Mother Nature’s a bitch

In the past, our ancestors were subjected to full-strength, undiluted, CFC-free, pure-organic, additive-free natural selection. The biggest recipients were young children, for which evolution had the greatest appetite of all. Those with the least useful mutations could look forward to a horrific death by starvation, predators, cannibalism, disease, drought, flash floods, drowning and much more besides. During an average 30 to 40 year human life span, mothers would produce eight to ten children only to see four to five of them die before reaching the age where they might pass their genes to the next generation.

37 comments on “Mother Nature’s a bitch

  1. A lot of the fit ones died gruesome deaths too. The genetic difference between fit & not quite so fit doesn’t have to be very large to have a significant effect over the generations.

  2. Sounds a bit optimistic to me. If each woman produced on average four children that survived to adulthood the population would double every generation. I think most primitive societies struggled to break even.

  3. When you look at times where childhood deaths decreased, the population did indeed double incredibly quickly. Look at places like Egypt and Congo today.

  4. Also, humans are social, survival doesn’t depend on running fast, it depends on being part of a strong society. That’s why we have loser SJWs and the third world doesn’t.

  5. True stuff.

    Man abhors death; nature doesn’t.

    I was doing some genealogical investigation a few weeks ago. I was shocked at how many infants and children were dying as recently as the 1920s.*

    *Good control of diseases probably started in the 1950s, but the early 1900s was the time of my grandparents, whom I were investigating.

  6. Roue, your maths is off. Only half the children survive to reproduce and half of that half is female. One mum, one grandmum.

  7. Oops, my maths is off. But I don’t buy them all having eight to ten kids. And the population did expand at some rate whenever breeding was unencumbered by natural disasters on a wide scale.

  8. Wasn’t there some research that said some massively high % of men in ancient time never reproduced, even if they survived to child producing age?

  9. Fitness is not simply genetic but also cultural : agricuralists replaced hunter gatherers not because they were healthier but because their enhanced food supply enabled women with higher body fat to ovulate and so to reproduce more frequently; complex societies can afford fortifications and specialist military to repel invaders and preserve both people and resources. Societies which welcome invaders, which fail to transmit the cultural memes which made it successful, which reward pathological behaviours eg intersectionality, are doomed to fail. When they have utterly failed when organisational knowledge about safe sewerage disposal, clean water and cheap energy generation and distribution, it’s back to genes, tribe vs tribe, clan vs clan, brother vs brother.

  10. “Agricuralists replaced hunter gatherers not because they were healthier but because they discovered they could make beer.”

    FIFY

  11. Gamecock: I stand corrected. They needed to drink alcohol because permanent habitation meant contaminated water.

  12. It may claim to bewritten by a geneticist but it smacks of a journalist e.g. no mere flood but a “flash flood”. (Have you noticed that the Beeb is rather fond of flash floods nowadays, though our parents did pretty well without the term?)

    Also: “People are still dying from disease and starving from deprivations perpetrated by unequal societies” is just arseholiness and virtue-signalling. Unequal societies wherein some people die of starvation are the natural order – it needed the industrial revolution for us to leave those days behind.

  13. Unequal means free.

    In equal societies, everyone dies from disease and starvation.

  14. Part of a longer quote attributed to Winston Churchill about Socialism…’Its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery’

  15. The thing with beer is when you can make it there is no sense in wasting your time doing hunting and gathering. You specialise, you trade with other specialists. You can live in something larger than a village once everyone doesn’t need access to the land or hunting grounds. Civilization starts with beer.

  16. Yes the fit didn’t escape either, saw a documentary recently where they looked at Elizabethan coroners data, the number of deaths from fire and drowning would be shocking in today’s society

  17. But I don’t buy them all having eight to ten kids. And the population did expand at some rate whenever breeding was unencumbered by natural disasters on a wide scale.

    It doesn’t say all mothers. Just that some would see that. And you don’t have to look hard to see women with eight kids in the past.

    in between we have:
    — the mothers that died giving birth to their first or second
    — those that made adulthood but were unable to breed (of due to illness that had made them sterile)
    — the number killed by drowning, fire, animals, etc
    etc.

    What was very uncommon was a couple having two kids and calling it a day voluntarily. The modern norm was the previous grossly abnormal.

    (The populations did, in fact, increase quite considerably in good times. Then came a war, a plague or such, and they dropped just as fast.

  18. Even midway throughout the last century childbirth was still a risky business, both for mother and child. Anyone having a large(ish) family stood a good chance of losing one or more kids before reaching adulthood.

    It has only been the since the uptake of widespread vaccinations, better obstetrics, better ante and post natal care and of course antibiotics that has reduced child mortality to very low levels.

    And of course, this has been brought about by a system (capitalism & free trade) which has created such a surplus of wealth that even ordinary members of society reap the benefits, both in standards of living and also in healthcare.

    Also, after giving birth to our first, the wife was told to drink a little Guinness as it was good for her iron levels.
    So beer – truly the gift of the gods!

  19. Dearime: “It may claim to bewritten by a geneticist but it smacks of a journalist e.g. no mere flood but a “flash flood”.”

    Flash flood is a geographical term, not a journalistic one:
    “Flash floods are distinguished from regular floods by having a timescale of fewer than six hours between rainfall and the onset of flooding. (…)
    What makes flash floods most dangerous is their sudden nature and fast-moving water. (…) As little as 2 feet (0.61 m) of water is enough to carry away most SUV-sized vehicles.”

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flash_flood

  20. “Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.” – Benjamin Franklin

  21. Reading Richard Murphy makes me yearn for the old days. He’d make the perfect sacrifice to an angry beast. Large enough to filling, soft enough to be tender, and annoying enough to go completely unmissed.

  22. and what happens to a society that has a very low birth rate. a high child death rate in utero. an insatiable greed for drugs and prefers immigration as form of multiplication.

  23. Had I been born in 1837 instead of 1937, I would have died at the age of 11years with acute appendicitis. As it was, I was saved by having my appendix removed in an emergency operation. Having had another 70 years of life and fathered two sons I am grateful to be living in the present day, bad though it sometimes appears.

  24. @Gamecock

    A declining population can no longer fund the Ponzi scheme of public pensions and tax. As more people retire, a higher rate of tax needs to be paid to keep giving the olds free money and keep funding the public sector’s habit of pissing it up the wall.
    As we know from the Laffer Curve, higher tax rates produce lower tax income. But the government doesn’t know/wouldn’t want to admit this so will just put rates up again and again.

    Also a lowering population spends less, so companies make less money and there is less GDP as fewer people work. Since, according to politicians and those at the top of business, life is all about GDP, this is a bad thing.
    Therefore we should import a load of people to work, even if quite a few of them don’t work and are culturally incompatible, because we gots to keep the GDP/profit numbers up. m’kay?

  25. “Since, according to politicians and those at the top of business, life is all about GDP, this is a bad thing.”
    Citizens benefit from high GDP per head.
    But the chancellor benefits from a high GDP to debt ratio when trying to balance the books. Extra heads are just fine in that cause.

  26. Meanwhile, in related news:

    The Reason Renewables Can’t Power Modern Civilization Is Because They Were Never Meant To

    But no amount of marketing could change the poor physics of resource-intensive and land-intensive renewables. Solar farms take 450 times more land than nuclear plants, and wind farms take 700 times more land than natural gas wells, to produce the same amount of energy.

    Efforts to export the Energiewende to developing nations may prove even more devastating.

    The new wind farm in Kenya, inspired and financed by Germany and other well-meaning Western nations, is located on a major flight path of migratory birds. Scientists say it will kill hundreds of endangered eagles.

    “It’s one of the three worst sites for a wind farm that I’ve seen in Africa in terms of its potential to kill threatened birds,” a biologist explained.

    Seems we’ve got enough rooom to make us poorer but not build houses.

    As Nick Drew over at C@W would say: Civilisation is energy intensive.

  27. BiND: the Greens are a long way from conservationists. They destroy the natural environment with wind and solar farms, both in their siting, their low density surface area to ipowergeneration ratio, the low net gain in energy, once energy used for producing solar panels is accounted for, the harms to flora and fauna. By making energy unreliable and inefficient they reveal their goal to be antihuman. The enthusiasm with which the political class have adopted the ideology makes me think that they too would be happier with fewer of us.

  28. Ljh,

    Yep, for some reason the watermelon has fallen out of usage. Its always been about control.

  29. @Ljh:

    Societies which welcome invaders, which fail to transmit the cultural memes which made it successful, which reward pathological behaviours eg intersectionality, are doomed to fail.”

    Most likely, they’ll end up not just failing, but being exterminated by the invaders:

    Horse-riding Yamnaya tribe who used their huge height and muscular build to brutally murder and invade their way across Europe more than 4,000 years ago………They made their way to Britain and within a few generations there was no remains of the previous inhabitants who built Stonehenge in the genetic record.”

    Though I’m sure the natives of Africa and Asia invited in by our superiors would never engage in the mass rape and killing of British people……

    http://www.unz.com/isteve/the-most-violent-group-of-people-who-ever-lived-take-that-carl-zimmer/

  30. @ Chernyy_Drakon “As more people retire, a higher rate of tax needs to be paid to keep giving the olds free money and keep funding the public sector’s habit of pissing it up the wall.”

    I read somewhere that in the 1940s there were 10 people working for every 1 receiving a state pension but that by the time the government first accepted they really, really had to do something about the retirement age (back in the mid-90s IIRC) it was being predicted that by 2030 that ratio would be 2.2 to 1 if the state pension ages remained at 60 and 65.

    On average average life expectancy at birth has increased c13-14 years since the 1940s but that’s a crude measure as early infant mortality influences the figures.

    Vaguely interesting is that a newborn male in 1841 had an average life expectancy of 40 compared to 79 for a newborn male in 2011. However, a 65 year old in 1841 would on average get to 76 and a 65 year old in 2011 could expect to get to 83.

  31. Andrew C,

    Maggie used to bang on about the “demographic time bomb”, recognising the problems we’d be facing. IIRC she want to increase the pension age much faster but was shouted down by the short termists.

    Looks like that bomb is in the process of a slow explosion. Like it or not, the Tory’s manifesto commitment on social care in 2017 was along the right path.

  32. ‘Flash flood is a geographical term, not a journalistic one’: oh balls. Journalists use the phrase whenever it takes their fancy because it sounds suitably dramatic. They do not consult dictionaries.

  33. ‘Horse-riding Yamnaya tribe who used their huge height and muscular build to brutally murder and invade their way across Europe more than 4,000 years ago’ Ah, journalism.

    Something I read last week said that it wasn’t clear whether the Yamnaya rode horses. It wasn’t even clear whether their wagons were pulled by horses or oxen.

    I’d guess that people who herded horses would learn to ride. Actual evidence would be useful though.

  34. @BlokeInBrum May 6, 2019 at 10:30 pm

    My mother was told by her GP to drink a little Guinness during and after pregnancy as it was good for her (NI 1960s)

    PS I don’t have a black body and a cream head

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