Re: [OVC-discuss] 50/50 elections

From: Edward Cherlin <echerlin_at_gmail_dot_com>
Date: Fri Nov 28 2008 - 15:35:55 CST

On Fri, Nov 28, 2008 at 12:54 PM, Ronald Crane <voting@lastland.net> wrote:
> Douglas A. Whitfield wrote:
>
> On Fri, Nov 28, 2008 at 2:07 PM, Ronald Crane <voting@lastland.net> 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.

Most, yes, try, yes, frequently fail. Sickle-cell anemia is still a
regional survival trait in areas with high rates of malaria, in spite
of the 100% death rate among the 25% of embryos with two copies of the
gene.

> 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.
>
> -R

We have strayed far off-topic. Does anybody want to discuss the
original question, about genetic predispositions in voting, for which
I provided citations?

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Received on Sun Nov 30 23:17:21 2008

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