Re: Selection by Migration

From: J. R. Molloy (
Date: Sat Nov 24 2001 - 15:44:11 MST

From: "Jacques Du Pasquier" <>
> I'm referring to a disposition
> to embark in the unknown with hope to make your situation better.

OK, I understand what you're saying. Does this embarcation constitute
selection by migration, or does the dispostion to migrate originate in the
constellation of genetic factors that impact the migratory impulse? IOW, is
migration part of natural selection, or does natural selection impel migratory
impulses -- which may ultimately eventuate in our displacing "natural"
selection with directed evolution?

> Some risk-taking / self-confidence / taste for the unknown do not
> result in self-selection, but migration does.

Yet migration often entails risk-taking and taste for the unknown, so they are
interlinked, yes?

> However good "good" is, it can still be better. You have extra
> incentive to go if your life is bad, but even if it's good you may be
> tempted to make it even better, if that's how your mind works.

Or how your brain works, since that means the same thing.

> Some kind of convictions may be for some the support of
> self-confidence. You know that everything will be different there --
> but at least you can rely on yourself, you know who you are, what are
> good and bad, etc.

Well, you may not actually "know" it, but you can feel confident about it,

> What I was saying is, you can NOW correlate these things. You have
> self-selection through migration (with the possible pressure of
> difficult conditions), and then success resulting, over time, from the
> selected behaviour.

*Potential* success, yes... it doesn't always turn out as we wish.

> One obvious OTHER FACTOR (for the "success of the settler") is that
> everytime you have to REDO something, you have occasion to do it
> better. So when you arrive in a land with nothing established, you have
> to re-think every single thing, and so you question what you know,
> and you make it better.

Right, that's sometimes called adaptive behavior.

> Though on the other hand, one could say that you tend to dismiss too
> easily things (like social institutions, or moral conduct, or
> politeness forms) that have grown over time, as you are not able to
> grasp their intricate usefullness when you redesign things from scratch.

Yes, and sometimes the same process can reveal institutions that are actually
useless and even counterproductive. For example, colonists discovered that
they could safely jettison the notion of royalty and replace it with the much
more practical meritocracy.

> One can probably also witness this occasional shortcoming in the US
> society.

Right, and again one can see the occasional benefit to the US of discarding
obsolete social conventions.

> It may be the source of the impression of naïvety that Europeans
> (French at least) sometimes have when examining American behaviour or
> discourse. There is a fine line between naïvety and freedom from
> tradition / openness to new solutions.

I find it difficult to believe that Europeans (especially the French) have the
impression that Americans are naive. Unless you consider that America was
naive to buy Louisiana from France. Are you suggesting we should have let the
French who migrated to the Southern States remain French? What do you have
against American red necks? <g>
Come to think of it, if France had purchased Quebec, perhaps they wouldn't
have so much trouble imposing their language in the Canadians. <G>


--- --- --- --- ---

Useless hypotheses, etc.:
 consciousness, phlogiston, philosophy, vitalism, mind, free will, qualia,
analog computing, cultural relativism, GAC, Cyc, Eliza, cryonics, individual
uniqueness, ego, human values, scientific relinquishment, malevolent AI,
non-sensory experience, SETI

We move into a better future in proportion as science displaces superstition.

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