Re: Is Eugenics Really A Bad Thing?

From: Spike Jones (
Date: Mon Jul 03 2000 - 15:50:47 MDT

Bryan/Brian exchanged thus:

> > Do you agree that these instincts are built into their
> > brains by DNA?
> Yes, but most aren't as high-level as "big antlers".
> > So why can't there also be instincts to want to have sex
> > with big antlers?
> Encoding "big antlers" is more like encoding symphonies in
> heartbeats than encoding a heart...

I am surprised there is left any doubt that sexual preferences
are hard wired into our brains by some mysterious means.
This is a very important point in the understanding of survival
selection vs sex selection. If understood as two completely
different phenomena, we can explain why there seem to exist
sexual preferences that can actually work *against* optimal
survival, such as the elk and his ilk, with the oversized antlers,
and the peacock's heavy and possibly predator-attracting
tail feathers, and oversized human brains.

Interestingly, Charles Darwin presented these two evolutionary
influences as two distinct forces in his Descent of Man in 1871.
In fact, two thirds of that book is dedicated to sex selection.
For the sake of argument, let me include contingency as a
factor in evolution. Then we might imagine three cases:

1) some environmentally-stressed species in which survival
selection is the dominant driver,

2) species such as alligators or sea turtles where survival
seems driven by contingency (lotsa eggs hatched, a very few
lucky survivors), and

3) other species such as humans, where nearly all individuals
that are born live to reproductive age. In the third case, is not
sex selection practically alone in the evolutionary driver's seat?

In the near future, I will post a notion that ties together my
recent interest in evolution with the posts on the future of
military force as expressed in the reams of national missile
defense and the posts on negative and positive feedback
loops, and the relationship of all this with the singularity.
Really. spike

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