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Thread: Further evolution of humans.

  1. #1 Further evolution of humans. 
    Forum Sophomore somfooleishfool's Avatar
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    We have come a long way in the evolutionary chain. Is there any evidence to suggest we have a long way to go? I would like to think that we have some intelligence yet to gain as a race. As chimps are to humans, could humans be to future evolutions?


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    Quote Originally Posted by somfooleishfool View Post
    We have come a long way in the evolutionary chain. Is there any evidence to suggest we have a long way to go? I would like to think that we have some intelligence yet to gain as a race. As chimps are to humans, could humans be to future evolutions?
    First of all, it is debatable whether or not we are actually as high in some evolutionary food chain as we traditionally think we are (for the life of me, what do we actually base that on?). There may not really be any hierarchy in evolution, as evolution is merely a method of adaptation to diverse habitats. It may be a fault to 'look down' on chimpanzees, as they are adapted to survive in jungles and humans are adapted to something else (grassland or coasts, that's disputed), another habitat which has geared our modern features. It's a traditional fault is to consider chimps as a lesser life form on some development ladder. Because they are not our ancestors, there are our cousins.

    Second of all, intelligence may be over-rated as a survival factor. Most day to day actions by humans are not governed by logical intelligence, but other psychological (=biological) factors. (If you look at politics, one could make the conclusion, that intelligence is not the order of the day in many elements of human dominanse behavior.)
    Also, some indications could point to a max level of intelligence for a biological life form. Adult Neanderthals aparently had a larger brain by average (1400 cubic cm) than modern Homo Sapiens Sapiens (1300 cubic cm), which may (or may not) be a sign of higher intelligence. But aparently, the larger brain was not an edge for Neanderthals, which went extinct in the competition with Sapiens Sapiens (or though recent studies have found that a small part of the current Eurasian gene pool is DNA from Neanderthals, so they kinda survived).
    On a psychological level, there may be a point where intelligence becomes a source of depressions in the individual, not benifiting the full survival of an extra-intelligent individual. This may explain why many of the most intelligent individuals in human history (scientists, philosophers, authors, etc.) are prone to suicides and does not multiply, therefore not adding a higher intelligence to the gene pool. (At the same time, 'stupidity' doesn't benefit full survival either, so 'dumb' people don't add to the gene pool either.) So our intelligence level may exist in an equilibrium, where it neither goes up or down.

    My point is that from a biological perspective, we are not really on a journey towards someplace.


    Last edited by CEngelbrecht; July 19th, 2011 at 07:18 AM.
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    I think the movie Idiocracy is a fairly accurate portrayal of our current evolutionary trajectory. Unless we radically change ourselves. Right now.
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    In order for our intelligence as a race to increase through evolution, there would have to be a strong selection for intelligent individuals within society. In most human societies, intelligence does correlate well with success, therefore, most people are attracted to intelligent (at least of average or greater intelligence) members of the opposite sex in the hope that their children will be intelligent, successful, and will pass on their genes to the next generation; there is indeed a selection for it. It's impossible to plot any evolutionary trajectory, but we can losely base hypotheses that will never be proven or disproved within our lifetimes.

    If intelligence did continue to rise, dependent on an increasing brain size, what effect would it have on the rest of the body? In general, people who have a high IQ put much effort into education and learning, and perhaps less into physical exercise; would an average increase in intelligence across the human race correlate with a decrease in atheletic prowess (have the best atheletes already lived, and are the most intelligent people yet to live)? While there is no way of truly saying, evolution is all about trade-offs, theoretically, any significant increase in intelligence would have to be countered by a consequential decrease in some other traits.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beard Baron View Post
    I think the movie Idiocracy is a fairly accurate portrayal of our current evolutionary trajectory. Unless we radically change ourselves. Right now.
    I haven't seen that, is it good? 6.4 on IMDb...

    I like H.G. Wells 'The Time Machine.' (the book, not the movie).
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    Quote Originally Posted by spoonman View Post
    I haven't seen that, is it good? 6.4 on IMDb
    It's about how in 500 years the human population will be nothing but a bunch of idiots because the intelligent people of today understand that having many children is not optimal due to overpopulation, while the stupid population continue to reproduce like rabbits. It's rather frightening to think about.
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    I'll have to check it out, I like King of the Hill and Beavis and Butthead...

    As for that idea, I think it's quite sound but also centered around Western societies, i.e., in less economically developed countries, intelligent people may still be likely to have a lot of offspring for a multitude of reasons, e.g., low availability of contraception, traditional/religious reasons. Additionaly, people tend to attribute a lot of 'intelligence' to genetics. Un-educated people in well-developed societies may be more likely to have more offspring than their educated neighbours, but who's to say that, if given the opportunity, these people couldn't become intelligent through their environment?
    Even if this scenario did occur, the average intelligence would fall but a bell-curve-type population would still be in place, i.e., 'intelligence' would simply be re-defined to suit the new generations. Who's to say this hasn't happened already? How do we know we're more intelligent than our ancestors? They didn't have the tools we had, or the opportunity to be as educated as we are, but if they did have these opportunities could they have been more intelligent than us (think Stonehenge and the Pyramids)?
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    Quote Originally Posted by spoonman View Post
    I'll have to check it out, I like King of the Hill and Beavis and Butthead...

    As for that idea, I think it's quite sound but also centered around Western societies, i.e., in less economically developed countries, intelligent people may still be likely to have a lot of offspring for a multitude of reasons, e.g., low availability of contraception, traditional/religious reasons. Additionaly, people tend to attribute a lot of 'intelligence' to genetics. Un-educated people in well-developed societies may be more likely to have more offspring than their educated neighbours, but who's to say that, if given the opportunity, these people couldn't become intelligent through their environment?
    Even if this scenario did occur, the average intelligence would fall but a bell-curve-type population would still be in place, i.e., 'intelligence' would simply be re-defined to suit the new generations. Who's to say this hasn't happened already? How do we know we're more intelligent than our ancestors? They didn't have the tools we had, or the opportunity to be as educated as we are, but if they did have these opportunities could they have been more intelligent than us (think Stonehenge and the Pyramids)?
    Well the movie doesn't focus on the international scene, moreso on the USA, since the protagonist lives in the USA. It compares a highly educated couple who isn't able to have any children, with backwater hicks with about 20 kids, all of which also continue to reproduce, and attributes the downfall of modern intelligence to this kind of scenario. It's a comedy, so it's not to be taken literally. Still, it's implications are thought provoking if nothing else.
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    Meh, the idiocracy thing is just a manifestation of class based prejudices. In reality there is little difference in intelligence between the rich and the poor, except for the extreme ends of things, and even then the very smart are not likely to be rich. Success economically correlates better with personality measures of competitiveness and physical attractiveness.

    Anyway, evolution is a continuous process, and is not directional. We have not evolved towards any pinnacle, or for that matter are we descending from one we have already reached.
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    Quote Originally Posted by somfooleishfool View Post
    We have come a long way in the evolutionary chain. Is there any evidence to suggest we have a long way to go? I would like to think that we have some intelligence yet to gain as a race. As chimps are to humans, could humans be to future evolutions?
    Odd that you say we are evolutionarily higher than the chimps when the physical differences are not so great. The things that keep us at the top of the food chain allegedly are our communication and tool skills, these are developments, not evolution. Evolution is about physical change, the loss of hair and balancing of limb size is not so great an advance.
    An adult chimp seldom achieves a higher IQ than the average 5yr old human, a psychologist once informed me that human Psych/subconscious never gets older than 5 either.

    As far as future evolution goes I would like a new gland that enables me to speed up and slow down the atoms I am made of (metamorphosis) so that I could exist on any electromagnetic frequency in any form, at will, consuming any matter as fuel. No more pain.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Max Time Taken View Post
    Odd that you say we are evolutionarily higher than the chimps when the physical differences are not so great. The things that keep us at the top of the food chain allegedly are our communication and tool skills, these are developments, not evolution. Evolution is about physical change, the loss of hair and balancing of limb size is not so great an advance.
    A proportionately bigger brain might aid in "communication and tool skills", this is a physical change.


    Quote Originally Posted by Max Time Taken View Post
    As far as future evolution goes I would like a new gland that enables me to speed up and slow down the atoms I am made of (metamorphosis) so that I could exist on any electromagnetic frequency in any form, at will, consuming any matter as fuel. No more pain.
    Don't mean to be a party-pooper... speeding up the atoms you are made of? Wouldn't that essentially be adding energy, i.e., heat, and cause complete denaturation of macromolecular structures and functions? I.e., you'd die. Maybe in sci-fi though...
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    Quote Originally Posted by somfooleishfool View Post
    We have come a long way in the evolutionary chain. Is there any evidence to suggest we have a long way to go? I would like to think that we have some intelligence yet to gain as a race. As chimps are to humans, could humans be to future evolutions?
    Intelligence is just another trait (or group of traits). Would we assume that the logical future evolution of the elephant is for it's trunk to get longer? It depends solely on the context in which the species evolves. As i_feel_tiredsleepy has pointed out, evolution is not driving us in any particular direction. It's totally directionless. The fit propagate, and fitness is defined by the environment.
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    I think in the remote future we will cease to be biologically-based beings; evolution will no longer be relevant for our own species. When you think about it, biology is so very restrictive - a real handicap for future development in fact. A new category for the life-definers to deal with and philosophise over.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zwirko View Post
    I think in the remote future we will cease to be biologically-based beings; evolution will no longer be relevant for our own species.
    Or, "we" will get evolutionarily locked-in like vital organs as an emergent order takes precedence. One apparent law of emergence is that its constituants cannot fully grasp or appreciate it. "We" should be as dumb to any hypothetical greater order as individual nerve cells are to a brain.
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    Quote Originally Posted by somfooleishfool View Post
    Is there any evidence to suggest we have a long way to go? I would like to think that we have some intelligence yet to gain as a race. As chimps are to humans, could humans be to future evolutions?
    Interesting that most replies to this thread consist of looking at the existing condition and extrapolating.
    That approach is, of course, meaningless since evolution is something that takes hundreds, if not thousands of generations. What is happening right now will have little or no effect in the long run.

    We need to look at the likely future of the human species far into the distance. There was, for example, a proposal put forward in Sciam by a couple of NASA scientists to say that, within 500 to 1000 years, humans will be able to travel interstellar at 0.1 to 0.2 of light speed. At this rate, travel to another star will take 50 to 100 years, which is quite possible.

    Looking further into the future (say 10,000 years), and assuming no major disaster overtaking the human species, we can see a large number of sub-populations of Homo sapiens scattered among a number of star systems. This is exactly the situation that creates rapid evolution. Each sub-population will be largely reproductively isolated, and live in a different environment. Adaptation would be rapid.

    Of course, this assumes that natural selection is the governing mechanism. I personally doubt that. My guess is that in 100 years, or so, deliberate genetic modification will be the dominant factor influencing any changes in the human genome. If so, within another 100 years or so, most of the human species will become ridiculously good looking, highly athletic, immensely intelligent, almost totally immune to disease, and near enough to physically immortal.

    Or we might all be wiped out by the next asteroid impact.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zwirko View Post
    I think in the remote future we will cease to be biologically-based beings; evolution will no longer be relevant for our own species. When you think about it, biology is so very restrictive - a real handicap for future development in fact. A new category for the life-definers to deal with and philosophise over.
    I must say, that that strikes me as a very arrogant notion about ourselves, which I fear can't be supported by physical reality. Don't get me wrong, it's a simple survival instinct to pull such a smoke screen down over our eyes, where we think, that we are somehow 'special' in the universe. That's why we have religion.
    But it's folly. We were born as a biological life form and will die as one. Nietzsche's übermensch, which is kinda what you're hinting at, is a biological impossibility, and therefore a physical one too. You're asking that the foundation for our very existence is nulled, which is like asking the Earth to be flat. We can never be above the universe, because we are a mere product of it.
    Even if somebody insisted on making use of genetic engineering to somehow 'control' the evolution of humanity, human nature can't possible sustain such control. All dictators have a tendency to fall, when the masses become too restricted.

    And besides, why is it so horrible to be a mere biological being?
    "The suppression of uncomfortable ideas may be common in religion or in politics, but it is not the path to knowledge, and there's no place for it in the endeavor of science. (History) shows us clearly that accepted and conventional ideas are often wrong, and that fundamental insights can arise from the most unexpected sources."
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    Looking further into the future (say 10,000 years), and assuming no major disaster overtaking the human species, we can see a large number of sub-populations of Homo sapiens scattered among a number of star systems. This is exactly the situation that creates rapid evolution. Each sub-population will be largely reproductively isolated, and live in a different environment. Adaptation would be rapid.

    Or we might all be wiped out by the next asteroid impact.
    Interesting point. However, don't you think there would be gene flow? By that time, interstellar travel may be easy (I use the term loosely) enough to warrant migration to and from systems, similar to immigration and emigration, just with a longer trip. Enough migration between the systems would be present to limit any new alleles from coming to fixation, would it not?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beard Baron View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    Looking further into the future (say 10,000 years), and assuming no major disaster overtaking the human species, we can see a large number of sub-populations of Homo sapiens scattered among a number of star systems. This is exactly the situation that creates rapid evolution. Each sub-population will be largely reproductively isolated, and live in a different environment. Adaptation would be rapid.

    Or we might all be wiped out by the next asteroid impact.


    Interesting point. However, don't you think there would be gene flow? By that time, interstellar travel may be easy (I use the term loosely) enough to warrant migration to and from systems, similar to immigration and emigration, just with a longer trip. Enough migration between the systems would be present to limit any new alleles from coming to fixation, would it not?
    Time to fixation for a given allele depends a lot on the population size. It takes longer to spread through a bigger population, right? If multiple planets have enough gene flow between them to be considered a single breeding population, then yes, it would take longer for alleles to fixate in the entire multi-planet population. But if single planets form sub-populations, which they probably would, then it wouldn't take as long for alleles to fix in those smaller populations. Just because they're smaller. So when you're talking about fixation of alleles, it depends on exactly which group of people you're talking about. Interbreeding between planets will mostly work to prevent the sub-populations of each planet from becoming too different from each other - from acquiring and accumulating alleles that are not present in other planet sub-populations.
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    Quote Originally Posted by spoonman View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Max Time Taken View Post
    Odd that you say we are evolutionarily higher than the chimps when the physical differences are not so great. The things that keep us at the top of the food chain allegedly are our communication and tool skills, these are developments, not evolution. Evolution is about physical change, the loss of hair and balancing of limb size is not so great an advance.
    A proportionately bigger brain might aid in "communication and tool skills", this is a physical change.


    Quote Originally Posted by Max Time Taken View Post
    As far as future evolution goes I would like a new gland that enables me to speed up and slow down the atoms I am made of (metamorphosis) so that I could exist on any electromagnetic frequency in any form, at will, consuming any matter as fuel. No more pain.
    Don't mean to be a party-pooper... speeding up the atoms you are made of? Wouldn't that essentially be adding energy, i.e., heat, and cause complete denaturation of macromolecular structures and functions? I.e., you'd die. Maybe in sci-fi though...
    Of course that would happen but you just need to find solid liquid gas for systems to function for the whole, temperature/electromagnetic, range to survive(keeping the same differentials(eg,relative viscosities,chemical properties)). I openly admit this is not science .
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    Intelligence and wisdom loses against brute force and primitive nature simply because they refuse to kill the competition.

    Imagine if the top 10% smartest people in the world wanted to all ally up and kill off the rest using their superior intelligence. That would Ensure "Survival of the smartest".
    The problem is that smart/wise people tend to also be, whats the word in english gah... too kind and passive? So misguided ideologies, morals and ethics prevents humanity from reaching a supertechnological state.

    This is my OPINION, i dont state these are facts, though i myself believe it to be true. If England at its peak killed other cultures completely, instead of taking them as slaves (The same mistake the romans and the US did) i believe humanity would be waaay ahead in science and technology compared to today. I also think quality over quantity of humans is the way to go.

    Criticise my views if you will, But dont go calling ME a monster when a meteor is heading for the earth, or the sun runs out of energy - and our race is annihilated because we had insufficent technology to survive.

    Evolutions is about survival, intelligence is the only trait that can ensure this on a long term makro scale. I dare you to challenge that truth!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raziell View Post
    Evolutions is about survival, intelligence is the only trait that can ensure this on a long term makro scale. I dare you to challenge that truth!
    Nonsense. Look at bacteria, perhaps the single most successful organism on the planet, and hardly would it fit within any definition we have of intelligent.
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    Quote Originally Posted by inow View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Raziell View Post
    Evolutions is about survival, intelligence is the only trait that can ensure this on a long term makro scale. I dare you to challenge that truth!
    Nonsense. Look at bacteria, perhaps the single most successful organism on the planet, and hardly would it fit within any definition we have of intelligent.
    In terms of biomass and ubiquity, then the most successful are definitely the unicellular ones. Bacteria were around long before we were and will be around long after we're gone.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raziell View Post
    Intelligence and wisdom loses against brute force and primitive nature simply because they refuse to kill the competition.
    What do you mean loses? What are they competing for? This only really applies when people are competing for food or living space. In this day in age, you work for food and, generally speaking, you get a good job by having qualifications, this also applies to housing/living space. This creates a natural selection for intelligence; I don't know about you, but I'd rather reproduce with an intelligent and/or attractive girl than a strong girl.

    Quote Originally Posted by Raziell View Post
    This is my OPINION, i dont state these are facts, though i myself believe it to be true. If England at its peak killed other cultures completely, instead of taking them as slaves (The same mistake the romans and the US did) i believe humanity would be waaay ahead in science and technology compared to today. I also think quality over quantity of humans is the way to go.
    Why?
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    Quote Originally Posted by inow View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Raziell View Post
    Evolutions is about survival, intelligence is the only trait that can ensure this on a long term makro scale. I dare you to challenge that truth!
    Nonsense. Look at bacteria, perhaps the single most successful organism on the planet, and hardly would it fit within any definition we have of intelligent.
    A sign of intelligence ?...... The Generalist: ANIMAL ARCHITECT
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    Quote Originally Posted by Max Time Taken View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by inow View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Raziell View Post
    Evolutions is about survival, intelligence is the only trait that can ensure this on a long term makro scale. I dare you to challenge that truth!
    Nonsense. Look at bacteria, perhaps the single most successful organism on the planet, and hardly would it fit within any definition we have of intelligent.
    A sign of intelligence ?...... The Generalist: ANIMAL ARCHITECT
    Yeah but it's not cognitive, it's entirely the result of the organisms genetics and it's phenotype in that environment, they didn't get together and have a talk about what they were going to build. It's a great example of what Dawkins calls the extended phenotype.

    Amoebas and slime molds are pretty amazing though, I remember reading about slime molds recently being able to navigate mazes to get to food.
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    Quote Originally Posted by spoonman View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Max Time Taken View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by inow View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Raziell View Post
    Evolutions is about survival, intelligence is the only trait that can ensure this on a long term makro scale. I dare you to challenge that truth!
    Nonsense. Look at bacteria, perhaps the single most successful organism on the planet, and hardly would it fit within any definition we have of intelligent.
    A sign of intelligence ?...... The Generalist: ANIMAL ARCHITECT
    Yeah but it's not cognitive, it's entirely the result of the organisms genetics and it's phenotype in that environment, they didn't get together and have a talk about what they were going to build. It's a great example of what Dawkins calls the extended phenotype.

    Amoebas and slime molds are pretty amazing though, I remember reading about slime molds recently being able to navigate mazes to get to food.
    Isn't a biological process a sign of intelligence in itself ? A means to supply an end. Problem solving.
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    Yeah that's a good point, I suppose it just depends how you define intelligence.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Max Time Taken View Post
    Isn't a biological process a sign of intelligence in itself ? A means to supply an end. Problem solving.
    No. Most biological processes are the product of mutation and natural selection - no intelligence is involved, except for the considerable intelligence required to recognise what was happening.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Max Time Taken View Post
    Isn't a biological process a sign of intelligence in itself ? A means to supply an end. Problem solving.
    In addition to what Ophi stated, using the term in this way causes it to lose all utility and meaning. You've done little more than to dilute it. You've diluted it so much that it could apply to anything at all, and hence it no longer helps us whatsoever. You may as well substitute it for the term "bleabalquat." You've used the word in a way that could apply to damned near everything, and hence it's utility as a descriptive characteristic is erased.

    Summarized: No. Biological processes are not a sign of intelligence in and of themselves.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Max Time Taken View Post
    Isn't a biological process a sign of intelligence in itself ? A means to supply an end. Problem solving.
    No. Most biological processes are the product of mutation and natural selection - no intelligence is involved, except for the considerable intelligence required to recognise what was happening.
    Why don't we celebrate and breed our mutants in case they are starting a multi phase evolutionary stage ?
    To live is a pretty intelligent thing to do/accomplish.
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    Chris, I don't see where "arrogance", or thinking that we are "special" and rising "above the universe" come in to the equation. Perhaps you could expand upon that? Are you suggesting that there is a divine plan?

    I strongly disagree with your claims such as "can't be supported by physical reality" and and that it would be a "biological and physical impossibility". I don't think you can make such claims, especially when you have little knowledge of the technological abilities of the inhabitants of the remote future. Today, we can produce artificial limbs (which, in some respects, are better than those that nature provided us with); we can also produce artificial organs and are beginning to develop artificial eyes. I don't see this trend reversing. If anything, the technology will only improve by leaps and bounds. Eventually a critical point will be arrived at when it becomes clear that artificial body parts are far superior than their biological counterparts. Will people of the remote future be hesitant to strip away the wetware? I'm not sure they would. The difficulty arises when it comes to the brain and mind. Again, I don't think we can second guess the technological and ethical values of the year 155,000 AD. It's not clear to me that we would even need to transfer the human mind into a machine (something that may remain forever out of technology's grasp), as there is always the possibilty of not even bothering. Would constructing a race of artificial beings to supplant humanity be that abhorrent? Anyway, I don't see how you confidentally conclude that this would be impossible.

    You also stated that: "You're asking that the foundation for our very existence is nulled"... Exactly. That's the fascinating philosophical point here - it's genome versus mind. Will the future evolution of humankind be not one of genes, but one replaced and superceded by a technological-based evolution of the human mind? It's not so much of a case of being "horrible as a mere biological being". Rather, it's the limitations of biology that are the problem when they are contrasted against the possibilities opened up by not being biological. It will take a strong will to refuse near immortality and access to limitless knowledge and sensory experience. Yes, and end to humanity. Scary indeed. Inevitable? Probably, who knows? I certainly wouldn't rule it out as a possible scenario. Whether it'd be a utopia or a dystopia I couldn't say.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beard Baron View Post
    Interesting point. However, don't you think there would be gene flow? By that time, interstellar travel may be easy (I use the term loosely) enough to warrant migration to and from systems, similar to immigration and emigration, just with a longer trip. Enough migration between the systems would be present to limit any new alleles from coming to fixation, would it not?
    If the laws of physics remain as we understand them today, travel at faster than light will remain impossible. There is no sign, even in theory that FTL travel will ever be possible, and my projections are based on this probability.

    Slower than light travel between stars means a travel time of decades at least. This provides a pretty good reproductive barrier. It will not be 100%, but the minimal injection of new genes will be far outweighed by the exponential population increase from those already on a particular site.
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    Considering a photon is any collection of electrical/magnetic frequency/frequencies (I thought electron is boson for electricity,mass), that implies any physical body can be considered a photon. It comes back to circumpunct(eg,electron orbiting nucleus), you have to have a point of reference and relative motion for anything to exist/be detectable.
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    ............mass can only be produced/decayed at a certain rate regardless of size ? Taking each full sine wave to be a particle, different frequencies produce more or less particles per second but never produce a greater volume of product always the same amount ?

    The lighter a nucleus gets the further away the orbiting particle(expansion,the reason gases fill their environment) ?

    density/viscosity&drag, heavy stuff should be going faster. (black hole singularity)

    Space isn't a vacuum, there's planets and... in it ;P
    Last edited by Max Time Taken; July 21st, 2011 at 04:58 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raziell View Post
    This is my OPINION, i dont state these are facts, though i myself believe it to be true. If England at its peak killed other cultures completely, instead of taking them as slaves (The same mistake the romans and the US did) i believe humanity would be waaay ahead in science and technology compared to today.
    That seems to me to be a totally speculative claim with no basis whatsoever in evidence. It also flies in the face of what we understand about evolution. Diversity is beneficial. Genetically and culturally narrow varieties are less adaptable and more likely to become extinct. It would surprise me hugely if such a xenophobic strategy were anything less than a total failure.

    Quote Originally Posted by Raziell View Post
    Criticise my views if you will, But dont go calling ME a monster when a meteor is heading for the earth, or the sun runs out of energy - and our race is annihilated because we had insufficent technology to survive.
    In the event such things happen, I imagine we'll all be running around screaming, crying and trying to bargain with various deities. Critique of a half-baked notion based on a poor understanding of biology is unlikely to to be high on anyone's agenda.

    Quote Originally Posted by Raziell View Post
    Evolutions is about survival, intelligence is the only trait that can ensure this on a long term makro scale. I dare you to challenge that truth!
    Consider it challenged. Higher intelligence correlates negatively with reproductive rate and positively with incidences of mental illness. Intelligence may be a set of traits that are beneficial in many contexts, but it may also be self-limiting and I can certainly imagine contexts in which it is detrimental.
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    Biologista
    I agree with most of what you say. Just a query.
    I have not heard that intelligence correlates with mental illness. Do you have a reference for this?
    Also : is this correlation across species, or within the human species?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Max Time Taken View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by somfooleishfool View Post
    We have come a long way in the evolutionary chain. Is there any evidence to suggest we have a long way to go? I would like to think that we have some intelligence yet to gain as a race. As chimps are to humans, could humans be to future evolutions?
    Odd that you say we are evolutionarily higher than the chimps when the physical differences are not so great. The things that keep us at the top of the food chain allegedly are our communication and tool skills, these are developments, not evolution. Evolution is about physical change, the loss of hair and balancing of limb size is not so great an advance.
    An adult chimp seldom achieves a higher IQ than the average 5yr old human, a psychologist once informed me that human Psych/subconscious never gets older than 5 either.

    As far as future evolution goes I would like a new gland that enables me to speed up and slow down the atoms I am made of (metamorphosis) so that I could exist on any electromagnetic frequency in any form, at will, consuming any matter as fuel. No more pain.
    I would like to extend this with the ability to transmit frequencies in order to manipulate my surroundings (alchemy). My vocal range and volume is insufficient
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    I have not heard that intelligence correlates with mental illness. Do you have a reference for this?
    I think it's an urban myth. It's probably the case that people are so surprised to encounter a inteligent person with a mental disorder, that it sticks in their heads more, and skews their perception. Or it may be the case that there are more inteligent people than we realise.

    What I can tell you from experience, is that people with high IQs are less likely to benefit from counciling, therapy etc. if they are suffering from depression.
    "The major difference between a thing that might go wrong and a thing that cannot possibly go wrong is that when a thing that cannot possibly go wrong goes wrong it usually turns out to be impossible to get at or repair." ~ Douglas Adams
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    http://www.shgconsultants.org/info-about-mental-health.php

    Or alternatively type "mental health statistics "above average intelligence"" into google.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    I have not heard that intelligence correlates with mental illness. Do you have a reference for this?
    Also : is this correlation across species, or within the human species?
    I'll have to hold my hands up and say that the assertion is not backed up with any good evidence! In fact, a brief dive into Google Scholar turns up a small study (n=100) suggesting no correlation at all between IQ (which admittedly is only a surrogate metric) and major depression. I wouldn't call my thoughtless assumption falsified, but it's certainly not backed up!
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    Quote Originally Posted by drowsy turtle View Post
    What I can tell you from experience, is that people with high IQs are less likely to benefit from counciling, therapy etc. if they are suffering from depression.
    Turtle

    I have to say that I have little or no confidence in counselling as a positive therapy. There have been numerous studies into the efficacy of this semi-voodoo procedure. The studies that rely on the subjective impressions of those who have been counselled generally report positive results. However, there are also a smaller number of studies which use reasonably objective test procedures to determine outcomes, and these do not support counselling as a means of achieving healing. One British study into bereavement counselling, for example, showed that after 21 months that those who received counselling showed a poorer rate of recovery from those who were sent home to look after themselves. The results were highly significant statistically.

    So rather than saying that high IQ people benefit less from counselling, I would have to say that they are simply less likely to be conned by it, and therefore rely more on their own resources, which are more effective in the long run.

    Biologista

    Thank you for your honesty.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    One British study into bereavement counselling, for example, showed that after 21 months that those who received counselling showed a poorer rate of recovery from those who were sent home to look after themselves. The results were highly significant statistically.
    This is interesting, would you be able to provide a citation (not because I don't believe you, but I'd be interested in reading it)? One thing that springs to mind is that the process of counselling may make people believe they're more bereaved (apologies for the poor English), they're mindset being 'Oh, I need counselling, I must be really upset over this.', therefore taking them longer to recover than those who just get on with it.
    Last edited by spoonman; July 27th, 2011 at 05:28 AM.
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    Could it be that higher IQ patients can hide from facing the truth/issues better by playing mind games with the counsellor instead of confronting their issues ?

    Treating the root cause of an issue has to be the best way, trouble is it's the hardest.

    Actually perhaps instead of counselling they should be given the tools to deal with it themselves like self assessment and whatever else, confronting your demons is tough and perhaps better done without witnesses. For those patients with any pride left at least.
    Last edited by Max Time Taken; July 27th, 2011 at 06:43 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Max Time Taken View Post
    Could it be that higher IQ patients can hide from facing the truth/issues better by playing mind games with the counsellor instead of confronting their issues ?

    Treating the root cause of an issue has to be the best way, trouble is it's the hardest.

    Actually perhaps instead of counselling they should be given the tools to deal with it themselves like self assessment and whatever else, confronting your demons is tough and perhaps better done without witnesses. For those patients with any pride left at least.
    can you try keep your posts a bit more relevant to the subject? most of your posts fall into psudoscience/science fiction, besides which, I cant make sense of any of your posts.

    "I would like to extend this with the ability to transmit frequencies in order to manipulate my surroundings (alchemy). My vocal range and volume is insufficient"

    If you want to "transmit frequencies" try clapping your hands, this will transmit a sound wave at x frequency and will only minimally affect your surroundings which has absolutly nothing to do with alchemy.

    You don't seem to understand properly what you are talking about in most cases.
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    To Somfool

    Keeping on track is probably desirable, but I hope you do not mind if I reply to MaxTime on the side issue.

    I know about the negative studies on counselling because I attended a lecture by a research psychologist who was involved in proper scientific tests of this semi-voodoo. It appears that patients of counsellors really enjoy the sessions. After all, they have the dedicated ear of a trained listener all to themselves, to pour out their woes. So subjective views on the 'benefits' of counselling are usually ranked high. It is only when more objective measures of healing are used that the truth is shown, and the detrement of prolonged counselling is made clear.

    OK. Back to human evolution........
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    To Somfool

    Keeping on track is probably desirable, but I hope you do not mind if I reply to MaxTime on the side issue.

    I know about the negative studies on counselling because I attended a lecture by a research psychologist who was involved in proper scientific tests of this semi-voodoo. It appears that patients of counsellors really enjoy the sessions. After all, they have the dedicated ear of a trained listener all to themselves, to pour out their woes. So subjective views on the 'benefits' of counselling are usually ranked high. It is only when more objective measures of healing are used that the truth is shown, and the detrement of prolonged counselling is made clear.

    OK. Back to human evolution........
    I have no problem with people going off topic as long as it remains an educated discussion. A lot of what has been said in this topic though (not pointing any fingers) is unthoughtful garbage and a waste of my time to read through. I didn't log onto TSF for several days and when I came back I had 5 pages of %50 drivel to read through
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    So rather than saying that high IQ people benefit less from counselling, I would have to say that they are simply less likely to be conned by it, and therefore rely more on their own resources, which are more effective in the long run.
    I'm not going to disagree with that. I have little confidence in counselling, either.

    Quote Originally Posted by Max Time Taken
    Could it be that higher IQ patients can hide from facing the truth/issues better by playing mind games with the counsellor instead of confronting their issues ?
    It's not necessarily a matter of hiding from your problems, it's more often that a person is more confident in their own ability to tackle their problems, than their counsellor's. I know that this would be the case for me - talking to a counsellor would be a private admission that I am not capable of confronting my issues, which is exactly the opposite to what you're supposed to get out of counselling. After months of pointless and expensive "treatment" I would be exactly where I was before - still with the same problems, but confident in my ability to cope with them myself.

    And to be honest, if I'm unable to cope with reality in this way, I should be in a padded cell, not an armchair.
    "The major difference between a thing that might go wrong and a thing that cannot possibly go wrong is that when a thing that cannot possibly go wrong goes wrong it usually turns out to be impossible to get at or repair." ~ Douglas Adams
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    Biologista

    Thank you for your honesty.
    What sort of scientist would I be if I were not honest? Probably a wealthier one...
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    To Somfool

    Keeping on track is probably desirable, but I hope you do not mind if I reply to MaxTime on the side issue.

    I know about the negative studies on counselling because I attended a lecture by a research psychologist who was involved in proper scientific tests of this semi-voodoo. It appears that patients of counsellors really enjoy the sessions. After all, they have the dedicated ear of a trained listener all to themselves, to pour out their woes. So subjective views on the 'benefits' of counselling are usually ranked high. It is only when more objective measures of healing are used that the truth is shown, and the detrement of prolonged counselling is made clear.

    OK. Back to human evolution........
    On the other hand, social isolation correlates strongly with depression and other mental illnesses, and counseling is surely a therapeutic response to social isolation.

    Support groups and counseling have also been shown to effectively reduce feelings of isolation and suicide rates amongst LGBT teenagers.

    I think it likely that counseling can be an effective treatment, but it may be misused at times. It is more likely that methods need to be changed.

    Counseling also has uses outside of direct therapy, it can be effective for dispersing information and providing a gateway towards other treatments.
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    Quote Originally Posted by somfooleishfool View Post
    We have come a long way in the evolutionary chain. Is there any evidence to suggest we have a long way to go? I would like to think that we have some intelligence yet to gain as a race. As chimps are to humans, could humans be to future evolutions?
    once we learn to integrate computers with our brains we will become vastly more intelligent.

    we will never forget anything and will be able to do many things simultaneously.
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    Quote Originally Posted by granpa View Post
    we will never forget anything and will be able to do many things simultaneously.
    Sounds ghastly to me...
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    The ancient cultures of Australia and Africa may well have evolved certain characteristics that surpass the evolutionary traits most modern humans carry. While it is difficult to find evidence for this theory, one can argue that the fact our culture has managed to destroy itself and the planet so quickly is evidence that we are not as evolutionarily advanced as we think we are. Surely an advanced human species would understand the concepts of ecosystems and community to the point where it is ingrained in every sense of their being, and education instead focussed on complex concepts relating to consciousness and the manipulation of the mind. Many stories from many indigenous peoples talk of these exact qualities existing in our ancient past, and very rarely in our present. And yet we maintain our superiority, continuing to determine intelligence based on the size of one's brain.

    I agree that the evolution of humanity is important, but I feel that in order for us to evolve we must listen to our ancestors, and combine our vast scientific knowledge with the deep, transient understanding that so many of us (including myself) have forgotten.
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    We are still evoluting since the last 150 000 years. Agriculture has changed us: few of us have become lactose tolerant, humans are much more resistant to mycotoxins such as aflatoxins than other primates (indoor living and food stored for months in granary). I don't think more intelligence is a direction of evolution for homo sapiens. But, with the present society, I think the humans who can assimilate and digest a larger amount of data will be priviledged and suffer less stress. It is important to keep in mind that most of our genes have been exposed to an agricultural society for less than 10 000 years. This is nothing in term of evolution. And urban life, even at the scale of a middle age town, I think our genes have less than 500 years to urban life, maybe even less than 200 years, in average.

    For the future:
    - Probably evolution of the metabolisnm to more sugary, salty and fatty food general, in more processed (basically, the survivor of junk food) i.e. fast metabolism ?
    - Evolution of our digestive system to processed food.
    - Assimilation of more data
    - Survival to the physical and psychological stress of urban life
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    Quote Originally Posted by i_feel_tiredsleepy View Post
    Meh, the idiocracy thing is just a manifestation of class based prejudices. In reality there is little difference in intelligence between the rich and the poor, except for the extreme ends of things, and even then the very smart are not likely to be rich. Success economically correlates better with personality measures of competitiveness and physical attractiveness.

    Anyway, evolution is a continuous process, and is not directional. We have not evolved towards any pinnacle, or for that matter are we descending from one we have already reached.
    In recent years has "sex" been decoupled from reproduction. People have sex without babies all the time and increasingly, babies without sex, aka in vitro fertilization. It is MOST likely that as understanding of genetics improves and selection for specific traits becomes possible, people will choose traits valued highly for their offspring, whether or not parents are so endowed. By such means will "evolution" as currently understood be replaced with directed improvement of species in elimination of genetic diseases e. g. "Down's Syndrome". Nature and nurture will in practice converge.

    Max Time Taken, there is a medical condition in which is manifested no pain- people so afflicted die young. Plus of which, speed up your atoms too much and you burst into flames, not generally regarded as an evolutionary advantage.
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    Quote Originally Posted by marley View Post
    The ancient cultures of Australia and Africa may well have evolved certain characteristics that surpass the evolutionary traits most modern humans carry......

    I feel that in order for us to evolve we must listen to our ancestors, and combine our vast scientific knowledge with the deep, transient understanding that so many of us (including myself) have forgotten.
    This is the sort of view that annoys the hell out of me. Our ancient ancestors did not have any special deep understanding. They were lousy ecologists, and had no understanding at all of harmful ecological consequences from their actions. The only deep understanding of nature they had was knowing how to use their primitive technologies to the maximum to exploit as much as possible what was there. ie. Knowing what to kill and how to kill and how to find the thing to kill.

    Ancient aboriginees in Australia wiped out over 100 species of megafauna. The ancients who invaded North America wiped out over 20 species of mega fauna. The polynesians who colonised the Pacific Islands wiped out 2,000 species of native birds. The Carib 'indians' who colonised the Caribbean wiped out hundreds of species of native birds. There is no special understanding there at all. Just a whole lot of people who know nothing of ecology, but who know how to exploit their environment, and do so in an utterly ruthless way.

    Forget our ancestors and their knowledge. Ecology is a new science and the current generation are the first knowledgeable ecologists. Our generations are the first to comprehend environmentalism and the need to govern our own actions to conserve what is good in nature.
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    The fact that this idea "annoys the hell" out of you is irrelevant.

    I once thought the same thing about their "primitiveness". But if you study ancient indigenous culture, talk to the elders that still exist today, listen to their stories, read literature that goes back particularly into the history of central African tribes, and talk to scientists who study their culture, I am certain you will discover evidence that will challenge your perception.

    If we are to compare species extinction with humanity's understanding of nature, surely we now must be so lacking in understanding that I would suggest we are the least capable generation of humans ever. The biodiversity loss and number of extinctions in the last 100 years alone is staggering, and what that number may be when modern humans have lived for another 10 000 years is unbearable to think about! Using the reasoning above, our ancient ancestors were simply miles ahead of where we are currently. But the very concept of being "ahead" is one that is common in the thinking of our culture. Our knowledge and understanding of the cosmos and ourselves is vast, but different. Where you can make a judgement is through studying our impact on the planet.

    You raise an important point in regards to species extinction, and the holocene extinction is being studied extensively by scientists far better equipped and educated than myself. However I question your reasoning behind forgetting the ancestors and their knowledge. Our generations are certainly not the first to comprehend environmentalism, and while ecology is a new science to us, the vast knowledge of the land and nature that exists in so many indigenous cultures is an equivalent to modern ecology, it just presents itself in a different way. I agree that modern ecology is very important, and scientists have worked tirelessly and passionately to acquire the knowledge and understanding they now hold. The area where the ancient cultures succeeded is in the transition of this knowledge and understanding to everyday life, and this is the area where our culture lacks substantially.
    Last edited by marley; July 31st, 2011 at 08:35 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by marley View Post
    The biodiversity loss and number of extinctions in the last 100 years alone is staggering
    If we were to look at the fossil record a few hundred thousand years from now, I wonder if there'd even be a blip in apparant biodiversity?
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    Yes, that's an interesting point. I guess it will depend on the impact of climate change and human population levels. Species may flourish once our numbers are less. I would imagine biodiversity will exist at a similar level, just in a different way. Maybe there will be a greater amount of bacteria, or certain fungi? Speculation at best though
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    Marley, A bit of out of thread notes:

    About the so-called respect of nature by african culture, this is complete bs. I have been living in Africa for more than 25 years, Central, East and West Africa. The scale of destruction of nature does just depend on the tools and technology in the hand of the people, whether they are africans or europeans. African have not been "affected" by the Romantic revolution. This event conditionned more than 100 years later the europeans for the politic ecology. Before, nature was seen as an enemy. In all the country of Africa I lived (Cameroon, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Ghana, Angola, Congo, Cote d'Ivoire...), nature is seen as bad. There was a study by Mrs Ugochukwu about the role of the "bush" in nigerian litterature. Bush is seen as evil, always. Space in Africa is circular, organized around the family compound, then the village, then the field around the village. After these fields is the wild bush, a noman land, an evil place populated by spirit and bad gods. This explain the very heavy deforestation that Africa is suffering, this explains the failure to implement rational agricultural method: the problem is not the cost of fertilizer, the resistance of farmers (african farmers have been adopting a lot of foreign crops like cassava, peanuts, tomatoes etc...). The challenge lays in a deeper cultural layer: bush is evil and must be burned and cut.

    Our culture is destroying the earth, yes. But the amount is just a question of technology. Maoris slaughtered 1/3 of the large species of New Zealand when they landed there. They did not perform better, to say the least, on Easter Island. Igbo in Nigeria were forced to export themselves as blacksmith and traders because they deforested their land. Humans have the same collective perception of ecology as rats i.e. NONE. We exploit, we think of our present survival that's all.
    And to come back to the thread, this is what could end up our evolution.
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    I admit, my knowledge of most African cultures is limited. Recently I have been reading of the Dagara (who occupied land in what is now Burkina Faso and Ghana). According to their stories, there were bad spirits roaming the country that were to be feared and respected unless you were an elder and wise. This concept could be seen many ways, one being that the fear and respect of spirits created a respect for the land. Maybe stories about spirits and evil evolved with the tribes as an unconscious survival method; when one ventures too far into unknown territory the likelihood of survival is diminished. Though I do not doubt your experience and citation, in the stories I have read there is no notion of the "evil" of the bush, but obviously there must be in other cultures.

    One interesting point raised in the book 'Of Water and the Spirit' is that of a loss of understanding and knowledge due to the invasion of the white man. Would you agree that there is a possibility certain human cultures may have evolved a greater sense of care for their environment and others intertwined with their consciousness? There is evidence for this theory, thought it is hard to study using observable methods. When these cultures are destroyed by those that have not evolved this trait, all that is left are those that destroy. As we are now steadily on the path to self-destruction, it could be seen from an evolutionary perspective that this human culture isn't very successful at ensuring its own survival.

    When I mention ancient cultures, I mean much farther back than the Maoris, the Caribs and the Polynesians. I mainly refer to indigenous Australians and remote African cultures (although as I said my knowledge of African tribes is very limited). The vast majority of human existence occurred before ten thousand years ago, and yet in discussions about evolution we often seem to gravitate towards the last ten thousand as if it is more important than the many number of thousands before it in which modern humans existed.
    Last edited by marley; August 1st, 2011 at 03:43 AM.
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    The ideal concept of the "man making one with Nature" or "man respecting the eden garden" is just based on technical power. So, yes, the european culture has its responsability in bringing it. But it does not change the mind of people. I will say that there might be some cultures which truly respect nature, not because of deliberate choice but because once more, they don't have other technical possibilities. Give a mechanical chainsaw to pygmees and they will cut the forest like others, actually in Gabon or Congo(s), they make the bulk of the timbermen.

    The 'evil of bush' is common in Africa: among igbo, there are what is called "ajo ofia/ohia" (bad forest, evil bush), a piece of forest where twins, lepers, smallpox, children born with hair on the face, children who grows teeth from the lower gum etc... where discarded. If you read "Things Fall Apart" of Chinua Achebe, you will see that even first missionaries were offered this place to build their church. As they survived, people thought their god was stronger and came to the church... Yoruba have similar belief. Bamileke and Fang as well etc.... But Africa is so diverse vs the rest of the world that I guess some people have other belief. However, this is more exception than general rule.

    To come back to our thread, again, one part of our future which is frightful is the extraordinary non-diversity of our genetic patrimony. Because of some genetic bottleneck, we are probably the more homogenous species of ape. This is very concerning for our future.
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    Quote Originally Posted by somfooleishfool View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    To Somfool

    Keeping on track is probably desirable, but I hope you do not mind if I reply to MaxTime on the side issue.

    I know about the negative studies on counselling because I attended a lecture by a research psychologist who was involved in proper scientific tests of this semi-voodoo. It appears that patients of counsellors really enjoy the sessions. After all, they have the dedicated ear of a trained listener all to themselves, to pour out their woes. So subjective views on the 'benefits' of counselling are usually ranked high. It is only when more objective measures of healing are used that the truth is shown, and the detrement of prolonged counselling is made clear.

    OK. Back to human evolution........
    I have no problem with people going off topic as long as it remains an educated discussion. A lot of what has been said in this topic though (not pointing any fingers) is unthoughtful garbage and a waste of my time to read through. I didn't log onto TSF for several days and when I came back I had 5 pages of %50 drivel to read through
    I am sorry for spoiling your thread. I did not realise "further" meant already proven, I thought there may be a little room for imagination.

    Could it not be that evolution is a splitting/duplicating growth pattern of dna ? Big Blue Loss of inhibitor. Could it not be caused by radioactive decay ? As time goes by elements on this planet decay so many elements don't exist in nature at all any more. So could that be affecting the gene code ? Picture a dna strand as being a molecule, where each piece is a small elementary particle, over time some particles have dropped down the element table, their potentials have got weaker, strand adapts to cope.

    Sorry, I can't prove that either, but I thought you might like it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by marley View Post
    When I mention ancient cultures, I mean much farther back than the Maoris, the Caribs and the Polynesians. I mainly refer to indigenous Australians and remote African cultures (although as I said my knowledge of African tribes is very limited). The vast majority of human existence occurred before ten thousand years ago, and yet in discussions about evolution we often seem to gravitate towards the last ten thousand as if it is more important than the many number of thousands before it in which modern humans existed.
    Humans have not changed in their propensity to kill. You might be interested to know that the extinction events caused by humans, in Africa, stretch back beyond even Homo sapiens. A million years ago, there were several species of elephant in Africa. Now there is only one. The single species to survive is the only one big and powerful enough not to be hunted by primitive man and by his forebears (Homo erectus). These extinctions preceded Homo sapiens, who has existed only 200,000 years.

    Ancient Australians were despoilers from the word go. They entered Australia about 50,000 years ago, and the wave of extinctions began right then. There is a lot of bulldust written about aboriginees living "in harmony" with nature. That is crap. The only thing harmonious is nature itself, which adapts to the human way of life. It is just that aboriginees have been living the same way for so long that the Australian ecosystem has changed to adapt itself to the aboriginees - not the other way around. For example : the aboriginal system of 'mosaic burning' has resulted in the survival and thriving of plants that use fire to reproduce. Other plants are gone. Over 100 species of megafauna are extinct. The cute and cuddly koala survived only because its flesh tastes foul, and even then, aboriginess will kill and eat them in times of food shortage.

    The worship of the primitive - the 'noble savage' - is garbage. Humans are not noble by virtue of lack of technology. Humans are as they are. The scientific data, in fact, points to humans becoming better creatures with advancing civilisation. For example : we become a lot less violent, as the following video from Dr. Stephen Pinker shows. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ramBFRt1Uzk

    Today, for the first time in human history or prehistory, we have a scientific knowledge of ecology, and are motivated to conserve nature.
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    Skeptic, this is however important to distinguished between the conscient knowledge of a fact and our societal answer. For example, we know that education spending are better than military spending but we keep on. What was thinking the man who cut the last tree on Easter Island ? He knew it was wrong, he knew it was his future for escaping from hell. But he cut it. So the fact we have the scientific knowledge of the ecology does not save us because our societies are still under pressure of short term results rather than long term vision.

    The motivated conservation policy is very distinct from scientific ecology. It started first in Germany and England, about 100 years ago. It is a fallout from romantic wave. Romantic started to have special attraction for nature, ruins etc... Interesting enough, this was first motivated by the search of melancholia, spleen as Baudelaire (not a romantic) called it. Nature was attached to dark valleys, deep forests. The sensibility to nature and conservation policy are often attached to large mammals, spectacular landscape etc...
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    Makandal

    I take a more optimistic view, based on recent history. Major gains have already been made environmentally. For example : the terrible air and water pollution in western Europe and in North America is now a thing of the past. Sure there is still some pollution, but it is getting less year by year. Acid rain was a major problem just a few decades back, but is now pretty much non existent in the west. In the western world, reafforestation exceeds deforestation by a marked degree. Even in places like China, things are turning around, and pollution is getting tackled with serious intent.

    The last 100 years have also been the only time in history when major efforts have been made to conserve ecosystems and avoid extinctions. We have a long way to go, but the journey is now well under way.
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    I would like to devote some time later to make a real response.
    For now, I just wanted to say two things:
    1) There are two species of elephant in Africa. The forest elephant (Loxodonta cyclotis) and the bush elephant (Loxodonta africana).
    2) Some research suggests that chimps are more evolved than us humans.
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    In the western world, reafforestation exceeds deforestation by a marked degree

    Source?
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post

    In the western world, reafforestation exceeds deforestation by a marked degree. .
    Marked! What's that mean?
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    Skeptic, I would also note that the environmental problems supposedly being reversed now and in the last century (I also would like to see evidence for this theory) were originally caused, and are still being caused, by our culture.

    Your use of emotive language when referring to cultures you do not understand is both unscientific and disrespectful.
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    However, I tend to stick to what Skeptic said except for reforestation. Your visions of "environmental problems being reversed" is typically very westernish. In Africa, Asia, South America it is going much worst. And this is the majority of the world.
    Apart from that, aborigens in Australia, Maoris in Pacific, north american indigens populations etc... slaughtered the large mammals species when they arrived in virgin lands.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Geo View Post
    In the western world, reafforestation exceeds deforestation by a marked degree

    Source?
    My original source for this information is the book by Dr. Bjorn Lomborg, called "The Skeptical Environmentalist."
    I have seen this point mentioned in other sources since.

    Ironically, the greatest rate of forest replanting today is in China. Europe was mostly deforested 100 years ago, and is now undergoing relatively massive forest replanting. The USA plants more forest that it cuts, though I am not sure by how much in 2011. Sadly, there is still far too much deforestation in places like Brazil and Indonesia.

    Other parts of East Asia, though, are replanting. Deforestation - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    I quote :

    "In many parts of the world, especially in East Asian countries, reforestation and afforestation are increasing the area of forested lands. The amount of woodland has increased in 22 of the world's 50 most forested nations. Asia as a whole gained 1 million hectares of forest between 2000 and 2005. Tropical forest in El Salvador expanded more than 20% between 1992 and 2001. Based on these trends, one study projects that global forest will increase by 10%—an area the size of India—by 2050."

    I agree that there are a number of societies that are not yet acting in a way that can be said, by any stretch of the imagination, as environmentally responsible. It appears that the development of a society takes it through stages which include environmental destructiveness. However, eventually the society reaches a point in which such things as cleaning pollution are given appropriate high levels of priority. China, for example, is a terribly polluting nation, but is now pouring ever increasing resources into changing that.

    Marley said " Your use of emotive language when referring to cultures you do not understand is both unscientific and disrespectful. "

    Marley, you do not know, in the least, how much understanding I have about the societies I mention. I understand them as well as most people do. I also have studied their history, which is more important. Yes, my language is sometimes deliberately emotive. Language is a tool, to communicate. The use of emotive language is occasionally required to get a message across.

    My message there is simply that people are people. There is no 'nobility' to being primitive. Lacking technology and living in tribal groups does not make you more responsible. A lack of science and technology means less understanding, and less power. So 'primitives' do not understand the implications of hunting to death the last giant wombat, the last moa, or the last giant sloth, or carrying the polynesian rat across the Pacific. And they lack the power to restore what they have harmed. People today cannot use that excuse.
    Last edited by skeptic; August 3rd, 2011 at 05:12 PM. Reason: Added points
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    My visions are not for environmental problems to be reversed by humanity. If and when our species populations are sparse, the Earth will reverse most of the damage in natural cycles. It is a question of the amount of time this will take and how long our species remains thriving as it is.

    The reason I originally referred to ancient cultures in this thread was to suggest they (some of them at least) could have been more evolutionarily advanced than we are in ways that we don't currently see as being advanced. I was not intending to start a debate about "whose culture is better". You've pointed out numerous times the megafauna slaughter, and this is good evidence to show there wasn't a complete understanding between humanity and nature. However, I speculate that Australian aboriginals may have evolved a different and extremely beneficial understanding of the cosmos, after migrating to Australia. The megafauna extinctions on the Australian continent happened around 50 000 years ago, right after there was human migration. After these extinctions, there were no major species extinctions until the thylacene, which was probably due to dingos and eventually the Europeans. You are right, Skeptic, that it is through modern science that we are beginning to solve the problems we have caused, and it is through modern science we have developed incredible understanding about medicine, physics, the universe we live in, and you know I could go on and on. But I believe it is a positive not to rule out the possibility that our ancestors may have evolved a particular understanding that, while incomprehensible to us at present, may be beneficial to our species in the future.

    Do you think the evolution of ancient Australians could, should or will be studied scientifically? I would answer that it would be difficult, it should be attempted but I doubt many would see it as a priority.
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    Dinosaur had million of years to evolve (from its beginning till to the asteroid impact) but then they only ended up as BIRDS...!?
    It is really remarkable that human intelligence became 'obvious' only about 50,000 years ago (where we migrated out of the West Asia/Africa and ended up here).
    And since then, our history has became sooo compressed within 2000 year lifespan, and the millenia before that was irrelevant/doesn't even matter to us, and if so what would really exist after another million of years of us??

    Either that there's no such thing as "million years' of intelligent being (like human)" will exist (where we will die off like rat with short life, "live fast die young"), or are we a prototype?
    But BIRD are intelligent creature: krow can taunt people and use tool and cooperate among themselves.
    If dinosaur had ever develop an intelligent bipedal species... then they have died; a fate we will soon share...
    Last edited by msafwan; August 3rd, 2011 at 07:42 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by marley View Post
    Do you think the evolution of ancient Australians could, should or will be studied scientifically? I would answer that it would be difficult, it should be attempted but I doubt many would see it as a priority.
    As far as anthropologists can tell, the culture and technology of the Australian aboriginee has not varied to any great degree in 50,000 years. Of course, we cannot be sure. Further study would depend on remains of aboriginal tools etc., and the discovery of ancient skeletons. I hold little hope that much will be found from that far back in time.

    We know that recent aboriginee peoples exploit the environment to the best of their ability, using the technology available to them. I refer to before the coming of the European, which changed everything. Those aboriginees had a limited ability to destroy, since the remaining surviving animals and plants were able to tolerate their actions. That changed with European technology such as rifles, and with the introduction of alien pest species such as rats and foxes.

    As to ancients being more evolutionarily advanced - well it is possible. The incredible success of humanity in getting a very high percentage of our population to survive means the retention of harmful mutations. It is possible that our ancestors were stronger, due to fewer such nasty genes.

    More recently though, human genetic health has improved due to more outbreeding, and less inbreeding. This is due to the high numbers of people moving to live elsewhere than their birth place in modern society, and marrying people from different gene pools. Just look at the British Royal Family for signs of improving genetics, due to outmarriage! This improvement should continue for a while. I anticipate that, in 100 to 500 years, human genetic health will improve dramatically due to deliberate genetic modification of people. Better genes giving more intelligence, better health, more athleticism, longer life etc.
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    Apologies, skeptic. It was a misjudgement and presumptuous to mention your understanding, and maybe a little hypocritical.

    I am encouraged that there is interest in this topic, as I feel it's very important to study these areas if we are to "save" humanity (but what does that even mean?).

    Reforestation is also very important and the statistics you provided were encouraging. I've actually been working on a plantation this year, in northern NSW. There is lots of work to be done, and replanting cleared land is a great way to: create jobs, restore habitat, encourage care for the environment, and plan for future sequestration and storage of carbon dioxide.
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    To Marley

    I agree on the need for forests. I live on a 2 hectare block, and I have replanted most in native rainforest trees. In fact, based on data from a New Scientist article, I was able to calculate that, from the CO2 taken up from the growing trees on my property, my wife and I are carbon negative. Our activities (including tree planting) take up more CO2 than we emit, by a factor of 100%.
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    Evolution is natural selection and survival of the fittest. As far as I can tell just about anyone can survive and reproduce in the 21st century which eliminates natural selection. I know it seems unthinkable today but I should think a few hundred years from now using genetic engineering to guarantee that your children will be healthy, strong, and intelligent might seem perfectly normal.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ahwilliams View Post
    Evolution is natural selection and survival of the fittest. As far as I can tell just about anyone can survive and reproduce in the 21st century which eliminates natural selection.
    It's not about survival and reproduction as binary states, it's about relative rates of reproduction and relative extents of survival. Natural selection is alive and well. It can't be eliminated unless we stop reproducing entirely. Perhaps not even then.

    Quote Originally Posted by ahwilliams View Post
    I know it seems unthinkable today but I should think a few hundred years from now using genetic engineering to guarantee that your children will be healthy, strong, and intelligent might seem perfectly normal.
    Very plausible.
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    Very true biologista! I stand corrected and did not think through my response very well. There are many factors, economic, social, cultural, environmental, not to mention biological that have a clear influence on reproduction. Even the slightest difference in reproduction counts over time would influence the genetic makeup of our descendants.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ahwilliams View Post
    Evolution is natural selection and survival of the fittest.
    survival of the fittest = natural selection.

    Quote Originally Posted by ahwilliams View Post
    As far as I can tell just about anyone can survive and reproduce in the 21st century which eliminates natural selection.
    There is scientific evidence that this is not true. Evolution of the human species is still continuing. Moreover, natural selection isn't about being able to reproduce, it is about differences in reproductive success.

    Big difference.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ahwilliams View Post
    As far as I can tell just about anyone can survive and reproduce in the 21st century which eliminates natural selection.
    how about this then ?

    Tibetans adapted to high life at record-breaking rate
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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    Yes you are both correct and I retract my previous statement, I made that comment without much thought.
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    Quote Originally Posted by spuriousmonkey View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by ahwilliams View Post
    Evolution is natural selection and survival of the fittest.
    survival of the fittest = natural selection.

    Quote Originally Posted by ahwilliams View Post
    As far as I can tell just about anyone can survive and reproduce in the 21st century which eliminates natural selection.
    There is scientific evidence that this is not true. Evolution of the human species is still continuing. Moreover, natural selection isn't about being able to reproduce, it is about differences in reproductive success.

    Big difference.
    "There is scientific evidence that this is not true. Evolution of the human species is still continuing." I would love to see this if you know the whereabouts of your source?
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    I should think a few hundred years from now using genetic engineering to guarantee that your children will be healthy, strong, and intelligent might seem perfectly normal.
    Makes me wonder if people will be effectively required to have their embryos screened and selected against for heritable illness.

    Which...if it's affordable to do so? Is there much argument not to?
    Socially it's a whole lot cheaper to fix lifelong chronic illness at the source...and much kinder to the would-be sufferer too.

    OTOH, there's a lot of stuff that is a combo of nature and nurture. For instance, schizophrenia is highly genetically-linked...but not entirely so:

    Schizophrenia.com - Schizophrenia Genetics and Heredity
    It is of much interest, though, that the correlation of schizophrenia between identical twins, who have identical genomes, is less than one-half. This indicates that schizophrenia is NOT entirely a genetic disease.
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    An "evolution" guided by eugenic choices might lead to a dead end for human species. A species is a pool of genes presenting a lot of variation. Some genes might appear 'abnormal' at a given time but will be perfectly adapted at another time. An african proverb says that "Tomorrow is pregnant". With the anthropic modification of the planet and our society being more and more divergent of what the original Homo Sapiens was adapted to, who knows which "abnormality" will become very useful ? Super-analytic mind (i.e. autistic genius), synesthesia etc... are often linked to perceived pathology but will certainly be an advantage in the future. Eugenism is a very short term approach.
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    The film "GATTACA" is quite relevant to the topic at hand. GATTACA is a very interesting and thought provoking movie, although purely fictional.
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    I was thinking more in terms of food allergies, celiac disease, cystic fibrosis, Huntington's disease, phenylketonuria, stuff that's clearly pathological and/or fatal to the carrier.

    Not things like autism/aspergers, ADHD, even mild schizoaffective disorder or schizophrenia could actually be potentially either useful or connected with useful genes.
    “Just think of how stupid the average person is, and then realize half of them are even stupider!”-George Carlin

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    Quote Originally Posted by random View Post
    Makes me wonder if people will be effectively required to have their embryos screened and selected against for heritable illness.

    Which...if it's affordable to do so? Is there much argument not to?
    Socially it's a whole lot cheaper to fix lifelong chronic illness at the source...and much kinder to the would-be sufferer too.
    It is pretty much inevitable, assuming human survival and progress continues.

    Within 100 years, detailed laboratory procedures will be able to be carried out with speed and precision, at a very low cost, using sophisticated robots. This will include genetic manipulation of a zygote. Right now there is some societal opposition to genetic manipulation of humans, but society's values change regularly, and in times of rapid technological change, the changes in values are also very rapid.

    My feeling is that, within 200 years, pretty much all humans will be descended from those with modified genomes. Everyone will be born healthy, resistant to cancers and other diseases, good looking, athletic, intelligent, and long lived. Evolution by natural selection will be supplanted by evolution by artificial gene modification.
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  90. #89  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard spuriousmonkey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by somfooleishfool View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by spuriousmonkey View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by ahwilliams View Post
    Evolution is natural selection and survival of the fittest.
    survival of the fittest = natural selection.

    Quote Originally Posted by ahwilliams View Post
    As far as I can tell just about anyone can survive and reproduce in the 21st century which eliminates natural selection.
    There is scientific evidence that this is not true. Evolution of the human species is still continuing. Moreover, natural selection isn't about being able to reproduce, it is about differences in reproductive success.

    Big difference.
    "There is scientific evidence that this is not true. Evolution of the human species is still continuing." I would love to see this if you know the whereabouts of your source?
    why don't you google, or pubmed? Type in three word: "recent human evolution", start from there. Ignorance isn't a valid excuse you know in science.


    Personally I have seen several peer reviewed articles on recent human evolution during my research time.
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  91. #90  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard spuriousmonkey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by somfooleishfool View Post
    The film "GATTACA" is quite relevant to the topic at hand. GATTACA is a very interesting and thought provoking movie, although purely fictional.
    I thought "idiocracy" is more relevant, and probably not that fictional.
    Idiocracy (2006) - IMDb
    "Kill them all and let God sort them out."

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