Re: Do humans affect Nat.Sel?

Charles A. Kulosa (
Wed, 05 Apr 1995 13:43:34 GMT

>Bonedaddy <> wrote:

>I just had an interesting question posed me by my girlfriend, a drama
>student of all things...Do humans affect natural selection processes or
>are we a part of it (in our completeness)? I have my own ideas but I'm
>curious as to what other people think...


Your girlfriend raised a very interesting question with
*many* facets (a 'jewel' of a question). Here are my
opinions on just *some* of the facets:

1) We are starting to learn what things are dangerous
('damaging') to our children while in the womb. We are
also learning what things tend to damage OUR genetic
material. Granted that not all 'damage' is harmfull, but
the bulk of it seems to be. Therefore, humans might be
considered to be *consciously* altering Natural Selection
in this one instance, by avoiding things which cause damage
to our children and our genetic material.

2) However, look at all of the fads concerning what
is 'attractive' (and therefore what is desireable in a
mate). On the physical side alone, we keep changing from
flat-chested to buxum to tall to short to skinny to
'cherubic' etc.

Because these fads change so quickly (within one generation
even), are they affecting the 'gene pool' as a whole? I
don't think so. My understanding of Natural Selection is
that succeeding generations must continue to breed for the
*SAME* desireable feature for the feature to become

3) Because the population is *NOW* so large and mobile,
even if there were no 'fads', any genetic change would
still have difficulty being 'fixed'. The continuous influx
of new genes would tend to dilute any change.

Point Number 1 above says humans are 'consciously' affecting
Natural Selection, but only for our DIRECT children (who
knows what they themselves will do in the future?).

Points Number 2 and Number 3 seem to indicate that humans
can NO LONGER change (or even be ruled by) Natural

My opinion seems to be "I DON'T KNOW". Maybe in the past
the human population was so small (and non-mobile for the
most part) that Natural Selection worked unconsiously. Now,
even though we try CONSCIOUSLY to affect it for the better,
the pool is so large, mobile, and 'information rich' that
any change get's diluted before it's fixed.

If you are confused, I am more so, but that is the nature of

Charles A. Kulosa |---I know everything important there is to know.... |---I don't know that - It must not be important.
Chicago, IL, USA |