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The simple brilliance of Darwin's revelation

Fort Fun Indiana

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The simple brilliance of Darwin's revelation

This revelation was natural selection. Evolution appeared, to Darwin, to be a fact that explained the existence of every organism on the planet. And a mechanism to explain this fact was proposed by Darwin: natural selection. But how did Darwin puzzle this out?

By the simple brilliance of recognizing "survivorship bias". Survivorship bias causes us to miss the forest for the trees.

My favorite illustration of this -- for its simplicity -- is Abraham Wald's (who coined the term "survivorship") analysis of how best to armor our bombers during WW II. He was presented with the following information, which shows where returning bombers were hit by enemy strikes:

Survivorship-bias.svg.png

Without recognizing survivorship bias, one might think that the (limited resource, have to conserve weight) armor should be increased in the spots where the bullet holes are concentrated. This would seem to be where most bullet strikes occur, per the data. So more armor should be spent in those places, right?

No. One would better spend the armor on the places where returning planes show fewer strikes. Why? Because the bombers that were hit in those areas did not make it back. They splashed.

Darwin's revelation of natural selection owes itself to the same turn of thought. The other models that are not observed? They died off, and the more successful models propagated instead. That being the case, selection bias would greatly influence what we observe today.

Darwin's answer to the cause of that bias was the brilliant idea of natural selection.
 
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alang1216

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The simple brilliance of Darwin's revelation

This revelation was natural selection. Evolution appeared, to Darwin, to be a fact that explained the existence of every organism on the planet. And a mechanism to explain this fact was proposed by Darwin: natural selection. But how did Darwin puzzle this out?

By the simple brilliance of recognizing "survivorship bias". Survivorship bias causes us to miss the forest for the trees.

My favorite illustration of this -- for its simplicity -- is Abraham Wald's (who coined the term "survivorship") analysis of how best to armor our bombers during WW II. He was presented with the following information, which shows where returning bombers were hit by enemy strikes:

View attachment 548978
Without recognizing survivorship bias, one might think that the (limited resource, have to conserve weight) armor should be increased in the spots where the bullet holes are concentrated. This would seem to be where most bullet strikes occur, per the data. So more armor should be spent in those places, right?

No. One would better spend the armor on the places where returning planes show fewer strikes. Why? Because the bombers that were hit in those areas did not make it back. They splashed.

Darwin's revelation of natural selection owes itself to the same turn of thought. The other models that are not observed? They died off, and the more successful models propagated instead. That being the case, selection bias would greatly influence what we observe today.

Darwin's answer to the cause of that bias was the brilliant idea of natural selection.
Another key part of Darwin's theory came from Malthus. Malthus noted that life produced many more offspring than can survive into the next generation.

I'm not sure man is still evolving since just about everyone has an opportunity to reproduce (even a schlub like me). I think the magic of being human is that our societies evolve. It initially made us warlike and aggressive but now seems to be headed in the opposite direction. Maybe. If true, it means that cultural influence is the measure of success.
 
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Fort Fun Indiana

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Another key part of Darwin's theory came from Malthus. Malthus noted that life produced many more offspring than can survive into the next generation.

I'm not sure man is still evolving since just about everyone has an opportunity to reproduce (even a schlub like me). I think the magic of being human is that our societies evolve. It initially made us warlike and aggressive but now seems to be headed in the opposite direction. Maybe. If true, it means that cultural influence is the measure of success.
But humans are evolving in ways other than natural selection. Like genetic drift. But the amount of admixture and the large population will slow that down.
 

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But humans are evolving in ways other than natural selection. Like genetic drift. But the amount of admixture and the large population will slow that down.
In the past millennia clans or tribes were thought to number from 20 to 200. Clans were probably very aggressive toward each other. Evolution in craftiness, foraging, etc. was no doubt at a high pace. That doesn't happen today. When it comes to survival of human fittest, fitness has to be redefined. There is an inverse relationship between birthrate and income. An interesting question is what groups will survive the next huge meteor hit.
 

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In the past millennia clans or tribes were thought to number from 20 to 200. Clans were probably very aggressive toward each other. Evolution in craftiness, foraging, etc. was no doubt at a high pace. That doesn't happen today. When it comes to survival of human fittest, fitness has to be redefined. There is an inverse relationship between birthrate and income. An interesting question is what groups will survive the next huge meteor hit.

Survival of the fittest is a species wide thing. It's not about one individual within the species. Individuals depend on the whole. Do they look after their weak or not? That doesn't change their ability to survive, all the time, sometimes it might.
 

abu afak

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I'm not sure who to answer on Evo/Survival and what I think should be called Dysgenic.
The best of our societies, both locally, and worldwide are being out-reproduced by the least.

On the largest level, continentally/racially, the First World, both Euro/and NE Asian has a strong negative fertility. App 1.3-1.8 and is shrinking pretty dramatically. (2.1 is break even).
Places like Germany would have their population halve by 2050, erased on the planet, or replaced with immigration by Third-worlders. Which is why I think Merkel allowed in 1 million a few years ago despite the collateral near term damage (crime, etc). The numbers are daunting: she had to take the gamble.

In this country we are growing slightly but only because of immigration and their birth rates. In the USA 'Whites;' Fell 8% between 2010 and 2020 Census.

Africa, ie,, which basically lived the same way in 1900 as 50,000 years ago, had not advanced/'evolved' nearly as much and remained hunter-Gatherers living in huts. Some/many still do today while those who moved North were forced to innovate in re food storage, clothing, shelter, etc, not just walking out of the hut and killing an animal or digging up a root. Different evolutionary pressures/environment IS what drives evolution.

App 10,000 years ago, 'we' (Eurasians) started using Agriculture and produced 100x the calories, weights and measures, trade, leisure time, and non-physical job demands. Thus there is an evolutionary difference in IQ/Cognitive ability between the temperate climates and the equatorial ones which remained hunter-gatherers.

Until app 1950, the strongest groups of humans genocided, colonized, and enslaved the less developed (evolved) ones and well out-reproduced them. Now/since that date, 'we' started the UN and have given them countries and innovation that might have taken them another 100,000 years if left alone. Bill gates spends most of his money on Meds for the Third World instead of birth control for them, that would keep their population in balance with hunter-gatherer needs as it had done forever.

So they have some of our technology/Medicine and are able to well out-reproduce us and survive what their own cognitive abilities would otherwise produce.
But not thrive or Govern themselves/a country because of cognitive ability that is still 10K years behind.

Even very recently, Africa's population would have been gutted by AIDS and/or Ebola and balance returned to the human/environment mix and the hunter gatherer way of life would have gone the way it had forever.

Now/instead their survival rates have dramatically increased and they don't have enough land to live their old life style on. The Wildlife and Flora of Africa and other tropical climates (Northern S America, New Guinea, Haiti, Central America, Africa, etc) is being eliminated by population pressure and they have no place to go but to developed ones.
Some come North to/Flood 'us,' while others head North to the EU whose technology can feed denser population and govern them in a civil society. Look at the failed states of the equatorial peoples. Africa, Central America, etc.

So for the first time in Human History, indeed the history of Life on the planet, the lesser of the species is out reproducing the stronger.
Dysgenics has raised it's head..

On the more local level, (intra-continental) the same trend.
IQ is dropping in the Western World since app 1990/birth year app 1975.

Too bad (or lucky) we alive now won't see this play out over the next few centuries.

`
 
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Fort Fun Indiana

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In the past millennia clans or tribes were thought to number from 20 to 200. Clans were probably very aggressive toward each other. Evolution in craftiness, foraging, etc. was no doubt at a high pace. That doesn't happen today. When it comes to survival of human fittest, fitness has to be redefined. There is an inverse relationship between birthrate and income. An interesting question is what groups will survive the next huge meteor hit.
Excellent and interesting question, IMO If a meteor like the one that hit Chicxulub hits tomorrow, then what? We would probably have a good year's warning at minimum. The people on the opposite side of the world would be spared the death of the atmosphere cooking them (maybe, unless it's a bit bigger than the Chicxulub meteor), but the darkness and cold would set in and last for months.
 
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Fort Fun Indiana

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I'm not sure who to answer on Evo/Survival and what I think should be called Dysgenic.
The best of our societies, both locally, and worldwide are being out-reproduced by the least.

On the largest level, continentally/racially, the First World, both Euro/and NE Asian has a strong negative fertility. App 1.3-1.8 and is shrinking pretty dramatically. (2.1 is break even).
Places like Germany would have their population halve by 2050, erased on the planet, or replaced with immigration by Third-worlders. Which is why I think Merkel allowed in 1 million a few years ago despite the collateral near term damage (crime, etc). The numbers are daunting: she had to take the gamble.

In this country we are growing slightly but only because of immigration and their birth rates. In the USA 'Whites;' Fell 8% between 2010 and 2020 Census.

Africa, ie,, which basically lived the same way in 1900 as 50,000 years ago, had not advanced/'evolved' nearly as much and remained hunter-Gatherers living in huts. Some/many still do today while those who moved North were forced to innovate in re food storage, clothing, shelter, etc, not just walking out of the hut and killing an animal or digging up a root. Different evolutionary pressures/environment IS what drives evolution.

App 10,000 years ago, 'we' (Eurasians) started using Agriculture and produced 100x the calories, weights and measures, trade, leisure time, and non-physical job demands. Thus there is an evolutionary difference in IQ/Cognitive ability between the temperate climates and the equatorial ones which remained hunter-gatherers.

Until app 1950, the strongest groups of humans genocided, colonized, and enslaved the less developed (evolved) ones and well out-reproduced them. Now/since that date, 'we' started the UN and have given them countries and innovation that might have taken them another 100,000 years if left alone. Bill gates spends most of his money on Meds for the Third World instead of birth control for them, that would keep their population in balance with hunter-gatherer needs as it had done forever.

So they have some of our technology/Medicine and are able to well out-reproduce us and survive what their own cognitive abilities would otherwise produce.
But not thrive or Govern themselves/a country because of cognitive ability that is still 10K years behind.

Even very recently, Africa's population would have been gutted by AIDS and/or Ebola and balance returned to the human/environment mix and the hunter gatherer way of life would have gone the way it had forever.

Now/instead their survival rates have dramatically increased and they don't have enough land to live their old life style on. The Wildlife and Flora of Africa and other tropical climates (Northern S America, New Guinea, Haiti, Central America, Africa, etc) is being eliminated by population pressure and they have no place to go but to developed ones.
Some come North to/Flood 'us,' while others head North to the EU whose technology can feed denser population and govern them in a civil society. Look at the failed states of the equatorial peoples. Africa, Central America, etc.

So for the first time in Human History, indeed the history of Life on the planet, the lesser of the species is out reproducing the stronger.
Dysgenics has raised it's head..

On the more local level, (intra-continental) the same trend.
IQ is dropping in the Western World since app 1990/birth year app 1975.

Too bad (or lucky) we alive now won't see this play out over the next few centuries.

`
All well said. A few things:

1) IQ measures aptitude at IQ tests, as much as it measures any IQ. Put another way, sometimes it does seem to measure ignorance, not just intelligence. The people being tested have various levels of exposure to the type of problems on an IQ test. Give it to a 15 year old with 10 years of homework and tests under his belt, and it seems obvious that his demo, on the whole, would outscore another 15 year old demo with only, say, 3 years of proper schooling. That being obviously true, it could stand for Ignorance Quotient as easily as it does Intelligence Quotient.

2) #1 being the case, the problem becomes solvable not just by means of some immoral eugenics program, but rather by means of the impeccably moral and ethical method of protecting human rights and educating people.
 
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abu afak

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All well said. A few things:
Thanks but it all holds together Including IQ, it's not an evolutionary exception, it's a vital consequence OF natural selection in different and more demanding intellectual environments.
100% Consistent with evolutionary pressure to adapt.

1) IQ measures aptitude at IQ tests, as much as it measures any IQ. Put another way, sometimes it does seem to measure ignorance, not just intelligence. The people being tested have various levels of exposure to the type of problems on an IQ test. Give it to a 15 year old with 10 years of homework and tests under his belt, and it seems obvious that his demo, on the whole, would outscore another 15 year old demo with only, say, 3 years of proper schooling. That being obviously true, it could stand for Ignorance Quotient as easily as it does Intelligence Quotient.

2) #1 being the case, the problem becomes solvable not just by means of some immoral eugenics program, but rather by means of the impeccably moral and ethical method of protecting human rights and educating people.
That's just another old PC trope: "IQ only measures IQ."

IQ is the single best measure of individual life outcomes in matter of both economic and longevity terms.
It's also a great predictor of continental outcomes.
ie, Predicatbly ungovernable sub-Saran Africa, utterly failed Haiti, etc.
The success of the Japanese (and Korea, Taiwan) despite living on a Seismic resourceLess rock VS sub-Saharan African failure on a resource-rich sub-continent.

The world, in fact, only makes sense acknowledging group IQ.

This country is ripping itself apart with the liberal assumption (egalitarianism) everyone is the same and the only outcome difference must be Racism (even when/where there is none or reverse of it), when in fact it's brains, which are btw, 75% HERITABLE.
When sorted by IQ, regardless of race, outcomes are very similar. Just there are far less percentages of ie, 120+s among some groups and more among others.
We see this daily.
Asian-Americans have higher IQs, Higher edu, and higher income than whites Despite 'discrimination.'
`
 
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Wuwei

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All well said. A few things:

1) IQ measures aptitude at IQ tests, as much as it measures any IQ. Put another way, sometimes it does seem to measure ignorance, not just intelligence. The people being tested have various levels of exposure to the type of problems on an IQ test. Give it to a 15 year old with 10 years of homework and tests under his belt, and it seems obvious that his demo, on the whole, would outscore another 15 year old demo with only, say, 3 years of proper schooling. That being obviously true, it could stand for Ignorance Quotient as easily as it does Intelligence Quotient.

2) #1 being the case, the problem becomes solvable not just by means of some immoral eugenics program, but rather by means of the impeccably moral and ethical method of protecting human rights and educating people.
I agree. IQ may not have as much to do with survival as some might think. I have worked with many very smart people on various projects. Some of them did not have the wisdom to know what was best to do with their intelligence. I found that IQ meant little if you lacked wisdom and determination. An IQ test does not measure the latter two which are important for innovation and survival.

As we have seen, determination can be the most important factor in becoming the leader of a country and it trumps wisdom and intelligence.

.
 

Wuwei

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Survival of the fittest is a species wide thing. It's not about one individual within the species. Individuals depend on the whole. Do they look after their weak or not? That doesn't change their ability to survive, all the time, sometimes it might.
Yes, Darwin was concerned more with the survival of the species. It seems that our species is here to stay so our survival is largely moot. What more could we possibly need to make our species "fitter"?

IMO our species will survive the worst calamities that befell the earth over the last billion years. What we need to consider is the nature of the surviving gene pool.
.
 

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Thanks but it all holds together Including IQ, it's not an evolutionary exception, it's a vital consequence OF natural selection in different and more demanding intellectual environments.
100% Consistent with evolutionary pressure to adapt.


That's just another old PC trope: "IQ only measures IQ."

IQ is the single best measure of individual life outcomes in matter of both economic and longevity terms.
It's also a great predictor of continental outcomes.
ie, Predicatbly ungovernable sub-Saran Africa, utterly failed Haiti, etc.
The success of the Japanese (and Korea, Taiwan) despite living on a Seismic resourceLess rock VS sub-Saharan African failure on a resource-rich sub-continent.

The world, in fact, only makes sense acknowledging group IQ.

This country is ripping itself apart with the liberal assumption (egalitarianism) everyone is the same and the only outcome difference must be Racism (even when/where there is none or reverse of it), when in fact it's brains, which are btw, 75% HERITABLE.
When sorted by IQ, regardless of race, outcomes are very similar. Just there are far less percentages of ie, 120+s among some groups and more among others.
We see this daily.
Asian-Americans have higher IQs, Higher edu, and higher income than whites Despite 'discrimination.'
`
Sorry but I don't buy it. Culture is not based on IQ, it is based on history and geography. It is culture that determines success.
 

alang1216

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Yes, Darwin was concerned more with the survival of the species. It seems that our species is here to stay so our survival is largely moot. What more could we possibly need to make our species "fitter"?

IMO our species will survive the worst calamities that befell the earth over the last billion years. What we need to consider is the nature of the surviving gene pool.
.
Our biology is largely irrelevant it is culture that evolves now (e.g., Stephen Hawking was a major cultural influence).
 

Wuwei

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Our biology is largely irrelevant it is culture that evolves now (e.g., Stephen Hawking was a major cultural influence).
Well, Darwin was more concerned with species. When it comes to homo sapiens today, there isn't much we can say at this point until the gene pool has a reason to change.

Evolution of culture is different but also an interesting question.
.
 

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Yes, Darwin was concerned more with the survival of the species. It seems that our species is here to stay so our survival is largely moot. What more could we possibly need to make our species "fitter"?

IMO our species will survive the worst calamities that befell the earth over the last billion years. What we need to consider is the nature of the surviving gene pool.
.

Survival of the species now is all about the ability to survive under extreme conditions. We don't know how hot the planet is going to get, or how cold. That's a problem. We might be able to tech our way out of it, or it might mean we have to massively cut back.

If there were an ice age soon, we'd lose a lot of agricultural land, which means we'd struggle with world populations as they are.
 

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Survival of the species now is all about the ability to survive under extreme conditions. We don't know how hot the planet is going to get, or how cold. That's a problem. We might be able to tech our way out of it, or it might mean we have to massively cut back.

If there were an ice age soon, we'd lose a lot of agricultural land, which means we'd struggle with world populations as they are.
Man is adaptable so mankind will survive. Individuals won't be so lucky.
 

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Man is adaptable so mankind will survive. Individuals won't be so lucky.

Well, unless man massively messes things up. And we're good at that.
 

abu afak

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I agree. IQ may not have as much to do with survival as some might think. I have worked with many very smart people on various projects. Some of them did not have the wisdom to know what was best to do with their intelligence. I found that IQ meant little if you lacked wisdom and determination. An IQ test does not measure the latter two which are important for innovation and survival.

As we have seen, determination can be the most important factor in becoming the leader of a country and it trumps wisdom and intelligence.

.
Debating using a personal experience rather than overall fact, is a fallacy.
Virtually all human achievements/advancements in life were made by those in the top 10% of IQers, if not 2%
Being 'a leader of a country' doesn't mean being a good one.
You could have Kennedy who put us on the moon and drove subsequent progress, or a Trump who is really a stone age con man.

Nevertheless science/scientists (the smart) go on finding ie, VACCINES (and new ways to make them) which saved Tens of millions in the last year alone.
Those are the smart/smartest/high IQers doing mRNA work.
And the ones before them stopping Polio and many other plagues.
Not to mention the high IQ elite from Germany we grabbed to help put men on the moon, or the Jewish math guys who fled that country and made us the A-Bomb.

Someone else mentions what would happen if Chixilub hit today and that we'd have a year's warning.
Why is that?
Is it Galileo or anyone from, ie, the sub-Saharan Continent, who at that time were living in huts, and would probably still be if unmolested by by other cultures.
Is it the Chinese who've kept astronomical records for 2 Millennia, or equatorial hunter gatherers who live day to day without invention or need to plan for the future (like Winters/food storage and shelters).

Half or more of sub-Saharan Africa would have been wiped out by AIDS or Ebola were it not for Western medicine and IQ of the top 10% of them who are able to innovate such treatments/cures.

Again, virtually all of our progress has been the result of the top 10%, if not 2% of IQers.


`
 
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Wuwei

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Survival of the species now is all about the ability to survive under extreme conditions. We don't know how hot the planet is going to get, or how cold. That's a problem. We might be able to tech our way out of it, or it might mean we have to massively cut back.

If there were an ice age soon, we'd lose a lot of agricultural land, which means we'd struggle with world populations as they are.
Man is adaptable so mankind will survive. Individuals won't be so lucky.
No matter what the direction is - hot or cold, there will always be at least small zones where man (and our species) can survive. At either extreme the population is sure to drop. Hopefully the drop won't be due to calamity, but simple attrition.

I think the major problem is the speed at which the climate changes. If it's slow enough, the generations will have time to gradually reduce birth rate, relocate farming areas, and relocate habitable land.

.
 

abu afak

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Sorry but I don't buy it. Culture is not based on IQ, it is based on history and geography. It is culture that determines success.
And what determines culture?
The Lottery, or being smart and valuing knowledge in the first place.
'Out of Africa' evolutionarily required a different kind of fitness: brains to store food and make shelter and clothing for 'winters.'
Then eventually agriculture to produce food in abundance to store.
Resulting in free time, trade, weights and measures, etc, etc. Jobs (merchants, scholars, bankers) where brains, not spear accuracy and foot speed counted.

`
 
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