Re: the gene pool and society...

From: ct (
Date: Wed Feb 02 2000 - 10:56:16 MST

> Emlyn wrote:
> ...In the context of modern society, the idea of
> improving the human gene pool by evolutionary methods, as a worthy goal,
>is just silly. Genes just aren't that important any more...
> I totally agree on these points. ...
> ...Nature has it's own ways of maintaining the gene pool with
> the various ways humans have of attracting mates through beauty, health
>and intelligence among others...
> John Grigg

You might find the review of "The Origins of Virtue" by Matt Ridley, to be
of some value. He also wrote "The Red Queen, Sex and the Evolution of Human
Nature." The review is at:
Rather lengthy at thirty-six pages, nonetheless, it probably has something
to both appease and rile every viewpoint. For example:

"Geoffrey Miller returns to the sexual motif: "I suggest that the neocortex
is not primarily or exclusively a device for tool-making, bipedal walking,
fire-using, warfare, hunting, gathering or avoiding savannah predators. None
of these postulated functions alone can explain its explosive development in
our lineage and not in any other closely-related species ... The neocortex
is largely a courtship device to attract and retain sexual mates: its
specific evolutionary function is to stimulate and entertain other people,
and to assess the stimulation attempts of others. ... Just as the peahen is
satisfied with nothing less than a visually-brilliant display of peacock
plumage, I postulate that homonid males and females became satisfied with
nothing less than psychologically brilliant, fascinating, articulate,
entertaining companions" - the cultural equivalent of runaway sexual
selection - no one can afford to select for anything else and survive.
Matt finishes off with a theory which would make Buss smile and displease
Sarah Hrdy. He suggests that this vagrant male selection for young pretty
women selects for neotony - delayed development that enables the human brain
to grow much bigger before it stops growing in relation to the body.
Christopher Badcock has countered with a comparable theory of female
selection of younger men. An interesting point here is that the female is
the more neotonous of the two sexes, so once again the female is one step
ahead in evolution."


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