[ExI] Are Limited Lifespans An Evolutionary Adaptation?

Keith Henson hkeithhenson at gmail.com
Sat Jun 20 17:34:42 UTC 2015

On Sat, Jun 20, 2015 at 5:00 AM,  rex <rex at nosyntax.net> wrote:


>> That's not surprising, but what is known with small stature races
>> (pigmies) is that the growth process is chopped off by early sexual
>> maturity.  Apparently the environment they are in kills them at a rate
>> that requires early reproduction.
> Well, short stature apparently has a selective advantage there,

I don't think so.  Short stature seems to be a side effect of
selection for early sexual maturity.


>> > But traits that benefit species survival rather than
>> > individuals seem likely.
>> This has been logically dismissed by Dawkins and company back in the
>> 70s.  Genes induce individuals to things that result in the survival
>> and propagation of genes.  End of story.
> I wish. The group selectionist camp isn't going to quit beating their
> war drums anytime soon, and even E.O. Wilson recently converted to
> belief in group selection.
> https://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2014/11/07/the-group-selection-dustup-continues-e-o-wilson-calls-richard-dawkins-a-journalist/
>> Our social nature seems to
>> lead us to account for the world in terms of "traits that benefit
>> species survival" but this completely fails to pass a logical
>> examination.  "Hamilton's rule" does not change this.
> No, it doesn't "completely fail," and that's the problem. There are
> restrictive conditions under which group selection can theoretically
> arise. These conditions are rigorous enough that demonstrating real
> examples of group selection has been elusive,

That's close enough to "completely fail" for me.

> but their theoretical
> possibility leads its advocates on the holy quest (sadly, more and
> more "science" is taking on the trappings of religion).

True.  And some of the battles such as over the effects of CO2 are
completely stupid from my point of view.  Running out of cheap energy
will kill far more people and much sooner than any changes in the
climate.  Of course actually solving for cheap energy is only part of
the problem.  You have to cope with people who are convinced it is the
moral duty of people to die back to pre industrial numbers.


More information about the extropy-chat mailing list