September 30, 2018
Toby S. Cubitt
Universtiy College London
Gower St, Bloomsbury, London WC1E 6BT, UK
About 20 years ago I stumbled across the answer to “life, the universe and everything,” ok, life anyway; 42 according to Douglas Adams. Ever since then my life as been a matter of brushing up details and looking for Deep Thought, who apparently is the only one that will ever understand.
While reading “Unsolvable problem,” I thought, “These guys are really smart.” I then slept 14 hours; not spry as once upon a time. The quick version is that if humans obstinately persist in marrying non-kin (by which I mean no shared ancestors for 10 generations) we shall all go extinct, and that right early. Enjoy your last honest laugh and then go over the DVD and commence weeping. “Grand summary” lays it out with references. “Hans movie” shows it in action. “Horror without evidence” speculates on what may happen along the way.
Here is a brief summary of what you will be getting into:
The lessons are available as lectures http://nobabies.net/YouTube%20links.html and scripts http://nobabies.net/movie%20scripts.html and the information on the video on gapminder.com .
Here is the pitch, so think hard: (Skipping the first lesson,) when a new environmental niche appears, the first animal to occupy it has an advantage like that of an army occupying a fort that another army cannot even locate; selection is a race. During the competition, if one animal can divide into two species, one of them can retain the legacy niche while the other exploits the new one; speciation is a race. Say it takes 2,000 generations of separation for two populations to become two species. The actual number doesn’t matter. Now a chromosome or critical part in one population cannot function effectively with its opposite number in the other population. Now (alert) a population rises to 2,000 so there are 4,000 copies of each chromosome. The chance of a chromosome winding up in the same animal as that chromosome’s nearest kin is about 1 in 4,000. In 2,000 generations the whole population dies because no two chromosomes are closely enough related to its opposite number to be able to function.
Since extinction of the fittest is not what we see, there is very strong selective pressure for some mechanism to exist that tends to keep a population at some middling size. In lesson 3, that mechanism is shown in action by a team led by Richard Sibly. There is a rest population size, below which fertility rises rapidly and above which fertility falls slowly. In lesson 4, the Sibly curve is shown to be in action in Iceland and in lesson 5, in action in Denmark, where it is found that once kinship issues (between a couple and among their ancestors) are taken into account, there is absolutely no effect of income or education on family size. The notion of choice of family size being possible after choice of mate has been made is superstition.
Run the video, which shows fifty years of experience for the whole world showing how fertility of every country falls to below replacement and then age at first marriage rises inexorably toward, and eventually to, menopause. In the past few years sub-Saharan Africa has broken that mold. (Economist vol. 428 no. 9110 September 22, 2018 Not So Fast page 12, Babies are Lovely, but … page 40 and Growing up too Early page 42.) “The fertility rate in sub-Saharan Africa is dropping about half as quickly as it did in Asia or Latin America when families were about the same size.” This seems not to have happened anywhere in the fifty years to 2005. http://nobabies.net/Terror%206%20UN%20numbers%20video%20script.html This seems to be driven by resurgent tribalism and child brides, both of which restrict mating choice, and is not so bad a thing as we are going to need some babies as long as we wish to survive, and the rich and middling countries seem to be on the way out.
It would seem proper, once you have run the lessons, to start screaming hysterically, but I should caution you. As Horror without Evidence suggests, there is reason to suspect that after a number of generations of outbreeding, accumulated change might induce counter-productive changes in the thinking and feeling of the victims. What is not mentioned is that among these, might be the impulse to hate what I have just explained and hate the exponent even more. Decades of bitter experience support the idea, but I have no idea how selection might induce such a censor.
Air tight borders are a necessary but insufficient step toward breaking up into communities of about 100 to 150 families of relatives, the only realistic way we can survive.