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Thread: Is the human way of life oppose to nature?

  1. #1 Is the human way of life oppose to nature? 
    Forum Junior newnothing's Avatar
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    I've always been a rather 'weak' person. When I was young I had to see the doctor once every 2 months to treat my cough. The doctors said I was born with weak lungs and might have a chance of having asthma. On top of that I have skin eczema, and have a low capacity for normal sports activity (get exhausted easily).

    The situation above led to thoughts about whether I am suppose to be alive or not in this world. Looking at nature, the strong survives while the weak perishes... ensuring the continuance of the species. In this case would it mean we are going against nature? The weak that are allowed to live due to advance medical science and technology may have adverse consequences to nature (more natural resources used to care for the weak etc).

    Something that just crossed my mind.


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    Reptile Dysfunction drowsy turtle's Avatar
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    It crosses my mind sometimes, too. By keeping alive everyone we can, are we really ensuring the future of our species? Or Condemning the majority of the species should there ever be evolutionary pressure again.

    Fortunately (or unfortunately), as more genetic tests become available on fetuses, we will become more and more able to ensure genetic quality.

    I feel like such a fascist saying this, though...


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    As morally horrible as it is, Eugenics actually has merit... Taking the weakest of the species out would, generally, ensure that the strong survive, and that the species will continue to thrive and advance... I direct you to the movie Idiocracy
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    Another thought comes to mind.

    I'm assuming that an overwhelming majority of the world consists of weak individuals with varying levels of weakness. And with the help of science and technology they obviously would like to ensure that they live longer and enjoy the quality of life that normal strong humans can enjoy. thus they (or we) are bound to pass on our weak genes on to the future generation. There might be opposition to the idea of gene selection because agreeing to it means admitting weakness and possibly segregation from the perfect ones in society. We're back to Gattaca. Even if gene selection is made available, it would be costly and only the well to do can afford to have them. This would then bring us back to the dark ages, feudalism etc. There is the perfect human being, the elite one and there are the poor weaklings.
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    Reptile Dysfunction drowsy turtle's Avatar
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    But on the other hand, keeping the 'weaker' genes could increase the rate of evolution dramatically. Especially since major changes occur slowly in larger populations because of the spread of genes.

    Basically, differentiating between elite and weak based on genes is completely wrong, except for a few select examples.

    For instance, the most inteligent people often have trouble communicating with others, particularly the opposite sex, and so have less chance to reproduce. They are therefore evolutionarily inferior, despite being fairly critical to the species.
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    I could have been passed away 30 years ago if humans were not there for me. It was not only one incident: Since then every 6 or 7 years I had a major issues that could have easily killed me if I didn't benefit from a human touch.

    We have been separating ourselves from nature inch by inch throughout human history and I find this quite healthy way to follow. Our survival ultimately depends on absolute separation from nature and create our own controlled and protected environment. We will keep adapting natural materials and methods, but final solution is to generate more human solutions such as digital binary system of computers.

    As we free ourselves from the chaos of nature we will be better off.
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    Reptile Dysfunction drowsy turtle's Avatar
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    I've thought about it, and I now think that natural selection still happens in humans. Only now, instead of the need to survive in the wild, what determines whether or not we get to breed is how capable we are to find a mate, and encourage him/her to have children with us. So evolution has become a social matter.

    Unfortunately, I suspect this may make me evolutionarily inferior :?
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    wild african dogs keep their handicapped pack members alive.

    They don't have to.

    Stop moaning we are special.
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    Reptile Dysfunction drowsy turtle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spuriousmonkey
    Stop moaning we are special.
    I claim no such thing.

    I never compared us to another species; I am just thinking about our evolutionary future.
    "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 drowsy turtle
    I've thought about it, and I now think that natural selection still happens in humans. Only now, instead of the need to survive in the wild, what determines whether or not we get to breed is how capable we are to find a mate, and encourage him/her to have children with us. So evolution has become a social matter.

    Unfortunately, I suspect this may make me evolutionarily inferior :?
    I agree with you, but i don't think that natural selection stopped having influence on our survival. Would there be a gene making you less vulnarable for certain deceases, cancer for example, it would still spread due to natural selection. The influence though is less apparent because we can keep the 'sick' alive. Still the people who are real 'weak' have less chance of reproducing themselves then the stronger evolved humans.
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    Quote Originally Posted by drowsy turtle
    I've thought about it, and I now think that natural selection still happens in humans. Only now, instead of the need to survive in the wild, what determines whether or not we get to breed is how capable we are to find a mate, and encourage him/her to have children with us. So evolution has become a social matter.

    Unfortunately, I suspect this may make me evolutionarily inferior :?
    I have only one thing to say about that.

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    Welcome to Costco. I love you.

    Oh, I work at Costco, so that specific scene made me smile.
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    Quote Originally Posted by drowsy turtle
    Quote Originally Posted by spuriousmonkey
    Stop moaning we are special.
    I claim no such thing.

    I never compared us to another species; I am just thinking about our evolutionary future.
    Oh...

    99.9% of all species went extinct. So will we.

    Nothing special.

    /insert previous critique regarding moaning.
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    We aren't diverging from nature, whatever we do, because we are part of nature.

    'Un-natural' means diverging from what we choose to think would have been, in some other circumstances or time, a different route.

    But that's our little conceit, our little muse, what do you call it? speculation? It's our little speculation, our little 'what if?'.

    It all exists only in our minds. We decide the course that we assume 'should be', we decide the divergent courses, we decide the 'right' or 'wrong' of any of it.

    But none of it is anything more than idle playing with words, playing with ideas. There's not really any divergence from 'nature'.

    A thalidomide baby, god help us, is as natural as you and I, given the circumstances, the introduction of that chemical to that foetus.

    Everything is 'natural'. The only un-natural is the paranormal or whatever you call it, ghosts and such perhaps. Unless they truly exist. In which case they are natural.

    The whole natural reality answers to certain laws which makes certain things happen (like thalidomide babies) in a 'natural' (given the circumstances) way. There is no escape from 'natural', from 'reality', from 'the way it is'.

    That's maybe what the religious meant (in times gone by, when they were thinkers) when they said 'god will not be mocked'.
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    Quote Originally Posted by drowsy turtle
    Fortunately (or unfortunately), as more genetic tests become available on fetuses, we will become more and more able to ensure genetic quality.

    I feel like such a fascist saying this, though...
    And for good reason you do! There is hardly any difference between killing off a "defective" child before or after birth.

    In humans, the right place for natural selection to occur is in pairing. Bad genes, no partner to help you pass them on. But you don't get killed or left without medical help.
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    Drowsy, I have read your next post:

    Quote Originally Posted by drowsy turtle
    I've thought about it, and I now think that natural selection still happens in humans. Only now, instead of the need to survive in the wild, what determines whether or not we get to breed is how capable we are to find a mate, and encourage him/her to have children with us. So evolution has become a social matter.
    and I see you have come to the same conclusion.

    Quote Originally Posted by drowsy turtle
    Unfortunately, I suspect this may make me evolutionarily inferior :?
    You mean you are single and/or childless?

    Well, cruel as it may sound, evolution doesn't just favour the fit, the smart, and the healthy-stomached. The willingness to procreate seems to be quite high on its list of criteria for whose genes get passed on to the next generation.

    But then evolution isn't supposed to be fair.

    Enjoy your life anyway,
    Leszek (both single and childless at 49 but not for much longer - getting married next Saturday to a 29 and hoping to have lots of kids)
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    As for the more general question: aren't many of us "unduly" surviving thanks to science and technology - well intelligence is part of human nature, so it's only natural that we use it to survive where otherwise we would not. Ever since we used fire to survive in cold climates where other primates would freeze to death, or spears to hunt animals that apes could only flee from.

    I could perversly say that it's in human nature to do things unknown to (other parts of) nature.
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    This is an age old conversation. (If I had a dollar for every thread like this I've seen... :P )

    I like pointing out that humans are just as much a part of nature as any other animal. Thus anything done by us, as natural organisms, is in itself natural. I find the whole humans vs nature dichotomy to be a little silly because of that.

    Fitness is a completely environmentally-dependent value. If we have changed our environment such that people with poor vision or people with asthma etc etc are no longer less likely to reproduce than the average person, then they are perfectly fit. As Spurious already pointed out, other social animals are also known for keeping injured and/or sick individuals alive longer than they would on their own. In social groups where individuals support and help each other, average mortality rates tend to go down.

    I think that in threads like this, people are often envisioning some disaster scenario where all the comforts of modern life are suddenly stripped from us and we can't make glasses or inhalers anymore. Yes, in that situation, a lot of people probably would die and/or never reproduce - but I highly doubt that our species' survival would be seriously at stake. After all, our species managed to hang out for a couple hundred thousand years without anything like modern life, so I'm not worried about us managing again if we have to.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leszek Luchowski
    Drowsy, I have read your next post:

    Quote Originally Posted by drowsy turtle
    I've thought about it, and I now think that natural selection still happens in humans. Only now, instead of the need to survive in the wild, what determines whether or not we get to breed is how capable we are to find a mate, and encourage him/her to have children with us. So evolution has become a social matter.
    and I see you have come to the same conclusion.

    Quote Originally Posted by drowsy turtle
    Unfortunately, I suspect this may make me evolutionarily inferior :?
    You mean you are single and/or childless?

    Well, cruel as it may sound, evolution doesn't just favour the fit, the smart, and the healthy-stomached. The willingness to procreate seems to be quite high on its list of criteria for whose genes get passed on to the next generation.

    But then evolution isn't supposed to be fair.

    Enjoy your life anyway,
    Leszek (both single and childless at 49 but not for much longer - getting married next Saturday to a 29 and hoping to have lots of kids)
    Congratulations on getting married.
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    Quote Originally Posted by paralith
    I like pointing out that humans are just as much a part of nature as any other animal. Thus anything done by us, as natural organisms, is in itself natural. I find the whole humans vs nature dichotomy to be a little silly because of that.
    I can understand that humans are a part of nature. But how is it that everything that we do is natural? When we observe plants and animals around us, we can say that whatever they do is natural, in that they act within their nature ie. food, reproduction and follow their instincts in their every action. However humans are contrary to that.

    Sorry I'm not arguing your point, I just can't get it in my head that we act naturally when I see that we don't.
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    Quote Originally Posted by newnothing
    Quote Originally Posted by paralith
    I like pointing out that humans are just as much a part of nature as any other animal. Thus anything done by us, as natural organisms, is in itself natural. I find the whole humans vs nature dichotomy to be a little silly because of that.
    I can understand that humans are a part of nature. But how is it that everything that we do is natural? When we observe plants and animals around us, we can say that whatever they do is natural, in that they act within their nature ie. food, reproduction and follow their instincts in their every action. However humans are contrary to that.

    Sorry I'm not arguing your point, I just can't get it in my head that we act naturally when I see that we don't.
    What do we do that we didn't evolve to do, what isn't in our nature? We evolved to be intelligent, problem solving organisms that are widely adaptive to a variety of environments. And that's what we've done. We've used our intelligence to solve problems. Perhaps not all the right problems, but that's because what is natural is not necessarily right and what is right is not necessarily natural.
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    Quote Originally Posted by newnothing
    I can understand that humans are a part of nature. But how is it that everything that we do is natural? When we observe plants and animals around us, we can say that whatever they do is natural, in that they act within their nature ie. food, reproduction and follow their instincts in their every action. However humans are contrary to that.
    When early plants saw the first animals (imagining for a moment that plants can see and think), they could have thought: hey, this is unnatural! These things move! Why don't they take root in the place where their lives started, and survive or die depending on how lucky the place was? Is it fair to go picking and choosing for a better environment? And hey, they are eating us!!!

    Well we humans don't just pick and choose our environment, we create local environments that are nicer to us. Such as houses and cities. It's in our nature to do so, just as it is in the nature of animals (including the human animal) to move and eat.
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    I still remember watching the matrix when it says humans are not mammals because we don't reach equilibrium with the environment. Humans multiple and consume every natural resource until it is depleted and then spread to new areas.

    Somehow again when you brought up the topic here it reminds me again that it is in fact true that we are going against the nature of life.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kennyg
    I still remember watching the matrix when it says humans are not mammals because we don't reach equilibrium with the environment. Humans multiple and consume every natural resource until it is depleted and then spread to new areas.

    Somehow again when you brought up the topic here it reminds me again that it is in fact true that we are going against the nature of life.
    a population equilibrium does not exist for any species. Except for the extinct ones. There the equilibrium is zero.

    Please do not refer to popular culture for insights into biology unless you want to make me vomit all over my computer.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kennyg
    I still remember watching the matrix when it says humans are not mammals because we don't reach equilibrium with the environment.
    And where does "equilibrium with the environment" come into the definition of mammal?

    You might as well say we are not vertebrates because we use aerosols that harm the ozone layer.
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    If in whatever we humans do is part of nature, we should be in equilibrium with it shouldn't we? ie: our body achieves equilibrium via homeostasis, our body temperature rises in response if our body is not in equilibrium. Same with nature, we see abnormal weather patterns, water and food shortages in response to the in-equilibrium that we have caused through pollution and selfish use of nature's resources.
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    Quote Originally Posted by newnothing
    If in whatever we humans do is part of nature, we should be in equilibrium with it shouldn't we?
    Where are you people finding all those bucolic ideas about nature being always harmoniously balanced unless it is tarnished by us wicked humans? Earthquakes, tsunamis, meteor strikes, volcanos, extinction of species were all there before humans or even primates trod the earth. The Sun is due to put an end to all life on this planet in so and so many years even if we all forget "unnatural" technologies and move back to the caves; and it would do so if we never developed technology in the first place.

    We may be our own worst enemy in this world, but we are not the only one.
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    Quote Originally Posted by newnothing
    If in whatever we humans do is part of nature, we should be in equilibrium with it shouldn't we? ie: our body achieves equilibrium via homeostasis, our body temperature rises in response if our body is not in equilibrium. Same with nature, we see abnormal weather patterns, water and food shortages in response to the in-equilibrium that we have caused through pollution and selfish use of nature's resources.
    As others have said, nature is not all harmony and equilibrium. Predator and prey populations flucuate back and forth as they attempt to eat and evade each other, some populations boom when they find a new niche and some populations crash when a virus rages through them. Chimpanzee groups fission into two separate groups and then the members of one group systematically hunt down and kill the members of the other group (observed at Gombe by Goodall). Competing for resources is something all animals do - we're just particularly good at it.

    And remember what I said before; just because something is natural doesn't necessarily mean it's right. We humans are doing what comes natural but it's up to us to decide if what we're do is right, if we want to drive animals extinct through habit loss or if we want to live breathing polluted air. I think these are things are definitely important problems that humans need to face, and I don't feel the need to justify that opinion with (no offense) a faulty supposition that we are opposed to nature and therefore we are bad.
    Man can will nothing unless he has first understood that he must count on no one but himself; that he is alone, abandoned on earth in the midst of his infinite responsibilities, without help, with no other aim than the one he sets himself, with no other destiny than the one he forges for himself on this earth.
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    Quote Originally Posted by paralith
    And remember what I said before; just because something is natural doesn't necessarily mean it's right. We humans are doing what comes natural but it's up to us to decide if what we're do is right, if we want to drive animals extinct through habit loss or if we want to live breathing polluted air. I think these are things are definitely important problems that humans need to face, and I don't feel the need to justify that opinion with (no offense) a faulty supposition that we are opposed to nature and therefore we are bad.
    Ok, Leszek and paralith I see now that we shouldn't just accused our own species of being opposed to nature and deliberately causing harm to it. It would seem that a solution is to 'change' our nature so that something that we do naturally would be always right.How we go about doing that is another question.
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    doing right is unnatural. And therefore wrong.
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    Bigfoot researcher Robert W. Morgan says we are the only unbalancing factor in nature
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    his brain is unbalanced.
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    It is a paradox. We are both a part of nature and at the same time apart from nature.
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