Are We Evolving ... Poorly?
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31-03-2012, 07:17 PM
Are We Evolving ... Poorly?
I was walking in the rain today watching people be... people and it got me to thinking.

When I talk to people and evolution happens to come up I tend to become flabbergasted at the lack of basic understanding associated with evolution. I don't get it, but whatever it's currently besides the point. I don't even have a full understanding of the subject so I can't hate people for their lack of knowledge.
Still it bothers me when they assume evolution means "for the better", this isn't always necessarily true. Sometimes evolution begins as a mistake that accidentally benefits the thing with the mistake. Sometimes things evolve because something seems to benefit them but later on doesn't, making the changes more of a hindrance. (also I apparently didn't know how to spell hindrance)

This is where I can't help but think humans are headed. We keep changing sure, but for the better? Maybe for now, but in the future? What will we abandon for the things we gain?

One human attribute that seems to be falling by the wayside is physical fitness, an aptitude for physical activity. People get larger, in fat content. Kids are more frail, but technology smart. This benefits them now in a technology prevalent world, where it seems that the direction we are taking is one free from strenuous activity and more in lines with the lazy world of scooter people envisioned in Wall-E. Being tech savvy is a bonus.

In that world.

But what are we sacrificing to gain these insanely fast thumbs and screen staring endurance muscles?

It seems as though we are sacrificing a lot. Social tendencies are fast disappearing in favor of pseudo sociability such as this forum and the evil Facebook of evilness. Text conversations far outnumber the amount of actual voice communicated phone conversations these days (IMO) and spelling skills are practically non existent.
Our spines are all becoming large C shaped disasters from constant chair sitting, and our diapers aren't changed often enough.

What would happen to tomorrows people if everything changed for them. Would they quickly adapt like in Wall-E, or would they die? I think they are most likely to die due to physical limitations. We may mentally adapt quickly but physically we are poorly made and slow to change. Just ask anyone who genuinely works out at a gym.
If the next hundred years or so has humanity change into tech obsessed fatsos with weak spines and useless legs, who wheel around in scooters barely strong enough to haul their excessive weight... and then something changes. Something comes to make technology less useful and labor more useful to survival like a robot insurrection... humanity would die.

SO what are we evolving into? Is it for the betterment of our species or should we maybe take a step back and become more in control of our future as a species? We can't even do it for our planet unless it's cost efficient so can we do it for people who we will never see?

"I think of myself as an intelligent, sensitive human being with the soul of a clown which always forces me to blow it at the most important moments." -Jim Morrison
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31-03-2012, 07:37 PM
RE: Are We Evolving ... Poorly?
We wouldn't die, we would adapt.

There would always be those who by genetics, chance, or choice still retained a degree of physical fitness. They would have the upper hand in surviving and reproducing. Evolution would continue.

Considering the sheer number of people on the planet, how widespread we are and the diversity of lifestyles, it would take a cataclysmic event to kill all of us. The few that were left would just carry on, like I said, evolution would continue.

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Ferdinand: We don't really say 'theist' in Alabama. Here, you're either a Christian, or you're from Afghanistan and we fucking hate you.
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31-03-2012, 07:42 PM
RE: Are We Evolving ... Poorly?
(31-03-2012 07:17 PM)lucradis Wrote:  One human attribute that seems to be falling by the wayside is physical fitness, an aptitude for physical activity. People get larger, in fat content. Kids are more frail, but technology smart. This benefits them now in a technology prevalent world, where it seems that the direction we are taking is one free from strenuous activity and more in lines with the lazy world of scooter people envisioned in Wall-E. Being tech savvy is a bonus.

What would happen to tomorrows people if everything changed for them. Would they quickly adapt like in Wall-E, or would they die? I think they are most likely to die due to physical limitations. We may mentally adapt quickly but physically we are poorly made and slow to change. Just ask anyone who genuinely works out at a gym.
If the next hundred years or so has humanity change into tech obsessed fatsos with weak spines and useless legs, who wheel around in scooters barely strong enough to haul their excessive weight... and then something changes. Something comes to make technology less useful and labor more useful to survival like a robot insurrection... humanity would die.
Oh come up. Buck up. Tongue Ever read Ray Kurzweil's "The Singularity is Near". (On of THE best books ever !). In 100 years, our iPods will be implanted, and the genetic keys to obesity will be unlocked. Yeah, you are right about the fatso thing, but that's not everyone. What was the life expectancy 100 years ago ? Things change too slowly to notice, but in 100 years , human life expectancy has more than doubled. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Life_expectancy

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31-03-2012, 07:47 PM
RE: Are We Evolving ... Poorly?
You're assuming that our numbers would be good enough.

Pretend if you will that no major wars or huge economic events happen and that all of the downtrodden countries in the world eventually get up to speed with the rest. Let's even say that for whatever reasons we all become rather peaceful.

Technology advances to the point where no work is manual. Hell even now we are too lazy to manually type facebook updates hence SIRI. How many people in a world of lets say 12 billion, would be adapted in a more physical way? Enough to overcome any event and reproduce quickly enough to keep humanity alive? And would these people who for some reason haven't developed in more of technology conducive way, be smart enough to survive, let alone smart enough to survive in a world they had never experienced?

"I think of myself as an intelligent, sensitive human being with the soul of a clown which always forces me to blow it at the most important moments." -Jim Morrison
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31-03-2012, 07:54 PM
RE: Are We Evolving ... Poorly?
(31-03-2012 07:47 PM)lucradis Wrote:  You're assuming that our numbers would be good enough.

Pretend if you will that no major wars or huge economic events happen and that all of the downtrodden countries in the world eventually get up to speed with the rest. Let's even say that for whatever reasons we all become rather peaceful.

Technology advances to the point where no work is manual. Hell even now we are too lazy to manually type facebook updates hence SIRI. How many people in a world of lets say 12 billion, would be adapted in a more physical way? Enough to overcome any event and reproduce quickly enough to keep humanity alive? And would these people who for some reason haven't developed in more of technology conducive way, be smart enough to survive, let alone smart enough to survive in a world they had never experienced?
They'd have a good chance. People can be more resourceful than you'd think. I recently read about the last Japanese soldiers to lay down their arms after WW2. Some of them survived in the jungle for decades, making their own clothes, catching their own food, building their own shelters despite little or no prior experience.

If they can accomplish that who says that out of 12 billion people there wouldn't be enough people resourceful enough to continue the species? Also remember that you wouldn't even need to be resourceful to survive, you would only need to find someone resourceful and learn from them. I could even imagine whole communities building around a few people who teach the rest how to survive.

Best and worst of Ferdinand .....
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Ferdinand: We don't really say 'theist' in Alabama. Here, you're either a Christian, or you're from Afghanistan and we fucking hate you.
Worst
Ferdinand: Everyone from British is so, like, fucking retarded.
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31-03-2012, 07:54 PM
RE: Are We Evolving ... Poorly?
In the biological meaning of evolution, we have slowed down our evolution a long time ago, we almost stopped actually as we're no longer adapting to the environment but adapting the environment to ourselves instead.
Our way of living is a very different thing, and those things change one or twice every century so I wouldn't be worried that we'll be fat nerds any time soon Big Grin

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31-03-2012, 08:10 PM
RE: Are We Evolving ... Poorly?
(31-03-2012 07:54 PM)nach_in Wrote:  In the biological meaning of evolution, we have slowed down our evolution a long time ago, we almost stopped actually as we're no longer adapting to the environment but adapting the environment to ourselves instead.
Our way of living is a very different thing, and those things change one or twice every century so I wouldn't be worried that we'll be fat nerds any time soon Big Grin
Great point. In the modern world survival of the fittest no longer applies as the most able to survive support the less able through welfare, the less able aren't left to die. In fact I would think lower income families quite often have more children, if anything we are devolving on that front.

The way we are could still evolve is through sexual selection. Females looking for particular traits in males (and vice-versa), though I'm not sure how much of an affect this is having.

Another point is that changes in our physical appearance may not actually be evolution (where's The Bearded Dude when you need him Big Grin). We may be fatter on average then previous generations but it may not be a genetic trait, more a cultural one. I don't know whether people are being inadvertently selected for being more able to easily gain weight.

Best and worst of Ferdinand .....
Best
Ferdinand: We don't really say 'theist' in Alabama. Here, you're either a Christian, or you're from Afghanistan and we fucking hate you.
Worst
Ferdinand: Everyone from British is so, like, fucking retarded.
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31-03-2012, 08:12 PM
RE: Are We Evolving ... Poorly?
Hughsie took the words out of my mouth.
We are still evolving... those with intelligence / insight that secures financial advantage or the ability to afford plastic surgery / no intolerance to silicon have a breeding advantage. Having fast thumbs and the ability to stay up all night in chat rooms is not a breeding advantage whereas knowledge of and access to Rohypnol is!
It would take a cataclysmic event e.g. something that changes the global temperature, to wipe us all out but the process of evolution will continue as long as the atomic building blocks survive.
An event like the oil running out will actually be a benefit because the virtual world will disappear and the IRL world, where some people actually have sex, I believe, will be the only world.
But can I point out the flaw in the argument of the people you are talking to... "for the better" implies that there is a target / objective / goal that evolution is aiming towards.
I'm sure you see the problem with this and I think this is the difficulty that religious types have with evolution because they have a need for purpose for human life: an objective state of perfection they think we should be aiming for.
This state of perfection when personified is their god.

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31-03-2012, 08:55 PM
RE: Are We Evolving ... Poorly?
I agree that for the better implies more than what it is. But for the better to me means for the better survivability of the species.

We are adaptive to a point and yes we have come to the point where we make our environment adapt to us. But I believe we also adapt to our creation.

"I think of myself as an intelligent, sensitive human being with the soul of a clown which always forces me to blow it at the most important moments." -Jim Morrison
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31-03-2012, 11:11 PM
RE: Are We Evolving ... Poorly?
From a natural biological standpoint, we are now actually de-evolving due to modern society. We use modern medical technology to artificially keep alive those with weaker physical traits and genetic defects that otherwise would have died before having the chance to reproduce, and then we cycle their genes back into our general population.

If mankind is to advance, it will be through artificial means. While I don't necessarily agree with everything he says, go read Ray Kurzweil for more on the subject. We will have to decode our genes and improve upon ourselves.

You can have all sorts of moral arguments about it, but regardless, it's coming, and MUCH faster than most of you think. In fact, I think this technology will come upon society so fast the repercussions will be over and done with before we even have a chance to debate it.
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