Humanity is like the crew of a ship that has left their home and must find a new place to live. Unfortunately their ship is sinking because of many growing leaks, they are running out of supplies, they are sick and getting sicker and they do not know where they are going. Plus they are fighting among themselves. Storms could come at any time that would make it worse. This book is to tell them how to get healthy again, how to fix the leaks, make a peace that can work for all, survive the storms and where they can find land. It describes the new land as a wondrous place where they can live and raise families.
Copyrights @ 1997 to 2012
Everyone knows that the world is changing. We are heading into the unknown and anyone aware of it must know some hope and some fear. Our world is changing faster and faster and it does not seem to be for the better. We are all in danger and the changes have made many feel that they are disenfranchised with no future. Most people cannot envision a future that works. It cannot go on that way. We must find a new way to survive and it must appeal to the understandings and instincts of all. We know a little bit about where we have come from. We certainly do not know where we are going let alone the path to get there. This book is to describe one view of humans surviving into the future based on a biological analysis of the problem. It is based on the question of how can humans again achieve a stable ecology. We will not survive if we do not. Our niche that we came from, that is our place in the ecology, is gone. Putting it in the context of ecology allows one to use many of the tools of science to analyze and describe the problem. The perspective it offers is a new view of humans and is very illuminating. At the same time, it is written so that very little real knowledge of biology is required, because this is a problem that faces everyone. I try to tell people what they already know, but have never been able to put into words. Here are the words.
Since this is about survival, I must cite G. Evelyn Hutchinson's work. His presidential address, called "Homage to Santa Rosalia, or Why Are There so Many Kinds of Animals?" is possibly the most influential lecture in the history of ecology. It tells of the limitations of survival of a specie and suggests what it takes to continue to survive. This is about that pattern.
Humans will have to adapt genetically. Humans will also have to adapt by learning new survival methods and habits. The amazing thing is that the potentials are far greater than you might expect. Humans can easily become far more than most people would imagine. They will have to. Unfortunately, balanced against that great potential will be the need to adapt a great deal, rapidly. There are some great dangers coming, including disease, that humans are going to be very vulnerable to.
If humans want to live as and be more than animals, they are going to have to think and act as more than animals. They may then enter a new ecological niche. It will be worth it.
Humans are not only their genes and instincts. The mark of a human is that we survive by what we know and believe. We survive by the use of learned survival strategies that are Moralities. This is the second problem we must solve, but is the last part of the book, because we have to have some understandings of our potentials before we can develop a goal for our strategies to achieve. The question is do we have or can we develop a survival strategy and method, or morality, that will allow us to survive into the future ecologies? It seems that we do have at least one existing morality that has the foundation of what we need. The problem is that most existing moralities, most of which are known as religions or otherwise come from history, are based on precedence and authority. For many reasons, in the future, moralities will also have to be based on logic and reason or they will not be used and cannot be defended. Describing the reason and logic of morality has required a lot of analysis and work. Just as humans use logic and reason to verify truth, humans have ways to verify moralities. Morality is judged with instincts far older than intellect.
Many people, especially when young, feel that there is a better way for humanity to act and survive. Many people have looked for these same answers in many places, especially religion. Religions can provide many answers about how a person can live, but no explanations about why and what the goal is. If you are a person who needs explanations, you will need to look further. Science is a great tool for developing an understanding of the unknown. Unfortunately, the question of how humans can survive, is incredibly complicated and little science about it has been developed that can apply to principles of survival or goals. Many people have devoted their lives to trying to figure it out though and we can stand on their shoulders. The basic concepts behind how genetics work are quite recent and have not been integrated with the rest of human knowledge. What would it look like if religion was compared to our scientific knowledge of life and survival? What would it look like if our scientific knowledge of life and survival was compared to our religions? Understand, this exploration took the path of science rather than the path of religion, but because it is a view of morality, where it ended up would look very familiar to any person of faith. How familiar is for you to decide, but I did the same thing that so many people have done when they wanted to understand more than what they were taught as children. I expect that all of this is supposed to sound familiar, because it is something that you have thought of before, but have not been able to put into words or make complete.
This is a controversial subject for so many reasons. Please try to look at this with logic, reason and an open mind. Since you are human I am sure you will look at it through the filters of your emotions and biases as well. This not only relates to preconceptions of religions and morality, it touches emotions and it also relates to personal biases that have become reflected in politics. Overall though this is meant to include the biases and trends that humans have shown through history. It is what all speculation in the book is based on.
The overwhelming fact of our time is the changing world and how we respond to it. The Conservatives want to stay the way we have been, tolerating degrees of adaptation to the changes. The Progressives want to embrace the change. The advantage of Conservatism is that it uses systems that have been proven to work in the past. The problem is that the world really is changing. The problem the Progressives have is that we do not know where we are going and we have to discover how we can live in this new world. It just simply is not known and the experiments are often dangerous or fail. Still the changes come upon us and most people have learned to question their beliefs enough to have some room to examine the beliefs of others. We seek a path to survival in the future. That path does not include much room for intolerance based on anything that is not very important.
At the same time, while we must adapt to change, this must be comfortable. It must be potentially a path for all humans, not just some. I could tell you of shining cities based on incredible technologies, but this is about survival and so will be judged by instincts and feelings far older than your intellect. We may one day fly around the universe in Galaxy Class Starships, but your moral instincts do not think about that and our survival must first be achieved on Earth. Moral instincts direct people to think of survival in terms of family and community. Survival is the ultimate conservatism and this is framed in that way. Change is risky. This only advocates change for very considered reasons, all based on survival. Then again, it does describe a lot of change.
Survival is the ultimate form of conservatism. Survival of a people is the business of religions. So often it is religions that are trying to use conservative responses to the changing world. That is as it should be. Religions are not about risk taking. This is why changes that science and technical progress bring us are often looked at with skepticism by religions. All progress and science must be evaluated in moral terms before religions can accept these changes in terms of their function, protecting their people. This suggests that the split between the ideologies of conservatives (very often representing religion) and progressives that we see played out so strongly in the world today, could naturally get stronger as the world changes more. A middle ground must be found. This ideological dispute is one of the great challenges humanity currently faces, to find ways to go forward or try to go back. Since the world is truly changing and the old ways will not serve much longer, we must go forward to survive. The only thing that can reduce that ideological conflict is if the progressive forces can come up with a technical and moral vision of the future that satisfies the instincts of the conservatives. It must be explained in terms of science, religion, reason and emotion to describe the moral strategy and values. It must appeal to heart and mind. It must show a path to survival in a future that satisfies both our conservative instincts and progressive desires. This book is meant to describe that path. The foundation, organization and tools of this are science, but this uses other parts including reason, morality, philosophy, religion and other sources of information to describe humanity and the human condition.
Science is to explain things. Sometimes it explains mysteries. Science takes away some mysteries, but then it replaces them with even more puzzling ones of greater importance. Though science has explained much, the most important mysteries persist. This is to explain things that humans must understand in order to survive. It is to replace mystery with understanding, but have no doubt that there will be plenty of mysteries left, including the most confounding and important ones.
This is written to address current questions about life and morality that just have not been answered. The tools of science bring knowledge rushing at us like a freight train barreling through a wind. We do not need so many more facts or even new techniques; we need a new way of looking at things. Without new understandings, we will not become more than we are. Without a moral understanding of the new genetic technologies being developed we will not be able to use them, but we must. We will not survive without them. We must make a change to a new way. We must transition to a new ecology.
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A Moral Philosophy
This book is based on science, but it must be far more. Science is about what is known. This is about the unknown and possibly about some of the unknowable. This asks what is good, what is bad and what is important. This must address the questions of Who Am I, Why Am I Here and What Can I Become. It is about survival, so it is about morality, the methods of survival. Still, ultimately it must be more. Not only the process of survival, but a theoretical description of survival such that questions of survival fit into the framework of understanding that this is to convey. This must consider why to survive and what will survival lead to. So this is a moral system based on a Moral Philosophy of survival.
This book includes a description of the development of an ongoing Moral Philosophy based on Survival in a biological sense. Moral is defined as that which is good. So here, survival of humans in a long term sense is defined as good. There are a number of well-known moral philosophies based on a number of different premises and ideas, but if you research them you will not find any that include a foundation of science. Science was just not well enough developed yet. Most moral philosophies are based on rather limited foundations. Often it is just interpretations of very old beliefs, often attributed to a God. They are not meant to be examined or analyzed. That does not mean that they are wrong, it means that they are based on limited supports from history or with limited supports of reason and detail. They all have to promote survival or they would not exist. The problem is that moral teachings have always been based on authority and precedence, but in this skeptical time, must be based on reason and understanding. The pieces of that have just not been available until recently. This philosophy is based on a broad foundation of biological sciences, humanities, reason and an understanding of existing moralities. It examines many aspects of traditional, historical and sometimes obscure survival strategies. Existing moralities are considered in terms of how they promote survival. It is not about any one Moral System. Humans are diverse and it must allow for many different ways to live and an ongoing discovery of how to live. The purpose is to categorize and describe methods of survival and their consequences.
Some might object that morality must be based on religious teachings. A surprising conclusion, surprising to me anyway, is that an analytic view of survival has a great deal to say about religion. They do have the same purpose, human survival and aspiration. The study shows a great deal of coincidence between the two or perhaps more than coincidence, but that is for further on.
An interesting and very significant problem about morality showed up very early in this examination. Morality is often about making difficult decisions. Knowing and doing the right thing is not always easy. We not only have a promiscuous genetic environment because of medical science, our wealth often allows humans to avoid making difficult moral decisions. About the time in the 70's when I was studying the idea of Self Actualization by Abraham Maslow and Behavioral Releases as discussed by Konrad Lorenz, I wondered how that kind of development could be achieved by humans. I met many intelligent people, but I met far fewer who had had the experiences that released and developed that potential. Education is part of it, but there is far more. Maslow talked about the great potential for of psychological development that he called Self Actualization. Many others have offered similar thoughts. I tended to simply summarize all these potentials by calling them Self Awareness. It is when a person has intentionally highly developed their psychological potentials. Early on I saw it as a problem. Challenges are what release it. I asked "how could you develop a person's self awareness without endangering their lives". More than 30 years later, I see that there is a potential answer, virtual reality. The potentials of virtual reality for teaching morality and bringing out human psychological potentials is just amazing. That is considered in the Aspirations section.
Like all science, this is to explain something. As a philosophy, I will call it Anthropedia, a collection of knowledge about humans. It is about heredity and genetics, morality and philosophy, but most of all it is about survival. It is meant to be a living and growing body of knowledge.
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Shortly after I started this examination, I did a survey with the hypothesis that people would have deep survival instincts. To a biologist, this makes sense, but it is actually not a given. It could be that just have an instinct to have sex, so we have babies, but there definitely is more. In a way it seems obvious, but the examination was revealing. Since then I have repeatedly delved into people's values to examine this. Regardless of age or training, it seems that this is a correct. It even supersedes religion, including that of fundamentalists. That is not to suggest that religion does not promote survival, but independent of that, when you get people to articulate their deepest values, they lead very simply and directly to evolutionary survival. Not surprisingly, this gets more developed as they become parents. While this might seem obvious, it is important to this book, because it is the foundation premise of this book. While most of the foundation of this book is science, science does not explain why one should survive and have families with the entire attendant struggle it requires. That is partly an instinct and becomes important later in the book as it progresses past science to reason and logic, where this premise is needed. I mention this, because I take it for granted, but I have been asked about my premises. As a biologist, this is a natural premise, but I did test it.
This chapter is a discussion of what could be called prehistoric humans. They could just as well be called pre-civil, pre-military or pre-agricultural. All of these factors go together. It is a time frame of approximately 6 million years ago until, perhaps, 40,000 years ago. Perhaps it is the present. In any case this is to look at the ecology, genetics, technology, and beliefs of what were usually considered paleolithics and the later neolithics.
Stone age, as do paleolithic and neolithic, refer to the types of tools used. Tribal refers to a social system. Hunter/gatherer/collector/scavenger refers to energetic acquisition strategies of various hominid species preceding modern humans. Big game hunters is synonymous with neolithic, when new tools and hunting techniques appeared about 400,000 years ago.
In Homo-Sapiens evolutionary history were brachiators or "tree swingers" such as modern day gibbons. A specie in that ecology requires not only hand, arm, and shoulder development for swinging from branch to branch, but also a very acute stereo vision for proper orientation and landing. This is the case for all simians and so the visual ability of a gorilla is second only to that of a human, birds not excluded.
Later were upright standing species exploiting the ability to forage over large areas by energy efficient bipedalism. Visual acuity was useful here for a different purpose, but served excellently the requirements for large capacity scanning of the large area foraged. The upright posture also freed the hands that were so versatile as to be seemingly per-adapted to tool use and manipulation. Social grooming would have enhanced the dexterity and sensitivity of the hands. By the time human ancestors were walking upright they still did not have relatively large brains. By the end of the hunter-gatherer ecologies, all humans had relatively large brains and well developed neocortex.
If you consider the 4 million year old human bones referred to as Lucy, she represents one of the earliest forms of humans that had the skeleton for walking upright, but she definitely had the "brain of an ape". That is to say that her neocortex was no more developed than that of an ape. By that time, she was different from any present day simian that we can study. In present simians, a general rule is that the less that the specie dwells in trees, the more the development and utilization of aggressively based social hierarchies. Ground dwelling baboons are aggressive and have an highly developed social structure. Tree dwelling gibbons and orangutans are solitary and non-aggressive. This is going to relate to early humans, but we are not the same. The upright stance alone should have changed the rules in this case. Humans developed a social structure more complex than the baboons, but less based on aggressiveness. We specialized in cooperation. This probably would have been a fundamental driving force from very early on that is a key element of human survival and development.
It is not just upright stance that distinguishes human ancestors from what we consider apes. Tool use, bipedalism, cortical development, language use, social nature and other traits made humans profoundly different from apes quite early on. The actual relationships between the causes and effects may never be deduced. Luckily, for the purposes of this discussion, only trends must really be examined. Still, it would be quite interesting if the use of cooperation as a strategy even before big game hunting, was a fundamental cause in subsequent human developments.
Depending on locally dictated conditions, both parents make a great investment to raise a child. In addition, for humans, the social structure allowed extended family and foster family to help educate and socialize the child. Learning was from the whole social group. The social group infrequently changed members and the genetics were not highly variable in the group. It was a stimulating environment overall. Sometimes it is useful and quite accurate to refer to these groups as "tribal" as opposed to hunter/gatherer/collector/scavenger, to describe them by their social form instead of their resource acquisition strategies.
The hunter/gatherer/collector name refers to techniques that varied between the paleolithic and neolithic, mostly on scale and complexity. This would include tool making techniques and the associated hunting techniques. These hunting techniques referred also to abilities of cooperation and communication that had evolved over time. It seems likely that the moralities of the paleolithic and the neolithic would have changed similarly. As tools and techniques became more developed and complex, the importance of extensive training for children would have increased. Since there was a qualitative change in the complexity of survival techniques, there should have been a qualitative change in the raising of children and of the morality of the tribes that hunted the big game. Childhood and education would have been extended.
It was from our hunting ancestors that humans got patience. Until recently, humans have commonly been prey as well as predator. Starvation, exposure and disease would have been primary selective effects as well as death during childbirth.
This is quite a short synopsis for the millions of years that is called the evolution of humanity. In this case that is appropriate and necessary. No one knows that much about early roots of humanity. We are basically referred to as Homo sapian, the thinking ape or Cro Magnon in reference to the type of culture and people in what is present day France. We do not presently know what happened to our relative, Homo neanderthal. We may be related or descended. It is not known presently, though genetic studies should yield that answer before long. (They now say we are related and have some disease resistance from them. Nope, they decided we are not. THey were just detecting genes from before the divergence of the species. Science is fun, but can be difficult to keep up with.). So it becomes quite a question to really say much about their morality. Like modern humans, they relied on complicated learned survival strategies. At the same time, what seems important for long periods through the development of humans, will probably be the some of the most important basic factors now and in the future.
Morality refers to learned behaviors. That means education or more specifically, this would have referred to education and protection by the family. Massive factors are all related. Language development, extended childhood, education, monogamy, ancestry knowledge, complex social systems, tools and many other factors are so interdependent and interwoven, that it will be impossible to sort out what coevolutionary procedure occurred. Still, all of these describe essential elements of human survival strategies. Luckily, they are not nearly as important here as they are diverting, so the questions of chickens and eggs are intentionally avoided.
Certainly, many widely different moral forms existed in early human groups. Different forms of reproductive habits and resource strategies would have existed at different times. Each tribe represented an evolutionary experiment. There would have been vegetarians, carnivores and cannibals; monogamies, patriarchies and matriarchies. All strategies would get tested and this present is what humanity has become. We are still extremely variable, but many patterns are now basic and many experiments have been concluded.
When we first stood upright comfortably, the family and "tribe" were essential elements of survival. As the brain and social complexity progressed, the family and social group becomes even more important as a survival strategy. The development of dexterity, visual acuity and hunting skills would have had increasing importance to survival, but the most important element to the individual would have been the society they lived in. Dealing with the social environment was what required a refined intelligence.
The moral strategies of the tribes relates to the desires of the individual to gain status within their society, and its rewards. Be a successful hunter.. and gain status in the society. Have beauty and fertility and status... Then one gets a mate with high status. Then morality dictates that one helps the children to survive and get status. Over all of this is the context that status is within the community and reproductive pool of the tribe. The efforts of the individual must serve the tribe nearly as much as the individual or their immediate family. It is possible, that for humans, the individual must serve the tribe more than themselves, at times.
Status for both men and women would have come from children. Status for men would have accrued from food collecting, especially hunting. This would have been less true for women, because though they do much of the food collecting, they generally do not hunt. Both masculine and feminine beauty would have conferred status. Status would come from deference, or inherited status. Deference is respect for the children of those that had earned high status. Status would have come from the technical skills, including tool making, shelter construction, art and shamanism. There would have been individuals lacking the physical abilities to actually dispatch animals in the hunt, yet having a superior ability to find or track game. They would still have had the status of the hunter. The point is, that survival skills were and are a fluid thing, especially in the context of the tribe. because the social organization allows for some forms of specialization such as tool makers and Shaman, but genetically, they were part of the tribe. Tribalists are just not adaptive enough to sustain much specialization
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Specialized Nature of Humans
Species tend to specialize because there are just so many niches in any ecology. That was the point of Hutchinson's work in "Homage to Santa Rosalia". Some species though, hunter-gatherer humans in particular, were extremely generalist and opportunistic as far as the variety of what they ate. If it was not poisonous they ate just about everything that had any more nutritional content than cellulose. They had complex food preparation techniques and used fire to prepare some foods. That is a niche specific feature of the specie. Even in a generalist specie like humans though, there will be local and seasonal specialization. Bees are a good example that show a habit of specializing in one type of flower at a time, usually the most abundant, out of many available. They shift specialization as the season goes on or as conditions change, but they still concentrate on one type of flower at a time. (Eric Von Frisch)
Analysis of the situation shows that this specialization occurs for efficiency. Since the physical attributes of bees do not change, it must have to do with limitations on the bees' behavioral pattern. They do not adjust fast enough to be efficient at the variety of flower and they determine which specie is most productive at any time.
The tendency toward specialization of resource or food selection and the environmental conditions promoting it are observable in most organisms that are not genetically specialized anyway. Besides, variety other than for nutritional purposes is probably more important to humans than any other organism. Also, variety is most important when hunger is no problem.
The hunter-gatherer humans often went food collecting with particular objectives or locations in mind, but they were opportunistic and intelligent enough to exploit anything encountered. The greatest factors for dietary discrimination in hunter-gatherer humans would have been palatability. Obviously that would be influenced by hunger.
Humans are highly variable generalists, but we very often operate as specialists. One group of humans may subsist on a resource that is non-existent for another group. The human race is a generalist species that exploits just about anything that is available. Yet individuals, groups and tribes of humans tend to be rather specialized. This was especially true from the time of the first neolithic farmers when boundaries became very sharp between agriculturalists, pastoralists, paleolithics and different groups of each. Before that, humans were mostly divided by environmental or geologic barriers. Each tribe that took up the new niche offered by plant or animal husbandry became specialized to that domesticated crop. Eventually they added others, but humans still always act as specialists as to how they get their resources for living. That is a limitation created by the limit of the needs of any human and how they can be fulfilled by the resources of any particular environment. This and chance is what created the differences between peoples. Since we are largely alike in physiology, it must be considered that specialization reflects limitations on both resources and psychological abilities, both are factors subject to change.
Even though humans are generalists, tribes would specialize some, largely based on local conditions at different times. What one tribe used as a primary food source might not have existed for another tribe. Still the strategies for obtaining resources would have been basically related. These local specializations were fine as long as the local environment did not change greatly, but it did. Natural disasters, moving ice and other tribes would all cause disruptions that the tribe and individuals had to adapt to. In R ecologies (disturbed) status would come from demonstrated success. In K ecologies (stable), status would have come more from the appearance of a balance of the present survival strategies.
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In an ancient human society the social group was relatively unchanging. An individual was always dealing with the same group of individuals. In a situation where interaction is with a close community, moral strategies include honesty, loyalty and dependability. Survival was based on family and community structures to do the long task of child raising. All tribes followed long established survival patterns.
The social forms of the tribals included typical patriarchal or matriarchal hierarchies primarily based on family relationships. Always there is the aggressively based hierarchy of the males based on his potential for polygamy and aggressive dominance of resources other than females.
The female hierarchy was highly variable depending on locally dictated conditions and the nature of the social structure of the tribe. Many resources were controlled by the males, but female fertility was the preeminent value until the time of the cities.
Males exhibit fraternal behavior in that they enjoy each others company. This probably reflects the cooperation required for hunting. This cooperation ability is very important in a technological society. In any team effort, it is easy to see and understand the potentials that humans have that let them make a team more than an individual. This is an ability inherited from our ancestors that needed to be able to cooperate effectively while hunting. This cooperative potential will be as important in the future as it has been in the past, perhaps more.
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Fire, sticks, stone tools, customs, social forms and many other factors worked and interacted as humans in the basically stable ecology of the hunter-gatherer, were changed over time as selection and adaptation worked on the genes. The environmental features of hominid ecology underwent fairly continual change for 6,000,000 years ago until the last ice age.
The hunter-gatherer ecology was relatively stable in that the resources and resource acquisition strategies did not drastically change. Another indicator, population density, did not qualitatively change as has been happening since then. For 6 million years the hunter-gatherer existed without dominating or overwhelming their environment.
Development of human social, genetic and technical abilities along with the unstable conditions of the ice ages led to big game hunting. Largely it was this that set in motion broad changes in human ecology that are still progressing today, especially relating to technology and resource strategies. These changes will not stop until a relatively stable ecology is again achieved.
Human ancestor species were highly social before they entered this ecology and they became more so in the human tribal groups as it was favored by evolution. A good deal of intelligence is required for social behavior because it involves remembering and understanding interactions with many different individuals. According to Richard Leakey, social behavior before agriculture peaked with the big game hunters of 300,000 to 50,000 years ago. The hunting of large game animals required a high degree of communication, coordination, and cooperation. Then, when large beasts were caught, they were shared by the tribe.
During this whole time, evolution focused on tool using ability, bipedalism, dexterity, adaptability and social behavior. Cooperation, within the tribal social system, composed of families, was the basis of their survival. The term "tribal" refers to their basic survival strategy, which was also their social structure. A tribe is an organizational system.
Vision is still our primary sense and is now used for resource production and quality data acquisition. Bipedalism continues to provide for very versatile mobility (though we use machines to help now) and frees the hands to allow for mechanical manipulation. Hands that developed for grasping branches and grooming are now used for manipulating tools. The technical and social talents of the hunter-gatherer are now used in a different ecology for the academic and technical expertise that provides our energetic resources as well as our social organization techniques.
Hunter/gatherer/collector/scavenger humans were a broad ranged, highly social, primitive-tool using omnivore who used limited techniques, bipedalism, visual acuity and cooperation to become a predator at the top of the trophic levels, a herbivore utilizing high energy content plant food and a scavenger. Their most notable features were their individual behavioral adaptability or learning ability and the correspondingly long developmental period and need for extensive education. Also important was the extremely variable and adaptive social system.
Human survival is based on the cooperation of family groups to raise and educate children.
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4. Hereditary Sources and Ecological Change
This is a description of the cultural development and genetic sources of the Occidental or Western culture and society. It is largely according to the C. D. Darlington. This is information I would never have had the time and resource to accumulate. His books are brilliant, but at the same time, there may be historical details that are dated. Still, the pattern and is certainly correct. and can be used for this study. Ultimately, this kind of study will need to be done for the other sources of civil populations in the world centered in Asia, India and Meso-America.
Historical Western Humanity
This is an examination of humans in the time period that is referred to as history. This is pretty well defined as the time since the creation of the cities, when humanity started on a new course of social development. The consequences are amazing and overwhelmingly significant... and ongoing.
This chapter, as most of this book, focuses on the "Western Culture" that originated in the Middle East and developed the most in Europe and then the Americas. The same thing was happening in Asia, India and Mesoamerica. This kind of examination will apply to all races and eventually will be created for all races that survive, but this is the culture I know best and can describe the best. Most of this chapter is based on the work of C.D. Darlington.
Who were your ancestors? What were they really like? What was it about them that allowed all those ancestors, against all odds, survive to produce yourself? What traits from your tribal and historic ancestors, have you got that are what gave them the potential to survive until this time? What are you that is more than your ancestors were? Why and how is that other person different from yourself? What are the similarities? By the way, do you have a talent for mathematics?
Humans developed in small, relatively isolated tribes. With the rise of agriculture and civilization, some of these groups came together in cities. A stratified society developed to allow the different groups to work together and make their contribution to the society. Each tribe or caste specialized in an occupation and basically stayed adjacent, but separate.
Due to a slow continual mixing and hybridization of these tribal groups, largely due to cities, war and slavery, present humans are genetically different from the tribal groups that created the stratified society. The world was colonized by boat. During the time of history, boats were the main way that the world was connected.
About 400,000 years ago, humans developed the tools and skills necessary to hunt big game. This was actually the time that this present change in ecology was triggered. We still have not reached another stable ecology since that time. About 70,000 years ago, some groups developed agriculture. It was quite possibly conservative groups trying to preserve their way of life by preserving and nurturing the local wild crops. This led to the expansion of the "Neolithic" farming tribes that colonized much of the world before there were any civilizations. Their methods of cultivation were very crude and depleted the soil such that the groups had to remain relatively mobile. Over time, crops, livestock and the humans developed. Humans learned to build by doing terrace farming. This was also a way to farm that did not deplete the soil. It could be endlessly carried back up. They then expanded to farming in the floors of the river valleys. Soil was replenished by the flooding of the rivers and so the soil was not depleted. This allowed the formation of cities on the deltas between the Euphrates and Tigris Rivers. With the development of cities came revolutions in cultural evolution. It should be remembered that evolution always "works" to speed itself. With the rise of the cities, massive changes become only benchmarks. We developed agricultural technique, industry, early sciences, moralities and complex religions. Humans colonized the world primarily by boat. We developed metallurgy and went to the ends of the earth to seek copper and tin to make bronze. The niche of the warrior and the military ruler opened. Empires were created and the stratified society was developed.
Much of human progress started as technical developments, such as agricultural practices, animal husbandry, transport and warfare. Iron usage was learned. It is hard to estimate the importance of iron to the development of what humans are, but it is very easy to see its importance in history and empire. In response to the rule of iron, very powerful ideologies and religions were born. Advanced political forms were created, notably the American Constitution.
When looking at present circumstances, what peoples have created and thrived through these changes? This is a story of how the Sumerians, Semites, Indo-Europeans and Celts came together to make the core of the present occidental society.
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Sumerians, Semites and Indo Europeans
So where did you come from? If you are a contemporary occidental, your abilities to live in cities came from your Sumerian ancestors who built agricultural cities in Turkey, Iran and Iraq from about 6000 B.C. to 2000 B.C. Really, ongoing archaeological studies tend to keep pushing this back. Originally they were tribes, but over time they became a race. The Sumerians developed most of the civil and agricultural based industries including agricultural engineering, stone working, pottery, bronze working, milling, baking, record keeping and astronomy. Administration and organization was originally by priests. If you are any good at math, you probably got your talent for it from the astronomers and scribes of Sumeria.
This was the first civil society of differing tribes and the tribes had different moral systems. As the society developed and the tribes became occupational castes, there was no one moral system that would work for the different castes or that was acceptable. The first moral systems of the cities were simple and not adaptable enough to serve much more than the groups that developed them.
The moral system of peasants and slaves are enforced by the upper classes. The craftsmen and artisans would have required manual skills, coupled with intelligence and training. The knowledge of the earliest scribes, astronomers and priests may not have been extremely advanced, but it was extremely complex. These castes required very extensive education and discipline.
The history of Sumeria included back and forth raiding with their neighbors. They were attacked at times by mountain tribes, but mostly by shepherds. Peace was achieved by marriage. About 2400 B.C. they were conquered by Semitic pastoralists who replaced the priestly ruling class with a military government. In history, this is attributed to Sargon The Great.
For a thousand years, from the time of Sargon The Great, these "civilized" Sumerian-Semitic peoples hybridized and spread, selectively absorbing the local neolithic farmers and paleolithic hunter-gatherers. The civil people expanded the most, as a class, because the neolithic farming tribes had already expanded well before the creation of the cities. The niche for cities and their advanced techniques and organizational systems, was wide open. Human variation in appearance is highly related to the local populations that were encountered, but the ability to live in cities and tradition of living in cities came from the earliest civil groups.
The Semites added increased aggressiveness, intelligence and organization to the potentials of the Sumerians. In time, their development led to Egypt, Mesopotamia and the migrations of the Phoenicians, Minoans and the Megalithic tribes.
All modern occidental people include this hybrid Sumerian-Semitic base that included Semitic aggressiveness and intelligence as well as the original Sumerian timidity and civil and technical potentials.
Like all of the earliest civilizations, Sumerian agriculture depended on the soil that was replenished by the river. Agriculture probably originated as terrace farming on the side of river valleys. It was only later, with the development of better crops and farmers, that they progressed to the irrigation and farming of the flat delta areas of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. The consequence of this is that very early on, the agriculturists developed rock building techniques for constructing terraces. Obviously these skills left what we see today as the most visible and lasting records of the earliest civilizations.
Then came the impact of the Indo-European Tribes. They were pastoralists from the area of the Caucus Mountains and south western Russia. They have been miscalled Aryans, who apparently were just one tribe and they went to the east rather than the west. The names heard for the people that went west, are the Scythians, Mittani and the Hittites. They were known to the Sumerians as conquering invaders. Later in Greece, they were called the Dorians and Ionians. They aggressively conquered what civilization there was, culminating when the Indo-European Greeks of Mycenae conquered the last great element of the Sumerian-Semitic civilization, Minoan Crete. Ultimately this led to the rise of Rome, a culture that led to the civil, social, political and religious forms that have endured until recently. From then on, the written history of western humans is how the Sumerian-Semitic civilized peoples accommodated and then hybridized with the conquering pastoralists. Historically, again the pattern was marriage to create peace.
According to C.D. Darlington, linguistics suggests that even before the colonizing expeditions, the Sumerians had encountered the Indo-Europeans. The Sumerians used the Indo-European words for cattle and bronze.
So the Indo-Europeans selectively got the Sumerian timidity, civil and technical potentials as well as some Semitic aggressiveness and intelligence. The reason the Indo-Europeans replaced the Semitics as the holders of the ruling position was the degree, nature and organization of their aggressiveness. From the Indo-Europeans, the Sumerian-Semites got intelligence, aggressiveness and especially important at the time, organization.
It is time to pause to discuss a little of the meaning and importance of aggressiveness. Aggressive is usually taken to mean simply violence or threat of violence, yet it has many more important meanings. It also means "active". It can be associated with the basis of personal survival, creativity, exploitation, drive, violence, love, protectiveness and many other important human attributes. Aggressiveness enhances all behaviors where an active state works better than a passive state. This is the importance of aggressiveness now. The directly violent aspects of aggressiveness will actually be considered as a separate section.
At the time that the Indo-European tribes were conquering the ancient east, aggressiveness simply meant the talent and inclination towards wars of conquest. The rise of the cities brought many peoples together. That created not only material wealth, but also the potential for political power. The pastoralist were used to fighting among themselves and so were able to fill the power vacuum. The Indo-Europeans replaced the Semitics as the ruling class due both to the nature of their aggressiveness and their organizational ability.
Now the violent aspects of aggressiveness can be seen, but more importantly are the positive effects of aggressive drive when it fuels the creativity of a craftsman, artist or scientist. Over time, the civil races selectively absorbed the aggressive potentials of the aggressive tribes. This hybridization makes us potentially much more aggressive than our early city ancestors. We are aggressive enough that the niche that was completely open at the beginning of the cities, is now almost completely closed. Warfare is more costly now, because most peoples are potentially good fighters now.
This does not discuss aggressiveness as a primary reproductive behavior. That is for another chapter. but this does give enough of a description of the breadth of the meaning of aggressive behavior, to show some of its importance to humans. Aggressiveness has created both destructive violence and much of the creativity that has built civilization and allowed humans to use their minds to understand and manipulate their world.
So far as these ancestral traits mentioned are concerned, the easiest to observe are Sumerian intelligence, especially indicated by mathematical ability, and Indo-European aggressiveness. Both Semitic and Indo-European intelligence can be observed, but they are less noticeable as primarily they add to the Sumerian base. Predators tend to be more intelligent than their prey and hunting or fighting other humans, as pastoralists did due to the economics of their way of life, also requires more intelligence.
The Indo-Europeans showed a talent for organization in the beginning. They could organize what they conquered. Usually competition at the top of the social structure, the ruling class, is extremely tough. So the Indo-European ruling class survived only if they improved their organizational skills.
The Sumerians created the multi-racial stratified city. It was a civil plan that kept different peoples adjacent to utilize their different talents, yet reproductively separate as to perpetuate each group's contribution to the city. They were separated according to occupational nature as different castes. This was a step in social organization and represented Indo-European talent for organization.
The Semites changed it from a society dominated by priests, to a militarily dominated society. The Indo-Europeans followed and replaced them. The Persians, Alexander, created great empires. This whole system expanded, hybridized and evolved. It culminated with the Romans whose law, precedent and tradition still hold sway today. The system initiated by the Romans was restructured into the monarchy and the Catholic church. The fall of the monarchies of Europe was the end of the political entity in the tradition of Babylonia, started by or before the first Indo-Europeans. The end of the monarchies and the two world wars show the end of the power vacuum that was created by the creation of the cities.
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The description of the development of the Sumerian/Semitic/Indo-Europeans to present day is only to tell the written record of the history of the time and peoples. At the same time there was a different society developing in parallel that left a different kind of record and developed different habits.
The contribution of the Celts to modern European society is extremely important, but due to the lack of written history or other sources, it is rather hard to describe. Also, the importance of the Megalithics in this society can only be guessed at.
The importance of the Celts seems to stem from the result when the older civil races met and hybridized with them. This always initiated historical changes.
A problem arises when talking about the importance of Celts to the older European civil races. The discussion considers the Celts to be the local indigenous tribes in the area of the Eastern Atlantic. It may be that much of the importance of their contributions came from their earlier encounters with very early Sumerians.
The Megalithic tribes organized well planned colonizing expeditions starting about the time of early Egypt. They were Sumerian/Semitic hybrids including priests, builders and sailors. They fit well into the societies they found along the Mediterranean coast and European Atlantic coast where their ships took them. They were urbanites that entered a tribal environment, bringing techniques and beliefs that were readily assimilated by the local peoples. Their genes were assimilated too. They left behind characteristic monuments, tombs and cemeteries such as Stonehenge and Car Nac. Their greatest impact though was that the Celtic hybrids were very dynamic and set off the chain of events that led to the modern world, including science.
They left the main centers of civilization before the main Indo-European impacts. Communication was maintained for 2000 years by Phoenician traders, but there is little written record of these people. Scribes could not expect employment in a colony, so they did not go on the expeditions. Still the record is there in the stones and the genes. There were astronomers and some theories have been advanced that some of the expeditions may have been scientific. They may have run a gold trade (Ross and Robbins).
The peoples that the expeditions met had low melatonin levels in response to the lower light level of the higher latitudes. One race was distinctively red haired, light skinned, freckled and quite aggressive. They might be called proto-Celts. They are well represented today by appearance and their temperament might be considered characteristic. They apparently correspond to the Indo-Europeans in that they contributed useful aggressive characteristics to the more timid Sumerian base that colonized on the Atlantic shores. The only representatives of these tribes, in behavior or appearance, are now thoroughly hybridized with the Megalithic-Sumerian/Semitic base or else they have trouble adjusting to the civil society. The Sumerian/Semitics got aggressiveness and some characteristics of intelligence as well as other characteristics of the passionate hardy peoples of the shores and forests of Europe. The local populations got the basic potentials of civilization.
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The expanding civil tribes did not move into areas that were completely empty. There were many local indigenous groups. To the largest extent they failed to compete, but often, they would have been selectively absorbed. Beauty would have been a trait that would have been perpetuated by the civil tribes on an individual level. Some tribes would have succeeded in surviving by diplomacy, valuable local skills, or an aggressive nature that promoted diplomatic solutions by the invaders.
Quite possibly the traveling Sumerians met and hybridized with the Reindeer followers like present day Lapps. This could be consequential because they are adapted to such an extreme environment. The Beaker folk may well be one of the tribes that joined to become the Celts.
Obviously, from looking at modern Europeans, there is great variation in physical appearance. To a large extent, this represents the appearance of local tribal people that got assimilated. The appearance of our psychologies are more similar. Though you can recognize physical characteristics of these ancestral racial sources, the psychological traits are much more common. The adaptations to urban life, inherited from the Sumerians, is almost universal to any occidental that is comfortable with urban living. Your ancestors were some survivors. You are far hardier and aggressive than your Sumerian ancestors. Your aggressiveness primarily comes from the Indo-Europeans or the redheads of the Atlantic coast or both. The Indo-Europeans included the Greek colonizations and the Romans as well as other ambitious groups that widely traveled and conquered. In consequence, the Indo-Europeans aggressive characteristics are more widely represented than that of the red heads. In general, the further west in Europe, the less the presence of the Indo-Europeans and the more the presence of the Megalithic. The method of warfare of the Indo-Europeans was dependent on mobility of chariot and horse. It did not work so well in the European forest. Apparently the Indo-European descended iron smiths were quite welcome though, because much of that period of history was about the magic of the iron smith and the felling of the Great European Forest. Other tribes and individuals were able to find a niche in the city by aggressiveness, beauty, intelligence or some other trait that fit into the city.
Through this all was the effect of war and slavery leading to further mixing of the tribes.
It must be remembered that it is not just the potential of any particular trait that determines the result of selection. As important is the result when it is hybridized with the Sumerian and other base races. If it does not act as a complement to the base genes, it will be selected against some, independent of its own merit. It is all a balance. All existing occidental traits hybridize well with the traits of the base races. It can cause conflicting pulls, as will be discussed later.
The historic descriptions could actually be misleading or even inaccurate. It has been said that there may not be a connection between the Megalithics and the Celts. It seems unlikely. In any case, it seems that the Celts did have very special potentials. The observational descriptions might even be questionable in some particular. The important point though, is that the characteristics and potentials of our ancestors are clearly visible today. Observation will certainly fail to accurately describe the meanings and selective forces that have led to the genetic combinations of present humanity. Chromosomal study should accurately determine the racial and characteristic makeup of our population and any individual. Modern racial descriptions will tend to fall apart under close examination of different genetic sources. We will have to utilize what potentials are available.
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Genetics - War, Faith and Disease
It is easy to see that the warrior often had great competitive advantages in the civil society as it developed. There were also great limitations. Once a warrior group conquered a people they tended to get assimilated or eventually lose control. Until the time of Alexander, warriors never learned how to make warfare lead to a useful niche in the society. Warfare does not inherently produce its own niche. The Greeks with their incredible city state wars eventually learned the unprofitability of war. As soon as the conquest was done, the talents of the warrior tended to be less important than the talents of the civil populations. Of course, by that time, the warriors owned or taxed what they wanted. The net result tended to be that the warrior had a reproductive advantage. His genes tended to be very successfully hybridized with the civil populations. At present, in the highly hybridized population in the United States, almost everyone is hybridized enough with warriors to be able to act as a warrior. This is true to a lesser extent in Europe. Many traits would contribute to success as a warrior, including speed, coordination, endurance, control under stress and organization, as well as aggressiveness. During history the traits of the warrior groups, primarily pastoralist groups, increased greatly.
Another genetic potential that was focused on by selection during this time, was a general response to the overwhelming problems presented by surviving and adapting to completely new ecologies. This was the basic survival instinct. The will to survive under any condition and adversity. It was what allowed cultures and individuals to survive while completely subjugated as slaves by warrior societies. Many species are so fragile that when their situation changes, they are basically paralyzed. They die without much of an attempt to adapt. Humans are extremely adaptive and will struggle against any odds. This basic survival instinct operates within the context of the individual, family and community/tribe. It is a behavior like others with a genetic basis that comes into play under environmental stimulation. It may grow slowly or burst forth suddenly when circumstances demand. It is the genetic base that causes humans to learn and use the learned survival strategies called moralities. It was probably the main focus of evolutionary selection through most of history and before. The only name generally given to this basic survival instinct that has allowed us to survive and adapt is Faith. It is a loaded word. Because of its importance to human survival it has gotten associated with religions which claim to be its source. Truly, faith is the source and religion is the product. It seems quite likely that faith and morality, in the context of the tribe, was what actually caused the rise and expansion of the neolithics.
Another primary focus of evolution during this time would have been a response to disease. An inevitable consequence of greater population density and greater communication between populations, would be an increase in the rate of communicable disease. The stories of plagues echo through history to the present. Time and again, historical events can be related to a specific event of disease. Part of the response in some cultures, were the development of sanitary practices, often as a part of a moral system. The idea of the Kosher practices of the Jews were primarily a response to reduce disease. In Europe though, people seemed in general to not associate disease and sanitation, so they relied on natural selection. It could be expected that human immune systems have constantly developed from the time of the first cities.
Through the time period called history, it is basically a story of the expansion and development of the occidental society. In many cases the term development means an increase in complexity. Humans main genetic potential for responding to their society is intelligence. Through all of the development of human society, selection has focused on intelligence. This is especially true during the demanding period that has been recent history.
These are considerations of general selective trends. Each caste had selective pressures particular to their different niches. The rulers got more talented at ruling and organization. The warrior got better at the talents of war. The craftsman got better at tool making and tool use. The farmer got better at understanding plant, animals, weather and soil. The scribe developed greater intellectual potentials. Many of these improvements in potentials occurred due to the results of hybridizations between different castes as well as hybridizations between different tribes of the same occupational caste. It seems that the ruling castes, while often practicing marriage for its economic and political functions, often tried selective breeding of their caste. They knew the precariousness of their position.
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So these are the ancestral races of the occidental culture. They are almost universally Sumerian/Semitics from the Ancient East or else the Atlantic coast Megalithics. Also the Indo- Europeans are about all pervasive as are the Proto-Celts, in the areas of the Megalithics. Then there are the local tribes that got selectively absorbed. So what is the context that these all fit into? It is the culture that developed in and around the cities. The way that the social system of the cities was organized was called the stratified society. Human habit in cities was to divide themselves according to the occupation of the tribal components of the city. Each tribal component became a caste. Each caste kept separate to preserve the traits that allowed them to fill their occupational niche. Religion was what each caste used to preserve its identity by promoting perpetuation of the community. The simplest possible schematic description of the stratified society, such as Sumeria, would have at least three components. A base of peasant farmers to provide food, craftsmen to make farming tools and to do construction and a priestly class for leadership and organization.
When Sargon conquered Sumeria, this social form was forced to accommodate another component, a military ruling class. They took on some of the functions of the priests, but mostly they were filling the new niche that had opened up for warriors. At different times and locals there were various tribes or castes that specialized as woodworkers, potters, masons, metalworkers, builders, miners, sailors and other occupations that could fit into the cities. As wealth increased and different groups became more affluent, such as the miller being more wealthy than the farmer that produces the grain, economic classes developed that corresponded to the tribal-occupational castes.
Not only did each tribal caste have the potential to fulfill one particular occupational function in the city, but also the best place to learn an occupation is in the home. Widely, the law was that son shall follow father in occupation. Then the whole system was formalized by Alexander and it is pretty much the way it has remained until recently.
This has been a history lesson according to Darlington. It is a description of social development during history in the context of genetics. The following section is about the same time period, but from a more social than genetic development perspective.
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Note that that description and what follows here is flawed. This is a fairly traditional model of social development, but we know that that view will be changed because of recent archeological discoveries in Turkey at Göbekli Tepe. It has always been assumed that farming led to villages, then to cities and then to monuments and temples. The recent find of the 12,000 year old temple complex shows that a major temple created in neolithic times preceded all known cities. The implications of this are not presently known, but it is almost certain to change what we believe about human development. Still, the following description is useful for laying out a basic description of social development.
Farming - Before there were any villages even, there were Neolithic farmers. Their crops would have been limited and they would still have relied on hunting, gathering and scavenging as they always had. Early farming techniques would not have reliably produced food season to season. Even as crops improved and permanent villages began, crops may even have been used more as trade goods, but it would have been a significant change that would have provided more food. Developing metallurgy provided plows to break new soils and animal husbandry produced animals to pull the plows. History was largely about the spread of farming. Those farming techniques developed as did the crops, but there were no qualitative changes even when mechanization replaced muscle power, though that reduced the number of people it took to farm. Eventually things changed. Starting in the 1960's, great increases in crop yields were accomplished by the heavy use of nitrate and phosphate fertilizers. Unfortunately they cause downstream pollution and those fertilizers are limited. They will be mostly used up in less than 50 years. At the same time, technology produces new crops that can survive with less fertilizer and less water or that can survive in places that crops formerly could not, such as salt tolerant varieties. Other non-depletive and innovative farming technologies have been developed and more are being developed.
It is interesting to note that there is a form of farming that is non-depletive. Terrace farming included bringing the soil from the bottom of the hill to the top as it naturally moved down. It was very labor intensive, but an interesting example. New methods of farming are being developed that produce food economically. It is very hard to say what methods of food production will be made available by technology in the future Genetic engineering has offered new crops that are far more productive and can grow where crops have not in the past. Some are self fertilizing. Algae may be convertible into great tasting foods. What is sure is that we will not continue farming as we have.
Herding seems to be about as old as farming, but is a very different lifestyle that included raiding and led to the military castes. Herding generally was practiced where the animals could be supported by grazing on native vegetation, but where conditions were not good enough for there to be farming. The herder would drive their flock from area to area to graze. Using mobility they were able to take advantage of areas with few resources. As farming developed into new lands, the farmer competed with the herders for land.
In developed countries, meat production is about as mobile as farming. The time of the herder is mostly past. Current meat production methods are very resource demanding, particularly of water. There are ethical issues as well that tradition have caused to be unasked. In any case, it seems likely that fairly soon, most meat production will be by tissue culture. It is hard to say what that may make available, considering that it may be more practical, healthy and tasty to culture meats that are not currently imagined as dinner. Meat replacements have never been widely accepted due to inferior taste, but that may change with technology that could soon create very tasty meat replacements from plant products.
Boats were how the world was colonized. Their importance through history cannot be underestimated regarding their effect on the movement and mingling of both peoples and cultures. Now their greatest importance is the transport of materials and goods. They tie the world economy and peoples ever closer together. Currently their historical function of moving people has been replaced by airliners, but it is mostly only a quantitative change in the sense of how fast, not in how peoples move around the world to live and mingle.
Villages represented an increase in social organization and population density. They and their associated farming practices were a response to environmental degradation.
Cities developed with the development of crops and with farming techniques that included large scale diversion of water from rivers. The surplus food produced led to trade and economics. Cities also represented a change to higher population densities and increased disease vectors. that was probably a case of co-development.
Military Rule transferred increased resources to pastoralist tribal groups that traditionally practiced inter-tribal raiding. Military rule led to larger and larger organizations and then ultimately to nations. The military ruled the world. That seems to be changing, but it is hard to say. War is destructive. It may become rare because its economic model is inefficient and not resource creative or it may become more common as we compete for limited resources. The future of war will be determined by the populations that use resources and the technologies that produce them. It is interesting that what we consider cities were mostly a military creation. In the West, they were largely a product of Roman development. That was probably a case of co-development. Rome provided peace and order while the cities supported the Roman Empire. Before that, there were cities based on trade, but aside from ports they were usually far more limited. Certainly roads were more a product of the military than of trade.
Various highly cooperative and social organization philosophies, including numerous religions and associations, were developed and experimented with. Philosophies and sciences were born in various cultures. Science has been ascendant while the religions have waned. The value of science and technology has been shown to be so great that it will undoubtedly grow. We see that as the human future no matter what we make humans look like. Religion is another matter. Some of its functions like directing the planting and organization of the society have been replaced or diminished. Some of its beliefs have been discredited or become unfashionable, but its basic function has been about the survival of peoples. It has husbanded and taught moralities. It has created peoples and their communities. It is hard to say if that function can be replaced. It may be that with religions would add to their functions by taking on the task of explicitly studying moralities for a changing world instead of just relying on the methods that come from the past. They could take on the function of husbanding the knowledge of genetics as well. They might be well suited to that. In a sense, politics is inherently about moralities of wealth and power. While religions have often been diverted from their tasks, religion is inherently about the morality of survival. I doubt that will soon be replaced.
Muscle power was replaced by mechanical power led to practical large scale farming and transport. At the same time it started the closing a significant niches based on unskilled physical labor, some of it equine. Most developments have lead to new niches opening. In this case, a niche was closing as well.
Antibiotics have reduced general mortality and natural selection. They have contributed to over population. They have also saved a great deal of human investment
Women entering the workplace in industrial societies was largely initiated as a response to mechanized warfare. It both produced more resources and reduced reproduction. It continues because of individual aspirations and practicality. The traditional roles of the past seem changed. The need for the muscle power that drove farming and industry is passing. Now the competition seems to be between the demands of businesses and the family. Women function and compete well in that environment. Still it must be balanced with the family. Women have a special place in child raising, which must be the most basic industry of any society. Currently we all have ambitions and desires. Change is happening. All roles exist. The future of women's roles are as unpredictable as their current individual roles are now.
Birth control may be the most important development in terms of long term effects of the ecology. In the short term, it has already changed reproductive habits in most societies. Currently, overpopulation is one of the worst disasters in the world. Theoretically, disease may well change that, but all species reach a balanced population. It is just that humans will have to do it by choice or we will not be in a new ecology.
In a way, use of computers is like replacing muscle with mechanical energy. It both provides efficiency of resource production as well as closing off some occupational niches. They can provide for increases in efficiency of most human systems. Computers are also going to be associated with the development of Virtual Realities. Their educational potentials are just starting to be realized.
Humans intentionally using genetic husbandry will be a massive effect that may be able to offset the effects of medicine and higher population density. It will be a critical component to humans adapting to any new physical ecologies we can develop. Ultimately it will make humans transition to what would be by many standards, a new specie. It must be considered in a moral context.
The effect of Artificial intelligence and Virtual reality are fairly unpredictable, but they will be discussed further on in the book. Some potentials are rather surprising and amazing.
Global climate change, human caused or natural, is certainly a change in the ecology by any definition. Just how it will effect humans is unpredictable just now, but like many things, depending on how humans respond, it could be catastrophic or it could force us to develop into more than we presently are. Looking at the normally rather variable nature of the Earth's environment, it seems likely that there will likely be an ongoing value to the ability to influence the macro environment of the Earth whether it goes hot or cold. In general humans are going to have to come to the understanding that the environment of the Earth is their basic life support system and treat it as such. In the meantime, Global climate change may force humans into greater population density and more isolation from the natural environment.
Be aware that though it was Kings and wars that dominate the history books, much of history and progress was made by cooperation by individuals and societies. The plow rarely shows up in history books, but it was a large part of what made history.
These topics will be touched upon in more detail as they appear in the book, but are mentioned together here as important basic parts that are elements of ongoing changes in human ecology. This may be a description of a change from the last stable ecology to the next, but the last stable ecology was a while ago and the next one is currently unknown. Any useful description of human ecologies, including potential future ones, is going to have to describe important points in between without getting bogged down mistaking any transient ecologies for long term stable ones.
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So did we make any progress in all this time, since the beginning of the cities, agriculture, warfare, the stratified society or any of these other genetic and social changes we have already experienced? We have genetically hybridized and developed under great selective pressures. We have learned a lot about the arts, technologies, philosophy and we have developed science as a very useful tool. We have had cultural revolution after cultural revolution within the space of generations. Moralities and genetics evolve. It is a real problem of our genetic potentials adapting to these changes and then causing more cultural changes that require more adaptation. It is a little amazing that we have been able to adapt this far. It has been done by the hybridization and then adaptation of the tribal or caste components of the society. Each nation or race has many of the same basic requirements that have to be fulfilled be different castes. The temperament and nature of the members of the same caste from different races is likely to be more similar than between members of different castes of the same race. That is to say that the nature of a farmer or warrior of one nation is more similar to a farmer or warrior from another nation than is the nature of the farmer and the warrior from the same nation. Racial, tribal, nations, families and castes all have mobile, but useful meanings. The stratified society worked very well, but there were social disruptions and practices that allowed hybridization between races and castes. War and slavery had this effect too. These were followed by periods of social stability and the castes were again effectively segregated by available occupation (this is called assortive mating). Since the sixteenth century, there have been signs of the growing effects of this hybridization, including the Protestant movement. The rise of the Protestants was a rejection of the existing social form. Those groups were hybridized enough that they did not need or desire the old social form with its excessive rigidity. The upper castes and classes had enough reproductive advantage that a great percentage of the population had the potentials and characteristics of the upper classes. It ended up that they were not as dependent or subject to the rule of the upper classes. Many individual communities contained all the skills necessary to their society including organization and defense. In ways this is similar to a tribal situation. From before the time of Luther, there were Protestant groups that though persecuted, continued to grow. Then when Henry VIII replaced the Catholic Church in England, many of the Protestants went there. They were not all that welcome there, so funny thing, They ended up going to America.
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That is you. Not necessarily your religion, but your breeding and background. Most Americans, Europeans and some Middle Easterners are this high quality hybrid of different races and classes. The development of humankind has been the coming together of peoples. Some groups are very widely represented, but the abilities of innumerable tribes and races are still there and doing quite well. This applies to the Asian and Indian civilizations, though there are differences, particularly in how the Asian castes developed as Asians seem to be far more genetically homogeneous, but it was still a story of the coming together of peoples and cultures. Time will reveal more about the nature of the Meso-American peoples.
All modern occidentals have the Sumerian ability to physically tolerate living in the physical conditions of the city. They also have the aggressive potentials and intelligence of the Semites.
This discussion of social habits of humans in the tribal and stratified societies could be expanded and then compared with the observable and predictable features of the technologically based society that is presently developing.
Because biological systems are inherently conservative, the discussion should be about the similarities between the tribal or stratified societies and the technological society. It is referred to as a technologically based society because of the source of our energy and resources. The stratified society is basically about tribes that live with other tribes and how they have organized into a larger society. Mobility, communication and technology are ending the basis of the tribe and the stratified society by promoting hybridization between tribes. Hybridization, by itself facilitated by the niches opened by technical and social development, would eventually end the historic form of the stratified society by changing aspects of what humans are. We would no longer be tribal. Changes due to hybridization might proceed slowly though, because the stratified society does work pretty well and the system is very conservative. Politics could slow social change, but there are other overwhelming factors, especially genetics, that are going to rapidly propel us into some fundamental changes in the nature of humans and society.
Both the Indo-Europeans and the Celts contributed important aggressive potentials to the civil populations. Though they both contributed behavioral potentials that serve similar purposes, they developed under very different conditions and so should be different in many ways.
The hunter-gatherer ecology was relatively stable in population size and resource utilization over a long period of time. Population size and resource utilization are presently undergoing drastic changes. Humans are in a transition between stable ecologies. If the human specie survives, we will again reach a state of stable population and resource utilization. At least in some local context and time frame. This might be a relatively non-technical ecology like the hunter-gatherer, but if humans retain technology, the ecology will be very different from anything before. Local is going to refer to planets and archology habitats. The time frame is as predictable as human preference. The overall transition has already shown a system where technology is facilitated by specialization of reproductive groups into occupational sub-niches or castes. Instead of hunter- gatherer, it might be called "stratified". We may have reason to use that system again, but it seems more likely that the stratified society is just one step in the development to a different social form that can be stable. The genetic basis of the stratified society is inherently unstable, In any case, our energetic acquisition strategy will be totally dependent on technique and planning to exploit renewable or relatively limitless resources, usually where there was no resource for the tribal human.
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5. Energetics and Resources
1. Energetics - General
2. Limiting Factors
4. Hunter / Gatherer, Big Game Hunters, Agriculture, Technology
5. Tools / Technology and Resources / Energy
6. Symbiosis, Predator / Prey - Standard Definition
7. Living Space and Archologies
The hunter-gatherer ecology was relatively stable in population size and resource utilization over a long period of time. This is not to say that there were no fluctuations (humans almost died out completely at least once), but if you consider the 6 million year time period and the overall population number of humans during that time, the average year to year change in population number was less than the count of fingers on your hand. Population size has recently increased by a factor of perhaps 1000. We use resources that did not exist or were of no use to the hunter-gatherer. Our main energy supply is fossil fuels, but will not be in 100 years. If the human specie survives, we will again reach a state of stable population and resource utilization.
Energetics, how a specie acquires and uses its food and other resources, is a basis of ecology. Energetics is the term used to describe all of the physical resources utilized by an individual or organism. Energetics is the basis of ecology and evolution because it describes organismic life as a function of thermodynamics. Evolution is a facet of entropy and probability in that the organization of all living organisms is maintained by increasing the disorganization of the organisms system. Ecology is that system. Probability intrudes at the molecular level in that high enthalpy primal molecules randomly combined to initially create life that could maintain its organization and reproduce by degrading a resource in the environment.
Evolution occurs when probability at the molecular level creates a change in genetics appropriate to successful exploitation of resources in the environment. In ecology or evolution, the primary goal of a specie is considered to be survival in an evolutionary sense. That includes not just individual or group survival, but also continued reproductive survival. At the level of the individual and the level of the specie, reproduction must be the ultimate goal of the energetic utilization strategy or the specie goes extinct.
Since the ultimate goal of any species resource utilization strategy must be survival in the evolutionary sense, the value of resources can be quantified on the basis of their relationship to survival. In any ecology will be limiting factors that determines the carrying capacity of the environment. The limiting factors in any ecology may be the main selective effects on the specie. This could be food, water, climate extremes, usable cover from predators, disease or other factors that are what limit the population of the specie.
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The Energetic Habits Of The Paleolithic Collector/Gatherer/Hunter
For six million years the hunter-gatherer ecology was relatively stable. An organism foraging for plant food and doing small game hunting could have survived indefinitely without overwhelming the ecology. This is not to say that there was no local damage. On the contrary, as suggested by studies of pinion nut hunters, humans probably had drastic effects on local environments. Still, population density was low enough that the tribe moved on and the environment recovered. Their techniques were not effective enough to cause irreparable damage to the larger ecology. Certainly, they did cause extinctions of some particularly vulnerable local species. In any case, their effects were negligible compared to the ongoing changes to the polar ice packs.
Calling humans generalists refers to what resources they can utilize. Compared to other animals, we can eat just about anything. Not only that, there is also a wide variation in what food was utilized in different local populations. Populations one place might depend on resources non-existent for other populations. This is true of tools and shelter as well. Human tribes came up with local solutions dictated by local needs, materials and techniques.
The main components of human energetic resources were food, shelter, clothing, tools, techniques and fire. Tribal humans well know the plants and animals of their world. They know their location and seasonal abundances. It seems that the digging stick produced more calories than the spear, but most resources were exploited. Also depending on local circumstances there would likely be variations in the role of each sex in obtaining food. It appears that in the commonest situation, the female specialized more towards obtaining vegetable foods that provided most of the calories and the men specialized more towards obtaining meat foods that provided more protein.
Where necessary, hunter-gatherer humans built simple shelters or utilized natural features for protection from the elements and predators. The loin cloth probably developed for protection from bushes, but the concept of clothing to avoid chill probably came easily particularly as peoples expanded into the more northern latitudes. Early tribal humans probably used mud for sun protection as the natives of the Americas do.
The ecology of the hunter/gatherer was based on the potential of energy efficient bipedalism. This was both to cover large areas with widely dispersed food or water resources and for following and overtaking game. The exceptional eyesight that our ancestors developed for living in trees, was now used for high quality scanning of the area foraged. The great dexterity of the fingers allowed collecting of food that was not concentrated.
During the later parts of this ecology, fire was used for warmth, cooking, protection and sometimes for working materials. Fire was one of the tools that eventually led to significant changes in human ecology.
Big Game Hunters - Neolithics
After six million years of mental and technical development in that ecology, humans developed the tools, techniques and potentials to hunt big game such as horse, rhino, camel, giraffe and even the great mammoth. The weapons were still primarily stone and wood, but the techniques to make and use them had changed. This really represented changes in human potentials. Humans were able to communicate and coordinate well enough to be able to take down big animals. Then they shared the catch. The communication necessary for group hunting and the corresponding social cooperation represent the potentials of the human neocortex that evolved during the previous millions of years.
These improved tools and techniques opened up new territories and niches. Of course, the niches of the big game hunters tended to be short lived. Their strategies tended to be extremely destructive. Food preservation techniques were limited such that a great deal of food was wasted. Prey populations were quickly depleted or exterminated. It has been suggested that it was humans that drove the mammoth to extinction and that it could have only taken 500 years. Richard Leakey says that this period lasted roughly between the period 400,000 to 70,000 years ago.
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It seems that it was the same intellectual potentials that had allowed big game hunting, that led to agriculture. As the big game animals became scarce, some of the local populations discovered early concepts of agriculture. It was probably a conservative reaction in response to the visible depletion of the environment. In ways that ecology was very similar to the ecology before the big game hunters, because the tribes were still mobile and opportunistic. The most advanced forms of neolithic farming include slash and burn to prepare the site. Within a few years, that method inevitably depletes the soil and the tribe must move on.
Considering lack of agricultural sophistication, crop variety and irrigation, it is believed that early agriculture would not have developed in valleys. It would be too dry. Instead it probably developed on hillsides. A progression to terrace farming and irrigation can be easily extrapolated. Crops developed and new ones were domesticated. Within 70,000 years the mobile tribal neolithic farmer was largely replaced by the sedentary civil agriculturist.
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The value of knowledge as a resource is defined by what it provides to the individual or group for survival, especially over time. Knowledge may bestow resources to overcome limitations within the ecology where survival would be impossible otherwise. As such, the value of the knowledge may be described quantitatively. Without knowledge of stone tools or fire, humans could not have exploited much of the world that they have.
Many other vertebrates acquire extensive data and technique by communication. It can be memories of seasonal abundance, use of stones or sticks for obtaining food or even the use of chewed leaves as a sponge to pick up water, as some primates do. No animal is as good at making tools or as dependent on them as humans.
Technology refers to the use of tools and the methods of using them, specifically tools far more complex than handmade stone or metal implements. This includes tools that produce far more power than muscle can and tools that make choices. Also tools for making other tools. One of the main focuses of evolution, during much of human development, has been for the ability to make and use tools. Humans have co-evolved with their tools. Anthropologists have described human development in terms of the complexity of the tools that they could produce. Recently, humans have developed qualitatively new types of tools and techniques. In biological terms, technological development represents another unprecedented revolution. Technology could be considered as an institution, but it is so important that it must be examined as basic to human energetic strategies.
If you look at technological development since the time of the cities, it did improve the tools, particularly farming implements like the plow. Unfortunately, the greatest part of technological development was for war.
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Human Symbiotic relationships
The development of agriculture represents the transition of humans from predators to symbionts. Instead of just hunting animals and plants, we nurtured and husbanded them. We promoted animal crops by protecting them from predators and providing them with food and water. We have promoted plant crops by planting them as well as providing protection, water and nutrients. We have even manipulated different species to produce desirable hybrids. We have even nurtured plants such as the navel orange that would not exist without humans. The future of symbiosis for humans an important consideration, especially in light of the potential of genetic engineering.
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Living Space and Archologies
A relatively closed system that can support human life is called an archology. The earth is the first archology. A territory that supports a tribe could be called an archology, even though it is only relatively closed. A single family farm could be called the same, with understanding that the designation only refers to the needs of space and resource, generation by generation. Socially, the most basic archology for modern humans is the city with its food and natural resources. How non-polluting or closed any system is, becomes a critical point. In the future, cities will have to be archologies. Our ability to develop archologies will be a major factor effecting population size. How many people the Earth archology can support will partly depend on how clean our habits are.
Long before history, humans had to deal with both pollution and damage to the ecology. Now that there are more humans and our individual resource appetite has gone way up, it becomes a much greater problem. It used to be that the goal was to conquer nature. Now we must try to save her. Nature on this world is our life support system. It gives us our food, water, air and protection. It is the only real thing that we have got.
It has been shown that tribes that collect pinion nuts can cause great changes in the environment. Enough so, that the tribes could no longer subsist in that area. Studies of fossil pollen showed a complete change in the ecology within 200 years. Neolithic humans, by their big game hunting, exterminated probably half of the species of mammals that existed 500,000 years ago. In historic times, the devastation has continued and accelerated. Now, due to the effects of fossil fuels and damage to the ozone, we could make the earth a very difficult place for humans to live. There are many other dangers as well and new technologies will potentially produce even more. Much present and future technology must be specialized for cleaning up pollution.
There is much energy and resource available outside of the gravity wells. Another living space niche that may get exploited would be underground. To many, it would not be comfortable, but if a population developed the habits and techniques, the size of the niche would be incredible. All of these would be called archologies.
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Communication and Transport
One of the major developments of human resource strategies could be called communication and transportation. In general, the consequences include the movement of individuals and populations. The whole change that humans are presently experiencing is largely based on the mixing of different peoples. Early tribes migrated great distances on foot for many reasons. Boats have always been integral to movement. The roots of civilization were spread by ships in the colonizations of the Megalithics and the Greeks. Animals and carts transported people, materials and armies all over the world. Any innovation in transportation technology, past or future, is a factor to be considered in the picture of human development. Still, as far as it effects human energetics, communication and transport mainly refers to the transport of goods and techniques.
Transport can change the equation of ecology, because it looks at resources available in the specie's environment and transport allows the use of resources from outside that.
The consequences of the physical transport of resources is to allow specialized groups survive by producing a local resource (that by itself or combined with other local resources could not support the population) and trading it with distant groups, for resources not produced locally. It is almost as consequential as finding the resource locally, because it constitutes removal of a limiting factor to survival in the area. It may also constitute a unique basis of survival strategy for a local community. A coal mining town does not eat just local produce. Completely new niches open up and promote human occupational specialization.
Trading for local minerals, obsidian, flint, pelts, seashells or other local products was an old habit before agriculture. Many tribes traded and some, quite successfully, specialized at it. Essentially it is a basis of the stratified society. Each occupational caste trades their technical resource rather than local resource, with the others. There are still many resources and related communities, that are a local resource.
There is also the transport of ideas and techniques to be considered. Since knowledge and belief is so important, this description illuminates some important features of human organization. It is far more than the transport of books or even educational institutions. The value of knowledge and technology is incredible.
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The hunter-gatherer ecology was relatively stable in population size and resource utilization over a long period of time. Neither the ecology of the big game hunters or the agricultural civil society was stable. Population size and resource utilization are presently undergoing drastic changes. Humans are in a transition between stable ecologies. If the human specie survives, we will again reach a state of stable population and resource utilization. This might be a relatively non-technical ecology like the hunter/gatherer, but if humans retain technology, the ecology will be very different from anything before. No matter what, it ends up being a high energy system. The transition has already shown a system where technology is facilitated by specialization of tribes into occupational sub-niches or castes. How to describe the next social form in the context of occupation and resources, is yet to be seen.
It suffices to say that our technology is progressing rapidly and appears to have the potential to supply the energy and material resource requirements of the next stable ecologies under a variety of conditions. Just as the ecology will stabilize, so eventually will engineering technology, until there is not a complete technological generation gap every decade or so. As it has been in the past, tool using and technical ability will continue to be one of the most important features of human survival strategy.
The physical basis of our ecology, energetics and resources will be dictated in the future primarily by what technologies we can develop, especially energy plants. We actually have simple forms of most of the techniques that we will require, dependent on energy supply. Unless we are stupid or unlucky we will probably solve that problem. More critical in many ways, is the question of what will limit population growth to the resources available.
This Section is an analysis of Human Ecology and Genetics in the context of massive ongoing changes that humans will have to adapt to. The first part is about the reproductive strategies in general, then more specifically human habits. It then covers the genetic problems we face including removal of natural selective effects and various factors causing genetic load as well as the need to genetically adapt to whatever new niche we can find. It then discusses the need for using artificial selection to solve those problems. Artificial selection is described in practical as well as moral terms. The intent is to describe the tools we have available, but not so much how to use them. The Aspirations section will describe what we might potentially do with our genetic potentials, then the Morality section will describe how to achieve what we might want to achieve of our Aspirations based on the genetic tools and moral strategies.
2. Mammalian Reproductive Strategies
3. Natural Selection on Humans
4. Genetic Load From Removal of Selective Effects
6. The Start of the Transition
7. C. D. Darlington - The Evolution of Man and Society
8. The Problems
9. Genetic Load
10. The Problem of Removal of Disease and other Natural Selective Effects
11. Return of Disease
12. The Solution
13. Artificial Selection
14. Promotion of Hybridization
15. Principles of Artificial Selection
15a. Reduction of Broken or Bad Genes
15b. Increase of Health, Beauty and Brains - Selecting For Good Genes
15.c Hybridization - The Mixing of the Tribes
15.d Genetic Engineering
16. Initial Moral and Religious Connotations of Artificial Selection
17. Artificial Genetic Selection In Humans
18. Emotional Evolution
19. The Integral Gene
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The ideal way to describe the ecology of any specie is to present an examination of their energetics and reproduction. Really, that is how a specie is defined in a ecological terms. Energetics is the basis of ecology. Reproduction is how energetics are used. Since the time of Darwin, biology has been based on survival by inheritable traits. At the molecular level it appears that we are simply vehicles and vesicles for our genes. Because of the intent of this book is to discuss how to create a stable ecology, the last chapter was a view of energetics. It was a bit brief so as to set the stage for discussion of much more complex aspects of human ecology. Now, this is to provide a discussion of reproduction. It turns out that human reproductive behavior is so complex and intertwined with community social behaviors that only a small part of human reproductive characteristics will be discussed in this chapter and most discussion of reproductive behaviors will be in the following chapters about Beliefs and Behaviors.
For most species, most of their lives are spent on non-reproductive behaviors. Reproduction has a limited, specific component, though it is obviously very critical. In most animals, there is some reproductive behavior that is related to masculine competition and courtship of the female, but little else. Usually, the offspring are raised by the female with little assistance from the male. Social behavior tends to be the exception rather than the rule. Humans have an extended developmental period corresponding to the development of the brain. This long developmental period relates to human social potentials and basic human survival strategies. This makes human reproductive behavior incredibly complex and inherently linked as part of the social behavior that is related to human cooperative survival strategies.
Sexual reproduction occurs to facilitate genetic recombination and variability. This is to allow adaptation to a randomly changing environment or perhaps, as Robert Trivers says, cyclically changing environmental effects relating to inter-species competition (disease). Asexual reproduction apparently does not promote enough genetic variability to adequately respond to the changing environment.
The situation is analogous for RNA and DNA. DNA allows for more variability than RNA and so is the usual genetic material. A trinary base system is apparently unnecessary and so never appeared in evolution. In all species of biological organisms, maximum reproductive success is the evolutionary purpose for any generation of the specie. Evolution proceeds by differential reproductive success.
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2. Mammalian Reproductive Strategies
Sociobiology says that the primary difference between mammalian males and females is reproductive potential. A male can impregnate a female and then leave. The female is committed to a long and demanding investment. Typically, a male can have very many children due to the low investment, whereas a female always has a much greater investment and consequently fewer children. The male strategy is oriented towards quantity and the female towards quality. Both males and females have strategies to promote this. The males aggressively compete for the females and to impress them. The females both promote the competition and use information from the competition for selecting the superior mate. Females of some species use strategies to get a material investment beyond the male's genetic investment. Material investment by the male can come in many forms. It may be a bit of food, nest building or include extensive postnatal care.
In a specie where both parents contribute to the offspring's upbringing, consequences of Differential Parental Investment(DPI) tend to dictate much of parental and family interaction. The relationship will relate to the relative investment that each parent has in the raising of the young at any given time. With external fertilization, as in fish, the male must fertilize the eggs, allowing the female to leave and forcing the male to care for eggs. In this case, females may compete for males. In birds, the female makes the greater investment and so you may even get a situation where two females will work as a "couple" to insure the survival of the vulnerable eggs. In higher mammals, DPI means the consequences of internal fertilization. Usually the male has very little initial investment and often none from then on. The results of this, as extensively discussed by E.O. Wilson and others, is that usually the female must raise the offspring alone. Help by the male in raising the offspring occurs when it is necessary for some particular reason. Monogamy occurs in some mammals that do not usually exhibit it, when conditions are marginal enough to require it.
This leads to the commonest social arrangement of mammals being high reproductive potential males competing with each other for the more limited reproductive potential females. At the same time the females are pursuing the fittest male and using coyness to promote investment. Elephant seals, horses and cats are good examples of this. They show species where the males aggressively dominate available reproductive resources. It may be the females themselves that are claimed, such as in the case of horses. It may be a reproductive territory or nursery like beaches. If some limited reproductive resource can be dominated, the specie will probably develop aggressive behaviors in males to compete for it. In these situations, the males are typically larger than the females. A condition called sexual dimorphism.
In humans, monogamy is given to mean more that the male aids in the raising of the young with the mother, rather than just that it is a single male and female. The word monogamy may mean one male and one female in legal terms. In biological terms, it means the male staying with the mate or mates to help raise the offspring. Actually in legal terms it may be more of a social organization function and have more to do with inheritance than even one man and wife.
In a monogamous situation the male will be under similar reproductive constraints as the female and so will take on her "quality" strategies. It also promotes females competing with females for males that are likely to make an ongoing investment in the offspring.
Humans are higher social mammals with typical mammalian reproductive physiology. In many ways they have typical mammalian reproductive behavior, but in other ways they tend to be fairly different. Certain factors make humans almost exclusively monogamous. That fact causes changes in the basic reproductive strategies. While human males are typically larger than females, this may well be as much for different, specialized food gathering requirements as for social competition for mates.
Coyness is the primary reproductive behavior in females. It can involve a variety of techniques and strategies. Primarily it is to be attractive so as to attract the attention of males, between whom they can then choose to accept for mating. It can include promoting competition between the prospective mates to show their relative superiority. Coyness may include behaviors designed to promote the male to contribute resources to the female, ultimately to show how the male might provide towards the raising of offspring. In current terms this is why women are sometimes attracted to bad boys (aggressive) when it might be more reasonable to be attracted to milder, more steady mates that will contribute more. We are still adapting to changes.
Aggressiveness is the primary male reproductive behavior. It is the active search for and pursuit mates as well as competition with other males for access to mates. A male will often try to impress females with their fitness by reproductive displays, including aggressiveness.
Humans are almost exclusively monogamous. This makes for some interesting variations on typical mammalian reproductive strategies and presents a variety of interesting problems. It causes changes in the criteria used by the females in selecting mates and it causes males to take on some of the female quality strategies in response to the limited reproductive potentials it presents. Since a male in a monogamous situation has a much more limited potential for children, he will want to pick the fittest female. Females will be more interested in what the male has to offer in the way of resources that the male can contribute towards the raising of the children. Also females may take on masculine strategies to select and pursue a particular mate.
Human ecology and its parts has been changing very rapidly since we left the neolithic ecology. There have been a number of transitions and transient ecologies. Humans have occupied different ecologies at the same time and still do. In general, the time divisions are of the tribes, the cities and the future. In the tribes we evolved separately. In the cities we mixed some, but still evolved separately, under the influence of great pressures and vast new opportunities. In the future, the tribe will be expanded by the true union of the old tribes, into a more homogeneous specie with very diverse individuals that look at the specie as their tribe. Again, both selection and opportunity will be great. There will be new selective effects. To many people, the question of our genetic health and ability, especially in the future, is a very immediate question. These are questions that have already been asked. In the long run, genetic potentials will determine much of the rest of our social future.
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3. Natural Selection on Humans
Tribal humans were subject to a variety of selective effects. Disease, starvation, exposure and predation all took their toll. These effects worked differently at different times and places. This did not change much for the neolithic hunters. Less would fall to predators and more would die in hunting accidents. Often, selection just passed over the lucky. Still, adaptation to natural selective effects is the task of the specie.
Much of what is called human progress has been the removal of starvation, disease and exposure. Humans tend to remove or overcome dangers. Technology and science have given us powerful tools to use to do this. So many changes are important, but the consequences of the removal of disease and other selective effects to a lesser degree, is so overwhelming that all further discussion of human ecology must be put in that context. This is because of all the changes that we experience, the most important ones are those that effect our genetics. That is potentially even more important than specific elements of resource strategies.
Without the removal of disease, the present population boom, started by increased food supply, would not have continued nearly as long as it has. Large population centers, such as are common at present, would not be able to exist. In areas dominated by disease, a response of high birth rate can be observed.
Biologically it must be regarded that premature death by disease wastes the resource investment it took to raise the individual. That must include the physical strain of pregnancy. Even if an individual survives a disease, there are often lingering effects. A disease may damage sensory and physiological functions as well as effecting a persons psychology or appearance. All of these could impair an individual's reproductive success. The resource and human cost of any disease can be very high. That which does not kill you, does not always leave you stronger. Sometimes it leaves you crippled.
The prevalence of disease resulted in selection for improvement of the immune system (and the bugs). Depending on the disease and its effect, it requires different things for survival. Immunity may be complete or partial. To survive a disease takes an integration and fitness of body and mind in the organism. Death by disease is caused by the failure of a necessary body system and the subsequent failure of the rest of the organism. Usually it is either excessive temperature or toxins from the disease, that cause respiratory failure. Diseases with a limited mortality rate act on any weak link in the body physiology or integration. Only disease, cold and other stress factors have general effects anything quite like this. They catch biochemical, developmental and various other weak links in physiology. They can even act on lack of psychological integration or strength.
Really, though disease has been the most significant effect with many implications, this applies to all human selective effects. They have changed. We have had to deal less with predators and the dangers of the wild while having to deal with more complex social and technical requirements.
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4. Genetic Load From Removal of Selective Effects
In the absence of disease, cold and other selective agents, a problem with genetic load occurs. Most mutations are not improvements. Since they are primarily random, they usually reduce the function of the gene where they occur. With lowered selective pressures, the frequency of malfunctioning genes is likely to increase, expressed as psychological, biochemical and morphological errors of varying significance. In the absence of the selective effects that promote evolution, something the relative opposite, will occur.
The rate of natural mutation is low enough that it would probably take some time to create a significantly high frequency of ineffective genes, but there are agents other than natural mutation, that change genetic sequences. Chemicals, radiation, drugs and other mutagens exist that could promote a genetic load. Potentially more important is the effect of recombination at meiosis, when the reproductive gametes are developing. Its effect can be to break genetic sequences such as to leave genomes damaged or inoperative.
It took a long time and a lot of selection (that is pain and premature death) to reach this point in evolution. This point in evolution is the total pool of genes of the human race. An accumulated load of defective or ineffective genomes would be disastrous for the human race. Different portions of the of the total chromosomal DNA would be more susceptible to breakage. Some traits would be more likely to be effected than others. There are cellular mechanisms to repair damaged DNA, yet there is still a constant rate of deterioration. More complex and the more recently evolved traits would be more susceptible to damaging effects than older elements of the total genome. The psychological traits that have brought us to the potentials of technology are the traits that have most recently evolved and are likely to be the first to deteriorate in the absence of selective effects.
Much of genetics seems to be an additive process. I love the term "ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny". It describes that the embryonic development of a creature goes through stages that seem to repeat the evolutionary sequence leading to that specie. We do not lose our past, we build upon it. This seems to be a general genetic principle. I suspect that this is also a psychological and meme principle.
The greater the genetic diversity of a specie, the larger the unit of inheritance upon which selection acts. Cheetahs are notable in that they are extremely genetically related, as a specie. There is little genetic variation between individuals. Selection is going to have to operate on relatively small variations in their genetics. In a specie that is as diverse as humans, selection will be operating on bigger variations. This is why this examination of human genetics focuses on traits and recombination. Actually the same examination will have to be made at the level of alleles and individual mutations, but the hazards of genetic load at that level will take longer to develop. Hopefully, human wisdom will have grown a good deal by then.
Genetics comprises information. They contain all of the blueprints and plans for making the organism. There it is an enormous amount of information involved. The entire genome could be considered to be like a library. A library contains rows with topic related books on them that contain words that are arranged in particular grammatical forms. An organism's genome contains chromosomes with traits and individual genes. The genes could be compared to the words in the books. Traits would be compared to the books on the aisles, the aisles would be compared to the chromosomes and the entire genome would be compared to the library.
It was said earlier that this book is to look at the variation between individuals. The most significant variations in humans are differences in traits related to tribal differences. Examination of this level of variation suggests that humans are particularly susceptible to a type of genetic load that operates at the level above the allele. Humans are still effected by genetic load at the level of the allele, but this book is primarily to discuss what happens at the level of the trait. This is particularly true now that humans are tending to have children at a later age and there are far more genetic errors at the level of the allele, but particularly at the level of the trait and chromosome.
So if the trait would be analogous to the books in the library and the chromosome would be analogous to aisles, this does not suggest looking at words in the books due to the technical difficulty. It suggests looking at what books are actually present in the library and the condition of these books. This is to look to see if recombination has lost or damaged a book.
Note: Technology has been progressing so fast that it seems practical now to look at the words and their meanings in sentences and chapters in the "books".
Already some conditions at the level of the chromosomes can be examined, such as when there is an extra chromosome present as in Downs Syndrome. That would be as if there was an extra aisle in the library. Also some conditions can be detected where the problem is created by a single change in gene sequence. Sickle Cell Anemia is a good example of this. That is as if a word or an instruction in a book was changed to where the trait operates differently or fails to operate. This book is primarily to consider a condition where a trait or book is missing or visibly damaged by recombination (currently called a de novo mutation). Its turns out that many of these same rules and considerations will also apply to the level of the allele, but discussions about that level is generally avoided here to focus on the level of the trait. It all does tend to blend together though.
It must be understood that what this most importantly leads to is about problems associated with traits at the time of reproduction. The discussion about possible solutions to this problem leads directly to new potentials. In that human variation at the level of the trait is based upon tribal variation, it would be expected that changes effecting the traits would influence behaviors related to our present tribal nature. That is why the second part of this book talks about our tribal nature and the associated survival systems that we have developed over time, referred to here as moral systems. While the first intent of this book is to discuss problems associated with genetic load at the level of the trait, the primary intent of the book becomes discussion of the positive potentials offered by the knowledge of these traits.
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This is just the start. If you want to read the good stuff, look for Transition To A New Human Ecology at Amazon. All of this is over two years older than the book.