|Bracing against the wind|
Saturday, January 19, 2008
Recently, in speaking with a heart surgeon, his answer was that most of the people we keep alive are elderly, past breeding age. My response was to point out the grandmother effect is well-documented. Couple this with the fact that minor selection influences, in absence of competing influences, can rapidly cause long term genetic changes.
Indeed, I would propose that all tool usage results in evolutionary physical weakening in the area supported by the tool - and in favor of the tool itself.
The moment we picked up a stick and used it as a lever, our arms weakened. We wore animal fur, and our own fur devolved. We rode horses which weakened our legs and our stamina. We wear contact lenses, which is generically weakening our species eyesight.
What has always surprised me is that so few people talk about it and so few articles are written about it. Recently, I have discovered that this is because the subject is "taboo" and is swiftly connected to eugenics. When I discuss it with people they often angrily reply, "What should we do, just let sick people die". Anyone reading this might be prepared to label me a eugenicist, but please read on.
All of this "weakness" is actually our strength in disguise. I am this weakness, and I'm proud of it. I take a pride in mankind's intelligence and social strengths, not it's ability to run long distances, or lift heavy objects.
By evolutionarily weakening our physical forms, we are continually forced to be more dependent on a stable society. It helps us recognize that we need each other, and we need the "system" to keep working, or else.
Vaccination is a probably the sneakiest example of genetic tampering. Because of vaccination programs, genetic vulnerability to disease, especially in wealthy countries, has probably skyrocketed. Even if you, the reader, on the surface, seem healthy and strong, you are probably fatally dependent on continual multiple vaccination programs. Given the rate of deaths due to polio, rubella and German measles before and after mass-vaccination, anyone living in the US most likely has one or more ancestors with fatal genetic vulnerability to these diseases.
I only wish this sort of knowledge were more thoroughly researched, published and talked about. If we all realized how mortally dependent we were on a globally stable society, we might be less willing to engage in globally destabilizing conflicts.
NOTE: This article was rejected at Kuro5hin apparently because the intelligent-design enthusiast over there don't believe that relaxed selection pressures can cause evolutionary shifts - a well documented process. Shows how how far something good, like Kuro5hin, can fall.
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