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Darwin-L Message Log 5:142 (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.


<5:142>From arkeo4@uniwa.uwa.edu.au  Tue Jan 25 20:53:59 1994

Date: Wed, 26 Jan 1994 11:00:07 +0800 (WST)
From: Dave Rindos <arkeo4@uniwa.uwa.edu.au>
Subject: Re: tools, "fitness" and culture
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu

All of this discussion of alleged fitness differences based upon tool
use, "developed" vs. "non-developed" countries, and the like seems to me
(to put it gently) to be entirely specious.

1) "Selection" (in the terms which *seem* to be being used here) does NOT
in any sense necessitate evolution.  Quite to the contrary, under
conditions where a population is stable, and where births exceed deaths
there is a lot of "selection" going on, but this does NOT mean that ANY
evolution need be occurring.  People should go back and think about the
implications of Hardy-Weinburg.  Expanding populations in which genotypes
are randomized sub-sets from the larger pool in relation to the trait
under consideration also bring with them no evolutionary change in
relationship to that trait.  Expanding populations in which the genotypes
are FIXED (as would seem to be the case here) also can yield no
evolutionary change.  Furthermore, MOST species are SELECTED in terms that
maintain stability in specific traits (put in other terms, most selection
is stabilising NOT directional and only direction selection produces the
kind of change that is called evolution).  Given this, no fitness
differentials exist (and hence fitness is not even DEFINED!) under
conditions in which no change occurs in gene frequencies RELEVANT TO THE
TRAIT UNDER DISCUSSION.

2) Evolutionary change at the GENETIC level *requires* heredibility of
genes which are correlated with / causal to the trait of concern.  Am I to
believe (as some posters would seem to be saying -- I hope my reading
skills have somehow suddenly gone to hell) that the reason WHY certain
countries are "undeveloped" is to be explained by the GENES of the people
living in those countries?!?!  Hence, the presently larger number of
individuals born and surviving in these countries is somehow "evolving" a
"less-technologically capable" Homo?  What sort of evidence could be used
to support such an outrageous statement?  (Tell me I misread something,
PLEASE!).

Dave,
shaking his head in astonishment . . .

--
	Dave Rindos		  arkeo4@uniwa.uwa.edu.au
	Australian Foundation for Archaeological Sciences
    20 Herdsmans Parade    Wembley   WA    6014    AUSTRALIA
    Ph:+61 9 387 6281 (GMT+8)  FAX:+61 9 380 1051 (USEST+13)

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