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Thread: Evolution of Mankind into the distant future

  1. #1 Evolution of Mankind into the distant future 
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    I am sure all of you know Charles Darwin theory on Natural Selection (Evolution was not explicitly stated in his Origin of Species).

    Well as the theory goes, nature selects the strongest or those members of the species possessing the most desirable traits for reproduction, or favourable traits for survival in a particular environment.

    However, as the masters of the world, we have changed all that. We have allowed as part of our higher culture, allowed those that should not survive under harsh environmental conditions to survive. For example, those who are from birth born with great deficients, limbless, mentally retarded to survive. What might this spell out for the evolution of mankind as a whole?

    In nature, undesirable traits are quickly wiped out as the species as a whole faces great challenges to survive and procure enough food. Those who are born with deficients, or loses one of their key sense organs in the process of their lives, have a lower possibility of survival as they have been compromised. Though it is cruel to say so, it will be much better for the species if they do not have to spend so much time to take care of such members if those impaired members die early.

    As of the current situation now, we find that as medical faculties grow ever more advanced and the taming of Earth's wildlife, we are faced with a huge problem. By giving those who would otherwise not survive a chance at life with our advanced technologies, we may end up in turn harming ourselves in a species as a whole. This is so as we give those undesirable traits a chance to reproduce and propagate itself further into the human race. Over time, we may hence lose off our competitiveness and the ability to survive.

    Just a very hypothetical example.

    Say for example there is a set of genes that codify for us having hands with four fingers but no thumb. With our current advancement in our society, it will not be too difficult for the person to survive, abeit at some disadvantage, as the person does not need to hold knives or guns to kill off any potential enemy as the likelihood if having any is lower.(Which the person will not be able to do as well anyway without a thumb) The person manages to find a woman who loves him and lives to have children. The gene is passed downwards to his children, who have the same problem. The children will likewise survive as the father did in the modern world. What will result is a chain effect that is hard to predict and impossible to stop. A trait that will normally be weeded off by nature is allowed to propagate into the genes of normal humans. One day, the human race may lose all their thumbs, and when we really need the thumb, it is no longer there for us.

    Life is cruel. I derive no pleasure in saying all things, nor is it my wish to hurt any with genetic defects. You have the chance to survival like the rest of us. But as I have said, natural selection will more probably weed out those with great genetic defects. And in the absence of that, such undesirable traits will be allowed to propagate downwards. The result may be a greatly diminished human species.

    I am not sure if this theory of mine has any relevance at all, and I would accept any constructive criticisms or suggestions. I also would like to apologise to all with these genetic defects, but that is the harsh realities we live in and I would not want to deny anyone the truth, no matter how hurting it is.


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    A likelier gene to survive is one that results in a person with no little finger ("pinkie" to Americans). Thumbs tend to be essential not just for the reasons you suggest but for the entire "opposable fingers" aspect of our hands that are needed for a number of daily activities: tying shoelaces, buttoning clothes, turning knobs, texting at speed and so on. A person without thumbs would be, in general, at a pretty severe disadvantage, in despite of the cultural accommodations we make. The loss of a little finger, on the other hand, is unlikely to be so disadvantageous, and a number of science fiction writers have speculated on humans gradually losing some of the 'extraneous' fingers on the outer edges of their hands (or even aliens with only three fingers and so on).

    If, on the other hand, a person with no thumbs is without significant disadvantage in our society (for whetever reason), then the trait cannot be selected against, ergo, it is not a defect.

    The important point to note here is that the phrase "genetic defect" is judgemental, as though there were a 'perfect' human genome and anything apart from it is abnormal. Anything apart from the most common set of genomes (and it will not be a single genome but a genome set) may well result in genuine disadvantages in life for the person concerned - people born congenitally blind, for instance, tend to have a lot to undergo in order to make their way but I'm guessing:

    1. their overall life expectancy as a group is lower; and
    2. their overall reproductive rates are lower

    than those of the rest of society.

    If that's the case, there is no significant chance of those genomes taking over society - they will be selected against.

    If this is not the case, then we have demonstrated that there is no significant disadvantage to that genome and there you have it.

    Let's not forget that our current gene pool does not include significant adaptations for cold climate living (the way in which, say, the Neandertals had), and so we already make use of cultural rather than genetic means in order to survive in colder climes. To say that there will be a day in which thumbs are necessary is as much as to say there will be a day in which we have no homes or clothes and therefore would have been "better off" being more like the Neandertals.

    I admit that the notion that culture today supports a variety of genomes that would not have survivied in the past is an intriguing one, but the ways in which you take the idea, and particularly the language used - normative versus merely descriptive - is important if you wish to make something more substantive of these speculations of yours.

    cheer

    shanks


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  4. #3 Re: Evolution of Mankind into the distant future 
    Forum Cosmic Wizard spuriousmonkey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cytosine12

    Well as the theory goes, nature selects the strongest or those members of the species possessing the most desirable traits for reproduction, or favourable traits for survival in a particular environment.

    Fail.

    Nature doesn't select.

    Some individuals have a higher relative reproductive success than others. Sometimes this is caused by genetic differences. In these cases there is a good change that the offspring of these previously "succesful" individuals will also have a higher relative reproductive rate than other members of the species.

    In case of the human society this process isn't interupted because we suddenly have technology, culture etc.

    The only thing that happened is that natural selection is amplifying different characteristics than in a previous historic phase of the human species.

    There is no such thing as genetic defect according to 'nature'. There is just variety and opportunities.

    Many species have gone blind and are loving it. You would classify that as a defect. For many cave-fish it is an adaptation.

    Personal attack removed. I often enjoy your sense of humor spurious but let's not take it out on other member's emotional states. -Paralith

    Nature doesn't give a fuck in which direction evolution flows. It is all good. It is just a process.
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    Very nice post, shanks, I enjoyed it.

    Cytosine, I recommend a slightly different viewpoint. You were absolutely right in the beginning of your post that the fittest traits are those that best increase reproductive success in that particular environment. All our culture and our technology has done is to change our environment. Now the standards for how to best increase our reproductive success are different. Fish who live in lakes deep in caves lose their eyes because they don't need them anymore. Would you call this species "greatly diminished?" They would most certainly be at a severe disadvantage out in sunny lakes with other fish who can see them clear as day, and if their lakes ever suddenly disappear they as a species probably will too.

    Specialization to a certain niche is not an uncommon thing at all in nature; neither is extinction because that niche suddenly disappears and the species fails to change fast enough to or is not flexible enough to handle it. We have largely created our own new niche, but it is still a niche like any other, and over time we will adapt to its particulars, and become less adapted to other potential niches out there. Nothing strange or different or "diminished" about that. Our culture and technology are evidence of our behavioral flexibility, which makes our chances pretty good that we'll find ways to hang on as a species for quite some time into the future.
    Man can will nothing unless he has first understood that he must count on no one but himself; that he is alone, abandoned on earth in the midst of his infinite responsibilities, without help, with no other aim than the one he sets himself, with no other destiny than the one he forges for himself on this earth.
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  6. #5 Replies 
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    Thank you all for the comments. I do have a firmer idea of what constitutes evolutionary processes as of now, and will work on it with those firmer groundings.
    Science is a mountain of theories based on a molehill of facts.
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  7. #6  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard spuriousmonkey's Avatar
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    What about just accepting the idea was no good.
    "Kill them all and let God sort them out."

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    To Paralith. I am very much willing to hear abt my mental state. It may help me in why this theory is failure, like how spuriousmonkey puts it.

    Spuriousmonkey, if u dun mind, I would be willing to hear your argument on my mental state.
    Science is a mountain of theories based on a molehill of facts.
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  9. #8  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard spuriousmonkey's Avatar
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    They have failed to teach you the difference between your opinions and reality.

    It's common.

    You need training to distinguish between both and then still people have difficulty realizing the problem.
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  10. #9  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard paralith's Avatar
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    I appreciate your candor with each other, but it is my policy that discussions about the personal qualities of posters should take place in PM and not in the thread itself. Any further comments in this regard will be removed.
    /Moderator mode
    Man can will nothing unless he has first understood that he must count on no one but himself; that he is alone, abandoned on earth in the midst of his infinite responsibilities, without help, with no other aim than the one he sets himself, with no other destiny than the one he forges for himself on this earth.
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    I acknowledge my naivety of certain issues that I have no knowledge about. Based on my insufficient experience and knowledge, (I am a budding biologist at junior college) I wanted to go into something that I have been thinking abt for a few years already. I wanted to see if this theory does have any relevance at all, like the way the dodo went.

    Crappy genetics resulted in its extinction, accumulation of undesirable traits in a world too sheltered like the one we are currently making up right now for our youths. Is it not true that we see our younger students getting smaller sized all the time? I have no conclusive evidence but many of my friends do agree with me, compared to 5 years ago when I was just 12, we were not as small sized compared to those of our age of 12 right now.

    So I do believe this could be castrophic, but as you put it, may or may not be reality until someone goes about proving it.
    Science is a mountain of theories based on a molehill of facts.
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  12. #11  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard paralith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cytosine12
    I acknowledge my naivety of certain issues that I have no knowledge about. Based on my insufficient experience and knowledge, (I am a budding biologist at junior college) I wanted to go into something that I have been thinking abt for a few years already. I wanted to see if this theory does have any relevance at all, like the way the dodo went.

    Crappy genetics resulted in its extinction, accumulation of undesirable traits in a world too sheltered like the one we are currently making up right now for our youths. Is it not true that we see our younger students getting smaller sized all the time? I have no conclusive evidence but many of my friends do agree with me, compared to 5 years ago when I was just 12, we were not as small sized compared to those of our age of 12 right now.

    So I do believe this could be castrophic, but as you put it, may or may not be reality until someone goes about proving it.
    In the first case, generally speaking modern human evolution is most certainly an existing field you could get into. In the second case, why is a reduction in body size catastrophic? You give lip service to the relative value of fitness but you are still not taking into account in all your comments. Lots of animals have small body sizes and they do just fine. Why is a large body size advantageous in our current environment? What do we need it for in terms of survival? The only advantage I could see it having is one of sexual selection, where for example women prefer tall men. But if everyone's getting smaller, as long as the men are a little taller relative to the women, that won't be a problem. You're evaluating the worth of traits based on an environmental niche we no longer occupy. It is not a valid evaluation.
    Man can will nothing unless he has first understood that he must count on no one but himself; that he is alone, abandoned on earth in the midst of his infinite responsibilities, without help, with no other aim than the one he sets himself, with no other destiny than the one he forges for himself on this earth.
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    Do you doubt that strength is not important? While we grow smaller, what do we substitute for that lack of strength? Isn't it prudent that as a species we do not be allowed to deteoriate into an over-complacent one that believes pure technological advancements and innovations will completely offset all the problems caused by a weaker human body?

    I do acknowledge that perhaps small may not be bad after all. But are we a sneak and hide race? Do we scurry like rats? The very weakening of the human body, towards smaller-sized bodies is already a severe disadvantage to us. Are we so arrogant as to say that simply that because we no longer occupy the old niche, whereby humans were one of the large predators but not directly all the way at the top of the food chain, we can allow ourselves to deteriorate?

    It will ultimately be our downfall if we permit this to carry on without attempting to halt some of these processes.
    Science is a mountain of theories based on a molehill of facts.
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  14. #13  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard spuriousmonkey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cytosine12
    I acknowledge my naivety of certain issues that I have no knowledge about. Based on my insufficient experience and knowledge, (I am a budding biologist at junior college) I wanted to go into something that I have been thinking abt for a few years already. I wanted to see if this theory does have any relevance at all, like the way the dodo went.

    Crappy genetics resulted in its extinction, accumulation of undesirable traits in a world too sheltered like the one we are currently making up right now for our youths. Is it not true that we see our younger students getting smaller sized all the time? I have no conclusive evidence but many of my friends do agree with me, compared to 5 years ago when I was just 12, we were not as small sized compared to those of our age of 12 right now.

    So I do believe this could be castrophic, but as you put it, may or may not be reality until someone goes about proving it.


    Memory is not really a reliable source of information.

    People do create growth charts of the population at different time points. That's data you can actually look up.
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  15. #14 Re: Evolution of Mankind into the distant future 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cytosine12
    I am sure all of you know Charles Darwin theory on Natural Selection (Evolution was not explicitly stated in his Origin of Species).
    Not strictly true.

    From the online Version of On the Origin of Species, Bartelby.com, Harvard Classics, which I believe to be the last edition of the work.

    VII. Miscellaneous Objections to the Theory of Natural Selection -
    paragraph 65
    At the present day almost all naturalists admit evolution under some form.
    .....
    That species have a capacity for change will be admitted by all evolutionists

    paragraph 67
    Every one who believes in slow and gradual evolution, will of course admit that specific changes may have been as abrupt ......

    paragraph 69
    This difficulty, as in the case of unconscious selection by man, is avoided on the theory of gradual evolution.........

    VII. Instinct
    paragraph 6Mr. Hudson is a strong disbeliever in evolution.......

    X. On the Imperfection of the Geological Record
    paragraph 1 If numerous species, belonging to the same genera or families, have really started into life at once, the fact would be fatal to the theory of evolution through natural selection.

    XV. Recpitulation and Conclusion
    paragraph 44
    I formerly spoke to very many naturalists on the subject of evolution, and never once met with any sympathetic agreement. It is probable that some did then believe in evolution, but they were either silent, or expressed themselves so ambiguously that it was not easy to understand their meaning. Now things are wholly changed, and almost every naturalist admits the great principle of evolution.

    Well as the theory goes, nature selects the strongest or those members of the species possessing the most desirable traits for reproduction, or favourable traits for survival in a particular environment.
    Not necessarily the strongest. As you go on to say, correctly, it is survival in a particualr environment, but you must add, coupled with the ability to reproduce.

    We have allowed as part of our higher culture, allowed those that should not survive under harsh environmental conditions to survive.
    Should not? That implies a judgement. Nature does not make judgements, except in a metaphorical sense.

    What is a harsh environmental condition? We have extremophiles that are happy in acidic water, or at temperatures of 60 degrees Celsius. Some organisms would find a temperate forest environment harsh, others would flourish in it. There is no objectively harsh environment.

    In nature, undesirable traits are quickly wiped out as the species as a whole faces great challenges to survive and procure enough food.
    Again desirable/undesirable suggests judegment. Their are traits which are fit for an environment, traits that are unfit, and traits that are neutral, and much grading between these categories. Always this fitness relates to a specific environment.

    By giving those who would otherwise not survive a chance at life with our advanced technologies, we may end up in turn harming ourselves in a species as a whole.
    Or by deepening the application of compassion we may strengthen our species for a role in environments of our making. One is as likely as the other.

    I derive no pleasure in saying all things, nor is it my wish to hurt any with genetic defects.
    We all have genetic defects - perhaps not in the sense that Spurious Monkey rejected, but copying of our genes is never perfect. And, to reemphasis SMs principle point, these genetic characteristics may be a disadvantage only in certain environments.

    If we are inclined, as many are, to feel as individuals and as societies a responsibility for those with disabilities then those disabilities could render those individuals fitter for the resultant environment.

    Overall your suggestions have a feel of eugenics about them. It's not a field that is considered politically correct today. Anything that smacks of eugenics is likely to be discredited from the outset. Therefore, if you wish to pursue the concept, you need to weed out the obvious errors that others have pointed out to you.
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  16. #15  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard paralith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cytosine12
    Do you doubt that strength is not important?
    I think you mean, "Do you doubt that strength is important," and yes, I do. What do we need excess strength for when we have machines and tools to multiply the force we are capable of to our needs? A minimum degree of strength is good to be able to stand up straight, walk, and hold that television remote, but even that may become unnecessary when we have power chairs to scoot us around in all the time.

    While we grow smaller, what do we substitute for that lack of strength? Isn't it prudent that as a species we do not be allowed to deteoriate into an over-complacent one that believes pure technological advancements and innovations will completely offset all the problems caused by a weaker human body?
    What's wrong with technology taking over for our bodies? Just because you don't like the idea doesn't mean it's wrong. Just because you don't think it ought to happen means its wrong.

    I do acknowledge that perhaps small may not be bad after all. But are we a sneak and hide race? Do we scurry like rats? The very weakening of the human body, towards smaller-sized bodies is already a severe disadvantage to us. Are we so arrogant as to say that simply that because we no longer occupy the old niche, whereby humans were one of the large predators but not directly all the way at the top of the food chain, we can allow ourselves to deteriorate?

    It will ultimately be our downfall if we permit this to carry on without attempting to halt some of these processes.
    No, you assume it is our downfall. You use terms like "sneak and hide" as though it's a bad thing. You talk about rats like they're a bad thing. Rat species have been around a lot longer than human species have. They may very well out last us if we blow ourselves up with bombs or some such. In terms of evolution, they are no better than we are.
    Man can will nothing unless he has first understood that he must count on no one but himself; that he is alone, abandoned on earth in the midst of his infinite responsibilities, without help, with no other aim than the one he sets himself, with no other destiny than the one he forges for himself on this earth.
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  17. #16  
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    Strength is often a burden.

    Most animals have a strictly controlled muscle mass. Because having too much simply puts too much burden on the resources available to the individual.

    Choices are made. An adequate amount of muscle mass is "sought after". (not literally)

    Many animals actually show a huge loss in muscle mass and strength during their evolution. The most obviously examples are parasites.

    Give a bird more strength and it cannot fly any more due to excessive weight.

    etc.
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  18. #17  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cytosine12
    Do you doubt that strength is not important?
    I have no doubt that strength is important for some creatures. I know it is not especially important of humans, which is just as well because we have never been strong.

    My strength resides in my brain and in my culture. As a consequence of these I can travel faster than a cheetah, I can fly higher than an eagle, I can lift many times more weight than an elephant, I can crush material more effectively than a boa constrictor. I can do this even if I am Stephen Hawkin. (You'll remember Stephen, one of those weak, genetically defective individuals who place such a strain on society and who currently is Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge the same position held by Newton, Babbage and Dirac.)

    Isn't it prudent that as a species we do not be allowed to deteoriate into an over-complacent one that believes pure technological advancements and innovations will completely offset all the problems caused by a weaker human body?
    Please provide evidence that the changes you describe represent a deterioration.

    The very weakening of the human body, towards smaller-sized bodies is already a severe disadvantage to us
    And this severe disadvantge expresses itself how, exactly? And the increase in height of many nationalities in the last fifty years confirms your fears how, exactly?

    Are we so arrogant as to say that simply that because we no longer occupy the old niche, whereby humans were one of the large predators but not directly all the way at the top of the food chain, we can allow ourselves to deteriorate?
    Whether you are seven foot tall, or five foot tall it won't make much difference in your ability to bring down a wooly mammoth. What will make the difference is what is at the top of that seven feet or five feet.

    Again, please demonstrate that these changes are deteriorations. In evolutionary terms they cannot be, since we are rampantly succesful as a procreating species - rather like rats.
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    I have many feedback so I'll try to explain to you guys one by one.

    To John Galt: I admit that perhaps I have not read the Origin of Species as clearly as I would have liked to, so yes, he did say evolution. I am kinda surprised, I thought the term evolution was coined far off from his time long after his death, that it was used. Tks for correcting me however.

    Should not? That implies a judgement. Nature does not make judgements, except in a metaphorical sense.

    What is a harsh environmental condition? We have extremophiles that are happy in acidic water, or at temperatures of 60 degrees Celsius. Some organisms would find a temperate forest environment harsh, others would flourish in it. There is no objectively harsh environment.
    What I should have really said was that the weaker members would not have survived the harsh environmental conditions, or more accurately, a much lower probability of surviving as opposed to completely healthy and fit individuals.

    As for the term 'harsh environment', what it was intended to mean is that harsh for humans to live in. Of course, we obviously cannot survive in volcanoes where the temperatures would incinerate our very flesh, but an harsh environment that is livable but made harder when one is genetically defected.

    Overall your suggestions have a feel of eugenics about them. It's not a field that is considered politically correct today. Anything that smacks of eugenics is likely to be discredited from the outset. Therefore, if you wish to pursue the concept, you need to weed out the obvious errors that others have pointed out to you.
    I have no intention of playing god. Let me affirm clearly that I too believe that the selection of some humans as superior and some humans as inferior is certainly not something I believe in. Some inferior humans, considered even primitive, may turn out to have a better chance of survival than some so called superior humans. And yes, I have already taken those comments into account and I'll review them once again.

    Tks for your comments John.

    To paralith: I am beginning to dislike you for your opinions. But I appreciate your honesty, and that people have different opinions. No offence intended.

    I think you mean, "Do you doubt that strength is important," and yes, I do. What do we need excess strength for when we have machines and tools to multiply the force we are capable of to our needs? A minimum degree of strength is good to be able to stand up straight, walk, and hold that television remote, but even that may become unnecessary when we have power chairs to scoot us around in all the time.
    Perhaps I shouldnt have used the word strength, physical fitness would have been a better choice of word. We have machines and tools to multiply force for us, that is true, and I do not dispute it. Just see for a moment in my point of view and see if you can understand what I am getting at. Over-reliance on a single resource, on a single method of doing things, is not beneficial to any intelligent species. We diversify, so that we do not put all our eggs into one basket, when one method of acquiring desired resources fails, we have backups, safeguards that we can fall back upon.

    What you are suggesting is that we allow our society to be completely dependent on machines and tools, which is although an inevitable thing, is not something that I would particularly relish in face of a long-term perspective. In the absence of all these machines and tools, what are we? We are nothing if we allow ourselves to degenerate ourselves to that state of being. We have to take into account that the mere possibility of such a weakness can be exploited makes us lose the game of life.

    So I would not advocate something on that scale that makes us so reliant on machines and tools, and the degeneration and weakening of the human body. In terms of the processes of evolution, that is just not an intelligent species will want to shackle itself to.

    To Spritiusmonkey: Like I said to paralith, perhaps strength is not a good word to use. Physical fitness will be better. I know that sometimes strength is just a worthless waste of protoplasm in lieu of something much more effective and efficient. Muscle mass do require a great deal of maintenance, and such may not be good if it really isnt necessary. But if you read what I said to paralith you will get the point that I just think that allowing ourselves to go down that path of machines and tools taking control of our everything, isnt really that wise.
    Science is a mountain of theories based on a molehill of facts.
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  20. #19  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard paralith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cytosine12
    To paralith: I am beginning to dislike you for your opinions. But I appreciate your honesty, and that people have different opinions. No offence intended.
    Welcome to the internet, Cytosine.

    Perhaps I shouldnt have used the word strength, physical fitness would have been a better choice of word. We have machines and tools to multiply force for us, that is true, and I do not dispute it. Just see for a moment in my point of view and see if you can understand what I am getting at. Over-reliance on a single resource, on a single method of doing things, is not beneficial to any intelligent species. We diversify, so that we do not put all our eggs into one basket, when one method of acquiring desired resources fails, we have backups, safeguards that we can fall back upon.

    What you are suggesting is that we allow our society to be completely dependent on machines and tools, which is although an inevitable thing, is not something that I would particularly relish in face of a long-term perspective. In the absence of all these machines and tools, what are we? We are nothing if we allow ourselves to degenerate ourselves to that state of being. We have to take into account that the mere possibility of such a weakness can be exploited makes us lose the game of life.

    So I would not advocate something on that scale that makes us so reliant on machines and tools, and the degeneration and weakening of the human body. In terms of the processes of evolution, that is just not an intelligent species will want to shackle itself to.
    Essentially you don't think it's a good idea to over-specialize. I can see why you would think that it's a bad idea, but my concern here is that you are (at least it seems that you are) attempting to justify your concerns "in terms of evolution" and what "an intelligent species" should or should not do. What I and spurious and John have been trying to tell you is that in terms of evolution, as long as individuals are still reproducing and spreading on their genes, we could turn into giant blobs of jelly and everything would be hunky dory. You must divorce in your mind your ideas of the noble, intelligent human race, and evolution. Evolution has lead to the over-specialization of many, many species. Should the human race over-specialize there is nothing "in terms of evolution" wrong with that. Nothing whatsoever. And if you really want to go into this field as a part of your career you had better get that through your head.

    Here's why I think you think over-specialization on machines is a bad idea. Number one, humans turning into brains in flesh puddles because machines do all physical work for us is gross. We like our nice pretty bodies the way they are now. In the past we developed sexual attraction for a nice healthy strong human being and we still haven't lost that attraction. And, if only for that reason, I doubt we'll become flesh puddles with brains. Sexual selection is a very strong force.

    Number two, you're envisioning some disaster scenario where suddenly all our technology is gone and we're back to the rudimentals. In that case, people who are severely crippled or disabled will probably have trouble surviving, but even today the number of people who are like this are really a very small percent of our total population. And if we humans were ingenious enough to survive out in the wilderness in the past, we'll find ways to do it again if we have to.
    Man can will nothing unless he has first understood that he must count on no one but himself; that he is alone, abandoned on earth in the midst of his infinite responsibilities, without help, with no other aim than the one he sets himself, with no other destiny than the one he forges for himself on this earth.
    ~Jean-Paul Sartre
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  21. #20  
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    Do you doubt that strength is not important? While we grow smaller, what do we substitute for that lack of strength?
    Brainpower. Read The 10,000 Year Explosion and you will understand. It will provide you with much useful insights.
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    Forum Freshman deadcat's Avatar
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    what about the new gene found in man that happened about 6000 yrs ago? you guys heard about this? I seen it on "darwin's dangerous idea" a bbc broadcast, the new gene is thought to be connected with intelligence (hasn't been proven it's connected with intelligence though, as far as I know)
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    Going back to the original question about how Homo sapiens will evolve.

    My personal view is that natural selection, in the very near future (meaning 200 years) will become less and less important, as humans take over responsibility for our own genetic evolution. Already there is talk of selecting embryos based on having, or not having specific genetic diseases, and it is clear that this technology will soon extend to traits that are merely perceived as desirable, such as eye colour.

    I seriously doubt that human evolution will go towards loss of thumbs, tallness, strength etc. Rather the opposite. Parents will select genetic traits for their offspring that they perceive, rightly or wrongly, to be advantageous. This should make the generations to come taller, stronger, more athletic, more intelligent, and better looking.

    These future traits will not be 'better' or 'worse' from any objective scale, since objectivity is not possible for this type of choice. Instead, humans will change purposefully towards whatever traits are seen subjectively and emotionally as being desirable.
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