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Author Topic: It's All In Your Genes  (Read 2184 times)
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Carnut
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« on: April 11, 2007, 08:52:50 PM »

I've been preaching on this subject since my undergrad schooling in the 70's.

Though this article is slanted towards explaining eating behaviors and their results, I think it also shows how the same evolutionary psychology can explain the many problems that humans have with the creations of societies, morals and laws.

Civilization is recent on the evolutionary scale and human psychology just hasn't evolved as fast, so there are many who just can't function in society because of that.

Can't Stop Eating When You've Had Enough?
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LilPuma
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« Reply #1 on: April 11, 2007, 09:43:00 PM »

Wow.  Leaves a lot open to discussion.  Interesting discussion.  Couple of things that came to mind is the breakdown of neighborhoods in most areas.  The small community that worked together to survive.  Today, we have media rooms and air conditioning and more than one car.  We often don't walk, don't sit on our porches to talk with neighbors and know what's what on the block.  We go from home to car to wherever.  When I was growing up, we knew that if we did something wrong, most likely one of the neighbors would tell our parents.  If you needed help, there was always a neighbor around to pitch in.  I think a lot of that has been lost.  We no longer have our little societal groups within the larger framework that keeps people in line or helps out when needed.  

The other thing that came to mind is hoarding.  Today, it's more like "whoever dies with the most stuff wins".  We want the biggest house, the "in" cars, we can't share a bathroom, and we throw it out when styles change.  We have come to put the value of a person's possessions on the person.  A teacher won't necessarily get the same respect and praise as a shrewd stock broker.  It's like being able to bring home the biggest beast (or the largest number of them) for the family to eat; except we don't need this stuff to survive, but the mentality is still there.  

I'm not sure what Carnut means when he says this could explain why some have difficulty functioning in society, but I hope he'll elaborate.
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Carnut
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« Reply #2 on: April 11, 2007, 10:29:28 PM »

I think I'm saying that civilization has evolved so fast that the human organisims behavioral evolution hasn't been able to keep pace, so that many humans have trouble coping with civilization and it's rules, regulations and expectations.

Kinda why it seems there are more and more aberrant folks in society. It's not that they are aberrant so much as society has passed them by in evolution. Every day new rules, laws and expectations are created to cause more and more folks difficulty in keeping up with them.
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justinsmama
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« Reply #3 on: April 11, 2007, 10:46:48 PM »

One's functional ability is a complex subject. Part of it is, I think, that our knowledge and technology have kept alive some people who, otherwise, would not be here. Some of those people reproduce. And let's face it, those who are less "attractive" (health wise) will most likely mate with others of the same, thus producing children with a combination of those less "attractive" traits. So, yeah, our advances have had a detrimental effect on the human race, as well as positive ones.
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LilPuma
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« Reply #4 on: April 12, 2007, 12:37:54 AM »

Carnut:  I get what you're saying.   Society is advancing faster than the humans in that society can evolve.  Hmmmm.  Sounds like a nature v. nurture thing.  You're saying it's biological whereas my comments above point to nurture.  

Justinsmama:  There's a story (native American maybe) about how the wolf is not the enemy of the caribou.  The wolf keeps the caribou herd strong by weeding out the old and the sick.  Thus, the strongest and smartest and fastest survive and breed to bring strong, smart and fast caribou into the world.   In a wolf pack, the alpha male and female mate and thus the smarter and more aggressive have young 'uns.  This is usually the way in the wild.  Males often fight for the right to mate.  Others have to show the female that they're strong, attractive, etc.  Humans tend to do it the opposite.  The more educated wealthy people have fewer children.  Now that doesn't mean those educated and wealthy people are better looking or physically stronger.  Low income people have a shorter life expectancy, not necessarily because of their genes, but because of access to quality health care and food.  

These are complex issues and I can't stay up, but I like that it's being discussed.
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LilPuma
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« Reply #5 on: April 19, 2007, 05:20:21 PM »

These shootings at Virginia Tech brought to mind this discussion.  The idea that we haven't all "adapted" somehow.  That societal rules and regs and perhaps expectations (our own or society's) have moved forward faster than we have evolved in some way.  We hear too often about people doing things that defy logic, reason and any moral, ethical or legal code that exists in our society.  Whether it's John Couey, a serial killer, or Cho shooting his classmates and making a video as his suicide note, we are creating monsters.  Maybe not a lot of them as a percentage of the population, but something causes people to do these things.  Whether it's a biological problem or purely a psychological one, it's a problem that as yet we don't have a solution for.  

Any thoughts?
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Anna
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« Reply #6 on: April 22, 2007, 10:18:23 PM »

I also think that for whatever reasons, some people are inherently evil.  It can be called or blamed on biology or psychology but I do believe there is such a thing as real, concrete evil in this world.

Some chose to succumb to this or embrace it while others resist.  Lots of kids suffer culture shock and don't fit in but they don't slaughter 32 people.  Many suffer these same things without resorting to violence at all.

I do think many have a more difficult time adjusting and competing than others might have but we are after all the same species.  For this to be valid, some of us would have had to evolve farther than others or in a different direction which I think would result in a slightly modified species which I don't really see, just shades of personality disorders and such.

I guess if one is not genetically predisposed to a charmed life, one would just have to try that much harder.

I realize this will not be a popular view held by many but that's what I think and that's what I know.

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