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Darwin-L Message Log 5:141 (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.


<5:141>From ALVARD@DICKINSON.EDU  Tue Jan 25 19:43:11 1994

Date: Tue, 25 Jan 94 20:51:12 est
From: Michael Alvard <ALVARD@dickinson.edu>
To: DARWIN-L@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu
Subject: tools

Asia said:

If you notice the different birth rate in the technologically developped West
and the less developped third world, you'll see that there's a problem with
the assumption that "the basic mechanisms of evolution still work", since it
seems to be the case that successfully adapting to technological change
_lowers_ a society's procreative capacities. This is probably a similar problem
to the one noted by turn of the century Social Darwinists - those whom we
concider successfull in society [or those nations whom we concider
"successfull" on the global scale] are not those who procreate most.

I don't see a problem at all.  It could simply mean that from an evolutionary
point of view indivduals in the technologically developed world who reproduce
less than folks in the less developed nations are less fit, and are being
selected against by natural selection.  Evolution will occur assuming there
exists a genetic component involved in the advent of technology, which surely
there is.  Perhaps there is a limit to the biological 'usefullness" of
culture and related technology.

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