On 2003-07-01, Marko Paunovic uttered to [EMAIL PROTECTED]: >Because gene for "not wanting children" will not be around for too long, >but only for one generation.
Not true. For instance, such a gene could have positive effects on the other people in your tribe (say, added time for common childcare, which is quite common in orang-outang communities), so the gene might well be self-propagating in the social evolutionary sense. I mean, you only need trivial economic analysis to show that specialisation is useful, and so having a percentage of individuals who do not breed but do some other useful work for the community could prove very advantageous. Why on earth should we presume evolution couldn't take advantage of basic economics, when it has lead to far more nontrivial consequences? Genes do not care about individuals. They only care about their own survival. Why should we presume individuals have some special place in the theory of evolution? >It might be good for your genes to "invest" all your time and money in >one child or two children. But historically they haven't, just as they don't in less developed countries today. Thanks to our knowledge of biology we also see that the genes in those surroundings are pretty much the same as ours. So where's the difference? The real difference is that there are other forces at work here besides Darwinian evolution. Cultural evolution is the prime one -- it has long since overtaken its biological counterpart, just about everywhere. To put it bluntly, if you can at least farm, you're no longer guided solely by biological dictates. Instead it's information which guides your life. Economics still applies, but it isn't as trivial as in the simple case of evolutionary biology. >> Human genes endow people with the intelligence to choose not to have >> children when the cost and risk are high. Precisely. >I can't really see a situation where decision not to have children is >good for your genes. Okay. Say you have faulty genes which do not affect your basic reproductive ability? Like when you're stupid but oh-so-horny? That isn't a trait that would directly interconnect with your ability to breed (your groin ain't your brain), so a naive analysis would suggest stupidity is irrelevant. But we all know painfully well it ain't. The example goes to show that the link between your genotype and your ability to breed isn't a direct one. Nowadays I wouldn't actually expect any precise, scientific model to be able to capture the precise dynamics of mating and procreation. In the stone age, maybe, but not today -- since then we did invent nylon, lubrication, lipstick, fermented beverages and industrial strength black clothing. It's the same with not having kids. Biological principles alone fail to explain that. I'm also pretty sure this disconnect is what makes us talk about evolution on lists having to do with economics. -- Sampo Syreeni, aka decoy - mailto:[EMAIL PROTECTED], tel:+358-50-5756111 student/math+cs/helsinki university, http://www.iki.fi/~decoy/front openpgp: 050985C2/025E D175 ABE5 027C 9494 EEB0 E090 8BA9 0509 85C2