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Eloi or Morlock?

Found this whilst scanner over the news today. I would love to comment about this but considering I shouldn't even be on the net right now and should be finishing packing I'm going to refrain from it.

Human Species 'may split in two' (BBC News Online; Tuesday 17th October 2006)

Comments

( 19 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
angusabranson
Oct. 18th, 2006 08:18 am (UTC)
The split would occur in 100,000 years according to the article. The 1000 year part was when humankind supposedly raeches its peak before starting to decline due to it's dependence on technology.

I actually agree that humankind is becoming too reliant on technology and is becoming lazy. If technology was to disappear tomorrow the western world would - in the most part - be doomed. We just don't have enough people with enough knowledge - let along experience - of basic skills such as farming, carpentry, fishing and so forth to sustain ourselves.
replicantlizard
Oct. 18th, 2006 01:18 pm (UTC)
yup - did anyone say the BBC is dumbing down. No. then I refer you to the scientific flag ship program Horizon, which recently ran a program about 'Are chimps people?'. My work collegue told me about it. Prior to him telling me, I had read an amusing artical on the BBC about 'Are chimps people?' - God! did I not know that it was actually the content of a Horizon program, until the next day.

Judging by the output of the BBC, if there is speciation, it will be into two distinct species of human: stupid and really stupid.
ua_meruti
Oct. 18th, 2006 08:20 am (UTC)
Ah yes, this is the story of how in 100,000 years an underace of short, thick people will evolve.
No need to wait 100,000 years, just bimble down to the west Wight and you can see the future!
replicantlizard
Oct. 18th, 2006 12:54 pm (UTC)
*chortle* :)
faerierhona
Oct. 18th, 2006 08:23 am (UTC)
Actually, I have been saying something like this for ages - we would have a "labour" species and a "thinker" species which may or may not be the same as an "artisan" one. It makes absolute sense from an evolutionary standpoint
(Deleted comment)
faerierhona
Oct. 19th, 2006 05:57 am (UTC)
I think that's somewhat of an over reaction to say it scares you. Writing the whole thing up would take longer than I have, but it comes down to roles within society, the people most likely to take on those roles and the traits valued in those roles and therefore among those people. Which is all evolution is, if you think about it
(Anonymous)
Oct. 26th, 2006 11:38 am (UTC)
No, if someone believes in speciation of humans it does scare me, because it means that I'm surrounded by yet one more ignorant person who doesn't have a good understanding of (human) evolution, and that deprecates my appreciation of humanity just one bit more - which can only be a bad thing, as my outlook on humanity sinks just that little bit more. And that is a scary thing. Do I wish to reach the stage where I have only contempt for the populos around me? No - of course not.
replicantlizard
Oct. 18th, 2006 01:13 pm (UTC)
You scare me. You appear *not* to have thought about what you are saying. Can you qualify why you think from an evolutionary point of view we might evolve into two species? There is no evidence for your views - there is no parallel in nature - and don't quote f*cking butterflys!

If you believe in speciation - then all I can say is that your genes are heading to the wrong side of the split - though I suspect that your views are largely a product of culture on this one...
faerierhona
Oct. 19th, 2006 05:58 am (UTC)
*blinks* FFS how up your own arse are you?
(Anonymous)
Oct. 26th, 2006 11:30 am (UTC)
Thank FFT - you're not a nutter then, and don't believe in speciation of humans :)


I'm not infact up my own arse (probably) :D

It's just that of late, the complete lack of people having an even remotely scientific grounding to the bollocks that comes out of their mouths has been wearing me down. And I'm not talking the odd LJ post - I'm talking about things such as BBC news articals. Some journalists need to die. But then we knew that.

I do apologise, stress has been getting to me, and I believe I may have over reacted to what was a tongue in cheek post! :D

Anyhow, I've extracted my head now!
crocodilewings
Oct. 18th, 2006 09:24 am (UTC)
The phenomenon it's talking about is called sympatric speciation, whereby two species diverge in spite of no geographical barrier between them, and from what I gather it's largely disreputed in academic circles owing to the lack of evidence for it and the unlikely conditions which would need to be in place before it occurs.

What's interesting about this example, though, is that it's proposing a cultural barrier rather than a geographical one. It's probably analogous to reproductive isolationism. There was a study in butterflies early last year which showed a similar phenomenon, whereby two different subspecies of butterfly, distinguished by their wing markings, would avoid each other as mates based on this cosmetic difference. The Time Machine example had the distinguishing feature being socioeconomic background, which actually makes sense if you look at indicators like education and access to birth control being correlative with how much money your parents earn. The above article, however, seems to be using physical attractiveness as its feature of distinction.

Here's where it becomes clearly bollocks, because, shockingly, this happens already, and has been happening for millions of years. All other factors being equal, people tend to partner up with other people of roughly similar attractiveness within the confines of their own culture. People also tend to find attractive other people who look somewhat like them or their family, because on a genetic level that increases the likelihood their offspring will be like them. If you take a bunch of random people off the street and give them a series of butchered wedding photos, they'll have a startlingly good chance (about 85%, I think, but I can't find the citation online) of matching up husband and wife based on how conventionally attractive they are.

Anyway, the reason why this makes it clearly bollocks is because conventional cultural attractiveness exists on a very wide and quite internally inconsistent scale rather than bifuricating. People who are a bit attractive will mate with other people who are a bit attractive and have similarly partially-attractive kids. If people become more selective about their sexual partners, all that will do is reinforce this, because then people will opt for the most attractive person they can find which will normalise to someone at around their own league.

Naturally, attractiveness isn't the only trait on which people select their partners, but the same argument applies to any appealing trait you might find in a partner. The reason you won't see races of artisans or intellectuals or grunts is because these traits exist on a scale as well. So either people select partners who are like themselves and it normalises to about the same spread of species characteristics or everything I've said is all bollocks, people select partners based on whatever criteria they like, and it randomly normalises to produce the same effect.

Either way, no speciation.
replicantlizard
Oct. 18th, 2006 01:05 pm (UTC)
Spot on! Exactly! All your points are correct ttbomk - I have have read these articals too.

And to add, cultural effects are *generally* more motivational in the selection of partners - all other factors still apply of course.

Speciation is a joke for humanity, unless some unforseen geographical or political/cultural process forces the hand of (u)natural selection.


And to those who think its speciation is viable and currently occuring - go and do the research - do some science and stop living in an 'us and them' mind set. You're really not that special no matter how clever or beautiful you think you are.


tooth_fairy
Oct. 18th, 2006 09:41 am (UTC)
The bigger penises and perter breasts thing sounds good ;)

I did read that didn't I? I hope my imagination isn't running riot again.
replicantlizard
Oct. 18th, 2006 01:07 pm (UTC)
No that wasn't your imagination - ahh perter breasts - sorry what was I saying - Oh I don't know... oh yes, breasts....
replicantlizard
Oct. 18th, 2006 10:15 am (UTC)
I do enjoy the oversimplification of the ignorant and stupid - unfortunately such people are likely to be with us for the foreseeable future :)

Always good to see a pile of dog's do make it onto a BBC news site. uh. *sigh*

Anyway if people didn't say and do stupid things, we wouldn't look clever ;)
(Deleted comment)
replicantlizard
Oct. 18th, 2006 01:09 pm (UTC)
'cos dear boy, this is only cultural effects operating on the happily unspeciated gene pool ;)
neuroendocrine
Oct. 18th, 2006 02:28 pm (UTC)
I got this story syndicated in the Boston Globe this morning. I have never heard as big a pile of shite in all my life (althouth I have heard alot of equally big piles of shite). It is writtin by a economics guy with zero understanding of population genetics. Pure, absolute and complete tripe
crocodilewings
Oct. 18th, 2006 02:43 pm (UTC)
It actually does surprise me that he's an economist, since by the very nature of their field they tend to have a fairly strong grasp on population dynamics. The mechanisms aren't entirely dissimilar, but it's like he's ignored everything his native discipline has taught him.
replicantlizard
Oct. 18th, 2006 03:50 pm (UTC)
A lot of people can be trained to do something - and do it well, but not really think about what they do from an abstraction of that thing. They are probably the same people who believe in speciation! ;)
( 19 comments — Leave a comment )

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