Are we impacting our own evolution?
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15-05-2014, 09:24 AM
Are we impacting our own evolution?
Evolutionary theory holds that traits which contribute to an increased likelihood of survival tend to persist. So, for example, the mutations in brain development that amounted to being "smarter" (not really the most precise word, but enough to make my point) helped humans to survive in the past and therefore, over time, brains became smarter overall.

But today, things are much different than they were in the past. For example, we have calculators and computers that do a lot of thinking for us; at least certain types of thinking. We have motor vehicles and bicycles so our legs aren't doing as much running or walking. We are more protected from harsh weather and other natural elements. We specifically take care of people with disabilities who in the past would have had to fend for themselves. We have tools such as eyeglasses, hearing aids, and prosthetics to make up for biological deficiencies. The hectic pace in much of today's world deprives us of needed sleep.

So I was wondering what people think. Is all of this going to impact our evolutionary development over time? If so, might that impact even be negative by making us weaker in many ways?

To go one step further, what's to stop another species on this planet from developing high intelligence much as we did? Some species are already leaning in that direction. There could come a day when we aren't the only species with advanced intelligence on this planet. If the above is making us weaker, it could be happening while other species are getting stronger through the same natural means that we originally did. That could have interesting implications for our future. Planet of the Apes anyone..? Blink

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15-05-2014, 09:54 AM
RE: Are we impacting our own evolution?
(15-05-2014 09:24 AM)Impulse Wrote:  Evolutionary theory holds that traits which contribute to an increased likelihood of survival tend to persist. So, for example, the mutations in brain development that amounted to being "smarter" (not really the most precise word, but enough to make my point) helped humans to survive in the past and therefore, over time, brains became smarter overall.

But today, things are much different than they were in the past. For example, we have calculators and computers that do a lot of thinking for us; at least certain types of thinking. We have motor vehicles and bicycles so our legs aren't doing as much running or walking. We are more protected from harsh weather and other natural elements. We specifically take care of people with disabilities who in the past would have had to fend for themselves. We have tools such as eyeglasses, hearing aids, and prosthetics to make up for biological deficiencies. The hectic pace in much of today's world deprives us of needed sleep.

So I was wondering what people think. Is all of this going to impact our evolutionary development over time? If so, might that impact even be negative by making us weaker in many ways?

To go one step further, what's to stop another species on this planet from developing high intelligence much as we did? Some species are already leaning in that direction. There could come a day when we aren't the only species with advanced intelligence on this planet. If the above is making us weaker, it could be happening while other species are getting stronger through the same natural means that we originally did. That could have interesting implications for our future. Planet of the Apes anyone..? Blink

Yes, we impacted our evolution. Sometimes it was negative (genocide.) sometimes it was positive. (Inventions that make life easier, like the PC)

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15-05-2014, 09:57 AM
RE: Are we impacting our own evolution?
Yes. I think we're slowing our own evolution by moving technology along instead. Like an extension of evolution.

I like this thread. I have more to say, I think, but I'll have to come back to it in the morning. Zzzzzzz

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15-05-2014, 10:01 AM
RE: Are we impacting our own evolution?
Evolution can be seen as a feedback algorithm between the genome and the environment.

As far as we change the selection pressures on our reproductive success (and we do), we will change the path of our evolution.

The path is not predetermined (regardless of what Calvinists might think) but the path has already diverged from what it would have been had we not created technologies that reduced some pressures, largely eliminated others, and created new ones.

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15-05-2014, 10:10 AM
RE: Are we impacting our own evolution?
(15-05-2014 10:01 AM)Chas Wrote:  Evolution can be seen as a feedback algorithm between the genome and the environment.

As far as we change the selection pressures on our reproductive success (and we do), we will change the path of our evolution.

The path is not predetermined (regardless of what Calvinists might think) but the path has already diverged from what it would have been had we not created technologies that reduced some pressures, largely eliminated others, and created new ones.

Plus there is the Law of unintended consequences. For every action at least 3 things that were not planned will happen as a result some good some indifferent some bad. So yes we are impacting our own evolution but in what ways we can't say completely.

(31-07-2014 04:37 PM)Luminon Wrote:  America is full of guns, but they're useless, because nobody has the courage to shoot an IRS agent in self-defense
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15-05-2014, 10:17 AM
RE: Are we impacting our own evolution?
(15-05-2014 10:10 AM)Revenant77x Wrote:  
(15-05-2014 10:01 AM)Chas Wrote:  Evolution can be seen as a feedback algorithm between the genome and the environment.

As far as we change the selection pressures on our reproductive success (and we do), we will change the path of our evolution.

The path is not predetermined (regardless of what Calvinists might think) but the path has already diverged from what it would have been had we not created technologies that reduced some pressures, largely eliminated others, and created new ones.

Plus there is the Law of unintended consequences. For every action at least 3 things that were not planned will happen as a result some good some indifferent some bad. So yes we are impacting our own evolution but in what ways we can't say completely.

Yabut, all of evolution has been unintended. Yes

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15-05-2014, 10:25 AM
RE: Are we impacting our own evolution?
(15-05-2014 10:17 AM)Chas Wrote:  
(15-05-2014 10:10 AM)Revenant77x Wrote:  Plus there is the Law of unintended consequences. For every action at least 3 things that were not planned will happen as a result some good some indifferent some bad. So yes we are impacting our own evolution but in what ways we can't say completely.

Yabut, all of evolution has been unintended. Yes

Not if you include Human's replacing the natural selection (which is what I think the OP was discussing) with controlled selection. Lets take a look at a breed of dog.

Ferdinand just added a Pug to her menagerie, cute little thing. It was bred for that cuteness, however because it was bred with it's face pushed back into it's skull as a breed they have all kinds of breathing problems. That was an unintended result from deliberate action. Most dog breeds have at least 1 problem in the purebreed and it varies from breed to breed.

(31-07-2014 04:37 PM)Luminon Wrote:  America is full of guns, but they're useless, because nobody has the courage to shoot an IRS agent in self-defense
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15-05-2014, 10:37 AM
RE: Are we impacting our own evolution?
Definitely, we are impacting our own evolution.

It's hard to predict the outcome. Too many trends...

As far as someone displacing us - wanna bet we will have life-like robots with highly refined computers as brains - and if we then live like drones, maybe they will displace us? Nice science fiction here.

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15-05-2014, 11:28 AM
RE: Are we impacting our own evolution?
(15-05-2014 10:01 AM)Chas Wrote:  Evolution can be seen as a feedback algorithm between the genome and the environment.
I like the way you put that.

(15-05-2014 10:01 AM)Chas Wrote:  The path is not predetermined (regardless of what Calvinists might think) but the path has already diverged from what it would have been had we not created technologies that reduced some pressures, largely eliminated others, and created new ones.
That's an interesting point that we already have impacted our evolution. I guess I should have realized that because it seems so obvious now, but I was originally thinking the impact was just starting due to current technology, modern medicine, civil rights movements, etc.

(15-05-2014 10:10 AM)Revenant77x Wrote:  Plus there is the Law of unintended consequences. For every action at least 3 things that were not planned will happen as a result some good some indifferent some bad. So yes we are impacting our own evolution but in what ways we can't say completely.
Good point. So then maybe there will be positives as well as the negatives I was bringing up.

(15-05-2014 10:25 AM)Revenant77x Wrote:  Not if you include Human's replacing the natural selection (which is what I think the OP was discussing) with controlled selection.
Actually, I wasn't talking about controlled selection, but unintended interference with natural selection. But controlled selection is another interesting aspect that can certainly be part of this subject. Clones would even have a place in this discussion.

(15-05-2014 10:37 AM)Dom Wrote:  As far as someone displacing us - wanna bet we will have life-like robots with highly refined computers as brains - and if we then live like drones, maybe they will displace us? Nice science fiction here.
True, and probably a more immediate and realistic concern than another species developing advanced intelligence at least any time soon.

I am not accountable to any God. I am accountable to myself - and not because I think I am God as some theists would try to assert - but because, no matter what actions I take, thoughts I think, or words I utter, I have to be able to live with myself.
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15-05-2014, 11:34 AM
RE: Are we impacting our own evolution?
I dont think you are wrong in this,but personally i think we can use technology to advance our evolution. but the only way we could do this is to completely change our society. if you have never seen zeitgeist i would advise for everyone to watch it. they have a genious idea of changing our world by switching it to a technologicly advanced world using a resource based economy. were if money wasnt an option. we could have advanced machinery do most of the jobs so that we can concentrate on education instead of trying to make enough money to survive. I think the thing holding our evolution back the most is our extremely unfair monetary economic system more than anything.
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