Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Morals vs Evolution

This is not about wither or not we can be moral without religion. My views on that should be clear. This is about how does our species continue to evolve in the modern age. First I'll say that the modern age is so unbelievably short from an evolutionary view point that its effects so far are of little consequence. But as domestication and breeding show things can happen quite quickly if given the opportunity. The problem comes from the fact that the more educated people have fewer kids while those who are least educated are still reproducing at high rates. Now I know there might be better ways to look at this but I'm just thinking in very general terms, economics might have been a better route, it doesn't matter though as they are so closely related anyway. Actually I would like to compare birth rates to intelligence but I don't think that would be easy data to gather. You probably already see where this is going. By natural selection for humans who's only survival skill in unparalleled intelligence one would expect that increasing our intelligence would be beneficial. Yet it seems that by simply evolution we are going to get dumber and probably very quickly by evolutionary standards. I don't think any of this is anything that should shock anyone, it might offend some folks but even without any research at all I think people will agree with what I've said so far and I will point out that no where has race or and factors besides education, income, and intelligence been mention or implied I do not mean this a an excuse for racism in any manner.

Ok so now to the heart of the matter, what do we do about it? The question is are we morally obliged to maintain our species or the individual? I think the argument for the individual is easy and is shown by our basic morals so I'm not really going to bother with that. I'm going to look at the other side, just for shits and giggles. So if we want to do whats best for our species we need to improve the breed, or something like that. I'm not a Nazi so I don't plan on killing off anyone deemed inferior. I should also say that this really is a pointless though experiment I'm just bored at work. I guess one option would be to return to the state of nature, hunter gatherers and shit. But our social abilities are one of the great strengths of our species so I see that as counter productive. Ok as long as we are talking about a hypothetical lets say someone comes up with a way to simply turn off the gonads of either men or women or both. Which would be a better option could be its own fun debate. So now your sex organs (but not drive, gotta have fun ya know) are off but can be turned back on. Then someone decides that the government should be the one to decide who gets theirs turned back on. So now how do we decide who is allowed to reproduce? We could start with the easy choices, easy that is from an evolutionary standpoint, people with genetic diseases that would be passed to their children would not be allowed to reproduce. And because I'm not a total dick and we generally like children those deemed reproduction worthy will in vitro fertilize those who wish to have children but are not genetically advantageous.

Shit I'm just getting to the fun/controversial part and I'm outta time for the day. expect an update tomorrow, my only fear of this type of thought is the fundies saying that "darwinists" really think this way and want to kill of the undesirables. This might also be what social Darwinism was all about I'm not really up to date on my social Darwinism because I know its a croc of shit and is often used to bad mouth evolutionary thought. Anyway I gotta run.


Byshop said...

I think the problem here is that we as humans have circumvented the natural selection process. It is no longer survival of the fittest. Medical advances which tend to focus on an invidual (or many individuals, if you like), therefore affecting the species are typically seen as a good thing. In reality, they dilute and skew the natural selection process. Our underlying goal, as with any species is sucessful reproduction and being the "fittest" while alive. Like any other animal, when the population taxes it's environment to the maximum there is a natural correction. Here the correction is avoided. We "manage" other species populations to fit the environment, we also forget (or deny) that we too are animals, and logically should do so as well. The magic pill of consciousness gives us the sense of the ability to justify all of the efforts to circumvent nature. When the correction comes, and it will, it will be that much more devestating.

The development of our consciousness has outpaced, in extreme measure, our physical evolution and at the rate we are going, the physical will not catch up, until long after the mental evolution has plateau'd, in my opinion we are still millenia away.

We are the shooting star of evolution, and we shall burn out one day, likely of our own doing.

As Greg Graffin sang "our evolution is our demise." and never have truer words been spoken.

Byshop said...

Hey Farkface! Is it pure randomness that I found a comment from you on the hotair website via fark? You must be a compulsive farker like I am...

Kilgore Trout said...

Um. actually I have no idea what fark is. I will say I'm not the only Kurt Vonnegut fan who's lacking in creativity, there are plenty of other Kilgore Trouts. Sorry.

So what is fark and should I know about it?

As for your first comment, yeah thats pretty much the gist of it. My only disagreement would be in terms of consciousness. I know it is still a debated subject but I do not think we are the only conscious animals on this planet, but I also think there are degrees of consciousness.

My question is if and how we should try to prevent or at least delay our own demise. Even though our species demise might be the best thing for the earth and nature as a whole, but I think its already established that we are greedy.

I'll continue on with this as soon as I get bored here at work. later

Byshop said...

Great site, check it out.

I too believe in stages of consciousness, but none have reached our level, the level that allows reason (I use that term loosely).

I am not sure trying to postpone, or eliminate our demise as a species is productive, when the day of reckoning comes, humans will not have a say in the matter.

Otherwise, keep doing what we're doing. Especially if survival is the main requirement. Sure it dilutes the gene pool, and there is a regression of the overall quality of species, but humans are hardy and can withstand quite a bit. The strongest will survive until the threshold of human life is reached, the weaker humans will die off sooner, and likely in great numbers, until just those strong humans exist, then the gene pool will become concentrated with good genes and the cycle starts all over.

Basically it will correct itself, or it will demolish us all, neither of which I see us having much of an impact on.

To spin this off a bit, what do you think of the 2012 stuff?

Kilgore Trout said...

Oh shit I have seen Fark before, I knew it sounded familiar, still wasn't my comment though. And yeah it is a good site, thanks for reminding me about it.

Theres lots of things that could cause our demise but some like asteroids we can't really plan for or do anything about if it does happen.

You pulled out a Greg Graffin lyric so I'm going to reply with a Fat Mike line, "the industrial revolution flipped a bitch on evolution." I'm just having a tough time imagining something thats going to be able to get humans back on an evolutionarily viable track faster than we can screw up our own genetics. I guess I just think that we're screwed, but I'm trying to come up with a more positive assessment.

Byshop said...

A rapid and large scale thinning of the herd.

We were screwed from the start. These things are cyclical, nothing last forever.

I'll see your NOFX lyric, and raise you a whole song.

Looking back to the past,
predictions of the end
Unseen ultra violet rays
Are beating on my head
Nuclear threat wanna bet will be our demise
The day will come when we'll look to apocalyptic skies

When the news had spread, that soon we'd all be dead
Well it just blew our minds
No one could have guessed that our worst fears at best
Figments of our time

So it seems that our dreams will never come to be
How could such a stupid thing destroy humanity?
A few weeks till extinction and there's nothing we can do
A message sent to other worlds will say, "It was just the flu"

There's no lesson to be learned
There's no one left to learn it

Kilgore Trout said...

Damn you. Well I don't think I can top that song so I'm going to pull out the big guns and go all ad hominem on yo ass.

"I fart in your general direction! your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberry."

What I meant was I can't envision a way of thinning the herd in an evolutionarily possitive way. A nasty disease would only allow those with resistance to survive, assuming the big pharma doesn't come up with a way to make money off it, I mean save us. But is resistance to a single disease really going to put us on the right track?

I guess the original point was that I think as a species we are going to get significantly dumber in a relatively short period of time. Like in the movie Idiocracy, and I see that as being a downfall of man, assuming we don't get killed off by nukes, asteroids or other major disasters. Inteligence has brought us to here, and I think its the only thing that can save us, if we are savable.