told Biologista he was over-concerned about eugenics gone awry. All I'm trying to say is that there is a valid and defined risk to artificial selection on humans, not that it's doomed to failure.

    So far, no evidence has been presented that selecting individuals based on health, intelligence, etc, is harmful. Rather, evidence has been presented that selecting for specifics is. Again, a concept I never advocated.
    Again, vague traits are made up of discrete traits and the affects of selection on them are no different, not at all. And you ignored my example of tameness, but then again I guess that's not vague enough for your definition of vague.

    On the contrary, selecting against mutations themselves has been demonstrated to reduce (nearly eliminate) their occurrence. Of course they may happen, but all historical evidence from cultures that have practiced eugenics shows they happen in lesser frequency than normal breeding.
    You're thinking of mutations with obvious negative effects. Mutations also include those with beneficial effects that you'd want to select for and neutral mutations that have no effects you would notice. Stopping mutation is not the issue and it is not stoppable. It happens every time DNA is copied. You can't stop new ones from popping up.

    If the science is awful, why did you mention it? If it's awful, then it's logical to view it as inaccurate, so it helps you in no way. What was the purpose of this mention?
    Was thinking aloud, in a way. Sorry if it bothered you. The work was not well done but it has potential to be further researched, so the accuracy of the idea is simply undetermined at this point.
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  37. #36  
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    Quote Originally Posted by paralith
    My stance is that selection of any kind involves discrete traits. Complex phenotypes of made up of numerous discrete traits. You can't avoid selecting on them; by not targeting one in particular you simply leave it up to chance which one or ones end up being the winner.
    The more I read, the more a single question perplexes me. How, exactly, is any of this not compensated by the "must be healthy" clause? I've known what you're saying, as I have biology text books of my own, I'm simply confused as to why you are saying it. Every single birth is dictated by this kind of random chance, anyway, so how does Eugenics make it any worse? Indeed, when pressed to answer, you can provide no sources on the matter. So why are you still arguing?

    If anything, a vague eugenics program would only imitate natural selection on humans for millions of years. We've been getting faster, stronger, smarter, etc, all this time. Implementing the same program is only recreating the pattern.

    I never said it was inevitable, I never attempted to put a date on it. I talked about risk and susceptibility. I said strong selection often, not always, creates negative side effects. The risk is an inherent property of the effects of selection, recombination, and the inter-relatedness of traits. This whole thing started when you told Biologista he was over-concerned about eugenics gone awry. All I'm trying to say is that there is a valid and defined risk to artificial selection on humans, not that it's doomed to failure.
    This is why I never use analogies, because there's a risk that I will also misunderstand someones point. In any case, accepting your assumed risk for a moment, how is it riskier than uncontrolled reproduction? If genetic diseases haven't already gave you a clue, they're evidently far more susceptible to problems. Especially since most of them are hereditary, thus solvable by a "must be healthy" clause.

    Again, vague traits are made up of discrete traits and the affects of selection on them are no different, not at all. And you ignored my example of tameness, but then again I guess that's not vague enough for your definition of vague.
    I do not argue facts. I'm consistently arguing, however, against the assertion that eugenics is somehow harmful because of it. I'm hearing a lot of conjoined cries, but no evidence.

    You're thinking of mutations with obvious negative effects. Mutations also include those with beneficial effects that you'd want to select for and neutral mutations that have no effects you would notice. Stopping mutation is not the issue and it is not stoppable. It happens every time DNA is copied. You can't stop new ones from popping up.
    You can certainly stop the negative ones, which is my point. Arguing that Eugenics is bad because of neutral or objectively beneficial mutations seems ludicrous.
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    "this is turning into a me vs. everyone thread."

    No, it's actually your argument vs other people's arguments. Feel free to address the flaws of your opponents arguments, and add support for your own -- in a scientific way -- now that it's in the biology section.

    ___________

    "I'm consistently arguing, however, against the assertion that eugenics is somehow harmful because of it. I'm hearing a lot of conjoined cries, but no evidence. "

    You claim that it would be helpful: being the elite debater you are, I'm sure your familiar with the term "burden of proof."

    Maybe I overlooked your support, but implying that because we can breed dogs to be tiny, and horses to run faster, doesn't mean that other unknown undesired traits are breed out, because we are simply not breeding everything negative out, and have not yet reached a point where we are aware of the source of everything negative.

    For example, I read an article today about sensitivity to physical pain and social pain being caused by the same gene. If someone wanted to breed out physical pain, they would invariably be breeding out social pain. Without pain we can continue to make mistakes. But consider the hypothetical situation that we have developed an education system so that lacking physical pain, we would be able to see and understand other signs of injury or disease that would inspire us, without pain, to seek medical attention. Invariably, we would also not notice rejection, and possible other social forces at work. This eugenics society wouldn't be a society at all, lacking the primary social force(in my opinion): learning from social success, as it's related to social failures.

    I'm assuming that It's much easier to identify injuries and diseases without pain, than it is to identify social problems without pain.


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    "accepting your assumed risk for a moment, how is it riskier than uncontrolled reproduction?"

    Reproduction is not random, there are genetic and environmental ques that influence/determine who mates with who. Your ideal of eugenics, for example, increases your chances of mating with someone who agrees with you on eugenics; but of course you are more than just your ideal of eugenics -- this is just an example, and a poor one at that.
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    Quote Originally Posted by marcusclayman
    You claim that it would be helpful: being the elite debater you are, I'm sure your familiar with the term "burden of proof."
    At times like this, I feel there is but one descriptive word to accurately frame my mental response: Groan. I already provided it, both with a link to the results of a modern voluntary eugenics program, and with references to Nazi eugenics as well as Spartan eugenics. The benefits of eugenics, in practice and in theory, are obvious.

    Maybe I overlooked your support, but implying that because we can breed dogs to be tiny, and horses to run faster, doesn't mean that undesired traits are breed in, because we are simply not breeding everything negative out, and have not yet reached a point where we are aware of the source of everything negative.
    You did miss it. The majority of all genetic ailments are hereditary. They are not spontaneous. I've mentioned this already, and were you not scanning through you may have noticed. If a Eugenics program had been in place, AIDS would never have been a problem. Ever. Nor autism, nor cancer (susceptibility to cancer is hereditary), nor any genetic defect. All of which, by the way, are increasing as these people procreate.

    For example, I read an article today about sensitivity to physical pain and social pain being caused by the same gene. If someone wanted to breed out physical pain, they would invariably be breeding out social pain. Without pain we can continue to make mistakes. But consider the hypothetical situation that we have developed an education system so that lacking physical pain, we would be able to see and understand other signs of injury or disease that would inspire us, without pain, to seek medical attention. Invariably, we would also not notice rejection, and possible other social forces at work. This eugenics society wouldn't be a society at all, lacking the primary social force(in my opinion): learning from social success, as it's related to social failures.
    I've never said anything about breeding out the pain response, and no proposed eugenics program I have read about does. This paragraph is irrelevant.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darius
    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    That's sort of like how the cells in your arm might be considered inferior to free roaming bacteria. If you damage them, they'll complain back to your brain, but they won't try to attack your body in order to stop it. Another way of seeing it is that we're approaching a state of hive mind. Just like how individual bees have very little sense of self preservation, but if you provoke the hive as whole, you'd better run. But bees are not necessarily inferior to house flies.
    I am hesitant to correct another misunderstanding, but circumstances give it warrant. Rather than make a proper analogy, you made an incorrect one (as has everyone else so far). This is why I try to avoid analogies in conversation, because it is another thing not even I do properly.

    The "hive mind" concept is inherently deterring because it leads to stagnation. If bees can be considered to have a "culture", then it hasn't changed in millions of years. Human cultures, too, stagnate when everyone is afraid to usurp common knowledge. Recent evolution in the past few thousand years has, as a result of killing off the vocal dissidents, has weeded out individuals of lower serotonin levels (used for mood regulation), and left us with people far less inclined to rouse to action (they have "control" that masquerades as apathy).

    I advise everyone read THIS, as it (coincidentally) provides evidence for a growing evolved complacency in humans.

    I think this is for the reason that I said, however. Our collective agitated response evolved under conditions where interteritorial war was a safe game for cultures to play. People only got complacent when they were waiting for another war to come along and stir them to action. But, that war came along and all that complacency gave way to new innovation, and growth.



    If one entire culture of sheeple is provoked by another entire culture, then they turn fierce pretty fast, which is a fine example of a situation where a trait that evolved in one environment doesn't necessarily work in another. Before the nuclear bomb, it made sense to have a massive territorial war every couple of generations (because it allowed unlimited expansion to the more adapted culture), but now the bomb is here, and we're in a different environment.
    And cultures worldwide are stagnating because of it, just as ROME did before bad leadership and barbarians tore her apart. All the world is doing is waiting for the barbarians.
    I agree, but the problem isn't collectivism. The problem is that the specific kind of collective agitated response we evolved into doesn't work in this particular environment. The environment changed too fast.

    This is going to be the problem if you use Eugenics too. Every change you make to the human genome, as an attempt to adapt to our current environment, will be rendered invalid when advancing technology changes that environment.

    As a species, we were perfectly adapted to pre-1942 technology, at least in terms of the traits you've been talking about. People rallied to that war, once it finally got started (they were reluctant to join it, however). They weren't complacent. But... they also weren't facing MADD.




    Yeah. The problem with Eugenics is that pretty much every problem it pretends to solve can be solved easier another way. Genetic evolution is way slower than cultural or intellectual evolution, which spreads as fast as the rate of education.
    You're wrong. While it takes time for changes to fully propogate, many of them are immediately evident. If you have two highly gifted individuals breed, their child will oft be of similar quality. A voluntary eugenics program in the 1980's ran by Robert Klark Graham produced some very interesting results, though entirely ignored by modern society.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/magazine/5078800.stm

    This article provides evidence (though small), that it was a very good success in matters of intelligence. As Robert Klark Graham's selection was vague like mine, nothing negative resulted from his voluntary program.
    So, what will it be worth when processor/brain interface technology progresses to the point where you can arbitrarily boost a child's intelligence as high as you want just by adding more chips to their brain?

    We'll find that, what really matters is their level of socialization. Sometimes a person with a high IQ is just a smart thief, providing worse than a zero benefit to society. How many smart police does it take to stop him? How many smart industrialists does it take to repair the harm he's done to the economy?

    Who needs a strong body when you know how to build a hydraulic lifter? Who needs to run fast when you've got a car?
    I like how nobody reads what I write. Unless that technology is integrated into your body, with 0% chance of failure, there is a decent plausible situation where you will be caught dead without it. Thus, it is very beneficial to guide evolution to general survivability.
    What's so great about a 0% chance of failure?

    If people become too reliant on their bodies, then they never learn to build machines, and machines can do things that bodies can't. In many cases, without a machine you have a 0% chance of success (which is what you get in trade for a greater-than-0% chance of failure)

    We don't need a claw to grow as part of our body because we can use knives. If the knife breaks, we make another. If your claw breaks, you've got to wait for another one to grow. Sooner or later, maybe Cyborgs will become a reality, and we'll be living the ultimate extreme of what I'm talking about. If your arm were just made of machinery, and it got cut off, you could rebuild it, instead of having to be maimed the rest of your life.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    I think this is for the reason that I said, however. Our collective agitated response evolved under conditions where interteritorial war was a safe game for cultures to play. People only got complacent when they were waiting for another war to come along and stir them to action. But, that war came along and all that complacency gave way to new innovation, and growth.
    You're wrong. Rapid leaps of innovation and growth only happen after massive upheavals that usurp the prior system. Most often, after massive die-offs, such as those during the bubonic plague. It's not a coincidence that the renaissance followed afterward, only to end again as the powers that be solidified that power. There's a reason we no longer have genius polymaths, and it's because we're stagnating again.

    I agree, but the problem isn't collectivism. The problem is that the specific kind of collective agitated response we evolved into doesn't work in this particular environment. The environment changed too fast.
    There have been many patriots and revolutionaries in history. It worked pretty well, but the problem is they're bred out. This is an adaptation for this system: Complacency ensures survival, and that is all evolution cares abotu.

    This is going to be the problem if you use Eugenics too. Every change you make to the human genome, as an attempt to adapt to our current environment, will be rendered invalid when advancing technology changes that environment.
    The traits I've listed so far are not environment specific, and that is the point.

    So, what will it be worth when processor/brain interface technology progresses to the point where you can arbitrarily boost a child's intelligence as high as you want just by adding more chips to their brain?
    Unlikely. The purpose of this eugenics is to make the species, on average, ready to use such technology responsibly. Currently what we are doing is playing with fire, with over 90% of the worlds population totally ignorant of the dangers of it. That's unacceptable, and won't change until the next revolution. If there is one.

    If people become too reliant on their bodies, then they never learn to build machines, and machines can do things that bodies can't. In many cases, without a machine you have a 0% chance of success (which is what you get in trade for a greater-than-0% chance of failure)
    Ah yes, the "road not taken" argument. Hilariously enough, an intelligent species would plan for the "what ifs", which would include the creation of alternate "back up" forms of technology.

    We don't need a claw to grow as part of our body because we can use knives. If the knife breaks, we make another. If your claw breaks, you've got to wait for another one to grow. Sooner or later, maybe Cyborgs will become a reality, and we'll be living the ultimate extreme of what I'm talking about. If your arm were just made of machinery, and it got cut off, you could rebuild it, instead of having to be maimed the rest of your life.
    Now that's ridiculous. Claws would, by their very existence (unless you count Wolverine), render punching and certain grasping motions impossible. Your example makes no sense, even when I think to apply it to something like ones vision. "Hurrrr, we don't need good eyesight, because we have binoculars!"

    What happens when you're caught in the woods without your Batman utility belt?
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    Darius, I never argued that eugenics was bad, only that it comes with inherent risks that it makes no sense to deny. And yes, they are the same risks that would apply to natural selection as well as artificial selection, and I have stated as much already. All of this stemmed from this statement of yours:

    What you fear is eugenics gone awry, which is unlikely of conservatively guided by conclusive science.
    The risk of eugenics gone awry is not unlikely but is a fixed probability given the nature of genetics. I'm merely trying to say you shouldn't pass it off like we don't have to worry about it. It's a distinct possibility we'll have to consider. That's all.
    Man can will nothing unless he has first understood that he must count on no one but himself; that he is alone, abandoned on earth in the midst of his infinite responsibilities, without help, with no other aim than the one he sets himself, with no other destiny than the one he forges for himself on this earth.
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    I find it odd that you would choose to define "awry" as something benign and common, as opposed to the obvious problem of human morality in the matter. Clearly this is what I meant it as, and it should be duly noted that Eugenics lessons the incidence of genetic problems significantly to begin with, thus giving it no real down sides.

    Honestly, this entire conversation leaves me sour.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darius
    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    I think this is for the reason that I said, however. Our collective agitated response evolved under conditions where interteritorial war was a safe game for cultures to play. People only got complacent when they were waiting for another war to come along and stir them to action. But, that war came along and all that complacency gave way to new innovation, and growth.
    You're wrong. Rapid leaps of innovation and growth only happen after massive upheavals that usurp the prior system. Most often, after massive die-offs, such as those during the bubonic plague. It's not a coincidence that the renaissance followed afterward, only to end again as the powers that be solidified that power. There's a reason we no longer have genius polymaths, and it's because we're stagnating again.
    Maybe it's because their inventions happened at such an early level of advancement. The next step in our scientific/mathematical progress might be so complex that even a perfect clone of Galileo, Davinci, or Newton, wouldn't be able to make it. Maybe people intelligent enough to separately and independently re-invent the things they discovered are born every day, but you don't hear about them because they're not the first.

    Another interpretation of the post bubonic plague Europe might be that the massive amount of death improved their economy, by creating lots and lots of vacant real estate in need of new ownership. People had time and energy to do things that weren't possible when they were struggling to subsist.


    So, what will it be worth when processor/brain interface technology progresses to the point where you can arbitrarily boost a child's intelligence as high as you want just by adding more chips to their brain?
    Unlikely. The purpose of this eugenics is to make the species, on average, ready to use such technology responsibly. Currently what we are doing is playing with fire, with over 90% of the worlds population totally ignorant of the dangers of it. That's unacceptable, and won't change until the next revolution. If there is one.
    But is that even possible to do? When one considers the costs of eugenics - and there are almost certainly going to be costs - a high probability of success is justified demand to make. As we tamper with our genome, we'll need to be well assured that we're genuinely fixing it, instead of just breaking it worse than it already is.

    Are we making sure to factor in socialization, so we're not promoting intelligent sociopaths at the cost of law abiding idiots? A negative is worse than a zero, not better. Most people get so focused on promoting one trait, they forget about other traits, traits we may only miss after they're gone. There's a good chance something as destructive as the A-Bomb, but much easier to build, will be invented some time in the future, at which point socialization becomes very very important.


    Then there's the other social aspect: how do you tell all the dumb people in the world that their grand children aren't going to be the ones who inherit the successes of their generation's hard work?


    We don't need a claw to grow as part of our body because we can use knives. If the knife breaks, we make another. If your claw breaks, you've got to wait for another one to grow. Sooner or later, maybe Cyborgs will become a reality, and we'll be living the ultimate extreme of what I'm talking about. If your arm were just made of machinery, and it got cut off, you could rebuild it, instead of having to be maimed the rest of your life.
    Now that's ridiculous. Claws would, by their very existence (unless you count Wolverine), render punching and certain grasping motions impossible. Your example makes no sense, even when I think to apply it to something like ones vision. "Hurrrr, we don't need good eyesight, because we have binoculars!"
    Right, but having a knife affords you all the same utility as having claws, with none of the liabilities. You get the best of both worlds, because when you need your hands back, you can just put the knife back in its sheath.

    Anyways, eyesight is a really good example of the cyborg argument. In this case: laser surgery. Why do we need our genes to determine the shape of our cornea, if we can alter it of our own accord? Now, what if a surgery came along that could alter your eyesight to be better than 20/20? Still want to worry about breeding that trait?


    What happens when you're caught in the woods without your Batman utility belt?
    Why is that any more a concern than what happens if a bird pecks out your eyes? Why would you be without your tools?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darius
    I find it odd that you would choose to define "awry" as something benign and common, as opposed to the obvious problem of human morality in the matter.
    Um - never defined awry as something benign and common. Not sure where that's coming from. By awry I might not as intentioned.

    Clearly this is what I meant it as, and it should be duly noted that Eugenics lessons the incidence of genetic problems significantly to begin with, thus giving it no real down sides.
    Well, it wasn't clear to me, I suppose due to my definite bias to think of the biological consequences. The moral issues are a whole other can of worms, a conversation about which I would probably shunt to Philosophy. And I will not "duly note" that eugenics has no biological downsides. This whole conversation was about the clear risk of downsides. Whether selection is directed by humans or by nature the risks are the same. I'm not sure why you seem unwilling to accept that. And in case you start throwing examples of eugenics programs at me again, no program has lasted long enough to display any unambiguous results let alone clear assessments of risk based on them alone.
    Man can will nothing unless he has first understood that he must count on no one but himself; that he is alone, abandoned on earth in the midst of his infinite responsibilities, without help, with no other aim than the one he sets himself, with no other destiny than the one he forges for himself on this earth.
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    My problem is that "eugenics" is a pretty broad field, it can be used in a lot of ways. Alone "eugenics" doesn't do anything. Government for example, is nothing, if all it is is a word. When it's put into work it becomes something, before then at most, it's just a plan.

    Eugenics won't eliminate disease unless a specific form of eugenics, designed to eliminate disease susceptible genes is put into effect. It goes without saying, but my main concern is that people DON"T say it. People lump all possible forms of eugenics under one word, and all forms of eugenics are not created equal. For example I practice a form of eugenics, as all people and animals do, subconsciously and consciously in determining who I will mate with, what I will eat, and how I will survive. Everything we do effects what our children will be and what sort of world they will live in, I don't need a governmental program telling me that, if I have a history of diseases, and I want to bring healthy children into this world: I would best find a mate that has no history of diseases, make as many offspring as I can manage, and raise them the best I can to make high quality mates to attract healthy partners.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    Maybe it's because their inventions happened at such an early level of advancement. The next step in our scientific/mathematical progress might be so complex that even a perfect clone of Galileo, Davinci, or Newton, wouldn't be able to make it. Maybe people intelligent enough to separately and independently re-invent the things they discovered are born every day, but you don't hear about them because they're not the first.

    Another interpretation of the post bubonic plague Europe might be that the massive amount of death improved their economy, by creating lots and lots of vacant real estate in need of new ownership. People had time and energy to do things that weren't possible when they were struggling to subsist.
    The last paragraph is also true. The prior paragraph is nothing but conjecture.


    But is that even possible to do?
    Yes.

    Are we making sure to factor in socialization, so we're not promoting intelligent sociopaths at the cost of law abiding idiots?
    Our society already promotes sociopaths due to the extreme degree of lies that must be told to succeed. Who lies best? Who charms best? A sociopath.

    Right, but having a knife affords you all the same utility as having claws, with none of the liabilities. You get the best of both worlds, because when you need your hands back, you can just put the knife back in its sheath.
    And few people carry knives around at all times.

    Anyways, eyesight is a really good example of the cyborg argument. In this case: laser surgery. Why do we need our genes to determine the shape of our cornea, if we can alter it of our own accord? Now, what if a surgery came along that could alter your eyesight to be better than 20/20? Still want to worry about breeding that trait?
    Yeaaaah...no. None of that is available, and the medical procedures for what we do have are expensive.


    Why is that any more a concern than what happens if a bird pecks out your eyes? Why would you be without your tools?
    Plausibility. Why else? The grand majority of people don't carry around with them a Batman utility belt.

    Quote Originally Posted by paralith
    Um - never defined awry as something benign and common. Not sure where that's coming from. By awry I might not as intentioned.
    I went too far with "benign", but certainly common, in a relative sense. Relative to the fact that eugenics would decrease the number of prevalent issues.

    And I will not "duly note" that eugenics has no biological downsides.
    None but the obvious reduced tendency for harmful mutation (that may or may not still be present, but to definite lesser degrees). None that you've proved in any way beyond repeatedly claiming it.

    This whole conversation was about the clear risk of downsides. Whether selection is directed by humans or by nature the risks are the same. I'm not sure why you seem unwilling to accept that.
    Because they are not the same, as my listed examples prove.

    And in case you start throwing examples of eugenics programs at me again, no program has lasted long enough to display any unambiguous results let alone clear assessments of risk based on them alone.
    And I'm sure you gladly assign an arbitrary length just beyond the range of the Spartans, whose program lasted for centuries. I don't know, when you start engineering data by saying the longest example isn't long enough, you begin to lose credibility.

    Then again, how about I just prove you wrong now: Horses. Quod erat demonstrandum. Horses have been consistently bred for vague traits since humans acquired them. Of course, I'm sure a few thousand years is still "too short". In either case, you provide no evidence for your stance and claim mine doesn't have enough time. Tell me, when DO your mythical "caused by eugenics" problems set in? Perhaps if you provided any factual basis for them whatsoever, I'd be inclined to believe you.

    Or I could also pick something closer to home. Tell me, how many eugenics programs have mice endured?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darius
    Relative to the fact that eugenics would decrease the number of prevalent issues.

    And I will not "duly note" that eugenics has no biological downsides.
    None but the obvious reduced tendency for harmful mutation (that may or may not still be present, but to definite lesser degrees). None that you've proved in any way beyond repeatedly claiming it.
    Darius, you cannot control the rate at which mutations occur, not by simply controlling who breeds with who. That's what I'm talking about. It seems that you're talking about selecting against negative mutations once they arise, which of course you would. So it seems we just had a misunderstanding here.

    Because they are not the same, as my listed examples prove.
    You haven't proven that to me. How is selection by humans different than selection by nature? Selection by nature is the vaguest of all - it selects for reproductive success. Whatever way you can accomplish it, selection will favor it.

    And I'm sure you gladly assign an arbitrary length just beyond the range of the Spartans, whose program lasted for centuries. I don't know, when you start engineering data by saying the longest example isn't long enough, you begin to lose credibility.
    Fine, let me rephrase - none long enough where we actually have reliable data. I don't think the Spartans left detailed records that would allow us to statistically test what they did.

    Then again, how about I just prove you wrong now: Horses. Quod erat demonstrandum. Horses have been consistently bred for vague traits since humans acquired them. Of course, I'm sure a few thousand years is still "too short". In either case, you provide no evidence for your stance and claim mine doesn't have enough time. Tell me, when DO your mythical "caused by eugenics" problems set in? Perhaps if you provided any factual basis for them whatsoever, I'd be inclined to believe you.

    Or I could also pick something closer to home. Tell me, how many eugenics programs have mice endured?
    lol, do you think you're going to rile me up by talking about mice? That's interesting. Here's an example. Mdx mice are bred to have the same point mutation (a single base pair) in the gene dystrophin, a mutation that causes the equivalent of Duchenne's muscular dystrophy in mice. It causes muscular degeneration. It is also well known that Mdx mice in general are very stress sensitive - suddenly shining a strong light on them can stress some Mdx individuals to death. And this comes from researchers I knew personally who have worked extensively with these mice lines. This is not a condition that accompanies human muscular dystrophy nor is common to selectively bred mice. Totally unexpected and certainly not desirable, for the mice or the purpose of research with them.

    Domesticated animals are certainly an example of human selective breeding, and they have come with negative side effects. That's why pure bred dogs are more susceptible to various genetic disease, and a lot of the breeding of dogs is quite vague by breeding for a friendly temperment and things like that. Overall domesticated animals have smaller brain sizes than their wild ancestors; that works for animals we want to keep captive but is it something you would want in humans?

    I have a feeling you're going to claim that the problems with pure bred dogs is inbreeding. That's only partly true. Selection by it's very nature reduces the genetic variation in a population - you're selecting for a subset of the total variation and thus reducing it. This makes the risk of inbreeding higher than if the population was simply randomly breeding.
    Man can will nothing unless he has first understood that he must count on no one but himself; that he is alone, abandoned on earth in the midst of his infinite responsibilities, without help, with no other aim than the one he sets himself, with no other destiny than the one he forges for himself on this earth.
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    "Who lies best? Who charms best? A sociopath. "

    This is an idealized generalization, deceiving ignorance of the subject.
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    Quote Originally Posted by marcusclayman
    "Who lies best? Who charms best? A sociopath. "

    This is an idealized generalization, deceiving ignorance of the subject.
    Ahahahahahaha. If only you knew. There are various levels to psychopaths, and very few are actually the homicidal kind. If you look at various individuals in power, and read about the symptoms and behaviors of psychopathy, you'll notice there's a strong correlation between how high up the social ladder you are and how many behavioral symptoms you match. Wikipedia isn't exactly a great source for this, but it's simplified list of "symptoms" (some of which are only true for homicidal psychopaths) is close enough.

    Although, I think it a common misunderstanding to believe psychopaths are all antisocial. It's very plausible to retain most of the traits, such as the empty charm, ease of lying, and lack of empathy, and be quite sociable. Not only that, but to use them to get promotions in business, or business deals, and so on.

    Quote Originally Posted by paralith
    Darius, you cannot control the rate at which mutations occur, not by simply controlling who breeds with who. That's what I'm talking about. It seems that you're talking about selecting against negative mutations once they arise, which of course you would. So it seems we just had a misunderstanding here.
    So you were speaking of the standard rate of random mutation, rather than hereditary disease as I repeatedly mentioned to make myself clear. I'm convinced you're doing this on purpose, as there is no possible way in which I have communicated myself poorly when I quite clearly kept mentioning what I was referring to. If I quoted myself throughout this whole ordeal, I'm sure I'd find no less than twelve references to what you only now are seeing.

    You haven't proven that to me. How is selection by humans different than selection by nature? Selection by nature is the vaguest of all - it selects for reproductive success. Whatever way you can accomplish it, selection will favor it.
    If you're going to tell me that this current system of selection selects the strongest, fastest, and wisest, I'm going to laugh. We have the Idiocracy thing going, where the dumbest produce the most children. A eugenics program would reverse that, big time.

    Fine, let me rephrase - none long enough where we actually have reliable data. I don't think the Spartans left detailed records that would allow us to statistically test what they did.
    I'm sure if there were any serious problems with eugenics, it would have found mention in history. You don't hear of Spartan illness, deformity, or anything for that matter. What, exactly, do you propose exists?

    lol, do you think you're going to rile me up by talking about mice? That's interesting. Here's an example. Mdx mice are bred to have the same point mutation (a single base pair) in the gene dystrophin, a mutation that causes the equivalent of Duchenne's muscular dystrophy in mice. It causes muscular degeneration. It is also well known that Mdx mice in general are very stress sensitive - suddenly shining a strong light on them can stress some Mdx individuals to death. And this comes from researchers I knew personally who have worked extensively with these mice lines. This is not a condition that accompanies human muscular dystrophy nor is common to selectively bred mice. Totally unexpected and certainly not desirable, for the mice or the purpose of research with them.
    That's...SORT OF like eugenics. More like "Dysgenics".

    Domesticated animals are certainly an example of human selective breeding, and they have come with negative side effects. That's why pure bred dogs are more susceptible to various genetic disease, and a lot of the breeding of dogs is quite vague by breeding for a friendly temperment and things like that. Overall domesticated animals have smaller brain sizes than their wild ancestors; that works for animals we want to keep captive but is it something you would want in humans?
    I mentioned HORSES, not DOGS. Domestic dogs are eugenics as incest is to eugenics. The more "pure" a breed is the more susceptible it is to mutation because of inbreeding. I've gone at length to explain that domestic dogs are terribly inferior, or were you covering your eyes and going "LA LA LA NOT READING!" the whole fucking time?

    Or perhaps you'd care to explain why you completely ignored my chosen example in favor of this one, which I've already agreed with before. HORSES are faster, stronger, and smarter, than their ancestors. To my knowledge there are next to no problems with mutation where horses are concerned. Often, they're bred with enough genetic variation to combat against the effects of this sort of inbreeding. Though I'm sure some horse breeds have been created where this isn't true.

    I have a feeling you're going to claim that the problems with pure bred dogs is inbreeding. That's only partly true. Selection by it's very nature reduces the genetic variation in a population - you're selecting for a subset of the total variation and thus reducing it. This makes the risk of inbreeding higher than if the population was simply randomly breeding.
    ...uh huh. Again, why I mentioned horses. Controlling the traits selected by nature does not, necessarily, massively reduce genetic variation. Do you have any idea how many generations that would take with Earths population today, even if every single individual participated, and even if the selective pressures were SPECIFIC?

    The reason genetic variance is reduced to such a high degree in most domestic animals is because they were bred for specific types of behavior and appearance. So specific, in fact, that many of them could be considered to be siblings just based on their similarity.

    A human eugenics program would do no such thing. In fact it could even be shielded against by cross-breeding throughout an entire population, and different populations around the planet. This, in fact, could increase genetic variance and theoretically decrease the mutation rate. No matter how you look at it, Eugenics is the way to go.

    In fact, extremely careful and empirically directed eugenics is why Przeqalski's Horse is still around today. To breed from such a small population requires a fair degree of precision in who you let breed how many times, to ensure some variety.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darius
    Also, while I know that many traits are linked to others, advances in traits like intelligence and strength have never been shown to be harmful, excepting extreme mutation. Mutations in general should be avoided, as they always require more time to stabilize than they're worth.
    Quote Originally Posted by Darius
    On the contrary, selecting against mutations themselves has been demonstrated to reduce (nearly eliminate) their occurrence. Of course they may happen, but all historical evidence from cultures that have practiced eugenics shows they happen in lesser frequency than normal breeding.
    Quote Originally Posted by Darius
    You can certainly stop the negative ones, which is my point. Arguing that Eugenics is bad because of neutral or objectively beneficial mutations seems ludicrous.
    Quote Originally Posted by Darius
    None but the obvious reduced tendency for harmful mutation (that may or may not still be present, but to definite lesser degrees). None that you've proved in any way beyond repeatedly claiming it.
    All 4 times you used the word Mutation in the last 4 pages... Liar, Darius, and only once, the 3rd and 4th time, did you specify bad mutation. Wow, quite the logical abilities you have, and quite the biological knowledge.

    And for the record, didn't Sparta die off? Along with Nazi Germany? Getting any bad vibes from these stellar examples of yours?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darius
    Quote Originally Posted by paralith
    nature... selects for reproductive success.
    If you're going to tell me that this current system of selection selects the strongest, fastest, and wisest, I'm going to laugh. We have the Idiocracy thing going, where the dumbest produce the most children. A eugenics program would reverse that, big time.
    There are conflicting values.

    Darius, I know you're not a parent. You speak of strength, speed, and wisdom as ends in themselves.

    By my view of life, which I believe fits the science, reproduction is supreme. It is the only end. Strength, speed, or wisdom may happen to serve reproduction... or they may not. In the case of modern humans, quality of parenting counts more than IQ or fist velocity. Perhaps you think my rosy values dumb & promoting Idiocracy. I humbly suggest you consider that many of your ancestors were dumb breeders and if you "reverse that, big time" you will not be here.

    This debate could run indefinately if the value differences go unreckoned.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arcane_Mathematician
    All 4 times you used the word Mutation in the last 4 pages... Liar, Darius, and only once, the 3rd and 4th time, did you specify bad mutation. Wow, quite the logical abilities you have, and quite the biological knowledge.
    There's so much wrong with you it strains the conscious mind to conceive. What are you even referring to? Are you referring to this:

    Quote Originally Posted by Darius
    So you were speaking of the standard rate of random mutation, rather than hereditary disease as I repeatedly mentioned to make myself clear. I'm convinced you're doing this on purpose, as there is no possible way in which I have communicated myself poorly when I quite clearly kept mentioning what I was referring to. If I quoted myself throughout this whole ordeal, I'm sure I'd find no less than twelve references to what you only now are seeing.
    ? If so, not I used the word "reference" and "hereditary disease", which was heavily discussed in posts with TheBiologista. Most references, too, would be in the form of demonstratives (this, that, etc). Scoping out specific references of the word "mutation" is kind of absurd, since that only covers (taken terribly out of context no less) other parts of discussion that may or not even be relevant here.

    And for the record, didn't Sparta die off? Along with Nazi Germany? Getting any bad vibes from these stellar examples of yours?
    Neither died off as a result of eugenics.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    Darius, I know you're not a parent. You speak of strength, speed, and wisdom as ends in themselves.
    I shall neither confirm nor deny your claim, but think of the humor in it if you are wrong.

    By my view of life, which I believe fits the science, reproduction is supreme. It is the only end. Strength, speed, or wisdom may happen to serve reproduction... or they may not. In the case of modern humans, quality of parenting counts more than IQ or fist velocity. Perhaps you think my rosy values dumb & promoting Idiocracy.
    Environment concerns have already been discussed. Any sane eugenics program would consider them by necessity.

    I humbly suggest you consider that many of your ancestors were dumb breeders and if you "reverse that, big time" you will not be here.
    So much the better for it, for if the ancestry of humans today were of more noble quality, we would be enjoying an era of interstellar colonization by now! "I", as I exist, would much prefer the lack of this identity than its propagation.
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    Oh, I noticed those in the last post, can you please point out the correlation ANYWHERE in this entire thread that you made between mutation and hereditary disease? As I understand mutation, that is rather contradictory to the idea of hereditary disease, is it not? Perhaps a Bio major, such as para could clear this up. And by the way Darius, making a connection at the same time as the accusation seems a little petty to me, does it seem the same to you?

    Oh, and the eugenics program employed by the Spartans most certainly did contribute to their downfall. When you employ eugenics on a small group of people to breed fighters, what will inevitably happen when those fighters lose a war? The Spartans died off because a race of warriors is doomed to death by lack of males, which leads to inbreeding given no substantial influx of males, leading to those genetic and hereditary pitfalls that you say will be avoided by the program, and please, tell me where I'm wrong and by all means, site a source aside from your memory.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darius
    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    reproduction is supreme... quality of parenting counts...
    Environment concerns have already been discussed. Any sane eugenics program would consider them by necessity.
    Something tangible? Sketch a eugenics programme that promotes good parenting.

    Even, paradoxically, that increases the odds of grandchildren.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arcane_Mathematician
    As I understand mutation, that is rather contradictory to the idea of hereditary disease, is it not?
    The majority of hereditary diseases begin as mutations that propagate by reproduction. Some have further causes, such as inbreeding.

    Oh, and the eugenics program employed by the Spartans most certainly did contribute to their downfall. When you employ eugenics on a small group of people to breed fighters, what will inevitably happen when those fighters lose a war?
    The Spartans were by no means a "small group". Sparta's decline was very slow after repeated losses, rebellions, and overall stagnation in culture. Essentially a mirror image of the same sickness that slowly destroyed Rome, piece by piece. Nowhere, in any history book I own (and, as a lover of history, I own many), does anyone attribute Sparta's fall to eugenics.

    site a source aside from your memory.
    The one that's immediately available to you? Wikipedia, though it's sadly incomplete. The best history would have to be stories written about or in Sparta itself throughout the ages, though trawling through them can be a pain.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    Quote Originally Posted by Darius
    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    reproduction is supreme... quality of parenting counts...
    Environment concerns have already been discussed. Any sane eugenics program would consider them by necessity.
    Something tangible? Sketch a eugenics programme that promotes good parenting.

    Even, paradoxically, that increases the odds of grandchildren.
    Ironically, the existence of a eugenics program itself would automatically require good parenting. Doing good on an IQ test, in athletics, in the arts, etc, requires not only genetics but very good parenting to support the child and its desires to learn.

    I originally thought it best to leave it up to your wisdom to discern, but it appears I sadly overestimated the wisdom of others yet again.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darius
    the existence of a eugenics program itself would automatically require good parenting. Doing good on an IQ test, in athletics, in the arts, etc, requires not only genetics but very good parenting to support the child and its desires to learn.
    I don't follow the logic. Eugenics requires good parenting and child development requires good parenting? Why to the first and duh to the second.

    I'd asked if eugenics can promote good parenting.

    I think that if you arrange parents, especially on eugenictic terms, they will not be very loving. Some will even hate their children. I think that rebels who have forbidden children, will be the most devoted parents.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    I don't follow the logic. Eugenics requires good parenting and child development requires good parenting? Why to the first and duh to the second.
    Because without good parenting even good genetics are inferior to bad ones WITH good parenting. Thus, unless eugenics is concerned only with genetic analysis (such affordable technology does not exist today), good parenting will be a precedent.

    I think that if you arrange parents, especially on eugenic terms, they will not be very loving. Some will even hate their children. I think that rebels who have forbidden children, will be the most devoted parents.
    First of all, the eugenics program would be voluntary. It would allow MORE children of those who participate, with the total maximum of those not being set at 1 (2, if population is low enough).

    Second of all, your Shakespearean values of love are, like Shakespeare, wrong. Love is not from rebellion or taboo, but from attachment. To suggest attachment is increased by the act of rebelling or going against authority is to equally claim the NAMBLA is justified, for they advocate the most taboo act!
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    I forgot to ask you Darius

    Please provide some sources for information on Nazi and Spartan eugenics: primarily the studies of the effects they had on populations.
    Dick, be Frank.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Darius

    Are we making sure to factor in socialization, so we're not promoting intelligent sociopaths at the cost of law abiding idiots?
    Our society already promotes sociopaths due to the extreme degree of lies that must be told to succeed. Who lies best? Who charms best? A sociopath.


    Quote Originally Posted by marcusclayman
    "Who lies best? Who charms best? A sociopath. "

    This is an idealized generalization, deceiving ignorance of the subject.
    Ahahahahahaha. If only you knew. There are various levels to psychopaths, and very few are actually the homicidal kind. If you look at various individuals in power, and read about the symptoms and behaviors of psychopathy, you'll notice there's a strong correlation between how high up the social ladder you are and how many behavioral symptoms you match. Wikipedia isn't exactly a great source for this, but it's simplified list of "symptoms" (some of which are only true for homicidal psychopaths) is close enough.
    Clearly sociopathy is not an "if or not" proposition. It's a balance. You need a little bit of it, but not too much. How good is Eugenics at balancing, instead just exaggerating traits to their utmost extremes?






    Right, but having a knife affords you all the same utility as having claws, with none of the liabilities. You get the best of both worlds, because when you need your hands back, you can just put the knife back in its sheath.
    And few people carry knives around at all times.
    That's a culturally/environmentally decided choice. US Marines are taught to make sure they're never without a knife. My grandfather who lived in Montana carried a gun with him almost everywhere he went. He was kind of a cowboy type, and it was culturally allowed where he lived.

    Partly it was just his personality, which I suppose you could view as another genetic-ish determinant. A person who keeps a weapon with them everywhere they go is in exactly the same situation as a person who has a weapon growing out of their arm. (Except carrying it might be more convenient sometimes)

    Why would you want to be "Edward Scissors Hands", if you can get the same effect by putting on a pair of bladed gloves? (Like the actor actually did)

    Anyways, eyesight is a really good example of the cyborg argument. In this case: laser surgery. Why do we need our genes to determine the shape of our cornea, if we can alter it of our own accord? Now, what if a surgery came along that could alter your eyesight to be better than 20/20? Still want to worry about breeding that trait?
    Yeaaaah...no. None of that is available, and the medical procedures for what we do have are expensive.
    But that's like any other technology. Cell phones also used to be expensive once. Having a laptop computer used to mean you were really rich. In time, it will get cheaper, and more reliable, and eventually it will be considered in the same way as getting dental surgery done on your teeth.



    Why is that any more a concern than what happens if a bird pecks out your eyes? Why would you be without your tools?
    Plausibility. Why else? The grand majority of people don't carry around with them a Batman utility belt.
    What's the plausibility that you'll end up lost in the woods in the first place, and have no time to go home and get your tools before hand? The grand majority of people don't make unplanned trips into the woods.

    Any scenario where you end up in the woods unexpectedly without your tools is about as plausible as a scenario where you end up in the middle of the woods with a body part missing.
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    All right Darius. I'm getting tired of this. First of all, just because your idealized vague traits (stronger, faster, wiser, etc) are not the same as the vague traits selected either by nature or in domesticated animals does not change the genetic mechanics by which selection occurs and the risks involved. Second of all, just because you can find examples where there haven't been any serious negative side effects of artificial selection does not disprove my statement, since my statement was a probability of risk which also comes with a probability that the risk will not come to fruition. These are two basic facts that you refuse to accept.

    Unless you can show me that the genetics of selection on muscle and brain size are fundamentally different than the genetics of selection on tameness and domestication, or even fundamentally different than the genetics of selection for malaria resistance, you can consider this thread closed.
    Man can will nothing unless he has first understood that he must count on no one but himself; that he is alone, abandoned on earth in the midst of his infinite responsibilities, without help, with no other aim than the one he sets himself, with no other destiny than the one he forges for himself on this earth.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darius
    Second of all, your Shakespearean values of love are, like Shakespeare, wrong. Love is not from rebellion or taboo, but from attachment. To suggest attachment is increased by the act of rebelling or going against authority is to equally claim the NAMBLA is justified, for they advocate the most taboo act!
    I must ask, are you aware that the Spartans advocated the EXACT same ideals as NAMBLA does? You are aware that their warriors were given a boy to 'teach' right?
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    Quote Originally Posted by marcusclayman
    I forgot to ask you Darius

    Please provide some sources for information on Nazi and Spartan eugenics: primarily the studies of the effects they had on populations.
    Wiki Sparta. Spartans did have a Eugenics program were they bred for the strongest fighters, and killed any one who wasn't up to snuff. They did it well, but it caused their numbers to be VERY low compared to the surrounding city-states, something that doesn't seem to get across to Darius, but a small group in my mind is anything of a population less than 5 million, and in that population of less than 5 million force-breeding is a rather bad idea because those repeated losses caused IRREPARABLE damage to their population. They lost several wars in a row, and never regained their military numbers. That is the result of a forced military and a Eugenics program that supported a forced military.

    And it's Common Knowledge that Hitler attempted to practice eugenics. He only had 1 generation to work with, so we can't really comment on his program.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    How good is Eugenics at balancing, instead just exaggerating traits to their utmost extremes?
    As good as the people running it.

    But that's like any other technology. Cell phones also used to be expensive once. Having a laptop computer used to mean you were really rich. In time, it will get cheaper, and more reliable, and eventually it will be considered in the same way as getting dental surgery done on your teeth.
    Enjoy your world when you live in the physical result of "In the year 2525".

    What's the plausibility that you'll end up lost in the woods in the first place, and have no time to go home and get your tools before hand? The grand majority of people don't make unplanned trips into the woods.
    Glad to see you're capable of taking examples and extrapolating. Oh, wait.

    Quote Originally Posted by paralith
    All right Darius. I'm getting tired of this. First of all, just because your idealized vague traits (stronger, faster, wiser, etc) are not the same as the vague traits selected either by nature or in domesticated animals does not change the genetic mechanics by which selection occurs and the risks involved.
    It depends on what risks. If you refer to mutation rate (which I have to assume given the context), it is often related to how small a population is, and its genetic diversity. On top of being able to dictate vague traits, eugenics (with the aid of modern technology) can determine who to breed in terms of genetic variance. I'm sure there are other contributing factors (can't remember, it's been ages), but whether or not it's the exact same proves nothing. Oh my God, Eugenics is bad! It produces the same mutation rate as normal births!

    Second of all, just because you can find examples where there haven't been any serious negative side effects of artificial selection does not disprove my statement, since my statement was a probability of risk which also comes with a probability that the risk will not come to fruition.
    Arguing plausibility is one thing. Saying you just claimed it was "probable" is like saying it's probable you can phase through a wall if your atoms align correctly. If you're NOW going to claim this, you weren't making any real argument at all. You're just hedging.

    Also, funny thing. I thought the fact I could provide evidence for my examples and you couldn't made me right. I bet theists would love to know the reverse is true.

    Unless you can show me that the genetics of selection on muscle and brain size are fundamentally different than the genetics of selection on tameness and domestication, or even fundamentally different than the genetics of selection for malaria resistance, you can consider this thread closed.
    I don't even know how that's relevant, in any way, at all. I don't recall making claims that would require this sort of evidence, not to mention that it makes absolutely no sense.

    Quote Originally Posted by Arcane_Mathematician
    I must ask, are you aware that the Spartans advocated the EXACT same ideals as NAMBLA does? You are aware that their warriors were given a boy to 'teach' right?
    Um...what? This isn't even relevant to what I said, at all.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darius
    It depends on what risks.
    What? I'm referring to the risks in the post wherein I described the effects of relatively swift and strong selection, that being linkage to undesirable traits and incompatibility with other processes to which we have yet to evolve a response. Have you forgotten them already? For the second time officially, I'm not saying eugenics is necessarily bad. Stop putting words in my mouth.

    Arguing plausibility is one thing. Saying you just claimed it was "probable" is like saying it's probable you can phase through a wall if your atoms align correctly. If you're NOW going to claim this, you weren't making any real argument at all. You're just hedging.

    Also, funny thing. I thought the fact I could provide evidence for my examples and you couldn't made me right. I bet theists would love to know the reverse is true.

    ...

    I don't even know how that's relevant, in any way, at all. I don't recall making claims that would require this sort of evidence, not to mention that it makes absolutely no sense.
    I provided evidence that was qualitatively equal to yours. The differences between your examples and mine is what I'm challenging. There is none that makes any difference. Thus my challenge for you to find a real difference in the genetic effects of selection on your examples and my examples.
    Man can will nothing unless he has first understood that he must count on no one but himself; that he is alone, abandoned on earth in the midst of his infinite responsibilities, without help, with no other aim than the one he sets himself, with no other destiny than the one he forges for himself on this earth.
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    It would appear that, rather than disagreeing, we are in a perpetual state of misunderstanding. Rather than continue the embarrassment awarded to whoever is responsible (likely me, in the view of most), I decline to argue (or rather, misunderstand) further, as I cannot be certain at this point what useful purpose this line of conversation has, if it ever had any.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darius
    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    How good is Eugenics at balancing, instead just exaggerating traits to their utmost extremes?
    As good as the people running it.
    Ok, the a better question would be: how good are people generally at running things like this? As a species, we need to have the humility to be aware of our own limitations, and how well we will realistically perform in a given situation.

    Do you honestly think it's realistic to expect that humanity will perform well in this role, after we begin the process?


    But that's like any other technology. Cell phones also used to be expensive once. Having a laptop computer used to mean you were really rich. In time, it will get cheaper, and more reliable, and eventually it will be considered in the same way as getting dental surgery done on your teeth.
    Enjoy your world when you live in the physical result of "In the year 2525".
    That's kind of an obscure reference. Laser surgery will probably catch up with dental surgery within 2 decades, if it even takes that long, so I guess you must be referring to something else.

    All through human history/evolution our bodies have become progressively weaker than those of animals, while our minds got smarter and smarter. Now we can encode portions of that intelligence into writing, or even computer data, and our children continue inheriting it by a totally non-genetic means. (A wolf, on the other hand, passes little knowledge or skill onto its child, except by "instinct" which travels only via genetics)

    My point is, just as humans have gradually stopped needing instincts (genetic transfer of information), we may soon not need genetics to do other things for us as well, as the non-genetic alternative becomes better and better. And... at some point we'll be able to hack into our DNA outright, and Eugenics will have become a perfectly meaningless endeavor.

    What's the plausibility that you'll end up lost in the woods in the first place, and have no time to go home and get your tools before hand? The grand majority of people don't make unplanned trips into the woods.
    Glad to see you're capable of taking examples and extrapolating. Oh, wait.

    I'm just offering equally plausible scenarios, and pointing out how they're equally plausible. A tool user is always going to be adapted to a wider variety of situations than a non-tool user, unless you add the specific requirement that they not have their tools available, but that specific requirement is no more valid than any other specific limitation you might put on a genetic trait.

    A person who owns tools is unlikely to ever be deprived of them in pretty much the same way as how a person with strong legs is unlikely to ever become paralyzed from the waist down. The fact our society takes a more lax view of property crimes than it does toward bodily crimes is merely a decision our society has chosen to make, it doesn't tell you anything about the natural significance of things.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    Ok, the a better question would be: how good are people generally at running things like this? As a species, we need to have the humility to be aware of our own limitations, and how well we will realistically perform in a given situation.

    Do you honestly think it's realistic to expect that humanity will perform well in this role, after we begin the process?
    Sure, if the right people are in charge of it. Such is true of many things.

    That's kind of an obscure reference. Laser surgery will probably catch up with dental surgery within 2 decades, if it even takes that long, so I guess you must be referring to something else.
    Try youtubing the SONG by that title.

    My point is, just as humans have gradually stopped needing instincts (genetic transfer of information), we may soon not need genetics to do other things for us as well, as the non-genetic alternative becomes better and better. And... at some point we'll be able to hack into our DNA outright, and Eugenics will have become a perfectly meaningless endeavor.
    At some point, which is definitely not now, and probably not anytime soon. You're advocating we not use the wheel because hovercraft will be available after it.

    I'm just offering equally plausible scenarios, and pointing out how they're equally plausible. A tool user is always going to be adapted to a wider variety of situations than a non-tool user, unless you add the specific requirement that they not have their tools available, but that specific requirement is no more valid than any other specific limitation you might put on a genetic trait.
    They are not equally plausible, and to construe them as such is incorrect. Do you happen to have a car in your Batman utility belt? A bike? Some fast means of escape? Perhaps you have knives concealed over your body so you can cut ropes, freeing yourself in a hostage situation? What happens when your gun is out of ammo? What if you're fighting off multiple opponents?

    Honestly, all of these are more plausible than anything you have said so far. Look at crime rates jackass. The grand majority of victims were helpless to defend themselves due to NOT having that Batman utility belt you seem to think everyone possesses. Indeed, most of the time it's easy (with little training) to remove these "tools" you seem to think level the playing field. Here's a tip: They don't.

    A person who owns tools is unlikely to ever be deprived of them in pretty much the same way as how a person with strong legs is unlikely to ever become paralyzed from the waist down. The fact our society takes a more lax view of property crimes than it does toward bodily crimes is merely a decision our society has chosen to make, it doesn't tell you anything about the natural significance of things.
    If you consider the two to be equal then we're done discussing, because you're already quite convinced of your own stupidity.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darius
    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    Ok, the a better question would be: how good are people generally at running things like this? As a species, we need to have the humility to be aware of our own limitations, and how well we will realistically perform in a given situation.

    Do you honestly think it's realistic to expect that humanity will perform well in this role, after we begin the process?
    Sure, if the right people are in charge of it. Such is true of many things.
    So, what is the probability that the right people would come to be in charge of it. How many of them want the job?

    Converting a democracy like the USA into a monarchy would probably be a good idea, too, if you found the right person to be king. What if you don't, though?

    In any social theory, you have to account for the possibility of an imposter successfully convincing people that they belong in a position for which they are not suited. (The reason democracies do so well is that they are capable of removing and/or restraining the worst imposters, leaving only the slightly corrupt ones.)




    My point is, just as humans have gradually stopped needing instincts (genetic transfer of information), we may soon not need genetics to do other things for us as well, as the non-genetic alternative becomes better and better. And... at some point we'll be able to hack into our DNA outright, and Eugenics will have become a perfectly meaningless endeavor.
    At some point, which is definitely not now, and probably not anytime soon. You're advocating we not use the wheel because hovercraft will be available after it.
    However, Eugenics takes a long time to produce results. If it's going to have been rendered obsolete by technology before we ever actually receive any returns on our investment, then there will be no point in ever having made such an investment.


    I'm just offering equally plausible scenarios, and pointing out how they're equally plausible. A tool user is always going to be adapted to a wider variety of situations than a non-tool user, unless you add the specific requirement that they not have their tools available, but that specific requirement is no more valid than any other specific limitation you might put on a genetic trait.
    They are not equally plausible, and to construe them as such is incorrect. Do you happen to have a car in your Batman utility belt? A bike? Some fast means of escape? Perhaps you have knives concealed over your body so you can cut ropes, freeing yourself in a hostage situation? What happens when your gun is out of ammo? What if you're fighting off multiple opponents?



    Honestly, all of these are more plausible than anything you have said so far. Look at crime rates jackass. The grand majority of victims were helpless to defend themselves due to NOT having that Batman utility belt you seem to think everyone possesses. Indeed, most of the time it's easy (with little training) to remove these "tools" you seem to think level the playing field. Here's a tip: They don't.
    And, on any given day, what is the probability that any of these things will happen to me? If I lived in a war zone, I would always have my gun on me, and a knife, and some means of getting around nearby where I could run to it. It is only the fact I live in a peaceable society that motivates me to keep those tools in a hard to reach place.

    If you're talking about sudden environmental change, or statistically unlikely occurrences, well......... every species is susceptible to that.


    A person who owns tools is unlikely to ever be deprived of them in pretty much the same way as how a person with strong legs is unlikely to ever become paralyzed from the waist down. The fact our society takes a more lax view of property crimes than it does toward bodily crimes is merely a decision our society has chosen to make, it doesn't tell you anything about the natural significance of things.
    If you consider the two to be equal then we're done discussing, because you're already quite convinced of your own stupidity.
    I don't know. I've never been kidnapped or robbed at gun point, or put in any situation where I might need a gun, but I fell out of a tree once, stress fractured my spine in 5 locations, and came within a pin point's distance of paralysis.

    If I go off of my own experience, losing one's legs to paralysis is the more likely of the two scenarios.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arcane_Mathematician
    Biologista, you are an immunologist? Are there any other immunities (off the top of your head, of course) that we develop that end up like the one we were just educated about?
    You mean by the emergence of a mutation with a limited, contextual benefit? I'd imagine that there are a great many alleles that are detrimental outside of context as it is context (the sum of current selective pressures) which defines benefit as well as mediating selection itself. That's sort of the point I've been trying to make regarding fitness in general.

    As to the influence of that sort of mutation on disease, I'm sure many of the more prevalent genetic disorders we find in humans are prevalent because they underwent positive selection during an epidemic. Epidemics tend to be far more transient than most selective pressures (ongoing predation, environmental factors etc), acting over much more "human" time scales. Hence we will often find the once-beneficial mutation stumbling now that we are free of the selective pressure.

    A possible example is one of the main mutations behind cystic fibrosis. The CFTRdF508 mutation of the CFTR gene which when inherited heterozygously (we get just one copy plus a normal CFTR) seems to confer resistance to salmonella. It's also possible that the allergic phenotype which appears to be on the rise in humans may be due to the loss of the parasite burden which once made a skewed immune response beneficial. In the new context it is at best a nuisance and can be life threatening in extreme cases. Both of these are hypotheses though, supported with some evidence but not yet held with confidence.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    So, what is the probability that the right people would come to be in charge of it. How many of them want the job?
    In the modern world I would trust very few to do anything right, because very few can do anything right. Had anyone mentioned whether or not humans can do it properly, I would have said no. The number of humans capable of that sort of impartiality are mere thousands on a planet of billions.

    However, Eugenics takes a long time to produce results. If it's going to have been rendered obsolete by technology before we ever actually receive any returns on our investment, then there will be no point in ever having made such an investment.
    This is not so. A properly structured eugenics program can have startling results in a single generation. There are a lot of gifted individuals on this planet, but they're thoroughly drowned out by the inferior ones. If eugenics prevented inferior ones from creating MORE inferior ones, the difference in a single generation would be...the difference between Hell and Heaven. It would be a new renaissance.

    Of course, this is mostly just cultural changes. Evolutionary ones do take far longer to propagate, but I believe we need cultural change long before we can ever use technology to alter ourselves significantly.

    And, on any given day, what is the probability that any of these things will happen to me? If I lived in a war zone, I would always have my gun on me, and a knife, and some means of getting around nearby where I could run to it. It is only the fact I live in a peaceable society that motivates me to keep those tools in a hard to reach place.
    Perhaps I have a greater fear of random chance. Humans could be very capable of dealing even with the more implausible scenarios, and should be.

    I don't know. I've never been kidnapped or robbed at gun point, or put in any situation where I might need a gun, but I fell out of a tree once, stress fractured my spine in 5 locations, and came within a pin point's distance of paralysis.

    If I go off of my own experience, losing one's legs to paralysis is the more likely of the two scenarios.
    I understand. If eugenics were implemented centuries ago, you wouldn't be so damaged simply by falling from a tree. Indeed, if you were trained properly as a child, chances are you would not have. While I consider that sort of injury implausible (and indeed it is, given medical statistics), it could have been very easily avoided. Both with proper training and education, neither of which need involve trees as a specific.
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    @Darius: I've already warned you about snarky insults and referring to other members as "jackass," But let this be a public and open version of a warning to you and all: such snarky insults are not to be tolerated. This is a discussion forum and should you wish to participate in discussion here you must demonstrate an ability to express yourself in a civil and mature manner.

    Darius, if you make one more snide, snarky or insulting comment of this nature, I will suspend your account for a minimum of 1-day.


    Edit: for those that read the initial warning, after a couple snarky PMs from Darius I noticed a line in the post above that I ultimately took out of context. I'm correcting that with this edit. I still, however, would like the warning to remain public. Darius' account is temporarily suspended but not for my error above. Rather his overall snarky behavior in a previous post and PMs back to me when warned.

    This is a discussion forum. We're here to have fun not cut each other down with insults. Darius has offered interesting discussion in the past and it is hoped he will do so when I lift his suspension tomorrow night.
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheBiologista
    A possible example is one of the main mutations behind cystic fibrosis. The CFTRdF508 mutation of the CFTR gene which when inherited heterozygously (we get just one copy plus a normal CFTR) seems to confer resistance to salmonella. It's also possible that the allergic phenotype which appears to be on the rise in humans may be due to the loss of the parasite burden which once made a skewed immune response beneficial. In the new context it is at best a nuisance and can be life threatening in extreme cases. Both of these are hypotheses though, supported with some evidence but not yet held with confidence.
    Alright, and in the context of this specific mutation, what happens if it is inherited homozygously? Is there a serious defect that happens? Do we know at this point?

    And yes, that is exactly the kind of thing I was referring to.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arcane_Mathematician
    Alright, and in the context of this specific mutation, what happens if it is inherited homozygously? Is there a serious defect that happens? Do we know at this point?
    Well yes, homozygous inheritance of CFTRdF508 results in the cystic fibrosis phenotype. Or are you asking me if the homozygous inheritance could confer a benefit in some contexts? I'm sure it could, but whether such a context has existed and contributed to positive selection I really don't know. It seems unlikely.
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    Oh no, I honestly know very VERY little about any of this that we are talking about, I simply find the subject fascinating, and I figured I'd ask, to attempt to alleviate my ignorance

    I didn't know Cystic Fibrosis was a recessive trait of that receptor. And to be honest, I don't even know what Cystic Fibrosis is
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    Darius' premise is wrong. He is assuming that circumstances and our instinctual reactions to them are random, but there is no reason to think that is the case. Things have causes, including our actions. I've already mentioned that creatures don't pick their mates randomly, when Darius claimed that they do, and now he mentions that rather than succumb to the randomness of circumstance we should be prepared for "the more implausible scenarios"

    But why?

    Darius has already said that thinking takes work, which in his opinion is difficult, but so do actions, such as preperations. When preparing for something we cannot possibly prepare for every circumstance. It is not logical to try, because a majority of possible circumstances will never occur, and it distracts us from preparing for the circumstances that do occur.

    Darius suggests we use eugenics to eliminate parts of the human genome, and then suggests that we should be prepared for as much as possible. Well I think that those parts of the human genome have their usefulness (based on the premise that they are so common, and more adaptable traits usually reproduce more).

    In the unlikely circumstance, that those with a susceptibility to cancer would be more successful in a circumstance than those without such a susceptibility, Darius' argument defeats itself.

    For all we know the different bacterias that causes cancer also causes other thing, and cancer is a defense mechanism of sorts. The people who don't have the genetic cancer susceptibility might be suffering from other, far worse things.

    I have no problem with getting cancer. My ancestry says I'm bound to either die from cancer, or cardiovascular disease. Other then those who are sentimental, does this effect anyone negatively?
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    You know, the plus side of eugenics is it would give humanity the ability to adapt our genome in shorter spans of time, so we can keep up with our own changing technology. Of course, we also might find other ways to do this, as geneticists map more and more of the human genome.

    Maybe we'll be able to alter a person's traits after they're born, so the ugly side of eugenics never has to surface at all. Nobody eliminated, nobody having an undue number of children.

    Quote Originally Posted by Darius
    However, Eugenics takes a long time to produce results. If it's going to have been rendered obsolete by technology before we ever actually receive any returns on our investment, then there will be no point in ever having made such an investment.
    This is not so. A properly structured eugenics program can have startling results in a single generation. There are a lot of gifted individuals on this planet, but they're thoroughly drowned out by the inferior ones. If eugenics prevented inferior ones from creating MORE inferior ones, the difference in a single generation would be...the difference between Hell and Heaven. It would be a new renaissance.

    Of course, this is mostly just cultural changes. Evolutionary ones do take far longer to propagate, but I believe we need cultural change long before we can ever use technology to alter ourselves significantly.
    The trouble if you do it too fast is that it's easy to make serious mistakes, especially when you consider that the ideal is going to have to pass through a political process if it involves eliminating anybody.

    I don't know. I've never been kidnapped or robbed at gun point, or put in any situation where I might need a gun, but I fell out of a tree once, stress fractured my spine in 5 locations, and came within a pin point's distance of paralysis.

    If I go off of my own experience, losing one's legs to paralysis is the more likely of the two scenarios.
    I understand. If eugenics were implemented centuries ago, you wouldn't be so damaged simply by falling from a tree. Indeed, if you were trained properly as a child, chances are you would not have. While I consider that sort of injury implausible (and indeed it is, given medical statistics), it could have been very easily avoided. Both with proper training and education, neither of which need involve trees as a specific.
    I had this same discussion once with somebody who was a serious fitness enthusiast, about how I was in really good shape at the time, and then I had start over getting back in shape. He pointed out that maybe the injury would have been worse if I was out of shape.

    You make a very good point as well. A person with good enough genes might have stronger bones and never get injured in the first place. Or if they had worse genes, they might get paralyzed.
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    I'd like to take a step back and think about, (1) why would eugenics be beneficial? And (2) Is eugenics the best way to achieve those benefits?

    (1) There are lots of possible reasons eugenics could be beneficial, but for the purposes of discussion I'll pick two for exemplars that a lot of this thread has been focusing on. One is various aspects of health that would ideally reduce the incidence of disease and injury and thus the cost to society to care for people who get hurt or fall ill. (Regardless of how and when you get hurt or fall ill.) Another is general intelligence, in the hopes that increased average intelligence of the population will lead to overall better decisions being made in all sorts of policy making.

    (2) Now the question of whether or not eugenics is the best way to achieve these things. The potential problems with eugenics are the risks of strong swift selection that I've discussed, the length of time it would take to see definitive results which everyone has acknowledged, and the overall moral and political morass it would take to get such a program going, which would involve both time and money.

    So let's think about intelligence. The potential problem here, as I've touched on earlier, is how much of general intelligence is genetic and how much of it is environmental. Certainly there are significant components of each, that's undeniable. But if with eugenics you can increase the average IQ of the population by two points a generation, and with better education you increase the average IQ of the population by ten points a generation, what is probably the better option? I'm not making a judgment at this point, just trying to point out that it would be worthwhile to research what option is more efficient.

    The same thing goes for health, in particular when dealing with complex disease. Heart disease, for example. A myriad of genes contribute to it in complex ways, with such complexity that even after a lot of research time and money spent on the subject, there is no reliable treatment so far that has arisen from genetic research on the disease. Yet we know that with a good diet and exercise even people with a lot of the genetic markers for heart disease susceptibility will probably be just fine. So what would be better? Eugenics to slowly reduce the number of susceptibility alleles in the population or widespread diet and exercise programs that could reduce heart disease greatly in a short amount of time?

    Then again, we have diseases like cancer, where the environmental contribution is probably pretty low - avoid mutagens, don't get too many sunburns, you're probably ok. Identifying people who are resistant to developing cancer from the background mutation rate of our bodies, and of course lack the known genetic indicators of cancer, is probably going to do more than simple environmental alterations. (Provided of course we don't come up with a treatment before then, though considering the wide variety of cancers I don't know how soon that will be.)

    Long story short, for some things eugenics might be a good idea, for others there may be other more efficient options. Before advocating or condemning a eugenics program I'd want to look into how many aspects of human life would best be improved by that method, versus other methods.


    Edit: of course the third option is to do both. Eugenics and environmental alterations. The question then becomes, do we have enough resources to be able to do both at the same time? Is the benefit of one, for a given issue, so small that it's not worth the cost to do it additionally to the other?
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    Quote Originally Posted by paralith

    So let's think about intelligence. The potential problem here, as I've touched on earlier, is how much of general intelligence is genetic and how much of it is environmental. Certainly there are significant components of each, that's undeniable. But if with eugenics you can increase the average IQ of the population by two points a generation, and with better education you increase the average IQ of the population by ten points a generation, what is probably the better option? I'm not making a judgment at this point, just trying to point out that it would be worthwhile to research what option is more efficient.
    If you find a kid in grade school who can memorize full pages of text on the first or second read, but the teachers have to keep them in recess just to get them to do homework... that's not environmental. That's a kid who would have approximately the same ability no matter what home they came from.

    IQ is one of those things where some human beings are very far out of the norm, enough that it might be a really scary idea to advance them. Sometimes I think the "X-Men" comics theme was written by someone familiar with this problem.

    It's probably possible to breed strains of humans who are so overwhelmingly capable in one area or another that nobody else can even compete in their fields of endeavor. It's so awful that hardly anyone talks about it, but some slave masters in the old South used to breed their slaves selectively, and I wouldn't be surprised of a lot of athletes are their descendants.
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    Quote Originally Posted by marcusclayman
    Darius' premise is wrong. He is assuming that circumstances and our instinctual reactions to them are random, but there is no reason to think that is the case. Things have causes, including our actions. I've already mentioned that creatures don't pick their mates randomly, when Darius claimed that they do, and now he mentions that rather than succumb to the randomness of circumstance we should be prepared for "the more implausible scenarios"
    It was never said that we pick our mates randomly. What was said, though indirectly, is that a scientific eugenics process can select ideal partners better. Though the eugenics program need not force them to be actual partners, the point is only to use them for procreation.

    Darius has already said that thinking takes work, which in his opinion is difficult, but so do actions, such as preperations. When preparing for something we cannot possibly prepare for every circumstance. It is not logical to try, because a majority of possible circumstances will never occur, and it distracts us from preparing for the circumstances that do occur.
    Everything so far has discussed preparing humanity for plausible scenarios, not possible ones. It is possible my atoms will align and I will merge with my chair, thus killing me in the process. It was not suggested that we use a eugenics program to prevent this.

    In the unlikely circumstance, that those with a susceptibility to cancer would be more successful in a circumstance than those without such a susceptibility, Darius' argument defeats itself.
    In the unlikely circumstance God exists, the Big Bang defeats itself. When you engineer the terms, any argument can be invalid.

    For all we know the different bacterias that causes cancer also causes other thing, and cancer is a defense mechanism of sorts. The people who don't have the genetic cancer susceptibility might be suffering from other, far worse things.
    Maybe we're made up of infinitesimally small ponies, and by eating grass every day we will live forever. After all, you can't know! I know I said I would avoid reductio ad absurdum, for I believe it leads to fallacy, but this seems accurate.

    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    Nobody eliminated, nobody having an undue number of children.
    It should be made very clear that this idea advocates no violence. Only

    The trouble if you do it too fast is that it's easy to make serious mistakes, especially when you consider that the ideal is going to have to pass through a political process if it involves eliminating anybody.
    Well, this is another problem and a somewhat different train of discussion. I agree, dangers of it happening swiftly incurs an increased chance of blindness to error.

    I had this same discussion once with somebody who was a serious fitness enthusiast, about how I was in really good shape at the time, and then I had start over getting back in shape. He pointed out that maybe the injury would have been worse if I was out of shape.

    You make a very good point as well. A person with good enough genes might have stronger bones and never get injured in the first place. Or if they had worse genes, they might get paralyzed.
    This is why Eugenics is a beneficial thing to humans. It's painful to hear of scenarios that could be avoided simply if humanity had higher standards. Often times, not much higher either.

    Quote Originally Posted by paralith
    So let's think about intelligence. The potential problem here, as I've touched on earlier, is how much of general intelligence is genetic and how much of it is environmental. Certainly there are significant components of each, that's undeniable. But if with eugenics you can increase the average IQ of the population by two points a generation, and with better education you increase the average IQ of the population by ten points a generation, what is probably the better option? I'm not making a judgment at this point, just trying to point out that it would be worthwhile to research what option is more efficient.
    It is wise to advocate both, as was said previously.

    So what would be better? Eugenics to slowly reduce the number of susceptibility alleles in the population or widespread diet and exercise programs that could reduce heart disease greatly in a short amount of time?
    Regarding this, it is also wise to do both.

    Long story short, for some things eugenics might be a good idea, for others there may be other more efficient options. Before advocating or condemning a eugenics program I'd want to look into how many aspects of human life would best be improved by that method, versus other methods.
    Eugenics, in more recent eras, has been consistently advised as an addition to modern programs. It should never be thought of as a replacement, which is why the most recent eugenics program (that I know of) was completely voluntary, and allowed people to choose what traits they desired for their children.

    It is interesting to note that this program worked very well, as no parent desires their child to be born with disease or low intelligence. Such is how a modern eugenics program should be orchestrated.
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  81. #80  
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    If you find a kid in grade school who can memorize full pages of text on the first or second read, but the teachers have to keep them in recess just to get them to do homework... that's not environmental. That's a kid who would have approximately the same ability no matter what home they came from.
    Not necessarily, not unless you know more about that child's parents and what they told and taught their child from a young age. If the parents did just about nothing, fine. It is probably mostly genetic.

    IQ is one of those things where some human beings are very far out of the norm, enough that it might be a really scary idea to advance them. Sometimes I think the "X-Men" comics theme was written by someone familiar with this problem.

    It's probably possible to breed strains of humans who are so overwhelmingly capable in one area or another that nobody else can even compete in their fields of endeavor. It's so awful that hardly anyone talks about it, but some slave masters in the old South used to breed their slaves selectively, and I wouldn't be surprised of a lot of athletes are their descendants.
    What you're saying here is very possible, but again - these are just some of the things that would need to be researched before statements like these can be definitively made. Were there any consistent environmental factors in these people whose IQ is far out of the norm? (Assuming we're not talking about autistic savants or anything like that.) Are african americans athletic because their ancestors were bred for strength or because they have a culture that glorifies sports? Certainly not all sports require just brute strength but speed and finesse as well, which is not necessarily something slave owners would have bred for.
    Man can will nothing unless he has first understood that he must count on no one but himself; that he is alone, abandoned on earth in the midst of his infinite responsibilities, without help, with no other aim than the one he sets himself, with no other destiny than the one he forges for himself on this earth.
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  82. #81  
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    Quote Originally Posted by paralith
    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    IQ is one of those things where some human beings are very far out of the norm, enough that it might be a really scary idea to advance them. Sometimes I think the "X-Men" comics theme was written by someone familiar with this problem.

    It's probably possible to breed strains of humans who are so overwhelmingly capable in one area or another that nobody else can even compete in their fields of endeavor. It's so awful that hardly anyone talks about it, but some slave masters in the old South used to breed their slaves selectively, and I wouldn't be surprised of a lot of athletes are their descendants.
    What you're saying here is very possible, but again - these are just some of the things that would need to be researched before statements like these can be definitively made. Were there any consistent environmental factors in these people whose IQ is far out of the norm? (Assuming we're not talking about autistic savants or anything like that.)
    In our culture there seems to be this dogged determination to force ourselves to believe that nurture and hard work exceed genetic determinants. That can be really frustrating for a kid with natural abilities, not because it takes any of their attention away, but because it tends to draw angst from the adults, who would like to believe such children don't exist.

    People don't always react maturely when their beliefs are threatened, especially ones that affect their self image. For the kid, that can mean getting caught in the cross fire. Their only escape is to fabricate a nurture/hard work scenario that never happened, or start getting lower grades and/or test scores, so the believers will calm down.

    Are african americans athletic because their ancestors were bred for strength or because they have a culture that glorifies sports? Certainly not all sports require just brute strength but speed and finesse as well, which is not necessarily something slave owners would have bred for.
    Yeah. I doubt every black athlete's forebears were bred. It might even turn out that offspring from breeding is a very small minority. I think I just brought it up to point out that eugenics has been attempted in the past, and then kind of hoping that someone else would chime in who knew more about it.
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    "It was never said that we pick our mates randomly."

    I misunderstood this statement of yours "Every single birth is dictated by this kind of random chance"

    It's not about mating, but about passing down of traits. Something I don't know much about.



    "Everything so far has discussed preparing humanity for plausible scenarios"

    You mentioned something in direct conflict with this statement, I can't find it, but when I do I'll make sure to mention it in the ongoing "quotes" thread.


    "...God exists, the Big Bang defeats itself" not necessarily. Some people say that God is capable of anything, some specifically say that God caused the BB: more specifically that "the word" that is said to have been the only thing that existed before existence, was the cause of causes, the initial input of energy into the otherwise stable homogeneous universe that was the singularity before the BB happened. I'm not supporting such an argument, just explaining that there are other ideas of God than the one you presented.
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    Genetically speaking, Eugenics could very well be used effectively to boost some attributes that environmental influences already boost to the current limit. Strength, speed, agility, and physical fitness potentials are all determined by genetics; But the achieved is entirely dependent on environmental influences. Similar things can happen with intelligence. Where genetically we may only see a rise in I.Q. by perhaps 1 point, that may not reflect the potential that a person can achieve. Given environmental influences and a combination of Eugenics, we could achieve a much higher potential and achieved standard than by just one method alone. Given Darius example of Sparta, we do have a basis for comparison, although in other places it can easily be said that Eugenics failed, in that one Greek city state it did take MUCH longer to fail than anywhere else.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    In our culture there seems to be this dogged determination to force ourselves to believe that nurture and hard work exceed genetic determinants. That can be really frustrating for a kid with natural abilities, not because it takes any of their attention away, but because it tends to draw angst from the adults, who would like to believe such children don't exist.

    People don't always react maturely when their beliefs are threatened, especially ones that affect their self image. For the kid, that can mean getting caught in the cross fire. Their only escape is to fabricate a nurture/hard work scenario that never happened, or start getting lower grades and/or test scores, so the believers will calm down.
    kojax, I am far from advocating dogged, blind belief in anything - that's why my main point was to say you need to test these assertions first before we can be sure how true they are, especially because, of the few truths we know about human intelligence, the contribution of both genetics and environment is quite significant. I approach this from the viewpoint of a scientist, not a member of the public who's concerned about their child's feelings. (Though I will be that too, one day. But I hope it will not blind me to the facts.)
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    the plus side of eugenics is it would give humanity the ability to adapt our genome in shorter spans of time
    Except that the thrust of eugenics would be for longevity. The model citizen of such a world, as sketched by advocates, would postpone mere childrearing in favour of higher education and other serious pursuits. Babies at 30 maybe, or 40. Then imagine, as these excellent citizens compete to outdo each other in the context of individual perfectionism: They'd be having the 1, 2, or 3 allowed offspring at "middle" age 50, 60, and so forth as far as eugenics will carry them. How do we adapt - by any genetics - with a birth rate falling to zero?

    Well, the Douglas Fir towers over lesser trees. At 100m tall and fully mature after 500 years, its genome isn't adapting much.

    I keep hammering this point that long life is not an end in itself, and can seriously interfere with optimal reproduction. I know I'm contradicting a common goal... which also happens to be a major selling point of eugenics.
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    Pong, just because humans gain longevity doesn't mean that we will all of a sudden begin having children at 45 instead of 25, the generations will still come at about the same time, so in terms of reproduction and mutation success nothing's changing.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arcane_Mathematician
    Pong, just because humans gain longevity doesn't mean that we will all of a sudden begin having children at 45 instead of 25, the generations will still come at about the same time, so in terms of reproduction and mutation success nothing's changing.
    You could have said 28 instead of 18, in line with recent history (female, first child, industrialized countries).
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    I could have, but either way the point stands. No matter how long an individual human's lifespan is increased, sexual maturity will still happen between 10 and 16, so in terms of evolution we are still likely to see the next generation just as quick.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arcane_Mathematician
    Pong, just because humans gain longevity doesn't mean that we will all of a sudden begin having children at 45 instead of 25, the generations will still come at about the same time, so in terms of reproduction and mutation success nothing's changing.
    That depends on how such longevity is achieved. Breeding programs with drosophila where they simply did not allow the females to reproduce until near the ends of their lives extended the flies' lifespan significantly over a few generations. Granted, flies don't have menopause, but even so, the act of having offspring later could be what helps us live longer.

    Living longer could also change people's active decisions about when they want to have children. If you can reasonably expect to be a healthy, capable caregiver later in your life, it might be worth it to spend more time working and gathering resources before you start having children so you're even more well prepared for providing them everything they want and need. Also, if you can expect your parents and other relatives to live longer, you don't have to worry as much about having kids soon enough that they'll be able to know their grandparents etc.

    Menopause will be the big issue when it comes to having offspring later in life. It seems fairly fixed in human women across the world.
    Man can will nothing unless he has first understood that he must count on no one but himself; that he is alone, abandoned on earth in the midst of his infinite responsibilities, without help, with no other aim than the one he sets himself, with no other destiny than the one he forges for himself on this earth.
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    @Pong: according to the study I found in my attempts to find this info, it turns out the average age of women on first childbirth in the US is about 25 (24.9)

    @Para: this is true, but even the difference between Japan, one of the highest life expectancy countries on the planet, and the US, not exactly high on the list (about 50 out of roughly 200) and has only a 4 year difference per a 4 year difference in life expectancy..... Okay, I think I may retract my statement.....
    Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools, because they have to say something.
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    I am pleased to see that the discussion has begun to take on a life of its own. About damn time.

    Quote Originally Posted by marcusclayman
    "Everything so far has discussed preparing humanity for plausible scenarios"

    You mentioned something in direct conflict with this statement, I can't find it, but when I do I'll make sure to mention it in the ongoing "quotes" thread.
    And I'm sure, Marcus, you will take it out of context. A mans words can say anything, if you care to look hard enough.


    "...God exists, the Big Bang defeats itself" not necessarily. Some people say that God is capable of anything, some specifically say that God caused the BB: more specifically that "the word" that is said to have been the only thing that existed before existence, was the cause of causes, the initial input of energy into the otherwise stable homogeneous universe that was the singularity before the BB happened. I'm not supporting such an argument, just explaining that there are other ideas of God than the one you presented.
    Yeaaaah...try reading again. It was a rudctio ad absurdum using a similar argument. Disagreeing with how I use the term "god" is irrelevant in this context.
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    Quote Originally Posted by paralith
    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    In our culture there seems to be this dogged determination to force ourselves to believe that nurture and hard work exceed genetic determinants. That can be really frustrating for a kid with natural abilities, not because it takes any of their attention away, but because it tends to draw angst from the adults, who would like to believe such children don't exist.

    People don't always react maturely when their beliefs are threatened, especially ones that affect their self image. For the kid, that can mean getting caught in the cross fire. Their only escape is to fabricate a nurture/hard work scenario that never happened, or start getting lower grades and/or test scores, so the believers will calm down.
    kojax, I am far from advocating dogged, blind belief in anything - that's why my main point was to say you need to test these assertions first before we can be sure how true they are, especially because, of the few truths we know about human intelligence, the contribution of both genetics and environment is quite significant. I approach this from the viewpoint of a scientist, not a member of the public who's concerned about their child's feelings. (Though I will be that too, one day. But I hope it will not blind me to the facts.)
    It's all a burden of evidence problem. Some people will not be convinced of something unless they're confronted by absolutely overwhelming evidence that makes the matter totally certain. The opposite assertion, on the other hand, that nurture outweighs genome, will be accepted on just the slightest sliver of circumstantial evidence. For those people, absence of evidence for is evidence against, and all they've got to do is silence their opposition to be right.

    Nurture will increase how much a kid knows by a given age. It can only do so much to boost their rate of retention, though. A "visual learner" will remain a "visual learner". If you need something repeated 20 times in order to remember it without nurture, then you'll probably still need it repeated at least 15 times in order to remember it with nurture.

    However, some kids remember everything the first time they hear it. If it's even possible to bring an average kid up to that level, then I'm sure it requires more resources than we, as a society, are ever going to be able to afford. Darius had a good link about this on page 2 of the discussion.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/magazine/5078800.stm
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    I should mention, Kojax, that the mind itself is far more powerful than most people realize. While I consider genetics an important factor, I also (unlike most genetics pushing lunies) consider the mind a very often ignored and incredibly powerful thing. The fact the placebo effect can cure cancers should tell you that. Imagine, for a moment, if a human could control that consciously?

    In my personal studies of other people, I've noticed that the majority of roles science declares exist are caused by environmental factors. If I attempt to convince people to learn a way they assume they're bad at, I am met with hostility first and compliance last. Western culture is strongly dictated by what people THINK they are, as opposed to what they really are, and I believe MOST studies reflect this.
    Om mani padme hum

    "In dishonorable things we are not bound to obey any man." - The Book of the Courtier [1561], pg 99 (144 in pdf)
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    I would love to see some sources for the placebo effect causing someone to overcome cancer, because I am in all right calling BS on that statement.
    Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools, because they have to say something.
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    this is the best article on the matter that I have found. There are, however, DOZENS to choose from simply by googling "Placebo cures cancer" or anything involving the placebo effect and its healing capability. There also exist more skeptical studies with reported negligible results, such as this one, but they are in minority. Sadly, due to the outrageous cost for actual research papers, there are none I can find on the matter. Just articles explaining the results.
    Om mani padme hum

    "In dishonorable things we are not bound to obey any man." - The Book of the Courtier [1561], pg 99 (144 in pdf)
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    Just to let you know, neither presents that the placebo effect ever cured cancer. Only that there is a correlation to a reduction in pain, and in a few instances that tumor growth was impacted, but by no means a cure.
    Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools, because they have to say something.
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    You obviously did not read my first source thoroughly. It specifically states that a person with colon cancer (I believe it was colon cancer?) was cured by placebo, until the placebo ended, whereupon he remissed.
    Om mani padme hum

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    Ahhh the one that refuses to cite sources... Yeah, I call BS on that entire website.

    edit: They cite a source on the cancer story, but I call total and utter BS on that journal cited underneath that incredible story, as well.
    Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools, because they have to say something.
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    The story of Mr. Wright is the only one in Darius' references that refer specifically to cancer, and the source of that story is included in the article. However that is a single anecdotal case, so it's hard to draw conclusions from it.

    However, I did find this article (full text freely available) which describes a study (whose abstract can be found here) that looked at the deaths of over twenty thousand chinese americans compared with over four hundred thousand white americans and found that the chinese americans died several years sooner than white americans if they had a disease and were born in a year that classical chinese astrology considers unlucky - including lymphatic cancer (the probably cause of death for over three thousand individuals in the chinese sample).

    I've found no other scholarly references so far to cancer and possible placebo effects, so the full relationship there certainly remains to be determined. Still I would agree with arcane in that saying it can cure cancer is going beyond the evidence; having a potentially positive effect is much more certain. Just the release of stress can do a lot to a body that is attempting to fight off disease.

    Edit: Also, according to this paper, more extensive clinical studies on the placebo effect are certainly being carried out. (And as a side note, finding full text papers is definitely a pain but you can at the very least get the abstract for nearly everything.)
    Man can will nothing unless he has first understood that he must count on no one but himself; that he is alone, abandoned on earth in the midst of his infinite responsibilities, without help, with no other aim than the one he sets himself, with no other destiny than the one he forges for himself on this earth.
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    I should mention that my main argument wasn't about curing cancer, it was more of an "It can EVEN cure cancer" reference. The placebo effect has been shown to do a lot of other things, as one of the articles states, and is worth looking into. Again, imagine if humans could consciously control it to their benefit?
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