Re: 50/50 elections

From: Ronald Crane <voting_at_lastland_dot_net>
Date: Fri Nov 28 2008 - 14:54:43 CST
Douglas A. Whitfield wrote:
On Fri, Nov 28, 2008 at 2:07 PM, Ronald Crane <> wrote:
Certainly a catastrophe could reduce a population to a single breeding pair from the pre-catastrophe population, and their offspring. And that reduction could represent evolution if the surviving pair possessed some heritable trait tending to enhance survival in the face of the catastrophe (e.g., resistance to a new virus that wiped out everyone else). But a large meteor strike, though it might wipe out all but one breeding pair, would not tend to produce single-generation evolution, since the pair's survival is presumably due to random variation in the catastrophe's impact, and not to some biological characteristic of the pair.

It need not be a single breeding pair.  For instance, perhaps people that could see in the dark would survive.   Perhaps people with a trait that helps them survive cold temperatures.  Or, perhaps rather than being a trait that is rare that helps them survive, perhaps some rare trait gets knocked out of the gene pool due to their inability to survive the new climate.
Good points. I was thinking of the meteor strike too narrowly. But in every case, evolution results only if some survivors of the initial impact have a heritable trait that confers a survival advantage (or disadvantage) with respect to other survivors. The impact itself doesn't produce evolution, only decimation.

But, all of that's missing the practical point.  (Not saying you are missing the practical point, Ronald, just trying to keep us on topic) Society does not play by the rules of survival of the fittest.  Even if certain traits are desirable in modern society, such as ability to type faster, such traits are not going to matter when it comes to evolution unless people are passing off and not passing other genes.
I'm not sure what the last sentence means. But certainly most societies try to ensure that all children survive. That presumably greatly reduces the rate of human Darwinian evolution, which -- to get back to the initial issue -- even historically has been far too slow to produce the effect that Mr. Brown posited.


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Received on Sun Nov 30 23:17:21 2008

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