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  1. #11
    Glowy Goopy Goodness The_Liquid_Laser's Avatar
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    Jul 2007


    Quote Originally Posted by Mystic Tater View Post
    Why? Cultural and technological changes are intertwined with our environment. Thus, they effect our evolutionary patterns.

    For instance, our rapid increase in medical technologies provide a way for "inferior" genes to survive when they normally wouldn't. Furthermore, our transportation systems allow humans from different gene pools to interbreed transcontinentally.
    I suppose it depends on what you mean by "evolution". Most species gradually alter their biological traits in order to adapt to a new environment. Human beings do not do that anymore. Humans adapt through technology and not through biology.

    Not only do we use technology to adapt to our environment, but we use technology to adapt the environment to us. One species adapts to a forest environment, while another adapts to a plains enviornment. However humans can turn a forest into a plain, or a plain into a forest. The physical environment no longer affects our DNA. Traits are not passed on based survival of the fittest. Traits are passed on based on who makes the largest donation to the sperm bank, or who can't figure out how to use birth control.

    In short most organisms are limited to a variety of parameters that determine how they evolve. Humans can control all of these parameters.

    Now you may be thinking that the relevant "environment" of modern humans is not ecological one as much as a cultural one. You may be correct, but this means that it still has nothing to do with biology. Biologists study ecosystems, while anthropologists study culture. If you want to know the future of humanity then you'll get a lot further studying anthropology than you will biology. Our species-wide biology just doesn't matter anymore when it comes to the future of humanity.
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  2. #12
    Senior Member
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    Jun 2009


    In terms of actual genetic evolution, we simply are not operating on the proper timeframe for full understanding. Unless genetic manipulation, alteration, and engineering become widespeard then I don't think we'll will see any "change". However, demographics can inform us of emerging trends. Namely, who is breeding the most these days? that question can tell us alot, since increasing the number of decendants usually helps the chances for your particular genetic line to survive.

    If we want to look to a more immediate timeline, culture informs us of changes that are more rapidly appoarching, simply because culture changes its self faster than a genome does.

  3. #13
    Senior Member Feops's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009


    I think you'll see genetics lose a great deal of diversity over the next several centuries as isolation erodes and more cultures intermingle.

    But I think in terms of overall genetic drift, you'll see genetic manipulation mature far before humans are substantially changed. At first this will be used to treat genetic conditions, but it's pretty inevitable that it will carry on from there to improve general health, and then the ability to tailor your child as you like. I think this would be a very interesting ethical debate - is it wrong to decide what your children will look like or be predisposed to excelling at? Is the genetic roll of the dice somehow better?

    And at that point it won't really matter. It barely matters now, at least not in terms of reacting to one's environment.

    In the meantime I think there's some merit in considering that genetics may backslide a little. Modern medicine intercepts a lot of deaths that should happen, which in turn pose a risk of producing increasingly weaker offspring.

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