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Author Topic:   Is the evolution of modern man going to stop
Tanus
Junior Member (Idle past 2185 days)
Posts: 17
Joined: 08-25-2011


Message 61 of 107 (630600)
08-26-2011 4:01 PM
Reply to: Message 60 by Tanus
08-26-2011 3:42 PM


Re: My thoughts on selection and evolution
I want to add something about natural and artificial selection.

If genetic engineering ever becomes common, will the natural component of evolution disappear? The answer is a definite and loud, NO!

Even if all reproduction were in vitro genetic engineering, natural selection would still very much be in play. With anything in the universe, there are many more wrong ways to do things than right ways. Cars have round tines and not triangular or square tires because those shapes just don't work. That is natural selection of cars. Cars also have a shape that we call streamlined because it moves through air better. Streamlined shapes can also be found on birds and dolphins because it works better in this universe. Streamlining is another example of natural selection in cars.

Two features that separate humans from other animals are our brains and our social structures. There are many changes that we could make to humans because we think that they are better that would just not work because nature has been working on human brains and social institutions for so long. We will likely make efforts at creating better humans in the future and we will make numerous attempts that just don't work because the new humans will be sickly, crazy (cognitive mistakes), or unfit for society. All of these failures at genetic engineering will be examples of natural selection.

In short, genetic engineering may very well be a different type of mutation and not a different type of selection.


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Larni
Member
Posts: 3951
From: Liverpool
Joined: 09-16-2005


Message 62 of 107 (630602)
08-26-2011 4:22 PM
Reply to: Message 59 by Tanus
08-26-2011 3:00 PM


If the correlation were positive, then we would probably see IQs rise higher than the current average until a new steady state was reached.

Take a look at the Flynn Effect. I would link it for you but I'm on my iPhone and it's a bugger cut n pasting. Pay particular attention to the lack of the effect on developed countries: i.e. Reaching a steady state.

Take it easy, mate.


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Taq
Member
Posts: 7263
Joined: 03-06-2009
Member Rating: 3.7


Message 63 of 107 (630604)
08-26-2011 4:39 PM
Reply to: Message 61 by Tanus
08-26-2011 4:01 PM


Re: My thoughts on selection and evolution
If genetic engineering ever becomes common, will the natural component of evolution disappear? The answer is a definite and loud, NO!

I view the natural component of evolution to be the random production of variation and the filtering of that variation through the human environment. If genetic engineering allowed us to determine the genomes of offspring, down to every base in that genome, then that component would be gone.

One of the most interesting and most powerful mechanisms in evolution is the disconnect between the production of variation and the needs of the organism. This type of problem solving arrives at very strange but effective solutions, solutions that human engineers would probably never come up with as part of a rational design process. On the same note, human engineers are starting to take advantage of evolutionary mechanisms in their designs as part of genetic algorithms.

In short, genetic engineering may very well be a different type of mutation and not a different type of selection.

I would argue that it is the relationship between the production of mutations and selection that makes evolution what it is.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 61 by Tanus, posted 08-26-2011 4:01 PM Tanus has responded

Replies to this message:
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Tanus
Junior Member (Idle past 2185 days)
Posts: 17
Joined: 08-25-2011


Message 64 of 107 (630689)
08-26-2011 11:46 PM
Reply to: Message 62 by Larni
08-26-2011 4:22 PM


Larni,

The positive correlation I was talking about is fertility and education. If the correlation were positive, then smarter (more educated) people would have more children than poorer people and this cycle would be reinforcing. However, the correlation we see is negative so that smarter people have fewer children and the overall population does not become smarter. What I am talking about is a matter of natural selection, which is on the scale of several centuries or thousands of years.

The Flynn effect has been observed over a period of decades and it is thus assumed to be environmental and not genetic. My understanding of the Flynn effect is that people are getting smarter because of a change in the environment such as better nutrition, better healthcare, or an increased emphasis on education due to a wealthier population. None of these are due to evolution.

For those who want to read more on the Flynn effect, here is a link to the Wikipedia article:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flynn_effect


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Tanus
Junior Member (Idle past 2185 days)
Posts: 17
Joined: 08-25-2011


Message 65 of 107 (630692)
08-27-2011 12:04 AM
Reply to: Message 63 by Taq
08-26-2011 4:39 PM


Re: My thoughts on selection and evolution
Taq,

I'll try to take your points one by one:

I view the natural component of evolution to be the random production of variation and the filtering of that variation through the human environment. If genetic engineering allowed us to determine the genomes of offspring, down to every base in that genome, then that component would be gone.

You are talking about natural mutations here, but more often, people talk about natural selection. What I am arguing is that genetic engineering is replacing natural mutations with artificial mutations (i.e. genetic engineering).

I am further arguing that natural selection is just what works in a particular environment versus what doesn't work. Human selection might be that we want a dog with black and white stripes. However, natural selection is the process of finding out whether the black and white striped dog works. Is that dog sickly or in some way unfit? Genetic engineering does not get rid of nature deciding whether a created organism is fit or unfit for its environment.

One of the most interesting and most powerful mechanisms in evolution is the disconnect between the production of variation and the needs of the organism. This type of problem solving arrives at very strange but effective solutions, solutions that human engineers would probably never come up with as part of a rational design process. On the same note, human engineers are starting to take advantage of evolutionary mechanisms in their designs as part of genetic algorithms.

You and I agree completely about this.

I would argue that it is the relationship between the production of mutations and selection that makes evolution what it is.

Again, you and I agree.

Evolution is currently about natural mutations, which create new variations and natural selection which weeds out the bad while leaving the good.

I am arguing that genetic engineering replaces mutations in creating new variations. In genetic engineering there is also some artificial selection, but nature still has the final word in what works and what doesn't. If genetic engineering creates a human with a weak heart, or one that cannot fit into a social group, then an unfit organism has been created and nature will make sure that it does not thrive.

With genetic engineering, humans will create organisms, but nature will still stamp the organism as fit or unfit.


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 Message 63 by Taq, posted 08-26-2011 4:39 PM Taq has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 66 by Taq, posted 08-29-2011 3:35 PM Tanus has responded

    
Taq
Member
Posts: 7263
Joined: 03-06-2009
Member Rating: 3.7


Message 66 of 107 (630959)
08-29-2011 3:35 PM
Reply to: Message 65 by Tanus
08-27-2011 12:04 AM


Re: My thoughts on selection and evolution
You are talking about natural mutations here, but more often, people talk about natural selection. What I am arguing is that genetic engineering is replacing natural mutations with artificial mutations (i.e. genetic engineering).

I am talking about a very specific type of artifical mutation. I am talking about changing the genome in a very specific way. For example, it is entirely possible to change one base and one base only in a genome. This contrasts with random artificial mutations caused by exposing organisms to x-rays, mutagens, or other means of random mutagenesis. Artificial merely indicates that man did it, not what the results are. I am more focused on the results.

Evolution is currently about natural mutations, which create new variations and natural selection which weeds out the bad while leaving the good.

More importantly, selection (both natural and artificial) allows neutral mutations to pass through at a probabilistic rate. Future mutations will interact with these neutral mutations, resulting in phenotypes that may not have been predicted through a rational design approach towards genetic engineering.

With genetic engineering, humans will create organisms, but nature will still stamp the organism as fit or unfit.

What if we base fitness on genotype and not phenotype? What then?


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caffeine
Member
Posts: 1349
From: Prague, Czech Republic
Joined: 10-22-2008
Member Rating: 2.3


Message 67 of 107 (631256)
08-31-2011 7:26 AM
Reply to: Message 59 by Tanus
08-26-2011 3:00 PM


Evolving to be dumb
I think this is a bit more controversial and complicated than you think. There could be many confounding factors to take into account trying to measure this sort of relationship.

We can take a group of people, and measure their IQ directly or find some variable which normally correlates with IQ, and then compare that with their fertility. But, if the group is below the age at which they can still produce children, we're only getting a partial picture of lifetime fertility. If low intelligence correlates with early fertility, but not with overall fertility, this could easily be obscured. Joe may have fathered three kids by the time he's 25 with low economic prospects and little hope of social success, while Dave waits till his forties when he can provide for his three kids with vast business empire he'd been building up which Joe was sowing his oats.

And the relative success of Joe and Dave's children brings us to the other problem - mentioned in the wikipedia article. Having babies isn't the only issue - it's how well those babies do at the reproductive game themselves. The same as you could easily miss later-life fertility through your survey, if you pick people of an age where you expect most of their child-bearing days to be over, you will miss earlier mortality. This is brought into starkest view when you look at the international comparisons. Yes, Angola has a much higher fertility rate than any industrialised nation, but many of these children will die before they ever reach maturity.

This isn't a subject I've looked into very deeply, but I remain sceptical that low IQ correlates with fewer great-grandchildren - which is the sort of measure that's important if we're thinking about the human race evolving to be more or less intelligent.


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 Message 59 by Tanus, posted 08-26-2011 3:00 PM Tanus has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 69 by Tanus, posted 09-02-2011 10:58 PM caffeine has responded

  
Tanus
Junior Member (Idle past 2185 days)
Posts: 17
Joined: 08-25-2011


Message 68 of 107 (631766)
09-02-2011 10:51 PM
Reply to: Message 66 by Taq
08-29-2011 3:35 PM


Re: My thoughts on selection and evolution
What if we base fitness on genotype and not phenotype? What then?

That is a good question, what then? I don't have an answer., so I am curious to hear what you think.

One question worth asking is how often genotype is really different than phenotype. Often an organism with a single recessive gene shows a difference from an organism with zero recessive genes.

It seems that your concern is with humans selecting for genes that are not obvious. You make a good point that this would be different from what nature normally does. I doubt that humans would genetically change the human population in just a few generations. If we screw up the genome, there will still be a lot of wild type humans to keep the gene pool robust. In other words, if genetic engineering creates screwed up genes and some sort of fad makes them popular, nature will still be weeding out the mistakes and allowing the good genes to continue on.


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Tanus
Junior Member (Idle past 2185 days)
Posts: 17
Joined: 08-25-2011


Message 69 of 107 (631767)
09-02-2011 10:58 PM
Reply to: Message 67 by caffeine
08-31-2011 7:26 AM


Re: Evolving to be dumb
Your point is well taken. I like the question of which has more great grandchildren. Of course we would need to isolate a high IQ population from a low IQ, because interbreeding would confound the results.

All of the article that I have read just mention IQ and fertility which is a measure of live births; however, I believe that the fertility measure looks at all age groups so children born later in life would be counted. I think the low fertility numbers accurately reflect people that never had children at any age.


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caffeine
Member
Posts: 1349
From: Prague, Czech Republic
Joined: 10-22-2008
Member Rating: 2.3


Message 70 of 107 (632169)
09-06-2011 7:06 AM
Reply to: Message 69 by Tanus
09-02-2011 10:58 PM


Re: Evolving to be dumb
All of the article that I have read just mention IQ and fertility which is a measure of live births; however, I believe that the fertility measure looks at all age groups so children born later in life would be counted. I think the low fertility numbers accurately reflect people that never had children at any age.

I'm not sure how that could be done. I can't read most of the articles cited in the Wikipedia article, since they don't seem to be up online, but I'm just looking at the descriptions in the article. Let's go through the cites of the recent studies one-by-one:

Jinks, J. L., & Fulker, D. W. (1970). Comparison of the biometrical, genetical, MAVA and classical approaches to the analysis of human behavior. Psychological Bulletin, 73, 311−349. -

the description says that this looks at 9,000 high school graduates. I don't know how they were selected, and what age they were, but they measured the intelligence of these people, which means they were still alive. Unless they were all very old, they cannot have measured whole-life fertility, since men can often have children very late in life. And their study necessarily excludes those who died before being measured (and before graduating high school), which is significant since we know that low IQ correlates with low income, and low income correlates with early mortality.

Bachu, Amara. 1991. Fertility of American Women: June 1990. U.S. Bureau of the Census. Current Population Report Series P-20, No. 454. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office.

This one is taken from census data, and purports to show that high-school dropouts have higher fertility than those who completed high school. Now, whilst I cannot find the exact report quoted, I did find the equivalent report from the next census, with data from June 1994. Assuming the data is arranged the same in the two reports, this is not a lifetime study of people. It's a count of those whon had a baby in the previous year only, so from this it is a big leap to make any sweeping generalisation about lifetime fertility coupled with survival of offspring.

Incidentally, the data from 1994, contra 1990, show a higher fertility for high school graduates than for high-school dropouts. Whilst college atendees have lower fertilty overall than high-school dropouts, those with Bachelor's degrees are again more likely to have had a child than high-school dropouts - it's college dropouts and post-grads who bring the average down. Clearly, the pattern doesn't always hold that clearly.

Furthermore - there is some very important data in the census study about what I suggested earlier - low IQ may correlate more with early fertility than overall fertility. 76.4% of high-school dropouts aged under 30 had had a child in the previous year, compared to 65.6% of those with a bachelor's degree and 53.4% of those with a graduate degree. However, only 45.5% of dropouts aged 30 or over had had a child in the previous year, compared with 73.1% of those with a bachelor's degree and 52% of those with a graduate degree.

People with higher IQ and/or education have children later, whether because they use their intelligence better to avoid mistakes or, more likely to me, because they spend more of their youth acheiving this higher educational status and economic success.

I can look into this more later, but I really am supposed to be working at the minute.

Edited by caffeine, : No reason given.


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valentin.d
Member (Idle past 1112 days)
Posts: 44
From: Moscow
Joined: 09-17-2009


Message 71 of 107 (674794)
10-03-2012 4:43 AM
Reply to: Message 7 by dwise1
03-09-2011 2:49 PM


dwise1

Evolution will continue, regardless. Evolution is collective results on the population level of life doing what life does: propagate. Whether there is change or there is no change, that's still evolution at work.
Rather, your questions bear more on how the things of modern life, be they medical, environmental, or social, will affect our evolution.

==========================================

The driver did not ride horses!
Evolution, stop!
Because genetics will lead us to the grave!

We still look exactly the same as the hundreds of millions of years ago.
Here the documentary photos of civilized man which was killed by a bullet from a pistol in the age of dinosaurs.

https://picasaweb.google.com/...omAPistolInTheAgeOfDinosaurs

https://picasaweb.google.com/...TheEraOfTheDinosaurs14582358

https://picasaweb.google.com/...OFTHEDINOSAURISFOUNDINRUSSIA

https://picasaweb.google.com/...RUSSIAINTHEERAOFTHEDINOSAURS

Edited by valentin.d, : No reason given.

Edited by valentin.d, : No reason given.


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valentin.d
Member (Idle past 1112 days)
Posts: 44
From: Moscow
Joined: 09-17-2009


Message 72 of 107 (674797)
10-03-2012 5:58 AM
Reply to: Message 27 by Larni
08-25-2011 4:46 AM


Larni

I think the question is what selection pressures are there on humans? Without birth control humans are pretty fecund and with access to medical care families get pretty large.
I'm finding it hard to think of something that is more significant than human ingenuity and use of technology in terms of successful reproduction.

===========================================

I totally agree with you!

New worldview in science and philosophy, which emerged on the basis open of mystery natural selection and reproduction of viable organisms:

http://onlinephilosophyclub.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=12...

Edited by valentin.d, : No reason given.


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NoNukes
Member
Posts: 10071
From: Central NC USA
Joined: 08-13-2010
Member Rating: 1.9


Message 73 of 107 (674827)
10-03-2012 10:26 AM
Reply to: Message 72 by valentin.d
10-03-2012 5:58 AM


Selective Pressure
I think the question is what selection pressures are there on humans?

There is always the selective pressure involved with attracting a mate. This won't go away no matter how insulated humans become from environmental forces, and no longer having to compete physically with predators and prey animals.


Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also in prison. Thoreau: Civil Disobedience (1846)

The apathy of the people is enough to make every statue leap from its pedestal and hasten the resurrection of the dead. William Lloyd Garrison.

It's not too late to register to vote. State Registration Deadlines


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valentin.d
Member (Idle past 1112 days)
Posts: 44
From: Moscow
Joined: 09-17-2009


Message 74 of 107 (674848)
10-03-2012 12:28 PM
Reply to: Message 73 by NoNukes
10-03-2012 10:26 AM


Re: Selective Pressure
I agree with you, respected NoNukes.

By the way, the cloning of organisms, with similar to us dystrophies on an example of brothers smaller, in the absence of quality selection, and together with and absence it variability of biological forms, that encompasses the need for their perfection, was inevitably expressed in the loss of organisms ability to their survival. In particular, the cloning was aggravated with occurrence of a congenital arthritis in sheep’s, and a birth of the person - the ugly creature.

The prevailing part of sheep’s has been destroyed in connection with virus epidemic, in consequence of that, on a fire has burned down together with wool of 10 million sheep’s. As a result, Kingdom of the Great Britain has lost 12 billion pounds sterling, besides is absolute without a guarantee to exclude relapse of epidemic. Financial losses will reach trillions, if to consider natural occurrence in the same country of a spongy encephalopathy, i.e. furiousness at the cows, in the World patients with leukemia of herd and destroyed owing to flu very much a plenty of birds which also are intended for a food of people not without damage to their health.
“Euro news” report 2002-11-29.
This problem was further exacerbated by and in all countries the World.


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broken180
Junior Member (Idle past 1660 days)
Posts: 5
Joined: 07-31-2012


Message 75 of 107 (675781)
10-15-2012 7:50 PM


does it not go, ape, ape/human type thing, human, wanabe god, god?
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