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Biotech Science

Natural Selection Can Act on Human Culture 239

Hugh Pickens writes "Scientists at Stanford University have shown for the first time that the process of natural selection can act on human cultures as well as on genes. The team studied reports of canoe designs from 11 Oceanic island cultures, evaluating 96 functional features that could contribute to the seaworthiness of the vessels. Statistical test results showed clearly that the functional canoe design elements changed more slowly over time, indicating that natural selection could be weeding out inferior new designs. Authors of the study said their results speak directly to urgent social and environmental problems. 'People have learned how to avoid natural selection in the short term through unsustainable approaches such as inequity and excess consumption. But this is not going to work in the long term,' said Deborah S. Rogers, a research fellow at Stanford."
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Natural Selection Can Act on Human Culture

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  • by spammeister ( 586331 ) <> on Sunday February 17, 2008 @08:08AM (#22452420)
    Does that mean because Windows Vista is an inferior design to XP does that mean natural selection could play a role in "weeding out" this particular direction the Windows world is taking? Definitely an "unsustainable approach" as far as I'm concerned.

    Or we just put separate M$ design teams on a deserted islands on the Pacific and whoever can build a canoe to get them back to society wins?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 17, 2008 @09:04AM (#22452600)
    When scientists begin to say that boat designs are the product of natural selection, the creationists win.

    I'm sure you've all heard the example of the submarine evolving from the boat. The creationists know there was an intelligent designer overseeing that process. If scientists shift ID into engineering and call that natural selection, then there's absolutely no reason to remove the Designer from human origins either.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 17, 2008 @12:23PM (#22453750)
    How do you know that fat tubs of lard screaming about how life isn't fair wasn't his eventual goal? Of course that would mean that Michael Moore is the most evolved creature on earth!

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