Why would anyone at all think this is not true?

Humans are still evolving, scientists find

Just bizarre.

Sure, perhaps the natural selection isn\’t running away from lions any more and the sexual selection might be taking place at the point of deciding who to be monogamous with but the idea that neither are still happening seems most odd.

Once only has to look at the lack of chins among Guards officers to note that something has indeed been going on.

32 comments on “Why would anyone at all think this is not true?

  1. Well, considering the rather large percentage of the world’s population who reject the whole concept of evolution, lots and lots of people.

    Few of whom are likely to find their way here, it has to be said, but there are a fair number of native, imported or infected fundies trolling various of the Torygraph comments sections.

  2. “Why would anyone at all think this is not true?”

    Now you’re just being faux naif.

    In the US some Republicans don’t believe in evolution whereas lots of Democrats claim that evolution happens except, mirabile dictu, among humans during the last fifty millennia or so.

  3. Guards officers and chin straps? Was Lamarck right after all?

    But your chin strap sits on your chin (hence the name). If you don’t have one, it just wanders vaguely about the integument surrounding the lower mandible.

    Now, if you wish to look at what a cav Colonel of my acquaintance calls “genetic focus”, you need to concentrate on the officers’ messes not of the Guards, or even the Household Division, but of those Cav Regiments with a strong regional and rural focus for recruiting.

    Their first girlfriend with a name rather than an EID tends to be related to their fellow inmates. Over the centuries, this has lead to some almost Norfolkian* recessive traits.

    * But not the LD. They may be based in Swanton Morley but they recruit from up north.

  4. Forecasting what the human of the western world, in the next century, will look like, requires an assessment of which traits are detrimental to successful reproduction, and which are advantageous. So look around you, and see who are raising the biggest families today, and who are so over-burdened and taxed that they are lucky if they manage to raise one.

    Yes, the Englishman of the future will be a ragged, stinking, ignorant, arrogant, drunk, bone idle, illiterate savage.

  5. @Monty: Which is rather ironic since the progenitors of the welfare state were all into Eugenics and trying to remove from the gene pool those deemed (by a government inspector, of course) to be genetically unfit.

  6. Are we being selected for brains, brawn or beauty?
    In an age of the welfare state, the pill, etc we’re being selected for… er… um… fecundity.

    Which is a bit of a tautology, really.

  7. Monty – “Yes, the Englishman of the future will be a ragged, stinking, ignorant, arrogant, drunk, bone idle, illiterate savage.”

    Yes but he will also need medical intervention to be born. Because we are selecting for traits that need medical intervention, at least in the passive sense. Babies that would have died without medical help now live. Thus more of them are born. They have more children etc.

    So it is a self-solving problem. The last English generation capable of reading will spend all their time helping the births of those that can’t. And when they die, so will everyone else.

  8. In an age of the welfare state, the pill, etc we’re being selected for… er… um… fecundity.

    Such has always been the way. “Fittest” in the “survival of” sense has always been the maximum number of descendants. A criminal idiot who only manages to stay out of prison for a couple of weeks each year* but manages to impregnate a couple of random slags in that time is far more “fit” than the Gates, Buffetts, Beckhams, Hawkings, or whoever you might pick as your success story. As are, frankly, the slags.

    * Okay, I know. In reality he’d be the subject of a spittle-flecked post chez Julia regarding his umpteenth suspended sentence. But just assume …

  9. Yes, the Englishman of the future will be a ragged, stinking, ignorant, arrogant, drunk, bone idle, illiterate savage.

    Well, we won at Talavera and Waterloo with such?

  10. Surreptitious Evil — “Well, we won at Talavera and Waterloo with such?”

    Well no. Because other countries do not lack such. What they lack are the chinless wonders that are so frequently mocked around here. Or if they don’t lack them, at least they don’t give the Army to them as their own plaything.

    As someone once said, British soldiers know how to fight, but British officers know how to die. At least they used to. I doubt they do any more.

  11. “As someone once said, British soldiers know how to fight, but British officers know how to die. At least they used to. I doubt they do any more.”

    That’s a literally disgusting (and surprising) slur on British soldiers and officers.

    I have known many of both and I can assure you that you are wrong.

    The utter defeat and rout of the supposedly warlike Taliban in every firefight they have brought in Afghanistan demonstrates that British soldiers indeed still know how to fight, and the regrettable deaths of many fine officers leading from the front in that conflict (and elsewhere) have shown that the officers still know how to die.

  12. Having worked with a number of the “chinless wonders”, whilst myself having a chin (and, probably, not being ‘wonderful’), I think you’d be surprised how competent the ones who get through Sandhurst are.

    I’m not going to argue that going to the right school or, and often more importantly, having had ancestors in the predecessor regiments, doesn’t still affect your chances of selection in to certain posher regiments but the modern Commissioning Course itself is no respecter of class or “breeding”.

    You’ll also find that a significant number of SF officers come from the posher regiments – especially if you compare that to the troopers (who are overwhelmingly, and not surprisingly, from the Paras and the Light Infantry.)

    I’ll have to say, though, I’m up to 5 wars (not including the Cold War) and I’ve, so far, miserably failed to die. Perhaps I’m not cut out for this British officer lark?

  13. That’s a literally disgusting (and surprising) slur on British soldiers and officers.

    A hundred years ago it might have been fair, but the professionalisation of the British officer corps is a modern day success story.

  14. And you’ll find that the officers of the Board of Ordnance units – the Artillery and the Engineers, were always as carefully selected as their cavalry and line peers, except for competence rather than ancestry.

  15. Interested – “That’s a literally disgusting (and surprising) slur on British soldiers and officers.”

    Well I deeply regret anyone would think that comment applied to soldiers. It didn’t. But the general contempt for chinless wonders has led to a reduction in people behaving like chinless wonders.

    “The utter defeat and rout of the supposedly warlike Taliban in every firefight they have brought in Afghanistan demonstrates that British soldiers indeed still know how to fight”

    I would hope so. But
    1. The humiliation of the British navy by Iran recently suggests not all members of the Armed Forces still know how. Which is not surprising as they have to be second-guessed by fools in the UK every time they pull a trigger – I doubt that any squaddie has forgotten Lee Clegg.
    2. You are looking at the wrong thing. American soldiers usually win, but they don’t like to fight. They prefer to call down huge amounts of artillery and air support. Winning and fighting are not the same thing although in the long run they tend to converge.

    “and the regrettable deaths of many fine officers leading from the front in that conflict (and elsewhere) have shown that the officers still know how to die.”

    Good. By my quick count, nine Captains, five Lieutenants, one Major and one Lt-Colonel have died in Afghanistan. Out of some 400 deaths. Compared with some 58 corporals.

    However there is no denying Britain is trending to the norm and becoming less special. As it does, it will become more like other countries. There is a lot to be said for Britain’s chinless wonders. We will miss them when they are gone.

  16. 1. The humiliation of the British navy by Iran recently suggests not all members of the Armed Forces still know how.

    We weren’t at war with Iran at the time. We still aren’t. Just like the SAS did not massacre the Libyan rebels when their insertion of the FCO/SIS officer went FUBAR. Not to say that the behaviour of the naval personnel after capture was exemplary – it wasn’t. But then, you have to ask yourself, how much CAC training had anybody other than the RM Lt had? The answer – none. This has now changed.

    You are looking at the wrong thing. American soldiers usually win, but they don’t like to fight. They prefer to call down huge amounts of artillery and air support.

    Why have you brought the Septics in to this discussion? Completely irrelevant.

    I am beginning to adhere to the general belief in these quarters that you are a bigoted ignoramus.

    Do you have any actual military experience or is it all from watching Sharpe re-runs on Dave?

  17. SMFS – fuck me, I almost don’t know where to start. Let’s try the beginning.

    ‘Well I deeply regret anyone would think that comment applied to soldiers. It didn’t.’

    So improve your grammar, maybe?

    ‘The humiliation of the British navy by Iran…’

    Well, that was the Navy. (They included four RM though – I’d like to see you tell them, to their faces, that they were part of a national ‘humiliation’.)
    And FFS, outside the pages of the neswspapers, it wasn’t a humiliation, it was a fuck up, these things happen.
    Plus, ‘the Navy’? It wasn’t the whole Navy, cockface, in a straight fight the Navy would kick their arses, it was a few guys who got into a scrape and decided, wisely in my view, not to start shooting. That would have led to lots of dead people and an international crisis, instead of a few standing order changes and everyone coming home safe.

    ‘Which is not surprising as they have to be second-guessed by fools in the UK every time they pull a trigger – I doubt that any squaddie has forgotten Lee Clegg.’

    Relevance to your bizarre claim that officers ‘don’t know how to die’?

    ‘American soldiers usually win, but they don’t like to fight.’

    Please, do fuck off. What, exactly, is the sum total of your experience of seeing actual US soldiers in battle, and I don’t mean in your local multiplex/Blockbuster or by playing Call of Duty?

    ‘Good. By my quick count, nine Captains, five Lieutenants, one Major and one Lt-Colonel have died in Afghanistan. Out of some 400 deaths. Compared with some 58 corporals.’

    ‘Good’? My, but you really are a cunt. That aside, from your wank-filled visits to Blockbusters, do you have any understanding of the difference between the job of corporal and that of captain? And if it’s numbers you’re talking, how many fucking captains do you think there are in the average infantry battalion, and therefore in theatre, compared with the number of private soldiers and corporals, you twat? On a ratio basis, the death of one Lt-Col fucking far outweighs the other ranks. You. Fucking. Stupid. Cock.

    ‘There is a lot to be said for Britain’s chinless wonders. We will miss them when they are gone.’

    You know absolutely fuck all about anything. You are a stain.

  18. American soldiers usually win, but they don’t like to fight.

    Can I also say, in my reasonably extensive experience – anecdata and “appeal to authority”, I know but covering Iran / Iraq, the first and second Gulf Wars, Kosovo and Afghanistan – that this is completely arse about face. The Americans are far too keen to pile in. Often before determining that the unfortunate(s) about to receive hundreds or millions of dollars of the Pentagon’s very best Brady Act compliant pork are, in fact, the enemy. (And, even if they are the enemy, a legitimate target. Which isn’t always as easy a decision as it might be. Proportionality of possible collateral damage being a required command judgement under CIL / Laws of War.)

    They do always claim to have won, of course. Even the Alamo was an USian victory (I’m sure both sides in their Civil War claimed victory for each and every engagement.) This is not, of course, unique to them. But, quite often, once the dust has settled (including a number of what once were houses but are now just more dust), it is, at best, a no-score draw.

  19. ‘Can I also say… that this is completely arse about face. The Americans are far too keen to pile in. ‘

    They do have a doctrine of overwhelming force, which differs from ours – not least because they are able to project it, and we don’t really have that option.

    I do find, having calmed down a bit, SMFS’s derogatory remarks made about US soldiers almost as ridiculous as those made about British officers.

    What does this even mean?: ‘American soldiers usually win, but they don’t like to fight. They prefer to call down huge amounts of artillery and air support.’

    Well, duh. Who doesn’t like to call in air and artillery? The fact that you can and other people can’t is irrelevant as to the question of whether or not you like fighting. War is not a compuer game, or an 18th century duel, despite the best efforts of western politicians to hamstring their own side: it is about killing the enemy as quickly and effectively as possible, hopefully in such a manner as to deter his mates from getting up and having a pop at you. The US military, and to a lesser extent we, are literally awesome at this; it just doesn’t fit with political goals in a modern media age.

    Anyone who questions the US fighting man a) hasn’;t seen him in action b) hasn’t considered at the top end ops like the Osama killing, (obviously carried out by a bunch of co mplete pussies) and c) hasn’t considered at the more run of the mill end the fact that they are all volunteers. SMFS should google Wanat, and hang his head in shame.

  20. They do have a doctrine of overwhelming force, which differs from ours – not least because they are able to project it, and we don’t really have that option.

    It’s not that. It’s the eagerness to shoot anything that isn’t overtly American. Which, as I’m not, can be a little bit worrying. Their aim is also a bit less reliable than we might prefer.

    I’ve no problem with them blowing the confirmed enemy into their constituent molecules. Or even “back in to the Stone Age”. If you are using a bayonet, or a pistol, you’ve screwed up badly. The object of war is to win. Not to be nice about it.

    Fighting fairly is for the Marquis of Fantailler (who is entirely fictional). Even in martial arts you try your best to be faster, smarter and harder hitting than your opponent. Technology just increases the potential advantage.

  21. ‘It’s the eagerness to shoot anything that isn’t overtly American… Their aim is also a bit less reliable than we might prefer.’

    If you mean randoms, speaking personally I have never seen it, not once, or anything like it. In fact, I’ve only ever seen a great deal of restraint.
    I know it happens, but I think it’s exaggerated by the media and the enemies of the US; they win the war-war but they lose the propaganda war.
    If you mean they occasionally blue-on-blue, in the proverbial fog who doesn’t?
    Indeed, I know guys who knew guys who died that way in GW1.
    But the Yanks hit the right target with monotonous regularity I’d say.
    Rather with them than agin them.

  22. Surreptitious Evil – “We weren’t at war with Iran at the time. We still aren’t.”

    Not sure that matters does it?

    “Just like the SAS did not massacre the Libyan rebels when their insertion of the FCO/SIS officer went FUBAR.”

    The rebels being more or less on our side. How is that even relevant?

    “Why have you brought the Septics in to this discussion? Completely irrelevant.”

    No it isn’t as they illustrate what I mean.

    “I am beginning to adhere to the general belief in these quarters that you are a bigoted ignoramus.”

    Knock yourself out.

    21 Interested – “So improve your grammar, maybe?”

    Nothing wrong with my grammar. You read what you wanted to see. Perhaps if I had assumed a hostile readership I would have been more careful.

    “Well, that was the Navy.”

    As I said.

    “(They included four RM though – I’d like to see you tell them, to their faces, that they were part of a national ‘humiliation’.)”

    I would have thought they would agree. I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t agree. I would have thought they would have liked to put up a fight but were hampered by silly rules.

    “And FFS, outside the pages of the neswspapers, it wasn’t a humiliation, it was a fuck up, these things happen.”

    Sorry but no. It was humiliation. As it was probably meant to be on the Iranian side.

    “It wasn’t the whole Navy, cockface, in a straight fight the Navy would kick their arses, it was a few guys who got into a scrape and decided, wisely in my view, not to start shooting.”

    If the Navy was allowed to, perhaps they would. I would be surprised if they didn’t. But the problem is that the rules imposed on them so rarely let them. As Somalia is showing.

    “That would have led to lots of dead people and an international crisis, instead of a few standing order changes and everyone coming home safe.”

    Well one way to make sure everyone comes home safe is not to fight. Which is kind of my point really isn’t it? You seem to be annoyed but agreeing with me.

    “Please, do fuck off. What, exactly, is the sum total of your experience of seeing actual US soldiers in battle, and I don’t mean in your local multiplex/Blockbuster or by playing Call of Duty?”

    On what possible level do you think this is even close to an adequate response to what I said?

    “‘Good’? My, but you really are a cunt.”

    And yet I am not the one being an arse.

    “That aside, from your wank-filled visits to Blockbusters, do you have any understanding of the difference between the job of corporal and that of captain?”

    Umm, yes. Isn’t that my point? You expect most casualties among people who do the actual fighting. You expect a disproportionate share among those who lead those who do the fighting. Captains, Lieutenants and senior NCOs.

    “And if it’s numbers you’re talking, how many fucking captains do you think there are in the average infantry battalion, and therefore in theatre, compared with the number of private soldiers and corporals, you twat?”

    Except the Captains should have a much higher risk of being wounded or killed than your average squaddie. Even if there are more private soldiers. So you should not be looking at numbers.

    “On a ratio basis, the death of one Lt-Col fucking far outweighs the other ranks. You. Fucking. Stupid. Cock.”

    Except how did that one die? He was blown up by an IED while with a resupply column. Not leading the fighting. Now we can have an argument about whether the type of fighting means that the higher ranks should be at greater or lesser risk. But this is not like H Jones is it? What is noticeable is that higher ranking officers, and officers generally, are not doing what they have traditionally done. Even if you look at the American Army in WW2, they could routinely expect to lose almost all their junior officers in a matter of months. The 3rd Battalion of 66th Armour lost 73 percent of its officers and 43 percent of its enlisted strength during 28 July – 1 August 1944.

    So apart from some abuse language do you actually have anything constructive to say?

  23. Surreptitious Evil – “The Americans are far too keen to pile in. Often before determining that the unfortunate(s) about to receive hundreds or millions of dollars of the Pentagon’s very best Brady Act compliant pork are, in fact, the enemy.”

    I think we are talking at cross purposes. That is my point. America gave the word “recon by fire”. Or simply shooting the living crap out of anything that *might* be the enemy so that he would fire back and they would discover where he was. The Americans are supposed to have fired over 100,000 bullets per dead enemy in Vietnam. That is what I mean about not liking to fight.

    “But, quite often, once the dust has settled (including a number of what once were houses but are now just more dust), it is, at best, a no-score draw.”

    Well if it happens in someone else’s home, like Korea, you could probably claim a better draw than the other guy. But if it takes place in your own backyard, as in 1812, then I think it is reasonable to say that as draws go it looks a lot like a loss. What I think is interesting about the British and Americans is that the British, at least in the past, and especially the officers, liked the other guys. Invariably. Sometimes when they shouldn’t have – they go too cozy with the Germans I think. Not so with the Americans.

    24 Interested – “They do have a doctrine of overwhelming force, which differs from ours – not least because they are able to project it, and we don’t really have that option.”

    Well we would if we wanted to pay for it. But I am not sure we should be using it even if we could.

    “Well, duh. Who doesn’t like to call in air and artillery? The fact that you can and other people can’t is irrelevant as to the question of whether or not you like fighting.”

    Well it is closely linked. Who doesn’t? I am not sure. The question is can you fight if you can’t call it down? The Americans have a strong and long standing preference not to.

    “it is about killing the enemy as quickly and effectively as possible, hopefully in such a manner as to deter his mates from getting up and having a pop at you. The US military, and to a lesser extent we, are literally awesome at this; it just doesn’t fit with political goals in a modern media age.”

    Quickly and effectively? The West in WW2 never put much pressure on the Germans. The Germans were able to walk away from the Allied Armies time and time again, only to re-establish another defensive line further back. Which meant that the Allies had to catch up with them and then go through the process of breaking through once more – and instead of then breaking out and operating behind a totally disorganised German Army, the Germans then walked away from them once more. Which is fine as far as it goes, except it takes longer and costs more lives that way. The Allied recapture of France took a hell of a lot longer than the German invasion in the first place. Because in the long run, a reliance on fire power can cost you.

    Now you can call that what you like. It hardly reflects contempt for the British soldier nor is it untrue. It won’t become untrue no matter how much you object to it.

    Also to its credit the American Army is trying to change. As the First Gulf War showed. But part of that is giving up the constant reliance on artillery and airpower.

    “c) hasn’t considered at the more run of the mill end the fact that they are all volunteers. SMFS should google Wanat, and hang his head in shame.”

    The British Army at Waterloo was almost all volunteers too. What’s your point?

    26 Interested – “If you mean randoms, speaking personally I have never seen it, not once, or anything like it. In fact, I’ve only ever seen a great deal of restraint.”

    Not looked at a lot of pictures of Korea then?

  24. We weren’t at war with Iran at the time. We still aren’t.

    Not sure that matters does it?

    Err, yes? Your complete lack of military experience is showing. If we are at war, you are allowed to shoot at any military target and, depending on the ROE, military-useful ones as well. If we are not at war, then all you have is heavily armed self-defence and the “reasonable force” doctrine.

    Just like the SAS did not massacre the Libyan rebels when their insertion of the FCO/SIS officer went FUBAR.

    The rebels being more or less on our side. How is that even relevant?

    Because it is exactly the same situation. An armed British military force is confronted by a superior armed force from a non-enemy nation. What do you do? Do you start a war? Or do you let the diplomats sort it out. In both of these cases, they did the latter.

    But the problem is that the rules imposed on them so rarely let them. As Somalia is showing.

    Oh, I know. These horrible rules. Not allowing the military to shoot whoever they feel like. Such a dreadful imposition. We should repeal the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 immediately.

    Back to the question on point. Your military experience? Once watched “Saving Private Ryan”? Reads the Daily Hate? Great fan of Bernard Cornwell books?

  25. If you mean randoms, speaking personally I have never seen it, not once, or anything like it.

    Personally, I was thinking of situations like the 2002 Spectre shooting up of the wedding. I doubt this is what you mean by a “random”.

    If you mean they occasionally blue-on-blue, in the proverbial fog who doesn’t?

    Nope. I didn’t. Been there (as target not as shooter.)

    In fact, I’ve only ever seen a great deal of restraint.

    Not looked at a lot of pictures of Korea then?

    Interested’s talking personal from personal experience and you want to look at photos of the 1950s? Sighs, it’s like responding to a slightly politer version of Arnald. Your knowledge of what you are getting so wound up about is utterly superficial. Therefore you are making category errors.

    Your obvious contempt – and it is contempt no matter how much you object to it – for people who put themselves in to harms way on what I can only suppose is your behalf is galling. Speaking as one of those people.

  26. SMFS, you’re suffering from delusions of intelligence and I have better things to do than spend the morning rebutting your fantasist bullshit nonsense, which I see now includes criticising British Army officers for not doing what they’re not paid to do, line by line. But I have got two minutes. You’re in luck.

    Waterloo? The Allied invasion in WW2? Photographs from Korea?

    For. Fuck’s. Sake.

    The ‘point’ re Wanat, you dickhead, is that it showed volunteer US soldiers (who according to you ‘don’t like to fight’ – though who does, when it comes down to it?) fighting.

    That’s guys who went to Afghan, knowing what they had signed up for, fighting and dying. As many others have. That’s the ‘point’, you tool.

    As an aside, they were much more volunteery than the Wellington mob, whose options were a bit more limited that the modern US (or UK) bloke’s, thanks to the stuff which is the wider subject of this blog, generally.

    Re Mr Thorneloe, you are horrible and beneath contempt. You can walk around knowing you’ve said that about a brave man who died leading his men. Enjoy that feeling!.

    Re the Iran RM, I know one of them, vaguely. I’ll ask him if he thought he was humiliated. I know what he’ll say – that it was only a ‘humiliation’ to headline writers and armchair tosspots who get wound up about saving face; anyone who’s actually worn green will tell you that, beyond taking the piss out of the senior service and the booties, they were well happy with the outcome there.

    Like so many who presume to an opinion about things far from your own world and experience, you understand nothing about this subject. For instance, you have not the slightest understanding of the rules of engagement; had one of the RM opened fire on and killed an Iranian sailor it is by no means unlikely – depending on the circumstances, about which you also know nothing except what was in the newspapers – that he would have found himself on a murder charge, five years down the line in a courtroom with wankers like you commenting on his actions from a position informed by endlessly playing Command and Conquer in your spare bedroom.

    @Surreptitious Evil, points taken re the wedding etc; all I’ll say is that unless you were there etc etc. But then you know that already ;-)

  27. You expect most casualties among people who do the actual fighting. You expect a disproportionate share among those who lead those who do the fighting. Captains, Lieutenants and senior NCOs.

    Not if you’ve organised your patrols properly. The people in most danger are going to be on point and they’re not going to be officers or sergeants. Junior Brecon teaches you this shit. But you’ve not been*, have you?

    Now, factor in your bomb disposal nutters and, yes, the number of SSgt / WO and subalterns that get whacked increases.

    points taken re the wedding etc; all I’ll say is that unless you were there etc etc.

    I was, at the time, in “the other place”.

    * Note for pendants – I’ve not done Junior Brecon either. Because officers don’t. But I’ve wandered around the Beacons in the pouring rain more than enough. You do have to wonder why there is a peat bog on top of a sodding mountain ridge … It can’t just be to piss the British Army off.

Leave a Reply

Name and email are required. Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>