Thursday, 26 July 2007

Technology and Genetic Drift

If the development of technology in society shields us from some of the genetically deleterious effects of our behaviour, and weakens the influence of the environment on human evolution, then, being that our genotypes would be driven less by natural selection, thereby giving more freedom for alleles to vary randomly, we would expect to see a greater influence of genetic drift in our evolution the more we develop technologically. (This would depend, however, on the size of the population: a larger gene-pool would lessen the influence; a smaller one would increase it.) Over a lengthy span of time, such genetic drift would likely make us less fitted genetically to the environment, though allowing us to be more fitted technologically, assuming that we would continue to make technological adaptations in place of genetical ones; that is to say, the fitness of our phenotypes would come to depend more on technology, at some proportional expense of the genotypical influence. It may happen, however, that the development of technology in society would itself become part of the changing environment by which alleles are selected or rooted out; but that would depend to a great extent upon the permission of the society in which it is developed, that is to say, upon whether we would allow the technological environment to shape us rather than shield us.

3 comments:

Pietr said...

How did the gene pool become large in the first place?

Larry Teabag said...

It may happen, however, that the development of technology in society would itself become part of the changing environment by which alleles are selected or rooted out

How could it be otherwise?

whether we would allow the technological environment to shape us rather than shield us

False dichotomy.

Deogolwulf said...

"How could it be otherwise?"

As the post makes clear: in man's socio-technological evolution, whereby technological adaptations replace genetical ones. (For technological adaptations to lead to genetical ones, it is not enough that technology simply be part of man's changing environment (which it undoubtedly is); rather it must be a part "by which alleles are selected or rooted out" significantly and non-randomly.)

"A false dichotomy."

How? We can decide whether we would prefer the technological environment to shield us or shape us, and to what degree. Is there another option?