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Thread: Not survival of the fittest?

  1. #1 Not survival of the fittest? 
    Forum Senior Booms's Avatar
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    just something that occured to me
    Survival of the Fittest means, as the title says, the fittest survive


    however we see all around us in nature, less that the best still manage to survive. if it was survival of the fittest then the fastest turtles make it to the sea, as it is many of the fastest get eaten, the lucky ones make it to the beach
    our own biology shows we are no where near as 'fit' as we should be, based on darwins theory, many of our systems are backwards, not the most efficient or the 'best' that could have evolved


    Instead it seems to be Survival of the Adequate. this is also the more logical statement, anything even mildly faster than it's predator will survive, the very fastest isn't the only one that survives. our weak and fleshy parts are by no means the best, if it was survival of the fittest we'd be built like tanks to avoid sharp teeth, but fleshy got us by, so fleshy is how we stayed




    just another point does survival of the fittest imply a conscious intention (nature/god) to anyone except me? it kinda feels like darwin tried to tie it into religion, rather than kick religion where it hurts, as he did.


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  3. #2  
    WYSIWYG Moderator marnixR's Avatar
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    wrong definition of fitness - the biological definition of fitness stripped down to its bare bones is "being better at leaving offspring"
    whether that depends on being fast, slow, aggressive, docile, ... is neither here nor there

    anyhow, Darwin is not the originator of the phrase "survival of the fittest", that was Herbert Spencer of social darwinism infamy
    Darwin adopted it in later editions of the Origin because he recognised a good sound bite when he saw one, even though it could be misinterpreted biologically speaking (as is being done by creationists when they claim "survival of the fittest" is a tautology)


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    I think more people say "survival of the fittest" in the business world now more than anything. Any Darwinist sees the value in "Natural Selection."

    I can tell you this, "survival of the fittest" no longer applies to mankind. Any old lump of genetic information can procreate these days. The human gene pool is getting weaker and weaker. I can't wait until we can engineer the bad stuff out.
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  5. #4  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard i_feel_tiredsleepy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gen1GT
    I can tell you this, "survival of the fittest" no longer applies to mankind. Any old lump of genetic information can procreate these days. The human gene pool is getting weaker and weaker. I can't wait until we can engineer the bad stuff out.
    It still applies, just what is "fittest" now seems to have more to do with a willingness to reproduce rather than anything effective fecundity or survival. You're just applying a value judgment to the meaning of "fit".
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  6. #5  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard paralith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gen1GT
    I think more people say "survival of the fittest" in the business world now more than anything. Any Darwinist sees the value in "Natural Selection."

    I can tell you this, "survival of the fittest" no longer applies to mankind. Any old lump of genetic information can procreate these days. The human gene pool is getting weaker and weaker. I can't wait until we can engineer the bad stuff out.
    IFTS already addressed this, but I'd just like to add that fitness is, as marnix pointed out, simply the ability to reproduce. Fitness is also highly dependent on the environment - a penguin is very fit in the antarctic but suddenly becomes very un-fit if you make him try to live in the desert. If humans are now in an environment where "any old lump of genetic information" can procreate, then "any old lump of genetic information" is extremely fit. We could become flesh puddles with brains, so long as we continue to reproduce, we are very fit in terms of natural selection. We'd be pretty ugly in terms of current human ideas of beauty, but we'd still be fit.
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  7. #6  
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    How much the world is overpopulated shows the decline of quality and easyness of reproduction today. I wish a plague would wipe out 40-50% of the world. The porest and sickest would die and leave the natural resources for the one that could actually benefit from them.

    Flawed systems of expected behavior patterns that prevents us from doing such things as i mentioned, namely morals, ethics and political correctness rule us today. It Basicly stops us from doing what needs to be dont to encourage the reproduction of the smartest and most able.

    Ancient custom of killing the sick, disabled and weak are met with disgust today out of fear. "What if that was to happen to me" point of view with roots in a persons ego, not compassion.

    Im not saying we should become cruel and ruthless animals. Only that we share our love, time and resources to those who deserve it. Stupidity is allowed to breed unchallenged because of our humanitism.

    Today reproduction is extremely easy and can be done by anyone.

    Money ensures reproduction regardless of how stupid, disabled or worthless you are.

    Strong but stupid people with no education or future can easily rape over and over and hope one girl gets pregnant and keeps the child.

    The list goes on but there is always a way for someone to reproduce if wanted. The amount of people that live in freedom and happiness today compared to those who dont is only proof of how delusional our "humanitism" is.

    Either people are to cruel and ignorant to care to change anything, or they are to nice and compassionate to change anything. People like me that lives with a balanced view of humanity and practicality are by todays standard considered "cold calculating machines" while all we do is preach what should be done, only for humanity to realize we were right when it is to late.

    Overpopulation is the root cause to most of the evil our world suffers today.
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  8. #7  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard paralith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raziell
    How much the world is overpopulated shows the decline of quality and easyness of reproduction today. I wish a plague would wipe out 40-50% of the world. The porest and sickest would die and leave the natural resources for the one that could actually benefit from them.

    Flawed systems of expected behavior patterns that prevents us from doing such things as i mentioned, namely morals, ethics and political correctness rule us today. It Basicly stops us from doing what needs to be dont to encourage the reproduction of the smartest and most able.

    Ancient custom of killing the sick, disabled and weak are met with disgust today out of fear. "What if that was to happen to me" point of view with roots in a persons ego, not compassion.

    Im not saying we should become cruel and ruthless animals. Only that we share our love, time and resources to those who deserve it. Stupidity is allowed to breed unchallenged because of our humanitism.

    Today reproduction is extremely easy and can be done by anyone.

    Money ensures reproduction regardless of how stupid, disabled or worthless you are.

    Strong but stupid people with no education or future can easily rape over and over and hope one girl gets pregnant and keeps the child.

    The list goes on but there is always a way for someone to reproduce if wanted. The amount of people that live in freedom and happiness today compared to those who dont is only proof of how delusional our "humanitism" is.

    Either people are to cruel and ignorant to care to change anything, or they are to nice and compassionate to change anything. People like me that lives with a balanced view of humanity and practicality are by todays standard considered "cold calculating machines" while all we do is preach what should be done, only for humanity to realize we were right when it is to late.

    Overpopulation is the root cause to most of the evil our world suffers today.
    You're entitled to your opinion on what humans as a whole should and shouldn't become. Just don't confuse what you want with natural selection. That's all I ask.
    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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  9. #8  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard spuriousmonkey's Avatar
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    Message: Fittest doesn't mean fastest, strongest or smartest.

    What does fit mean? It merely means the one that is adapted the best to local circumstances and environment, which results in relatively a higher reproductive success.

    Can you translate that please for us lay people? Of course: That could well mean that less effort put in to leg muscle will result in higher reproductive success, or more offspring. The same for smaller brain. Higher reproductive success can be defined as means of measuring fitness.

    What went wrong? It is a human fallacy to associate fit with strong, fast, smart, or whatever rocks your mind with the concept of fitness.

    What did I do wrong? Human fallacies cannot be used as a scientific argument.

    End logical chain.
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  10. #9  
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    Just as when we breed animals and use the term "unnatural selection," the same can be said of our own breeding. We've completely eliminated "self-preservation" techniques for our survival.

    As you all say, "fit" descibes merely the fact we can reproduce, but I think that's highly flawed. It wasn't a beneficial genetic mutation that allows someone with an extra chromosome to reproduce. However, those with down syndrome are allowed to make babies.

    What you're all implying, is entire against the idea of evolution by natural selection. It's not the strength of their genes that are allowing them an advantage over their species, but the strength of the species itself. I'd like to see anyone name a social species of animal that allows it's disfigured, old, sick and diseased members to reproduce. Only humans.
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  11. #10  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard spuriousmonkey's Avatar
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    I am really not interested in learning you think it is flawed. It is the scientific definition. What's next. You think gravitation theory is flawed because you can throw objects up in the air?

    Something you could read for instance in something accessible as wikipedia

    The concept of fitness is central to natural selection. Broadly, individuals which are more "fit" have better potential for survival, as in the well-known phrase "survival of the fittest". However, as with natural selection above, the precise meaning of the term is much more subtle, and Richard Dawkins manages in his later books to avoid it entirely. (He devotes a chapter of his book, The Extended Phenotype, to discussing the various senses in which the term is used). Modern evolutionary theory defines fitness not by how long an organism lives, but by how successful it is at reproducing. If an organism lives half as long as others of its species, but has twice as many offspring surviving to adulthood, its genes will become more common in the adult population of the next generation.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural_selection#Fitness
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  12. #11  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raziell
    I wish a plague would wipe out 40-50% of the world. The porest and sickest would die and leave the natural resources for the one that could actually benefit from them.
    Would you wish the dead include those with questionable typing skills?
    Quote Originally Posted by Raziell
    Flawed systems of expected behavior patterns that prevents us from doing such things as i mentioned, namely morals, ethics and political correctness rule us today. It Basicly stops us from doing what needs to be dont to encourage the reproduction of the smartest and most able.
    Let's see. You want to abandon the morals and the ethics that are a direct outgrowth of Darwinian selection processes.

    And, let me guess, you and your like will be on this list of individuals whose reproduction will be encouraged.

    Quote Originally Posted by Raziell
    Ancient custom of killing the sick, disabled and weak are met with disgust today out of fear.
    No, I think you will find that for most of us it is out of disgust. That disgust also has a very sound biological basis. As a social species we have learnt (and it has been imposed in our genes) that cooperation is beneficial; that diversity is valuable; that the sick can be healed; that the aged can offer wisdom.

    Quote Originally Posted by Raziell
    Im not saying we should become cruel and ruthless animals. Only that we share our love, time and resources to those who deserve it. y.
    Interesting. How do you address the fact that, based on your contribution here, I don't see you as one who is deserving of love, time or resources?

    Quote Originally Posted by Raziell
    Stupidity is allowed to breed unchallenged because of our humanitism.
    I don't know about that. I am challenging your stupidity.

    Quote Originally Posted by Raziell
    Today reproduction is extremely easy and can be done by anyone. .

    Imagine that. I suppose in the past you had to take classes at night school.

    Quote Originally Posted by Raziell
    Money ensures reproduction regardless of how stupid, disabled or worthless you are..
    Good point. I agree that money is a useful proxy measure of Darwinian fitness.

    Quote Originally Posted by Raziell
    Strong but stupid people with no education or future can easily rape over and over and hope one girl gets pregnant and keeps the child.
    Really. And you have evidence of this happening where and how often? If you keep up this kind of inane argument you may actually convince me that some people are too stupid to be allowed to reproduce. It's just they won't be the people you had in mind.


    Quote Originally Posted by Raziell
    The amount of people that live in freedom and happiness today compared to those who dont is only proof of how delusional our "humanitism" is.
    A couple of minor, off-topic points for you.
    1. number of people, not amount of people.
    2. don't not dont
    3. "humanitarianism" not "humanitism"

    By the way, had you considered any particular method for identifying stupid people? Language skills perhaps?

    Quote Originally Posted by Raziell
    People like me that lives with a balanced view of humanity and practicality are by todays standard considered "cold calculating machines" while all we do is preach what should be done, only for humanity to realize we were right when it is to late.
    I suppose "cold calculating machine is a euphemism for *******, *********,*****-faced *********r
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  13. #12  
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    Quote Originally Posted by i_feel_tiredsleepy
    It still applies, just what is "fittest" now seems to have more to do with a willingness to reproduce rather than anything effective fecundity or survival. You're just applying a value judgment to the meaning of "fit".
    No no no. The fittest are members of families and larger groups. In this context fit genes provide for a fraction of non-breeders, who support the family and group in ways breeders don't. We hive species are funny that way.
    A pong by any other name is still a pong. -williampinn
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  14. #13  
    Forum Ph.D. Raziell's Avatar
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    Sry for offtopic - just replying to people that quoted me.

    @Paralith: Even with "extreme" views like mine you are able to speak a word of wisdom to not mix opinions with real science. Not replying on what i said i can assume you strongly approve?"I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it" as voltaire said...

    I guess with people like you there would be no wars and with people like me in power the result would be "Whatever means to an end" tragedies. Then again thats the effect of diversity right at us right?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    Quote Originally Posted by Raziell
    I wish a plague would wipe out 40-50% of the world. The porest and sickest would die and leave the natural resources for the one that could actually benefit from them.
    Would you wish the dead include those with questionable typing skills?
    Quote Originally Posted by Raziell
    Flawed systems of expected behavior patterns that prevents us from doing such things as i mentioned, namely morals, ethics and political correctness rule us today. It Basicly stops us from doing what needs to be dont to encourage the reproduction of the smartest and most able.
    Let's see. You want to abandon the morals and the ethics that are a direct outgrowth of Darwinian selection processes.

    And, let me guess, you and your like will be on this list of individuals whose reproduction will be encouraged.

    Quote Originally Posted by Raziell
    Ancient custom of killing the sick, disabled and weak are met with disgust today out of fear.
    No, I think you will find that for most of us it is out of disgust. That disgust also has a very sound biological basis. As a social species we have learnt (and it has been imposed in our genes) that cooperation is beneficial; that diversity is valuable; that the sick can be healed; that the aged can offer wisdom.

    Quote Originally Posted by Raziell
    Im not saying we should become cruel and ruthless animals. Only that we share our love, time and resources to those who deserve it. y.
    Interesting. How do you address the fact that, based on your contribution here, I don't see you as one who is deserving of love, time or resources?

    Quote Originally Posted by Raziell
    Stupidity is allowed to breed unchallenged because of our humanitism.
    I don't know about that. I am challenging your stupidity.

    Quote Originally Posted by Raziell
    Today reproduction is extremely easy and can be done by anyone. .

    Imagine that. I suppose in the past you had to take classes at night school.

    Quote Originally Posted by Raziell
    Money ensures reproduction regardless of how stupid, disabled or worthless you are..
    Good point. I agree that money is a useful proxy measure of Darwinian fitness.

    Quote Originally Posted by Raziell
    Strong but stupid people with no education or future can easily rape over and over and hope one girl gets pregnant and keeps the child.
    Really. And you have evidence of this happening where and how often? If you keep up this kind of inane argument you may actually convince me that some people are too stupid to be allowed to reproduce. It's just they won't be the people you had in mind.


    Quote Originally Posted by Raziell
    The amount of people that live in freedom and happiness today compared to those who dont is only proof of how delusional our "humanitism" is.
    A couple of minor, off-topic points for you.
    1. number of people, not amount of people.
    2. don't not dont
    3. "humanitarianism" not "humanitism"

    By the way, had you considered any particular method for identifying stupid people? Language skills perhaps?

    Quote Originally Posted by Raziell
    People like me that lives with a balanced view of humanity and practicality are by todays standard considered "cold calculating machines" while all we do is preach what should be done, only for humanity to realize we were right when it is to late.
    I suppose "cold calculating machine is a euphemism for *******, *********,*****-faced *********r
    1) Allready here you prove that you arent really interested in anything else than scolding me for my opinions instead of comming with actual input. English is my 3rd language which i got a B+ in (in american comparison, assuming you are american?) Funny thing is that grammar is actually what stopped me from a top grade. But still not bad for it being my 3rd language in my own opinion.

    2) I dont care about myself being worthy or not. I believe in a cyclic universe and that scientific reincarnation is possible. That said i only want a world i would want to be born in and care litte about my existance as it is now.

    3) I have to agree. You are completely right. Diversity is valuable, if not humanitys greatest strength. The sick can be healed yes, but why heal a meaningless shell of a parasite that dont contribute and sucks resources out of a community like a vampire? Im speaking of the ignorant violent people that dont care for anything or anyone the most here. The aged can offer wisdom yes. Im not talking about going on a mental killing spree here but i guess my post implied that. Stricter population control would be needed for a society to sustain itself.

    4) Nice prejudice you got going here. You dont know me at all and have such a strong opinion that you think i deserve to be hated, discarded and forgotten? Again you prove that you dont care about the matter at hand and seek only to attack me as a person.

    5) Before i posted i had (No smartass comment here please) written there but removed it. I saw that reply as predictable even then and you filled in what i knew someone would say. Again, you dont seem to be out after anything other than personal attacks here.

    6) Again... this is getting boring. Insults, prejudice, predictability, political correctness. Do you actually have any other ideas and perspectives at all Ophiolite or do you browse forums for the sole purpose of insulting people?

    7) Finally something constructive :wink:

    8) Im just saying the possibility exists in an overpopulated society and it has been done before. You need evidance of the obvious and something that has actually occured through history?

    9) Thanks for the english lessons. I speak 3 languages, english is my 3rd one and by far my native tongue. Again you link grammar mistakes to a persons intelligence.

    10) Insults, prejudice, funny-guy that acts like a grammar nazi and scolds people for their opinions instead of making a post with arguments for discussion. If i should be on any non-reproduction list, then you certainly should to.
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  15. #14  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raziell
    1) Allready here you prove that you arent really interested in anything else than scolding me for my opinions instead of comming with actual input. .
    You provided no input. No quantifiable, verifiable, falsifiable observations, only opinions. Your opinions - in my opinion - stank on a moral level, while having no basis of validity on a scientific level. Put some scientific justification into your posts and I shall address those objectively. Continue to spew opinions and I shall react accordingly.
    Quote Originally Posted by Raziell
    English is my 3rd language which i got a B+ in (in american comparison, assuming you are american?) Funny thing is that grammar is actually what stopped me from a top grade. But still not bad for it being my 3rd language in my own opinion.
    Excellent work for a third language. Far better than my third language, or my second language for that matter. Perhaps you miss the point. You have arbitrarily decided that 40% -50% of the world population would be better off dead. (Or rather the remaining 50%-60% would be better off.) That reeks of elitism and is reminiscent of the worst elements of fascism. Final solution anyone?

    I seek to point out how ridiculous it is to arbitrarily set standards by which to judge others. You have decided that the poorest and sickest should die. OK. Why can't I decide those who aren't fluent in English should die? Or those who are colour blind? Or those who dislike meat? You see how ridiculous it is?

    So your condemnation is flawed. I'm quite impressed by the quality of your English writing. It is the quality of your comprehension and your compassion I have a problem with.

    Quote Originally Posted by Raziell
    Im not talking about going on a mental killing spree here but i guess my post implied that.
    There was no implication. You were quite explicit. You would like 40% - 50% of the population to die. The sick and the poor. Very clear.

    Quote Originally Posted by Raziell
    4) Nice prejudice you got going here. You dont know me at all and have such a strong opinion that you think i deserve to be hated, discarded and forgotten? Again you prove that you dont care about the matter at hand and seek only to attack me as a person.
    Get real sonny. You have declared in your post that you wish me to die. You want 40%-50% of the population, including the sick, to die. Since I have a chronic medical condition it is clear you wish me to die. And now you berate me because I suggest I may not wish to lavish any love or resources on you.
    Also, since English is your third language, let me clarify what I carefully wrote. I noted that based on your contribution here you did not deserve those things. I fully acknowledged, by those words, that your contribution here may not represent the real you, but if it did....well the rest follows.

    Quote Originally Posted by Raziell
    6) Again... this is getting boring. Insults, prejudice, predictability, political correctness. Do you actually have any other ideas and perspectives at all Ophiolite or do you browse forums for the sole purpose of insulting people?
    I have stated that your ideas are morally abhorrent precisely because they are anti-survival. They fly in the face of effective natural selection. They have no place in science and they have no place in society. You cannot justify them on a scientific basis, or on a practical basis, or on a moral basis.
    I have not attacked you. I have attacked your inane ideas.

    The one thing with which I can agree with you is that overpopulation is a problem. You do not have the solution to it, but you certainly have enough ideas to make the problem even worse.

    Quote Originally Posted by Raziell
    9) Thanks for the english lessons. I speak 3 languages, english is my 3rd one and by far my native tongue. Again you link grammar mistakes to a persons intelligence.
    No. I point out that deciding who will live or die on the basis of arbitrary criteria is an ultimately flawed process. You wish the sick and the poor to die - 40% to 50% of the population. I say - tongue in cheek - fine. Let's start with those who can't even run spell-check. Let's start with those who are different from me. Let's start with those multilingual bastards who strut their superiority around the internet. Let's start with those who have red hair.

    You have failed to demonstrate a benefit in your selection criteria and I certainly have no intention of defending mine, which were offered as demonstration of how silly yours were.

    Finally, this is a discussion on a science forum about fitness. Nothing you said had any scientific basis whatsoever. That is why I have attacked your ideas, because they are without any support in the real world. If you think otherwise come forward with the data, not opinions. I'll be happy to discuss facts, not your fantasy world.
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  16. #15  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard spuriousmonkey's Avatar
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    I would just like to point the little fact that most deaths by sickness before the reproductive age are caused by viral and microbial infections.

    Our immune system is a bit funny now, in that it isn't really genetically determined all the way. Just partially.

    It's really like a lottery this kind of infection. Some people do better than others, but if you lack the proper priming against an infection you will die anyway regardless of your 'better' genes.

    So I am not really sure of what is being suggested?

    Are we proposing that we instigate some random lottery where the winning ticket is death, so we can emulate conditions of the past for us, and the conditions still existing for most in 3rd world countries?
    "Kill them all and let God sort them out."

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  17. #16  
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    Quote Originally Posted by spuriousmonkey
    I would just like to point the little fact that most deaths by sickness before the reproductive age are caused by viral and microbial infections.
    Raziell seems to be more in favour of a general culling of the population to get rid of the drains on resources. Although he bemoans the ease with which people can reproduce, his targeting of the sick implicitly aims mainly at those who have already done so - if they were ever going to.

    Of course it could just be part of a thinly disguised plan to assassinate Hugh Hefner.
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  18. #17  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard paralith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gen1GT
    Just as when we breed animals and use the term "unnatural selection," the same can be said of our own breeding. We've completely eliminated "self-preservation" techniques for our survival.

    As you all say, "fit" descibes merely the fact we can reproduce, but I think that's highly flawed. It wasn't a beneficial genetic mutation that allows someone with an extra chromosome to reproduce. However, those with down syndrome are allowed to make babies.

    What you're all implying, is entire against the idea of evolution by natural selection. It's not the strength of their genes that are allowing them an advantage over their species, but the strength of the species itself. I'd like to see anyone name a social species of animal that allows it's disfigured, old, sick and diseased members to reproduce. Only humans.
    We're not implying that natural selection works by favoring deleterious genes. We're saying that just because YOU as a human think something isn't good doesn't necessarily mean it is in fact deleterious in terms of natural selection. For example most people think a decrease in our average intelligence would just be a terrible horrendous thing, yet the vast majority of animals on this planet reproduce and survive very successfully with much smaller brains than ours. Like I said to Raziell, you're entitled to your opinion on what you think humans should and should not become. Just don't confuse your personal idea of what's bad with what's deleterious in terms of natural selection.

    @Raziell: No, I do not share your opinion, or Gen1GT's opinion. Because I know that humans have become as successful as they are today because we are cooperative and because we can share knowledge with each other. Even the physically weak and mothers of children with down syndrome are members of our cooperative society. You can argue and debate about the costs all you want. As far as I'm concerned, the benefits exceed them. (And don't bother trying to change my mind.)
    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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  19. #18  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raziell
    How much the world is overpopulated shows the decline of quality and easyness of reproduction today. I wish a plague would wipe out 40-50% of the world. The porest and sickest would die and leave the natural resources for the one that could actually benefit from them.
    Breathtaking ignorance on so many levels I don't even have time to attack it all at once.

    FYI, irrespective of your financial and health status, a plague that wipes out 40-50% of the worlds population with a bias in favour of the poor and weak has a high probability of killing you too. The statistical tail of that dead population will be big and messy and probably contain a whole lot of people who don't fit your frankly stupid concept of who deserves to die.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gen1GT
    Just as when we breed animals and use the term "unnatural selection," the same can be said of our own breeding. We've completely eliminated "self-preservation" techniques for our survival.
    We don't use the term "unnatural selection". At least not often. We use the terms "artificial selection" or "selective breeding". What is your evidence that we have eliminated self preservation techniques, whatever that is supposed to mean?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gen1GT
    As you all say, "fit" descibes merely the fact we can reproduce, but I think that's highly flawed.
    Evolution doesn't care what you think of it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gen1GT
    It wasn't a beneficial genetic mutation that allows someone with an extra chromosome to reproduce. However, those with down syndrome are allowed to make babies.
    Whether a mutation is beneficial, neutral or detrimental is not determined by what humans think of the outcome. It is determined by natural selection. That you think people with down syndrome are less than you in some manner does not matter to evolution. If they reproduce more successfully than you, that is all that matters to it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gen1GT
    What you're all implying, is entire against the idea of evolution by natural selection.
    I suspect you have a bit of an odd idea of how evolution works.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gen1GT
    It's not the strength of their genes that are allowing them an advantage over their species, but the strength of the species itself. I'd like to see anyone name a social species of animal that allows it's disfigured, old, sick and diseased members to reproduce.
    Chimpanzees, dolphins, gorillas, mice, penguins. It's a pretty big list containing... well, all of the social species. None of these species runs eugenics programmes or specifically denies any of it's members reproductive rights. All of them discriminate against the "disfigured, old, sick and diseased" to some extent, but we do that as well. Sexual selection. It's not a hard and fast rule, as would be enforced in eugenics but that's good for evolution. You need some "lesser" types to slip through the reproductive cracks fairly frequently, not least because the majority of beneficial mutations are derived from several successive detrimental or neutral ones.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    Quote Originally Posted by i_feel_tiredsleepy
    It still applies, just what is "fittest" now seems to have more to do with a willingness to reproduce rather than anything effective fecundity or survival. You're just applying a value judgment to the meaning of "fit".
    No no no. The fittest are members of families and larger groups. In this context fit genes provide for a fraction of non-breeders, who support the family and group in ways breeders don't. We hive species are funny that way.
    Fitness the way I defined it still applies when you take into consideration kin-selection.
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    Kin selection judges fitness by family, not individual. If the family bursts in convulsions then you could say breeders as individuals are fitter. Even so we're all under group selection now, so I don't know whose fitness is moot in this context.
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    Ive come to realize how extremely flawed my idea was and my own immaturity shames me at the moment, but cant change that now... but how would you people say the problem of overpopulation should be solved then? We are literally commiting suicide by multiplying at the moment.

    Overpopulation makes it easier and easier to commit crime, being anonymous in this world has never been easier. The more people the less resources, the less can we care for eachother. More polution, less food etc...

    To be born into a ghetto in India, or to be born into sudan, or to be born into china as a poor person number 193245616 that has to work 16 hours a day to survive. (Money to survive , but not to actually live is a cruel existence) These are an endless amount of fates just waiting to happen to people because of overpopulation. My excuse for my rather extreme idea was that killing off half the planet now would in the long run improve and save the lifes of many times that number in the longer scheme of things.

    Theres no question that the reproductive urges of our race are a formidable force but they are so strong it would seem, that the proccess of survival and reproduction will kill us. Rather ironic id say.
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    In a sense the existence of 3rd world countries with extreme living conditions form an actual experiment that proves that the popular notion that selection doesn't exist any more in the modern society and this is a bad thing, is a false notion.

    The selective forces that these people claim to seize to have existed still exist there. Hence we can make a nice comparison between a first world nation and a third world nation regarding the beneficial selective forces of hardship, disease etc.

    If the notion is correct there should be a superhuman emerging in the third world countries, and the population of first world nations should waste away into a 'untermensch'.

    Obviously this isn't happening. Or are the people of Somalia 'smarter, faster and more intelligent' than those in Finland?

    So maybe this idea of loss of selective forces is flawed?

    What is really going on? I sincerely suggest to assume a different stance.

    Maybe selective forces are different from the ones you think are obvious candidates. Maybe there is currently rather a lot of selection going on, but at the moment it isn't yet quite clear what the selective force exactly is. Maybe there is a multitude of small selective forces, and maybe over a long period of time most of them will have no net effect, and maybe one or two will.

    Research has shown that the human population still is under the influence of selective forces in the last few thousand years. Evolution hasn't stopped at all. It's just maybe not all that obvious.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raziell
    Ive come to realize how extremely flawed my idea was and my own immaturity shames me at the moment, but cant change that now... .
    Congratulations. It takes considerable character to recognise when you are wrong and even more to admit it. Well done. Forget your earlier stupid comments and feel pride in your revised thinking and approach.

    Quote Originally Posted by Raziell
    . but how would you people say the problem of overpopulation should be solved then? We are literally commiting suicide by multiplying at the moment.
    Look to Europe. Birth rates are declining. Population levels are due to fall without immigration.

    Why? When people attain a particular standard of living they would rather spend money on material luxuries and lifestyle than on children. When that is beyond their reach, when there is no state support to protect them in illness and old age, they will seek to have many children to provide that support when they are old.

    The solution is then obvious - raise the standard of living in poor countries. The method is the tricky one, and we run a fine line between running out of resources before we have brought about the levelling off and decline that can come.

    One single action that could improve things would be for the Roman Catholic church to change its stance on birth control. That single stance, in my view, qualifies them for the title Evil Institution of the Century, but really, that's another story and another debate.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    Look to Europe. Birth rates are declining. Population levels are due to fall without immigration.

    Why? When people attain a particular standard of living they would rather spend money on material luxuries and lifestyle than on children. When that is beyond their reach, when there is no state support to protect them in illness and old age, they will seek to have many children to provide that support when they are old.

    The solution is then obvious - raise the standard of living in poor countries. The method is the tricky one, and we run a fine line between running out of resources before we have brought about the levelling off and decline that can come.

    One single action that could improve things would be for the Roman Catholic church to change its stance on birth control. That single stance, in my view, qualifies them for the title Evil Institution of the Century, but really, that's another story and another debate.
    It's true that fertility levels are declining all over the world, but I don't agree with your reasoning for why that is. Especially because programs that have specifically aimed to increase health care and other general quality of life measures do not have the magical effect of lowering fertility; in fact, programs that take this narrow view often end up raising overall fertility instead.

    What more clearly correlates with the change in fertility levels is the type of job market. In most industrialized countries, the job market is based on technology and skill, and in a world where technology is becoming more complex every day, any child that hopes to be successful in that world requires huge amounts of training to gain the necessary skills to be competitive. In these cases, parents "realize" that if you have an excess of children, you'll have to split up your resources to the point that you cannot guarantee any of them will get the amount of schooling they really need to be competitive. If you have fewer children, you can invest more in them, help them get even more schooling, and become even more competitive in the job market. This is certainly enabled by higher quality of life, since better healthcare makes it safe to invest everything in two or three children, because the chances that they will all die from disease and leave you offspring-less are extremely low. But if all you do is raise health standards in a community based largely on, say, farming, they're going to have more children (thanks to increased nutrition/lower disease stress on the mother) and they'll be happy to do it for all the manual labor these children will contribute to the family business, and after doing little besides working on a farm while they grow up, they'll be able to go on and support families of their own quite successfully. In most non-industrial societies, having more children is a luxury. It's the wealthiest, most prominent man in the community that has the most children (and wives, depending on the culture).

    Sorry to go on a rant Ophi, but really - what animal would evolve to be happy with a small number of offspring because they'd rather have more material goods? The whole purpose of acquiring material goods for any animal is to convert that into successful offspring. Humans in particular are focused on making sure their children are capable of procuring resources, because during our evolution it was those who were good at procuring resources that were the most reproductively successful by turning those resources into offspring that could carry on the cycle.
    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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    We spend a lot of time and effort on our offspring. Relatively more than most other species.

    That may influence our decision to have less children more than for other species (if they could make the conscious decision).

    And i doubt you could even test the hypothesis that other species would rather have material goods than offspring. That's because I think many of the parameters that cause this phenomenon are byproducts of the human culture and the species specifics of this culture.
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  28. #27  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    One single action that could improve things would be for the Roman Catholic church to change its stance on birth control.
    I visited a lot of Mexican cathedrals, and most people I saw in there were women. Matrons to be precise, who looked like they had borne their share of children and earned their keep by that account.

    Paralith could have gone further regarding job markets. Have we come so far she doesn't know? I'll go further then:

    Throughout the third world, women's earning potential is pitiful. It's a rigged bet against competing men few women will risk their futures on. So what can a devalued woman possibly offer to make herself indispensable? Sex of course. Sex - and no coincidence our topic is reproduction. Prostitution is one option. We see that in all countries, always by the women who have nothing else to trade, directed at the men who have more. But prostitution doesn't last. Sex also makes babies. Babies secure families. Families revolve around mothers. When a woman has a baby she is suddenly elevated in society. As a mother, she even gains some power over men. Her future is secure. Secure so long as she's a mother of a breadwinner's children, that is. And since she's already committed to career as a mother, she may as well have more security, that is: more children of the father, the family, and the state, in her care. She can stretch it out longer, and take a bigger cut for herself. This may also be incentive to make her lazy husband work harder.

    China solved the problem by narrowing the wage gap and removing all incentives for second children. Chinese women don't look to motherhood as viable career. It is not that their standard of living is good, it's that the potential earnings of husbands are so close to theirs it makes no financial sense to be a housewife. Chinese women also have security in that the state will cover their costs of living on par with men. The gap has widened a bit lately. This is associated with China's economic boom and a growth in high-paying management positions women say they feel unwelcome in.

    Simple nationwide standard of living doesn't help at all. The north American baby boom took place under a booming economy. But that was before the equal rights movement (equal pay, 1960's). In the 50's women's earning potential grew, but men's grew more. It's the difference that matters. You think about what a woman stands to gain by becoming a career mom, and it should be plain that's a calculation between man and woman, not 1st world and 3rd world.
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    Quote Originally Posted by paralith
    Sorry to go on a rant Ophi, but really - what animal would evolve to be happy with a small number of offspring because they'd rather have more material goods?
    Well, my answer to that is .... homo sapiens. Anecdotally only, I have lost track of the number of couples I know who decided against children because it would 'cramp their lifestyle'. There are a slightly smaller % of females who have chosen to remain single (and childless) for much the same reason.

    Your position appears to assume evolution must favour those who produce offspring that produce offspring. That is true in the sense that species who choose the opposite route will cease to exist. It is not however a requirement that they make the right choice. (This intelligence is a dicey thing.)
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    Quote Originally Posted by paralith
    Sorry to go on a rant Ophi, but really - what animal would evolve to be happy with a small number of offspring because they'd rather have more material goods?
    Well, my answer to that is .... homo sapiens. Anecdotally only, I have lost track of the number of couples I know who decided against children because it would 'cramp their lifestyle'. There are a slightly smaller % of females who have chosen to remain single (and childless) for much the same reason.

    Your position appears to assume evolution must favour those who produce offspring that produce offspring. That is true in the sense that species who choose the opposite route will cease to exist. It is not however a requirement that they make the right choice. (This intelligence is a dicey thing.)
    Yes, those people who have decided not to have children always come up in this conversation. But consider also the number of people on this planet - though I do not know the exact numbers myself, I would imagine that the number of people who reproduce far outnumber those who don't, and especially those who don't by conscious choice. It's expected that a certain amount of variation is going to arise around any trait; when the total sample size is so huge, even a small amount of variation may seem significant to us when we think about it. However, a desire to not have children at all is certainly not driving the change in fertility levels across the world. It's a desire to invest more heavily in what children you do have, in order that they can become competitive in the resource production market.
    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
    It's true that fertility levels are declining all over the world, but I don't agree with your reasoning for why that is. Especially because programs that have specifically aimed to increase health care and other general quality of life measures do not have the magical effect of lowering fertility; in fact, programs that take this narrow view often end up raising overall fertility instead.

    What more clearly correlates with the change in fertility levels is the type of job market. In most industrialized countries, the job market is based on technology and skill, and in a world where technology is becoming more complex every day, any child that hopes to be successful in that world requires huge amounts of training to gain the necessary skills to be competitive. In these cases, parents "realize" that if you have an excess of children, you'll have to split up your resources to the point that you cannot guarantee any of them will get the amount of schooling they really need to be competitive. If you have fewer children, you can invest more in them, help them get even more schooling, and become even more competitive in the job market. This is certainly enabled by higher quality of life, since better healthcare makes it safe to invest everything in two or three children, because the chances that they will all die from disease and leave you offspring-less are extremely low.
    This is especially crucial, because manual labor is getting more and more obsolete everyday. Those educated roles are not only important in an industrialized economy. They're important to every society that even hopes to become industrialized someday. So basically, if you're having kids who don't become educated, it's almost like having no kids at all.

    We could say that the modernization of society is an example of a sudden cataclysm, from the perspective of evolution. The environment has suddenly changed so that different traits are desirable than those which the previous environment had been selecting for, and now we've got to wait while our DNA catches up, but it probably won't, because our environment will keep on changing faster than it does. Maybe the fact that we rapidly change our own environment is going to end up being the trait that makes us unfit to survive? Probably the only way our DNA is going to keep up now is if we consciously alter it to help it keep up.


    But if all you do is raise health standards in a community based largely on, say, farming, they're going to have more children (thanks to increased nutrition/lower disease stress on the mother) and they'll be happy to do it for all the manual labor these children will contribute to the family business, and after doing little besides working on a farm while they grow up, they'll be able to go on and support families of their own quite successfully. In most non-industrial societies, having more children is a luxury. It's the wealthiest, most prominent man in the community that has the most children (and wives, depending on the culture).
    And all this does is perpetuate an outdated education level. More children who only know how to do manual labor.

    Quote Originally Posted by spuriousmonkey
    I would just like to point the little fact that most deaths by sickness before the reproductive age are caused by viral and microbial infections.

    Our immune system is a bit funny now, in that it isn't really genetically determined all the way. Just partially.
    I read an interesting article on sexual attraction a while ago, in some trendy magazine, about what makes people fall in love. It mentioned that some research had shown that women are unconsciously attracted to men who have different immune systems than their own. Like on the scent level.

    So, even if your immune system is based more on exposure than it is on DNA, it's still being selected for sexually, if we assume that the children are going to grow up in contact with both parents.
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    Sorry Pong, just noticed your post.

    I'm not sure I follow your line of reasoning on sex differences. One of the primary drivers of equality in pay for women in the 1960's was the relatively simple fact that, on the American marriage market, there were far more women than men. It became increasingly difficult for many woman to find an eligible partner that would help them raise their children, so they demanded equal education and employment opportunities so that they would be able to support their families themselves without a man. You should also note that this correlated with increased ideas of sexual freedom, because, as you say, one way to catch yourself a man when they're in limited supply is to be more willing to have sex with him earlier in the relationship than another woman. You seem to be suggesting that only once women get jobs do they stop offering sex more freely, and I don't think this is the case.

    If anything women in china today are facing the opposite problem women in America did in the 1960's. Because of the prohibition on second children, parents are preferentially having sons, and even despite laws against it are finding ways to either prevent the birth of daughters or are committing female infanticide. The result is that the young adult generation in China now has far more men than women, and many young men are simply unable to find a wife. Obviously, it is not very difficult at all for a woman to find a supportive husband in this type of environment, and she certainly doesn't need to offer pre-marital sex in order to successfully catch one. If there is a decline in overall sexual activity of women in China right now, it's not because they have jobs. It's because of the sex ratio.

    You're also assuming that more sex=more babies, and that's not necessarily the case, especially in a day and age with a lot of birth control technology. But even before birth control became widely available the fertility rates in many countries started dropping, because if parents really only want to have two children they're going to find ways to make sure they only have two.
    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 post wasn't about promiscuity, and I certainly didn't say more sex=more babies. Believe it or not I think sex for pleasure has little bearing on overpopulation, and lack of birth control is not causing women to have babies. They aren't mindless animals. Maybe you understandably skimmed my words assuming they'd amount to something you'd already heard. This may be a radical view to you:

    The point I'm trying to make is that women will continue to use sex, marriage, motherhood, and children, to improve their own situations so long as men have much greater earning potential. Yes it's somewhat selfish and manipulative but who isn't? Girls raised under a wide gender gap make the calculations and many decide their best bet is to hitch a breadwinner, and keep him hitched and working for her security by creating a family he will support. By having children the woman makes herself indispensable. This is not only poor countries! We had the North American baby boom, and Japan still retains a culture of housewives because the workplace inequalities there are in many ways comparable to 1950's USA.

    You could say it's the men (with their money) coercing the women into prostitution, marriage, motherhood. I would say its both - it's a transaction... though in most cases it appears the woman's already decided what she wants and how she's going to work it. I'm not one of those feminists who thinks being nice to women approximates equality. I think that women's life choices are part of the problem - I mean women who perpetuate this cycle.

    My prescription is proven and attainable by any country regardless of poverty: narrow the earning gap. Remember this does not require an overall increased standard of living. Traditional breadwinner incomes can and probably should be reduced. The wrong approach, which we've applied counter-productively for decades is to give some boys exceptional educations, hire skilled men at salaries designed to support a family, and offer women menial jobs they'll surely quit or shift to casual employment as soon as they've secured husbands. When we change the economic conditions such that women foresee financial independence, they'll stop becoming professional mothers.

    China's gotta keep resurfacing as example. I want to address the question of how couples can raise even one child if both have to work. A lot of outsiders don't know that Chinese children normally require little care from their natural parents. No the Red State doesn't truck the babes away to brainwashing camps - the elderly relatives care for children. This is totally established culture now if it wasn't somewhat already. It's quite common and acceptable for toddlers to live with grandparents in the country while mom and dad work in a far away city. That's an example of how one nation does it anyway.

    Interestingly we have the old transaction alive in Canada, now between women and the welfare state. It is sad, but there really are women who become professional welfare moms, as a life choice, having multiple children by various males. The welfare payment scheme is such that moms can ...profit... from each child amount. Each child adds an extra amount the mother manages to save or whatever. Welfare moms make the calculations and find they'd fair better financially with more children.

    Actually I'm unsure why that's especially sad, if wives do same with their husbands under severe wage gap conditions. I guess if one wants it it's okay?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    The point I'm trying to make is that women will continue to use sex, marriage, motherhood, and children, to improve their own situations so long as men have much greater earning potential. Yes it's somewhat selfish and manipulative but who isn't?
    I don't have a problem with selfish and manipulative. I'm trained to look at organisms that way. But I'm also trained to look at a hypothesis like yours and wonder, is a woman having offspring to improve her situation.....or having offspring to have offspring, like any good organism would? I think it's generally a mistake to think of children as a means to an end and not the end itself. Look back to my example of women in the 60's. They didn't have babies alone in order to get equal education and employment. They wanted to have babies alone and in order to do that they demanded equal education and employment.

    Now you're probably going to mention the well known examples of women attempting to get pregnant by really rich men in order to extract child support. Sure, in their minds of lot of these women might be thinking of mansions, but they are also acting out a highly adaptive behavior that human women have probably been doing for hundreds of thousands if not millions of years; seeking out the best and highest producer of resources around so that they can get access to those resources and convert those resources into successful children. Obviously the man is more likely to invest his resources in those offspring if they're his. And in any case, if you are trying to blame this phenomenon for over-population, it's not like these women are more likely to get the man's attention if they pop out 8 babies by him instead of one or two. Once again, if one or two children is what they want, that's what they'll have - who they're attempting to get to help them raise those children isn't directly correlated with the number of offspring they have.

    What I'm trying to say is that if you want people to have less children, short of policing them relentlessly, you have to change the number of children they want. Remember in non-industrial societies it's the richest people that have the most children! The ones who ARE well off, the ones who HAVE a good situation in life (at least compared to other people in their community). And they're very proud of their brood because it's another sign of their wealth.
    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
    What I'm trying to say is that if you want people to have less children, short of policing them relentlessly, you have to change the number of children they want. Remember in non-industrial societies it's the richest people that have the most children! The ones who ARE well off, the ones who HAVE a good situation in life (at least compared to other people in their community). And they're very proud of their brood because it's another sign of their wealth.
    I think Pong is describing conditions that do just that: determine how many kids we will want to have. You're coming at it from the perspective of what appeals to a person's ego, and Pong is looking at what appeals to their pocketbook. And, of course, ego and pocketbook are usually opposite concerns. People don't buy a Mercedes Benz because they're trying to save money.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    China's gotta keep resurfacing as example. I want to address the question of how couples can raise even one child if both have to work. A lot of outsiders don't know that Chinese children normally require little care from their natural parents. No the Red State doesn't truck the babes away to brainwashing camps - the elderly relatives care for children. This is totally established culture now if it wasn't somewhat already. It's quite common and acceptable for toddlers to live with grandparents in the country while mom and dad work in a far away city. That's an example of how one nation does it anyway.
    That's just an amazingly brilliant setup. That's the first system I've heard of that maximizes your workforce to the point where even your elderly people have a useful role to perform.
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    Maybe not quite ego but drive. And people make decisions so their various drives compliment.
    Quote Originally Posted by paralith
    I think it's generally a mistake to think of children as a means to an end and not the end itself.
    There we really have a number of drives complimenting (or compromising). I agree that people want to have children - the most, best, children possible. People also want to secure wealth - the most, best, possible. You could say one's subservient to the other, and as a father I would tend to agree, but it's kinda moot. Take cars for analogy: Do you work in town to afford the car, or do you pay to commute so you can work in town? Moot question. The two ends are each other's means - they compliment.

    Professional motherhood is an arrangement where many drives compliment each other. We can attack it from that many angles. I've said that a significant factor in a woman's (girl's) calculations is the perceived gender gap. There are other factors great and small as well, we can attack. But gender gap pretty well limits which careers women see as overall best compromise.

    Anyway, wage parity is worthwhile if only for its own sake. Developed countries (donors, investors) are in a position to encourage it, and I believe that more than half of any population would appreciate it.

    Honestly I feel the current tactic of "educating" women to use contraceptives, and pushing contraceptives, insulting. Yes in surveys 3rd world women do say they'd prefer to have less children. How can they explain the humiliating essence of their situation to sexually liberated researchers flying in from wealthy countries? Or even truthfully to each other, their husbands, or their children? It is really trite to go pushing contraceptives at 3rd world women so they won't breed like animals. If women want contraception they will ask for it. And I'm inclined to think the husbands will cooperate, willingly or not.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    I think Pong is describing conditions that do just that: determine how many kids we will want to have. You're coming at it from the perspective of what appeals to a person's ego, and Pong is looking at what appeals to their pocketbook. And, of course, ego and pocketbook are usually opposite concerns. People don't buy a Mercedes Benz because they're trying to save money.
    They're not opposite concerns. The whole reason people crave resources is because raising successful offspring is an extremely resource-costly process, and it's arguably even more so for humans that it is for other animals. I ask again, why on earth would an organism evolve that craves resources for the sake of having resources alone? Sure, some humans take this to the extreme; however, most people won't buy a Mercedes Benz while their children starve, either. Let's think about those people who say children are too expensive and that's why I'm not having any; how expensive is it, really, if all you plan on doing is feeding them enough to survive, giving them the minimal amount of clothing and shelter until they're 18 and then kicking them out? Having children itself isn't expensive. Having successful children is. Successful children require a lot more investment in terms of both time and material resources. And again, some humans look at this and follow the logical conclusion to the maladaptive extreme - yet another example of genetically based drives resulting in mismatched decisions in a radically new environment. But even given this, those who still do the best with what they've got far, far outnumber those who choose not try at all.

    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    That's just an amazingly brilliant setup. That's the first system I've heard of that maximizes your workforce to the point where even your elderly people have a useful role to perform.
    It's not unique to China by any means. Many, many cultures have extended family members all living together and/or sharing familial responsibilities - the condensed nuclear family that has mom and dad doing most of the work for the family is something particular to western countries and probably the US even more so.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    There we really have a number of drives complimenting (or compromising). I agree that people want to have children - the most, best, children possible. People also want to secure wealth - the most, best, possible. You could say one's subservient to the other, and as a father I would tend to agree, but it's kinda moot. Take cars for analogy: Do you work in town to afford the car, or do you pay to commute so you can work in town? Moot question. The two ends are each other's means - they compliment.
    I don't really follow the analogy. And I do not think the point is moot. An incorrect understanding of the causality of a phenomenon will by no means help you change that phenomenon, if that is your goal.

    Look, I understand your guys' desire to put an emphasis on wealth and the creature comforts. It's clear that humans always have and always will find all sorts of ways to acquire those exact things, and it would be simply silly of me to try and argue with something so obvious. What I'm trying to say is that this desire evolved because of the incredibly high cost of raising successful offspring for humans; even in hunter-gathering groups, studies have shown that offspring are often not nutritionally independent from their parents until around the age of 18. No other animal spends this amount of time on each individual offspring. In service to this incredible resource drain we evolved a deep desire to acquire and accumulate resources, and a very fine sensitivity to how our local conditions effect our ability to do that, so that we know when we need to alter our strategies in order to maximize both our own production, and our offspring's production. Pulling apart our drive for resources and our drive for reproduction is not easy because they are so intrinsically linked. And for that same reason, to consider one but not the other, especially when you're talking about ways to change levels of reproduction across the world, is simply a mistake.
    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
    Pulling apart our drive for resources and our drive for reproduction is not easy because they are so intrinsically linked. And for that same reason, to consider one but not the other, especially when you're talking about ways to change levels of reproduction across the world, is simply a mistake.
    Yeah, you said it better than I did. I think we share insights regarding the causes of overpopulation. We agree the many social, economic, and especially biological factors are inextricable.

    The problem can't be pulled apart, as you say, thus an attack on one end attacks the whole "intrinsically linked" problem. So next we find the best angle of attack.

    Biological? That could be attacking the problem in the bedroom. In practice that means professional women (or worse, men) from liberal countries coming with a crate of condoms and a stack of Cosmopolitan magazines, instructing women to engage in frequent inconsequential sex, with contraceptives.

    Social? The morals are dubious. We'd have to tell people their values are wrong, many more of them alive would be an insult to the Earth itself. Or at least that's how population ethics preaching must be taken at the receiving end. It will be taken personally.

    Economic? As I mentioned earlier, there are fruitful interventions and counter-productive interventions. Raising the relative wealth of men is not helpful! Neither is charity targeting mothers and their burden of children, if women become dependent, and especially if each child born confers some added charity. Those solutions seem nice and ethical but they're aggravating the problem. On the economic front, I've convinced myself that narrowing gender gaps is the best strategy. And unlike some other strategies it does not offend any cultural value, biological instinct, modesty, or dignity.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    On the economic front, I've convinced myself that narrowing gender gaps is the best strategy.
    I still don't see your reasoning behind this, though. If women cannot support themselves, then they have to find a mate to support them and their family before they start to reproduce. If women are capable of supporting themselves, they don't have to find a (long-term) mate before they start reproducing if they don't want to. But notice that nothing about this distinction makes any necessary prediction about the numbers of offspring a woman will have in either situation.

    Pong, I suspect that what you are seeing as a causative relationship is actually a correlative one, that isn't causative. Most non-industrial societies have much higher family sizes than industrial societies. A lot of non-industrial societies also have more marked patriarchy and a division of labor between the genders than most industrial societies. The one does not cause the other. Systems where men are the only ones who get jobs are less common in modern industrialized countries because technology and automation have created a job market where men and women are equally capable of performing the same jobs. In non-industrialized countries a lot of the work requires hard manual labor, number one, and number two, a lot of non-industrial societies also allow polygyny. In a polygynous mating system, rich men can have far greater reproductive success than rich women, so the families that own large amounts of material wealth preferentially pass it on to their sons, resulting in a system where men are the owners of material goods and women are not. In every way the reduction in fertility is related to the changing job market and the cost of raising children who will be successful in that market - and this new job market is one where both women and men can in principal at least be equally proficient as long as they are given enough specialized training. Thus job equality for women and the change in fertility tend to change together, because these two aspects of the changing job market tend to go together. If you create jobs for women but the overall cost of raising children who will be successful in the job market remains low, the fertility won't change.
    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
    If women cannot support themselves, then they have to find a mate to support them and their family before they start to reproduce. If women are capable of supporting themselves, they don't have to find a (long-term) mate before they start reproducing if they don't want to.
    False dichotomy. There is a continuity between, with various arrangements more or less enticing depending on other factors like culture, religion, education, etc. You yourself probably operate between the extremes.

    necessary prediction about the numbers of offspring a woman will have in either situation
    The number between "either situation" will probably fall between 1st world and 3rd world. Doesn't that seem sensible? Specifics would depend on country, how reduced gender gap reconciles with other factors. We could predict for one country if you like. Pick one.

    Most non-industrial societies have much higher family sizes than industrial societies
    Yes, some family structures mesh best with particular sets of conditions. When conditions change the family will also but only step by step as generations and attrition permit. We've seen this in the evolving Western family and continue to see it i.e. the anticipated economic and social strain of an ageing boomer generation.

    In non-industrialized countries a lot of the work requires hard manual labor
    Today your Southeast Asian sisters are working the rice paddies while men stand by the road smoking cigarettes. I'm sorry if I lose coherence on this point.

    polygynous mating system
    Extremely rare today, even where it's legal.

    specialized training... If you create jobs for women but the overall cost of raising children who will be successful in the job market remains low, the fertility won't change.
    Yes, that's why I don't say education or modernization address the core problem, although they could be helpful if applied appropriately. With income gap narrowed regardless of training women holding paid employment will be better able to produce successful children and will depend less on male income. There is no dichotomy here: the obvious arrangement has both parents working and together able to support fewer successful children. There is no dichotomy but there is a threshold where women either forsake work outside the home to be professional mothers, or they compete with their husbands in the job market. That threshold is imposed by unequal earnings i.e. for every $1 he's paid she's paid 60. Its' a very simple calculation women and families make.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    There is no dichotomy but there is a threshold where women either forsake work outside the home to be professional mothers, or they compete with their husbands in the job market. That threshold is imposed by unequal earnings i.e. for every $1 he's paid she's paid 60. Its' a very simple calculation women and families make.
    I have no problem working with thresholds or continuities. Certainly I'm not pretending that family numbers went from 9 to 2 in a single generation or anything like that, but they are going down all over the world. But let's look at what you've said here. Threshold model, yes, but either be professional mothers or compete with their husbands. Again: what about this says professional mothers MUST be having more children than women who work outside the home?? A professional mother could be spending her time raising six children successfully or, if children take much more time and effort to raise successfully, devoting all her attention to two instead. Same for a working mother. There is simply no reasoning that I can see whereby fertility is DEPENDENT on these factors. Sure, you can talk about the influence of other social factors, but you yourself are claiming that this is THE factor that needs to be targeted to change fertility, not all these other potential confounds you are now trying to bring up.
    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
    Look, I understand your guys' desire to put an emphasis on wealth and the creature comforts. It's clear that humans always have and always will find all sorts of ways to acquire those exact things, and it would be simply silly of me to try and argue with something so obvious. What I'm trying to say is that this desire evolved because of the incredibly high cost of raising successful offspring for humans; even in hunter-gathering groups, studies have shown that offspring are often not nutritionally independent from their parents until around the age of 18. No other animal spends this amount of time on each individual offspring. In service to this incredible resource drain we evolved a deep desire to acquire and accumulate resources, and a very fine sensitivity to how our local conditions effect our ability to do that, so that we know when we need to alter our strategies in order to maximize both our own production, and our offspring's production. Pulling apart our drive for resources and our drive for reproduction is not easy because they are so intrinsically linked. And for that same reason, to consider one but not the other, especially when you're talking about ways to change levels of reproduction across the world, is simply a mistake.
    One thing that has to be factored in is the human notion of "status" and how that attaches itself to wealth. The person with the most luxuries is often considered to be the most prominent (or essential) member of society, which means their kids are more likely to be exempted from a draft in times of war, or etc.

    VIP's generally have better life expectations whenever there's a resource shortage. Everyone lets you go to the front of the line at amusement parks. Police and firefighters give you first priority when they're deciding who to rescue during an emergency. Criminals who would mug an ordinary person tend to avoid you because of the potential media attention.

    Quote Originally Posted by paralith
    What I'm trying to say is that if you want people to have less children, short of policing them relentlessly, you have to change the number of children they want. Remember in non-industrial societies it's the richest people that have the most children! The ones who ARE well off, the ones who HAVE a good situation in life (at least compared to other people in their community). And they're very proud of their brood because it's another sign of their wealth.
    I think another problem you'll face in 3rd world countries or poorer ethnic groups is that wealth is often seen as a matter of chance instead of design. Putting all of your resources into 1 or 2 children is seen as a less effective strategy than just rolling the dice more times, by having more kids, and hoping one of them randomly gets selected to come into a fortune.

    This also goes to the issue of respect and prestige. The "you should respect me because I'm going to be rich and powerful someday" argument is that you've got more kids, and therefore a higher chance of winning the lottery, instead of being that you've got 2 kids who are both attending college and on their way to successful careers.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    One thing that has to be factored in is the human notion of "status" and how that attaches itself to wealth.
    Without a doubt. All throughout history it was those with the most family, friends, and/or material resources who would bias conflicts in their favor.

    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    I think another problem you'll face in 3rd world countries or poorer ethnic groups is that wealth is often seen as a matter of chance instead of design. Putting all of your resources into 1 or 2 children is seen as a less effective strategy than just rolling the dice more times, by having more kids, and hoping one of them randomly gets selected to come into a fortune.

    This also goes to the issue of respect and prestige. The "you should respect me because I'm going to be rich and powerful someday" argument is that you've got more kids, and therefore a higher chance of winning the lottery, instead of being that you've got 2 kids who are both attending college and on their way to successful careers.
    Well, this in particular is related to health care. As I've already mentioned, we certainly wouldn't be able to condense our family sizes down to 2.1 children without the benefits of increased health care. If you think of the medieval societies in Europe before industrialization, they had large family sizes still - but, they invested the majority of their resources in effort in just a few of them, usually the first born son and daughter. They required a lot of investment, too, to be successful in the marriage market in particular. The other children were kept in reserve in convents and the priesthood in case the first borns died, and there was a very high chance that they would, because child mortality in particular and mortality in general were much higher during those times due to disease. In fact disease was probably more potent in these times than much earlier in history when people weren't all jammed together at high densities. I'm sure family sizes in industrialized countries today would still be high if the child mortality rate was still so high. The problem is when people think changing health care alone is the key; it isn't. You need BOTH the increased survivorship AND the increased cost of raising successful offspring. If all you do is change health care, people start having MORE offspring.
    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

    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    I think another problem you'll face in 3rd world countries or poorer ethnic groups is that wealth is often seen as a matter of chance instead of design. Putting all of your resources into 1 or 2 children is seen as a less effective strategy than just rolling the dice more times, by having more kids, and hoping one of them randomly gets selected to come into a fortune.

    This also goes to the issue of respect and prestige. The "you should respect me because I'm going to be rich and powerful someday" argument is that you've got more kids, and therefore a higher chance of winning the lottery, instead of being that you've got 2 kids who are both attending college and on their way to successful careers.
    Well, this in particular is related to health care. As I've already mentioned, we certainly wouldn't be able to condense our family sizes down to 2.1 children without the benefits of increased health care. If you think of the medieval societies in Europe before industrialization, they had large family sizes still - but, they invested the majority of their resources in effort in just a few of them, usually the first born son and daughter. They required a lot of investment, too, to be successful in the marriage market in particular. The other children were kept in reserve in convents and the priesthood in case the first borns died, and there was a very high chance that they would, because child mortality in particular and mortality in general were much higher during those times due to disease. In fact disease was probably more potent in these times than much earlier in history when people weren't all jammed together at high densities. I'm sure family sizes in industrialized countries today would still be high if the child mortality rate was still so high. The problem is when people think changing health care alone is the key; it isn't. You need BOTH the increased survivorship AND the increased cost of raising successful offspring. If all you do is change health care, people start having MORE offspring.
    The other half is just the reduced value of trying to invest. Most third world countries have political/economic systems that are so unfair and arbitrary that it would be a total waste to try and groom your child for some big corporate job they're not going to get. (It's more likely to go the boss's son/nephew/cousin, regardless of training.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Pong

    specialized training... If you create jobs for women but the overall cost of raising children who will be successful in the job market remains low, the fertility won't change.
    Yes, that's why I don't say education or modernization address the core problem, although they could be helpful if applied appropriately. With income gap narrowed regardless of training women holding paid employment will be better able to produce successful children and will depend less on male income. There is no dichotomy here: the obvious arrangement has both parents working and together able to support fewer successful children. There is no dichotomy but there is a threshold where women either forsake work outside the home to be professional mothers, or they compete with their husbands in the job market. That threshold is imposed by unequal earnings i.e. for every $1 he's paid she's paid 60. Its' a very simple calculation women and families make.
    I think this is a really good point you've been making. Unequal wages certainly does force a certain survival strategy. The alternative kind of also forces a strategy. I think teenage workers in the USA kind of drive unskilled wages down, since they don't have living expenses to cover. It just depends what you want to trade for what

    I think if the conditions were right, however, that a stay at home mother could still raise just 1 or 2 kids for the same prestige, if all of her efforts were likely to accomplish something. She could do as Paralith has been suggesting, and just put a lot of effort into them.
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    Quote Originally Posted by paralith
    Threshold model, yes, but either be professional mothers or compete with their husbands. Again: what about this says professional mothers MUST be having more children than women who work outside the home?? A professional mother could be spending her time raising six children successfully or, if children take much more time and effort to raise successfully, devoting all her attention to two instead.
    Just ask any mother: If you're going to be a housewife (for life, no hope in career competitive with husband), is it much more trouble to have many children? I have one, so I can't explain so well. But I've often heard the remark and believe it. Even heard two are easier than one. I heard that from housewives, who obviously aren't working for promotions... not in a business I mean. :wink: "Mother of three" is a job title outranking "Mother of two".

    Japan is weird example where we have a large number of housewives dependent on "salaryman" earnings designed to support a family, because intense overcrowding limits family size and structure: you literally can't provide the room for many teenagers in a normal cramped Japanese house, and there's simply no space for a second car. As well the cost of competitive education is high, besides the high nominal cost of each child.

    My central argument is that housewives will have children to a) solidify a marriage, b) become indispensable, c) drive husbands to bring more resources. More resources to the growing family, through the housewife. That could be in the form of larger house, job promotions, or simply a bigger sack of potatoes. These ends don't exclude all people's basic desire to have more children for children's sake, but they encourage financially dependant women to have more as an end to an end. And of course in societies where this is normal few women go without at least one child, so your national rate is higher yet.



    Anyway the infant mortality thing isn't weighing people's choices. Nobody plans to have some children die. I'd agree there's a cultural relic of high mortality, but it's really not a calculation poor moms make.

    Some calculation one would make regarding large families: If one has a lot of children, there will be variation, with some children requiring extended mothering, some children supporting mom in old age. This is easily observed when surrounded by large families, so that it's expected. I think that most parents expect at least one child (usually firstborn son) to be financially successful.


    Quote Originally Posted by Kojax
    I think teenage workers in the USA kind of drive unskilled wages down, since they don't have living expenses to cover.
    We could follow it further: If they're being supported by parents, then it's the parents' salaries designed to support a family that drives those wages down.

    There is a lot of part time work in Japan done by everyone except husbands who have "real" jobs.
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    I'm done arguing about this. It's clear to me that it's going to take far more effort than i'd like to make my viewpoint understood. At this point I'd just like to add that I'm not suggesting that these calculations are conscious. Some aspects of it to a certain degree may be, but a lot of what's going on is an evolved human intuition to be sensitive to the local conditions and to adjust behavior accordingly to achieve a specific, evolutionary advantageous output, at least according the "rules" as they would have been when this sensitivity evolved in our species. (Two children may be consciously described as less work than one; but two children also represent 100% of your genes transferred to the next generation while one represents only 50%. Even if successful offspring are very expensive it makes sense we'd rather give all of our genes at least one shot, rather than leaving out 50% of them entirely.)
    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 Pong

    My central argument is that housewives will have children to a) solidify a marriage, b) become indispensable, c) drive husbands to bring more resources. More resources to the growing family, through the housewife. That could be in the form of larger house, job promotions, or simply a bigger sack of potatoes. These ends don't exclude all people's basic desire to have more children for children's sake, but they encourage financially dependant women to have more as an end to an end. And of course in societies where this is normal few women go without at least one child, so your national rate is higher yet.
    I think what throws a monkey wrench in things is human consciousness. Also, if the woman commands more respect, then presumably all of her children command more respect too.

    If her children command more respect, then they are more likely to be saved next time there is a catastrophe, or accident, or crime. If the basis for respect in her society is to be part of larger social network, and especially part of a larger family, then each of her childrens' odds of survival are increased by her bearing more of them.

    In first world countries, a family of "breeders" is usually not too highly respected. If you're not focused on your career, then it is presumed that you must not have a very important job.


    Anyway the infant mortality thing isn't weighing people's choices. Nobody plans to have some children die. I'd agree there's a cultural relic of high mortality, but it's really not a calculation poor moms make.
    My econ teacher from India would disagree with that statement. In a third world economy, you don't plan on any specific one of your children dying, but you do factor in Murphy's law.


    Quote Originally Posted by Kojax
    I think teenage workers in the USA kind of drive unskilled wages down, since they don't have living expenses to cover.
    We could follow it further: If they're being supported by parents, then it's the parents' salaries designed to support a family that drives those wages down.

    There is a lot of part time work in Japan done by everyone except husbands who have "real" jobs.
    So, now we see some reasons why it might be necessary to have poor income parity. That way jobs being done by people who don't need to pay their own living expenses don't affect jobs being done by people who do need to pay their own living expenses.

    Quote Originally Posted by paralith
    I'm done arguing about this. It's clear to me that it's going to take far more effort than i'd like to make my viewpoint understood. At this point I'd just like to add that I'm not suggesting that these calculations are conscious. Some aspects of it to a certain degree may be, but a lot of what's going on is an evolved human intuition to be sensitive to the local conditions and to adjust behavior accordingly to achieve a specific, evolutionary advantageous output, at least according the "rules" as they would have been when this sensitivity evolved in our species. (Two children may be consciously described as less work than one; but two children also represent 100% of your genes transferred to the next generation while one represents only 50%. Even if successful offspring are very expensive it makes sense we'd rather give all of our genes at least one shot, rather than leaving out 50% of them entirely.)
    This is an interesting perspective I had not considered. So you're suggesting that the more children you have, the more completely your genome gets passed on? I don't think you ever reach 100%, though. It would probably be more like 1 child: 50%, 2 children: 75%, 3 children: 87.5%, .... etc. At least that's true in theory. With only 46 chromosomes, it should be possible to pass them all along if you have enough kids, except maybe the recessive ones.

    I've always wondered why the thought of having only 1 child seems to feel so empty. I'm enough of an ego-maniac that I would consider having a clone of myself, if cloning were a better developed tech.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    This is an interesting perspective I had not considered. So you're suggesting that the more children you have, the more completely your genome gets passed on? I don't think you ever reach 100%, though. It would probably be more like 1 child: 50%, 2 children: 75%, 3 children: 87.5%, .... etc.
    That should be true given that recombination will result in a random 50% of your genome being incorporated into each new sperm. There'll tend to be overlap.

    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    At least that's true in theory. With only 46 chromosomes, it should be possible to pass them all along if you have enough kids, except maybe the recessive ones.
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    Geez! I didn't realize the science of evolution had such dire social implications. I was under the assumption that a forum called "thescienceforum" would attract objectively minded individuals seeking knowlege and not mindlessly indoctrinated individuals seeking to expoit their social values.

    I will quote myself from another thread on this forum: "When our passions become our platform, we must explore those passions as passionately as we expoit them". If you adhere to principals that you are bounded by and find that the masses feel the same, please, take responsibility for what you know, and investigate the root of that knowlege. These views are not original, they are ancient (even predating Plato's New Republic) and history heeds warning to the rising of the elite.

    One example pertaining specifically to the theory of evolution being altered to represent a belief system, was the Lysenko affair. Trofim Lysenko, who was president of the Soviet Academy of Agricultural Sciences in 1938, believed that seeds exposed to environmental conditions would become resistant, and so be inherited by future generations. This erroneous judgement did not have root in Mendel's proven experiments, but in Marxist-Leninist political docterine, and so caused devistating crop failures that resulted in starvation for millions of Soviet people. Now, what effect did this have on the world....

    And of course I need not mention the Nazi agenda to alter evolution by "breeding" a pure race through "negative selection".

    With the mapping of the human genome, humans have the ability to alter their evolution by peaceful means. We have the technology to delete harmful recessive alleles that may negatively effect our offspring. This is benificial, however, how are we sure traits aquired over the span of 3 million years beginning with our ancestor, Australopithecines, will not be benificial in the next 3 million years? I like to think of our genetics as our aquired armor, and with such a tremendous influence of social ideology on biology, I fear that our armor will be stripped by ideals not applicable to adaptation. This technology should be carefully guarded by real science and prevented from being infiltrated by the standards of men.

    "Scientific research must be based on scientific realities. Science proceeds on the basis of the scientific method, not philosophical or political beliefs."

    Source: The Changing Earth, Exploring Geology and Evolution (3rd edition) By: James S. Monroe and Reed Wicander
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  50. #49  
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    inite, I honestly do not see grounds for you to lecture us all on our use of evolutionary theory in understanding human behavior - not to even mention that it is completely off-topic. At no point in this thread was anyone using scientific information incorrectly or to justify social agendas. Science informs social policies by helping us understand why humans do what they do, and what must be changed if we want to change what humans do. This is not a social or ethical justification for making these changes. If we make these changes we do so on our own cognizance and taking responsibility for the decision. Now please, do not make any more erroneous and honestly insulting implications about how people on this forum use scientific knowledge.
    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.
    ~Jean-Paul Sartre
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    So I have no right to offer my opinion on the recurrent theme that I have observed in a few of these threads? Why is that so? Everyone else has offered their opinon, why have I been limited?

    I highly disagree with those who believe that the sick, poor, and stupid are hindering the advancement of human evolution, which rightfully addresses the original post. All that I was trying to assert is that we have no right to decide who lives or dies in the name of science. The line seems to be blurred, and historical blunders prove that the sciences and political science need to be defined as separate intities.

    I did not mean to imply the more recent posts and I should have clarified that I guess. I haven't figured out how to quote others in the gray box on here, but my opinion was directed at those contributing to the fallacious argument defining what is considered to be "fit", by mans standards instead of by natures standards.

    I was only trying to give a historical and imperative view to a matter that seems to replicate itself through out the ages. I believe that I am entitled to an opinon and I respect the opinions of others, actually I anticipate learning from others here. However, I stand to learn nothing when people blindlessly and aimlessly use science to justify their ideology. And again, I mean those who embrace a new rendition of "purifing" the human race.

    Yes, science informs policy but is it not the policy holders who fund science? The man with the money has the others by the balls.
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  52. #51  
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    Quote Originally Posted by inite
    So I have no right to offer my opinion on the recurrent theme that I have observed in a few of these threads? Why is that so? Everyone else has offered their opinon, why have I been limited?
    You do not have the right, in this forum, to hold an opinion that is clearly fallacious and not be called out for it. Yes, others in this thread were expressing deprecating opinions about the sick, the poor, etc. At first some of them were clearly confused on human values of what's "good" for a species and what natural selection and evolution would actually favor, but that confusion has since been addressed by other posters, and those expressing their deprecating opinions agreed on the clarification. It just seems like you ignored those posts where corrections were made and for the most part the posters agreed with them, and yet are still trying to cast blame on them.
    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.
    ~Jean-Paul Sartre
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    "Whoever wishes to foresee the future must consult the past; for human events ever resemble those of preceding times. This arises from the fact that they are produced by men who ever have been, and ever shall be, animated by the same passions, and thus they necessarily have the same results".
    -Machiavelli-

    More eloquently stated.
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  54. #53  
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    machiavelli didn't know the first thing about predicting the future

    we humans are very good at making out that the future was predictable once its safely behind us - our story-telling capabilities make what is a chaotic unpredictable mess into a nice story line with neat cause-and-effect chains

    it's at your peril that you forget that the sense of predictability arises from our post-rationalisations
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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    Quote Originally Posted by inite

    I highly disagree with those who believe that the sick, poor, and stupid are hindering the advancement of human evolution, which rightfully addresses the original post. All that I was trying to assert is that we have no right to decide who lives or dies in the name of science. The line seems to be blurred, and historical blunders prove that the sciences and political science need to be defined as separate intities.
    Nobody thinks science leads to that conclusion. You're confusing the cause with the effect. If a person's starting point is a belief that the world would be better off if no child had to be born sick, poor, or stupid (not sure how poverty could be a genetic trait...?) they might use evolution science as a means of proposing a solution, but do you see how the belief would be a starting point, and not a finishing point?

    Those who want to eliminate sickness and stupidity will complain that that modern medicine has lowered the death rate among those groups, preventing them from dying before they can reproduce, and thus increasing their frequency of occurrence. That's an objective fact. If you're afraid that other people will misinterpret that objective fact as a reason to revive Nazism, then maybe you should rethink how you feel about "the stupid". They're probably the ones who will be doing it.

    Quote Originally Posted by inite
    One example pertaining specifically to the theory of evolution being altered to represent a belief system, was the Lysenko affair. Trofim Lysenko, who was president of the Soviet Academy of Agricultural Sciences in 1938, believed that seeds exposed to environmental conditions would become resistant, and so be inherited by future generations. This erroneous judgement did not have root in Mendel's proven experiments, but in Marxist-Leninist political docterine, and so caused devistating crop failures that resulted in starvation for millions of Soviet people. Now, what effect did this have on the world....
    Lysenko was only slightly off course. I agree that you are right in pointing out the danger, because with biology you only have to make a small mistake and it can lead to a very serious result. Other groups, like Monsanto, have used a correct understanding of evolution to increase crop yields dramatically. So, the sword cuts both ways.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    Lysenko was only slightly off course.
    thousands of geneticists whose lives and careers were ruined (if they were lucky) would tend to disagree with you, as would the millions who starved to death from the failure of his miracle cures
    it is a clear warning sign against those who promote politics and ideology under the cover of fake science
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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  57. #56  
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    Quote Originally Posted by marnixR
    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    Lysenko was only slightly off course.
    thousands of geneticists whose lives and careers were ruined (if they were lucky) would tend to disagree with you, as would the millions who starved to death from the failure of his miracle cures
    it is a clear warning sign against those who promote politics and ideology under the cover of fake science
    I mean that in the sense that, if you are flying to Moscow from here,and your course is off by 5 degrees, you would end up about 150 miles away from your goal. (To be clear: I live on the west coast of the USA)


    It's true that adversity increases the hardiness of biological organisms over time. It's just that Lysenko seemed to think it was driven by something other than selection against. If you subject several generations of seeds to an adverse condition that kills a certain percentage of them every generation, that works. It was a small error with huge results.

    I think the problem Russians experience when it comes to science is that their language allows for such eloquence that a person can convince audiences by their charisma alone. Anyway, that would probably explain a lot of the crazy ideas that have been tried there over the years. Otherwise maybe Russian are just plain crazy.
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    unfortunately i don't know any russian, but i've always liked how the word "perestrojka" rolls of the tongue, even if it didn't do Gorbachev any good in the end
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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    I'm only in the early stages of learning it. From what I've seen so far, a lot of their words are cool sounding like that.

    You've got to figure: think how many Russian authors have become important literary figures to us Americans, despite the language barrier, compared with other foreign authors. It's not that no other culture ever accomplishes this, but the Russians seem to have done it more often.

    The point that I'm getting, though: A charismatic person can take a misunderstanding of science and get millions of people to try it. It's just one of the dangers we have to live with if we want to keep moving forward. I'm sure this is especially true of biology.
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