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.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

207. Comparing Speculations with Science

Comparing Speculations with Science  

I have finished watching all 36 lectures of the already mentioned course by Stearns.

After speculating so much, I am very interested to get valid information to find out if any scientific research contradicts and refutes my speculations.    While the course supplied a lot of valuable information and a lot of food for thought, I found nothing in the entire course, that has any connection to my core speculation.
As far as I can conclude this, procreation is for Stearns the undisputed purpose of the life of every individual of any species.   The possibility, that the evolution of intelligence could ever override the wish to procreate, is never mentioned.   According to the course, If individuals refrain from procreation, they do it to enable the procreation of the kin or genetically related ingroup members. 

People look at the world influenced by their own basic values and needs.    My idea is the result of my own conscious experience of my lack of a wish to breed.   Stearns has mentioned his own children, so he is of course in favor of procreation and sees the effects of evolution on procreation from the participant's perspective, while I look at it from outside.  

I started my wondering about the intelligence overriding the urge to breed, because too many observable human behaviors do not fit into the evolutionary model, that all behaviors of all people aim directly or indirectly at maximizing fertility.   I cannot think of any rational reason, why my genes should live longer than my individual person lives.   Many other childfree people care just as little about the survival of their genes as I do.   According to the evolutionary paradigm, this conscious indifference to the genes could not exist.    

Stearns' observation of such behaviors have led him to suggest, that the species homo sapiens is stuck in the middle of a transition.

"That we're stuck in a major evolutionary transition. We're feeling the pain. The pain is caused by the fact that there is a conflict between individual interest and group interest, and that conflict has not been resolved, and the selection mechanisms that have been pushing us in that direction are starting to break down. "
"In a major transition, things that were previously independent fuse into a larger whole and lose their independence. Then units in that larger whole specialize on different functions; they achieve a division of labor. That division of labor has to be stabilized, and it then integrates the new unit and improves performance, in competition with like units. And the cohesive integration, that's needed within the group, requires suppression of intra-group conflict, among previously independent units, so that you can be effective at competing with other similar groups. Often during this process a new system of information transmission will emerge. "

This sounds like a plausible hypothesis, and Stearns as a highly learned professor knows so much more about the subject than I do.   But if I understand it correctly, he means a transition inside the paradigm, that all behavior serves fertility.  

There is a development, that can be called a transition, away from the extended families living on a farm in a village, where the provisions for all basic needs are either produced on the farm or traded with the craftsmen in the neighbourhood.     Progeny was required to help in the labor and to care for the old.
When the survival in a modern society means the dependence on a division of labor in a larger unit, then the transition to this situation also creates the independence from the need to have progeny.   The division of labor includes also pension fonds and professional nursing staff in old people's homes.   Individuals do not depend on having own progeny anymore. 

Stearns' transition from the identity as a member of a small kinship to a larger ingroup unit does not change the identity as a particle in the chain of eternally living genes.  It can explain, why some people repress their instinctive urge to breed as a result of the knowlegde of the ecological and social consequences of the actual excessive population growth on earth.  
But it does not explain the reduction or complete absence of the instinctive urge for the survival of the own genes in childfree people like myself.   This is a transition from the identity of being a particle to the very different identity of being an individual in exchange with other individuals.    It is a recurrent transition limited to the individual level.   As a general transition of the entire species it would the evolutionary dead end of extinction.   

If my speculations in entry 205 were correct, and the wish to breed were a dominant gene, the absence of the wish to breed a recessive gene, then individuals without a wish to breed will continue to exist.   Such a gene could only slowly disappear, when all or most bearer of two such recessive genes would be enabled to remain childfree in accordance with their innate lack of a wish to breed.    As long as some of them breed in spite of their inclinations, the gene will survive.  

Maybe some time in the future, a childfree scientist might start to do research in this direction.