Medicine/technology adversely affecting evolution?
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13-08-2017, 06:02 AM
RE: Medicine/technology adversely affecting evolution?
(13-08-2017 05:46 AM)GirlyMan Wrote:  We know how to make them.

Doesn't mean we're close to finding how to stop them.

(13-08-2017 05:46 AM)GirlyMan Wrote:  You think?

Stanford biologists crack centuries-old mystery of how cell growth triggers cell division

I didn't say we don't know how cells replicate. I said we're far from controlling the process in order to "guide" evolution. It's like saying, if we know how gravity works, we can send stuff to orbit Earth. Newton couldn't send rockets up there though.

I can't find it right now, but I recently read an article about how far we are from making "custom-made" humans. Yes, we can disable certain genes that we know cause serious diseases, but controlling evolution is really, really far. And I'm not even sure we have enough time left as a species to get there.

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13-08-2017, 07:12 AM
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 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.


I’ve though the same thing. We aren’t allowing the weak to die off quickly so we are in essence weakening the health of the herd by allowing them to breed.

I would have been dead late in my teens with appendicitis had I lived anytime before the last 100 years of human existence.

“I am quite sure now that often, very often, in matters concerning religion and politics a man’s reasoning powers are not above the monkey’s.”~Mark Twain
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13-08-2017, 10:51 AM
RE: Medicine/technology adversely affecting evolution?
Saving lives and empathy for our fellow human beings is hardly a weakness.

By preserving as much genetic diversity as we can, we strengthen our chances of survival when something really bad happens.

That young child who had a life saving surgery may contain within him or her an immunity to a virus that wipes out 70% of the population.

Insanity - doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results
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13-08-2017, 06:00 PM
RE: Medicine/technology adversely affecting evolution?
(13-08-2017 05:02 AM)undergroundp Wrote:  Well, I mentioned it because one, my first post here was almost ignored and two, I keep seeing posts referring to human intervention as "unnatural" as if that means something.

Hey, I was with you from the start! [jumps up to give high-five, misses, falls down]

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13-08-2017, 06:09 PM
RE: Medicine/technology adversely affecting evolution?
I'm trying to imagine a scenario where we could by-pass the "natural" in "natural selection." Imagine one day we have such advanced technology we can tinker with DNA and "make" whatever we want. So atom by atom we build a handful of, say, dragons, because dragons are cool. We're not modifying a currently living creature, we're not mixing an alligator and a pelican, we just are able to think some weird shit up and create a bunch of male and female dragons. Does that do it? They are alive and they have not evolved. Or have they?

"Natural selection" would mean forces (intentional like breeding dogs or unintentional and random like we commonly think of "nature"; both are "natural") that have been sculpting critters that are already alive and have a common anscestor billions of years ago. Bacteria, trees, us. These dragons popped into existence in no way like evolution, let alone whether it was "natural selection" or not. Or are we still under the umbrella of evolution? This could apply to artificial intelligence issues too.

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14-08-2017, 03:43 PM
RE: Medicine/technology adversely affecting evolution?
(10-08-2017 01:21 PM)reeveseb Wrote:  
(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.

You really can't say who would have died or not in a general sense. Some traits that you may think are disadvantageous, may further down the line prove advantageous. I am no biologist, but I have heard there is something like that about the sickle cell trait and Malaria.

I think you shouldn't place a value judgment on evolution and decide what is adverse and what isn't. Bypassing the usual mechanisms of natural selection simply means we evolve in a different direction. Different is not necessarily better or worse.

We have to remember that what we observe is not nature herself, but nature exposed to our method of questioning ~ Werner Heisenberg
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