Evolution, equality, and differences Pt.1

As a preface, the very notion of race is incorrect to begin with. I could get into the history of the idea of “race”, but I’ll leave that research up to the reader. I use that word in this entry for the sake of simplicity. Wherever the word “race” is used, I mean it to refer to people who come from a different area of the word that may result in subtle differences in skin tone, facial or bodily features, or any other difference in appearances. Though it is not limited to these alone.
People have a misinformed idea that we are all the same. And because of this “sameness” we should have no trouble getting along. Genetically speaking, we humans are all very similar. There is more genetic diversity between say, a pit bull and a lab, than there is between say, a sub-Saharan African and a Native American. (I use this example because sub-Saharan Africans and Native Americans are the farthest apart in time, and also in space if you take into consideration the path of human migrations.)
Does this mean that there are no differences beyond physical appearance between any two “races” of people? I think not. I would argue that the process of evolution will favor not just differentiation between appearances, but also temperaments. Evolution is a complex process. And wherever humans go, evolution will eventually rule out unfavorable traits, while simultaneously encouraging favorable traits.
The first humans were black skinned, and came out of Africa. This is well known. In Africa, you’re a lot closer to the equator, the sun is brighter, and days are longer. Black helped protect early humans from the potentially damaging effects of bright sunlight. It kept them safe from sunburn and skin cancer. As we moved into northern climates, having dark skin would have been an undesirable trait, and natural selection would begin to phase it out. The body needs sunlight to metabolize vitamin D, and sunlight has a harder time getting through dark skin. In Africa sunlight is plentiful, and powerful, so this was not an issue. But in northern climates, over time, you would be far more susceptible to diseases related to vitamin D deficiency. White skin absorbs it faster and more efficiently. So in northern climates, pale skin will give you an advantage, allowing you to more readily and easily absorb vitamin D. It is the process of natural selection through evolution that guides this process.
Does this mean that a dark skinned African can’t migrate to say, northern Norway and survive? Of course not! Times have changed. We have an easier time getting our nutritional needs met than our early ancestors did. Likewise a pale skinned person can live in equatorial areas and be fine, provided they take care to avoid sunburn.
Geographic location will dictate, through the process of natural selection, what people will look like. Does this mean that any one race is better than another? More superior, more advanced, more valid? Such beliefs are at the height of ignorance.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s