[ExI] [GRG] NewAbs: The Phenotype of IQ is Polygenic x 1, 000 Genes

Damien Broderick thespike at satx.rr.com
Wed Aug 10 19:05:44 UTC 2011

On 8/10/2011 11:02 AM, Richard Harper wrote:

> When people first learn about fitness-indicator theory there is a
> tendency to think of it in terms of the peacock's tail, but it is much
> more than that in many ways, and is still a fairly hot area of research.
> As a basic principle of fitness indicators, there can be a tendency for
> them to be under selection pressure to express more and more information
> over time,

Here is a notion that probably has cropped up (or been crushed 
resoundingly) in the literature: despite the principle that evolution is 
blind to phenotypes once they're past reproductive capacity (due 
allowance made for keeping grannies alive to tend to babies, teach them 
to speak, etc), I wonder if some apparent instances of "deterioration" 
might actually be adaptations promoting the survival of one's lineage.

It occurs to me that in a highly intelligent and memetic species like 
ours, memory management in the old (you can't remember what you ate this 
morning, but vividly recall the nutritious summer of 1887 or the brutal 
cold snap of 1922) might not be [entirely] an entropic accident.

The current vital generations can be depended on to store recent events 
and trends, and maintain the liturgical coding of what's happened to the 
tribe and environment for many hundreds or even thousands of years--but 
perhaps sharp memories that retain hazard and opportunity information 
from 50-60-70 years ago, if treated respectfully by the young, were 
beneficial in our preliterate EEA. If the maintenance cost of retaining 
full memory in old age is too great, perhaps early memories are given 
special care by the brain?

Damien Broderick
[Just-So Panglossian stories since 1963!]

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