Questions about Human Ecology, 7/8
Are there niches for psychological traits?
perhaps, psychopaths have been designed by evolution to prey on normal people. That’s the biological function of psychopathy. As soon as there were normal people, it was almost inevitable that there would be something like psychopaths – people whose “niche” was extracting resources from others.
A niche for criminals. A niche for politicians.
Thinking about humans as their own ecological system raises all sorts of questions.
How do technology and economic conditions enhance or detract from various psychological niches? Would psychopathy have been selected against in small hunter-gatherer societies that have little surplus to steal? But would it be selected for once agriculture created stores of value?
Have we “self-domesticated,” as some have argued?
Can we assume that homosexual tendencies are to some degree heritable, and that strong social pressure against homosexual behavior helps cause some of those with homosexual tendencies to have heterosexual relationships, helping to preserve homosexual tendencies in the gene pool? Once we encourage homosexuals to "out” themselves and find homosexual partners, will homosexuality decline in the population?
Will we see a neo-eugenics movement, to try to weed certain traits out of the population? I sense such a desire when I hear talk of “toxic masculinity.”
Does biological selection in human populations matter? Perhaps it operates too slowly, especially compared with cultural evolution. Perhaps cultural change is by far the most important phenomenon to watch in studying the human ecology.
"Can we assume that homosexual tendencies are to some degree heritable"
25%. detected genes associated with homosexual sex are correlated with more sex partners in straight people
Re: "Will we see a neo-eugenics movement, to try to weed certain traits out of the population?"
We probably will see a social pattern of various individuals using new biotech (e.g., gene-editing?) to try and design their offspring for health, prowess, charisma, or other advantageous traits. Not a neo-eugenics *movement* to achieve a collective social outcome, but an emergent social phenomenon -- an expression of private, subjective optimization by parents, motivated by (a) altruism towards offspring and/or (b) status anxiety and vicarious ambition through lineage. Perhaps there will be two cultures?: a designer-baby culture, and a laissez-faire reproduction culture.