Intelligent Design

Are our political views coded in DNA? Jerry Coyne is not really convinced

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As well he shouldn’t be. An op-ed in the Deep Statesville Intelligence claims,

Given how natural selection works, it’s entirely possible that an aversion to evolutionary explanations is in itself a product of evolution. In a hostile environment, wouldn’t a belief in selfdetermination be adaptive? But no matter, the point is that anti-evolutionary bias makes rational discussion of the human race far more difficult …

The fact that political opinion is rooted to some degree in our genes and biology means that both liberalism and conservatism may be adaptive traits that got passed down through thousands of human generations because they helped us survive. But another trait that is clearly adaptive is our ability to get along. Political arguments may rage within families, communities and even nations, yet they only rarely threaten the cohesion of the group. On some level, humans seem to understand that differences of opinion are unpleasant but splitting up may be even more unpleasant — or downright dangerous. Humans don’t survive alone in nature.

Sebastian Junger, “Our politics are in our DNA” at Washington Post

Like Freud, he’s irrefutable on his own terms. Coyne responds,

First of all, political opinion (or its ancestral equivalent) need not have been selected for directly: they may be “spandrels”—byproducts of differences in brain structure subject to selection for other reasons. Or they could reflect genetic differences that persist but weren’t subject to natural selection at all—they could have been “neutral” traits. After all, do we know whether there was a correlation in our ancestors between political opinion and reproductive output? I don’t think so!

Another problem is why, if the traits persisted because they were adaptive, both liberal genes and conservative genes persisted over aeons? Wouldn’t one worldview be more adaptive than the other, and take over? Only special kinds of natural selection (for the cognoscenti, “frequency-dependent selection” or “balancing selection”), can maintain several forms of a gene in a population.

Junger even suggests some kind of group selection here: politically diverse groups lasted longer, or disappeared less often, than did politically homogeneous groups.

But there’s no evidence for any of these forms of selection; it’s all speculation.

Jerry Coyne, “Are our political views encoded by our DNA?” at Why Evolution Is True

Yes, Jerry, it’s all speculation. Fetch that man a soda!

But now, the question is, why this specific lot of guff just now? This kind of stuff is always floated for a reason.

See also: Jerry Coyne doesn’t like Science Uprising

Jerry Coyne is already mad at Marcos Eberlin

and

Jerry Coyne Blocked On WordPress In Pakistan It’s somewhat like blaspheming against Darwin by airing doubts about his theories in the American school system. But in Pakistan, the death penalty is involved.

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4 Replies to “Are our political views coded in DNA? Jerry Coyne is not really convinced

  1. 1
    polistra says:

    Political parties were invented 300 years ago in England, so they couldn’t have caused much adaptation. The whole thing is even sillier because parties change their alignments constantly. Every single view switches sides every year. Some views are shared by both parties this year, then totally unthinkable next year.

    Junger is obviously heading toward plain old eugenics. The disorder of Trumpism can’t be cured or re-educated, so it must be exterminated.

  2. 2
    AaronS1978 says:

    I am going to say something I never thought I’d ever say or utter out of my mouth I would like to point out the fact that this is the first time I’ve read something of Jerry Coyne’s that was not wildly arrogant or belittling. It is amazing that I can read that then. It might’ve been because the fact that the person that he was critiquing was not religious

    And even using his own materialistic perspective he refutes the the genetic Nincompoop. Yes I use that word every now and then I have some other horrifyingly colorful things to say but that was the only thing that I could come up with that was PG

    But my hats off to him. I am truly shocked I am saying I agree with Jerry Coyne. There were a lot of things that led to this but this is rare indeed. Ho Ho Ho Ho

  3. 3
    bornagain77 says:

    “But there’s no evidence for any of these forms of selection; it’s all speculation.”
    – Jerry Coyne

    Huh? Jerry Coyne actually said that? Is Jerry drifting towards becoming a member of “The Third Way”?

    “some Neo-Darwinists have elevated Natural Selection into a unique creative force that solves all the difficult evolutionary problems without a real empirical basis.”
    https://www.thethirdwayofevolution.com/

    Or worse yet, is Jerry somehow drifting towards becoming a Intelligent Design advocate?

    The waiting time problem in a model hominin population – 2015 Sep 17
    John Sanford, Wesley Brewer, Franzine Smith, and John Baumgardner
    Excerpt: The program Mendel’s Accountant realistically simulates the mutation/selection process,,,
    Given optimal settings, what is the longest nucleotide string that can arise within a reasonable waiting time within a hominin population of 10,000? Arguably, the waiting time for the fixation of a “string-of-one” is by itself problematic (Table 2). Waiting a minimum of 1.5 million years (realistically, much longer), for a single point mutation is not timely adaptation in the face of any type of pressing evolutionary challenge. This is especially problematic when we consider that it is estimated that it only took six million years for the chimp and human genomes to diverge by over 5 % [1]. This represents at least 75 million nucleotide changes in the human lineage, many of which must encode new information.
    While fixing one point mutation is problematic, our simulations show that the fixation of two co-dependent mutations is extremely problematic – requiring at least 84 million years (Table 2). This is ten-fold longer than the estimated time required for ape-to-man evolution. In this light, we suggest that a string of two specific mutations is a reasonable upper limit, in terms of the longest string length that is likely to evolve within a hominin population (at least in a way that is either timely or meaningful). Certainly the creation and fixation of a string of three (requiring at least 380 million years) would be extremely untimely (and trivial in effect), in terms of the evolution of modern man.
    It is widely thought that a larger population size can eliminate the waiting time problem. If that were true, then the waiting time problem would only be meaningful within small populations. While our simulations show that larger populations do help reduce waiting time, we see that the benefit of larger population size produces rapidly diminishing returns (Table 4 and Fig. 4). When we increase the hominin population from 10,000 to 1 million (our current upper limit for these types of experiments), the waiting time for creating a string of five is only reduced from two billion to 482 million years.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pm.....MC4573302/

    “Darwinism provided an explanation for the appearance of design, and argued that there is no Designer — or, if you will, the designer is natural selection. If that’s out of the way — if that (natural selection) just does not explain the evidence — then the flip side of that is, well, things appear designed because they are designed.”
    Richard Sternberg – Living Waters documentary
    Whale Evolution vs. Population Genetics – Richard Sternberg and Paul Nelson – (excerpt from Living Waters video)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0csd3M4bc0Q

    Somebody better warn Jerry! This is dangerous territory for a Darwinist. Being honest and telling the truth like that, besides undermining the Darwinian belief in the power of Natural Selection the create the overwhelming ‘appearance of design’, might even eventually undermine his belief that he is a robot.

    “You are robots made out of meat. Which is what I am going to try to convince you of today”
    Jerry Coyne – No, You’re Not a Robot Made Out of Meat (Science Uprising 02) – video
    https://youtu.be/rQo6SWjwQIk?list=PLR8eQzfCOiS1OmYcqv_yQSpje4p7rAE7-&t=20

    Michael Egnor: The (neuro-scientific) Evidence against Materialism – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BqHrpBPdtSI

    (July 2019) Although there have been several major loopholes in quantum mechanics over the past several decades that atheists have tried to appeal to in order to try to avoid the ‘spooky’ Theistic implications of quantum mechanics, over the past several years each of those major loopholes have each been closed one by one. The last major loophole that was left to be closed was the “setting independence” and/or the ‘free-will’ loophole:
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/we-are-invited-to-consider-a-simpler-perspective-on-the-laws-of-physics/#comment-680430

  4. 4
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Another problem is why, if the traits persisted because they were adaptive, both liberal genes and conservative genes persisted over aeons? Wouldn’t one worldview be more adaptive than the other, and take over?

    Your theory was supposed to explain all of that, Jerry.

    But there’s no evidence for any of these forms of selection; it’s all speculation.

    That does seem to sum up Darwinism in a neat phrase.

    But now, the question is, why this specific lot of guff just now? This kind of stuff is always floated for a reason.

    That’s right. There’s always a hierarchy of values at work. In this case, I’d guess it’s something political. Jerry has a pet cause or an idea that would be threatened by the notion that evolution determined our political views. So, he’s willing to sell-out Darwin to protect his private view, whatever it is. He’s trying to convince people to vote Democrat, but his colleagues say that it’s all just DNA, just like evolution tells us. He’s trying to say that people were ignorant to vote for Trump, but the push-back is that evolution caused Trump to be president.

    Evolution is just a tool for atheism and liberalized morality. He’s rebelling against the Talmud, so any weapon will do. If evolution causes a problem, throw it overboard. He’ll just resort to ridicule and bullying — which is what evolution helps with, but there are other ways to keep the fan-base happy.

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