Darwin’s theory upended? Natural selection may be making society more unequal

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NORWICH, United Kingdom — Charles Darwin’s natural selection theory is being put to the test. Darwin’s theory expounded that organisms which can better adapt to their environment are more likely to survive and produce more offspring. However, a new study by British researchers reveals natural selection may be making society more unequal.

Researchers from the University of East Anglia find that natural selection is favoring poorer people with little education. The study “shows how natural selection effects are stronger in groups with lower income and less education, among younger parents, people not living with a partner, and people with more lifetime sexual partners.”

On the flip side, natural selection “is pushing against genes” associated with highly educated individuals, people who have more lifetime earnings, those who have a low risk of ADHD or major depressive disorders, and those with a lower risk of coronary artery disease.

“Darwin’s theory of evolution stated that all species develop through the natural selection of small, inherited variations that increase the individual’s ability to compete, survive, and reproduce,” says lead researcher David Hugh-Jones, a professor from UEA’s School of Economics, in a university release. “We wanted to find out more about which characteristics are selected for and against in contemporary humans, living in the UK.”

‘Polygenic scores’ prove Darwin’s natural selection theory no longer valid?

Researchers analyzed the polygenic scores of more than 300,000 people in the United Kingdom, taken from the UK Biobank, which is a long-term project investigating the contributions of genetic predisposition and environmental exposure to the development of disease. The polygenic scores estimate a person’s genetic liability, a prediction of their health, education, lifestyle, or personality.

Researchers then used data on two generations of people living in the U.K. by looking at their number of siblings and number of children.

“We found that 23 out of 33 polygenic scores were significantly linked to a person having more or fewer children over their lifetime,” explains Hugh-Jones. “Scores which correlated with lower earnings and education predicted having more children, meaning those scores are being selected for from an evolutionary perspective.”

Meanwhile, researchers say scores correlating to those with higher earnings and better education predicted having fewer children, “meaning that they are being selected against.”

“Natural selection could be making society more unequal, by increasing the correlation between income and polygenic scores, including scores that predict health and education outcomes,” the study author continues.

Using the economic theory of fertility, researchers say those with higher earnings can afford more children. However, since it is costly to spend time on childcare instead of their job, they will miss out on higher wages.

“The first effect leads people to have more children, the second effect leads them to have fewer,” Hugh-Jones concludes.

The study is published in the journal Behavior Genetics.

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About the Author

Matt Higgins

Matt Higgins worked in national and local news for 15 years. He started out as an overnight production assistant at Fox News Radio in 2007 and ended in 2021 as the Digital Managing Editor at CBS Philadelphia. Following his news career, he spent one year in the automotive industry as a Digital Platforms Content Specialist contractor with Subaru of America and is currently a freelance writer and editor for StudyFinds. Matt believes in facts, science and Philadelphia sports teams crushing his soul.

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Comments

  1. Poor people and uneducated people have more children and, therefore, that means they are being selected from an evolutionary standpoint??? Are the authors of this study serious? Maybe it just means that they don’t have the ability to afford the same birth control methods as those who make more money or the education to understand why controlling family size can be a good idea for many people. Poor, uneducated people having more children in NO WAY has to immediately mean that natural selection is choosing poor people over wealthy people. What an absurd finding! I can’t believe these people (I can’t call the researchers after reading this article) got money for their study. I also can’t believe the donors of that money aren’t demanding to get their money back. Come on “scientists”. You can do better than this. Geez…

  2. To the contrary, this study exactly proves Darwin’s theory. Darwin’s theory says that those that best adapt to their environment survive and propagate. UK’s social policies have created an environment where the poor and uneducated thrive and the wealthy and educated do not thrive.

    1. The wealthy need a host on which they can Parasite themselves.

      Like most parasites they chose the least able to defend themselves.

      1. “You must be a suckee.”

        Are you trying to put yourself in the position of a parasite?

        Is that your life’s ambition?

      2. Parasite (e.g. Mosquitoes) are an important food source for many other species. By feeding off hosts (which in itself is a poor term) they, themselves, provide a valuable and important source of protein for bats, birds, frogs, fish etc. During the great Malaria eradication push in the 50’s (see Fred Soper) the elimination of Mosquitoes through the use of DDT, led to partial collapse of other secondary food chains. Parasites are important and serve a valuable purpose. Point is, we need to be careful of our bias on how we label “parasites” with its nefarious connotations that we imply whilst using the term. All are part of a system and are necessary.

      3. It is interesting that you would cast the wealthy in the roll of blood sucking mosquitos.

        Mosquito’s after all are the animals responsible for the most amount of disease, suffering and death in the world.

        Most public health measures revolve around eradicating them, or dramatically reducing their numbers.

        Republicans on the other hand love to be parasitized.

      4. “My dad can beat up your dad.” – Galapagos

        My dad died in 1974. Does your dad plan to dig him up first?

  3. Evolution has nothing to do with equality. If anything, it speaks to inequality where one species adapts or mutates to get an advantage or disadvantage. The woke generation needs to study more and show half a brain or go back to playing their video games. This might be the silliest article I’ve read this year.

  4. Clearly, this author has never read Darwin’s ‘Origin of the Species.’ NOWHERE does Darwin posit natural selection makes survivor species more ‘equal.’ Quite the opposite. Darwin’s theory posits the species that learn to adapt to their environment will survive, and the species that cannot adapt will perish.

  5. Why is the so surprising? Natural selection doesn’t make everyone a winner. There will be inequalities. Another thing to consider is bias. What makes you think better education and lifestyle etc is superior in reproduction? After all, that’s the game, surviving and passing the genes along. If lower classes/poorer lifestyles are out competing based on reproduction, maybe the other side is missing some advantage that doesn’t make them the fittest, in spite of the bias that you think they should be.

  6. The Evolution hypothesis is false.

    Man was designed and created.

    Man fell from grace due to original sin human evil has been with us ever since.

    1. Amen… This is so true sometimes you cannot go on theory you have to refer back to the truth and the truth always sets you free I believe in science but not science fiction…????????????❣️????

    2. Ya, grace was in a rice paddy, and when she squatted down to harvest some rice, man fell right out.

    1. Like a large number of Americans, David is willfully ignorant regarding evolution.

      The world is laughing.

      1. Yes, the world is laughing and bowing to your superior intellect. Wondering if you’re reproducing?

      2. My formal training is physics, but as a public service I offer education to inferiors like yourself.

        The entertaining aspect of it is that as a victim of Dunning Kruger, you will remain willfully ignorant to the end.

        Which is just months away.

        Hilarious.

      3. Thanks for the misguided insult. I’m so impressed that you’re a physicist which makes you infinitely qualified to pontificate. on Darwin.

        You dint mention if you’re reproducing.

        Yes, the end is nigh.

      4. “I’m so impressed that you’re a physicist which makes you infinitely qualified to pontificate. on Darwin.” – Galapagos

        Competent high school graduates are qualified to defend Darwin.

        Your willful ignorance is classic Republican.

  7. Nature isn’t fair or equal and Darwin predicts that those best adapted for their environment will survive over the long run. It sounds like the study is showing that high IQ is maladaptive and that modern society creates too comfortable of surroundings to create a stronger genetic pool among those who are pampered. Darwin’s theory actually predicts that the more harsh your environment the more selective the gene pool will need to be to survive. Isn’t that what this study is suggesting as well?

    If you live in a harsh environment you will need to have more children to be assured that some of them will survive and the weeding out process assures that those who survive will be more fit for that environment, whatever that environment might be. The opposite is also true, the easier the environment is to live in, the less adaptations needed to survive.

    Do the wealthy need to make more adaptations to survive their environment? Probably not, it’s likely their offspring are already fairly well adapted, BUT if there is pressure put on them by their environment they too will start a more “selective” process, which actually means they will start having more children with a larger number of mates or go extinct as a “subclass”. Looking at the history of the world, it appears we have had classes of intelligentsia that have gone extinct many times and been replaced in those areas by far less “educated” people.

    Intelligence beyond a certain point could actually be what is Maladaptive.

    1. That is probable given the historical evidence.

      Evolution is a slow process on human scales, and records are not precise enough to deduce it from written or oral human history.

      Technology changes. Man is mostly stagnant.

      This will soon change as genetic engineering of humans becomes commonplace.

      And this directed evolution will still follow the basic principles of Darwinian evolution.

      1. In human history, there has never been a moment like today, when men and women can use “genetic engineering” as a tool to create superior human beings. Knowing my own intelligence at 129, I chose a spouse whose was higher, and was a superior provider. We had three highly-intelligent children, who were then highly-educated, and live in a part of the US known for its safety, homogeneity, and high salaries.

        THAT is human engineering at its finest!

  8. I do not know why “upend” is used here. Natural selection via the concept of social Darwinism is both factual, unfortunate, and natural. Nature is not as we would like it to be in alignment with our morality. In fact, it is hostile towards our morality. This has no philosophical, logical, or scientific bearing on whether the theory holds true.

  9. Modern society provides ways for humans to satisfy their sexual drive without procreating. It also gives avenues for non-sexual pleasure-seeking (including a career) which would be limited by child responsibilities, incentivizing non-procreating sexual activity. The result is that those who procreate tend to be those without the means to enjoy modern society’s non-sexual pleasure activities. It has long be recognized that nations with the highest standard of living have the lowest birth rates and those with the lowest standard of living have the highest birth rates. This should not be construed as natural selection providing the highest birth rates to the “fittest” but rather as human culture in an inhibitor to reproduction. “Fit” is an anthropomorphic term and is wrongly used. Instead of natural selection based on “survival of the fittest”, a more accurate phrase would be “survival of the opportunistic”. Modern culture provides the opportunity for the poorest and least “successful” in the culture’s view to reproduce more than the “successful”. It has little to do with “fittest”.

    1. It’s all baggage, including the meat bags that carry the evolutionary driver which is the DNA.

      Those strands of DNA that manage to reproduce more will tend to reproduce more.

      Everything else is just pointless, vapid, imaineering.

      1. That’s cool as long as you’re paying with your taxes for all their needs. Then likewise, paying for their cost to society, in terms of destruction of social peace and the criminal fallout.

  10. Humans make conscious decisions which ‘Guide’ the course of societal development. Labelling this process Evolution is misleading. Natural Selection is driven by alterations among members of a species caused by mutations and variable inheritable genetic traits favorable for survival in the current environment. The important thing to note is that it is completely random and isn’t guided by anything.

  11. There is no such thing as equality, because people are not in any way equal except in the eyes of God.
    Some of us are better than others, and some others are better than us.
    Deal with it.

    1. God is a delusional fantasy invented by ignorant goat herders 2,000 years ago.

      No thinking person alive accepts their garbage.

      1. I’ve never read Marx. Don’t know anything about the man.

        I never said that wealthy people were evil. I said they were parasites.

        And that is a fact.

        If stating facts makes me a Marxist then only liars and fools are not Marxists.

        I’m sure you agree.

      2. 2000? Have you been hiding under a rock? We gotta pump that number up. Man has been conceptualizing deity for longer than he has been able to write. There’s a Darwinian case for the conceptualization of religion–a dangerous one, if you’re an egalitarian. Religion persuades people to share common bonds, causes, and often language. Egalitarianism…doesn’t.

  12. This article is the conjecture of fools. It’s time to go back to the true starting point……..

    “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth”

    This is the only option for the origin of all that exists, that can be supported by honest science.

  13. Who cares? Most “science” is “theory”. Which almost always is proven false.

    1. Dukedirt = Scientific Illiterate.

      Has a primary school level understanding of how the world works.

  14. From reading these comments it looks like nobody has any idea of what a loving family is. LOL. Love it how they also think “poor” people automatically mean government subsidized, uneducated, knuckle draggers. There’s a lot of people who fall in-between the cracks who live paycheck to paycheck because they are taking care of their families, aren’t poor enough to receive government assistance and pay their fair share of taxes. These are the people the govt loves to screw the most; the middle class.

    1. Lots of ignorant American Republicans posting here, directed here from the Drudge report.

      So you can expect an avalanche of willful ignorance and dishonesty.

      I have never encountered a Republican who wasn’t a congenital and perpetual liar.

      Never.

  15. Subsidized by the government, kept educationally ignorant by the government, they are little more than drones and the state wants them to procreate.

  16. Don’t worry about that pesky natural selection business. The Democrats and their woke minions will legislate it out of existence.

  17. This study has never seen the first 5 minutes of the movie Idiocracy.

    It’s almost an identical description.

  18. There’s an inverse relationship between education quality/results and birth rates. Plenty of poor in Europe but birth rates are bottom of the barrel.

  19. This study does absolutely nothing to disprove or cast doubt on Darwin’s theory. Darwin’s theory does not say that natural selection should produce “equality”. In fact, “variation with a species”, one of the bedrock principles of Darwinian evolution, is basically a synonym for “inequality”. Natural selection doesn’t favor individuals that are “better” in any way except that they are better at staying alive long enough to reproduce the most times in the particular environment they live in. “Inequality” is the first step towards “speciation”, the division of one species into two different ones. The 1895 novel “The Time Machine” speculated, based on Darwinian evolution, that the human species would eventually divide into two different species, one strong and dumb, descended from the poor, and one weak and smart, descended from the elites. Although I suppose the implications of this study are maybe more like the movie “Idiocracy”, which imagines that natural selection will make the species dumber.


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