I have been looking around this forum for a little while but I couldn’t find a thread, which dealt with this topic specifically. So here we go.
Humans have in the last century demonstrated, in an appalling way, a desire to change the phenotypic and social structure of civilisation. Nazi sterilisation of the mentally ill and American chemical castration, are but two examples. On the other side of the coin, people who wouldn’t otherwise be able to reproduce, can with the aid of modern medicine. Thus having an impact on our gene pool.
So perhaps we can control the future evolution of humanity, even use genetic technologies, brave new world style. But, that’s not really what I want to talk about. More so, I wish to discuss living conditions and cultural effects.
The huge population of humans, variety of living conditions and the ability to travel may be a large enough impediment to change for the next few hundred millennia. But what then? Is it dangerous to structure our societies in such a way that evolution is impeded? Should we give it direction? Does it already have direction?
If the susceptibility to religious beliefs is heritable will Catholics inherit the earth? How can the choice between evolution and YEC affect our ability to deal with the long-term future of humanity?
Admin, if some of this has been discussed in other threads please advise.
Well, we exercise such power of the material world these days we are pretty much in charge of our own evolution. Frex, many fewer people died from causes related to bad eyesight ever since we invented glasses. This presents a possible problem becuase there is no longer selective pressure to remove that bug.
In the reasonably short term (on the kind of scale we are discussing) IMO the shift will be out into space. It's clear the earth aint big enough for us, and if we stay we'll it and ourselves. Life expands to fill all available niches.
There is a good probability that future 'evolution' will be very uneven. We've had some serious ideas about immortality treatments for at least 30 years now, I remember an estimate placing an effective one at circa 2040. But under prevailing economic circumstances, this will be exclusively the property of the wealthy.
Lastly, if YEC's and similar anti-rationalists were driving the agenda, we would stay here and do nothing, until eventually a big enough rock comes along and wipes us all out. And then the universe will move on without us.
quote:In the reasonably short term (on the kind of scale we are discussing) IMO the shift will be out into space. It's clear the earth aint big enough for us, and if we stay we'll it and ourselves. Life expands to fill all available niches.
One of my favorite writers once delivered this wonderful line about space exploration:
"Imagine the devonian fish crawling onto land in little bubble helmets filled with water."
It makes a good point, we have a very long way to go before any thing comes to fruition. However, I don’t think that because of this the idea is ludicrous.
Another way of looking at this question is how things have changed around us. In quite reascent history organisms have evolved around us. Cockroaches (Periplaneta sp, Blattella sp. BLATODEA) have in the last few millennia moved into an entirely new habitat, that of our construct. Our gut bacteria are under pressure to change with our change in dietary intake (trend from methanogens to sulphur reducing bacteria). Body lice, head lice, dermal bacteria, internal parasites, disease causing organisms, and of course viruses, are all under pressure to evolve to ensure their persistence.
I will now take a more naturalists approach. Our future is closely tied into the future of change we cause to the greater world and the organisms in it. From an evolutionary perspective we can be defined as a product of our past environment. What happens to our sense of belonging when that environment ceases to exist? I will be blunt. If we dismiss modern genetic science, ecology, and evolutionary theory in general. What tools are we left with to manage the ever decreasing natural habitats and the organisms which they contain. Does YEC have any interest in the long term future of the human race and the world we come from, or just the eternity after existence as we know it.
[This message has been edited by Autocatalysis, 06-21-2003]
I'd have thought most YECs and biblical literalists would be waiting in anticipation of the imminent rapture, its about a millenium overdue already after all, so they probably areen't making any long term future plans.
As a nonbeliever of the Christians' 'humans as God's kids' view, only now I find the hilarity of the concept when it gets into this kind of reality check.
If we are God's children, and we are descended from Pliocene upright apes, Cretaceous mammals, reptiles, and a walking fish, then God is... them!! Fall prostrate before the Almighty Australopithecine, Our Ancestor! For we are the Children of God!!
I don't think we should be worrying about the long term future of human evolution and need to be more worried about robotic evolution.It is my personal opinion that machines would be the end result of any technological civilization's evolution.They are doing in months what have taken us millions of years.So if we aren't whiped out from existance like the dinosaurs were before we can expand outside planetary boundries....then I think we'll have already evolved ourselves through genetic engineering.No one could tell you if we will even live to evolve much less point out the possibilities of the end product.
Thats quite possible. Although personally, I like to see technology as humanity "reinventing biology, backwards". As discussed on some of the Intelligent Design threads, the complexity of biology is such that, in fact, a Designer is impossible to imagine; hence, one might expect, the more "perfect" the machines we make the more they will resemble biology. In fact, I would go so far as to say that the distinction between biology and machinery is an artificial one - thet are merely points on distribution of complexity.
The inferred superiority over all other living things is probably the most distressing thing about YEC. Like the world was put here for them. How arrogant can you get? Unless we can change that point of view there wont be much world left. Accepting of evolution does have the effect of making one respect the other inhabitants of this planet. But to YEC it’s just detestable that we have anything in common with monkeys.
quote:I don't think we should be worrying about the long term future of human evolution and need to be more worried about robotic evolution.It is my personal opinion that machines would be the end result of any technological civilization's evolution.They are doing in months what have taken us millions of years.
Except that machines aren't doing it on their own. That's a key difference. We haven't unveiled some sort of Frankenstein's Monster that's going to become too dangerous for humans to stop.
Assuming the three laws aren't used, ( ) you can always install an off-switch.
since we pretty much have our needs Covered. It Apears we have no reason to Evolve Very much........ I mean life finds a way around problems but we have most of our Problems covered. I mean we are so well off we don't worry about living from day to day so well we have time to worry about this and other topics on this board. we are so well off we shouldn't change much....... I think
[This message has been edited by DC85, 07-04-2003]