To evolve or not to evolve
When I first started this blog, the purpose was to be able to post thoughts that I had but hadn't necessarily given a lot of thought to just to get feedback. That way, I could refine my thoughts. But as I began to accumulate readers, I became reluctant to post just any ole thought I had. I kind of felt obliged to be right, and to put forth some effort to make sure I was right before I posted it. I got to where I didn't want to post anything unless I was prepared to defend it. But I didn't like that feeling because it defeated the purpose for which I started this blog. I didn't start this blog to evangelize or to convince other people of my point of view, but as time went on, that's what I ended up doing.
Well, today, I want to post a random thought I had while driving home from work one day.
Supposedly, we're all the result of natural selection acting on random mutations. But as people become more compassionate, and technology improves (especially medical technology), natural selection is sort of disabled. That's one of the criticism Friedrich Nietzsche had about Christianity. Because Christian morality is concerned with the weak, it allows the weak to prosper instead of being weeded out. And that, in turn, prevents the rise of the over-man--the next step in human evolution. We are unable to evolve as a species because we are helping the weak survive and reproduce. I don't think Nietzsche was the only person to recognize the problem. That's why the Nazi's were trying to exterminate Jews, gays, and everybody they thought were inferior. It was a way of helping natural selection do its job. It was more like unnatural selection, but it did what the Nazis thought natural selection was SUPPOSED to be doing, but was being kept from doing by Christian morality. And here in America, we had eugenics. At least we weren't trying to kill people. We were just sterilizing them to prevent them from reproducing. I know the Nazi's were influenced by Nietzsche. I don't know whether the Americans were.
Compassion won out, though. The good guys won the war, and eugenics was outlawed. So, for several decades, we have done everything we can to prevent mankind from evolving. And the better our medicinal capabilities become, the more stagnant our evolution will be. In fact, I'd say we've pretty much stopped it altogether. We're as far as we can get because we keep the sick and the weak alive, and they breed.
But I think that could change with this whole genome thing. I read an article recently that was talking about how it becomes cheaper and cheaper to sequence a human genome. I think the first time they did it, it cost something like $50,000. I don't remember what it was. But now, it can be done for something like $5000. And it's going to continue to get cheaper. And we're going to understand the genome much better in the future.
So this is what I think might happen. Sequencing the genome will become so cheap and so useful that pretty much everybody will have their own genome sequenced. It will allow them to anticipate sickness and disease, which in turn will allow them to prevent it. But there's another practical use in sequencing a person's genome. If everybody is doing it, then everybody is going to have a record. And with everybody having a record of the genome, it's just a matter of time that people are going to want to know what kind of genes their significant other has before they get married. After all, if they're going to have children, they're going to want the best. And since you might be a little more reluctant to have children with somebody who has inferior genes, or to have children if your genes are inferior, people with better genes might end up procreating more than people with inferior genes do. And people with inferior genes may find it more difficult to get married than people with good genes. If that happens, it can act as natural selection. People with inferior genes will be attenuated in the gene pool.
On the other hand, we don't need our genes necessarily to make it more difficult for us to reproduce. There are plenty of other factors you might look at that are more obvious. There are pretty people, ugly people, smart people, stupid people, confident people, shy people, healthy people, unhealthy people, lazy people, and industrious people. Nobody is being weeded out of the gene pool because ugly people can find other ugly people, stupid people can find other stupid people, etc. If everybody's genome is sequenced, then people with inferior genes will find other people with inferior genes. Nobody is going to be weeded out.
I don't know why shyness doesn't get weeded out of the gene pool. Shy people and confident people are like cat people and dog people. Dog people can go to the park with their dog and meet other dog people. Cat people can't do that. So it's easier for dog people to connect than it is for cat people to connect. In the same way, it's easier for confident people to connect than it is for shy people to connect. So you'd think shyness would get weeded out of the gene pool.
Of course shyness isn't necessarily the result of genes. To an extent, it can be the result of your environment. It's both, although with some people it has more to do with their genes and with other people it has more to do with their environment. But at least genetic shyness ought to be weeded out.
Another thing to think about is the fact that everybody has good traits and bad traits. A person may be ugly but make up for it with a charismatic personality. A person may be shy but make up for it by being a genius. Inferior traits ride piggy bag on superior traits. Since a person with inferior traits may be sought after because of their superior traits, those inferior traits will stay in the gene pool.