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The Development Of Social Monogamy In Mammals

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Eugenics

Eugenics

Nov 18 2012 | comment(s)

A recent article addressing the subject of Nikolas Tesla, chose to focus on his opinions regarding eugenics.  
One of Tesla’s most disturbing ideas was his belief in using eugenics to purify the human race.
Of course, this statement is framed in the modern "correct" view, because it is clearly colored by the Nazi atrocities that followed those decades, and from which everyone invariably wishes to distance themselves.
A recent article about lie detectors brought up a related topic; drug/bomb sniffing dogs or the more general use of police service dogs.  Let me begin by acknowledging a bias; I love dogs.  There seems little doubt regarding the utility of these animals in search and rescue, body recovery, and even sniffing contraband and explosives.  I want to be clear that this is not an attempt to diminish the importance and the role of these dogs in many of the activities they engage in.  Regardless of their error rates or even false positives, the assistance provided by these animals can be invaluable.

So what's the issue?
It seems that one continuously hears about individuals passing or failing the lie detector, and despite many questions regarding its veracity, people still assume that there is a scientific basis for its use.

However, lie detection, or polygraphy is not based on science.  In fact it isn't based on much of anything, except psychological manipulation of the subject under the guise that taking the lie detector may cause them to confess, because they believe it is based on science.

In short ... it's voodoo psychology.
Helicobacter is a good example in our changing understanding of the role of microbes and the human body environment.  Some may recall that this particular bacteria was introduced to the public in a rather striking experiment where it was suspected of causing stomach ulcers and gastritis.  Dr. Barry Marshall drank a petri dish containing cultured Helicobacter Pylori and within days developed gastritis.  This demonstrated a firm connection between bacteria and gastritis/stomach ulcers as well as the role of using antibiotics to treat this condition.

Helicobacter is presumed to be present in about 50% of the world's population upper gastrointestinal tract, while fully 80% of individuals harboring this organism are asymptomatic.
Despite the intent in biology to eliminate group selection, it invariably turns up as the only reasonable explanation for the cohesion of species and the behavior of large groups of animals.

Additionally, the struggle to explain altruism using kin selection and inclusive fitness is perpetually haunted by the requirement that the entire premise hinges on the existence of an actual "altruism" gene.  In other words, Hamilton's rule and inclusive fitness are meaningless if there isn't a genetic component to cooperation and altruism.
Disclaimer:  This blog post is composed of speculative ideas and any resemblance to actual scientific findings is purely coincidental.  

The beginning of this speculation is oriented around early life forms, not the origin of life, but rather how simple primitive cells may have begun to evolve.

Therefore one of the initial assumptions is that primitive cells existing during this early period were fundamentally unique.  Reproduction was not yet part of the dynamic, and these "cells" were little more than primitive chemical factories, capitalizing on their environment.

One of the first questions to surface is why reproduction would have evolved at all.