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Old 10-05-2013, 10:42 AM
 
Location: Northeastern US
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SeekerSA View Post
Where amazing grace once held significance to me, now I relate more to the late Frank Sinatra song of

I did it my way
+1

As a theist I found that song to be a bit on the chest-thumping side, and of course my religion taught me that that was all foolish pride and proud independence from god. But now I understand it. It is a sane estimation of who is responsible for my life and who deserves the credit for living it well.
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Old 10-05-2013, 05:14 PM
 
Location: Sitting beside Walden Pond
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mordant View Post
1) I'm not aware of any empirical evidence that stupid people are outbreeding smart people and even if they were, it'd be a self-limiting problem because of survival of the fittest.
In our modern world, there is no "survival of the fittest". Because of our welfare society, everyone survives.

The people who have the most kids (and who are also the worse parents) pass on their irresponsible traits to more people. After several generations of this, the quality of the humans in America will be significantly lower than it is now.

So what is the solution? I don't know and I don't care. It is not my problem.

We raised our kids to be good people and we gave them a good education to help them hopefully prosper in the coming world. As for myself, the golf course is calling.
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Old 10-05-2013, 06:22 PM
 
Location: Missouri, USA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hiker45 View Post
In our modern world, there is no "survival of the fittest". Because of our welfare society, everyone survives.

The people who have the most kids (and who are also the worse parents) pass on their irresponsible traits to more people. After several generations of this, the quality of the humans in America will be significantly lower than it is now.

So what is the solution? I don't know and I don't care. It is not my problem.

We raised our kids to be good people and we gave them a good education to help them hopefully prosper in the coming world. As for myself, the golf course is calling.
Yes. survival of the fittest no longer applies to successful procreation. It's pretty much entirely dependent on luck, the urge to have more children, and fertility.

We can hope that humans are not very dependent on traits we are born with, but are more dependent on what we learn as we grow.

If not, oh well. Not my problem either.

Most of us live past childrearing age, and the poorer nations where people are less likely to make up for it by raising children at younger ages and having more, perhaps due to stronger traditions and greater concern about having carers during old age. (in wealthier nations...we can buy people to care about us in our old age.)

Last edited by Clintone; 10-05-2013 at 06:59 PM..
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Old 10-05-2013, 10:14 PM
 
Location: Sitting beside Walden Pond
4,609 posts, read 4,114,951 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Clintone View Post
We can hope that humans are not very dependent on traits we are born with, but are more dependent on what we learn as we grow.
You can hope all you want, but that won't make it come true. The fact is, we are very dependent on the traits we are born with.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Clintone View Post
Most of us live past childrearing age, and the poorer nations where people are less likely to make up for it by raising children at younger ages and having more, perhaps due to stronger traditions and greater concern about having carers during old age. (in wealthier nations...we can buy people to care about us in our old age.)
What's your point?
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Old 10-06-2013, 04:29 AM
 
Location: Missouri, USA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hiker45 View Post
You can hope all you want, but that won't make it come true. The fact is, we are very dependent on the traits we are born with.
I had been under the impression we are less dependent on traits we are born with than other animals. We certainly are born less able to care for ourselves than many large animals. Also, we certainly have better access to schools and methods to improve ourselves through exterior means of learning, and our machines and tools I think make our biological weaknesses less of a concern.

Quote:
What's your point?
The poorer nations have higher birthrates than the nations where the poor are wealthier.

There's a possibility that better medical care could lower birthrates in overpopulated broke nations, due to parents not being so concerned about having someone to care for them in old age.

There's another possibility that more money/better access to our materialistic society might make citizens of those poorer nations less dependent on traditions. People search for reasons to exist, I think, and if they have little but the opinions of their peers who believe old traditions, those old traditions will be very important to those people. If they have videogames, they might, for better or worse, replace those traditions with videogames, and then, they don't need children. They have videogames. Screw that they're social outcasts. Videogames are the solution to that.

Loss of traditions encouraging lots of not necessarily desired children + loss of logical reasons to have more children due to better healthcare = typical first world low birthrate environment, with the only exception being lack of access to contraceptives due to either religious beliefs or lack of resources.


Also, when I typed that people search for reasons to exist...I'm not saying we need TV or drugs or other simple rewards or else we lead a purposeless existence, so much as that immediate positive feedback such as TV or entertainment books, or the opinions of our peers, can be tempting, and such temptations are often the route people will take.

Now...how to make this fit with the topic?
Uh...I've always been an atheist/agnostic more or less, but I've been encouraged to believe it has been the correct path in part because atheists, agnostics, and believers in a sortagod like Einstein's seem to be the primary people who use their creativity and have the recklessness to think up ideas about the why of things, like mine above...more so than believers in a biblegod (a god with more definite characteristics).

Why is that, if not for us pondering the why of things more than most of society?

Last edited by Clintone; 10-06-2013 at 05:52 AM..
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Old 10-06-2013, 06:54 AM
 
Location: Northeastern US
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hiker45 View Post
In our modern world, there is no "survival of the fittest". Because of our welfare society, everyone survives.
Social welfare, improved medical care, and other technologies improve survival rates but most often do not by themselves improve quality of life. Similarly, evolution only "concerns itself" with survival -- and not even that, really, but survival just long enough to pass on one's genes.

To rise above that basic level of existence and achieve sustainable self-actualization requires courage, intelligence, creativity, and self-awareness. I do not see how ignorant, magical-thinking, venal people will ever thrive.
Quote:
Originally Posted by hiker45 View Post
The people who have the most kids (and who are also the worst parents) pass on their irresponsible traits to more people. After several generations of this, the quality of the humans in America will be significantly lower than it is now.
You are ignoring several involved factors beyond simple procreation and intelligence, as well as making some questionable associations. It is entirely possible for less intelligent parents to have more intelligent children, and for uncompassionate, unempathetic parents to have compassionate, empathetic children. Happens all the time. The inverse is possible too. In addition, because we are a sufficiently intelligent and self-aware species, it is possible for any child to develop themselves and overcome their challenges in these and other areas. Happens all the time. In my own family, our parents had sixth grade educations and my mother was neither the brightest nor most self-aware light on the porch, yet that union produced a research scientist, a successful entrepreneur, a successful independent consultant and software developer in the IT field, and an upper middle-class truck driver. By your standards we probably should have all been drowned as children, born as we were to lower middle class, uneducated people from large families, to parents who had zero vision for higher education and relatively low ambition.
Quote:
Originally Posted by hiker45 View Post
So what is the solution? I don't know and I don't care. It is not my problem.
It actually is your problem, because much as you might not like it, you are connected to everyone else.
Quote:
Originally Posted by hiker45 View Post
We raised our kids to be good people and we gave them a good education to help them hopefully prosper in the coming world. As for myself, the golf course is calling.
Everyone wants to pat themselves on the back for having children who are not overt leeches on society; the truth is, it's not that hard to do in the great scheme of things. Nor is it hard to have children with profound struggles who will arguably be a burden on society.

To return fully to the point of your original post, and to summarize -- outcomes with children are largely a crapshoot and are not a direct product of either parental intelligence or parental choices -- although both can be profoundly influential, they are far from determinative. Due to recessive genes and changes in gene expression and hormone levels, environmental factors, personality differences, and levels / effectiveness of personal efforts at self-improvement, children can be either much better or much worse than their parents. Any country rube can have a child that goes on to be president or another Einstein; any morally upstanding, educated, affluent parent can have a child that goes on to be the next serial killer. That we don't like to admit this because it undermines our illusions of total control over outcomes, doesn't make it less true.

The basic problem that society faces is not the lack of a proper eugenics program to eliminate the weak / stupid and bolster the strong / intelligent. That is just a nice way to absolve ourselves from our personal responsibility to reduce suffering in the world in any way we can, and to shift the locus of responsibility onto Other People. What society is trying to do is survive the long, slow climb out of ignorance and superstition and two-dimensional thinking. It has made huge, accelerating strides in the past couple of hundred years. What you see as the rise of stupid people is simply more and more people being raised up by technology and education to a place where any random person has vast options and potentials to consider that are unprecedented in human history. It is the democratization of opportunity. You should not find that threatening, but encouraging. You shouldn't feel soiled and threatened by the prospect of Other People being raised out of poverty and despair, but encouraged.
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Old 10-06-2013, 09:49 AM
 
Location: Missouri, USA
4,360 posts, read 2,979,466 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hiker45 View Post
Actually, the humans in the future will be greatly inferior to the humans alive today, for two reasons.

1) The stupid people are the ones having a lot of kids and they are passing on their stupid genes.

2) We are using our technology to let people like me with birth defects have children. We are passing on these defects to our offspring.

Does any Atheist disagree with me?
I agree with you. However, it seems our exterior means of heightening our I.Q.s such as greater access to knowledge sources is overtaking our increasing biological primitiveness, and I have no idea why biologically, we would not be becoming more primitive from birth.

Better nutrition may also be increasing our innate intelligence though. That could be another factor.
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Old 10-06-2013, 10:12 AM
 
Location: The backwoods of Pennsylvania ... unfortunately.
5,846 posts, read 3,357,130 times
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Quote:
1) The stupid people are the ones having a lot of kids and they are passing on their stupid genes.
I do agree that it seems like people are getting dumber somehow ... or, perhaps more accurately, people are using less of their brainpower.

I tend to blame our educational system and media for part of this problem. If a quick and easy solution to a problem is presented, most people will take it. For example, it used to be that forums like this one was the only real way to communicate with others on the internet (aside from live chat rooms). What's nice about forums is that it allows people to express complex thoughts and opinions.

Then someone invented "Twitter" and now many forums are dying. Instead of the more complex and researched thoughts presented in a forum like this one, we, instead, have Twitter where people can pound out one- or two-sentence responses and not have to worry about thinking too much.

The "infotainment" industry is also a big killer of intelligence. The 24-hour news channels have actually worsened news coverage instead of improving it; these days, we know more about celebrity sex scandals than we do about the goings on of the Arab Spring, the war in Afghanistan, chemical weapons in Syria, or what's going on within our own government.

Education has dumbed down the curriculum and some states like Texas have actually announced the cessation of teaching critical thinking skills. In fact, Texas declared that critical thinking interferes with traditional belief systems (i.e. religion) and therefore shouldn't be taught. How despicable! Add to that a focus on sports over academic achievement and we churn out generations of mediocrity. When athletes receive all of the attention and fame, kids will want to be a sports hero rather than a math whiz or a scientific genius.

But wait, there's more! These days, people have to jump through way too many hoops to get anywhere in life. There is so much vetting and endless amounts of certifications and licenses ... and you have to get excellent grades and do community service and blah blah and more blah. Good little conformists are much more appealing to employers and authority figures than, say, visionaries and pioneers who take a different path. If such noteworthy people like Einstein, Churchill and, hell, even Napoleon were born today, I doubt any of them would ascend past middle management because they were all nonconformists who didn't always do so well in school. Thus we have no real "greatness" in our society; the idea of the "great man" (or woman) has been drummed out of us due to the bureaucratic nature of our current society.

Yeah, I could go on and on, but I won't belabor the point. I don't think people are genetically dumber now than they were 100 years ago, but our society and our values are taking away reasons to even bother thinking. We just do as we're told and believe what we're told and rarely ever question it.

Quote:
2) We are using our technology to let people like me with birth defects have children. We are passing on these defects to our offspring.
In truth, it usually depends on the birth defect in determining whether the defect is all that detrimental. Besides, the same technology that allows people like you to have children is also allowing people with birth defects to overcome them. In reality, the only "defects" that are truly horrendous are those that causes someone to be in chronic pain or those that severely reduce mental capacity.

Last edited by Shirina; 10-06-2013 at 10:13 AM.. Reason: Added quote box
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Old 10-07-2013, 06:54 AM
 
Location: Sitting beside Walden Pond
4,609 posts, read 4,114,951 times
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Originally Posted by Shirina View Post
Besides, the same technology that allows people like you to have children is also allowing people with birth defects to overcome them.
Yeah, that is exactly my point.

Because of modern technology, people with my type of birth defect can fully participate in society and procreate, thereby passing that defect along to future generations, as I have done.

After more generations, that defect will be much more common, and many future humans will not be as physically fit as current generations.

Well, so what? I'm glad to be alive right here and right now.

Maybe in the future, after a large asteroid hits the Earth or a super-volcano like Yellowstone explodes, life will become more difficult for humans and natural-selection will re-assert itself.
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Old 10-07-2013, 07:07 AM
 
Location: Northeastern US
14,197 posts, read 9,087,623 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hiker45 View Post
Maybe in the future, after a large asteroid hits the Earth or a super-volcano like Yellowstone explodes, life will become more difficult for humans and natural-selection will re-assert itself.
Lol ... maybe, you never know. To paraphrase Dr Malcom in Jurassic Park, death finds a way.

Sometimes I wonder how much awareness is brought to medical research in prioritizing research projects. Maybe it's only because I'm outside the medical profession and just don't see it, but I'm unaware of much debate about maximizing quality of life by eliminating disease, and in any event there clearly isn't enough such reflection going on, judging from how we keep the elderly alive only for the dubious purpose of engaging in hail-Mary surgeries in a mindlessly desperate attempt to keep them alive even one more day, no matter if they are comfortable or even want to live that badly. Our definition of "alive" is limited to a beating heart, pretty much.

I think the main consideration that goes into research for disease cures and treatments is whether or not a given bit of research attracts funding, which is a function of how much money is to be made from it, which is a function of how many people fear it. This is why we have "orphan diseases" where more and more suffering is concentrated but in smaller and smaller subsets of the population -- too small to be worth the amount of $$ to be extracted. Medicine or at least medical research should, I think, become a nonprofit enterprise, driven by human suffering rather than human prosperity.
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