Old 03-05-2006, 01:51 AM   #31
Rocketman
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actually what I am referring to is " Cultural Materialism" a theory made popular by Marvbin Harris out of Yale in the seventies.

It states that culture is simply an adaptive mechanism in place to allow groups of humans to deal with their environment successfully.

What this theory states is that all human cultures are based on the local economy--this means the raw resources, the behaviour the arises to maximize the potential of what each culture has to work with.

In a basic manner human beings through language share knowledge.

through sharing knowledge they adapt to their envioroment--sometimes grossly--like-oh--learning to cultivate corn--or sometimes minimally like taking ppart in an inside joke that strengthens a societal bond.

The point is that the huge differences in culture around the world can be seen to be intimately tied to their environment.

Is it reasonable to suggest that it would be more efficient to develop wings when someone has the ability to produce airplanes.

or submarines

or rifles

or vaccines.

Each of these things are products of our culture.

Each of them is an adaptaion to an environmental need that does not need to be biologically evolved into to have it.

Is this too hard to understand?

Our culture allows us to adapt to our environment actively. It allows us to communicate solutions to environmental issues to each other.

Now--if it comes to a biological solution or a cultural solution what is going to appear first?

And if the cultural one appears first...then wouldn't it be a complete waste of time to biologically evolve to deal with something that your culture is already dealing with?

It won't happen.

It won't happen because if your culture is vaccinatig you against typhus--you will not have the requisite typhus immunity appearing in viable offspring. You have it in everyone who had the vaccine.

No descent with modification--no biological evolution.

Now if the factory that produices the product produces coal dust that causes lung disease--then the biology will have an impact--until someone with a cure or treatment allowing reproduction with the disease comes along.

It is the same thing--compensate for an environmental factor to promote survival and reproduction.
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Old 03-05-2006, 03:09 PM   #32
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Rocketman wrote
It won't happen because if your culture is vaccinatig you against typhus--you will not have the requisite typhus immunity appearing in viable offspring. You have it in everyone who had the vaccine.

No descent with modification--no biological evolution.

Now if the factory that produices the product produces coal dust that causes lung disease--then the biology will have an impact--until someone with a cure or treatment allowing reproduction with the disease comes along.

It is the same thing--compensate for an environmental factor to promote survival and reproduction.
You can't go quite so far as to say that there will be no descent with modification. If you look at the Hardy Weinberg equations, and the conditions for a complete lack of evolution, it is quite impossible that human culture has elimitated them or even will do so in the future.

Nothing yet exists that will stop mutations.
You can argue that maybe the ability for certain genes to be selected for will be diminished, but you're still a long way from showing it has dissapeared.
The population will never be infinitely large.
All members of the population do not breed.
Mating is never random.
People produce different numbers of offspring.
People migrate in and out of populations.

Wiki's down right now, but look it up later.
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Old 03-05-2006, 07:08 PM   #33
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Seriously--should I look it up on wiki oh great an wise oz?

Or do you think that my own research toward my degree over a number of years might suffice to help me make up my own mind?

But you keep instructing me on how I'm missing the fucking point.
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Old 03-05-2006, 09:17 PM   #34
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Rocketman wrote
Seriously--should I look it up on wiki oh great an wise oz?

Or do you think that my own research toward my degree over a number of years might suffice to help me make up my own mind?

But you keep instructing me on how I'm missing the fucking point.
It doesn't matter that you can make up your own mind, but that you can communicate it to people who are skeptical and more than willing to call you out on your shortcomings.

Your last post explained a lot, but, frankly, it was long overdue. I'd like a better explanation of what you mean by "No descent with modification--no biological evolution."- specifically, what you mean by "biological evolution" and how you address my last post.
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Old 03-05-2006, 10:21 PM   #35
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You know man --I am so terribly sorry that I haven't reviewed each of my posts to make it more palatable for you--this of course should make up the better part of my day.

But perhaps next time--before you stick yourself in the middle of a discussion between two people-oh great peacemaker--you should think again.

Instead of allowing the individual who first posted the thought --that would be me---a chance to clarify with the individual who asked the question--that would be proveit--you managed to make a small, easily clarified misunderstanding, part of your bullshit drama.

Thank you for stepping in with all of the mild diapproval of a tetchy kindergarden teacher with a meterstick enema.

To be frank I wasn't addressing any of your posts. I'll do so now.

Nothing yet exists that will stop mutations.

Mutations that do not effect survival or are passed down with no positive or negative effect on the offspring will not have any bearing on decent. Developing a mutation that provides a natural immunity to yphus doesn't fucking matter if youve already been successfully inoculated.

You can argue that maybe the ability for certain genes to be selected for will be diminished, but you're still a long way from showing it has dissapeared.

In the case where culture is actively resolving an envrinmental pressure successfully--you would be wrong even in the basic conception--there is no ability to be selcted--there would be no selection for or against the slection of the gene. at least in the instance we are speaking of. If the biologicial is reprewsented at all it would be to select for the traist that best imbedded the individual in the culture that provided the better solution.

Rather than typhus immunity--attractiveness to medical researchers might be the gene set selected for.

The population will never be infinitely large.

This has sweet fuck all to do with what I'm saying. Actually nothing material will ever be infinitely large. The entire set of genes passed from one thing to another will never be infinitely large--how the fuck does that have anythiong to do with what we are speaking of?

All members of the population do not breed.

So what? The point i'm making is that through culture even breeding is not a pre-requisite to participate as it most certainly is for biological evolution. Salk had how many kids? The polio vaccine allowed how many to live long enough to reproduce?


Mating is never random.

Mating is always random.


People produce different numbers of offspring.

Agreed --some produce none.

People migrate in and out of populations.

And culture is not static--it changes like lightning when presented with a challenge or a situation that applies pressure on it.

The concept is very simple--biological evolution is modification of species by decent. It requires a long period of time and the only arbiter of change is the production of offspring.

I didn't say that no biological evolution would occur--what i said was that in a given situation where culture has taken over dealing with a specific problem then it will do so faster and more efficeintly than biology thereby in that instance preventing biological evolution along that pathway.

Decent with modification--you know-evolution. The simplest definition of evolution there is--those with the stuff survive long enough to reproduce --those without don't. No survival--no change over time. No change over time--no evolution of species.

Cultural alterations can and do take place in a single generation--involve changes through any number of various mechanisms to promote the survival of the individual in the group. This is purposeful--biological evolution is accidental.

Your bg mistake was assuming that was speaking about all biological evolution instead of specific instances of convcergence in both systems.

Example: A solution to a viral pathogen in biological evolution involves a bunch of the population getting it, the ones who die from it prior to reproduction are no longer part of the equation--the ones that survive pass on the resistance --

Culture discovers a vaccine--far fewer folk die--thuis preventing the mechanism of biological evolution in THIS CASE.

What I was speaking to originally was the dumbass concept that by preserving the "weak" that we have somehow short circuited evolution--when in fact we have simply found a better method of preserving a multitude of genes, allowing more individuals to reproduce, producing more people, thus increasing culture, thus adding to the resource that allows us to compensate with our environment.

This is the fallacy of social darminism and eugenics. The designer presupposes that he or she will understand the factors that define "selected for" traits--this is a huge mistake. Perhaps the guy with cystic firbrosis has a cure for concer--perhaps all that is required to compensate for a real threat is a perspective from someone not considered fit enough by the sterilization committee. It assumes prescience--and it assumes it falsely.

The truth about culture is that is gets stronger--more able to come up with solutions to problems when it contains a greater variety of input. The greater the number the more stability in the preservation of theories and knowledge that works.

Much like a genetic assay--a single very narrow geneotype is by its nature suceptible to change to a far greater degree thatn a broader more variated one. Specialist vs. Generalist.

Example--the cheetah versus the wolf.

one due to bottlenecking is one catastrophe away fromextinction and the other keeps demonstrating different phenotypes every hundred years.

Okay? clear enough? Made up for my "shortcomings" yet?

Thanks.
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Old 03-05-2006, 11:22 PM   #36
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Before we get carried away with ad hominem, I would like to point out that I was originally attempting to support your first posts before you made a claim which stuck in my side. More than anything I was pissed off at some of the nonscientific jargon being thrown around, which is perhaps my biggest pet peeve. My intent is not to be dramatic, but to learn and understand as much as possible about the subject matter. My field is not biology (actually, I never get to talk much about my field; no one wants to hear anything about electrical power or circuit design on an atheist forum).

I apologize if I insulted your intelligence and thanks for the explanation. I misunderstood your claim on biological evolution, not anything relating to cultural evolution. I was trying to convey something like your arguments to ProveIt.

Quote:
Mutations that do not effect survival or are passed down with no positive or negative effect on the offspring will not have any bearing on decent. Developing a mutation that provides a natural immunity to typhus doesn't fucking matter if youve already been successfully inoculated...how the fuck does that have anythiong to do with what we are speaking of?
My point with these conditions was to show that there would be (possibly significant) biological changes in any real situation. True, it is much less important (and may even support the theory) within the explanation you have given, but there is still genetic drift. [/splitting hairs] This was my only issue.

Well, of course conversing with me should make up the better part of your day :D
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Old 03-06-2006, 06:33 AM   #37
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okay, and if I have been overboard then I apologise as well.

Nothing like a calm voice of reason to diffuse a situation.
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Old 03-06-2006, 07:40 AM   #38
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Mind if I jump in? I'm not taking sides, but wanted to clarify one statement:

Mutations that do not effect survival or are passed down with no positive or negative effect on the offspring will not have any bearing on decent.

Neutral alleles can and do become positive or negative in subsequent descendants. I love the polar bear example. A bear's genetic code for hair follicles mutated, leaving two follicular rings, which had the seemingly neutral effect of creating hollow hair.

Sure came in handy for those bears that headed up north, giving them an extra layer of insulation and a definite selection advantage in cold climes over those bears without hollow fur. Now we call those freaky white bears, Polar Bears.

"Science and Mother Nature are in a marriage where Science is always surprised to come home and find Mother Nature blowing the neighbor." - Justin's Dad
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Old 03-06-2006, 11:38 AM   #39
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Certainly. Mutation does occur and in future generations given the right selctive pressures this would absolutely result in the alteration of the species to have those traits be prominent when the right environemntal pressures brought them to the fore.

But if polar bears had a culture that produced parkas en mass then chances are those proto bears would not have experienced the pressures required to select for the hollow hair and black skin.


A better example might be menlanin content in human skin and sun exposure.

Black folks historically had problems with vitamin D production due to the higher amounts of melanin in thier sjkin in northern climes where reduced sunlight was a factor. Producing a malnutritive effect --the ricketts.

Vitamin fortification of milk with vitamin d prevents the rickets. Therfore there is no longer a slective pressure to lose the excess melanin.

Therefore over generations--so long as the milk is available--there will predicably be no lightening of the skin over subsequent generations.

This is admittedly old information but I beleive the science regarding this is still sound.
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Old 03-06-2006, 12:43 PM   #40
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I agree with what Capn awesome said a while back. We are still evolving.

With the advent of complex memes and culture we are also evolving via Lamarckian evolution. As in the acquired knowledge of one generation is passed onto the next etc. etc.
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Old 03-06-2006, 01:15 PM   #41
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all those years of evolution and we end up with Dubya? Something doesn't add up........

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Old 03-06-2006, 02:57 PM   #42
whoneedscience
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Down21 wrote
With the advent of complex memes and culture we are also evolving via Lamarckian evolution. As in the acquired knowledge of one generation is passed onto the next etc. etc.
Actually, the information we recieve is not perfectly copied and handed down. There are always misunderstandings (just look at how many different ways people define "God"), and some of those misunderstandings can evolve into separate ideas, which spread around based on how well they compete for our thinking time. It's still Darwinian evolution.
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Old 03-06-2006, 02:58 PM   #43
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all those years of evolution and we end up with Dubya? Something doesn't add up........
:lol: there's nothing in Natural Selection that says that just because humans evolved from monkeys, monkeys have to go extinct.
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Old 03-06-2006, 04:24 PM   #44
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whoneedscience wrote
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Down21 wrote
With the advent of complex memes and culture we are also evolving via Lamarckian evolution. As in the acquired knowledge of one generation is passed onto the next etc. etc.
Actually, the information we recieve is not perfectly copied and handed down. There are always misunderstandings (just look at how many different ways people define "God"), and some of those misunderstandings can evolve into separate ideas, which spread around based on how well they compete for our thinking time. It's still Darwinian evolution.
Not really, since there is no genetic basis for say, the ability to design drugs/airplanes. This knowledge is passed from generation to generation without a genetic basis. Granted, the passing on may also be open to darwinian evolution in the sense of improving these ideas (which will then be passed on). Certain genes will no doubt effect the intelligence or idea making ability of a brain, but the individual ideas cannot be inherited in darwinian terms.
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Old 03-06-2006, 07:47 PM   #45
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Down21 wrote
Not really, since there is no genetic basis for say, the ability to design drugs/airplanes. This knowledge is passed from generation to generation without a genetic basis. Granted, the passing on may also be open to darwinian evolution in the sense of improving these ideas (which will then be passed on). Certain genes will no doubt effect the intelligence or idea making ability of a brain, but the individual ideas cannot be inherited in darwinian terms.
I think I see what you were getting at with the comparison to Lamarkian evolution (if the transfer were perfect and experiences were passed verbatim from generation to generation), but the prerequisites of biological evolution by Natural Selection are the same for memes as they are for genes. Mutation, selection and reproduction all occur, just that they don't form distinguishable generations in the former. Either way, I don't see how the lack of a genetic basis for specific abilities affects anything.
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