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Thread: The next stage of human evolution.

  1. #1 The next stage of human evolution. 
    Forum Radioactive Isotope mitchellmckain's Avatar
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    (NOTE: The term "evolution" used below is not according to the usage in the modern science of biology regarding genetic change alone, but as the entire process by which life developed upon this planet including genetic change. This discussion may not therefore be properly within the strict purview of the science of biology. But as it concerns the general development of life on the planet and the projected future development of man, I have placed it here under the topic of biology, athough it is more properly philosophy or may be called meta-biology.)

    Everyone has seen X-men 1&2 about the "next stage of evolution." One of the funny things about evolution and history is that these are things that happen in everyday life, only the participants are often unaware of what is happening all around them. I believe that we are in the next of evolution already.

    Only it not Darwin's theory because he had no "next stage" in his theory. But there are stages. If we look far enough back into the past, there was a time that there were only single celled organisms. And if we look carefully at our cells we see evidence that these too were once composed of smaller more primitive independent units (similar to bacterial and algae). Darwin's theory cannot explain these gaps. According to his theory the individual cells should continue struggling against each other for survival, so that only the fittest survive.

    But this is not what happened. If we look at our bodies we will find that most of our cells no longer have the ability to survive on their own. By working together and sheilding each other, protecting weaker members they have changed all the rules of evolution. For them it is no longer survival of the fittest, it is survival of the community.

    The driving force of evolution is always variation. Leaps of evolution occur when something happens that make a whole new range of variation possible. The beginning of sexual reproduction was one of those leaps. But think now about the inherent limitation that Darwin's evolution imposes upon variation. When it is all about individual survival, then there is not much room for variation is there? We should all be farmers or hunters in that case, don't you think.

    Isn't it clear that human beings have also taken a step into the next stage of evolution. Don't we now protect the weaker members of the community? Look at what liberation it has brought us. Look at the variety of man. Have we not changed the rules of evolution ourselves? The use of glasses is a perfect example of how we are in the next stage of evolution. Just as individual cells have overcome their limitations with the technology of its community (think of the human eye), we have overcome the limitations of our biology and individual evolution with the technology of the community of man. And just like the cells in our body, the community has become our greatest concern and our encompassing environment.

    When you look at the human body where are the X-men? By forming a community of cells, we have allowed some cells to evolve fantastic specialized abilities that could not exist if they had to survive on their own. The neuron is a great example. I believe that the liberation from the need to satisfy the requirements for individual survival is a key stimulus for the next stage of evolution. In this case, where are the true X-men in today's humanity? Are they not those we call handicapped? Do not those who are blind develop their senses and abilities in ways that other people do not. I saw this special on TV earlier this year about people with Williams syndrome, and in addition to physical difficulties they also had above average abilities in other areas like sociability, hearing and music.

    As our society learns to accomodate and provide active social roles for the handicapped are we not changing the rules of evolution. Could we be creating the conditions for the next stage of human evolution where we will see the real X-men of our future.


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    Interesting. You have arrived at the right answer by the wrong reasoning. I wonder if that is better or worse than arriving at the wrong answer by the right reasoning, or just different.
    Why are you equating the theory of evolution with Darwin? Yes, we know he started the ball rolling through a combination of very hard work and the sharpness of his insight (eventually spurred to action by the letters of a certain Mr Wallace). However, the Theory is now much more advanced than laid out by him. I just find the tactic of calling it Darwin's theory rather quaint and reminiscent of creationists rather than evolutionists.

    MithcellMcKainDarwin's theory cannot explain these gaps. According to his theory the individual cells should continue struggling against each other for survival, so that only the fittest survive.

    Wrong. I thought you said you had read On the Origin of Species. The popular misconception of Darwin's theory is that it is all about 'survival of the fittest'. A fairer description would be 'survival of the fit'. I don't want to get into a historical argument over this (though I will if I have to) for current evolutionary thinking certainly recognises the central role of co-operation from the microscopic (organelles within cells) to the macroscopic (Lovelock's hypothesis). We can safely ignore Dawkins's Selfish Gene, since ignoring Dawkins is just good application of scientific method.

    Mitchell McKainBut think now about the inherent limitation that Darwin's evolution imposes upon variation. When it is all about individual survival, then there is not much room for variation is there? We should all be farmers or hunters in that case, don't you think. Sorry Mitchell, that is just dumb. The opportunity for variation is provided by two things, the diversity inherent (used here correctly) in the individuals genes, the diversity of available ecological niches. And you seem to be completely missing the point that it is the creation of new genotypes and hence new phenotypes through mutation that provides individuals and then groups capable of tapping the advantages of a new niche.

    Where you are correct, thought even here you seem to have missed the mark, is that the ability of humans to a) create a society b) preserve information across generations c) alter their genetic structure directly d) achieve significant influence over their environment, has changed the character of evolution. However, the dual mechanisms - survival of the fit and co-operation - remain key elements in this new 'stage'.


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    Forum Radioactive Isotope mitchellmckain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    Interesting. You have arrived at the right answer by the wrong reasoning. I wonder if that is better or worse than arriving at the wrong answer by the right reasoning, or just different.
    Why are you equating the theory of evolution with Darwin? Yes, we know he started the ball rolling through a combination of very hard work and the sharpness of his insight (eventually spurred to action by the letters of a certain Mr Wallace). However, the Theory is now much more advanced than laid out by him. I just find the tactic of calling it Darwin's theory rather quaint and reminiscent of creationists rather than evolutionists.
    There are no tactics here. I am not in combat or out for blood. I am not vilifying Darwin. I have the greatest appreciation and admiration for what he did. It seems you cannot wait to put me in one of the boxes you love to drum upon. I am terribly disappointed, I expected more from you.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    Wrong. I thought you said you had read On the Origin of Species. The popular misconception of Darwin's theory is that it is all about 'survival of the fittest'. A fairer description would be 'survival of the fit'. I don't want to get into a historical argument over this (though I will if I have to) for current evolutionary thinking certainly recognises the central role of co-operation from the microscopic (organelles within cells) to the macroscopic (Lovelock's hypothesis). We can safely ignore Dawkins's Selfish Gene, since ignoring Dawkins is just good application of scientific method.
    You know I never said any such thing about reading Darwin's book. If you are asking the answer is no. There, if you need proof of your superiority so much I grant it freely without a fight. Hmmm "fit" and "fittest", if there is something profound here I am too stupid to see it. Now there is tactic for you. You want to call me stupid and I can play stupid.

    I was refering to organelles myself. Your naming of it does not establish that this is part of some modern improvement of evolution. A reference would be more helpful here. By the Lovelock hypothesis I suppose you mean the Gaia hypothesis. I am afraid this tells me more about you and than it does about any modern consensus about evolution. I would like to hear about your viewpoint though and I promise that I will not attack it like you have mine.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    Sorry Mitchell, that is just dumb. The opportunity for variation is provided by two things, the diversity inherent (used here correctly) in the individuals genes, the diversity of available ecological niches. And you seem to be completely missing the point that it is the creation of new genotypes and hence new phenotypes through mutation that provides individuals and then groups capable of tapping the advantages of a new niche.
    No it is you who have missed my point. I have drawn an equivalence between cells reorienting to evolution in a multicellular organism to individual human reorienting to social evolution. In fact you prove my point that modern evolution is too mired in the evolution of the individual to see a bigger picture. You equate evolution to DNA, but DNA is only a stage in evolution. Variation does not have to refer to DNA. I feel I am misunderstanding you here because you are to mired in language.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    Where you are correct, thought even here you seem to have missed the mark, is that the ability of humans to a) create a society b) preserve information across generations c) alter their genetic structure directly d) achieve significant influence over their environment, has changed the character of evolution. However, the dual mechanisms - survival of the fit and co-operation - remain key elements in this new 'stage'.
    Yes these are all good points which are perfectly compatible with and, I thought, obviously implied be what I was saying. Apparently you have more issure with the way I am saying things that with what I am saying. This is like your other response to my post about Kuhn, exaggerating your disagreement with me for the barest of reasons. It is now my turn to say to you that you who could have kept things about the ideas rather than making it personal.

    You know for some once who complains about bashing you sure bash a lot. Was your appeal for calm reasoning in your previous post (regarding Kuhn) just one of your tactics? Was this just to disarm so you could go for the jugular. Or are you the only one allowed to use epithets like "dumb". I should have known from your hurry to debate everything that plain listening was not your strong suit. There is no vigor or reasoning in your arguements but only a refusal to hear any new ideas and pick at words. I can see that you are intellegent and full of familiarity with literature but either your desire for or your skill in communication is lacking.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    Why are you equating the theory of evolution with Darwin? the Theory is now much more advanced than laid out by him. I just find the tactic of calling it Darwin's theory rather quaint and reminiscent of creationists rather than evolutionists.
    There are no tactics here.
    In that case it was just sloppy thinking. I was trying to give you the benefit of the doubt.
    It seems you cannot wait to put me in one of the boxes you love to drum upon.
    Sorry to disappoint you even further Mitchell. At this point we have insufficient interaction for you to even 'exist' for me. I am not attacking you, I am attacking some of your arguments. I am sure I shall eventually fit you into a box, as the tendency to classify is one of the distinguishing marks of humanity. I am genetically prone to it.
    Given the tenor of several (most) of your posts criticising people for 'drumming upon boxes' may be carrying you onto the mixed metaphor of thin ice.
    You know I never said any such thing about reading Darwin's book.
    My apologies. I thought you had earlier made some remarks implying I had not read Darwin's work. Doubtless another poster, another thread, another forum.
    By the Lovelock hypothesis I suppose you mean the Gaia hypothesis. I am afraid this tells me more about you and than it does about any modern consensus about evolution.
    What does it tell you about me, then?
    I would like to hear about your viewpoint though and I promise that I will not attack it like you have mine.
    I can assure you that I shall attack vigorously any viewpoint with which I disagree, or for which I feel there is little or no evidence. Curiously, you may find that it is entirely possible to attack an idea, while respecting the holder of the idea. The function of forums such as these is to debate and exchange viewpoints. Attack is one aspect of debate. What do you find offensive about it?
    In fact you prove my point that modern evolution is too mired in the evolution of the individual to see a bigger picture.
    I just turned to my bedside table and picked up Evolutionary Ecology, by Eric R.Pianka, published by Harper and Row, in 1974! Was this book and the scores of references it contains 'mired in the evolution of the individaul'?
    Are you aware that the individual cannot, in a bilogical sense evolve at all?
    Modern evolution research is exploring a vast territory in a diverse range of ways focusing on the molecular, biochemical, cellular, organic, individual, species, discrete ecology and biosphere. There is no single approach, and while some of these do indeed involve consideration of the individual, many do not.
    Mitchell, you appeared from the vigour of your earlier posts to be well capable of taking care of yourself in a verbal exchange. I therefore upped the ante, so to speak. I can readily drop back to a passive, objective level it this is closer to what you prefer. I repeat you seem to be confusing an attack on your ideas as an attack on you. I am just suprised that someone who was so aggressive in their early posts is now so sensitive when some of the same comes back at them.
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    Forum Radioactive Isotope mitchellmckain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    My apologies. I thought you had earlier made some remarks implying I had not read Darwin's work. Doubtless another poster, another thread, another forum.
    Yes this is exactly what I meant about boxes. Once you get put in one you automatically inherit everything that everyone else in the box has said.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    By the Lovelock hypothesis I suppose you mean the Gaia hypothesis. I am afraid this tells me more about you and than it does about any modern consensus about evolution.
    What does it tell you about me, then?
    That you like Lovelock's ideas. So now I can look up Lovelock and get a better grasp of what he said and therefore a little more about where you are coming from.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    I can assure you that I shall attack vigorously any viewpoint with which I disagree, or for which I feel there is little or no evidence. Curiously, you may find that it is entirely possible to attack an idea, while respecting the holder of the idea. The function of forums such as these is to debate and exchange viewpoints. Attack is one aspect of debate. What do you find offensive about it?
    But I find you attacks somewhat pointless. They leave me with little understanding about what you are disagreeing with let alone what it you may think as an alternative. Your attacks are more like a shooting gallery where it is all just a game. You make a statement like "right conclusions for wrong reasons" and yet I see no clear explanation about what the right conclusions are and what are the wrong reason. You ignore much of what I wrote and only respond to the parts that you want to attack.
    A much more effective and reasoning attack would be to simply suggest that the other person could be more informed by further reading on a particular topic (and I mean something considerably more specific than evolution) or even particular books. Good communication would also require being clear about what you agree with if anything.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    I just turned to my bedside table and picked up Evolutionary Ecology, by Eric R.Pianka, published by Harper and Row, in 1974!
    Thank you.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    Are you aware that the individual cannot, in a bilogical sense evolve at all?
    I thought what I meant was clear from the context. By individual evolution I meant the selection process that focuses on the advantages that the individual has for survival on its own. It is the thinking based on this kind of evolution of the individual that has made people think that society's protection of the handicapped or saving the lives of people with hereditary conditions was counter-evolutionary.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    Modern evolution research is exploring a vast territory in a diverse range of ways focusing on the molecular, biochemical, cellular, organic, individual, species, discrete ecology and biosphere. There is no single approach, and while some of these do indeed involve consideration of the individual, many do not.
    As far as I can tell the only ones which are not what I would evolution of the individual are ecology and biosphere, unless the ideas about organelle origins are included in what you call cellular evolution. I am well aware that there are devopements in the area of ecological and biosphere evolution, where do you think my ideas come from? What I am more concerned about is the general attitudes. You see science conducts its research but then general impressions filter down to public which affect attitudes on a much larger scale in other disciplines. My scientific expertise is physics as I mentioned before, and I would hope that on encountering someone more familiar with modern research concerning evolution that I would get an introduction to research papers or books which discuss these ideas. Nothing would make me happier.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    Mitchell, you appeared from the vigour of your earlier posts to be well capable of taking care of yourself in a verbal exchange. I therefore upped the ante, so to speak. I can readily drop back to a passive, objective level it this is closer to what you prefer. I repeat you seem to be confusing an attack on your ideas as an attack on you. I am just suprised that someone who was so aggressive in their early posts is now so sensitive when some of the same comes back at them.
    Vigor is fine but if we agree not to use words like foolish or retrograde then I think we should include words like dumb, idiotic, stupid, and retarded. I have used none of these so you may think I am making no sacrifice so I think I can also include the words nonsense and lie, if you like. Also I find it advisable to speak differently when I am addressing a topic and introducing your ideas as opposed to addressing a person and responding to the ideas introduced by others. Apparently my dislike of Kuhn must have really given you a shock to make you think that that post compares to yours.
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    I shall come back to your other points later, but I couldn't let these two pass.
    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Also I find it advisable to speak differently when I am addressing a topic and introducing your ideas as opposed to addressing a person and responding to the ideas introduced by others. Apparently my dislike of Kuhn must have really given you a shock to make you think that that post compares to yours.
    Well clearly there is a difference in upbringing here. As I see it there are two scenarios:
    1) Attacking the ideas (and I'll concede, indirectly, the man) of someone to their face, when they have the opportunity to reply and respond in any way they see fit.
    2) Implying an individual is a liar, behind their back, when they are unable to defend themselves on account of their earlier death.

    I agree these should be handled differently. But my choice is the reverse of yours.

    That you like Lovelock's ideas. So now I can look up Lovelock and get a better grasp of what he said and therefore a little more about where you are coming from.
    Then you've made an illogical deduction. I was looking for the largest 'organic whole' I could think of to complete the series from the micro to the macro. I considered throwing in pan spermia and its implication for an interstellar biosphere, but settled for Gaia. I chose to use Lovelock rather than Gaia for two reasons. First I can never remember how to spell Gaia. Second I was checking out your knowledge base.
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    IMO, the next stages in human evolution, perhaps 50-100 generations from now, is:

    1) widespread near-sightedness and asthma. Lack of these will be uncommon.

    2) increasing diversity of IQ scores. The breadth of the IQ distribution will widen as the tailing into high IQ region becomes more common. The average will become higher as the Flynn Effect becomes worldwide.

    3) loss of natural resistance to many once-common human diseases such as poxes, measles, mumps, polio, etc. This is due to widespread usage of vaccines and near-elimination of certain diseases having removed selective pressures.

    4) increased resistance to damage from radiation (better gene repair mechanisms). I do think our future as humans unfortunately has many nuclear weapons incidents ahead of us (because of terrorism and nuclear proliferation into terrorist nations), and as a result fallout will become rather widespread and we will all learn to have to live with it.
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    Insightfull post mitchellmckain, I too have been asking these same questions of late.




    How does a strict Neo-Darwinist view of evolution help us survive as a species?

    Is our future based on who can build a better weapon system ?
    or defensive system ?
    Is this view point helpful to mankind, or is it just strictly for the convenience of the status-quo and power elite?
    I do not believe Darwin is wrong any more than the dinosaurs were wrong, its just seems that it is time to develop a higher evolved model on life. One based on cooperation rather than dominance.

    We can either self-construct at this moment, or self-destruct depending on the ability of this information to reflect the environment we find ourselves in today.

    Let me use the evolution of the eukaryote as an example.

    For most of its existence it survived as an autonomous unit adapting to diverse environmental challenges. As it was doing so it gained in internal complexity, until a threshold was reached.
    At this point environmental information at large compressed these cells into circular algorithmic networks, {The first complex life} from pre-existing archetypal patterns of the universe at large. A sort of preexisting mold that envelops anything that has the complexity to sustain these forms.

    It appears, that man has reached this threshold of complexity while simultaneously finding ourselves in the midst of a shrinking of environment.

    It seems this information of how the universe orders these systems from autonomous self-centered environmentally driven units into cooperative self-sustaining systems would be of great importance at this juncture in our development, and would serve as a good and timely amendment to Darwinian rm,ns.

    Also, one needs to note the timing involved in the way the world around us is changing in many ways simultaneously.
    These confluences and synchronicity’s can be witnessed by anyone that can see it, only then can we see the need to apply these new models of life.



    Collective intelligence
    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia



    In 2001, Tadeusz (Ted) Szuba from AGH University in Poland proposed the formal model for phenomenon of Collective Intelligence. It is assumed to be an unconscious, random, parallel, and distributed computational process, run in mathematical logic by the social structure. This theory was fully published in the book Computational Collective Intelligence by Szuba T. (Wiley book series on parallel and distributed computing, 420 pages, Wiley NY, 2001). In this model, beings and information are modeled as abstract information molecules carrying expressions of mathematical logic. They are quasi-randomly displacing due to their interaction with their environments with their intended displacements. Their interaction in abstract computational space creates multithread inference process which we perceive as Collective Intelligence. Thus, a non-Turing model of computation is used. This theory allows simple formal definition of Collective Intelligence as the property of social structure and seems to be working well for a wide spectrum of beings, from bacterial colonies up to human social structures. Collective Intelligence considered as a specific computational process is providing a straightforward explanation of several social phenomenon. For this model of Collective Intelligence, the formal definition of IQS (IQ Social) was proposed and was defined as "the probability function over the time and domain of N-element inferences which are reflecting inference activity of the social structure." While IQS seems to be computationally hard, modeling of social structure in terms of a computational process as described above gives a chance for approximation. Prospective applications are optimization of companies through the maximization of their IQS, and the analysis of drug resistance against Collective Intelligence of bacterial colonies.
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    Silylene, your note about the increasing diversity of intelligence as a direction human evolution is taking is interesting.

    First, a study done some years ago comparing IQ scores from US Army intelligence tests, and Calif. tests of mental maturity, showed from about 1938 to 1978 a general increase in average IQ, across all areas of age, race, and sex, of about 15 points. It's not known what is causing this effect. The problem is that it has not been widely confirmed, either. So work is continuing.

    The neurochemical family of AMPAkines, currently patented by Cortex Pharm. in Irvine, CA, results in a substantial increase in verbal learning ability, improved spatial relations ability, and a 20-25% increase in physical and mental reflexes. AMPA is a brain neurochemical responsible for much of intelligence. The ability of AMPAkines, which increase the AMPA in brain, will enhance some forms of intelligence. It's currently being developed in FDA stage 2 trials (just before release for use) to treat Alzheimers. It apparently has few side effects.

    Clearly, those who take such substances will be smarter and faster than those who do not, esp. when studying the night before university final exams as well as taking the AMPAkines the day of the exam.
    These are but the first of memory, intellectual and physically enhancing pharmaceuticals which will be shortly coming our way.

    And there is no reason that genetically increasing brain AMPA levels cannot be done. It might well be one reason why some are more intelligent than others.
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    After we become smarter will we become kinder, less greedy, more loving? If not then its a waste of time for without those characteristics we are all doomed to lives of torment and delosion. We live, we die...that's about it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    I shall come back to your other points later, but I couldn't let these two pass.
    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Also I find it advisable to speak differently when I am addressing a topic and introducing your ideas as opposed to addressing a person and responding to the ideas introduced by others. Apparently my dislike of Kuhn must have really given you a shock to make you think that that post compares to yours.
    Well clearly there is a difference in upbringing here. As I see it there are two scenarios:
    1) Attacking the ideas (and I'll concede, indirectly, the man) of someone to their face, when they have the opportunity to reply and respond in any way they see fit.
    2) Implying an individual is a liar, behind their back, when they are unable to defend themselves on account of their earlier death.
    I agree these should be handled differently. But my choice is the reverse of yours.
    This explains a lot, cultural difference can be invisible trouble makers. I wonder if this thinking is more prevalent in Europe than America. If you will forgive me it seems a bit medieval to me. Respecting dead authors more than living thinkers is such a deeply conservative attitude and one that (or so it seems to me, please don't take offense) kept Europe in the dark ages for centuries. To balance this out and hopefully make it sting a bit less, this difference may also explain a cultural stability that Europe has that America lacks. Perhaps Americans seem a bit flighty following every new trend of ideas and fashion discarding ancient traditions with little thought.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    That you like Lovelock's ideas. So now I can look up Lovelock and get a better grasp of what he said and therefore a little more about where you are coming from.
    Then you've made an illogical deduction. I was looking for the largest 'organic whole' I could think of to complete the series from the micro to the macro. I considered throwing in pan spermia and its implication for an interstellar biosphere, but settled for Gaia. I chose to use Lovelock rather than Gaia for two reasons. First I can never remember how to spell Gaia. Second I was checking out your knowledge base.
    Illogical maybe, but hopeful. I hoped that I had drawn out something informative about your point of view from inside that armored vehicle of yours.

    As for everyone else, I am reading your responses. I just haven't found anything useful to contribute in response as yet.
    See my physics of spaceflight simulator at http://www.relspace.astahost.com

    I now have a blog too: http://astahost.blogspot.com/
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    Quote Originally Posted by steve
    Silylene, your note about the increasing diversity of intelligence as a direction human evolution is taking is interesting.

    First, a study done some years ago comparing IQ scores from US Army intelligence tests, and Calif. tests of mental maturity, showed from about 1938 to 1978 a general increase in average IQ, across all areas of age, race, and sex, of about 15 points. It's not known what is causing this effect. The problem is that it has not been widely confirmed, either. So work is continuing....
    I spoke of two things:
    1) increasing breadth in the bell curve as time progresses. I think this will occur because:
    a) new sociological trends of the 'smart' marrying the 'smart', and having children; this is a result of self-selection of mates by couples (usually based upon similarities in income, intelligence and attractiveness). Until the last few hundred years ago, marriage and bonding was a much more 'random pairing' process with little self-selection. Since it seems about half of innate intelligence is inherited, this should increase the fraction of the population at the high end of the curve.
    b)Simultaneously, there is the general sociological trend that members of the population in the bottom 30% of the bell curve tend to have more children.
    c) Add these two trends together, and it means that there will be increasing diversity of intelligence.
    2) Increasing overall intelligence: "Flynn Effect'. I think this is due to (in no particular order): better nutrition for young children (esp availability of fats and protein); increased parental attention and interaction with children (as opposed to wrapping them in a bundle tied to one's back for the whole day); decreasing amounts of Pb, As and Hg in the environment; increasing availablity of iodine for children (estimated to be a 12 IQ point effect); increasing availablity of Fe for children; electric lighting causing less sleep and more interaction; early reading, computer and video games.
    Interestingly, there was a very good study of vegan vs meat-containing diet on the IQ of young children. Vegan diets resulted in children significantly and permanently lower IQs. I think this shows the positive impact of proteins, fats and Fe and Zn on developing brains. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/4282257.stm

    And there is no reason that genetically increasing brain AMPA levels cannot be done. It might well be one reason why some are more intelligent than others.
    I agree. In fact I think that usage of memory and intelligence enhancing drugs and even gene therapy will cause the next big change in society, about 2 decades from now...its impact on society will be similar to the introduction of the internet.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    If you will forgive me it seems a bit medieval to me..
    We call it good manners.

    You will recognise that as a snide, ill-concealed attack on your own manners. But it is presented openly, with every opportunity for you to respond. Such is not the case for those who are unable to defend their position, because of either absence or death.
    I am not aware that Europeans have been any less vigorous in attacking the ideas of dead writers, philosopher's or scientists than Americans. But any well mannered person will not attack the individual, unless it is supported by a mass of supporting evidence.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    If you will forgive me it seems a bit medieval to me..
    We call it good manners.

    You will recognise that as a snide, ill-concealed attack on your own manners. But it is presented openly, with every opportunity for you to respond. Such is not the case for those who are unable to defend their position, because of either absence or death.
    I am not aware that Europeans have been any less vigorous in attacking the ideas of dead writers, philosopher's or scientists than Americans. But any well mannered person will not attack the individual, unless it is supported by a mass of supporting evidence.
    You keep changing the premise of your self-justification. It seemed you were saying that attacking the ideas of dead person is impolite while attack the ideas of a live person to his face is polite. I tried to take what you seemed to be saying seriously. But now you are denying all that and saying that is about attacking the person instead of the ideas.

    But I never attacked Kuhn personally. I never said anything about him. I called his ideas about science a lie because it was not true and yet people were belieiving it as if it were true, which is the same thing as believing a lie. Your talk of attacking ideas rather than the person is hypocritical because you are the one who avoids the orginal topic of discussion in order to engage in this type of meaningless personal battle.

    All your dodging this way and that has finally brought me to a conclusion. Here is what I think. The key to all this is the very first thing you said. "I do not think we are going to get along." I think that my critique of Kuhn hit solidly in your home court because you believe the lie. You don't want to take science seriously. You want nothing better than to believe that science will all change its mind and agree that you were right all the time in whatever you believe. You could have simple come out and said this and that would be the end of it. Instead, your attack on this new post was and has remained so empty of content that I think it must be retalition and spite. Now I do not think I will waste any more time taking what you say about any of my posts very seriously anymore. I feel you just want to play some kind of mind game and I won't play anymore.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    You keep changing the premise of your self-justification.
    Interesting. I don't think I have said anything that required justification, certainly not self-justification. Perhaps I just write badly.
    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    It seemed you were saying that attacking the ideas of dead person is impolite while attack the ideas of a live person to his face is polite.
    No. Both are impolite. I even characterised my attack on you as "snide and ill-concealed". If that isn't impolite I am at a loss to know what is! I am honestly being self-critical and you confuse it with self-justification. I must write badly.
    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    But I never attacked Kuhn personally. I never said anything about him. I called his ideas about science a lie
    When I was taught English one of the things I learned is that lies are told by liars. They do not spontaneously generate from noxious swamps or fetid air. They are created by individuals. The person who creates a lie is a liar. If Khun's ideas are a lie, then Khun is a liar.
    Hmm. It seems not only do I write badly, but I'm not so hot at reading comprehension either.
    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Your talk of attacking ideas rather than the person is hypocritical because you are the one who avoids the orginal topic of discussion in order to engage in this type of meaningless personal battle.
    I am at a loss to see how this could be called hypocritical: evasive, side-stepping, trivial, irrelevant - I'd entertain any of those, but hypocritical doesn't match.
    Please note you opened this particular avenue: I have merely been responding. The subtitle on the forum says Scientific Discussion and Debate. So, I am discussing and debating. You might say, with justification, that we aren't discussing much science - but then it wasn't me who introduced the unscientific, emotive word 'liar' into this milieu.
    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    I think that my critique of Kuhn hit solidly in your home court because you believe the lie. You don't want to take science seriously.
    So, let us be quite clear: you say anyone who believes the lies told by Khun does not want to take science seriously. That is quite a claim there Mitchell. I dare say I could produce a very long list of Nobel Laureates who 'believed the lie'. Would you say they did not take science seriously? Note very carefully I do not say that they were right, that Khun was right, that I am right. I say I find it an extrodinary allegation that to believe Khun is to dismiss science as of no consequence. Remarkable.
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    I also agree with your comments about Kuhn to Mc. The facts are Kuhn honestly believed what he wrote. A lie is a deliberate falsehood. As I studied Kuhn's conclusions about scientific revolutions, I was impressed by his honesty. He could be honestly mistaken, but to claim that Kuhn is 'lying' seems to me to be a peculiar misusage of words.

    Regarding his claim of hypocritical, once often sees this misstep of meanings on the net. Hypocritical means that a person states something deceptively, quite different from what he believes. This is often mistakenly used on the net to mean, "It is inconsistent." It's a rather long way from a perceived logical inconsistency or contradiction to an hypocrisy. I have yet to find it easy to conclude that someone is being hypocritical on the net, just from statements which are perceived as contradictory, but which may not be in fact.

    Frankly, there is a problem with meanings of words here, which might also underlie many other problems of expression.
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    Quote Originally Posted by steve
    I also agree with your comments about Kuhn to Mc. The facts are Kuhn honestly believed what he wrote. A lie is a deliberate falsehood. As I studied Kuhn's conclusions about scientific revolutions, I was impressed by his honesty. He could be honestly mistaken, but to claim that Kuhn is 'lying' seems to me to be a peculiar misusage of words.

    Regarding his claim of hypocritical, once often sees this misstep of meanings on the net. Hypocritical means that a person states something deceptively, quite different from what he believes. This is often mistakenly used on the net to mean, "It is inconsistent." It's a rather long way from a perceived logical inconsistency or contradiction to an hypocrisy. I have yet to find it easy to conclude that someone is being hypocritical on the net, just from statements which are perceived as contradictory, but which may not be in fact.

    Frankly, there is a problem with meanings of words here, which might also underlie many other problems of expression.
    But I never said that Kuhn was dishonest or lying. It is was never the point. The point was that in physics at least, science does not progress by overthrowing the discoveries of the past. New physics does not invalidate old physics. Many people have taken this idea as a good reason why the teachings of modern physics should not be taken seriously.

    There are four separated definitions of the word "lie" in Websters Dictionary. The fourth includes: 1b) an untrue or inaccurate statement that may or may not be believed true by the speaker 2: something that misleads or decieves
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    The point was that in physics at least, science does not progress by overthrowing the discoveries of the past. New physics does not invalidate old physics.
    1. Would you point me to some (or one) specific example where Khun talks of overthrowing the discoveries of the past, rather than re-interpreting them.
    2. New physics sometimes does invalidate old physics. You are the physicist. Please give us some examples of this occuring. I know you say it does not happen, but I can think of at least one example, so I am confident you can come up with more.
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    Because of the nature of this thread, I am willing to move it to Pseudo-science. However, the level of discussion will continue with the same 'depth', I urge. mitchellmckain, do you have objections to this, seeing as this view can be argued to be rather deviant from the 'status quo'?

    Mr U
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    Quote Originally Posted by HomoUniversalis
    Because of the nature of this thread, I am willing to move it to Pseudo-science. However, the level of discussion will continue with the same 'depth', I urge. mitchellmckain, do you have objections to this, seeing as this view can be argued to be rather deviant from the 'status quo'?

    Mr U
    I do object. There is nothing pseudo-science about this. But I admit that it is not science either. It is meta-science or philosophy. Pseudo-science is activity which goes through the motions of being science pretending to do what science does in order to lend some sort of legitimacy that people imagine this pretense would give their viewpoint.

    But although meta-science is not properly science, meta-science is a proper activity for scientists to engage in, for who is better qualified to guess where the conclusions of science is leading us than the scientists. Furthermore, meta-science is a source of inspiration for new scientific investigations as well as being a type of scientific visualization valuable in comprehending what is often abstract mathematics.

    The topic concerns the evolutionary future of man. I have opened the topic with my point of view but all points of view are welcome. Furthermore the tenor of my approach to the topic suggest that science is the source of the answer (I appeal to evolutionary history and the priciples of the theory of evolution). I ask you, therefore, to put the hostility of one person aside and ask yourself under which category does this topic properly belong.

    As for Metatron's means of communication, I would urge tolerance. We can read what we choose and skim what we find difficult to make sense of. I frankly find his poetry a welcome change to the offensive tact of others.

    I am intrigued by your comment that this view is deviant from the status quo and I beg you to elaborate.
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    Mitchell, my apologies to you. I confused myself, after reading and responding to Metatron's post, and should have suggested that part got spun off into a separate section, rather than asking for the whole thread to be moved.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Metatron
    And are you willing to comment on how ammending neodarwinian models is new, rather than just fine-tuning an existing model?
    The context of this amending of evolutionary models has to do with the shift toward cooperative networks as opposed to the competitive.
    That's new? I realize that civilians think evolution = survival of the fittest individuals [or specific genes with adaptive benefits], but any scientist with a good general education knows that phrase was adopted from an economic theory, and is probably also familar with the phrase 'enlightened self-interest'.

    Co-operative behavior is adaptive; do you actually believe this is a new concept, rather than that new technology and new data make it easier to study its effects?
    Why do they want us to believe Conspiracy Theories?
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    No its not new, maybe “new” is too general of a term to express a “Paradigm shift” that describes the global integration that we are witnessing.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Metatron
    No its not new, maybe “new” is too general of a term to express a “Paradigm shift” that describes the global integration that we are witnessing.
    Integration?
    Integrate:
    1. To make into a whole by bringing all parts together; unify.

    That does not seem to be your intent, here or elsewhere.
    Why do they want us to believe Conspiracy Theories?
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    This thread is about the future of human evolution. The rest I split out to the Pseudoscience subforum under the title Quantum this, Quantum that.

    Please stay on topic... splitting threads is a real chore
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    Quote Originally Posted by j
    Co-operative behavior is adaptive; do you actually believe this is a new concept, rather than that new technology and new data make it easier to study its effects?
    I am not a biologist and my knowlege in the area mostly comes from reading Scientific American. So can anyone tell me if the idea that I have expressed in the first post can be found in other literature in biology? I am talking about the idea that the removal of pressure in the gene pool to maintain individual survival (without the support of the community) can be a stimulus for a new direction in the progress of evolution? Also has any other literature suggested that the handicapped have this kind of significance in the progress of human evolution?
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    You equate evolution to DNA, but DNA is only a stage in evolution. Variation does not have to refer to DNA. I feel I am misunderstanding you here because you are to mired in language.
    Points and questions:
    1. I am speaking of biological evolution, not cultural evolution.
    2. Are you meaning to speak of some form of cultural evolution?
    3. To what can the variations refer if not to DNA? (To clarify I do not equate evolution to DNA - DNA is the medium through which evolutionary changes are preserved and carried forward. Natural selection does not work on the gene, it works on the phenotype and the population.)
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    You equate evolution to DNA, but DNA is only a stage in evolution. Variation does not have to refer to DNA. I feel I am misunderstanding you here because you are to mired in language.
    Points and questions:
    1. I am speaking of biological evolution, not cultural evolution.
    2. Are you meaning to speak of some form of cultural evolution?
    3. To what can the variations refer if not to DNA? (To clarify I do not equate evolution to DNA - DNA is the medium through which evolutionary changes are preserved and carried forward. Natural selection does not work on the gene, it works on the phenotype and the population.)
    1&2. It is precisely my point that there is no real difference. The difference between biological and cultural (or communal) evolution is an artificial human centered distinction made because we think of our part in the process as being different and special. But what we think of as biological evolution of the species is the cultural evolution of our cells and the biological evolution of the the cell is the cultural evolution of the organelles.

    3. The evolutionary mechanism is so general that it is applied in computer algorithms to solve math problems. It is basical nothing more than trial and error. It is the essence of the learning process of any living system. Variation is the part of the process that comes up with new possible solutions. In biological evolution what is learned is most often recorded in the information storage system known as DNA. But this is only one possible locus of variation. There is the mitochondrial RNA, there is research about the possible direct tranference of characteristics in the cytoplasm of the sperm or ovum, and with animals there is the passing of behavior to offspring like the migatory paths of birds.

    It seems to me that the next stage of human evolution is communal rather than biological for the reasons I gave in the first post. And if that is the case, I see the variations in human lifestyles and occupations as part of the variation that is driving this evolutionary progress.
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    Yes, McKain, you did indeed state that Kuhn was lying and you stated it twice. One only need read your original statement to confirm this.

    "Called his idea about science a lie because it was not true, and people believed it."

    That does not make a statement a lie. A falsehood, perhaps, but as Kuhn's essential statements pretty well described what was going on, you are entitled to disagree with him, but he's very likely right. However, your having the right to freedom of speech, does not necessitate that what you freely speak is right.

    And again, "You believe the lie.(viz. Kuhn's statements.)"

    Frankly, it's you who is telling falsehoods, not Kuhn, and your inability to distinguish between inconsistencies and contradiction versus an hypocrisy, is also telling.
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    Quote Originally Posted by steve
    Yes, McKain, you did indeed state that Kuhn was lying and you stated it twice. One only need read your original statement to confirm this.

    "Called his idea about science a lie because it was not true, and people believed it."

    That does not make a statement a lie. A falsehood, perhaps, but as Kuhn's essential statements pretty well described what was going on, you are entitled to disagree with him, but he's very likely right. However, your having the right to freedom of speech, does not necessitate that what you freely speak is right.

    And again, "You believe the lie.(viz. Kuhn's statements.)"

    Frankly, it's you who is telling falsehoods, not Kuhn, and your inability to distinguish between inconsistencies and contradiction versus an hypocrisy, is also telling.
    I really could care less about this topic and your opinion about it as well. I simply mentioned Kuhn in a list of thinkers I disagree with in another thread and was asked why I disagreed with Kuhn in particular. So I did my best to explain why in the thread under the philosophy section. I have explained my use of the word lie and if you or anybody else is still offeded I could care less. This continuing off topic harassment in completely unrelated threads is getting real boring. If you have any more to say on the matter put it under the thread in the philosophy section and if any one is interested they can respond, because I will not.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mitchell McKain
    It is precisely my point that there is no real difference [between cultural evolution and biological evolution].!
    I would contest this very strongly indeed, though I suspect you will accuse me of becoming mired in language, or lost in semantics. There is a huge difference because the mechanisms are quite different in character. I shall explore these differences later.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mitchell McKain
    The difference between biological and cultural (or communal) evolution is an artificial human centred distinction made because we think our part in the process as being different and special.”
    As an opening statement this is fine. I disagree with it completely, but I expect you shall develop the notion further.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mitchell McKain
    But what we think of as biological evolution of the species is the cultural evolution of our cells and the biological evolution of the cell is the cultural evolution of the organelles.”
    Wow. I think you are making the error of confusing analogy with reality. What do you mean by cultural evolution? In what way can you claim cells have a culture, except by analogy. I accept the analogy, but analogy is not identity: even the map is not the territory.

    It seems wholly wrong to me to claim these two quite different things are the same. Evolution of organisms is clearly defined as the change in the frequency of alleles in a population over time. This is the accepted biological definition. If you choose to say cultural evolution is the same (not similar, not analogous, not bearing a passing resemblance to, but the same) then you are using definitions of culture that would be unrecognisable to sociologists and anthropologists, or a definition of evolution unfamiliar to any biologist, or both.


    i say that what is dramatic about the relationship between evolution and mankind is that biological evolution and cultural evolution are wholly different in character. The emergence of humanity’s complex culture has utterly changed the nature of evolution. Here are the most important differences that I see:

    Evolution to humans:
    · Determined by chance external events – environmental changes
    · Dictated by random (though constrained) mutations
    · Heritable via genes built from DNA

    Human Evolution:
    · Growing control over environmental factors
    · Growing ability to modify genetic structure directly
    · Cultural aspects heritable by external means (e.g.writing)

    If we include prebiotic chemistry in the picture we then have the following structure:

    Prebiotic chemistry: ‘evolution’ by random events
    Life: conventional ‘evolution’ by natural selection acting on genetic mutations
    Human: directed genetic evolution and emergence of cultural evolution

    I appreciate that this represents something of an anthropocentric viewpoint, but it also reflects an objective reading of the currently available facts.

    It may be that we are saying the same things about what will happen, but I certainly am at complete odds with you over the significance of these developments.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    Quote Originally Posted by Mitchell McKain
    It is precisely my point that there is no real difference [between cultural evolution and biological evolution].!
    I would contest this very strongly indeed, though I suspect you will accuse me of becoming mired in language, or lost in semantics.
    Your point of view is a bit mired in language? or tradition? but for the most part we are just looking at the same facts from a different point of view because we choose to do so.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    There is a huge difference because the mechanisms are quite different in character. I shall explore these differences later.
    Quote Originally Posted by Mitchell McKain
    The difference between biological and cultural (or communal) evolution is an artificial human centred distinction made because we think our part in the process as being different and special.”
    As an opening statement this is fine. I disagree with it completely, but I expect you shall develop the notion further.
    It all depends on how you look at them. Of course they are different as any living organism is different from any other. It is all a matter of what differences you choose to call significant.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    Quote Originally Posted by Mitchell McKain
    But what we think of as biological evolution of the species is the cultural evolution of our cells and the biological evolution of the cell is the cultural evolution of the organelles.”
    Wow. I think you are making the error of confusing analogy with reality. What do you mean by cultural evolution? In what way can you claim cells have a culture, except by analogy. I accept the analogy, but analogy is not identity: even the map is not the territory.
    No it is more than simply analogy. I am talking about using the exact same mathematics to describe both processes. It is an identity of mathematical models. It is a matter of choosing which mathematical measures of the processes you think are significant to produce a characterization of them which are admittedly very different from the reality. But at the same time by highlighting a similar mathematical substructure we can see beneath the appearance of things to the similarities of process which are not apparent at first glance.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    It seems wholly wrong to me to claim these two quite different things are the same. Evolution of organisms is clearly defined as the change in the frequency of alleles in a population over time. This is the accepted biological definition. If you choose to say cultural evolution is the same (not similar, not analogous, not bearing a passing resemblance to, but the same) then you are using definitions of culture that would be unrecognisable to sociologists and anthropologists, or a definition of evolution unfamiliar to any biologist, or both.
    This means no more to me than the fact that you do not like looking these two process from this particular perspective. Surely you do not think I am threatening to alter the definitions by which biologists and sociologists operate. My writings are not biology or sociology but philosophy. Sometimes seeing things from a different point of view can be very helpful. I am sorry that you are not finding this particular point of view very helpful to you.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    i say that what is dramatic about the relationship between evolution and mankind is that biological evolution and cultural evolution are wholly different in character. The emergence of humanity’s complex culture has utterly changed the nature of evolution. Here are the most important differences that I see:
    And I see that from the point of view of a single celled organism the developement towards multicellular organisms completely changed the nature of evolution also. The primary storage of data in DNA did not change so much but the aims of evolution certainly did. Because now the changes had more to do with effects within the context of the community just as human evolution is now more to with effects within the context of the community (only we give them various new names and call it technology, culture or even politics). By analogy we could give the same names to developements in a multicellular organism and the analogies are far from superficial. For example just as we have developed optical devices to see moons orbiting other planets and planets orbiting other stars, multicellular organisms have also developed optical devices to see far farther into their environment than living organisms could ever see before.

    In the case of organelles developing into community even the storage of data changed to the common pool of data in DNA as we see today. I think that mitochondrial RNA is a remnant of a data storage device used by more primitive prokaryotic-like organisms that grew together into a single community organism which we call the eukariotic cell.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    Evolution to humans:
    · Determined by chance external events – environmental changes
    · Dictated by random (though constrained) mutations
    · Heritable via genes built from DNA

    Human Evolution:
    · Growing control over environmental factors
    · Growing ability to modify genetic structure directly
    · Cultural aspects heritable by external means (e.g.writing)

    If we include prebiotic chemistry in the picture we then have the following structure:

    Prebiotic chemistry: ‘evolution’ by random events
    Life: conventional ‘evolution’ by natural selection acting on genetic mutations
    Human: directed genetic evolution and emergence of cultural evolution
    These things you call random events can be put into two categories: internal and external. The external events are those which are part of the environment and which the organism has no control over. These are pretty much the same whether we are talking about humans or single celled organisms. The internal events are those within the capabilities of the organism to change, alter or in some way affect. Human are under the delusion that their efforts to change, alter or in some way affect these "internal" events are intentional rather than random. I believe that all living things share this delusion and that the single celled organism also sees its efforts to change, alter or in some way affect these "internal" events are intentional rather than random.

    It is very much in the tradition of western thought to see the world around us as dead and devoid of intention or life, full of objects without purpose except as humans find a way to manipulate or use them. I do not.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    I appreciate that this represents something of an anthropocentric viewpoint, but it also reflects an objective reading of the currently available facts.
    I don't think there is such thing as an objective viewpoint in what we are discussing. It is to easy to define the word "objective" in a way that lines up with our own viewpoint. For example I would define it in opposition to anthropocentric. I certainly do not accept a definition of "objective" that simply reads what so called respected authorities have written and accepts the way they see things from their particular perspectives without challenging their assumptions and trying to see things from different points of view.
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    As you wish.
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    I just saw this thing on headline news mentioning these so called "Indigo" children. I guess these children are poorly behaved yet very intelligent, sensitive, and I guess pretty similar to one another. Although these children are currently being kidnapped by quakery (this lady was taking picture of their auras, and one started a sort of psychic hotline) I guess their population is building up steam. I really didn't think much of it until the last person they talked to was a pediatrition. He said he doesn't know what's going on, but he thinks something is.

    I mention this in this thread because the news story directly says that this may be the next step in human evolution.

    Now, I used to work in the media and I know that the reporters have no clue about what they're talking about, but that last doctor has got me a little bit curious.

    Anyone heard of this?
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    Quote Originally Posted by silkworm
    I just saw this thing on headline news mentioning these so called "Indigo" children. I guess these children are poorly behaved yet very intelligent, sensitive, and I guess pretty similar to one another. Although these children are currently being kidnapped by quakery (this lady was taking picture of their auras, and one started a sort of psychic hotline) I guess their population is building up steam. I really didn't think much of it until the last person they talked to was a pediatrition. He said he doesn't know what's going on, but he thinks something is.

    I mention this in this thread because the news story directly says that this may be the next step in human evolution.

    Now, I used to work in the media and I know that the reporters have no clue about what they're talking about, but that last doctor has got me a little bit curious.

    Anyone heard of this?
    There was a sci fi movie made about this phenomenon called "Indigo", but I did not know it had any basis in reality. I mean I don't doubt that the movie is nothing like the truth but I did not even know there were children who are refered to as indigo.
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    This is pseudo-science at its worst. I am in disagreement with Mitchell about his perceptionof the character of evolution, but am reasonably confident that the next step in human evolution he envisages is not the emergence of these Indigo Children. Mitchell?

    A google search turned up over 500,000 hits for Indigo Children. The first site was, surprise, surprise, related to two books published to describe their nature and significance. I believe the author ntroduced the term. Ten characteristics typify the Indigo child. (From - http://www.indigochild.com/)

    1. They come into the world with a feeling of royalty (and often act like it)
    2. They have a feeling of "deserving to be here," and are surprised when others don't share that.
    3. Self-worth is not a big issue. They often tell the parents "who they are."
    4. They have difficulty with absolute authority (authority without explanation or choice).
    5. They simply will not do certain things; for example, waiting in line is difficult for them.
    6. They get frustrated with systems that are ritually oriented and don't require creative thought.
    7. They often see better ways of doing things, both at home and in school, which makes them seem like "system busters" (nonconforming to any system).
    8. They seem antisocial unless they are with their own kind. If there are no others of like consciousness around them, they often turn inward, feeling like no other human understands them. School is often extremely difficult for them socially.
    9. They will not respond to "guilt" discipline ("Wait till your father gets home and finds out what you did").
    10. They are not shy in letting you know what they need.


    Give me a break! Indigo Children? Most of the items in the above list provide an excellent definition of a spoilt brat. Would you entrust humanity's future to a spoilt brat? [Political aside: Individual's who voted for George W. Bush need not answer.]
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    Ophiolite typed:

    This is pseudo-science at its worst. AND
    Give me a break! Indigo Children? Most of the items in the above list provide an excellent definition of a spoilt brat.
    I totally understand what you're saying here Ophiolite, but do you think this whole phenomenon deserves more valid investigation? Like, just because there are websites representing it this way doesn't mean this is anything like that, like IDers explaining evolution, except these people seem to be promoting these kids instead of themselves. I wonder if that top 10 list from their psychic network, which they showed this unusually fat little girl as having a psychic website on the internet. Anyway, what I'm getting at here is I'm wondering if there might be something going on here, regardless of these idiots with websites. I was just wondering if anyone had heard about any ACTUAL science concerning them.

    Would you entrust humanity's future to a spoilt brat?
    Well, they have been gaining in numbers recently, and I'd rather them breed amongst themselves, so what's the big deal? Actually, and I know you get this opiolite, I just wanted to mention that a step in evolution doesn't have to be a step forward, it can be a side step, and these steps in themselves are arbitrary.

    mitchellmckain typed:

    There was a sci fi movie made about this phenomenon called "Indigo", but I did not know it had any basis in reality. I mean I don't doubt that the movie is nothing like the truth but I did not even know there were children who are refered to as indigo
    They mentioned that. I sure as hell don't want to see it. They also said that there are shrinks who focus on indigo children but they also questioned in the report, which I was impressed with (the media has turned into advertising recently) that this is just a nice way of telling your kid she has ADHD. I have no basis on which to comment, again I was just wondering if anyone has seen anything legitamite on this.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    This is pseudo-science at its worst. I am in disagreement with Mitchell about his perceptionof the character of evolution, but am reasonably confident that the next step in human evolution he envisages is not the emergence of these Indigo Children. Mitchell?
    I cannot really say, since, I haven't heard their side of the story. I was assuming it was based on some peculiar syndrome like autism, but the discription Ophiolite gave does sound like pseudoscience and nonsense.

    Quote Originally Posted by silkworm
    I just wanted to mention that a step in evolution doesn't have to be a step forward, it can be a side step, and these steps in themselves are arbitrary.
    In my vision of the next stage of human evolution, steps backward for the individual members can represent an evetual step forward for the whole human race. As we compensate for genetic inadequacy with human technology, the differences in human lifestyles can lead to individuals with extraordinary capabilities in specialized areas.
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    In my vision of the next stage of human evolution, steps backward for the individual members can represent an evetual step forward for the whole human race.
    The world is getting so small that geneflow makes this sort of thing EXTREMELY difficult. The next time I can comprehend a speciation from the human race is if we can ever get going on interstellar space travel and generations of humans spend generations isolated amongst themselves. As for backwards or forwards, who can say? I mean, whether or not it's good to be a fish depends on how much you need to swim to live.
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    Ophiolite wrote;
    Give me a break! Indigo Children? Most of the items in the above list provide an excellent definition of a spoilt brat. Would you entrust humanity's future to a spoilt brat? [Political aside: Individual's who voted for George W. Bush need not answer.]


    This description pretty much fits myself, and I had a strict upbringing on a farm in the Midwest. I had to take care of the animals and work in the fields went to Sunday school in a Baptist church, but I was also taught to think for myself, and to understand the difference between authority of the majority and the value of the individual mind and spirit.
    I believe you probably had an even stricter upbringing Ophiolite and rely much more on the authority figure, some time so much it seems that you may have had an overly structured upbringing.
    Were you potty trained at gun point ?

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    Quote Originally Posted by silkworm
    In my vision of the next stage of human evolution, steps backward for the individual members can represent an evetual step forward for the whole human race.
    The world is getting so small that geneflow makes this sort of thing EXTREMELY difficult. The next time I can comprehend a speciation from the human race is if we can ever get going on interstellar space travel and generations of humans spend generations isolated amongst themselves. As for backwards or forwards, who can say? I mean, whether or not it's good to be a fish depends on how much you need to swim to live.
    You need to read the beginning of the thread. My whole point is that we are in the next stage of evolution where genetic drift will not change the whole of the human race or cause speciation. This new stage of evolution is driven by the fact that we are stopping the usual forces of evolution in its tracks with technology and protecting the weaker members of society. I believe that the same thing happend in the evolution of multicelular organisms. The next stage of human evolution is the evolution of the human commuity and greater the variation in human lifestyle that is made possible by the fact that the community shelters individuals from natural selection based on survival in the natural environment. The only selection now is limited to the peculiar rules of the human community. Human society is now the real environment for human evolution just as the human body is now the evironment of our individual cells.

    The changes I was describing does not depend on the genetic drift of the species, but upon changes in human society. If our view of the handicapped shifts to valuable and respected members of the community then what will become of our efforts to prevent and eliminate such differences before they are born? What will happen when we find ways to compensate for their biolgical difficulties with technology and encourage their unique abilities?

    Quote Originally Posted by Metatron
    I voted for Gore
    I am a republican and I voted for Gore. He was the last sane conservative in politics. I was a republican largely for reasons of econonmic conservatism and it was obvious that Gore was the only one at the time taking the idea of keeping the US budget under control very seriously. Today's administration is a neverending nightmare. Someone please wake me up.
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    Well, there's a problem of clear thinking, clearly defining terms and overall, a lack of scientific discussion of 'the next stage in human evolution".

    As Ophiolite and others have clearly stated, human evolution is a carefully defined and scientific phrase, referring to genetic changes over time in a species' population. Up until modern times these genetic changes were presumed in Homo species upon the basis of stable structural changes such as skull size and characteristics, dentition, and so forth. We have NO specific genes which we know of which make these differences, so the evidence of genetic changes was in fact inferred, but very solidly so.

    "Cultural evolution' is NOT a scientific term. In fact is a sort of bastardization of it. As cultures do not have genetic structural components which cannot be changed from individual, indeed a great deal of changes within individuals are possible, the term is not scientific. It should be cultural changes or developments. There is no such thing as cultural evolution, from a scientific standpoint.

    There are cultural changes and developments. These are VERY different from biological, evolutionary changes. They have nothing to do with evolution at all.

    As far as the 'x-men' are concerned, this is sci-fi and has no place here. Human beings without major internal devices and other prosthetics, which could not possible be genetic and which cannot possible exist by known physics today, are an unrealistic, totally irrelevant example of human evolution.

    So, what IS a good example of human evolution? Clearly, speech and language. These are major, genetic evolved characteristic which are markedly human and not shared by any other species.

    We know it's genetic, as the vocal cords and the ability to speak are structural changes in the human throat which other species do not have. We have brain changes in the cortex which allow speech and language and probably reading, altho we do not have the genetics for it yet. But as it's species wide and 'standard equipment' in humans, we know it has a firm genetic basis.

    Taking an offshoot of speech, dyslexia, meaning essentially the inability to read, we know there are probably some genetic components to this problem. This is cited because it's far more specific and easier to point to specific examples, that 'speech delays' and other speech problems, which can result form a whole panoply of causes and commonly environmental.

    Consider that few humans read or wrote 500 years ago. Those who had brains who coudl not read well, would not have any perceived or clear problems, excetp they could not become members of the clergy, and the learned professions. But as 95+% of our ancestors 500 years ago, were subsistence farmers, they did not need to read.

    Will continue on the next post.
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    Continuing on dyslexia as an example of human evolution.

    Now, when human societies in Europe began to industrialize in the 19th C. they quickly learned that the workers would do a far, far better job by being able to read, write and do basic math. So men were trained in this, and public schools were re-inforced in these skills in order to provide a literate labor pool, which could work successfully and efficiently in industry.

    In the 21st C. this ability to read and write, and communicate effectively is even more critical, simply because of computers, which require and indeed select for those who can read quickly and well, as well as communicate by writing.

    Anyone even with a mild dyslexia is going to be effectively, selectively disadvantaged in the skilled labor pool, because they will have problems typing, reading, writing and with these serious language skill problems, will not get a good education, in most cases & not be able to function as well.

    Dyslexia of all types is going to be, in an evolutionary sense, selected against. Any kind with a genetic predisposition is going to be reduced in the gene pool. Much of dyslexia tho, is related to developmental, that is, acquired damage, such as prematurity, drug usages by the mother in pregnancy, brain injuries at birth, and brain injuries of various sorts acquired after birth, such as infeciton, trauman, nutrition, family problems, and so forth.

    The point becomes when does cultural development drive human genetic changes? And I submit in this clinical diagnosis, of dyslexia, it will.

    We are seeing in the professions, such as entertainment(2 generations or more of actors/singers in a family) and esp. sports an increasing specialization. Football players are bigger, faster and stronger than they were 50 years ago. IN basketball, they are far taller and faster. Those who do succeed in these fields do have to have a significant genetic, & familial advantages, in most cases, to do well.

    So cultural developments can probably drive some human evolution. But there is no such thing as "cultural evolution".

    These are mundane, but very clear cut examples of in the case of speech, clear cut genetic changes; in the case of dyslexia, probable examples; and in the case of sports specializations (the genetics of Japanese sumo wrestler families comes to mind), probable ongoing very early human evolution, being driven by cultural developments and changes.
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    Well that is one way to win an argument and end a discussion. Simply insist that the definition of words is such that the argument and discussion is decided or nonexistent. But frankly, I think this is a rather infantile sort of rhetoric. If someone's use of words bothered me that much I would simply rephrase the person's contention in words that I preferred and continue the disscussion on the topic. I feel that it shows more command of language and communication to demonstrate that I can understand what someone is saying regardless of the words he uses or how he says something, than to refuse understanding what a person says just because I don't like the way they said it.

    "X men has no place here"? Well this forum is obviously a place for the public discussion of science and the false impression that popular movies make, seems quite appropriate in such a forum. The average post here displays no where near the expertise that you are implying. Frankly I think you are putting on "airs." This is a forum for science eduation not a discussion between proffessionals, and in education anything which connects the subject matter to the students everyday life is an aid to education.
    See my physics of spaceflight simulator at http://www.relspace.astahost.com

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    How about this as an idea to move forward.

    Mitchell, accept that in a Biology thread of a Science forum there is clear merit in following the language of biology and science. Agree that while you have found the term useful to you it is disrupting the opportunity for discussion that you are seeking. Resolve to find other words to express the concept that are appropriate from your perspective and match usage within the field of biology.

    Steve, acknowledge that Mitchell has a concept that has merit, or is ay least worthy of discussion: the existence of a culture in humanity, to a degree and an extent previously unknown within the animal kingdom, provides a mechanism whereby the future character of humanity may not be determined soley by the evolutionary process that produced us in the first place.
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    You are correct. This IS a Scientific forum called biology. & here, then, the rules and facts of the sciences are the guidelines.

    Cultures do in fact develop. But they do NOT evolve in a scientific sense. Biological evolution is NOT the same as cultural development. They are often entirely different. In social species there will be biological evolution driven by the social needs of the species. One can see evidences of this in primates, herd animals, and social insects.

    But there is a huge difference between biological evolution and cultural development, esp. in our species, humanity. Those are as much as I'm willing to agree occurs.

    Clearly, one has seen here & in other posts a number of rhetorical claims, or irrelevant ad hominems from some, but one expects that of dilletantes, who are quick to make such irrelevant claims, such as that another is "putting on airs", to misdirect attention from the defects in their own debatable claims.

    Frankly, I'm a specialist in medicine and it's very likely I know what I'm talking about, given some 35 years in medicine and 12 years of training in the sciences of biology, chemistry and physics beyond high school. Humans have been therefore, under my scientific study and professional observation for the last 40 years from high school. I'm likely to know something of humans, their essential natures and their evolution.

    Thus the clear, misguided attempts by McKain to illegitimize by inadmissible polemics, my points. When one posts on an internationally accessible site, one must expect that persons of considerably greater knowledge than one has, might read & comment on it. If one makes seriously debatable comments, those May be contested by those who ARE informed better than one is.

    This has happened to me any number of times. And unless the professional is clearly mistaken, based upon facts and careful reasoning, as a practical matter, one defers To the Facts of properly constituted & trained persons. I will not, therefore often contest those well trained in fields outside of my own education.

    However, anyone with good data, careful thinking and a fair knowledge of how the sciences work can successfully Discuss with anyone from any field. Authorities can be wrong. But they are shown to be wrong, not by irelevant fallacies and rhetoric, but by scientific facts taken from events in existence.

    This is the rule. The norm. We must be careful what we write. Freedom of speech also includes the responsibilty that we must speak reliably and truthfully, as best we are able. & to accept corrections when we do not.

    The right to speak freely does NOT imply that what we freely speak is right. & the internet is a good example of the "info garbage" which can result from irresponsible websites and posts.

    And one is NOT ending the discussion, simply directing it along lines of SPECIFIC and CLEAR examples of cultural developments driving evolution or related to evolution. Of which, one might point out, Mckain has NOT stated a single, real, existing, specific example. One would hope he'd address this omission.

    If one wants to discuss something esp. in a scientific forum, which this clearly is, then one MUST give specific, real, scientifically valid and addressable examples. Because science is completely based upon careful observations and reports of real, existing events. Otherwise, one's comments may lack any scientific basis, whatsoever.

    And if one wants to discuss in a scientific forum, this assumes a basic, reliable training in the sciences, too. Esp. in an international forum, which I do see in you, Ophiolite, a most considerable education, and not so much so in many others.

    "Those of you who only Think you know it all, are very irritating to Those of us who Actually do." :wink:
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    Consistent with the above post, humans are likely evolving towards greater literacy and information acquisition and processing. This process is driven by the sciences & the offsprings, technologies, and one of the most important products of the sciences, the computer.

    There are many examples of human evolution being driven by cultural developments. In medicine there are new pharmaceuticals, which can greatly increase intellectual and physical performances. These drugs will have an enormous impact upon society.

    A First example is that of the Ampakines, which increase the intelligence of people in various skills. IN terms of verbal memory, about 30%. Maze solving and thus spatial relationships abilities double in 48 hours. Upper limits are not known. Physical and mental reflexes and speeds are increased by about 20-25%.

    AMPAkines, created in Irvine, CA., are being developed via the FDA(Ampalex, currently Stage II trials) to treat mild/moderate cases of Alzheimer's, altho they will be effective in most cases of dementia, unless there are seizures.

    Otherwise well persons given Ampakines will then outperform others of about the same abilities and skills, for the time the drug is effective. Given at the time of study for finals, & then while taking the final exams, the person would be expected to finish about 20-25% faster and to have a verbal memory advantage of about 30% or so. This would clearly 'blow the curve' in terms of grades.

    And as AMPAkines act by increasing endogenous AMPA, one of possibly many neurochemicals which makes us intelligent, it might be possible to genetically enhance individuals, to have a higher AMPA level than usual for them. Simply slow down the AMPA degradation process genetically, rather than using AMPAkines, which do that chemically.

    One fact we did notice on the tests in school, was that the brighter students, esp. gifted and above, finished faster than those who did not. It's been stated that a person with an IQ of 165 or so, will think with a speed of about 10 times faster than a person with an IQ of about 100.

    Thus for every 10 years of life, the brighter person experiences a reality of about 10 fold in terms of learning, thinking and information processing, etc., for example, than an average person. That's a 90 years advantage every decade, which the average person cannot possibly catch up on. This advantage could likely be increased with AMPAkines.

    It might suggest one reason why older people are often the leaders, as they have more virtual experiences than do the younger, often by not just decades, but in real processing time, centuries.

    As the AMPAkines are a first generation drug, and the various skill enhancements these drugs give are many, then subtypes of the drugs will likely be developed to more specifically & greatly enhance these effects. Second and 3rd generation drugs often do this.

    So, given the probability that humanity evolution is currently heading towards greater information acquisition and processing in terms of amounts and speeds, AMPA enhancing drugs and corresponding genetic changes will likely be a specific example of human evolution.
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    Next example of possible human evolution is that of the muscle growth agents. There are two, the myostatin inhibitors and the PRAP drugs.

    Myostatin gene was found about 8 years ago at Johns Hopkins among a strain of mutated mice. Because the gene was doubly defective, these mice had a 3 fold increase in usable, functioning muscle mass. As a result, they were 5-10 times stronger than normal mice. Myostatin inhibits muscle growth. Doubly defective myostatin genes create considerable growth in muscle size.

    Human beings as well as all mammals, birds,and some reptiles also have the myostatin gene. IN a study in the 1990's, about 65 bodybuilders were studied before and after heavy duty, intensive weight training. 7 of them showed significant gains and 3 of these, esp. Flex Wheeler, were shown to possess the double myostatin defective gene. He had 3 times the number of muscle fibers than normals on muscle biopsy and exam.

    Follastatin among a few others, is a biochemical which suppresses the myostatin gene, causing an increase among normal mice of about 250-260% of muscle mass. The effects in most humans are likely to be the same.

    In terms of human performance, medically, one could get about 50% of the people out of wheelchairs, for instance, as long as some muscle mass remained. From a wheelchair existence to semi-independence or better is a remarkable improvement, which would have great medical apps.

    The second is the PRAP. This has been tested and then rejected as a fat burner, for weight reduction. Lab animals given the drug developed a doubling of their slow twitch muscle fibers, which are about half of those in normal human muscles. Slow Twitch fibers are what gives animals endurance. It's to be expected that it will about double their strength and greatly improve endurance.

    so the above are two directions in which human evolution is likely to go, enhancing both performance intellectually as well as physically. As more and more of the human genome and brain are understood, then more and more of similar and more interesting enhancements are likely to be found.
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    In order for evolution to occur, one requirement is that there has to be a selection process among individuals for some type of a trait which imparts an advantage. This implies that individuals with this trait will be more successful in passing the genes onwards to the next generation (usually directly via children, sometimes indirectly by helping their 'tribe').

    In European cultures:
    Over historic times (from ca 500 BC to ca 1900 AD) data shows that families which are financially successful had more children surviving to adulthood. In medieval times, this ratio was about 2:1 in the number of surviving children between financially successful families and poor families. Financial success over this time period required literacy, the ability to manipulate numbers, and the ability to reason better than most of your neighbors. These are all factors involving intelligence as measured by IQ tests (indeed IQ and income since 1930 have been highly correlated, and I assume they were also correlated going back in historic times). Recall that all the twins studies show that the inherited component of intelligence is about 50-70%. This very strongly implies that financially successful families had higher IQs, and they had more surviving children, also with higher IQs. So the general intelligence of the population gradually increased with time, since this trait imparted a greater chance of having more children surviving to repoductive age.

    Nowdays, other factors than family income have become dominant over the number of surviving children of an individual. I may discuss this in a later post.
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    silylene wrote; In order for evolution to occur, one requirement is that there has to be a selection process among individuals for some type of a trait which imparts an advantage. This implies that individuals with this trait will be more successful in passing the genes onwards to the next generation (usually directly via children, sometimes indirectly by helping their 'tribe').
    These are outdated notion's on evolution of the 20th century.
    Evolution relies not on a genetic trait but on how diverse traits are integrated. There is no such thing as a superior trait or a superior group there is only the integration of traits. All traits are subjective to all other traits.

    It is impossible to isolate a trait of success in the drama of human evolution, when no one yet know's what the plot line is.
    here's just one of the new ideas emerging that is changing the way we look at molecular biology.


    A scientific revolution?

    The prion anomaly may challenge the central dogma of molecular biology

    Alain E. Bussard

    Alain E. Bussard is Honorary Professor at the Pasteur Institute, Paris, France.



    Science, Thomas Kuhn argued in The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1962), proceeds at two different paces. One is what he called "normal science", which professionals, the general public, the press and politicians generally understand as "research firmly based upon one or more past achievements that some particular scientific community acknowledges for a time as supplying the foundation for its further practice." This stepwise progression towards a better understanding of Nature, by building on established knowledge, has been described in a myriad of textbooks, dictionaries and scientific papers.

    However, Kuhn distinguishes this form of knowledge creation from so-called "puzzle-solving science". The latter results from anomalies—experimental observations or other evidence—which do not fit into the widely accepted theoretical framework of how Nature functions. Puzzle-solving science, according to Kuhn, can therefore trigger a scientific revolution as scientists struggle to explain these anomalies and develop a novel basic theory to incorporate them into the existing body of knowledge. After an extended period of upheaval, in which followers of the new theory storm the bastions of accepted dogma, the old paradigm is gradually replaced. Perhaps the best example of such a paradigm shift in science is the Copernican revolution in cosmology: the move from a geocentric to the heliocentric view of our solar system. Curiously, although Aristarches had already laid the seeds of heliocentrism in the third century BC, it took another 18 centuries before Nicolaus Copernicus proposed that the Earth moves around the sun and not vice versa. Many anomalies, such as the orbit of Mars, were already known at that time, but the power of the Aristotelian dogmas, including the geocentric view of the universe, was too strong to be overcome easily. Truly speaking, however, the notion of a paradigm, as defined by Kuhn, does not have exactly the same meaning in cosmology, physics,

    Is the central paradigm of molecular biology...the only possible explanation of how life evolved, or are there other mechanisms of heredity in living organisms?


    What I propose here is that biology is heading towards a similar scientific revolution that may shatter one of its most central paradigms. The discovery of a few small proteins with anomalous behaviour is about to overcome a central tenet of molecular biology: that information flows unidirectionally from the gene to the protein to the phenotype. It started with the discovery that prions, a class of small proteins that can exist in different forms, cause a range of highly debilitating diseases. This sparked further research, particularly by Stanley Prusiner at the University of California, San Francisco (USA), who eventually established that prions induce conformational changes in other proteins and thus transmit their conformational information. More recent research by Susan Lindquist at the Whitehead Institute (Cambridge, MA, USA) and Eric Kandel at Columbia University (New York, NY, USA) indicates that this may well be a form of protein-based information flow, which seems to be important in various biological processes ranging from the establishment of long-term memory to the adaptation of organisms to new environments.


    Now we may have to abandon another concept...namely that the primary structure of a protein determines its tertiary structure


    Scientific revolutions are still rare in biology, given that the field, unlike astronomy or physics, is relatively young. Until the middle of the eighteenth century, biology was essentially a descriptive activity rooted in medicine and observations of living Nature. Early biologists did not practise large generalizations as was the norm in physics or chemistry. During the eighteenth century, biologists started to ask themselves how they could explain the enormous variability of living organisms and their ability to adapt to their environment. Early thinkers, such as Jean-Baptiste Lamarck, Erasmus Darwin or Georges Louis Leclerc de Buffon suspected that environmental factors, over time, trigger physiological changes in the organism, which help it to cope with its surroundings. Lamarck's central example was the long neck of the giraffe, which he thought was the result of the animal stretching its neck to reach leaves high up on trees.
    http://www.nature.com/embor/journal/...E536C29D2E9E3F
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    Quote Originally Posted by steve
    And one is NOT ending the discussion, simply directing it along lines of SPECIFIC and CLEAR examples of cultural developments driving evolution or related to evolution. Of which, one might point out, Mckain has NOT stated a single, real, existing, specific example. One would hope he'd address this omission.
    I beg to differ. I have given specific examples of points which I made. Many like the fact that we now compensate for genetic weakness with technology are too obvious for an example to be needed. Perhaps you can be more specific with a quote of something I said that you think needs an example. Then perhaps we can clear up what it is about what I said that you find so bothersome.
    Quote Originally Posted by steve
    Clearly, one has seen here & in other posts a number of rhetorical claims, or irrelevant ad hominems from some, but one expects that of dilletantes, who are quick to make such irrelevant claims, such as that another is "putting on airs", to misdirect attention from the defects in their own debatable claims.
    Of course my claims are debatable. And I think I stopped you from ending the discussion with rhetoric quite well, for now I see a lively debate. You can continue to throw disrespect at people you hardly know but in the end you will find that the only opinion that is affected is the opinion that other people have about you, as I have found out only too well myself.
    Quote Originally Posted by steve
    Thus the clear, misguided attempts by McKain to illegitimize by inadmissible polemics, my points. When one posts on an internationally accessible site, one must expect that persons of considerably greater knowledge than one has, might read & comment on it. If one makes seriously debatable comments, those May be contested by those who ARE informed better than one is.
    It is one of the difficulties in a discussion like this, that we only respond to what we are interested in. For this reason we sometimes do not take the time to respond to everything that another person says. I did not find your examples of evolution in humans all that interesting so did not respond, but I do not even by implication mean to dismiss or refute them.
    Quote Originally Posted by steve
    Frankly, I'm a specialist in medicine and it's very likely I know what I'm talking about, given some 35 years in medicine and 12 years of training in the sciences of biology, chemistry and physics beyond high school. Humans have been therefore, under my scientific study and professional observation for the last 40 years from high school. I'm likely to know something of humans, their essential natures and their evolution.

    "Those of you who only Think you know it all, are very irritating to Those of us who Actually do." :wink:
    I suppose we are supposed to be impressed, but to be frank, you merely confirm my opinion that those in medicine are far too full of themselves to be trusted with anything. I don't doubt that you think you know everything, perhaps you were even trained to act like you do in order to inspire confidence in patients. But I think you have an entirely one sided view of the world trained to think of the human being as a repairable machines. I think your blind spots are all that much more invisible to you because of your self importance.
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    Gentlemen, lets focus on the substance of the debate and reserve the remarks that are veering towards the personal for another time and place.
    The topic is Human Evolution - the future. Let's talk about that.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    Gentlemen, lets focus on the substance of the debate and reserve the remarks that are veering towards the personal for another time and place.
    The topic is Human Evolution - the future. Let's talk about that.
    I am grateful to you for your mediation in this thread. You know quite well how I can get carried away at times when I get drawn into debate.

    But I would like to say that, while what I said may seem shocking it was not merely taking a shot at steve, but that it represents an honest sentiment of mine. The overconfidence of people in the medical profession personally fills me with disquiet and distrust. I am knowlegable enough to know that they do not understand the human body anywhere near as much as they seem to. Surely when it comes to treating cuts and broken bones I confident in their ability to suture or set the bones (and properly grateful), but when it comes to drugs and the chemistry of the human body, I am far less confident. In fact, I have been burned so to speak. In this their knowlege is based largely on statistics at best and upon the advertisements of the drug companies at worst.

    Well, we hardly want to turn this into a debate about the merits and failings of the medical profession. But I thought I should explain why steves statement of credential and parting joke evoked such a reaction on my part.

    Another truth be told, I have a hard time understanding what steve's beef with me is. He has provided some good scientific info on the interaction between genetic evolution, culture and technology. This is only proper since this is his field. If it helps, I acknowlege that my original post is of a philosophical rather than scientific approach. I would never pretend otherwise.
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    Thank you Mitchell. The problem I think Steve had, and I know I have, was in the use of terminology out of context. This can be quite distracting from the discussion, especially when terms are not clearly defined at the outset. It is then very easy (for some of us, very tempting) for the reader to shoot the messenger rather than address the message.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Metatron
    These are outdated notion's on evolution of the 20th century. Evolution relies not on a genetic trait but on how diverse traits are integrated. There is no such thing as a superior trait or a superior group there is only the integration of traits.
    I never used the phrase superior trait ! Don't put words into my mouth and mistate me. What I said was some type of a trait .
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    Thank you Mitchell. The problem I think Steve had, and I know I have, was in the use of terminology out of context. This can be quite distracting from the discussion, especially when terms are not clearly defined at the outset. It is then very easy (for some of us, very tempting) for the reader to shoot the messenger rather than address the message.
    Every specialized field, physics included, gives its own special meaning to words. Perhaps it is the difference between someone in education and someone in research only, but I take it for granted that not everyone uses the words with those specialized meanings. I do not doubt that use of words like force, energy and action, which are nonsensical in the context of physics may cause me a small amount of confusion, but I think my reaction would be a bit different. I would probably see it as my duty to point out specialized meaning that these words have in physics and perhaps point out that the different usage is making it difficult for me to understand what they are saying. But if what they are saying is clear to me I don't think I would ridicule them for not using terms according to their specialized meaning even under the topic of physics. I don't see how you can communicate otherwise. With each field using terms differently some lattitude in a public forum is necessary.

    I take it from comments by you and steve that in biology and medicine, evolution is restricted to genetic (DNA) change. But in discussions of the origins of life on the planet this is too restrictive for are we not allowed to ask where did DNA and RNA come from? I understand that purely scientific answers to questions like this are quite difficult if not impossible. Yet surely science is not like theology where some questions are simply forbidden. I understand that some people may feel uncomfortable with speculation on such topics. It is only natural to point out that discussion of them should not be considered science. There are similar topics in physics where I would be quick to point out that these are impossible to answer in physics and that any answers must be pure speculation. But I would not forbid discussion of them, but then I am quite comfortable discussing philosophy and religion as well as physics. I do make much of the distinctions between physics and philosophy, but not to ridicule philosophical discussions but to make clear where the authority of physics ends.

    I could wish that the definition and limits of other sciences were as clear. Perhaps they are only less clear to me. It is up to the specialist in those fields to make the definitions and limits of their science clear. Where does the authority of the science of biology end? Given such a distinction, do you think it possible that there are topics which are not, strictly speaking, proper subject matter for the science of biology, but which non-specialists might call biology. Is every question about living things a part the subject matter of biology?
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Every specialized field, physics included, gives its own special meaning to words. Perhaps it is the difference between someone in education and someone in research only, but I take it for granted that not everyone uses the words with those specialized meanings.
    Remember Mitchell, I am not in research, and I am only in education to the extent that I am a training manager for my employer. Also, I am not a biologist, though I have some University level training in botany, and a great deal in palaeontology. For these reasons before I post anything in any field in which I do not consider myself an expert I try as far as possible to make sure I am using accepted terminology in an accepted manner. Personally, that is important to me, as a means of demonstrating a commitment to and a belief in the value of science.
    You may see that as a criticism of your own, may I say laissez faire, approach. It is. It is, however, a criticism based upon opinion alone, and as such may be safely ignored.

    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    I would probably see it as my duty to point out specialized meaning that these words have in physics and perhaps point out that the different usage is making it difficult for me to understand what they are saying. But if what they are saying is clear to me I don't think I would ridicule.
    May I say with no intention of generating argument that I felt I had pointed out the discepancies in your usage earlier. I think you suggested I was playing with words, or something to that effect. I am very tolerant of persons who are not educated in the sciences when they are loose in their terminology. It just seems wholly inappropriate to extend that same tolerance to well educated, scientifically trained persons.

    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    I take it from comments by you and steve that in biology and medicine, evolution is restricted to genetic (DNA) change.
    Yes. This was something I had to re-learn when I started frequenting forums. I was still enmeshed in the palaeontological view of evolution, which focuses on changes in morphology, and to a lesser extent habitiat and inferred behaviour. Withint biology, as you say, the definition does indeed relate to allele frequency. This has been the case since the late 1940s.

    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    But in discussions of the origins of life on the planet this is too restrictive for are we not allowed to ask where did DNA and RNA come from?
    That's because (excuse the crudity) the origin of life has bugger all to do with evolution. We can certainly ask about the origin of life and the emergence of DNA and RNA. I spent the hour before posting this reading research papers on autcatalytic actions and the development of vesicles, both intimately tied to the origin of life. It is not forbidden territory, it just predates evolution.

    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Given such a distinction, do you think it possible that there are topics which are not, strictly speaking, proper subject matter for the science of biology, but which non-specialists might call biology. Is every question about living things a part the subject matter of biology.
    Non-specialists are capable of the most bizarre speculations on any topic, as many posts in this and other science forums demonstrate. That said, I can't think of an example that would fit your description.
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    Well I have added a note at the top of my first posting explaining my usage of the term "evolution", and to be sure I will add such clarifications to my future forays into this topic.

    I am still waiting with anticipation for the clear definition of the science of biology including a clear description of where the authority of biology ends.

    In the case of physics, it is restricted to the mathematical relationship between measurable quantities. Physics is of course rather less than this because there are many measurable quantities which it does not study like the rate of respiration and heartbeat of a sparrow. All the rest of the things which physicist do have to do with visualizing and comprehending these mathematical relationships in order to see the way to discover more such relationships. Any question which cannot be stated as a question about such mathematical relationships is not properly physics. For example, the big bang theory is not really in answer to the question of the origin of the universe but as an explanation of the Hubble redshift and more recently of the cosmic background microwave radiation. It is true that theoreticians have wandered a bit afield of real measurements but they are treated with skepticism and will only have vindication when their theory is confirmed with such measurements.

    I am tempted to suppose that the science of biology might be similarly restricted to the mathematical relationship between measurable quantities, but that is certainly not for me to say. Besides there is the classification of species and the studies of the behaviors of different species which I am not sure can be characterized as mathematical measures but which seem to be a part of the science of biology. Parallels with Astronomy come to mind, where observation seems to play an important role in the activity if not the science itself.
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    well, the attempts at delegitimizing are still going on, stating that "doctors know it all" is simply more of the same. A false claim meant to appeal to emotion, rather than clearly substantiating such a wild assertion. But quite typical of the approach.

    Frankly, except for Silylene's very interesting posts, Ophiolite's clarifying and general posts, and a few of mine, there have been no clear, scientific, biological discussions of where the human species evolution is going.

    Silylene in some detail addressed intellectual changes taking place. My posts addressed human language and how dyslexias affected education and thus achievement in the information age, as reading is so essential to using a computer.

    And then the AMPAkines and related systems and the human performance developments of muscle growth agents.

    These are specific, biological, substantiated posts.

    It's too bad that so many are long on empty philosophizing on this point, and short on scientific specifics. But again, that's the difference between those who are trained/experienced in the sciences, versus those who are not.

    Again, I'd ask for specific examples which have a reasonable degree of scientific substantiation, as to where human evolution is going. It's a HUGE opening question and possible answers and suggestions can be expanded greatly.

    Otherwise the discussion is NOT biology, it's not scientific, and belongs in the Philosophy section.
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    Evolution depends not up a single genetic traits but on how diverse traits are integrated."

    Well, the usual definition of evolution is that of a changin gene pool more adapted to the environment. It has nothing to do with 'superior' traits, but if those are better adapted to the environment.

    And it CAN be a single gene, as well. The temperature sensitive fur color genes of many winter and arctic species are good examples of this. They turn a color in the spring more adapted to hiding among grey/brown plants and in the winter turn white to better hide in a snowy environment.

    IN cases of schizophrenia, Huntington's chorea, some seizure disorders and many, many other genetic disorders, these can very seriously, by themselves, damage individual survival. There are literally thousands of such genes.

    "Diverse traits being integrated" has nothing to do, so far as I can tell with biological evolution. It's a sort of invented phrase, whose scientific, practical meaning is very nebulous.

    IN some cases single genes are affected by others, but that's hard to be sure of, as the amounts of interactions are difficult to be sure of.

    Prion diseases are NOT overthrowing anything in biology. Their discovery by Gadjusek and their elucidation by Stan Prusiner, MD., of UC San Francisco, has greatly added to our knowledgeof how some very rare, interesting proteins can act to cause diseases.

    One gets this sort of overextended claim all the time, that new discoveries are going to overthrow areas of the sciences, whereas in fact they simply add something to the main body of the science, and are easily incorporated into it.

    Prions are VERY rare among humans. IN some animals species such as deer and related wild species it's more common. But the occurrence of prion diseases in humans is about 1/million.

    And as that is a very rare condition, and it does not effectively change any of the other knowledge to any extent, it's hardly a revolution or an overthrow of biology. It's a not reasonable conclusion.

    Biological evolution is going to respond to prion diseases, but it's response to viral, bacterial, fungal and other noxious environmental agents, is going to be far, far vaster and more important, because those agents are far, far more common and important in the day to day and generation to generation evolution of the speices.

    Clearly disease resistance among humans is going to increase, rather than decrease. Among the Native American and Polynesian cultures, long isolated from Eurasia and AFrica, as well as containin populations which are very derived, rather than duplicating disease resistances in their societies of origin, they were greatly impacted by diseases from Europeans.

    This resulted in a massive evolution among American Indians to disease resistance of a genetic kind.

    It's apparent that disease resistance is one thing which is going to increase, given wide spread international travel. This is likely yet another area in which human evolution is going in the near future and as long as widespread international travel will take place.

    Considering the examples of cholera, typhoid, the plague and more recently HIV, among many others, such as Hong Kong flu variant, were spread internationally, it's not a trivial thing.

    And the interesting comment, probably true, that a serious infectious disease may only be a plane ride away, as in SARS, Ebola, HIV, and many forms of human inflenza strains....
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    from SteveAgain, I'd ask for specific examples which have a reasonable degree of scientific substantiation, as to where human evolution is going. It's a HUGE opening question and possible answers and suggestions can be expanded greatly.
    Perhaps my following discussion is philosophy, but I think maybe this would be fun to discuss.

    I want to expand Steve's question to a bigger 'box'. Our current concept of the science of evolution deals solely with generational changes of inherited traits, such as eye color, the number of cusps on a molar, progressional development of skin or feathers or scales or hair or whatever, and even brain size and development. But is this concept of evolution of inherited traits too constraining?

    If a species exists in which the contributions of learned behavior, intellectual/cultural knowledge, and self-modification exceed the contributions of the inherited traits in imparting survivability and the ability to pass our genes to the next generation, could or should the generational passing of this non-inherited information be included within the 'box' called evolution?

    In the case of humans, very arguably the contributions of what we learn from our culture and the contributions of our personal self-modification (building our own individually customized sets of antibodies, e.g. vaccines; cloaking ourselves in additional insulation, e.g. clothing) do exceed the contributions of the inherited traits in imparting survivability.

    Now going more to Steve's question, suppose we develop even better technologies of self-modification to enhance our survivability and our ability to pass our genes on? Could this also be evolution? (I realize not within the current scientific defintion!)

    If so, I could imagine an 'neo-evolution' in the new development in self-modifications to enhance our survivability: gene-treatment insertions of DNA sequences to improve disease resistance, customized cancer-antibodies, bionic limbs, artifical organs, perhaps even bionic gills for aquatic living.
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    Quote Originally Posted by silylene
    from SteveAgain, I'd ask for specific examples which have a reasonable degree of scientific substantiation, as to where human evolution is going. It's a HUGE opening question and possible answers and suggestions can be expanded greatly.
    Perhaps my following discussion is philosophy, but I think maybe this would be fun to discuss.

    I want to expand Steve's question to a bigger 'box'. Our current concept of the science of evolution deals solely with generational changes of inherited traits, such as eye color, the number of cusps on a molar, progressional development of skin or feathers or scales or hair or whatever, and even brain size and development. But is this concept of evolution of inherited traits too constraining?

    If a species exists in which the contributions of learned behavior, intellectual/cultural knowledge, and self-modification exceed the contributions of the inherited traits in imparting survivability and the ability to pass our genes to the next generation, could or should the generational passing of this non-inherited information be included within the 'box' called evolution?

    In the case of humans, very arguably the contributions of what we learn from our culture and the contributions of our personal self-modification (building our own individually customized sets of antibodies, e.g. vaccines; cloaking ourselves in additional insulation, e.g. clothing) do exceed the contributions of the inherited traits in imparting survivability.

    Now going more to Steve's question, suppose we develop even better technologies of self-modification to enhance our survivability and our ability to pass our genes on? Could this also be evolution? (I realize not within the current scientific defintion!)

    If so, I could imagine an 'neo-evolution' in the new development in self-modifications to enhance our survivability: gene-treatment insertions of DNA sequences to improve disease resistance, customized cancer-antibodies, bionic limbs, artifical organs, perhaps even bionic gills for aquatic living.
    I agree that this is interesting and it is the direction of many of my suggestions, but you can expect steve to jump down your throat with a holier than thou preoccupation with his science. He is not the only one with scientific training he is just more self-righteous about it. His scientific contributions are an interesting addition to this discussion. He obviously knows a lot about the topic and is very enthusiastic about it. Maybe he is just disappointed that everyone else is not quite as enthusiastic as he is about this area of genetic science. Or maybe he is trying prove something. He certainly has carefully prescribed his demand for examples to be entirely within his own area of interest. I think steve's demand for pure science in every thread under Biology is unreasonable. Even if a lot of the discussion here is philosophy it is clear that the even the philosophical portions of the discussion has much to gain by input from the science of biology.

    I most definitely think this restriction of evolution to genetic change is too constraining. I think most people think of evolution as the whole process by which life developed on this planet. I think there is a bigger picture here to be seen. I think the most important changes will not be any kind of genetic drift. But I do think there will be a great increase in genetic variation, including an increasing frequency of genetic defects. How will we respond to this situation? Will we start regulating who has the right to reproduce as many science fiction novels and films have suggested or will we compensate for genetic deficiencies with technology?

    You know the most common justification for tampering with the human genome is the treatment of disease with genetic origins. But how can this is actually be effective. Again there are two directions that the future can take. One is by using our genetic technology to compensate for genetic deficiencies and the other is to control the genetic makeup of the next generation. I believe that the second choice could be a mistake and an evolutionary dead end, depending on how it is carried out. Once you start imposing judgements about what genetics the future generation should have you are in great danger narrowing genetic variation, and that could easily mean the extinction of the human race.

    You know steve speaks blithely about evolution towards increased resistance to disease but there is only one way that can happen and that is through a catastrophic numbers of deaths in world wide epidemics. I think there is a flaw in some of steves suggestions of future genetic change if he presumes that social success or affluence is any kind of selector in the evolution of the human species. No accusation intended, but I did get this impression from something said about literacy.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain

    I agree that this is interesting and it is the direction of many of my suggestions, but you can expect steve to jump down your throat with a holier than thou preoccupation with his science.
    I doubt that, since up front I stated I understood the boundry as defined by science, and then stated I wanted to work within a bigger boundry as I defined it. As such I did not unknowingly mix real science with philosophical speculation.

    He is not the only one with scientific training he is just more self-righteous about it. His scientific contributions are an interesting addition to this discussion. He obviously knows a lot about the topic and is very enthusiastic about it. Maybe he is just disappointed that everyone else is not quite as enthusiastic as he is about this area of genetic science. Or maybe he is trying prove something. He certainly has carefully prescribed his demand for examples to be entirely within his own area of interest. I think steve's demand for pure science in every thread under Biology is unreasonable.
    I know steve well from another scientific forum. It is difficult to speak for someone else, he would certainly best respond. As I understand it, he is frustrated with people who don't even know what is science or scientific process, who unknowingly but enthusiastically blend together science, speculation, religion, faces on Mars, conspiracies, 'internet educations', creationism, hoaglandism, polysyllabic words, scientology, ID, and alien visitations. I certainly share the same frustrations! I am not saying you are guilty of this, and I have exaggerated in my example above (not that much in some cases I have seen!). It is just that the American and other country's education systems and media have simply failed to teach our populations what really is science.

    Even if a lot of the discussion here is philosophy it is clear that the even the philosophical portions of the discussion has much to gain by input from the science of biology.
    Agreed, but if that is the case, this should be stated upfront.

    I most definitely think this restriction of evolution to genetic change is too constraining. I think most people think of evolution as the whole process by which life developed on this planet. I think there is a bigger picture here to be seen.
    Agreed, but this isn't the science of evolution nor the science of biology. But it is a broader subject that deserves much greater scrutiny and analysis.

    I think the most important changes will not be any kind of genetic drift. But I do think there will be a great increase in genetic variation, including an increasing frequency of genetic defects. How will we respond to this situation? Will we start regulating who has the right to reproduce as many science fiction novels and films have suggested or will we compensate for genetic deficiencies with technology?
    These need discussion. After our society's revulsion with eugenics after the depradations of Hitler and the nazis, this subject now only gets whispers and is bordeline politically incorrect.

    You know the most common justification for tampering with the human genome is the treatment of disease with genetic origins. But how can this is actually be effective. Again there are two directions that the future can take. One is by using our genetic technology to compensate for genetic deficiencies and the other is to control the genetic makeup of the next generation. I believe that the second choice could be a mistake and an evolutionary dead end, depending on how it is carried out. Once you start imposing judgements about what genetics the future generation should have you are in great danger narrowing genetic variation, and that could easily mean the extinction of the human race.
    The first is what I called 'self-modification'. The second could be a mistake, or it could be fantastic. It all depends on how we do this, and whether we as a human race develop culturally accordingly. I think the second choice taken to extremes could lead to different 'breeds' of humans, just as we have different breeds of dogs specialized for different purposes.

    You know steve speaks blithely about evolution towards increased resistance to disease but there is only one way that can happen and that is through a catastrophic numbers of deaths in world wide epidemics. I think there is a flaw in some of steves suggestions of future genetic change if he presumes that social success or affluence is any kind of selector in the evolution of the human species. No accusation intended, but I did get this impression from something said about literacy.
    I don't think steve ever speak blithely. steve is smart, well read, and has thought a lot about his subjects. True, epidemics do cause selection through dying or removal from the gene pool (dying isn't actually required for this). Since the 20th century, the affluent and literate have had fewer children, which is a reversal of the prior 2500 years of human behavior. I am sure this will and is having implications.
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    Again, McKain, you consistently engage in unpermissable rhetorical tactics. I did NOT state nor in any way imply that other's posts had to be within my interests about the question about where human evolution is going. Reasonably one's posts are likely to be within one's interests and work. But this does not logically constrain other's posts. Yours is A mistaken claim, which one constantly sees. I stated it was best to make posts within the realm of the scientific, BECAUSE this is biology, which is a science and therefore those rules of substantiation apply.

    Frankly, you do this all the time. First confusing logical inconsistencies and contradictions with claims of hypocrisy. Then confusing Kuhn's statements by calling them Lies, thus implyin necessarily and logically, that there is a liar, when there is not. And then ignoring and denying your repeated statement about your claims of 'Kuhn's lies' when at worst, some of his beliefs could be called mistaken.

    Then your posts consistently, repeatedly confuse biological evolution with cultural developments, which you claim are 'evolutionary'. They are not. Culture can probable affect evolution, But it's Environmental, NOT genetic. And environment clearly affects evolution. That's been held since the time of Darwin to be the case. Again, a confusion of terms. That your posts do not apprehend this, nor at least in part grasp this fact, well within the current evolutionary model, is rather peculiar, to say the least. And you continue to promote this confusion of terms.

    Let me repeat it again. Culture is environmental, NOT evolution of the human species. It's an evolutionary force, but one of many, including diseases.

    Time and again there is mistatement on your part. Just why this occurs, and why your posts use such rhetorical, polemical tactics, one cannot be sure.

    This is a biological forum. If you want to make a contribution, you make it within the realms of the science of biology. And frankly, given my repeated requests that posts contain at least SOME, reasonable scientific justification for where human evolution is going, you still have not, unlike Silylene and Ophiolite and I, discussed a single clear example.

    and then you again make claims, which repeatedly, are not true.

    Within these topics, comments are constrained by the sciences. If you'd like to state directions of human evolution, then statements are constrained by reasonable scientific estimations of where things are going.

    I gave several examples of probable, possible human evolution based upon language, AMPAkines, muscle growth agents, among others. So far, to my knowledge you have NOT given a single, scientifically based statement or example of such evolutionary changes, except in very general, rather prosaic terms.

    And you continue to try an consider human cultural developments as 'evolution' which they clearly are not. Human Cultures are environmental, NOT necessarily biological.

    And if you'd like to give some good examples of how cultural developments, viz. human created environments, have clearly, likely, or probably affected human evolution, then feel free.

    But statements using unacceptable terms such as 'holier than thou", Kuhn's lies, and claims of hypocrisy, when contradictions and inconsistencies are what you mean, casting unwarranted & likely false aspersions upon an entire profession, and the consistent confusion of scientific terms and the usage of common words, are not in the best interest either of scientific discussion, clarity, or credibility.

    The "holier than thou' comments are yet more examples of the ad hominem, viz., personal attacks, rather than addressing the issues & are not relevant to the discussion.

    Frankly, it's your polemical, unscientific, and often illogical style which is a problem here. As I have well documented above.

    Human evolution is based upon genetic changes. Cultural developments, such as speech and writing can & have probably had an effect on human evolution. But culture is Environmental, NOT evolution of the human genetic population. This is well within the current model of evolution.

    & one would expect more detail than simply a cursory mention of 'prosthetic limbs', artificial organs, etc., which are NOT evolutionary changes, whatsoever. Artificial gills are a real stretch, in fact just science fiction. The 'X-men' claim all over again. These will NOT replace the currently used diving gear.

    So far, you have not given a SINGLE, credible example of the future of human evolution. But we have seen lots of confusion of terms in your posts, and the implications of that are not good.
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    "Catastrophic numbers of deaths."

    Yes, that is EXACTLY how evolution occurs. In the extreme case, 'catastrophic' death results in extinction, which is what has happened to 99% of all known species. The KT boundary event eliminated the dinosaurs and about 50% of earth's species. And it led to the development of mammals, and eventually to us. And is likely to happen as well, to a high degree of probability, to the human species, as it happened to H. erectus, as it happened to Homo floriensis, recently found in Indonesia. And as it happened to H. neanderthalensis. As it happened to ALL our ancestor species for the last 500 millions of years.

    Nothing bigger than a small rat survived on land after the KT event. Surely if it happened again, humans would be unlikely to survive it, either, unless they were very well prepared, as very few are.

    Living on the earth is dangerous. Sooner or later our civilizations will be devastated by an asteroidal impact, which occur in the multi gigaton range about every 5K-10K years. Asteroid winter for 4-5 years, during which, again, there will be 'catastrophic deaths'. Those who are prepared(the LDS, among a few others) and lucky, will have a better chance of survival. and it could happen at any time, with very little warning.

    A similar catastrophe could occur if there were 2 Tambora-like events occurring within a few years of each other. Again, well within the probabilities of 2 major volcanic eruptions each century.

    It's kind of interesting. Burbank created his good plant varieties by planting huge numbers of each type and then harshly culling for the varieties he wanted. Given the huge numbers of humans on our overpopulated planet, the odds are certain in the long run that something of the same will eventually occur to us, sooner or later.

    And what of the Great Plagues from the bubonic plagues? What happened to Europeans who first contacted malaria, smallpox, influenza, and so forth?

    Catastrophic deaths. This is a fact of life & it cannot be denied. In some villages and cities in Europe during the Great plagues, 50-90% of the people died. Europe was widely depopulated, as was any human population which was stricken with this dreadful infection.

    So, if you want a reasonable scientific estimation of what's going to happen to the human race, in evolutionary terms, it's extinction. We might leave descendant species, but again, we might not.

    Survival after pandemics is exactly survival of those whose immune systems can successful fight off the infection and these leave children who have a similar genetic resistance to diseases of that sort.

    It's rather peculiar that your posts do not evince a clear apprehension of this evolutionary fact. THE primary mechanism of natural evolution is personal & massive deaths, with the survival of a few.

    "Nature is red in tooth and claw."
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  67. #66  
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    Many thanks with your help with steve. I become very fustrated when I cannot understand where someone is coming from.
    Quote Originally Posted by silylene
    I don't think steve ever speak blithely. steve is smart, well read, and has thought a lot about his subjects.
    I don't doubt this and I have not been sparing of praise. I have already conceded the issue of defining terms more clearly and modified my initial post accordingly. It is his attitude toward me and the topic I find interesting that is infuriating. I don't mind his discussion of the related topic of genetics, I find it helpful. All in all, it might be better to avoid responding to him directly for bit.
    Quote Originally Posted by silylene
    I know steve well from another scientific forum. It is difficult to speak for someone else, he would certainly best respond. As I understand it, he is frustrated with people who don't even know what is science or scientific process, who unknowingly but enthusiastically blend together science, speculation, religion, faces on Mars, conspiracies, 'internet educations', creationism, hoaglandism, polysyllabic words, scientology, ID, and alien visitations. I certainly share the same frustrations! I am not saying you are guilty of this, and I have exaggerated in my example above (not that much in some cases I have seen!). It is just that the American and other country's education systems and media have simply failed to teach our populations what really is science.
    I could not agree more. It believe that a popularization (perhaps bastardization) of Kuhn's philosophy is partly responsible for this, although perhaps no one agrees with me on this point. Please do not reopen that can of worms. I have taken the role of defending the boundary between science and philosophy many times, although it is perhaps from a slightly different perspective. The intrusion of philosophy and religion into science is utterly intolerable. But I don't think this is where the danger lies, at least, not from my experience of the physics community. Confusion about what is proper scientific procedure in the uninitiated public does not derail the progress of scientific investigation. So I see the greater threat, being the disolution of boundary on the side of philosophy. I am talking about where people talk philosophy in a public discussion and some are under the mistaken impression that what they are doing is science. Therefore, I do not respond to this with a demand that they adhere the proper procedures of science, since considering their lack of training, that would be unreasonable. Instead I explain the boundaries and try to get them to accept that what they are doing is philosophy (at best) or even religion, without implying that what they are doing has any less value. Making value judgements about the activities that people enjoy is rarely productive.
    Quote Originally Posted by silylene
    Quote Originally Posted by michellmckain
    I think the most important changes will not be any kind of genetic drift. But I do think there will be a great increase in genetic variation, including an increasing frequency of genetic defects. How will we respond to this situation? Will we start regulating who has the right to reproduce as many science fiction novels and films have suggested or will we compensate for genetic deficiencies with technology?
    These need discussion. After our society's revulsion with eugenics after the depradations of Hitler and the nazis, this subject now only gets whispers and is bordeline politically incorrect.

    The first is what I called 'self-modification'. The second could be a mistake, or it could be fantastic. It all depends on how we do this, and whether we as a human race develop culturally accordingly. I think the second choice taken to extremes could lead to different 'breeds' of humans, just as we have different breeds of dogs specialized for different purposes.
    It has been one of my points that even the 'self-modification' approach or 'technological compensation' as I call it, can lead to different "breeds" of humans (and more naturally), just as much as the second approach. Considering the general shortsightedness of human society I think that the second approach is far too dangerous to even contemplate at this time, except perhaps under very special and restrictive circumstances. For example, what about genetic modification which improves the abilities of humans ability to survive in other environments (eg. under the ocean). Even this is frought with moral difficulties like those described in "Frankenstein", especially if the changes also involve, as they likely to, tradeoffs with their abilities in the original human environment. I suppose a lot of these difficulties might be avoided if the changes are gradual enough. But then until we learn to live peacefully with people of other countries and cultures, it is perhaps, premature to be thinking about creating such variations. One of my biggest concerns with the second approach has always been that parents already have too much power and control over their children's lives as it is without having them tampering in their genetics before they are even born.
    See my physics of spaceflight simulator at http://www.relspace.astahost.com

    I now have a blog too: http://astahost.blogspot.com/
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