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Thread: A science nerd thread.

  1. #1
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    Default A science nerd thread.

    So, Iíd been thinking about making a thread for my own and otherís general science nerdlingering, then I got snowed under at work (literally and figuratively) and it didnít happen. Now Iím procrastinating so it happened.

    Feel free to add any science nerd content/musing/rantings you want.

    Yes science includes evolutionary biology and a lot of what I have to say is based on the theory of evolution. I DONíT INTEND TO DEBATE SCIENCE VS RELIGION AGAIN. Make a new thread or dig up an old one for that if it's what you want to do.

    Now thatís said;

    Iíd been considering the fact that when apparently stupid people procreate/exist, itís sometimes stated it contradicts natural selection. Thinking about it, people of higher than average intellect/ education are - at least in my anecdotal experience - more likely than average to not have children or have fewer than average children later in life.

    It logically follows that humans of above average intellect contribute a lower percentage to the proceeding generation and therefore intelligence is actually selected against.

    The counter to this is of course resource allocation and survivorship of offspring Ė a person of higher intelligence is more likely than average to procure a higher level of resources with which to raise offspring and thus more likely than average to successfully raise their fewer number of offspring to breeding age. Conversely, a person of lower intellect is less likely to have adequate resources to raise a high number of offspring ad thus if they have a large number, more are likely to suffer mortality before breeding age is reached, thus leveling the genetic input of high and low intelligence to the next generation.

    Interestingly, in the current welfare state, if you have more offspring than you are capable of supporting the general populous will pool resources and provide for a parentís potential failure to adequately allocate resources to their offspring. Therefore by ensuring the survivorship of all humans in a welfare state, you potentially tip the balance of selection against above average intellect/the breeding strategy of low output and high investment.

    Without opening the ethical can of worms that is the removal of welfare and the starvation of people who we can otherwise afford to feed, it is interesting to note how recognition of basic human rights affects natural selection on the human populous.

  2. #2
    I'll tells ya! johnny's Avatar
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    You're basing all of that on the premise that fitness is indicated by intelligence as that is the best way to amass resources. Two premises there are that intelligence is defined by employability and that resources allow one to increase the chances of survival, creating great amounts of offspring, ensuring their survival and also their fitness.

    few problems I can see there.
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    I am making the assumption that increased intellect is correlative with increased resource acquisition -> in modern human society that means increased intellect is correlative with increased ability to acquire wealth - not necessarily through employment and salary. Of course the assumption is modelistic in that there is many variables which also factor in ones ability to accumulate wealth which the assumption ignores.

    As such - it's not that intellect is the BEST measure of resource acquisition necessarily but an assumption of a general positive linear trend where intellect is the predictor and wealth the dependent.

    It also assumes a general negative trend of reproductive output where intellect is the predictor and no. of offspring the dependent.

    Both assumptions I don't actually have any data to support :)

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    I'll tells ya! johnny's Avatar
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    your final assumption os correct, I have seen the data (UN I think, may have been Wold Bank) however it is based on developed and underdeveloped nations rather than average intellect. However there is also the question of what is intellect/intelligence. There is no agreed upon definition of the term.

    But is seems that your definition here is that the ability to acquire resources indicates intelligence. Or one indicator if intelligence, maybe?
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    I deliberately left the definition of intellect vague, but to actually test the hyopthesis you'd have to a) define a measurable concept of intellect b) determine the heredity of your measured trait. Not easy trending towards impossible.

    I guess to keep it grey - I'm assuming "intelligence", however you decide to define it is a) heritable (studies of the heritability of intellect, while controversial indicate a high degree of heritability e.g. Jacobs et. al. 2007 Aus. Ac. Press) b) correlated positively with wealth acquisition and c) correlated negatively with reproductive output.

    Basically the assumptions are that if two people were exactly identical in all other respects, except person a was more intelligent than person b, person a would tend to better at earning money and more likely to have fewer children than person b
    Last edited by Arete; 03-12-2010 at 06:08 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Arete View Post
    Iíd been considering the fact that when apparently stupid people procreate/exist, itís sometimes stated it contradicts natural selection. Thinking about it, people of higher than average intellect/ education are - at least in my anecdotal experience - more likely than average to not have children or have fewer than average children later in life.

    It logically follows that humans of above average intellect contribute a lower percentage to the proceeding generation and therefore intelligence is actually selected against.
    I blame Disco- I am probably wrong, but isn't that when people started choosing their procreation partner based on ability to dance rather than intelligence, strength or even ability to hold a conversation?

  7. #7
    Senior Member martinpb's Avatar
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    mmm...
    i've got a few female friends who are highly inteligent (or at least very educated and holding down jobs you'd hope the occupant has a high level of clue for) and activly do not want to have children. In one case going as far as to say that she feels that high female inteligence is selected against.

    on the male side, there is the seemly greater predispostion to high functioning ASD, leading to men of high inteligence, but poor social skills.

    Maybe we're breeding highly capable couples with no ability to further themselves, but the ability to further the race as a whole.

    I'm not sure i buy into the "gay men are useful to protect their sister's kids and therefore a portion of their own genes" evolution argument, but i wonder if the highly capable couples could be placed in a similar position. that they are usless to their own procreation, but allow the species to forge ahead and some of their genes to be passed on via their siblings.

    (sorry, this should be written up so much better, but think i've posted a bit too much and need to get back to real work (i'm going to bring up all my science posts on here next time i have a performace review, as a contribution to the public understanding of science!)

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    Senior Member Norco Maniac's Avatar
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    ever read this?


    The Marching Morons - CM Kornbluth

    just going from observation of the locals, i'd say intelligence and employment capability is inversely proportional to the number of children you will have.

    having said that, i have three children - twins and a singleton - and i acquired the bulk of my formal education after they were born.
    Last edited by Norco Maniac; 03-12-2010 at 09:49 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fruitbat View Post
    I blame Disco- I am probably wrong, but isn't that when people started choosing their procreation partner based on ability to dance rather than intelligence, strength & Physical appearance or even ability to hold a conversation?
    Im pretty sure there is some sort of partner selection ritual from the given pool..

    I'll post up something interesting tonight when I get some more time..
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  10. #10
    Senior Member Norco Maniac's Avatar
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    i read somewhere - and please don't quote me or ask me for hard facts - that a woman chooses her potential mate according to his pheremones. deodorant, aftershave, perfume, and - this i find extremely interesting - the Pill mask a woman's ability to "smell" the right man for her, breeding-wise.
    Quote Originally Posted by Knuckles View Post
    Why has nobody asked the important question? How's the bike?
    Quote Originally Posted by fridgie View Post
    It's probably on a forum asking how long it should stay unridden for with an internal crack to its bottom bracket......


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