Posted: Nov 20, 2013 6:24 am
by stevecook172001
Veida wrote:It isn't clear to me that selection on brainpower is less today than it used to be. Seems to me that selection pressure might have been stronger on other things than brains before - things such as on endurance, strength, resistance to infection, etc, that are less important today. I wouldn't be surprised if selection on brains is actually stronger today than it used to be.

Natural selection occurs in the unforgiving crucible an organism's capacity to survive to reproductive age in the face of unrelenting environmental demands. Any organism that does not meet these demands will die before that point and so not pass on its genes to a next generation. It's as simple and as brutal as that. To that extent, since the very earliest formations of complex human civilisation itself, we have at least partially removed ourselves from that cold equation. However, as our technologies have further advanced, the process of removal has accelerated in recent centuries in many parts of the world. So, I am baffled as to why you think that natural selection pressures on human cognition will have increased over time. I think you may be confusing cultural selection pressures with genetic ones. Cultural selection pressures will drive learned cognition. They have absolutely no effect on the genetic contribution to cognition. Or, at least, they will have no effect if reproductive success is not directly implicated in those cultural pressure, which, in principle, it is possible for them to be I guess. However, if you think that is what has occurred, then it is incumbent on you to give at least one example because I, for one, am at a loss to think of one.