Debate and discussion of any biological questions not pertaining to a particular topic.
alextemplet just beat me to this.
I have no doubt that alex.. (with just shy of 5000 posts to a board like this he ain't exactly hiding his curiosity under a rock) is as familiar with statistic probabilities as anyone on earth need be to warn them away from any rational reward to buying lotto tickets. It isn't rational. It's pleasure. I don't buy lotto. But it's not just because I'm smart (tho that does seem to be the least requirement - which explains the demographics). It's a genetic marker for that pleasure that I lack. Or rather, a part of me that is repressed enough to keep me smugly uninvolved in such 'nonsense'.
My mom is really into lotto tickets. And she's smart. It's ok. She's well off enough for it to be a harmless hobby. It's just enjoyment. Too bad for many of the folks that can't say that. If it's eating up more than ten percent of your income, you probably need intervention (exactly where some smarts might help). And demographically, that's usually the case. That's why it's referred to often as a regressive tax. It's probably also why I have a hard time with my mom's hobby. It's just unbecoming.. I'm a snob. Ok?
My girlfriend and I once got very drunk and bought a bundle of lotto tickets. It was a jest. We both generally despised the ruse. We sat at a 24hr diner and scratched them off. Later we recalled what a guilty thrill the whole thing was. There you go. It's not rational. Can't buy a thrill? Yes you can. If you're sufficiently repressed, you just have to be drunk enough.
Anyway. This thread really has become an editorial space for much beyond the original thought. I have it going elsewhere and there are some interesting thoughts. I'm was hoping that it might generate some useful debate on how to factually deconstruct racism in our casual conversations with friends and family. It hasn't done much for that really (yet), but who knows.
The other address for this thread is at....
http://thescienceforum.com/Race-and-Spe ... 10239t.php
I don't buy scratch-offs; only powerball tickets, and only one per drawing. That way, if I win, I can tell my boss to shove it; however, if I lose, it's a dollar, oh well. It's not so much entertainment as it is a mathematical assessment of the fact that I can easily afford to throw away two dollars a week and it is remotely possible that I might actually win the millions. In my opinion it's a very simple risk/reward calculation.
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I have a friend who wants to prove that he could win in a horse race with the lowest possible bet and he's working really hard doing his calculations to figure out the winning combinations. He does not even want to risk too much pesos whereas others could easily throw them off. I was thinking to buy a lotto ticket these past few days, I had a dream that I almost got the winning numbers. They say that if you dream of the numbers, there's a greater probability to win the millions.
---Just one act of random kindness at a time and you can change the world---
If that's the case I should start dreaming.
#2 Total Post Count
Are the genetic differences between different species of birds greater than the genetic differences between different types of dogs? Since modern birds evolved about 120 million years ago whilst dogs descended from the wolf only about 15000 years ago there is probably less genetic difference in dogs which makes interbreeding possible. Man has only been around about 200000 years and so again there is not much genetic difference between different types of Homo Sapiens.
Has anyone artificially tried to produce a hybrid between a bluebird and a Robin to see if it is possible?
We have no natural hybrid between the two bird types - but does that mean that they have never attempted to mate - what is the proof that they have not tried and failed? It is much harder to observe a negative result.
As for the dog - it is so lusty that it will attempt to breed with almost anything - even my leg. No humanleg-dog hybrid has yet been produced but that does not prove that the dog didn't try.
I'd kind of given up on these questions as I realized that there was a pretty vast threshold of knowledge I had to gain before I could make any more sense of them than is apparent to the eye. Not that much time to go back to grad school.
I don't know why birds offer up such a range of species. To understand that would go a long way toward examining the possibility of anything hardwired in humans that might set them on similar paths toward specialization.
Is a human as genetically similar to a chimpanzee as is a robin to a bluebird? Does a robin regard a bluebird similarly, as far as any disinclination to mate? Dogs are, after all, such a recent descendant of wolves that the differences in breed have not had time to establish deep genetic distinctions. Would they eventually? Left alone on separate islands for a million years, is it likely that poodles would no longer be able to produce offspring with setters? Left together, they seem to show not too much disinclination to mate. So why did the bird species ever bother to specialize within close physical proximity of one another? What drives such behavior?
Is there any 'survival instinct' that compels human beings toward racist behavior? Asking this question in most company, even highly educated company, is usually met with deep suspicion. But don't we desperately need to answer some of this stuff to make better informed headway in combating the worst forms of it?
Worst forms of it? Isn't it all bad? Well, the most ardent liberal will concede the sanctity of one's wishes to perserve his culture and ethnic distinction. As a fairly ardent liberal, and part of an ethnic minority in the U.S., I think I understand the sentiment. But I also understand the implicit racism. It isn't enough to simply say that it is only 'racism' when intolerance is involved. World populations are too much in constant motion to be so simplistic. There will always be seemingly defensible resorts to violence when cultural trespasses must be defended against.
Ideally, of course, it's supposed to be "culture" and "lifestyle" (and Dr. Dobson's family values, whatever the hell this really means) that must be defended at cost. Not ethnicity per se. But we all know that isn't what goes on in the real world. So why can't the biologists talk about it?
Geb asks "So why did the bird species ever bother to specialize within close physical proximity of one another? What drives such behavior?"
I think a partial explanation, which might also explain racism, would be the following:
We over-rely on vision to help us to decide whether another living creature is genetically different from us. Birds have better vision than humans and are probably even more discriminating with that sense. We are programed to “look” for differences which might indicate genetic differences which would interfere with reproduction.
Without a well developed forebrain these visual differences would further help to prevent breeding between dissimilarities which in itself might help to accelerate species differences . The visual clues to identify genetic differences is pretty good as far as evolution goes but is not foolproof. The different human races can still inter-breed and we are therefore being misled if we only rely on visual clues.
The difference between birds and humans is that birds are unable to reason and question these visual clues. They have to accept them at face value and act accordingly and might explain why even in close proximity they do not breed with dissimilarities.
You could infer from this that birds are more racist than humans.
If what I have said above is correct, then the detection of differences or "racism" could be seen as a beneficial driving force in evolutionary terms for producing variation and increasing the chances of survival in different niches.
However, I must quickly add that with the human species we have the added factor of intelligence. Whilst "racism" might be beneficial to the unintelligent world, intelligent humans would only use it as a weapon to destroy rather than to diversify. There are no other niches left for human diversity.
What defines species is the fact that one species cannot reproduce with another species. A Bluejay cannot breed with an Eagle. They are genetically incompatible. Race is not the same as species. Race is just variation within a species, yet they can still breed offspring.
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