rjohara.net

Search:  

Darwin-L Message Log 5:135 (January 1994)

Academic Discussion on the History and Theory of the Historical Sciences

This is one message from the Archives of Darwin-L (1993–1997), a professional discussion group on the history and theory of the historical sciences.

Note: Additional publications on evolution and the historical sciences by the Darwin-L list owner are available on SSRN.


<5:135>From LANGDON@GANDLF.UINDY.EDU  Tue Jan 25 07:38:04 1994

Date: Tue, 25 Jan 1994 07:38:04 -0600
From: "JOHN LANGDON"  <LANGDON@GANDLF.UINDY.EDU>
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Subject: Re: intro and tools

In message <9401251243.AA41550@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu>  writes:

> By the way, I agree with the statement of Arlen Carey. Why does the advent of
> tool use somehow mysteriously stop evolution. Why must humans be put on some
> superorganic pedestal?  If gene frequencies are changing evolution is
> occurring.  We now are adapting to a technologically modified environment,
> but the basic mechanisms of evolution still work.  Non-human animals modify
> their environment, and in turn, adapt to the changes they cause.

I would like to interject to head off a misunderstanding. I don't believe the
original question of when this hypothesis was first proposed meant to promote
the hypothesis; nor is the hypothesis generally accepted today. We do
recognize that natural selection continues to act on our species.

On the other hand, it is a legitimate question to ask _to what degree_ culture
buffers us from the full impact of natural selection. To use a trivial example:
Modern medicine has lowered mortality from many diseases. This causes the
relative fitness of those individuals with natural resistance to be less and
the relative fitness of those without to be greater. The selection coefficient
is reduced and evolution to promote resistance to such diseases will now
proceed at a slower pace.

JOHN H. LANGDON                email   LANGDON@GANDLF.UINDY.EDU
DEPARTMENT OF BIOLOGY          FAX  (317) 788-3569
UNIVERSITY OF INDIANAPOLIS     PHONE (317) 788-3447
INDIANAPOLIS, IN 46227

Your Amazon purchases help support this website. Thank you!


© RJO 1995–2016