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Darwin-L Message Log 5:192 (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.


<5:192>From carey@pegasus.cc.ucf.edu  Fri Jan 28 04:46:25 1994

Date: Fri, 28 Jan 1994 05:54:06 -0500 (EST)
From: Arlen Carey <carey@pegasus.cc.ucf.edu>
Subject: tools, evolution (my LAST posting on the topic)
To: darwin-l@ukanaix.cc.ukans.edu

Ms. Lerner states:
	>I was replying to _your_ suggestion that humans
	>evolve to be more compatible with modern technology.

I suggested this?!?  Not unless evil aliens temporarily took over my helm.
I do make mistakes but I don't think I made this one.  If so, I apologize.

I did have a pertinent off-line discussion with a fellow list reader.  A
copy of the corespondence follows for further clarification of the
issue:

----------Forwarded message ----------
Date: Fri, 28 Jan 1994 12:54:15 +0800 (WST)

On Thu, 27 Jan 1994, Arlen Carey wrote:

> Your message on the darwin-l list makes sense to me.  Perhaps i overstated
> my point.  My primary intention was to make a point similar to yours; namely,
> that the tech diffs between societies do not necessarily (nor probably)
> have fitness implications.  To whatever extent genes contribute a capacity
> for tool usage, i'd guess the trait to be more or less uniformly distributed,
> with phenotypic differences being owed mainly to envoronment variation.
>
> Since I'm a sociologist with very limited formal training in such matters,
> i ask you:  does this perception make sense?

I would say that you have it right on!  The way I would look at it is that
any variation in the capacity for tool usage would be distributed amoung
populations as a within-population variability.  In that it would be like
almost ALL genetic traits in humans -- there will be greater variation
WITHIN populationas than BETWEEN populations.  Here, stuff like the old
"racial" traits are, in fact, clinal and in any case repesent a
fundamentally insiginficant part of the genome.  The kind of
"interbreeding" we see happening in most multi-ethic societies today is
also NOTHING new.  The clear exceptions to what I describe here, specific
evolved moprhological and physiological traits, such as the various
heamoglobin variants leading to malarial tolerance or a propensity to
produce lactase are rather uncommon, probably quite well understood, and
easily explained by ONGOING selection within a particular region).

Best Regards,
Dave

--
	Dave Rindos		  arkeo4@uniwa.uwa.edu.au
	Australian Foundation for Archaeological Sciences
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