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Human Evolution

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Ting, Apr 5, 2004.

  1. Ting

    Ting IncGamers Member

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    Human Evolution

    So... if biologically we're still evolving... towards "what" are we headed umm.. towards?
     
  2. cougar

    cougar IncGamers Member

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    personally i think humans are getting worse.. not better, which would be the exact opposite of evolving i suppose.
     
  3. Paris.

    Paris. IncGamers Member

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    I don't know - we are evolving to suit our environments.
     
  4. Draconis

    Draconis IncGamers Member

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    Physically, the (First-world) gene-pool is probably degrading currently, as people simply aren't dying of things that are wrong with them at the genetic level as often as they used to.
     
  5. Underseer

    Underseer IncGamers Member

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    No organism is ever "evolving towards" anything. Some genes are more successful in reproducing themselves than others. That's it. We're not "evolving towards" anything and we never were.

    Furthermore, there are two conditions that can facilitate or accelerate evolution:
    • A population that is small and isolated. This allows new genetic material to propagate very rapidly through an entire population. Humanity on the other hand is positively huge and becoming more connected all the time.
    • The environment needs to divide the population by reproductive success or survival success. Humanity has proved so successful that nearly all genetic variants have a roughly equal chance of surviving and a roughly equal chance of reproducing.

    That's not to say changes aren't happening to the human genome, but they are at best very small and very slight (e.g. good looking people slightly favored over ugly people in mate-choosing, which slightly affects reproductive rates). Unless some terrible disaster follows or unless we send out a colony of humans to another planet, we're probably gonna end up like sharks: essentially unchanging for a very, very long time.
     
  6. cleanupguy

    cleanupguy IncGamers Member

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    This is true. Evolution is basically the survival of the fittest. With the modern medicine as developed as it is currently, the traditionally weakest part of the population is not dying off. These people get married and have children, and these children are carriers of the disease from their parents.

    Although it still remains at some level, the traditional sense of evolution is practically out the window with humans, I believe. However, for things that are outside the modern medicine's grasp, humans are still subject to evolution.
     
  7. dantose

    dantose IncGamers Member

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    the change has already started, we call them "lawyers"
     
  8. Underseer

    Underseer IncGamers Member

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    Here's a recent example of mutation and natural selection at work on a segment of the human gene pool:
    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/evolution/library/01/2/l_012_02.html

    The parts of Africa that are the most prone to outbreaks of malaria are also the parts of Africa that have the most people with sickle cell anemia.

    However for those Africans who now live in America, matters are different. There is very little malaria going on around here. Thus the gene that leads to sickle cell anemia is more of a disadvantage than an advantage. Predictably, Arfican Americans are something like 1% or 2% less likely to carry the gene for sickle cell anemia than their African cousins. If you consider that most Africans have been here in the U.S. for 2 to 4 centuries, you can see how slow such changes are.
     
  9. SquareRootOfBob

    SquareRootOfBob IncGamers Member

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    Actually, most humans "evolve" their environment to suit them, not the other way around.
     
  10. kittenslayer

    kittenslayer IncGamers Member

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    two words,

    genetic engineering.
     
  11. Anakha1

    Anakha1 Banned

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    Me. :cheesy: :surprise:

    Actually we are evolving to whatever our environment demands of us. Since we can alter our environment now, we can ultimately control our evolution.
     
  12. cyclotronic

    cyclotronic IncGamers Member

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    Yes, but you would not alter your environment to be harsh on you. You will alter it to be as easy as possible to live in. With no serious dangers to humans there will be no serious evolution. The only thing I see us doing is with the modern medicine we will live much longer.
     
  13. th5418

    th5418 Banned

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    We do not need to evolve. We have medicine to combat sicknesses. Houses to combat harsh weather. Farms to produce food. Poolution to soon destroy us.
     
  14. Anakha1

    Anakha1 Banned

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    The sun's radiation naturally produces genetic mutation whether we like it or not.

    So in other words I'm the pinacle of human evolution? Sweet. :surprise:
     
  15. Underseer

    Underseer IncGamers Member

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    That line of reasoning ultimately leads to a very ugly place, or at least it has in the past.
     
  16. Anakha1

    Anakha1 Banned

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    How so? I'm not talking about the arbitrary extermination of "undesirable" people from the gene pool. That's not evolution. I'm talking about no longer needing tough skin to fight off harsh conditions, or larger muscle mass to survive, etc.
     
  17. Underseer

    Underseer IncGamers Member

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    Eventually you have to choose who can and can not reproduce, or your attempts to influence the gene pool won't amount to much. Whether you do that directly, or through an engineered environment is fairly irrelevant. It's immoral either way.

    Inevitably, the decision over who does and does not get permission to reproduce becomes politicized and you get things like the eugenics movement or certain elements of the National Socialists' ideology.
     
  18. Anakha1

    Anakha1 Banned

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    That's not true. I'm not talking about actively taking a hand in individual gene progression. Deciding who gets to reproduce is not evolution. It's social weeding. If society suddenly decided it didn't like purple people with blue polkadots and decided to get rid of them by denying them rights to reproduction, it wouldn't be evolution. It would be societal cultivation of a specific gene type. That's a nice way of saying genocide. But I don't think anyone here would say genocide is the same as evolution.

    No, we don't have to eventually choose who can reproduce to affect evolution. We have a hand in our own evolution through much more passive means. We've already affected it. Improved health care and nutrition have given us much larger bodies than of old and giving teenagers earlier starts at puberty. That's just one example. I'm sure there are many more and none of them required us to actively weed out those whom we don't want contributing.
     
  19. Mecal

    Mecal IncGamers Member

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    well.

    seeing as our toe, next to our big toe, it just as long in length, i think we are gonna grow fins, and be able to swim.... :thumbsup:
     
  20. Anakha1

    Anakha1 Banned

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    Dude, we spent millions of years evolving to get OUT of the water and you want us to go back IN? Make up your mind!

    Oh, and I don't swim. I sink. So if you're correct I'm screwed. :(
     

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