April 24, 2024

Travel and Evolution

Dave Winer says that we like to travel because natural selection favors those who like to travel:

Leaving one place for another is a big part of being human. And the reason we like travelling so much is that evolution culled out those of us who didn’t.

And maybe this also answers the question why, when I travel, I’m always thinking about what it would be like to live there. It’s not my mind that’s wondering, it’s evolution’s mind.

I’m down with the first part of this.  In general, people who adapt more easily to changing circumstances are more likely to be successful and therefore able to support and nourish the next generation.

Of course that depends on their adaptation technique and whether it’s a short-term fix such as turning to a life of crime or something more meaningful.  The colonization of America and the resulting republican form of government that migration spawned instantly comes to mind.

Where Winer goes astray is with the notion of an “evolutionary mind”.  There’s no such thing.  The rule of dog eat dog does not imply a guiding force behind natural selection.  Indeed, by definition it allows none.


Marc is a software developer, writer, and part-time political know-it-all who currently resides in Texas in the good ol' U.S.A.

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