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Thread: reverse natural selection

  1. #1 reverse natural selection 
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    Im not sure how to start this so ill quote an example. 4 leaf clovers are rare, if we find one then a common response is to pull it out of the ground thereby preventing it from reproducing, the two recessive alleles(im assuming) are removed from the genetic pool and the chances of finding another one are reduced. I beleive this is similar in other cases such as hunting where a stags larger rack, normally a genetic advantage, becomes a disadvantage when it is targeted by hunters. Im just wondering if we could be discouraging natural selection by targeting the most adapted animal.
    Ill note however that it could also be size related and not all genetic advantages.


    just wondering
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    Of course we are modifying the natural selection. We are a part of the food chain, and part of adjustment is not to be attractable to hunters.


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    But do we need to do something about it? The best cow gets eaten therefore the genes for the better cow are no longer there.
    just wondering
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    [quote="zendra"]But do we need to do something about it? The best cow gets eaten therefore the genes for the better cow are no longer there.[/

    quote]

    Actually this isn't exactly the case. We breed the cows for the features we want. More milk, better meat, etc. So the ones that taste best in this case have the best chance of breeding. In this case, it's artificial selection.

    There is no such thing as reverse natural selection. The main principle of natural selection is survival of the fittest. In your example of the four leaf clover, in this case it's a mutation that doesn't improve the species' chance of survival, so it doesn't really affect the gene pool. In fact, in that case, it may be a mutation that reduces chances of survival and so it has a smaller chance of passing its genes.
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    Quote Originally Posted by zendra
    But do we need to do something about it? The best cow gets eaten therefore the genes for the better cow are no longer there.
    what do you mean by "best" ? best in respect of what ?
    even if natural selection seems to move a species to a position that you consider less fit, it's still natural selection (and not reverse natural selection)

    e.g. the prevalence of elephants with small or no tusks as a result of ivory poaching
    i'm sure that tusks are useful tools for a variety of tasks, but if the environment (of which we are one part) dictates that tusks are a lethal burden, then they will go

    your preference of what you think a species should be like to be considered "fit" is entirely immaterial in that respect
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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    I suppose by best i meant however they grade a cow. I assumed they would have a telltale sign like a stag has in size of rack. Im not saying its my preference and i realise that we shape how species evolve, however im just worried that we are forcing animals to become less 'protected' in a sense due to us looking specifically for that adaptation.
    just wondering
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    domestication already involves a loss of fitness outside the sphere of protection by humans - most domesticated animals have smaller brains than their wild counterparts and hence probably would perish as soon as humans disappear from the face of the earth
    "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 marnixR
    domestication already involves a loss of fitness outside the sphere of protection by humans - most domesticated animals have smaller brains than their wild counterparts and hence probably would perish as soon as humans disappear from the face of the earth
    It appears that humans also have smaller brains than our ancestors. We have self-domesticated and are selecting for the lowest common denominator, as evidenced by FoxNews and the X-Factor.
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  10. #9 Re: reverse natural selection 
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    Quote Originally Posted by zendra
    Im just wondering if we could be discouraging natural selection by targeting the most adapted animal.
    If animals with certain characteristics are more likely to be killed by humans, then they're no longer the fittest. It's not reversing natural selection or discouraging natural selection, it's still just plane old natural selection - just a change in what traits are being selected for or against.
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    In my mind I see this not as reverse natural selection, but as normal natural selection. Natural selection is, put simply, survival of the fittest. Let's look at your four-leaf clover example. In this case, the clover with four leaves, the rarer one, is being pulled, thus its life is ended. However, none of the normal, more common three-leaf clovers are being pulled. So in this example, the 'fittest' trait in the clovers is to have three leaves.
    In your other example, you create stag, who has a large rack. The dissection of this is more interesting. Yes, this rack is a genetic advantage, as it provides the stag in question protection from other stags, who will not pick a fight with him. However, the humans would. The humans seek out stags with larger racks, killing them and neglecting the rest. This makes smaller racks the 'fittest' for the stags.
    However, to elaborate on both cases and to further answer your question, I would refer to this as a cycle of natural selection. Most cases of natural selection are linear, for instance, ladybugs with many spots are more obvious hence eaten more, they die out, dark red ladybugs are now the most obvious, they die out, now it is the ones that are larger that are the most obvious... and so on and so on. However, in your example with the stag, if all of the stags with larger racks die out, and the only ones left have smaller ones, then humans are going to begin hunting the smaller racks. As they are killing these, a few genetics happenstances occur and some stags are born with larger stacks. Humans are still hunting smaller stacked stags, as they have grown accustomed to it or what not, and larger stacks become more advantagious. This will repeat itself, smaller stacks will become an advantage, then larger ones again, and again and again. So this instance is an unbroken cycle of natural selection, rather than the normal linear system of natural selection.

    I hope this has appropriately answered your question,
    My regards,

    Luke
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    I understand that this is not reverse natural selection, i was trying to find a suitable title. The problem i have with it is when we select against the traits we want. You go to buy a dog and buy the most gentle one(advantage). The dog is neutered and the traits are not passed on. The dogs with the less desirable traits reproduce. I understand that this is just another selection factor but it just doesn't seem right to me that we eliminate the traits we want.
    just wondering
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    Quote Originally Posted by zendra
    I understand that this is just another selection factor but it just doesn't seem right to me that we eliminate the traits we want.
    That's because natural selection has evolved us to be intelligent enough to recognise how dumb we are.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    Quote Originally Posted by zendra
    I understand that this is just another selection factor but it just doesn't seem right to me that we eliminate the traits we want.
    That's because natural selection has evolved us to be intelligent enough to recognise how dumb we are.
    i doubt whether we're really THAT intelligent yet
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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    I believe it the purpose of intelligence to take control of natural selection and to slowly move on to intelligent selection. Intelligent selection has been going on for some time, sexuality amongst animals and humans is an excellent example for intelligent (not random) selection of kin. But most sexual behavior is poorly connected to actual intelligence (masturbation, we do it all the time hehe xD). It has come to us humans now to change this dumb course and use our new resource, the brain and knowledge to create tools to modify our bodys. Yes, I mean Synthetic biology. We are at the verge to another chapter of the human race, if you agree with genetically manipulating humans or not. It is simply the more efficient route to take.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Ian
    It is simply the more efficient route to take.
    More efficient for what purpose?
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    Zendra, a real-world implication of what you are referring to is the loss of genetic diversity in livestock and crop species. Could potentially be a problem one day.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Ian
    It is simply the more efficient route to take.
    More efficient for what purpose?
    It gives us immense power in terms of flexibility to our environment and possibly a way to enhance our already strongly developed brain. It also would shorten the lengthly process of natural selection to mere hundreds of years. When the technology has fully ripened in a hundred to two hundred years we will be able to bypass the population problem that we are currently having in Europe (and this just might spread to other countries or continents too)

    Zendra, a real-world implication of what you are referring to is the loss of genetic diversity in livestock and crop species. Could potentially be a problem one day.
    could also be diversified though bio technology/ synthetic biology
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  19. #18  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Ian
    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Ian
    It is simply the more efficient route to take.
    More efficient for what purpose?
    It gives us immense power in terms of flexibility to our environment and possibly a way to enhance our already strongly developed brain. It also would shorten the lengthly process of natural selection to mere hundreds of years.
    This is why I asked the question. It is implicit in your posts that we have a clear goal as a species of how we want to evolve and that this goal is a wise and good one.

    These are assumptions. Indeed, they so lack substantiation that we should call them presumptions.

    I believe you are making the traditional mistake of confusing efficiency with effectiveness. I little doubt we shall be able to achieve the kind of genetic manipulation you speak of. I know that to this responsibly and ethically and effectively will be a much greater challenge.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Ian
    When the technology has fully ripened in a hundred to two hundred years we will be able to bypass the population problem that we are currently having in Europe (and this just might spread to other countries or continents too)
    What you see as a problem I see as the first signs that we may actually survive the consequences of having an overpopulated planet. The only problem in Europe is that Europeans don't like the idea that to maintain numbers they have to allow increased immigration of non-Europeans. Ultimately it is a racist objection.
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  20. #19  
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    Quote Originally Posted by zendra
    You go to buy a dog and buy the most gentle one(advantage). The dog is neutered and the traits are not passed on. The dogs with the less desirable traits reproduce.
    We've been farming rabbits (for food) since at least Roman times, and so utterly failed to control their breeding that rabbits since adapted to elude us even better. Domestic rabbits are notoriously difficult to sex, because not only are male and female (young and mature) indistinguishable in appearance and behaviour, now males have internalized genitals. The sneaky females ovulate at will and may even voluntarily abort all or part of a litter depending on environmental cues. These and other strategies enable rabbits to breed and adapt in spite of human interference.
    A pong by any other name is still a pong. -williampinn
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    We've been farming rabbits (for food) since at least Roman times, and so utterly failed to control their breeding that rabbits since adapted to elude us even better. Domestic rabbits are notoriously difficult to sex, because not only are male and female (young and mature) indistinguishable in appearance and behaviour, now males have internalized genitals. The sneaky females ovulate at will and may even voluntarily abort all or part of a litter depending on environmental cues. These and other strategies enable rabbits to breed and adapt in spite of human interference.
    Pong, there are different breeds of rabbits, and I think they have pretty much the characteristics that the rabbit breeders were selecting for. So in what way have rabbit breeders utterly failed? I doubt if prominent male genitals would be an important characteristic to the breeders.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370
    So in what way have rabbit breeders utterly failed?
    I wasn't writing about professional breeders. I meant "we" as in the longer history of farmers keeping rabbits alongside other species. Rabbits stand out as the least manageable, least profitable species.

    The concealed genitals of domestic rabbits improves their chance of mixed sexes in one pen, thereby thwarting controlled reproduction. It's a trait we inadvertently selected for. In feral populations it means we can't control numbers by culling one sex.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    I wasn't writing about professional breeders. I meant "we" as in the longer history of farmers keeping rabbits alongside other species. Rabbits stand out as the least manageable, least profitable species.

    The concealed genitals of domestic rabbits improves their chance of mixed sexes in one pen, thereby thwarting controlled reproduction. It's a trait we inadvertently selected for. In feral populations it means we can't control numbers by culling one sex.
    Do you have a reference for this? It doesn't seem reasonable. I think if I was a farmer raising rabbits, I would have no problem keeping a separate breeding stock, and butchering the rest. I wouldn't care much if the rabbits in the breeding pen were male or female, as long as they had the characteristic I was selecting for. But if I did, I would soon figure it out by watching them mate, and/or seeing which ones had litters.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Ian
    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Ian
    It is simply the more efficient route to take.
    More efficient for what purpose?
    It gives us immense power in terms of flexibility to our environment and possibly a way to enhance our already strongly developed brain. It also would shorten the lengthly process of natural selection to mere hundreds of years.
    This is why I asked the question. It is implicit in your posts that we have a clear goal as a species of how we want to evolve and that this goal is a wise and good one.

    These are assumptions. Indeed, they so lack substantiation that we should call them presumptions.

    I believe you are making the traditional mistake of confusing efficiency with effectiveness. I little doubt we shall be able to achieve the kind of genetic manipulation you speak of. I know that to this responsibly and ethically and effectively will be a much greater challenge.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Ian
    When the technology has fully ripened in a hundred to two hundred years we will be able to bypass the population problem that we are currently having in Europe (and this just might spread to other countries or continents too)
    What you see as a problem I see as the first signs that we may actually survive the consequences of having an overpopulated planet. The only problem in Europe is that Europeans don't like the idea that to maintain numbers they have to allow increased immigration of non-Europeans. Ultimately it is a racist objection.
    Very nice insight, I have changed my mind on efficiency and effectiveness. The importance of genetic manipulation will allow us humans to be ultimately fit to spread beyond our earthly boundary. If we are able to manipulate our physical bodies to being more effective, enhance our survival rate in space, this species of humans will be able to spread more efficiently than normal humans.
    To underline my point I would like to point to the evolution of life from sea to land, by chance an organism happened to have the genetic make up to develop and use limbs, then another genetic change allowed the species to breathe oxygen. this could have been over a period of millions of years, maybe a few hundred failed attempts... If the sea organism were to be able to manipulate its genetic code to fit its environmental needs on land it would only take a fraction of the time. May be only a few thousand failures and years to develop a body suitable to roam the surface of the earth.
    I see a similarity between the barrier of sea and earth to the barrier of earth and space, it may take us millions of years to grow accustomed to the harsh environment of outer space, but only a fraction of the time if we can manipulate. I do not think it is a question of if it is ethically correct, because also if it is outlawed people will still modify the genetic makeup of humans if they can. I do not see why we should not be able to, one day, fully understand natures code.
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    I agree with you as to the two activities that our future likely holds: expansion of humanity from the Earth and increased genetic manipulation.

    I welcome the former, believing that if destiny exists - which it doesn't - this would be ours. Since it doesn't exist we should make our own and universal expansion should be its goal.

    I remain concerned about the latter. You are correct that regardless of laws on the matter genetic manipulation will exist. This has three major drawbacks:
    1. Intially at least, we shall not understand the total impact of gene changes, thereby acquiring many negative features along with the planned positive ones.
    2. The risks of creating master/slave dichotomies like the Eloi and the Morlocks in The Time Machine.
    3. Changes that alter not only our outward form, but the behavioural characteritics that make us human. I would hope a methane breathing descendant that is comfortable in a 3g environment could still appreciate a sunset.
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  26. #25  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    (Why rabbits breed like rabbits)
    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370
    It doesn't seem reasonable. I think if I was a farmer raising rabbits, I would have no problem keeping a separate breeding stock...
    Though it's possible to control rabbit breeding, the species really does excel at (over)breeding. Compared to other domestic species I mean. Females also ovulate (or not) after and in response to sneaking a quickie. Sexual maturity as young as 4 months, and her own son may father healthy bunnies through her. Oh yeah, and females sometimes foster or share a nest and litter. Practically any trick you can imagine to thwart population management, rabbits do.

    Rabbits have had 4,000+ generations of adaptations to thrive in spite of human keepers.
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    @Ophiolite: I've played out multiple scenarios of wars between gentically modified humans and non modified humans... well the idea is rather old. But change, challanges and problems are necessary for the human race to develop intelligence. Otherwise I cannot the necessarity of intelligence, we might degenerate. This is something I fear more than war, dichotomies or spychological changes of humans.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    I agree with you as to the two activities that our future likely holds: expansion of humanity from the Earth and increased genetic manipulation.

    I welcome the former, believing that if destiny exists - which it doesn't - this would be ours. Since it doesn't exist we should make our own and universal expansion should be its goal.

    I remain concerned about the latter. You are correct that regardless of laws on the matter genetic manipulation will exist. This has three major drawbacks:
    1. Intially at least, we shall not understand the total impact of gene changes, thereby acquiring many negative features along with the planned positive ones.
    2. The risks of creating master/slave dichotomies like the Eloi and the Morlocks in The Time Machine.
    3. Changes that alter not only our outward form, but the behavioural characteritics that make us human. I would hope a methane breathing descendant that is comfortable in a 3g environment could still appreciate a sunset.
    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Ian
    @Ophiolite: I've played out multiple scenarios of wars between gentically modified humans and non modified humans... well the idea is rather old. But change, challanges and problems are necessary for the human race to develop intelligence. Otherwise I cannot the necessarity of intelligence, we might degenerate. This is something I fear more than war, dichotomies or spychological changes of humans.
    I hope you two are talking about genetic manipulation after birth, instead of prior to it. Eugenics always falls prey to nepotism on the part of the people who get put in charge of it. For some reason they always seem to think their own genes are the best.

    I don't see any reason why it wouldn't possible at some point to change stuff about yourself. I saw a documentary a little while ago about a company that figured out how to grow bypass veins in peoples' legs by isolating a part of their DNA, and somehow activating it and implanting it into the place they wanted the new vein to grow. I figure if that kind of research continues, the possibilities could be very interesting.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    I hope you two are talking about genetic manipulation after birth, instead of prior to it.
    It should be clear that we are talking about genetic manipulation before birth.

    You imply we should be ashamed of discussing this. A little naive on your part: yes? My views on this should be clear. It will occur. Deal with it.
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  30. #29  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    I hope you two are talking about genetic manipulation after birth, instead of prior to it.
    It should be clear that we are talking about genetic manipulation before birth.

    You imply we should be ashamed of discussing this. A little naive on your part: yes? My views on this should be clear. It will occur. Deal with it.

    World wide, I would say the opposite is what has been happening. Educated groups in Europe and the USA have fewer children while undereducated groups in the third world massively over reproduce. Inside the USA itself, I think there is a trend toward dumber, uneducated Americans breeding large families in order to show that they can do something worth while (raise kids). It offsets their humiliation at being unable to do so many other things that our society places a value on. I know a lot of people who, fully having the opportunity and money to go to college, either pass it up entirely or study some easy/useless field on the basis that they don't believe themselves to be intelligent enough to succeed at doing something more academically strenuous.

    The question is how do you work against this? People will violently resist being told their own genes are not good enough. Terrorism could become even more commonplace than it already is, as more and more people decide to express their frustration with bombs (since low intelligence is prone to express itself that way).
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  31. #30 Re: reverse natural selection 
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    Quote Originally Posted by zendra
    Im not sure how to start this so ill quote an example. 4 leaf clovers are rare, if we find one then a common response is to pull it out of the ground thereby preventing it from reproducing, the two recessive alleles(im assuming) are removed from the genetic pool and the chances of finding another one are reduced. I beleive this is similar in other cases such as hunting where a stags larger rack, normally a genetic advantage, becomes a disadvantage when it is targeted by hunters. Im just wondering if we could be discouraging natural selection by targeting the most adapted animal.
    Ill note however that it could also be size related and not all genetic advantages.
    Clearly the 4 leaved clover isn't best adapted if it is under higher human predatory stress.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    World wide, I would say the opposite is what has been happening.
    Are you familiar with the role of verb tenses? If so it should have been clear to you I was speaking of future events, not current or historical ones.

    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    Educated groups in Europe and the USA have fewer children while undereducated groups in the third world massively over reproduce.
    False.
    In Europe birth rates have fallen across practically all social groups, bar first generation immigrants.

    The reduction in birth rates has more to do with level of wealth than level of education.

    Poor families in the much of the third world tend to have larger families. (You do realise that makes them biologically more succesful?)


    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    Inside the USA itself, I think there is a trend toward dumber, uneducated Americans breeding large families in order to show that they can do something worth while (raise kids).
    You just dream this stuff up, don't you? And you have the audacity to talk about what dumb people do!

    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    I know a lot of people who, fully having the opportunity and money to go to college, either pass it up entirely or study some easy/useless field on the basis that they don't believe themselves to be intelligent enough to succeed at doing something more academically strenuous.
    And?

    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    The question is how do you work against this? People will violently resist being told their own genes are not good enough.
    In the future I have foretold, but not endorsed, you don't tell people their genes are not good enough, but you offer them the opportunity to have smarter, more attractive, less disease prone, healthier offspring. surely you want the best for your children.
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    It's amazing how many people think the majority of people is dumb.

    If these people were smart they would know about the bell curve and realize that in all probability either the majority of people are either smarter or dumber than they are. But not only dumber.
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  34. #33  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    Inside the USA itself, I think there is a trend toward dumber, uneducated Americans breeding large families in order to show that they can do something worth while (raise kids).
    You just dream this stuff up, don't you? And you have the audacity to talk about what dumb people do!
    Ironically the truth in Kojax's words is in a common dream: the Supermom. I guess society created & idealized this Supermom a few decades ago? She's both successful professional and a great wife & mother. The function of Supermom is to address a major insecurity of our times.

    Contradictory expectations are now extended to all girls from an early age. As they mature, (teenage) girls find they can't live up to all expectations. So, if she can't "have it all" what tips a (young) women one way or the other? Wouldn't she build on her strengths?
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  35. #34  
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    Quote Originally Posted by spuriousmonkey
    It's amazing how many people think the majority of people is dumb.

    If these people were smart they would know about the bell curve and realize that in all probability either the majority of people are either smarter or dumber than they are. But not only dumber.
    even worse, i suspect that plotting people against a stupidity - cleverness axis might give a graph that is heavily skewed towards the stupidity side, signifying that more than 50% of all people fall below the mean intelligence
    "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 Ophiolite

    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    I know a lot of people who, fully having the opportunity and money to go to college, either pass it up entirely or study some easy/useless field on the basis that they don't believe themselves to be intelligent enough to succeed at doing something more academically strenuous.
    And?
    It means that shortages of hard education like Engineers, Scientists, Doctors, ... etc in the USA is a genetic problem, not just an institutional one. If a higher percentage of the population had a higher natural IQ, then these roles would be getting filled more frequently.




    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    The question is how do you work against this? People will violently resist being told their own genes are not good enough.
    In the future I have foretold, but not endorsed, you don't tell people their genes are not good enough, but you offer them the opportunity to have smarter, more attractive, less disease prone, healthier offspring. surely you want the best for your children.
    So are you suggesting something more along the lines of splicing genes into one's own DNA, rather than practicing artificial selection on the population? Probably people wouldn't object to that as much, especially if it's like in that movie Gattica, where the doctor is simply filtering to get the best parts of your own genes, rather than adding genetic input from an outside source.

    Even adding from an outside source might be ok, a long as most of the genes in your offspring are your own. I wouldn't mind splicing Micheal Jordan's DNA into one of my offspring to give him/her athletic ability for example.
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  37. #36  
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    I'm just saying... if we want to discuss this then we should discuss it, or if you don't want to discuss it then that's fine too, but don't pretend to discuss it and then dance around the essential issues.

    If we ever do practice artificial selection, IQ will be #1 objective most people focus on. Maybe some people will kind of act all hypocritical and pretend it doesn't matter to them, but their interest in it will be attested to by their actions. Parents get crazy-excited when their kids do well in school, and not a little bit angry (usually at the teachers/school system) when their kids do poorly. Ability to live on the surface of Mercury isn't going to top the list of priorities.
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  38. #37  
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    Parents get crazy-excited when their kids do well in school
    Moreso, personally, when the girls fight to sit beside my son. My wife gives me a look like, we have conquered the universe!
    A pong by any other name is still a pong. -williampinn
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  39. #38  
    WYSIWYG Moderator marnixR's Avatar
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    pfft - gold diggers
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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  40. #39  
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    Nature is tending to favor the less intelligent human. I think this gives us even more reason to take initiative of the human genetic code- not for the survival of the human race but much rather for the survival of intelligence on earth, and in the long run the survival and expansion of humans to other planets.
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  41. #40 Clover and selection 
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    Zendra, I would expect most 4 leaf clovers to go wholly unnoticed by people, to breed or not unaffected by human predation. Also lots of clover is the result of deliberate seeding of pasture using cultivars with escapees spreading further. Truly wild strains, in parts of the world where they are native, could be impacted by interbreeding with nearby agricultural varieties. I'm not sure if, during the selection process to develop improved cultivars, 4 leafed versions would be considered 'rogues' and weeded out; uniformity as well as specific improved characteristics are usually high priority.

    My own childhood experience was that 4 leafers would be found on plants that were producing mostly 3 leaf ones although I understand sometimes the whole plant is 4 leafed. I never encountered any. I recall that some has been selectively bred for the production and sale of 'lucky' clovers.

    Stags with or without larger racks aren't something we get here in Australia but I understand the trait is sexually selective - males with the biggest tending to be more successful in competition for mates. I would think that in regions where human predation is widespread and the largest antlers are what hunters are after the biggest could be thinned out, however amongst the survivors I'd expect the same selective process to continue; the biggest of the surviving males with the biggest racks continue to dominate with greatest mating success. Of course those would still be the ones subject to the most predation. I'm not sure that would ultimately lead to reduced rack size but I suspect that predation would have to be very intense and sustained to favour a genetic strain that has small antlers enough to do so.

    On human breeding favouring the less intelligent, whilst conditions are favourable that skewing of fecundity might seem true, but the intelligent could be the ones that survive the famines and collapse of numbers. It's the application of intelligence that has prevented famines and held back the cycles of boom and bust of populations and will probably continue to do so - favouring the people of nations that are well managed and run intelligently. I note that in Australia there has been a recent surge in birth rate and I don't think the parents are necessarily predominately poor and uneducated. Or unintelligent. It could be partly a shift of expectations and fashions.
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  42. #41  
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    I think it's probably a mistake to think we are talking about any genetic differences, or even differences in intelligence when discussing the differences in reproductive rates. Or thinking that it reflects an evolutionary trend at work.
    I think it's not innate intelligence that's different; educational and social differences are probably more what the differences in reproductive choices are about. And being aware of and being able to practice those choices. Social organisation and structures - what the indicators of status and standing within community and nation are - rather than the genetic attributes of individuals are what are being reflected in those different reproductive choices.
    Natural selection (not the only mechanism of evolution BTW) resulting in evolutionary change most strongly works when populations crash and the surviving reproductively successful individuals have some traits that favour them.

    I think in some respects homo sapiens is dodging the cruder forms of natural selection and we are seeing selection for social organisation above individual attributes. Not that the social organisation of modern civilisation - despite it's remarkable success to date - is bound to prevail; the inability of competitive enterprise based society to deal effectively with global sustainability issues like climate change, even if the seeds of solutions are there, suggests our civilisation has to change or perish. Like the stag with the biggest rack, the ability to overcome opposition doesn't necessarily pass on long term success to the species. The capacity to look and plan ahead, to successfully incorporate that into the structures of our society - the meek geeks ganging up to overcome the self-interested and shortsighted alpha stags - that could be our saving grace.
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  43. #42  
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    I think the failing trait of intelligent humans, which may prove their demise in the long run is the assumption that all of their peers are as intelligent as they are. When they perceive that a certain behavior would benefit society if everybody did it, and that everybody would do it if they all shared this perception, sometimes they make the next logical step and assume that if their peers were confronted with the same evidence as they have seen, their peers would share that perception..... And that is where they run into trouble.

    Too often what happens is that, when they go to present the evidence to their peers, they discover too late that their peers actually lack the intelligence to be able to take in the requisite amount of data and hold it in their heads long enough to look at it all in the proper context. (They try to break it into pieces that are too small to be compared accurately.) And, without proper context, the data just looks like gobblely gook. Then Rush Limbaugh or Sarah Palin go on the air and tell them not to worry about it, because the egg-heads have it all wrong.


    Anyway.... if you want me to stop talking like a fanatical elitist I will. I just took Ophiolite's statement as an invitation to drop my usual apologist etiquette about the issue.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    I hope you two are talking about genetic manipulation after birth, instead of prior to it.
    It should be clear that we are talking about genetic manipulation before birth.

    You imply we should be ashamed of discussing this. A little naive on your part: yes? My views on this should be clear. It will occur. Deal with it.
    I'd like to live in a world where everybody could make it in life, and it didn't really have to matter what a person's natural abilities were. Necessarily, that would be a world where we lower the bar a little bit, and share the world's resources among a much smaller population than what we have today.
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  44. #43  
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    I'd like to live in a world where everybody could make it in life, and it didn't really have to matter what a person's natural abilities were.
    Liking doesn't count for diddly squat. You have to face reality as it is, then do something to change it if you don't like what you see. Feeling all warm and fuzzy and burying your head in the sand won't do a damn bit of good.

    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    Necessarily, that would be a world where we lower the bar a little bit,
    Even talking of a bar in this context automatically condemns some to fail, That is not the only possible approach. Use your imagination for once.
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