Another question on Darwin's theory ...

Discussion in 'Science and Technology' started by Zanman, Jan 22, 2005.

  1. Zanman

    Zanman Member

    If you accept the Theory of Evolution, and I will be honest I am far from expert on the science involved, but my question is - are we still evolving, presumably so? So what do we evolve to next, infra red sight? What is the evidence?
     
  2. fat_tony

    fat_tony Member

    The theory of evolution is little better than creationism in my opinion at least in the long term. In the short term (still hundreds of thousands of years) evolution doubtlessly goes on. As far as human evolution goes, there seems to be little natural advantage in IR sight. Indeed it is far more resricitve than visible vision except at night and with electric lighting IR vision doesnt seem a logical step. One we are already beginning to see evidence for from skeletons is that the size of our heads is increasing as we come to rely more on intelligence.
     
  3. The Other Guy

    The Other Guy Member

    I heard that, since we use computers daily, people will have longer and more flexible fingers in a couple of centuries.
     
  4. Myranya

    Myranya Slytherin Girl

    Yes, we are evolving. We have become taller for one thing. But indeed, as fat_tony says, it would have to be something that has a natural advantage, for that's how evolution works.

    The other thing is that with our technology we have changed evolution from the way it would've gone, from the way animals evolve. We can compensate for lots of things, both disabilities and things that would be a defect in nature but isn't in a city (like being physically small and slow -as long as you got a good head there's no problem with that in today's society of cars, tools, computers, etc). So we're passing on a lot of genes and traits that would've died off in rougher, more natural circumstances. Whether that's good (more genetic variation often is a good thing, because it can produce more new traits, and provide more ways to adapt if anything happens) or bad (we could end up with more physical defects than medical science can compensate for) I honestly don't know... I hope it'll end up good 'cause we can't ethically stop it anyways, it'd be totally wrong to tell people who're not physically fit they can't be allowed to have children!

    And it's hard to see evolution, especially in humans, where a generation is pretty long (the quicker any species breeds, the faster a genetic change can take place, of course). These aren't instant changes. It's a process, a becoming, and there is no one generation you can point at and say 'see, that is where the species changed'.
     
  5. juggla

    juggla Member

    evolution is the only thing that makes sense, creationism found in genesis is just a way people thousands of years ago explained a unknown.
     
  6. MeAgain

    MeAgain Dazed & Confused Lifetime Supporter Super Moderator

    I don't think Darwin originated the theory of evolution and I believe his theory of the survival of the fittest has been discounted.

    Ken Wilbur claims that everything evolves, rocks, planets, atoms, plants, animals, humans, memes, and consciousness.
    He breaks evolution up into four different spheres, individual inner and outer, and social/ cultural.
     
  7. fat_tony

    fat_tony Member

    Survival of the fittest is a widely accepted phenomenon. Its not really part of evolution, though, it simply says that the best adapted creatures will survive. The aprt of Darwins theory that has been found incorrect it the idea the we evolved from apes. We didn't evolve from apes, we evolved from a parallel species that no longer exists, or at least that is the postulate. The so called msising link has not been found, but extinct species between humans and apes have been found, including one very recently in the far east.
     
  8. MeAgain

    MeAgain Dazed & Confused Lifetime Supporter Super Moderator

    "The problem of tautology in Darwinism is a subtle one. It hinges on the definitions of a few crucial words: 'the survival of the fittest.' This is the central claim that Darwin makes that only the 'fittest' succeed in a struggle for 'survival'. If this basic statement does not tell us anything new about the outside world then the whole of Darwinism is in deep trouble. Unfortunately the senses in which these words are often used by biologists do turn the statement into a nonsense. If you turn to a textbook of genetics in search of a definition of 'fitness' you will find something like this: `The genotype with the largest survival rate is defined as the fittest ... ' Goodenough and Levine, 1975. So the central statement of Darwinism, 'the survival of the fittest', becomes: 'the survival of those creatures having the largest survival rate'! Immediately the problem is clear; if you define fitness as 'the ability to survive' then the 'survival of the fittest' becomes a tautology, a self-evident bit of trivia. In this form the statement doesn't tell us anything about the outside world that we didn't know already. It doesn't, for example, enable us to predict which members of a population will survive and reproduce, since we cannot measure survival until afterwards. In this sense the neoDarwinists must avoid a sloppy attitude to their theory or it will turn out to say nothing." (Leith B., "The Descent of Darwin: A Handbook of Doubts about Darwinism," Collins: London, 1982, p.30. Emphasis in original).

    http://members.iinet.net.au/~sejones/philsp01.html

    Opposing view:
    http://www.towson.edu/~scully/philosophical.html
    http://wiki.cotch.net/index.php/Survival_of_the_fittest_is_a_tautology


    Now having posted that:

    "Evolution clearly opperates in part by Darwinian natural selection, but this process simply selects those transformations that have already occurred by mechanisms that absolutely nobody understands.
    Take the standard notion that wings simply evolved from forelegs. It takes perhaps a hundred mutations to produce a functioning wing from a leg - a half wing will not do...The wing will work only if these hundred mutations happen all at once, in one animal...but once this incredible transformation has occurred, then natural selection will indeed select the better wings from the less workable wings - but the wings themselves?" Nobody has a clue. - Ken Wilbur
     
  9. juggla

    juggla Member

    you try to give a messed up definition of what evolution is, while in no way trying to prove creationism, majical explanation are always easier to understand than science.
     
  10. seamonster66

    seamonster66 discount dracula

    the evidence.......less and less people are born with wisdom teeth, people are getting less and less hairy.
     
  11. FreakyJoeMan

    FreakyJoeMan 100% Batshit Insane

    Again, the theory is tainted. The basic tennat of evolution is not "Survival of the fittest", it is "Survival of the best-adapted". The healthiest organism won't last long in an environment that it isn't suited to.
     
  12. seamonster66

    seamonster66 discount dracula

    right freaky joe, its adapting to specific environments......say the ozone problems keep on getting worse, light skinned people are going to get cancer more often and die off, leaving the darker skinned people who are more resistant to the suns rays as the majority....they will be better suited to the environment.

    This is why Darwin used the animals of the isolated galapogos islands as examples, they were related to mainland species, but had adapted differently in their isolated environment
     
  13. Kandahar

    Kandahar Banned

    Yes, we are still evolving. And if we leave our evolution to nature, we'll almost certainly be "different" in a few hundred thousand years.

    However, we are the first species to have the ability to drastically accelerate our own evolution. In my opinion, "natural" evolution is too slow so our species will evolve by other means...namely, our technology.

    In the first quarter of this century, we'll have the ability to replace most of our body's organs (much like the artificial hearts of today replace damaged hearts, except our artificial organs of the future will be more advantageous than even healthy organs). We'll also have the ability to enhance our neural capacity through nanotechnology by the 2030s (if trends continue, and there is plenty of reason to expect that they will).

    I'm of the opinion that the 21st century will change our world much more than any century before it did. A person from 1905 dropped off in 2005 might be amazed by the new technology, but he could still fundamentally understand the world and empathize with the people in it. I don't think the same would be true of a person from 2005 transported to 2105. I don't think he'd even be able to recognize entities as "human." In this way, I think evolution is in for a drastic acceleration...by artificial means.
     
  14. Cornball1

    Cornball1 Member

    Evolution of the human species has hit somewhat of a stand still compared to other species. Just because you use computers doesn't mean our fingers will get longer or that we will just stop getting wisdom teath because we don't need them (actually its about the same amount of people with and without them as always). Its all about our geneitcs and what gets passed on. In a world like ours where every life is sacred and we do everything so that people can live and reproduce we essecentially cut out natural selection and if a mutation comes up than that persons changes are just as good as everyone elses to have kids so any new mutations would be very slow to spread to the rest of the population. If you have a genetic mutation that allows you to better reproduce then it gets passed on and over time becomes the norm. Some things that you might see would be a trend of people becomeing closer in color due to more and more interracial relationships or if disease kills off a lot of the population but not all, those that lived must have had a slightly different immune system and that would become the new norm(since everyone else was dead).
     
  15. Zanman

    Zanman Member

    Well I for one am getting less and less hairy ...
     
  16. MeAgain

    MeAgain Dazed & Confused Lifetime Supporter Super Moderator

    We are evolving in others ways than physical ways.
     
  17. TheStoon

    TheStoon Member

    What cornball1 said

    Two examples - The higher rate of sickle cell disease in certain parts of Africa where Malaria is rife - sickle cell provides immunity to Malaria, it can't attach to the misshapen blood cells. This provides an advantage to the people with the disease so their genes are more likely to be carried through to the next generation, leading to more people with sickle cell in that population.

    The higher than average occurange of the delta-32 mutation in northern europeans - this mutation provides immunity to the bubonic plague (and, it would seem HIV), which was rife in Europe around 700 years ago.
    The mutation is believed to have existed for longer than 700 years, but was heavily favoured by natural selection during the bubonic plague.

    So just a couple of examples of human evolution - it should be noted that changes in our general form (height, strength etc) over the last several hundred years are not caused by evolution, they are just caused by a better lifestyle - diet, health care etc.

    And half bird wings are damn useful, in fact so useful that natural selection decided that the ostrich no longer need its full wing, just a clipped version that helped it run. More examples here

    http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CB/CB921_2.html

    I'd recommend that site (and newsgroup) for anyone with any interest in evolution
     
  18. Bonghobbit

    Bonghobbit Member

    Are westill evolving? Yes, in the sense that selective pressures can and do eliminate some of us more readily than others, such as a virus that some are immun to while others succcumb to it. We are however largely removed from evolution as we normally think of it in nature, we maintain our existences with medications that without which many would otherwise die, perhaps before sending their DNA into a next generation.
     
  19. ihmurria

    ihmurria fini

    are we still evolving.... well, yes but at an even slower rate than other species. Our environment no longer calls for selective breeding - any genes that are passed down through generations are either from love between people or a trying to amalgamate resources between families (love mostly in "developed" nations, marriage as an economic move in "developing" nations, generally speaking)

    I don't think that anything drastic will happen to humans in terms of evolution in the next many decades, unless there's a huge outbreak of infections disease (pandemic.. bubonic plague, etc). Technological advances don't count as evolution. We don't need our appendixes anymore, but we're still born with them.
     
  20. keowyn

    keowyn Hip Forums Supporter HipForums Supporter

    OK, this may get a bit touchy but bare with me...


    Evolution is a function of reproduction. Having offspring passes on your survival traits. Lack of reproduction removes your unique combination of traits from the gene pool. Right? Right. The more offspring you have, the more your traits are spread through the gene pool. The fewer offspring you have, the rarer your traits become. OK

    So looking at our current population, what segment of the populatio has the highest reproduction rate. Hhmmm, how about the poor. Speaking in a very broad and generalized manner, on average, barring individual cases, who have the better traits, rich people or poor people?

    I draw the conclusion that we are breading our population to be lazy, stupid, and unhealthy. Evolution in progress. Flame away.
     

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