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Thread: Directing, Controlling, and Accelerating Human Evolution

  1. #1 Directing, Controlling, and Accelerating Human Evolution 
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    The Human species will eventually come to the conclusion that their fate will be decided on how well our intelligence evolves. I am surprised it hasn’t been discussed seriously in main stream scientific circles thus far. The idea of controlling a societies reproductive rights are not that far from any other right we give up daily in the name of saving humans from themselves or our own ignorance. Natural selection has been circumvented through our advances in technology and medicine and we have come to the point where any human can survive to a reproductive age unintentionally compromising the gene pool. I suggest this scenario could border on devolution, taking the species into an unforeseen catastrophe.

    Natural selection is still alive and well in our subconscious primal minds.Humans are still attracted to physical features that imply strength or childbearing qualities for survival. The problem is that it’s no longer a viable solution to our future in this advanced world. Our environment has outpaced our ability to change that deep seeded instinct.

    China has already had the foresight to control their own population growth rate through various means. There is no doubt China will begin some experimenting with accelerated evolution if not already begun behind the curtain. Slowly implementing a series of controls to affect the societies generational intelligence levels through controlled selection would be the next logical step. Standards would be set for the right to reproduce and how many allowed for each family. These standards would have certain effects on that society that will have nothing to do with genetics. Humans overwhelming need and desire to procreate will focus more on success through those means. Forcing a change in selection and perceived attractive qualities. This will take any society centuries ahead of the world’s population in very dramatic forms. The unintended consequences will remain to be seen.


    Last edited by McKnight; May 8th, 2012 at 05:49 PM.
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  3. #2  
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    totally agree with you , like it


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    Forum Radioactive Isotope skeptic's Avatar
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    This subject has been discussed to death on this forum.
    However, I repeat my usual reply.

    Evolution takes thousands, if not tens of thousands of years. Long before human evolution has even begun to make any significant change to our genome, humanity will have the ability to directly change genomes. Higher intelligence, more athleticism, greater health, longer life span, better looks, and so on and so on, will be available to any parent who has a child by IVF, and gets a few tweaks to the genes in the early embryo.

    I said that evolution takes thousands of years. However, within hundreds, we can expect major changes through gene manipulation.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    This subject has been discussed to death on this forum.However, I repeat my usual reply.Evolution takes thousands, if not tens of thousands of years. Long before human evolution has even begun to make any significant change to our genome, humanity will have the ability to directly change genomes. Higher intelligence, more athleticism, greater health, longer life span, better looks, and so on and so on, will be available to any parent who has a child by IVF, and gets a few tweaks to the genes in the early embryo.I said that evolution takes thousands of years. However, within hundreds, we can expect major changes through gene manipulation.
    Gene therapy and manipulation is still in its infancy with many unresolved problems. I agree that it takes natural evolution thousands of years to root out undesirable genes through natural selection. The idea is to create controlled selection and ongoing maintenance in societies. This swift action will increase natural evolutions curve 10 fold. I believe faster than developing the technology to do the same without the pollution. Either way I doubt there was enough significant natural selection for higher intelligence to make much of a shift forward. With that said, maybe after a few generations the human race may be able to create the conditions capable of manipulating the human genome. One more point, I don't believe we have identified any gene or set of genes that represent complex intelligence. That may take thousands of years, as well as run the risk of creating intelligent psychotics.
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  6. #5  
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    Actually, Mcknight
    One gene for intelligence has been identified. It has an impact that is small, but it is a start.
    Gene for Intelligence Revealed by Studying Williams Syndrome | Singularity Hub
    More genes for intelligence will be identified over time, and some will probably be more potent than this one.

    Even if you could accelerate evolution ten fold, it will still be very slow. Gene manipulation has proved itself on animals, where significant changes can occur almost overnight. Genetics is perhaps the fastest growing of all sciences. Within 100 years, we will be able to do things we barely dream of today. Deliberate modification of genes will have an impact much, much greater than any evolutionary process.
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    Its called Eugenics and humans have yet to show the responsibility to use it even if it was deemed ethical. It may stun you but there were forced sterilizations (mostly black women) in the U.S. up until the 1970's. Just think of how absurd the NAZI programs were - killing off/driving off the Jews which represented a large portion of there scientists and may have actually had a genetic edge on intelligence.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    Actually, McknightOne gene for intelligence has been identified. It has an impact that is small, but it is a start.Gene for Intelligence Revealed by Studying Williams Syndrome | Singularity HubMore genes for intelligence will be identified over time, and some will probably be more potent than this one.Even if you could accelerate evolution ten fold, it will still be very slow. Gene manipulation has proved itself on animals, where significant changes can occur almost overnight. Genetics is perhaps the fastest growing of all sciences. Within 100 years, we will be able to do things we barely dream of today. Deliberate modification of genes will have an impact much, much greater than any evolutionary process.
    I really don't have the time or desire to explain the complexities of the human genome but I'll expand on the original hypotheses. When you take a broad account of the human species intelligence you can easily parse out the lowest qualities and traits to focus on. Slicing thin layers of the most undesirable in a slow cautious deliberation. You would start with the very edges moving your way slowly into more complex standards learning as you progress. Picking a single gene in a complex ecosystem to toy with would be irresponsible and dangerous at best. You and I most certainly have different ideas about what intelligence is. It is not a single gene.
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  9. #8  
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    Mcknight

    Of course it is not a single gene. I never said it was. There are undoubtedly many genes for intelligence. The first has been discovered. More will be found.

    In due course, humanity will develop the ability to manipulate such genes, and adjust the genome of the newly conceived so that they develop into truly intelligent people. This might take 50 to 100 years, but it will come.
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    Quote Originally Posted by thevillageidiot View Post
    Its called Eugenics and humans have yet to show the responsibility to use it even if it was deemed ethical. It may stun you but there were forced sterilizations (mostly black women) in the U.S. up until the 1970's. Just think of how absurd the NAZI programs were - killing off/driving off the Jews which represented a large portion of there scientists and may have actually had a genetic edge on intelligence.
    Now here is going to be the root of the problem and rightfully so. Fear will be the main resistance for moving forward as a species. Our history is riddled with misguided irresponsible actions. I suggest that if approached morally this is the only logical way to catch up. It's either this way or natures way and nature has an even more brutal solution if history holds true.
    Last edited by McKnight; May 8th, 2012 at 08:53 PM.
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  11. #10  
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    McknightOf course it is not a single gene. I never said it was. There are undoubtedly many genes for intelligence. The first has been discovered. More will be found.In due course, humanity will develop the ability to manipulate such genes, and adjust the genome of the newly conceived so that they develop into truly intelligent people. This might take 50 to 100 years, but it will come.
    It won't be possible with that approach. It just will not work. It's too complex and too dangerous. We are talking about the human brain. Not a specific mutant gene that randomly slipped in and causes chaos.
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  12. #11  
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    Quote Originally Posted by McKnight View Post
    It won't be possible with that approach. It just will not work. It's too complex and too dangerous. We are talking about the human brain. Not a specific mutant gene that randomly slipped in and causes chaos.
    That is not an argument that works when you are talking of the future. It is complex, of course. But dangerous? Only if done stupidly. I am not talking of something to be done in the near future. As I said, we are talking 50 to 100 years hence. We will need a lot more-know how before doing this, but genetics is growing at a frantic pace. We will learn how.
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    The proposal is flawed in several ways:

    1. The OP has failed to demonstrate that increased intelligence is a desirable evolutionary pathway.
    2. The OP has failed to demonstrate that increasing intellligence will not involve increasing other, undesirable traits.
    3. The OP has failed to demonstrate that restricting diversity is a positive idea.
    4. The OP has failed to demonstrate that the practice of eugenics is morally justifiable or practically possible.

    For these reasons I consider it to be a non-starter.
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  14. #13  
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt View Post
    The proposal is flawed in several ways:

    1. The OP has failed to demonstrate that increased intelligence is a desirable evolutionary pathway.
    2. The OP has failed to demonstrate that increasing intellligence will not involve increasing other, undesirable traits.
    3. The OP has failed to demonstrate that restricting diversity is a positive idea.
    4. The OP has failed to demonstrate that the practice of eugenics is morally justifiable or practically possible.

    For these reasons I consider it to be a non-starter.

    1. I simply assume that a society’s intelligence level would create a better environment for the human species as a whole. Isn’t that why we pursue education in the first place? Maybe I shouldn’t look at itin those terms. The question could be asked, would it be a better evolutionary path for less intelligence? I think not. There are more pros than foreseen cons going in a positive direction. That’s a given in my mind. I consider increased intelligence a desirable trait as does society in general.
    2. Very good point sir. The unintended consequences can’t be accurately predicted. Though if methodically controlled those risks can be minimized. When focus is put on the very lowest traits of intellect, health, and survivability you essentially bring natural selection back to the norm. Then push those lower limits higher you will invariably advance the human species much faster than natural evolution.
    3. I don’t believe that is necessary in this hypothesis. General diversity would remain intact. Would removing a devastating mutant gene effecting 5% of the pool tamper with general diversity?
    4. Eugenics has a very bad reputation to overcome to become generally acceptable to society as a whole. I understand this but believe its time to reinvigorate the idea and debate. Eugenics has merit no matter its history though. The idea is really not a moral issue. Its how applied that is. Plato did not have the human genome mapped when first espoused.
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    Quote Originally Posted by McKnight View Post
    1.I simply assume that a society’s intelligence level would create a better environment for the human species as a whole. Isn’t that why we pursue education in the first place?
    We pursue education to improve the effectiveness with which intelligence is applied. The stereotype of the asocial geek, or the absent minded professor has some basis in reality: if we increase intelligence we may also see a decline in social skills. If intelligence were the governing factor in success then the CEOs of companies, the prime ministers of nations, would all be the most intelligent individuals. It clearly doesn't work that way.

    Quote Originally Posted by McKnight View Post
    The question could be asked, would it be a better evolutionary path for less intelligence? I think not.
    There is some evidence that brain size, which may correlate to inteliigence, has decreased over the last 20,000 years.

    Quote Originally Posted by McKnight View Post
    There are more pros than foreseen cons going in a positive direction. That’s a given in my mind.
    But that is an opinion, not an established fact, nor even a well documented hypothesis.

    Quote Originally Posted by McKnight View Post
    I consider increased intelligence a desirable trait as does society in general.
    Really? Middle class suburbia may feel that way - it's not the viewpoint of society as a whole. If you think it is you have to demonstrate that via well conducted polls and the like.

    Quote Originally Posted by McKnight View Post
    Then push those lower limits higher you will invariably advance the human species much faster than natural evolution.
    Here I have a problem. Evolution by natural selection has no goal and so evolution does not, cannot and never has advanced a species.

    Quote Originally Posted by McKnight View Post
    4. Eugenics has a very bad reputation to overcome to become generally acceptable to society as a whole. I understand this but believe its time to reinvigorate the idea and debate. Eugenics has merit no matter its history though. The idea is really not a moral issue. Its how applied that is. Plato did not have the human genome mapped when first espoused.
    Perhas true, but my point is that until that reputation is improved then nothing could or should be done.
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    One of the greatest problems in modern biology is in trying to understand how we get to a given phenotype from a given genotype. Some think the problem intractable - it's just so horrendously complex. You can't naively take some gene, give it a little tweak and expect something predictable to happen when dealing with complex traits such as intelligence.


    Morals, ethics and lawyers will prevent such things from ever happening for a very, very long time.
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  17. #16  
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    Any suggestion that humankind will embark on a program of self improvement is very naive.

    We know from thousands of years experience that selfishness is the rule, not subservience to the betterment of the species as a whole. We can expect, in the future, that people will do what is to their own, and their family's betterment, not that of our whole species.

    I also think that we are either going forwards or backwards. The idea of improving human intelligence is fine, since if we do not, it is likely to reverse - an outcome I find repugnant. We all know that less intelligent and less well educated people, on average, will have more children. A New Scientist article explained that as part of our normal survival instinct, since we have more offspring when survival is lower. Less educated tend to be poorer, and less healthy and live shorter lives. This translates into a drive to have more offspring. This idea may or may not be correct, but the result is clear cut.

    If we do not take measures to increase human intelligence, it will go backwards, and our descendants will end up relatively stupid.

    Parents tend to have a strong desire that their kids get the best of what is going. More intelligent children tend to get better educations, better jobs, be healthier and live longer. If simple gene manipulation is available to boost intelligence, then parents will make use of this to the maximum possible. Such treatments will be expensive initially, but the price of new technologies always drops over time, and we can expect such treatments to be affordable for most people eventually. For example : there are already a number of new laboratory automation systems being designed and sold. In time, such systems will become sophisticated enough to carry out gene manipulations and drop the price.
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  18. #17  
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    I have a few questions for the evolution Tzars:

    So if we were to put an "evolved" human at the bottom of a lake with ciment shoes, and a simple shrimp, who would survive?
    Who are more evolved between Blood Type A humans and Blood type B?
    Who 's more evolved on Colonnel Sander's shake-and-bake evolutionary ladder, a guy with 177 hairs on his eyebrow or someone with only 176?

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    the term "more evolved" is meaningless
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post

    I also think that we are either going forwards or backwards. The idea of improving human intelligence is fine, since if we do not, it is likely to reverse - an outcome I find repugnant. We all know that less intelligent and less well educated people, on average, will have more children. A New Scientist article explained that as part of our normal survival instinct, since we have more offspring when survival is lower. Less educated tend to be poorer, and less healthy and live shorter lives. This translates into a drive to have more offspring. This idea may or may not be correct, but the result is clear cut.

    If we do not take measures to increase human intelligence, it will go backwards, and our descendants will end up relatively stupid.

    I believe this is in essence Dysgenics. Very bad for the human race.
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    Read "The Bell Curve", in that book they argue that its already happening through positive assortive mating. Smart people tend to be marrying smart people more often these days - back in the 50's the doctor would tend to marry the nurse, now the doctor marrys the doctor, or the engineer.
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    Getting married is one thing. Most people end up getting married, or some common law equivalent, and it is true we tend to marry those in the same socioeconomic group. Having kids is something else. However, those who are on benefits, or lower wages, tend to have the most children.
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    Although I can see the appeal of constructing a more intelligent society through eugenics, it seems to me that such a thing could only be implemented under the most ideal conditions, which human nature would likely prevent from existing. No matter how well intentioned or detailed the standards for reproductive control were, they would always be subjectively unsatisfactory. Furthermore, the potential for abusing these standards to serve some other purpose besides the creation of this idealistic intelligent society is very high. I'm sure we can all think of certain individuals who we wish would not contribute to the gene pool (for whatever reason), but to go so far as to institute policies that would strip them of their reproductive rights is an extremist solution. If seeding intelligence throughout our society with the purpose of creating a more intelligent future is the goal, I think attempting to do so in ways that are less ethically objectionable before jumping to extremes would be more appropriate.
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    I believe it is the technological breakthrough's in the fields of computing that has caused us to look with newer perspectives.We can dare to calculate the age of universe.Quantum computing
    has enabled us to arrive at scientific results faster and accurately.Still it is the love and service for mankind that stand ahead than the rest in terms of virtues.Humans have to observe and learn and it is primarily the execution of first hand observation for anybody that defines his intelligence as well as growth.
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  25. #24  
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    before we start tinkering with it
    defining inteligence might be apropos
    ........
    it has been said that
    "genious is nothing more than pattern recognition"
    alternately
    ...or : "... phrasing succinctly what eneryone knows intuitively"
    ... (?)
    ..............
    knowledge is a pale shadow of wisdom
    and i am but an ignorant savage

    i ain't even got a handle on the myriad (ofttimes seemingly frivolous) processes of natural selection
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    As definition of your genius goes, which is pattern recognition, I would like to add that a genius is the one who is versatile with his capabilities in all his endeavours.He is always on his toes doing things differently,building up his creativity.
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  27. #26  
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    A genius is a person who makes the same mistake only five times.
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    OK
    that's four
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    I would like to add that we always learn from our mistakes and outputs.A genius can be certainly measured by his close observational powers,his dedication to learn from his observations.His willingness to be bold enough to face problems differently.He may make any number of mistakes but still his quest for learning from his first hand observations should be continuous.
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  30. #29  
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    sooner(prefered) or later
    someone must address the simularities and differences between genious and savant
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  31. #30  
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    There is a very fine line between genius and insanity. Guess which side I am on
    Not all who wander are lost... Some of us just misplaced our destination.

    I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet. The proper function of a man is to live, not to exist.
    -Jack London
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  32. #31  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope sculptor's Avatar
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    a narcoleptic horse walks into a bar
    walks up to the bartender
    and dozes off
    when he awakens
    the bartender says
    "why the long face?"
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    See... Sculptor and I may be on the same side
    Not all who wander are lost... Some of us just misplaced our destination.

    I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet. The proper function of a man is to live, not to exist.
    -Jack London
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    Please stay on topic.
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