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Miscellaneous Ephemera => Scream Of Consciousness => Grey Matters => Topic started by: lentower on March 03, 2011, 07:19:24 AM

Title: Biology Nobelist: Natural selection will destroy us
Post by: lentower on March 03, 2011, 07:19:24 AM
http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20928015.400-biology-nobelist-natural-selection-will-destroy-us.html (http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20928015.400-biology-nobelist-natural-selection-will-destroy-us.html)

right on!
Title: Re: Biology Nobelist: Natural selection will destroy us
Post by: N.U. on March 03, 2011, 09:08:59 AM
Yup. One article from one scientist.

means as much as me writing an article saying the Sky will slowly turn a deeper blue color as more carbon monoxide enters the atmosphere due to the colors that carbon monoxide absorbs.

Seriously, len. It's an interesting article, but in the end it is one person's opinion, which has no more weight than anyone else's opinion, especially since the "evidence" he presented has no current scientific support.
Title: Re: Biology Nobelist: Natural selection will destroy us
Post by: theseeker on March 03, 2011, 06:08:50 PM
There's evidence to disprove the article, though I do agree with his saying that the ever expanding population with fucking kill us in the end. My nightmares don't give a shit about ethical, really.
Title: Re: Biology Nobelist: Natural selection will destroy us
Post by: CeeGBee on March 03, 2011, 09:04:43 PM
So I read it, and I've gotta say...  it's just bad science.
Take this for example:
Quote
Natural selection has resulted in traits such as group selfishness being coded in our genes.
A quick check of... well every other species on the planet, will show a spectacular lack of altruism...
The fact that any human anywhere will share needed resources with any other is what, in large part
sets us apart from the crowd in this area.


Quote
The cost of our success is the exhaustion of natural resources, leading to energy crises, climate change,
pollution and the destruction of our habitat
Congratulations, you've just identified the fact that our population can't continue to expand infinitely....

This happens with other species too:
1. There are bunnies
2. Bunnies multiply...
3. More bunnies eat more of the grass.... and provide more food for the foxes, who multiply....
4. Less grass and more foxes leads to fewer bunnies...
5. Fewer bunnies means the grass spreads without getting eaten, and foxes go hungry - some starve
6. More grass and fewer foxes allow the bunny population to grow [return to step 3]

Note that this leads to fluctuation in the system, but not a BEE*
Humans are better able to survive fluctuations of this sort than other species, due to our ability to
foresee long-term events (even if we live in denial until we're FORCED to address adverse situations).





*Bunny Extinction Event
Title: Re: Biology Nobelist: Natural selection will destroy us
Post by: Morpheus Laughing on March 03, 2011, 09:33:45 PM
I’ve encountered this line of thinking before as well + the individual bits and pieces of the argument. It occasionally crops up if you ask for a worse case scenario. I’m not sure why specific details are supposedly unsupported though – his language is casual enough (i.e. lazy use of words like "selfishness") to avoid making highly specific claims. To my mind I could argue with him for seemingly hinting at group selection or I could favourably agree that nepotism poses problems for broader human relationships… 

Specific thoughts:

Screwy origins of human psychology: We do far too much bottom-up reasoning, which just ends up pandering to our want for indulgence. Bottom-up is fine for non-human animals and small self-sufficient cultures but, for this tangle of integrated populations, we do need oversight and "crowd control" to stop a rush on resources and to prevent shortages.

Population control: I agree with this also but as long as people have the “ be fruitful and multiply” mentality there is always going to be finger pointing and people saying “but they’re doing it, why can’t I?” There would have to be a global agreement focusing on an average replacement rate (no more than one child per existing human perhaps?) but this isn’t going to happen because we value reproductive rights over the right to a decent standard of living.. (oh and how can I forget - we aren't capable on making these negotiations)

Original sin, original sin: This guy sounds like Daniel Quinn. But seriously – the idea is interesting. I think Schopenhauer noted that “Original sin” is the closest thing to a metaphysical truth in the bible (don’t quote me on that).

More power to women: Seems obvious to me. What’s a portrait of humanity if it’s just guys with ventriloquist dummies. The question is how to make it any different?

Edit:
Just had to add to what I read from Cee: (lack of altruism...) Animals lack it but the lack of it in humans is like fizzy drink without lid. It gets  messy.
Title: Re: Biology Nobelist: Natural selection will destroy us
Post by: N.U. on March 04, 2011, 02:31:25 PM
Homosexuality is, in it's most basic form, humanity's first and best method of population control.

Heterosexuality is, in it's most basic form, humanity's first and best method of population propagation.

Both are necessary in order for the species to maintain a natural ebb and flow like every other species on the planet.

It has been observed in primates that when the population density hits a certain mark (regardless of actual raw numbers), the incidence of homosexuality increases. It decreases again, once the population density drops below a certain mark.

As natural as breathing. Man, religion has fucked up science.
Title: Re: Biology Nobelist: Natural selection will destroy us
Post by: Agonistes on March 05, 2011, 01:49:13 AM
enforced eugenics wouldn't be a bad idea.  i mean we might as well curse god and start full force with the bio-science.  it might be gross for awhile but i really dont see any reason not to.
Title: Re: Biology Nobelist: Natural selection will destroy us
Post by: Tiervexx on March 05, 2011, 07:46:50 PM
As nations get richer they seem to loose interest in having such huge families.  The populations of many developed nations are actually starting to stagnate (Japan and much of Europe are good examples).

In the language of calculus if you drew up a function to describe how the population is growing you'd notice that it's derivative is falling even though it is still positive.

The UN estimated that the population will stabilize at 9 billion.  This is a manageable number.