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Darwinian DayCare

"Lord of the flies" themed daycare for thinning out the herd
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When you drop your tyke off at Darwinian DayCare, he will be shunted into one of many groups determined by age and weight. The unsupervised groups are each free to roam around their own junglesque, self-contained ecosystem complete with age-appropriate predators.

Social development occurs much more expediently, here at Darwinian DayCare, as the autonomous group of toddlers establish a social hierarchy, and each struggles for power.

Only through team-work can the children earn "Snack time". It will take near every one of them to over power their snack. Or protect their snack from competing predators, for that matter.

Your child will hone spatial skills as they negotiate the hazardous jungle terrain. They will be introduced to concepts such as gravity, kinetic energy and inelastic collisions in our many gorges and ravines.

Give your child the evolutionary boost s/he needs in today's competitive market, or graciously make way for those that can.

MikeD, May 19 2009


       [marked-for-tagline]: // complete with age-appropriate predators //
loonquawl, May 19 2009

       Aren't the words "Darwinian" (in the sense you seem to use it) and "Care" mutually exclusive?   

       Proper neo-Darwinian daycare would require a positive selection vector - sexual selection is obviously not really appropriate - but, just like "real" Darwinism, the positive selector here is "care" - as you care for children, teaching them to share things and not to get killed, they are socialised (through the primary positive selection processes of "friendship") - so in reality, what you already call "DayCare" is actually quite Darwinian already.   

       But in your sense of the word (used elsewhere, so it's not your fault) Darwinism is all about weeding out the weak. The three main problems with this version of Darwinism are
1) It's not really Darwinism, and
2) There's no positive selection process, and
3) It's pointless and nobody would use your service (causing it to go out of business - quite appropriate to both "proper" (neo)Darwinism, and also the model you seem to be ascribing to)
zen_tom, May 19 2009

       [Zen Tom], you seem to be annotating under the false pretense that enrollment would be voluntary.
MikeD, May 19 2009

       Aha, in which case, what you seem to be describing is either the combined British Social Housing and Welfare system, or Sudan.
zen_tom, May 19 2009

       I do, however, fail to see how this is not Darwinism.   

       Any hardship, whether it be an event such as an epidemic or the holistic enterprise of living, acts as a Darwinian catalyst. People do not survive. Period. Those whom are not as adept at survival are more prone to not surviving.   

       As to point # 2, you seem to be limiting the time-line to the day-care, only. (Of which I would be the first to admit is an oxymoron). Natural selection can not be contained in a building, to be experienced in small doses. Natural selection occurs across the whole species continuously. The "DayCare" is, tongue-in-cheek as it may be, just a catalyst; something juxtaposed to the medical advances that fervently work against natural selection.
MikeD, May 19 2009

       //Any hardship, whether it be an event such as an epidemic or the holistic enterprise of living, acts as a Darwinian catalyst. People do not survive. Period.// You're right, but only if you describe "natural selection" as *only* the weeding out of the least fit. In this form, natural selection is a razor that chops out the chaff - what I'm trying to push forward is that this chopping out is only *half* of what true natural selection actually is. Rather than just being this negative selection - there's a whole other aspect to the concept that you (and much of the rest of the world) seems to fail to recognise.   

       In contrast to your point, I would argue that medical advances are a prime example of (true) Darwinism in motion. The only reason this doesn't make sense is that for you "Darwinism" (or "natural selection" - my quotes) is only half of the full process.   

       What I'm trying to describe is that evolution, Darwinism, natural selection (or whatever you want to call it) is more than just what's described as this "survival of the fittest" filtration dynamic - because it also encompass something much more positive, cohesive, beautiful and adaptive.   

       This positive process (the one that seems to be missing from your definitions of the terms under discussion) is the relaxing (even the complete reversal) of the negative "stripping out" process that happens during times of plenty.   

       I'm trying to think of a good way to describe it, but let's say that Darwinism is a mixture of "Effect A" and "Effect B". Let's call "Effect A", "Survival of the Fittest" - in a diverse population (of individuals, businesses, or whatever you like) "Effect A" will always tend to weed out the weaker, less well adapted examples - when that population is under some level of duress. That's fine - but it's only half the story and completely fails to recognise the equally (or to some, much more) important "Effect B" which is completely the opposite.   

       Lots of people only know about "Effect A" and fail to realise that there's a much more interesting, positive "Effect B" going on. Your idea (and later comments) seem to demonstrate an "Effect A" centric point of view.   

       So what is this mysterious "Effect B"? It's simply the process that causes populations to become more diverse when those populations are living an easy life. In these terms, it's the precise opposite of "Effect A" which makes populations less diverse under adversity. Why is this "Effect B" so important? Because it creates diversity.   

       So now that people are able to use medical advances not available to previous generations, it isn't slowing evolution down - far from it, it's just "Effect B" in its most vibrant and exciting form ever, increasing human population diversity - which, come some future calamity that culls those of us who are genetically unfit, will make it more likely that there is a genetic strand that is capable of maintaining a foothold.   

       "Effect B" is what makes Peacock's feathers so ridiculously and impractically beautiful. "Effect B" is what causes people to have gained intelligence, and develop societies, language and abstract thought. "Effect B" is what makes Mothers and Carers look after their children - and, in turn what makes those children who have been well cared for better able to function in today's society. "Effect B" is what our society is made of - it is the true and proper essence of "Darwinism" - it's just a shame that most people seem only to recognise the boring "Effect A" side of things.
zen_tom, May 19 2009

       Survival of the fattest?
xenzag, May 19 2009

       Exactly [xenzag] - it's only when a population is able to prosper that the evolutionary pressure ("Effect A" in my previous anno) relaxes enough to allow that population to diversify. This is why isolated islands have such weird species - it's not because everything else died off ("Effect A") but because there was no inter-species pressure, and those that were left were free to evolve (i.e. eat, fornicate and generally make merry) at their leisure.   

       Humans, in creating medicine and being capable of being fat and (to some) genetically degenerate (purity is bad, in evolutionary terms) are at the pinnacle of this process - despite this advantage, even we, like the Dodo, may well fall foul of inter-special pressures once the aliens turn up - in preparation for that, the more diversity, the better.
zen_tom, May 19 2009

       Obviously, from having too much of an "Effect B" type economy, which allowed too much degenerate inbreeding... Such as how business regulators often retired from regulating, and then got hired by same companies they were previously overseeing.   

       Note that when the economy does eventually improve, most of the survivors of the current economy will be stronger and healthier than the average business was prior to the current recession.   

       Furthermore, when the economy grows, many of the new businesses will be "offspring" of other businesses -- in particular, of businesses which survived the recession. They'll inherit the many of the survivors' positive characteristics, and thus result in the next economic boom starting out with a healthy average population.   

       The fact is, cycling between economic booms and busts is inevitable, and we should see this as a Darwinian good thing.
goldbb, May 19 2009

       Yes, [Zen Tom], the type B is beautiful and positive. The fact of the matter remains; As is in any biological system, balance is needed.   

       From my perspective, your yang has vastly over-powered my yin, in this modern world.   

       There is only so much of the world, and I personally feel that the mass of mankind depending on those resources has far surpassed the amount conducive to peak quality of life.   

       Assisted suicide would not be such a hot button if your utopia of type B progress was as pervasive as you claim it to be. Hell, people are trying to die.   

       There is a point in which so much effort is put into survival that survival is not worth the effort.
MikeD, May 20 2009

       You are right again, there should be balance - but, like the economy, I think these things tend to come in boom and bust type cycles. The dinosaurs benefited from a massive boom, diversified and occupied nearly all of the available biospheric niches - but were trimmed out in the great fireball recession of xty-million years ago - perhaps, if they'd got to a point where they had evolved the adaptive traits of cooperation, tool use and social specialisation, maybe they'd still be here today.   

       Caring for your young equips them with the skills that allow you to better operate in the social world - it's all about the environment you expect your children to operate in.   

       If you take a child and expose them to the experience where they must directly compete with predators and have them compete with a twin who had been raised to share and socialise - and let both of them grow into adults - There's little doubt that if you then put both into an environment that had no rules, no technology, no established social structure, the adult who'd had past exposure to that kind of environment would be more effective. But, if you then took both individuals and asked them to scrub up and apply for a job, earn some money and raise a family in today's modern society, the chances are that the snarly one wouldn't do as well.   

       But that's taking the idea to extremes - I suppose there is perhaps a more balanced example of your idea that still exists (to some extent) today - and that can be found in some of the more traditional public schools. "Tom Brown's Schooldays" describes the dynamic within Rugby school in the 1830s. In this description, we learn that the while the teachers are strict and fierce in the day-time, once the schoolday is finished, they leave the school entirely in the hands of the children, to be run as they see fit. The boys are completely free to do as they like, have their own tradition, hierarchy and moral code. Bullying is of course rife, as are pitched battles in the yard - along with cameraderie, cooperation and organisation. In this rough and tumble atmosphere, one particularly frail boy, despite Tom Brown's attempts to shelter him, is killed.   

       I'd venture that today's public schools are a shade less chaotic, but probably still operate a watered down version in the more traditional establishments.   

       What is interesting about these public school examples is that they are supposed to mould some of the finest adults - they tend to adopt high-ranking positions in government and industry - I suppose the idea being that they have already had some experience of the uncoddled dog-eat-dog world during their formative years - so perhaps the idea has some historical merit.   

       I was just getting riled by the misconception of Darwinism as being only "Effect A" - it's a pet annoyance of mine and it was that I was really responding to, rather than the root of the idea.
zen_tom, May 20 2009

       //Social development occurs much more expediently, here at Darwinian DayCare, as the autonomous group of toddlers establish a social hierarchy, and each struggles for power.//

Rather the opposite would be true, I suspect. By taking kids out of their natural environment (i.e. a society that is generally supervised by adults), you are nurturing an anti-social attitude. Whether that is a good thing or a bad thing is beside the point. To describe this concept as Darwinian though is completely wrong because you have already loaded the dice against normal development and adaptation. This is, of course, what education (whatever it's form) is intended to do, i.e. to provide society with intellectual tools which enable them to circumvent the vagaries of natural selection.
DrBob, May 20 2009

       [Dr.Bob], did you not learn more *after* you where pushed from the nest? I most certainly did.   

       When people must depend on others for survival, social skills are nurtured. I am an anti-social bastard, myself, but when I'm deployed I step up my social skills.   

       Given enough time, everybody learns than fighting is counterproductive; that living in peace with your fellow man is the pinnacle of human achievement. ***However these lessons must be learned through experience to truly be appreciated***   

       A positive role-model and parental guidance makes for a good foundation, but until a person figures it out for themselves, they are not really in possession of the underlying wisdom of their learned behavior.
MikeD, May 20 2009

       //did you not learn more/

Nope, but I did learn lots of extra stuff.
DrBob, May 20 2009

       //would be used as an excuse for lazy parents//   

       I was of the opinion that my idea, if implemented, would be used by horrible parents. I mean really, whats a guy got to do to get some bones around here?   

       I stand behind my philosophy that this planet has way too many humans on it, but the *idea* is entirely tongue-in-cheek. Lighten up, 21.
MikeD, May 20 2009

       Having baby fight like rooster fight? Does this make you feel though boy or something? Wanna have a dual?? Let me know bro.
xkuntay, May 22 2009

       // Does this make you feel though boy or something? Wanna have a dual?? Let me know bro//   

       That's not even english... I went to correct your spelling of "tough" and "duel", but the sentences still don't make sense. You fail - at basic communication.
Custardguts, May 22 2009

       //You fail - at basic communication.//   

       Oh noo.. Now I have to jump into the Linguistic Selection Well; LSW. 'You are not a native english speaker you scum.. jump in the well!'.. Ahh, should have used MS Word to survive! Funny thing is most of the Midwesterners would have to jump too, if it were based on spelling!
xkuntay, May 22 2009

       //jump into the Linguistic Selection Well//   

       Your already there. It's called the halfbakery.   

       If you're wanting to knock Americans for poor grammar and spelling, you'd have better luck pointing your hypocritical finger at the south. I've lived in both, and I must say; The school system in the mid-west is very progressed and very effective.
MikeD, May 22 2009

       //hypocritical finger at the south//   

       What! Mocking the cowboys, the true heros of America?! Well then you may have a point indeed. But although mid-west system may be progressed, it is still country-style compared to western education baby.   

       // //jump into the Linguistic Selection Well// Your already there. It's called the halfbakery//   

       Aloha, what kind of an evolution is this that all you got to do is use MS Word to get selected? What a positive selection! Awesome skill! You wrote "you are" wrong by the way.   

       But kidding aside, they understood what I meant, they are just pretending they didn't. If I had written it in english, they would have pretended not knowing english: Como?? Que paso? Mi non-comprendro.. :((   

       All I'm sayin is, to talk about evolution, you got to have balls first. Can't get away by letting the babies do the work!
xkuntay, May 23 2009


       //Mocking the cowboys, the true heros of America?!//   

       I said south, not west. As in Western? As in the movies with the cowboys?   

       // You wrote "you are" wrong by the way//   

       Yeah. That didn't get corrected by my spell checker.   

       //Can't get away by letting the babies do the work!//   

       I passed my Darwinian pop-quiz twice ... In Iraq.
MikeD, May 23 2009

       So it's basically a Montessori program then?
RayfordSteele, May 13 2010


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