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Demosthenes

Humans: End of Evolution? [Answered: NO]

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some people believe that humans are the end of the evolutionary chain, as we have not changed in thousands of years, but humans have been evolving with the world more drastically than people know, instead of us sprouting wings because the air is easier to breathe higher up we adapt and create a way to breathe down here... so i have but one question, who thinks that instead of us waiting to evolve, we should be creating ways to evolve for ourselves,maybe we haven't reached the end of the chain, maybe we have the power and skill to control evolution....

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First, those people who believe that humans are the "end of the evolutionary chain" are both wrong and stupid. Sorry, that second bit was more opinion, but the first part was fact.

 

Also, humans HAVE changed during the past thousands of years. Every day we change, and every child is different. Some are better suited toward survival than others, but we are still evolving. I think what you may have meant is that we have been very successful at reducing the impact of genetic issues and environmental stressors on our survival. That's true. We have learned how to maximize survival, and learn more ways each day, but we still continue to evolve.

 

To your last point, we can genetic engineer. It's possible, and it's absolutely going to happen, so we may as well learn as much as we can about it to do it as safely as possible. There is a lot of harm that could be done with this technology, but also a lot of good.

 

Either way, while we can genetically engineer, we will never fully control evolution, neither on the planet as a whole nor just within humans.

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i agree and i realize i quoted wrong in "instead of us waiting to evolve" i should of said "instead of us evolving naturally"

 

i am also aware of genetic engineering and the perks of it, but the code of ethics disallow any testing on human subjects.

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let me rephrase code of ethics... instead of being a law somewhat it is a way people think, it could be cruel, but helpfull at the same time. and then people are biased because it is cruel, so they think that only harm will come ( not all people think like this but there are a lot ive met who do so) so if we grew wings on a human of gave a human the ability to breathe underwater then they would be labled a freak, one of "their kind", and thus ethics kick in. it is not a law but it does have power overpeople. (we could call an ethic a belief but it is really an individual's representation on a certain matter...

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I see. I think you are referring to ingroup/outgroup behavior instead of ethics... the ability of one to accept something different from themselves.

 

I agree that this can be difficult, and think that you will notice how difficult it is to find educated and secular people who are passionately against these pursuits. Nearly all challenges are based on some indoctrinated ideological worldview, not on facts or real dangers. People approaching these issues with such bias (and in such large numbers) do present a formidable challenge, but not one that is impossible to overcome and vanquish.

 

 

Maybe start by first putting wings on puppies. People like puppies, and the cuteness factor might soften them up a bit to the idea of putting wings on people. :eyebrow:

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I for one welcome our winged, water-breathing overlords! :eek:

 

But genetic manipulation is not evolution, is it? Maybe this is just semantics but it seems to me that when you start talking about shaping our biological future by design then you're talking about a completely different thing from the randomly-developed process of evolution.

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But genetic manipulation is not evolution, is it? Maybe this is just semantics but it seems to me that when you start talking about shaping our biological future by design then you're talking about a completely different thing from the randomly-developed process of evolution.

 

Well, we'd still make some organisms that were better suited to survival than others, and there are a few that just would die right off, hence are being selected against. The thing is, we'd be taking much of the "natural" out of natural selection, and making it more artificial (such is the process we use when we select for cattle that have better meat yields or chickens with breasts that are grotesquely larger than they should be, or seedless grapes, even). Regardless if the selection happening is natural or artificial, though, evolution still occurs, as the organism is changing over time.

 

That is, of course, unless we hit upon a recipe we like and we start cloning them. However, even then we'd need to ensure error free cloning methods to avoid evolution and change. Also, we'd need to make them sterile to avoid evolution (lock up the ability to reproduce into the lab).

Edited by iNow
multiple post merged

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I think we're still evolving, though not naturally and not in ways that are particularly desirable. There's quite a risk for instance that birth without caesarian section might become impossible for a large proportion of women.

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One reason for humans not evolving is that our cultural evolution is extremely fast and there are no selection pressures or there is no pressure to evolve. But if cultural evolution fails to eliminate the pressures then biological evolution will come into the picture. This is what happened with HIV, our cultural evolution failed to find a vaccine for HIV so our biological evolution came into act and selected those individuals which carry two copies of the mutant CCR5 gene who are completely immune to HIV.

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One reason for humans not evolving is that...

...is that we are, in fact, evolving. :doh:

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But genetic manipulation is not evolution, is it? Maybe this is just semantics but it seems to me that when you start talking about shaping our biological future by design then you're talking about a completely different thing from the randomly-developed process of evolution.

 

It would still be evolution, just not evolution via random mutations and natural selection.

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Evolution is effectively just the changing frequency of alleles in a gene pool over time. What forces drive that change is another matter, whether it be a stochastic process of genetic drift or direct constraining negative selection is another matter. People often think humans are some sort of pinnacle of evolution, or that we are no longer evolving. We split onto the homo genus lineage from our LCA with chimpanzees some 5-10 million years ago, anatomically modern homo sapiens has probably only been around for last 200,000 years, bugger all in the grand scheme of things.

 

It is also worth noting that we are still evolving, particularly at the genetic level, lots of funky stuff going on there in terms of variation. The only things that have changed are the types of selection pressure.

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