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Thread: Human evolution

  1. #11
    Senior Member Anja's Avatar
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    All fun thoughts and I've had similar. Watching what happens and trying to make sense of it.

    In my world view the wheel spins. And we spin with it.

    Control is an illusion.
    "No ray of sunshine is ever lost, but the green which it awakes into existence needs time to sprout, and it is not always granted to the sower to see the harvest. All work that is worth anything is done in faith." - Albert Schweitzer

  2. #12
    Senior Member ptgatsby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Didums View Post
    Naw, those aren't the effects of evolution, but rather could accelerate it, but we're talking about such a small time scale that such a notion isn't applicable.
    This is really worth highlighting. Evolution is the process by which traits get passed down.

    The time scale is sufficient depending on the severity of the "pruning". If a certain segment of the gene pool is unable to reproduce, the required timescale is very small (a good example in human evolution is when we were nearly driven extinct - theory goes that we were down to the tens of thousands).

    Although the OP isn't an example of a population bottleneck, it's not entirely impossible for a massive evolutionary shift in a very short amount of time. Humans just aren't diverse enough right now for the starvation angles to really play a part.

    (So I agree, but giving a bit more context aka, rambling)

    I'm all for improvement of the human species through genetic selection, however, what traits would be selected and why? We could breed specialized humans for a variety of purposes. This may lead to conflict though, because it could lead to the systematic sterilization of most of the world's population that would be found with undesirable traits, very reminiscent of an Arian concept that we're all too familiar with. I would not support a measure that goes that far for obvious ethical reasons.
    But this ignores that evolution simply happens. It doesn't need to be directed. If it turns out that higher "IQ" people in modern society have fewer kids (which is a new issue - previously, higher IQ people rose social ranks and their kids had a higher survival rate), then IQ is being selected against. The problem with the ethical argument is that it is ok for nature to do it, no matter what the consequences... but not ok for humans to do it, even if it would benefit all.

    This isn't to advocate that certain traits are better than others - my ethical argument is that humans aren't capable of making such a choice, while nature takes into account factors way beyond what we can predict - but to point out that it doesn't take humans to start a descent into extinction. Nature's evolution is extinction. It will happen to us, eventually. Every step we take to diversify works with nature to cause branching - creating non-"human" species, which is the point of extinction. It doesn't matter if that means islands, continents, planets or solar systems. It's pretty much all the same interactions.

    Of course, humans are somewhat unique in that we can break evolution by engineering it - least, we are getting pretty close to that. I fully suspect that is exactly what will happen, and what it will mean to humanity is... unpredictable.

    Yes, but if speciation occurs it is no longer "ourselves" is it? I can also imagine that were we to isolate certain genes to create improved humans, these people may find themselves as superior to the "weak-gened", or the "weak-gened" may lash out against the improved humans for a number of reasons, a new sort of class conflict of genetic nature could emerge.
    Cross breed humans with dogs. Happy willing servants. Want to give odds that the future will involve building self-reproducing biological work forces that are happy to work? I give it about a 90% probability in the next 500 years.

    Right now we call them animals. We breed them, eat them, work them. We talk about ethical issues for humans while we kill, prune and drive species extinct. We are already building "better" animals.

    The class conflict already exists. It's just framed in a way that makes us dominant, right and ethical. The "ethical risk" you talk about is nothing more than elevating animals to a higher standard where they could fight back.

    I covered this in the other responses without seeing that this question would be asked! :P Basically we would have to be very careful in how we went about making improved humans and to what extent we would push.
    The question is if we can introduce incentives better than nature can. A simple example: charge a large amount of money for a license to have a kid. Pseudo-eugenics, but blind to the traits that allow people to accumulate money. I don't actually advise this, to be clear. Even ignoring the ethical implications, this would just drive down the birth rate.

    I use that example because that's exactly what existed historically, except it was nature that did it - children of poor families had a very poor chance of surviving. Those that had money had more of a choice in mates. And so forth.

  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by ptgatsby View Post
    Evolution is the process by which traits get passed down.
    This is called Lysenkoism.

    And it certainly can't be found in Darwin's, "Origin of Species".

    And it can't be found in Watxon and Crick's understanding of DNA.

    In fact it is the propaganda of a brutal and murderous regime in the old Soviet Union.

    Lysenkoism has the same truth value as Creationism, or Astrology, or MBTI.

  4. #14
    Junior Member mibnelius's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by YourLocalJesus View Post
    I think there will inevitably be a point in time where something evolves from being human into something so entirely different that even if it is humanoid, it will not be a homo sapiens.
    I agree, assuming that our species survives long enough.

    Quote Originally Posted by YourLocalJesus View Post
    Besides, humanity will probably speak chinese in a few hundred years. I'm not implying white supremacy. Fuck that.
    As much as I hate globalism, I have to agree with you.

    Quote Originally Posted by YourLocalJesus View Post
    ...people with a higher understanding seek the company of like-minded, eventually there will be such a gap between dumb people and intelligent people that it will be impossible to bridge.
    Have you seen scientists, politicians and "normal people?"

    Quote Originally Posted by YourLocalJesus View Post
    Maybe what we are seeing in the world today, the enormous poverty, starvation and such are only the effects of evolution?
    Social Darwinism is not a new concept. Most forces which work against (or for) mankind are not evolutionary forces, they are simply the environment attempting to balance with its human occupants who so often overwork the land.

    Quote Originally Posted by YourLocalJesus View Post
    Should we work against it or let nature take its own path?
    Unless you enjoy how much things suck around here now, I would suggest working with it.

    Quote Originally Posted by YourLocalJesus View Post
    Could we work with evolution and engineer ourselves to be better?
    Yes, and all for the better in my opinion. If we have the power to better ourselves with the power of nature, why not?

    Quote Originally Posted by YourLocalJesus View Post
    What hazards does this hold? What would the benefits be?
    It would be beneficial as long as the things we actually need are improving. We could improve our immune systems, increase longevity, breed for more protective bodies, increase brain sizes, and many other desirable traits.

    On the other hand, we could find ourselves plunged into genetic genocide and cause a schism across humanity as we divide ourselves into genetic "haves" and "have nots." We could also become almost a genetic collective, where the creation of another superior generation was more important than individual achievement or the advancement of anything but the species as a whole, which would lead to stagnation in other areas.
    Dare to reinvent the wheel.. Let's start with a sphere.

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  5. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by mibnelius View Post
    Social Darwinism is not a new concept.
    Oh I forgot.

    Social Darwinism can't be found in, "The Origin of Species", nor in Watson and Crick's DNA.

    In fact Social Darwinism was the propaganda of predatory 19th Century Capitalists.

    And Social Darwinism has the same truth value as Lysenkoism, Creationism, Astrology and MBTI.

    It seems gullibility is infectious.

  6. #16
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    But what is really interesting is that the Capitalists and the Communists both used evolution for their own purposes.

    The Capitalists invented Social Darwinism and the Communists invented Lysenkoism.

    Social Darwinism and Lysenkoism have no basis in evolution at all.

    They were created because they gave a patina of status to both Capitalism and Communism.

    We can see now, from a distance, that they were two systems competing with one another.

    So it is not surprising they came up with similar propaganda.

    What surprises me is how successful they were, as their propaganda is still being repeated today.

  7. #17
    Babylon Candle Venom's Avatar
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    as victor has commented on...

    evolution has nothing to do with social issues. evolution is the change in the gene pool over time. nothing less, nothing more. We need to better understand evolution not to save us in the future, but to save us TODAY. HIV is the the monster it is, BECAUSE of evolution and the fact that WE CANT STOP EVOLUTION nor direct evolution in our favor. If we could stop evolution, then HIV would of been 'cured' by now.

  8. #18
    Courage is immortality Valiant's Avatar
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    It could also be said that humanity is too squeamish to fix the problem. When the various plagues harried and tore apart the world, there were quarantines. Now we let sick people walk about and spread it, because it is inhuman to contain them. On top of that society hands out medicine to slow the progression of the symptoms. It would indeed be inhuman and non-democratic to use the only damage control there is, but in my opinion it's even more inhuman to let the HIV sick walk about spreading it. And then there's also the little problem with religion in many African countries... No condoms etc? Great idea when every third person in some places has a deadly STD!

    I'm such a fascist sometimes. Oh... Wait... Always.


    Quote Originally Posted by Babylon Candle View Post
    as victor has commented on...

    evolution has nothing to do with social issues. evolution is the change in the gene pool over time. nothing less, nothing more. We need to better understand evolution not to save us in the future, but to save us TODAY. HIV is the the monster it is, BECAUSE of evolution and the fact that WE CANT STOP EVOLUTION nor direct evolution in our favor. If we could stop evolution, then HIV would of been 'cured' by now.

    Mightier than the tread of marching armies is the power of an idea whose time has come

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