December 19th, 2007
|02:12 am - we create each other|
so i have been reading about all sorts of random shit tonight: the seduction community, crowd psychology, evolution, sexual selection, etc, and in my head it is all turning into memetics and free will. we all think we're wandering around doing as we wish to do, acting on our conscience or reason, but half of it is instinctual nonsense that we just do based on stimulus and rationalize afterwards. i can see that in general -- if x happens, the majority of people will react thusly -- but that is hard to relate to individuals, much less to myself. if i'm thinking about one person in a specific situation, i see it as them reacting based from their indidivuality and perception of what's up, rather than from a statistical spread of what most people are likely to do in similar situations.
 sexual selection as opposed to natural selection- evolution as spurred by mating preferences. for example, if everyone suddenly refused to have sex withi blondes, in a few generations there would be way fewer blondes. so, all else being equal, over the long haul humanity has been evolving itself to be more sexually appealing to itself. which doesn't mean we should all be alpha supermodels, because if people are more appealing then people can also be more selective. it doesn't matter if i'm better than a caveman -- am i better than the guy next to me? so theoretically, life is getting better and better by generations, but nobody can tell.
on a related note, i can't remember where i got this, but it's a point i've always been intrigued by -- the easiest way to cure hemophilia would be to let all the hemophiliacs bleed to death. species vs individuals. but who knows what that would cost us even if we were so cutthroat. in a sense, surviving natural selection means having a sufficient collection of useless attributes, for the next unexpected calamity. i wonder if anyone has ever tried to sue their parents for passing down bad genes.
in summary, whichever philosopher said he'd rather be an unhappy man than a happy pig was full of shit. the one thing i think brave new world reallyl got right was that succesful worlds along that line are only distopian to outsiders. you think ants are sad that they're ants?
state: probably also full of shit
np: Jimmy Eat World - Bleed American - 08 - Get It Faster
Oh I LOVE this. I think about it all the time. And go on rants that some people are probably tired of hearing. I also have an obsession with dystopias, so if you're interested, have I got a reading list for you!
Anyway, yeah, I've discussed at length with people that in theory I believe that if your kid has some kind of genetic deficiency that can be corrected with surgery, they shouldn't be operated upon because they're diluting the population with inferior genes, and ought not be given the opportunity to reproduce. However, if a kid gets in an accident and requires surgery, it should be done. [side note: it's arguable that if the kid was responsible it's similar to my last sentence, but suppose it's a true accident that is no fault of his]
The problem with that is that if MY kid needed a surgery to stay alive, I'm pretty darn sure that I'd do it. Also, I think I'd be put in jail if I didn't allow it.
I like to think of it as an extension of Social Darwinism, but I'm not really sure. It's kind of a pet idea that clearly other people (read: you) have discovered on their own.
Social darwism was a stupid idea created by the wealthy to basically make themselves feel more important for all their 'successes' while they stepped on everyone else. People are poor because they are 'inferior' therefore we should let them rot in the streets. Social Darwinism can link itself to eugenics, which we all know is just a hop skip and a jump away from the race doctrines of Nazism.
The problem with these ideas in my mind, the people who espouse them, of course list themselves at the top of the list for 'desirable' traits. Who makes these decisions? Thats the question. In my mind, nature works just fine on its own. Undesirable traits get removed over time, and the whole point of evolution is change from one generation to the next. This isn't going to work if we are all clones of ourselves, in one perfected society. Variation is what makes things work, and whos to say, down the line, that a certain trait deemed undesirable or useless, isn't going to have some value. Besides, social Darwinism is a social construct, not a biological one.
Re: im a little behind
Oh hey, I see what you did there . . . you pulled one phrase out of an ENTIRE POST and then proceeded to call me not only stupid, but a Nazi. Thanks, asshole.
What I mean by desirable traits aren't "pretty" people or "people good at working a white collar job." I was specifically referring to a situation where somebody has a medical defect that requires extensive surgery to correct. This is not a social construct; that person would not survive in the natural order. If anything, fixing that person up is a social construct.
I also went on to say that while this is great in theory, in social practice I understand it doesn't work.
In the future, I'd appreciate the courtesy of actually reading my post before offering your criticism, or if you don't understand, feel free to actually ask me what I mean instead of suggesting that I'm genocidal. Otherwise, please don't bother to reply, it's quite annoying.
Re: im a little behind
Oh hey, no need to get your panties in a twist. I am not calling you a nazi, I am talking about the extension of social darwinism, which you mentioned.
that person would not survive in the natural order
Your statement said this, "if your kid has some kind of genetic deficiency that can be corrected with surgery, they shouldn't be operated upon because they're diluting the population with inferior genes"
Your not being clear on what type of genetic deficiency, that can mean a lot of things. Diabetes? Huntington's disease?
Heres what i was trying to get at, just because you stop all diabetics from reproducing, doesn't mean you are going to remove diabetes (diabetes would be fatal without treatment and does end life early). Why? Who's to say it is not going to spontaneously come back? mutation is part of life.
Take Huntington's disease, an autosomal dominant trait. First you have to find all the carriers, then remove them from the 'breeding population.' Then in a few thousand years it arises in people of asian descent. crap! You admit that it's not socially feasible (which i should have been more clear in my response), but what about biologically feasible? Selective breeding hasn't panned out so well for the dogs. Find a purebreed dog without some inherited defect!
Mutations are always occurring, sometimes they pan out, sometimes they die off, and sometimes they persist with no real reason. Sickle cell anemia is something that survives because its benefit outweighs its deficit in some cases.
I mentioned eugenics, because it is a social philosophy which advocates the improvement of human hereditary traits through intervention. Which is what you were getting at, not social Darwinism. Social Darwinism is more of the idea of not helping others because they are inferior, in the social realm. Eugenics has been used as a justification for forced sterilization of persons who are claimed to have genetic defects (it has happened in this country). Eugenics takes social darwinism to the next step by it's focus on selective breeding. The eugenics movement was popular in this country, margaret sanger was a proponent. It largely lost its appeal after WWII. Because, it's philosophy is connect to outright genocide of races perceived as inferior or undesirable.
I've though about exactly what you have said before, but it comes up short, because you would always have to have someone 'decide' whats a good trait and whats a bad. Reminds me a gattaca. Your biology isn't always your destiny.
if it can be corrected with surgery, is it really a deficiency? i mean, if you consider me just my body, i have shitty eyesight. but with my glasses, i don't. and being able to invent glasses and surgeries is what makes us more advanced than, say, chimps, who body to body could beat the shit out of us.
oh yeah and dystopias- i have read 1984, the giver, brave new world, this perfect day, nature's end, and prob many other things i'm forgetting now. sometimes it's hard to tell the difference between a dystopian story and a story that is just set somewhere really shitty.
|Date:||December 20th, 2007 01:55 am (UTC)|| |
so theoretically, life is getting better and better by generations, but nobody can tell
Let's not forget one of the more important principles of evolution: that it doesn't necessarily produce a better species, just a different one.
infect the hemophiliacs with AIDS.
sic the AIDS-chasers on them.
that was everyone is happy and we have no more defective blood-leakers.
so, all else being equal, over the long haul humanity has been evolving itself to be more sexually appealing to itself. which doesn't mean we should all be alpha supermodels, because if people are more appealing then people can also be more selective. it doesn't matter if i'm better than a caveman -- am i better than the guy next to me? so theoretically, life is getting better and better by generations, but nobody can tell.
I don't know if we are becoming more appealing, because evolution doesn't always make something better per se, but something that works. Take our lungs, the lungs of a bird are much more efficient than our own, because air goes in through the nares, and out through air sacs, utilizing a one way flow of air, where we breathe in an out, mixing our air which is not as efficient. So, evolution is not always striving to be optimum, just what works. Sexual selection as a theory is interested to me, because it can be at odds with nautral selection on first glance. take birds of paradise with the long tails, makes it harder to fly...therefore more susceptible to predation, yet gives you increased reproductive fitness. In this case, females choose a male based on a secondary sex character.
I would never be an advocate of removing bad genes from the population, like hemophiliacs (some bad traits persist because you can have offspring before you die of the disease). Nature does this its own way without our meddling.