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Thread: Homo Sapiens vs Natural Selection

  1. #1 Homo Sapiens vs Natural Selection 
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    I'm new to this forum and have not had chance to read the pages and pages of subject on here, so sorry if this question has come up before!

    I'm also relatively new to evolutionary theory, having completed an online course in human evolution a couple of years ago and just read my first Richard Dawkins book (The Blind Watchmaker).

    And now to the point....

    The question has occured to me a few times as to whether home sapien has now evolved to a point where we have effectively side stepped natural selection.

    Our intelligence has reached a level where individually, and via society, we can overcome physical and mental limitations as individuals and pass on our genes in situations where, in nature, we may not be able to survive to the age of reproduction.

    What are the implications of this moving forward? As we have stabalised in evolutionary terms (possibly a big assumption!) and can deal with changing environments etc, are we now outside of natural selection?

    Further, what are the additional implications of being outside of the system of natural selection? Will minor mutations occur and survive due to society, and in particular medicine, ensuring survival and propogation?

    I have other thoughts on this, but have probably said enough for now, and for all I know there may be ready answers out there!


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    Forum Cosmic Wizard SkinWalker's Avatar
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    Our fitness will either allow us to reproduce or it won't.

    If it doesn't, then we'll stop evolving because we'll have gone extinct.

    If it does, then we'll keep evolving. Our technology is part of our environment, so we'll take advantage where we can, but should anything ever happen that causes a collapse in society for a population that becomes segmented from other populations to the point that technology isn't available, then we'll see (over millions of years) changes between the populations that demonstrate evolution.

    One cannot escape the forces of evolution without going extinct. Natural selection is but one of those forces.


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    Ahh! I was missing the bit about technology being part of our environment. I would suppose though that technology would have to stabilise to allow sufficient enough timescales for us to evolve in any way that would align with it?

    Or is that strictly true?

    I'm trying to think of a scenario and the only one that comes to mind is asthma.

    Without our intelligence natural selection would put an end to any human strain that possessed the genes for asthma suseptability (I'm also no biologist, so if asthma has nothing to do with genes, please accept my apologies and substitute with some other genetically induced ailment).

    As it is, asthma suseptability can be passed from generation to generation and we are able to deal with it via medicine. My original point was what would happen to this suseptability in an environment where we can avoid (at least temporarily) natural selection? Would the gene that gave suseptability eventually become universal or even be bred out after many many generations, or would it always stay in balance as we are equally likely to survive with or without the ailment?

    To get back to your point, as we become more and more reliant on technology, does this make extinction more and more likely in a "collapse of society" type scenario?
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    You might like to read some of the work by Steve Jones. He suggests that we have put the brakes on Natural Selection somewhat.

    There's a video on YouTube - Steve Jones Enlightenment Lecture - Is Human Evolution Over?. It's 75 minutes long. I watched it a while back, but can't remember much about it except that he was often referring to low rates of infant mortality and modern mating habits as factors involved.
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    Thanks Zwirko.

    I checked out the link - he seems to agree that natural selection has come to a standstill for humans (as well as mutation and genetic drift reducing) but he doesn't go into the implications of what this could mean for the future.

    Does he go into this in any of his written work do you know?
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    I couldn't tell you much else about him really, as I'm not that familiar with his work.

    I would say that you should take his lecture with a pinch of salt, since he was probably being deliberately controversial. In the real world, most people on Earth are malnourished and have poor access to medical care and basic facilities. Human evolution is alive and kicking. It still is for us in the developed world too - just more subtly, perhaps.
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    i seem to remember having seen a similar lecture by Steve Jones on the book festival in Hay on Wye, where he was just promoting his book Y: the descent of men

    i agree with Zwirko that he's probably being deliberately controversial since it's clear to any self-respecting geneticist that the genetic make-up of human beings is still open to natural selection - sickle anemia and malaria being a well-documented point in case, as is the recent surge of HIV in africa

    and let's not forget how white people conquered the americas through the unintentional biological warfare of smallpox rather than through superior numbers and weaponry
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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    If gene therapy keeps advancing, there will eventually be cures along that line for diseases like sickle anemia, and that would be equivalent to natural selection as far as the human specie is concerned. The diseased individual does not die, but the gene die out.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zwirko
    You might like to read some of the work by Steve Jones. He suggests that we have put the brakes on Natural Selection somewhat.

    There's a video on YouTube - Steve Jones Enlightenment Lecture - Is Human Evolution Over?. It's 75 minutes long. I watched it a while back, but can't remember much about it except that he was often referring to low rates of infant mortality and modern mating habits as factors involved.
    He is wrong. Deaths are not necessary for natural selection to work.
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    Indeed. Selection acts at the level of reproduction. As long as death does not occur prior to reproduction, it has very little impact on selection (unless there are maybe issues with limited resources and competition in a local environment).

    Again, though. Deaths are not necessary for selection. Reproduction is.
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  12. #11  
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    Where did he say that death was necessary for natural selection?

    Death has everything to do with natural selection. If a pathogen selects out all of the members of a species then you have no more of that species. Extinction. Population collapse (by death) can also have a profound influence on the genetic composition of a population. It directly affects populations. What would happen if all the unfit members of a species left copious amounts of offspring? Clearly, death is important. You can't just take it out of the equation; survival is a fundamental component of selection, surely? Avoidance of death is a rather important trait to an organism.
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  13. #12  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zwirko
    Where did he say that death was necessary for natural selection?
    Previously you said
    he was often referring to low rates of infant mortality
    suggesting that without that, natural selection would stop. That is not true. Death affects natural selection, of course, but it is not necessary.
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  14. #13 Re: Homo Sapiens vs Natural Selection 
    Forum Cosmic Wizard spuriousmonkey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TalkingMonkey

    The question has occured to me a few times as to whether home sapien has now evolved to a point where we have effectively side stepped natural selection.
    we never have. so don't worry.
    "Kill them all and let God sort them out."

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  15. #14  
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    Nope, I didn't suggest that at all.

    If the incidence of untimely death by natural causes is reduced by our technology then you can see that the population is no longer exposed to natural selection in the way that it was in the past. That is, we can insulate ourselves from it to a certain degree - nature is no longer easily selecting out the weak and the unlucky. The "weak" survive and live to reproduce.

    Clearly, all this is influencing the genetic composition of our species - so evolution is still occurring, as is selection. Jones isn't saying that natural selection has stopped or that human evolution no longer occurs. He's saying (rightly or wrongly) that the impact of evolution on our species is not what it used to be. Gross changes in morphology and physiology, humans splitting in to two groups and diverging etc. isn't going to happen. I think that is what he was referring to, not that natural selection and evolution have actually ceased to operate on humans.


    Note that I'm not a Steve Jones fanboy. I just posted a relevant link that happened to pop in to my head.
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  16. #15  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard spuriousmonkey's Avatar
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    natural selection doesn't require harsh living conditions. It just requires differential 'breeding' success.

    Why would that NOT be present in our modern society?

    Just because it isn't obvious doesn't mean it doesn't exist.
    "Kill them all and let God sort them out."

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    OK - I think I've heard enough to suggest that we are still, as a species subject to natural selection (I am specifically focusing on natural selection - not mutation) to some degree or other. I thought the reference to the European invasion of the America's a particularly relevant example!

    So going forward, what are the likely pressures that we will be subject to in terms of natural selection? Not just this century or even this millenium, but on a geological timescale?

    We've already mentioned diseases of various kinds, but ultimately, given the timespans we'd be considering, can't we assume medicine will prevent desease remaining a factor in natural selection? (Also assuming medicine is available for all and not just limited richer states).

    Predation isn't currently an issue for us as we're at the top of the food chain (unless we enter the realms of science fiction and the food chain is reshuffled).

    So what are the remaining factors?

    Sexual preference? And particularly the preference of whether to reproduce or not (alluded to in one of the questions at the end of the Steve Jones lecture).

    Anything else??
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  18. #17  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard spuriousmonkey's Avatar
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    who do you think disease is the main selection agent?

    Go look at the 'wild' species. Do you think most selection occurs on the level of disease?

    The question you should really ask is who has the most offspring. And is there something that unites those that have the most offspring.
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  19. #18  
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    Quote Originally Posted by spuriousmonkey
    natural selection doesn't require harsh living conditions. It just requires differential 'breeding' success.

    Why would that NOT be present in our modern society?

    Just because it isn't obvious doesn't mean it doesn't exist.


    He never said it was NOT present in our society. He said its influence on our species - in the way that most layperson non-biologists think of evolution - is not as great as it once was. There's many things wrong with his presentation (I've no idea what he makes of drift and gene flow), but I don't think this is one of them.
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    Quote Originally Posted by spuriousmonkey
    The question you should really ask is who has the most offspring. And is there something that unites those that have the most offspring.
    Come on Spuriousmonkey! You can do better than that! :-D Do you have any views on what it is that unites those that have the most offspring? I have some views, but they are depressing and paint a bleak picture of the future :-D

    Again, I'm looking at a level playing field and assuming that not too far in the future there is "global equality" in terms of access to technology, healthcare etc.

    I agree with you - disease doesn't seem to be a key contributor in the wild, although I don't think we can deny it's impact altogether - the example of the America's seems to be apt - also potentially, Dutch Elm Disease (for trees not humans obviously! :-D )....

    Needless to say, I don't think disease is going to be a driver of human natural selection moving forward, nor the arms race / predation scenario.

    I think you've hit the nail on the head with your statement above, but I want to explore peoples thoughts on what this might mean.....

    Any takers??
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  21. #20  
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    I wouldn't discount disease. Host-pathogen interactions are probably amongst the most intensely selected traits in humans today.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zwirko
    I wouldn't discount disease. Host-pathogen interactions are probably amongst the most intensely selected traits in humans today.
    Now we're definitely into areas I know nothing about! Tell me more about this. Or can you point me in the right direction to find out more?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zwirko
    I wouldn't discount disease. Host-pathogen interactions are probably amongst the most intensely selected traits in humans today.
    Certainly not. Deadly contagious diseases are extremely rare today. (with some exceptions like HIV in Africa)
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  24. #23  
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    I did not mention deadly diseases did I? Does a disease have to be deadly to shape the gene pool? And I'm glad you think deadly diseases are rare btw - try telling that to the 2 million kids that die every year from malaria. Or the millions that die from tuberculosis and enteric virus infections etc. Tell that to the 500 million infected with malaria or the billions who suffer from acute and chronic infections. We have been at war with pathogens since time immemorial and always will be. The battlefront is the immune system.

    If you think pathogens have no influence on our evolution then perhaps you could explain why it is that of all the types of processes where signals of recent selection have been postulated why are so many of them part of the immune system? Signals of selection are seen in genes with roles in B-cell immunity, antibody-mediated immunity, interferon-mediated immunity, natural killer cell-mediated immunity etc. Genes of the immune system nearly always feature strongly in any study that attempts to show signs of recent positive selection in humans. To my eye that is a far cry from your "certainly not" comment.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zwirko
    If you think pathogens have no influence on our evolution then perhaps you could explain why it is that of all the types of processes where signals of recent selection have been postulated why are so many of them part of the immune system? Signals of selection are seen in genes with roles in B-cell immunity, antibody-mediated immunity, interferon-mediated immunity, natural killer cell-mediated immunity etc. Genes of the immune system nearly always feature strongly in any study that attempts to show signs of recent positive selection in humans. To my eye that is a far cry from your "certainly not" comment.
    I said today. Of course there are signals of recent selection as most diseases were elliminated/turned non-deadly in the 20th century.
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  26. #25  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Twit of wit
    I said today. Of course there are signals of recent selection as most diseases were elliminated/turned non-deadly in the 20th century.
    only in certain parts of the sanitised west
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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  27. #26  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zwirko
    I wouldn't discount disease. Host-pathogen interactions are probably amongst the most intensely selected traits in humans today.
    well, references then if you insist. Give them to me.
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    Twit, can you explain the significance of a disease being rendered "non-deadly"? Are you suggesting that disease has no impact on fitness? Are you forgetting that most people don't have access to good medical care?
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    Spuriousmonkey, I can give you a lot of references for "recent" selection for genes involved in immunity. For selection over the very recent and immediate past probably not so easy. I'll get back to you on that later maybe. For me, this is not an issue though. We have not suddenly stopped interacting with pathogens. That genes of our immune systems have ceased to evolve quickly would be more remarkable than the claim that I made, and would not bode well for our future.
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  30. #29  
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    immunity is only part of what is human. Are you saying the human species has recently only been evolving in the systems that compromise the immunity? Because that would be a translation of your claim.

    I'd say no. You would see really localized changes in the human genome if disease was the major system affecting evolution.
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    Some context: it has often been said that the we are no longer evolving in the gross sense. Allele frequencies are always changing due due to gene flow and drift, thus we are still evolving. It has also often been said that we are immune from natural selection to a large extent and that we carry out, through our technology, an artificial selection on our own species. So, again, we are still evolving.

    Now, when we look at the genome for signs of selection we do see those. It's difficult work to do though. It's easiest when we look at things over the timescale of our divergence from the other apes. On that timescale, genes involved in reproduction, skin colour, brain development, the digestive system AND immunity all feature prominently. I'm not saying it's the immune system all the way and forget everything else. All I'm saying is that features of the immune system will be amongst the most selected traits, like they always have been, and certainly not to the exclusion of anything else. I think this because I don't see what has changed recently - we are still, and always will be, trying to establish a relatively harmless equilibrium with our pathogens and parasites.

    We do see variations in the genome on regional scales due to the presence of disease. Sickle-cell and malaria being the obvious example. Another would be the variations in receptors for HIV. Again, I'm not saying disease is the major factor influencing human evolution. I'm saying that if you are looking for subtle signs of current selection in our species, then the immune system would be one place to look.
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  32. #31  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zwirko
    It has also often been said that we are immune from natural selection
    And that is not correct. You need two things to stop natural selection:
    1. Eliminate premature deaths.
    2. Force everyone to have exactly two children.
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  33. #32  
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    Don't quote mine me, I don't find it amusing. Nice trick you pulled by leaving out the rest of that sentence.

    I'm saying that it's often been said by various people that we are insulating ourselves from natural selection to a certain degree. You are saying it too in relation to the influence of disease. I'm trying to show that this is not the case.


    Eliminate premature deaths? What was it you said about that previously?
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    I had quick look for refs. There are a great deal so I just picked a mix that should both summarise and provide specific examples of selection of host-pathogen interactions past and present. The first two are general reviews, the last two are specific examples. The first one is a nice quick read.

    PC Sabetiet et al. (2006)
    Positive Natural Selection in the Human Lineage
    Science 312, 1614

    Vallender EJ and Bruce TL (2004)
    Positive selection on the human genome
    Human Molecular Genetics, 2004, Vol. 13, No. Review Issue 2

    Williamson SH, Hubisz MJ, Clark AG, Payseur BA, Bustamante CD, et al. (2007)
    Localizing Recent Adaptive Evolution in the Human Genome
    PLoS Genet 3(6): e90. doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.0030090

    Joseph K. Pickrell, Graham Coop, John Novembre, et al. (2009)
    Signals of recent positive selection in a worldwide sample of human populations
    Genome Research DOI: 10.1101/gr.087577.108

    Rockman MV, Hahn MW, Soranzo N, Goldstein DB, and Wray GA (2003)
    Positive Selection on a Human-Specific Transcription Factor Binding Site Regulating IL4 Expression
    Current Biology, Vol. 13, 21182123

    Hamblin MT, Thompson EE, and Rienzo Ad (2002)
    Complex Signatures of Natural Selection at the Duffy Blood Group Locus
    Am. J. Hum. Genet. 70:369383
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  35. #34  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zwirko
    I'm saying that it's often been said by various people that we are insulating ourselves from natural selection to a certain degree. You are saying it too in relation to the influence of disease. I'm trying to show that this is not the case.
    Compare how many people died from disease let's say two centuries ago. How many people do you know who died/have been crippled etc. because of disease?


    Quote Originally Posted by Zwirko
    Eliminate premature deaths? What was it you said about that previously?
    Quote Originally Posted by I
    Death affects natural selection, of course, but it is not necessary.
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    Twit, you give the impression that you think our species lives in some kind of utopia where our medical knowledge reigns supreme. The reality is rather different. Parasitic infections, viral infections and bacterial infections occur, on a global scale, at a staggering level. Take a look at the numbers sometime. Many of these infections have an impact on fitness. Variations in fitness are the basis of natural selection.

    The ability of humans to evolve in response to their pathogens did not stop in the mid 20th century as you suggest. That I don't personally know anybody that has died or been crippled from an infectious disease, while my great, great, great, grandfather probably did, is not relevant. Pathogens don't need to kill or cripple the populations that they infect for selection to take place.
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  37. #36  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Twit of wit
    Compare how many people died from disease let's say two centuries ago. How many people do you know who died/have been crippled etc. because of disease?
    That's a rather western-centric viewpoint, don't you think. Do you know how many Africans are blinded every day by parasites. How many die of malaria? HIV? are you aware of the impact of malnutrition on the poorer population in India? Have you looked at the health condition of the idiginous populations in the Americas? Actually, have you any idea what you are talking about? Apparently not.
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  38. #37  
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt
    Quote Originally Posted by Twit of wit
    Compare how many people died from disease let's say two centuries ago. How many people do you know who died/have been crippled etc. because of disease?
    That's a rather western-centric viewpoint, don't you think. Do you know how many Africans are blinded every day by parasites. How many die of malaria? HIV? are you aware of the impact of malnutrition on the poorer population in India? Have you looked at the health condition of the idiginous populations in the Americas? Actually, have you any idea what you are talking about? Apparently not.
    [/thread], basically.
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  39. #38  
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt
    Quote Originally Posted by Twit of wit
    Compare how many people died from disease let's say two centuries ago. How many people do you know who died/have been crippled etc. because of disease?
    That's a rather western-centric viewpoint, don't you think. Do you know how many Africans are blinded every day by parasites. How many die of malaria? HIV? are you aware of the impact of malnutrition on the poorer population in India? Have you looked at the health condition of the idiginous populations in the Americas? Actually, have you any idea what you are talking about? Apparently not.
    The best addendum is to note that very few with access to modern medicine have been crippled by disease. This accounts, as John indirectly alluded to, for a very small proportion of the planet. The majority of the planet lives destitute, substandard (by western comparison), and poverty stricken through out their lives. Europe and the US have only approximately 18% of the population of the planet, and are the predominant areas for modern medicine
    Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools, because they have to say something.
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  40. #39  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arcane_Mathematician
    The best addendum is to note that very few with access to modern medicine have been crippled by disease. This accounts, as John indirectly alluded to, for a very small proportion of the planet.
    You don't need the best modern medicine to treat most infectious diseases.
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  41. #40  
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    the same small population that has access to the best healthcare also has the worst population growth.

    That's not good if you want to be a player in natural selection.
    "Kill them all and let God sort them out."

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  42. #41  
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    Quote Originally Posted by spuriousmonkey
    the same small population that has access to the best healthcare also has the worst population growth.

    That's not good if you want to be a player in natural selection.
    Yep, strike that balance between high rates of reproduction and high rates of mortality and you've got yourself a very rapidly-evolving population.

    Quote Originally Posted by Twit of wit
    Quote Originally Posted by Arcane_Mathematician
    The best addendum is to note that very few with access to modern medicine have been crippled by disease. This accounts, as John indirectly alluded to, for a very small proportion of the planet.
    You don't need the best modern medicine to treat most infectious diseases.
    Infectious diseases were responsible for some 25% of all deaths worldwide as recently as 2002.[1] That's a whole lot of natural selection, and I'd be willing to bet that that number climbs sharply if you just look at the developing world alone. You might argue that we are gradually reducing the role of infectious disease in selection (and I would say that we have), but to suggest we are insulated from it right now, or have been for any significant period in modern times, is just nonsense.
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    Quote Originally Posted by TalkingMonkey
    Quote Originally Posted by spuriousmonkey
    The question you should really ask is who has the most offspring. And is there something that unites those that have the most offspring.
    Come on Spuriousmonkey! You can do better than that! :-D Do you have any views on what it is that unites those that have the most offspring? I have some views, but they are depressing and paint a bleak picture of the future :-D
    indeed!

    One would end up saying things most people really don't want to hear about.

    Again, I'm looking at a level playing field and assuming that not too far in the future there is "global equality" in terms of access to technology, healthcare etc.
    That is just totally unrealistic.

    I agree with you - disease doesn't seem to be a key contributor in the wild, although I don't think we can deny it's impact altogether - the example of the America's seems to be apt - also potentially, Dutch Elm Disease (for trees not humans obviously! :-D )....

    Needless to say, I don't think disease is going to be a driver of human natural selection moving forward, nor the arms race / predation scenario.
    Why not the arms race?

    Some one had already noted that the amount of success is defined as how much babies one can make. aka "BIRTH RATE"

    Another factor is of course life expectancy, simply put "DEATH RATE".

    There isn't a clear line between culture and genome.

    In the holocaustal 20th century the German was a typical unsuccessful member of the human species. It had cultural causes but the end result was the eradication of a lot of genetic material.

    Just like being Vietnamese when the US bombed the country for years in a row.

    If we would go look for an ingredient that makes people have the longest life expectancy I would have to say racism.

    Here are the 10 countries with the lowest life expectancy:

    Botswana 32.3
    Mozambique 33.7
    Swaziland 34.2
    Zimbabwe 35.3
    Malawi 35.6
    Namibia 36.1
    Zambia 37.4
    Rwanda 38.0
    Central African Republic 43.1
    Ethiopia 43.3

    In every one of those cases it was caused by racist Europians. The many millions of victims in Iraq and Afghanistan also have the same cause.

    Of course there are lots of talking points, but underneath plain old racism is the cause of it. Unless we want to argue lack of empathy in the most general sense thereof is the cause (I'm sure there are good arguments for that also) but this would be even worse and I simply can not stomach the thought - I will have non of it. (lol)

    My point is that cultural ideas have a big effect on genetics. Our culture is our environment.

    Having covered "DEATH RATE" (which is indeed a grim picture) lets get to "BIRTH RATE" (this is probably even more grim. lol)

    If living conditions are horrible only those who are healthy and skilled will survive. If conditions are fantastic the supreme quality becomes the amount of babies one can make. Other skills simply distract us from reproducing more.

    We may think this isn't true looking at the low birth rate in western countries we should however look at the people who make the most babies here.

    Highly educated people who have 1.5 children on average in the long run simply wont be able to compete with those who have 4+ per generation.

    It seems unquestionable that intellect is an undesirable quality if everyone gets to stay alive.

    The technological utopia can therefor never be accomplished. Even if everyone would join forces in building it the next generation would destroy it long before it was finished.

    A grim picture indeed!

    What we look at as progress is actually the same thing that destroyed every great civilization in history.

    When Rome was on fire the elite didn't even get out of bed, they dismissed it as a hoax and continued their fest.

    I think besides from racism, lack of empathy and having "to boldly make lots of babies" as the prime directive (aka lack of intellect) extreme gullibility is also an important recipe for survival.

    A week ago I was watching Tee Vee (something that almost never happens)

    There was a program with doctors who claimed to have found the cause of Burn out.

    They had monitored the brain activity of workers and they discovered that while normal people could learn to preform their job with minimal extremely compartmentalized brain activity those with burn out could not. The problem was that they kept thinking about the tasks assigned to them.

    So there you have it! Brain activity is culturally undesirable, people who have it are considered ab-normal by those who have non.

    The research lab looked really state of the art and the skilled professionals had white coats on. Who would dare question those fine young man in their long white coats?

    Trying to do so without brain activity is simply unthinkable. It is all true and that is the closing argument. The rest is just conspiracy theory.

    In 1800 everyone worked in agriculture.

    This means the need for jobs to exist at some stage wasn't there anymore while the industrial revolution progressed. Every time we increased the standard of living we filled the hole with extra babies. We became less and less technologically sophisticated and today people don't even know how to grow their own food. Kids cant name 3 plants growing in their environment and adults cant name 4 birds. We work longer than any civilization before us at things ever more meaningless.

    To say evolution stopped existing is like becoming invisible when covering your eyes.

    How is that for 'truth the humans don't want to hear about'?

    enjoy,

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    of course there is one parameter that most forget to add. The reproductive differences have to be caused by consistent genetic component if directed evolutionary change has to occur.

    There can be 25% of all deaths be caused by diseases, but if they act randomly evolutionary speaking, such as: THEY AFFECT POOR PEOPLE, then there is no genetic component to act upon. Unless all poor people share the same genetic background, which seems to be a bit far fetched.

    That's why i say that disease is probably not a major player in the current evolution of man. It seems more economically determined than anything else right now. That's not genetically inheritable.

    So we need to look further. Would there be a characteristic that is genetically inherited which would give a higher reproductive success to specific genetic backgrounds.

    I think it would be difficult to isolate a single genetic factor that is universal to the entire human population at the moment which gives a reproductive success. If it was easily determinable it would be published right now, preferably by me.

    So it just leaves logical speculation and I postulate disease isn't a good selector for economical reasons.
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    One definition of evolution is simply change in allele frequencies. Poverty exposes variation to selection, whereas wealth can hide it. Such changes in allele frequencies don't have to be observed over the entire human population - subpopulations count too.

    An example of what I've had in mind would be something like this:



    As another possible example would be HIV. There are certain alleles in HIV receptors that confer some degree of resistance to HIV and maybe could provide a possible fitness advantage, even if it was a tiny percentage. The CCR5-Δ32 allele, present in Europeans, could be under selection.

    It's hard to find any genes that are actively under selection; of those that are considered to be so, then those involved in the immune response and host-pathogen interaction are usually on the list. Are they the most selected? Probably not. They definitely feature strongly though.
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    we are taking control of our own eveloution because of our technology and we have not "side stepped" natrual selections and we will never be able to the thing is natrual selection is changing from the strong guy to the smart guy.
    Once a door is opened it never truly closes
    Once a door is closed new ones are open
    Two concepts forever intwined it is you decision to make them for the better or the worse.

    Being invisble lets you run away from pain
    Being visible gives you irraplacable experiences.
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    Quote Originally Posted by spuriousmonkey
    I think it would be difficult to isolate a single genetic factor that is universal to the entire human population at the moment which gives a reproductive success..
    As Zwirko points out it does not have tio impact currently on the entire population, it need only act upon a portion of it. That is very much evolution. Three possibilities then emerge.
    1. The locally selected gene eventually spreads geographically to encompass the planet.
    2. The locally selected gene remains locally expressed.
    3. The locally selected gene is eventually 'swamped' by circumstance.

    All three are examples of evolution at work within the human population.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Topalk
    we are taking control of our own eveloution because of our technology and we have not "side stepped" natrual selections and we will never be able to the thing is natrual selection is changing from the strong guy to the smart guy.
    That's a huge over-simplification. The smart guy wouldn't be here now (or rather wouldn't be common) if evolution hadn't been favouring him for quite some time. "Strong" and "smart" have many diverse meanings, too.
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    Quote Originally Posted by gaby de wilde
    If we would go look for an ingredient that makes people have the longest life expectancy I would have to say racism.

    Here are the 10 countries with the lowest life expectancy:

    Botswana 32.3
    Mozambique 33.7
    Swaziland 34.2
    Zimbabwe 35.3
    Malawi 35.6
    Namibia 36.1
    Zambia 37.4
    Rwanda 38.0
    Central African Republic 43.1
    Ethiopia 43.3

    In every one of those cases it was caused by racist Europians.
    You state that as if it were a fact. What evidence do you have to relate life expectancy in these countries to racism?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370
    Quote Originally Posted by gaby de wilde
    If we would go look for an ingredient that makes people have the longest life expectancy I would have to say racism.

    Here are the 10 countries with the lowest life expectancy:

    Botswana 32.3
    Mozambique 33.7
    Swaziland 34.2
    Zimbabwe 35.3
    Malawi 35.6
    Namibia 36.1
    Zambia 37.4
    Rwanda 38.0
    Central African Republic 43.1
    Ethiopia 43.3

    In every one of those cases it was caused by racist Europians.
    You state that as if it were a fact. What evidence do you have to relate life expectancy in these countries to racism?
    I do agree racism isn't a perfect term to describe the phenomenon altho I do think it comes in many levels.

    Perhaps we should call it rangeism, something like killing people is entirely acceptable as long as it happens really far away.

    Good old greed is also a factor, the different causes of the situation in Africa are hard to tell apart.

    I'm calling it racism because in many countries huge amounts of money is spend to ease the life of fellow country men. Where in some cases one prisoner costs enough money to provide an entire village with the means to sustain themselves. A clear (but irrational?) priority becomes obvious. One could say we starve thousands in order to provide for serial killers, rapists and robbers.

    I do have opinions on the subject but I'm not arguing if racism is good or bad, I'm not saying prisoners should be treated differently or that medical treatment should be withed or anything like that.

    I'm just looking at the genetic profile of the "fittest". There seems to be little genetic criteria besides from a persons race.

    In location 1) Even the most genetically healthy, social and/or intelligent people die while in location 2) one can suffer from any amount of genetic and behavioral failures while still being taken care of.

    Selection is based on race, so I call this racism. Again, I do have an opinion on those topic but I'm not arguing if this is good or bad.

    If say A European couple would migrate and have kids in any of those countries the kid would have quite a different life from the native population.

    What is interesting however is the way many Africans emigrate then seem to quickly forget about the situation in their country.

    So rangeism is probably more appropriate but it is not a genetic quality.

    Culture seems to have more impact on genetics than genetics on culture?
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    Quote Originally Posted by gaby de wilde
    I'm calling it racism because in many countries huge amounts of money is spend to ease the life of fellow country men. Where in some cases one prisoner costs enough money to provide an entire village with the means to sustain themselves. A clear (but irrational?) priority becomes obvious. One could say we starve thousands in order to provide for serial killers, rapists and robbers.
    If I understand you correctly, you are saying that the wealthy countries do not share their wealth with poor countries, therefore that is why the poor countries are poor. Hence racism, or "rangeism" is the cause. Is that correct?
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  52. #51  
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    low life expectancy is good because it is usually linked to a high generation turnover, due to high birthrates as well.

    In Western Europe women tend to wait till past 30 with having children.

    Compare this to 3rd world nations where women start having children well below 20.

    They might die at 30 but so what (Mr evolution says).
    "Kill them all and let God sort them out."

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    Mm, women who sexually reproduce at an earlier age will be more likely to pass on an uncorrupted copy of their genome to their offspring, as less time will have accrued during which potentially damaging spontaneous mutations may have occurred in her germline cells.

    On the flip side of that - particularly in the cold North/Western Europe - as spurious implied, the survival rate of children tends to be higher than in less economically developed countries (LEDCs). However, parents must invest proportionally more per child, so it 'pays' (evolutionarily speaking) to have few children - perhaps explaining why women wait until 30 before merging genomes with a member of the opposite sex. By this time, they may have saved more to invest in their children, and had time to make a careful selection of mate.
    But it comes at the cost of increased risk of transmitting potentially damaging mutations to her offspring.
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    *yawn* Threads like this one are the reason why I don't post as often here as I used to.
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  55. #54  
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    Quote Originally Posted by tridimity
    Mm, women who sexually reproduce at an earlier age will be more likely to pass on an uncorrupted copy of their genome to their offspring, as less time will have accrued during which potentially damaging spontaneous mutations may have occurred in her germline cells.

    On the flip side of that - particularly in the cold North/Western Europe - as spurious implied, the survival rate of children tends to be higher than in less economically developed countries (LEDCs). However, parents must invest proportionally more per child, so it 'pays' (evolutionarily speaking) to have few children - perhaps explaining why women wait until 30 before merging genomes with a member of the opposite sex. By this time, they may have saved more to invest in their children, and had time to make a careful selection of mate.
    But it comes at the cost of increased risk of transmitting potentially damaging mutations to her offspring.
    That careful selection of a mate must be some kind of joke, because after 30 the hormones start pumping and the woman will take any man willing to donate sperm. You can't think rationally with hormones raging through your body.
    "Kill them all and let God sort them out."

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    Okay.
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