Natural Selection?

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Jackofalltrades phil
 
Reply Sun 17 Jan, 2010 11:58 am
@William,
Thanks for the video. I enjoyed the song and the arts.
 
memester
 
Reply Sun 17 Jan, 2010 12:48 pm
@memester,
memester;117565 wrote:
but if some crows are less prone to fright reactions to people, they may become a population separated from the others.
One thing wrong with your analogy is that neither crow nor squirrel provide such obvious advantage to human.



what do you mean by diversification ? creation of recognizable breeds ?

I'll try to find other literature I've read before, on the divergence from wolves.
I just found this possible advantage http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bXQAgzfwuNQ
 
prothero
 
Reply Sun 17 Jan, 2010 02:21 pm
@Aedes,
Aedes;117107 wrote:
Humans are responsible for the extinction of the moa, the passenger pigeon, the dodo, etc. These are examples of terminal selection (my phrase), i.e. artificial or not we DID tamper with the natural way of things and there it was. A plague could have wiped them out too. But it was humans..
Do you think humans are playing a unique, new and dangerous role in the ecology of our small humble planet?

I mean to say something is "natural" or "unnatural" is messy but to acknowledge that humans have altered the planet and the enviroment in a way that seems unprecedented (and probably dangerous, at least for life as we know it) for a single species does not seem to stretch the truth too much?

We are part of nature (religion not withstanding) and so the things we do are in some sense natural but are they possibly dangerous and unwise for the system as a whole? Are we in some sense unique and have more power and more responsibility than other species? Or can we just claim whatever we do is "natural" and in scientific terms "value-neutral".
 
Aedes
 
Reply Sun 17 Jan, 2010 07:17 pm
@prothero,
prothero;120686 wrote:
Are we in some sense unique and have more power and more responsibility than other species? Or can we just claim whatever we do is "natural" and in scientific terms "value-neutral".
Why not both? The fact that we are natural entities does not absolve us from having priorities, moral sensibilities, agency, and a sense of responsibility.
 
prothero
 
Reply Sun 17 Jan, 2010 08:45 pm
@Aedes,
Aedes;120722 wrote:
Why not both? The fact that we are natural entities does not absolve us from having priorities, moral sensibilities, agency, and a sense of responsibility.
Does any other "natural" entity have those qualities?
 
Aedes
 
Reply Sun 17 Jan, 2010 08:49 pm
@prothero,
prothero;120727 wrote:
Does any other "natural" entity have those qualities?
Not to my knowledge. I think many animals have a sort of proto-morality, but this takes form in priorities, aversions, and emotions. I don't think that any quite has a sense of "stewardship" that goes beyond family or social group -- and I doubt (but I don't know) if any animal 'reflects upon' it.
 
prothero
 
Reply Sun 17 Jan, 2010 09:10 pm
@Aedes,
Aedes;120728 wrote:
Not to my knowledge. I think many animals have a sort of proto-morality, but this takes form in priorities, aversions, and emotions. I don't think that any quite has a sense of "stewardship" that goes beyond family or social group -- and I doubt (but I don't know) if any animal 'reflects upon' it.
For the "natural selection" (survival and procreation) of humans what is more important; our genetic makeup or our social structures, cultures and behaviors?
 
Aedes
 
Reply Sun 17 Jan, 2010 09:15 pm
@William,
They are inseparable. All animals have a social structure of some sort. Humans, with an extremely complex social structure, have biological codependency. This is somewhat genetically mediated and largely cultural, but there must be a natural selection for and against certain social phenomena as well, whatever they come from.
 
memester
 
Reply Sun 17 Jan, 2010 09:26 pm
@Aedes,
Aedes;120730 wrote:
They are inseparable. All animals have a social structure of some sort. Humans, with an extremely complex social structure, have biological codependency. This is somewhat genetically mediated and largely cultural, but there must be a natural selection for and against certain social phenomena as well, whatever they come from.
but natural selection as normally spoken of, is not the "be all, end all" of a trait.
 
prothero
 
Reply Sun 17 Jan, 2010 09:33 pm
@Aedes,
Aedes;120730 wrote:
They are inseparable. All animals have a social structure of some sort. Humans, with an extremely complex social structure, have biological codependency. This is somewhat genetically mediated and largely cultural, but there must be a natural selection for and against certain social phenomena as well, whatever they come from.
I am just wondering how much of human behavior and hence of human survival and procreation you think are genetically mediated?
Our form of government would not seem to be genetic, or the size, training and efficiency of our military for instance. These factors might influence the survival of our populations in war. The strenght of the link between behaviors and social sturctures that lead to survival and procreation advantage versus genetic factors in humans versus other species would seem to be unique as well?
 
Aedes
 
Reply Sun 17 Jan, 2010 09:43 pm
@prothero,
prothero;120734 wrote:
I am just wondering how much of human behavior and hence of human survival and procreation you think are genetically mediated?
I don't know. It's impossible to know. One could argue that EVERYTHING we do is genetically mediated, but the resolution of our genome's action is waaaaaaaay below the resolution of our decisions, our learning, our adaptability, etc.

In other words, if we had the genetic program of a banana tree we would not do any of the stuff we do. Even close relatives like chimps don't do much of the stuff we do (or did as 'primitive' humans -- see Levi-Strauss' argument that even very 'primitive' cultures had the same sophisticated social structures as 'developed' societies).

So if it weren't for our genetic program we would not be voting for presidents and choosing democracy over monarchy and talking about this subject. But that doesn't mean there's anything like a direct correspondence between our genome's output and how we act in a given situation.
 
prothero
 
Reply Sun 17 Jan, 2010 10:52 pm
@Aedes,
Aedes;120736 wrote:
So if it weren't for our genetic program we would not be voting for presidents and choosing democracy over monarchy and talking about this subject. But that doesn't mean there's anything like a direct correspondence between our genome's output and how we act in a given situation.
Well if it were not for the genetics life as we know it would not exist. I tend to see evolution (rather process or change) and selection (creation and destruction) as the most fundamental feature underlying reality. I am afterall a process philosophy kind of person. So biological evolution is just another of the evolutionary processes which form our world and I am starting to question the emphasis on genetics in evolution especially in human evolution. You can get genetic drift without genes being the cause. Sometimes particular genes may just be along for the ride. The selfish gene is far from the whole story in human evolution and changes in the human gene pool.
Sometimes the shallow end of the gene pool survives the tsunami.
 
 

 
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