Just listened to your Lyman Stone chat. You can talk to anyone RK

Quite entertaining.

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"By some estimates, Slovenians are now better off than Britons."

I assume the obsession with the UK has to do with Americans feeling closer to the UK, and having a higher interest in the UK, than many other countries.

I think the idea of the UK being being in some kind of poverty spiral or irreversible decline has no much to go for it. Probably Brexit has been bad for the UK, but even that is mostly reversible.


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Aug 8·edited Aug 8

Two heretical comments that call into question whether population genetics has general utility for explaining adaptive evolution.

First, William Provine came to believe that the population genetics was a mistaken attempt to apply ideas from physics to systems far more complex than those in physics. (Yes, I know that Provine suffered from a brain tumor in his last ten years, but that is not a reason to dismiss entirely his final evaluation of population genetics.) There are many levels of adaptive evolution, from the inter-seasonal bucket-sloshing of James Thompson to the origin of new body plans. Population genetics is only applicable to the lower end of this spectrum. It is likely that adaptive innovation and radiation is explained far more by ecological opportunities than by genetic architectures. That said, population genetics is invaluable for timing evolutionary divergences. More analogous to fingerprint technology than to a theory of the crime.

Second, one may see Dawkins' gene centric view as merely rhetoric built on top of elementary population genetics in order to explain a few behavioral traits found in a few taxa.

Of course, population genetics is a massive theory, but perhaps its attraction mostly lies in its particular utility for telling the story of H. sapiens, a world-traveling quasi-altruist.

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