How long is the span of evolution legitimate for? 

Ok, this is one of those opinions that people normally don’t like to hear, even though the evidence suggests it rather plainly. It will be part of a series in the future. 😀

The basic question is how long the forces of evolution act upon an individual or species in order to get its way. For instance, if my mother made poor choices in life and I am born poor (or with a birth defect), would we say this is evolution selecting me out? If not, why not?

Even not going so far as to have a defect, is it legitimate to say that evolution is at work in the human species? And if so, is it legitimate to say that poor people are those who evolution is picking out of the gene pool due to past decisions made by that individual or their ancestors?

So that’s the beginning, a pretty ugly truth I suppose, but let’s take it even farther. 

What if my grandparents move into an area that is plagued with tsunamis, and my family is killed in one? Is this evolution (those who lived farther uphill survived). Or what if my family didn’t sell their house before the neighborhood went bad and I got shot. Is that evolution? In harsher environments, the forces of evolution are stronger, they say…

What about alllll the way back. All the way back to coming out of the fertile crescent and going northwest verses northeast or southeast or southwest? Is this legitimate for evolutionary processes?

It seems like if one family split all the way back then, and one went northwest and one went southwest, those ancestors are likely to have very different outcomes in the present day. Is it legitimate to say that the situation of the world today is the result of such decisions?

If so… it basically excuses as a part of evolution the way that the world has come to be the way it is (inequalities and all). But is it? And how do we keep ourselves from falling into some sort of capitalistic dystopia?

 

I mean, the position sort of makes sense. If a group of individuals moves into a harder environment (say too hot or too cold), they will have to spend more time battling the elements, and less time getting ahead technologically. 

Over generations, this will add up, possibly, to one group having guns and ships that can cross an ocean, and the other not. But is it then legitimate to say that this is evolution removing those less successful individuals from the gene pool? It is not necessary to say that those in Africa are worse, but simply that over thousands of years, the extra time that they put into other things caused them to fall behind. Is there any doubt that they are ‘behind’? I don’t think so, but we can talk about it in the comments if you want.

Looking over time, we can see the dominant powers push themselves North and West (e.g., Egypt, Isreal, Turkey, Greece, Italy, Spain, France, England, US, where next?).

 

 

What do you think friends? The ideas are pretty dangerous, but seems to be based in reality.

Also, find me at facebook.com/TheOmniopinedPsycholar for less ‘serious’ content.

Sources:

A lot of the work is based in the Pulitzer prize winning book Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond.

 

 

 

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9 comments

    1. Hey Agnophilo, Thank you for coming by and speaking up. 😀

      I think I see what you are saying, species as a whole evolve, the individual itself does not. But, it seems like the species evolves at the individual level (it is individuals dying or reproducing). Therefore, the ideas and lives that we lead at the individual level have effects on the evolution of the species as a whole no?

      For instance, people who are overweight in America. These people are evolutionary, probably, less well off. But now look at the country level, if the whole country eats fast food and is overweight, and that ‘competes’ with a country that is healthy, which will win? Perhaps even more clear are examples of groups that don’t reward suffering, if people are not willing to go to war for your group/ idea, then the idea will go extinct (think, the earth is flat).

      It is probably the same thing with, for instance, having to constantly be battling for heat or water during many months of the year. It takes time, attention, and energy away from other things (say, developing weapons, or the printing press). Thus, it is then not as surprising, perhaps, that societies where they need to battle cold or hot were (are) technologically behind..

      Does that make sense? It is the power of the sun, over thousands of years. If searching for water only takes 5 minutes extra a day, per person, cumulatively, that is hundreds, even thousands, of years of extra time being spent on things that are not advancing the society.

      All simply because some families chose to go north or south, and then again some went east and west. But is this a legitimate explanation for the way the world is today and the wrongs that are occurring? idk

      Can I make sure you see this somehow?

      Best,
      The Omniopined Psycholar

      1. Let me put it this way – I can ride a bicycle because I have genes and traits that allow me to do that, but there is no such thing as a bicycle gene. I have genes for tendons and muscles and other things that allow me to not just ride a bike but also do many other things, and removing these genes/traits would do more harm than good. So if 10% of humans rode a bike off a cliff every generation, natural selection would still not remove the ability to ride a bike. Similarly I don’t have a “be a republican” gene or a “go to dental school” gene, I have lots of genes for memory, learning and cognition which allow me to form many different kinds of beliefs and opinions and take various actions. Those traits will be selected for based on their overall usefulness just like the “bike” genes, not based on one possible expression of them. Unless a gene has one effect and it’s 100% bad it won’t get quickly weeded out. The genes for many of the muscles that allow us to ride a bike for instance evolved in fish hundreds of millions of years before primates existed and stayed around.

        As for being fat, that wouldn’t effect our being able to compete militarily or economically because the military need only make up a small percentage of the population due to technology and sadly being obese actually improves the GDP, more people consuming more products = more jobs and more profit, not to mention that we spend more on healthcare than any other nation which is bad for individuals but good for the economy overall. Lots of bad things are good for the economy.

        As for battling heat and cold we do that in most places in the US too, our technology more comes from the fact that we’ve had the most contact (and direct competition) with other civilizations and had the natural resources to have a good economy. Mexico for instance is almost entirely desert and mountains, so they will never have a good economy unless technology makes these facts irrelevant.

      2. Yes, I certainly agree there are not ‘trait’ genes. There are certainly positives and negatives to everything (including having an obese population, knee surgery business up 1000%! :). For real though, I see what you are saying, there are benefits to everything. That being said, I don’t understand why do you say that about Mexico? Mountains contain gold and things probably..

        BUT, my original point about the heat and cold probably happened over the course of the thousands of years before the US existed. The key is that it is the little moments, over thousands of years, that may have led to the differences in the civilizations of the modern world. If an individual must spend an hour each day finding water, that is an hour a day they are not figuring out the printing press.. Imagine this effect over generations, centuries and millennium..

      3. But you need agriculture to have an industrial economy to be able to exploit other natural resources. Other countries that have oil can only exploit it with the “help” of other first world countries. If your people are starving there will be a massive divide between rich and poor, educated and illiterate etc even if there are other resources. As for not having time to invent the printing press I don’t spend 80% of my waking time building a hut and making a fire or gathering water, but I do spend 80% of my time working at a job to pay for other people to provide these things for me. The amount of free time the average person has has not increased all that much, though even if it is a small improvement your thesis may still be valid. What is considered the beginning of civilization is the point where people learned to harvest crops, preserve food and domesticate cattle which allowed them to stay in one place year round. Not having to migrate with the herds annually probably freed people up to do other things, like philosophy, science and culture. And a lot of mystical nonsense of course. And war.

      4. Precise Agnophilo! 😀 It was having to follow the buffalo, or simply migrating from the fertile cresent, up through Russia and then back down through Canada that may have made these groups ‘fall behind’ technologically (and thus evolutionarily). Those that stayed in one spot, and did not have to fight the hot or cold, jumped ahead because they simply had more time.

        IF the evolutionary span lasts that long. 😀

  1. You lost me at the thoroughly debunked social Darwinism – but I greatly appreciate your integrity in keeping it grounded in the realm of opinion.

    1. Hi Manofredearth,

      Yes, but this thoroughly debunked is the part that I don’t quite understand. It seems like morality debunks it rather than the science..

      I mean, if I come from a family that consistently makes poor choices, and many of my family members die, and then myself as well, why would we not say that is evolution selecting that family out. I would say that, to be honest. Also the same for people who live near the beach, but then die when there is a tsunami (again, unpopular, but not absurd).

      Dog breeding also sheds light on the issue, in my opinion. It is clear that we can, over generations, design beings to fit needs/ desires. IMPORTANTLY, it doesn’t say who is best (there is no ‘best’ dog), it just makes different dogs better or worse at different things.

      I guess one problem becomes that we are essentially limiting the possibilities of that individual by ‘birthing’ them with a purpose already in mind, and that would be wrong. But I would say it is not much more limiting that is already the case with SES..

      Thank you for stopping by and I hope we can talk more! 😀

      -TheOmniOpinedPsycholar

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