Voices Voices and Voices

tivol at tethys.ph.albany.edu tivol at tethys.ph.albany.edu
Mon Aug 8 18:15:21 EST 1994

Fencerex says (s)he can "logically" argue the desirability of selection by
starvation.  Selection is beneficial when it allows a species to improve its
fitness vis-a-vis the environment (I'm not being precise here, but the pre-
cise argument takes a lot of space).  Since great improvements in our spe-
cies' fitness can be achieved by, e.g., the invention of new tools, theories,
etc., the selection we *really* want is on the basis of intelligence (again,
not precisely; other characteristics are at least equally valuable).  The
way this is accomplished in the real world is through mate selection.  As
Joseph Campbell discusses in The Ascent of Man, we mate with people we like.
	Selection for the ability to withstand famine is already all too com-
mon--there will be a very large gene pool adapted for that in the event of a
civilization-destroying catastrophy.  Let Stephen Hawkings survive and we all
will benefit.  The next environmentally-driven selection processes for our
species will probably determine whether we can overcome the problems of war
and other civilization-ending disasters, and it behooves us not to let the
person whoose ideas will allow us to do that to die because (s)he happens to
be born in Rawanda or some other disaster area.
					Bill Tivol

More information about the Bioforum mailing list