Originally posted by Napoleon
I admire tolwyn greatly just not after FC.
Also Raptor, you are essentially wrong and correct. Your number 2 statement is right on. your number 1 statment is flawed because evolution is towards traits that are benificial so to remove the generally negative traits like genes for cancer, stupidity (ie low iq), and other generaly "bad" characteristics would have no negative effect on evolution. Everybody would not be the same, would you say decker and blair are the same? no yet they both survived the bugs (not nephilim, the disease).
Actually, evolution has nothing to do with "good" and "bad" traits (which is why I have so much trouble swallowing the idea of a "perfect" gentoype) but rather selects for those traits which are most benificial for *that particular envoirnment at that particular time*.
To go back to the example of the sickle cell trait I gave earlier, sickle cell anaemia is generally a very limiting condition to have. It means that you can't get oxygen to your cells properly, and your fingers and toes tend to rot off because the deformed blood cells tend to clog the small capillaries in your extremities. In high malaria countries though (Africa, parts of South America) the sickle cell trait is a godsend, because it gives close to perfect immunity against malaria. The malaria parasite spends part of its replication cycle in red blood cells, but it can't do that in the sickle cells. In those countries, what would normally be considered a "bad" trait actually gives you a much higher chance of staying alive, and is present in the poulations of those countries in much higher numbers than in the West. It's an adaption to that envoirnment, which is what evolution is all about. If at sometime in our past, someone had decided the sickle cell trait was "bad" and purged it from our gene pool, then there would be no possibilty of adapting.
That's what I mean about variety in the gene pool. The larger the range in your gene pool, the more differant options that evolution has to select from, and the higher the probability that there will be a part of our population that can survive anything the universe throws at us. Species with limited gene pools have trouble surviving and thriving, a good example of which is the cheetah.
The bottom line is that if you can guarantee that the enviornment you're going to be in is going to stay exactly the same for the rest of your history, which would be over thousands of years on dozens or hundreds of differant planets, then having all your people of the same gentoype might be a good idea. If you can't though, and I don't see how anyone can predict everything that we're going to face for the rest of our history, then it's a mug's game. All it would take was one virus, one toxin that everyone was vulnerable to, and you have no ability to adapt to it. Goodbye human race.
Also another "good" thing about removing a large portion of the population is the fact that while close inbreeding does create large ammounts of defectives or culls it also leads to more rapid aquision of traits and faster evolution. So to remove a large portion of the population would generally allow this to take place more so than with a larger population. This is why I hold that human evolution has been effectivly stopped, we all outbreed so much that characteristics do not have the chance to be aquired.
Finally, tolwyn was just doing what nature would have done if not for human interferance. We through technology, (killing snakes and other deadly animals, creating shelter, not having to hunt, medicine, ect ad nauseum) have stopped the survival of the fittest struggle to reproduce. Any human without a serious defect can reproduce and often. I am nearsighted, and while I don't see this as a cardinal trait I know that if I didn't have modern inovations I would have died when I was 12 from not being able to see any potentiall threats. So if you look at it that way tolwyn was just doing what MUST be done for human evolution as well as what WOULD have been done already. Though i must admit it would have been much more acceptable and moral to render those inferior people infertile to provent them from breeding rather than kill em
If this were true, then a whole lot of traits that exist today wouldn't exist at all. Nature had thousands of years to work on us before we learnt even such basics as making fire, and even more time before we had the rudiments of the modern medicine or nutrition or sanitation. If evolution was really programmed to "weed out" defects, then everyone who was prone to any kind of inheirited disease (sickle cell trait, thalassemia, cancer, you name it) should have been eliminated long before we got to the stage before we could do anything about it.
The thing to realise is that there is no "plan" to the evolution of the human race. Nature doesn't have some blue-print of the "perfect" human that she was working towards, one that we rudely interrupted. Rather, everytime we're in a new envoirnment, she starts over again, to produce the people best suited to *that* envoirnment. The idea of a perfect human is a fallacy, because what is perfect in one situation is imperfect in another. Take the melanin that gives some people dark skin, for example. When humans originated in Africa, having lots of melanin protected against skin cancer and cataracts, and was selected for. When some humans moved to colder climates, the melanin made them less able to absorb the weaker sunlight there for the synthesis of Vitamin D, which in turn made their bones weak and brittle. For these people, dark skin was a disadvantage, and so it was selected against to produce fair skinned people.
To sum up, nature doesn't go towards any one fixed goal in our evolution, eliminating weaknesses and defects as she goes. Instead, everytime we're in a new and dangerous situation, she reaches into the gene pool and selects the traits that are best suited to survive in that situation. The more variety in our gene pool, the better chance that nature has of finding a match. Lessening the range in our gene pool, as Tolwyn tried to do, doesn't do what nature would have done any way, but rather the opposite. By fixing us into someone's idea of "perfect" genes, you actually sabotage any cance we have of adapting and evolving.