How Social Darwinism Really Works

File:Brazilian_indians_000

Author: Lecen (CC)

Via ScienceDaily:

Changes in social structure and cultural practices can also contribute to human evolution, according to a study that has recently been published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), contributed to by the lecturer Mireia Esparza and assistant Neus Martínez-Abadías, from the Anthropology Unit of the UB’s Department of Animal Biology.

The study, coordinated by the expert Rolando González-José from the Patagonian National Research Center (CENPAT-CONICET, Argentina), examines physical, genetic, geographical and climatic patterns affecting over 1,200 people from the Baniwa, Ticuna, Yanomami, Kaingang, Xavánte and Kayapó indigenous groups of the Brazilian Amazon and Central Plateau.

According to the experts behind the study, one of the most interesting results is the rapid rate of morphological change in the Xavánte, which is up to 3.8 times faster than in the other groups studied. The changes observed in the Xavánte — who have larger heads, narrower faces and broader noses — follow an integration pattern of human skull shape recently described in the literature. “This study demonstrates that when selection acts in the same direction as integration patterns, evolution is favoured,” explain the researchers Mireia Esparza and Neus Martínez-Abadías…

[continues at ScienceDaily]

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29 Responses to How Social Darwinism Really Works

  1. Chaorder Gradient December 28, 2011 at 6:43 pm #

    The first step in biological evolution is cultural evolution

  2. Chaorder Gradient December 28, 2011 at 2:43 pm #

    The first step in biological evolution is cultural evolution

    • Anarchy Pony December 28, 2011 at 4:04 pm #

      Genes and Memes working together.

    • Monkey See Monkey Do December 29, 2011 at 7:49 am #

      So in your opinion. Which cultures are most evolved?…….;)

      • Jin The Ninja December 29, 2011 at 1:06 pm #

        i can’t speak for chaorder, but for me those that live in a holistic eco-centric paradigm, egalitarian or matriarchal (results in egalitarian systems anyway), non coercive, democratic, communitarian, and a nice aside would be the ability to use technology without venerating it.

      • Chaorder Gradient December 29, 2011 at 2:57 pm #

        I wasn’t really talking about end goals. There really is no such thing as “most evolved”; whats most evolved, a lion, a human, a platypus, or a waterbear(I might say waterbears just because they’re neat). I’m just saying that, especially in human terms, cultural aspects (primarily, but not solely who people decide to breed with) are a major factor before actual genetic change can be observed in a population.

        But if you strapped me down and made me decide i would probably prefer something like Jin was talking about. I still wouldn’t call it most evolved though.

        • Anarchy Pony December 29, 2011 at 4:04 pm #

          There are a number of fungal species that you could describe as being highly evolved. Some can use gamma rays as a source of energy, and thrive inside of melted down nuclear reactors.

          • Chaorder Gradient December 29, 2011 at 4:53 pm #

            There are also multicellular organisms that live at the bottom of the ocean where the sun cannot even penetrate. They get their energy from magma plumes deep down there. These are examples of Extremophiles, and are examples of why there’s no such thing as “most” evolved.

            If we for example took extremophiles as the most highly evolved, then from the social perspective, the most crafty thieves living on next to nothing besides stolen goods (because society has left them in a metaphorical toxic waste dump of poverty) could equally be considered the most highly evolved. In truth, they’re just highly evolved in a completely different direction.

            The most common misconception of evolution is that there are any definitive points of reference to determine what is up, and what is down.

  3. Anarchy Pony December 28, 2011 at 8:04 pm #

    Genes and Memes working together.

  4. Chaorder Gradient December 28, 2011 at 8:29 pm #

    Mnemes before Memes before Genes

  5. Chaorder Gradient December 28, 2011 at 8:29 pm #

    Mnemes before Memes before Genes

  6. mrtastycakes December 28, 2011 at 10:17 pm #

    How social darwinism really works: it doesn’t.

  7. mrtastycakes December 28, 2011 at 10:17 pm #

    How social darwinism really works: it doesn’t.

  8. mrtastycakes December 28, 2011 at 6:17 pm #

    How social darwinism really works: it doesn’t.

    • rtb61 December 29, 2011 at 11:23 pm #

      Social Darwinism does work, just not in the way normally expressed. It works by evolving a group in a certain social direction, with for example a rise in the number of psychopaths and narcissists, that direction of course is extinction.
      There are plenty of groups that have gone extinct, that over exploited their environments leading to starvation, the over exploited each other leading to complete social breakdown and that over exploited their neighbours leading to a combined genocidal attack.
      The false aligning of social Darwinism as being about individual evolution, completely ignores humanity as a social species, that it is about societies evolving, societies developing language, societies creating communities and, societies working together.
      Want to see individual social Darwinism than look at monkeys, apes and Tea Partiers not at humanity.

    • rtb61 December 29, 2011 at 11:23 pm #

      Social Darwinism does work, just not in the way normally expressed. It works by evolving a group in a certain social direction, with for example a rise in the number of psychopaths and narcissists, that direction of course is extinction.
      There are plenty of groups that have gone extinct, that over exploited their environments leading to starvation, the over exploited each other leading to complete social breakdown and that over exploited their neighbours leading to a combined genocidal attack.
      The false aligning of social Darwinism as being about individual evolution, completely ignores humanity as a social species, that it is about societies evolving, societies developing language, societies creating communities and, societies working together.
      Want to see individual social Darwinism than look at monkeys, apes and Tea Partiers not at humanity.

  9. Doyle December 28, 2011 at 10:13 pm #

    that isn’t social Darwinism

  10. Doyle December 29, 2011 at 2:13 am #

    that isn’t social Darwinism

  11. Monkey See Monkey Do December 29, 2011 at 7:48 am #

    Stupid article. This isn’t social darwinism.
    Biological anthropology is extremely controversial in the anthropology field. Most anthroplogists ignore most of it because its based on bad science. “larger heads, narrower faces and broader noses” are all an extremeley subjective analysis. for instance, in comparison to who? Dont white people have all different shaped heads, faces and noses?
    In any case this isn’t social darwinism.

  12. Monkey See Monkey Do December 29, 2011 at 11:48 am #

    Stupid article. This isn’t social darwinism.
    Biological anthropology is extremely controversial in the anthropology field. Most anthroplogists ignore most of it because its based on bad science. “larger heads, narrower faces and broader noses” are all an extremeley subjective analysis. for instance, in comparison to who? Dont white people have all different shaped heads, faces and noses?
    In any case this isn’t social darwinism.

  13. Monkey See Monkey Do December 29, 2011 at 11:49 am #

    So in your opinion. Which cultures are most evolved?…….;)

  14. Jin (仁) December 29, 2011 at 5:06 pm #

    i can’t speak for chaorder, but for me those that live in a holistic eco-centric paradigm, egalitarian or matriarchal (results in egalitarian systems anyway), non coercive, democratic, communitarian, and a nice aside would be the ability to use technology without venerating it.

  15. Jin (仁) December 29, 2011 at 5:06 pm #

    i can’t speak for chaorder, but for me those that live in a holistic eco-centric paradigm, egalitarian or matriarchal (results in egalitarian systems anyway), non coercive, democratic, communitarian, and a nice aside would be the ability to use technology without venerating it.

  16. Jin (仁) December 29, 2011 at 5:06 pm #

    i can’t speak for chaorder, but for me those that live in a holistic eco-centric paradigm, egalitarian or matriarchal (results in egalitarian systems anyway), non coercive, democratic, communitarian, and a nice aside would be the ability to use technology without venerating it.

  17. Chaorder Gradient December 29, 2011 at 6:57 pm #

    I wasn’t really talking about end goals. There really is no such thing as “most evolved”; whats most evolved, a lion, a human, a platypus, or a waterbear(I might say waterbears just because they’re neat). I’m just saying that, especially in human terms, cultural aspects (primarily, but not solely who people decide to breed with) are a major factor before actual genetic change can be observed in a population.

    But if you strapped me down and made me decide i would probably prefer something like Jin was talking about. I still wouldn’t call it most evolved though.

  18. Anarchy Pony December 29, 2011 at 8:04 pm #

    There are a number of fungal species that you could describe as being highly evolved. Some can use gamma rays as a source of energy, and thrive inside of melted down nuclear reactors.

  19. Chaorder Gradient December 29, 2011 at 8:53 pm #

    There are also multicellular organisms that live at the bottom of the ocean where the sun cannot even penetrate. They get their energy from magma plumes deep down there. These are examples of Extremophiles, and are examples of why there’s no such thing as “most” evolved.

    If we for example took extremophiles as the most highly evolved, then from the social perspective, the most crafty thieves living on next to nothing besides stolen goods (because society has left them in a metaphorical toxic waste dump of poverty) could equally be considered the most highly evolved. In truth, they’re just highly evolved in a completely different direction.

    The most common misconception of evolution is that there are any definitive points of reference to determine what is up, and what is down.

  20. Anonymous December 30, 2011 at 3:23 am #

    Social Darwinism does work, just not in the way normally expressed. It works by evolving a group in a certain social direction, with for example a rise in the number of psychopaths and narcissists, that direction of course is extinction.
    There are plenty of groups that have gone extinct, that over exploited their environments leading to starvation, the over exploited each other leading to complete social breakdown and that over exploited their neighbours leading to a combined genocidal attack.
    The false aligning of social Darwinism as being about individual evolution, completely ignores humanity as a social species, that it is about societies evolving, societies developing language, societies creating communities and, societies working together.
    Want to see individual social Darwinism than look at monkeys, apes and Tea Partiers not at humanity.

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