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Natural Selection's Role in Human Culture

Discussion of everything related to the Theory of Evolution.

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Postby alextemplet » Mon Nov 12, 2007 12:25 am

I think you may have missed my point a bit. What I meant to say is that while we can still procreate, the selective pressure on intelligence is much less than it used to be. This means that less-intelligent people are spreading less-intelligent genes that would otherwise be weeded out by natural selection. And intelligence isn't the only thing being affected; so are our bodies. Plenty of diseases and deformities that would've killed us in the wild simply don't anymore, and as a result our bodies are getting weaker and more and more dependent on medicine to stay alive.
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Postby mith » Mon Nov 12, 2007 12:48 am

Well, if you believe in game theory, society can only sustain a certain amount of (insert group here) before it starts coming apart or selecting against them.
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Postby alextemplet » Mon Nov 12, 2007 2:56 am

I've heard a little bit about game theory but not much. Could you please elaborate?
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Postby AstusAleator » Mon Nov 12, 2007 5:10 am

alextemplet wrote:I wonder if anyone has any thoughts on the other part of my question. Does anyone else think that humanity as a whole is gradually getting dumber? Not only is the absence of natural selection allowing poor-intelligence genes to spread freely throughout the population, but our technology has also made life so convenient that many of us don't exercise our brains nearly as much as we used to. Just look at how many children grow up in front of a tv screen these days.


No. Stupid people are just becoming much more evident as populations increase, and we have more access to information via media sources. I sincerely doubt that our "intelligence" is strongly linked to genes. I tend more toward nurture than nature in that regard, with the obvious exception of geniuses and/or savants.

I would be much more concerned about physiological problems.

Oh, and if you ever have the chance to see Idiocracy, DON'T! It's a horribly ridiculously stupid hack of a movie. The concept has the potential to be good, but it's horribly made and the jokes are just... stupid. Basically this average guy gets frozen and thawed in the future where everyone has an IQ of like 60 and he's suddenly the smartest man on earth. Again, good concept, BAD MOVIE.
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Postby alextemplet » Mon Nov 12, 2007 5:24 am

You may have a point, Astus; intelligence may well have more to do with how one is nurtured and how much the brain is challenged to develop in childhood. I still believe humanity is getting dumber, but if it is caused by nurture instead of nature, that makes the problem (theoretically) much easier to correct, and gives us at least some hope for our future.
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Postby mith » Mon Nov 12, 2007 5:30 am

Assume in society you have people who cheat and people who are honest. If everyone was honest we all benefit(theoretical of communism) without harming anyone.

However, a cheater can benefit greatly at the expense of someone else, and each cheater produces a net loss for the society(loss to victim and also loss of resources spent towards catching the crook).

At lower levels of criminal activity, society can sustain them, however at a certain level your society would not produce any net benefits.
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Postby alextemplet » Mon Nov 12, 2007 2:36 pm

A very good reason to fight crime, I would say.
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Postby mith » Mon Nov 12, 2007 4:09 pm

But the point is you can extend it to others such as fathers who don't take care of their children etc
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Postby alextemplet » Tue Nov 13, 2007 4:58 pm

That's not a bad idea, come to think of it. How do you propose that could be implemented?
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Postby mith » Tue Nov 13, 2007 5:43 pm

It's not really an implementation. Its a model of how society works(or not).
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Postby alextemplet » Tue Nov 13, 2007 6:10 pm

I see. Too bad we can't enforce that to a higher standard.
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Postby AstusAleator » Sat Nov 17, 2007 4:16 am

Game theory is fascinating. I wish I was better with mathematics :(.
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