I am a woman born 1949 and my quest is to find a mindmate
to grow old together as a mutually devoted couple
in a relationship based upon the
egalitarian rational commitment paradigm
bonded by intrinsic commitment
as each other's safe haven and secure basis.

The purpose of this blog is to enable the right man
to recognize us as reciprocal mindmates and
to encourage him to contact me:

The entries directly concerning,
who could be my mindmate,
are mainly at the beginning.
If this is your predominant interest,
I suggest to read this blog in the same order
as it was written, following the numbers.

I am German, therefore my English is sometimes faulty.

Maybe you have stumbled upon this blog not as a potential match.
Please wait a short moment before zapping.

Do you know anybody, who could be my mindmate?
Your neighbour, brother, uncle, cousin, colleague, friend?
If so, please tell him to look at this blog.
While you have no reason to do this for me,
a stranger, maybe you can make someone happy, for whom you care.

Do you have your own webpage or blog,
which someone like my mindmate to be found probably reads?
If so, please mention my quest and add a link to this blog.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

201. Instinctivity, Rationality and Overpopulation

Instinctivity, Rationality and Overpopulation
I have started to watch the videos of the Yale lectures by Stephen C Stearns about Evolution, Ecology and Behavior and I hope to be able to reconsider some of my speculations on the background of those lectures.  
Lecture 11 about Life History Evolution was interesting for the question of the overpopulation of this globe.
Source for video and transcript of the lecture:

In lecture 11, Stearns explains, how the reproduction rate depends on both genetic predisposition as a result of natural selection and of the conditions of the environment.   He gives the example of the clutch size in a study of kestrels.   He describes, how the number of eggs is genetically the optimum seen over the life span of the parent kestrels, by which they can feed all the young and still stay fit enough to restart breeding the next year.  

The following are my additional thoughts and speculations, only the kestrels are a reference to the lecture.   

This is my short version of world history.

The optimum behavior for breeding depends on two important factors in addition to what Stearns explicitly explained in the lecture:  
  • The environment is principally predictable, even though catastrophes can temporarily upset it.
  • There is control over and access to the resources available in the environment.  

Kestrels are driven by instinct to optimize their clutch, and the prehistoric ancestors of homo sapiens were also determined by their genetic program to have the optimal number of offspring as an adaptation to the environment.     They had the evolving rationality as an additional survival tool, which allowed them to successfully increase the number of offspring with future fitness.   
During the times of their awakening and evolving intelligence, humans still believed beyond doubt, that their purpose was to procreate, maybe it was justified by some religion, while intelligence served as a powerful tool to enhance procreation.   That tool enabled them to invent farming, animal husbandry, technology, medicine and so on.   The population grew, but the numbers of offspring were still the optimum for the species, as long as humans lived in a more or less predictable environment, and there was still enough space to spread.   

The full strength of the instinctive imperative to breed had already been there, when the evolution of rationality started, else the species would have gone extinct.     But the strength of rationality and intelligence evolved much faster and the gap between the forces of instinct and of rationality over the behavior got smaller.   While rationality was evolving, but continued to be weaker than the instinctive forces, which still determines the imperative to breed for the majority of people, all habitable areas of this globe got populated to the point, where the density started to become a problem, because there were more people than survival resources.  

This had two consequences: 
1.  Under the living condition of dense populations, the evolution continued by enhancing rationality to a new optimum for breeding, which is having less offspring.   Only recently and still only for a fraction of the population, rationality even has reached the breaking point of being strong enough to limit or override the force of the procreation instinct completely.   Childfree people have no urge to breed.   People in rich countries have the confidence, that a few quality offspring suffice for the survival of their genes.  

2.  The strongest and fittest started to ruthlessly compete, fight and kill and to deprive the less fit from their means to survive.    This happens on several levels, inside groups and societies, by war and raids with the neighbours and by colonisation of other continents, and the result is often either genocide, slavery or other exploitation.     
The earth's population grows the fastest in the poor countries of the third world.   There the environment and the people's situation are beyond their control and not predictable.  Therefore they cannot adapt and optimize their procreation rate.   
This is a consequence of the globalisation and of the fatal division of the earth in rich countries having and using capitalistic economic power, and the poor, exploited countries.   The product of the labor in these poor countries is usurped for a fraction of its value in the economy of the consumers.  The majority of the people in these countries cannot survive, no matter how hard and how long they work. 
In acts of pretended altruism, they are saved from starvation by charities and by developmental aid.    They are kept just alive by those christians, who claim that life is a gift from their god, but they exist in a state of such misery, that only christians can justify this by their belief, that all those creatures in agony will get their reward in heaven.  

These poor people too use their intelligence as a tool to survive by any means, but they struggle without having sufficient control over their lives and their circumstances.   Having as many children as they can is logical to them.  They cannot decide to limit the number of their offspring in favor of better fitness of fewer of them, because in their precarious situation, there is nothing for them to reliably expect in future.  Would they restrict the number of their offspring, they would risk, that all of them die young and their genes are lost.  Charity is not a reliable source of survival, as is a decently paid job or owned fertile land, charity is more like a lottery.   The only chance to spread their genes seems to have as many offspring as they can, hoping that some survive by haphazard chance.  

The people in the rich countries need to give up their wasteful affluence, which is only possible by the exploitation of the people in the third world.  The poor people work and produce, and the rich people consume.  Anybody who wants to preserve the globe and stop the overpopulation has to accept the necessity to pay a considerably higher price for coffee, bananas, or t-shirts produced in the poor countries.    
There needs to be a radical change.   People need to accept, that it cannot be justified to consume more than what they produce,  based on a globally fair distribution of labor and the acceptance of the right to the same standard of living for every person on earth.  

I see no other way to solve the problem.