Friday, September 19, 2008

Natural Selection and Humanity

Yes, you two people who read my blog, I'm back after a month of not posting. Here I'll talk about how what made us into the dominant species on Earth cannot help us anymore and could actually make things worse.

It's thanks to natural selection that we have the most complex brains of any species on the planet, but thanks to civilization survival of the fittest has little meaning and people who would normally be "weeded out" become vital to society and the species. Natural selection tends to favor the physically strongest, most aggressive, or most promiscuous members of the species and their genes. Do those traits sound familiar, you're right, jocks tend to be the ones whose genes are most likely to be propagated. However, in a highly organized society the physical strength of an individual matters less, and those who are intelligent become more important. Unfortunately there are always societies that value strength rather than intelligence, such as Sparta as opposed to Athens. A more modern example would be the "jock culture" of the 20th and 21st century America that denigrades smart people as "nerds" and publicly accuses them of being "elitist".

As for how this relates to natural selection specifically, people who benefit society the most don't necessarily reproduce the most, in fact many smart people consciously choose not to have many kids or (19th century or earlier) live ascetic lives and avoid the opposite sex (Greek philosophers, monks, some other intellectuals). While less intelligent or simply ignorant people will be less likely to use birth control and have several children with their less desireable genes. I know this sounds like eugenics, but I don't support mass sterilization or genocide, but rather I'm advocating the use of birth control and genetic engineering which would be much more humane.

3 comments:

ZarPaulus said...

How come I don't get any comments? does anyone read my blog at all?

jeweler mom said...

What about "jocks" who have fertility problems due to fast and loose living? Then they head off to sperm bank and select traits like intelligence and eye color instead of strength and athleticism?

ZarPaulus said...

I was under the impression that sperm donors were usually selected based on their similarity to the "father", so that they wouldn't need to tell their kids that they weren't genetically related.