Medicine/technology adversely affecting evolution?
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10-08-2017, 12:50 PM
Medicine/technology adversely affecting evolution?
Please forgive me if I'm hitting the wrong thread or re-posting an old topic. I'm new to forums and looked through the rules, but didn't see anything to help guide me.

I have a question for general conversation in the science thread that I've though about a lot. Evolution in the purest sense accounts for the ability of an organism to adapt and survive through mutation and natural selection. Survival of the fittest. But I've never heard anything about the position that our advancing technology is allowing the human species to essentially bypass many evolutionary mechanics. There are many people in this world, probably myself included, who would not have been alive long enough to reproduce had it not been for the Grace of God...no wait...I meant scientific advancement, including the ability to successfully vaccinate, perform C-sections, treat infections, etc.

Does anyone think that (as heartless as it might seem) that we are actually doing a disservice to the human species by making evolution take a backseat? I almost feel sometimes as if we're going to remain stagnant in the evolutionary tree. Then again, there are times I feel that technology will inevitably make up for the lack of advancement in our species and that we'll eventually be able to overcome any evolutionary deficiency by way of technological advancement (curing cancer, replacing damaged genes, etc.)

As a side thought, I think sometimes that pure creationists have it right when they have an illness and shun modern medicine. However, I like to think that the reference to God should be replaced by a deference to the processes of natural selection.

Thoughts?

It pays to keep an open mind, but not so open your brains fall out.
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10-08-2017, 01:04 PM
RE: Medicine/technology adversely affecting evolution?
(10-08-2017 12:50 PM)reeveseb Wrote:  Does anyone think that (as heartless as it might seem) that we are actually doing a disservice to the human species by making evolution take a backseat? I almost feel sometimes as if we're going to remain stagnant in the evolutionary tree. Then again, there are times I feel that technology will inevitably make up for the lack of advancement in our species and that we'll eventually be able to overcome any evolutionary deficiency by way of technological advancement (curing cancer, replacing damaged genes, etc.)

A lot of species are stagnant for millions of years, like horseshoe crabs and sharks for instance. As long as they remain adapted to their environments, there is no evolutionary problem. Plus, we humans will continue to "evolve" through culture and technology.

And who's to say that we won't continue to evolve the good-old-fashioned-way through Malthusian death rates? Our present good luck many not last long, with climate change messing with the environments to which we are so finely adapted.
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10-08-2017, 01:21 PM
RE: Medicine/technology adversely affecting evolution?
(10-08-2017 01:04 PM)Thoreauvian Wrote:  A lot of species are stagnant for millions of years, like horseshoe crabs and sharks for instance. As long as they remain adapted to their environments, there is no evolutionary problem. Plus, we humans will continue to "evolve" through culture and technology.

And who's to say that we won't continue to evolve the good-old-fashioned-way through Malthusian death rates? Our present good luck many not last long, with climate change messing with the environments to which we are so finely adapted.

I guess I'm thinking more in terms of babies who's heads are too large and wouldn't be able to exit the pelvic area, or those who are infected with MRSA who without antibiotics would ordinarily die. These people and others will continue to procreate and these traits that would have led to death, now will propagate down the generations. And with our innate ability to adjust and thrive in many different environments, I think it would take a massive shift in climate, not just a few degrees over the last few hundred years to stunt or reverse population growth.

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10-08-2017, 01:45 PM
RE: Medicine/technology adversely affecting evolution?
Evolution comes in many forms. If technology changes the context in which we live, we will evolve to fit it. Or die, one of two.

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10-08-2017, 02:01 PM
RE: Medicine/technology adversely affecting evolution?
It's way late for us to have regrets. Agriculture, living in close proximity, changing the environment to suit us instead of us to suit the land - we've come way too far down the road to go back. Sure, our ancestors were probably stronger, fitter, happier and healthier as hunter-gatherers. But we can't return to that - it would require a population crash on an unimaginable scale. Short of that, modern medicine is the future.

Anyway I'd be dead without modern medicine. So would most people. Never mind modern agriculture and other technologies that we take for granted. This is the way the world is. The fact that I can survive in this world means that I am adequately evolved for it.

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(06-02-2014 03:47 PM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  And I'm giving myself a conclusion again from all the facepalming.
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10-08-2017, 02:15 PM
RE: Medicine/technology adversely affecting evolution?
(10-08-2017 02:01 PM)morondog Wrote:  It's way late for us to have regrets. Agriculture, living in close proximity, changing the environment to suit us instead of us to suit the land - we've come way too far down the road to go back. Sure, our ancestors were probably stronger, fitter, happier and healthier as hunter-gatherers. But we can't return to that - it would require a population crash on an unimaginable scale. Short of that, modern medicine is the future.

Anyway I'd be dead without modern medicine. So would most people. Never mind modern agriculture and other technologies that we take for granted. This is the way the world is. The fact that I can survive in this world means that I am adequately evolved for it.

I can see that side. I have a bit of a post-apocalyptic imagination and I just can't help but think that if our species goes through a massive die-off event, we as a species will have a very difficult time surviving when the technology is no longer available.

Besides, how are we going to evolve the ability to speak telepathically with the aliens if we're stagnant as a species!!! Big Grin

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10-08-2017, 02:28 PM
RE: Medicine/technology adversely affecting evolution?
(10-08-2017 12:50 PM)reeveseb Wrote:  I have a question for general conversation in the science thread that I've though about a lot. Evolution in the purest sense accounts for the ability of an organism to adapt and survive through mutation and natural selection. Survival of the fittest.


Evolution in purest sense is "change in the heritable characteristics of biological populations over time".

Quote:But I've never heard anything about the position that our advancing technology is allowing the human species to essentially bypass many evolutionary mechanics.


I heard - it's social darwinism with all it's nonsense about human race degenerating and going soft with modern medicine. It's already been tried in practice.

Quote: Does anyone think that (as heartless as it might seem) that we are actually doing a disservice to the human species by making evolution take a backseat?


For me such sentiment is nothing more than pseudoscientific bunk with bad history.

Quote: As a side thought, I think sometimes that pure creationists have it right when they have an illness and shun modern medicine.


What is right in dying from diseases easily cured by modern medicine? Also I doubt that it is specificaly creationists who hold such position.

Quote: However, I like to think that the reference to God should be replaced by a deference to the processes of natural selection.

Thoughts?

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10-08-2017, 02:32 PM
RE: Medicine/technology adversely affecting evolution?
(10-08-2017 02:15 PM)reeveseb Wrote:  
(10-08-2017 02:01 PM)morondog Wrote:  It's way late for us to have regrets. Agriculture, living in close proximity, changing the environment to suit us instead of us to suit the land - we've come way too far down the road to go back. Sure, our ancestors were probably stronger, fitter, happier and healthier as hunter-gatherers. But we can't return to that - it would require a population crash on an unimaginable scale. Short of that, modern medicine is the future.

Anyway I'd be dead without modern medicine. So would most people. Never mind modern agriculture and other technologies that we take for granted. This is the way the world is. The fact that I can survive in this world means that I am adequately evolved for it.

I can see that side. I have a bit of a post-apocalyptic imagination and I just can't help but think that if our species goes through a massive die-off event, we as a species will have a very difficult time surviving when the technology is no longer available.

Besides, how are we going to evolve the ability to speak telepathically with the aliens if we're stagnant as a species!!! Big Grin

We already have telepathic speaking ability - what do you think mobile phones are?

A lot of our tech is primitive and thus robust - we only got computers really in the last 40 years. Sure, an apocalypse event means massive population die-off, but a LOT of people will survive and so will the tech. Widespread literacy, widespread appreciation of the value of knowledge, books on every conceivable topic - we will maybe lose somewhat but I can't see our species really struggling. An apocalypse might be good actually. Relieve some of the more pressing environmental problems - especially if it disproportionately affects humans.

We'll love you just the way you are
If you're perfect -- Alanis Morissette
(06-02-2014 03:47 PM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  And I'm giving myself a conclusion again from all the facepalming.
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10-08-2017, 02:33 PM
RE: Medicine/technology adversely affecting evolution?
(10-08-2017 02:15 PM)reeveseb Wrote:  
(10-08-2017 02:01 PM)morondog Wrote:  It's way late for us to have regrets. Agriculture, living in close proximity, changing the environment to suit us instead of us to suit the land - we've come way too far down the road to go back. Sure, our ancestors were probably stronger, fitter, happier and healthier as hunter-gatherers. But we can't return to that - it would require a population crash on an unimaginable scale. Short of that, modern medicine is the future.

Anyway I'd be dead without modern medicine. So would most people. Never mind modern agriculture and other technologies that we take for granted. This is the way the world is. The fact that I can survive in this world means that I am adequately evolved for it.

I can see that side. I have a bit of a post-apocalyptic imagination and I just can't help but think that if our species goes through a massive die-off event, we as a species will have a very difficult time surviving when the technology is no longer available.

Besides, how are we going to evolve the ability to speak telepathically with the aliens if we're stagnant as a species!!! Big Grin

Genetic engineering, either by us or the aliens Tongue

And even in an apocalyptic event, technology wouldn't just disappear. Whatever groups form up in the aftermath, rest assured the ones who are able to reclaim any lost resources, technology, still functioning military hardware, etc., will have a significant survival advantage over those who try to use it as an excuse to revert to our pre civilization egalitarian hunter/gatherer roots.

As much as I'd like to return to the old days, reality would would nonetheless guide my actions. If the government gets overrun I may briefly retreat into the sticks to reorganize and regroup, but the second I have an adequate force at my disposal I'm either going to start retaking infrastructure or allying and pooling my resources with someone who already has.

As as long as there's a few nerds left, technological recovery will happen even if it means reverse engineering reclaimed technology.

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10-08-2017, 03:23 PM
RE: Medicine/technology adversely affecting evolution?
(10-08-2017 12:50 PM)reeveseb Wrote:  Please forgive me if I'm hitting the wrong thread or re-posting an old topic. I'm new to forums and looked through the rules, but didn't see anything to help guide me.

I have a question for general conversation in the science thread that I've though about a lot. Evolution in the purest sense accounts for the ability of an organism to adapt and survive through mutation and natural selection. Survival of the fittest. But I've never heard anything about the position that our advancing technology is allowing the human species to essentially bypass many evolutionary mechanics. There are many people in this world, probably myself included, who would not have been alive long enough to reproduce had it not been for the Grace of God...no wait...I meant scientific advancement, including the ability to successfully vaccinate, perform C-sections, treat infections, etc.

Does anyone think that (as heartless as it might seem) that we are actually doing a disservice to the human species by making evolution take a backseat? I almost feel sometimes as if we're going to remain stagnant in the evolutionary tree. Then again, there are times I feel that technology will inevitably make up for the lack of advancement in our species and that we'll eventually be able to overcome any evolutionary deficiency by way of technological advancement (curing cancer, replacing damaged genes, etc.)

As a side thought, I think sometimes that pure creationists have it right when they have an illness and shun modern medicine. However, I like to think that the reference to God should be replaced by a deference to the processes of natural selection.

Thoughts?

We're clearly at the beginning of a new phase. People get heart bypasses, stents, all sorts of replacement joints, and increasingly will have their genes altered to weed out traits/mutations that are undesirable. Waiting for generations for the changes to happen, (which may never happen), when we know how to do it, is just stupid.
https://www.amazon.com/Singularity-Near-...0143037889
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