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Thread: On Tendencies to Believe Evolution Creates Stronger Beings

  1. #1 On Tendencies to Believe Evolution Creates Stronger Beings 
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    Our species has done a lot in the relatively short time it’s spent here on earth. We’ve mastered fire, discovered cures for deadly diseases, put men on the moon, explored the depths of our planets oceans, and unleashed the energy of the atom. Throughout the process, however, we’ve pushed countless species into extinction, polluted the air and water, exhausted many of earth’s natural resources, and offset its climate. But, for a moment, let’s put the negative consequences felt by our environment due to the rise of man aside. After all, this essay isn’t about those consequences; it’s about the ones a little closer to home.

    We tend to think of the human a race as getting stronger and stronger all the time. As a whole, we no doubt are. Within the next few decades we may put humans on another planet and discover a cure for the common cold. Thanks to modern society and its benefits, the human race will continue to strengthen and expand. But how will the individual human fare? Medicines can cure just about anything these days and vaccines are improving all the time (naturally, they have to). The average human life expectancy, as a result, is also on the rise. Despite all these things, the individual homo sapien will, from nature’s point of view, become weaker and weaker.


    Let’s work with examples and hypothetical situations for this one, since they seem to make everything more easily understood. Little Jimmy falls terribly ill when he’s 8 years old. The problem isn’t unknown in children his age, though, and a cure is available for him. Lucky break for Jimmy, he can grow bigger and stronger, and will later find a mate and have children of his own. He will live his life until some other deadly virus is caught that can’t be cured, or until old age catches up with him. What does the human race get in return? Jimmy’s weak genes are thrown into the melting pot that is human DNA, and of course, more babies. Now let us also assume that the mother of his children, Linda, has a family history of breast cancer. Though she will not contract it until long after she has had three children (all boys) with Jimmy, the gene is passed along none the less. Of course there is a possibility that these genes won’t be passed down to any of Jimmy’s and Linda’s offspring. But in this grim example, we now have three humans walking around with at least one deadly gene each.

    In nature, no cure would have been available for Jimmy’s sickness, and he would have died young, taking his recessive gene with him to the grave. Likewise, someone in Linda’s lineage may have not reproduced before the untreatable cancer took their life. Thus, no Linda. The human race would have been stronger physically speaking, but the modern society these people were born into had a cure, and gave them life so that they may (we hope) obtain a greater appreciation of the world they lived in, and make contributions, however small, towards a better society. I am not advocating in this essay that we should leave the weak and sick to whatever nature has planned for them*. Though we would be left with a much stronger, yet smaller population, the means don’t nearly justify the end. I only felt the need to raise the awareness of those not in the know. Our society is very much a double edged sword.






    *Reading a magazine like “People”, you will occasionally come across a story of how a baby is born with a deadly birth defect. These defects are either very rare, or are brought on by the mother’s inability to refrain from drugs during pregnancy. In these stories, the child makes a “miraculous recovery”, usually with a lot of help from a team of doctors. The result is a severely deformed child, both inside and out. In cases like these, I fell no qualms about not letting the child live. It would not benefit society in any way. In fact, it would only take away. It would not reproduce. It would not be able to appreciate life.


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    Forum Cosmic Wizard spuriousmonkey's Avatar
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    I wouldn't worry too much about it all.

    Usually a gene comes in the form of two alleles. One of them, or both are bad in the case of malformations/birthdefects in some cases. Often it is just environmental.

    The rest of the 20,000 genes can be wonderful.

    A person who reproduces with 'bad genes' will generally only contribute one bad allele to their offspring and 20,000 good ones.

    That bad allele will most likely be recessive and end up with a nice allele that compensates for it.

    No harm done.

    ----

    Moreover, nature loves genetic diversity! It cheers at the attempts of the human species to create more genetic diversity by letting alleles that normally have no chance of reproducing, having a chance to reproduce. It is the first step on the path of the introduction of evolutionary novelty.

    HOORAH FOR THE CRIPPLED!

    They are actually driving evolution.


    "Kill them all and let God sort them out."

    - Arnaud Amalric

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    Forum Freshman portcontrol7's Avatar
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    Hi madman.

    Quote Originally Posted by The Madman
    The result is a severely deformed child, both inside and out. In cases like these, I fell no qualms about not letting the child live. It would not benefit society in any way. In fact, it would only take away. It would not reproduce. It would not be able to appreciate life.
    Not "letting" them live? Really? So are you saying that the value of a human being is in it's gene's or it's ability to appreciate life Madman? I like to think that perhaps we should strive to treat all life with some compassion, you know the golden rule, it makes a lot of sense to me in thinking that we are all part of a greater whole. I imagine our brief stint here might be a lot more enjoyable if that were the norm, but perhaps insufferably boring.

    Quote Originally Posted by The Madman
    Our species has done a lot in the relatively short time it’s spent here on earth.
    By whose standards and as opposed to whom?

    Also who is to say that pollution or global warming is a bad thing? Maybe we are just expediating our own demise to make way for the rise of the roach! Perhaps humanity is in fact a virus in a larger organism, in that case how would we justify our existence? I like George Carlin's statement that maybe the whole purpose for homo sapiens was that the planet just wanted plastic. Thanks for the plastic folks, goodbye! Of course I think Carlin is a nihilistic cynic, and he celebrates it. Perhaps thats why it's a funny thought to me.
    http://sites.google.com/site/portcon...me/bobtiny.JPG

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    "The most monstrous effect of the indoctrination of the young by religion, is not that they are mislead, but are trained to mislead themselves." - Me
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