Thursday, January 20, 2011

Some Things to Keep in Mind

As we have noted, if we consider the human race to be monogenesis in origin, then differences must have developed or deviated away from a common source. If this is the case, then, as is a common assumption, varying external factors will play into a “nature selection” that will produce different results that in some way correlate to these factors. However, we know now that natural selection is confined to the gene pool already present in a population. That is, excluding mutations, the variation within a population is limited to what is already contained in its collective DNA, something akin to Kant’s “seed”. When a population is separated into two gene pools (migration, catastrophe, you name it) the two pools will at first appear more or less identical. However, once the distinction has been made and the respective populations refrain from interbreeding, their evolutionary paths necessarily diverge. This may not become immediately observable, but we must keep in mind physical appearances are only accidents in this respect. A population that strays to an extreme local will undergo heavy natural pressure to adapt, its gene pool being pulled in directions more accommodating to its environment. Of course, a population that separates itself, yet remains in a comparable climate will not be inclined to deviate much from its current manifestation. Still, over time differences will naturally occur; the chances of two isolated populations maintaining identical evolutionary tracks are slim, if plausible at all. We know race is contrived and culture is imposed, but to me it seems that at least originally, we are justified in making distinctions based on divergent (in the positive sense) gene pools. Now, how many generations does it take to produce a new race? Should we base race solely on observable differences? The Korean and the Chinese were separated long enough that their gene pools disseminated into two observably different populations. Strangely enough, while I see no difference, any Asian will immediately recognize the distinction. Now, as Dr J said, we are all mixed. Globalization means that there are no more isolated populations. We may now envision, at least theoretically, the entire human population as belonging to a single gene pool. There are, of course, clusters of certain genetic frequencies here and there, and the environment still pulls a relative population one way or another. Still, excluding human social factors, the advent of globalization produces a single human gene pool that entails, for better or worse, a higher propensity for biological convergence and a lower propensity for biological divergence. That any male on earth could potentially mate with any female means that the variation between humans at this moment is already theoretically contained in a single gene pool; we are all variations of the same thing.

1 comment:

  1. I appreciate your elaboration on the idea that divergence is not necessarily a bad thing, but rather an unavoidable result of the separation of a species form each other for a long enough amount of time. I agree with you that the differences are present among the human race, and those differences can be observed as at least originating from different regions of the world where environmental influences likely played a part. I would, however, like to present an expounded view on the role of evolution in a gene pool from a monogenesis point of view.
    A current theory in evolutionary science is that there is in fact a Y-chromosomal Adam and a Mitochondrial Eve. All humans' DNA can be traced to one male who lived on the African continent between 60,000 and 90,000 years ago. Mitochondrial mtDNA is all from these 'Eve' source who lived possible 140,000 years ago. It was the descendants of the 'Adam' that traveled out of Africa, along the Asian coast, and found their way to Australia (the ancestors of the Aborigines), replacing Neanderthals and other lineages of Homo sapiens as they went.
    I believe that the most interesting part of this well-accepted theory is that a) the monogenesis supporters were right (even though here it is explained through a non-creation point of view), and b) we, as white Caucasians are not the 'standard' of the gene pool as many of these early writers seemed to think. If fact, if considering skin tone alone, Caucasians are some of the most 'divergent' humans since Africans, Indians, and Aborigines are likely first descended from the Y-chromosome Adam as his descendants traversed that area.


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