Evolution of the state

Paul Andinach pandinac at tartarus.uwa.edu.au
Wed Jun 28 23:03:31 EDT 2000

On Tue, 20 Jun 2000, Mary Ann Dimand wrote:

> Ah, now Harris motivates technological change as a reaction to a
> resource pinch (economics). I find it very convincing-- but then,
> I'm an economist.  :)

I read a book once that claimed that all technological advancement was
motivated by the search for better ways to get drunk. :)

> I had the vewy stwange experience of having biology majors in a
> class I guest-tortured in assert that human beings were no longer
> evolving. I still wonder where on earth they picked that certainty
> up. (I presume that they did not reject evolution outright, as they
> didn't say so and were bio majors.) Certainly not from their
> instructor, who appeared equally taken-aback. 

On the one hand, there are people who say "Oh, humans are obviously
the top of the evolutionary ladder." These people, of course, carry an
evolved form of the Great-Chain-Of-Creation meme, and don't actually
have an argument to back them up.

But I have heard an argument to the effect that technology has
advanced to a point where it inhibits the mechanisms of evolution.
Thanks to modern medicine, many people who would once have been
considered unfit survive to pass on their bad genes. People in cold
places, instead of evolving thicker hair, invent central heating.
Stuff like that.

"Hold fast to the one noble thing."

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