Author Topic: Have we reached the limit of natural selection?  (Read 1313 times)

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Offline XyverTopic starter

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Have we reached the limit of natural selection?
« on: August 19, 2010, 10:27:21 PM »
I believe that we, as humans, have evolved beyond natural selection, or at least slowed it down a great deal.  Think of back in the day, when people actually had to fend for themselves.  If you got sick, you either recovered or died.  Therefore, people with good immune systems flourished.  Also, if you were hunting, and were a weak fighter, you got killed.  Therefore, we are now fairly strong.  But, nowadays, we take care of everyone so well, that everyone gets a chance to breed and pass on their genes, whether or not they are the fittest.  So, if we did get a freak mutation that made us better people, it would be unable to compete with the "normal" genes that we have now, seeing as there are billions and billions of us on the planet.  It would just be drowned out. Also, seeing as the sick, if someone has bad genes (genetic diseases, special needs, anything) we take care of them, and they still have the chance to reproduce.  Back in the day, they would have just died.

So, do you think that humans caring for each other has rendered natural selection mostly, if not completally useless?

Offline Razor Concepts

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Re: Have we reached the limit of natural selection?
« Reply #1 on: August 19, 2010, 11:24:52 PM »
In civilized areas, pretty much.

Money is a significant factor, but doesn't exactly fall under natural selection  :D

Offline vinito

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Re: Have we reached the limit of natural selection?
« Reply #2 on: August 20, 2010, 08:54:14 AM »
When you're in the middle of a bunch of thick trees, it's harder to see the whole forest.
I believe:
Natural selection is still working. We're in the middle of a phase where the whole human race is pretty sick. I give it less than a hundred years and overpopulation will be so dire that huge percentages of humans will starve to death. The planet's fragile surface is simply not big enough to support 7 or 8 billion humans. Since we tend to live like resources are unlimited while we're already stretching their limits on every corner, there can only be one result. Just like bacteria will eat all the available sugar in a test tube until there's nothing left and they all die, so too is the fate of humans who (as a whole) give no thought to the idea of stopping the breeding.

I think there are likely enough corners to hide that some will survive, unlike a test tube. So short of nuclear holocaust, which I don't think is likely anymore, I think the population will probably just be severely reduced to somewhere around maybe 5 percent of what we have before it starts. I take a little solace in the idea that money will be worthless at a time like that, so those who are successful in greed but don't know how to do anything practical will probably reap their just reward.

It's a flawed premise to label humans the ultimate success. We're so stupid (collectively) that we don't realize we've already jumped off the cliff and don't consider the sudden stop at the bottom.

After that bubble bursts, there should be some who were just lucky enough to make it through (right place, right time), and some who were able to make it through because they were smart enough to work the problem (plus a bit of luck too). So that's still natural selection - Luck and/or skills.

I don't see it as an impending disaster. It's a natural and necessary thing.
Call it a "market adjustment", hehe.

BTW, no I don't assume I will be one of the survivors necessarily. I'm a bit of a renaissance man and know how to do a lot of different things, but it will take a little luck too and I have never had much of that. I'll probably eat a bad tomato from the first harvest which I grew myself and it will do me in.
« Last Edit: August 20, 2010, 08:59:17 AM by vinito »

Offline Razor Concepts

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Re: Have we reached the limit of natural selection?
« Reply #3 on: August 20, 2010, 09:11:58 AM »
That would be a pretty crappy way to die.

"Today, I picked and ate my first tomato. It was infected. FML"

Offline XyverTopic starter

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Re: Have we reached the limit of natural selection?
« Reply #4 on: August 21, 2010, 01:29:43 PM »
I found out now, that some tibetians that live in the mountains (in Napal I believe) have evolved with new genomes, like one that allows them to live with less oxygen, since the air is so thin.  I guess natural selection is still going on, cuz I bet if one of them didnt evolve to require less oxygen, he would have died or had to move.

Thats the other thing thats slowing natural selection down, we can move. If we are in a environment that we cant handle, instead of evolving to suit it, most people would probably just move, not stay and endure.

But in civilized areas, I agree, it's stopped.

Offline voyager2

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Re: Have we reached the limit of natural selection?
« Reply #5 on: August 23, 2010, 06:46:19 AM »
Umm, this is a robot forum....
And Admin said "Let there be robots!"
And it was good.

Offline z.s.tar.gz

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Re: Have we reached the limit of natural selection?
« Reply #6 on: August 23, 2010, 11:35:59 AM »
On a similar topic, I have a theory that if (when) people who were mentally or physically superior are to be born, there is a strong chance that they will be treated as if they have a disease and made 'normal'.

Who's to say that ADHD or whatever (take your pick) isn't actually beneficial in unforeseen ways? We'll never know because there's medicine to 'fix' it.
Save yourself the typing. Just call me Zach.

Offline vinito

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Re: Have we reached the limit of natural selection?
« Reply #7 on: August 23, 2010, 12:10:04 PM »
There have been books written about that - at least one anyway. I remember a guy talking about that very thing on the radio a couple years back. P.H.D. stuff.
People on the bleeding-edge of the bell curve of intelligence often have trouble dealing with "regular" life things. The bulk of people in the middle tend to be more successful even though they are much less intelligent because the day-to-day business of life is less of a struggle.

This goes way back to the origins of human history too. For example, creative folks who can't help but think about more abstract things often landed in the roles of "shaman" or "medicine man" or whatever in their tribe. If it weren't for having a respected position like this to assume, they would have simply been strange, crazy members of their group. Instead, they might have still been considered to be odd, but they could see things others couldn't grasp naturally so they eventually evolved into the tribe's gifted teacher. These were likely the spiritual leaders who painted the cave walls.

It's a balance though. How many crazy folks from history were outcast until maybe centuries later they were found to be correct? There were (are) a lot.

These days, seems like there's just too much noise and backward-looking ideas that new good ideas are more likely to be buried forever than in days past.
The information age has created a kind of huge landfill of ideas. There can be good gems a picker can find by snooping around, but some of that good stuff is buried pretty deep.

Offline Razor Concepts

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Re: Have we reached the limit of natural selection?
« Reply #8 on: August 23, 2010, 12:10:49 PM »
Well, for many things including ADHD, many people choose not to take medicine or can't afford it, and they don't seem to have beneficial characteristics. Medicines are created after people realize that these things aren't good for you  ;D

Offline monsieurpo

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Re: Have we reached the limit of natural selection?
« Reply #9 on: August 28, 2010, 10:21:54 PM »
Well, for many things including ADHD, many people choose not to take medicine or can't afford it, and they don't seem to have beneficial characteristics. Medicines are created after people realize that these things aren't good for you  ;D
For me i need my medicine without that i will be sick so dont say that medicine arent good for everybody. that can help but yes there is risk...

 


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