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Thread: affects of society on human Health

  1. #1 affects of society on human Health 
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    we see in nature that species evolve so that the strongest breeders populate the earth while those less effective are killed off through competition on long scales of time.

    and so we observe to day that although there are health conditions which plague other species, genetic conditions with truely detrimental effects are minimized.

    however, in the human population there has been a trend of increasing per capita rates of allergies, diabetes, obesity, and many genetic issues. i attribute this to our caring for these people who in nature would shurely perish, the allergic would come into contact with allergines and suffocate, the diabetic would not have access to testing supplies and specially made foods and would go into a sugar coma and be killed, those who tended to be more obese with similar supplies of food alloted would be less fit to hunt and avoid predators.

    all in all, our society destroys many forms of competition because of how they damage individuals, although it benefits the species as a whole. although this leads to a better quality of life for those who would be dead or likely to die soon in nature, it has a profound negative effect on the species by allowing such detrimental modifications to spread rather than recede.


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  3. #2  
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    Fascinating post Saul, something i've wondered myself.

    I would conjecture that the genes of these 'chronically sick', are surviving in their current environment, due to a mixture of knowledge/technology and altruism (some are expensive diseases requiring state funding). As long as this environment persists, they should be fine, and so too should the human race.

    If the environment were to change to a pre-technological age, then these genes will have to adapt or die. As long as enough genetic variation exists in us, humanity will easily survive. But bear in mind these genetic traits have not just sprung up in the 20th century, they have already survived a pre-technological age.

    It's also interesting to note that 'obesity genes' may have been advantageous in earlier times, allowing hunter-gatherers to store nutrients/energy, in the form of fat, for barren periods. Now the environment has changed their genes are becoming a hindrance.

    Maybe genetic engineering will render this discussion moot. My understanding of genetics is rudimentary, it'd be interesting to hear from a geneticist.


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    I think your view of evolutionary fitness is myopic. You assume fitness is merely related to physical traits (strong, healthy, etc.). What you're missing is how strongly cooperation and social/group dynamics play into fitness. In short, we are much more fit because we help each other than because we have good muscles as an individual.

    The same applies to many animals, not just humans. You need to get a more accurate view of fitness and you will see where your idea has gaps.
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    inow, when i stated that those with said genetic conditions are less fit i did not mean individuals whos genes vary greatly amoung them and who's genes differ from those without it in other areas besides that trait. i was making a more general statement about the total population, which as any population geneticist knows have on average the same genes except for the ones being studied. there are exceptions to this, mainly when said genes developed in one group which has also developed largely different percentages of other genes, but as you mentioned that these genes had beneficial effects on societies back in hunter-gatherer times, we can easily state that genes this old are shared by most populations and thus differences in other genes are minimal when comparing populations as a whole.

    so, as i made a general statement which eliminates other genetic differences within a breeding population your objection is moot. in addition, upon reading your request to gain a better understanding of fitness i reviewed both the relevant chapters in the origin of the species and a college biology book. upon this review i found no objections within either of them to my statement, so where are my observations flawed?

    Prometheus, i hope you are right. genetic engineering so far can only affect new creations, but within a generation that arguement would be moot. i hope that ethics does soon allow people to select through gene therapy whether or not children would have allergies or be prone to obesity and other gene linked diseases. currently some diseases are tested for if parents choose that option but ethics has not caught up to the improvements to human life that these things offer.

    additionally i do hope to begin a topic on the subject of genetic engineering and its affects on various areas including human health. if you wish to do so before i forsee myself having the time to do it myself then that would be quite nice.
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    I would like to see someone prove people live longer with medicine. Once you administer the medicine isn't it kind of hard to tell what would have happened had they not taken the medicine?

    After all medicine seldom cures anything so it is fairly hypothetical to suggest that people are living longer with their disease with medicine as apposed to without medicine. We have all heard the statistics that suggest humans live longer today allowing us to give full credit to the chemical potions we ingest but they are pretty flimsy statistics. If people do live longer today, and that is 'if', it could be because of better living conditions as much or more than medicine.

    People are dying everyday from horrible diseases before the age of accountability so disease is taking it's tole despite medicine. Furthermore infertility is becoming more and more common. I don't think we are going to get around survival of the fittest.

    Humans are for all practical purposes devolving.
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    Devolution doesn't exist.

    Organisms adapt to their environment through successive generations.

    We will change to our environment.

    'Devolution' as you use it is emotive, inferring a value judgement - one course of evolution is 'good', the other is 'bad'.

    Evolution just is. We can decide if it's good or bad, but it's arbitrary (unless we start taking control of it).
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  8. #7 Re: affects of society on human Health 
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    Quote Originally Posted by saul
    all in all, our society destroys many forms of competition because of how they damage individuals, although it benefits the species as a whole. although this leads to a better quality of life for those who would be dead or likely to die soon in nature, it has a profound negative effect on the species by allowing such detrimental modifications to spread rather than recede.
    What is the negative effect of allowing, for example, an increasing number of persons with diabetes to survive?

    we see in nature that species evolve so that the strongest breeders populate the earth
    A remarkable claim! Can you substantiate it, or will you concede that you have made the elementary mistake of confusing strongest with fittest?

    Quote Originally Posted by ...bleep....
    I would like to see someone prove people live longer with medicine. Once you administer the medicine isn't it kind of hard to tell what would have happened had they not taken the medicine?
    No, it is quite straightforward. Perhaps you have heard of statistics.
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  9. #8 Re: affects of society on human Health 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    Quote Originally Posted by ...bleep....
    I would like to see someone prove people live longer with medicine. Once you administer the medicine isn't it kind of hard to tell what would have happened had they not taken the medicine?
    No, it is quite straightforward. Perhaps you have heard of statistics.
    Absolutely not. There is nothing straightforward about it. I've heard of statistics and I know bias when I see it. With some people bias comes before science.

    If you want to start a topic on human life span you will see that it is anything but straightforward.
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