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Human evolution has stalled

By gndn in Op-Ed
Fri May 04, 2007 at 12:00:00 PM EST
Tags: (all tags)

Recently, a polar bear cub was rejected by its mother in a German zoo. Had this happened in the wild, the cub would have been left to fend for itself, and would quite likely have died. In this case, however, zookeepers decided to care for the cub by hand, a decision which has ironically prompted outrage from at least one animal rights group, who have suggested that it would be more humane to kill the cub, rather than allow it to become dependent on humans for its entire life.

This is an interesting point, and one which has dark but intriguing ramifications when applied to certain other species - namely, homo sapiens. Artificially prolonging the lifespan of genetically inferior instances of the species runs counter to the purpose of evolution. It makes us all weaker.

Cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and a whole host of other medical conditions too numerous to mention here were all once fatal to humans. Many are now treatable to the point that sufferers can extend their lives well beyond what would be their natural lifespan otherwise. In many cases, this allows people to survive long enough to reproduce, thereby passing on their inferior genes to a new generation. Medicine has always been about helping the human condition, but in fact may be having the opposite effect in the long run - survival of the individual may not be as important in the grand scheme of things as survival of the species. Evolution itself encourages adaptive traits while weeding out maladaptive traits, but medicine (and in particular, modern medicine) bypasses this process and promotes the idea that each and every human life is of equal value, even though (from a strictly Darwinian viewpoint) this is palpably false.

The idea of a mother abandoning an unwanted offspring is hardly exclusive to polar bears - certain ancient human cultures also abandoned their young if they did not pass muster. Modern, politically-correct thinking screams that this is morally abhorrent, and yet those same ancient cultures are revered for their strength and their bravery. Were the Spartans strong despite their cruelty towards their own children, or because of it?

For untold millenia, natural selection has directed the evolution of life on this planet, gradually from simple primordial goo into more complex life forms. We know empirically that this process can be wildly successful, because that process has in fact produced us - we claim with some arrogance to be the most intelligent species to ever have walked the Earth, but are we intelligent enough to interfere with the very process that produced us?

Our modern politically correct sensibilities strongly frown on the use of the word "inferior" in reference to a fellow human being, even in cases where it is correct - the same evolutionary process that produced us also granted us a sense of compassion. Compassion is a virtue, to be sure, but it is also a weakness. We can't bring ourselves to destroy that which we find cute or cuddly, even in cases where we know such destruction is warranted, at least from a Darwinian viewpoint.

Human evolution has stalled because we have developed the means to sustain lives that would otherwise be lost, thereby granting reproductive abilities to those who arguably should not have them. As a species, we would be stronger in the long run if this were not the case, even if it meant doing harm in the short run. Of course, this idea is nothing new. There have been several disastrous attempts to interfere with the evolutionary process in what were perceived to be "positive" ways, and our modern timid, politically correct way of thinking stems in large part from those failures.

I believe that society currently holds two contradictory views:

  1. It is wrong to attempt to create better humans through selective breeding, forced sterilization, genetic manipulation, or any other form of eugenics. (We should not play god).
  2. Genetically inferior humans who would surely die if left to fend for themselves should be given whatever aid they need to survive, and should have the right to reproduce if they so choose. (We should play god).
I submit that the process of natural selection as outlined by Darwin should be respected, if for no other reason than that our knowledge of it is still in a very primitive stage. The ancient Spartans were on to something - life should be considered a privilege, one which must be earned. Anyone who argues that this is unfair or unnatural should be forced to watch animals eat each other on the nature channel for a few hours.

The fundamental question which needs answering is this: is it better to use our technology to help the lives of a few at perhaps the long-term expense of the many, or should we allow natural selection to take its course for the betterment of the species as a whole? Given our spiraling population, coupled with the finite amount of food and other precious resources on our planet, I believe an increase in the level of competition among humans is in order. Let the fittest survive.


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Survival of the fittest
o No! Everyone deserves to live and reproduce, regardless of their physical and/or mental condition. 21%
o Yes - the human race needs a culling to rid us of the useless eaters. 59%
o I am a religious nutcase and/or I don't accept the premise of evolution. 18%

Votes: 37
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o polar bear cub
o suggested
o helping
o modern medicine
o abandoned their young
o revered
o natural selection
o cases
o correct
o cute or cuddly
o nothing new
o disastrous
o play god
o Also by gndn

Display: Sort:
Human evolution has stalled | 118 comments (112 topical, 6 editorial, 0 hidden)
david hasselhoff (2.16 / 12) (#1)
by werehouse eatin ur inventory on Fri May 04, 2007 at 04:27:09 PM EST

We oppose the idea to have the fittest survive (2.83 / 12) (#2)
by United Fools on Fri May 04, 2007 at 04:27:20 PM EST

We are not animals!

We are united, we are fools, and we are America!
Evolution goes on anyway (3.00 / 6) (#4)
by vadim on Fri May 04, 2007 at 04:36:26 PM EST

Yes, we can keep people from dying who wouldn't have any hope of surviving otherwise, but lethal mutations still kill and are weeded out. We might have lessened the effect of health, but we haven't eliminated it yet.

One popular misconception of evolution is that it's a process that makes life forms progress towards perfection: a beautiful, perfect, defect-less lifeform. It's not that. Evolution simply keeps genes that help you reproduce, and kills off the ones that inhibit it.

We might have got to the point where things like bad sight are nearly irrelevant, but there are still lots of things that are a big advantage or hindrance when it comes to reproduction, and that's all evolution cares about anyway.
<@chani> I *cannot* remember names. but I did memorize 214 digits of pi once.

Evolutionary change (none / 0) (#91)
by greenisagoodcolor on Wed May 09, 2007 at 12:58:27 PM EST

"Evolution simply keeps genes that help you reproduce, and kills off the ones that inhibit it."

Although we are the species currently at the pinnacle of evolution on earth currently, what will be the dominant species in 10 thousand, or million years? Will ape based life forms be around? Or would  some other species evolve sentience - leopards, dolphins, boars, trees?

Evolution continues whether we are around preventing everyone from dying or nourishing the disabled.

[ Parent ]

Planitary inheritance. (none / 0) (#93)
by ShiftyStoner on Wed May 09, 2007 at 07:31:46 PM EST

I'd guess that a species of rodent or insect would be the next to develope hightened comunication abilities, records, individual and colective spawned advancments in thought and colective eficiancy.

Ants afterall are the only other known species capable of farming, enslaving, and war.

Rodents resemble the habits of humans in their apreciation for objects and meterials that lack use. It resembls an atraction to beads or gold. A route to curency in my opinion. Also, they seek dens to inhabit much like a modern hobo or ancient/less civilized person.

Or make there own den. They consider population, safety, proximaty to water and favored food. They have tactics, escape routs within escape routs. Psychology certainly holds some ground in their evasive monovering. Were raw emotions might run them straight away. They may instead flee right behind the preditator and watch them futily search the desired percieved escape location.

Holes in walls, holes in the ground, trees, etc.

These species are relativley inovative.  

This is only bizare in the asumption that the insectual mind is not a mind at all and incapable of being one. A wide variety of developed behaviors prove otherwise. Also in the assumption the the size of the brain dicates the maximum capacity of such brain.

Giants didn't inherate the earth, at the time relativly small mamals did. Arguably the mind of a mouse or pig outwieghs that of an elaphant. Once again resources are lacking and our consumption needs are doing us under. Coincidently, once again in an age plagued by natural disasters and impending astronomical doom. Once again, and as before, entire species are droping like flies.
( @ )'( @ ) The broad masses of a population are more amenable to the appeal of rhetoric than to any other force. - Adolf Hitler
[ Parent ]

pinnacle? (none / 1) (#117)
by Wain on Wed Jun 06, 2007 at 01:50:16 PM EST

by whose standards?  Why not insects?

[ Parent ]
So if we don't evolve to a 'more perfect' species (none / 0) (#111)
by harrytuttle777 on Wed May 23, 2007 at 02:06:09 PM EST

does this mean we devolve to a less perfect species like ohh say cock-roaches.  Cock-roaches, and rats know how to breed.  Maybe this is what the future holds for us.  

It is politically incorrect to say one person or race is better then the other, so, maybe one day it will be incorrect to say, cockroaches are 'inferior' to people.
-Fixing Air Conditioners since '73
[ Parent ]

I don't disagree with the premise (3.00 / 4) (#5)
by QuantumFoam on Fri May 04, 2007 at 04:38:02 PM EST

But consider that it's much more likely to go the other way. Designer babies, a la Gattaca, are a very real possibility. In a few generations, everyone will be Aryan. This presents the problem of having a monoculture, where a random mutation of a pathogen could wipe out the vast majority of humanity like Irish potatoes.

I mean, a century ago, a guy with multiple sclerosis would have died earlier, but what are the odds of someone with MS today passing on their genes after the symptoms start to get bad?

As an asthmatic, if I'd lived a century ago I would have choked to death on my my own windpipe in my youth. But I might have also knocked someone up due the lack of contraception. To the best of my knowledge, my shitty genes have not been passed on. I wouldn't want to inflict my asthma and the other shit that's wrong with me on someone, so I'm not going to reproduce if I can help it.

Offtopic, but I've noticed a rise in the number of novelty shirts worn by people with serious disabilities. I saw a dude with MS wearing a shirt that said "RUN! It's contagious" and a blind guy with a shirt saying "I have a photographic memory, but I never got it developed".

- Barack Obama: Because it will work this time. Honest!

Designer babies won't stop evolution either (none / 1) (#7)
by vadim on Fri May 04, 2007 at 05:04:51 PM EST

Even assuming the case that you can have your child any way you want (I sorta expect to see furries in my lifetime ;-), I doubt we'd choose to have children not genetically related to us at all. More likely, a designer baby would have the parents' genes, with tweaks. You don't have to tweak every of your child's genes, after all (and it probably would be expensive).

Let's say Alice and Bob have a child, Carol, and decide that they want her to be physically perfect and very intelligent. Carol's intelligence might result in her becoming miserable and comitting suicide, or having a child of her own and passing those genes on. Maybe that intelligence will make her get obsessed about her work and decide not to have children.

The children won't necessarily choose the same tweaks as their parents. Some modifications would be very impractical and result in a premature death, and so on. I think evolution will go on until we start churning out exact copies of one unique template, and I doubt anybody will agree with that.
<@chani> I *cannot* remember names. but I did memorize 214 digits of pi once.
[ Parent ]

Well (none / 1) (#8)
by QuantumFoam on Fri May 04, 2007 at 05:16:29 PM EST

evolution won't stop. In the beginning, I'm sure they'll just overwrite the genes that cause really bad genetic illnesses like MS or Down's Syndrome. But eventually, such a service would offer blond kids, tall kids, smart kids, or whatever. I doubt that a unique solution would be in order for each embryo, so there would be a standard blond kid splice and a standard tall kid splice. And that standardized code tweak could be the vulnerability that screws things up.

I'm aware that genes aren't the only factor in the outcome of someone's life, and that the tweaks could have negative consequences, but naturally brewed hyperintelligent people are predisposed to suicide and obsession nowadays, I don't really see how the problem could be made worse.

But you sound like you know more of the issue than I do. At any rate, I think human evolution is kind of doomed to stagnate anyway since more intelligent people tend to have fewer children while trailer park sows pop out 12 before they die of a heart attack. Of course, that's still evolution at work, just not doing what I want it to do.

- Barack Obama: Because it will work this time. Honest!
[ Parent ]

Preach it, brother! (3.00 / 3) (#9)
by some nerd on Fri May 04, 2007 at 05:17:32 PM EST

I never intend to breed, in part because I don't want to inflict my -1 Cursed Genes of Failure on the offspring.

Home Sweet Home

[ Parent ]
I wouldn't have phrased it so colourfully (none / 1) (#10)
by gndn on Fri May 04, 2007 at 05:31:47 PM EST

but I feel the same way.

[ Parent ]
Well (none / 1) (#78)
by brain in a jar on Tue May 08, 2007 at 02:53:58 AM EST

The ting is, your asthma genes may well not have resulted in asthma had you grown up in a "primitive" (whatever the hell that means) society with greater exposure to pathogens and parasites and less exposure to low level ozone and dust mite allergens.

There are no such things as "good genes" just genes which are good under certain conditions. E.g. in the modern world genes that increase your risk of anxiety and depression are probably not adaptive, the modern world is full of constant low level stressors and we get little exercise which makes things worse. But in a world full of sabre tooths which eat people, being of a more nervous disposition may have been more adaptive. Or there is the commonly stated case of having a single copy of the gene for sickle cell anaemia is protective against malaria and therefore adaptive in areas with bad malaria problems (in the absence of anti-malarial drugs).

Life is too important, to be taken entirely seriously.
[ Parent ]

It's not just the weak! (3.00 / 7) (#11)
by j1mmy on Fri May 04, 2007 at 05:41:12 PM EST

Think of how many people you know who could revert to the hunter-gatherer lifestyle and live a long life. Can you do that? Can any of us?

The vast, vast majority of humanity is as dependent on agriculture and transportation and housing and manufacturing and yes, even healthcare, to ensure our survival. It's not just the invalids "trumping" evolution; we all are.

You're assuming that "survival" only relates to survival in the wilderness, which is no longer the case. A more modern definition of survival would relate to the ability to function in our modern society.

We're still evolving in the sense that the most successful (by wealth, beauty, fame, etc.) members of our society are seeking eachother out for reproduction. This ensures an intermingling of genes suitable to carry on whatever those successful traits might be.

The greatest environmental influence modern humans face are other humans. We don't have to worry about predators or the weather or a diet restricted to whatever grows in our immediate climate. Our entire lives are defined by our interactions with others, with the "struggle" for survival reduced to a 9-5 job for most of us.

Evolution is still marching forward. It looks different for humans than other animals because we adapt our environments to us rather than the other way around. That doesn't stop us from changing as a species.

-1, author is remarkably confused... (3.00 / 9) (#12)
by debillitatus on Fri May 04, 2007 at 06:13:20 PM EST

about the meaning, and even the definition, of natural selection.

Damn you and your daily doubles, you brigand!

or rather (2.11 / 9) (#13)
by circletimessquare on Fri May 04, 2007 at 08:07:24 PM EST

human evolution has entered a new stage not previously shared by any other animal

genetic evolution has stopped, and memetic evolution has been created and is evolving with our development of complex language, using our brains as vessels for ideas, rather than our bodies vessels for genes

memetics being the transmission of ideas, rather than genetic code, for survival. we are trading ideas for survival through things like, gasp, the internet, newspapaper, radio, books, etc., rather than through sex and birth

and these ideas are competing for survival, just like genes do. political ideas, religious ideas, etc.

for example, in the middle east, perfectly genetically fit young men, before they can breed even, will blow themselves to smithereens for nationalistic/ tribal/ religious concepts. this is not very good for genetic evolution and survival. but perhaps it is very good for the evolution of memetics: the idea that one idea can attack and destroy another

it's not the end of human evolution, it's the birth of a new kind of evolution across the entire history of life, in our brains and our thoughts and our speech and our mass media

piles of books are not for kindling. they are for transmission of memetic code. you are just a vessel to hold ideas and mutate them, and transmit them

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

lol, that's rich. (2.00 / 2) (#20)
by WonderJoust on Sat May 05, 2007 at 07:28:02 AM EST

So because we choose to keep alive the walking-dead as an albatross to society, we've developed a new form of evolution?

I didn't know you had converted to transhumanism.

i like your style: bitter, without being a complete cunt about it.
-birds ate my face
[ Parent ]

genes don't matter anymore (1.66 / 3) (#28)
by circletimessquare on Sat May 05, 2007 at 04:26:52 PM EST

who cares if you can digest lactose or not

ideas matter now

what do you believe in

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

Well how about crippling genetic disease? (3.00 / 2) (#30)
by WonderJoust on Sat May 05, 2007 at 07:19:36 PM EST

Do you let the two 'tards down the street reproduce? They're not coming up with anything stellar I wouldn't imagine.

My problem is people becoming active social-leeches, totally incapable of taking care of themselves. How long do we let the Terry Schaivos of the world just hang around? (I know she didn't start off like that, but I couldn't think of a better vegetable)

The reason I'm such an advocate of forced natural selection is about 90% of the world's problem either stem from or indirectly relate to over-population and it's getting worse by the moment. The only real way to deal with it (currently) is to regulate birthing somehow. I agree in a culture where ideas dictate advancement in society, but then I watch some of the mindless bullshit people will back blindly (NeoCons, I'm looking at you) and all I want is them to stop breathing my air.

I'm an elitist prick and I'm ok with that.

i like your style: bitter, without being a complete cunt about it.
-birds ate my face
[ Parent ]

two words: stephen hawking (1.33 / 3) (#31)
by circletimessquare on Sat May 05, 2007 at 07:35:52 PM EST

i'm more inclined to let that "leach" breed than someone with your obvious blind hatred

in fact, let's take your own thinking to its logical conclusion: for the sake of the genetic health of our world, why don't we neuter anyone with sufficient hatred?

such as yourself?

fucking ignorant twat

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

Yea, Stephen Hawking is a genious. (none / 1) (#33)
by WonderJoust on Sat May 05, 2007 at 07:50:55 PM EST

But, realisticly, I am willing to sacrifice him to expunge the world of millions of social ticks.

And I don't hate them, I think the world would be better without. I feel no personal animosity towards them, they only minimally impact my day-to-day.

But go on, attack me personally so you don't actually have to defend your point. Because that's useful.

i like your style: bitter, without being a complete cunt about it.
-birds ate my face
[ Parent ]

hey man, you're attacking them (none / 1) (#34)
by circletimessquare on Sat May 05, 2007 at 08:16:33 PM EST

that's not useful

in today's age, the cost of their infirmary is less than the cost of your hate and ignorance

by the calculations you perform in your brain that renders them worthy of death or neuter, why can't we apply the same to you?

i'm not attacking you personally, i'm merely applying your logic to the situation: certain qualities about people you deem to be unworhty of life or the ability to breed

so who determines that?

i wouldn't make that determination at all, but i say this in dead seriousness:

if there were to be such a determination, that drooling brain dead downs syndrome kid, in my mind, is more derseving of life and procreation than the likes of you

i'm not in any way joking

your ignorance and hatred, in my mind, renders you fit for your own nazi programs

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

So what? (none / 0) (#35)
by WonderJoust on Sat May 05, 2007 at 08:37:34 PM EST

My disregard for your right to life makes me evil and horrible. Woopty-fuck.

And I think you're blind parading of invalids as valuable members of society is completely misguided.

Is that all we get to talk about now? It's not like this is new ground we're covering.

i like your style: bitter, without being a complete cunt about it.
-birds ate my face
[ Parent ]

the discussion needs a capstone (1.50 / 2) (#37)
by circletimessquare on Sat May 05, 2007 at 08:50:10 PM EST

and it is thus:

killing or neutering for the sake of genetic purity is retarded

therefore, whoever proposes the idea is really volunteering for the idea


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

LOLWHUT (none / 0) (#38)
by WonderJoust on Sat May 05, 2007 at 09:06:09 PM EST

i like your style: bitter, without being a complete cunt about it.
-birds ate my face
[ Parent ]

Wow. CTS reaffirms yet again. He's a moron. (1.66 / 3) (#43)
by The Amazing Idiot on Sat May 05, 2007 at 11:58:41 PM EST

---My disregard for your right to life makes me evil and horrible. Woopty-fuck.

There is NO right to life. There's a right for the investigation, and the right to go to prison if convicted. One can PURSUE the right to life.

then again, I do like the CTS democracy world we should all accept. We could just vote to have him killed by firing squad. That'd be entertaining.

---And I think you're blind parading of invalids as valuable members of society is completely misguided.

Hawking is a theoretical physicist. He has brought nothing of real importance to civilization, nor will he ever equal the resources that humanity has used to keep him alive.

---Is that all we get to talk about now? It's not like this is new ground we're covering.

But it's good flamebait to rile up the trolls like CTS and PunyHippo.

[ Parent ]

huh? (1.00 / 2) (#54)
by circletimessquare on Sun May 06, 2007 at 04:16:21 PM EST

i don't understand why you have a problem with anything i said. you're right, fundamentally, there is no right to life. the universe is an uncaring cold void. you just want me to forget this whole humanistic thing about caring for life and abide by the way of the cold dead universe. ok

well, first i'd like you to lead the way: stop caring about me or what i say, right? the universe doesn't care if i live or die, or you, or what i say, or you. you get pissed off i defy that. well, why do you care? why are oyu getting emotional? you're the one that wants to emulate the universe in cold impartial uncaring. so go for it

but if i ever see you post anything emotional again, i take it you can't take your own advice, and therefore you are full of shit. because if you get emotional, you care about SOMETHING. which means you have no right to get angry on your supposed rationale

you're just stupid

an amazing idiot


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

if nothing else (none / 0) (#100)
by suntzu on Sun May 13, 2007 at 05:00:13 PM EST

stephen hawking has contributed interesting revelations about the way the universe works.  that's really nice for some of us, so i'd prefer if people like you weren't judging what is and isn't of value to society, because obviously what we find valuable isn't exactly the same.

what exactly do you have to do to justify your existence?  and do you fit your own criteria of providing a positive net value after subtracting the resources that have gone into making you who you are?  if not, you should off yourself if you don't expect that to change by the time you're dead.  and please make sure to commit suicide in a way that requires as little of our world's precious resources as possible when we have to clean up the mess you've left.

anyway, this all misses the point, IMO.  even if your definition of greater good or a person's net value to society wasn't couched in a fuck load of unexplored assumptions, there's still this whole issue of whether it's morally right to make every decision based on it's expected net value for society in the long term (with "long term" being another rather nebulous concept).  this is why i'm not a utilitarian.

[ Parent ]

Do it your way (2.00 / 2) (#72)
by hatshepsut on Mon May 07, 2007 at 01:54:51 PM EST

You get to control what happens to your genes (you can breed or not as you choose), but the rest of us get to make our own decisions.

I have no problems with self-imposed eugenics, but the instant someone starts talking about imposing their idea of who deserves to live or be expunged, my freak-meter goes off.

[ Parent ]

Sustainability (none / 1) (#103)
by cdguru on Mon May 14, 2007 at 12:36:58 AM EST

If you think some kind of birth regulation is going to have any effect, you are way behind the current facts.  China tried this and even with a draconian Chinese-style implementation they didn't stop growth, much less shrinkage.

We're going to have to start culling people one way or another unless we decide to start getting resources from offworld.

Yes, there would be a lot of risks and a lot of people dying out there in space, but we could bypass the whole culling question.  The alternative is just to horrible to contemplate.  Unless you're an environmentalist.

[ Parent ]

the selfish meme (none / 1) (#69)
by vqp on Mon May 07, 2007 at 11:42:16 AM EST

Is the good ol' "God" meme itself who wants to multiply, using whatever vector finds suitable.

happiness = d(Reality - Expectations) / dt

[ Parent ]
I disagree for several reasons (3.00 / 2) (#14)
by khallow on Fri May 04, 2007 at 11:10:52 PM EST

First, what is meant by "genetically inferior" is highly subjective. Second, no one has practiced natural selection for a long time. Your example of Sparta is a case of eugenics not natural selection. Further, we're on the verge of germ line manipulation. That means we can rid the human race of undesired genes without resorting to inefficient natural selection. Finally, you incorrectly claim that there's a "contradiction" between the "two" viewpoints. I see both as minor variations of the same theme. Namely, that births are natural, everyone should have a chance to reproduce, and humans shouldn't select for desired or against undesired characteristics.

Stating the obvious since 1969.

Well (2.33 / 3) (#15)
by Psychology Sucks on Fri May 04, 2007 at 11:39:45 PM EST

If you are male, would you rather be 1.9 meters tall or 1.6?  Would you rather have an attractive face (i.e. symmetrical and as close to the average of all male faces) or a hideous one?  Would you rather have a very high level of intelligence or a very low one?  Would you rather be physically strong or physically weak?  Would you rather have genes that make your immune system particularly strong to ward off cancer as you grow older?  

If you are female, would you rather be attractive or unattractive in the face?  Would you rather have a waist to hip ratio of 0.7 or a waist to hip ratio of 1.0?  Would you rather be very intelligent or not intelligent?  Would you rather have a strong genetic makeup that helps your immune system to prevent cancerous tumors?  

etc., etc., etc.

Are you telling me that having high levels of intelligence, being tall, beautiful, having a strong immune system, having genes for longetivity, etc., etc., etc. is not something that would make life at least more bearable and I would venture to say more enjoyable because of the side benefits of wealth and the direct benefits of health, a fuller life (due to intelligence), and longetivity?  We can't objectively say that certain traits ARE more desirable and make life better?

[ Parent ]

well, yes I am saying that (none / 1) (#16)
by khallow on Fri May 04, 2007 at 11:54:15 PM EST

Are you telling me that having high levels of intelligence, being tall, beautiful, having a strong immune system, having genes for longetivity, etc., etc., etc. is not something that would make life at least more bearable and I would venture to say more enjoyable because of the side benefits of wealth and the direct benefits of health, a fuller life (due to intelligence), and longetivity? We can't objectively say that certain traits ARE more desirable and make life better?

As I recall, high levels of intelligence are also often associated with various mental illnesses and genetic diseases. Second, being tall isn't an strict advantage. I actually prefer being average height (ie, 1.6 meters) because it means that everything is fitted for my size from car seats to doorways. Beauty is subjective even by the standards of the list you brought up. A strong immune system is nice, but it can also result in a greater occurance of autoimmune diseases. Having genes for longevity seems pretty good to me. I'd like that. But I can't help but note that there seem to be a lot of whiners that angst over living too long. They can have the shorter life genes that they apparently want.

Stating the obvious since 1969.
[ Parent ]

very wise (none / 1) (#40)
by livus on Sat May 05, 2007 at 11:06:54 PM EST

tall people are discriminated against.

If tall men do make more money like Psychology Sucks feverishly imagines, it all evens out anyway because big clothes and size 15 shoes usually cost more.

HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

[ Parent ]

It is not imagined (3.00 / 3) (#52)
by Psychology Sucks on Sun May 06, 2007 at 02:28:44 PM EST

You must not keep up on the literature.  There are multiple studies confirming that tall people DO make more money, at least tall males (and each additional inch adds an additional significant amount of money to the median yearly salary).

It's not "imagined".  Your comment about size 15 shoes is ridiculous.  A 6 foot 2 inch male is very unlikely to require shoes even remotely as large, and will generally be able to buy all of his clothes at a typical store.

[ Parent ]

you just corroborated my story (none / 1) (#62)
by livus on Sun May 06, 2007 at 08:29:35 PM EST

 See what I mean - even you (a guy with a huge hard-on for tall men) only fetishise tall men with small feet and you dismiss the need for a size 15 shoe as "ridiculous".

Meanwhile, a 6'4" man of roughly these proportions takes a US14-15 shoe. I think such a man should be more attractive than your ideal man.

(Holy shit!! I made this call based on the suspicion that the people I'm thinking of (whose shoe size is known to me) have vitruvian proportions, then when I ran the numbers just now, it turns out I was right!)

That reminds me, a while back I saw the Zagorsky findings and thought of you. Variously reported as:
 You Dont Have To Be Smart To Be Rich,
A Wealth of Smarts Does Not Guarantee Actual Wealth,
Smarter People Are No Better Off,
and even as IQ Has Nothing To Do With Wealth, depending on what angle the publication is going for.  

HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

[ Parent ]

6' 4" tall is 99th percentile (none / 1) (#66)
by Psychology Sucks on Mon May 07, 2007 at 02:33:20 AM EST

6' 3" tall is 97th percentile

Don't remember the rest (have the graph somewhere on my computer) but at least in the U.S. the vast majority of males are between 5' 8" and 5' 11" tall.  Anybody over 6' tall is in a small minority.

[ Parent ]

w00t. n (none / 0) (#67)
by livus on Mon May 07, 2007 at 04:43:15 AM EST

HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

[ Parent ]
I, too, am sick of having to pay more for (3.00 / 2) (#55)
by Elija on Sun May 06, 2007 at 05:57:08 PM EST

extra-large condoms.

[ Parent ]
boy does air travel suck $ (none / 1) (#59)
by skyknight on Sun May 06, 2007 at 06:35:41 PM EST

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
Yawn. (3.00 / 10) (#17)
by Kasreyn on Sat May 05, 2007 at 01:01:13 AM EST

The fittest don't include freshman philosophy students, so I'm not sure you'd really want to execute your fine plan.

I don't know why people keep thinking technology is somehow against evolution. Nothing is against evolution; evolution is a natural process which is logically inevitable as long as resources are scarce and life-forms must compete. I don't see anyone claiming that scarcity or competition have vanished from the Earth; Q.E.D. evolution is still occurring in our species. It's merely that we have added culture and technology to the mix, and they are now the methods of our evolution. Just because they're not part of our physical bodies doesn't make any real difference to the process.
certain ancient human cultures also abandoned their young if they did not pass muster.
Please, please do yourself a favor and read some anthropology before you humiliate yourself in some irrevocable, public way. Almost every human society on Earth, to this day, continues to practise some form of infant negligence or active or passive infanticide. Whether it involves having the other women from the tribe put a plank over your belly and leap on it, or a sterile and risk-free visit to a clinic to have your uterus scraped out with a bit of stainless steel, it's done everywhere and no one is complaining but histrionic fools and thugs with ulterior motives.
Artificially prolonging the lifespan of genetically inferior instances of the species runs counter to the purpose of evolution. It makes us all weaker.
What sort of one-dimensional thinking is this? Is physical toughness and survivability the only factor you can imagine being selected for? How about the ability to live longer and thus provide better for offspring? How about technical achievements and cultural advances?

The evolution of our physical bodies may or may not have stalled. (If so, this would be a terrible shame, as our bodies include some seriously unfortunate structural compromises wrought by our rapid evolution of locomotion and brains.) Why should this matter, or even be any matter for surprise? Our technology makes us all more or less equally survivable now; evolution moves now to the selective preference of ideas, technologies, methods of thinking which lead to survivability for the species as a whole. This is the adolescence of our species. It's far too soon to do more than speculate on what we're going to turn into. I'd say it will involve a lot less selfishness and a lot less individuality; a solution to the prisoners' dilemma on a vast cultural scale.

"Extenuating circumstance to be mentioned on Judgement Day:
We never asked to be born in the first place."

R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
How do you function day to day? (none / 1) (#22)
by WonderJoust on Sat May 05, 2007 at 07:46:36 AM EST

Do you type with your eyes open?

How many pints of ether did you huff before starting this?

So many questions, so little time.

Tech isn't AGAINST evolution, society is using it against evolution. It is prolonging the lives of those that would have otherwise perished. Take a long drive through East Texas and you'll see it firsthand.

And about killing children, the point is it's not compulsory to abandon defective offspring, it's voluntary. And if you choose not to, we've got 1,000 different government programs to keep your half-retarded, diseased contribution to society alive just long enough to fuck it's cousin without a rubber and continue to the process.

The point is not that anything has, stopped, stalled, held back of it's own accord. We, as a people, have forced it out and it might not be a horrible idea to re-incorporate some of it.

Honestly, I'm amazed that crippling genetic diseases are still prevalent in society. People willfully subject their children to the most horriffic shit because they feel they are entitled to pass on their legacy of illness. What the fuck is that?

i like your style: bitter, without being a complete cunt about it.
-birds ate my face
[ Parent ]

huh (3.00 / 2) (#42)
by livus on Sat May 05, 2007 at 11:24:43 PM EST

given he just pointed out that technology and culture are methods of evolution,

your saying "society is using it [technology] against evolution" in that context is the same as saying "society is using evolution against evolution".

You first have to argue for why you think technology and culture aren't part of human evolution.

Personally I'm of his opinion for precisely this reason - other animals use technology and culture (where culture = using your ancestors solutions to problems) to gain an evolutionary advantage.

The trouble with your way of thinking is that you assume "evolution" = a straight line up and it doesn't.

HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

[ Parent ]

Ok, I'll try again. (1.66 / 3) (#46)
by WonderJoust on Sun May 06, 2007 at 07:15:46 AM EST

We, as a society, are using technology to impede the progress of natural selection and we are suffering for it.

i like your style: bitter, without being a complete cunt about it.
-birds ate my face
[ Parent ]

You are also failing to understand... (3.00 / 2) (#58)
by debillitatus on Sun May 06, 2007 at 06:32:11 PM EST

The only point you're making is that the selection pressures on humans have changed from those which existed before civilization.  Sure, this is not controversial.

You are confused and think that the point you're making is that there no longer are selection pressures, but you're just plain wrong.

Damn you and your daily doubles, you brigand!
[ Parent ]

excellent response $ (none / 0) (#57)
by debillitatus on Sun May 06, 2007 at 06:29:39 PM EST

Damn you and your daily doubles, you brigand!
[ Parent ]

I believe in survival of the fittest (3.00 / 5) (#18)
by Liar on Sat May 05, 2007 at 01:48:42 AM EST

But Mother Nature decides who survives, not us.

The ancient Spartans may have been on to something, but know this: by the time Alexander the Great came around to conquering Sparta, he had no difficulty. Thebes was a bigger problem. The actual population of Sparta was tiny and dwindling because of their social restraints on marriage and children.

I admit I'm a Liar. That's why you can trust me.
HAWKING (2.71 / 7) (#19)
by A Bore on Sat May 05, 2007 at 07:07:35 AM EST


well we all know which camp you're in (3.00 / 6) (#23)
by GhostOfTiber on Sat May 05, 2007 at 10:10:01 AM EST

unless you clicked submit and promptly killed yourself, we know you're a disgusting polar bear hater

[Nimey's] wife's ass is my cocksheath. - undermyne

Try looking at the whole picture. (2.85 / 7) (#24)
by skyknight on Sat May 05, 2007 at 10:33:27 AM EST

In the exponential curve of technological progression, we are now entering the knee of the curve. All of the rules are changing very quickly.

Evolution operates both through huge leaps and incremental refinement over very long periods of time. Modern medicine, depending on your definition of "modern", represents an extremely recent phenomenon, having been around on the order of decades or centuries. It's hard to think of something so new wrecking something that operates on such long time horizons. At best you might argue that it is undoing the labors of evolution.

Natural selection has no real goal. It is just a pressure exerted on organisms that causes them to adapt toward what is necessary to survive in their current environment. There can be no notion of absolute "fitness", only fitness relative to a specific environment. Educational and financial factors are far more relevant in calculating a human's "fitness" in the context of modern civilization. The question, of course, is whether the selective pressure of what we connote today as "civilization" is steering us into a local maximum. It is true that a superlative software engineer might not fair so well if transplanted into the role of drill rig operator on a frozen asteroid. Better to craft robots for that task, though, a far more malleable medium than humans, than to embark on a bizarre course of eugenics.

Let's cut right to the heart of the matter. Biological evolution is obsolete. We have entered the age of technological evolution. Whereas biological evolution for humans occurs in a discrete fashion with roughly fifteen to forty years between generations and two contributors for each new creation, technological evolution occurs in a continuous fashion at a blinding clip with new creations often drawing from dozens, hundreds, or thousands of contributors.

Our biological heritage has carried us a long way, but it is rapidly approaching denouement. Hold onto your hat. Everything that you think you know is about to be turned on its head. If you insist on banging rocks together like an ape, you'll be left in the ash bin of history along with many other antediluvian notions.

So, look to the future. There, but for the grace of antibiotics I go, for pneumonia twice nearly brought me down in my youth. I'm fairly certain that the world is a better place for my existence, though assorted K5 personalities might assert the contrary.

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
I, too, want a pet polar bear. /nt (3.00 / 9) (#25)
by ksandstr on Sat May 05, 2007 at 11:12:29 AM EST

WTF? (2.75 / 4) (#26)
by hesk on Sat May 05, 2007 at 01:54:08 PM EST

Not sure if you're

  • a racist (killing inferior people)
  • an idiot (evolution: 3 billion years vs. modern medicine: 200, maybe 300 years; also, as somebody else has already pointed out, there is no objective fitness quality for evolution)
  • an asshole (life should be considered a privilege, one which must be earned -- i'd like to revoke your living privilege for this drivel, except that i believe in an inherent value to life itself).

Probably all three.  MTV-VTD

Sticking to the rules doesn't improve your safety, relying on the rules is

Also (3.00 / 2) (#27)
by hesk on Sat May 05, 2007 at 01:59:33 PM EST

Please tell me, how an infant can earn its right to life by any meaningful action it can deliberately make (not a lot none) vs. other criteria outside its control (eg. genetic disease).

Sticking to the rules doesn't improve your safety, relying on the rules is
Parent ]

Ok (3.00 / 2) (#29)
by levesque on Sat May 05, 2007 at 06:50:00 PM EST

Recently, a polar bear cub was rejected by its mother in a German zoo.

In this case the confines of the zoo environment was possibly the main reason the mother abandoned the cub, we can speculate but we can't know.

Had this happened in the wild, the cub would have been left to fend for itself, and would quite likely have died. In this case, however, zookeepers decided to care for the cub by hand

No this case is not "the wild", this case includes the zoo and its staff.

a decision which has ironically prompted outrage from at least one animal rights group, who have suggested that it would be more humane to kill the cub, rather than allow it to become dependent on humans for its entire life.

Zoo implies dependence on humans so how would killing the cub be more humane.

And how would the cub feel about being "dependent", if the only other option is death.

Artificially prolonging the lifespan of genetically inferior instances of the species runs counter to the purpose of evolution. It makes us all weaker.

Assumptions of ideal reference points scare me.

When the environment changes (always) a fit becomes an unfit and an unfit becomes a fit. How do we predict what demands the environment will make. How do we decide what unfitness we should cherish for the survival of the species.

You're trying too hard. (none / 0) (#32)
by WonderJoust on Sat May 05, 2007 at 07:40:59 PM EST

Nature got it right this far so who are we to intervene with technology?

If the cub came out vomiting blood once a month, would you keep it alive then? I mean, the costs in polar-bear blood would be immense, the tranfusions, the team of vets, but we can save it, so we should?

It's not a good analogy, I agree, but the point is how far does one's right to life extend? How many resources do we set aside to prolong the existence of those that can't care for themselves?

i like your style: bitter, without being a complete cunt about it.
-birds ate my face
[ Parent ]

My comment was a mess (none / 1) (#36)
by levesque on Sat May 05, 2007 at 08:47:05 PM EST

And the whole (human(wild(human(zoo(cub(wild))))) thing is a mess.

how far does one's right to life extend ? How many resources do we set aside to prolong the existence of those that can't care for themselves ?

I think we often do too little and we often do too much. It depends on some kind of consensus. Not sure why we seem so confused though.

[ Parent ]

i don't get this divide (3.00 / 2) (#102)
by suntzu on Sun May 13, 2007 at 07:00:57 PM EST

"Nature got it right this far so who are we to intervene with technology?"

i think that's the wrong way to look at it.  we're part of nature.  we're part of the process.  you can't circumvent evolution, you can only contribute to it.  evolution doesn't have a purpose (much less a goal that can be seen as superior to other goals).  it's a description of a process, and if you think you're outside of it, you need to get some perspective on this whole life thing.

[ Parent ]
yeah (3.00 / 2) (#41)
by livus on Sat May 05, 2007 at 11:18:36 PM EST

Let me tell you about my mother evolution.

HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

Stupid Poll (none / 0) (#44)
by cactus on Sun May 06, 2007 at 03:05:04 AM EST

For better or worse, we'll be at a point within a generation where we can arbitrarily modify DNA at will. In a sense, we've evolved past the need for evolution.
"Politics are the entertainment branch of Industry"
-- Frank Zappa
Don't forget eyeglasses (3.00 / 4) (#45)
by MichaelCrawford on Sun May 06, 2007 at 04:02:50 AM EST

With my astigmatism, I wouldn't be a very good shot with a bow and arrow. I wouldn't be able to feed myself. But thanks to my optometrist, I'm able to earn a good living as a computer programmer.

Looking for some free songs?

The real question, of course, is... (3.00 / 2) (#47)
by skyknight on Sun May 06, 2007 at 08:10:56 AM EST

How is your optics aided archery?

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
Bah (3.00 / 3) (#73)
by Liar on Mon May 07, 2007 at 01:58:17 PM EST

Bow and arrow! What a crutch. Unless you have claws, you shoulda been drowned at birth.

I admit I'm a Liar. That's why you can trust me.
[ Parent ]
we should play god (2.66 / 3) (#48)
by m a r c on Sun May 06, 2007 at 10:58:22 AM EST

Opposed to your idea of revoking to the more primitive version of natural selection, i believe we should play god. Some of the most gifted people in history had some form of defect or another, and without them, the world would be a lesser place. Physical fitness is not the only measure of fitness. Have you considered that someone who would be more fitter for our society might not be the most physically fit?

Given your first point about not playing god, i believe in the coming years this will dissolve. As soon as someone has the ability to choose a gentically enhanced child, the rest of the world will follow suit for fear of being left behind. When electronics and computers are able to merge with the human mind the same will happen, and those who don't adapt will again be left behind.

The form of evolution you describe is outdated and no longer relevant in a species that dictates its very surrounds. Our consciousness is the next level of evolution, and we will be led more by that than what is in our genes.

I got a dog and named him "Stay". Now, I go "Come here, Stay!". After a while, the dog went insane and wouldn't move at all.

I think the laws of chemistry have stalled (3.00 / 5) (#49)
by Big Sexxy Joe on Sun May 06, 2007 at 11:28:06 AM EST

...ever since the age of plastic.

Evolution is a descriptive law, not a descriptive law.  It is impossible to stop evolution.

Fitness means having more children who survive and have children.  Therefore, extremely promiscuous people are the most fit people in our society.

Also, anyone who's body invests in a strong immune system rather than becoming taller and more attractive is unfit.

I'm like Jesus, only better.
Democracy Now! - your daily, uncensored, corporate-free grassroots news hour

A = A, A != A? (2.66 / 3) (#51)
by xC0000005 on Sun May 06, 2007 at 01:22:35 PM EST

"Evolution is a descriptive law, not a descriptive law."


Voice of the Hive - Beekeeping and Bees for those who don't
[ Parent ]

I meant to say descriptive not prescriptive (3.00 / 3) (#60)
by Big Sexxy Joe on Sun May 06, 2007 at 07:09:45 PM EST

I.E. it's not a moral or legal guideline that we can defy with our actions.  It is simply a description of the world.

I'm like Jesus, only better.
Democracy Now! - your daily, uncensored, corporate-free grassroots news hour
[ Parent ]
Evolution Stalled... WHY DIDN'T ANYONE TELL ME?! (2.60 / 5) (#53)
by thefirelane on Sun May 06, 2007 at 03:53:27 PM EST

Wow, wait.. women have lost any selectivity and have unprotected sex with strangers at random? Why wasn't I told of this new hedonistic playground?

Either that, or you are wrong, just like everyone else who says such things.

Prube.com: Like K5, but with less point.
Stalled? I think not. (3.00 / 4) (#56)
by ksandstr on Sun May 06, 2007 at 06:02:05 PM EST

First, if human evolution had "stalled", no one would know. Reliable records only go back so far, and a lack of change over a period less than a handful of millennia is kind of hard to ascribe to a lack of evolution.

Second, evolution is not a feature of the organism being studied, but of the environment and its relationship to the organism. Long as the greater environment in which humanity exists doesn't become "stalled" (and I don't see how the natural world could become that way!), there's not a lot of chance that we'll see human evolution likewise coming to a standstill.

Third, selective breeding, known as eugenics in the early 1900s US, doesn't work that way. Ask someone who breeds dogs for instance, about what it takes to combine two breeds to get desirable properties from both in the offspring. Consider whether that'd be in line with what we call human dignity these days.

That we've learned to cure and/or otherwise manage disases and other sorts of calamity, and continue to develop such skills as a species, is just another way to evolve. Sort of like when certain types of blind crab make their nests with a kind of fish that warns them when predators are nearby. Rather than having a big ol' immune system of which most bits would sit idle 99.9% of the time, we've got a smaller immune system that can deal with most of the day-to-day bugs that come our way, and society and medicine for the rest. The obvious benefit is resources saved for, say, having a larger brain or something, rather than built-in cures for all bugs since 7000 BCE.

Like the crab, we've got outside help. Unlike the crab, our outside help is other people. That's gotta sting, eh? But sure, feel free to go all transhumanist on everybody. See you on the moon in fourty years, bub.


in developed countries (2.00 / 3) (#61)
by svampa on Sun May 06, 2007 at 08:13:23 PM EST

You are committing several errors:

  • You have missed that 70%-80% of human kind can't access to modern medicine.
  • As specie we are a social, that means that we join in groups, and the survival of the group is the survival of the specie. No matter if there are blind, week individuals, as group we have been successful, aren't we?, even too much.
  • Natural evolution is measured in hundreds or thousands of generations, five thousand years are nothing for human kind, we are not amoebas with several generations a day. Let alone 100 years of modern medicine.
  • We are submitted to natural selection, but nature is now different, we have changed it. Aren't beavers in nature because live in a self-built lake? The pressure has changed of side, now the beavers have to build better. We don't have to be stronger, or faster, but perhaps we have to be smarter, etc.
  • Eugenics has been practiced by old cultures with scarce resources, more than eugenics it was euthanasia, probably they were going to die anyway, in fact, several sane children were going to die as well. Eugenics in a modern civilization with plenty of resources is just an elite deciding who lives and who dies. They will always find excuses to not applying it to their own sons, finally you come out with an elite controlling lower class population. It is darwinism in the sense of a strong group is submitting the weaker group, not because they are removing bad gens from the pool.
  • If you select cows that produce more milk, you get more milk, but not better individuals more resistant to live in nature. Nazis got blonder and taller individuals, not more prepared individuals for survival. The better race is the one you get in the wilder. Mixture is the best
  • Do you want natural evolution? Let people live as much as they can. those who can't live even with modern medicine are those that nature has selected to die. Those who can live, increase populations and the pool of gens: The more people and the more different gens there are, the more probably we survive to a catastrophe. Once again, the better race is the one you get in the wilder.

    Stephen Hawking not only is a great physicist, he has had three children. He has passed his gens and his parent's gens to the next generation, and that's the most important from the evolution point of view. Every good gen that is passed to the next generation is good. Even if for sometime it is joint with a bad gen. If we can afford to feed people with genetic diseases we must do it, just to pass the other good gens to the next generation.

    Clearly natural selection (2.00 / 2) (#64)
    by Neo Orion Blastar on Mon May 07, 2007 at 12:48:51 AM EST

    meant that those who have the most offspring are more likely to carry on their genes to future generations. Those who do not reproduce the most offsprings have their genes die out.

    God, and many religions told their followers to be fruitful and multiply, which means that God and the religions understood what natural selection was all about. That continues to this day, as religious people have many children, while non-religious people choose abortions or lifestyles that do not allow them to have children. Eventually the religious people will overun the Earth from non-religious people.

    In the USA the Hispanic population keeps growing due to legal and illegal immigration and soon in 15 to 30 years will be the majority. Hispanic families have lots of children, and they are mostly Catholic or some other form of Christianity. Another population boom is from Asia and religious people leave their nation in Asia for the USA for religious freedoms for their Buddhism, Taoism, Confusiousism, etc. They also want to have lots of children as well. In the next thirty years the Asians and Hispanics will make up the majority of US Citizens and will, in turn, control the government.

    Same sex couples cannot reproduce like different sex couples can, so originally homosexuality lead to extinction. Something that has changed now due to science being able to use donor eggs and sperm and test tubes.

    Humankind has evolved to the point that it has evolved beyond following natural evolution anymore. No more natural evolution, what we have now is social evolution. We now have compassion to take care of the weaker human beings, and can save people from their own stupidity via medicine.

    Yet I think that allowing human beings to survive even if they have diseases will somehow advance human evolution to evolve beyond those diseases or help science and medicine find a cure for those diseases.

    Still natural evolution (2.50 / 2) (#68)
    by svampa on Mon May 07, 2007 at 10:29:51 AM EST

    We are too arrogant about the achievements of our society. We can still suffer famine as any other specie, die of diseases, of war (a natural consequece of overpopulation). From evolution point of vew, last fifty years are just a good season of abundance.

    Peleontologist say that the mean life of a genus is 4 millon years. Homo xxxx is on the earth less than 1.5 millon years, trilobites lived for 300 millons years. We can't boast of being a success yet, let alone say evolution is stalled.

    Every specie, when there is a sudden abundance of resources, expands until resources get exahusted, then there is a massive death and population gets stalled to a number.

    Thanks to technology (and cheap energy) we have a superabundance of resources, thus we are expanding. As individuals we can be rational, but as specie we are not different, no matter what birth controls try, we are expanding... until resources get exausted then...

    Evolution has still a lot to teach to human kind. Just wait and see... you or your grand-grand..grand-sons

    [ Parent ]
    ok, im bailing (none / 0) (#119)
    by cunt minded on Wed Jun 13, 2007 at 12:56:13 AM EST

    i cannot read all this text. thanks for all the fish, goodbye

    [ Parent ]
    I give you +1 fp for the topic (2.80 / 5) (#65)
    by racerx on Mon May 07, 2007 at 12:50:54 AM EST

    but you are mistaken in equating human survival with natural selection "fitness" (we are in the realm of cultural evolution now).

    Moreover, you are mistaken in equating "fitness" with a sort of individualist ability-to-survive in the jungle with a rambo knife and no meds.

    Peter Kropotkin wrote an interesting book about Mutual Aid: A Factor In Evolution (online at http://dwardmac.pitzer.edu/Anarchist_archives/kropotkin/mutaidcontents.html) and it talks about cooperation being a keystone of evolutionary success.

    Helping the so-called unfit to live makes us a better place to live, collectively.

    stupid deers (2.66 / 3) (#70)
    by vqp on Mon May 07, 2007 at 11:48:50 AM EST

    A side comment:
    Every time I see a dead dog or deer in the highway I think that somehow the "do not cross highways" gene won another battle. How long it will take to defeat the "jaywaking" gene?

    happiness = d(Reality - Expectations) / dt

    Pardon? (none / 1) (#71)
    by Sgt York on Mon May 07, 2007 at 01:07:10 PM EST

    survival of the individual may not be as important in the grand scheme of things as survival of the species
    may not be as important? Hell, the death of the individual is crucial to the survival of the species. Well, the evolution of the species.

    You have an overly simplistic view of evolution and natural selection, but you are essentially correct. There does need to be some artificial survival criteria, though (e.g., Hawkings).

    We can also improve the system. I actually had a sit down with a few guys at a conference a few years back and we hashed out a system for this, making kind of an artificial natural selection based on traits that are beneficial to society as a whole, using a breeding credit/sterilization scheme. It would never fly due to the whole Eugenics/Hitler thing, but it would make a fun "Modest Proposal" type article sometime.

    There is a reason for everything. Sometimes, that reason just sucks.

    life isn't zero sum (none / 1) (#74)
    by tert on Mon May 07, 2007 at 02:30:38 PM EST


    Why is it important that we continue to evolve? (none / 1) (#75)
    by meatsandwich on Mon May 07, 2007 at 02:32:34 PM EST

    You seem to suggest that it's important that we naturally evolve but don't explain why. It is modern sanitation, medicine, and technology that has allowed humans to live longer, reproduce more reliably, and dominate all other species. Yes, evolution got us to where we can take advantage of these achievements, but it's now a case of "thanks for that, we can take it from here". For humans natural evolution is irrelevant now, it's too slow and limiting, which in terms of ethics and direction is important.

    Technology has changed the playing field (3.00 / 3) (#76)
    by h3h on Mon May 07, 2007 at 06:14:24 PM EST

    I discuss precisely this subject in an article of mine where I reach the opposite conclusion: "the fittest" has been redefined by technology, so "survival of the fittest" has an entirely new meaning. To neglect that is to neglect all of our achievements in the last four thousand years as well as our technology-driven future.

    Read: Should We Really Help Other People?

    I didn't see this in the Q (2.00 / 2) (#77)
    by Cambria on Mon May 07, 2007 at 07:13:20 PM EST

    but an excellent topic and this + comments are an awesome read.

    You lack an understanding of evolution (3.00 / 7) (#79)
    by jessta on Tue May 08, 2007 at 03:28:40 AM EST

    Anyone that uses the pharse "Genetically inferior" obviously lack an understanding of evolution and therefore should not be writing articles about it.
    One can not be "Genetically inferior", one can only have attributes that are inferior for survival in the current environment.

    Evoultion is about adaption to an environment. A lifeform may lack the adaption for the current environment, but have adaptions specifically suited to another.

    A perfect example of this is Sickle cell anemia.
    Sickle cell anemia is a serious genetic condition in which the red blood cells can become sickle-shaped this cause cells to carry less oxygen which causes damage to the rest of the body. The interesting thing is that this provides protection against malaria. Which is why this 'disease' has surived as a successful survival atrribute in Africa.

    The idea that human evoultion has stalled is absurd. Evolution continues on, but the fact that we current have a population of 8 billion states that the current form is extremely good a survival in this current environment and therefore probably won't need any large visible changes.

    - Jesse McNelis

    A big steaming pile (2.85 / 7) (#80)
    by starX on Tue May 08, 2007 at 07:12:40 AM EST

    How can you stall a process that is, by its very definition, random and without unified goals? Random, man! Random genetic mutations may occasionally assist an organism in reproducing, and that's how the species changes. Period. There's no magic alien in the sky saying how it should be; evolution as a scientific theory doesn't conform to any lofty notions of "stalling." That smacks more of creationist clap trap to me.

    That 360 pound smelly man with high cholesterol, lung cancer, and 3 kids is more fit to survive than an in-shape 23 year old genius who bikes to work every day, but who also can't have children. The environment in which the organism survives determines which mutations are beneficial and which are not. Human evolution has continued for thousands of years, is very active right now, and will continue to be very active for as long as there are people.

    You're talking about eugenics; selective breeding and genetic engineering to conform to your own ideas of what is best for the race. That is short sighted and arrogant, and based more on voodoo and paranoia than it is on any science. You would have more appropriately titled this article "I Want to Create the Master Race."

    Now as penance, go read Origin of Species (I think you'll find it very accessible, Darwin wrote it for a popular audience), and any decent history of the first half of the twentieth century to see where idiocies like this will get you.

    "I like you starX, you disagree without sounding like a fanatic from a rock-solid point of view. Highfive." --WonderJoust

    We really need to reset the post floor. (2.83 / 6) (#81)
    by waxmop on Tue May 08, 2007 at 01:15:15 PM EST

    This article has a score of +11.

    If k5 were as selective as it used to be, this garbage article never would have made it out of the queue. Let the fittest survive indeed.
    "Return either with your TI-81 or upon it". nlscb

    evolution does not need your help (3.00 / 5) (#82)
    by Viliam Bur on Tue May 08, 2007 at 03:44:06 PM EST

    Evolution is something that happens. Whatever you do, you cannot help it, and you cannot stop it. You can only influence the direction it will go, but not whether or how fast it will go. Depending on the environment, "survival of the fittest" may mean survival of the physically fittest, of the most intelligent, of the biggest asshole, or whatever... but there will always be some selection. Selection in different societies may go to different direction... but which one is best? We do not know. We can only try, and then the nature will show us.

    Billions of years ago when the first animals went living out of water, it was a decision. Good one? Bad one? Well, they survived. And the others who stayed in the water, survived too. And some of them - like dolphins - have later changed their minds and returned to water again; and they survived too. So far it seems like all of these strategies were good, and all were supported by evolution.

    The same can happen to humans. We can evolve in different directions. We could even become different species... either after millions of years, or with some help of genetic engineering. But which one is more fittest? We do not know... until all members of some species will be killed -- either by members of other similar species, or by disease, or meteor strike. Until this happens, you cannot know who went the wrong way. Until a species dies completely, you cannot know for sure if they were evolutionary successful or not.

    Big evolutionary changes usually bring some dependence. When single-cell animals became multi-cell, they became dependent on reproduction on larger scale -- not only their cells had to reproduce by splitting, but the whole colony had to be re-built. When animals came out of water, they became dependent on bringing the water and minerals with them. They became dependent on drinking, and if they cannot find water, they die. They carry a storage of minerals in their bones, and have to keep a balance, otherwise they die. Larger brain capacity and ability to learn instead of acting purely automatically, brought another dependence -- the parents had to take care about children and teach them some behaviors. Then humans have developed their abilities and dependencies to large extremes... these days our survival may depend on technology, electricity, oil, etc. Still, this is nothing new; it is the progress in the same direction. New abilities bring dependencies. Only the nature will judge whether the advantages exceed the disadvantages.

    Maybe Spartans did not need medicine. So what? Wild animals do not need to grow food. Fish do not need to search for water. Compared with fish in ocean, any Spartan was very dependent on technology to help them survive. Evolution means being fit to the environment where you live. When environment changes dramatically, every organism will die. Of course the more dependent ones may dies sooner, with smaller changes. A fish without water will die just like modern people with serious diseases would die without medicine. Ill people with medicine are just as fit as fishes with water.

    Technology obsolesces evolution (none / 1) (#83)
    by GoneSouth on Tue May 08, 2007 at 10:52:52 PM EST

    Humanity no longer has any need for pokey old biological evolution. Old fashioned evolution takes millions of years to work. Over the course of only the past few thousand years (a blink of an eye in evolutionary terms), we have already developed tools, weapons, technologies that made us the dominant organisms on the planet. So much so that our only threat is ourselves.

    And that's just the tip of the iceberg. We are about to embark on a new golden age of technology enhanced hyper-evolution. We will soon (in a few hundred years) be able to custom engineer biological organisms, including ourselves, from the ground up. We will be able to seamlessly integrate organic and non-organic components, so that everyone can have a supercomputer with petabytes of storage wired directly into their brains. We will solve artificial intelligence and have robots that play chess better than the worlds best grandmaster, compose symphonies more complex than Mozart, and play football better than Maradona.

    Prepare to have your minds blown.

    Um. (none / 1) (#97)
    by NoMoreNicksLeft on Thu May 10, 2007 at 01:53:34 PM EST

    Evolution doesn't necessarily take that long at all. There are some models where speciation happens in the space of just a few generations, even less than a dozen.

    Do not look directly into laser with remaining good eye.
    [ Parent ]
    Cancer, heart disease, diabetes and a whole . . . (1.50 / 2) (#84)
    by xoloriib on Wed May 09, 2007 at 12:42:59 AM EST

    What you makes you sure that these aren't caused by modern medicine ?
    What if by keeping more people alive we are putting stress on ourselves and perpetuating a cycle of more diseases ?
    What causes us to evolve ? Stress ? Disease ? "Unsuitable" genes ?
    If anybody discovers a longevity gene will it be available to everybody or the chosen few ? Chosen by whom ? Chosen by those with the least "suitable" genes so they have some contribution to the future of the human race ?
    You are what you eat. Be careful of eating meat that's come from an animal pumped up by hormones - there's your cause of those diseases.

    Such ignorance breeds hatred (1.66 / 3) (#85)
    by jojotheking on Wed May 09, 2007 at 12:46:56 AM EST

    Evolution is enhanced by greater diversity. The fact that our population is increasing  means that our genetic diversity is increasing. Thus we are in fact able to wade in a deeper gene pool and enhance the probability of developing novell and beneficial genes. So evolution is not being stalled as stated.

    Next let me state that using darwanism and evolution to spread such propaganda and hate is just as ignorant as those people who refuse to believe in it in the first place. Anyone who takes a proper look at our world will see that humanity is shaped by our biology and society.

    Our society is weakened more by our flaws in morals than any genetic flaw. A man with a "perfect" genome is capable of being a Hitler and triggering a nuclear holocaust, so much for the enhancement of society. Might I also mention that Hitler believed the German race to be the best and superior race, and voila the Holocaust. So before you use evolution to trigger a wave of eugenic hatred consider that societal forces play a greater role in shaping the world.    


    wow lol @ this guy getting his nuts smacked (1.50 / 2) (#86)
    by br14n on Wed May 09, 2007 at 05:20:44 AM EST

    i haven't seen a spanking this harsh since last week at the elementary school playground

    i was doing the spanking or as i call it meting out justice

    Evolution is not restricted to this planet is it? (1.50 / 2) (#87)
    by RomBr on Wed May 09, 2007 at 08:02:41 AM EST

    Interesting, with some fair points, however, it is a narrow minded view of evolution restricted to this planet only.

    Our destiny is to colonize the stars and the NEW Evolution (technology, genetic engineering, etc) that is already happening will lead us that direction. We are playing GOD, if you believe, we were given this mission by Him. What do you think?

    see the movie Idiocracy(n/t) (none / 1) (#88)
    by cronian on Wed May 09, 2007 at 08:03:27 AM EST

    We perfect it; Congress kills it; They make it; We Import it; It must be anti-Americanism
    Evolution is the problem, not a solution! (3.00 / 4) (#89)
    by parabolis on Wed May 09, 2007 at 08:04:26 AM EST


    Let me put the balance of the benefit we can expect from evolution vs technology in terms that even someone as basely stupid as yourself can grasp; if the 102 story Empire State building represents the entire 4,600 million years of evolution then all 6,000 years of recorded history is merely the paint on the top floor's ceiling. In that miniscule span of time that is recorded history evolution has not made even the slightest contribution to humanity; on the other side of the balance is absolutely everything ever written by anybody -- a corpus which now sadly includes your own most recent scrawling.

    Of course evolution doesn't give you nothing for free! Of the staggeringly enormous affronts to humanity that mankind has inflicted on itself, evolution has again outmatched even mankind's proclivity for pain and suffering because suffering is the very fuel that evolution requires to get anywhere -- evolution itself is fundamentally predicated on twisting and distorting every living thing in countless ways until it happens to stumble on one that is actually "beneficial" after a span of such enormity that not only base idiots like yourself but everybody is at a loss to comprehend.

    It is my personal hope that humanity will cleanse itself of the most egregious vestigages of the truly horrific process of evolution in the next few decades. It is also my personal hope that if there are people a heartless bastard like yourself is fond of then as each one's twisting becomes unraveled to fuel evolution's engine you get a front row seat to witness their inevitable suffering and live on knowing this suffering is exactly what you are asking for now. It is finally my personal hope that for a moment you catch a glimpse of all those people who were twisted and broken throughout the vast entirety of evolution's killing spree.

    The thing you seem to be missing is that evolution is at heart a sadistic killing machine whose only redeeming quality was that it produced Homo sapiens who should be able to work out how to rewrite their own DNA to suit their desires without the need to brutally mutilate and savagely kill a countless sea of anything in the process. We will also be able to rewrite the DNA of anything else. When we can recreate life as we see fit then the competition is over; mankind won.

    Ergo we are Gods.

    Amazing double-think and logic defying (1.75 / 8) (#90)
    by mitzip on Wed May 09, 2007 at 12:53:28 PM EST

    It amazes me how many advocates of the belief in macro-evolution are so misinformed on the subject.
    Evolution is nothing more than an unsupported ill conceived theory of scientific racism that allows self-righteous monsters to use eugenics and condone murder.

    I would likely call the army of believers that support macro-evolution an idiot army, however, honestly that would be an unfair description. The reason for the number of unquestioning believers in macro-evolution is rather simple it seems. What other choice does a reasonable person have, but to believe in the fantastic evolution fairy tale, when the seemingly addictive need to continue living in one's sin, thus rejecting God and his gift, is above even reason and logic.

    This is where I would normally present my email address and invite the true believers in macro-evolution to a friendly debate, however, past experience has resulted in absolutely NO respondents. That is the reaction of "true believers", unwilling to hear anything contrary to their imaginations, akin to a cultist. The only alternative is that they are arrogant enough to believe that there is no information contrary to their beliefs, either is not very "scientific." Though, the prize is too great, the possibility of ONE soul saved from eternal damnation. I will continue my open invite to anyone wishing to debate the existence of macro-evolution.

    mitzip (a) tstg.org

    What kind of twisted thing is God? (2.66 / 3) (#92)
    by parabolis on Wed May 09, 2007 at 07:04:31 PM EST

    mitzip wrote:
    ...thus rejecting God and his gift...

    So what kind of twisted sentient thing is this God who would spend its time breaking little children the way evolution does? We can fix and forgive evolution because it was not intentional -- if God is torturing people for kicks then you can't forgive such malice.

    [ Parent ]
    hmmm (3.00 / 2) (#104)
    by khallow on Mon May 14, 2007 at 05:14:00 AM EST

    Just read your homepage, "Total Submission to God." I guess it was just a matter of time before Christianity and Islam (or Submission) started to consolidate. Well, as long as you don't get the urge to blow up unbelievers, then I'm cool with this.

    Stating the obvious since 1969.
    [ Parent ]

    I responded (none / 0) (#107)
    by jrincayc on Sun May 20, 2007 at 11:14:37 PM EST

    I responded to the friendly debate request.

    [ Parent ]
    Mitzip is reasonable (none / 0) (#112)
    by jrincayc on Mon May 28, 2007 at 03:50:32 PM EST

    The discussion I had with mitzip was reasonable and polite.  Don't bother trying to discuss evolution with him unless you understand it will.

    [ Parent ]
    s/will./well./ (nt) (none / 0) (#113)
    by jrincayc on Mon May 28, 2007 at 06:48:10 PM EST

    [ Parent ]
    Eternal Damnation Together (none / 1) (#116)
    by quetzalcokebottle on Sat Jun 02, 2007 at 03:02:33 AM EST

    From the forum rules post on tstg.org:

    This is a Forum for likeminded King James Only Bible believing Christians. If you are not one please find another forum. Thank you.

    Evidently saving that one soul isn't quite so important, not important enough that the effort can be made in public.  Did I just hear a cock crow?

    [ Parent ]

    Inferiorites (2.33 / 3) (#94)
    by Dev X on Wed May 09, 2007 at 09:11:44 PM EST

    You are an individual. Subject to the will of society. On some level or another all individuals of society acknowledge this. The vast majorety want to take advantage of all society has to offer in life extention, you are no exception.

    To be fair life extention would be eradicated all together to avoid this "playing god" dilema. Is this what you are sugjesting? Certainly twould not be you dictating who is worthy of reproduction or even life itself and who is not.

    In segregating the inferior where is the line between inferior and worthy. Is it elitism?

    Are we talking droping the bottom 1%? 10%? 90%? 99%? What curent percentile should eventualy hold supreme as the standard for human performance? By what standards are the inferior deemed inferior, inferior compared to who?

    How perfect a society are we looking for? Who is deemed gate keeper? These questions which lack an ideal answer are the problem.

    I to am disturbed by this perpetual disevolution. That's not the issue.

    I'd rather morbidly obese mentaly defective inferiorites bread like mormans than allow the state to determin the value of my life. Or yours.

    Or anyone elses. It's not the states place. After all only the state has this power to play god. I see their acts, acting as god, I do not like what I see.

    From what I have seen and see any time I lay an eye on it this governing force has no place in dictating a life liceance and neither does any other.

    While strength holds supreme love is a fact, so is the value of a life. Honor and morality hold first rank in my value system. I'd be at the other end of that war.

    Lost in Unlasting Infinity.

    French Prep school style (none / 1) (#101)
    by tetsuwan on Sun May 13, 2007 at 06:07:48 PM EST

    Drop the worst 5% every year.

    Njal's Saga: Just like Romeo & Juliet without the romance
    [ Parent ]

    Please explain your nature/culture binary (2.66 / 3) (#95)
    by Homburg on Thu May 10, 2007 at 02:56:26 AM EST

    Presumably you also think tigers should stop using their teeth, fish should stop using their gills, trees should stop using their chlorophyll. That's as much "interfering with natural selection" as is humans using their brains.

    Unscientific and illogical (3.00 / 3) (#96)
    by betasam on Thu May 10, 2007 at 08:00:04 AM EST

    Evolution as a process is far more complicated. The first principle for Evolution is that there are no boundaries drawn for what a species might evolve into. Evolution today seems to shoot like a random experiment, but it has been proved to be much more than that. (Ref: The Evolution Big Bang, Nat Geo, May 1995 [I might be wrong about the issue])

    Human beings rely heavily on what is termed as Memetic evolution (which does exist in other species including several Birds.) We also rely heavily on extrasomatic development (improvements created outside our biological structure.) Ants, Bees also rely heavily on the hive, it is almost a part of them. In the same way a Pace Maker, or even a Car that we drive becomes a part of us. This person is seriously mis-informed except, he/she can write a catchy title, "Human ** has stopped."

    Engineering and Construction techniques evolving from ancient times have been imbibed into daily practices. This is no different than birds having learnt to create nests. If we can preserve a "meme" as it is termed for so long, which did not exist before that construction technique, and drop certain memes (like killing newborns who are deformed - he's watching too much Frank Miller); I believe we've taken Evolution one step higher.
    -- "No Greater Friend, No Greater Enemy" - Lucius Cornelius Sulla

    Why do away with the weak? (none / 1) (#98)
    by nanobug on Thu May 10, 2007 at 02:56:45 PM EST

    Spending the time and money to integrate them into our society is not only morally sound, but will surely over time allow us to develop better and cheaper methods of doing so.

    And besides, somebody's got to be a janitor/garbage collector/etc.

    that sounded awful (3.00 / 2) (#99)
    by nanobug on Thu May 10, 2007 at 03:00:05 PM EST

    i don't mean we should spend the money so we can make them clean up after us.  that came out wrong.  what I mean is, we can't all be doctors and professors and programmers.  at the end of the day, we all rely on people like janitors, garbage collectors, housekeepers, restaurant workers and the like to make our lives easier and more productive.  if someone with down's syndrome can become a professor, more power to them, and I think it's a worthwhile cause to try and find more ways to make that a reality.  Everyone deserves a shot at a happy, healthy life. But even if they can't, they can always get a job as a janitor and contribute to society.

    [ Parent ]
    Good point, (none / 0) (#109)
    by levesque on Mon May 21, 2007 at 11:51:53 AM EST

    but this still hit me:

    Everyone deserves a shot at a happy, healthy life. But even if they can't, they can always get a job as a janitor and contribute to society.

    There are happy and healthy janitors.

    I think the usefulness/renumeration job scale is mainly bogus, but I find it hard to avoid assuming it.

    [ Parent ]

    Sure, many once fatal health problems (none / 1) (#105)
    by fortasse on Wed May 16, 2007 at 07:35:50 PM EST

    are treatable, but does everyone get that treatment?  Hell no.  Even in so called advanced western nations, not everyone gets decent medical care.  In USia, many do not have health insurance; therefore they only go to the doctor/dentist when they are in major pain.  And the rest of the world lives in such poverty that even clean water is hard to obtain.  So even by that argument, living conditions are still dismal, thus evolution has not stalled.

    Furthermore [I'm sure someone has already written this], evolution deals in millions of years.  These medical advances have been around for maybe 50 years.  At this stage there is no way to tell what overall effect they will have on evolution.

    Heredity and future technology (none / 0) (#106)
    by weeniewhite on Sat May 19, 2007 at 12:39:53 AM EST

     I have some mental problems that seems to be hereditary. For instance, I am psychotic and maybe a bit depressive, therefore I don't feel like I want to spread my genes.

     What might happen in a very long time is a complete control of genetics. That would be good to make super humans. But having a so high technology could be dangerous on other point. Being able to transform the parts of living cells also means : be able to transform somebody without him agreeing. But... This is an other subject.

    Stephen Hawkins /nt (none / 1) (#118)
    by spooky wookie on Wed Jun 06, 2007 at 07:05:23 PM EST

    False premise (3.00 / 2) (#120)
    by Morvael on Wed Jun 13, 2007 at 08:21:14 PM EST

    Natural selection IS taking it's course. There is NOTHING we can do to stop it. If our current course leads to our destruction, as you say, then that is natural selection at work. Darwin did not propose natural selection as something humans would implement, but as a law of nature. You might as well say that airplanes and spacecraft are running contrary to the laws of gravity!

    You admire the Spartans and their system? Nevermind the cruelty issue, they eventually lost because they had no unity with other cities. United empires usually beat 'competing' city states.

    You are taking for granted that physical optimization is the best step to take in evolution. There are two arguments against it.

    First, the mental aspects of humanity could very well be more important than the physical. I have glanced over the other posts and see that people have mentioned Stephen Hawking. He would have died in a more primitive, less compassionate society. He most certainly would have died in raw nature. I think many would agree that his physical weakness is outweighed by his mental power.

    Second, the compassion you deride is an aspect of humanties most important advantage, our ability to cooperate with each other. Given that we can now destory ourselves (gotta love technology), sacrificing physical optimization in order to increase our cooperation seems a good trade in consideration of ever looming threat of self destruction. What good is a disease free, genetically optimized race that then kills itself?

    evolution has no purpose. (none / 0) (#121)
    by thugsonfilm on Thu Jun 14, 2007 at 12:06:26 PM EST

    purposiveness is a post-hoc error in your analysis, not a state being observed.

    Evolution of Humans (none / 0) (#122)
    by SniperClops on Mon Jul 30, 2007 at 01:07:41 PM EST

    With genetic engineering we will soon be able to remove these inferior genes from the human genome making us stronger as a species. Keep in mind evolution dictates that the strong survive by adapting to their environment. We no longer do this, we adapt the environment to us.

    The one thing that differentiates us from the rest of the animal kingdom is our brain. Increasing the size and ability of the brain is the future of human evolution. Granted there are a lot of stupid people but smart people breed to creating even smarter people. I think this is our future.

    Human evolution has stalled | 118 comments (112 topical, 6 editorial, 0 hidden)
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