Friday, October 7, 2016

Evolution in Action

I was reading a couple articles recently about a hypothesis advanced by Donald Hoffman concerning whether we have evolved to see reality or just an abstraction that may or may not reflect reality. (NPR article here; Quanta article here). Hoffman's contention, in a nutshell, is: "Given an arbitrary world and arbitrary fitness functions, an organism that sees reality as it is will never be more fit than an organism of equal complexity that sees none of reality but that is just tuned to fitness." To understand this statement, you have to remember that when evolutionary scientists discuss "fitness," they are only considering how good a particular organism is at getting its offspring into the next generation relative to the other organisms around it.

As I've discussed before, and is the subject of the work by the Anonymous Conservative, creatures can roughly be cast into two "fitness" strategies: r, which is essentially a quantity over quality strategy or producing lots of offspring with the hope that a few survive; and K, which is quality over quantity, which focuses on parental investment to protect and nurture offspring to adult. The Anonymous Conservative's theory when applied to politics and society (and which appears to hold up well under observation) is that liberals are basically r-strategists, while conservatives are K-strategists.

With that background...

 At about the same time I was reading an article by Michael Walsh entitled "Obersturmbannf├╝hrer Kaine: Little Eichmann, Catholic Heretic." While Walsh's primary intent was to savage Kaine, a good portion of the article was about Kaine's stance on abortion (and his defense of his stance). As part of Walsh's argument, he noted this:
For one thing, until the Left manages to repeal all biological laws, it still takes two to tango; and if the biological father is going to be on the hook for child support should the baby be born, he should certainly have some say in whether the child should be aborted. To make this an issue of "women's health" is one of the great lies of the late 20th century. 
It's also instructive to note that the original Roe v. Wade decision manifestly did not contemplate an untrammeled "woman's right to choose," and specifically banned abortions during the third trimester. That, of course, was not good enough for the satanic Left, which won another victory in favor of female-choice baby-murder with the Planned Parenthood v. Casey decision in 1992, which effectively eliminated that restriction. (Both of these decisions, by the way, came from GOP-dominated courts, so if "the Court" is your principal or exclusive reason to vote against Hillary Clinton, you might want to rethink that particular position.) Today, the ball has been moved so far down the field that the Left regards any restriction on abortion at any time during pregnancy as "unconstitutional." 
For another, a decision to kill an unborn child has wide-ranging ramifications for society as a whole, not the least of which is economic: nations that don't grow, die. An aborted child is another taxpayer taken out of a system that requires a next generation in order to support its retirees. Social Security and Medicare (into which the Democrats now want to herd us all in the name of "health care reform") are already terminally broke. Why make things worse?
And here we are presented with the ultimate reason why conservatism will ascend, perhaps permanently. R-selection favored liberals, at least through the Baby-Boom generation, because of the relatively free resources that allowed liberals to reproduce to their hearts' desires. And the same might have held true into the foreseeable future except for contraception and abortion. Liberals have literally become "unfit" to survive in an evolutionary sense because they are unable to get their offspring into the next generation as a result of not having offspring (either preventing pregnancy or killing their offspring).

Let's say Hoffman's hypothesis is correct. It follows that those more detached from reality will be successful as long as the underlying reality doesn't change. Thus, in times of plenty, those living in a fantasy world may do better, but when the underlying reality changes, their illusory view of the world may not be sufficient to provide them with an advantage. With resources being plentiful, r-selected individuals have done pretty well. Then the underlying reality (birth control) changed but their illusion of the world has not changed to match. So, if things continue as they are, the r-selected population will gradually breed themselves out of existence. And if the underlying reality changes more dramatically (e.g., the Apocalypse), it will merely accelerate the decline of the r-selected population.

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