Jim Bowery jabowery at netcom.com
Thu Jun 2 12:37:05 EST 1994

cuhes at csv.warwick.ac.uk (Malcolm McMahon) writes:
> In article <jaboweryCqLzAL.9x at netcom.com>,
> 	jabowery at netcom.com (Jim Bowery) writes:
> >abubu at aol.com (ABUBU) writes:
> >
> >The basic answer is that the "unit of selection" is not the 
> >individual, but the "gene".  Genes are already "immortal" so
> >there is no inherent selective advantage for increasing the longevity 
> >of the bodies carrying them.
> But why wouldn't an older, more experienced animal be a better parent?
> In wild animals, who generally die of unnatural causes, the effect
> would be marginal but even a marginal postive is selected for by
> evolution if there isn't a delitorious side-effect.

Clearly in animals where learning is critical, as it is in humans
in a technological civilization, we should expect to see strong selective
pressures toward life-long learning, prolonged fertility in women
and general longevity.  However, technological civilization is brand
new in evolutionary terms.  To first order, we can view the genetic
algorithms that have evolved as working to overcome natural 
deterioration by restarting the execution of the programs via
reproduction.  There just wasn't any big advantage to longevity.

There is now.

The promotion of politics exterminates apolitical genes in the population.
  The promotion of frontiers gives apolitical genes a route to survival.

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