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Thread: The Evolution Thread

  1. #21
    sea witch thalassa's Avatar
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    Re: The Evolution Thread

    [quote author=PharaohKatt link=topic=635.msg13530#msg13530 date=1289867023]
    One of the primary methods of evolution is Natural Selection. Given that humans, as a species, have started caring for people who would have otherwise died, given that people with genetic variations that would have been unfavourable in the wild are living and having children, have we changed the process of evolution?

    We're not exactly naturally selecting anymore. Are we still going to evolve, and if so will the rate of evolution be different than in the long ago?
    [/quote]

    Well...there's a couple things to think about here. 1) Natural selection *is* important, don't get me wrong...but its not the only force that directs evolution. For example...sexual selection often leads to traits that aren't beneficial to an organisms survival. Now, unlike animal species that have really obvious sexual selection traits (a peacock for example), we have a variance of cultural and individual things we find attractive...so...if you apply that to people...well, who the heck knows what might happen in another dozen generations (seriously, look up the movie Idiocracy...its very sad) 2) Also...humans haven't had natural selection really be an obvious force for a while. We've been pretty savvy at manipulating our environment to our advantage for quite some time. But that doesn't mean that selection doesn't happen, just that its probably going to be more subtle as different things make you more or less successful and more or less likely to have grandchildren
    Because really, at the end of the day, the ultimate success of evolution isn't that you pass your genes on to the next generation, but that they pass their genes on to the next generation.
    “You have never answered but you did not need to. If I stand at the ocean I can hear you with your thousand voices. Sometimes you shout, hilarious laughter that taunts all questions. Other nights you are silent as death, a mirror in which the stars show themselves. Then I think you want to tell me something, but you never do. Of course I know I have written letters to no-one. But what if I find a trident tomorrow?" ~~Letters to Poseidon, Cees Nooteboom

    “We still carry this primal relationship to the Earth within our consciousness, even if we have long forgotten it. It is a primal recognition of the wonder, beauty, and divine nature of the Earth. It is a felt reverence for all that exists. Once we bring this foundational quality into our consciousness, we will be able to respond to our present man-made crisis from a place of balance, in which our actions will be grounded in an attitude of respect for all of life. This is the nature of real sustainability.”
    ~~Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee

    "We are the offspring of history, and must establish our own paths in this most diverse and interesting of conceivable universes--one indifferent to our suffering, and therefore offering us maximal freedom to thrive, or to fail, in our own chosen way."
    ~~Stephen Jay Gould, Wonderful Life: The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History

    "Humans are not rational creatures. Now, logic and rationality are very helpful tools, but there’s also a place for embracing our subjectivity and thinking symbolically. Sometimes what our so-called higher thinking can’t or won’t see, our older, more primitive intuition will." John Beckett

    Pagan Devotionals, because the wind and the rain is our Bible

  2. #22
    Sr. Member PharaohKatt's Avatar
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    Re: The Evolution Thread

    [quote author=thalassa link=topic=635.msg13568#msg13568 date=1289873772]
    Well...there's a couple things to think about here. 1) Natural selection *is* important, don't get me wrong...but its not the only force that directs evolution. For example...sexual selection often leads to traits that aren't beneficial to an organisms survival. Now, unlike animal species that have really obvious sexual selection traits (a peacock for example), we have a variance of cultural and individual things we find attractive...so...if you apply that to people...well, who the heck knows what might happen in another dozen generations (seriously, look up the movie Idiocracy...its very sad) 2) Also...humans haven't had natural selection really be an obvious force for a while. We've been pretty savvy at manipulating our environment to our advantage for quite some time. But that doesn't mean that selection doesn't happen, just that its probably going to be more subtle as different things make you more or less successful and more or less likely to have grandchildren
    Because really, at the end of the day, the ultimate success of evolution isn't that you pass your genes on to the next generation, but that they pass their genes on to the next generation.
    [/quote]

    Thanks for that. *is learnding*

  3. #23
    Magnificent Bastard ThorsSon's Avatar
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    Re: The Evolution Thread

    One thing that an anthropologist friend of mine is fond of saying:

    "People get mistakenly hung up on 'survival of the fittest,' while it is more accurately 'survival of the sexually fittest.'"

    In order pass traits on to later generations, and thus contribute to evolution, an organism must do two things:

    a) Be able to reproduce.
    b) Survive long enough to reproduce.

    Being able to reproduce does mean more than being physical able to reproduce, theoretically. Barring asexual reproduction, the organism must be able to acquire a mate. Be this by attraction, by accident or luck, or by force.

    Some traits aid in reproduction (such as peacock feathers aiding in attraction), and as a result these traits will carry over.

    In other words... it is possible that someone could have some adaptation that makes them excellently suited for survival but, be extremely unattractive and socially awkward, and thus unable to get a date... and as a result, unable to pass that adaptation on to further generations.
    "Don't ever miss a good opportunity to shut up." - Harvey Davis "Gramps"

  4. #24
    One with the Force ChainLightning's Avatar
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    Re: The Evolution Thread

    [quote author=ThorsSon link=topic=635.msg13659#msg13659 date=1289906879]
    One thing that an anthropologist friend of mine is fond of saying:

    "People get mistakenly hung up on 'survival of the fittest,' while it is more accurately 'survival of the sexually fittest.'"

    In order pass traits on to later generations, and thus contribute to evolution, an organism must do two things:

    a) Be able to reproduce.
    b) Survive long enough to reproduce.

    Being able to reproduce does mean more than being physical able to reproduce, theoretically. Barring asexual reproduction, the organism must be able to acquire a mate. Be this by attraction, by accident or luck, or by force.

    Some traits aid in reproduction (such as peacock feathers aiding in attraction), and as a result these traits will carry over.

    In other words... it is possible that someone could have some adaptation that makes them excellently suited for survival but, be extremely unattractive and socially awkward, and thus unable to get a date... and as a result, unable to pass that adaptation on to further generations.
    [/quote]

    Like me. No matter how attractive my genes may be, to society, whether in terms of survival, strength, intelligence or even stunning good looks, they've reached a dead end.

    No siblings and no offspring of my own... the world won't see my genes continue.

    Though... naturally, that *could* be a 'good thing'.


    [EDITED: A quote? With no reply?? Damn phone access!]





    "Reason is not automatic. Those who deny it cannot be conquered by it." - Ayn Rand

    "Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth." - Marcus Aurelius

    "The very ink with which history is written is merely fluid prejudice." - Mark Twain

    "The only gossip I'm interested in is things from the Weekly World News - 'Woman's bra bursts, 11 injured'. That kind of thing." - Johnny Depp



  5. #25
    Magnificent Bastard ThorsSon's Avatar
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    Re: The Evolution Thread

    Ummm... thanks for the quotation, Chain... I've heard it said that quotation is the sincerest form of flattery... but did you mean to say anything?

    [edit now that Chain's post is showing]
    Hey, Chain, your post is showing... you might want to do something about that.
    [/edit]
    "Don't ever miss a good opportunity to shut up." - Harvey Davis "Gramps"

  6. #26
    One with the Force ChainLightning's Avatar
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    Re: The Evolution Thread

    Uh, yes. Let it be known, I do not plagairize.

    I do, however, have a bit of trouble with quoting, while using my cell to access the forum. Consistent, it isn't. I am actually surprised that it quoted, at all. Not letting me reply? That's the rarity. Fortunately... I can 'modify'. ;-)

    /off topic




    "Reason is not automatic. Those who deny it cannot be conquered by it." - Ayn Rand

    "Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth." - Marcus Aurelius

    "The very ink with which history is written is merely fluid prejudice." - Mark Twain

    "The only gossip I'm interested in is things from the Weekly World News - 'Woman's bra bursts, 11 injured'. That kind of thing." - Johnny Depp



  7. #27
    Magnificent Bastard ThorsSon's Avatar
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    Re: The Evolution Thread

    [quote author=ChainLightning link=topic=635.msg13674#msg13674 date=1289909856]
    Like me. No matter how attractive my genes may be, to society, whether in terms of survival, strength, intelligence or even stunning good looks, they've reached a dead end.

    No siblings and no offspring of my own... the world won't see my genes continue.

    Though... naturally, that *could* be a 'good thing'.


    [EDITED: A quote? With no reply?? Damn phone access!]
    [/quote]

    Chain, your reply reminded me of another situation that I overlooked, which is that of the mule.

    The mule is a hybrid of a horse and a donkey.

    The mule has the strength of the donkey and the loyalty of the horse. It is a very fine physical specimen... and sterile. Can't reproduce. Won't evolve.
    "Don't ever miss a good opportunity to shut up." - Harvey Davis "Gramps"

  8. #28
    Fundamentalist Dumuzi's Avatar
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    Re: The Evolution Thread

    [quote author=PharaohKatt link=topic=635.msg13530#msg13530 date=1289867023]
    I'm not very knowledgeable about this subject, so I'll try not to sound like a total ignoramus asking this, but:

    One of the primary methods of evolution is Natural Selection. Given that humans, as a species, have started caring for people who would have otherwise died, given that people with genetic variations that would have been unfavourable in the wild are living and having children, have we changed the process of evolution?

    We're not exactly naturally selecting anymore. Are we still going to evolve, and if so will the rate of evolution be different than in the long ago?
    [/quote]

    I also want to add that surviving of the fittest is not the same as surviving of the strongest or the biggest or the best and so on.

    For example, if an animal X mutates and becomes smaller and weaker, it can still beat the other big and strong animal X in surviving, if the size of the animal X helps it hide from the predator.
    Do they not, then, ponder about the Qur‘an? Had it been from someone other than Allah, they would have found in it much discrepancy. [4:82]

  9. #29
    Member gwynwas's Avatar
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    Re: The Evolution Thread

    Curious. No one seems to be hooked here.

    This is a religious forum but there is no one arguing against evolution. How strange. Literalist religious types tend to have a problem with it. The seven days to create the universe and all that (liberal reinterpretions notwithstanding).

    I'm not a pagan exactly, but I suppose this says something about paganism, or at least contemporary paganism. The Gaia principle of a couple decades ago seems like it probably should sit well with a paganist world view. However, there is very little scientific evidence to back up this kind of theory about meta-evolution.

    On the other hand, in anthropology we find that some practioners/believers in Native American beliefs/religion, reject scientific theories of both biological evolution and the trans-Siberian migration model (in which it is believed that Native Americans are descended from people who crossed over from Siberia).

    So, I'm just wondering, are there literalist pagans out there who believe that Odin and the gods created man and woman from Ash trees (for instance). Or do all contemporary Pagans suffer from liberal revisionism?

    (Yes, I'm being intentionally provocative in the hopes of sparking conversation. I am also open to the idea that the creation myth is not as important to most Pagans as it is to fundamentalist Christians/Muslims, but this begs the question as to whether there are any fundamentalist Pagans)

  10. #30
    sea witch thalassa's Avatar
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    Re: The Evolution Thread

    [quote author=gwynwas link=topic=635.msg18319#msg18319 date=1291054085]
    So, I'm just wondering, are there literalist pagans out there who believe that Odin and the gods created man and woman from Ash trees (for instance). Or do all contemporary Pagans suffer from liberal revisionism?
    [/quote]


    There are pagans that do not *believe* in evolution*, we have, in the past, occasionally had some of them drop by...though, tbh, when I started this thread (and then had to take care of something else) my intent was less to be a debate over the subject from a religious vs science stance, than a scientific discussion of the subject...and I just haven't had time to add to that yet, leaving it pretty much wide open in terms of wherever people want to take it.

    Because...in my experience, when this topic comes up as a debate, it tends to be more about "evolution is wrong because *enter shoddy understanding of science here*" and not "well, according to my religious tradition, I just happen to believe X, Y &Z and think your science is a bunch of bunk" (me thinks those people just ignore the debate entirely because it doesn't matter to them what science says).

    Also...I think part of the reason may be that so many people in Pagan communities leave forms of Christiaity in which the Biblical mythos is so literal and entrenched, despite the overwhelming evidence against a literal interpretation of it that once they expand beyond Christianity, perhaps it makes it difficult to accept that sort of rigidly held idea to hold a new mythos to the same kind of rigor.

    I sort of wonder...considering that we have at least one full time scientist on the board, as well as myself who happens to be a 5th year senior biology major, D who is going to be a doctor, as well as a number of atheists and other individuals that just happen to geek out on science, that we might be a bit more rigorous in our expectations for certain discussions that most people that might otherwise dissent, just sort of bow out ahead of time.




    *Case in point, the idea of "believing" in evolution...I'm not sure if it is in this thread, or another one, but we're already covered the idea of "belief" in evolution being irrelevent.

    “You have never answered but you did not need to. If I stand at the ocean I can hear you with your thousand voices. Sometimes you shout, hilarious laughter that taunts all questions. Other nights you are silent as death, a mirror in which the stars show themselves. Then I think you want to tell me something, but you never do. Of course I know I have written letters to no-one. But what if I find a trident tomorrow?" ~~Letters to Poseidon, Cees Nooteboom

    “We still carry this primal relationship to the Earth within our consciousness, even if we have long forgotten it. It is a primal recognition of the wonder, beauty, and divine nature of the Earth. It is a felt reverence for all that exists. Once we bring this foundational quality into our consciousness, we will be able to respond to our present man-made crisis from a place of balance, in which our actions will be grounded in an attitude of respect for all of life. This is the nature of real sustainability.”
    ~~Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee

    "We are the offspring of history, and must establish our own paths in this most diverse and interesting of conceivable universes--one indifferent to our suffering, and therefore offering us maximal freedom to thrive, or to fail, in our own chosen way."
    ~~Stephen Jay Gould, Wonderful Life: The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History

    "Humans are not rational creatures. Now, logic and rationality are very helpful tools, but there’s also a place for embracing our subjectivity and thinking symbolically. Sometimes what our so-called higher thinking can’t or won’t see, our older, more primitive intuition will." John Beckett

    Pagan Devotionals, because the wind and the rain is our Bible

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