Monday, October 25, 2010

Response to Doctor Alexander

Doctor Bruce Alexander’s discussion of Charles Darwin during Thursday’s class was enlightening to say the least, but still open for interpretation. Alexander discussed three areas which Darwin struggled with during his life time, including free will, morality and that humans are not a creation of God, but instead small changes from much simpler organisms. Even with these areas laid out, the section that I found most interesting was about morality and specifically the individual species and group species. Alexander stated that individual organisms go through much slower variation changes then those that live in groups. This is likely due to the fact that in groups animals, and humans, can identify advantageous characteristics, which would be especially important in Darwin’s sexual selection. There is a struggle in humans, according to Alexander, for individual selection, being the biggest and toughest, and group selection, being caring compassionate and so on. Groups of cooperative people are also continually at war with one another, according to Darwin through Alexander.

Even though there is truth to this statement, it has a tremendous impact on variation in humans. If one group is able to exterminate another group of humans, their veritable traits are removed. As well humans, especially in the nobility, wanted to have as pure a bloodline as possible in their offspring. These two situations cause problems as it has been proven that pure breeding of humans can lead to genetic problems. This posses the question then of why do humans still insist on pure breed dogs, horses, cats, and other animals of value. As a group we understand what pure breeding can do as to why we still request that in animals. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and just because humans think that something is advantageous does not mean that it necessarily is. There is also only so much pure breed mating that can be done until you do run into a multitude of problems, because no matter how many members are part of the population if you are trying to get as pure as possible you will run into issues.

1 comment:

  1. It can be noted that the human practice of domestication of animals is tied in with our Adapting the animal-in-question to a human use, and is (generally) very neglectful of what is best for that species of animals. The type of breeding seen in show animals (especially the most domesticated of species: livestock and pets) show this dichotomy on a smaller scale. pets whose lineage is exhaustively analyzed, are typically bred for physical traits that are upheld as being the best and purest by a human judge: from which has led to a wealth of inbreeding and physical problems for a number of species (Hip-problems in German Shepard's and shortened life-spans for a # of heavier dog species, for example). Whereas livestock, particularly horses and cattle, generally are still required to perform some sort of function (beyond simply 'looking good') and as such the breeding criteria typically fall upon these lines and you are now seeing unprecedented cross breeding of species amongst large private and commercial operations as they search for more adaptive and performance orientated variations from which to select for.