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Has Human behavior evolved or 'improved' over the last 50,000 years, if not for ...

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06-08-2014, 09:51 AM
  #76
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Originally Posted by PredsV82 View Post
Im guessing because the OP wasn't actually talking about genetic evolution but changes in human social behavior over the years
You're guessing correct. But specifically, changes in human behavior without the social context to modify those behaviors, or with a social context but a social context that's not the accepted norm of how to behave.

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06-08-2014, 02:25 PM
  #77
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none of the things you listed in the first paragraph are applicable, as they aren't genetic. You aren't born a glutton(and not many gluttonous kids die before adulthood), and your example of unsafe sex actually would increase the chances that the persons genes would be passed on, not decrease them (you don't pass on your genes to the next generation using a condom)

and yes, if there is a deadly pandemic brewing out there that medicine can't treat but some people have a genetic immunity to, then there will certainly be a culling of the gene pool.. but the diseases we have now don't fit that bill
There is a pretty clear genetic component to behaviour. You're not going to have a gene that absolutely causes you to act a certain way or anything, but you might have genes that make you more prepositioned than others for certain behaviours, given similar external factors. That is enough for those genes to be selected for if they're favourable. Also, you misread my point on unsafe sex. I said that behaviours associated with not using a condom would be selected for, not selected against.

We don't need a deadly pandemic that sweeps the whole to have natural selection take effect. As long as people are dying from it and there is differing protection due to genetic variability, it's a selection pressure. Take malaria for example. In parts of Africa where malaria is prevalent, carriers of the allele for sickle cell anemia are much more common than in areas without malaria. This is because carriers with one copy of the allele have increased protection against malaria, so they are selected for in those areas.

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06-08-2014, 05:27 PM
  #78
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Originally Posted by Canucks5551 View Post
There is a pretty clear genetic component to behaviour. You're not going to have a gene that absolutely causes you to act a certain way or anything, but you might have genes that make you more prepositioned than others for certain behaviours, given similar external factors. That is enough for those genes to be selected for if they're favourable. Also, you misread my point on unsafe sex. I said that behaviours associated with not using a condom would be selected for, not selected against.

We don't need a deadly pandemic that sweeps the whole to have natural selection take effect. As long as people are dying from it and there is differing protection due to genetic variability, it's a selection pressure. Take malaria for example. In parts of Africa where malaria is prevalent, carriers of the allele for sickle cell anemia are much more common than in areas without malaria. This is because carriers with one copy of the allele have increased protection against malaria, so they are selected for in those areas.

you need a citation of you are going to claim that behavior is genetic. and remember, that behavior has to be dangerous enough to prevent reproduction, or else it really doesn't matter.

you are right about malaria and sickle cell trait, it is likely being selected for in areas where malaria is endemic and treatment isn't available… but that is a limited sample and in another generation or two I suspect we will have malaria under control and the selection pressure will go away.


For there to be a permanent shift in the human genome, across all populations, its gonna take some really drastic selection pressure, world wide, and short of a pandemic i can't envision any such event being likely.


Now, what could happen, is if a really useful mutation shows up (maybe a human is born who can digest cellulose so we could live off grass) then, we have the technology to copy and insert that gene into the population, which would be artificial evolution

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06-08-2014, 07:37 PM
  #79
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Originally Posted by PredsV82 View Post
you need a citation of you are going to claim that behavior is genetic. and remember, that behavior has to be dangerous enough to prevent reproduction, or else it really doesn't matter.

you are right about malaria and sickle cell trait, it is likely being selected for in areas where malaria is endemic and treatment isn't available… but that is a limited sample and in another generation or two I suspect we will have malaria under control and the selection pressure will go away.


For there to be a permanent shift in the human genome, across all populations, its gonna take some really drastic selection pressure, world wide, and short of a pandemic i can't envision any such event being likely.


Now, what could happen, is if a really useful mutation shows up (maybe a human is born who can digest cellulose so we could live off grass) then, we have the technology to copy and insert that gene into the population, which would be artificial evolution
Well, the clearest example of genetics affecting behaviour I can think of is the Russian silver fox experiment.Starting in the 1950s, Russian scientists bred foxes for tameness to get an insight into how wolves were domesticated. This selection pressure led to increasingly tame offspring.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Domesti...xperimentation

Here's an article dealing with heritability in human behaviour:
http://www18.homepage.villanova.edu/...ticsTraits.pdf

Of course, as I said before, this doesn't mean that genetics completely determines behaviour. Obviously other factors play a huge role as well.

You seem to be under the misapprehension that natural selection = permanent shift among all populations. That is not very common, and not expected in a species as far flung and as populous as ours. Natural selection is when any changes occur due to selective pressures, no matter how restricted. It's still natural selection if the change only occurs in one small tribe in Africa, or if the change is barely measurable. One scenario where I could anticipate widespread changes is if our species makes a permanent shift (in at least part of the population) to living outside of Earth. The adaptations to living in space or on another planet would come relatively quickly, as the environmental pressures would be so radically different.

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06-09-2014, 03:14 PM
  #80
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I don't think it "improved" , though improvement is subjective.One way of looking at it is in term of survival of the species.From that perspective , I don't think our behavior improved at all.We're driving at full speed into a wall.

Magical thinking is still in full force , regardless of whether the choice of magical thinking is religion or something else.There's also a contextual change in that our technological progress can hurt us with the global climate , and too many member of the species can't wrap their head around the very real possibilities that it will screw us.It's too far , too abstract , they can't see it with their own eyes , etc... Behaving too much on emotions which used to be very useful but we would require more group logical thinking nowadays.We shouldn't have to fight everytime we want to indicate to the mass that there's a real danger there because the understanding of the danger requires some mathematical or analytical skills.


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06-09-2014, 08:26 PM
  #81
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Originally Posted by Canucks5551 View Post
Well, the clearest example of genetics affecting behaviour I can think of is the Russian silver fox experiment.Starting in the 1950s, Russian scientists bred foxes for tameness to get an insight into how wolves were domesticated. This selection pressure led to increasingly tame offspring.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Domesti...xperimentation

Here's an article dealing with heritability in human behaviour:
http://www18.homepage.villanova.edu/...ticsTraits.pdf

Of course, as I said before, this doesn't mean that genetics completely determines behaviour. Obviously other factors play a huge role as well.

You seem to be under the misapprehension that natural selection = permanent shift among all populations. That is not very common, and not expected in a species as far flung and as populous as ours. Natural selection is when any changes occur due to selective pressures, no matter how restricted. It's still natural selection if the change only occurs in one small tribe in Africa, or if the change is barely measurable. One scenario where I could anticipate widespread changes is if our species makes a permanent shift (in at least part of the population) to living outside of Earth. The adaptations to living in space or on another planet would come relatively quickly, as the environmental pressures would be so radically different.

I didn't say that natural selection can't happen, especially in a limited/isolated population… but for the species to "evolve" the changes would have to be widespread….

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06-09-2014, 09:24 PM
  #82
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Originally Posted by PredsV82 View Post
I didn't say that natural selection can't happen, especially in a limited/isolated population… but for the species to "evolve" the changes would have to be widespread….
No they wouldn't. Any degree of change = evolution by definition. Natural selection was also specifically pointed to earlier in the conversation by you and MoreOrr to no longer be applicable to humans.

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06-09-2014, 09:29 PM
  #83
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No they wouldn't. Any degree of change = evolution by definition. Natural selection was also specifically pointed to earlier in the conversation by you and MoreOrr to no longer be applicable to humans.
Youre splitting hairs at this point. I'm saying natural selection isn't like to happen to the whole population. You make a counterpoint that in limited populations(where, I might add, modern medicine and technology are lacking compared to the rest of the world, which was point in the first place) natural selection can occur.. I concede this to be the case but counter that it is unlikely to continue beyond a generation or two because eventually modern medicine and technogy will catch up, and in any case any changes to that small isolated population won't constitute "evolution" unless the change becomes permanent, and it won't because once malaria gets treated/eradicated like it is elsewhere, having sickle cell trait will become a net negative again...

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06-09-2014, 09:51 PM
  #84
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Originally Posted by Canucks5551 View Post
No they wouldn't. Any degree of change = evolution by definition. Natural selection was also specifically pointed to earlier in the conversation by you and MoreOrr to no longer be applicable to humans.
I wouldn't agree with that. Natural selection is always going on but it takes a specific trend in natural selection, and over generally a long, long period of time, in order to bring about a true evolutionary change. And the larger the population base is, the more intensified that natural selection process will need to be on a wide scale, specially if there is significant intermixing of the population. On the other hand, if a particular population can remain isolated for a sufficiently long time, and a specific trait is selected for, then that population will evolve, taking on that trait. The thing is though that there needs to be a profound trait change, as compared what I might call a cosmetic trait change, in order for an isolated population to truly differentiate from the main population and in order to become a truly distinct species. We don't know if or how often this may have happened with respect to early homo sapiens, but if it did happen then any particular off-shoot species was since killed off or died off, because today there exist just this one species.

So certainly, if something profound, especially environmentally profound, happens that would cause a significant shift in natural selection activities within the human population then over a period of time a different Homo species could evolve as an off-shoot from Homo Sapiens; this doesn't appear to be happening at this time, at least I don't believe that scientists have identified any such strong trend towards any potential new human species being in the works.

Thus, back on topic, I don't think there's any evidence that the human individual is any less primitive in its behavior, if not socialized to be so, than we were 50,000 years ago. And if the socialization process if faulty or flawed or corrupted in some way, then resulting individuals or even communities can become "problematic" for the wider society. For a large part, though not all, a human individual is only as "good" as the quality of the socialization he's born into and grows up within. The thing about socialized behaviors and mentality is that they are alterable, if not always in the life of particular individual then at least from one generation to the next, if social intervention from outside takes place. Obviously with true evolutionary traits, they generally take a long period of time to alter, often thousands of years.


Last edited by MoreOrr: 06-09-2014 at 10:02 PM.
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06-13-2014, 05:52 AM
  #85
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The egalitarian hunter/gatherer societies were the epitome of humanity.

Everyone giving to the fullest of their abilities and only taking what they needed.

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06-13-2014, 06:31 AM
  #86
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The egalitarian hunter/gatherer societies were the epitome of humanity.

Everyone giving to the fullest of their abilities and only taking what they needed.
Ah yes. of course. Good old Noble Savages.

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